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and steady hands to put down the breaks, as well as high pressure to drive the engine.

-The candid reader of Dr. Woods's system of theology, as drawn out in these volumes, will find, that though his convictions of truth are strong and earnest, he is no dogmatist. He is as far as any one from claiming infallibility for his opinions upon abstruse and debated points, cautiously and deliberately as they have been formed. He believes, that there is more or less of error in all human systems and digests, and that absolute perfection is not to be expected in any. But while he strenuously maintains, that the Bible is a complete and full revelation, to which nothing must be added and from which nothing may be taken away, he regards the Scriptures as an inexhaustible store-house of wisdom and knowledge, ready to yield new developments and illustrations of divine truth, to the devout student,

It is no disparagement of any system of theology of anterior date, if in some respects it is surpassed by others which have since come from the press. As every author may fairly avail himself of the ripest fruits he can gather, in the wide fields of sacred culture by other hands, it were a reproach, if with equal talents and better opportunities, the commentator or lecturer of the nineteenth century, were to make no advances upon his predecessors of the eighteenth.

It was, we believe, the general hope of the divinity classes at Andover, when they were listening to Dr. Woods's Theological Lectures, that they might one day see them in print; and no sooner had he left the chair, which he had so ably filled in the Seminary for thirty-eight years, than some of the ablest and most distinguished of his former pupils, addressed him a letter, requesting him in the most respectful terms, to revise the course by which they had been so much benefited themselves, and give it to the public. In this, they only expressed the wish of all the early alumni, and the desire of a still greater number of ministers, perhaps, who had never enjoyed the privilege of hearing the lectures. They rightly judged, that having spent almost the whole of a long life in theological investigations and discussions, he might bring out a system which the church "would not let die." Having now lived to devote three years, or more, with his accustomed diligence, to the revision of his lectures, and carefully re-written some of them—in short, having spared no pains to make them as worthy of acceptance as he could, he has carried them through the press, together with ample selections of miscellaneous matter on kindred topics, and they have already obtained a wide circulation, in a type and style which does great credit to the Andover press.


Dr. Woods's Works.


In cordially recommending these volumes to students in theology and young ministers, we do not forget, that strong objections have been urged in some quarters, against Systems of Divinity, or compends of doctrine in any shape. It is plausibly alleged, that with the Bible in our hands, containing a full and complete revelation of the mind and will of God, and embracing everything that is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness," without any systematic arrangement of topics, those who will "search the Scriptures" with a humble and teachable mind, stand in no need of such helps as are proffered in this or any other system of didactic lectures, from the theological chair.

There would be great force in this objection, if the lecturer were to go out of the divine record for any of his materials, in constructing his system. But when he religiously adheres to the "Law and the Prophets;" when he confines himself to the teachings of holy men, "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" in the Old Testament, and of Christ and his apostles in the New, what is his object? Not to elicit any new truth -not to save us the trouble of searching the Scriptures for ourselves, but to bring together and arrange the doctrines of the Bible, so that we may see their relations and harmony as it were at a glance, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual." And what harm or danger can there be in this? Are not those great and good men entitled to our thanks, who have spent their lives in studying the Scriptures, and given us the fruits of their labors, while they have left us the whole Bible, just as they found it, to read and judge for ourselves; "calling no man master" upon earth? If any go to Calvin, or Edwards, or Dwight, or Woods, rather than "Moses and the prophets," Christ and his apostles for their creed, they are without excuse. The fault is in themselves, and not in the theologians who never pretended to be infallible guides and teachers. For reasons in favor of systematic theology, drawn out at length, under the following heads: "System carried into every other branch of knowledge-Thorough knowledge best promoted by it-System demanded by man's rational faculties-and by the nature and relations of religious truth," we refer to Dr. Woods's eighth Lecture, Vol. I. His system contains a hundred and twenty-six Lectures, and fills the whole of the first three volumes, and embraces the following outline of topics, in the order here indicated: "Directions for the right prosecution of theological study-Revelation, in four Lectures-The use and explanation of Theological terms-Dangers to be avoided in analogical reasoning-Inspiration of the Scriptures, in six Lec

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tures-Existence of God-The language respecting the divine attributes explained-Man's unlikeness to God-Unity of GodDangers of analogical reasoning respecting the Trinity-Humanity of Christ Preëxistence of Christ Deity of Christ, in three Lectures-Sonship of Christ- Divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit-Trinitarian use of the word Person-The doctrine considered as a subject of speculative reasoning- Divine Purposes, in four Lectures Reprobation - How the doctrine of Divine purposes should be treated-Divine Providence, in four Lectures-Moral Agency, in thirteen Lectures-Man's depravity, in twelve Lectures -The Atonement of Christ, in twelve Lectures Regeneration, in five Lectures Directions to inquiring sinners - Evidences of Regeneration-Nature of Christian Nurture-Repentance-Faith, in three Lectures Prayer, in four Lectures - Justification, in three The Perseverance of Saints — Resurrection - Endless Punishment-Baptism, in ten Lectures-The Lord's Supper-Lord's day-Church Government, in six Lectures- Personal religion necessary to Ministers."

