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Chalmers as the leader of the Free Church deeply bis spirit was imbued with the spirit reform, it will, under the wise Editorship of Dr. of vital godliness
. Hanna, be deeply interesting to a large class “And now, my dearest G., let me urge of expectant readers, both in and out of the on you the great and only essential topics for Free Church. But it will require inuch care, the entertainment of immortal creatures. This and an abundant supply of that candour world, with all these petty and evanescent for which the Biographer is peculiarly interests which now so engross and agitate, distinguished.
will soon pass away. And surely there is In turning to the volume before us, we enough in the greatness and glory, even of cannot but express the high delight we have our present revelations, to lift us above them. felt in perusing its contents. If it is not quite What is all that is near or around us to the so full of incident as the two preceding worth of those precious interests which attach volumes, it still sustains all our notions of to immortality? Let us lay hold of eternal Dr. Chalmers' mental habits, professional life. Let us cast our confidence for life upon ability, and high Christian character. One the Saviour. Let us enter into this life even of the finest chapters in the volume is that now, by entering upon its graces and virtues which portrays the entrance of Dr. Chal
Let us cultivate a present holimers on his duties as Professor of Moral ness, not merely as a preparation, but as a Philosophy in the University of St. Andrews. foretaste of our future happiness. These The narrative is done to the life; and there children of ours have a vast and momentous is verily a life in the subject of the narrative interest associated with them. They have rarely to be met with. Never, perhaps, did imperishable spirits, and they have a right a public lecturer enter upon his career more at our hands of having provision made for brilliantly than did Dr. Chalmers. It was a them. I desire to feel the weight of all this, new era in the history of St. Andrews, when and to act upon it far more vigorously and our lecturer began his course; and many faithfully than I have ever yet done.” happy fruits were the result of his instruc- In this volume we have an opportunity of tions, though his labours were restricted to marking the conduct of Dr. Chalmers in his the moral philosophy class. We look upon church extension movement. It must be Dr. Chalmers' residence and labours at St. confessed that he was just as zealous behind Andrews as a most prolific section of his the scenes as in his public showings, and public life. He produced an effect upon that he was constantly doing what was very many minds which continues to tell with unwelcome to his voluntary friends ; but, power to the present hour.
making due allowance for human infirmity, He had many battles to fight, while occu- and what we hold to be erring notions, there pying this post, and made himselt obnoxious is a manliness about his conduct which can to his fellow Professors by certain acts, which create no festering wound in the heart of an reflect the greatest honour upon him now opponent. He lived to see that Statesmen that he is dead. We refer our readers to this and legal tribunals were not such manageable part of Dr. Hanna's narrative with full confi- affairs as he wished to make them; and the dence that it will place the character of Dr. disruption itself is a striking proof of the Chalmers in the most amiable point of view. folly of even good men in thinking to commit
In this volume we follow Dr. Chalmers the interests of religion to the conservation from St. Andrews to Edinburgh; from the of secular tribunals. Had the result, in rechair of Moral Philosophy to that of Theo- ference to the late reforming party in the logy; and, at every step of our course, we Church of Scotland, been different from what cannot but mark the movements of a man of it was, it would have been no proof to us that God," full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." the Church and State connexion is anything It is delightful, amidst all the public ques- other than a doubtful and dangerous human tions which often and anxiously engaged his expedient, altogether unsanctioned by the thoughts, his pen, and his eloquence, to find doctrines and laws of the New Testament. him unbending so naturally and so sweetly in The volume will be read by multitudes, all the scenes of domestic and private life. with the enthusiasm it deserves. It is, indeed, His Journals and his Tours are models of all
a most instructive collection of deeply inwe could desire in a man intensely devoted teresting facts, well grouped, and so disposed to the public service; and his transitions from of as to present an accurate and striking sprightly repartee and the details of passing portrait of one who must ever be dear to events, grave matters too,are often very striking. posterity, and of whom every Scotchman After giving to Mrs. Chalmers an account of may well be suffered to think
the most a visit to the country of Burns and of Dr. profound admiration and love. Thomas Brown, with all the ease and interest peculiar to such a document, he closes in the following remarkable terms, showing how
The Second REFORMATION; or, Christianity' deem it our duty, as guardians of the public Developed. By A. Alison, Esq.
