Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

of his addresses to the Deity, to preacher beware lest he fill any introduce Job ix. 9, “ Which man's ear with sounding words maketh Arcturus, Orion, and when he should be feeding his Pleiades, and the chambers of the soul with the bread of life. Let south.” If the worthy Doctor him fear lest instead of honouring had thought it necessary to intro-God he should honour himself. duce the passage in his sermon, If any man ascend the pulpit and informed the people wbat it with the intention of uttering a meant, he might have done some fine thing, he is sinning against of them a piece of service; but God and the souls of men. Recertainly the introduction of it, collect however that there is a made his prayer the opposite, in medium, and that vulgarity and simplicity, to the one recom- meanness are cautiously to be mended by our Lord to his dis- avoided; but whilst we speak with ciples in Matt. vi. 9-13. What a propriety and chastity, we cannot deplorable difference is discovered be ioo familiar or too plain.” by contrasting the plain undeco-! These are the sentiments that rated prayers and sermons of should influence the conduct of primitive believers, with the phi- every minister who is engaged in losophical orations and fanciful the important employınent of conjectures of some “ fashionable ministering the gospel to fallen preachers," who can remain un-man. It is high time for thiose affected at the contrast. To see who are called watchmen to the talents misemployed, is at all times house of Israel, to cry aloud and painful, but most especially pul spare not; that they forsake the pit talent. The man that is alive vain, the empty, the criminal to God will disdain with just ab- amusements of getting the aphorrence, a substitution of oratory plause of the multitude ; and that for spirituality, and the display of they cast off the works of darktalent for “ the wisdom that is ness, and put on the armour of from above.” It is derogatory to light, “ for the night is far spent, the dignity of a Christian minister, the day is at hand, when we and a criminal abuse of his office shall all appear before the judgto play off the scholar in the ment seat of Christ, to give an pulpit. The following extract account of the deeds done in the of a letter from a cotemporary body.” Important period! when work, bears so immediately upon the necessary as well as the vain the subject, that I cheerfully I distinctions of men shall be done transcribe it for the pleasure and away; when the importance of the profit of your readers..

gospel and the value of souls will " Remember we do not mount be better understood; when the the pulpit to say fine things, or springs of action will be developed eloquent things; we have there to to the confusion of many; when proclaim the gooil tidings of sal- the ransomed of the Lord shall vation to fallen man; to point out return, and come to Zion with the way of eternal life ; to exhort, songs and everlasting joy upon to cheer, and to support, the suf- their heads; when the purchase fering sinner; these are the glori- of Immanuel's blood shall go away ous topics upon which we have to into everlasting life, and when enlarge. And will these permit the wicked shall be cast into the tricks of oratory, or the outer darkness. “Blessed are studied beauties of eloquence? those servants whom the Lord Shall truths and counsels like when He cometh shall find watchthese be couched in terms which ing." the poor and ignorant cannot com- Bristol. prehend? Let every eloquent Jan. 17, 1817.

116

Theological Review.

A series of Discourses on the Chris- | readers with a sketch of the character Į tiun Revelation, viewed in connec-of this eminent philosopher, and

tion with the Modern Astronomy. strikingly contrasts his modest, un. By Thomas CHALMERS, D.D. assuming deportment with the arroMinister of the Tron Church, gance and dogmatism of our inoderni Glasgow. London. Sold by Gale sceptics. This particular chiefly and Fenner, &c. 1817. pp. 275. occupies the second Sermon in the Octavo, 8s. boards.

volume before us, and though our [Continued from page 87.] confined limits will scarcely afford Having, in our last number, intro- room to notice this preliminary ducerl these eloquent discourses, to branch of the subject, we cannot the notice of our readers, and, as we pass it over without laying before the would fain hope, excited the atten-| reader an extract or two. tion of the dullest to them, we now proceed, according to promise to fur

" When we look back on the days of

Newton, we annex a kind of mysterious nish a more ample account of the

greatness to him, who, by the pure force 'contents of this interesting volume.

of his understanding, rose to such a giFew persons of the present day

gantic elevation above the level of ordi. require to be told that it is chiefly to

nary men--and the kings and warriors of Sir Isaac Newton that we stand in- other days sink into insignificance around debted for the clear and consistent him-and he, at this nioment, stands forth discoveries of the philosophy of to the public eye, in a prouder array of nature, with which we are now

glory thay circles the memory of all the privileged above every preceding

men of former generations--and, while age. He discovered the mecha

all the vulgar grandeur of other days is

now mouldering in forgetfulness, the nism of the planetary system. He

achievements of our great astronomer are discovered the composition of light. I still fresh in the veneration of his counHe discovered the cause of those trymen, and they carry him forward on alternate movements which take the stream of time, with a reputation ever place on the waters of the ocean. | gathering, and the triumphs of a distinc. These are doctrines by which he has tion that will never die. enriched the field of philosophy; and

