Изображения страниц

of one of these associations meet to the community, and often preweekly, for the purpose of reading cedes, and is made the means of, tracts connected with the objects men's internal renovation.” The of the society. In several instances checking of vice, he elsewhere persons who have been long ad- observes, paves the way for the dicted to the use of ardent spirits introduction of true godliness, as have joined the societies, and they numerous instances from the Scriphave since abstained from their use tures and the history of the church altogether. It were easy to men- abundantly testify. Those engaged, tion particular facts; but these are then, in the checking of vice are purposely withheld, lest the friends directly engaged on the side of of such institutions should be deemed religion; and there can be no doubt too sanguine in their expectations that, were the vice of drunkenness of the good that has already been banished from our land, one of the effected. The only object in view most formidable barriers to the proby bringing into further notice the gress of true religion would be preceding statements, is to excite removed out of the way. Hence attention to a subject that should it happens, that many of the same be deeply interesting to all persons individuals who are enlisted under desirous of promoting the interests the banner of Truth hold a promiof morality and religion. It is well nent place in carrying forward the observed by the late Rev. Thomas objects of such societies; and it Scott, that " restraining men from may be hoped, as well as confidently outward crimes, and inducing them anticipated, that their numbers will to external good actions, does not by and bye increase, when existing imply conversion of the heart to the prejudices shall have been more love of God, and delight in his holy thoroughly removed. service; vet it prevents much mis. chief and occasions extensive good


from them upon principle, till principle together in a cottage where principle, had become nature. Why do not our habit, and a just knowledge of the subreaders, with a cellar-full of spirits, get ject-and not external restraint-were drunk every morning? It is not taxation the incitements to action. Strange as or want of opportunity that prevents this doctrine may seem, to those who have them; but habit, regard to health, or self- never considered the subject as connected respect, or, were it necessary, religion. with the true springs of human conduct, and And why may not a small tradesman or a apart from the hopeless scheme of teachworking-man be restrained in the same ing virtue to walk" in leading-strings, it is manner, at least where the habit has not amply confirmed by the experience of the become inveterate? The lower classes American Temperance Societies. The conof this country are uninformed upon the ductors of our infant schools have learned subject, and fully believe that a moderate this principle, and, instead of the wretched portion of spirits is beneficial to their system of locking up and prohibition, health. They thusacquire the habit of spirit accustom the children to act from higher drinking, till they often become confirmed motives; the consequence of which is, drunkards. The diffusion of correct in that no child ever steals his companion's formation and good advice, by means of dinner, or plucks a flower or a gooseberry Temperance Societies, will do more to pre from the garden ; the very opposite of vent the evil than a tax of five hundred which would be the result upon the Glasper cent., with the tread-mill to back it. gow temperance principle. If our NorthThe offender, in this latter case, “even ern friends will weigh ihis matter in their in penance planning sins anew," would Committee, we think they will agree with return as soon as possible to the pro- us; and if not, we shall be quite ready to hibited indulgence; whereas a keg of admit their defence of their principle. brandy might be safely left open for years

[merged small][ocr errors]


The Scripture Testimony to the abstinence in pressing a legitimate Messiah. By the Rev. J. Pre argument, and sometimes also a Smith, D.D. 3 vols. 8vo. Se direct admission, which we could cond edition, much improved and have wished otherwise ; and this not enlarged. London. 1829. only in reference to the individual

point, but to the general effect upon We are reconciled to not having the mind of the reader. This overreviewed the first edition of Dr. cautiousness may, indeed, be urged Smith's great work, from the cir. as calculated to bespeak the conficumstance that it allows us to bring dence of the objector, as well as to it before our readers in its present promote the cause of truth ; and the “much improved and enlarged concessions which the author is form ;" while it also renders it un- willing to make may be represented necessary to give a full analysis of as adding greater triumph to his the work, which is already familiar victories. But we fear that the real to theological students. The pub. result will rather be to encourage lication exhibits long and patient a hazardous spirit of speculation, research, varied learning, wide Bi. the conclusion of which might be blical reading, a mind capable of very serious. Our author gives up, close analysis and large deduction, for instance, the Song of Solomon, and we need not say a truly candid as not of Divine inspiration : but spirit, united with deep piety, and the claim of that book to be admitted a wish to pour out every mental and into the sacred canon rests upon moral treasure at the foot of the testimony similar to that which apcross of Christ. For theological plies to various other portions, nay to students the book is invaluable, both the whole, of the Sacred Word; and for consecutive perusal and occa- the arguments offered for its rejecsional reference : nor will well-in- tion, derived from the contents of formed private Christians, whose the book itself, may be plausibly object is not connected with pro- applied by Arians and Socinians fessional studies, be disappointed in against many of those very pasits perusal; the whole being thrown sages which our author himself into as popular a form as the argu- urges against their heretical opi. ment would allow ; and many of the nions. Why not, for example, give incidental disquisitions being valu- up the chapters which contain the able and interesting, even dissevered account of the miraculous birth of from the direct object of the treatise. our Lord, as well as the Song of The writer remarks, that the work Solomon ? We approve as little as “ is humbly designed to assist the our author of some of the popular researches of serious Christians, who expositions of this book; we find take the Bible as the guide to eter to the full as much difficulty in nity, and who treat the authority explaining it; nay, we think it was with which it speaks with the rever- wisely judged by our Church, while ence due to the Adorable and Infi- fully admitting its Divine inspiration, nite God.”

