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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4.
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Title: Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4.

Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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frontispiece


Coleridge's Literary Remains





volume 4






collected and edited by

Henry Nelson Coleridge




1839





Table of Contents







Extended Contents, or Index








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For some remarks on the character of this publication, the Editor begs to refer the Reader to the Preface to the third volume of these Remains. That volume and the present are expressly connected together as one work.

The various materials arranged in the following pages were preserved, and kindly placed in the Editor's hands, by Mr. Southey, Mr. Green, Mr. Gillman, Mr. Alfred Elwyn of Philadelphia, United States, Mr. Money, Mr. Hartley Coleridge, and the Rev. Edward Coleridge; and to those gentlemen the Editor's best acknowledgments are due.

Lincoln's Inn,
9th May, 1839.

Contents / Index




Notes on Luther's Table Talk1


I cannot meditate too often, too deeply, or too devotionally on the personeity of God, and his personality in the Word, Greek: Gío to
monogenei and thence on the individuity of the responsible creature;—that it is a perfection which, not indeed in my intellect, but yet in my habit of feeling, I have too much confounded with that complexus of visual images, cycles or customs of sensations, and fellow-travelling circumstances (as the ship to the mariner), which make up our empirical self: thence to bring myself to apprehend livelily the exceeding mercifulness and love of the act of the Son of God, in descending to seek after the prodigal children, and to house with them in the sty. Likewise by the relation of my own understanding to the light of reason, and (the most important of all the truths that have been vouchsafed to me!) to the will which is the reason,— will in the form of reason—I can form a sufficient gleam of the possibility of the subsistence of the human soul in Jesus to the Eternal Word, and how it might perfect itself so as to merit glorification and abiding union with the Divinity; and how this gave a humanity to our Lord's righteousness no less than to his sufferings. Doubtless, as God, as the absolute Alterity of the Absolute, he could not suffer; but that he could not lay aside the absolute, and by union with the creaturely become affectible, and a second, but spiritual Adam, and so as afterwards to be partaker of the absolute in the Absolute, even as the Absolute had partaken of passion Greek: tou páschein and infirmity in it, that is, the finite and fallen creature; —this can be asserted only by one who (unconsciously perhaps), has accustomed himself to think of God as a thing,—having a necessity of constitution, that wills, or rather tends and inclines to this or that, because it is this or that, not as being that, which is that which it wills to be. Such a necessity is truly compulsion; nor is it in the least altered in its nature by being assumed to be eternal, in virtue of an endless remotion or retrusion of the constituent cause, which being manifested by the understanding becomes a foreseen despair of a cause.

Sunday 11th February, 1826.



One argument strikes me in favour of the tenet of Apostolic succession, in the ordination of Bishops and Presbyters, as taught by the Church of Rome, and by the larger part of the earlier divines of the Church of England, which I have not seen in any of the books on this subject; namely, that in strict analogy with other parts of Christian history, the miracle itself contained a check upon the inconvenient consequences necessarily attached to all miracles, as miracles, narrowing the possible claims to any rights not proveable at the bar of universal reason and experience. Every man among the Sectaries, however ignorant, may justify himself in scattering stones and fire squibs by an alleged unction of the Spirit. The miracle becomes perpetual, still beginning, never ending. Now on the Church doctrine, the original miracle provides for the future recurrence to the ordinary and calculable laws of the human understanding and moral sense; instead of leaving every man a judge of his own gifts, and of his right to act publicly on that judgment. The initiative alone is supernatural; but all beginning is necessarily miraculous, that is, hath either no antecedent, or one Greek: hetérou genous which therefore is not its, but merely an, antecedent,—or an incausative alien co-incident in time; as if, for instance, Jack's shout were followed by a flash of lightning, which should strike and precipitate the ball on St. Paul's cathedral. This would be a miracle as long as no causative nexus was conceivable between the antecedent, the noise of the shout, and the consequent, the atmospheric discharge.


The Epistle Dedicatory
But this will be your glory and inexpugnable, if you cleave in truth and practice to God's holy service, worship and religion: that religion and faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is pure and undefiled before God even the Father, which is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep yourselves unspotted from the world.

James i. 27.
Few mistranslations (unless indeed the word used by the translator of St. James meant differently from its present meaning), have led astray more than this rendering of Greek: Thraeskeía (outward or ceremonial worship, cultus, divine service,) by the English religion. St. James sublimely says: What the ceremonies of the law were to morality, that morality itself is to the faith in Christ, that is, its outward symbol, not the substance itself.


Chap. I. p. 1, 2.
That the Bible is the word of God (said Luther) the same I prove as followeth: All things that have been and now are in the world; also how it now goeth and standeth in the world, the same was written altogether particularly at the beginning, in the first book of Moses concerning the creation. And even as God made and created it, even so it was, even so it is, and even so doth it stand to this present day. And although King Alexander the Great, the kingdom of Egypt, the Empire of Babel, the Persian, Grecian and Roman monarchs; the Emperors Julius and Augustus most fiercely did rage and swell against this Book, utterly to suppress and destroy the same; yet notwithstanding they could prevail nothing, they are all gone and vanished; but this Book from time to time hath remained, and will remain unremoved in full and ample manner as it was written at the first.
A proof worthy of the manly mind of Luther, and compared with which the Grotian pretended demonstrations, from Grotius himself to Paley, are mischievous underminings of the Faith, pleadings fitter for an Old Bailey thieves' counsellor than for a Christian divine. The true evidence of the Bible is the Bible,— of Christianity the living fact of Christianity itself, as the manifest archeus or predominant of the life of the planet.


Ib. p. 4.
The art of the School divines (said Luther) with their speculations in the Holy Scriptures, are merely vain and human cogitations, spun out of their own natural wit and understanding. They talk much of the union of the will and understanding, but all is mere fantasy and fondness. The right and true speculation (said Luther) is this, Believe in Christ; do what thou oughtest to do in thy vocation, &c. This is the only practice in divinity. Also, Mystica Theologia Dionysii is a mere fable, and a lie, like to Plato's fables. Omnia sunt non ens, et omnia sunt ens; all is something, and all is nothing, and so he leaveth all hanging in frivolous and idle sort.
Still, however, du theure Mann Gottes, mein verehrter Luther! reason, will, understanding are words, to which real entities correspond; and we may in a sound and good sense say that reason is the ray, the projected disk or image, from the Sun of Righteousness, an echo from the Eternal Word—the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that when the will placeth itself in a right line with the reason, there ariseth the spirit, through which the will of God floweth into and actuates the will of man, so that it willeth the things of God, and the understanding is enlivened, and thenceforward useth the materials supplied to it by the senses symbolically; that is, with an insight into the true substance thereof.


Ib. p. 9.
The Pope usurpeth and taketh to himself the power to expound and to construe the Scriptures according to his pleasure. What he saith, must stand and be spoken as from heaven. Therefore let us love and preciously value the divine word, that thereby we may be able to resist the Devil and his swarm.
As often as I use in prayer the 16th verse of the 71st Psalm, (in our Prayer-book version), my thoughts especially revert to the subject of the right appreciation of the Scriptures, and in what sense the Bible may be called the word of God, and how and under what conditions the unity of the Spirit is translucent through the letter, which, read as the letter merely, is the word of this and that pious but fallible and imperfect man. Alas for the superstition, where the words themselves are made to be the Spirit! O might I live but to utter all my meditations on this most concerning point!


Ib. p. 12.
Bullinger said once in my hearing (said Luther) that he was earnest against the Anabaptists, as contemners of God's word, and also against those which attributed too much to the literal word, for (said he) such do sin against God and his almighty power; as the Jews did in naming the ark, God. But, (said he) whoso holdeth a mean between both, the same is taught what is the right use of the word and sacraments.

Whereupon (said Luther) I answered him and said; Bullinger, you err, you know neither yourself, nor what you hold; I mark well your tricks and fallacies: Zuinglius and Œcolampadius likewise proceeded too far in the ungodly meaning: but when Brentius withstood them, they then lessened their opinions, alleging, they did not reject the literal word, but only condemned certain gross abuses. By this your error you cut in sunder and separate the word and the spirit, &c.
In my present state of mind, and with what light I now enjoy,—(may God increase it, and cleanse it from the dark mist into the lumen siccum of sincere knowledge!)—I cannot persuade myself that this vehemence of our dear man of God against Bullinger, Zuinglius and Œcolampadius on this point could have had other origin, than his misconception of what they intended. But Luther spoke often (I like him and love him all the better therefor,) in his moods and according to the mood. Was not that a different mood, in which he called St. James's Epistle a 'Jack-Straw poppet'; and even in this work selects one verse as the best in the whole letter,—evidently meaning, the only verse of any great value? Besides he accustomed himself to use the term, 'the word,' in a very wide sense when the narrower would have cramped him. When he was on the point of rejecting the Apocalypse, then 'the word' meant the spirit of the Scriptures collectively.


Ib. p. 21.
I, (said Luther), do not hold that children are without faith when they are baptized; for inasmuch as they are brought to Christ by his command, and that the Church prayeth for them; therefore, without all doubt, faith is given unto them, although with our natural sense and reason we neither see nor understand it.
Nay, but dear honoured Luther! is this fair? If Christ or Scripture had said in one place, Believe, and thou mayest be baptized; and in another place, Baptize infants; then we might perhaps be allowed to reconcile the two seemingly jarring texts, by such words as "faith is given to them, although, &c." But when no such text, as the latter, is to be found, nor any one instance as a substitute, then your conclusion seems arbitrary.


Ib. p. 25.
This argument (said Luther), concludeth so much as nothing; for, although they had been angels from heaven, yet that troubleth me nothing at all; we are now dealing about God's word, and with the truth of the Gospel, that is a matter of far greater weight to have the same kept and preserved pure and clear; therefore we (said Luther), neither care nor trouble ourselves for, and about, the greatness of Saint Peter and the other Apostles, or how many and great miracles they wrought: the thing which we strive for is, that the truth of the Holy Gospel may stand; for God regardeth not men's reputations nor persons.
Oh, that the dear man Luther had but told us here what he meant by the term, Gospel! That St. Paul had seen even St. Luke's, is but a conjecture, grounded on a conjectural interpretation of a single text, doubly equivocal; namely, that the Luke mentioned was the same with the Evangelist Luke; and that the evangelium signified a book; the latter, of itself improbable, derives its probability from the undoubtedly very strong probability of the former. If then not any book, much less the four books, now called the four Gospels, were meant by Paul, but the contents of those books, as far as they are veracious, and whatever else was known on equal authority at that time, though not contained in those books; if, in short, the whole sum of Christ's acts and discourses be what Paul meant by the Gospel; then the argument is circuitous, and returns to the first point,—What is the Gospel? Shall we believe you, and not rather the companions of Christ, the eye and ear witnesses of his doings and sayings? Now I should require strong inducements to make me believe that St. Paul had been guilty of such palpably false logic; and I therefore feel myself compelled to infer, that by the Gospel Paul intended the eternal truths known ideally from the beginning, and historically realized in the manifestation of the Word in Christ Jesus; and that he used the ideal immutable truth as the canon and criterion of the oral traditions. For example, a Greek mathematician, standing in the same relation of time and country to Euclid as that in which St. Paul stood to Jesus Christ, might have exclaimed in the same spirit: "What do you talk to me of this, that, and the other intimate acquaintance of Euclid's? My object is to convey the sublime system of geometry which he realized, and by that must I decide." "I," says St. Paul, "have been taught by the spirit of Christ, a teaching susceptible of no addition, and for which no personal anecdotes, however reverendly attested, can be a substitute." But dearest Luther was a translator; he could not, must not, see this.


Ib. p. 32.
That God's word, and the Christian Church, is preserved against the raging of the world.

The Papists have lost the cause; with God's word they are not able to resist or withstand us. * * * The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, &c. God will deal well enough with these angry gentlemen, and will give them but small thanks for their labor, in going about to suppress his word and servants; he hath sat in counsel above these five thousand five hundred years, hath ruled and made laws. Good Sirs! be not so choleric; go further from the wall, lest you knock your pates against it. Kiss the Son lest he be angry, &c. That is, take hold on Christ, or the Devil will take hold on you, &c.

The second Psalm (said Luther), is a proud Psalm against those fellows. It begins mild and simply, but it endeth stately and rattling. * * * I have now angered the Pope about his images of idolatry. O! how the sow raiseth her bristles! * * The Lord saith: Ego suscitabo vos in novissimo die: and then he will call and say: ho! Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Justus Jonas, John Calvin, &c. Arise, come up, * * * Well on, (said Luther), let us be of good comfort.
A delicious paragraph. How our fine preachers would turn up their Tom-tit beaks and flirt with their tails at it! But this is the way in which the man of life, the man of power, sets the dry bones in motion.


Chap. II. p. 37.
This is the thanks that God hath for his grace, for creating, for redeeming, sanctifying, nourishing, and for preserving us: such a seed, fruit, and godly child is the world. O, woe be to it!
Too true.


Ib. p. 54.
That out of the best comes the worst. Out of the Patriarchs and holy Fathers came the Jews that crucified Christ; out of the Apostles came Judas the traitor; out of the city Alexandria (where a fair illustrious and famous school was, and from whence proceeded many upright and godly learned men), came Arius and Origenes.
Poor Origen! Surely Luther was put to it for an instance, and had never read the works of that very best of the old Fathers, and eminently upright and godly learned man.


Ib.
The sparrows are the least birds, and yet they are very hurtful, and have the best nourishment.
Ergo digni sunt omni persecutione. Poor little Philip Sparrows! Luther did not know that they more than earn their good wages by destroying grubs and other small vermin.


Ib. p. 61.
He that without danger will know God, and will speculate of him, let him look first into the manger, that is, let him begin below, and let him first learn to know the Son of the Virgin Mary, born at Bethlehem, that lies and sucks in his mother's bosom; or let one look upon him hanging on the Cross. ** But take good heed in any case of high climbing cogitations, to clamber up to heaven without this ladder, namely, the Lord Christ in his humanity.
To know God as God (Greek: tòn Zaena the living God) we must assume his personality: otherwise what were it but an ether, a gravitation?—but to assume his personality, we must begin with his humanity, and this is impossible but in history; for man is an historical—not an eternal being. Ergo. Christianity is of necessity historical and not philosophical only.


Ib. p. 62.
What is that to thee? said Christ to Peter. Follow thou me—me, follow me, and not thy questions, or cogitations.
Lord! keep us looking to, and humbly following, thee!


Chap. VI. p. 103.
The philosophers and learned heathen (said Luther) have described God, that he is as a circle, the point whereof in the midst is every where; but the circumference, which on the outside goeth round about, is no where: herewith they would shew that God is all, and yet is nothing.
What a huge difference the absence of a blank space, which is nothing, or next to nothing, may make! The words here should have been printed, "God is all, and yet is no thing;" For what does 'thing' mean? Itself, that is, the ing, or inclosure, that which is contained within an outline, or circumscribed. So likewise to think is to inclose, to determine, confine and define. To think an infinite is a contradiction in terms equal to a boundless bound. So in German Ding, denken; in Latin res, reor.


Chap. VII. p. 113.
Helvidius alleged the mother of Christ was not a virgin; so that according to his wicked allegation, Christ was born in original sin.
O, what a tangle of impure whimsies has this notion of an immaculate conception, an Ebionite tradition, as I think, brought into the Christian Church! I have sometimes suspected that the Apostle John had a particular view to this point, in the first half of the first chapter of his Gospel. Not that I suppose our present Matthew then in existence, or that, if John had seen the Gospel according to Luke, the Christopædia had been already prefixed to it. But the rumor might have been whispered about, and as the purport was to give a psilanthropic explanation and solution of the phrases, Son of God and Son of Man,—so Saint John met it by the true solution, namely, the eternal Filiation of the Word.


Ib. p. 120. Of Christ's riding into Jerusalem.
But I hold (said Luther) that Christ himself did not mention that prophecy of Zechariah, but rather, that the Apostles and Evangelists did use it for a witness.
Worth remembering for the purpose of applying it to the text in which our Lord is represented in the first (or Matthew's) Gospel, and by that alone, as citing Daniel by name. It was this text that so sorely, but I think very unnecessarily, perplexed and gravelled Bentley, who was too profound a scholar and too acute a critic to admit the genuineness of the whole of that book.


Ib.
The Prophets (said Luther) did set, speak, and preach of the second coming of Christ in manner as we now do.
I regret that Mr. Irving should have blended such extravagancies and presumptuous prophesyings with his support and vindication of the Millennium, and the return of Jesus in his corporeal individuality, —because these have furnished divines in general, both Churchmen and Dissenting, with a pretext for treating his doctrine with silent contempt. Had he followed the example of his own Ben Ezra, and argued temperately and learnedly, the controversy must have forced the momentous question on our Clergy:—Are Christians bound to believe whatever an Apostle believed,—and in the same way and sense? I think Saint Paul himself lived to doubt the solidity of his own literal interpretation of our Lord's words.

The whole passage in which our Lord describes his coming is so evidently, and so intentionally expressed in the diction and images of the Prophets, that nothing but the carnal literality common to the Jews at that time and most strongly marked in the disciples, who were among the least educated of their countrymen, could have prevented the symbolic import and character of the words from being seen. The whole Gospel and the Epistles of John, are a virtual confutation of this reigning error—and no less is the Apocalypse whether written by, or under the authority of, the Evangelist.

The unhappy effect which St. Paul's (may I not say) incautious language respecting Christ's return produced on the Thessalonians, led him to reflect on the subject, and he instantly in the second epistle to them qualified the doctrine, and never afterwards resumed it; but on the contrary, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, c. 15, substitutes the doctrine of immortality in a celestial state and a spiritual body. On the nature of our Lord's future epiphany or phenomenal person, I am not ashamed to acknowledge, that my views approach very nearly to those of Emanuel Swedenborg.


Ib. p. 121.
Doctor Jacob Schenck never preacheth out of his book, but I do, (said Luther), though not of necessity, but I do it for example's sake to others.
As many notes, memoranda, cues of connection and transition as the preacher may find expedient or serviceable to him; well and good. But to read in a manuscript book, as our Clergy now do, is not to preach at all. Preach out of a book, if you must; but do not read in it, or even from it. A read sermon of twenty minutes will seem longer to the hearers than a free discourse of an hour.


Ib.
My simple opinion is (said Luther) and I do believe that Christ for us descended into hell, to the end he might break and destroy the same, as in Psalm xvi, and Acts ii, is shewed and proved.
Could Luther have been ignorant, that this clause was not inserted into the Apostle's Creed till the sixth century after Christ? I believe the original intention of the clause was no more than vere mortuus est—in contradiction to the hypothesis of a trance or state of suspended animation.


Chap. VII. p. 122.
When Christ (said Luther) forbiddeth to spread abroad or to make known his works of wonder; there he speaketh as being sent from the Father, and doth well and right therein in forbidding them, to the end that thereby he might leave us an example, not to seek our own praise and honor in that wherein we do good; but we ought to seek only and alone the honor of God.
Not satisfactory. Doubtless, the command was in connection with the silence enjoined respecting his Messiahship.


Chap. VIII. p. 147.
Doctor Hennage said to Luther, Sir, where you say that the Holy Spirit is the certainty in the word towards God, that is, that a man is certain of his own mind and opinion; then it must needs follow that all sects have the Holy Ghost, for they will needs be most certain of their doctrine and religion.
Luther might have answered, "positive, you mean, not certain."


Chap. IX. p. 160.
But who hath power to forgive or to detain sins? Answer; the Apostles and all Church servants, and (in case of necessity) every Christian. Christ giveth them not power over money, wealth, kingdoms, &c; but over sins and the consciences of human creatures, over the power of the Devil, and the throat of Hell.
Few passages in the Sacred Writings have occasioned so much mischief, abject slavishness, bloated pride, tyrannous usurpation, bloody persecution, with kings even against their will the drudges, false soul-destroying quiet of conscience, as this text, John xx. 23. misinterpreted. It is really a tremendous proof of what the misunderstanding of a few words can do. That even Luther partook of the delusion, this paragraph gives proof. But that a delusion it is; that the commission given to the Seventy whom Christ sent out to proclaim and offer the kingdom of God, and afterwards to the Apostles, refers either to the power of making rules and ordinances in the Church, or otherwise to the gifts of miraculous healing, which our Lord at that time conferred on them; and that per figuram causce pro effecto, 'sins' here mean diseases, seems to me more than probable. At all events, the text surely does not mean that the salvation of a repentant and believing Christian depends upon the will of a priest in absolution.


Ib. p. 161.
And again, they are able to absolve and make a human creature free and loose from all his sins, if in case he repenteth and believeth in Christ; and on the contrary, they are able to detain all his sina, if he doth not repent and believeth not in Christ.
In like manner if he sincerely repent and believe, his sins are forgiven, whether the minister absolve him or not. Now if M + 5 =5, and 5-M = 5, M = O. If he be impenitent and unbelieving, his sins are detained, no doubt, whether the minister do or do not detain them.


Ib. p. 163.
Adam was created of God in such sort righteous, as that he became of a righteous an unrighteous person; as Paul himself argueth, and withall instructeth himself, where he saith, The law is not given for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient.
This follows from the very definition or idea of righteousness;-it is itself the law;—Greek: pas gàr díkais autonomos.see previous image


Ib.
The Scripture saith, God maketh the ungodly righteous; there he calleth us all, one with another, despairing and wicked wretches; for what will an ungodly creature not dare to accomplish, if he may but have occasion, place, and opportunity?
That is with a lust within correspondent to the temptation from without.

A Christian's conscience, methinks, ought to be a Janus bifrons,—a Gospel-face retrospective, and smiling through penitent tears on the sins of the past, and a Moses-face looking forward in frown and menace, frightening the harlot will into a holy abortion of sins conceived but not yet born, perchance not yet quickened. The fanatic Antinomian reverses this; for the past he requires all the horrors of remorse and despair, till the moment of assurance; thenceforward, he may do what he likes, for he cannot sin.


Ib. p. 165.
All natural inclinations (said Luther) are either against or without God; therefore none are good. We see that no man is so honest as to marry a wife, only thereby to have children, to love and to bring them up in the fear of God.
This is a very weak instance. If a man had been commanded to marry by God, being so formed as that no sensual delight accompanied, and refused to do so, unless this appetite and gratification were added,—then indeed!


Chap. X. p. 168, 9.
Ah Lord God (said Luther), why should we any way boast of our free-will, as if it were able to do anything in divine and spiritual matters were they never so small? * * * I confess that mankind hath a free-will, but it is to milk kine, to build houses, &c., and no further: for so long as a man sitteth well and in safety, and sticketh in no want, so long he thinketh he hath a free-will which is able to do something; but, when want and need appeareth, that there is neither to eat nor to drink, neither money nor provision, where is then the free will? It is utterly lost, and cannot stand when it cometh to the pinch. But faith only standeth fast and sure, and seeketh Christ.
Luther confounds free-will with efficient power, which neither does nor can exist save where the finite will is one with the absolute Will. That Luther was practically on the right side in this famous controversy, and that he was driving at the truth, I see abundant reason to believe. But it is no less evident that he saw it in a mist, or rather as a mist with dissolving outline; and as he saw the thing as a mist, so he ever and anon mistakes a mist for the thing. But Erasmus and Saavedra were equally indistinct; and shallow and unsubstantial to boot. In fact, till the appearance of Kant's Kritiques of the pure and of the practical Reason the problem had never been accurately or adequately stated, much less solved.

26 June, 1826.


Ib. p. 174.
Loving friends, (said Luther) our doctrine that free-will is dead and nothing at all is grounded powerfully in Holy Scripture.
It is of vital importance for a theological student to understand clearly the utter diversity of the Lutheran, which is likewise the Calvinistic, denial of free-will in the unregenerate, and the doctrine of the modern Necessitarians and (proh pudor!) of the later Calvinists, which denies the proper existence of will altogether. The former is sound, Scriptural, compatible with the divine justice, a new, yea, a mighty motive to morality, and, finally, the dictate of common sense grounded on common experience. The latter the very contrary of all these.


Chap. XII. p. 187.
This is now (said Luther), the first instruction concerning the law; namely, that the same must be used to hinder the ungodly from their wicked and mischievous intentions. For the Devil, who is an Abbot and a Prince of this world, driveth and allureth people to work all manner of sin and wickedness; for which cause God hath ordained magistrates, elders, schoolmasters, laws, and statutes, to the end, if they cannot do more, yet at least that they may bind the claws of the Devil, and to hinder him from raging and swelling so powerfully (in those which are his) according to his will and pleasure.

And (said Luther), although thou hadst not committed this or that sin, yet nevertheless, thou art an ungodly creature, &c. but what is done cannot he undone, he that hath stolen, let him henceforward steal no more.

Secondly, we use the law spiritually, which is done in this manner; that it maketh the transgressions greater, as Saint Paul saith; that is, that it may reveal and discover to people their sins, blindness, misery, and ungodly doings wherein they were conceived and born; namely, that they are ignorant of God, and are his enemies, and therefore have justly deserved death, hell, God's judgments, his everlasting wrath and indignation. Saint Paul, (said Luther), expoundeth such spiritual offices and works of the law with many words.

Rom. vii.
Nothing can be more sound or more philosophic than the contents of these two paragraphs. They afford a sufficient answer to the pretence of the Romanists and Arminians, that by the law St. Paul meant only the ceremonial law.


Ib. p. 189.
And if Moses had not cashiered and put himself out of his office, and had not taken it away with these words, (where he saith, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee another prophet out of thy brethren; Him shall thou hear. (Deut. xviii.)) who then at any time would or could have believed the Gospel, and forsaken Moses?
If I could be persuaded that this passage (Deut. xviii. 15-19.) primarily referred to Christ, and that Christ, not Joshua and his successors, was the prophet here promised; I must either become a Unitarian psilanthrophist, and join Priestley and Belsham,—or abandon to the Jews their own Messiah as yet to come, and cling to the religion of John and Paul, without further reference to Moses than to Lycurgus, Solon and Numa; all of whom in their different spheres no less prepared the way for the coming of the Lord, the desire of the nations.


Ib. p. 190.
It is therefore most evident (said Luther), that the law can but only help us to know our sins, and to make us afraid of death. Now sins and death are such things as belong to the world, and which are therein.
Both in Paul and Luther, (names which I can never separate),—not indeed peculiar to these, for it is the same in the Psalms, Ezekiel, and throughout the Scriptures, but which I feel most in Paul and Luther, —there is one fearful blank, the wisdom or necessity of which I do not doubt, yet cannot help groping and straining after like one that stares in the dark; and this is Death. The law makes us afraid of death. What is death?—an unhappy life? Who does not feel the insufficiency of this answer? What analogy does immortal suffering bear to the only death which is known to us?

Since I wrote the above, God has, I humbly trust, given me a clearer light as to the true nature of the death so often mentioned in the Scriptures.


Ib.
It is (said Luther), a very hard matter: yea, an impossible thing for thy human strength, whosoever thou art (without God's assistance) that (at such a time when Moses setteth upon thee with his law, and fearfully affrighteth thee, accuseth and condemneth thee, threateneth thee with God's wrath and death) thou shouldest as then be of such a mind; namely, as if no law nor sin had ever been at any time:—I say, it is in a manner a thing impossible, that a human creature should carry himself in such a sort, when he is and feeleth himself assaulted with trials and temptations, and when the conscience hath to do with God, as then to think no otherwise, than that from everlasting nothing hath been, but only and alone Christ, altogether grace and deliverance.
Yea, verily, Amen and Amen! For this short heroic paragraph contains the sum and substance, the heighth and the depth of all true philosophy. Most assuredly right difficult it is for us, while we are yet in the narrow chamber of death, with our faces to the dusky falsifying looking-glass that covers the scant end-side of the blind passage from floor to ceiling,—right difficult for us, so wedged between its walls that we cannot turn round, nor have other escape possible but by walking backward, to understand that all we behold or have any memory of having ever beholden, yea, our very selves as seen by us, are but shadows, and when the forms that we loved vanish, impossible not to feel as if they were real.


Ib. p. 197.
Nothing that is good proceedeth out of the works of the law, except grace be present; for what we are forced to do, the same goeth not from the heart, neither is acceptable.
A law supposes a law-giver, and implies an actuator and executor, and consequently rewards and punishments publicly announced, and distinctly assigned to the deeds enjoined or forbidden; and correlatively in the subjects of the law, there are supposed, first, assurance of the being, the power, the veracity and seeingness of the law-giver, in whom I here comprise the legislative, judicial and executive functions; and secondly, self-interest, desire, hope and fear. Now from this view, it is evident that the deeds or works of the Law are themselves null and dead, deriving their whole significance from their attachment or alligation to the rewards and punishments, even as this diversely shaped and ink colored paper has its value wholly from the words or meanings, which have been arbitrarily connected therewith; or as a ladder, or flight of stairs, of a provision-loft, or treasury. If the architect or master of the house had chosen to place the store-room or treasury on the ground floor, the ladder or steps would have been useless. The life is divided between the rewards and punishments on the one hand, and the hope and fear on the other: namely, the active life or excitancy belongs to the former, the passive life or excitability to the latter. Call the former the afficients, the latter the affections, the deeds being merely the signs or impresses of the former, as the seal, on the latter as the wax. Equally evident is it, that the affections are wholly formed by the deeds, which are themselves but the lifeless unsubstantial shapes of the actual forms (formæ formantes), namely, the rewards and punishments. Now contrast with this the process of the Gospel. There the affections are formed in the first instance, not by any reference to works or deeds, but by an unmerited rescue from death, liberation from slavish task-work; by faith, gratitude, love, and affectionate contemplation of the exceeding goodness and loveliness of the Saviour, Redeemer, Benefactor: from the affections flow the deeds, or rather the affections overflow in the deeds, and the rewards are but a continuance and continued increase of the free grace in the state of the soul and in the growth and gradual perfecting of that state, which are themselves gifts of the same free grace, and one with the rewards; for in the kingdom of Christ which is the realm of love and inter-community, the joy and grace of each regenerated spirit becomes double, and thereby augments the joys and the graces of the others, and the joys and graces of all unite in each;—Christ, the head, and by his Spirit the bond, or unitive copula of all, being the spiritual sun whose entire image is reflected in every individual of the myriads of dew-drops. While under the Law, the all was but an aggregate of subjects, each striving after a reward for himself, —not as included in and resulting from the state,—but as the stipulated wages of the task-work, as a loaf of bread may be the pay or bounty promised for the hewing of wood or the breaking of stones!


Ib.
He (said Luther), that will dispute with the Devil, &c.
Queries.
  1. Abstractedly from, and independently of, all sensible substances, and the bodies, wills, faculties, and affections of men, has the Devil, or would the Devil have, a personal self-subsistence? Does he, or can he, exist as a conscious individual agent or person? Should the answer to this query be in the negative: then—
  1. Do there exist finite and personal beings, whether with composite and decomponible bodies, that is, embodied, or with simple and indecomponible bodies, (which is all that can be meant by disembodied as applied to finite creatures), so eminently wicked, or wicked and mischievous in so peculiar a kind, as to constitute a distinct genus of beings under the name of devils?
  1. Is this second hypothesis compatible with the acts and functions attributed to the Devil in Scripture? O! to have had these three questions put by Melancthon to Luther, and to have heard his reply!


Ib. p. 200.
If (said Luther) God should give unto us a strong and an unwavering faith, then we should he proud, yea also, we should at last contemn Him. Again, if he should give us the right knowledge of the law, then we should be dismayed and fainthearted, we should not know which way to wind ourselves.
The main reason is, because in this instance, the change in the relation constitutes the difference of the things. A. considered as acting ab extra on the selfish fears and desires of men is the Law: the same A: acting ab intra as a new nature infused by grace, as the mind of Christ prompting to all obedience, is the Gospel. Yet what Luther says is likewise very true. Could we reduce the great spiritual truths or ideas of our faith to comprehensible conceptions, or (for the thing itself is impossible) fancy we had done so, we should inevitably be 'proud vain asses.'


Ib. p. 203.
And as to know his works and actions, is not yet rightly to know the Gospel, (for thereby we know not as yet that he hath overcome sin death and the Devil); even so likewise, it is not as yet to know the Gospel, when we know such doctrine and commandments, but when the voice soundeth, which saith, Christ is thine own with life, with doctrine, with works, death, resurrection, and with all that he hath, doth and may do.
Most true.


Ib. p. 205.
The ancient Fathers said: Distingue tempora et concordabis Scripturas; distinguish the times; then may we easily reconcile the Scriptures together.
Yea! and not only so, but we shall reconcile truths, that seem to repeal this or that passage of Scripture, with the Scriptures. For Christ is with his Church even to the end.


Ib.
I verily believe, (said Luther) it (the abolition of the Law) vexed to the heart the beloved St. Paul himself before his conversion.
How dearly Martin Luther loved St. Paul! How dearly would St. Paul have loved Martin Luther! And how impossible, that either should not have done so!


Ib.
In this case, touching the distinguishing the Law from the Gospel, we must utterly expel all human and natural wisdom, reason, and understanding.
All reason is above nature. Therefore by reason in Luther, or rather in his translator, you must understand the reasoning faculty:— that is, the logical intellect, or the intellectual understanding. For the understanding is in all respects a medial and mediate faculty, and has therefore two extremities or poles, the sensual, in which form it is St. Paul's Greek: phrónaema sarkòs; and the intellectual pole, or the hemisphere (as it were) turned towards the reason. Now the reason (lux idealis seu spiritualis) shines down into the understanding, which recognizes the light, id est, lumen a luce spirituali quasi alienigenum aliquid, which it can only comprehend or describe to itself by attributes opposite to its own essential properties. Now these latter being contingency, and (for though the immediate objects of the understanding are genera et species, still they are particular genera et species) particularity, it distinguishes the formal light (lumen) (not the substantial light, lux) of reason by the attributes of the necessary and the universal; and by irradiation of this lumen or shine the understanding becomes a conclusive or logical faculty. As such it is Greek: Lógos anthrôpinos.see previous image


Ib. 206.
When Satan saith in thy heart, God will not pardon thy sins, nor be gracious unto thee, I pray (said Luther) how wilt thou then, as a poor sinner, raise up and comfort thyself, especially when other signs of God's wrath besides do beat upon thee, as sickness, poverty, &c. And that thy heart beginneth to preach and say, Behold, here thou livest in sickness, thou art poor and forsaken of every one, &c.
Oh! how true, how affectingly true is this! And when too Satan, the tempter, becomes Satan the accuser, saying in thy heart:—"This sickness is the consequence of sin, or sinful infirmity, and thou hast brought thyself into a fearful dilemma; thou canst not hope for salvation as long as thou continuest in any sinful practice, and yet thou canst not abandon thy daily dose of this or that poison without suicide. For the sin of thy soul has become the necessity of thy body, daily tormenting thee, without yielding thee any the least pleasurable sensation, but goading thee on by terror without hope. Under such evidence of God's wrath how canst thou expect to be saved?" Well may the heart cry out, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death,—from this death that lives and tyrannizes in my body?" But the Gospel answers—"There is a redemption from the body promised; only cling to Christ. Call on him continually with all thy heart, and all thy soul, to give thee strength, and be strong in thy weakness; and what Christ doth not see good to relieve thee from, suffer in hope. It may be better for thee to be kept humble and in self-abasement. The thorn in the flesh may remain and yet the grace of God through Christ prove sufficient for thee. Only cling to Christ, and do thy best. In all love and well-doing gird thyself up to improve and use aright what remains free in thee, and if thou doest ought aright, say and thankfully believe that Christ hath done it for thee." O what a miserable despairing wretch should I become, if I believed the doctrines of Bishop Jeremy Taylor in his Treatise on Repentance, or those I heard preached by Dr.——; if I gave up the faith, that the life of Christ would precipitate the remaining dregs of sin in the crisis of death, and that I shall rise in purer capacity of Christ; blind to be irradiated by his light, empty to be possessed by his fullness, naked of merit to be clothed with his righteousness!


Ib. p. 207.
The nobility, the gentry, citizens, and farmers, &c. are now become so haughty and ungodly, that they regard no ministers nor preachers; and (said Luther) if we were not holpen somewhat by great princes and persons, we could not long subsist: therefore Isaiah saith well, And kings shall be their nurses, &c.
Corpulent nurses too often, that overlay the babe; distempered nurses, that convey poison in their milk!


Chap. XIII. p. 208.
Philip Melancthon said to Luther, The opinion of St. Austin of justification (as it seemeth) was more pertinent, fit and convenient when he disputed not, than it was when he used to speak and dispute; for thus he saith, We ought to censure and hold that we are justified by faith, that is by our regeneration, or by being made new creatures. Now if it be so, then we are not justified only by faith, but by all the gifts and virtues of God given unto us. Now what is your opinion Sir? Do you hold that a man is justified by this regeneration, as is St. Austin's opinion?

Luther answered and said, I hold this, and am certain, that the true meaning of the Gospel and of the Apostle is, that we are justified before God gratis, for nothing, only by God's mere mercy, wherewith and by reason whereof, he imputeth righteousness unto us in Christ.
True; but is it more than a dispute about words? Is not the regeneration likewise gratis, only by God's mere mercy? We, according to the necessity of our imperfect understandings, must divide and distinguish. But surely justification and sanctification are one act of God, and only different perspectives of redemption by and through and for Christ. They are one and the same plant, justification the root, sanctification the flower; and (may I not venture to add?) transubstantiation into Christ the celestial fruit.


Ib. p. 210-11. Melancthon's sixth reply.
Sir! you say Paul was justified, that is, was received to everlasting life, only for mercy's sake. Against which, I say, if the piece-meal or partial cause, namely our obedience, followeth not; then we are not saved, according to these words, Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel. 1. Cor. ix.
Luther's answer.
No piecing or partial cause (said Luther) approacheth thereupto: for faith is powerful continually without ceasing; otherwise, it is no faith. Therefore what the works are, or of what value, the same they are through the honor and power of faith, which undeniably is the sun or sun-beam of this shining.
This is indeed a difficult question; and one, I am disposed to think, which can receive its solution only by the idea, or the act and fact of justification by faith self-reflected. But, humanly considered, this position of Luther's provokes the mind to ask, is there no receptivity of faith, considered as a free gift of God, prerequisite in the individual? Does faith commence by generating the receptivity of itself? If so, there is no difference either in kind or in degree between the receivers and the rejectors of the word, at the moment preceeding this reception or rejection; and a stone is a subject as capable of faith as a man. How can obedience exist, where disobedience was not possible? Surely two or three texts from St. Paul, detached from the total organismus of his reasoning, ought not to out-weigh the plain fact, that the contrary position is implied in, or is an immediate consequent of, our Lord's own invitations and assurances. Every where a something is attributed to the will2.


Chap. XIII. p. 211.
To conclude, a faithful person is a new creature, a new tree. Therefore all these speeches, which in the law are usual, belong not to this case; as to say A faithful person must do good works. Neither were it rightly spoken, to say the sun shall shine: a good tree shall bring forth good fruit, &c. For the sun shall not shine, but it doth shine by nature unbidden, it is thereunto created.
This important paragraph is obscure by the translator's ignorance of the true import of the German soll, which does not answer to our shall; but rather to our ought, that is, should do this or that,—is under an obligation to do it.


Ib. p. 213.
And I, my loving Brentius, to the end I may better understand this case, do use to think in this manner, namely, as if in my heart were no quality or virtue at all, which is called faith, and love, (as the Sophists do speak and dream thereof), but I set all on Christ, and say, my formalis justitia, that is, my sure, my constant and complete righteousness (in which is no want nor failing, but is, as before God it ought to be) is Christ my Lord and Saviour.
Aye! this, this is indeed to the purpose. In this doctrine my soul can find rest. I hope to be saved by faith, not by my faith, but by the faith of Christ in me.


Ib. p. 214.
The Scripture nameth the faithful a people of God's saints. But here one may say; the sins which daily we commit, do offend and anger God; how then can we be holy?

Answer. A mother's love to her child is much stronger than are the excrements and scurf thereof. Even so God's love towards us is far stronger than our filthiness and uncleanness.

Yea, one may say again, we sin without ceasing, and where sin is, there the holy Spirit is not: therefore we are not holy, because the holy Spirit is not in us, who maketh holy.

Answer. (John xvi. 14.) Now where Christ is, there is the holy Spirit. The text saith plainly, The holy Ghost shall glorify me, &c. Now Christ is in the faithful (although they have and feel sins, do confess the same, and with sorrow of heart do complain thereover); therefore sins do not separate Christ from those that believe.
All in this page is true, and necessary to be preached. But O! what need is there of holy prudence to preach it aright, that is, at right times to the right ears! Now this is when the doctrine is necessary and thence comfortable; but where it is not necessary, but only very comfortable, in such cases it would be a narcotic poison, killing the soul by infusing a stupor or counterfeit peace of conscience. Where there are no sinkings of self-abasement, no griping sense of sin and worthlessness, but perhaps the contrary, reckless confidence and self-valuing for good qualities supposed an overbalance for the sins,—there it is not necessary. In short, these are not the truths, that can be preached Greek: eukaírôs akaírôs in season and out of season. In declining life, or at any time in the hour of sincere humiliation, these truths may be applied in reference to past sins collectively; but a Christian must not, a true however infirm Christian will not, cannot, administer them to himself immediately after sinning; least of all immediately before. We ought fervently to pray thus:—"Most holy and most merciful God! by the grace of thy holy Spirit make these promises profitable to me, to preserve me from despairing of thy forgiveness through Christ my Saviour! But O! save me from presumptuously perverting them into a pillow for a stupified conscience! Give me grace so to contrast my sin with thy transcendant goodness and long-suffering love, as to hate it with an unfeigned hatred for its own exceeding sinfulness."


Ib. p. 219-20.
Faith is, and consisteth in, a person's understanding, but hope consisteth in the will. * * Faith inditeth, distinguisheth and teacheth, and it is the knowledge and acknowledgment. * * Faith fighteth against error and heresies, it proveth, censureth and judgeth the spirits and doctrines. * * Faith in divinity is the wisdom and providence, and belongeth to the doctrine. * * Faith is the dialectica, for it is altogether wit and wisdom.
Luther in his Postills discourseth far better and more genially of faith than in these paragraphs. Unfortunately, the Germans have but one word for faith and belief—Glaube, and what Luther here says, is spoken of belief. Of faith he speaks in the next article but one.


Ib. p. 226.
"That regeneration only maketh God's children.

The article of our justification before God (said Luther) is, as it useth to be with a son which is born an heir of all his father's goods, and cometh not thereunto by deserts."
I will here record my experience. Ever when I meet with the doctrine of regeneration and faith and free grace simply announced— "So it is!"—then I believe; my heart leaps forth to welcome it. But as soon as an explanation nation or reason is added, such explanations, namely, and reasonings as I have any where met with, then my heart leaps back again, recoils, and I exclaim, Nay! Nay! but not so.

25th of September, 1819.


Ib. p. 227.
"Doctor Carlestad (said Luther) argueth thus: True it is that faith justifieth, but faith is a work of the first commandment; therefore it justifieth as a work. Moreover all that the Law commandeth, the same is a work of the Law. Now faith is commanded, therefore faith is a work of the Law. Again, what God will have the same is commanded: God will have faith, therefore faith is commanded."

"St. Paul (said Luther) speaketh in such sort of the law, that he separateth it from the promise, which is far another thing than the law. The law is terrestrial, but the promise is celestial.

"God giveth the law to the end we may thereby be roused up and made pliant; for the commandments do go and proceed against the proud and haughty, which contemn God's gifts; now a gift or present cannot be a commandment."