Christian mind, to warn our readers against London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. it as a direct, malignant, and unmitigated asWho, or what A. Alison, Esq. is, we know sault on all the doctrines of the gospel. Fornot, and conseqnently we can entertain no tunately, indeed, its power of doing mischief prejudice either for or against him. Nor, it is not equal to its intention. The book is is probable, should we have noticed his illc flimsy, shallow, and illogical in the extreme. starred and mischievous publication, did we Assumption is so constantly mistaken for not fear that unwary readers might be be- argument, questions at issue are so often trayed into a perusal of its pages by the false begged, and there is so frequently such s and deceptive title which he has adopted. jumble of rhapsody, ignorance, and mis-stateThe title, “ The Second Reformation ; or, ment, that, as we passed through his pages, Christianity Developed,” would lead one to we were perpetually haunted with the imexpect, at least, something like an advocacy pression that the writer must be the subject of or enforcement of the great fundamental doc- some bewildering hallucination, or mental trines for which Luther, Calvin, Melancthon, obliquity. and Zwinglius contended; and a semblance, if We cannot, within our limited space, follow not a strong and healthy manifestation, for the Mr. Alison throughout the loose and flimsy cardinal and distinctive verities of the gospel. net of error, misconception, and false reasonbut instead of this, the reader will find that a ing he has woven, and therefore must confine " Second Reformation," in Mr. Alison's esti- ourselves to two or three points, which our mation, is the utter rejection of all the Divine readers may take as a sample of the whole. and precious truths for which martyrs bled and Like all shallow-minded men, having lighted reformers contended; and that “Christianity on certain general terms, he allows himself Developed ”is, in his views, the extinction of all to be drawn into the notion that they solve evangelical religion, and the universal as- all difficulties and reveal all mysteries. The cendency of a cold and chilling rationalism. terms—nature, experience, truth, will, intellect, We do not indeed recollect anything, among' instinct, &c., he tosses and tumbles about with the locust-like cloud of irreligions publica- the utmost nimbleness and volubility, and tions now issuing from the press, more appears to cheat himself into the belief that thoroughly imbued with the spirit and letter he thus puts orthodox Christianity, with all of infidelity, than the volume now before us. its essential doctrines and attesting miracles
, The title-page is a mask; but beyond that, to flight. Multiplying the echoes of his own concealment or deception does not extend. sweet voice around him by repeating, in alThe reader has scarcely passed the preface, most every conceivable sense, the terms we and entered on the few first pages of the book, have mentioned, he imagines that men can. before he finds himself startled by an un- not but listen to his discourse as the “ divinest blushing avowal of the worst forms of infi- philosophy." Having sent up a succession of delity. And as he advances, he finds every rockets, which fall in ashes about his ears, doctrine that distinguished the first Reforma. he conceives that the strongholds of the faith tion assailed ; and every principle of the for which martyrs died and reformers Christianity which Christ and his apostles struggled, and which he can designate by no taught, trampled under foot, or scattered to gentler or more charitable term than “superthe winds.
stition," have fallen before the resistless fire It is truly marvellous, and can only be ex- of his argument. He intimates indeed, in no plained on the ground of that craftiness which very equivocal language, that all the Christian enters so largely into modern infidelity, that philosphers, divines, and reformers of past ages such a title as the one borne by this volume, were a set of purblind drivellers, who knew could be prefixed to a publication intended to nothing of “nature,” and were incapable of condemn and repudiate a special providence, distinguishing truth from error. And by im. miracles, moral evil, original sin, the inspiration plication, he would give us to understand that of the Scriptures, the atonement, the personality the greatest of all Teachers was inferior to of the Holy Spirit, conversion, justification by him in fairly and clearly stating truth. For faith, and every kindred truth belonging to men resisted Him, although he spake as man Christianity. But as Mr. Alison does not never spake, and although grace and truth wear his mask beyond his title-page, the in- were poured into his lips; and yet, Mr. Alitelligent reader cannot be deceived, nor can after affirming, “ We believe that nature is the Christian be seduced into the perusal of so constituted that man cannot resist the such gross and unblushing impiety. It is force of truth when it is fairly and clearly possible, however, that some may be ensnared stated,” has the presumption to declare, “ It is into the purchase of this book, under the im- under this impression that we have not pression that it is an honest and earnest en- thought it useless to discuss the elements of forcernent of the "things which are most belief." If, then, Mr. Alison makes but a surely believed among us;" and, therefore, we sorry figure as a logician and a philosopher,
it will be seen that his failure can in no way | the additional absurdity, that he admits at bo ascribed to his modesty or diffidence. once the fact and the necessity of their mani
But let us see what are his views of pro- festation, whilst he denies their possibility. vidence, miracles, and atonement, which are He regards creation and Christianity as superso essentially connected with the Christianity natural or iniraculous in their origin, and taught by Christ and his apostles.