not to introduce the reading of it We must, however, qualify our into the public service: but the suffrage by adding, that in this large evidence for its being a part of the mass of criticism and discussion sacred canon appears to us too there may, and must be, points in strong to set it aside on the ground which we do not concur in the con- of internal evidence, without first clusions of the author ; and we must admitting the very principles on add, that there is occasionally an which Neologism and Socinianism

are founded, and which Dr. Smith our current vernacular version is himself has so powerfully refuted. either satisfactory, or at least not We have, indeed, no arguments to improper. The familiarity of a offer to our learned author in favour translation to the mind and the of the book, beyond those which memory is of so great value, that, are familiar to every student of the without absolute need, we would inspired canon--and which, after not sacrifice it to any new combi. long deliberation, he has rejected;- nation of words, and certainly not but to our minds these are quite as to the cadences of a Lowth, or forcible as those which entrench Horsley, which, by means of grammany other undoubted parts of Din matical inversions, and classical vine Revelation, and certainly ought instead of pure English words, not to be set aside by the force of appear inflated, and scarcely intelan arbitrary hypothesis. We think, ligible to the unlettered reader. also, that the introduction of this We come now to the more agree. argument into the present volume, able task of extracting a few interbesides being gratuitous, was ill. esting passages from the work ; judged; since it was calculated to confining ourselves, in the present cause a revulsion in many pious Number, to the first volume, and minds towards the whole work, and purposing briefly to notice the others also to strengthen the Unitarian at a future opportunity. Our rereader in his favourite habit of re- ferences will be particularly directed jection upon inference and construc- to some of the new materials of the tive evidence-that is, often, upon second edition, which is, probably, no evidence at all. Our author not in the hands of many of our certainly meant not this : his rea. readers. In almost every chapter sons for rejection are stated with there are additions and improvegreat seriousness, and are evidently ments, so as almost to render it a joined to a desire to investigate the new work. matter fully, and to follow wherever The reasons which induced our truth may lead : we are therefore author to add one more to the many far from impeaching his rectitude of books on the divinity and offices of intention, but we greatly regret both our Lord are stated as follows. the result of his decision, and the

"Many works, of various character and unnecessary introduction of the to

merit, have been published upon this truly pic into the very front of his highly important subject. Of these not a few valuable work.

are entitled to all the commendations There are some other relinquish

which are due to ability and learning, to

sound judgment, fair reasoning, and Chrisments, as regards the currently

tian temper. It must, however, be acreceived orthodox applications of knowledged that the generality of the texts, in which we cannot concur; earlier works, valuable and useful as on but these do not affect the general many accounts they are, were constructed

upon a state of the controversy in a conresult of his argument, which, after siderable degree different from that which every deduction which he thinks it it has more lately assumed. Others take right or legitimate to make, is ir up a limited view of the subject, and refragable, being built both upon the decline the investigation of some points

which are necessary to a correct underplain text of the Divine word, and

la standing of the case. Some have sacri. clear inference from it. We there. ficed their utility to their jealousies; and, fore only interpose this general re. by the accumulation of weak or dubious mark, as neither our limits nor the arguments, have obscured and enfeebled

their better matter : others have sought patience of our readers would allow

a miserable assistance from harsh and of lengthened minute criticisms; and irritating language, crying down, rather shall add to it but one other pre- than answering, their opponents : some liminary difference, namely, what

right of free inquiry, personal judgment, appears to us the unnecessary tre- and unrestrained profession of what is quency of new translations, where apprehended to be truth: some have rested



their arguments on the authority and pre- to meet our present author with the scriptions of men : and, to the injury of panoply of a Hall or a Hooker. a good cause, and the deep grief of many

ny One such writer as a Towgood, a conscientious friends of that cause, the authors of some other works have betrayed their chagrin that the justice of the Paine, in their respective depart. British legislature has denied to their ments, gives a new popular aspect reasonings the support of penal terrors.

to certain portions of a discussion, In the mean time, the dispute is continued with unquenched ardour ; and the claim and renders new treatises necessary, of victory is made on each side, with not, indeed, to the general arguapparently equal confidence.” pp. 4–6. ment, but certainly to some of its

