Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

ness which no other educational agency could reach, and has conveyed information to which no other system even pretends. · Another great question of the day relates to the union of the Church with the State ; and every man who gives the least attention to the phenomena of society at this moment, must admit that this is no longer a question of sect or party, but one of absorbing national importance. It will soon be translated from the platform of the Anti-state-church Association to the ministerial benches, and will find an echo in both Houses of Parliament.

'In 1834,' says Mr. Pyer, Dr. Payne published a pamphlet of forty-seven octavo pages, entitled, “The Separation of Church and State calmly considered, in reference to its Probable Influence upon the Cause and Progress of Evangelical truth in this country." Two editions of this work appeared; the first under the signature of a “Devonshire Dissenter," and the other with his own name attached. In his opening remarks, he adverts to the misrepresentations which have been made of the opinions and efforts of Dissenters on the great question at issue, and states, very fairly, what it is they intend, when they plead for the Separation of the Church from the state. Thus he places the matter :

66. It is seldom the case that the sentiments of an individual or a sect are exhibited with perfect correctness by one who endeavours to overthrow them. Even in the absence of any disposition to indulge in misrepresentation, the medium of prejudice through which he views them, affecting his own conception of their nature and consequences, will certainly, and perhaps unconsciously, lead him to present them in a false light to others. The Dissenters of this country do not wish to think that their opinions have been intentionally misrepresented; yet the apparent reluctance with which our explanations have been received, renders it impossible for us to give at least, to the more prominent advocates of the endowed Church-credit for the possession of all that candour and single-mindedness with which a controversy so important as that which has commenced between the Church and Dissenters, should be carried on.

« « From the press, and from the senate of our country, the charge against us has issued, and is now resounding through the whole length and breadth of the land, that the great object of the present movement is to destroy the Established Church. Our reply, in effect at least, has been, that we merely wish to destroy the civil Establishment of that Church; two things which could not have been identified, had there been a little more candour, or a little more discernment, on the part of our opponents. The least reflection upon the two preceding forms of expression cannot fail to bring the conviction to every honest mind, that, in the first case, the thing which is desired to be destroyed, is the Church; i.e., the Episcopalian section of the Church; while in the latter case, it is not the Church, but its alliance with the State. The dissolution of the conjugal union between two individuals, who ought not to have formed it, is not, surely, the destruction of the female, but the destruction of a relation merely in which she had stood, or had been supposed to stand,

to the other party. The Church, as it is called by courtesy, i.e., the Episcopalian denomination, is now the spouse of the State (we think she ought to be the spouse of Christ only); our anxiety is simply to obtain a writ of divorce. If our opponents will continue to represent this as a desire to put the wife to death, the public must judge whether the defect is in our statements, or in their perceptions.” ? —Memoir,

pp. 69, 70.

Mr. Pyer characterises this pamphlet as terse, vigorous, and convincing, and

yet without a particle of bigotry, or a sentence that can justly give offence. He adds, “The Anti-state-church Association could not do a better service to the cause it advocates, than to reprint and circulate it by thousands.'

The great value of these volumes, however, is that which is indicated by their title— Lectures on Christian Theology. Our readers need no information respecting the doctrinal views of the author of Lectures on Divine Sovereignty, Election, the Atonement, Justification, and Regeneration. The first series, extending to thirteen lectures, is devoted to the Divine Existence and Perfections. The second, embracing six lectures, treats of the 'Divine Unity, and the Revealed Doctrine of the Trinity. The third, discussed in seven lectures, is entitled, “The Works of God.' The fourth, on 'The Redeemer of Man,' extends to four-" teen lectures. And the fifth, on “Miscellaneous' subjects, is comprehended in eight lectures.

We are neither prepared, nor called on, to endorse every opinion advanced in this work, nor is it necessary to express in stronger language than we have used our estimate of its worth. We are glad to discover signs of an increased attention to the claims of systematic theology. Topical discourses, however valuable in themselves, necessarily present the truth only in fragments ;--the coherence, the unity of the Divine manifestation, cannot be thus exhibited to the hearer. He is like a man' ignorant of astronomy, gazing with wonder upon the sidereal heavens; but who knows not that each is a part of the stupendous whole, that the laws of harmony and subordination obtain among all these apparently insulated orbs, and unite them in one great fellowship—the commonwealth of the skies, and a portion of the measureless universe of God. But, whatever may be said respecting the multitude of hearers, a well-furnished instructor of others in the truths of Christianity must study system, if he would avoid the error of magnifying one or more doctrines of scripture at the expense of others. As all scripture is given by inspiration of God, so all scripture should be searched, that the bearing and influence of one portion on another may be apprehended, and when apprehended, exhibited to the audience for the purpose of instruction in righteousness :

Generally speaking,' says Dr. Payne, in the Introductory Lecture, the facility we possess in communicating what we know to others, will be in proportion to our own knowledge. What we thoroughly under-' stand, we shall be able to exhibit clearly and fully to others, and to convey to them a thorough understanding of it; and, on the other hand, an imperfect conception of any subject can only originate a lame, and obscure, and feeble exhibition of it. Give but to the teacher of theology a perfect comprehension of what he is about, and I will answer for his making his way to the understanding, if not the consciences, of his hearers. Now, to study theology systematically, must, on these principles, aid in the communication of truth. A careful comparison of apparently conflicting passages, or conflicting doctrines, cannot fail to give us a more definite, and clear, and accurate concepton of their meaning. It is astonishing how very loose and vague are the notions entertained by many men—and many preachers, toowith reference to some very important points of Divine truth; and not more astonishing, I may add, than disgraceful. Ignorance of the important principles of his profession, is always considered disgraceful to the lawyer or physician. How much more dishonourable to the theologian! And this prevalence of those loose and vague notions, to which I have just referred, I am disposed to trace, in a considerable degree at least, to a want of attention to theology as a system. “A good divine,” says one, “is far superior to a mere composer of sermons. He will have a greater fulness of thought, and a more commanding view of his subjects.” I am convinced, also, that the systematic study of theology will tend to give a vigour and firmness to your statements of truth, as much removed from offensive dogmatism on the one hand, as from weakness and hesitation on the other. Without comprehensive acquaintance with the subject on which we speak, in all its bearings and connexions, we are apt to get into a most offensive and ignorant dogmatism--foundering on from one contradiction to another, pulling down this half hour that which we built up the preceding one; or we should be, perhaps, afraid, on the other hand, of opening our mouth, lest the second breath should gainsay the first, and convince our hearers that their teacher knows little or nothing about the matter, It is very desirable that a minister should be fully sensible of what he is about, that he should feel his ground, that he should be aware of the dangers on either hand of him. This will give him, though a prudent, a firm step. He will not be obliged to be impudent to prove that he is not empty; nor hesitating, to show that he is not heedless and rash.” ?

We conclude by a word or two about the preliminary matter of these volumes. The editor has discharged his duty, as he tells us, ' as a labour of love.' The arrangement indicates care and judgment. The ' Memoir' by the Rev. John Pyer, is one of the most prudent pieces of biography we have seen for some time. It is a calm and truthful description of the history, life, and writings of a deceased friend. You see the man before you, just as he was,-the good servant of Jesus Christ, the acute

metaphysician, the able divine, the diligent tutor, the faithful friend, the loving husband and father, the humble Christian, and the modest man ; you see, in the concluding words of the memoir, ' The good Dr. Payne!'

The address at the interment, by Dr. Burder, opens with a sentence which is itself a memoir of the noblest kind : Never did I follow a friend to the grave with a deeper persuasion that his spirit was with Christ, than I feel at this solemn moment regarding my beloved and lamented brother !'

The paper entitled 'Reminiscences,' by Dr. Wardlaw, is brief, but, coming from such a quarter, it is needless to add, valuable. It contains some interesting correspondence, on one or two of the most difficult points in theology, which passed between the two friends many years ago, and which suggests to us that the discipline of the mind in early life, by habits of severe and continued thought, is one of the surest indications of future eminence, whether in the field of general literature, or in that most glorious of all fields-Christian Theology.'

ART. VII.-Sinai and Golgotha; a Journey in the East, By Frederick f 1Adolph Strauss, Translated from the German : With an Intro. tr. duction, by Henry Stebbing, D.D., &c. 16mo, pp. 390. London: jo James Black wood. 1849.7

at blom i We hail with sincere pleasure the appearance of this volume. from the pen of the amiable and pious licentiate of theology at the University of Berlin, This Dr. Strauss is the very antipode of David Strauss, the author of 'Leben Jesu,' with whom he has nothing in common except his name. The author, Strauss, was fitted for his task by unassuming and heartfelt devotion, deep theological and scriptural knowledge, childlike simplicity, and, above all, by that faith in Christ which is the result of deep conviction.

* Sinai and Golgotha," as one might almost infer from the title, appeals rather to the heart than to the intellect. It is written for our instruction and improvement, and describes the localities where the most stupendous events have taken place which could possibly engage man's reverential attention, and are recorded in the Scriptures by eye-witnesses.

The motives of his journey, and the nature and tendency of his description, are thus unfolded by Dr. Strauss in his Preface:

*My journey in the East has served as an additional corroboration to my mind of the truth of the Divine Word. Could I visit the spots which, from the theatre of the sacred history, corresponded in the minutest particulars to the statements of Scripture-could I observe the manners of the people, which have there undergone but little alteration during the course of centuries-could I witness in the condition of those countries, and in the history of those nations, the wonderful fulfilment of prophetic declaration-I should, I believed, apprehend more forcibly than ever the truth of the Word of God.

• Thoughts such as these connected with the East, suggest the inquiry, What is the present state of religion there, what are the operations of our brethren in the faith; and what is now proclaimed of that Word of God once revealed in that land, but now fading in obscurity? The information on both these points, acquired by this journey, will be presented in the following pages. May the Lord bless them to the strengthening of faith, and the promotion of active love..

* The emotions I experienced in these most consecrated spots are connected in the depths of my heart, and are the most precious results of the journey. Such feelings cannot be communicated, but every one will enter into them—for Sinai and Golgotha are the mountains from whence our help hath come.'

Divided into six parts, of which the following are the names : Greece-EgyptSinai–Jerusalem— The Promised Land—The Return Home—the whole embraces forty-three subjects, each of which forms a separate chapter.

The first thing which arrests attention in the perusal of this work, is the ease and manly freedom with which each statement is made, and the objects and circumstances are treated of. Every sentence bears proof to the author's thorough acquaintance with the savoir faire. We don't find a single idea too many, nor a word with which we could dispense. The whole is a well. conceived and highly-finished picture of Eastern life, given in lively but truthful colours. What enhances the beauty of the book, are the frequent bursts of enthusiasm in which the aụthor breaks forth; and which is in itself so natural, that the reader cannot but sympathize with him. We honestly confess, that, having ourselves seen, both in the East and in the West, some of the beauties and glories of God's creation, we can easily understand the ecstasy and delight with which our author dwells on the sacred spots he has visited in the course of his very interesting journey.

To give a connected account of what Dr. Strauss saw and experienced in the East, is beyond the narrow limits of this article. Our space will only allow us to present some detached and unconnected extracts, in illustration of what we have said.

Among the ecclesiastical institutions little known in this

« FöregåendeFortsätt »