moreover declares, in reference to the latter His notions of providence ara in direct that "man is not so constituted to receive an opposition to the whole tenor of Scripture, extraordinary revelation, which contradicts and are at variance with the soundest lessons prior experiences, without supernatural eviof philosophy. He professes to admit the dence." And yet, as if utterly incapable of doctrine of a general providence, but regards perceiving the preposterousness of his position, the idea of a special providence as fraught he contends that all idea of miracles must be with incalculable mischief. Now, how any relinquished as contrary to fact, and unsupmun laying claim to common intelligence, ported by evidence. As if he had discovered acknowledging the being of a Göd, can admit some unheard-of and conclusive argument a general providence, and deny that which is against miracles, he dwells, ad nauseam, on special or particular, is to us altogether in- experience, forgetting that, unless it extend comprehensible. A moment's dispussionate to all time and space, it can prove nothing. thought must convince every one that, what. And further, losing all idea of omnipotence ever is general must necessarily comprehend in the weakness of man, and, in the spirit of specialities or particulars. Let any man sit the ancient Stoics, regarding the course of down, and calmly and seriously ponder the nature as a species of adamantine fate, he idea of a general providence, or superintend- seems to look upon the Deity as altogether ence by an omniscient, omnipresent, and om- passive and powerless amid its onward and nipotent God, and we feel satisfied that spe- resistless sweep. Because Mr. Alison has cialities, down to the falling of a sparrow, had no experience of an internal or external and the numbering of the hairs of our heads, miracle-as if his experience were that of all must force themselves on his convictions. ages and all lands—he jumps to the conclu. When, indeed, men like Mr. Alison strip the sion that miracles are contrary to universal Deity of all personality, and resolve his existe experience; and because Me. Alison cannot ence and attributes into what-in the parade put his hand on the mechanism of the ani. of ignorance, or the cant of infidelity,– verse, and suspend its operations, he forththey designate " nature,” or “ laws," it is with is guilty of the impiety that strips Jehoeasy to see how they may slide into the cold vah of omnipotence, and hedges him round and chilling belief of a general providence, with the weakness of man. Having admitted whilst they deny that which is special or the miraculous nature of creation, had he particular. A law, or an influence, which is allowed the idea of omnipotence to find a disà blind, unconscious thing, may, perhaps, be tinct lodgment in his mind, he would not, we general, without entering into all that is are inclined to think, have penned the preminute in specialities or particulars; but a posterous nonsense to be found in this volume. living, omniscient Creator, who is at once the The doctrine of an atonement for sin Mr. Father and Governor of the universe, must, Alison utterly repudiates, pronouncing it “ the from the necessities of his nature, as well as offspring of the scholastic theology of the from the exigencies of his rule, exercise an im- dark ages." Here, again, he falls back upon mediate and personal providence in reference experience - that " friend in need”. that to circumstances, events, and objects, the solver of every problem that perplexes himmost minute. Without this, it is obvious that and affirms, that when this test is applied, anarchy and chaos would speedily pervade the doctrine of the atonement “ will be rethe universe ; for what is minute and appa- moved.” How this test is to be applied, Mr. rently insignificant is the germ and origin of Alison does not condescend to inform his what is great, and magnificent, and imposing. readers. Perhaps that is one of the refined Besides, if there is no special providence-if mysteries of infidelity reserved for the initiaJehovah governs his intelligent offspring by ted. Further, he gravely tells us, that the cold and sweeping generalities, which admit notion of an atonement "condemns the wis. of nothing special, what becomes of prayer ? dom of God;" and, to crown all, he affirms, it Must it not be pronounced a mockery and a can only be a fiction, as "there is nothing delusion? What does Mr. Alison say to this ? to call for an atonement.” By what process Surely it is sufficient to convince him of the he arrived at these extraordinary conclusions unphilosophical and unscriptural nature of he does not tell us, deeming it enough, doubthis notions of providence, unless he is pre-less, that one, with his unlimited experience pired to embrace the absurdities of Atheism, and infallible knowledge of “nature and abjure every idei of religion.