"Therefore we must answer according to this rule, Verba sunt accipienda secundum subjectam materiam. * * St. Paul calleth that the work of the law, which is done and acted through the knowledge of the law by a constrained will without the holy Spirit; so that the same is a work of the law, which the law earnestly requireth and strictly will have done; it is not a voluntary work, but a forced work of the rod."
And wherein did Carlestad and Luther differ? Not at all, or essentially and irreconcilably, according as the feeling of Carlestad was. If he meant the particular deed, the latter; if the total act, the agent included, then the former.


Chap. XIV. p. 230.
"The love towards the neighbour (said Luther) must be like a pure chaste love between bride and bridegroom, where all faults are connived at, covered and borne with, and only the virtues regarded."
In how many little escapes and corner-holes does the sensibility, the fineness, (that of which refinement is but a counterfeit, at best but a reflex,) the geniality of nature appear in this son of thunder! O for a Luther in the present age! Why, Charles3! with the very handcuffs of his prejudices he would knock out the brains (nay, that is impossible, but,) he would split the skulls of our Cristo-galli, translate the word as you like:—French Christians, or coxcombs!


Ib. p. 231-2.
"Let Witzell know, (said Luther) that David's wars and battles, which he fought, were more pleasing to God than the fastings and prayings of the best, of the honestest, and of the holiest monks and friars; much more than the works of our new ridiculous and superstitious friars."
A cordial, rich and juicy speech, such as shaped itself into, and lived anew in, the Gustavus Adolphuses.


Chap. XV. p. 233-4.
"God most certainly heareth them that pray in faith, and granteth when and how he pleaseth, and knoweth most profitable for them. We must also know, that when our prayers tend to the sanctifying of his name, and to the increase and honor of his kingdom (also that we pray according to his will) then most certainly he heareth. But when we pray contrary to these points, then we are not heard; for God doth nothing against his Name, his kingdom, and his will."
Then (saith the understanding, Greek: Tò phrónaema sarkòssee previous image) what doth prayer effect? If A—prayer = B., and A + prayer = B, prayer = O. The attempt to answer this argument by admitting its invalidity relatively to God, but asserting the efficacy of prayer relatively to the pray-er or precant himself, is merely staving off the objection a single step. For this effect on the devout soul is produced by an act of God. The true answer is, prayer is an idea, and ens spirituale, out of the cognizance of the understanding.

The spiritual mind receives the answer in the contemplation of the idea, life as deitas diffusa. We can set the life in efficient motion, but not contrary to the form or type. The errors and false theories of great men sometimes, perhaps most often, arise out of true ideas falsified by degenerating into conceptions; or the mind excited to action by an inworking idea, the understanding works in the same direction according to its kind, and produces a counterfeit, in which the mind rests.

This I believe to be the case with the scheme of emanation in Plotinus. God is made a first and consequently a comparative intensity, and matter the last; the whole thence finite; and thence its conceivability. But we must admit a gradation of intensities in reality.


Chap. XVI. p. 247.
"When governors and rulers are enemies to God's word, then our duty is to depart, to sell and forsake all we have, to fly from one place to another, as Christ commandeth; we must make and prepare no uproars nor tumults by reason of the Gospel, but we must suffer all things."
Right. But then it must be the lawful rulers; those in whom the sovereign or supreme power is lodged by the known laws and constitution of the country. Where the laws and constitutional liberties of the nation are trampled on, the subjects do not lose, and are not in conscience bound to forego, their right of resistance, because they are Christians, or because it happens to be a matter of religion, in which their rights are violated. And this was Luther's opinion. Whether, if a Popish Czar shall act as our James II. acted, the Russian Greekists would be justified in doing with him what the English Protestants justifiably did with regard to James, is a knot which I shall not attempt to cut; though I guess the Russians would, by cutting their Czar's throat.


Ib.
'But no man will do this, except he be so sure of his doctrine and religion, as that, although I myself should play the fool, and should recant and deny this my doctrine and religion (which God forbid), he notwithstanding therefore would not yield, but say, "If Luther, or an angel from heaven, should teach otherwise, Let him be accursed."'
Well and nobly said, thou rare black swan! This, this is the Church. Where this is found, there is the Church of Christ, though but twenty in the whole of the congregation; and were twenty such in two hundred different places, the Church would be entire in each. Without this no Church.


Ib. p. 248.
"And he sent for one of his chiefest privy councillors, named Lord John Von Minkwitz, and said unto him; 'You have heard my father say, (running with him at tilt) that to sit upright on horseback maketh a good tilter. If therefore it be good and laudable in temporal tilting to sit upright; how much more is it now praiseworthy in God's cause to sit, to stand, and to go uprightly and just!'"
Princely. So Shakspeare would have made a Prince Elector talk. The metaphor is so grandly in character.


Chap. XVII. p. 249.
"Signa sunt subinde facta, minora; res autem et facta subinde creverunt."
A valuable remark. As the substance waxed, that is, became more evident, the ceremonial sign waned, till at length in the Eucharist the signum united itself with the significatum, and became consubstantial. The ceremonial sign, namely, the eating the bread and drinking the wine, became a symbol, that is, a solemn instance and exemplification of the class of mysterious acts, which we are, or as Christians should be, performing daily and hourly in every social duty and recreation. This is indeed to re-create the man in and by Christ. Sublimely did the Fathers call the Eucharist the extension of the Incarnation: only I should have preferred the perpetuation and application of the Incarnation.


Ib.
A bare writing without a seal is of no force.
Metaphors are sorry logic, especially metaphors from human and those too conventional usages to the ordinances of eternal wisdom.


Ib. p. 250.
Luther said, "No. A Christian is wholly and altogether sanctified. * * We must take sure hold on Baptism by faith, as then we shall be, yea, already are, sanctified. In this sort David nameth himself holy."
A deep thought. Strong meat for men. It must not be offered for milk.


Chap. xxi. p. 276.
Then I will declare him openly to the Church, and in this manner I will say: "Loving friends, I declare unto you, how that N. N. hath been admonished: first, by myself in private, afterwards also by two chaplains, thirdly, by two aldermen and churchwardens, and those of the assembly: yet notwithstanding he will not desist from his sinful kind of life. Wherefore I earnestly desire you to assist and aid me, to kneel down with me, and let us pray against him, and deliver him over to the Devil."
Luther did not mean that this should be done all at once; but that a day should be appointed for the congregation to meet for joint consultation, and according to the resolutions passed to choose and commission such and such persons to wait on the offender, and to exhort, persuade and threaten him in the name of the congregation: then, if after due time allowed, this proved fruitless, to kneel down with the minister, &c. Surely, were it only feasible, nothing could be more desirable. But alas! it is not compatible with a Church national, the congregations of which are therefore not gathered nor elected, or with a Church established by law; for law and discipline are mutually destructive of each other, being the same as involuntary and voluntary penance.


Chap. xxii. p. 290.
Wicliffe and Huss opposed and assaulted the manner of life and conversation in Popedom. But I chiefly do oppose and resist their doctrine; I affirm roundly and plainly that they teach not aright. Thereto am I called. I take the goose by the neck, and set the knife to the throat. When I can maintain that the Pope's doctrine is false, (which I have proved and maintained), then I will easily prove and maintain that their manner of life is evil.
This is a remark of deep insight: verum vere Lutheranum.


Ib. p. 291.
Ambition and pride (said Luther), are the rankest poison in the Church when they are possessed by preachers. Zuinglius thereby was misled, who did what pleased himself * * * He wrote, "Ye honorable and good princes must pardon me, in that I give you not your titles; for the glass windows are as well illustrious as ye."
One might fancy, in the Vision-of-Mirza style, that all the angry, contemptuous, haughty expressions of good and zealous men, gallant staff-officers in the army of Christ, formed a rick of straw and stubble, which at the last day is to be divided into more or fewer haycocks, according to the number of kind and unfeignedly humble and charitable thoughts and speeches that had intervened, and that these were placed in a pile, leap-frog fashion, in the narrow road to the gate of Paradise; and burst into flame as the zeal of the individual approached,—so that he must leap over and through them. Now I cannot help thinking, that this dear man of God, heroic Luther, will find more opportunities of showing his agility, and reach the gate in a greater sweat and with more blisters a parte post than his brother hero, Zuinglius. I guess that the comments of the latter on the Prophets will be found almost sterile in these tiger-lilies and brimstone flowers of polemic rhetoric, compared with the controversy of the former with our Henry VIII., his replies to the Pope's Bulls, and the like.

By the by, the joke of the 'glass windows' is lost in the translation. The German for illustrious is durchlauchtig, that is, transparent or translucent.


Ib.
When we leave to God his name, his kingdom and will, then will he also give unto us our daily bread, and will remit our sins, and deliver us from the devil and all evil. Only his honor he will have to himself.
A brief but most excellent comment on the Lord's Prayer.


Ib. p. 297.
There was never any that understood the Old Testament so well as St. Paul, except only John the Baptist.
I cannot conjecture what Luther had in his mind when he made this exception.


Chap. XXVII. p. 335.
I could wish (said Luther) that the Princes and States of the Empire would make an assembly, and hold a council and a union both in doctrine and ceremonies, so that every one might not break in and run on with such insolency and presumption according to his own brains, as already is begun, whereby many good hearts are offended.
Strange heart of man! Would Luther have given up the doctrine of justification by faith alone, had the majority of the Council decided in favor of the Arminian scheme? If not, by what right could he expect Œcolampadius or Zuinglius to recant their convictions respecting the Eucharist, or the Baptists theirs on Infant Baptism, to the same authority? In fact, the wish expressed in this passage must be considered as a mere flying thought shot out by the mood and feeling of the moment, a sort of conversational flying-fish that dropped as soon as the moisture of the fins had evaporated. The paragraph in p. 336, of what Councils ought to order, should be considered Luther's genuine opinion.


Ib. p. 337.
The council of Nice, held after the Apostles' time, (said Luther) was the very best and purest; but soon after in the time of the Emperor Constantine, it was weakened by the Arians.
What Arius himself meant, I do not know: what the modern Arians teach, I utterly condemn; but that the great council of Ariminum was either Arian or heretical I could never discover, or descry any essential difference between its decisions and the Nicene; though I seem to find a serious difference of the pseudo-Athanasian Creed from both. If there be a difference between the Councils of Nicea and Ariminum, it perhaps consists in this; —that the Nicene was the more anxious to assert the equal Divinity in the Filial subordination; the Ariminian to maintain the Filial subordination in the equal Divinity. In both there are three self-subsistent and only one self-originated: —which is the substance of the idea of the Trinity, as faithfully worded as is compatible with the necessary inadequacy of words to the expression of ideas, that is, spiritual truths that can only be spiritually discerned4.

18th August, 1826.


Chap. XXVIII. p. 347.
God's word a Lord of all Lords.
Luther every where identifies the living Word of God with the written word, and rages against Bullinger, who contended that the latter is the word of God only as far as and for whom it is the vehicle of the former. To this Luther replies: "My voice, the vehicle of my words, does not cease to be my voice, because it is ignorantly or maliciously misunderstood." Yea! (might Bullinger have rejoined) the instance were applicable and the argument valid, if we were previously assured that all and every part of the Old and New Testament is the voice of the divine Word. But, except by the Spirit, whence are we to ascertain this? Not from the books themselves; for not one of them makes the pretension for itself, and the two or three texts, which seem to assert it, refer only to the Law and the Prophets, and no where enumerate the books that were given by inspiration: and how obscure the history of the formation of the Canon, and how great the difference of opinion respecting its different parts, what scholar is ignorant?


Chap. XXIX. p. 349.
Patres, quamquam sæpe errant, tamen venerandi propter testimonium fidei.
Although I learn from all this chapter, that Luther was no great Patrician, (indeed he was better employed), yet I am nearly, if not wholly of his mind respecting the works of the Fathers. Those which appear to me of any great value are valuable chiefly for those articles of Christian Faith which are, as it were, ante Christum JESUM, namely, the Trinity, and the primal Incarnation spoken of by John i, 10. But in the main I should perhaps go even farther than Luther; for I cannot conceive any thing more likely than that a young man of strong and active intellect, who has no fears, or suffers no fears of worldly prudence to cry, Halt! to him in his career of consequential logic, and who has been innutritus et juratus in the Grotio-Paleyan scheme of Christian evidence, and who has been taught by the men and books, which he has been bred up to regard as authority, to consider all inward experiences as fanatical delusions;—I say, I can scarcely conceive such a young man to make a serious study of the Fathers of the first four or five centuries without becoming either a Romanist or a Deist. Let him only read Petavius and the different Patristic and Ecclesiastico-historical tracts of Semler, and have no better philosophy than that of Locke, no better theology than that of Arminius and Bishop Jeremy Taylor, and I should tremble for his belief. Yet why tremble for a belief which is the very antipode of faith? Better for such a man to precipitate himself on to the utmost goal: for then perhaps he may in the repose of intellectual activity feel the nothingness of his prize, or the wretchedness of it; and then perhaps the inward yearning after a religion may make him ask;—"Have I not mistaken the road at the outset? Am I sure that the Reformers, Luther and the rest collectively, were fanatics?"


Ib. p. 351.
Take no care what ye shall eat. As though that commandment did not hinder the carping and caring for the daily bread.
For 'caring,' read, 'anxiety!' Sit tibi curæ, non autem solicitudini, panis quotidianus.


Ib.
Even so it was with Ambrose: he wrote indeed well and purely, was more serious in writing than Austin, who was amiable and mild. * * * Fulgentius is the best poet, and far above Horace both with sentences, fair speeches and good actions; he is well worthy to be ranked and numbered with and among the poets.
Der Teufel! Surely the epithets should be reversed. Austin's mildness—the durus pater infantum! And the super-Horatian effulgence of Master Foolgentius! O Swan! thy critical cygnets are but goslings.

N.B. I have, however, since I wrote the above, heard Mr. J. Hookham Frere speak highly of Fulgentius.


Ib. p. 352.
For the Fathers were but men, and to speak the truth, their reputes and authorities did undervalue and suppress the books and writings of the sacred Apostles of Christ.
We doubtless find in the writings of the Fathers of the second century, and still more strongly in those of the third, passages concerning the Scriptures that seem to say the same as we Protestants now do. But then we find the very same phrases used of writings not Apostolic, or with no other difference than what the greater name of the authors would naturally produce; just as a Platonist would speak of Speusippus's books, were they extant, compared with those of later teachers of Platonism;—'He was Plato's nephew-had seen Plato—was his appointed successor, &c.' But in inspiration the early Christians, as far as I can judge, made no generic difference, let Lardner say what he will. Can he disprove that it was declared heretical by the Church in the second century to believe the written words of a dead Apostle in opposition to the words of a living Bishop, seeing that the same spirit which guided the Apostles dwells in and guides the Bishops of the Church? This at least is certain, that the later the age of the writer, the stronger the expression of comparative superiority of the Scriptures; the earlier, on the other hand, the more we hear of the Symbolum, the Regula Fidei, the Creed.


Chap. XXXII. p. 362.
The history of the Prophet Jonas is so great that it is almost incredible; yea, it soundeth more strange than any of the poets' fables, and (said Luther) if it stood not in the Bible, I should take it for a lie.
It is quite wonderful that Luther, who could see so plainly that the book of Judith was an allegoric poem, should have been blind to the book of Jonas being an apologue, in which Jonah means the Israelitish nation.


Ib. p. 364.
For they entered into the garden about the hour at noon day, and having appetites to eat, she took delight in the apple; then about two of the clock, according to our account, was the fall.
Milton has adopted this notion in the Paradise Lost—not improbably from this book.


Ib. p. 365.
David made a Psalm of two and twenty parts, in each of which are eight verses, and yet in all is but one kind of meaning, namely, he will only say, Thy law or word is good.
I have conjectured that the 119th Psalm might have been a form of ordination, in which a series of candidates made their prayers and profession in the open Temple before they went to the several synagogues in the country.


Ib.
But (said Luther) I say, he did well and right thereon: for the office of a magistrate is to punish the guilty and wicked malefactors. He made a vow, indeed, not to punish him, but that is to be understood, so long as David lived.
O Luther! Luther! ask your own heart if this is not Jesuit morality.


Chap. XXXIII. v. 367.
I believe (said Luther) the words of our Christian belief were in such sort ordained by the Apostles, who were together, and made this sweet Symbolum so briefly and comfortable.
It is difficult not to regret that Luther had so superficial a knowledge of Ecclesiastical antiquities: for example, his belief in this fable of the Creed having been a picnic contribution of the twelve Apostles, each giving a sentence. Whereas nothing is more certain than that it was the gradual product of three or four centuries.


Chap. XXXIV. p. 369.
An angel (said Luther) is a spiritual creature created by God without a body for the service of Christendom, especially in the office of the Church.
What did Luther mean by a body? For to me the word seemeth capable of two senses, universal and special:—first, a form indicating to A. B. C. &c., the existence and finiteness of some one other being demonstrative as hic, and disjunctive as hic et non ille; and in this sense God alone can be without body: secondly, that which is not merely hic distinctive, but divisive; yea, a product divisible from the producent as a snake from its skin, a precipitate and death of living power; and in this sense the body is proper to mortality, and to be denied of spirits made perfect as well as of the spirits that never fell from perfection, and perhaps of those who fell below mortality, namely, the devils.

But I am inclined to hold that the Devil has no one body, nay, no body of his own; but ceaselessly usurps or counterfeits bodies; for he is an everlasting liar, yea, the lie which is the colored shadow of the substance that intercepts the truth.


Ib. p. 370.
The devils are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark pooly places, ready to hurt and prejudice people, &c.


"The angel's like a flea,
The devil is a bore;—"
No matter for that! quoth S.T.C.
I love him the better therefore.
Yes! heroic Swan, I love thee even when thou gabbiest like a goose; for thy geese helped to save the Capitol.


Ib. p. 371.
I do verily believe (said Luther) that the day of judgment draweth near, and that the angels prepare themselves for the fight and combat, and that within the space of a few hundred years they will strike down both Turk and Pope into the bottomless pit of hell.
Yea! two or three more such angels as thyself, Martin Luther, and thy prediction would be, or perhaps would now have been, accomplished.


Chap. XXXV. p. 388.
Cogitations of the understanding do produce no melancholy, but the cogitations of the will cause sadness; as, when one is grieved at a thing, or when one doth sigh and complain, there are melancholy and sad cogitations, but the understanding is not melancholy.
Even in Luther's lowest imbecilities what gleams of vigorous good sense! Had he understood the nature and symptoms of indigestion together with the detail of subjective seeing and hearing, and the existence of mid-states of the brain between sleeping and waking, Luther would have been a greater philosopher; but would he have been so great a hero? I doubt it. Praised be God whose mercy is over all his works; who bringeth good out of evil, and manifesteth his wisdom even in the follies of his servants, his strength in their weakness!


Ib. p. 389.
Whoso prayeth a Psalm shall be made thoroughly warm.
Expertus credo.

19th Aug. 1826.

I have learnt to interpret for myself the imprecating verses of the Psalms of my inward and spiritual enemies, the old Adam and all his corrupt menials; and thus I am no longer, as I used to be, stopped or scandalized by such passages as vindictive and anti-Christian.


Ib.
The Devil (said Luther) oftentimes objected and argued against me the whole cause which, through God's grace, I lead. He objecteth also against Christ. But better it were that the Temple brake in pieces than that Christ should therein remain obscure and hid.
Sublime!


Ib.
In Job are two chapters concerning Behemoth the whale, that by reason of him no man is in safety. * * These are colored words and figures whereby the Devil is signified and showed.
A slight mistake of brother Martin's. The Behemoth of Job is beyond a doubt neither whale nor devil, but, I think, the hippopotamus; who is indeed as ugly as the devil, and will occasionally play the devil among the rice-grounds; but though in this respect a devil of a fellow, yet on the whole he is too honest a monster to be a fellow of devils. Vindiciæ Behemoticæ.


Chap. XXXVI. p. 390.
Of Witchcraft.
It often presses on my mind as a weighty argument in proof of at least a negative inspiration, an especial restraining grace, in the composition of the Canonical books, that though the writers individually did (the greater number at least) most probably believe in the objective reality of witchcraft, yet no such direct assertions as these of Luther's, which would with the vast majority of Christians have raised it into an article of faith, are to be found in either Testament. That the Ob and Oboth of Moses are no authorities for this absurd superstition, has been unanswerably shewn by Webster5.


Chap. XXXVII. p. 398.
To conclude, (said Luther), I never yet knew a troubled and perplexed man, that was right in his own wits.
A sound observation of great practical utility. Edward Irving should be aware of this in dealing with conscience-troubled (but in fact fancy-vexed) women.


Ib.
It was not a thorn in the flesh touching the unchaste love he bore towards Tecla, as the Papists dream.
I should like to know how high this strange legend can be traced. The other tradition that St. Paul was subject to epileptic fits, has a less legendary character. The phrase thorn in the flesh is scarcely reconcilable with Luther's hypothesis, otherwise than as doubts of the objectivity of his vision, and of his after revelations may have been consequences of the disease, whatever that might be.


Ib. p. 399.
Our Lord God doth like a printer, who setteth the letters backwards; we see and feel well his setting, but we shall see the print yonder in the life to come.
A beautiful simile. Add that even in this world the lives, especially the autobiographies, of eminent servants of Christ, are like the looking-glass or mirror, which, reversing the types, renders them legible to us.


Ib. p. 403.
Indignus sum, sed dignus fui—creari a Deo, &c. Although I am unworthy, yet nevertheless I have been worthy, in that I am created of God, &c.
The translation does not give the true sense of the Latin. It should be was and to be. The dignus fui has here the sense of dignum me habuit Deus. See Herbert's little poem in the Temple:
Sweetest Saviour, if my soul
Were but worth the having,
Quickly should I then control
Any thought of waving;
But when all my care and pains
Cannot give the name of gains
To thy wretch so full of stains,
What delight or hope remains?


Ib. p. 404.
The chiefest physic for that disease (but very hard and difficult it is to be done) is, that they firmly hold such cogitations not to be theirs, but that most sure and certain they come of the Devil.
More and more I understand the immense difference between the Faith-article of the Devil Greek: tou Ponaeroù and the superstitious fancy of devils: animus objectivus dominationem in Greek: tòn Eimìsee previous image affectans; Greek: oútos tò méga órganon
Diabólou hypárcheisee previous image.


Chap. XLIV. p. 431.
I truly advise all those (said Luther) who earnestly do affect the honor of Christ and the Gospel, that they would be enemies to Erasmus Roterodamus, for he is a devaster of religion. Do but read only his dialogue De Peregrinatione, where you will see how he derideth and flouteth the whole religion, and at last concludeth out of single abominations, that he rejecteth religion, &c.
Religion here means the vows and habits of the religious or those bound to a particular life;—the monks, friars, nuns, in short, the regulars in contradistinction from the laity and the secular Clergy.


Ib. p. 432.
Erasmus can do nothing but cavil and flout, he cannot confute. If (said Luther) I were a Papist, so could I easily overcome and beat him. For although he flouteth the Pope with his ceremonies, yet he neither hath confuted nor overcome him; no enemy is beaten nor overcome with mocking, jeering, and flouting.
Most true; but it is an excellent pioneer and an excellent corps de reserve, cavalry for pursuit, and for clearing the field of battle, and in the first use Luther was greatly obliged to Erasmus. But such utter unlikes cannot but end in dislikes, and so it proved between Erasmus and Luther. Erasmus, might the Protestants say, wished no good to the Church of Rome, and still less to our party: it was with him Rot her and Dam us!


Chap. XLVIII. p. 442.
David's example is full of offences, that so holy a man, chosen of God, should fall into such great abominable sins and blasphemies; when as before he was very fortunate and happy, of whom all the bordering kingdoms were afraid, for God was with him.
If any part of the Old Testament be typical, the whole life and character of David, from his birth to his death, are eminently so. And accordingly the history of David and his Psalms, which form a most interesting part of his history, occupies as large a portion of the Old Testament as all the others. The type is two-fold-now of the Messiah, now of the Church, and of the Church in all its relations, persecuted, victorious, backsliding, penitent. N.B. I do not find David charged with any vices, though with heavy crimes. So it is with the Church. Vices destroy its essence.


Ib.
The same was a strange kind of offence (said Luther) that the world was offended at him who raised the dead, who made the blind to see, and the deaf to hear, &c.
Our Lord alluded to the verse that immediately follows and completes his quotations from Isaiah6. I, Jehovah, will come and do this. That he implicitly declared himself the Jehovah, the Word,—this was the offence.


Chap. XLIX. p. 443.
God wills, may one say, that we should serve him freewillingly, but he that serveth God out of fear of punishment of hell, or out of a hope and love of recompence, the same serveth and honoreth God not freely; therefore such a one serveth God not uprightly nor truly.

Answer. This argument (said Luther) is Stoical, &c.
A truly wise paragraph. Pity it was not expounded. God will accept our imperfections, where their face is turned toward him, on the road to the glorious liberty of the Gospel.


Chap. L. p. 446.
It is the highest grace and gift of God to have an honest, a God-fearing, housewifely consort, &c. But God thrusteth many into the state of matrimony before they be aware and rightly bethink themselves.

The state of matrimony (said Luther) is the chiefest state in the world after religion, &c.
Alas! alas! this is the misery of it, that so many wed and so few are Christianly married! But even in this the analogy of matrimony to the religion of Christ holds good: for even such is the proportion of nominal to actual Christians;—all christened, how few baptized! But in true matrimony it is beautiful to consider, how peculiarly the marriage state harmonizes with the doctrine of justification by free grace through faith alone. The little quarrels, the imperfections on both sides, the occasional frailties, yield to the one thought,— there is love at the bottom. If sickness or other sorer calamity visit me, how would the love then blaze forth! The faults are there, but they are not imprinted. The prickles, the acrid rind, the bitterness or sourness, are transformed into the ripe fruit, and the foreknowledge of this gives the name and virtue of the ripe fruit to the fruit yet green on the bough.


Ib. p. 447.
The causers and founders of matrimony are chiefly God's commandments, &c. It is a state instituted by God himself, visited by Christ in person, and presented with a glorious present; for God said, It is not good that the man should be alone: therefore the wife should be a help to the husband, to the end that human generations may be increased, and children nurtured to God's honour, and to the profit of people and countries; also to keep our bodies in sanctification.
(Add) and in mutual reverence, our spirits in a state of love and tenderness; and our imaginations pure and tranquil.

In a word, matrimony not only preserveth human generations so that the same remain continually, but it preserveth the generations human.


Ib. p. 450.
In the synod at Leipzig the lawyers concluded that secret contractors should be punished with banishment and be disinherited. Whereupon (said Luther) I sent them word that I would not allow thereof, it were too gross a proceeding, &c. But nevertheless I hold it fitting, that those which in such sort do secretly contract themselves, ought sharply to be reproved, yea, also in some measure severely punished.
What a sweet union of prudence and kind nature! Scold them sharply, and perhaps let them smart a while for their indiscretion and disobedience; and then kiss and make it up, remembering that young folks will be young folks, and that love has its own law and logic.


Chap. LIX. p. 481.
The presumption and boldness of the sophists and School-divines is a very ungodly thing, which some of the Fathers also approved of and extolled; namely of spiritual significations in the Holy Scripture, whereby she is pitifully tattered and torn in pieces. It is an apish work in such sort to juggle with Holy Scripture: it is no otherwise than if I should discourse of physic in this manner: the fever is a sickness, rhubarb is the physic. The fever signified! the sins —rhubarb is Jesus Christ, &c.

Who seeth not here (said Luther) that such significations are mere juggling tricks? Even so and after the same manner are they deceived that say, Children ought to be baptized again, because they had not faith.
For the life of me, I cannot find the 'even so' in this sentence. The watchman cries, 'half-past three o'clock.' Even so, and after the same manner, the great Cham of Tartary has a carbuncle on his nose.


Chap. LX. p. 483.
George in the Greek tongue, is called a builder, that buildeth countries and people with justice and righteousness, &c.
A mistake for a tiller or boor, from Bauer, bauen. The latter hath two senses, to build and to bring into cultivation.


Chap. LXX. p. 503.
I am now advertised (said Luther) that a new astrologer is risen, who presumeth to prove that the earth moveth and goeth about, not the firmament, the sun and moon, nor the stars; like as when one who sitteth in a coach or in a ship and is moved, thinketh he sitteth still and resteth, but the earth and the trees go, run, and move themselves. Therefore thus it goeth, when we give up ourselves to our own foolish fancies and conceits. This fool will turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down, but the Scripture sheweth and teacheth him another lesson, when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
There is a similar, but still more intolerant and contemptuous anathema of the Copernican system in Sir Thomas Brown, almost two centuries later than Luther.

Though the problem is of no difficult solution for reflecting minds, yet for the reading many it would be a serviceable work, to bring together and exemplify the causes of the extreme and universal credulity that characterizes sundry periods of history (for example, from A.D. 1400 to A.D. 1650): and credulity involves lying and delusion—for by a seeming paradox liars are always credulous, though credulous persons are not always liars; although they most often are.

It would be worth while to make a collection of the judgments of eminent men in their generation respecting the Copernican or Pythagorean scheme. One writer (I forget the name) inveighs against it as Popery, and a Popish stratagem to reconcile the minds of men to Transubstantiation and the Mass. For if we may contradict the evidence of our senses in a matter of natural philosophy, a fortiori, or much more, may we be expected to do so in a matter of faith.

In my Noetic, or Doctrine and Discipline of Ideas = logice, Organon—I purpose to select some four, five or more instances of the sad effects of the absence of ideas in the use of words and in the understanding of truths, in the different departments of life; for example, the word body, in connection with resurrection-men, &c.—and the last instances, will (please God!) be the sad effects on the whole system of Christian divinity. I must remember Asgill's book7.

Religion necessarily, as to its main and proper doctrines, consists of ideas, that is, spiritual truths that can only be spiritually discerned, and to the expression of which words are necessarily inadequate, and must be used by accommodation. Hence the absolute indispensability of a Christian life, with its conflicts and inward experiences, which alone can make a man to answer to an opponent, who charges one doctrine as contradictory to another,—"Yes! it is a contradiction in terms; but nevertheless so it is, and both are true, nay, parts of the same truth."—But alas! besides other evils there is this,—that the Gospel is preached in fragments, and what the hearer can recollect of the sum total of these is to be his Christian knowledge and belief. This is a grievous error. First, labour to enlighten the hearer as to the essence of the Christian dispensation, the grounding and pervading idea, and then set it forth in its manifold perspective, its various stages and modes of manifestation. In this as in almost all other qualities of a preacher of Christ, Luther after Paul and John is the great master. None saw more clearly than he, that the same proposition, which, addressed to a Christian in his first awakening out of the death of sin was a most wholesome, nay, a necessary, truth, would be a most condemnable Antinomian falsehood, if addressed to a secure Christian boasting and trusting in his faith—yes, in his own faith, instead of the faith of Christ communicated to him.

I cannot utter how dear and precious to me are the contents of pages 197-199, to line 17, of this work, more particularly the section headed:
How we ought to carry ourselves towards the Law's accusations.
Add to these the last two sections of p. 2018. the last touching St. Austin's opinion9 especially. Likewise, the first half of p. 20210. But indeed the whole of the 12th chapter 'Of the Law and the Gospel' is of inestimable value to a serious and earnest minister of the Gospel. Here he may learn both the orthodox faith, and a holy prudence in the time and manner of preaching the same. July, 1829.





Footnote 1:   Doctoris Martini Lutheri Colloquia Mensalia: or Dr. Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at his Table, &c. Collected first together by Dr. Antonius Lauterbach, and afterwards disposed into certain common-places by John Aurifaber, Doctor in Divinity. Translated by Capt. Henry Bell. Folio London, 1652.
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Footnote 2:   N. B. I should not have written the above note in my present state of light;—not that I find it false, but that it may have the effect of falsehood by not going deep enough. July, 1829.
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Footnote 3:   Charles Lamb.—Ed.
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Footnote 4:  
"Out of the number of 400, there were but 80 Arians at the utmost. The other 320 and more were really orthodox men, induced by artifices to subscribe a Creed which they understood in a good sense, but which, being worded in general terms, was capable of being perverted to a bad one."
Waterland, Vindication, &c., c. vi.—Ed.
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Footnote 5:   The Displaying of supposed Witchcraft, &c. London. folio. 1677. Ed.
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Footnote 6:   Isaiah xxxv. 4. lxi 1. Ed. Luke iv. 18, 19.
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Footnote 7:  
"An argument proving that, according to the covenant of eternal life, revealed in the Scriptures, man may be translated from hence, without passing through death, although the human nature of Christ himself could not be thus translated, till he had passed through death."
See Table Talk. 2nd Edit. p. 127. Ed.
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Footnote 8:   We must preach the Law (said Luther) for the sakes of the evil and wicked, &c.
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Footnote 9:   The opinion of St. Austin is (said Luther) that the Law which through human strength, natural understanding and wisdom is fulfilled, justifieth not, &c.
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Footnote 10:   Whether we should preach only of God's grace and mercy or not. From "Philip Melancthon demanded of Luther"—to "yet we must press through, and not suffer ourselves to recoil."
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Contents / Index




Notes on The Life of St. Theresa1


Pref. Part I. p. 51. Letter of Father Avila to Mother Teresa de Jesu.
Persons ought to beseech our Lord not to conduct them by the way of seeing; but that the happy sight of him and of his saints be reserved for heaven; and that, here he would conduct them in the plain, beaten road, &c. * * But if, doing all this, the visions continue, and the soul reaps profit thereby, &c.
In what other language could a young woman check while she soothed her espoused lover, in his too eager demonstrations of his passion? And yet the art of the Roman priests,—to keep up the delusion as serviceable, yet keep off those forms of it most liable to detection, by medical commentary!


Life, Part I. Chap. IV. p. 15.
But our Lord began to regale me so much by this way, that he vouchsafed me the favor to give me quiet prayer; and sometimes it came so far as to arrive at union; though I understood neither the one nor the other, nor how much they both deserve to be prized. But I believe it would have been a great deal of happiness for me to have understood them. True it is, that this union rested with me for so short a time, that perhaps it might arrive to be but as of an Ave Maria; yet I remained with so very great effects thereof, that with not being then so much as twenty years old, methought I found the whole world under my feet.



Dreams, the soul herself forsaking;
Fearful raptures; childlike mirth.
Silent adorations, making
A blessed shadow of this earth!


Ib. Chap. V. p. 24.
I received also the blessed Sacrament with many tears; though yet, in my opinion, they were not shed with that sense and grief, for only my having offended God, which might have served to save my soul; if the error into which I was brought by them who told me that some things were not mortal sins, (which afterward I saw plainly that they were) might not somewhat bestead me. *** Methinks, that without doubt my soul might have run a hazard of not being saved, if I had died then.
Can we wonder that some poor hypochondriasts and epileptics have believed themselves possessed by, or rather to be the Devil himself, and so spoke in this imagined character, when this poor afflicted spotless innocent could be so pierced through with fanatic pre-conceptions, as to talk in this manner of her mortal sins, and their probable eternal punishment;—and this too, under the most fervent sense of God's love and mercy!


Ib. p. 43.
True it is, that I am both the most weak, and the most wicked of any living.
What is the meaning of these words, that occur so often in the works of great saints? Do they believe them literally? Or is it a specific suspension of the comparing power and the memory, vouchsafed them as a gift of grace?—a gift of telling a lie without breach of veracity—a gift of humility indemnifying pride.


Ib. Chap. VIII. p. 44.
I have not without cause been considering and reflecting upon this life of mine so long, for I discern well enough that nobody will have gust to look upon a thing so very wicked.
Again! Can this first sentence be other than madness or a lie? For observe, the question is not, whether Teresa was or was not positively very wicked; but whether according to her own scale of virtue she was most and very wicked comparatively. See post Chap. X. p. 57-8.

That relatively to the command Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect, and before the eye of his own pure reason, the best of men may deem himself mere folly and imperfection, I can easily conceive; but this is not the case in question. It is here a comparison of one man with all others of whom he has known or heard;—ergo, a matter of experience; and in this sense it is impossible, without loss of memory and judgment on the one hand, or of veracity and simplicity on the other. Besides, of what use is it? To draw off our conscience from the relation between ourselves and the perfect ideal appointed for our imitation, to the vain comparison of one individual self with other men! Will their sins lessen mine, though they were greater? Does not every man stand or fall to his own Maker according to his own being?


Ib. p. 45.
I see not what one thing there is of so many as are to be found in the whole world, wherein there is need of a greater courage than to treat of committing treason against a king, and to know that he knows it well, and yet never to go out of his presence. For howsoever it be very true that we are always in the presence of God; yet methinks that they who converse with him in prayer are in his presence after a more particular manner; for they are seeing then that he sees them; whereas others may, perhaps, remain some days in his presence, yet without remembering that he looks upon them.
A very pretty and sweet remark: truth in new feminine beauty!


In fine.

How incomparably educated was Teresa for a mystic saint, a mother of transports and fusions of spirit!
  1. A woman;
  1. Of rank, and reared delicately;
  1. A Spanish lady;
  1. With very pious parents and sisters;
  1. Accustomed in early childhood to read "with most believing heart" all the legends of saints, martyrs, Spanish martyrs, who fought against the Moors;
  1. In the habit of privately (without the knowledge of the superstitious Father) reading books of chivalry to her mother, and then all night to herself.
  1. Then her Spanish sweet-hearting, doubtless in the true Oroondates style—and with perfect innocence, as far as appears; and this giving of audience to a dying swain through a grated window, on having received a lover's messages of flames and despair, with her aversion at fifteen or sixteen years of age to shut herself up for ever in a strict nunnery, appear to have been those mortal sins, of which she accuses herself, added, perhaps to a few warm fancies of earthly love;
  1. A frame of exquisite sensibility by nature, rendered more so by a burning fever, which no doubt had some effect upon her brain, as she was from that time subject to frequent fainting fits and deliquia:
  1. Frightened at her Uncle's, by reading to him Dante's books of Hell and Judgment, she confesses that she at length resolved on nunhood because she thought it could not be much worse than Purgatory— and that purgatory here was a cheap expiation for Hell for ever;
  1. Combine these (and I have proceeded no further than the eleventh page of her life) and think, how impossible it was, but that such a creature, so innocent, and of an imagination so heated, and so well peopled should often mistake the first not painful, and in such a frame, often pleasurable approaches to deliquium for divine raptures; and join the instincts of nature acting in the body of a mind unconscious of them, in the keenly sensitive body of a mind so loving and so innocent, and what remains to be solved which the stupidity of most and the roguery of a few would not simply explain?
  1. One source it is almost criminal to have forgotten, and which p. 12. of the first Part brought back to my recollection; I mean, the effects—so super-sensual that they may easily and most venially pass for supernatural, so very glorious to human nature that, though in truth they are humanity itself in the contradistinguishing sense of that awful word, it is yet no wonder that, conscious of the sore weaknesses united in one person with this one nobler nature we attribute them to a divinity out of us, (a mistake of the sensuous imagination in its misapplication of space and place, rather than a misnomer of the thing itself, for it is verily Greek: ho theòs en haemin ho oikeios theós,) the effects, I mean, of the moral force after conquest, the state of the whole being after the victorious struggle, in which the will has preserved its perfect freedom by a vehement energy of perfect obedience to the pure or practical reason, or conscience. Thence flows in upon and fills the soul that peace which passeth understanding, a state affronted and degraded by the name of pleasure, injured and mis-represented even by that of happiness, the very corner stone of that morality which cannot even in thought be distinguished from religion, and which seems to mean religion as long as the instinctive craving, dim and dark though it may be, of the moral sense after this unknown state (known only by the bitterness where it is not) shall remain in human nature! Under all forms of positive or philosophic religion, it has developed itself, too glorious an attribute of man to be confined to any name or sect; but which, it is but truth and historical fact to say, is more especially fostered and favoured by Christianity; and its frequent appearance even under the most selfish and unchristian forms of Christianity is a stronger evidence of the divinity of that religion, than all the miracles of Brahma and Veeshnou could afford, even though they were supported with tenfold the judicial evidence of the Gospel miracles2.





Footnote 1:   The works of the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus Foundress of the Reformation of the Discalced Carmelites. Divided into two parts. Translated into English. MDCLXXV. Ed.
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Footnote 2:   London 1685.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Burnet's Life of Bishop Bedell1


1810.

p. 12-14.
Here I must add a passage, concerning which I am in doubt whether it reflected more on the sincerity, or on the understanding of the English Ambassador. The breach between the Pope and the Republic was brought very near a crisis, &c.
These pages contain a weak and unhandsome attack on Wotton, who doubtless had discovered that the presentation of the Premonition previously to the reconciliation as publicly completed, but after it had been privately agreed on, between the Court of Rome and the Senate of Venice, would embarrass the latter: whereas, delivered as it was, it shewed the King's and his minister's zeal for Protestantism, and yet supplied the Venetians with an answer not disrespectful to the king. Besides, what is there in Wotton's whole life (a man so disinterested, and who retired from all his embassies so poor) to justify the remotest suspicion of his insincerity? What can this word mean less or other than that Sir H. W. was either a crypt-Papist, or had received a bribe from the Romish party? Horrid accusations!—Burnet was notoriously rash and credulous; but I remember no other instance in which his zeal for the Reformation joined with his credulity has misled him into so gross a calumny. It is not to be believed, that Bedell gave any authority to such an aspersion of his old and faithful friend and patron, further than that he had related the fact, and that he and the minister differed in opinion as to the prudence of the measure recommended. How laxly too the story is narrated! The exact date of the recommendation by Father Paul and the divines should have been given;—then the date of the public annunciation of the reconciliation between the Pope and Venetian Republic; and lastly the day on which Wotton did present the book;—for even this Burnet leaves uncertain.


p. 26
It is true he never returned and changed his religion himself, but his son came from Spain into Ireland, when Bedell was promoted to the Bishopric of Kilmore there, and told him, that his father commanded him to thank him for the pains he was at in writing it. He said, it was almost always lying open before him, and that he had heard him say, "He was resolved to save one." And it seems he instructed his son in the true religion, for he declared himself a Protestant on his coming over.
Southey has given me a bad character of this son of the unhappy convert to the Romish Church. He became, it seems, a spy on the Roman Catholics, availing himself of his father's character among them, a crime which would indeed render his testimony null and more than null; it would be a presumption of the contrary. It is clear from his letters to Bedell that the convert was a very weak man. I owe to him, however, a complete confirmation of my old persuasion concerning Bishop Hall, whom from my first perusal of his works I have always considered as one of the blots (alas! there are too many) of the biography of the Church of England; a self-conceited, coarse-minded, persecuting, vulgar priest, and (by way of anti-climax) one of the first corrupters of and epigrammatizers of our English prose style. It is not true, that Sir Thomas Brown was the prototype of Dr. Johnson, who imitated him only as far as Sir T. B. resembles the majority of his predecessors; that is, in the pedantic preference of Latin derivations to Saxon words of the very same force. In the balance and construction of his periods Dr. Johnson has followed Hall, as any intelligent reader will discover by an attentive comparison.


p. 158
Yea, will some man say, "But that which marreth all is the opinion of merit and satisfaction." Indeed that is the School doctrine, but the conscience enlightened to know itself, will easily act that part of the Publican, who smote his breast, and said, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Alas! so far from this being the case with ninety nine out of one hundred in Spain, Italy, Sicily, and Roman Catholic Germany, it is the Gospel tenets that are the true School doctrine, that is confined to books and closets of the learned among them.


p. 161
And the like may be conceived here, since, especially, the idolatry practised under the obedience of mystical Babylon is rather in false and will-worship of the true God, and rather commended as profitable than enjoined as absolutely necessary, and the corruptions there maintained are rather in a superfluous addition than retraction in any thing necessary to salvation.
This good man's charity jarring with his love and tender recollections of Father Paul, Fulgentio, and the Venetian divines, has led him to a far, far too palliative statement of Roman idolatry. Not what the Pope has yet ventured to thunder forth from his Anti-Sinai, but what he and his satellites, the Regulars, enforce to the preclusion of all true worship, in the actual practice, life-long, of an immense majority in Spain, Italy, Bavaria, Austria, &c. &c.—this must determine the point. What they are themselves,—not what they would persuade Protestants is their essentials or Faith,—this is the main thing.


p.164
I answer, under correction of better judgments, they have the ministry of reconciliation by the communion which is given at their Ordination, being the same which our Saviour left in his Church:—whose sins ye remit, they are remitted, whose sins ye retain, they are retained.
Could Bishop Bedell believe that the mere will of a priest could have any effect on the everlasting weal or woe of a Christian! Even to the immediate disciples and Apostles could the text (if indeed it have reference to sins in our sense at all,) mean more than this,—Whenever you discover, by the spirit of knowledge which I will send unto you, repentance and faith, you shall declare remission of sins; and the sins shall be remitted;-and where the contrary exists, your declaration of exclusion from bliss shall be fulfilled? Did Christ say, that true repentance and actual faith would not save a soul, unless the priest's verbal remission was superadded?