“Now, the point that I want to imhis system now prevails over all press upon you is, that the same public,

who are so dazzled and overborne by the opposition, having advanced to the

| lustre of all this superiority, are utterly acquisition of the most universal in

in the dark as to what that is which conempire that was ever established in fers its chief merit on the philosophy of philosophy. His principles have a Newton. They see the result of his degree of firmness and solidity that lahours, but they know not how to apwe should in vain look for in any preciate the difficulty or the extent of other system. The most sceptical them. They look on the stately edifice cannot avoid acknowledging this; he has reared, but they know not what for they not only connect together

| he had to do in settling the foundation most perfectly all the phenomena of

which gives to it all its stability- nor are the heavens which had been observed

they aware what painful encounters he

had to make, both with the natural prebefore his time; but those also which dilections of his own heart, and with the the persevering industry and more prejudices of others, when employed on perfect instruments of later astrono- the work of laying together its unperishmers have made known to us have ing materials. They have never heard been either easily explained by the of the controversies which this man, of application of his principles, or have peaceful unambitious modesty, had to susbeen explained in consequence of tain, with all that was prond, and all that more laborious and accurate calcula. was intolerant in the philosophy of the tions from those principles, than had

age. They have never, in thought, entered

that closet which was the scene of his been previously instituted. It is

patient and profound exercises-nor have therefore with great propriety that they gone along with him, as he gave his before he proceeds to a direct refuta- silent hours to the labours of the midnight tion of the infidel objection against oil, and plied that unwearied task, to the gospel, Dr. Chalmers presents his which the charms of lofty contemplation

had allured him-nor have they accom- much humility were more attractively panied him through all the workings of | blended. that wonderful mind, froin which, as from “ I now propose to carry you forward, the recesses of a laboratory, there came by a few simple illustrations, to the forth such gleams and processes of thought argument of this day. All the sublime as shed an effulgency over the whole amp truths of the modern astronomy lie within Jitude of nature. All this, the public the field of actual observation, and have have not done; for of this the great majo the firm evidence to rest upon of all that rity, even of the reading and cultivated information which is conveyed to us by public, are utterly incapable; and, there the avenue of the senses. Sir Isaac fore, is it, that they need to be told what Newton never went beyond this field, that is, in which the main distinction of | without a reverential impression upon his his philosophy lies; that, when labouring mind, of the precariousness of the ground in other fields of investigation, they may

on which he was standing. On this know how to borrow from his safe exam

ground, he never ventured a positive affirple, and how to profit by that superior

mation-but, resigoing the lofty tone of wisdom which marked the whole con

demonstration, and putting on the duct of his understanding.

modesty of conscious ignorance, he brought " It was the property of his mind, that forward all he had to say in the humble it kept a tenacious hold of every one form of a doubt, or a conjecture, or a position which had proof to substantiate question. But, what he had not confiit-but it forms a property equally cha- | dence to do, other philosophers have done racteristic, and which, in fact, gives its after him-and they have wioged their leading peculiarity to the whole spirit audacious way mo forbidden regions.and style of his investigations, that he put and they have crossed that circle by a most determined exclusion on every one which the held or observati

which the field of observation is enclosed position that was destitute of such proof.

-and there have they debated and dogHe would not adınit the astronomical | matised with all the pride of a most theories of those who went before him, intolerant assurance." because they had no proof. He would | The application of these judicious not give in to their notions about the

remarks to the subject in hand, must planets wheeling their rounds in whirl

be obvious to the most superficial pools of ether-for he did not see this ether-he had no proof of its existence

thinker. In the astronomical objecand, besides, even supposing it to exist, it

tion which infidelity has proposed would not have impressed, on the hea

against the truth of the Christian venly bodies, such movements as met his revelation, there is first an assertion, observation. He would not submit his and then an argument. The asserjudgment to the reigning systems of the tion is, that Christianity is set up for day-for, though they had authority to the exclusive benefit of our minute recommend them, they had no proof;

and solitary world. The argument is, and thus it is, that he evinced the strength

that God would not lavish so much and the soundness of his philosophy, as much by his decisions upon those doctrines