"laws,” should speak oracularly or dogmzOn the subject of miracles, he holds the tically. He does, indeed, venture to employ old and oft-refuted notions of Hu ne, with an analogy on the subject, reminding his
readers that “the power of pardoning offences with feebleness and defeat. But what their is granted to an earthly sovereign, and denied own country's literature, and, we may add, to the Supreme.” But excess of light seems their own critical learning and acumen, canto have blinded our philosopher, for he per- pot supply to them, they are seeking in the ceives not that, if an earthly sovereign would newly-constructed arsenals of Genean irfimaintain the stability of his government, and delity, and from thence they are fetching the order of his empire, he must not com- those weapons with which they are now so promise law in pardoning offences, or, in other vigorously, though so vainly, assaulting the words, he must bave a reason for the exercise citadel of our faith. of his clemency. If Mr. Alison can perceive The writer of the work, the title of which this, and if “nature" and "experience" will we have placed at the head of this article, is permit its entrance into his understanding, he one of those minor stars now seeking to shed can have no difficulty in admitting the doctrine their borrowed and disastrous light on what of an atonement; for atonen:ent is simply a valid they regard as the religious darkness of their and sufficient reason for pardoning offences. country. Mr. Greg possesses some little acBut we fear he is so inflated with a sense of quaintance with the writings of the German his own immeasurable superiority to all other | Duminati, and he has got this good quality men, and so deeply rooted in bis prejudices in him, that lie is a most docile learner. He against the Christian atonement, that every- sits at their feet with the simplicity and with thing in the form of argument or reason has the credulity of a child. De Wette is with lost its power upon him. What, indeed, can him a “ first authority.” For Strauss he be expected of a man who forbids all appeal bas evidently the very highest reverence. to the Scriptures on this great subject, simply They and their compeers are “men of the because he has the audacity to affirm that highest eminence in this very difficult branch our translation is incorrect; and who bas the of intellectual research." " In the conclusions hardihood to declare that Luther and Calvin arrived at by this scientific process," we are had no right conception of the doctrine, be informed that, “unlearned students must cause they either did not know, or overlooked acquiesce, as they do in those of astronomy, the perfection of the Creator ? Surely, with- or philology, or geology.” “Very few, in out any detriment to our readers, or any this country, even of our educated classes," violation of charity, we may say, “ He is it seems, " are at all acquainted with this joined to his idols- let him alone!"
scientific criticism, though it proceeds on This volume abounds with other absurdi- established and certain principles." Mr. ties, to which our space does not permit us Greg, therefore, who has got beyond our eduto advert. We can only, in conclusion, ex- cated classes in this respect, is here doing press our astonishment that a man so utterly “all that can be done, which is to give them destitute of candour, and so devoid of all ne- a very brief glimpse of the mode of inquiry cessary qualifications, should set himself up adopted, and the kind of proo adduced." as a teacher of mankind on the most moment puges 35, 36. The following are the concleous questions.
sions he arrives at, as stated in bis preface:
“ That the tenet of the Inspiration of the THE CREED OF CHRISTENDOM: its Founda- Scriptures is baseless and untenable, under
tion and Superstructure. BY WILLIAM any form or modification which leaves to it RATHBONE GREG.
a dogmatic value;- that the Gospels are not London: John Chapman.
