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It thus appears that the gospel is the exact counterpart of the sinner's wants. The sinner is guilty, and the gospel provides pardon; the sinner is unworthy and the gospel provides righteousness; the sinner is impure and the gospel provides a new heart and a right spirit; he is sick and it engages " as thy day is so shall thy strength be;" he is unwise and it teaches "if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” In short, the sinner, when he believes, is “ complete" in Christ Jesus, "who of God is made un. to him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” And thus áre we to understand the figurative language of Christ to the Jews. “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead; he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”—John, vi. 54–8.
But, while such is the blessedness of the believer, what is the state of the impenitent and unbelieving ? Unin. terested in Christ, they partake of none of his blessings; living in sin, the weight of its guiltiness rests upon them. Their situation is worse than it would have been, had Christ not died. They have good reason to ponder the searching question of the Apostle, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” Such as are not saved by Christ will find him a swift witness against them.
Let sinners then be exhorted to consider their guilti. ness, and be alarmed. Sin is no trifle, and unless sinners repent they shall perish. Let them consider the provision which God has made for their redemption. It is full, free, gracious, and perfect. Let them invoke the Holy Spirit to explain it to them, impress it on them, and give them án interest in it. Nor let them ever be satisfied till by experience they know the meaning of the blessed assu, rance, “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
REPLY OF A LOVER OF TRUE PHILOSOHY TO A STUDENT OF MORAL
CONCLUDED FROM OUR LAST.
The first parayraph of the following is reprinted from our last, for
the sake of the connexion.-EDIT.]
“A KNOWLEDGE of the mind,” says the Student, “is forced upon us whether we will or not.” Some knowledge of the human mind is forced on us; but is the knowledge of every thing about the buman mind forced upon us ? Could not God tell us something about the human mind, that is not known from the mind itself? This is the question.
“ Is this the case,”. continues the Student, “with a future state?”– No, truly; and I have not said any thing that implies the affirmative.-But what I say is, that God could reveal to us more about a future state than he has revealed of it in the human mind. If the Scriptures are true, he has done so ; if the Scriptures are not true, it is still possible that such a revelation could be made. But it seems when revelation can be perverted to his purpose, the Student is not unwilling in a desperate emergency to seek its aid. Can it be believed ? He has summoned the Apostle against me as a witness in this question. Well, though I am not afraid to look a Neologian in the face, I tremble at the words of an Apostle. If Paul testifies against me, let all my philosophy and all my theology perish. Let us then hear the Apostle. “He was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful, or according to the better rendering of the margin, not possible for a man to utter.” I shall not remark on this criticism further than to state that the word which is translated unspeakable, signifies that which is not to be spoken. The reason why a thing is not to be spoken, may be either that there is no ability to speak it, or that it is not proper to speak it. Accordingly in Greek authors, the word is to be found in each of these senses; but which of them is to be adopted in any case, must be determined by the context, and the nature of the thing to which it refers. The word translated lawful, though classical authority has been alleged for its signifying also possible, most frequently has the meaning which our translators have assigned to it in this place. Of the latter sense there is not an instance in the New Testament, unless this passage is so understood. But, lest it should divert from the point in hand, I will not even express an opinion on the subject. What is to my purpose to remark is, that this quotation manifests in the Student a want of discrimination. Let him understand the passage even in his own sense, it is not to his purpose. Let it be granted that the Apostle declares that these things could not be uttered by men ; does he not call them visions and revelations? Were they not then revealed to Paul, whether he could speak them or not? Besides, though it was impossible for Paul to utter these things, was it impossible for God to reveal them to all as he had done to Paul? The Apostle heard the unspeakable words. They were then uttered by some person,
But the whole business about the expression future state, is most egregious trifling. What did Erasmus mean by the expression,
“ How completely does this doctrine copfound all our notions of a future state ?" Did he mean the nature of the future life? Did he mean our notions of such things, as the visions and revelations given to Paul ? No. What then does he mean? Let us ask himself; for there is no shuffling with this writer. His very next sentence tells us what he means by the expression, our notions of a future state. “As it would be absurd,” says Erasmus, “to call this a state of trial, it would be equally so to call the world to come a scene of retribution,” &c. Is it not obvious to every candid mind, that the feature of a future state to which Erasmus refers, is retribution according to works? He speaks of the doctrine of retribution, not of the nature of it.
The observation which the Student makes respecting the “inability of man to conceive any thing, in this world, of the nature' of a future state, is nothing whatever to the purpose. He shifts the question from a knowledge of a future state to a knowledge of the nature of a future state.
I was greatly amused, Mr. Editor, in reading the Student's remarks on my expression, “Do we know any thing of the human mind?” Allow me to inform him, that “every,'' not “any," was the word in my manuscript. My questiou was, “ Do we know every thing of the human mind,' by which I meant to argue, that there is something about the human mind that we do not know from itself. I am not sorry, however, that the Student got something to give him a temporary relief; but he must surely have felt himself in a desperate situatior., when he found it necessary to take advantage of this error of the press ; for the very second paragraph of my letter might have sufficed to show him that it was a mistake. I beg to add that I wrote was,” not “were,” in the sentence good-na. turedly connected by my friend the Student; and I may here take the opportunity of correcting another typographical error in the following sentence in page 89 of my first leter: “Erasmus did not say, that Locke adopted any part of Plato's doctrine concerning ideas.” The word “any'' should here also be "every."
The author alleges that I have mistaken his second remark. It is this: “We should never reason from the future to the present or the past; or, in other words, we should never bring our notion of the world to come to determine, or even, in the slightest degree, to affect questions relating to the present world.” Now I stand to my charge. I refuse to admit the explanation,
First, the language employed admits of no such limitation as the author of it has given in his reply. Secondly, the assertion of Erasmus, to which the remark of the Student is a reply, shows that I have not mistaken the meaning. Either the Student means what I take out of his words, or he' has not met bis antagonist. Thirdly, even in his explanation the Student betrays the same pernicious sentiment. Does he not assert, that the Scriptures ought not to be alleged in proof of the truth or falsehood of a philosophical doctrine? If so, the grossest error that pretends a philosophical origin, is not to be put down by the word of God. Does not this fix the Student's meaning in his second remark? So, Mr. Student, you shall not slip out of my bands by neological explanations.
On the doctrine exbibited in this explanation, there is much ground for remark. The more so, because the dangerous principle on which it is founded, has hitherto been suffered to operate in seats of science, to the
injury of Students of Moral Philosophy. Theories and doctrines under the name of the science of mind, have subverted the Gospel of Christi Theology, overawed by the imposing air of metaphysical wisdom, has generally stooped to explanations. Her voice, her manner, her gait, manifest an affected imitation of the singularities and crooked neck of Alexander. Even Orthodoxy herself has looked on, without interfering; as if she could not crush the reptile, without unlawfully invading the province of another. I am glad to find that she is beginning to see the proper extent of her own province, and that it is lawful to pursue the King's enemies wherever they take shelter. I refer to an excellent paper on this subject, in a late Number of thc Covenanter. My time and my space will not allow me to enter on the discussion of the question here, I merely throw out a hint to the Ministers and the people of all denominations of Dissenters in this country, that they may take the matter into their most serious consideration. I shal!, however, take a glance at the Student on one or two points. He tells us with all the parade of capitals, that all statements are to be tried BY THEIR OWN PROPER EVIDENCE. What is this to the purpose? Does it mean that a philosophical doctrine is to be received, though contrary to Scripture? If this is not the meaning, the remark has no bearing on the question. Now in a man that professes to believe the Scriptures, does not this imply, that a thing may be philosophically true, and scripturally false ; and scripturally true, and philosophically false? On the contrary, that Scripture, being inspired, is not to dictate to pliilosophy, is a position as unphilosophical as it is blasphemous and unscriptural. If the Scriptures are a revelation from God, whatever is contrary to them must be false. What the subjects are to which their testimony extends, is not to be settled by the mutual concession of philosophers and theologians, THEIR TESTIMONY MUST BE RECEIVED IN EVIDENCE, ON ALL POINTS ON WHICH THEY GIVE THEIR TESTIMONY. Forget not, Mr. Editor, to have the whole last sentence printed in capitals; for I am determined that the Student shall not have an advantage over me in any strength that the press can give to my arguments.
But the Student may exclaim, can any thing be more reasonable than that every statement should be tried by its own proper evidence ? Granted, But what is the proper evidence of any statement? Every thing that can be brought fairly to bear on the subject. If philosophy says she lias something to allege against the statements of Scripture, I will hear her. I will admit all her self-evident truths, and all her facts. But if she pretends to deduce from these any thing contrary to Scripture, I will tell her she must be mistaken; for that the God of nature cannot contradict the God of revelation. If Scripture is the word of God, it cannot be contradicted by evidence of any kind. Pbilosophists may indeed allege the testimony of philosophy, when it is their own misinterpretation of her language. On the other hand, if the truth of Scripture is admitted, it is a contradiction in terms to suppose that any thing contrary to Scripture can be true. The Student thinks that he has made a line of demarcation between the contending parties, which will keep them from
quarrelling, by keeping them from meeting. I undertake to keep them at peace, on the ground that there cannot be any real contradiction in their testimony. Their ignoraut interpreters may differ ; but the heavenly messengers themselves have no variance. .
“The divine,” says the Student,..“will not allow the philosopher to dictate what is to be received, or what is to be rejected, of the Scriptures,?? &c. If it is granted by the philosopher, that the Scriptures are a revelation from God, it is an absurdity to speak of what is to be received, or what is to be rejected. But if the philosopher is an infidel, the divine must allow him to bring every argument against the truth of the Scriptures, that any source of evidence can fairly afford.
What is the proper evidence of Scripture ? Every thing tliat can be brought to bear on the subject.
“It is perfectly obvious to me,” says the Student, “that till this principle be mutually conceded, both by the divine and the philosopher, a war must be waged between them,”.&c, Does not this suppose that there is a real contradiction between the revelation of God in his works, and the revelation in his word? If not, the way to peace is to stuly the testimony better on both sides, assured that the contradiction is only in the ignorance of the interpreters. The author's sentiment is a pure absurdity. It implies, that two witnesses may tell the truth, yet contradict each other.
The explanation which the Student has given of the offensive terms which he used, with respect to the Synod of Ulster, I regard as a speci-men of gross dishonesty. No man of honour would attempt to take himself off on such grounds; and I am certainly not the defender of any Minister of the Synod who can receive the apology he has made. Let any one just read the language in which the Student, in several piaces of his Review, speaks of the clergy, and say if it is possible to understand it in a sense agreeable to his explanation. If you will conciliate the Minister's of the Syaod, Mr. Student, you must recant, not explain.
And the catechism too-aye, the catechism is an incomparable catechism! Many after this will be ready to give me credit for having made the Student more Orthodox than they expected. Does he, however, in his praise of this book, make any reference to its distinguishing doctrines? Read what he has said of it, and recollect about the tracts' manner, not matter. Now when I praised the catechism, every one must have seen it was because of its exhibition of the “peculiar doctrines of the Gospel.” Is it honest, then, in the Student to express an agreement with me on this point, when we are not speaking on the same subject?
In my justification of Erasmus, the Student represents me as niaking certain expressions (equivalent to certain others. Look again, Mr. Student. I have not said that the one expression is equivalent to the other. Without justifying or condemning the expression, I spoke only as to the author's meaning. In this I will appeal to Erasmus himself, and every candid interpreter of his language, He speaks also of my making a “ difference between ideas and their attributes.” Has he not already received a sufficient lesson from me about Plato's ideas? Plato's ideas had attributes as truly as the Student's soul. Were they not eternal and immutable ?
Has not the Student virtually recognized me as victor, by omitting the chief matter of his ground of attack on Erasmus? Does he not stand convicted of gross ignorance of the opinions of Plato, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Reid, -or of gross misrepresentation?' On these points he has not dared to look me in the face. With respect to what he has noticed, has he been able to parry any one of my thrusts ? I have lowered his tone, and obliged him to explain—and such explanations !! A single sentence I have not been obliged to retract, alter, modify, or ex