| attention on so insignificant a field. of science which he rejected, as by his

But, says Dr. Chalmers, demonstration of those doctrines ofscience “ Even though the assertion were adwhich he was the first to propose, and mitted, I should have' a quarrel with which now stand out to the eye of pos the argument. But the futility of the terity as the only monuments to the force objection is not laid open in all its extent, and superiority of his understanding. unless we expose the utter want of all -" And thus you may understand, how essential evidence even for the truth of the first man in the accoinblishments of the assertion. How do infidels know that philosophy, which the world ever saw, Christianity is set up for the single benefit sat at the book of nature in the humble of this earth and its inhabitants? How attitude of its interpreter and its pupill are they able to tell us, that if you go to how all the docility of conscious igno- other planets, the person and the religion rance threw a sweet and softening lustre of Jesus are there unknown to them? We around the radiance even of his most challenge them to the proof of this said splendid discoveries--and, while the flip- positive announcement of theirs. We see pancy of a few superficial acquirements in this objection the same rash and grais enough to place a philosopher of the tuitous procedure, which was so apparent day on the pedestal of his fancied eleva in the two cases that we have already tion, and to vest him with an assumed | advanced for the purpose of illustration. lordship over the whole domain of natural We see in it the same glaring transgresand revealed knowledge; I cannot for- sion on the spirit and the maxims of that bear to do honour to the unpretending very philosophy which they profess to greatness of Newton, than whom I know idolize. They have made their argunot if there ever lighted on the face of ment against us, out of an assertion which our world, one in the character of whose they have no means of verifying-an asadmirable genius so much force and so sertion, the truth or the falsehood of which can only be gathered out of some | they had sunk in lethargy as profound as supernatural message, for it lies com the slumbers of non-existence, For any pletely beyond the range of human ob. thing he can tell, the ove Spirit who servation.

moved on the face of the waters, and « The man who could embark in an en- / whose presiding influence it was that terprise so foolish and so fanciful, as to hushed the wild war of nature's elements, theorise it on the details of the botany of and made a beauteous system emerge another world, or to theorise it on the out of its disjointed materials, may pow natural and moral history of its people, be working with the fragments of another is just making as outrageous a departure chaos; and educing order, and obedience, from all sense, and all science, and all and harmony, out of the wrecks of a moral sobriety, when he presumes to speculate, rebellion, which reaches through all or to assert on the details or the methods these spheres, and spreads disorder to of God's administration among its rational | the uttermost limits of our astronomy. and accountable inhabitants. He wings “ But here I stop- nor shall I attempt his fancy to as hazardous a region, and to grope my dark and fatiguing way, hy vainly strives a penetrating vision through another inch, among such sublime and the mantle of as deep an obscurity. All mysterious secrecies. It is not I who an the elements of such a speculation are offering to lift this curtain. It is not I bidden from him For any thing he can / who am pitching my adventurous flight to tell, sin has found its way into these other the secret things, which belong to God, worlds. For any thing he can tell, their away from the things that are revealed, people have banished themselves from and which belong to me and my chil. communion with God. For any thing be dren. It is the champion of that very can tell, many a visit has been made to Infidelity which I am now combating. each of them, on the subject of our com It is he who props his unchristian argumon Christianity, by commissioned mes ment, by presumptions fetched out of sengers from the throne of the Eternal. those untravelled obscurities, which lie For any thing he can tell, the redemption on the other side of a barrier that I proproclaimed to us is not one solitary nounce to be impassable. It is he who instance, or not the whole of that redemp. 1 transgresses the limits which Newton tion which is by the Son of God-but forbore to enter; because, with a justonly our part in a plan of mercy, equal ness which reigns throughout all his inin magnificence to all that astronomy has quiries, he saw the limit of his own unbrought within the range of human con- derstanding, nor would he venture kimtemplation. For any thing he can tell, self beyond it. It is he who has borrowed the moral pestilence, which walks abroad from the philosophy of this wondrous over the face of our world, may have man, a few dazzling conceptions, which spread its desolation over all the planets have only served to bewilder him—while, of all the systems, which the telescope an utter stranger to the spirit of this phihas made known to us. For any thing | losophy, he has carried a daring and an he can tell, some mighty redemption has ignorant speculation far beyond the been devised in heaven, to meet this dis boundary of its prescribed and allow able aster in the whole extent and malignity enterprises. It is he who has mustered of its visitations. For any thing he can against the truths of the Gospel, resting, tell, the wonder-working God, who bas as it does, on evidence within the reach atrewed the field of immensity with so of his faculties, an objection, for the truth many worlds, and spread the shelter of of which he has no evidence whatever. his omnipotence over them, may have It is he who puts away from him a docsent a message of love to each, and re trine, for which he has the substantial and assured the hearts of its despairing peo- the familiar proof of human testimony; ple by some overpowering manifestation and substitutes in its place, a doctrine, of tenderness. For any thing he can for which he can get no other support tell, angels from paradise may have sped than from a reverie of his own imaginato every planet their delegated way, and tion. It is he who turns aside from all sung, from each azure canopy, a joyful that safe and certain argument, that is annunciation, and said, “ Peace be to this supplied by the history of this world, of residence, and good will to all its families, which he knows something; and who and glory to Him in the highest, who, loses himself in the work of tbeorising from the eminency of his throne, has about other worlds, of the moral and issued an act of grace so magnificent, as theological history of which he positively to carry the tidings of life and of accept-knows nothing. Upon him, and not upon ance to the unpumbered orbs of a sinful us, lies the folly of launching his impetucreation. For any thing he can tell, the ous way beyond the province of observaEternal Son, of whom it is said, that by tion-of leiting his fancy afloat among him the worlds were created, may have the unknown of distant and mysterious had the goveroment of many sinful worlds regions-and, by an act of daring, as imlaid upon his shoulders; and by the power pious as it is unphilosophical, of trying to of his mysterious word, have awoke them unwrap that shroud, which, till drawn all from that spiritual death, to which I aside by the hand of a messenger from

