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cure, and that they will in fact procure, to those who sincerely exert them, such immense blessings ? To what but to the voluntary bounty of Almighty God, who in his inexpressible good pleasure hath appointed it so to be? The benignity of God towards man hath made him this inconceivably advantageous offer. But a most kind offer may still be a conditional offer. And this, though an infinitely gracious and beneficial offer, is still a conditional offer, and the performance of the conditions is as necessary, as if it had been an offer of mere retribution.
“ Some who allow the necessity of good works to salvation, are not willing that they should be called conditions of salvation. But this, I think, is a distinction too refined for common Christian apprehension. If they be necessary to salvation, they are conditions of salvation, so far as I can see.
“ The cause of salvation is the free will, the free gift, the love and mercy of God. Tbat alone is the source, and fountain, and cause of salvation, from which all our hopes of attaining to it are derived. To cause is not in ourselves, nor in any thing we do, or can do, but in God, in his good will and pleasure. Therefore, whatever shall have moved, and excited, and conciliated that good will and pleasure, so as to have procured that offer to be made, or shall have formed any part or portion of the motive from which it was made, may most truly and properly be said to be efficacious in human salvation. This efficacy is in Scripture ascribed to the death of Christ. It is attributed in a variety of ways of expression. He is a sacrifice, an offering to God, a propitiation, the precious sacrifice foreordained, the ‘Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, the Lamb which taketh away the sin of the world :' we are 'washed in his blood,' we are “justified by his blood,' 'we are saved from wrath through him,' &c., &c.
“Still it is true that a man will not obtain what is offered, unless he comply with the terms ; so far his compliance is a condition of his happiness. But the grand thing is the offer being made at all. That is the ground and origin of the whole. That is the cause." pp. 313— 315, &c.
The doctor himself is fully aware that this view of the subject, notwithstanding every precaution in the statement, every admonition of unworthiness, every representation of the magnitude of the promised felicity, and every eulogium of the generosity of the divine Benefactor, will yet have a strong tendency, as the human mind is constituted, to cherish notions of high desert after all. He has taken pains, and made a very plausible representation of a parallel case, to prevent this obvious consequence. But we think it would so infallibly result, as to destroy that estimate of the Christian economy as a system of pure absolute mercy, which is so often expressed in the New Testament, and to preclude that feeling of boundless obligation which animated the gratitude and devotion of the apostles.
In the way of showing the incorrectness of the theory, it will be enough just to notice the very imperfect conception and definition of salvation with which it sets out. If any one thing be evident in the New Testament, it would seem to be, that salvation, as there described, does not consist solely in a final preservation from punishment and attainment of the heavenly felicity, but includes essentially that sanctified state of the mind and character, which forms a preparation for that final happiness. This purified state, we apprehend, is represented not as a mere antecedent circumstance of salvation, but as a part of its very essence. But it would be strangely incorrect to call that a condition of salvation, which is an essential part of it.
Again, the Christian Scriptures state, we should think, with the utmost distinctness, that the sanctity of mind which is the operating principle in all practical Christian virtue, and but for which not one act of true Christian virtue would ever be performed, is just as much a free gift of the divine mercy, and just as impossible to have been otherwise obtained, as that final felicity which is the completion of salvation ; but it would be strange to call that a condition, of which the substance is to be effected by the very Being who prescribes it.
There are in the volume several sermons on the influences of the Holy Spirit; but they do not lay down a very defined doctrine on the subject. In some passages the preacher seems very anxious to avoid representing those influences as of purely arbitrary operation, on the part of the divine Being, and to maintain that they are determined toward their object by some favourable predisposition in that object; or that they are not often granted till after they are requested. In other passages, the theory of the divine operations on the mind appears to us to go very nearly the whole length of the doctrine denominated Calvinistic, particularly when the Doctor adverts to the sudden conversion of very wicked men. On this topic he speaks in much stronger terms than are probably ever
heard from the greater number of the pulpits of our established church; in such terms, indeed, as from any other man would be deemed most methodistical and fanatical. He expresses (and every page of the book bears the most perfect marks of sincerity) his delight and his thankfulness to Heaven, on account of those instances of a sudden change of mind and character,-in consequence perhaps of hearing a sermon, or reading a passage of the bible, or hearing some casual observation, which many official divines are attempting to scout, in language of ridicule or rancour, as the freaks or fancies of a pernicious enthusiasm. The Doctor had too much of the spirit of a true philosopher, to reject an important class of facts in forming his theory; and too little of the bigot, to be indignant that notorious sinners should become devout Christians and virtuous citizens, because they became so in the mode and the precincts of Methodism. For this contempt of the ignorant, bigoted, and irreligious rant which prevailed around him, we honour him too much to be willing to make any of the remarks which we intended on some parts of his sermon on “ The Doctrine of Conversion,” founded on that ex. pression of our Lord, “ I am come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ;" on which he observes, “ It appears from these words, that our Saviour, in his preaching, held in view the character and spiritual situation of the persons whom he addressed ; and the differences which existed among them in these respects : and that he had a regard to these considerations, more especially in the preaching of repentance and conversion.” (p. 116.) We would only just ask, Who were the righteous among our Lord's hearers ? the Scribes, Pharisees, and Rulers ? Or were they the Sadducees? Or were they the publicans and sinners ? Plainly who and where were they? Can any thing be more evident, than that it was of the very essence of our Lord's mission and ministry to adjudge them all unrighteous, absolutely every one, excepting those who were become his converts and disciples ? Could any of his hearers reject him and be righteous ? But it is plain that the epithet was not in this instance applied by him to his converts and disciples, as it had been absurd to say, “It is not my object to convert those whom I have already converted” If therefore the term was applied to any class of his hearers, it must be to those who rejected him. And how could it be applied to them? How, but evidently in the sense in which the text has been so often explained, as a severe irony on the proud self-righteous Pharisees? Or if such a mode of expression be thought inconsistent with the solemn simplicity of our Lord's character, the passage may be interpreted as this simple proposition,—that it was because these persons, in whose company he was so often found, were sinners, that he frequented their company; that to be in the society of sinners was the sole object of his sojourning on earth, for that, if men had been righteous, they would not have needed a Saviour,
As the sermons are nearly forty, we do not give all their titles. A considerable proportion are entirely practical. A very able one, on the “Destruction of the Canaanites*,” ought to have been four times its present length.
It would be ridiculous in us to affect to recommend a volume written by Dr. Paley. It will be extensively read ; its readers will receive many useful and striking thoughts; and we earnestly wish they may study the New Testament enough to be saved from any injurious impression of what we cannot allow ourselves to regard as unimportant errors.
* A good summary of the arguments on this subject will be found in a recent number of the “ Pantologia," Art. Canaanites.
assume, that an eminently conspicuous and powerful advocate of Christianity, ought to have been distinguished by a spirit peculiarly sympathetic with that of the Founder, and that of the apostles, martyrs, and confessors of this religion. For surely he that in modern times has a more impressive view than almost all his contemporaries of its evidence and excellence, possesses something strikingly in common with its first promulgators. His more luminous view of the truth and divine excellence of the religion, places him on a ground of nearly equal privilege with that of those persons, who commenced its disciples and advocates actually amidst the prodigies that attended its first introduction. But to have embraced the religion under the immediate impression of those miracles, which gave direct proof from heaven of its being not only true, but, in the divine estimation, of inexpressible importance, and then to have been less than ardently zealous in the exercise and promotion of it, would have been deemed an unpardonable inconsistency. It would have been expected, and even required, of that man, that he should be inspired and actuated by the divine principles thus received into his mind, as much almost as if a spirit had descended from heaven to inhabit his person, and determine the whole system of his sentiments and agency. And therefore nearly the same result is justly required from the man in later times, who, being favoured with a superlative clearness of conviction, is placed in nearly as high a rank of privilege as the original converts and advocates.
If this be true, the Memoirs of Dr. Paley cannot be read without considerable regret. Sincerely gratified to observe and applaud his excellent and amiable qualities, we yet in vain endeavour to avoid perceiving a very serious deficiency of what we think the spirit of primitive Christianity: Notwithstanding much moral worth, there is something unsaintly spread over the character. A respectable man of the world seems to meet us, when we wish to see a person that will remind us of the
apostles. It is not to be noted as a fault, that Paley had not the great passions which, when combined with great talents, can make a character sublime: his constitution