« ZurückWeiter »
to answer, or that he never made himself master of the argument which he wished to refute. My argument was professedly grounded on the examination of every passage in the New Testament in which the doctrine of the resurrection is spoken of; and it rests upon a distinction holding throughout them all: indeed, this is asserted in the very passage which the Unprejudiced Inquirer now charges with misstatement. It is somewhat extraordinary then, that, instead of endeavouring to get at my opinion by consulting two writers in the Morning Watch whose sentiments I am no more pledged to uphold than he is, he should not have turned to a paper of my own, which he ought to have known commented upon all the passages in which the subject is mentioned.
Of the two suppositions which I have made, it is most charitable to take the latter, and to suppose him ignorant of the grounds of the argument on which he professes to comment. And this may account for the main purport of his letters not being directed to the point at issue, but to the detection of some inaccuracy in my statements; which affords another instance of his strange and inconclusive reasoning. For, supposing he had made out his case, what would it amount to? His argument is simply this :
First. Here is an argument for the doctrine of two resurrections.
Secondly. In stating this, W. D. has been guilty of an inaccuracy.
Thirdly. Ergo, the whole argument falls to the ground.
I really hope, for the credit of the Christian Observer, that it does not fall into the hands of many readers who would be influenced by a mode of reasoning which makes such a very extensive demand upon their ignorance.
But the fact is, that the Unprejudiced Inquirer altogether fails in his case. I maintain that the Apostle is speaking in 1 Cor. xv., exclusively, neither of the resurrection of the saints nor of the resurrection of the unjust; but of the doctrine of the resurrection in the abstract. This interpretation I have endeavoured to prove in the first paper on the subject, in Morning Watch No. I. p. 66, by the following argument.
“This interpretation the Apostle's argument seems absolutely to require. For the fact of a resurrection at some future time cannot be adduced as a proof that Christ is already risen, which would be no argument at all. Nor, on the other hand, if it could be shewn that there will be no such resurrection, would that be a proof that Christ is not risen ; for it is at least within the verge of possibilities that he should be the only one raised. The Corinthians seem to have been staggered by the unreasonableness and supposed impossibility of a resurrection of the
body. The Apostle assumes the fact of Christ's resurrection; and hence argues, first the possibility, and then the certainty, of a resurrection of all. His argument may be put in a syllogistic form :
“ First. Christ was raised from the dead. “Secondly. Christ had a body. “Thirdly. Therefore a body may be raised from the dead. Therefore there is no absurdity or impossibility in the doctrine of the resurrection of dead."
With regard to the expression, ý úvártariç tür verpūr (1 Cor. xv. 42), I was for some time in doubt; and, in fact, it was this possible exception which I had in my mind when I observed, in p. 63 of the First Number, " This expression may be used of the resurrection of the saints, if there be any thing in the context to limit it to them.” I am now convinced that it is such an exception; and for a very obvious reason--namely, that no other form of expression would have given a meaning consistent with the context. The reader of the original will observe, that throughout this chapter there is a careful distinction made by the Apostle between the terms νεκροι,
“dead ones," and ol vekpoi, “ the dead ones.” Previous to ver. 29, the former expression is exclusively employed by the Apostle, in proving the doctrine of thé resurrection in the abstract. It is the appropriate expression; for he is proving the resurrection of dead ones. At ver. 29 he brings forward an additional argument, drawn from the baptism for the dead, Whatever may be the meaning of this obscure passage, none can imagine that by “the dead” here, are meant the dead in general, or the wicked dead: nor will the criticism at all hold, which applies the term to Christ: therefore the baptism for the dead was the baptism for dead saints (which it would be beside our purpose here to interpret). To preserve the distinction, the verse should be thus literally rendered, ““What shall they do which are baptized for the dead ones, υπερ των νεκρων, if not at all dead ones, vekpoi, are raised? Why then are they baptized for the dead ones? Again, ver. 32, he asserts that a denial of the doctrine of the resurrection would be fatal to the Christian's hopes : “What advantageth it me, if dead ones, vexpor, are not raised ? ” Vers. 33, 34, are an exhortation founded on the doctrine of a resurrection proved. But what was the Apostle's main design in proving a resurrection in the abstract ? Unquestionably, as the whole argument shews, to draw from it the inference of a blessed resurrection to the saints. The argument, then, being coinplete, and the inference from it obvious, at ver. 35 he supposes some one to start an objection as to the mode of accomplishment:
But some one will say, Granting the doctrine of resurrection proved, and therefore that they who are Christ's will rise at his coming, How are the dead, oi vekpoi, raised up, and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain : but God giveth it a body as it bath pleased him, and to every seed its own proper body..... So also is the resurrection of the dead, twv vepwy: it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption,' &c. It is evident, then, that the subject is here, not the resurrection, but the persons raised, the whole mass of Christ's mystical body; of whom it is predicated that “IT is sown in corruption, raised in incorcoruption.” If the resurrection were the subject, the predicate would not answer; for it cannot be said of the resurrection, that “IT is sown in corruption,” &c. If the Apostle, therefore, had here used the expression αναστασις εκ νεκρων, the resurrection from the dead, we should in the following clause have had a predicate without a subject, that is, the language could have had no meaning at all. And yet the Unprejudiced Inquirer would make αναστασις εκ νεκρων and η αναστασις των νεκρων convertible terms !
Thus, by a fair examination of the whole passage I have satisfactorily proved the weakness of the frivolous objection attempted to be drawn from this chapter. It has appeared. that the former expression, avaoTaois ek vɛxpwr, is used of the doctrine of the resurrection in the abstract; and that the latter, navaotaolS TWV vekpwv, though used of the saints, is not a case in point, because the Apostle's subject is not the resurrection, but the persons raised, rendering it impossible that any other form of expression should be used. The discussion will not be in vain, if the Unprejudiced Inquirer should learn a lesson of modesty and humility, which he so strongly recommends to others, and hereafter refrain from staking another's character for candour on the admission of the force of his own arguments. Certainly, if his estimation of mine depends upon my acknowledging the strength of his reasoning in the present instance, I believe I shall lose the little which I may yet retain of his opinion. Such absurd pretensions to infallibility, so ill sustained, must recoil with some force on the head of him who makes them : but it would seem there are other Popes besides the Pope of Rome.
The Unprejudiced Inquirer somewhat ungenerously triumphs over my admission of a former inaccuracy. His design is sufficiently obvious. I do not wish to retract that admission. I made it in sincerity, feeling that I had not expressed myself so accurately as I ought to have done. Something might have been urged in my defence; but, as the truth of the hypothesis did not depend upon my freedom from blame, I waved the point, as merely personal; not, certainly, expecting that such unfair and ungenerous advantage would be taken of it. As such has
can of it.
not been the case, but my admitted inaccuracy has been adduced in order to cast an imputation on what I have since written, I may, I trust, not improperly just point out the whole amount of my error. It is contained in the following sentence, in p.
63 of the First Number:-“It appears to have escaped the notice of many readers of Scripture, that there are two distinct modes of expression adopted in the New Testament, each of which has its appropriate use, and which do not admit of being interchanged with each other. The expressions we refer to, are, &c.” Now my whole offence consists in having substituted, in the latter sentence (certainly without any design) the term “ expressions,” instead of " modes of expression,” which I had used in the former. It was not perhaps demanding any large share of intelligence and forbearance on the part of the reader, to expect him to interpret the latter phrase by the former. However, as one of the expressions does not occur in Scripture, although that mode of expression does, I had asserted that which, although true in the spirit
, was not true in the letter. This inaccuracy might have been avoided ; I therefore felt it to be an error: and, such as it is, the Unprejudiced Inquirer is at liberty to make the best, or rather the worst,
he The last subject on which I have called forth his censure is one far too important, and too wide, to be discussed in a paper of this kind. And the discussion would be quite useless, unless it were entered into with a person better informed of the principles on which alone it ought to be determined, than this writer now seems to be. When, for instance, he says, “ Surely the Church of Rome will thank W. D. for giving honour to one to whom they think honour is due,” he employs a mode of reply which can only arise from incompetence or unfairness. If he thinks it any argument at all, he shews his incompetence for the discussion of the question, which is, not what will be pleasing or otherwise to the Church of Rome, but, what is the TRUTH ? He is setting out on the very wise and unquestionable axiom, that whatever is furthest from the Church of Rome must of necessity be nearest to the truth. Or if he knows, as he must know, that it is no argument, then, by appealing to the passions, or prejudices, or ignorance of men, he shews himself wholly unfit for the office of a fair disputant. At present, therefore, 1 forbear; and shall content myself with saying, that, abhorring as much as he can do the Popish doctrine of the infallibility of the church, I believe it to be not a whit further from the truth (if indeed it be so far) than the unbridled licence of private judgment in the interpretation of Scripture, which is the idol of the present day, and the favourite theme of platform oratory. And with regard to the effect which giving due reverence to the authority of the church might have upon the Papists, although
VOL. 1.-NO. IV.
I deny this as a principle of discussion ; yet I will say, that no man loses any thing by giving up that which he cannot honestly retain ; and that it is not treachery, but a proof of good generalship, to forsake a field which is too wide to be occupied, and to concentrate your forces at points which can be effectively maintained. As to the charge, that I am setting up the Church above the Scripture, it merely arises from an incapacity in the mind of this writer to perceive the distinction between first in order and first in authority. The tribunal appealed to must needs be greater than the tribunal appealed from: a sentence of confirmation must be of higher authority than that which it confirms, otherwise it would be no confirmation at all. When, therefore, I observed that the doctrine of the first resurrection rests on its being received and taught by the church, and confirmed by Scripture, I was asserting that supremacy of the holy Scriptures which this writer understands me to deny.
NOTICES OF SMALL WORKS ON PROPHECY. We hope shortly to make room for noticing some of the many small publications on Prophecy which the now wide-spread spirit of inquiry has called forth : at present we can only name a few, which treat the subject in a simple and elementary manner, and are therefore fit for general circulation.
“ The Signs of the Times” is an excellent cheap tract, and explains all the Prophecies which bear on our own times in a clear and forcible manner.
“ Lectures on the Book of the Revelation ” are publishing in monthly tracts by the Rev. E. Irving. Four are published, and they give a full interpretation of the Apocalypse in a popular form.
“ Another Warning to the Church of England,” by the Rev. R. Maunsell, Bristol, is an excellent little volume.
“Christ's speedy Return in Glory,” by Mr. Begg of Paisley, is a very good summary of the general bearing of Prophecy; though we differ from him respecting Tyre, and Ezekiel’s temple.
There are many sermons and small tracts on single points of interpretation, but which are very valuable: as
“ The Lord is at Hand;"proving that the first resurrection will take place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Rev. xi. 15.
“ Enoch's Prophecy; or, Behold, He cometh.”
“ Two Discourses, by the Rev. C. D. Maitland, Brighton ;" proving that the conflagration, 2 Peter iii. 10–13, is confined to the Roman earth, the Idumea of Isa. xxxiv,
Scriptural Argument for the Second Advent of Messiah before