In fine

If it were in my power I would have this book printed in a convenient form, and distributed through every house, at least, through every village and parish throughout the kingdom. A volume of thought and of moral feelings, the offspring of thought, crowd upon me, as I review the different parts of this admirable man's life and creed. Only compare his conduct to James Wadsworth (probably some ancestral relative of my honoured friend, William Wordsworth: for the same name in Yorkshire, from whence his father came, is pronounced Wadsworth) with that of the far, far too highly rated, Bishop Hall; his letter to Hall tenderly blaming his (Hall's) bitterness to an old friend mistaken, and then his letter to that friend defending Hall! What a picture of goodness! I confess, in all Ecclesiastical History I have read of no man so spotless, though of hundreds in which the biographers have painted them as masters of perfection: but the moral tact soon feels the truth.





Footnote 1:   In one of the volumes of this work used by the Editor for ascertaining the references, the following note is written by a former owner.
"October 12, 1788. Begged of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to take my salvation on herself, and obtain it for Saint Hyacinthe's sake; to whom she has promised to grant any thing, or never to refuse any thing begged for his sake."
It would be very interesting to know how far the feeling expressed in this artless effusion coexisted with a faith in the atonement and mediation of the one Lord Jesus Christ.—Ed.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Baxter's Life of himself1


1820.


Among the grounds for recommending the perusal of our elder writers, Hooker—Taylor—Baxter—in short almost any of the folios composed from Edward VI. to Charles II. I note:
  1. The overcoming the habit of deriving your whole pleasure passively from the book itself, which can only be effected by excitement of curiosity or of some passion. Force yourself to reflect on what you read paragraph by paragraph, and in a short time you will derive your pleasure, an ample portion of it, at least, from the activity of your own mind. All else is picture sunshine.
  1. The conquest of party and sectarian prejudices, when you have on the same table before you the works of a Hammond and a Baxter, and reflect how many and momentous their points of agreement, how few and almost childish the differences, which estranged and irritated these good men. Let us but imagine what their blessed spirits now feel at the retrospect of their earthly frailties, and can we do other than strive to feel as they now feel, not as they once felt? So will it be with the disputes between good men of the present day; and if you have no other reason to doubt your opponent's goodness than the point in dispute, think of Baxter and Hammond, of Milton and Taylor, and let it be no reason at all.
  1. It will secure you from the idolatry of the present times and fashions, and create the noblest kind of imaginative power in your soul, that of living in past ages; wholly devoid of which power, a man can neither anticipate the future, nor even live a truly human life, a life of reason in the present.
  1. In this particular work we may derive a most instructive lesson, that in certain points, as of religion in relation to law, the medio tutissimus ibis is inapplicable. There is no medium possible; and all the attempts, as those of Baxter, though no more required than "I believe in God through Christ," prove only the mildness of the proposer's temper, but as a rule would be equal to nothing, at least exclude only the two or three in a century that make it a matter of religion to declare themselves Atheists, or else be just as fruitful a rule for a persecutor as the most complete set of articles that could be framed by a Spanish Inquisition.

    For to 'believe,' must mean to believe aright —and 'God' must mean the true God—and 'Christ' the Christ in the sense and with the attributes understood by Christians who are truly Christians. An established Church with a Liturgy is a sufficient solution of the problem de jure magistratus. Articles of faith are in this point of view superfluous; for is it not too absurd for a man to hesitate at subscribing his name to doctrines which yet in the more awful duty of prayer and profession he dares affirm before his Maker! They are therefore in this sense merely superfluous;—not worth re-enacting, had they ever been done away with;— not worth removing now that they exist.
  1. The characteristic contradistinction between the speculative reasoners of the age before the Revolution, and those since, is this: —the former cultivated metaphysics, without, or neglecting, empirical psychology; the latter cultivate a mechanical psychology to the neglect and contempt of metaphysics. Both therefore are almost equi-distant from pure philosophy. Hence the belief in ghosts, witches, sensible replies to prayer, and the like, in Baxter and in a hundred others. See also Luther's Table Talk.
  1. The earlier part of this volume is interesting as materials for medical history. The state of medical science in the reign of Charles I. was almost incredibly low.
The saddest error of the theologians of this age is, Greek: hos émoige
dokei, the disposition to urge the histories of the miraculous actions and incidents, in and by which Christ attested his Messiahship to the Jewish eye-witnesses, in fulfilment of prophecies, which the Jewish Church had previously understood and interpreted as marks of the Messiah, before they have shewn what and how excellent the religion itself is including the miracles as for us an harmonious part of the internal or self-evidence of the religion. Alas! and even when our divines do proceed to the religion itself as to a something which no man could be expected to receive except by a compulsion of the senses, which by force of logic only is propagated from the eye witnesses to the readers of the narratives in 1820—(which logic, namely, that the evidence of a miracle is not diminished by lapse of ages, though this includes loss of documents and the like; which logic, I say, whether it be legitimate or not, God forbid that the truth of Christianity should depend on the decision!)—even when our divines do proceed to the religion itself, on what do they chiefly dwell? On the doctrines peculiar to the religion? No! these on the contrary are either evaded or explained away into metaphors, or resigned in despair to the next world where faith is to be swallowed up in certainty.

But the worst product of this epidemic error is, the fashion of either denying or undervaluing the evidence of a future state and the survival of individual consciousness, derived from the conscience, and the holy instinct of the whole human race. Dreadful is this:—for the main force of the reasoning by which this scepticism is vindicated consists in reducing all legitimate conviction to objective proof: whereas in the very essence of religion and even of morality the evidence, and the preparation for its reception, must be subjective;—Blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe. And dreadful it appears to me especially, who in the impossibility of not looking forward to consciousness after the dissolution of the body (corpus phoenomenon,) have through life found it (next to divine grace.) the strongest and indeed only efficient support against the still recurring temptation of adopting, nay, wishing the truth of Spinoza's notion, that the survival of consciousness is the highest prize and consequence of the highest virtue, and that of all below this mark the lot after death is self-oblivion and the cessation of individual being. Indeed, how a Separatist or one of any other sect of Calvinists, who confines Redemption to the comparatively small number of the elect, can reject this opinion, and yet not run mad at the horrid thought of an innumerable multitude of imperishable self-conscious spirits everlastingly excluded from God, is to me inconceivable.

Deeply am I persuaded of Luther's position, that no man can worthily estimate, or feel in the depth of his being, the Incarnation and Crucifixion of the Son of God who is a stranger to the terror of immortality as ingenerate in man, while it is yet unquelled by the faith in God as the Almighty Father.


Book I. Part I. p. 2.
But though my conscience would trouble me when I sinned, yet divers sins I was addicted to, and oft committed against my conscience; which for the warning of others I will confess here to my shame.
  1. I was much addicted when I feared correction to lie, that I might scape.
  1. I was much addicted to the excessive gluttonous eating of apples and pears, &c.
  1. To this end, and to concur with naughty boys that gloried in evil, I have oft gone into other men's orchards, and stolen their fruit, when I had enough at home, &c.
There is a childlike simplicity in this account of his sins of his childhood which is very pleasing.


Ib. p. 5, 6.
And the use that God made of books, above ministers, to the benefit of my soul made me somewhat excessively in love with good books; so that I thought I had never enough, but scraped up as great a treasure of them as I could. * * * It made the world seem to me as a carcase that had neither life nor loveliness; and it destroyed those ambitious desires after literate fame which were the sin of my childhood. * * * And for the mathematics, I was an utter stranger to them, and never could find in my heart to divert any studies that way. But in order to the knowledge of divinity, my inclination was most to logic and metaphysics, with that part of physics which treateth of the soul, contenting myself at first with a slighter study of the rest: and there had my labour and delight.
What a picture of myself!


Ib. p. 22.
In the storm of this temptation I questioned awhile whether I were indeed a Christian or an Infidel, and whether faith could consist with such doubts as I was conscious of.
One of the instances of the evils arising from the equivoque between faith and intellectual satisfaction or insight. The root of faith is in the will. Faith is an oak that may be a pollard, and yet live.


Ib.
The being and attributes of God were so clear to me, that he was to my intellect what the sun is to my eye, by which I see itself and all things.
Even so with me;—but, whether God was existentially as well as essentially intelligent, this was for a long time a sore combat between the speculative and the moral man.


Ib. p. 23.
Mere Deism, which is the most plausible competitor with Christianity, is so turned out of almost all the whole world, as if Nature made its own confession, that without a Mediator it cannot come to God.
Excellent.


Ib.
All these assistances were at hand before I came to the immediate evidences of credibility in the sacred oracles themselves.
This is as it should be; that is, the evidence a priori, securing the rational probability; and then the historical proofs of its reality. Pity that Baxter's chapters in The Saints' Rest should have been one and the earliest occasion of the inversion of this process, the fruit of which is the Grotio-Paleyan religion, or minimum of faith; the maxim being, quanto minus tanto melius.


Ib. p. 24.
And once all the ignorant rout were raging mad against me for preaching the doctrine of Original Sin to them, and telling them that infants, before regeneration, had so much guilt and corruption as made them loathsome in the eyes of God.
No wonder;—because the babe would perish without the mother's milk, is it therefore loathsome to the mother? Surely the little ones that Christ embraced had not been baptized. And yet of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.


Ib. p. 25.
Some thought that the King should not at all be displeased and provoked, and that they were not bound to do any other justice, or attempt any other reformation but what they could procure the King to be willing to. And these said, when you have displeased and provoked him to the utmost, he will be your King still. * * * The more you offend him, the less you can trust him; and when mutual confidence is gone, a war is beginning. * * * And if you conquer him, what the better are you? He will still be King. You can but force him to an agreement; and how quickly will he have power and advantage to violate that which he is forced to, and to be avenged on you all for the displeasure you have done him! He is ignorant of the advantages of a King that cannot foresee this.
This paragraph goes to make out a case in justification of the Regicides which Baxter would have found it difficult to answer. Certainly a more complete exposure of the inconsistency of Baxter's own party cannot be. For observe, that in case of an agreement with Charles all those classes, which afterwards formed the main strength of the Parliament and ultimately decided the contest in its favour, would have been politically inert, with little influence and no actual power,—I mean the Yeomanry, and the Citizens of London: while a vast majority of the Nobles and landed Gentry, who sooner or later must have become the majority in Parliament, went over to the King at once. Add to these the whole systematized force of the High Church Clergy and all the rude ignorant vulgar in high and low life, who detested every attempt at moral reform,—and it is obvious that the King could not want opportunities to retract and undo all that he had conceded under compulsion. But that neither the will was wanting, nor his conscience at all in the way, his own advocate Clarendon and others have supplied damning proofs.


Ib. p. 27.
And though Parliaments may draw up Bills for repealing laws, yet hath the King his negative voice, and without his consent they cannot do it; which though they acknowledge, yet did they too easily admit of petitions against the Episcopacy and Liturgy, and connived at all the clamors and papers which were against them.
How so? If they admitted the King's right to deny, they must admit the subject's right to entreat.


Ib.
Had they endeavoured the ejection of lay-chancellors, and the reducing of the dioceses to a narrower compass, or the setting up of a subordinate discipline, and only the correcting and reforming of the Liturgy, perhaps it might have been borne more patiently.
Did Baxter find it so himself—and when too he had the formal and recorded promise of Charles II. for it?


Ib.
But when the same men (Ussher, Williams, Morton, &c.) saw that greater things were aimed at, and episcopacy itself in danger, or their grandeur and riches at least, most of them turned against the Parliament.
This, and in this place, is unworthy of Baxter. Even he, good man, could not wholly escape the jaundice of party.


Ib. p. 34.
They said to this;—that as all the courts of justice do execute their sentences in the King's name, and this by his own law, and therefore by his authority, so much more might his Parliament do.
A very sound argument is here disguised in a false analogy, an inapplicable precedent, and a sophistical form. Courts of justice administer the total of the supreme power retrospectively, involved in the name of the most dignified part. But here a part, as a part, acts as the whole, where the whole is absolutely requisite,—that is, in passing laws; and again as B. and C. usurp a power belonging to A. by the determination of A. B. and C. The only valid argument is, that Charles had by acts of his own ceased to be a lawful King.


Ib. p. 40.
And that the authority and person of the King were inviolable, out of the reach of just accusation, judgment, or execution by law; as having no superior, and so no judge.
But according to Grotius, a king waging war against the lawful copartners of the summa potestas ceases to be their king, and if conquered forfeits to them his former share. And surely if Charles had been victor, he would have taken the Parliament's share to himself. If it had been the Parliament, and not a mere faction with the army, that tried and beheaded Charles, I do not see how any one could doubt the lawfulness of the act, except upon very technical grounds.


Ib. p. 41.
For if once legislation, the chief act of government, be denied to any part of government at all, and affirmed to belong to the people as such, who are no governors, all government will hereby be overthrown.
Here Baxter falls short of the subject, and does not see the full consequents of his own prior, most judicious, positions. Legislation in its high and most proper sense belongs to God only. A people declares that such and such they hold to be laws, that is, God's will.


Ib. p. 47.
In Cornwall Sir Richard Grenvill, having taken many soldiers of the Earl of Essex's army, sentenced about a dozen to be hanged. When they had hanged two or three, the rope broke which should have hanged the next. And they sent for new ropes so oft to hang him, and all of them still broke, that they durst go no further, but saved all the rest.
The soldiers, doubtless, contrived this from the aversion natural to Englishmen of killing an enemy in cold blood; and because they foresaw that there would be Tit for Tat.


Ib. p. 59.

It is easy to see from Baxter's own account, that his party ruined their own cause and that of the kingdom by their tenets concerning the right and duty of the civil magistrate to use the sword against such as were not of the same religion with themselves.


Ib. p. 62.
They seem not to me to have answered satisfactorily to the main argument fetched from the Apostle's own government, with which Saravia had inclined me to some Episcopacy before: though miracles and infallibility were Apostolical temporary privileges, yet Church government is an ordinary thing to be continued. And therefore as the Apostles had successors as they were preachers, I see not but that they must have successors as Church governors.
Was not Peter's sentence against Ananias an act of Church government? Therefore though Church government is an ordinary thing in some form or other, it does not follow that one particular form is an ordinary thing. For the time being the Apostles, as heads of the Church, did what they thought best; but whatever was binding on the Church universal and in all times they delivered as commands from Christ. Now no other command was delivered but that all things should conduce to order and edification.


Ib. p. 66.
And therefore how they could refuse to receive the King, till he consented to take the Covenant, I know not, unless the taking of the Covenant had been a condition on which he was to receive his crown by the laws or fundamental constitutions of the kingdom, which none pretendeth. Nor know I by what power they can add anything to the Coronation Oath or Covenant, which by his ancestors was to be taken, without his own consent.
And pray, how and by whom were the Coronation Oaths first imposed? The Scottish nation in 1650 had the same right to make a bargain with the claimant of their throne as their ancestors had. It is strange that Baxter should not have seen that his objections would apply to our Magna Charta. So he talks of the "fundamental constitutions," just as if these had been aboriginal or rather sans origin, and not as indeed they were extorted and bargained for by the people. But throughout it is plain that Baxter repeated, but never appropriated, the distinction between the King as the executive power, and as the individual functionary. What obligation lay on the Scottish Parliament and Church to consult the man Charles Stuart's personal likes and dislikes? The Oath was to be taken by him as their King. Doubtless, he equally disliked the whole Protestant interest; and if the Tories and Church of England Jacobites of a later day had recalled James II., would Baxter have thought them culpable for imposing on him an Oath to preserve the Protestant Church of England and to inflict severe penalties on his own Church-fellows?


Ib. p. 71.
And some men thought it a very hard question, whether they should rather wish the continuance of a usurper that will do good, or the restoration of a rightful governor whose followers will do hurt.
And who shall dare unconditionally condemn those who judged the former to be the better alternative? Especially those who did not adopt Baxter's notion of a jus divinum personal and hereditary in the individual, whose father had broken the compact on which the claim rested.


Ib. p. 75.
One Mrs. Dyer, a chief person of the Sect, did first bring forth a monster, which had the parts of almost all sorts of living creatures, some parts like man, but most ugly and misplaced, and some like beasts, birds and fishes, having horns, fins and claws; and at the birth of it the bed shook, and the women present fell a vomiting, and were fain to go forth of the room.
This babe of Mrs. Dyer's is no bad emblem of Richard Baxter's own credulity. It is almost an argument on his side, that nothing he believed is more strange and inexplicable than his own belief of them.


Ib. p. 76.
The third sect were the Ranters. These also made it their business, as the former, to set up the light of nature under the name of Christ in men, and to dishonour and cry down the Church, &c.
But why does Baxter every where assert the identity of the new light with the light of nature? Or what does he mean exclusively by the latter? The source must be the same in all lights as far as it is light.


Ib. p. 77.
And that was the fourth sect, the Quakers; who were but the Ranters turned from horrid profaneness and blasphemy to a life of extreme austerity on the other side.
Observe the but.


Ib.
Their doctrine is to be seen in Jacob Behmen's books by him that hath nothing else to do, than to bestow a great deal of time to understand him that was not willing to be easily understood, and to know that his bombasted words do signify nothing more than before was easily known by common familiar terms.
This is not in all its parts true. It is true that the first principles of Behmen are to be found in the writings of the Neo-Platonists after Plotinus, and (but mixed with gross impieties) in Paracelsus;—but it is not true that they are easily known, and still less so that they are communicable in common familiar terms. But least of all is it true that there is nothing original in Behmen.


Ib.
The chiefest of these in England are Dr. Pordage and his family.
It is curious that Lessing in the Review, which he, Nicolai, and Mendelssohn conducted under the form of Letters to a wounded Officer, joins the name of Pordage with that of Behmen. Was Pordage's work translated into German?


Ib. p. 79.
Also the Socinians made some increase by the ministry of one Mr. Biddle, sometimes schoolmaster in Gloucester; who wrote against the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards of Christ; whose followers inclined much to mere Deism.
For the Socinians till Biddle retained much of the Christian religion, for example, Redemption by the Cross, and the omnipresence of Christ as to this planet even as the Romanists with their Saints. Luther's obstinate adherence to the ubiquity of the Body of Christ and his or rather its real presence in and with the bread was a sad furtherance to the advocates of Popish idolatry and hierolatry.


Ib. p. 80.
Many a time have I been brought very low, and received the sentence of death in myself, when my poor, honest, praying neighbours have met, and upon their fasting and earnest prayers I have been recovered. Once when I had continued weak three weeks, and was unable to go abroad, the very day that they prayed for me, being Good Friday, I recovered, and was able to preach, and administer the Sacrament the next Lord's Day, and was better after it, &c.
Strange that the common manuals of school logic should not have secured Baxter from the repeated blunder of Cum hoc, ergo, propter hoc; but still more strange that his piety should not have revolted against degrading prayer into medical quackery.

Before the Revolution of 1688, metaphysics ruled without experimental psychology, and in these curious paragraphs of Baxter we see the effect: since the Revolution experimental psychology without metaphysics has in like manner prevailed, and we now feel the result. In like manner from Plotinus to Proclus, that is, from A. D. 250 to A. D. 450, philosophy was set up as a substitute for religion: during the dark ages religion superseded philosophy, and the consequences are equally instructive. The great maxim of legislation, intellectual or political, is Subordinate, not exclude. Nature in her ascent leaves nothing behind, but at each step subordinates and glorifies:—mass, crystal, organ, sensation, sentience, reflection.


Ib. p. 82.
Another time, as I sat in my study, the weight of my greatest folio books brake down three or four of the highest shelves, when I sat close under them, and they fell down every side me, and not one of them hit me, save one upon the arm; whereas the place, the weight, the greatness of the books was such, and my head just under them, that it was a wonder they had not beaten out my brains, &c.
Greek: Méga biblíon méga kakón.dokei


Ib. p. 84.
For all the pains that my infirmities ever brought upon me were never half so grievous an affliction to me, as the unavoidable loss of my time, which they occasioned. I could not bear, through the weakness of my stomach, to rise before seven o'clock in the morning, &c.
Alas! in how many respects does my lot resemble Baxter's; but how much less have my bodily evils been; and yet how very much greater an impediment have I suffered them to be! But verily Baxter's labours seem miracles of supporting grace. Ought I not therefore to retract the note p. 80? I waver.


Ib. p. 87.
For my part, I bless God, who gave me even under a Usurper, whom I opposed, such liberty and advantage to preach his Gospel with success, which I cannot have under a King to whom I have sworn and performed true subjection and obedience; yea, which no age since the Gospel came into this land did before possess, as far as I can learn from history. Sure I am that when it became a matter of reputation and honour to be godly, it abundantly furthered the successes of the ministry. Yea, and I shall add this much more for the sake of posterity, that as much as I have said and written against licentiousness in religion, and for the magistrate's power in it, and though I think that land most happy, whose rulers use their authority for Christ as well as for the civil peace; yet in comparison of the rest of the world, I shall think that land happy that hath but bare liberty to be as good as they are willing to be; and if countenance and maintenance be but added to liberty, and tolerated errors and sects be but forced to keep the peace, and not to oppose the substantials of Christianity, I shall not hereafter much fear such toleration, nor despair that truth will bear down adversaries.
What a valuable and citable paragraph! Likewise it is a happy instance of the force of a cherished prejudice in an honest mind—practically yielding to the truth, but yet with a speculative, "Though I still think, &c."


Ib. p. 128.
Among truths certain in themselves, all are not equally certain unto me; and even of the mysteries of the Gospel I must needs say, with Mr. Richard Hooker, that whatever some may pretend, the subjective certainty cannot go beyond the objective evidence. * * * Therefore I do more of late than ever discern the necessity of a methodical procedure in maintaining the doctrine of Christianity. * * * My certainty that I am a man is before my certainty that there is a God. * * * My certainty that there is a God is greater than my certainty that he requireth love and holiness of his creature, &c.
There is a confusion in this paragraph, which asks more than a marginal note to disentangle. Briefly, the process of acquirement is confounded with the order of the truths when acquired. A tinder spark gives light to an Argand's lamp: is it therefore more luminous?


Ib. p. 129.
And when I have studied hard to understand some abstruse admired book, as de Scientia Dei, de Providentia circa malum, de Decretis, de Prædeterminatione, de Libertate creaturæ, &c. I have but attained the knowledge of human imperfection, and to see that the author is but a man as well as I.
On these points I have come to a resting place. Let such articles, as are either to be recognized as facts, for example, sin or evil having its origination in a will; and the reality of a responsible and (in whatever sense freedom is presupposed in responsibility,) of a free will in man;—or acknowledged as laws, for example, the unconditional bindingness of the practical reason;—or to be freely affirmed as necessary through their moral interest, their indispensableness to our spiritual humanity, for example, the personeity, holiness, and moral government and providence of God;—let these be vindicated from absurdity, from self-contradiction, and contradiction to the pure reason, and restored to simple incomprehensibility. He who seeks for more, knows not what he is talking of; he who will not seek even this is either indifferent to the truth of what he professes to believe, or he mistakes a general determination not to disbelieve for a positive and especial faith, which is only our faith as far as we can assign a reason for it. O! how impossible it is to move an inch to the right or the left in any point of spiritual and moral concernment, without seeing the damage caused by the confusion of reason with the understanding.


Ib. p. 131.
My soul is much more afflicted with the thoughts of the miserable world, and more drawn out in desire of their conversion than heretofore. I was wont to look but little further than England in my prayers, as not considering the state of the rest of the world;—or if I prayed for the conversion of the Jews, that was almost all. But now as I better understand the care of the world, and the method of the Lord's Prayer, so there is nothing in the world that lieth so heavy upon my heart, as the thought of the miserable nations of the earth.
I dare not not condemn myself for the languid or dormant state of my feelings respecting the Mohammedan and Heathen nations; yet know not in what degree to condemn. The less culpable grounds of this languor are, first, my utter ignorance of God's purposes with respect to the Heathens; and second, the strong conviction, I have that the conversion of a single province of Christendom to true practical Christianity would do more toward the conversion of Heathendom than an army of Missionaries. Romanism and despotic government in the larger part of Christendom, and the prevalence of Epicurean principles in the remainder;—these do indeed lie heavy on my heart.


Ib. p. 135.
Therefore I confess I give but halting credit to most histories that are written, not only against the Albigenses and Waldenses, but against most of the ancient heretics, who have left us none of their own writings, in which they speak for themselves; and I heartily lament that the historical writings of the ancient schismatics and heretics, as they were called, perished, and that partiality suffered them not to survive, that we might have had more light in the Church affairs of those times, and been better able to judge between the Fathers and them.
It is greatly to the credit of Baxter that he has here anticipated those merits which so long after gave deserved celebrity to the name and writings of Beausobre and Lardner, and still more recently in this respect of Eichhorn, Paulus and other Neologists.


Ib. p. 136.
And therefore having myself now written this history of myself, notwithstanding my protestation that I have not in anything wilfully gone against the truth, I expect no more credit from the reader than the self-evidencing light of the matter, with concurrent rational advantages from persons, and things, and other witnesses, shall constrain him to.
I may not unfrequently doubt Baxter's memory, or even his competence, in consequence of his particular modes of thinking; but I could almost as soon doubt the Gospel verity as his veracity.


Book I. Part II. p.139.

The following Book of this Work is interesting and most instructive as an instance of Syncretism, and its Epicurean clinamen, even when it has been undertaken from the purest and most laudable motives, and from impulses the most Christian, and yet its utter failure in its object, that of tending to a common centre. The experience of eighteen centuries seems to prove that there is no practicable medium between a Church comprehensive (which is the only meaning of a Catholic Church visible) in which A. in the North or East is allowed to advance officially no doctrine different from what is allowed to B. in the South or West;—and a co-existence of independent Churches, in none of which any further unity is required but that between the minister and his congregation, while this again is secured by the election and continuance of the former depending wholly on the will of the latter.

Perhaps the best state possible, though not the best possible state, is where both are found, the one established by maintenance, the other by permission; in short that which we now enjoy. In such a state no minister of the former can have a right to complain, for it was at his own option to have taken the latter; et volenti nulla fit injuria. For an individual to demand the freedom of the independent single Church when he receives £500 a year for submitting to the necessary restrictions of the Church General, is impudence and Mammonolatry to boot.


Ib. p. 141.
They (the Erastians) misunderstood and injured their brethren, supposing and affirming them to claim as from God a coercive power over the bodies or purses of men, and so setting up imperium in imperio; whereas all temperate Christians (at least except Papists) confess that the Church hath no power of force, but only to manage God's word unto men's consciences.
But are not the receivers as bad as the thief? Is it not a poor evasion to say:—"It is true I send you to a dungeon there to rot, because you do not think as I do concerning some point of faith;—but this only as a civil officer. As a divine I only tenderly entreat and persuade you!" Can there be fouler hypocrisy in the Spanish Inquisition than this?


Ib. p. 142.
That hereby they (the Diocesan party) altered the ancient species of Presbyters, to whose office the spiritual government of their proper folks as truly belonged, as the power of preaching and worshiping God did.
I could never rightly understand this objection of Richard Baxter's. What power not possessed by the Rector of a parish, would he have wished a parochial Bishop to have exerted? What could have been given by the Legislature to the latter which might not be given to the former? In short Baxter's plan seems to do away Archbishops—Greek: koinoì
epískopoi —but for the rest to name our present Rectors and Vicars Bishops. I cannot see what is gained by his plan. The true difficulty is that Church discipline is attached to an Establishment by this world's law, not to the form itself established: and his objections from paragraph 5 to paragraph 10 relate to particular abuses, not to Episcopacy itself.


Ib. p. 143.
But above all I disliked that most of them (the Independents) made the people by majority of votes to be Church governors in excommunications, absolutions, &c., which Christ hath made an act of office; and so they governed their governors and themselves.
Is not this the case with the Houses of Legislature? The members taken individually are subjects; collectively governors.


Ib. p. 177.
The extraordinary gifts of the Apostles, and the privilege of being eye and ear witnesses to Christ, were abilities which they had for the infallible discharge of their function, but they were not the ground of their power and authority to govern the Church. * * * Potestas clavium was committed to them only, not to the Seventy.
I wish for a proof, that all the Apostles had any extraordinary gifts which none of the LXX. had. Nay as an Episcopalian of the Church of England, I hold it an unsafe and imprudent concession, tending to weaken the governing right of the Bishops. But I fear that as the law and right of patronage in England now are, the question had better not be stirred; lest it should be found that the true power of the keys is not, as with the Papists, in hands to which it is doubtful whether Christ committed them exclusively; but in hands to which it is certain that Christ did not commit them at all.


Ib. p. 179.
It followeth not a mere Bishop may have a multitude of Churches, because an Archbishop may, who hath many Bishops under him.
What then does Baxter quarrel about? That our Bishops take a humbler title than they have a right to claim;—that being in fact Archbishops, they are for the most part content to be styled as one of the brethren!


Ib. p. 185.
I say again, No Church, no Christ; for no body, no head; and if no Christ then, there is no Christ now.
Baxter here forgets his own mystical regenerated Church. If he mean this, it is nothing to the argument in question; if not, then he must assert the monstrous absurdity of, No unregenerate Church, no Christ.


Ib. p. 188.
Or if they would not yield to this at all, we might have communion with them as Christians, without acknowledging them for Pastors.
Observe the inconsistency of Baxter. No Pastor, no Church; no Church, no Christ; and yet he will receive them as Christians: much to his honor as a Christian, but not much to his credit as a logician.


Ib. p. 189.
We are agreed that as some discovery of consent on both parts (the pastors and people) is necessary to the being of the members of a political particular Church: so that the most express declaration of that consent is the most plain and satisfactory dealing, and most obliging, and likest to attain the ends.
In our Churches, especially in good livings, there is such an overflowing fullness of consent on the part of the Pastor as supplies that of the people altogether; nay, to nullify their declared dissent.


Ib. p. 194.
By the establishment of what is contained in these twelve propositions or articles following, the Churches in these nations may have a holy communion, peace and concord, without any wrong to the consciences or liberties of Presbyterians, Congregational, Episcopal, or any other Christians.
Painfully instructive are these proposals from so wise and peaceable a divine as Baxter. How mighty must be the force of an old prejudice when so generally acute a logician was blinded by it to such palpable inconsistencies! On what ground of right could a magistrate inflict a penalty, whereby to compel a man to hear what he might believe dangerous to his soul, on which the right of burning the refractory individual might not be defended as well?


Ib. p. 198.
To which ends * * I think that this is all that should be required of any Church or member ordinarily to be professed: In general I do believe all that is contained in the sacred canonical Scriptures, and particularly I believe all explicitly contained in the ancient Creed, &c.
To a man of sense, but unstudied in the context of human nature, and from having confined his reading to the writers of the present and the last generation unused to live in former ages, it must seem strange that Baxter should not have seen that this test is either all or nothing. And the Creed! Is it certain that the so called Apostles' Creed was more than the mere catechism of the Catechumens? Was it the Baptismal Creed of the Eastern or Western Church, especially the former? The only test really necessary, in my opinion, is an established Liturgy.


Ib. p. 201.
As reverend Bishop Ussher hath manifested that the Western Creed, now called the Apostles' (wanting two or three clauses that now are in it) was not only before the Nicene Creed, but of much further antiquity, that no beginning of it below the Apostles' days can be found.
Remove these two or three clauses, and doubtless the substance of the remainder must have been little short of the Apostolic age. But so is one at least of the writings of Clement. The great question is: Was this the Baptismal Symbol, the Regula Fidei, which it was forbidden to put in writing;—or was it not the Christian A. B. C. of the Catechumeni previously to their Baptismal initiation into the higher mysteries, to the strong meat which was not for babes2?


Ib. p. 203.
Not so much for my own sake as others; lest it should offend the Parliament, and open the mouths of our adversaries, that we cannot ourselves agree in fundamentals; and lest it prove an occasion for others to sue for a universal toleration.
That this apprehension so constantly haunted, so powerfully actuated, even the mild and really tolerant Baxter, is a strong proof of my old opinion,—that the dogma of the right and duty of the civil magistrate to restrain and punish religious avowals by him deemed heretical, universal among the Presbyterians and Parliamentary Churchmen, joined with the persecuting spirit of the Presbyterians,—was the main cause of Cromwell's despair and consequent unfaithfulness concerning a Parliamentary Commonwealth.


Ib. p. 222.
I tried, when I was last with you, to revive your reason by proposing to you the infallibility of the common senses of all the world; and I could not prevail though you had nothing to answer that was not against common sense. And it is impossible any thing controverted can be brought nearer you, or made plainer than to be brought to your eyes and taste and feeling; and not yours only, but all men's else. Sense goes before faith. Faith is no faith but upon supposition of sense and understanding: if therefore common sense be fallible, faith must needs be so.
This is one of those two-edged arguments, which not indeed began, but began to be fashionable, just before and after the Restoration. I was half converted to Transubstantiation by Tillotson's common senses against it; seeing clearly that the same grounds totidem verbis et syllabis would serve the Socinian against all the mysteries of Christianity. If the Roman Catholics had pretended that the phenomenal bread and wine were changed into the phenomenal flesh and blood, this objection would have been legitimate and irresistible; but as it is, it is mere sensual babble. The whole of Popery lies in the assumption of a Church, as a numerical unit, infallible in the highest degree, inasmuch as both which is Scripture, and what Scripture teaches, is infallible by derivation only from an infallible decision of the Church. Fairly undermine or blow up this: and all the remaining peculiar tenets of Romanism fall with it, or stand by their own right as opinions of individual Doctors.

An antagonist of a complex bad system,—a system, however, notwithstanding—and such is Popery,—should take heed above all things not to disperse himself. Let him keep to the sticking place. But the majority of our Protestant polemics seem to have taken for granted that they could not attack Romanism in too many places, or on too many points;—forgetting that in some they will be less strong than in others, and that if in any one or two they are repelled from the assault, the feeling of this will extend itself over the whole. Besides, what is the use of alleging thirteen reasons for a witness's not appearing in Court, when the first is that the man had died since his subpoena? It is as if a party employed to root up a tree were to set one or two at that work, while others were hacking the branches, and others sawing the trunk at different heights from the ground.

N. B. The point of attack suggested above in disputes with the Romanists is of special expediency in the present day: because a number of pious and reasonable Roman Catholics are not aware of the dependency of their other tenets on this of the infallibility of their Church decisions, as they call them, but are themselves shaken and disposed to explain it away. This once fixed, the Scriptures rise uppermost, and the man is already a Protestant, rather a genuine Catholic, though his opinions should remain nearer to the Roman than the Reformed Church.


Ib.
But methinks yet I should have hope of reviving your charity. You cannot be a Papist indeed, but you must believe that out of their Church (that is out of the Pope's dominions) there is no salvation; and consequently no justification and charity, or saving grace. And is it possible you can so easily believe your religious father to be in hell; your prudent, pious mother to be void of the love of God, and in a state of damnation, &c.
This argument ad affectum is beautifully and forcibly stated; but yet defective by the omission of the point;—not for unbelief or misbelief of any article of faith, but simply for not being a member of this particular part of the Church of Christ. For it is possible that a Christian might agree in all the articles of faith with the Roman doctors against those of the Reformation, and yet if he did not acknowledge the Pope as Christ's vicar, and held salvation possible in any other Church, he is himself excluded from salvation! Without this great distinction Lady Ann Lindsey might have replied to Baxter:—"So might a Pagan orator have said to a convert from Paganism in the first ages of Christianity; so indeed the advocates of the old religion did argue. What! can you bear to believe that Numa, Camillus, Fabricius, the Scipios, the Catos, that Cicero, Seneca, that Titus and the Antonini, are in the flames of Hell, the accursed objects of the divine hatred? Now whatever you dare hope of these as heathens, we dare hope of you as heretics."


Ib. p. 224.
But this is not the worst. You consequently anathematize all Papists by your sentence: for heresies by your own sentence cut off men from heaven: but Popery is a bundle of heresies: therefore it cuts off men from heaven. The minor I prove, &c.
This introduction of syllogistic form in a letter to a young Lady is whimsically characteristic.


Ib. p. 225.
You say, the Scripture admits of no private interpretation. But you abuse yourself and the text with a false interpretation of it in these words. An interpretation is called private either as to the subject person, or as to the interpreter. You take the text to speak of the latter, when the context plainly sheweth you that it speaks of the former. The Apostle directing them to understand the prophecies of the Old Testament, gives them this caution;—that none of these Scriptures that are spoken of Christ the public person must be interpreted as spoken of David or other private person only, of whom they were mentioned but as types of Christ, &c.
It is strange that this sound and irrefragable argument has not been enforced by the Church divines in their controversies with the modern Unitarians, as Capp, Belsham and others, who refer all the prophetic texts of the Old Testament to historical personages of their time, exclusively of all double sense.


Ib. p. 226.
As to what you say of Apostles still placed in the Church:—when any shew us an immediate mission by their communion, and by miracles, tongues, and a spirit of revelation and infallibility prove themselves Apostles, we shall believe them.
This is another of those two-edged arguments which Baxter and Jeremy Taylor imported from Grotius, and which have since become the universal fashion among Protestants. I fear, however, that it will do us more hurt by exposing a weak part to the learned Infidels than service in our combat with the Romanists. I venture to assert most unequivocally that the New Testament contains not the least proof of the linguipotence of the Apostles, but the clearest proofs of the contrary: and I doubt whether we have even as decisive a victory over the Romanists in our Middletonian, Farmerian, and Douglasian dispute concerning the miracles of the first two centuries and their assumed contrast in genere with those of the Apostles and the Apostolic age, as we have in most other of our Protestant controversies.

N. B. These opinions of Middleton and his more cautious followers are no part of our real Church doctrine. This passion for law Court evidence began with Grotius.


Ib. p. 246.
We conceived there needs no more to be said for justifying the imposition of the ceremonies by law established than what is contained in the beginning—of this Section.... Inasmuch as lawful authority hath already determined the ceremonies in question to be decent and orderly, and to serve to edification: and consequently to be agreeable to the general rules of the Word.
To a self-convinced and disinterested lover of the Church of England, it gives an indescribable horror to observe the frequency, with which the Prelatic party after the Restoration appeal to the laws as of equal authority with the express words of Scripture;—as if the laws, by them appealed to, were other than the vindictive determinations of their own furious partizans;—as if the same appeals might not have been made by Bonner and Gardiner under Philip and Mary! Why should I speak of the inhuman sophism that, because it is silly in my neighbour to break his egg at the broad end when the Squire and the Vicar have declared their predilection for the narrow end, therefore it is right for the Squire and the Vicar to hang and quarter him for his silliness:—for it comes to that.


Ib. p. 248.
To you it is indifferent before your imposition: and therefore you may without any regret of your own consciences forbear the imposition, or persuade the law makers to forbear it. But to many of those that dissent from you, they are sinful, &c.
But what is all this, good worthy Baxter, but saying and unsaying? If they are not indifferent, why did you previously concede them to be such? In short nothing can be more pitiably weak than the conduct of the Presbyterian party from the first capture of Charles I. Common sense required, either a bold denial that the Church had power in ceremonies more than in doctrines, or that the Parliament was the Church, since it is the Parliament that enacts all these things;—or if they admitted the authority lawful and the ceremonies only, in their mind, inexpedient, good God! can self-will more plainly put on the cracked mask of tender conscience than by refusal of obedience? What intolerable presumption, to disqualify as ungodly and reduce to null the majority of the country, who preferred the Liturgy, in order to force the long winded vanities of bustling God-orators on those who would fain hear prayers, not spouting!


Ib. p. 249.
The great controversies between the hypocrite and the true Christian, whether we should be serious in the practice of the religion which we commonly profess, hath troubled England more than any other;—none being more hated and divided as Puritans than those that will make religion their business, &c.
Had not the Governors had bitter proofs that there are other and more cruel vices than swearing and careless living;—and that these were predominant chiefly among such as made their religion their business?


Ib.
And whereas you speak of opening a gap to Sectaries for private conventicles, and the evil consequents to the state, we only desire you to avoid also the cherishing of ignorance and profaneness, and suppress all Sectaries, and spare not, in a way that will not suppress the means of knowledge and godliness.
The present company, that is, our own dear selves, always excepted.


Ib. p. 250.
Otherwise the poor undone Churches of Christ will no more believe you in such professions than we believed that those men intended the King's just power and greatness, who took away his life.
Or who, like Baxter, joined the armies that were showering cannon balls and bullets around his inviolable person! Whenever by reading the Prelatical writings and histories, I have had an over dose of anti-Prelatism in my feelings, I then correct it by dipping into the works of the Presbyterians, and their fellows, and so bring myself to more charitable thoughts respecting the Prelatists, and fully subscribe to Milton's assertion, that "Presbyter was but Old Priest writ large."


Ib. p. 254.
The apocryphal matter of your lessons in Tobit, Judith, Bel and the Dragon, &c., is scarce agreeable to the word of God.
Does not Jude refer to an apocryphal book?


Ib.
Our experience unresistibly convinceth us that a continued prayer doth more to help most of the people, and carry on their desires, than turning almost every petition into a distinct prayer; and making prefaces and conclusions to be near half the prayers.
This now is the very point I most admire in our excellent Liturgy. To any particular petition offered to the Omniscient, there may be a sinking of faith, a sense of its superfluity; but to the lifting up of the soul to the Invisible and there fixing it on his attributes, there can be no scruple.


Ib. p. 257.
The not abating of the impositions is the carting off of many hundreds of your brethren out of the ministry, and of many thousand Christians out of your communion; but the abating of the impositions will so offend you as to silence or excommunicate none of you at all. For example, we think it a sin to subscribe, or swear canonical obedience, or use the transient image of the Cross in Baptism, and therefore these must cast us out, &c.
As long as independent single Churches, or voluntarily synodical were forbidden and punishable by penal law, this argument remained irrefragable. The imposition of such trifles under such fearful threats was the very bitterness of spiritual pride and vindictiveness;—after the law passed by which things became as they now are, it was a mere question of expediency for the National Church to determine in relation to its own comparative interests. If the Church chose unluckily, the injury has been to itself alone.

It seems strange that such men as Baxter should not see that the use of the ring, the surplice and the like, are indifferent according to his own confession, yea, mere trifles, in comparison with the peace of the Church; but that it is no trifle, that men should refuse obedience to lawful authority in matters indifferent, and prefer the sin of schism to offending their taste and fancy. The Church did not, upon the whole, contend for a trifle, nor for an indifferent matter, but for a principle on which all order in society must depend. Still this is true only, provided the Church enacts no ordinances that are not necessary or at least plainly conducive to order or (generally) to the ends for which it is a Church. Besides, the point which the King had required them to consider was not what ordinances it was right to obey, but what it was expedient to enact or not to enact.


Ib. p. 269.
That the Pastors of the respective parishes may be allowed not only publicly to preach, but personally to catechize or otherwise instruct the several families, admitting none to the Lord's Table that have not personally owned their Baptismal covenant by a credible profession of faith and obedience; and to admonish and exhort the scandalous, in order to their repentance: to hear the witnesses and the accused party, and to appoint fit times and places for these things, and to deny such persons the communion of the Church in the holy Eucharist, that remain impenitent, or that wilfully refuse to come to their Pastors to be instructed, or to answer such probable accusations; and to continue such exclusion of them till they have made a credible profession of repentance, and then to receive them again to the communion of the Church;—provided there be place for due appeals to superior power.
Suppose only such men Pastors as are now most improperly, whether as boast or as sneer, called Evangelical, what an insufferable tyranny would this introduce! Who would not rather live in Algiers? This alone would make this minute history of the ecclesiastic factions invaluable, that it must convince all sober lovers of independence and moral self-government, how dearly we ought to prize our present Church Establishment with all its faults.


Ib. p. 272.
Therefore we humbly crave that your Majesty will here declare, that it is your Majesty's pleasure that none be punished or troubled for not using the Book of Common Prayer, till it be effectually reformed by divines of both persuasions equally deputed thereunto.
The dispensing power of the Crown not only acknowledged, but earnestly invoked! Cruel as the conduct of Laud and that of Sheldon to the Dissentients was, yet God's justice stands clear towards them; for they demanded that from others, which they themselves would not grant. They were to be allowed at their own fancies to denounce the ring in marriage, and yet impowered to endungeon, through the magistrate, the honest and peaceable Quaker for rejecting the outward ceremony of water in Baptism, as seducing men to take it as a substitute for the spiritual reality;—though the Quakers, no less than themselves, appealed to Scripture authority—the Baptist's own contrast of Christ's with the water Baptism.


Ib. p. 273.
We are sure that kneeling in any adoration at all, in any worship, on any Lord's Day in the year, or any week day between Easter and Pentecost, was not only disused, but forbidden by General Councils, &c.—and therefore that kneeling in the act of receiving is a novelty contrary to the decrees and practice of the Church for many hundred years after the Apostles.
Was not this because kneeling was the agreed sign of sorrow and personal contrition, which was not to be introduced into the public worship on the great day and the solemn seasons of the Church's joy and thanksgiving? If so, Baxter's appeal to this usage is a gross sophism, a mere pun.


Ib. p. 308.
Baxter's Exceptions to the Common Prayer Book.
  1. Order requireth that we begin with reverent prayer to God for his acceptance and assistance, which is not done.
Enunciation of God's invitations, and promises in God's own words, as in the Common Prayer Book, much better.
  1. That the Creed and Decalogue containing the faith, in which we profess to assemble for God's worship, and the law which we have broken by our sins, should go before the confession and Absolution; or at least before the praises of the Church; which they do not.
Might have deserved consideration, if the people or the larger number consisted of uninstructed catechumeni, or mere candidates for Church-membership. But the object being, not the first teaching of the Creed and Decalogue, but the lively reimpressing of the same, it is much better as it is.
  1. The Confession omitteth not only original sin, but all actual sin as specified by the particular commandments violated, and almost all the aggravations of those sins.... Whereas confession, being the expression of repentance, should be more particular, as repentance itself should be.
Grounded, on one of the grand errors of the whole Dissenting party, namely, the confusion of public common prayer, praise, and instruction, with domestic and even with private devotion. Our Confession is a perfect model for Christian communities.
  1. When we have craved help for God's prayers, before we come to them, we abruptly put in the petition for speedy deliverance—(O God, make speed to save us: O Lord make haste to help us,) without any intimation of the danger that we desire deliverance from, and without any other petition conjoined.
  1. It is disorderly in the manner, to sing the Scripture in a plain tune after the manner of reading.
  1. (The Lord be with you. And with thy spirit,) being petitions for divine assistance, come in abruptly in the midst or near the end of morning prayer: And (Let us pray.) is adjoined when we were before in prayer.
Mouse-like squeak and nibble.
  1. (Lord have mercy upon us: Christ have mercy upon us: Lord have mercy upon us.) seemeth an affected tautology without any special cause or order here; and the Lord's Prayer is annexed that was before recited, and yet the next words are again but a repetition of the aforesaid oft repeated general (O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.)
Still worse. The spirit in which this and similar complaints originated has turned the prayers of Dissenting ministers into irreverent preachments, forgetting that tautology in words and thoughts implies no tautology in the music of the heart to which the words are, as it were, set, and that it is the heart that lifts itself up to God. Our words and thoughts are but parts of the enginery which remains with ourselves; and logic, the rustling dry leaves of the lifeless reflex faculty, does not merit even the name of a pulley or lever of devotion.
  1. The prayer for the King (O Lord, save the King.) is without any order put between the foresaid petition and another general request only for audience. (And mercifully hear us when we call upon thee).
A trifle, but just.
  1. The second Collect is intituled (For Peace.) and hath not a word in it of petition for peace, but only for defence in assaults of enemies, and that we may not fear their power. And the prefaces (in knowledge of whom standeth, &c. and whose service, &c.) have no more evident respect to a petition for peace than to any other. And the prayer itself comes in disorderly, while many prayers or petitions are omitted, which according both to the method of the Lord's Prayer, and the nature of the things, should go before.
  1. The third Collect intituled {For Grace.) is disorderly, &c.... And thus the main parts of prayer, according to the rule of the Lord's Prayer and our common necessities, are omitted.
Not wholly unfounded: but the objection proceeds on an arbitrary and (I think) false assumption, that the Lord's Prayer was universally prescriptive in form and arrangement.
  1. The Litany ... omitteth very many particulars, ... and it is exceeding disorderly, following no just rules of method. Having begged pardon of our sins, and deprecated vengeance, it proceedeth to evil in general, and some few sins in particular, and thence to a more particular enumeration of judgments; and thence to a recitation of the parts of that work of our redemption, and thence to the deprecation of judgments again, and thence to prayers for the King and magistrates, and then for all nations, and then for love and obedience, &c.
The very points here objected to as faults I should have selected as excellencies. For do not the duties and temptations occur in real life even so intermingled? The imperfection of thought much more of language, so singly successive, allows no better representation of the close neighbourhood, nay the co-inherence of duty in duty, desire in desire. Every want of the heart pointing Godward is a chili agon that touches at a thousand points. From these remarks I except the last paragraph of s. 12:
(As to the prayer for Bishops and Curates and the position of the General Thanksgiving, &c.)
which are defects so palpable and so easily removed, that nothing but antipathy to the objectors could have retained them.
  1. The like defectiveness and disorder is in the Communion Collects for the day.... There is no more reason why it should be appropriate to that day than another, or rather be a common petition for all days, &c.
I do not see how these supposed improprieties, for want of appropriateness to the day, could be avoided without risk of the far greater evil of too great appropriation to particular Saints and days as in Popery. I am so far a Puritan that I think nothing would have been lost, if Christmas day and Good Friday had been the only week days made holy days, and Easter the only Lord's day especially distinguished. I should also have added Whitsunday; but that it has become unmeaning since our Clergy have, as I grieve to think, become generally Arminian, and interpreting the descent of the Spirit as the gift of miracles and of miraculous infallibility by inspiration have rendered it of course of little or no application to Christians at present. Yet how can Arminians pray our Church prayers collectively on any day? Answer. See a boa constrictor with an ox or deer. What they do swallow, proves so astounding a dilatability of gullet, that it would be unconscionable strictness to complain of the horns, antlers, or other indigestible non-essentials being suffered to rot off at the confines, Greek: hérkos
hodóntôn. But to write seriously on so serious a subject, it is mournful to reflect that the influence of the systematic theology then in fashion with the anti-Prelatic divines, whether Episcopalians or Presbyterians, had quenched all fineness of mind, all flow of heart, all grandeur of imagination in them; while the victorious party, the Prelatic Arminians, enriched as they were with all learning and highly gifted with taste and judgment, had emptied revelation of all the doctrines that can properly be said to have been revealed, and thus equally caused the extinction of the imagination, and quenched the life in the light by withholding the appropriate fuel and the supporters of the sacred flame. So that, between both parties, our transcendant Liturgy remains like an ancient Greek temple, a monumental proof of the architectural genius of an age long departed, when there were giants in the land.


Ib. p. 337.
As I was proceeding, Bishop Morley interrupted me according to his manner, with vehemency crying out * * The Bishop interrupted me again * * I attempted to speak, and still he interrupted me * * Bishop Morley went on, talking louder than I, &c.
The Bishops appear to have behaved insolently enough. Safe in their knowledge of Charles's inclinations, they laughed in their sleeves at his commission. Their best answer would have been to have pressed the anti-impositionists with their utter forgetfulness of the possible, nay, very probable differences of opinion between the ministers and their congregations. A vain minister might disgust a sober congregation with his extempore prayers, or his open contempt of their kneeling at the Sacrament, and the like. Yet by what right if he acts only as an individual? And then what an endless source of disputes and preferences of this minister or of that!


Ib. p. 341.
The paper offered by Bishop Cosins.
  1. That the question may be put to the managers of the division, Whether there be anything in the doctrine, or discipline, or the Common Prayer, or ceremonies, contrary to the word of God; and if they can make any such appear; let them be satisfied.
  1. If not, let them propose what they desire in point of expediency, and acknowledge it to be no more.
This was proposed, doubtless, by one of your sensible men; it is so plain, so plausible, shallow, nihili, nauci, pili, flocci-cal. Why, the very phrase "contrary to the word of God" would take a month to define, and neither party agree at last. One party says:

The Church has power from God's word to order all matters of order so as shall appear to them to conduce to decency and edification: but ceremonies respect the orderly performance of divine service: ergo, the Church has power to ordain ceremonies: but the Cross in baptizing is a ceremony; ergo, the Church has power to prescribe the crossing in Baptism. What is rightfully ordered cannot be rightfully withstood:—but the crossing, &c., is rightfully ordered:—ergo, the crossing cannot be rightfully omitted.

To this, how easily would the other party reply;
  1. That a small number of Bishops could not be called the Church:
  1. That no one Church had power or pretence from God's word to prescribe concerning mere matters of outward decency and convenience to other Churches or assemblies of Christian people:
  1. That the blending an unnecessary and suspicious, if not superstitious, motion of the hand with a necessary and essential act doth in no wise respect order or propriety:
Lastly, that to forbid a man to obey a direct command of God because he will not join with it an admitted mere tradition of men, is contrary to common sense, no less than to God's word, expressly and by breach of charity, which is the great end and purpose of God's word. Besides; might not the Pope and his shavelings have made the same proposition to the Reformers in the reign of Edward VI., in respect to the greater part of the idle superfluities which were rejected by the Reformers, only as idle and superfluous, and for that reason contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, though few, if any, were in the direct teeth of a positive prohibition? Above all, an honest policy dictates that the end in view being fully determined, as here for instance, the preclusion of disturbance and indecorum in Christian assemblies, every addition to means, already adequate to the securing of that end, tends to frustrate the end, and is therefore evidently excluded from the prerogatives of the Church, (however that word may be interpreted) inasmuch as its power is confined to such ceremonies and regulations as conduce to order and general edification. In short it grieves me to think that the Heads of the most Apostolical Church in Christendom should have insisted on three or four trifles, the abolition of which could have given offence to none but such as from the baleful superstition that alone could attach importance to them effectually, it was charity to offend;-when all the rest of Baxter's objections might have been answered so triumphantly.


Ib. p. 343.
Answer to the foresaid paper.
  1. That none may be a preacher, that dare not subscribe that there is nothing in the Common Prayer Book, the Book of Ordination, and the 39 Articles, that is contrary to the word of God.
I think this might have been left out as well as the other two articles mentioned by Baxter. For as by the words "contrary to the word of God" in Cosins's paper, it was not meant to declare the Common Prayer Book free from all error, the sense must have been, that there is not anything in it in such a way or degree contrary to God's word, as to oblige us to assign sin to those who have overlooked it, or who think the same compatible with God's word, or who, though individually disapproving the particular thing, yet regard that acquiescence as an allowed sacrifice of individual opinion to modesty, charity, and zeal for the peace of the Church. For observe that this eighth instance is additional to, and therefore not inclusive of, the preceding seven: otherwise it must have been placed as the first, or rather as the whole, the seven following being motives and instances in support and explanation of the point.


Ib. p. 368.

Let me mediate here between Baxter and the Bishops: Baxter had taken for granted that the King had a right to promise a revision of the Liturgy, Canons and regiment of the Church, and that the Bishops ought to have met him and his friends as diplomatists on even ground. The Bishops could not with discretion openly avow all they meant; and it would be bigotry to deny that the spirit of compromise had no indwelling in their feelings or intents. But nevertheless it is true that they thought more in the spirit of the English Constitution than Baxter and his friends.—"This," thought they, "is the law of the land, quam nolumus mutari; and it must be the King with and by the advice of his Parliament, that can authorize any part of his subjects to take the question of its repeal into consideration. Under other circumstances a King might bring the Bishops and the Heads of the Romish party together to plot against the law of the land. No! we would have no other secret Committees but of Parliamentary appointment. We are but so many individuals. It is in the Legislature that the congregations, the party most interested in this cause, meet collectively by their representatives."—Lastly, let it not be overlooked, that the root of the bitterness was common to both parties,—namely, the conviction of the vital importance of uniformity;—and this admitted, surely an undoubted majority in favor of what is already law must decide whose uniformity it is to be.


Ib. p. 368.
We must needs believe that when your Majesty took our consent to a Liturgy to be a foundation that would infer our concord, you meant not that we should have no concord but by consenting to this Liturgy without any considerable alteration.
This is forcible reasoning, but which the Bishops could fairly leave for the King to answer;—the contract tacit or expressed, being between him and the anti-Prelatic Presbytero-Episcopalian party, to which neither the Bishops nor the Legislature had acceded or assented. If Baxter and Calamy were so little imbued with the spirit of the Constitution as to consider Charles II. as the breath of their nostrils, and this dread sovereign Breath in its passage gave a snort or a snuffle, or having led them to expect a snuffle surprised them with a snort, let the reproach be shared between the Breath's fetid conscience and the nostrils' nasoductility. The traitors to the liberty of their country who were swarming and intriguing for favor at Breda when they should have been at their post in Parliament or in the Lobby preparing terms and conditions!—Had all the ministers that were afterwards ejected and the Presbyterian party generally exerted themselves, heart and soul, with Monk's soldiers, and in collecting those whom Monk had displaced, and, instead of carrying on treasons against the Government de facto by mendicant negociations with Charles, had taken open measures to confer the sceptre on him as the Scotch did,—whose stern and truly loyal conduct has been most unjustly condemned,—the schism in the Church might have been prevented and the Revolution of 1688 superseded.

N. B. In the above I speak of the Bishops as men interested in a litigated estate. God forbid, I should seek to justify them as Christians.


Ib. p. 369.
Quære. Whether in the 20th Article these words are not inserted;—Habet Ecclesia auctoritatem in controversiis fidei.
Strange, that the evident antithesis between power in respect of ceremonies, and authority in points of faith, should have been overlooked!


Ib.
Some have published, That there is a proper sacrifice in the Lord's Supper, to exhibit Christ's death in the post-fact, as there was a sacrifice to prefigure it in the Old Law in the ante-fact, and therefore that we have a true altar, and not only metaphorically so called.
Doubtless a gross error, yet pardonable, for to errors nearly as gross it was opposed.


Ib.
Some have maintained that the Lord's Day is kept merely by ecclesiastical constitution, and that the day is changeable.
Where shall we find the proof of the contrary?—at least, if the position had been worded thus: The moral and spiritual obligation of keeping the Lord's Day is grounded on its manifest necessity, and the evidence of its benignant effects in connection with those conditions of the world of which even in Christianized countries there is no reason to expect a change, and is therefore commanded by implication in the New Testament, so clearly and by so immediate a consequence, as to be no less binding on the conscience than an explicit command. A., having lawful authority, expressly commands me to go to London from Bristol. There is at present but one safe road: this therefore is commanded by A.; and would be so, even though A. had spoken of another road which at that time was open.


Ib. p. 370.
Some have broached out of Socinus a most uncomfortable and desperate doctrine, that late repentance, that is, upon the last bed of sickness, is unfruitful, at least to reconcile the penitent to God.
This no doubt refers to Jeremy Taylor's work on Repentance, and is but too faithful a description of its character.


Ib. p. 373.
A little after the King was beheaded, Mr. Atkins met this priest in London, and going into a tavern with him, said to him in his familiar way, "What business have you here? I warrant you come about some roguery or other." Whereupon the priest told it him as a great secret, that there were thirty of them here in London, who by instructions from Cardinal Mazarine, did take care of such affairs, and had sat in council, and debated the question, whether the King should be put to death or not;—and that it was carried in the affirmative, and there were but two voices for the negative, which was his own and another's; and that for his part, he could not concur with them, as foreseeing what misery this would bring upon his country. Mr. Atkins stood to the truth of this, but thought it a violation of the laws of friendship to name the man.
Richard Baxter was too thoroughly good for any experience to make him worldly wise; else, how could he have been simple enough to suppose, that Mazarine would leave such a question to be voted pro and con, and decided by thirty emissaries in London! And, how could he have reconciled Mazarine's having any share in Charles's death with his own masterly account, pp. 98, 99, 100? Even Cromwell, though he might have prevented, could not have effected, the sentence. The regicidal judges were not his creatures. Consult the Life of Colonel Hutchinson upon this.


Ib. p. 374.
Since this, Dr. Peter Moulin hath, in his Answer to Philanax Anglicus, declared that he is ready to prove, when authority will Call him to it, that the King's death, and the change of the government, was first proposed both to the Sorbonne, and to the Pope with his Conclave, and consented to and concluded for by both.
The Pope in his Conclave had about the same influence in Charles's fate as the Pope's eye in a leg of mutton. The letter intercepted by Cromwell was Charles's death-warrant. Charles knew his power; and Cromwell and Ireton knew it likewise, and knew that it was the power of a man who was within a yard's length of a talisman, only not within an arm's length, but which in that state of the public mind, could he but have once grasped it, would have enabled him to blow up Presbyterian and Independent both. If ever a lawless act was defensible on the principle of self-preservation, the murder of Charles might be defended. I suspect that the fatal delay in the publication of the Icon Basilike is susceptible of no other satisfactory explanation. In short it is absurd to burthen this act on Cromwell and his party, in any special sense. The guilt, if guilt it was, was consummated at the gates of Hull; that is, the first moment that Charles was treated as an individual, man against man. Whatever right Hampden had to defend his life against the King in battle, Cromwell and Ireton had in yet more imminent danger against the King's plotting. Milton's reasoning on this point is unanswerable: and what a wretched hand does Baxter make of it!


Ib. p. 375.
But if the laws of the land appoint the nobles, as next the King, to assist him in doing right, and withhold him from doing wrong, then be they licensed by man's law, and so not prohibited by God's, to interpose themselves for the safety of equity and innocency, and by all lawful and needful means to procure the Prince to be reformed, but in no case deprived, where the sceptre is inherited! So far Bishop Bilson.
Excellent! O, by all means preserve for him the benefit of his rightful heir-loom, the regal sceptre; only lay it about his shoulders, till he promises to handle it, as he ought! But what if he breaks his promise and your head? or what if he will not promise? How much honester would it be to say, that extreme cases are ipso nomine not generalizable,—therefore not the subjects of a law, which is the conclusion per genus singuli in genere inclusi. Every extreme case must be judged by and for itself under all the peculiar circumstances. Now as these are not foreknowable, the case itself cannot be predeterminable. Harmodius and Aristogiton did not justify Brutus and Cassius: but neither do Brutus and Cassius criminate Harmodius and Aristogiton. The rule applies till an extreme case occurs; and how can this be proved? I answer, the only proof is success and good event; for these afford the best presumption, first, of the extremity, and secondly, of its remediable nature—the two elements of its justification. To every individual it is forbidden. He who attempts it, therefore, must do so on the presumption that the will of the nation is in his will: whether he is mad or in his senses, the event can alone determine.


Ib. p. 398.
The governing power and obligation over the flock is essential to the office of a Pastor or Presbyter as instituted by Christ.
There is, Greek: hôs émoige dokei, one flaw in Baxter's plea for his Presbyterian form of Church government, that he uses a metaphor, which, inasmuch as it is but a metaphor, agrees with the thing meant in some points only, as if it were commensurate in toto, and virtually identical. Thus, the Presbyter is a shepherd as far as the watchfulness, tenderness, and care, are to be the same in both; but it does not follow that the Presbyter has the same sole power and exclusive right of guidance; and for this reason,—that his flock are not sheep, but men; not of a natural, generic, or even constant inferiority of judgment; but Christians, co-heirs of the promises, and therein of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and of the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. How then can they be excluded from a share in Church Government? The words of Christ, if they may be transferred from their immediate application to the Jewish Synagogue, suppose the contrary;—and that highest act of government, the election of the officers and ministers of the Church, was confessedly exercised by the congregations including the Presbyters and Arch-presbyter or Bishop, in the primitive Church. The question, therefore, is:—Is a national Church, established by law, compatible with Christianity? If so, as Baxter held, the representatives (King, Lords, and Commons,) are or may be representatives of the whole people as Christians as well as civil subjects;—and their voice will then be the voice of the Church, which every individual, as an individual, themselves as individuals, and, a fortiori, the officers and administrators appointed by them, are bound to obey at the risk of excommunication, against which there would be no appeal, but to the heavenly Cæsar, the Lord and Head of the universal Church. But whether as the accredited representatives and plenipotentiaries of the national Church, they can avail themselves of their conjoint but distinct character, as temporal legislators, to superadd corporal or civil penalties to the spiritual sentence in points peculiar to Christianity, as heretical opinions, Church ceremonies, and the like, thus destroying discipline, even as wood is destroyed by combination with fire;—this is a new and difficult question, which yet Baxter and the Presbyterian divines, and the Puritans of that age in general, not only answered affirmatively, but most zealously, not to say furiously, affirmed with anathemas to the assertors of the negative, and spiritual threats to the magistrates neglecting to interpose the temporal sword. In this respect the present Dissenters have the advantage over their earlier predecessors; but on the other hand they utterly evacuate the Scriptural commands against schism; take away all sense and significance from the article respecting the Catholic Church; and in consequence degrade the discipline itself into mere club-regulations or the by-laws of different lodges;—that very discipline, the capability of exercising which in its own specific nature without superinduction of a destructive and transmutual opposite, is the fairest and firmest support of their cause.

20th October, 1829.


Ib. p. 401.
That sententially it must be done by the Pastor or Governor of that particular Church, which the person is to be admitted into, or cast out of.
This most arbitrary appropriation of the words of Christ, and of the apostles, John and Paul, by the Clergy to themselves exclusively, is the Greek: prôton pseudos, the fatal error which has practically excluded Church discipline from among Protestants in all free countries. That it is retained, and an efficient power, among the Quakers, and only in that Sect, who act collectively as a Church,—who not only have no proper Clergy, but will not allow a division of majority and minority, nor a temporary president,—seems to supply an unanswerable confirmation of this my assertion, and a strong presumption for the validity of my argument. The Wesleyan Methodists have, I know, a discipline, and the power is in their consistory,—a general conclave of priests cardinal since the death of Pope Wesley. But what divisions and secessions this has given rise to; what discontents and heart-burnings it still occasions in their labouring inferior ministers, and in the classes, is no less notorious, and may authorize a belief that as the Sect increases, it will be less and less effective; nay, that it has decreased; and after all, what is it compared with the discipline of the Quakers?—Baxter's inconsistency on this subject would be inexplicable, did we not know his zealotry against Harrington, the Deists and the Mystics;—so that, like an electrified pith-ball, he is for ever attracted towards their tenets concerning the pretended perfecting of spiritual sentences by the civil magistrate, but he touches only to fly off again. "Toleration! dainty word for soul-murder! God grant that my eye may never see a toleration!" he exclaims in his book against Harrington's Oceana.


Ib. p. 405.
As for the democratical conceit of them that say that the Parliament hath their governing power, as they are the people's representatives, and so have the members of the convocation, though those represented have no governing power themselves, it is so palpably self-contradicting, that I need not confute it.
Self-contradicting according to Baxter's sense of the words "represent" and "govern." But every rational adult has a governing power: namely, that of governing himself.


Ib. p. 412.
That though a subject ought to take an oath in the sense of his rulers who impose it, as far as he can understand it; yet a man that taketh an oath from a robber to save his life is not always bound to take it in the imposer's sense, if he take it not against the proper sense of the words.
This is a point, on which I have never been able to satisfy myself.—The only safe conclusion I have been able to draw, being the folly, mischief, and immorality of all oaths but judicial ones,—and those no farther excepted than as they are means of securing a deliberate consciousness of the presence of the Omniscient Judge. The inclination of my mind is at this moment, to the principle that an oath may deepen the guilt of an act sinful in itself, but cannot be detached from the act; it being understood that a perfectly voluntary and self-imposed oath is itself a sin. The man who compels me to take an oath by putting a pistol to my ear has in my mind clearly forfeited all his right to be treated as a moral agent. Nay, it seems to be a sin to act so as to induce him to suppose himself such. Contingent consequences must be excluded; but would, I am persuaded, weigh in favour of annulling on principle an oath sinfully extorted. But I hate casuistry so utterly, that I could not without great violence to my feelings put the case in all its bearings. For example:—it is sinful to enlarge the power of wicked agents; but to allow them to have the power of binding the conscience of those, whom they have injured, is to enlarge the power, &c. Again: no oath can bind to the perpetration of a sin; but to transfer a sum of money from its rightful owner to a villain is a sin, &c. and twenty other such. But the robber may kill the next man! Possibly: but still more probably, many, who would be robbers if they could obtain their ends without murder, would resist the temptation if no extenuations of guilt were contemplated;—and one murder is more effective in rousing the public mind to preventive measures, and by the horror it strikes, is made more directly preventive of the tendency, than fifty civil robberies by contract.


Ib. p. 435.
That the minister be not bound to read the Liturgy himself, if another, by whomsoever, be procured to do it; so be it he preach not against it.
Wonderful, that so good and wise a man as Baxter should not have seen that in this the Church would have given up the best, perhaps the only efficient, preservative of her Faith. But for our blessed and truly Apostolic and Scriptural Liturgy, our churches' pews would long ago have been filled by Arians and Socinians, as too many of their desks and pulpits already are.


Part III. p. 59.
As also to make us take such a poor suffering as this for a sign of true grace, instead of faith, hope, love, mortification, and a heavenly mind; and that the loss of one grain of love was worse than a long imprisonment.
Here Baxter confounds his own particular case, which very many would have coveted, with the sufferings of other prisoners on the same score;—sufferings nominally the same, but with few, if any, of Baxter's almost flattering supports.


Ib. p. 60.
It would trouble the reader for me to reckon up the many diseases and dangers for these ten years past, in or from which God hath delivered me; though it be my duty not to forget to be thankful. Seven months together I was lame with a strange pain in one foot, twice delivered from a bloody flux; a spurious cataract in my eye, with incessant webs and networks before it, hath continued these eight years, * * * so that I have rarely one hour's or quarter of an hour's ease. Yet through God's mercy I was never one hour melancholy, &c.
The power of the soul, by its own act of will, is, I admit, great for any one occasion or for a definite time, yea, it is marvellous. But of such exertions and such an even frame of spirit, as Baxter's were, under such unremitting and almost unheard-of bodily derangements and pains as his, and during so long a life, 1 do not believe a human soul capable, unless substantiated and successively potentiated by an especial divine grace.


Ib. p. 65.
The reasons why I make no larger a profession necessary than the Creed and Scriptures, are, because if we depart from this old sufficient Catholic rule, we narrow the Church, and depart from the old Catholicism.
Why then any Creed? This is the difficulty. If you put the Creed as in fact, and not by courtesy, Apostolic, and on a parity with Scripture, having, namely, its authority in itself, and a direct inspiration of the framers, inspired ad id tempus et ad eam rem, on what ground is this to be done, without admitting the binding power of tradition in the very sense of the term in which the Church of Rome uses it, and the Protestant Churches reject it? That it is the sum total made by Apostolic contributions, each Apostle casting, as into a helmet, a several article as his Greek: symbolon, is the tradition; and this is holden as a mere legendary tale by the great majority of learned divines. That it is simply the Creed of the Western Church is affirmed by many Protestant divines, and some of these divines of our Church. Its comparative simplicity these divines explain by the freedom from heresies enjoyed by the Western Church, when the Eastern Church had been long troubled therewith. Others, again, and not unplausibly, contend that it was the Creed of the Catechumens preparatory to the Baptismal profession of faith, which other was a fuller comment on the union of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, into whose name (or power) they were baptised. That the Apostles' Creed received additions after the Apostolic age, seems almost certain; not to mention the perplexing circumstance that so many of the Latin Fathers, who give almost the words of the Apostolic Creed, declare it forbidden absolutely to write or by any material form to transmit the Canon Fidei, or Symbolum or Regula Fidei, the Creed Greek: kat'
hexocháensee previous image, by analogy of which the question whether such a book was Scripture or not, was to be tried. With such doubts how can the Apostles' Creed be preferred to the Nicene by a consistent member of the Reformed Catholic Church?


Ib. p. 67.
They think while you (the Independents) seem to be for a stricter discipline than others, that your way or usual practice tendeth to extirpate godliness out of the land, by taking a very few that can talk more than the rest, and making them the Church, &c.
Had Baxter had as judicious advisers among his theological, as he had among his legal, friends; and had he allowed them equal influence with him; he would not, I suspect, have written this irritating and too egometical paragraph. But Baxter would have disbelieved a prophet who had foretold that almost the whole orthodoxy of the Non-conformists would he retained and preserved by the Independent congregations in England, after the Presbyterian had almost without exception become, first, Arian, then Socinian, and finally Unitarian: that is, the demi-semi-quaver of Christianity, Arminianism being taken for the semi-breve.


Ib. p. 69.
After this I waited on him (Dr. John Owen) at London again, and he came once to me to my lodgings, when I was in town near him. And he told me that he received my chiding letter and perceived that I suspected his reality in the business; but he was so hearty in it that I should see that he really meant as he spoke, concluding in these words, "You shall see it, and my practice shall reproach your diffidence" * * *. About a month after I went to him again, and he had done nothing, but was still hearty for the work. And to be short, I thus waited on him time after time, till my papers had been near a year and a quarter in his hand, and then I advised him to return them to me, which he did, with these words, "I am still a well-wisher to those mathematics;"—without any other words about them, or ever giving me any more exception against them. And this was the issue of my third attempt for union with the Independents.
Dr. Owen was a man of no ordinary intellect. It would be interesting to have his conduct in this point, seemingly so strange, in some measure explained: The words "those mathematics" look like an innuendo, that Baxter's scheme of union, by which all the parties opposed to the Prelatic Church were to form a rival Church, was, like the mathematics, true indeed, but true only in the idea, that is, abstracted from the subject matter. Still there appears a very chilling want of open-heartedness on the part of Owen, produced perhaps by the somewhat overly and certainly most ungracious resentments of Baxter. It was odd at least to propose concord in the tone and on the alleged ground of an old grudge.


Ib.
I have been twenty-six years convinced that dichotomizing will not do it, but that the divine Trinity in Unity hath expressed itself in the whole frame of nature and morality * * *. But he, Mr. George Lawson, had not hit on the true method of the vestigia Trinitatis, &c.
Among Baxter's philosophical merits, we ought not to overlook, that the substitution of Trichotomy for the old and still general plan of Dichotomy in the method and disposition of Logic, which forms so prominent and substantial an excellence in Kant's Critique of the Pure Reason, of the Judgment, and the rest of his works, belongs originally to Richard Baxter, a century before Kant;—and this not as a hint, but as a fully evolved and systematically applied principle. Nay, more than this:—Baxter grounded it on an absolute idea presupposed in all intelligential acts: whereas Kant takes it only as a fact in which he seems to anticipate or suspect some yet deeper truth latent, and hereafter to be discovered.

On recollection, however, I am disposed to consider this alone as Baxter's peculiar claim, I have not indeed any distinct memory of Giordano Bruno's Logice Venatrix Veritatis; but doubtless the principle of Trichotomy is necessarily involved in the Polar Logic, which again is the same with the Pythagorean Tetractys, that is, the eternal fountain or source of nature; and this being sacred to contemplations of identity, and prior in order of thought to all division, is so far from interfering with Trichotomy as the universal form of division (more correctly of distinctive distribution in logic) that it implies it. Prothesis being by the very term anterior to Thesis can be no part of it. Thus in

Prothesis
Thesis Antithesis
Synthesis


we have the Tetrad indeed in the intellectual and intuitive contemplation, but a Triad in discursive arrangement, and a Tri-unity in result3.


Ib. p. 144.

Seeing the great difficulties that lie in the way of increasing charities so as to meet the increase of population, or even so as to follow it, and the manifold desirableness of parish Churches, with the material dignity that in a right state of Christian order would attach to them, as compared with meeting-houses, chapels, and the like—all more or less privati juris, I have often felt disposed to wish that the large majestic Church, central to each given parish, might have been appropriated to Public Prayer, to the mysteries of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and to the quasi sacramenta, Marriage, Penance, Confirmation, Ordination, and to the continued reading aloud, or occasional chanting, of the Scriptures during the intervals of the different Services, which ought to be so often performed as to suffice successively for the whole population; and that on the other hand the chapels and the like should be entirely devoted to teaching and expounding.


Ib. p. 153.
And I proved to him that Christianity was proved true many years before any of the New Testament was written, and that so it may be still proved by one that doubted of some words of the Scripture; and therefore the true order is, to try the truth of the Christian religion first, and the perfect verity of the Scriptures afterwards.
With more than Dominican virulence did Goeze, Head Pastor of the Lutheran Church at Hamburg, assail the celebrated Lessing for making and supporting the same position as the pious Baxter here advances.

This controversy with Goeze was in 1778, nearly a hundred years after Baxter's writing this.


Ib. p. 155.
And within a few days Mr. Barnett riding the circuit was cast by his horse, and died in the very fall. And Sir John Medlicote and his brother, a few weeks after, lay both dead in his house together.
This interpreting of accidents and coincidences into judgments is a breach of charity and humility, only not universal among all sects and parties of this period, and common to the best and gentlest men in all; we should not therefore bring it in charge against any one in particular. But what excuse shall be made for the revival of this presumptuous encroachment on the divine prerogative in our days?


Ib. p. 180.
Near this time my book called A Key for Catholics, was to be reprinted. In the preface to the first impression I had mentioned with praise the Earl of Lauderdale. * * * I thought best to prefix an epistle to the Duke, in which I said not a word of him but truth. * * * But the indignation that men had against the Duke made some blame me, as keeping up the reputation of one whom multitudes thought very ill of; whereas I owned none of his faults, and did nothing that I could well avoid for the aforesaid reasons. Long after this he professed his kindness to me, and told me I should never want while he was able, and humbly entreated me to accept twenty guineas from him, which I did.
This would be a curious proof of the slow and imperfect intercourse of communication between Scotland and London, if Baxter had not been particularly informed of Lauderdale's horrible cruelties to the Scotch Covenanters:—and if Baxter did know them, he surely ran into a greater inconsistency to avoid the appearance of a less. And the twenty guineas! they must have smelt, I should think, of more than the earthly brimstone that might naturally enough have been expected in gold or silver, from his palm. I would as soon have plucked an ingot from the cleft of the Devil's hoof.
Greek: Taut' élegon períthumos egô gàr mísei en ísô Laudérdalon échô
  kaì kerkokerônucha Satan.


Ib. p. 181.
About that time I had finished a book called Catholic Thoughts; in which I undertake to prove that besides things unrevealed, known to none, and ambiguous words, there is no considerable difference between the Arminians and Calvinists, except some very tolerable difference in the point of perseverance.
What Arminians? what Calvinists?—It is possible that the guarded language and positions of Arminius himself may be interpreted into a "very tolerable" compatibility with the principles of the milder Calvinists, such as Archbishop Leighton, that true Father of the Church of Christ. But I more than doubt the possibility of even approximating the principles of Bishop Jeremy Taylor to the fundamental doctrines of Leighton, much more to those of Cartwright, Twiss, or Owen.


Ib. p. 186.
Bishop Barlow told my friend that got my papers for him, that he could hear of nothing that we judged to be sin, but mere inconveniences. When as above seventeen years ago, we publicly endeavoured to prove the sinfulness even of many of the old impositions.
Clearly an undeterminable controversy; inasmuch as there is no centra-definition possible of sin and inconvenience in religion: while the exact point, at which an inconvenience, becoming intolerable, passes into sin, must depend on the state and the degree of light, of the individual consciences to which it appears or becomes intolerable. Besides, a thing may not be only indifferent in itself, but may be declared such by Scripture, and on this indifference the Scripture may have rested a prohibition to Christians to judge each other on the point. If yet a Pope or Archbishop should force this on the consciences of others, for example, to eat or not to eat animal food, would he not sin in so doing? And does Scripture permit me to subscribe to an ordinance made in direct contempt of a command of Scripture?

If it were said,—In all matters indifferent and so not sinful you must comply with lawful authority:—must I not reply, But you have yourself removed the indifferency by your injunction? Look in Popish countries for the hideous consequences of the unnatural doctrine—that the Priest may go to Hell for sinfully commanding, and his parishioners go with him for not obeying that command.


Ib. p. 191.
About this time died my dear friend Mr. Thomas Gouge, of whose life you may see a little in Mr. Clark's last book of Lives:—a wonder of sincere industry in works of charity. It would make a volume to recite at large the charity he used to his poor parishioners at Sepulchre's, before he was ejected and silenced for non-conformity, &c.
I cannot express how much it grieves me, that our Clergy should still think it fit and expedient to defend the measures of the High Churchmen from Laud to Sheldon, and to speak of the ejected ministers, Calamy, Baxter, Gouge, Howe, and others, as schismatics, factionists, fanatics, or Pharisees:—thus to flatter some half-dozen dead Bishops, wantonly depriving our present Church of the authority of perhaps the largest collective number of learned and zealous, discreet and holy, ministers that one age and one Church was ever blest with; and whose authority in every considerable point is in favor of our Church, and against the present Dissenters from it. And this seems the more impolitic, when it must be clear to every student of the history of these times, that the unmanly cruelties inflicted on Baxter and others were, as Bishops Ward, Stillingfleet, and others saw at the time, part of the Popish scheme of the Cabal, to trick the Bishops and dignified Clergy into rendering themselves and the established Church odious to the public by laws, the execution of which the King, the Duke, Arlington, and the Popish priests directed towards the very last man that the Bishops themselves (the great majority at least) would have molested.


Appendix II. p. 37.
If I can prove that it hath been the universal practice of the Church in nudum apertum caput manus imponere, doth it follow that this is essential, and the contrary null?
How likewise can it be proved that the imposition of hands in Ordination did not stand on the same ground as the imposition of hands in sickness; that is, the miraculous gifts of the first preachers of the Gospel? All Protestants admit that the Church retained several forms so originated, after the cessation of the originating powers, which were the substance of these forms.


Ib.
If you think not only imposition to be essential, but also that nothing else is essential, or that all are true ministers that are ordained by a lawful Bishop per manuum impositionem, then do you egregiously tibi ipsi imponere.
Baxter, like most scholastic logicians, had a sneaking affection for puns. The cause is,—the necessity of attending to the primary sense of words, that is, the visual image or general relation expressed, and which remains common to all the after senses, however widely or even incongruously differing from each other in other respects. For the same reason, schoolmasters are commonly punsters. "I have indorsed your Bill, Sir," said a pedagogue to a merchant, meaning he had flogged his son William.—My old master the Rev. James Bowyer, the Hercules furens of the phlogistic sect, but else an incomparable teacher,—used to translate, Nihil in intellectu quod non prius in sensu,—first reciting the Latin words, and observing that they were the fundamental article of the Peripatetic school,—"You must flog a boy, before you can make him understand;"—or, "You must lay it in at the tail before you can get it into the head."


Ib. p. 45.
Then, that the will must follow the practical intellect whether right or wrong,—that is no precept, but the nature of the soul in its acting, because that the will is potentia cæca, non nata ad intelligendum, sed ad volendum vel nolendum intellectum.
This is the main fault in Baxter's metaphysics, that he so often substantiates distinctions into dividuous self-subsistents. As here;—for a will not intelligent is no will.


Appendix. III. p. 55.
And for many ages no other ordinarily baptised but infants. If Christ had no Church then, where was his wisdom, his love, and his power? What was become of the glory of his redemption, and his Catholic Church, that was to continue to the end?
But the Antipœdo-Baptists would deny any such consequences as applicable to them, who are to act according to the circumstances, in which God, who ordains his successive manifestations in due correspondence with other lights and states of things, has placed them. He does not exclude from the Church of Christ (say they) those whom we do not accept into the communion of our particular Society, any more than the House of Lords excludes Commoners from being Members of Parliament. And we do this because—we think that such promiscuous admission would prolong an error which would be deadly to us, though not to you who interpret the Scriptures otherwise.


In fine.

There are two senses in which the words, 'Church of England,' may be used;—first, with reference to the idea of the Church as an estate of this Christian Realm, protesting against the Papal usurpation, comprising, first, the interests of a permanent learned class, that is, the Clergy;—secondly, those of the proper, that is, the infirm poor, from age or sickness;—and thirdly, the adequate proportional instruction of all in all classes by public prayer, recitation of the Scriptures, by expounding, preaching, catechizing, and schooling, and last, not least, by the example and influence of a pastor and a schoolmaster placed as a germ of civilization and cultivation in every parish throughout the land. To this idea, the Reformed Church of England with its marriable and married Clergy would have approximated, if the revenues of the Church, as they existed at the death of Henry VII., had been rightly transferred by his successor;—transferred, I mean, from reservoirs, which had by degeneracy on the one hand, and progressive improvement on the other, fallen into ruin, and in which those revenues had stagnated into contagion or uselessness,—transferred from what had become public evils to their original and inherent purpose of public benefits, instead of being sacrilegiously alienated by a transfer to private proprietors. That this was impracticable, is historically true; but no less true is it philosophically, that this impracticability, arising wholly from moral causes, (namely, the loose manners and corrupt principles of a great majority in all classes during the dynasty of the Tudors,) does not prevent this wholesale sacrilege, from deserving the character of the "first and deadliest wound inflicted on the Constitution of the kingdom; which term, in the body politic, as in bodies natural, expresses not only what is and has been evolved, but likewise whatever is potentially contained in the seminal principle of the particular body, and which would in its due time have appeared but for emasculation in its infancy. This, however, is the first sense of the words, Church of England4.

The second is the Church of England as now by law established, and by practice of the law actually existing. That in the first sense it is the object of my admiration and the earthly ne plus ultra of my religious aspirations, it were superfluous to say: but I may be allowed to express iny conviction, that on our recurring to the same ends and objects, (the restoration of a national and circulating property in counterpoise of individual possession, disposable and heritable) though in other forms and by other means perhaps, the decline or progress of this country depends. In the second sense of the words I can sincerely profess, that I love and honour the Church of England, comparatively, beyond any other Church established or unestablished now existing in Christendom; and it is wholly in consequence of this deliberate and most affectionate filial preference, that I have read this work, and Calamy's historical writings, with so deep and so melancholy an interest. And I dare avow that I cannot but regard as an ignorant bigot every man who (especially since the publicity and authentication of the contents of the Stuart Papers, Memoirs and Life of James II. &c.) can place the far later furious High Church compilations and stories of Walker and others in competition with the veracity and general verity of Baxter and Calamy; or can forget that the great body of Non-conformists to whom these great and good men belonged, were not dissenters from the established Church willingly, but an orthodox and numerous portion of the Church. Omitting then the wound received by religion generally under Henry VIII., and the shameless secularizations clandestinely effected during the reigns of Elizabeth and the first James, I am disposed to consider the three following as the grand evil epochs of our present Church. First, The introduction and after-predominance of Latitudinarianism under the name of Arminianism, and the spirit of a conjoint Romanism and Socinianism at the latter half or towards the close of the reign of James I. in the persons of Montague, Laud, and their confederates. Second, The ejection of the two thousand ministers after the Restoration, with the other violences in which the Churchmen made themselves the dupes of Charles, James, the Jesuits, and the French Court. (See the Stuart Papers passim). It was this that gave consistence and enduring strength to Schism in this country, prevented the pacation of Ireland, and prepared for the separation of America at a far too early period for the true interest of either country. Third, The surrender by the Clergy of the right of taxing themselves, and the Jacobitical follies that combined with the former to put it in the power of the Whig party to deprive the Church of her Convocation,—a bitter disgrace and wrong, to which most unhappily the people were rendered indifferent by the increasing contrast of the sermons of the Clergy with the Articles and Homilies of the Church itself,—but a wrong nevertheless which already has avenged, and will sooner or later be seen to avenge, itself on the State and the governing classes that continue this boast of a short-sighted policy; the same policy which in our own days would have funded the property of the Church, and, by converting the Clergy into salaried dependents on the Government pro tempore, have deprived the Establishment of its fairest honor, that of being neither enslaved to the court, nor to the congregations; the same policy, alas! which even now pays and patronizes a Board of Agriculture to undermine all landed property by a succession of false, shallow, and inflammatory libels against tithes.

These are my weighed sentiments: and fervently desiring, as I do, the perpetuity and prosperity of the established Church, zealous for its rights and dignity, preferring its forms, believing its Articles of Faith, and holding its Book of Common Prayer and its translation of the Scriptures among my highest privileges as a Christian and an Englishman, I trust that I may both entertain and avow these sentiments without forfeiting any part of my claim to the name of a faithful member of the Church of England.

June 1820.


N. B. As to Warburton's Alliance of the Church and State, I object to the title (Alliance), and to the matter and mode of the reasoning. But the inter-dependence of the Church and the State appears to me a truth of the highest practical importance. Let but the temporal powers protect the subjects in their just rights as subjects merely: and I do not know of any one point in which the Church has the right or the necessity to call in the temporal power as its ally for any purpose exclusively ecclesiastic. The right of a firm to dissolve its partnership with any one partner, breach of contract having been proved, and publicly to announce the same, is common to all men as social beings.

I spoke above of "Romanism." But call it, if you like, Laudism, or Lambethism in temporalities and ceremonials, and of Socinianism in doctrine, that is, a retaining of the word but a rejecting or interpreting away of the sense and substance of the Scriptural Mysteries. This spirit has not indeed manifested itself in the article of the Trinity, since Waterland gave the deathblow to Arianism, and so left no alternative to the Clergy, but the actual divinity or mere humanity of our Lord; and the latter would be too impudent an avowal for a public reader of our Church Liturgy: but in the articles of original sin, the necessity of regeneration, the necessity of redemption in order to the possibility of regeneration, of justification by faith, and of prevenient and auxiliary grace,—all I can say with sincerity is, that our orthodoxy seems so far in an improving state, that I can hope for the time when Churchmen will use the term Arminianism to express a habit of belief opposed not to Calvinism, or the works of Calvin, but to the Articles of our own Church, and to the doctrine in which all the first Reformers agreed.

Note—that by Latitudinarianism, I do not mean the particular tenets of the divines so called, such as Dr. H. More, Cudworth and their compeers, relative to toleration, comprehension, and the general belief that in the greater number of points then most controverted, the pious of all parties were far more nearly of the same mind than their own imperfections, and the imperfection of language allowed them to see: I mean the disposition to explain away the articles of the Church on the pretext of their inconsistency with right reason;—when in fact it was only an incongruity with a wrong understanding, the faculty which St. Paul calls Greek: phrónaema sarkòs, the rules of which having been all abstracted from objects of sense, (finite in time and space,) are logically applicable to objects of the sense alone. This I have elsewhere called the spirit of Socinianism, which may work in many whose tenets are anti-Socinian.

Law is—conclusio per regulam generis singulorum in genere isto inclusorum. Now the extremes et inclusa are contradictory terms. Therefore extreme cases are not capable subjects of law a priori, but must proceed on knowledge of the past, and anticipation of the future, and the fulfilment of the anticipation is the proof, because the only possible determination, of the accuracy of the knowledge. In other words the agents may be condemned or honored according to their intentions, and the apparent source of their motives; so we honor Brutus, but the extreme case itself is tried by the event.





Footnote 1:   Relliquiæ Baxterianæ: or Mr. Richard Baxter's Narrative of the most memorable passages of his life and times. Published from his manuscript, by Matthew Sylvester.—London, folio. 1699.
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Footnote 2:   See Hooker E. P. V. xviii. 3. Vol. II. p. 80. Keble. Ed.
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Footnote 3:   See Table Talk, p. 162. 2nd edit. Ed.
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Footnote 4:   See the Church and State, p. 73, 3rd edit.—Ed.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Leighton1


Surely if ever work not in the sacred Canon might suggest a belief of inspiration,—of something more than human,—this it is. When Mr. Elwyn made this assertion, I took it as the hyperbole of affection: but now I subscribe to it seriously, and bless the hour that introduced me to the knowledge of the evangelical, apostolical Archbishop Leighton.

April 1814.


Next to the inspired Scriptures—yea, and as the vibration of that once struck hour remaining on the air, stands Leighton's Commentary on the 1st Epistle of St. Peter.


Comment Vol. I. p. 2.
—their redemption and salvation by Christ Jesus; that inheritance of immortality bought by his blood for them, and the evidence and stability of their right and title to it.
By the blood of Christ I mean this. I contemplate the Christ,
  1. As Christus agens, the Jehovah Christ, the Word:
  1. As Christus patiens, The God Incarnate.
In the former he is relative ad intellectum humanum, lux lucifica, sol intelligibilis: relative ad existentiam humanam, anima animans, calor fovens. In the latter he is vita vivificans, principium spiritualis, id est, veræ reproductionis in vitam veram. Now this principle, or vis vitæ vitam vivificans, considered in forma passiva, assimilationem patiens, at the same time that it excites the soul to the vital act of assimilating—this is the Blood of Christ, really present through faith to, and actually partaken by, the faithful. Of this the body is the continual product, that is, a good life-the merits of Christ acting on the soul, redemptive.


Ib. pp. 13-15.
Of their sanctification: elect unto obedience, &c.
That the doctrines asserted in this and the two or three following pages cannot be denied or explained away, without removing (as the modern Unitarians), or (as the Arminians) unsettling and undermining, the foundations of the Faith, I am fully convinced; and equally so, that nothing is gained by the change, the very same logical consequences being deducible from the tenets of the Church Arminians;—scarcely more so, indeed, from those which they still hold in common with Luther, Zuinglius, Calvin, Knox, and Cranmer and the other Fathers of the Reformation in England, and which are therefore most unfairly entitled Calvinism—than from those which they have attempted to substitute in their place. Nay, the shock given to the moral sense by these consequences is, to my feelings, aggravated in the Arminian doctrine by the thin yet dishonest disguise. Meantime the consequences appear to me, in point of logic, legitimately concluded from the terms of the premisses. What shall we say then? Where lies the fault? In the original doctrines expressed in the premisses? God forbid. In the particular deductions, logically considered? But these we have found legitimate. Where then? I answer in deducing any consequences by such a process, and according to such rules. The rules are alien and inapplicable; the process presumptuous, yea, preposterous. The error, Greek: to prôton
pseudos, lies in the false assumption of a logical deducibility at all, in this instance.

First:—because the terms from which the conclusion must be drawn-(termini in majore præmissi, a quibus scientialiter et scientifice demonstrandum erat) are accommodations and not scientific—that is, proper and adequate, not per idem, but per quam maxime simile, or rather quam maxime dissimile:

Secondly;—because the truths in question are transcendant, and have their evidence, if any, in the ideas themselves, and for the reason; and do not and cannot derive it from the conceptions of the understanding, which cannot comprehend the truths, but is to be comprehended in and by them, (John i. 5.):

Lastly, and chiefly;—because these truths, as they do not originate in the intellective faculty of man, so neither are they addressed primarily to our intellect; but are substantiated for us by their correspondence to the wants, cravings, and interests of the moral being, for which they were given, and without which they would be devoid of all meaning,—vox et præterea nihil. The only conclusions, therefore, that can be drawn from them, must be such as are implied in the origin and purpose of their revelation; and the legitimacy of all conclusions must be tried by their consistency with those moral interests, those spiritual necessities, which are the proper final cause of the truths and of our faith therein. For some of the faithful these truths have, I doubt not, an evidence of reason; but for the whole household of faith their certainty is in their working. Now it is this, by which, in all cases, we know and determine existence in the first instance. That which works in us or on us exists for us. The shapes and forms that follow the working as its results or products, whether the shapes cognizable by sense or the forms distinguished by the intellect, are after all but the particularizations of this working; its proper names, as it were, as John, James, Peter, in respect of human nature. They are all derived from the relations in which finite beings stand to each other; and are therefore heterogeneous and, except by accommodation, devoid of meaning and purpose when applied to the working in and by which God makes his existence known to us, and (we may presume to say) especially exists for the soul in whom he thus works. On these grounds, therefore, I hold the doctrines of original sin, the redemption therefrom by the Cross of Christ, and change of heart as the consequent; without adopting the additions to the doctrines inferred by one set of divines, the modern Calvinists, or acknowledging the consequences burdened on the doctrines by their antagonists. Nor is this my faith fairly liable to any inconvenience, if only it be remembered that it is a spiritual working, of which I speak, and a spiritual knowledge,—not through the medium of image, the seeking after which is superstition; nor yet by any sensation, the watching for which is enthusiasm, and the conceit of its presence fanatical distemperature. "Do the will of the Father, and ye shall know it."

We must distinguish the life and the soul; though there is a certain sense in which the life may be called the soul; that is, the life is the soul of the body. But the soul is the life of the man, and Christ is the life of the soul. Now the spirit of man, the spirit subsistent, is deeper than both, not only deeper than the body and its life, but deeper than the soul; and the Spirit descendent and supersistent is higher than both. In the regenerated man the height and the depth become one—the Spirit communeth with the spirit—and the soul is the inter-ens, or ens inter-medium between the life and the spirit;—the participium, not as a compound, however, but as a medium indifferens—in the same sense in which heat may be designated as the indifference between light and gravity. And what is the Reason?—The spirit in its presence to the understanding abstractedly from its presence in the will,—nay, in many, during the negation of the latter. The spirit present to man, but not appropriated by him, is the reason of man:—the reason in the process of its identification with the will is the spirit.


Ib. pp. 63-4.
Can we deny that it is unbelief of those things that causeth this neglect and forgetting of them? The discourse, the tongue of men and angels cannot beget divine belief of the happiness to come; only He that gives it, gives faith likewise to apprehend it, and lay hold upon it, and upon our believing to be filled with joy in the hopes of it.
Most true, most true!


Ib. p. 68.
In spiritual trials that are the sharpest and most fiery of all, when the furnace is within a man, when God doth not only shut up his loving-kindness from its feeling, but seems to shut it up in hot displeasure, when he writes bitter things against it; yet then to depend upon him, and wait for his salvation, this is not only a true, but a strong and very refined faith indeed, and the more he smites, the more to cleave to him. * * * Though I saw, as it were, his hand lifted up to destroy me, yet from that same hand would I expect salvation.
Bless God, O my soul, for this sweet and strong comforter! It is the honey in the lion.


Ib. p. 75.
This natural men may discourse of, and that very knowingly, and give a kind of natural credit to it as to a history that may be true; but firmly to believe that there is divine truth in all these things, and to have a persuasion of it stronger than of the very things we see with our eyes; such an assent as this is the peculiar work of the Spirit of God, and is certainly saving faith.
Lord I believe: help thou my unbelief! My reason acquiesces, and I believe enough to fear. O, grant me the belief that brings sweet hope!


Ib. p. 76.
Faith * * causes the soul to find all that is spoken of him in the word, and his beauty there represented, to be abundantly true, makes it really taste of his sweetness, and by that possesses the heart more strongly with his love, persuading it of the truth of those things, not by reasons and arguments, but by an inexpressible kind of evidence, that they only know that have it.
Either this is true, or religion is not religion; that is, it adds nothing to our human reason; non religat. Grant it, grant it me, O Lord!


Ib. pp. 104-5.
This sweet stream of their doctrine did, as the rivers, make its own banks fertile and pleasant as it ran by, and flowed still forward to after ages, and by the confluence of more such prophecies grew greater as it went, till it fell in with the main current of the Gospel in the New Testament, both acted and preached by the great Prophet himself, whom they foretold to come, and recorded by his Apostles and Evangelists, and thus united into one river, clear as crystal. This doctrine of salvation in the Scriptures hath still refreshed the city of God, his Church under the Gospel, and still shall do so, till it empty itself into the ocean of eternity.
In the whole course of my studies I do not remember to have read so beautiful an allegory as this; so various and detailed, and yet so just and natural.


Ib. p. 121.
There is a truth in it, that all sin arises from some kind of ignorance * * *. For were the true visage of sin seen at a full light, undressed and unpainted, it were impossible, while it so appeared, that any one soul could be in love with it, but would rather flee from it as hideous and abominable.
This is the only (defect, shall I say? No, but the only) omission I have felt in this divine Writer—for him we understand by feeling, experimentally—that he doth not notice the horrible tyranny of habit. What the Archbishop says, is most true of beginners in sin; but this is the foretaste of hell, to see and loathe the deformity of the wedded vice, and yet still to embrace and nourish it.


Ib. p. 122.
He calls those times wherein Christ was unknown to them, the times of their ignorance. Though the stars shine never so bright, and the moon with them in its full, yet they do not, altogether, make it day: still it is night till the sun appear.
How beautiful, and yet how simple, and as it were unconscious of its own beauty!


Ib. p. 124.
You were running to destruction in the way of sin, and there was a voice, together with the Gospel preaching to your ear, that spake into your heart, and called you back from that path of death to the way of holiness, which is the only way of life. He hath severed you from the mass of the profane world, and picked you out to be jewels for himself.
O, how divine! Surely, nothing less than the Spirit of Christ could have inspired such thoughts in such language. Other divines,—Donne and Jeremy Taylor for instance,—have converted their worldly gifts, and applied them to holy ends; but here the gifts themselves seem unearthly.


Ib. p. 138.
As in religion, so in the course and practice of men's lives, the stream of sin runs from one age to another, and every age makes it greater, adding somewhat to what it receives, as rivers grow in their course by the accession of brooks that fall into them; and every man when he is born, falls like a drop into this main current of corruption, and so is carried down it, and this by reason of its strength, and his own nature, which willingly dissolves into it, and runs along with it.
In this single period we have religion, the spirit,—philosophy, the soul,—and poetry, the body and drapery united;—Plato glorified by St. Paul; and yet coming as unostentatiously as any speech from an innocent girl of fifteen.


Ib. p. 158.
The chief point of obedience is believing; the proper obedience to truth is to give credit to it.
This is not quite so perspicuous and single-sensed as Archbishop Leighton's sentences in general are. This effect is occasioned by the omission of the word "this," or "divine," or the truth "in Christ." For truth in the ordinary and scientific sense is received by a spontaneous, rather than chosen by a voluntary, act; and the apprehension of the same (belief) supposes a position of congruity rather than an act of obedience. Far otherwise is it with the truth that is the object of Christian faith: and it is this truth of which Leighton is speaking. Belief indeed is a living part of this faith; but only as long as it is a living part. In other words, belief is implied in faith; but faith is not necessarily implied in belief. The devils believe.


Ib. p. 166.
Hence learn that true conversion is not so slight a work as we commonly account it. It is not the outward change of some bad customs, which gains the name of a reformed man in the ordinary dialect; it is new birth and being, and elsewhere called a new creation. Though it be but a change in qualities, yet it is such a one, and the qualities so far distant from what they before were, &c.
I dare not affirm that this is erroneously said; but it is one of the comparatively few passages that are of service as reminding me that it is not the Scripture that I am reading. Not the qualities merely, but the root of the qualities is trans-created. How else could it be a birth,—a creation?


Ib. p. 170.
This natural life is compared, even by natural men, to the vainest things, and scarce find they things light enough to express it vain; and as it is here called grass, so they compare the generations of men to the leaves of trees. * * * Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down. Job xiv. 1, 2. Psalm xc. 12; xxxix. 4.
It is the fashion to decry scholastic distinctions as useless subtleties, or mere phantoms—entia logica, vel etiam verbalia solum. And yet in order to secure a safe and Christian interpretation to these and numerous other passages of like phrase and import in the Old Testament, it is of highest concernment that we should distinguish the personeity or spirit, as the source and principle of personality, from the person itself as the particular product at any one period, and as that which cannot be evolved or sustained but by the co-agency of the system and circumstances in which the individuals are placed. In this latter sense it is that man is used in the Psalms, in Job, and elsewhere—and the term made synonymous with flesh. That which constitutes the spirit in man, both for others and itself, is the real man; and to this the elements and elementary powers contribute its bulk (Greek: tò videri et tangi) wholly, and its phenomenal form in part, both as co-efficients, and as conditions. Now as these are under a law of vanity and incessant change,Greek: tà màe ónta, all'
aèi ginómena—so must all be, to the production and continuance of which they are indispensable. On this hangs the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, as an essential part of the doctrine of immortality;—on this the Scriptural (and only true and philosophical) sense of the soul, psyche or life, as resulting from the continual assurgency of the spirit through the body;—and on this the begetting of a new life, a regenerate soul, by the descent of the divine Spirit on the spirit of man. When the spirit by sanctification is fitted for an incorruptible body, then shall it be raised into a world of incorruption, and a celestial body shall burgeon forth thereto, the germ of which had been implanted by the redeeming and creative Word in this world. Truly hath it been said of the elect:—They fall asleep in earth, but awake in heaven. So St. Paul expressly teaches: and as the passage (1. Cor. xv. 35—54,) was written for the express purpose of rectifying the notions of the converts concerning the Resurrection, all other passages in the New Testament must be interpreted in harmony with it. But John, likewise,—describing the same great event, as subsequent to, and contra-distinguished from, the partial or millennary Resurrection—which (whether we are to understand the Apostle symbolically or literally) is to take place in the present world,—beholds a new earth and a new heaven as antecedent to, or coincident with, the appearance of the New Jerusalem,—that is, the state of glory, and the resurrection to life everlasting. The old earth and its heaven had passed away from the face of Him on the throne, at the moment that it gave up the dead. Rev. xx.-xxi.


Ib. pp. 174-5.
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

And with respect to those learned men that apply the text to God, I remember not that this abiding for ever is used to express God's eternity in himself.
No; nor is it here used for that purpose; but yet I cannot doubt but that either the Word, Greek: Ho Lógos en archae, or the Divine promises in and through the incarnate Word, with the gracious influences proceeding from him, are here meant—and not the written Greek:rháemata or Scriptures.


Ib. p. 194.
If any one's head or tongue should grow apace, and all the rest stand at a stay, it would certainly make him a monster; and they are no other that are knowing and discovering Christians, and grow daily in that, but not at all in holiness of heart and life, which is the proper growth of the children of God.
Father in heaven, have mercy on me! Christ, Lamb of God, have mercy on me! Save me, Lord, or I perish! Alas! I am perishing.


Ib. p. 200.
A well-furnished table may please a man, while he hath health and appetite; but offer it to him in the height of a fever, how unpleasant it would be then! Though never so richly decked, it is then not only useless, but hateful to him. But the kindness and love of God is then as seasonable and refreshing to him, as in health, and possibly more.
To the regenerate;—but to the conscious sinner a source of terrors insupportable.


Ib. p. 211.
These things hold likewise in the other stones of this building, chosen before time: all that should be of this building are fore-ordained in God's purpose, all written in that book beforehand, and then in due time they are chosen, by actual calling, according to that purpose, hewed out and severed by God's own hand from the quarry of corrupt nature;—dead stones in themselves, as the rest, but made living by his bringing them to Christ, and so made truly precious, and accounted precious by him that hath made them so.
Though this is not only true, but a most important truth, it would yet have been well to have obviated the apparent carnal consequences.


Ib. p. 216.
All sacrifice is not taken away; but it is changed from the offering of those things formerly in use, to spiritual sacrifices. Now these are every way preferable; they are easier and cheaper to us, and yet more precious and acceptable to God.
Still understand,—to the regenerate. To others, they are not only not easy and cheap, but unpurchaseable and impossible too. O God have mercy upon me!


Ib. p. 229.
Though I be beset on all hands, be accused by the Law, and mine own conscience, and by Satan, and have nothing to answer for myself; yet here I will stay, for I am sure in him there is salvation, and no where else.
"Here I will stay." But alas! the poor sinner has forfeited the powers of willing; miserable wishing is all he can command. O, the dreadful injury of an irreligious education! To be taught our prayers, and the awful truths of religion, in the same tone in which we are taught the Latin Grammar,—and too often inspiring the same sensations of weariness and disgust!


Vol. II. p. 242.
And thus are reproaches mentioned amongst the sufferings of Christ in the Gospel, and not as the least; the railings and mockings that were darted at him, and fixed to the Cross, are mentioned more than the very nails that fixed him. And (Heb. xii. 2,) the shame of the Cross, though he was above it, and despised it, yet that shame added much to the burden of it.
I understand Leighton thus: that though our Lord felt it not as shame, nor was wounded by the revilings of the people in the way of any correspondent resentment or sting, which yet we may be without blame, yet he suffered from the same as sin, and as an addition to the guilt of his persecutors, which could not but aggravate the burden which he had taken on himself, as being sin in its most devilish form.


Ib. p. 293.
This therefore is mainly to be studied, that the seat of humility be the heart. Although it will be seen in the carriage yet as little as it can * * *. And this I would recommend as a safe way: ever let thy thoughts concerning thyself be below what thou utterest; and what thou seest needful or fitting to say to thy own abasement, be not only content (which most are not) to be taken at thy word, and believed to be such by them that hear thee, but be desirous of it; and let that be the end of thy speech, to persuade them, and gain it of them, that they really take thee for as worthless a man as thou dost express thyself.
Alas! this is a most delicate and difficult subject: and the safest way, and the only safe general rule is the silence that accompanies the inward act of looking at the contrast in all that is of our own doing and impulse! So may praises be made their own antidote.


Vol. III. p. 20. Serm. I.
They shall see God. What this is we cannot tell you, nor can you conceive it: but walk heavenwards in purity, and long to be there, where you shall know what it means: for you shall know him as he is.
We say; "Now I see the full meaning, force and beauty of a passage,—we see them through the words." Is not Christ the Word—the substantial, consubstantial Word, Greek: ho ôn eis tòn kólpon tou patróssee previous image—not as our words, arbitrary; nor even as the words of Nature phenomenal merely? If even through the words a powerful and perspicuous author—(as in the next to inspired Commentary of Archbishop Leighton,—for whom God be praised!)—I identify myself with the excellent writer, and his thoughts become my thoughts: what must not the blessing be to be thus identified first with the Filial Word, and then with the Father in and through Him?


Ib. p. 63. Serm. V.
In this elementary world, light being (as we hear,) the first visible, all things are seen by it, and it by itself. Thus is Christ, among spiritual things, in the elect world of his Church; all things are made manifest by the light, says the Apostle, Eph. v. 13, speaking of Christ as the following verse doth evidently testify. It is in his word that he shines, and makes it a directing and convincing light, to discover all things that concern his Church and himself, to be known by its own brightness. How impertinent then is that question so much tossed by the Romish Church, "How know you the Scriptures (say they) to be the word of God, without the testimony of the Church?" I would ask one of them again, How they can know that it is daylight, except some light a candle to let them see it? They are little versed in Scripture that know not that it is frequently called light; and they are senseless that know not that light is seen and known by itself. If our Gospel be hid, says the Apostle, it is hid to them that perish: the god of this world having blinded their minds against the light of the glorious Gospel, no wonder if such stand in need of a testimony. A blind man knows not that it is light at noon-day, but by report: but to those that have eyes, light is seen by itself.
On the true test of the Scriptures. Oh! were it not for my manifold infirmities, whereby I am so all unlike the white-robed Leighton, I could almost conceit that my soul had been an emanation from his! So many and so remarkable are the coincidences, and these in parts of his works that I could not have seen—and so uniform the congruity of the whole. As I read, I seem to myself to be only thinking my own thoughts over again, now in the same and now in a different order.


Ib. p. 68.
The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews calls him (Christ) Greek: apaúgasma, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the character of his person, (i. 3.) And under these expressions lies that remarkable mystery of the Son's eternal relation to the Father, which is rather humbly to be adored, than boldly to be explained, either by God's perfect understanding of his own essence, or by any other notion.
Certainly not by a transfer of a notion, and this too a notion of a faculty itself but notional and limitary, to the Supreme Reality. But there are ideas which are of higher origin than the notions of the understanding, and by the irradiation of which the understanding itself becomes a human understanding. Of such veritates verificæ Leighton himself in other words speaks often. Surely, there must have been an intelligible propriety in the terms, Logos, Word, Begotten before all creation,—an adequate idea or icon, or the Evangelists and Apostolic penmen would not have adopted them. They did not invent the terms; but took them and used them as they were taken and applied by Philo and both the Greek and Oriental sages. Nay, the precise and orthodox, yet frequent, use of these terms by Philo, and by the Jewish authors of that traditionalæ wisdom,—degraded in after times, but which in its purest parts existed long before the Christian æra,—is the strongest extrinsic argument against the Arians, Socinians, and Unitarians, in proof that St. John must have meant to deceive his readers, if he did not use them in the known and received sense. To a Materialist indeed, or to those who deny all knowledges not resolvable into notices from the five senses, these terms as applied to spiritual beings must appear inexplicable or senseless. But so must spirit. To me, (why do I say to me?) to Bull, to Waterland, to Gregory Nazianzen, Basil, Athanasius, Augustine, the terms, Word and generation, have appeared admirably, yea, most awfully pregnant and appropriate;—but still as the language of those who know that they are placed with their backs to substances—and which therefore they can name only from the correspondent shadows—yet not (God forbid!) as if the substances were the same as the shadows;—which yet Leighton supposed in this his censure,—for if he did not, he then censures himself and a number of his most beautiful passages. These, and two or three other sentences,—slips of human infirmity,—are useful in reminding me that Leighton's works are not inspired Scripture.


Postscript

On a second consideration of this passage, and a revisal of my marginal animadversion— yet how dare I apply such a word to a passage written by a minister of Christ so clearly under the especial light of the divine grace as was Archbishop Leighton?—I am inclined to think that Leighton confined his censure to the attempts to "explain" the Trinity,—and this by "notions,"—and not to the assertion of the adorable acts implied in the terms both of the Evangelists and Apostles, and of the Church before as well as after Christ's ascension; nor to the assent of the pure reason to the truths, and more than assent to, the affirmation of the ideas.


Ib. p. 73.

This fifth Sermon, excellent in parts, is yet on the whole the least excellent of Leighton's works,—and breathes less of either his own character as a man, or the character of his religious philosophy. The style too is in many places below Leighton's ordinary style—in some places even turbid, operose, and catechrestic;—for example,—"to trample on smilings with one foot and on frownings with the other."


Ib. p. 77. Serm. VI.

Leighton, I presume, was acquainted with the Hebrew Language, but he does not appear to have studied it much. His observation on the heart, as used in the Old Testament, shews that he did not know that the ancient Hebrews supposed the heart to be the seat of intellect, and therefore used it exactly as we use the head.


Ib. p. 104. Serm. VII.

This seventh Sermon is admirable throughout, Leighton throughout. O what a contrast might be presented by publishing some discourse of some Court divine, (South for instance,) preached under the same state of affairs, and printing the two in columns!


Ib. p. 107. Serm. VIII.
In all love three things are necessary; some goodness in the object, either true and real, or apparent and seeming to be so; for the soul, be it ever so evil, can affect nothing but which it takes in some way to be good.
This assertion in these words has been so often made, from Plato's times to ours, that even wise men repeat it without perhaps much examination whether it be not equivocal—or rather (I suspect) true only in that sense in which it would amount to nothing—nothing to the purpose at least. This is to be regretted—for it is a mischievous equivoque, to make 'good' a synonyme of 'pleasant,' or even the genus of which pleasure is a species. It is a grievous mistake to say, that bad men seek pleasure because it is good. No! like children they call it good because it is pleasant. Even the useful must derive its meaning from the good, not vice versa.


Postscript.

The lines in p. 107, noted by me, are one of a myriad instances to prove how rash it is to quote single sentences or assertions from the correctest writers, without collating them with the known system or express convictions of the author. It would be easy to cite fifty passages from Archbishop Leighton's works in direct contradiction to the sentence in question—which he had learnt in the schools when a lad, and afterwards had heard and met with so often that he was not aware that he had never sifted its real purport. This eighth Sermon is another most admirable discourse.


Ib. Serm. IX. p. 12.
The reasonable creature, it is true, hath more liberty in its actions, freely choosing one thing and rejecting another; yet it cannot be denied, that in acting of that liberty, their choice and refusal followA the sway of their nature and condition.
A: I would fain substitute for 'follow,' the words, 'are most often determined, and always affected, by.' I do not deny that the will follows the nature; but then the nature itself is a will.


Ib.
As the angels and glorified souls, (their nature being perfectly holy and unalterably such,) they cannot sin; they can delight in nothing but obeying and praising that God, in the enjoyment of whom their happiness consisteth.
If angels be other than spirits made perfect, or, as Leighton writes, "glorified souls,"—the "unalterable by nature" seems to me rashly asserted.


Ib.
The mind, Greek: phrónaema. Some render it the prudence or wisdom of the flesh. Here you have it, the carnal mind; but the word signifies, indeed, an act of the mind, rather than either the faculty itself, or the habit of prudence in it, so as it discovers what is the frame of both those.
I doubt. Greek: phrónaema. signifies an act: and so far I agree with Leighton. But Greek: phrónaema sarkòs is the flesh (that is, the natural man,) in the act or habitude of minding—but those acts, taken collectively, are the faculty—the understanding.

How often have I found reason to regret, that Leighton had not clearly made out to himself the diversity of reason and the understanding!


Ib. Serm. XV. p. 196.
A narrow enthralled heart, fettered with the love of lower things, and cleaving to some particular sins, or but some one, and that secret, may keep foot a while in the way of God's commandments, in some steps of them; but it must give up quickly, is not able to run on to the end of the goal.
One of the blessed privileges of the spiritual man (and such Leighton was,) is a piercing insight into the diseases of which he himself is clear. Greek: Eléaeson Kyrie!


Ib. Serm. XVI. p. 204.
Know you not that the redeemed of Christ and He are one? They live one life, Christ lives in them, and if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, as the Apostle declares in this chapter. So then this we are plainly to tell you, and consider it; you that will not let go your sins to lay hold on Christ, have as yet no share in him.

But on the other side: the truth is, that when souls are once set upon this search, they commonly wind the notion too high, and subtilize too much in the dispute, and so entangle and perplex themselves, and drive themselves further off from that comfort that they are seeking after; such measures and marks they set to themselves for their rule and standard; and unless they find those without all controversy in themselves, they will not believe that they have an interest in Christ, and this blessed and safe estate in him.

To such I would only say, Are you in a willing league with any known sin? &c.
An admirable antidote for such as, too sober and sincere to pass off feverous sensations for spiritualities, have been perplexed by Wesley's assertions—that a certainty of having been elected is an indispensable mark of election. Whitfield's ultra-Calvinism is Gospel gentleness and Pauline sobriety compared with Wesley's Arminianism in the outset of his career. But the main and most noticeable difference between Leighton and the modern Methodists is to be found in the uniform selfishness of the latter. Not "Do you wish to love God?" "Do you love your neighbour?" "Do you think, 'O how dear and lovely must Christ be!'"— but—"Are you certain that Christ has saved you; that he died for you—you—you—yourself?" on to the end of the chapter. This is Wesley's doctrine.


Lecture IX. vol. IV. p. 96.
For that this was his fixed purpose, Lucretius not only vows, but also boasts of it, and loads him (Epicurus) with ill-advised praises, for endeavouring through the whole course of his philosophy to free the minds of men from all the bonds and ties of religion.
But surely in this passage religio must be rendered superstition, the most effectual means for the removal of which Epicurus supposed himself to have found in the exclusion of the gods many and lords many, from their imagined agency in all the phœnomena of nature and the events of history, substituting for these the belief in fixed laws, having in themselves their evidence and necessity. On this account, in this passage at least, Lucretius praises his master.


Ib. p. 105.
They always seemed to me to act a very ridiculous part, who contend, that the effect of the divine decree is absolutely irreconcilable with human liberty; because the natural and necessary liberty of a rational creature is to act or choose from a rational motive, or spontaneously, and of purpose: but who sees not, that, on the supposition of the most absolute decree, this liberty is not taken away, but rather established and confirmed? For the decree is, that such an one shall make choice of, or do some particular thing freely. And whoever pretends to deny, that whatever is done or chosen, whether good or indifferent, is so done or chosen, or, at least, may be so, espouses an absurdity.
I fear, I fear, that this is a sophism not worthy of Archbishop Leighton. It seems to me tantamount to saying—"I force that man to do so or so without my forcing him." But however that may be, the following sentences are more precious than diamonds. They are divine.


Ib. Lect. XI. p. 113.
For that this world, compounded of so many and such heterogeneous parts, should proceed, by way of natural and necessary emanation, from that one first, present, and most simple nature, nobody, I imagine, could believe, or in the least suspect * * *. But if he produced all these things freely, * * how much more consistent is it to believe, that this was done in time, than to imagine it was from eternity!
It is inconceivable how any thing can be created in time; and production is incompatible with interspace.


Ib. Lect. XV. p. 152.
The Platonists divide the world into two, the sensible and intellectual world * * *. According to this hypothesis, those parables and metaphors, which are often taken from natural things to illustrate such as are divine, will not be similitudes taken entirely at pleasure; but are often, in a great measure, founded in nature, and the things themselves.
I have asserted the same thing, and more fully shown wherein the difference consists of symbolic and metaphorical, in my first Lay Sermon; and the substantial correspondence of the genuine Platonic doctrine and logic with those of Lord Bacon, in my Essays on Method, in the Friend2.


Ib. Lect. XIX. p. 201.
Even the philosophers give their testimony to this truth, and their sentiments on the subject are not altogether to be rejected; for they almost unanimously are agreed, that felicity, so far as it can be enjoyed in this life, consists solely, or at least principally, in virtue: but as to their assertion, that this virtue is perfect in a perfect life, it is rather expressing what were to be wished, than describing things as they are.
And why are the philosophers to be judged according to a different rule? On what ground can it be asserted that the Stoics believed in the actual existence of their God-like perfection in any individual? or that they meant more than this—"To no man can the name of the Wise be given in its absolute sense, who is not perfect even as his Father in heaven is perfect!"


Ib. Lect. XXI. p. 225.
In like manner, if we suppose God to be the first of all beings, we must, unavoidably, therefrom conclude his unity. As to the ineffable Trinity subsisting in this Unity, a mystery discovered only by the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the New Testament, where it is more clearly revealed than in the Old, let others boldly pry into it, if they please, while we receive it with our humble faith, and think it sufficient for us to admire and adore.
But surely it having been revealed to us, we may venture to say,—that a positive unity, so far from excluding, implies plurality, and that the Godhead is a fulness, Greek: plaeroma


Ib. Lect. XXIV. p. 245.
Ask yourselves, therefore, what you would be at, and with what dispositions you come to this most sacred table?
In an age of colloquial idioms, when to write in a loose slang had become a mark of loyalty, this is the only L'Estrange vulgarism I have met with in Leighton.


Ib. Exhortation to the Students, p. 252.
Study to acquire such a philosophy as is not barren and babbling, but solid and true; not such a one as floats upon the surface of endless verbal controversies, but one that enters into the nature of things; for he spoke good sense that said, "The philosophy of the Greeks was a mere jargon, and noise of words."
If so, then so is all philosophy: for what system is there, the elements and outlines of which are not to be found in the Greek schools? Here Leighton followed too incautiously the Fathers.





Footnote 1:   Works of Leighton, 4 vols. 8vo. London 1819. Ed.
return to footnote mark


Footnote 2:  Statesman's Manual, p. 230. 2nd edit. Friend, III. 3d edit. Ed.
return

Contents / Index




Notes on Sherlock's Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity1


Sect. I. p. 3.
Some new philosophers will tell you that the notion of a spirit or an immaterial substance is a contradiction; for by substance they understand nothing but matter, and then an immaterial substance is immaterial matter, that is, matter and no matter, which is a contradiction; but yet this does not prove an immaterial substance to be a contradiction, unless they could first prove that there is no substance but matter; and that they cannot conceive any other substance but matter, does not prove that there is no other.
Certainly not: but if not only they, but Dr. Sherlock himself and all mankind, are incapable of attaching any sense to the term substance, but that of matter,—then for us it would be a contradiction, or a groundless assertion. Thus: By 'substance' I do not mean the only notion we can attach to the word; but a somewhat, I know not what, may, for aught I know, not be contradictory to spirit! Why should we use the equivocal word, 'substance' (after all but an ens logicum), instead of the definite term 'self-subsistent?' We are equally conscious of mind, and of that which we call 'body;' and the only possible philosophical questions are these three:
  1. Are they co-ordinate as agent and re-agent;
  1. Or is the one subordinate to the other, as effect to cause, and which is the cause or ground, which the effect or product;
  1. Or are they co-ordinate, but not inter-dependent, that is, per harmonium præstabilitam.


Ib. p. 4.
Now so far as we understand the nature of any being, we can certainly tell what is contrary and contradictious to its nature; as that accidents should subsist without their subject, &c.
That accidents should subsist (rather, exist) without a subject, may be a contradiction, but not that they exist without this or that subject. The words 'their subject' are a petitio principii.


Ib.
These and such like are the manifest absurdities and contradictions of Transubstantiation; and we know that they are so, because we know the nature of a body, &c.
Indeed! Were I either Romanist or Unitarian, I should desire no better than the admission of body having an esse not in the percipi, and really subsisting, Greek: autò tò chraema as tne supporter of its accidents. At all events, the Romanist, declaring the accidents to be those ordinarily impressed on the senses Greek: tà
phaínomena kaì aísthaetaGreek: see previous image by bread and wine, does at the same time declare the flesh and blood not to be the Greek: phaínomena kaì aísthaeta so called, but the Greek: noúmena kaì autà tà chráematasee previous image. There is therefore no contradiction in the terms, however reasonless the doctrine may be, and however unnecessary the interpretation on which it is pretended. I confess, had I been in Luther's place, I would not have rested so much of my quarrel with the Papists on this point; nor can I agree with our Arminian divines in their ridicule of Transubstantiation. The most rational doctrine is perhaps, for some purposes, at least, the rem credimus, modum nescimus; next to that, the doctrine of the Sacramentaries, that it is signum sub rei nomine, as when we call a portrait of Caius, Caius. But of all the remainder, Impanation, Consubstantiation, and the like, I confess that I should prefer the Transubstantiation of the Pontifical doctors.


Ib. p. 6.
The proof of this comes to this one point, that we may have sufficient evidence of the being of a thing whose nature we cannot conceive and comprehend: he who will not own this, contradicts the sense and experience of mankind; and he who confesses this, and yet rejects the belief of that which he has good evidence for, merely because he cannot conceive it, is a very absurd and senseless infidel.
Here again, though a zealous believer of the truth asserted, I must object to the Bishop's logic. None but the weakest men have objected to the Tri-unity merely because the modus is above their comprehension: for so is the influence of thought on muscular motion; so is life itself; so in short is every first truth of necessity; for to comprehend a thing, is to know its antecedent and consequent. But they affirm that it is against their reason. Besides, there seems an equivocation in the use of 'comprehend' and 'conceive' in the same meaning. When a man tells me, that his will can lift his arm, I conceive his meaning; though I do not comprehend the fact, I understand him. But the Socinians say;—"We do not understand you. We cannot attach to the word 'God,' more than three possible meanings; either,
  1. A person, or self-conscious being;
  1. Or a thing;
  1. Or a quality, property, or attribute.
If you take the first, then you admit the contradiction; if either of the latter two, you have not three Persons and one God, but three Persons having equal shares in one thing, or three with the same attributes, that is, three Gods. Sherlock does not meet this.

Let me repeat the difficulty, if possible, more clearly. The argument of the philosophic Unitarians, as Wissowatius, who, mistaken as they were, are not to be confounded with their degenerate successors, the Priestleyans and Belshamites, may be thus expressed. "By the term, God, we can only conceive you to suppose one or other of three meanings.
  1. Either you understand by it a person, in the common sense of an intelligent or self-conscious being; —or,
  1. a thing with its qualities and properties; —or,
  1. certain powers and attributes, comprised under the word nature.
If we suppose the first, the contradiction is manifest, and you yourselves admit it, and therefore forbid us so to interpret your words. For if by God you mean Person, then three Persons and one God, would be the same as three Persons and one Person. If we take the second as your meaning, as an infinite thing is an absurdity, we have three finite Gods, like Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, who shared the universe between them. If the latter, we have three Persons with the same attributes;—and if a Person with infinite attributes be what we mean by God, then we have either three Gods, or involve the contradiction above mentioned. It is unphilosophic, by admission of all philosophers, they add, to multiply causes beyond the necessity. Now if there are three Persons of infinite and the same attributes, dismiss two, and you lose nothing but a numerical phantom."

The answer to this must commence by a denial of the premisses in toto: and this both Bull and Waterland have done most successfully. But I very much doubt, whether Sherlock on his principles could have evaded the Unitarian logic. In fact it is scarcely possible to acquit him altogether of a quasi-Tritheism.


Sect. II. p. 13.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;—
(That is, by especial revelation.)
So are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.
That is, by the religion contained in, and given in accompaniment with, the universal reason, the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.


Ib. p. 14.
This Creed (Athanasian) does not pretend to explain how there are three Persons, each of which is God, and yet but One God, (of which more hereafter,) but only asserts the thing, that thus it is, and thus it must be if we believe a Trinity in Unity; which should make all men, who would be thought neither Arians nor Socinians, more cautious how they express the least dislike of the Athanasian Creed, which must either argue, that they condemn it, before they understand it, or that they have some secret dislike to the doctrine of the Trinity.
The dislike commonly felt is not of the doctrine of the Trinity, but of the positive anathematic assertion of the everlasting perdition of all and of each who doubt the same;—an assertion deduced from Scripture only by a train of captious consequences, and equivocations. Thus, A.: "I honour and admire Caius for his great learning." B.: "The knowledge of the Sanscrit is an important article in Caius's learning." A.: "I have been often in his company, and have found no reason for believing this." B.: "O! then you deny his learning, are envious, and Caius's enemy." A.: "God forbid! I love and admire him. I know him for a transcendant linguist in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and modern European languages;—and with or without the Sanscrit, I look up to him, and rely on his erudition in all cases, in which I am concerned. And it is this perfect trust, this unfeigned respect, that is the appointed criterion of Caius's friends and disciples, and not their full acquaintance with each and all particulars of his superiority." Thus without Christ, or in any other power but that of Christ, and (subjectively) of faith in Christ, no man can be saved; but does it follow, that no man can have Christian faith who is ignorant or erroneous as to any one point of Christian theology? Will a soul be condemned to everlasting perdition for want of logical acumen in the perception of consequences? —If he verily embrace Christ as his Redeemer, and unfeignedly feel in himself the necessity of Redemption, he implicitly holds the Divinity of Christ, whatever from want or defect of logic may be his notion explicite.


Ib. p. 18.
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal, and co-equal. And yet this we must acknowledge to be true, if we acknowledge all three Persons to be eternal, for in eternity there can be no afore, or after other.
It must, however, be considered as a serious defect in a Creed, if excluding subordination, without mentioning any particular form, it gives no hint of any other form in which it admits it. The only minus admitted by the Athanasian Creed is the inferiority of Christ's Humanity to the Divinity generally; but both Scripture and the Nicene Creed teach a subordination of the Son to the Father, independent of the Incarnation of the Son. Now this is not inserted, and therefore the denial in the assertion none is greater or less than another, is universal, and a plain contradiction of Christ speaking of Himself as the co-eternal Son; My Father is greater than I. Speaking of himself as the co-eternal Son, I say;—for how superfluous would it have been, a truism how unworthy of our Lord, to have said in effect, that "a creature is less than God!" And after all, Creeds assuredly are not to be imposed ad libitum—a new Creed, or at least a new form and choice of articles and expressions, at the pleasure of individuals. Now where is the authority of the Athanasian Creed? In what consists its necessity? If it be the same as the Nicene, why not be content with the Nicene? If it differs, how dare we retain both2? If the Athanasian does not say more or different, but only differs by omission of a necessary article, then to impose it, is as absurd as to force a mutilated copy on one who has already the perfect original. Lastly, it is not enough that an abstract contains nothing which may not by a chain of consequences be deduced from the books of the Evangelists and Apostles, in order for it to be a Creed for the whole Christian Church. For a Creed is or ought to be a syllepsis of those primary fundamental truths that are, as it were, the starting-post, from which the Christian must commence his progression. The full-grown Christian needs no other Creed than the Scriptures themselves. Highly valuable is the Nicene Creed; but it has its chief value as an historical document, proving that the same texts in Scripture received the same interpretation, while the Greek was a living language, as now.


Sect. III. p. 23.
If what he says is true: He that errs in a question of faith, after having used reasonable diligence to be rightly informed, is in no fault at all; how comes an atheist, or an infidel, a Turk, or a Jew, to be in any fault? Does our author think that no atheist or infidel, no unbelieving Jew or heathen, ever used reasonable diligence to be rightly informed? * * * If you say, he confines this to such points as have always been controverted in the churches of God, I desire to know a reason why he thus confines it? For does not his reason equally extend to the Christian Faith itself, as to those points which have been controverted in Christian Churches?
And the Notary might ask in his turn: "Do you believe that the Christians either of the Greek or of the Western Church will be damned, according as the truth may be respecting the procession of the Holy Ghost? or that either the Sacramentary or the Lutheran? or again, the Consubstantiationist, or the Transubstantiationist? If not, why do you stop here? Whence this sudden palsy in the limbs of your charity? Again, does this eternal damnation of the individual depend on the supposed importance of the article denied? Or on the moral state of the individual, on the inward source of this denial? And lastly, who authorized either you, or the pseudo-Athanasius, to interpret Catholic faith by belief, arising out of the apparent predominance of the grounds for, over those against, the truth of the positions asserted; much more, by belief as a mere passive acquiescence of the understanding? Were all damned who died during the period when totus fere mundus factus est Arianus, as one of the Fathers admits? Alas! alas! how long will it be ere Christians take the plain middle road between intolerance and indifference, by adopting the literal sense and Scriptural import of heresy, that is, wilful error, or belief originating in some perversion of the will; and of heretics, (for such there are, nay, even orthodox heretics), that is, men wilfully unconscious of their own wilfulness, in their limpet-like adhesion to a favourite tenet?"


Ib. p. 26.
All Christians must confess, that there is no other name given under heaven whereby men can be saved, but only the name of Christ.
Now this is a most awful question, on which depends whether Christ was more than Socrates; for to bring God from heaven to reproclaim the Ten Commandments, is too too ridiculous. Need I say I incline to Sherlock? But yet I cannot give to faith the meaning he does, though I give it all, and more than all, the power. But if that Name, as power, saved the Jewish Church before they knew the Name, as name, how much more now, if only the will be not guiltily averse? Any miracle does in kind as truly bring God from heaven as the Incarnation, which the Socinians wholly forget, as in other points. They receive without scruple what they have learned without examination, and then transfer to the first article which they do look into, all the difficulties that belong equally to the former: as the Simonidean doubts concerning God to the Trinity, and the like.


Ib. p. 27.

The Eclectic Neo-Platonists (Sallustius and others,) justified their Polytheism on much the same pretext as is in fact involved in the language of this page; Greek: polloì mèn en dè mia theótaeti This indeed seems to me decisive in favour of Waterland's scheme against this of Sherlock's;—namely, that in the latter we find no sufficient reason why in the nature of things this intermutual consciousness might not be possessed by thirty instead of three. It seems a strange confounding Greek: hetéron genéôn to answer, "True; but the latter only happens to be the fact!"—just as if we were speaking of the number of persons in the Privy Council.


Ib. p. 28.
Notes. By keeping this faith whole and undefiled, must be meant that a man should believe and profess it without adding to it or taking from it. * * * First, for adding. What if an honest plain man, because he is a Christian and a Protestant, should think it necessary to add this article to the Athanasian Creed;—I believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be a divine, infallible and complete rule both for faith and manners. I hope no Protestant would think a man damned for such addition; and if so, then this Creed of Athanasius is at least an unnecessary rule of faith.

Answer. That is to say, it is an addition to the Catholic Faith to own the Scriptures to be the rule of faith; as if it were an addition to the laws of England to own the original records of them in the Tower.
This Notary manages his cause most weakly, and Sherlock fibs him like a scientific pugilist. But he himself exposes weak parts, as in p. 27. The objection to the Athanasian Creed urged by better men than the Notary, yea, by divines not less orthodox than Sherlock himself, is this: not that this Creed adds to the Scriptures, but that it adds to the original Symbolum Fidei, the Regula, the Canon, by which, according to the greater number of the ante-Nicene Fathers, the books of the New Testament were themselves tried and determined to be Scripture. Now this Symbolum was to bring together all that must be believed, even by the babes in faith, or to what purpose was it made? Now, say they, the Nicene Creed is really nothing more than a verbal explication of the common Creed, but the clause in the Athanasian (which faith, &c.), however fairly deduced from Scripture, is not contained in the Creed, or selection of certain articles of Faith from the Scriptures, or not at least from those preachings and narrations, of which the New Testament Scriptures are the repository. Might not a Papist plead equally in support of the Creed of Pope Pius: "The new articles are deduced from Scripture; that is, in our opinion, and that most expressly in our Lord's several and solemn addresses to St. Peter." So again Sherlock's answer to this paragraph from the Notes is evasive,—for it is very possible, nay, it is, and has been the case, that a man may believe in the facts and doctrines contained in the New Testament, and yet not believe the Holy Scripture to be either divine, infallible, or complete.


Sect. IV. p. 50.
We know not what the substance of an infinite mind is, nor how such substances as have no parts or extension can touch each other, or be thus externally united; but we know the unity of a mind or spirit reaches as far as its self-consciousness does, for that is one spirit, which knows and feels itself, and its own thoughts and motions, and if we mean this by circum-incession, three persons thus intimate to each other are numerically one.
The question still returns; have these three infinite minds, at once self-conscious and conscious of each other's consciousness, always the very same thoughts? If so, this mutual consciousness is unmeaning, or derivative; and the three do not cease to be three because they are three sames. If not, then there is Tritheism evidently.


Ib. p. 64.
St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. ii. 10. That the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. So that the Holy Spirit knows all that is in God, even his most deep and secret counsels, which is an argument that he is very intimate with him; but this is not all: it is the manner of knowing, which must prove this consciousness of which I speak: and that the Apostle adds in the next verse, that the Spirit of God knows all that is in God, just as the spirit of a man knows all that is in man: that is, not by external revelation or communication of this knowledge, but by self-consciousness, by an internal sensation, which is owing to an essential unity. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him; even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God.
It would be interesting, if it were feasible, to point out the epoch at which the text mode of arguing in polemic controversy became predominant; I mean by single texts without any modification by the context. I suspect that it commenced, or rather that it first became the fashion, under the Dort or systematic theologians, and during the so called Quinquarticular Controversy. This quotation from St. Paul is a striking instance:—for St. Paul is speaking of the holy spirit of which true spiritual Christians are partakers, and by which or in which those Christians are enabled to search all things, even the deep things of God. No person is here spoken of, but reference is made to the philosophic principle, that can only act immediately, that is, interpenetratively, as two globules of quicksilver, and co-adunatively. Now, perceiving and knowing were considered as immediate acts relatively to the objects perceived and known:—ergo, the principium sciendi must be one (that is, homogeneous or consubstantial) with the principium essendi quoad objectum cognitum. In order therefore for a man to understand, or even to know of, God, he must have a god-like spirit communicated to him, wherewith, as with an inward eye, which is both eye and light, he sees the spiritual truths. Now I have no objection to his calling this spirit a 'person,' if only the term 'person' be so understood as to permit of its being partaken of by all spiritual creatures, as light and the power of vision are partaken of by all seeing ones. But it is too evident that Sherlock supposes the Father, as Father, to possess a spirit, that is, an intellective faculty, by which he knows the Spirit, that is, the third co-equal Person; and that this Spirit, the Person, has a spirit, that is, an intellective faculty, by which he knows the Father; and the Logos in like manner relatively to both. So too, the Father has a logos with which he distinguishes the Logos;—and the Logos has a logos, and so on: that is to say, there are three several though not severed triune Gods, each being the same position three times realiter positum, as three guineas from the same mint, supposing them to differ no more than they appear to us to differ;—but whether a difference wholly and exclusively numerical is a conceivable notion, except under the predicament of space and time; whether it be not absurd to affirm it, where interspace and interval cannot be affirmed without absurdity—this is the question; or rather it is no question.


Ib. p. 68.
Nor do we divide the substance, but unite these three Persons in one numerical essence: for we know nothing of the unity of the mind, but self-consciousness, as I showed before; and therefore as the self-consciousness of every Person to itself makes them distinct Persons, so the mutual consciousness of all three divine Persons to each other makes them all but one infinite God: as far as consciousness reaches, so far the unity of a spirit extends, for we know no other unity of a mind or spirit, but consciousness.
But this contradicts the preceding paragraph, in which the Father is self-conscious that he is the Father and not the Son, and the Son that he is not the Father, and that the Father is not he. Now how can the Son's being conscious that the Father is conscious that he is not the Son, constitute a numerical unity? And wherein can such a consciousness as that attributed to the Son differ from absolute certainty? Is not God conscious of every thought of man;—and would Sherlock allow me to deduce the unity of the divine consciousness with the human? Sherlock's is doubtless a very plain and intelligible account of three Gods in the most absolute intimacy with each other, so that they are all as one; but by no means of three persons that are one God. I do not wonder that Waterland and the other followers of Bull were alarmed.


Ib. p. 72.
Even among men it is only knowledge that is power. Human power, and human knowledge, as that signifies a knowledge how to do anything, are commensurate; whatever human skill extends to, human power can effect: nay, every man can do what he knows how to do, if he has proper instruments and materials to do it with.
This proves that perfect knowledge supposes perfect power: and that they are one and the same. "If he have proper instruments:"— does not this show that the means are supposed co-present with the knowledge, not the same with it?


Ib.
For it is nothing but thought which moves our bodies, and all the members of them, which are the immediate instruments of all human force and power: excepting mechanical motions which do not depend upon our wills, such as the motion of the heart, the circulation of the blood, the concoction of our meat and the like. All voluntary motions are not only directed but caused by thought: and so indeed it must be, or there could be no motion in the world; for matter cannot move itself, and therefore some mind must be the first mover, which makes it very plain, that infinite truth and wisdom is infinite and almighty power.
Even this, though not ill-conceived, is inaccurately expressed.


Ib. p. 81.
There is no contradiction that three infinite minds should be absolutely perfect in wisdom, goodness, justice and power; for these are perfections which may be in more than one, as three men may all know the same things, and be equally just and good: but three such minds cannot be absolutely perfect without being mutually conscious to each other, as they are to themselves.
Will any man in his senses affirm, that my knowledge is increased by saying "all" three times following? Is it not mere repetition in time? If the Son has thoughts which the Father, as the Father, could not have but for his interpenetration of the Son's consciousness, then I can understand it; but then these are not three Absolutes, but three modes of perfection constituting one Absolute; and by what right Sherlock could call the one Father, more than the other, I cannot see.


Ib. p. 88.
And yet if we consider these three divine Persons as containing each other in themselves, and essentially one by a mutual consciousness, this pretended contradiction vanishes: for then the Father is the one true God, because the Father has the Son and the Holy Spirit in himself: and the Son may he called the one true God, because the Son has the Father and the Holy Ghost in himself, &c.
Nay, this is to my understanding three Gods, and Sherlock seems to have brought in the material phantom of a thing or substance.


Ib. p. 97.
But if these three distinct Persons are not separated, but essentially united unto one, each of them may be God, and all three but one God: for if these three Persons,—each of whom Greek: monadikôs, as it is in the Creed, singly by himself, not separately from the other divine Persons, is God and Lord, are essentially united into one, there can be but one God and one Lord; and how each of these persons is God, and all of them but one God, by their mutual consciousness, I have already explained.
—"That is,—if the three Persons are not three;"—so might the Arian answer, unless Sherlock had shown the difference of separate and distinct relatively to mind. "For what other separation can be conceived in mind but distinction? Distinction may be joined with imperfection, as ignorance, or forgetfulness; and so it is in men:—and if this be called separation by a metaphor from bodies, then the conclusion would be that in the Supreme Mind there is distinction without imperfection; and then the question is, whence comes plurality of Persons? Can it be conceived other than as the result of imperfection, that is, finiteness?


Ib. p. 98.
Thus each Divine Person is God, and all of them but the same one God; as I explained it before.
O no! asserted it.


Ib. p. 98-9.
This one supreme God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, a Trinity in Unity, three Persons and one God. Now Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with all their divine attributes and perfections (excepting their personal properties, which the Schools call the modi subsistendi, that one is the Father, the other the Son, and the other the Holy Ghost, which cannot be communicated to each other) are whole and entire in each Person by a mutual consciousness; each feels the other Persons in himself, all their essential wisdom, power, goodness, justice, as he feels himself, and this makes them essentially one, as I have proved at large.
Will not the Arian object, "You admit the modus subsistendi to be a divine perfection, and you affirm that it is incommunicable. Does it not follow therefore, that there are perfections which the All-perfect does not possess?" This would not apply to Bishop Bull or Waterland.


Sect. V. p. 102.
St. Austin in his sixth book of the Trinity takes notice of a common argument used by the orthodox fathers against the Arians, to prove the co-eternity of the Son with the Father, that if the Son be the Wisdom and Power of God, as St. Paul teaches (1 Cor. i.) and God was never without his Wisdom and Power, the Son must he co-eternal with the Father. * * * But this acute Father discovers a great inconvenience in this argument, for it forces us to say that the Father is not wise, but by that Wisdom which he begot, not being himself Wisdom as the Father: and then we must consider whether the Son himself, as he is God of God, and Light of Light, may be said to be Wisdom of Wisdom, if God the Father be not Wisdom, but only begets Wisdom.
The proper answer to Augustine is, that the Son and Holy Ghost are necessary and essential, not contingent: and that his argument has a still greater inconvenience, as shewn in note p. 98.


Ib. pp. 110-113.
But what makes St. Gregory dispute thus nicely, and oppose the common and ordinary forms of speech? Did he in good earnest believe that there is but one man in the world? No, no! he acknowledged as many men as we do; a great multitude who had the same human nature, and that every one who had a human nature was an individual man, distinguished and divided from all other individuals of the same nature. What makes him so zealous then against saying, that Peter, James and John are three men? Only this; that he says man is the name of nature, and therefore to say there are three men is the same as to say, there are three human natures of a different kind; for if there are three human natures, they must differ from each other, or they cannot be three; and so you deny Peter, James, and John to be Greek: homooúsioi or of the same nature; and for the same reason we must say that though the Father be God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, yet there are not three Gods, but Greek: mía theótaes one Godhead and Divinity.
Sherlock struggles in vain, in my opinion at least, to clear these Fathers of egregious logomachy, whatever may have been the soundness of their faith, spite of the quibbles by which they endeavoured to evince its rationality. The very change of the terms is suspicious. "Yes! we might say three Gods" (it would be answered,) "as we say and ought to say three men: for man and humanity, Greek: ánthropôssee previous image and Greek:
ánthrôpótaes are not the same terms;— so if the Father be God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, there would be three Gods, though not Greek: treis theótaetes—that is, three Godheads."


Ib. p. 115-16.
Gregory Nyssen tells us that Greek: theòs is Greek: theatàes and Greek: éphoros, the inspector and governor of the world, that is, it is a name of energy, operation and power; and if this virtue, energy, and operation be the very same in all the Persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, then they are but one God, but one power and energy. * * * The Father does nothing by himself, nor the Son by himself, nor the Holy Ghost by himself; but the whole energy and operation of the Deity relating to creatures begins with the Father, passes to the Son, and from Father and Son to the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit does not act anything separately; there are not three distinct operations, as there are three Persons, Greek: allà mìa tìs
  gínetai agathou Bouláematos kínaesis kaì diakósmaesissee previous image—but one motion and disposition of the good will, which passes through the whole Trinity from Father to Son, and to the Holy Ghost, and this is done Greek: achrónos kaì adiarétôs without any distance of time, or propagating the motion from one to the other, but by one thought, as it is in one numerical mind and spirit, and therefore, though they are three Persons, they are but one numerical power and energy.
But this is either Tritheism or Sabellianism; it is hard to say which. Either the Greek: Boúlaema subsists in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and not merely passes through them, and then there would be three numerical Greek: Boúlaema, as well as three numerical Persons: ergo, Greek: treis theoì àe theataísee previous image (according to Gregory Nyssen's shallow and disprovable etymology), which would be Tritheism: or Greek: hén ti gínetai Boúlaema, and then the Son and Holy Ghost are but terms of relation, which is Sabellianism. But in fact this Gregory and the others were Tritheists in the mode of their conception, though they did not wish to be so, and refused even to believe themselves such.

Gregory Nyssen, Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus and Damascen were charged with "a kind of Tritheism" by Petavius and Dr. Cudworth, who, according to Sherlock, have "mistaken their meaning." See pp. 106-9, of this "Vindication."


Ib. p. 117.
For I leave any man to judge, whether this Greek: mía kínaesis
  Bouláematossee previous image, this one single motion of will, which is in the same instant in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, can signify anything else but a mutual consciousness, which makes them numerically one, and as intimate to each other, as every man is to himself, as I have already explained it.
Is not God conscious to all my thoughts, though I am not conscious of God's? Would Sherlock endure that I should infer: ergo, God is numerically one with me, though I am not numerically one with God? I have never seen, but greatly wish to see, Waterland's controversial tracts against Sherlock. Again: according to Sherlock's conception, it would seem to follow that we ought to make a triad of triads, or an ennead.
  1. Father—Son—Holy Ghost.
  2. Son—Father—Holy Ghost.
  3. Holy Ghost—Son—Father.
Else there is an x in the Father which is not in the Son, a y in the Son which is not in the Father, and a z in the Holy Ghost which is in neither: that is, each by himself is not total God.


Ib. p. 120.
But however he might be mistaken in his philosophy, he was not in his divinity; for he asserts a numerical unity of the divine nature, not a mere specific unity, which is nothing but a logical notion, nor a collective unity, which is nothing but a company who are naturally many: but a true subsisting numerical unity of nature; and if the difficulty of explaining this, and his zeal to defend it, forced him upon some unintelligible niceties, to prove that the same numerical human nature too is but one in all men, it is hard to charge him with teaching, that there are three independent and co-ordinate Gods, because we think he has not proved that Peter, James, and John, are but one man. This will make very foul work with the Fathers, if we charge them with all those erroneous conceits about the Trinity, which we can fancy in their inconvenient ways of explaining that venerable mystery, especially when they compare that mysterious unity with any natural unions.
So that after all this obscuration of the obscure, Sherlock ends by fairly throwing up his briefs, and yet calls out, "Not guilty! Victoria!" And what is this but to say: These Fathers did indeed involve Tritheism in their mode of defending the Tri-personality; but they were not Tritheists:—though it would be far more accurate to say, that they were Tritheists, but not so as to make any practical breach of the Unity;—as if, for instance, Peter, James, and John had three silver tickets, by shewing one of which either or all three would have the same thing as if they had shewn all three tickets, and vice versa, all three tickets could produce no more than each one; each corresponding to the whole.


Ib.
I am sure St. Gregory was so far from suspecting that he should be charged with Tritheism upon this account, that he fences against another charge of mixing and confounding the Hypostases or Persons, by denying any difference or diversity of nature,
Greek: hôs
  ek tou màe déchesthai tàen katà physin diaphoràn, míxin tina tôn
  hypostáseôn kaì anakúklaesin kataskeúzonta which argues that he thought he had so fully asserted the unity of the divine essence, that some might suspect he had left but one Person, as well as one nature in God.
This is just what I have said, p. 116. Whether Sabellianism or Tritheism, I observed is hard to determine. Extremes meet.


Ib. p. 121.
Secondly, to this homo-ousiotes the Fathers added a numerical unity of the divine essence. This Petavius has proved at large by numerous testimonies, even from those very Fathers, whom he before accused for making God only collectively one, as three men are one man; such as Gregory Nyssen, St. Cyril, Maximus, Damascen; which is a demonstration, that however he might mistake their explication of it, from the unity of human nature, they were far enough from Tritheism, or one collective God.
This is most uncandid. Sherlock, even to be consistent with his own confession, § 1. p. 120, ought to have said, "However he might mistake their intention, in consequence of their inconvenient and unphilosophical explication;" which mistake, in fact, consisted in taking them at their word.


Ib.
Petavius greatly commends Boethius's explication of this mystery, which is the very same he had before condemned in Gregory Nyssen, and those other Fathers.—That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, not three Gods: hujus conjunctionis ratio est indifferentia: that is, such a sameness of nature as admits of no difference or variety, or an exact homo-ousiotes, as he explains it. * * Those make a difference, who augment and diminish, as the Arians do; who distinguish the Trinity into different natures, as well as Persons, of different worth and excellency, and thus divide and multiply the Trinity into a plurality of Gods. Principium enim pluralitatis alteritas est. Præter alteritatem enim nec pluralitas quid sit intelligi potest.
Then if so, what becomes of the Persons? Have the Persons attributes distinct from their nature;—or does not their common nature constitute their common attributes? Principium enim, &c.


Ib. p. 124.
That the Fathers universally acknowledged that the operation of the whole Trinity, ad extra, is but one, Petavius has proved beyond all contradiction; and hence they conclude the unity of the divine nature and essence; for every nature has a virtue and energy of its own; for nature is a principle of action, and if the energy and operation be but one, there can be but one nature; and if there be two distinct and divided operations, if either of them can act alone without the other, there must be two divided natures.
Then it was not the Son but the whole Trinity that was crucified: for surely this was an operation ad extra.


Ib. p. 126.
But to do St. Austin right, though he do not name this consciousness, yet he explains this Trinity in Unity by examples of mutual consciousness. I named one of his similitudes before, of the unity of our understanding, memory, and will, which are all conscious to each other; that we remember what we understand and will; we understand what we remember and will; and what we will we remember and understand; and therefore all these three faculties do penetrate and comprehend each other.
Which! The man is self-conscious alike when he remembers, wills, and understands; but in what sense is the generic term "memory" conscious to the generic word "will?" This is mere nonsense. Are memory, understanding, and volition persons,—self-subsistents? If not, what are they to the purpose? Who doubts that Jehovah is consciously powerful, consciously wise, consciously good; and that it is the same Jehovah, who in being omnipotent, is good and wise; in being wise, omnipotent and good; in being good, is wise and omnipotent? But what has all this to do with a distinction of Persons? Instead of one Tri-unity we might have a mille-unity. The fact is, that Sherlock, and (for aught I know) Gregory Nyssen, had not the clear idea of the Trinity, positively; but only a negative Arianism.


Ib. p. 127.
He proceeds to shew that this unity is without all manner of confusion and mixture, * * for the mind that loves, is in the love. * * * And the knowledge of the mind which knows and loves itself, is in the mind, and in its love, because it loves itself, knowing, and knows itself loving: and thus also two are in each, for the mind which knows and loves itself, with its knowledge is in love, and with its love is in knowledge.
Then why do we make tri-personality in unity peculiar to God?

The doctrine of the Trinity (the foundation of all rational theology, no less than the precondition and ground of the rational possibility of the Christian Faith, that is, the Incarnation and Redemption), rests securely on the position,—that in man omni actioni præit sua propria passio; Deus autem est actus purissimus sine ulla potentialitate. As the tune produced between the breeze and Eolian harp is not a self-subsistent, so neither memory, nor understanding, nor even love in man: for he is a passive as well as active being: he is a patible agent. But in God this is not so. Whatever is necessarily of him, (God of God, Light of Light), is necessarily all act; therefore necessarily self-subsistent, though not necessarily self-originated. This then is the true mystery, because the true unique; that the Son of God has origination without passion, that is, without ceasing to be a pure act: while a created entity is, as far as it is merely creaturely and distinguishable from the Creator, a mere passio or recipient. This unicity we strive, not to express, for that is impossible; but to designate, by the nearest, though inadequate, analogy,— Begotten.


Ib. p. 133.
As for the Holy Ghost, whose nature is represented to be love, I do not indeed find in Scripture that it is any where said, that the Holy Ghost is that mutual love, wherewith Father and Son love each other: but this we know, that there is a mutual love between Father and Son: the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hands.—John iii. 35. And the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth.-John v. 20; and our Saviour himself tells us, I love the Father.—John xiv. 31. And I shewed before, that love is a distinct act, and therefore in God must be a person: for there are no accidents nor faculties in God.
This most important, nay, fundamental truth, so familiar to the elder philosophy, and so strongly and distinctly enunciated by Philo Judæus, the senior and contemporary of the Evangelists, is to our modern divines darkness and a sound.


Sect. VI. pp. 147-8.
Yes; you'll say, that there should be three Persons, each of which is God, and yet but one God, is a contradiction: but what principle of natural reason does it contradict?
Surely never did argument vertiginate more! I had just acceded to Sherlock's exposition of the Trinity, as the Supreme Being, his reflex act of self-consciousness and his love, all forming one supreme mind; and now he tells me, that each is the whole Supreme Mind, and denies that three, each per se the whole God, are not the same as three Gods! I grant that division and separation are terms inapplicable, yet surely three distinct though undivided Gods, are three Gods. That the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are the one true God, I fully believe; but not Sherlock's exposition of the doctrine. Nay, I think it would have been far better to have worded the mystery thus:— The Father together with his Son and Spirit, is the one true God.

"Each per se God." This is the Greek: prôton méga pseudossee previous image of Sherlock's scheme. Each of the three is whole God, because neither is, or can be per se; the Father himself being a se, but not per se.


Ib. p. 149.
For it is demonstrable that if there be three Persons and one God, each Person must be God, and yet there cannot be three distinct Gods, but one. For if each Person be not God, all three cannot be God, unless the Godhead have Persons in it which are not God.
Three persons having the same nature are three persons;—and if to possess without limitation the divine nature, as opposed to the human, is what we mean by God, why then three such persons are three Gods, and will bethought so, till Gregory Nyssen can persuade us that John, James, and Peter, each possessing the human nature, are not three men. John is a man, James is a man, and Peter is a man: but they are not three men, but one man!


Ib. p. 150.
I affirm, that natural reason is not the rule and measure of expounding Scripture, no more than it is of expounding any other writing. The true and only way to interpret any writing, even the Scriptures themselves, is to examine the use and propriety of words and phrases, the connexion, scope, and design of the text, its allusion to ancient customs and usages, or disputes. For there is no other good reason to be given for any exposition, but that the words signify so, and the circumstances of the place, and the apparent scope of the writer require it.
This and the following paragraph are excellent. O si sic omnia!


Ib. p. 153.
Reconcile men to the doctrine (of the Trinity), and the Scripture is plain without any farther comment. This I have now endeavoured; and I believe our adversaries will talk more sparingly of absurdities and contradictions for the future, and they will lose the best argument they have against the orthodox expositions of Scripture.
Good doctor! you sadly over-rated both your own powers, and the docility of your adversaries. If so clear a head and so zealous a Trinitarian as Dr. Waterland could not digest your exposition, or acquit it of Tritheism, little hope is there of finding the Unitarians more persuadable.


Ib. p. 154.
Though Christ be God himself, yet if there be three Persons in the Godhead, the equality and sameness of nature does not destroy the subordination of Persons: a Son is equal to his Father by nature, but inferior to him as his Son: if the Father, as I have explained it, be original mind and wisdom, the Son a personal, subsisting, but reflex image of his Father's wisdom, though their eternal wisdom be equal and the same, yet the original is superior to the image, the Father to the Son.
But why? We men deem it so, because the image is but a shadow, and not equal to the original; but if it were the same in all perfections, how could that, which is exactly the same, be less? Again, God is all Being:—consequently there can nothing be added to the idea, except what implies a negation or diminution of it. If one and the same Being is equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead, but inferior as man; then it is + m-x, which is not = + m. But of two men I may say, that they are equal to each other. A. = + courage-wisdom. B. = + wisdom-courage. Both wise and courageous; but A. inferior in wisdom, B. in courage. But God is all-perfect.


Ib. p. 156.
So born before all creatures, as Greek: prôtótokos also signifies, that by him were all things created. All things were created by him, and for him, and he is before all things, (which is the explication of Greek: pôrtótokos pásaes
  ktíseossee previous image begotten before the whole creation, and therefore no part of the creation himself.)
This is quite right. Our version should here be corrected. Greek:
Prôto or Greek: prótaton is here an intense comparative,—infinitely before.


Ib. p. 159.
That he being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, &c.—Phil. ii. 8, 9.
I should be inclined to adopt an interpretation of the unusual phrase Greek: hárpagmon somewhat different both from the Socinian and the Church version:—"who being in the form of God did not think equality with God a thing to be seized with violence, but made, &c."


Ib. p. 160.
Is a mere creature a fit lieutenant or representative of God in personal or prerogative acts of government and power? Must not every being be represented by one of his own kind, a man by a man, an angel by an angel, in such acts as are proper to their natures? and must not God then be represented by one who is God? Is any creature capable of the government of the world? Does not this require infinite wisdom and infinite power? And can God communicate infinite wisdom and infinite power to a creature or a finite nature? That is, can a creature be made a true and essential God?
This is sound reasoning. It is to be regretted that Sherlock had not confined himself to logical comments on the Scripture, instead of attempting metaphysical solutions.


Ib. pp. 161-3.

I find little or nothing to object to in this exposition, from pp. 161-163 inclusively, of Phil. ii. 8, 9. And yet I seem to feel, as if a something that should have been prefixed, and to which all these considerations would have been excellent seconds, were missing. To explain the Cross by the necessity of sacrificial blood, and the sacrificial blood as a type and ante-delegate or pre-substitute of the Cross, is too like an argumentum in circulo.


Ib. p. 164.
And though Christ be the eternal Son of God, and the natural Lord and heir of all things, yet God hath in this highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name, that at (or in Greek: en) the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, &c.—Phil. ii. 9, 10, 11.
Never was a sublime passage more debased than by this rendering of Greek: en by at, instead of in;—at the phenomenon, instead of in the noumenon. For such is the force of nomen, name, in this and similar passages, namely, in vera et substantiali potestate Jesu: that is, Greek: en lógô
kaì dià lógousee previous image the true noumenon or ens intelligibile of Christ. To bow at hearing the cognomen may become a universal, but it is still only a non-essential, consequence of the former. But the debasement of the idea is not the worst evil of this false rendering;—it has afforded the pretext and authority for un-Christian intolerance.


Ib. p. 168.
The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.—John v. 22. Should the Father judge the world he must judge as the maker and sovereign of the world, by the strict rules of righteousness and justice, and then how could any sinner be saved?
(Why? Is mercy incompatible with righteousness? How then can the Son be righteous?)
But he has committed judgment to the Son, as a mediatory king, who judges by the equity and chancery of the Gospel.
This article required exposition incomparably more than the simple doctrine of the Trinity, plain and evident simplici intuitu, and rendered obscure only by diverting the mental vision by terms drawn from matter and multitude. In the Trinity all the Hows? may and should be answered by Look! just as a wise tutor would do in stating the fact of a double or treble motion, as of a ball rolling north ward on the deck of a ship sailing south, while the earth is turning from west to east. And in like manner, that is, per intuitum intellectualem, must all the mysteries of faith be contemplated; —they are intelligible per se, not discursively and per analogiam. For the truths are unique, and may have shadows and types, but no analogies. At this moment I have no intuition, no intellectual diagram, of this article of the commission of all judgment to the Son, and therefore a multitude of plausible objections present themselves, which I cannot solve —nor do I expect to solve them till by faith I see the thing itself.—Is not mercy an attribute of the Deity, as Deity, and not exclusively of the Person of the Son? And is not the authorizing another to judge by equity and mercy the same as judging so ourselves? If the Father can do the former, why not the latter?


Ib. p. 171.
And therefore now it is given him to have life in himself, as the Father hath life in himself, as the original fountain of all life, by whom the Son himself lives: all life is derived from God, either by eternal generation, or procession, or creation; and thus Christ hath life in himself also; to the new creation he is the fountain of life: he quickeneth whom he will.
The truths which hitherto had been metaphysical, then began to be historical. The Eternal was to be manifested in time. Hence Christ came with signs and wonders; that is, the absolute, or the anterior to cause and effect, manifested itself as a phenomenon in time, but with the predicates of eternity;—and this is the only possible definition of a miracle in re ipsa, and not merely ad hominem, or ad ignorantiam.


Ib. p. 177.
His next argument consists in applying such things to the divinity of our Saviour as belong to his humanity; that he increased in wisdom, &c.:—that he knows not the day of judgment;—which he evidently speaks of himself as man: as all the ancient Fathers confess. In St. Mark it is said, But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. St. Matthew does not mention the Son: Of that day and hour knoweth no man, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
How much more politic, as well as ingenuous, it had been to have acknowledged the difficulty of this text. So far from its being evident, the evidence would be on the Arian side, were it not that so many express texts determine us to the contrary.


Ib.
Which shows that the Son in St. Matthew is included in the Greek: oudeìs none, or no man, and therefore concerns him only as a man: for the Father includes the whole Trinity, and therefore includes the Son, who seeth whatever his Father doth.
This is an argumentum in circulo, and petitio rei sub lite. Why is he called the Son in antithesis to the Father, if it meant, "no not the Christ, except in his character of the co-eternal Son, included in the Father?" If it "concerned him only as a man," why is he placed after the angels? Why called the Son simply, instead of the Son of Man, or the Messiah?


Ib.
Greek: Oudeìs is not Greek: oudeìs anthrôpôn, but, no one: as in John i. 18. No one hath seen God at any time; that is, he is by essence invisible.
This most difficult text I have not seen explained satisfactorily. I have thought that the Greek: ággeloi must here be taken in the primary sense of the word, namely, as messengers, or missionary Prophets: Of this day knoweth no one, not the messengers or revealers of God's purposes now in heaven, no, not the Son, the greatest of Prophets,—that is, he in that character promised to declare all that in that character it was given to him to know.


Ib. p. 186.
When St. Paul calls the Father the One God, he expressly opposes it to the many gods of the heathens. For though there be that are called gods, &c. but to us, there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him: where the one God and one Lord and Mediator is opposed to the many gods and many lords or mediators which were worshipped by the heathens.
But surely the one Lord is as much distinguished from the one God, as both are contradistinguished from the gods many and lords many of the heathens. Besides the Father is not the term used in that age in distinction from the gods that are no gods; but Greek:
Ho epì pántôn theóssee previous image


Ib. p. 222.
The Word was with God; that is, it was not yet in the world, or not yet made flesh; but with God.—John i. 1. So that to be with God, signifies nothing but not to be in the world.
The Word was with God.
Grotius does say, that this was opposed to the Word's being made flesh, and appearing in the world: but he was far enough from thinking that these words have only a negative sense: * * * for he tells us what the positive sense is, that with God is Greek: parà tô patrí, with the Father, * * and explains it by what Wisdom says, Prov. vii. 30. Then I was by him, &c. which he does not think a prosopopoeia, but spoken of a subsisting person.
But even this is scarcely tenable even as Greek. Had this been St. John's meaning, surely he would have said, Greek: en theô not Greek:
pròs tòn theónsee previous image in the nearest proximity that is not confusion. But it is strange, that Sherlock should not have seen that Grotius had a hankering toward Socinianism, but, like a shy cock, and a man of the world, was always ready to unsay what he had said.





Footnote 1:   A Vindication of the Doctrine of the Holy and ever Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation of the Son of God, occasioned by the Brief Notes on the Creed of St Athanasius, and the Brief History of the Unitarians, or Socinians. and containing an answer to both. By Wm. Sherlock, London. 8vo. 1690.
return to footnote mark


Footnote 2:   The third General Council, that at Ephesus in 431, decreed
"that it should not be lawful for any man to publish or compose another Faith or Creed than that which was defined by the Nicene Council."
Ed.
return

Contents / Index




Notes on Waterland's Vindication of Christ's Divinity1


In initio.

It would be no easy matter to find a tolerably competent individual who more venerates the writings of Waterland than I do, and long have done. But still in how many pages do I not see reason to regret, that the total idea of the 4=3=1,—of the adorable Tetractys, eternally self-manifested in the Triad, Father, Son, and Spirit,—was never in its cloudless unity present to him. Hence both he and Bishop Bull too often treat it as a peculiarity of positive religion, which is to be cleared of all contradiction to reason, and then, thus negatively qualified, to be actually received by an act of the mere will; sit pro ratione voluntas. Now, on the other hand, I affirm, that the article of the Trinity is religion, is reason, and its universal formula; and that there neither is, nor can be, any religion, any reason, but what is, or is an expansion of the truth of the Trinity; in short, that all other pretended religions, pagan or pseudo-Christian (for example, Sabellian, Arian, Socinian), are in themselves Atheism; though God forbid, that I should call or even think the men so denominated Atheists. I affirm a heresy often, but never dare denounce the holder a heretic.

On this ground only can it be made comprehensible, how any honest and commonly intelligent man can withstand the proofs and sound logic of Bull and Waterland, that they failed in the first place to present the idea itself of the great doctrine which they so ably advocated. Take my self, S.T.C. as a humble instance. I was never so befooled as to think that the author of the fourth Gospel, or that St. Paul, ever taught the Priestleyan Psilanthropism, or that Unitarianisn (presumptuously, nay, absurdly so called), was the doctrine of the New Testament generally. But during the sixteen months of my aberration from the Catholic Faith, I presumed that the tenets of the divinity of Christ, the Redemption, and the like, were irrational, and that what was contradictory to reason could not have been revealed by the Supreme Reason. As soon as I discovered that these doctrines were not only consistent with reason, but themselves very reason, I returned at once to the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, and to the Faith.

As to Dr. Samuel Clarke, the fact is, every generation has its one or more over-rated men. Clarke was such in the reign of George I.; Dr. Johnson eminently so in that of George III.; Lord Byron being the star now in the ascendant.

In every religious and moral use of the word, God, taken absolutely, that is, not as a God, or the God, but as God, a relativity, a distinction in kind ab omni quod non est Deus, is so essentially implied, that it is a matter of perfect indifference, whether we assert a world without God, or make God the world. The one is as truly Atheism as the other. In fact, for all moral and practical purposes they are the same position differently expressed; for whether I say, God is the world, or the world is God, the inevitable conclusion, the sense and import is, that there is no other God than the world, that is, there is no other meaning to the term God. Whatever you may mean by, or choose to believe of, the world, that and that alone you mean by, and believe of, God. Now I very much question whether in any other sense Atheism, that is, speculative Atheism, is possible. For even in the Lucretian, the coarsest and crudest scheme of the Epicurean doctrine, a hylozism, a potential life, is clearly implied, as also in the celebrated lene clinamen becoming actual. Desperadoes articulating breath into a blasphemy of nonsense, to which they themselves attach no connected meaning, and the wickedness of which is alone intelligible, there may be; but a La Place, or a La Grand, would, and with justice, resent and repel the imputation of a belief in chance, or of a denial of law, order, and self-balancing life and power in the world. Their error is, that they make them the proper and underived attributes of the world. It follows then, that Pantheism is equivalent to Atheism, and that there is no other Atheism actually existing, or speculatively conceivable, but Pantheism. Now I hold it demonstrable that a consistent Socinianism, following its own consequences, must come to Pantheism, and in ungodding the Saviour must deify cats and dogs, fleas and frogs. There is, there can be, no medium between the Catholic Faith of Trinal Unity, and Atheism disguised in the self-contradicting term, Pantheism;—for every thing God, and no God, are identical positions.


Query I. p. 1.
The Word was God.—John i. 1. I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God besides me.—Is. xiv. 5, &c.
In all these texts the was, or is, ought to be rendered positively, or objectively, and not as a mere connective: The Word Is God, and saith, I Am the Lord; there is no God besides me, the Supreme Being, Deitas objectiva. The Father saith, I Am in that I am,—Deitas subjectiva.


Ib. p. 2.
Whether all other beings, besides the one Supreme God, be not excluded by the texts of Isaiah (to which many more might be added), and consequently, whether Christ can be God at all, unless He be the same with the Supreme God?

The sum of your answer to this query is, that the texts cited from Isaiah, are spoken of one Person only, the Person of the Father, &c.
O most unhappy mistranslation of Hypostasis by Person! The Word is properly the only Person.


Ib. p. 3.
Now, upon your hypothesis, we must add; that even the Son of God himself, however divine he may be thought, is really no God at all in any just and proper sense. He is no more than a nominal God, and stands excluded with the rest. All worship of him, and reliance upon him, will be idolatry, as much as the worship of angels, or men, or of the gods of the heathen would be. God the Father he is God, and he only, and him only shall thou serve. This I take to be a clear consequence from your principles, and unavoidable.
Waterland's argument is absolutely unanswerable by a worshipper of Christ. The modern ultra-Socinian cuts the knot.


Query II. p. 43.
And therefore he might as justly bear the style and title of Lord God, God of Abraham, &c. while he acted in that capacity, as he did that of Mediator, Messiah, Son of the Father, &c. after that he condescended to act in another, and to discover his personal relation.
And why, then, did not Dr. Waterland,— why did not his great predecessor in this glorious controversy, Bishop Bull,—contend for a revisal of our established version of the Bible, but especially of the New Testament? Either the unanimous belief and testimony of the first five or six centuries, grounded on the reiterated declarations of John and Paul, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, were erroneous, or at best doubtful;—and then why not wipe them off; why these references to them?—or else they were, as I believe, and both Bull and Waterland believed, the very truth; and then why continue the translation of the Hebrew into English at second-hand through the medium of the Septuagint? Have we not adopted the Hebrew word, Jehovah,? Is not the Greek: Kyrios, or Lord, of the LXX. a Greek substitute, in countless instances, for the Hebrew Jehovah? Why not then restore the original word, and in the Old Testament religiously render Jehovah by Jehovah, and every text of the New Testament, referring to the Old, by the Hebrew word in the text referred to? Had this been done, Socinianism would have been scarcely possible in England.

Why was not this done?—I will tell you why. Because that great truth, in which are contained all treasures of all possible knowledge, was still opaque even to Bull and Waterland; —because the Idea itself—that Idea Idearum, the one substrative truth which is the form, manner, and involvent of all truths,— was never present to either of them in its entireness, unity, and transparency. They most ably vindicated the doctrine of the Trinity, negatively, against the charge of positive irrationality. With equal ability they shewed the contradictions, nay, the absurdities, involved in the rejection of the same by a professed Christian. They demonstrated the utterly un-Scriptural and contra-Scriptural nature of Arianism, and Sabellianism, and Socinianism. But the self-evidence of the great Truth, as a universal of the reason,—as the reason itself—as a light which revealed itself by its own essence as light—this they had not had vouchsafed to them.


Query XV. p. 225-6.
The pretence is, that we equivocate in talking of eternal generation.
All generation is necessarily Greek: ánarchón ti without dividuous beginning, and herein contradistinguished from creation.


Ib. p. 226.
True, it is not the same with human generation.
Not the same eodem modo, certainly; but it is so essentially the same that the generation of the Son of God is the transcendent, which gives to human generation its right to be so called. It is in the most proper, that is, the fontal, sense of the term, generation.


Ib.
You have not proved that all generation implies beginning; and what is more, cannot.
It would be difficult to disprove the contrary. Generation with a beginning is not generation, but creation. Hence we may see how necessary it is that in all important controversies we should predefine the terms negatively, that is, exclude and preclude all that is not meant by them; and then the positive meaning, that is, what is meant by them, will be the easy result,—the post-definition, which is at once the real definition and impletion, the circumference and the area.


Ib. p. 227-8.
It is a usual thing with many, (moralists may account for it), when they meet with a difficulty which they cannot readily answer, immediately to conclude that the doctrine is false, and to run directly into the opposite persuasion;—not considering that they may meet with much more weighty objections there than before; or that they may have reason sufficient to maintain and believe many things in philosophy and divinity, though they cannot answer every question which may be started, or every difficulty which may be raised against them.
O, if Bull and Waterland had been first philosophers, and then divines, instead of being first, manacled, or say articled clerks of a guild;—if the clear free intuition of the truth had led them to the Article, and not the Article to the defence of it as not having been proved to be false,—how different would have been the result! Now we feel only the inconsistency of Arianism, not the truth of the doctrine attacked. Arianism is confuted, and in such a manner, that I will not reject the Catholic Faith upon the Arian's grounds. It may, I allow, be still true. But that it is true, because the Arians have hitherto failed to prove its falsehood, is no logical conclusion. The Unitarian may have better luck; or if he fail, the Deist.


Query XVI. p. 234.
But God's thoughts are not our thoughts.
That is, as I would interpret the text;—the ideas in and by which God reveals himself to man are not the same with, and are not to be judged by, the conceptions which the human understanding generalizes from the notices of the senses, common to man and to irrational animals, dogs, elephants, beavers, and the like, endowed with the same senses. Therefore I regard this paragraph, p. 223-4, as a specimen of admirable special pleading ad hominem in the Court of eristic Logic; but I condemn it as a wilful resignation or temporary self-deposition of the reason. I will not suppose what my reason declares to be no position at all, and therefore an impossible sub-position.


Ib. p. 235.
Let us keep to the terms we began with; lest by the changing of words we make a change of ideas, and alter the very state of the question.
This misuse, or rather this omnium-gatherum expansion and consequent extenuation of the word, Idea and Ideas, may be regarded as a calamity inflicted by Mr. Locke on the reigns of William III. Queen Anne, and the first two Georges.


Ib. p. 237.
Sacrifice was one instance of worship required under the Law; and it is said;—He that sacrificeth unto any God, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed (Exod. xxii. 20.) Now suppose any person, considering with himself that only absolute and sovereign sacrifice was appropriated to God by this law, should have gone and sacrificed to other Gods, and have been convicted of it before the judges. The apology he must have made for it, I suppose, must have run thus: "Gentlemen, though I have sacrificed to other Gods, yet I hope you'll observe, that I did it not absolutely: I meant not any absolute or supreme sacrifice (which is all that the Law forbids), but relative and inferior only. I regulated my intentions with all imaginable care, and my esteem with the most critical exactness. I considered the other Gods, whom I sacrificed to, as inferior only and infinitely so; reserving all sovereign sacrifice to the supreme God of Israel." This, or the like apology must, I presume, have brought off the criminal with some applause for his acuteness, if your principles be true. Either you must allow this, or you must be content to say, that not only absolute supreme sacrifice (if there be any sense in that phrase), but all sacrifice was by the Law appropriate to God only, &c. &c.
How was it possible for an Arian to answer this? But it was impossible; and Arianism was extinguished by Waterland, but in order to the increase of Socinianism; and this, I doubt not, Waterland foresaw. He was too wise a man to suppose that the exposure of the folly and falsehood of one form of Infidelism would cure or prevent Infidelity. Enough, that he made it more bare-faced—I might say, bare-breeched; for modern Unitarianism is verily the sans-culotterie of religion.


Ib. p. 239.
You imagine that acts of religious worship are to derive their signification and quality from the intention and meaning of the worshippers: whereas the very reverse of it is the truth.
Truly excellent. Let the Church of England praise God for her Saints—a more glorious Kalendar than Rome can show!


Ib. p. 251.
The sum then of the case is this: If the Son could be included as being uncreated, and very God; as Creator, Sustainer, Preserver of all things, and one with the Father; then he might be worshipped upon their (the Ante-Nicene Fathers') principles, but otherwise could not.
Every where in this invaluable writer I have to regret the absence of all distinct idea of the I Am as the proper attribute of the Father; and hence, the ignorance of the proper Jehovaism of the Son; and hence, that while we worship the Son together with the Father, we nevertheless pray to the Father only through the Son.


Query XVII.
And we may never be able perfectly to comprehend the relations of the three persons, ad intra, amongst themselves; the ineffable order and economy of the ever-blessed co-eternal Trinity.
"Comprehend!" No. For how can any spiritual truth be comprehended? Who can comprehend his own will; or his own personeity, that is, his I-ship (Ichheit); or his own mind, that is, his person; or his own life? But we can distinctly apprehend them. In strictness, the Idea, God, like all other ideas rightly so called, and as contradistinguished from conception, is not so properly above, as alien from, comprehension. It is like smelling a sound.


Query XVIII. p. 269.
From what hath been observed, it may appear sufficiently that the divine Greek: Lógos was our King and our God long before; that he had the same claim and title to religious worship that the Father himself had—only not so distinctly revealed.
Here I differ toto orbe from Waterland, and say with Luther and Zinzendorf, that before the Baptism of John the Logos alone had been distinctly revealed, and that first in Christ he declared himself a Son, namely, the co-eternal only-begotten Son, and thus revealed the Father. Indeed the want of the Idea of the 1=3 could alone have prevented Waterland from inferring this from his own query II. and the texts cited by him pp. 28-38. The Father cannot be revealed except in and through the Son, his eternal exegesis. The contrary position is an absurdity. The Supreme Will, indeed, the Absolute Good, knoweth himself as the Father: but the act of self-affirmation, the I Am in that I Am, is not a manifestation ad extra, not an exegesis.


Ib. p. 274.
This point being settled, I might allow you that, in some sense, distinct worship commenced with the distinct title of Son or Redeemer: that is, our blessed Lord was then first worshipped, or commanded to be worshipped by us, under that distinct title or character; having before had no other title or character peculiar and proper to himself, but only what was common to the Father and him too.
Rather shall I say that the Son and the Spirit, the Word and the Wisdom, were alone worshipped, because alone revealed under the Law. See Proverbs, i. ii.

The passage quoted from Bishop Bull is very plausible and very eloquent; but only cum multis granis salis sumend.


Query XIX. p. 279.
That the Father, whose honour had been sufficiently secured under the Jewish dispensation, and could not but be so under the Christian also, &c.
Here again! This contradiction of Waterland to his own principles is continually recurring;— yea, and in one place he involves the very Tritheism, of which he was so victorious an antagonist, namely, that the Father is Jehovah, the Son Jehovah, and the Spirit Jehovah;—thus making Jehovah either a mere synonyme of God—whereas he himself rightly renders it Greek: Ho Ôn which St. John every where, and St. Paul no less, makes the peculiar name of the Son, Greek: monogenàes uhiòs, ho
ôn eis tòn kólpon tou patróssee previous image—; or he affirms the same absurdity, as if had said: The Father is the Son, and the Son is the Son, and the Holy Ghost is the Son, and yet there are not three Sons but one Son. N. B. Greek: Ho òn is the verbal noun of Greek: hos estisee previous image not of Greek:
egô eimí It is strange how little use has been made of that profound and most pregnant text, John i. 18!


Query XX. p. 302.
The Greek: homooúsion itself might have been spared, at least out of the Creeds, had not a fraudulent abuse of good words brought matters to that pass, that the Catholic Faith was in danger of being lost even under Catholic language.
Most assuredly the very 'disputable' rendering of Greek: homooúsion by consubstantial, or of one substance with, not only might have been spared, but should have been superseded. Why not—as is felt to be for the interest of science in all the physical sciences—retain the same term in all languages? Why not usia and homoüsial, as well as hypostasis, hypostatic, homogeneous, heterogeneous, and the like;—or as Baptism, Eucharist, Liturgy, Epiphany and the rest?


Query XXI. p. 303.
The Doctor's insinuating from the 300 texts, which style the Father God absolutely, or the one God, that the Son is not strictly and essentially God, not one God with the Father, is a strained and remote inference of his own.
Waterland has weakened his argument by seeming to admit that in all these 300 texts the Father, distinctive, is meant.


Ib. p. 316-17.
The simplicity of God is another mystery. * * When we come to inquire whether all extension, or all plurality, diversity, composition of substance and accident, and the like, be consistent with it, then it is we discover how confused and inadequate our ideas are. * * To this head belongs that perplexing question (beset with difficulties on all sides), whether the divine substance be extended or no.
Surely, the far larger part of these assumed difficulties rests on a misapplication either of the senses to the sense, or of the sense to the understanding, or of the understanding to the reason;—in short, on an asking for images where only theorems can be, or requiring theorems for thoughts, that is, conceptions or notions, or lastly, conceptions for ideas.


Query XXIII. p. 351.
But taking advantage of the ambiguity of the word hypostasis, sometimes used to signify substance, and sometimes person, you contrive a fallacy.
And why did not Waterland lift up his voice against this mischievous abuse of the term hypostasis, and the perversion of its Latin rendering, substantia as being equivalent to Greek: ousía? Why Greek: ousía should not have been rendered by essentia, I cannot conceive. Est seems a contraction of esset, and ens of essens: Greek: ôn, ousa, ousíaGreek: see previous image = essens, essentis, essentia.


Ib. p. 354.
Let me desire you not to give so great a loose to your fancy in divine things: you seem to consider every thing under the notion of extension and sensible images.
Very true. The whole delusion of the Anti-Trinitarians arises out of this, that they apply the property of imaginable matter—in which A. is, that is, can only be imagined, by exclusion of B. as the universal predicate of all substantial being.


Ib. p. 357.
And our English Unitarians * * have been still refining upon the Socinian scheme, * * and have brought it still nearer to Sabellianism.
The Sabellian and the Unitarian seem to differ only in this;—that what the Sabellian calls union with, the Unitarian calls full inspiration by, the Divinity.


Ib. p. 359.
It is obvious, at first sight, that the true Arian or Semi-Arian scheme (which you would be thought to come up to at least) can never tolerably support itself without taking in the Catholic principle of a human soul to join with the Word.
Here comes one of the consequences of the Cartesian Dualism: as if Greek: sàrx the living body, could be or exist without a soul, or a human living body without a human soul! Greek: Sàrx is not Greek for carrion, nor Greek: sôma for carcase.


Query XXIV. p. 371.
Necessary existence is an essential character, and belongs equally to Father and Son.
Subsistent in themselves are Father, Son and Spirit: the Father only has origin in himself.


Query XXVI. p. 412.
The words Greek: ouch hôs genómenon he construes thus: "not as eternally generated," as if he had read Greek: gennômenon, supplying Greek: aïdíôs by imagination. The sense and meaning of the word Greek: genómenon, signifying made, or created, is so fixed and certain in this author, &c.
This is but one of fifty instances in which the true Englishing of Greek: genómenos, egéneto &c. would have prevented all mistake. It is not made, but became. Thus here:—begotten eternally, and not as one that became; that is, as not having been before. The only-begotten Son never became; but all things became through him.


Ib. 412.
Et nos etiam Sermoni atque Rationi, itemque Virtuti, per quæ omnia molitum Deum ediximus, propriam substantiam Spiritum inscribimus; cui et Sermo insit prænuntianti, et Ratio adsit disponenti, et Virtus perficienti. Hunc ex Deo prolatum didicimus, et prolatione generatum, et idcirco Filium Dei et Deum dictum ex unitate substantiæ.

Tertull. Apol. c. 21.
How strange and crude the realism of the Christian Faith appears in Tertullian's rugged Latin!


Ib. p. 414.
He represents Tertullian as making the Son, in his highest capacity, ignorant of the day of judgment.
Of the true sense of the text, Mark xiii. 32., I still remain in doubt; but, though as zealous and stedfast a Homoüsian as Bull and Waterland themselves, I am inclined to understand it of the Son in his highest capacity; but I would avoid the inferiorizing consequences by a stricter rendering of the Greek: ei màe ho Patáer. The Greek: monon of St. Matthew xxiv. 36. is here omitted. I think Waterland's a very unsatisfying solution of this text.


Ib. p. 415.
Exclamans quod se Deus reliquisset, &c. Habes ipsum exclamantem in passione, Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti? Sed hæc vox carnis et animæ, id est, hominis; nec Sermonis, nec Spiritus, &c.—Tertull. Adv. Prax. c. 26. c. 30.
The ignorance of the Fathers, and, Origen excepted, of the Ante-Nicene Fathers in particular, in all that respects Hebrew learning and the New Testament references to the Old Testament, is shown in this so early fantastic misinterpretation grounded on the fact of our Lord's reminding, and as it were giving out aloud to John and Mary the twenty-second Psalm, the prediction of his present sufferings and after glory. But the entire passage in Tertullian, though no proof of his Arianism, is full of proofs of his want of insight into the true sense of the Scripture texts. Indeed without detracting from the inestimable services of the Fathers from Tertullian to Augustine respecting the fundamental article of the Christian Faith, yet commencing from the fifth century, I dare claim for the Reformed Church of England the honorable name of Greek: archaspistàes of Trinitarianism, and the foremost rank among the Churches, Roman or Protestant: the learned Romanist divines themselves admit this, and make a merit of the reluctance with which they nevertheless admit it, in respect of Bishop Bull2.


Ib. p. 421.
It seems to me that if there be not reasons of conscience obliging a good man to speak out, there are always reasons of prudence which should make a wise man hold his tongue.
True, and as happily expressed. To this, however, the honest Anti-Trinitarian must come at last: "Well, well, I admit that John and Paul thought differently; but this remains my opinion."


Query XXVII. p. 427.
Greek: Ton alaethinòn kaì óntôs ónta Theòn, tòn tou Christou patéra. —Athanas. Cont. Gent.

The just and literal rendering of the passage is this: 'The true God who in reality is such, namely, the Father of Christ.'
The passage admits of a somewhat different interpretation from this of Waterland's, and of equal, if not greater, force against the Arian notion: namely, taking Greek: tòn óntôs ónta distinctively from Greek: ho ôn—the Ens omnis entitatis, etiam suæ, that is, the I Am the Father, in distinction from the Ens Supremum, the Son. It cannot, however, be denied that in changing the formula of the Tetractys into the Trias, by merging the Prothesis in the Thesis, the Identity in the Ipseity, the Christian Fathers subjected their exposition to many inconveniences.


Ib. p. 432.
Greek: Ouch ho poiaetàes tôn hólôn éstai Theòs ho tô Môsei eipôn
  autòn einai Theòn Abraàm, kaì Theòn Isaàk, kaì Theòn Iakôb.—Justin Mart. Dial. p. 180.

The meaning is, that that divine Person, who called himself God, and was God, was not the Person of the Father, whose ordinary character is that of maker of all things, but another divine Person, namely, God the Son. * * It was Justin's business to shew that there was a divine Person, one who was God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and was not the Father; and therefore there were two divine Persons.
At all events, it was a very incautious expression on the part of Justin, though his meaning was, doubtless, that which Waterland gives. The same most improper, or at best, most inconvenient because equivocal phrase, has been, as I think, interpolated into our Apostles' Creed.


Ib. p. 436.
Greek: Taeroito d' àn, hôs ho emòs lógos, ehis mèn Theòs, eis hèn
  aítion kaì Ghiou kaì Pneúmatos anapheroménôn. k.t.l.—Greg. Naz. Orat. 29.

We may, as I conceive, preserve (the doctrine of) one God, by referring both the Son and Holy Ghost to one cause, &c.
Another instance of the inconvenience of the Trias compared with the Tetractys.





Footnote 1:   A Vindication of Christ's Divinity: being a defence of some queries relating to Dr. Clarke's scheme of the Holy Trinity, &c. By Daniel Waterland. 2nd edit. Cambridge, 1719. Ed.
return to footnote mark


Footnote 2:  
Y sino ahí está el Doctor Jorge Bull Profesor de Teología, y Presbitero de la Iglesia Anglicana, que murió Obispo de San David el año de 1716, cuyas obras teologico—escolasticas, en folio, nada deben á las mas alambicadas que se han estampado en Salamanca y en Coimbra; y como los puntos que por la mayor parte trató en ellas son sobre los misterios capitales de nuestra Santa Fé, conviene á saber, sobre el misterio de la Trinidad, y sobre el de la Divinidad de Cristo, en los cuales su Pseudaiglesia Anglicana no se desvia de la Catolica, en verdad, que los manejó con tanto nervio y con tanta delicadeza, que los teologos ortodojos mas escolastizados, como si dijéramos electrizados, hacen grande estimacion de dichas obras. Y aun en los dos Tratados que escribió acerca de la Justification, que es punto mas resvaladizo, en los principios que abrazó, no se separó de los teologos Catolicos; pero en algunas consecuencias que infirio, ya dió bastantemente á entender la mala leche que habia mamado.
Fray. Gerundio. ii. 7. Ed.
return

Contents / Index




Notes on Waterland's Importance of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity1


Chap. I. p. 18.
It is the property of the Divine Being to be unsearchable; and if he were not so, he would not be divine. Must we therefore reject the most certain truths concerning the Deity, only because they are incomprehensible, &c.?
It is strange that so sound, so admirable a logician as Waterland, should have thought unsearchable and incomprehensible synonymous, or at least equivalent terms:—and this, though St. Paul hath made it the privilege of the full-grown Christian, to search out the deep things of God himself.


Chap. IV. p. 111.
The delivering over unto Satan seems to have been a form of excommunication, declaring the person reduced to the state of a heathen; and in the Apostolical age it was accompanied with supernatural or miraculous effects upon the bodies of the persons so delivered.
Unless the passage, (Acts v. 1-11.) be an authority, I must doubt the truth of this assertion, as tending to destroy the essential spirituality of Christian motives, and, in my judgment, as irreconcilable with our Lord's declaration, that his kingdom was not of this world. Let me be once convinced that St. Paul, with the elders of an Apostolic Church, knowingly and intentionally appended a palsy or a consumption to the sentence of excommunication, and I shall be obliged to reconsider my old opinion as to the anti-Christian principle of the Romish Inquisition.


Ib. p. 114.
'A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself'.—Tit. iii. 10, 11.
This text would be among my minor arguments for doubting the Paulinity of the Epistle to Titus. It seems to me to breathe the spirit of a later age, and a more established Church power.


Ib.
Not every one that mistakes in judgment, though in matters of great importance, in points fundamental, but he that openly espouses such fundamental error. * * Dr. Whitby adds to the definition, the espousing it out of disgust, pride, envy, or some worldly principle, and against his conscience.
Whitby went too far; Waterland not far enough. Every schismatic is not necessarily a heretic; but every heretic is virtually a schismatic. As to the meaning of Greek: autokatákritos Waterland surely makes too much of a very plain matter. What was the sentence passed on a heretic? A public declaration that he was no longer a member of—that is, of one faith with—the Church. This the man himself, after two public notices, admits and involves in the very act of persisting. However confident as to the truth of the doctrine he has set up, he cannot, after two public admonitions, be ignorant that it is a doctrine contrary to the articles of his communion with the Church that has admitted him; and in regard of his alienation from that communion, he is necessarily Greek: autokatákritos—though in his pride of heart he might say with the man of old, "And I banish you."


Ib. p. 123.
—as soon as the miraculous gifts, or gift of discerning spirits, ceased.
No one point in the New Testament perplexes me so much as these (so called) miraculous gifts. I feel a moral repugnance to the reduction of them to natural and acquired talents, ennobled and made energic by the life and convergency of faith;—and yet on no other scheme can I reconcile them with the idea of Christianity, or the particular supposed, with the general known, facts. But, thank God! it is a question which does not in the least degree affect our faith or practice. I mean, if God permit, to go through the Middletonian controversy, as soon as I can procure the loan of the books, or have health enough to become a reader in the British Museum.


Ib. p. 126.
And what if, after all, spiritual censures (for of such only I am speaking,) should happen to fall upon such a person, he may be in some measure hurt in his reputation by it, and that is all. And possibly hereupon his errors, before invincible through ignorance, may be removed by wholesome instruction and admonition, and so he is befriended in it, &c.
Waterland is quite in the right so far;—but the penal laws, the temporal inflictions—would he have called for the repeal of these? Milton saw this subject with a mastering eye,—saw that the awful power of excommunication was degraded and weakened even to impotence by any the least connection with the law of the State.


Ib. p. 127.
—who are hereby forbidden to receive such heretics into their houses, or to pay them so much as common civilities. This precept of the Apostle may he further illustrated by his own practice, recorded by Irenaeus, who had the information at second-hand from Polycarp, a disciple of St. John's, that St. John, once meeting with Cerinthus at the bath, retired instantly without bathing, for fear lest the bath should fall by reason of Cerinthus being there, the enemy to truth.
Psha! The 'bidding him God speed',—Greek: légôn autô chaíreinsee previous image—(2 'John', 11,) is a spirituality, not a mere civility. If St. John knew or suspected that Cerinthus had a cutaneous disease, there would have been some sense in the refusal, or rather, as I correct myself, some probability of truth in this gossip of Irenæus.


Ib. p. 128.
They corrupted the faith of Christ, and in effect subverted the Gospel. That was enough to render them detestable in the eyes of all men who sincerely loved and valued sound faith.
O, no, no, not them! Error quidem, non tamen homo errans, abominandus: or, to pun a little, abhominandus. Be bold in denouncing the heresy, but slow and timorous in denouncing the erring brother as a heretic. The unmistakable passions of a factionary and a schismatic, the ostentatious display, the ambition and dishonest arts of a sect-founder, must be superinduced on the false doctrine, before the heresy makes the man a heretic.


Ib. p. 129.
—the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.
Were the Nicolaitans a sect, properly so called? The word is the Greek rendering of 'the children of Balaam;' that is, men of grossly immoral and disorderly lives.


Ib. p. 130.
For if he who shall break one of the least moral commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, (Mat. v. 19,) it must be a very dangerous experiment, &c.
A sad misinterpretation of our Lord's words, which from the context most evidently had no reference to any moral, that is, universal commandment as such, but to the national institutions of the Jewish state, as long as that state should be in existence; that is to say, until the Heaven or the Government, and the Earth or the People or the Governed, as one corpus politicum, or nation, had 'passed away'. Till that time,—which was fulfilled under Titus, and more thoroughly under Hadrian,— no Jew was relieved from his duties as a citizen and subject by his having become a Christian. The text, together with the command implied in the miracle of the tribute-money in the fish's mouth, might be fairly and powerfully adduced against the Quakers, in respect of their refusal to pay their tithes, or whatever tax they please to consider as having an un-Christian destination. But are they excluded from the kingdom of heaven, that is, the Christian Church? No; —but they must be regarded as weak and injudicious members of it.


Chap. V. p. 140.
Accordingly it may be observed, how the unbelievers caress and compliment those complying gentlemen who meet them half way, while they are perpetually inveighing against the stiff divines, as they call them, whom they can make no advantage of.
Accordingly it may be observed, how the unbelievers caress and compliment those complying gentlemen who meet them half way, while they are perpetually inveighing against the stiff divines, as they call them, whom they can make no advantage of.


Ib. p. 187.
And therefore it is infallibly certain, as Mr. Chillingworth well argues with respect to Christianity in general, that we ought firmly to believe it; because wisdom and reason require that we should believe those things which are by many degrees more credible and probable than the contrary.
Yes, where there are but two positions, one of which must be true. When A. is presented to my mind with probability=5, and B. with probability=15, I must think that B. is three times more probable than A. And yet it is very possible that a C. may be found which will supersede both.


Chap. VI. p. 230.
The Creed of Jerusalem, preserved by Cyril, (the most ancient perhaps of any now extant,) is very express for the divinity of God the Son, in these words: "And in our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God; true God, begotten of the Father before all ages, by whom all things were made" * *.
Greek: Kaì eis henà Kyrion Iaesoun Christòn,
  tòn uhiòn tou Theou monogenae, tòn ek tou patròs gennaethénta, Theòn
  alaethinòn, prò pántôn tôn aiônôn, di' ohu tà pánta egéneto.
I regard this, both from its antiquity and from the peculiar character of the Church of Jerusalem, so far removed from the influence of the Pythagoreo-Platonic sects of Paganism, as the most important and convincing mere fact of evidence in the Trinitarian controversy.


Ib. p. 233.
—true Son of the Father, 'invisible' of invisible, &c.
How is this reconcilable with John i. 18—(no one hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,—) or with the express image, asserted above. Invisible, I suppose, must be taken in the narrowest sense, that is, to bodily eyes. But then the one invisible would not mean the same as the other.


Ib. p. 236.
Symbola certe Ecclesiæ ex ipso Ecclesiæ sensu, non ex hæreticorum cerebello, exponenda sunt.—Bull. Judic. Eccl. v.
The truth of a Creed must be tried by the Holy Scriptures; but the sense of the Creed by the known sentiments and inferred intention of its compilers.


Ib. p. 238.
The very name of Father, applied in the Creed to the first Person, intimates the relation he bears to a Son, &c.
No doubt: but the most probable solution of the apparent want of distinctness of explication on this article, in my humble judgment, is—that the so-called Apostles' Creed was at first the preparatory confession of the catechumens, the admission-ticket, as it were (symbolum ad Baptismum), at the gate of the Church, and gradually augmented as heresies started up. The latest of these seems to have consisted in the doubt respecting the entire death of Jesus on the Cross, as distinguished from suspended animation. Hence in the fifth or sixth century the clause—"and he descended into Hades," was inserted;—that is, the indissoluble principle of the man Jesus, was separated from, and left, the dissoluble, and subsisted apart in Scheol or the abode of separated souls;—but really meaning no more than vere mortuus est.. Jesus was taken from the Cross dead in the very same sense in which the Baptist was dead after his beheading.

Nevertheless, well adapted as this Creed was to its purposes, I cannot but regret the high place and precedence which by means of its title, and the fable to which that title gave rise, it has usurped. It has, as it appears to me, indirectly favoured Arianism and Socinianism.


Ib. p. 250.
That St. John wrote his Gospel with a view to confute Cerinthus, among other false teachers, is attested first by Irenæus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, and who flourished within less than a century of St. John's time.
I have little trust and no faith in the gossip and hearsay-anecdotes of the early Fathers, Irenæus not excepted. "Within less than a century of St. John's time." Alas! a century in the paucity of writers and of men of education in the age succeeding the Apostolic, must be reckoned more than equal to five centuries since the use of printing. Suppose, however, the truth of the Irenæan tradition;—that the Creed of Cerinthus was what Irenæus states it to have been; and that John, at the instance of the Asiatic Bishops, wrote his Gospel as an antidote to the Cerinthian heresy;—does there not thence arise, in his utter silence, an almost overwhelming argument against the Apostolicity of the 'Christopædia', both that prefixed to Luke, and that concorporated with Matthew?


Ib. p. 257.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The same Word was life, the Greek: logos and Greek: zôáe, both one. There was no occasion therefore for subtilly distinguishing the Word and Life into two Sons, as some did.
I will not deny the possibility of this interpretation. It may be,—nay, it is,—fairly deducible from the words of the great Evangelist: but I cannot help thinking that, taken as the primary intention, it degrades this most divine chapter, which unites in itself the three characters of sublime, profound, and pregnant, and alloys its universality by a mixture of time and accident.


Ib.
And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness cometh not upon it. So I render the verse, conformable to the rendering of the same Greek verb, Greek: katalambánô, by our translators in another place of this same Gospel. The Apostle, as I conceive, in this 5th verse of his 1st chapter, alludes to the prevailing error of the Gentiles, &c.
O sad, sad! How must the philosopher have been eclipsed by the shadow of antiquarian erudition, in order that a mind like Waterland's could have sacrificed the profound universal import of comprehend to an allusion to a worthless dream of heretical nonsense, the mushroom of the day! Had Waterland ever thought of the relation of his own understanding to his reason? But alas! the identification of these two diversities—of how many errors has it been ground and occasion!


Ib. p. 259.
And the Word was made flesh—became personally united with the man Jesus; and dwelt among us,—resided constantly in the human nature so assumed.
Waterland himself did but dimly see the awful import of Greek: egéneto
sàrx—the mystery of the alien ground—and the truth, that as the ground such must be the life. He caused himself to 'become flesh', and therein assumed a mortal life into his own person and unity, in order himself to transubstantiate the corruptible into the incorruptible.

Waterland's anxiety to show the anti-heretical force of St. John's Gospel and Epistles, has caused him to overlook their Catholicity—their applicability to all countries and all times—their truth, independently of all temporary accidents and errors;—which Catholicity alone it is that constitutes their claim to Canonicity, that is, to be Canonical inspired writings.


Ib. p. 266.
Hereupon therefore the Apostle, in defence of Christ's real humanity, says, This is he that came by water and blood.
Water and blood, that is serum and crassamentum, mean simply blood, the blood of the animal or carnal life, which, saith Moses, is the life. Hence flesh is often taken as, and indeed is a form of, the blood,—blood formed or organized. Thus blood often includes flesh, and flesh includes blood. Flesh and blood is equivalent to blood in its twofold form, or rather as formed and formless. Water and blood has, therefore, two meanings in St. John, but which in idem coincidunt:
  1. true animal human blood, and no celestial ichor or phantom:
  1. the whole sentiently vital body, fixed or flowing, the pipe and the stream.
For the ancients, and especially the Jews, had no distinct apprehension of the use or action of the nerves: in the Old Testament heart is used as we use head. The fool hath said in his heart—is in English: "the worthless fellow (vaurien) hath taken it into his head," &c.


Ib. p. 268.
The Apostle having said that the Spirit is truth, or essential truth, (which was giving him a title common to God the Father and to Christ,) &c.
Is it clear that the distinct hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, in the same sense as the only-begotten Son is hypostatically distinguished from the Father, was a truth that formed an immediate object or intention of St. John? That it is a truth implied in, and fairly deducible from, many texts, both in his Gospel and Epistles, I do not, indeed I cannot, doubt;—but only whether this article of our faith he was commissioned to declare explicitly?

It grieves me to think that such giant archaspistæ of the Catholic Faith, as Bull and Waterland, should have clung to the intruded gloss (1 John v. 7), which, in the opulence and continuity of the evidences, as displayed by their own master-minds, would have been superfluous, had it not been worse than superfluous, that is, senseless in itself, and interruptive of the profound sense of the Apostle.


Ib. p. 272.
He is come, come in the flesh, and not merely to reside for a time, or occasionally, and to fly off again, but to abide and dwell with man, clothed with humanity.
Incautiously worded at best. Compare our Lord's own declaration to his disciples, that he had dwelt a brief while with or among them, in order to dwell in them permanently.


Ib. p. 286.
It is very observable, that the Ebionites rejected three of the Gospels, receiving only St. Matthew's (or what they called so), and that curtailed. They rejected likewise all St. Paul's writings, reproaching him as an apostate. How unlikely is it that Justin should own such reprobates as those were for fellow-Christians!
I dare avow my belief—or rather I dare not withhold my avowal—that both Bull and Waterland are here hunting on the trail of an old blunder or figment, concocted by the gross ignorance of the Gentile Christians and their Fathers in all that respected Hebrew literature and the Palestine Christians. I persist in the belief that, though a refuse of the persecuted and from neglect degenerating Jew-Christians may have sunk into the mean and carnal notions of their unconverted brethren respecting the Messiah, no proper sect of Ebionites ever existed, but those to whom St. Paul travelled with the contributions of the churches, nor any such man as Ebion; unless indeed it was St. Barnabas, who in his humility may have so named himself, while soliciting relief for the distressed Palestine Christians;—"I am Barnabas the beggar." But I will go further, and confess my belief that the (so-called) Ebionites of the first and second centuries, who rejected the 'Christopædia', and whose Gospel commenced with the baptism by John, were orthodox Apostolic Christians, who received Christ as the Lord, that is, as Jehovah 'manifested in the flesh'. As to their rejection of the other Gospels and of Paul's writings, I might ask:—"Could they read them?" But the whole notion seems to rest on an anachronical misconception of the 'Evangelia'. Every great mother Church, at first, had its own Gospel.


Ib. p. 288.
To say nothing here of the truer reading ("men of your nation"), there is no consequence in the argument. The Ebionites were Christians in a large sense, men of Christian profession, nominal Christians, as Justin allowed the worst of heretics to be. And this is all he could mean by allowing the Ebionites to be Christians.
I agree with Bull in holding Greek: apò tou hymetérou génoussee previous image the most probable reading in the passage cited from Justin, and am by no means convinced that the celebrated passage in Josephus is an interpolation. But I do not believe that such men, as are here described, ever professed themselves Christians, or were, or could have been, baptized.


Ib. p. 292.
Le Clerc would appear to doubt, whether the persons pointed to in Justin really denied Christ's divine nature or no. It is as plain as possible that they did.
Le Clerc is no favourite of mine, and Waterland is a prime favourite. Nevertheless, in this instance, I too doubt with Le Clerc, and more than doubt.


Ib. p. 338.
Greek: Phúsei dè taes phthoras prosgenoménaes, anagkaion aen hóti
  sôsai Boulómenos áe tàen phthoropoiòn ousían aphanísas touto dè ouk
  aen hetérôs genésthai ei máeper hae katà phúsin zôàe proseplákae tô
  tàen phthoràn dexaménô, aphanizousa mèn tàen phthoràn, athanatòn dè
  tou loipou tò dexamenon diataerousa. k.t.l.—Just. M.

Here Justin asserts that it was necessary for essential life, or life by nature, to be united with human nature, in order to save it.
Waterland has not mastered the full force of Greek: hàe katà phúsin
zôáe] If indeed he had taken in the full force of the whole of this invaluable fragment, he would never have complimented the following extract from Irenæus, as saying the same thing "in fuller and stronger words." Compared with the fragment from Justin, it is but the flat common-place logic of analogy, so common in the early Fathers.


Ib. p. 340.
Qui nude tantum hominem eum dicunt ex Joseph generatum * * moriuntur.
Non nude hominem—not a mere man do I hold Jesus to have been and to be; but a perfect man and, by personal union with the Logos, perfect God. That his having an earthly father might be requisite to his being a perfect man I can readily suppose; but why the having an earthly father should be more incompatible with his perfect divinity, than his having an earthly mother, I cannot comprehend. All that John and Paul believed, God forbid that I should not!


Chap. VII. p. 389.
It is a sufficient reason for not receiving either them (Arian doctrines), or the interpretations brought to support them, that the ancients, in the best and purest times, either knew nothing of them, or if they did, condemned them.
As excellent means of raising a presumption in the mind of the falsehood of Arianism and Socinianism, and thus of preparing the mind for a docile reception of the great idea itself—I admit and value the testimonies from the writings of the early Fathers. But alas! the increasing dimness, ending in the final want of the idea of this all-truths-including truth of the Tetractys eternally manifested in the Triad;—this, this is the ground and cause of all the main heresies from Semi-Arianism, recalled by Dr. Samuel Clarke, to the last setting ray of departing faith in the necessitarian Psilanthropism of Dr. Priestley.


Ib. p. 41-2, &c.

I cannot but think that Waterland's defence of the Fathers in these pages against Barbeyrac, is below his great powers and characteristic vigour of judgment. It is enough that they, the Fathers of the first three centuries, were the lights of their age, and worthy of all reverence for their good gifts. But it appears to me impossible to deny their credulity; their ignorance, with one or two exceptions, in the interpretation of the Old Testament; or their hardihood in asserting the truth of whatever they thought it for the interest of the Church, and for the good of souls, to have believed as true. A whale swallowed Jonah; but a believer in all the assertions and narrations of Tertullian and Irenæus would be more wonder-working than Jonah; for such a one must have swallowed whales.





Footnote 1:   The Importance of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity asserted, in reply to some late pamphlets. 2nd edit. Lond. 1734.
return to footnote mark

Contents / Index




Notes on Skelton's Works1


1825.


Burdy's Life of Skelton, p. 22.
She lived until she was a hundred and five. The omission of his prayers on the morning it happened, he supposed ever after to be the cause of this unhappy accident. So early was his mind impressed with a lively sense of religious duty.
In anecdotes of this kind, and in the instances of eminently good men, it is that my head and heart have their most obstinate falls out. The question is:—To what extent the undoubted subjective truth may legitimately influence our judgment as to the possibility of the objective.


Ib. p. 67.
The Bishop then gave him the living of Pettigo in a wild part of the county of Donegal, having made many removals on purpose to put him in that savage place, among mountains, rocks, and heath, * * *. When he got this living he had been eighteen years curate of Monaghan, and two of Newtown-Butler, during which time he saw, as he told me, many illiterate boys put over his head, and highly preferred in the Church without having served a cure.
Though I have heard of one or two exceptions stated in proof that nepotism is not yet extinct among our Prelates, yet it is impossible to compare the present condition of the Church, and the disposal of its dignities and emoluments with the facts recorded in this Life, without an honest exultation.


Ib. p. 106.
He once declared to me that he would resign his living, if the Athanasian Creed were removed from the Prayer Book; and I am sure he would have done so.
Surely there was more zeal than wisdom in this declaration. Does the Athanasian or rather the pseudo-Athanasian Creed differ from the Nicene, or not? If not, it must be dispensable at least, if not superfluous. If it does differ, which of the two am I to follow;—the profession of an anonymous individual, or the solemn decision of upwards of three hundred Bishops convened from all parts of the Christian world?


Vol. I. p. 177-180.

No problem more difficult or of more delicate treatment than the criteria of miracles; yet none on which young divines are fonder of displaying their gifts. Nor is this the worst. Their charity too often goes to wreck from the error of identifying the faith in Christ with the arguments by which they think it is to be supported. But surely if two believers meet at the same goal of faith, it is a very secondary question whether they travelled thither by the same road of argument. In this and other passages of Skelton, I recognize and reverence a vigorous and robust intellect; but I complain of a turbidness in his reasoning, a huddle in his sequence, and here and there a semblance of arguing in a circle—from the miracle to the doctrine, and from the doctrine to the miracle. Add to this a too little advertency to the distinction between the evidence of a miracle for A, an eye-witness, and for B, for whom it is the relation of a miracle by an asserted eye-witness; and again between B, and X, Y, Z, for whom it is a fact of history. The result of my own meditations is, that the evidence of the Gospel, taken as a total, is as great for the Christians of the nineteenth century, as for those of the Apostolic age. I should not be startled if I were told it was greater. But it does not follow, that this equally holds good of each component part. An evidence of the most cogent clearness, unknown to the primitive Christians, may compensate for the evanescence of some evidence, which they enjoyed. Evidences comparatively dim have waxed into noon-day splendour; and the comparative wane of others, once effulgent, is more than indemnified by the synopsis Greek: tou
pántos which we enjoy, and by the standing miracle of a Christendom commensurate and almost synonymous with the civilized world. I make this remark for the purpose of warning the divinity student against the disposition to overstrain particular proofs, or rest the credibility of the Gospel too exclusively on some one favourite point. I confess, that I cannot peruse page 179 without fancying that I am reading some Romish Doctor's work, dated from a community where miracles are the ordinary news of the day.

P. S. By the by, the Rev. Philip Skelton is of the true Irish breed; that is, a brave fellow, but a bit of a bully. "Arrah, by St. Pathrick! but I shall make cold mutton of you, Misther Arian."


Ib. p. 182.
If in this he appears to deal fairly by us, proving such things as admit of it, by reason; and such as do not, by the authority of his miracles, &c.
Are we likely to have miracles performed or pretended before our eyes? If not, what may all this mean? If Skelton takes for granted the veracity of the Evangelists, and the precise verity of the Gospels, the truth and genuineness of the miracles is included:—and if not, what does he prove? The exact accordance of the miracles related with the ideal of a true miracle in the reason, does indeed furnish an argument for the probable truth of the relation. But this does not seem to be Skelton's intention.


Ib. p. 185.
But to remedy this evil, as far as the nature of the thing will permit, a genuine record of the true religion must be kept up, that its articles may not be in danger of total corruption in such a sink of opinions.
Anything rather than seek a remedy in that which Scripture itself declares the only one. Alas! these bewilderments (the Romanists urge) have taken place especially through and by the misuse of the Scriptures. Whatever God has given, we ought to think necessary;— the Scriptures, the Church, the Spirit. Why disjoin them?


Ib. p. 186.
Now a perpetual miracle, considered as the evidence of any thing, is nonsense; because were it at first ever so apparently contrary to the known course of nature, it must in time be taken for the natural effect of some unknown cause, as all physical phænomena, if far enough traced, always are; and consequently must fall into a level, as to a capacity of proving any thing, with the most ordinary appearances of nature, which, though all of them miracles, as to the primary cause of their production, can never be applied to the proof of an inspiration, because ordinary and common.
I doubt this, though I have no doubt that it would be pernicious. The yearly blossoming of Aaron's rod is against Skelton, who confounds single facts with classes of phænomena, and he draws his conclusion from an arbitrary and, as seems to me, senseless definition of a miracle.


Ib. p. 214. End of Discourse II.

Skelton appears to have confounded two errors very different in kind and in magnitude;—that of the Infidel, against whom his arguments are with few exceptions irrefragable; and that of the Christian, who, sincerely believing the Law, the Prophecies, the miracles and the doctrines, all in short which in the Scriptures themselves is declared to have been revealed, does not attribute the same immediate divinity to all and every part of the remainder. It would doubtless be more Christian-like to substitute the views expressed in the next Discourse (III.); but still the latter error is not as the former.