textually faithful records of the sayings The great controversy between Christianity and actions of Jesus, but ascribe words to and Infidelity, in that peculiar aspect of it him which he never uttered, and deeds which has so long been exhibited in Germany, which he never did; and that the apostles is now evidently extending itself to the soil only partially comprehended, and imperfectly of Britain. Increasing acquaintance with transmitted, the teaching of their Great continental languages and literature is pro- Master." ducing among us, as might be expected, this In the outset of our observations, we think fruit-that, with scme amount of good, there we had better give our readers one or two is imported among us a large neasure of specimens of this “scientific criticism," as what is positively noxious. The infidel adopted from bis German masters by dir. writers, which the last century produced in Greg. They will find, if we mistake not, this country, have long since been routed that its science is akin to that of the ancient and driven from the feld. They sleep now sophists, who knew so well how to overlook in merited oblivion. Their works are to be all the main points of an argument, and in found now only in the libraries of the curious. spite of obstacles, which other men would have Their successors of the present day rarely found to be impassable, to find their way to mention their names, and never quote from the conclusions they wished to arrive at. their writings,-a fair acknowledgement that Take the following from the Old Testament an alliance with them would be an alliance Mr. Greg is endeavouring to prove what
to a certain extent, we are not inclined to who are alive and remain unto the coming of dispute with him, that the Theism of the the Lord, shall not prevent them which are Jews was progressive. In order to exhibit the asleep,” &c. He takes no notice, however, of advance of one period on another, he ar- what the apostle has written in his second ranges in parallel columns a series of quota- epistle, for the purpose of correcting the tions from the different books. In connection erroneous interpretation which the Thessawith the well-known passages in Exodus, lonians gave to his words in the first epistle, about the Hebrews, on their departure from 2 Thess. ii. 1-3: “ Now we beseech you, breEgypt, borrowing from the Egyptians, and thren, that ye be not soon shaken in the Egyptians lending to them, he gives Prov. mind,
as that the day of Christ is at xii. 22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the hand. Let no man deceive you by any Lord, but they that deal truly are his de- means. For that day shall not come, exlight.” We need hardly inform our readers cept there come a falling away first," &c. The that this transaction was not one of borrow- apostle then goes on to describe a long train ing and lending. This is evident on the very of events which were to happen prior to the face of the narrative. That the Egyptians, coming of Christ, and which, we think any when they were driving the Hebrews from candid reader will at once admit, he must their country, and were urgent with them to bave regarded as destined to occupy a long depart, with no expectation and no desire for series of years, if not centuries. The apostasy their return, should lend to them, is utterly in the Christian church, the removal of the incredible. We can understand how, in their obstacles that hindered, viz., the heathen terror, they might give to them to hasten their empire of Rome, and then the full revelation departure, and we think that the Hebrews of the man of sin, were events which the were perfectly justified both in asking and in apostle could not possibly have imagined were receiving all that they carried away of Egyptian destined to happen during his own lifetime; property. However much it was, it could be and as he warned the Thessalonians against but a miserable tithe of what they were justly supposing that the day of Christ would come entitled to, in compensation for their long, until these events had transpired, it is perand precious, and unrequited toil. It is well fectly clear that the assertion which we have known, however, that the translation is an quoted above, regarding the apostolic belief
Even "unlearned students" on this point, is entirely erroneous. Mr. are aware of this. The word which is trans- Greg, however, takes no notice of this paslated borrow should be rendered ask. It oc- sage. It seems to be quite in accordance with curs, for example, in Psa. ii. 8: “Ask of me, the principles of his "scientific criticism” and I will give thee for thine inheritance the quietly to ignore it, though the criticism of heathen.” We should be quite as much justi- common sense and common candour point fied in rendering this passage, “ Borrow of me, it out as of first importance in connection and I will give thee the heathen," &c., as our with this branch of the controversy. translators were justified in so rendering the We are the more particular in alluding to word in the passages in question. As for the this point, in as much as the infidels of the expression "lent,"—“The Egyptians lent to present day make use of it as one of their them” – we find Hannah, the mother of main arguments against the inspiration of the Samuel, making use of the same term with apostles. Of course, if they really believed reference to her infant son, 1 Sam. i. 28: that the world was to end during the lifetime “ Therefore also I have lent (given) him to of the then existing generation, the question the Lord.” Now, Mr. Greg, who takes no as to their inspiration is settled at once. It notice of this criticism, was either acquainted would be impossible to maintain it in the face with it, or he was not. If he was not ac- of so palpable a mistake. There is not, however, quainted with it, his ignorance would prove in the writings of any one of them, a solitary his utter incompetence to deal with the sub- passage which will fairly bear this meaning. ject at all. If he was acquainted with it, his The circumstance of Paul using the language dishonesty in passing it over will suggest we find him employing regarding the coming another application of the passage from the of Christ, when he evidently did not believe book of Proverbs, "Lying lips are that coming would take place till after the abomination to the Lord, but they that deal lapse of a long series of years, if not of ages, truly are his delight."
sufficiently accounts for and explains the The following is another specimen, from the language made use of by the rest. Some of New Testament. He asserts, p. 181, that the passages have reference to the predicted “ The apostles unanimonsly and unquestion- corning of Christ in the exercise of power and ingly believed and taught that the end of the judgment, at the destruction of Jerusalem, world was at hand, and would arrive in the and others of them to his coming to individual lifetime of the then existing generation.” In men in the article of death. support of this assertion he quotes, among It will be seen, from the specimens we have several passages, 1 Thess. iv. 15–17: “We given above, of the way in which this writer