heaven, will ever veil, from human eye, exercise of my judgment to its informa. the purposes of the Eternal.”

tion and its testimony? We know that

there is a superficial philosophy, which Having shewn how very opposite casts the glare of a most seducing brilthis rash and intrusive temper of our lancy around it; and spurns the Bible, modern sceptics is, to the modest, with all the doctrine, and all the piety of cautious, and diffident spirit of philo- the Bible, away from it; and has infused sophizing which characterises the the spirit of Antichrist into many of the Newtonian school, our author closes

literary establishments of the age ; but this branch of his argument which

it is not the solid, the profound, the cauindeed is only preliminary, and may

tious spirit of that philosnphy, which has

done so much to enoble the modern period be regarded as the argumenlum ad

of our world; for the more that this hominem, with the following excellent spirit is cultivated and understood, the remarks.

more will it be found in alliance with

that spirit, in virtue of which all that “ But, there is one other most impor- exalteth itself against the knowledge of tant conclusion, to which it carries us. God, is humbled, and all lofty imaginaIt carries us, with all the docility of chil- tions are cast down, and every thought of dren, to the Bible; and puts us down into the heart is brought into the captivity of the attitude of an unreserved surrender the obedience of Christ.” of thought and understanding, to its authoritative information. Without the | Unquestionably these are golden testimony of an authentic messenger from remarks, and had the advocate for beaven, I know nothing of heaven's counsels.

Christianity nothing inore convincing I never heard of any moral telescope that can bring to my observa

to oppose to the infidel hypothesis, tion, the doings or the deliberations which the subject might fairly be put upon are taking place in the sanctuary of the | this issue. But for the more direct Eternal. I may put into the registers of confutation of it we must still beg my belief, all that comes home to me the patience of our readers till another through the senses of the outer man, or month, when we hope to finish our by the consciousness of the inner man. review of these excellent discourses. But neither the one nor the other can tell me of the purposes of God; can tell

[ To be concluded in our next.) me of the transactions or the designs of his sublime monarchy; can tell me of the goings forth of Him who is from ever-| Facts and Evidences on the subject of lasting unto everlasting; can tell me of

Baptism in Three Letters to a the march and the movements of that great administration which embraces all

Deacon of a Baptist church ; &c. worlds, and takes into its wide and com

[Continued from page 25.] prehensive survey, the mighty roll of in

roll of in. In renewing, after a temporary silence, pumerable ages. It is true that my

our review of Mr. Taylor's pamphlets fancy may break its impetuvus way into this lofty and inaccessible field; and

on the subject of Baptism, it is our through the devices of my heart, which intention simply to present our Teaare many, the visions of an ever-shifting ders' with a few extracts, promiscutheology may take their alternate sway ously selected; illustrative of the over me : but the counsel of the Lord, it author's method of illustrating scripshall stand. And I repeat it, that if true ture. We have already hinted, it is to the leading principle of that philoso not our design to controvert, but to phy, which has poured such a flood of

exhibit; not to oppose argument to light over the mysteries of nature, we shall dismiss every self-formed concep

argument, but to display before the tion of our own, and wait in all the hu

ordeal of common sense and a venemility of conscious ignorance, till the

ration for the sacred text, this writer's Lord himself shall break his silence, and mode of establishing his hypothesis. make his counsel known, by an act of It is to be regretted that he did not communication. And now, that a pro- digest some plan for the prosecution fessed communication is before me, and of the argument before he had begun that it has all the solidity of the experi- to publish ; but as he did not think mental evidence on its side, and nothing but the reveries of a daring speculation

ing proper to do this, it is impossible that

our analysis should supply the defect. to oppose it, what is the consistent, what is the rational, what is the philosophical

mai | Indeed, according to the author's use that should be made of this document, own confession, it is composed of but to set me down like a school-boy, to little else than “ crude and unfinish. the work of turning its pages, and con- ed hints,” a “miscellaneous collecning its lessons, and submitting the every I tion of memoranda, loosely arrang

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »