Sidor som bilder

Taking up the argument, then, where Magee leaves it off, (see summary, pp. 3-6,) and taking the positive analogy which Butler suggests, instead of sweeping away the infidel objection by the destructive force of Butler's great argument, he sets himself to destroy the objection, by destroying, as it appears to the writer, one main view of the orthodox doctrine of atonement. The apologetic character of Dr. Whitley's speculations appears, as at the beginning, so at the end. (See p. 355.) Views of the Gospel, more intelligible, more attractive, more in unison with every man's reason and sense of things, are to be put forward, being solid and sober sense, experimental and incontestable verities, and practical realities, that speak for themselves, (p. 357,) to be rested on “ broad and obvious fact.” (p. 360.) This leads to such statements as that, (comp. p. 376,) the suitableness of temptation for our blessed Lord could not be in the way of satisfying the law (p. 368); that “sufferings merely in themselves could never take away our sins.” (p. 369.) In summing up the argument in the Epistle to the Romans, (p. 376, &c.) accordingly, having shewn the world to be all under sin, Dr. W. does not go on to argue that therefore all must be justified by the atonement which God has provided, but (p. 378) goes off to the moral miracles which are wrought by the Gospel, which, as in early ages, must be the answer to the candid inquiries, and honest doubts, of those who now question the truth and virtue of Christ's atonement, and who are now hesitating to admit the benefit or the necessity of his death and sacrifice. These are the evidence, the proofs, of the grace and benefit of the atonement. But what, meanwhile, has become of that atonement itself, faith, simple faith, in which, as revealed in Scripture, and taught by the church, a stumbling-block to Jew, and foolishness to Greek, is found, when received by the Christian, who is baptized into this faith, to be the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ?The doctrine, that “ Christ died to reconcile the Father to us, and to be a sacrifice for actual sins of men,” is entirely set aside. The reconciliation (see sec. x.) is, as was said before, of man to God, not of God to man, (the orthodox doctrine being misrepresented, p. 288, as though writers like Magee had not sufficiently guarded against the idea, that the Father did not love his creatures no less than the Son loved them.) The idea of (propitiatory) sacrifice and satisfaction is resolved into the offering up of ourselves, of which our great High Priest set us an example, and which, through his grace, as members of his body, we also must do; and the notion of actual sins, as transgressions and violations of positive law, is lost altogether in the power and dominion over ourselves of the evil principle within us. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of very valuable reflection upon the power of sin, as taught in Rom. vi., as a bondage, &c. of our death to sin, through our incorporation into Christ by baptism, &c.; of our following Christ in suffering, (as in the Hebrews, &c.) All this is very valuable against the low

resting in a mere forgiveness of past sins, as though the Gospel did not lead us to holiness ; as though the Epistle to the Romans ended with chapter v. So also of the actual destruction of sin, and its power, by Christ's sufferings; of his triumph over the powers of darkness, &c. But meanwhile, the forensic view of man's condemnation and justification, as guilty before God, and to be justified at his bar only through the propitiation which he has appointed for sin, as set forth in the first portion of the Epistle to the Romans, (ch. i. to v.) seems to be fairly swept away. In short, what is wanting in Dr. Taylor's scheme, as set forth by Magee, seems wanting here. The interpretations of his party are built up again, together with the objection (about our being reconciled to God, not he to us) “which lays the whole stress on our obedience," and in which, as Magee says, “we discover the secret spring of this entire system, which is set up in opposition to the scheme of atonement.” This is an imperfect expression of perhaps an imperfect view of Dr. Whitley's book. It doubtless deserves a more at. tentive examination to estimate fairly its truths and errors; and one is afraid of erring on the side of exaggerating errors, or liability to erroneous inference, from parts of a system, in parts of which there may be much truth set forth. But as far as the primary subject of the book is concerned, it would seem that the difficulties of atheists and infidels” are removed, by removing the stumbling-block of “ the doctrine of atonement and sacrifice," as set forth in the first four chapters of the Romans, maintained in our second article, and defended by Magee, and those who preceded him. But, like Mr. Knox's view of Romans and Hebrews, Dr. Whitley's speculations seem to require a good deal of sifting, to separate the valuable and positive truth from the negative and destructive apologeticism.

Sketches of Germany, and the Germans. By an Englishman, resident in

Germany. London: Whittaker. 1836. 2 vols. 8vo. This book may be safely recommended to all, travellers especially. It is not, like Prince Puckler Muskau, a collection of scandalous and indecent anecdotes, nor, like Mr. Von Raumer, a melange of very common-place theories, cooked up from common books of German law and politics, and as unlike the practical condition of things as possible, and of the most incredible blunders and misstatements, (for example, those about Eton,) but is a pleasantly and well written account of things which it would be open as well as interesting to an intelligent mind to observe, and to an honourable one to relate. The reviewer has gone over much of the ground mentioned by the author, and can bear witness to the general accuracy of his descriptions of places and things, as well as (generally) to the sound and right tone of his feelings and principles.

Remarks on the Government Bill for the Commutation of Tithe. By the

Rev. R. Jones. London: Murray. This pamphlet is most strongly commended to all persons interested in the details of the tithe bill. Mr. Jones, with his wonted powers, has shewn the futility of most of the objections to it, and defended both the scheme and the provisions of the bill with an ability with which the opponents of it will find it difficult to grapple. At the same time, he has exposed some of the common objections to tithes, and shewn the preposterousness of many of the complaints against the bill, in a manner so temperate, and at the same time so complete, that the authors of these complaints and objections can never forgive him. The poor corporation of Doncaster makes a most sorry figure in his hands. The pamphlet is one of very great interest altogether, as it throws light on several problems as to agriculture which have puzzled persons less skilled in one of the two points, practice or theory, with both of which Mr. Jones is so perfectly conversant.

Conversations at Cambridge, &c. London; John W. Parker. 1836.

12mio. This is one of the books which puzzles a reviewer, by its fragmentary character. Where a writer gives his opinion on a hundred subjects, in essays of half a page long, one can give no general character of all his speculations as matters of opinion. Of the present volume, however, it may be said, that it shews ability, taste, and great knowledge of our early and sound English literature, and a wholesome religious feeling. It will probably attain a second edition, and then the author is counselled to leave out the “ Macauley's Juvenilities,” and not to do a common-place clever man like Mr. Bulwer (who wishes, without any power of doing it, to play the metaphysician and philosopher) the honour, or Cambridge the dishonour, of counting him among her worthies. The “ Lost Student” may be also omitted with advantage.

History of the Reformation. By the Rev. H. Stebbing, A.M. Vol. I.

(Dr. Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia.) Longman and Co. 1836.

12mo. There is so much good feeling and good sense, as well as clear indication of attentive study of the subject, in all which Mr. Stebbing writes, that one is always glad to find him employing his pen. To write the history of the Reformation in Germany in a short form is a very hard task to impose on any man. It wants as many years to condense such a subject, so as to convey the spirit and lose as little as possible of the life of the history, as it does to study the subject itself. And then the mass of readers is little able to appreciate this kind of toil or ability, which makes no show in bulk or apparatus of quotations, &c. &c. Mr. Stebbing, however, has taken great pains to give as much as possible of what is most important and interesting; and the book altogether does him great credit.

The Physical Theory of another Life. By the Author of the “ History

of Enthusiasm." &c. London: Pickering. 1836. 8vo. A BOOK, even with this unpromising title, by the author of the “ Natural History of Enthusiasm,” is sure to sell rapidly and widely ; and when once the public become acquainted with it, the subtlety, the beauty, the ingenuity, and the apparent truth of many of the speculations in it, will give it, with readers fond of speculation, all the interest and charm of a romance, with perhaps a belief of the tolerable probability of a great portion of it. A large part of the book, it must be observed, rather opens to us new views of what is, than mere speculations as to what may be-views hardly less new than they are interesting and valuable. The author justly says, too, that if we cannot attain certainty as to the mode of our future existence, it is well to have the thoughts called off from devotion to the things of sense, and fixed on that state to which we are passing.

His speculations respecting memory appear to the reviewer to be most questionable, and to cast much doubt on the rest. Such use of it as he supposes is not consistent with a happy state. In p. 109, there is an almost incredible misrepresentation of Scripture.

Mature Reflections and Devotions of the Rev. R. Hill, A.M., in his Old

Aye. By the Rev. E. Sidney, A.M. London: Baldwin and Cra

dock. 1836. 12mo. There is a great deal that is good in many of Mr. Hill's observations, both in sense and feeling; but a great deal of the volume is very common place.

The Christian Atonement; or the Principle of Substitution Illustrated.

By the Rev. Joseph Gilbert. London: W. Ball. 1836. 8vo.

(Congregational Lectures, No. III.) AFTER the long discussion of Dr. Whitley's work on the same subject as this, it will not be necessary to enter at length into Mr. Gilbert's. It is only just to him to say, that if the reader will not be offended by a style repulsive often by its obscurity and still oftener (before Mr. Gilbert is warmed by his subject) by coarse phraseology and words, he will find this book exceedingly well worth a careful perusal. There is a great deal of sound and powerful thinking in it, a great deal of justice and truth in the views which it contains. Mr. Gilbert maintains distinctly the orthodox view of the Atonement, that Jesus Christ became, in relation to the condemning sentence of the law, actually our substitute, and that his death was a real expiation for our sins-that he died not only to reconcile man to God, but God to man. In the third lecture, he shews, very ably, that the of a substitute is wholly incompatible with that of vengeance, which would never admit of any suffering but that of the offender himself, or some one whose suffering might give pain to him—and that the objections commonly made on this subject have therefore no meaning. In the fourth, he goes on to shew the value of moral administration, and that it is as supreme moral governor only that God requires or could accept substituted suffering. In the fifth he gets rid of many objections of various kinds, arising sometimes from obscure views in objectors to the doctrine, sometimes from vague or false ones in its advocates. But this lecture is very confused. The stream of arguVol. IX.-May, 1836.

4 A

very notion ment, like the Rhine, has flowed down, strong and clear, so far, but then it breaks into a quantity of minute channels, and which is the main stream one cannot make out. In the sixth, however, Mr. Gilbert resumes his argument more clearly, and shews, well and ably, that Satisfaction is simply a provision which shall, in the view of wisdom and practical effect, be adequate to maintain that MORAL ORDER in which Holiness delights, and to the maintenance of which Justice is bound. This is his great object and argument, and the reviewer is inclined to think that he argues here clearly, and therefore that his view is deserving of great attention. But Mr. Gilbert should remember that it is not a new one. He should have remembered, too, to do justice to his predecessors. Archbishop Magee, in particular, has dwelt at great length on the point insisted on by Mr. Gilbert-that the Father shewed as much love to the world as the Son.

In conclusion, one cannot but regret to see a man like Mr. Gilbert studiously avoid all reference to writers of the English church ; with the exception of Stillingtleet, he appears not to know of the existence of the many great men who have treated this and kindred subjects. Or does Mr. Gilbert think that he can keep them out of notice? Does he hope that “ though he cannot blot the sun out of heaven, he may raise a smouldering smoke which may hide him froin men's eyes ?" Who will be the losers ? It will hardly be credited that in producing Bishop Butler's celebrated doctrine as to the uses of Anger and Resentment, he refers, not to Butler, but to Dr. Thomas Brown! (p. 442.) The reviewer thinks that Mr. Gilbert's notion that Satisfaction was necessary on account of moral beings in other worlds to whom the scheme of moral order was to be vindicated, is very questionable. Surely we can find sufficient reason here.

Mr. Coneybeare's Lectures have arrived at a second edition, which is very satisfactory, as they contain much valuable matter in a small space. At the same time, they require to be read with caution. Mr. Coneybeare (if one may take the liberty of making the remark on a gentleman entitled to the highest respect) labours under a very common disease in these liberal days—viz., over-candour. Take, as an example, his anxiety to give up all disputed texts without weighing the evidence. Does he not think, for instance, that, in 1 Tim. iii. 16, (where he has wholly onnitted the fact that almost all the MSS. have the reading which he sets aside !) the fact that the substituted read. ing makes all but downright nonsense ought to have any weight? And, again, vigorous protest must be made against the setting either Dr. Pye Smith or any one else upon a pedestal and worshipping him as an infallible authority. Dr. Pye Smith is a highly respectable man and scholar ; but it is a little too much to let his doctrine settle everything, because it is candid to allow a dissenter his full meed of praise. Will Mr. Coneybeare say that this reverence for Dr. Smith arises from a complete and critical examination of Dr. Smith's criticisms and scholarship?

The second volume of the complete edition of Dr. Chalmers' Works

« FöregåendeFortsätt »