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The filling out of such a plan, embracing all the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion, is a great undertaking; and delivering such a course of lectures to more than a thousand young candidates for the sacred office, involves immense responsibility. How far Dr. Woods has entitled himself to the thanks and confidence of the Christian public as 66 a Master in Israel;" with what ability and success he has fulfilled his great task, every reader of these volumes will judge for himself. Religionists, (out of the evangelical pale,) by whatever names they may be distinguished, will of course fundamentally dissent from many of these lectures; and some, who fully agree with Dr. Woods on every essential point in his system, will doubtless differ from him in some of his views and statements, of minor importance. It would be an unheard of agreement if this were not the No system of theology has ever yet been drawn up, in which all good men have been perfectly agreed, and probably never will be, so long as they study and think independently for themselves.


But that the venerable author of these volumes, has an acute and logical mind; that he has an uncommonly clear discrimination of metaphysical subtilties; that he has pondered long and thought deeply upon all the more abstruse and difficult parts of his system, and that he has fairly stated and met the most common and plausible objections urged against it, few if any, we think, will deny.

In the brief notice which our present limits will allow, we can only


Dr. Woods's Works.


glance at a few topics, as fair specimens of the ability and candor, with which they are all handled, in these hundred and twenty-six lectures. The four, on Divine Providence, at the opening of the second volume, strike us as exceedingly well reasoned and conclusive. The author's definition of Divine Providence, is, that "all things are sustained, directed and controlled by God." "The doctrine proved from his attributes and from experience. Providence particular and universal-important to intelligent beings-asserted in the Scriptures-benevolent-just-wise-powerful and holy. Appeal to Scripture-oriental idiom considered-miracles argument from

the duty of prayer - Divine Providence includes the powers and laws of nature those powers and laws dependent on God-two agencies, that of creatures and that of God-their relation to each other-practical reflections."

The filling up of this outline, covers the whole ground of debate between those who expressly or virtually aim to exclude the Creator from the government of the world, and those who maintain with Paul, that "He worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will,” and with the Westminster Divines, that "the works of God's providence are his most holy, wise and powerful, preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. Though Dr. Woods does not profess to explain how it is that God governs the universe of moral beings without the slightest infringement of their free moral agency, many, we are sure, whose minds have been more or less perplexed on the subject, will acknowledge their indebtedness to him for his clear statement and able vindication of the orthodox doctrine.

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The unwelcome but undeniable doctrine of human depravity, is treated at great length, and with great ability in these lectures. A glance at the table of contents, is sufficient to show, that Dr. Woods has deeply studied the subject in all its aspects and bearings; and every intelligent and candid reader must admit, that the discussion is thorough and candid and scriptural, in a high degree. The leading topics are proofs of depravity from human conduct of its universality from Scripture that it is native, or innate, and that it is total, by which the author means, not that men are by nature as bad as they can be, but that" they are entirely destitute of the holy love required by God's law and that all their affections in relation to that law are of an opposite nature." In the progress of the discussion, Dr. Woods is unavoidably led to examine some of the most popular theories of depravity from which he dissents, and to encounter a variety of objections which have been urged from different and opposite quarters

against his own. Those who have slid entirely off from the Calvinistic, or Westminster platform, will of course widely dissent both from his arguments and conclusions. But we are more and more convinced, that evangelical writers differ more in the use of terms than in their views of the original corruption of human nature, than with regard to the extent and malignancy of human depravity. Those who claim to be sound Calvinists, and are so, on every essential point, but who may not agree with Dr. Woods exactly in all his views, will allow, that he reasons with great cogency and fairness, and that his proofs of the native and universal depravity of our race cannot be gainsaid.

On the subject of regeneration, Dr. Woods proves himself to be an eminently sound and able defender of the faith, once delivered to the saints. We regret, that our limits will not allow us to give even a condensed abstract of his reasoning, by which he shows most triumphantly, that in every case of true conversion, "the excellency of the power is of God; even according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead." The theory of moral suasion, as being in any instance the efficient cause of regeneration, is overthrown beyond recovery. The strongest motives are shown to be utterly powerless, to melt or break the "heart of stone," which every unregenerate man carries about in his bosom. The nature of the change, its evidences and its fruits, are also pointed out, with a clearness and cogency, which it seems to us, must carry conviction to every unprejudiced mind.

Restricted as our limits are, we fully intended, when we began, to devote a page or two, to the cardinal doctrine of Justification, which is so clearly stated, so scripturally defined, and so admirably illustrated and established in these lectures; but we can only recommend them, in passing, to the devout study of the serious and candid reader. There are few, but will find themselves more than repaid, by gaining clearer and more definite views of the "way to be saved."

But we must hasten to the thirteen lectures on Moral Agency, which we regard as the ablest series in the whole system, and as embodying a lucid and masterly discussion of some of the most abstruse points in theological science. Edwards, in his immortal Treatise on the Will, is more profoundly metaphysical, and some other writers may have surpassed the venerable Abbot Professor, in the deeper subtleties of the science; but in logical arrangement, in clearness of statement, in exactness of definition, in transparency of argument, in fulness and felicity of illustration, and in unanswerable appeals to human con

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