We are not disposed to allow local peculiarities. Dr. Smith's work equal weight to all these reasons; is in this respect highly useful to and we fear that the Unitarian, who theological students in the present would not be convinced by such age, who will find in it a reference treatises as those of Dr. Wardlaw to various passing topics connected or the Archbishop of Dublin, is not with the question such, for exlikely to be wrought upon by any ample, as the spread of Neolominor arrangements in the method gism-which they could not meet of handling the argument, or mate with in earlier or less elaborate rially conciliated by any exhibition treatises. of candour short of unchristian Dr. Smith most justly traces up concession. At the same time, we the rash and presumptuous declaadmit, with our respected author, rations which abound in Unitarian that some anti Socinian publica and Neologian writers, and are intions have been written in a harsh terwoven with their whole system, and irritating spirit ; others in a to low and degrading thoughts contone of assumption, which seemed cerning the blessed and holy God, to give to mere human authority, or his moral government, and the rethe decisions of an established velation of his justice and grace. church, more weight than they There runs also, throughout them, were entitled to in an argument a levity upon subjects connected purely Scriptural : and others, in a with religion, and an irreverence in sort of rapacious, make-weight style, commenting upon the Sacred Writwhich heaped together argument and ings, which we cannot conceive no argument, urging every thing and consistent with a hearty belief of giving up nothing; and thus render their being divinely inspired. To ing suspected what was good, from go no further than Dr. Priestley, the its juxta-position with what was late Mr. Belsham, and the Transdoubtful: all which, clearly, ought lators of the “Improved Version " of to be avoided ; as they have been by the New Testament, what weight our author, but, we fear, sometimes can we attach to the theological by verging towards the opposite conclusions of persons who can error of undue latitude of con- speak of the writers on whom they cession. But the best apology for comment in such language as the a new treatise is that which our following – We will not pollute our author himself premises, that the pages with more than a very brief controversy itself has assumed new sample. features, as all controversies are apt " St. Paul," says Dr. Priestley, to do in the course of years, so that " can hardly be considered as en. many of the earlier arguments, on tirely free from blame: he hath had both sides, require to be re-modelled too little regard to the consistency to the mental habits of a succeeding of these representations. This proage. In the very case, for example, ceeding could not but tend to throw of the necessity for an Established confusion into our views of the end Church, or the claims of our own, and design of the death of Christ." we should not ourselves be willing Again :"This, I am apprehensive, will

appear to be but little satisfactory to interweaving, in an early part of his any one that wisheth to see Chris. treatise, a most interesting chapter tianity effectually cleared from a on the moral state of the mind and charge of licentiousness. At best, affections, as connected with the it is disappointing his reader, whose present inquiry. This is a subject expectations he had raised so high of great moment to every Chris. by the spirited manner in which he tian, and peculiarly to every theoloresented the imputation, and begun gical student; yet it has unhappily his answer ; by putting him off with been too little attended to in the a mere allusion, instead of a solid schools and colleges of sacred learnargument. But even the allusion ing. Barrow has some admirable seems to be faulty. It is both ar. sermons on it; and we remember bitrary and defective." " Whether an excellent discourse on the same or no St. Paul's undoubted good topic, preached before the universense was satisfied with it, it an. sity of Oxford about twenty years swered his purpose the best of any ago, by the Rev. Daniel Wilson, method in the world.” “ The Epistle entitled, “ Obedience the Path to to the Hebrews,” says the Improved Religious Knowledge." The present Version, “ contains many important Bishop of Salisbury, also, gave this observations, and many wholesome very subject for one of the St. truths, mingled indeed with some David's Prize Essays, with an espefar-fetched analogies and inaccurate cial view to the Socinian contro. reasonings." “ The writer of this versy. The topic has, in short, Epistle,” says Mr. Belsham in his employed many pens; for though Calm Inquiry, “ having found in at first sight it may be thought Psalm cx, the priesthood of the somewhat invidious, as connected Messiah compared with that of with a theological argument, yet it Melchisedec, strains the similitude involuntarily forces itself upon the to as many points of resemblance reader of most heretical and infidel as possible." And again : “ Jesus, works. He instinctively exclaims, knowing their mean and secular “I feel no confidence in this writer : views, resolved to release himself a man who speaks thus cannot be from these selfish and unworthy in earnest on the subject : he is attendants ; and for this purpose morally unfit for the investigation : he delivers a discourse which they he does not seem to understand could not comprehend, and the de- what the Apostle means when he sign of which was to shock their says that it is with the heart that prejudices, to disgust their feelings, man believeth unto righteousness; and to alienate them from his so- or to feel practically that it is the ciety."

meek alone that God is pleased to Mr. Belsham's Commentary on guide in judgment, and to teach his St. Paul abounds with passages in way; or that the secret of the Lord this unhallowed strain ; and though is with them that fear him ; or that the author's own remarks are, to it is those only who are practically say the least, often abundantly irre. inclined to do the will of God, that verent; he seems to delight in shall know of the doctrine of Christ.” strengthening them from Dr. Priest. The whole of Dr. Smith's chapter ley, as often as he can alight upon on this topic deserves serious perusomething in that unhappy writer sal; and it is a subject on which he more than usually flippant and pro- is doubtless practically, as well as fane.

theoretically, well qualified to judge Is, then, this the disposition of and write, from his long intercourse, mind in which any man is likely to as a theological tutor, with young seek or to discover Divine truth? men pursuing sacred as well as huAssuredly not; and we are therefore manity studies. He gives on this much indebted to our author for subject the following attestation ;

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »