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Respective answers received. Still my weekly visits to Mr. Vernon were continued: I still investigated the subject with constantly increasing earnestness; yet I was unaltered; and even when Mr. Bright read the history of the proceedings to the congregation, I felt no regret at my share in them, hut, on the contrary, rejoiced in anticipating the future triumphs of {Jnitarianism.

Here, however, my triumph ceased. Almost immediately afterwards, my doubts returned with tenfold force. I read: I was perplexed. Often, very often, I wished that I had not begun the enquiry. I prayed for illumination; but I found my mind daily becoming more and more unsettled. I have now lying before me, a sheet of paper on which I wrote down some of the thoughts of this period, while under their more immediate pressure as if to relieve my mind by thus divulging them; for they were disclosed to no human ear. I copy from them this passage:—" If the attainment of truth be not the result, I am sure that the state of mind in which I have been for some time past is not to be envied."

I tbink that it was about this time that you returned home. When I advanced to shake hands with you after the close of the service, you may remember that you observed to me, "Why, Doctor, you look pale." Pale I was, I have no doubt; for my mind was full of thoughts that chafed each other like a troubled sea; and your return, and the vivid recollection of the letters which it excited, had not tended to calm the agitation. In addition to this, I had been in the habit of pursuing the enquiry, night after night, to a very late hour.

Such continued to be the state of my mind, during the latter end of September, and the whole of October. Towards the end of

this latter month, the evidence for the doctrines, which I had hitherto so strenuously opposed, seemed progressively to increase. But it was not until this very week that conviction came; and that my mind unhesitatingly and thankfully accepted the doctrines of the supreme divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of atonement, or reconciliation, by his precious blood, and of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit.

I do not, my dear sir, say it by way of commending my earnestness in the enquiry, but I say it in justice to the opinions that I have embraced, that, since this investigation began, 1 have regularly gone through the New Testament as far as the Epistle to the Hebrews; (the Gospel of John I have read through twice) that not only every text, which has been differently interpreted, occuring in this large portion of the New Testament, but also all those refered to in the controversial volumes mentioned below, were carefully compared with the original, with the improved version, with Mr. Belsham's explanation in his calm enquiry, and frequently with Dr. Carpeuter's Unitarianism the doctrine of the gospel; and that the references to the Psalms, and the prophetical Scriptures, which occurred in the New Testament, or the other writings alluded to, were also examined in Dr. Priestley's Notes on the Scriptures. For I am not possessed of, nor have I seen (with, I think, one exception, in which Dr. Campbell's Annotations on Matt. xxii. 41. et seq. were shown to me) one orthodox commentary on the scriptures. The controversial books, on that side, which I have used in this enquiry, are Mr. Wardlaw's two Books6, Simpson's plea for the Divinity of Jesus (of which, at this very moment, not even a third

* Discourses on the principal points of I the Socinian Controversy, and Unitarian* | i«n incapable of vindication.

part is cut open), Dr. Lawrence's Critical Reflections, &c. on the Unitarian Version, (on which I will pause to observe, that they first settled my mind, as to the authenticity of the introductory chapters of St. Matthew, and St. Luke) a Sermon on the Atonement by Mr. Hull, Six Letters by Dr. Pye Smith to Mr. Belsham, and Notes taken down from two Sermons preached by Mr. (I believe now Dr.) Chalmers of Glasgow, upon the following texts.—Psal. lxxxv. 10. and Rom. viii. 7. Yet these few helps to the better understanding of the holy scripture, though counteracted by the volumes above cited, by long association, by frequent references to other Unitarian volumes in my collection, and by the various arguments on that side, which memory was constantly suggesting, have ultimately led me to the conclusions above staled. But I should grossly belie my own heart, and should think myself guilty of odious ingratitude to the Father of lights, from whom corueth down every good and perfect gift, if I did not avow my conviction, that, to these means, the teaching of his Holy Spirit has been superadded; for I can, in his presence, affirm, that during the latter part of the enquiry more particularly, the scriptures of truth were never opened by me without profound and fervent prayer for illumination; and almost always with reference to our Lord's promise in St. Luke, ch. xi. ver. 13. Indeed my dear sir, and friend, I was in earnest. A change so awful, so unexpected, I may add so improbable, which, four months ago only, I should myself have said was impossible, has deeply and solemnly impressed my mind.

That I must encounter much ridicule, in consequence of this change, I fully expect. I am sure that I well deserve it; for no person would have burst out more loudly against such an alteration

in the views of another, than my. self. Nor ought I to omit to add, that my excellent friend Mr. Vernon, while I was communicating to him the conviction that 1 had received, and my expectation of being ridiculed for such a change, observed to me, that I certainly must expect it, but he hoped that I was prepared to forgive it. I trust that 1 shall be enabled to do so.

Upon reviewing this last sentence, my dear sir, I feel myself bound to say, that, in statins this, I hope not to be understood ai anticipating any thing of the sort from you, or from your venerable colleague. No! however you may pity my delusion, I feel assured, that you will do justice to my motives.

My dear Sir, I have extended this letter to a much greater length than I had any expectation of doing when I began it. I began it with alluding to my regard and my respect for you. Will it be deemed inconsistent with either, it I venture to conclude it with a most affectionate wish and prayer —that you and yours, and all who are near and dear to you may receive every earthly blessing, and may be brought to the knowledge of the truth? I feel it to be my duty to conclude thus, and I shall stand excused. And oh! how much is that wish enkindled when I recollect the seriousness and solemnity of your manner in prayer, and your impressiveness in preaching. How do I wish that endowments of such value, were consecrated to those views which I have received. But I feel myself getting upon tender ground. It is difficult to* word such a wish without appearing arrogant, or impertinent, or presumptuous; and yet nothing is farther from my heart than either of these feelings. Believe me to b« with sincere regard,

Yours my dear Sir,

J. E. STOCJ.

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A Paraphrase and Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. By ArchiBald M'lean, late Pastor of the Baptist Church, Edinburgh, 2 vols. 8vo. pr. 16s. boards, or 12mo. 8s. boards. Oliphant and Co. Edinburgh, or W. Jones, Lovell's Court, Paternoster Row, London, 1816. The Epistle To The Hebrews constitutes a most important part of the canon of divine revelation. It is, in the chain of divine truth, that particular link which connects the two dispensations, the law and the gospel; or, perhaps to speak more properly, it should be termed, the full disclosure or developement of the Levitical dispensation: that system of types, shadows, carnal ordinances and ritual observances which, previous to the actual accomplishment of our redemption by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, divine wisdom appointed for the use of the Fathers; and the immediate object of which was to adumbrate or shadow forth those interesting facts and blessings that are now fully elucidated by the glorious gospel of the blessed God. It is therefore with propriety that it has been said of this Epistle, that it is as useful to the Christian church as the sun is to the natural world. As among its numerous excellencies, the revelation which it contains of the nature, the pre-eminence and the utility of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ deserves the principal place, inasmuch as the sacrifice which he offered, the atonement which he made for sin, and all the inestimable benefits that thus redound to believers, depend wholly and solely on the priesthood of Christ; so the unspeakable importance of this doctrine must be too manifest to require any laboured proofs. It is very true that the substance of it is delivered in several other passages of the books of the New Tetament, but it is done more sparingly than any other truth of corresponding importance. The Holy Spirit seems to have reserved the full, entire, and explicit statement of.it, to the Epistle to the Hebrews, as its-proper place.

It may be fairly admitted that what forms the grand aad leading object

of this epistle, the doctrine concern* ing the priesthood of Christ, and the sacrifice which he offered unto God for the sins of the guilty, is, on various accounts mysterious and sublime. The inspired apostle himself clearly intimated something of this kind concerning it, when he said to the Hebrews that the discourse on which he was about to enter was "hard to be uttered," Heb. v. 11. or rather, as the words in the original plainly import, " hard to be understood when uttered." Nor is it at all improbable, that Peter has this very doctrine in view when he tells us that there are in the writings of his beloved brother Paul, "some things hard to be understood." 2 Pet. iii. 16. for he evidently refers in that text to his epistle to the Hebrews, by the words "he hath written to you," viz. the believing Jews, or Hebrews. And hence we find Paul requiring of those who would attain to any tolerable comprehension of this sublime doctrine, that they should be advanced beyond the condition of those who live only on milk; that is, who content themselves with the first principles of religion; it is necessary that they be able to digest strong meat, Heb. v. 12—14. And when he is about to proceed to an explication of this grand subject, he declares that he is leading them on to perfect tion, ch. vi, 1. in other words, to the highest, and most perfect doctrines in the mystery of God and of the Father and of Christ.

Such being the manifest importance and excellency of this portion of the lively oracles, and such the difficulties attending an understanding of the subjects which are discussed in it; the writer who devotes his time and attention to the study of it, and who exerts all the powers and faculties of his mind, to illustrate, to explain, and to simplify it, is thereby conferring a lasting benefit upon his readers; and in proportion to the success which crowns his labours must the degree of our obligations to him arise. The subject has indeed occupied the pens of some of the ablest divines that the world ever produced; nor are there any talents however eminent of which it is not worthy. It comprehends the whole economy of human redemption—a scene into which even the angels are represented as inquisitively prying and wherein they descry the manifold wisdom of God! There have long been in our language some entire Commentaries on this book, written with great judgment, and displaying extensive erudition. The great and elaborate work of Dr. Owen is well known. It originally appeared in four folio Volumes, and a new edition has lately been given of it, in seven volumes octavo—and it has been truly said that the publication of it "forms the colossal pedestal to his immortal fame. To nis Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the studies of his life were more or less directed, and though it may be safely pronounced the most difficult of all the didactic books of Scripture, no part of the sacred writings has received so perfect an elucidation in the English, or perhaps in any other language." See Bogue and Bennett's History of the Dissenters, Vol. II. p. S35. Invaluable, however, as this work is acknowledged to be, it is so learned and so elaborate as to be in a great measure unfit for the use of ninety nine readers out of a hundred. An attempt was consequently made by the late Dr. Edward Williams to remedy this defect, by abridging the work, which he did in four Octavo volumes. But though the latter is said to merit the praise of fidelity and of general accuracy, it labours under the imperfections inseparable from all abridgments.

Next in point of merit to Dr. Owen's great work, the palm is certainly due to Mr. Peirce, of Exeter's "Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistle to the Hebrews"—which appeared in a quarto volume, in 1727, but as the author died when he had reached the end of the tenth chapter, a continuation of it to the close of the epistle •was published by Mr. Hallett, Jun. in 1T83. with a learned Preface intended to settle the question, "by whom, and in what language, the epistle was originally written." This is unquestionably a work of great value, and it is deeply to be regretted that its excellency has been so little appreciated by biblical students, that in the course of nearly a century, a second edition ef it has not been published! The

Notes, which constitute by much the greater part of the work, exhibit an extraordinary fund of learning and of critical acumen. But independent of this, the author has been singularly successful in eliciting the apostle's meaning in some of the most difficult parts of this epistle; and though we would not have it understood that we are of Mr. Peirce's mind in all that he writes, we certainly feel no hesitation in strongly recommending bis work to the attention of every student of the scriptures.

It would carry us far beyond our main design in this article, to notice all the valuable Illustrations of the Epistle to the Hebrews that have been hitherto published. But we may be allowed to say, that after all that had been done, the work before us is a striking proof how much still remainedto be achieved, and how much too has really been effected, by a judicious and discriminating use of materials, partly indeed selected from the labours of' former writers, but chiefly the fruit of the author's own profound investigation into the mean' ing of the inspired writer.

The volumes before us are evident, ly the produce of many years intense study, and of a series of persevering application to the subject which they are designed to illustrate. Few writers, it may be confidently affirmed, have appeared among us better qualified for the arduous undertaking than their author was. Fuller said of him truly, that he was " an acute reasoner and mighty in the Scriptures.'' So luminous were his conceptions that subjects which to others appeared recondite and abstruse became familiar in his hands; and while he could unfold with clearness and perspicuity that which was involved in intricacy and darkness, he excelled almost every other writer with whom we are acquainted in the happy talent of saying multum in parvo, in compressing and condensing his thoughts upon whatever subject he undertook to discuss.

The nature of the work is such as scarcely to admit of our producing extracts from it, to justify the character now given. But the reader will naturally expect from us some account of the plan and execution of it. Before each chapter, the author has placed copious Contents, giving also a view of the apostle's scope of tending design throughout that particular chapter. This is followed by a Paraphrase, comprising a literal translation, distinguished by the Roman letter, and interspersed with connecting and explanatory supplements in Italics. Last of all comes the Commentary, the text of which is the common English translation, which, though divided into clauses to suit the commentary, is nevertheless inserted entire. At the end of the work, the author has given an Appendix, consisting of five Essays or Dissertations, the object of which is to illustrate more fully than could with propriety be done in the ^Commentary, some important subjects which had occurred. The following are their titles. No. 1. On the double sense of Prophecy. No. 2. On the administration of Angels anterior to Christ's resurrection and exaltation. No. 3. On the commencement of the exercise of Christ's Office as High Priest. No. 4. Illustration of Heb. xii. 6—11. and No. 5. Illustration of ch. xii. 28, 29.

As the excellent author of this treatise terminated his labours in the church militant with the writing of it, and died almost immediately on having put the finishing hand to the Manuscript, we shall lay before our readers, a few of the last pages of the Work—they become additionally interesting from the consideration that they were in all probability they very last efforts of his pen to subserve the cause of Christ in the world; and we beg their marked attention to them. The reader must bear in mind, that he is illustrating that remarkable text, "Let us have (or hold fast) the Grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire." Having explained the meaning of the word Grace, he thus proceeds.

"1. In the grace of the gospel, or plan of salvation by Jesus Christ, we have the clearest and most striking display of the character of God, particularly his infinite justice, holiness, and opposition to sin. The wrath of God was formerly revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men in the awful judgments inflicted upon both nations and individuals; but none of these, nor all of them put together, give such an awful display of his infinite opposition to sin, as (be judgment inflicted upon his own Bon when be stood in the room of the ""just, and bore the punishment of their

sins in his own body on the tree. God's holy law, as delivered to Israel, also manifested his holiness and justice, both, in the manner of its delivery, the parity of its precepts, and in its awful sanction denouncing death upon the transgressors. But never was the purity and extent of the law, its eternal and indispensabls obligation, or the awful nature of itt curse, so fully and clearly manifested, as in the obedience and death of the Son of God, whereby the law was magnified and made honourable, and the holiness and justice of the Lawgiver displayed to the highest advantage. This, however, can only be seen by that faith whereby we hold fast grace. An unbeliever can see no more of divine holiness and justice in the obedience and death of Christ, than iu that of any other good man; but when we perceive the dignity of the person who suffered—his relation and clearness to the Father, being the supreme object of his love—with the nature and design of his sufferings, they being the punishment or curse due to our sins, and necessary to make an atonement unto divine justice for them; can any thing give ns a deeper impression of the holiness and justice of God, and of his infinite opposition to sin? Could a meaner sacrifice have answered the end, we have no reason to think that he who made the worlds should by him- I self have purged our sins. If the sufferings of any of his creatures could have made an atonement, and given a full display of his holiness and justice in forgiving it, we may well think that he would have spared his own only and well-beloved Son; but though the darling of his soul prays repeatedly with strong crying and tears that if it was possible the cup might pass from him, yet so indexible is his justice, so untainted his holiness, and so infinite his hatred of sin, that he struck at it as it were through his own bowels, and made htm in whom his soul delighted, drink out the very last dreg of the cup of sufferings due to it. When Israel saw the Lord's great work in redeeming them from Egypt, and destroying the Egyptians, it is said they 'feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses,' Exod. xiv. 3r.; and upon that occasion they sang the song of Moses, saying,' Who is like unto thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?'ch. xv. 11. That divine work of mercy and judgment was so far from filling them with presumption and self-confidence, that it struck them With a solemn awe of God's matchless greatness, power, and holiness; and they acknowledged that he ought to be worshipped and praised with fear and reverence. But what was that typical redemption, and the display of divine power, justice, and holiness on Pharaoh and his hottj to the redemption by Jews

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