Ib. p. 234.
But why should not the conclusion be given up, since it is possible Christ may have had two natures in him, so as to have been less than the Father in respect to the one, and equal to him in respect to the other.
I understand these words (My Father is greater than I) of the divinity—and of the Filial subordination, which does not in the least encroach on the equality necessary to the unity of Father, Son, and Spirit. Bishop Bull does the same. See too Skelton's own remarks in Discourse V. p. 265.


Ib. p. 251.
This was necessary, because their Law was ordained by angels.
Now this is an instance of what I cannot help regarding as a superstitious excess of reverence for single texts. We know that long before the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, the Alexandrian Church, which by its intercourse with Greek philosophers, chiefly Platonists, had become ashamed of the humanities of the Hebrew Scriptures, in defiance of those Scriptures had pretended, that it was not the Supreme Being who gave the Law in person to Moses, but some of his angels. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, arguing ad homines, avails himself of this, in order to prove that on their own grounds the Mosaic was of dignity inferior to the Christian dispensation. To get rid of this no-difficulty in a single verse or two in the Epistles, Skelton throws an insurmountable difficulty on the whole Mosaic history.


Ib. p. 265.
Therefore, he saith, I (as a man) can of myself do nothing.
Even of this text I do not see the necessity of Skelton's parenthesis (as a man). Nay it appears to me (I confess) to turn a sublime and most instructive truth into a truism. "But if not as the Son of God, therefore a fortiori not as the Son of man, and more especially, as such, in all that refers to the redemption of mankind."


Ib. p. 267.
To this glory Christ, as God, was entitled from all eternity; but did not acquire a right to it as man, till he had paid the purchase by his blood.
I too hold this for a most important truth; but yet could wish it to have been somewhat differently expressed; as thus:—"but did not acquire it as man till the means had been provided and perfected by his blood."


Ib. p. 268.
If Christ in one place, (John xiv. 28,) says, My Father is greater than I; he must be understood of his relation to the Father as his Son, born of a woman.
I do not see the necessity of this: does not Christ say, My Father and I will come and we will dwell in you? Nay, I dare confidently affirm that in no one passage of St. John's Gospel is our Lord declared in any special sense the Son of the First Person of the Trinity in reference to his birth from a woman. And remember it is from St. John's Gospel that the words are cited. So too the answer to Philip ought to be interpreted by ch. i. 18. of the same Gospel.


Ib. p. 276.

I confess I do not agree with Skelton's interpretation of any of these texts entirely. Because I hold the Nicene Faith, and revere the doctrine of the Trinity as the fundamental article of Christianity, I apply to Christ as the Second Person, almost all the texts which Skelton explains of his humanity. At all events 1 consider the first-born of every creature as a false version of the words, which (as the argument and following verse prove) should be rendered begotten before, (or rather superlatively before), all that was created or made; for by him they were made.


Ib.
Of that day, and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
I cannot explain myself here; but I have long thought that our Saviour meant in these words Greek: ainíttein tàen théotaeta ahutou—and that like the problem proposed by him to the Scribes, they were intended to prepare the minds of the disciples for this awful mystery—Greek: ei
màe ho patáer—"unless, or if not, as the Father knows it;" while in St. Matthew the equivalent sense is given by the omission of the Greek:
oud' ho uhíos and its inclusion in the Father. As the Father knoweth me, so know I the Father.

It would have been against the general rule of Scripture prophecies, and the intention of the revelation in Christ, that the first Christians should have been so influenced in their measures and particular actions, as they could not but have been by a particular foreknowledge of the express and precise time at which Jerusalem was to be destroyed. To reconcile them to this uncertainty, our Lord first teaches them to consider this destruction the close of one great epoch, or Greek:
aiôn as the type of the final close of the whole world of time, that is, of all temporal things; and then reasons with them thus:—"Wonder not that I should leave you ignorant of the former, when even the highest order of heavenly intelligences know not the latter, Greek:
oud' ho uhíos, ei màe ho patáer; nor should I myself, but that the Father knows it, all whose will is essentially known to me as the Eternal Son. But even to me it is not revealably communicated." Such seems to me the true sense of this controverted passage in Mark, and that it is borne out by many parallel texts in St. John, and that the correspondent text in Matthew, which omits the Greek: oud' ho huíos conveys the same sense in equivalent terms, the word Greek: emou including the Son in the Greek: patàer mónos. For to his only-begotten Son before all time the Father showeth all things.


Ib. p. 279.
But whether we can reconcile these words to our belief of Christ's prescience and divinity, or not, matters little to the debate about his divinity itself; since we can so fully prove it by innumerable passages of Scripture, too direct, express, and positive, to be balanced by one obscure passage, from whence the Arian is to draw the consequence himself, which may possibly be wrong.
Very good.


Ib. p. 280.
We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.—l John v. 20. The whole connection evidently shows the words to be spoken of Christ.
That the words comprehend Christ is most evident. All that can be fairly concluded from 1 Cor. viii. 6, is this:—that the Apostles, Paul and John, speak of the Father as including and comprehending the Son and the Holy Ghost, as his Word and his Spirit; but of these as inferring or supposing the Father, not comprehending him. Whenever, therefore, respecting the Godhead itself, containing both deity and dominion, the term God is distinctively used, it is applied to the Father, and Lord to the Son.


Ib. p. 281.
But, farther, it is objected that Christ cannot be God, since God calls him his servant more than once, particularly 'Isaiah' xlii. 1.
The Prophets often speak of the anti-type, or person typified, in language appropriate to, and suggested by, the type itself. So, perhaps, in this passage, if, as I suppose, Hezekiah was the type immediately present to Isaiah's imagination. However, Skelton's answer is quite sufficient.


Ib. p. 287.
Hence it appears, that in the passage objected, (1 'Cor'. xv. 24, &c.) Christ is spoken of purely as that Man whom God had highly exalted, and to whom he had given a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. (Phil. ii. 9, 10.)
I must confess that this exposition does not quite satisfy me. I cannot help thinking that something more and deeper was meant by the Apostle; and this must be sought for in the mystery of the Trinity itself, in which (mystery) all treasures of knowledge are hidden.


Ib. p. 318.
Hence, perhaps, may be best explained what St. Peter says in the second Epistle, after pleading a miracle. We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto you do well that you take heed.
I believe that St. Peter neither said it, nor meant this; but that Greek: Bebaióteron follows the prophetic word. We have also the word of prophecy more firm;—that is; we have, in addition to the evidence of the miracles themselves, this further confirmation, that they are the fulfilment of known prophecies.


Ib. p. 327.
Agreeable to these passages of the Prophet, St. Peter tells us (Acts x. 38), God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power.
I have often to complain that too little attention is paid by commentators to the history and particular period in which certain speeches were delivered, or words written. Could St. Peter with propriety have introduced the truth to a prejudiced audience with its deepest mysteries? Must he not have begun with the most evident facts?


Ib. Disc. VIII.
The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity vindicated.
Were I a Clergyman, the paragraphs from p. 366 to p. 370, both inclusive, of this Discourse should form the conclusion of my Sermon on Trinity Sunday,—whether I preached at St. James's, or in a country village.


Ib. pp. 374-378.

As a reason why we should doubt our own judgment, it is quite fair to remind the objector, that the same difficulty occurs in the scheme of God's ordinary providence. But that a difficulty in a supposed article of revealed truth is solved by the occurrence of the same or of an equivalent difficulty in the common course of human affairs—this I find it hard to conceive. How was the religious, as distinguished from the moral, sense first awakened? What made the human soul feel the necessity of a faith in God, but the apparent incongruity of certain dispensations in this world with the idea of God, with the law written in the heart? Is not the reconciling of these facts or phænomena with the divine attributes, one of the purposes of a revealed religion? But even this is not a full statement of the defect complained of in this solution. A difficulty which may be only apparent (like that other of the prosperity of the wicked) is solved by the declaration of its reality! A difficulty grounded on the fact of temporal and outward privations and sufferings, is solved by being infinitely increased, that is, by the assertion of the same principle on the determination of our inward and everlasting weal and woe. That there is nothing in the Christian Faith or in the Canonical Scriptures, when rightly interpreted, that requires such an argument, or sanctions the recourse to it, I believe myself to have proved in the Aids to Reflection. For observe that "to solve" has a scientific, and again a religious sense, and that in the latter, a difficulty is satisfactorily solved, as soon as its insolvibility for the human mind is proved and accounted for.


Ib. (Disc. XIV. pp. 500-502.)
Christianity proved by Miracles.
I cannot see and never could, the purpose, or cui bono, of this reasoning. To whom is it addressed? To a man who denies a God, or that God can reveal his will to mankind? If such a man be not below talking to, he must first be convinced of his miserable blindness respecting these truths; for these are clearly presupposed in every proof of miracles generally.

Again, does he admit the authenticity of the Gospels, and the veracity of the Evangelists? Does he credit the facts there related, and as related? If not, these points must be proved; for these are clearly presupposed in all reasoning on the particular miracles of the Christian dispensation. If he does, can he deny that many acts of Christ were wonderful;—that reanimating a dead body in which putrefaction had already commenced,—and feeding four thousand men with a few loaves and fishes, so that the fragments left greatly exceeded the original total quantity,—were wonderful events? Should such a man, 'compos mentis', exist, (which I more than doubt,) what could a wise man do but stare—and leave him? Christ wrought many wonderful works, implying admirable power, and directed to the most merciful and beneficent ends; and these acts were such signs of his divine mission, as rendered inattention or obstinate averseness to the truths and doctrines which he promulgated, inexcusable, and indeed on any hypothesis but that of immoral dispositions and prejudices, utterly inconceivable. In what respect, I pray, can this statement be strengthened by any reasoning about the nature and distinctive essence of miracles 'in abstracto'? What purpose can be answered by any pretended definition of a miracle? If I met with a disputatious word-catcher, or logomachist, who sought to justify his unbelief on this ground, I should not hesitate to say—"Never mind whether it is a miracle or no. Call it what you will;—but do you believe the fact? Do you believe that Christ did by force of his will and word multiply instantaneously twelve loaves and a few small fishes, into sufficient food for a hungering multitude of four thousand men and women?" When I meet with, or from credible authority hear of, a man who believes this fact, and yet thinks it no sign of Christ's mission; when I can even conceive of a man in his right senses who, believing all the facts and events related in the New Testament, and as there related, does yet remain a Deist, I may think it time to enter into a disquisition respecting the right definition of a miracle; and meantime, I humbly trust that believing with my whole heart and soul in the wonderful works of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I shall not forfeit my title of Christian, though I should not subscribe to this or that divine's right definition of his idea of a miracle; which word is with me no idea at all, but a general term; the common surname, as it were, of the wonderful works wrought by the messengers of God to man in the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations.

It is to these notions and general definitions, far more than to the facts themselves, that the arguments of Infidels apply; and from which they derive their plausibility. Nor is this all. The Infidel imitates the divine, and adopts the same mode of arguing, namely, by this substantiation of mere general or collective terms. For instance, Hume's argument (stated, by the by, before he was born, and far more forcibly, by Dr. South, who places it in the mouth of Thomas,)2—reduce it to the particular facts in question, and its whole speciousness vanishes. I am speaking of the particular facts and actions of the Gospel; of those, and those only. Now that I should be deceived, or the eye-witnesses have been deceived, under all the circumstances of those miracles, with all antecedents, accompaniments, and consequents, is quite as contrary to, that is, unparalleled in my experience, as the return to life of a dead man.

So again in the second paragraph of page 5023, the position is true or false according to the definition of a miracle. In the narrower sense of the term, miracle,—that is, a consequent presented to the outward senses without an adequate antecedent, ejusdem generis,—it is not only false but detractory from the Christian religion. It is a main, nay, an indispensable evidence; but it is not the only, no, nor if comparison be at all allowable, the highest and most efficient; unless, indeed, the term evidence is itself confined to grounds of conviction offered to the senses, but then the position is a mere truism.

There is yet another way of reasoning, which I utterly dislike; namely, by putting imaginary cases of imaginary miracles, as Paley has done. "If a dozen different individuals, all men of known sense and integrity, should each independently of the other pledge their everlasting weal on the truth, that they saw a man beheaded and quartered, and that on a certain person's prayer or bidding, the quarters reunited, and then a new head grew on and from out of the stump of the neck: and should the man himself assure you of the same, shew you the junctures, and identify himself to you by some indelible mark, with which you had been previously acquainted,—could you withstand this evidence?" What could a judicious man reply but—"When such an event takes place, I will tell you; but what has this to do with the reasons for our belief in the truth of the written records of the Old and New Testament? Why do you fly off from the facts to a gigantic fiction,—when the possibility of the If with respect to a much less startling narration is the point in dispute between us?"

Such and so peculiar, and to an honest mind so unmistakeable, is the character of veracity and simplicity on the very countenance, as it were, of the Gospel, that every remove of the inquirer's attention from the facts themselves is a remove of his conversion. It is your business to keep him from wandering, not to set him the example.

Never, surely, was there a more unequal writer than Skelton;—in the discourses on the Trinity, the compeer of Bull and Waterland; and yet the writer of these pages, 500-501! Natural magic! a stroke of art! for example, converting the Nile into blood! And then his definition of a miracle. Suspension of the laws of nature! suspension—laws—nature! Bless me! a chapter would be required for the explanation of each several word of this definition, and little less than omniscience for its application in any one instance. An effect presented to the senses without any adequate antecedent, ejusdem generis, is a miracle in the philosophic sense. Thus: the corporeal ponderable hand and arm raised with no other known causative antecedent, but a thought, a pure act of an immaterial essentially invisible imponderable will, is a miracle for a reflecting mind. Add the words, præter experientiam: and we have the definition of a miracle in the popular, practical, and appropriated sense.


Vol. III.

That all our thoughts and views respecting our Faith should be consistent with each other, and with the attributes of God, is most highly desirable: but when the great diversities of men's understandings, and the unavoidable influence of circumstances on the mind, are considered, we may hope from the Divine mercy, that the agreement in the result will suffice; and that he who sincerely and efficiently believes that Christ left the glory which he had with the Father before all worlds, to become man and die for our salvation,—that by him we may, and by him alone we can, be saved,—will be held a true believer,—whether he interprets the words sacrifice, purchase, bargain, satisfaction, of the creditor by full payment of the debt, and the like as proper and literal expressions of the redeeming act and the cause of our salvation, as Skelton seems to have done;—or (as I do) as figurative language truly designating the effects and consequences of this adorable act and process.


Ib. p. 393.
But were the prospect of a better parish, in case of greater diligence, set before him by his Bishop, on the music of such a promise, like one bit by a tarantula, we should probably soon see him in motion, and serving God, (O shameful!) for the sake of Mammon, as if his torpid body had been animated anew by a returning soul.
Without any high-flying in Christian morality, I cannot keep shrinking from the wish here expressed; at all events, I cannot sympathize with, or participate in, the expectation of "an infinite advancement" from men so motived.


Ib. p. 394.
Yet excommunication, the inherent discipline of the Church, which it exercised under persecution, which it is still permitted to exercise under the present establishment.
Rarely I suspect, without exposing the Clergyman to the risk of an action for damages, or some abuse. There are few subjects that more need investigation, yet require more vigour and soundness of judgment to be rightly handled, than this of Christian discipline in a Church established by law. It is indeed a most difficult and delicate problem, and supplied Baxter with a most plausible and to me the only perplexing of his numerous objections to our Ecclesiastical Constitution. On the other hand, I saw clearly that he was requiring an impossibility; and that his argument carried on to its proper consequences concluded against all Church Establishment, not more against the National Church of which he complained, than the one of his own clipping and shaping which he would have substituted; consequently, every proof (and I saw many and satisfactory proofs) of the moral and political necessity of an Established Church, was at the same time a pledge that a deeper insight would detect some flaw in the reasoning of the Disciplinarians. For if A. be right and requisite, B., which is incompatible with A., cannot be rightly required. And this it was, that first led me to the distinction between the Ecclesia and an Enclesia, concerning which see my Essay on Establishment and Dissent, in which I have met the objection to my position, that Christian discipline is incompatible with a Church established by law, from the fact of the discipline of the Church of Scotland4. Who denies that it is in the power of a legislature to punish certain offences by ignominy, and to make the clergy magistrates in reference to these? The question is, whether it is wise or expedient, which it may be, or rather may have been, in Scotland, and the contrary in England? Wise or unwise, this is not discipline, not Christian discipline, enforced only by spiritual motives, enacted by spiritual authority, and submitted to for conscience' sake.


Ib. p. 446.
Be this as it may, the foreknowledge and the decree were both eternal. Here now it is a clear point that the moral actions of all accountable agents were, with certainty, fore-known, and their doom unalterably fixed, long before any one of them existed.
Strange that so great a man as Skelton should first affirm eternity of both, yet in the next sentence talk of "long before." These Reflections5 are excellent, but here Skelton offends against his own canons. I should feel no reluctance, moral or speculative, in accepting the apparent necessity of both propositions, as a sufficient reason for believing both; and the transcendancy of the subject as a sufficient solution of their apparent incompatibility. But yet I think that another view of the subject, not less congruous with universal reason and more agreeable to the light of reason in the human understanding, might be defended, without detracting from any perfection of the Divine Being. Nay, I think that Skelton needed but one step more to have seen it.


Ib. p. 478.

In fine.

To what purpose were these Reflections, taken as a whole, written? I cannot answer. To dissuade men from reasoning on a subject beyond our faculties? Then why all this reasoning?


Vol. IV. p. 28. Deism Revealed.

Shepherd Were you ever at Constantinople, Sir?
Dechaine Never.
Shepherd Yet I believe you have no more doubt there is such a city, than that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones.
Temp. I am sure 1 have not.
Dechaine Nor I; but what then?
Shepherd Pray, Mr. Dechaine, did you see Julius Cæsar assassinated in the Capitol?
Dechaine A pretty question! No indeed, Sir.
Shepherd Have you any doubts about the truth of what is told us by the historians concerning that memorable transaction?
Dechaine Not the least.
Shepherd Pray, is it either self-evident or demonstrable to you, at this time and place, that there is any such city as Constantinople, or that there ever was such a man as Cæsar?
Dechaine By no means.
Shepherd And you have all you know concerning the being of either the city, or the man, merely from the report of others, who had it from others, and so on, through many links of tradition?
Dechaine I have.
Shepherd You see then, that there are certain cases, in which the evidence of things not seen nor either sensibly or demonstrably perceived, can justly challenge so entire an assent, that he who should pretend to refuse it in the fullest measure of acquiescence, would be deservedly esteemed the most stupid or perverse of mankind.


That there is a sophism here, every one must feel in the very fact of being 'non-plus'd' without being convinced. The sophism consists in the instance being 'haud ejusdem generis' Greek: élegchos metabáseôs eis
állo génossee previous image; and what the allogeneity is between the assurance of the being of Madrid or Constantinople, and the belief of the fact of the resurrection of Christ, I have shown elsewhere. The universal belief of the 'tyrannicidium' of Julius Cæsar is doubtless a fairer instance, but the whole mode of argument is unsound and unsatisfying. Why run off from the fact in question, or the class at least to which it belongs? The victory can be but accidental—a victory obtained by the unguarded logic, or want of logical foresight of the antagonist, who needs only narrow his positions to narrations of facts and events, in our judgment of which we are not aided by the analogy of previous and succeeding experience, to deprive you of the opportunity of skirmishing thus on No Man's land. But this is Skelton's ruling passion, sometimes his strength—too often his weakness. He must force the reader to believe: or rather he has an antagonist, a wilful infidel or heretic always and exclusively before his imagination; or if he thinks of the reader at all, it is as of a partizan enjoying every hard thump, and smashing 'fister' he gives the adversary, whom Skelton hates too cordially to endure to obtain any thing from him with his own liking. No! It must be against his will, and in spite of it. No thanks to him—the dog could not help himself! How much more effectual would he have found it to have commenced by placing himself in a state of sympathy with the supposed sceptic or unbeliever;—to have stated to him his own feelings, and the real grounds on which they rested;—to have shown himself the difference between the historical facts which the sceptic takes for granted and believes spontaneously, as it were,—and those, which are to be the subject of discussion; and this brings the question at once to the proof. And here, after all, lies the strength of Skelton's reasoning, which would have worked far more powerfully, had it come first and single, and with the whole attention directed towards it.


Ib. p. 35.

Templeton Surely the resurrection of Christ, or any other man, cannot be a thing impossible with God. It is neither above his power, nor, when employed for a sufficient purpose, inconsistent with his majesty, wisdom, and goodness.


This is the ever open and vulnerable part of Deism. The Deist, as a Deist, believes, implicite at least, so many and stupendous miracles as to render his disbelief of lesser miracles, simply because they are miraculous, gross inconsistencies. To have the battle fairly fought out, Spinoza, or a Bhuddist, or a Burmese Gymnosoph, should be challenged. Then, I am deeply persuaded, would the truth appear in full evidence, that no Christ, no God,—and, conversely, if the Father, then the Son. I can never too often repeat, that revealed religion is a pleonasm.—Religion is revelation, and revelation the only religion.


Ib. p. 37.

Shepherd Those believers, whose faith is to rely on the truth of the Christian history, rest their assent on a written report made by eye-witnesses; which report the various Churches and sects, jealous of one another, took care to preserve genuine and uncorrupted, at least in all material points, and all the religious writers in every age since have amply attested.


A divine of the present day who shall undertake the demonstration of the truth of Christianity by external evidences, or historically, must not content himself with assuming or asserting this. He must either prove it; or prove that such proof is not necessary. I myself should be quite satisfied if I proved the former position in respect to the fourth Gospel, and showed that the evidence of the other three was equivalent to a record by an eye-witness: which would not be at all inconsistent with my contending at the same time for the authenticity of the first Gospel, or rather for the Catholic interpretation of the title-words Greek: Katà Matthaionsee previous image as the more probable opinion, which a sound divine will neither abandon nor overload, neither place it in the foundation, nor on the other hand suffer it to be extruded from the wall. Believe me, there is great, very great, danger in these broad unqualified assertions that Skelton deals in. Even though the balance of evidence should be on his side, yet the inquirer will be unfavourably affected by the numerous doubts and difficulties which an acquaintance with the more modern works of Biblical criticism will pour upon him, and for which his mind is wholly unprepared. To meet with a far weaker evidence than we had taken it for granted we were to find, gives the same shake to the mind, that missing a stair gives to the body.


Ib. p. 243.

Temp. ou, Mr. Dechaine, seem to forget that God is just; and you, Mr. Shepherd, that he is merciful
Dechaine I insist, that, as God is merciful, he will forgive.
Shepherd And I insist, that, as he is just, he will punish.
Temp. Pray Mr. Dechaine, are you able, upon the Deistical scheme to rid yourself of this difficulty?
Dechaine I see no difficulty in it at all. God gives us laws only for our good, and will never suffer those laws to become a snare to us, and the occasion of our eternal misery.


Here is the cardo! The man of sense asserts that it is necessary for the good of all, that a code of laws should exist, while yet it is impossible that all should at all times be obeyed by each person: but what is impossible cannot be required. Nevertheless, it may be required that no iota of any one of these laws should be wilfully and deliberately transgressed, nor is there any one for the transgression of which the transgressor must not hold himself punishable. "And yet" (says our man of sense,) "what may not be said of any one point, or any one moment, cannot be denied of the collective agency of a whole life, or any considerable section of it. Here we find ourselves constrained by our best feelings to praise or condemn, to reward or punish, according as a great predominance of acts of obedience or disobedience, and a continued love of the better, or the lusting after the worst, manifests the maxim (regula maxima), the radical will and proper character of the individual. So parents judge of their children; so schoolmasters of their scholars; so friends of friends, and even so will God judge his creatures, if we are to trust in our common sense, or believe the repeated declarations in the Old Testament." And now I should be glad to hear any satisfactory sensible reply to this, or any answer that does not fly higher than 'sense' can follow, and pierce into "the thick clouds" of decried metaphysics! For no fair reply can be imagined, but one which would find the root of the moral evil, the true Greek:
ponaerón in this very impossibility.


Ib. p. 249.

Cunningham But how does all this discourse about sacrifices and the natural light show that your faith does not ascribe injustice to God in putting an innocent person to death for the transgressions of the guilty?
Shepherd Was Christ innocent?
Cunningham He was without sin.
Shepherd And he was put to death by the appointment and predetermination of God?
Cunningham The Jews put him to death.
Shepherd Do not evade the question. Was he not the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Was he not so delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, that the Jews, having taken him, by wicked hands crucified and slew him?
Cunningham And what then?
Shepherd Nothing; but that you are to answer, as well as I, for saying that God predetermined the death of this only innocent person.


I am less pleased with this volume than with any of the preceding. Ask your own heart and conscience whether (for instance,) they are satisfied with this defence duri per durius: or whether frightening a modest query into silence by perverting it into an accusation of the Almighty, by virtue of a conclusion borrowed from the Calvinistic theory of Predestination, is not more in the spirit of Job's comforters, than becomes a minister of the Apostolic Church of England and Ireland? Such arguments are but edge-tools at the safest, but more often they may rather be likened to the two-edged blade of Parysatis's knife, the one of which was poisoned. Leave them to Calvin, or those who dare appropriate Calvin's words, that "God's absolute will is the only rule of his justice;"—thus dividing the divine attributes. Yet Calvin himself distinguishes the hidden from the revealed God, even as the Greek Fathers distinguished the Greek: thélaema Theou the absolute ground of all being, from the Greek: Boulàe tou Theousee previous image as the cause and disposing providence of all existence.

But I disapprove of the plan and spirit of this work, (Deism Revealed.) The cold-hearted, worldly-minded, cunning Deist, or the coarse sensual Infidel, is of all men the least likely to be converted; and the conscientious, inquiring, though misled and perplexed, Sceptic will throw aside a book at once, as not applicable to his case, which treats every doubt as a crime, and supposes that there is no doubt at all possible but in a bad heart and from wicked wishes. Compare this with St. Paul's language concerning the Jews.

So again, pp. 225, &c. of this volume. Do not the plainest intuitions of our moral and rational being confirm the positions here attributed to the Deist, Dechaine? Are they not the same by which Melancthon de-Calvinized, at least de-Augustinized, the heroic Luther;— those which constitute one of the only two essential differences between the Augsburg Confession and the Calvinistic Articles of Faith? And can anything be more flittery and special-pleading than Skelton's objections? And again, p. 507, "and that prayer which he (Tindal) is reported to have used a little before his death, 'If there is a God, I desire he may have mercy on me;'"—was it Christian-like to publish and circulate a blind report—so improbable and disgusting, as to demand the strongest and most unsuspicious testimony for its reception?


Ib. p. 268.

Shepherd Pray, Mr. Dechaine, if a person, whom you knew to be an honest and clear-sighted man, should solemnly assure you he saw a dead man restored to life, what would you think of his testimony?
Dechaine As I could not possibly have as strong an assurance of his honesty, clear-sightedness, and penetration, as of the great improbability of the fact, I should not believe him.
Shepherd Well; it is true he might be deceived himself, or intend to impose on you. But in case ten such persons should all, at different times, confirm the same report, how would this affect you?


There is one inconvenience, not to say danger, in this argument of Mr. Shepherd's; namely, that of its not standing in the same force, when it comes to be repeated in the particular miraculous facts in support of which it is adduced.


Ib. p. 281.
No other ancient book can be so well proved to have been the work of the author it is now ascribed to, as every book of the New Testament can be proved to have been written by him whose name it hath all along borne.
This is true to the full extent that the defence of the divinity of our religion needs, or perhaps permits, and I see no advantage gained by asserting more. I must lose all power of distinction, before I can affirm that the genuineness of the first Gospel,—that in its present form it was written by Matthew, or is a literal translation of a Gospel written by him,—rests on as strong external evidence as Luke's, or on as strong internal evidence as St. John's. Sufficient that the evidence greatly preponderates in its favor.





Footnote 1:   The complete Works of the late Rev. Philip Skelton, Rector of Fintona. 6. vols. 8vo. London, 1824. Ed.
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Footnote 2:   See South's Works, vol. iii. p. 500. Clarendon edit. 1823 —Ed.
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Footnote 3:   But it will be proper to observe, that it strikes directly at the very root of Revelation, which cannot possibly give any other evidence of itself, as the dictate of God, but what must be drawn from miracles, wrought to prove the divine mission of those who publish it to the world.
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Footnote 4:   The Editor is not aware of the existence of the Essay here mentioned. But see for the distinction of the Ecclesia and Enclesia, the Church and State, 3rd edit.—Ed.
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Footnote 5:  On Predestination, as far as p. 445.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Andrew Fuller's Clavinistic and Socinian Systems Examined and Compared1


1807.


Letter III. p. 38.
They (the Jews) did not deny that to be God's own Son was to be equal with the Father, nor did they allege that such an equality would destroy the divine unity: a thought of this kind never seems to have occurred to their minds.
In so truly excellent a book as this is, I regret that this position should rest on an assertion. The equality of Christ would not, indeed, destroy the unity of God the Father, considered as one Person: but, unless we presume the Jews in question acquainted with the great truth of the Tri-unity, we must admit that it would be considered as implying Ditheism. Now that some among the Jews had made very near approaches, though blended with errors, to the doctrine taught in John, c. i., we can prove from the writings of Philo;—and the Socinians can never prove that these Jews did not know at least of the doctrine of their schools concerning the only-begotten Word—Greek: Lógos monogenáessee previous image— not as an attribute, much less as an abstraction or personification—but as a distinct Hypostasis Greek: symphysikáe:-and hence it might be shown that their offence was that the carpenter's son, the Galilean, should call himself the Greek: Theòs phanerós. This might have been rendered more than probable by the concluding sentence of Christ's answer to the disciples of John;—and blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me (Luke vii. 23.); which appears to have no adequate or even tolerable meaning, unless in reference to the passage in Isaiah, (lxi. 1, 2.) prophesying that Jehovah himself would come among them, and do the things which our Saviour states himself to have done. Thus, too, I regret that the answer of our Lord, (John x. 34-36.) being one of the imagined strong-holds of the Socinians, should not have been more fully cleared up. I doubt not that Fuller's is a true interpretation; and that no other is consistent with our Lord's various other declarations. But the words in and by themselves admit a more plausible misinterpretation than is elsewhere the case of Socinian displanations. In short, I think both passages would have been better deferred to a further part of the work.

Let me add that a mighty and comparatively new argument against the Socinians may be most unanswerably deduced from this reply of our Lord's, even were it considered as a mere argumentum ad homines:—namely, that it was not his Messiahship that so offended the Jews, but his Sonship; otherwise, our Saviour's language would have neither force, motive, or object. "Even were I no more than the Messiah, in your meanest conceptions of that character, yet after what I have done before your eyes, nothing but malignant hearts could have prevented you from adopting a milder interpretation of my words, when in your own Scriptures there exists a precedent that so much more than merely justifies me." And this I believe to be the meaning of the words as intended to be understood by the Jews in question; though, doubtless, Fuller's sense exists implicite. No candid person would ever call it an evasion, to prove the injustice and malignity of an accuser even from his own grounds:—"You charge me falsely; but even were your charge true, namely, that I am a mere man, and yet call myself the Son of God, still it would not follow that I have been guilty of blasphemy." But as understood by the modern Unicists, it would verily, verily, be an evasive ambiguity, most unworthy of Christian belief concerning his Saviour. Common charity would have demanded of him to have said:— "I am a mere man: I do not pretend to be more; but I used the words in analogy to the words, Ye are as Gods; and I have a right to do so: for though a mere man, I am the great Prophet and Messenger which Moses promised you."


Letter V. p. 72.
If Dr. Priestley had formed his estimate of human virtue by that great standard which requires love to God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves,—instead of representing men by nature as having "more virtue than vice,"—he must have acknowledged with the Scripture, that the whole world lieth in wickedness—that every thought and imagination of their heart is only evil continually—and that there is none of them that doeth good, no not one.
To this the Unicists would answer, that by the whole world is meant all the worldly-minded;—no matter in how direct opposition to half a score other texts! "One text at a time!" sufficient for the day is the evil thereof!—and in this way they go on pulling out hair by hair from the horse's tail, (say rather, dreaming that they do so,) and then conclude with a shout that the horse never had a tail! For why? This hair is not a tail, nor that, nor the third, and so on to the very last; and how can all do what none of all does?—Ridiculous as this is, it is a fair image of Socinian logic. Thank God, their plucking out is a mere fancy;—and the sole miserable reality is the bare rump which they call their religion;— but that is the ape's own growth.


Ib. p. 77.
First, that all punishments are designed for the good of the whole, and less or corrective punishments for the good of the offender, is admitted. * * God never inflicts punishment for the sake of punishing.
This is not, Greek: hôs émoige dokei sufficiently guarded. That all punishments work for the good of the whole, and that the good of the whole is included in God's design, I admit: but that this is the sole cause, and the sole justification of divine punishment, I cannot, I dare not, concede;— because I should thus deny the essential evil of guilt, and its inherent incompatibility with the presence of a Being of infinite holiness. Now, exclusion from God implies the sum and utmost of punishment; and this would follow from the very essence of guilt and holiness, independently of example, consequence, or circumstance.


Letter VI. p. 90.
(The systems compared as to their tendency to promote morality in general.)
I have hitherto made no objection to, no remark on, any one part of this Letter; for I object to the whole—not as Calvinism, but—as what Calvin would have recoiled from. How was it that so good and shrewd a man as Andrew Fuller should not have seen, that the difference between a Calvinist and a Priestleyan Materialist-Necessitarian consists in this:—The former not only believes a will, but that it is equivalent to the ego ipse, to the actual self, in every moral agent; though he believes that in human nature it is an enslaved, because a corrupt, will. In denying free will to the unregenerated he no more denies will, than in asserting the poor negroes in the West Indies to be slaves I deny them to be men. Now the latter, the Priestleyan, uses the word will,—not for any real, distinct, correspondent power, but,—for the mere result and aggregate of fibres, motions, and sensations; in short, it is a mere generic term with him, just as when we say, the main current in a river.

Now by not adverting to this, and alas! misled by Jonathan Edwards's book, Fuller has hidden from himself and his readers the damnable nature of the doctrine—not of necessity (for that in its highest sense is identical with perfect freedom; they are definitions each of the other); but—of extraneous compulsion. O! even this is not adequate to the monstrosity of the thought. A denial of all agency;—or an assertion of a world of agents that never act, but are always acted upon, and yet without any one being that acts;—this is the hybrid of Death and Sin, which throughout this letter is treated so amicably! Another fearful mistake, and which is the ground of the former, lies in conceding to the Materialist, explicite et implicite, that the Greek: noúmenon the intelligibile, the ipseitas super sensibilis, of guilt is in time, and of time, and, consequently, a mechanism of cause and effect;—in other words, in confounding the Greek: phainómena, tà rhéonta, tà màe
óntôs ónta —all which belong to time, and cannot be even thought of except as effects necessarily predetermined by the precedent causes, (themselves in their turn effects of other causes),— with the transsensual ground or actual power.

After such admissions, no other possible defence can be made for Calvinism or any other ism than the wretched recrimination: "Why, yours, Dr. Priestley, is just as bad!"—Yea, and no wonder:—for in essentials both are the same. But there was no reason for Fuller's meddling with the subject at all,—metaphysically, I mean.


Ib. p. 95.
If the unconditionality of election render it unfriendly to virtue, it must be upon the supposition of that view of things, "which attributes more to God, and less to man," having such ascendancy; which is the very reverse of what Dr. Priestley elsewhere teaches, and that in the same performance.
But in both systems, as Fuller has erroneously stated his own, man is annihilated. There is neither more nor less; it is all God; all, all are but Deus infinite modificatus:—in brief, both systems are not Spinosism, for no other reason than that the logic and logical consequency of 10 Fullers + 10 X 10 Dr. Priestleys, piled on each other, would not reach the calf of Spinoza's leg. Both systems of necessity lead to Spinosism, nay, to all the horrible consequences attributed to it by Spinoza's enemies. O, why did Andrew Fuller quit the high vantage ground of notorious facts, plain durable common sense, and express Scripture, to delve in the dark in order to countermine mines under a spot, on which he had no business to have wall, tent, temple, or even standing-ground!





Footnote 1:   The Calvinistic and Socinian Systems examined and compared, as to their moral tendency; in a series of Letters addressed to the friends of vital and practical religion; especially those amongst Protestant Dissenters. By Andrew Fuller. Market Harborough. 1793.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Whitaker's Origin of Arianism Disclosed1


1810.


Chap. I. 4. p. 30.
Making himself equal with God.
Whoever reads the four verses (John v. 16-19,) attentively, judging of the meaning of each part by the context, must needs, I think, see that the Greek: íson heautòn poiôn tòn Theô (18) refers,—not to the Greek: paterá ídion élege tòn Theòn (18) or the Greek: ho patáer
mou (17), but—to the Greek: ergázetai, kagô ergázomai (17). The 19th verse, which is directly called Jesus' reply, takes no notice whatever of the Greek: ho patáer
mou (17), but consists wholly of a justification of the Greek: kagô ergázomai.

1803.


The above was written many years ago. I still think the remark plausible, though I should not now express myself so positively. I imagined the Jews to mean: "he has evidently used the words Greek: ho patáer
mou—not in the sense in which all good men may use them, but—in a literal sense, because by the words that followed, Greek: ergázetai, kagô ergázomai he makes himself equal to God." To justify these words seemed to me to be the purport of Christ's reply.


Chap. II. 1. p. 34.
Greek: (Philôn)—perì mèn oun tà theia kaì pátria matháemata, póson
  te kaì paelíkon eisenáenektai pónon, érgô pasi daelos kaì perì tà
  philósopha dè kaì eleuthéria taes éxôthen paideías oiós tis aen, oudèn
  dei légein hóti kaì málista tàen katà Plátôna kaì Pythagóran ezaelôkôs
  agôgàen, diénegken ápantas toùs kath' heautòn, historeitai.see previous image

Philo's acquaintance with the doctrines of the heathens was known only by historical report to Eusebius; while the writings of Philo displayed his knowledge in the religion of the Jews.
Strange comment. Might I not, after having spoken of Dun Scotus's works, say;—"he is reported to have surpassed all his contemporaries in subtlety of logic:"—yet still mean no other works than those before mentioned? Are not Philo's works full of, crowded with, Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy? Eusebius knew from his works that he was a great Platonic scholar; but that he was greater than any other man of his age, he could only learn from report or history. That Virgil is a great poet I know from his poems; but that he was the greatest of the Augustan age, I must learn from Quinctilian and others.


Ib. p. 35.

Philo and the author of the Wisdom of Solomon,—(or rather, perhaps, authors; for the first ten chapters form a complete work of themselves,)—were both Cabalistico-Platonizing Jews of Alexandria. As far as, being such, they must agree, so far they do agree; and as widely as such men could differ, do they differ. Not only the style of the Wisdom of Solomon is generically different from Philo's,—so much so that I should deem it a free translation from a Hebrew original,—but also in all the minutiæ of traditional history and dogma it contradicts Philo. Philo attributes the creation of man to angels; and they infused the evil principle through their own imperfections. In the Book of Wisdom, God created man spotless, and the Devil tempting him occasioned the Fall. So the whole account of the plagues of Egypt differs as widely as possible, even to absolute contradiction. The origin of idolatry is explained altogether differently by Philo, and by the Book of Wisdom. In short, so unsupported is the tradition that many have supposed an elder Philo as the author. That the second and third chapters allude to Christ is a groundless hypothesis. The just man is called the son of God, Jehovah, Greek: pais Kyrión;—but Christ's specific title which was deemed blasphemous by the Jews, was Ben Elohim, Greek: uhiòs tou Theou;—and the fancy that Philo was a Christian in heart, but dared not openly profess himself such, is too absurd. Why no traces in his latest work, or those of his middle age? Why not the least variation in his religious or philosophical creeds in his latter works, written long after the resurrection, from those composed by him before, or a few years after, Christ's birth? Some of Philo's earlier works must have been written when our Lord was in his infancy, or at least boyhood.

In short, just take all those passages of Philo which most closely resemble others in the Wisdom of Solomon, and contain the same or nearly the same thoughts, and write them in opposite columns, and no doubt will remain that Philo was not the composer of the Book of Wisdom. Philo subtle, and with long involved periods knit together by logical connectives: the Book of Wisdom sententious, full of parallelisms, assertory and Hebraistic throughout. It was either composed by a man who tried to Hebraize the Greek, or, if a translator, by one who tried to Greecise the Hebraisms of his original—not to disguise or hide them—but only so as to prevent them from repelling or misleading the Greek reader. The different use of the Greek particles in the Wisdom of Solomon, and in the works of Philo, is sufficient to confute the hypothesis of Philo being the author. As little could it have been written by a Christian. For it could not have been a Christian of Palestine, from the overflowing Alexandrine Platonism;—nor a Christian at all; for it contradicts the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and in no wise connects any redemptory or sacrificial virtue with the death of his just man;—denies original sin in the Christian sense, and explains the vice and virtue of mankind by the actions of the souls of men in a state of pre-existence. No signs or miracles are referred to in the account of the just man; and that it was intended as a generalization is evident from the change of the singular into the plural number in the third chapter.

The result is, in my judgment, that this Book was composed by an unknown Jew of Alexandria, either sometime before, or at the same time with, Christ. I do not think St. Paul's parallel passages amount to any proof of quotation or allusion;—they contain the common doctrine of the spiritualized Judaism in the Cabala;—and yet the work could scarcely have been written long before Christ, or it would certainly have been quoted or mentioned by Philo, and most probably by Josephus. And this, too, is an answer to the splendid and well-supported hypothesis of its being a translation from a Chaldaic original, composed by Jerubbabel. The variations of the Syriac translation,— which are so easily explained by translating the passage into the Chaldaic, when the cause of the mistake in the Greek or of the variation in the Syriac, is seen at once,—are certainly startling; but they are too free; and how could the Fathers, Jerome for example, remain ignorant of the existence of this Chaldaic original? My own opinion is, as I said before, that the Book was written in Greek by an Alexandrian Jew, who had formed his style on that of the LXX., and was led still further to an imitation of the Old Testament manner by the nature of his fiction, and as a dramatic propriety, and yet deviated from it partly on account of the very remoteness of his Platonic conceptions from the simplicity and poverty of the Hebrew; and partly because of the wordy rhetoric epidemic in Alexandria: and that it was written before the death, if not the birth, of Christ, I am induced to believe, because I do not think it probable that a book composed by a Jew, who had confessed Christ after the resurrection, would so soon have been received by the Christians, and so early placed in the very next rank to works of full inspiration.

Taken, therefore, as a work ante, or at least extra, Christum, it is most valuable as ascertaining the opinions of the learned Jews on many subjects, and the general belief concerning immortality, and a day of judgment. On this ground Whitaker might have erected a most formidable battery, that would have played on the very camp and battle-array of the Socinians, that is, of those who consider Christ only as a teacher of important truths.

In referring to the Cabala, I am not ignorant of the date of the oldest Rabbinical writings which contain or refer to this philosophy, but I coincide with Eichorn, and very many before Eichorn, that the foundations of the Cabala were laid and well known long before Christ, though not all the fanciful superstructure. I am persuaded that new light might be thrown on the Apocalypse by a careful study of the Book Sohar, and of whatever else there may be of that kind. The introduction (i. 4,) is clearly Cabala:—the Greek: ho ôn, kaì ho aen, kaì ho
erchómenos= 3, and the seven spirits= 10 Sephiroth, constituting together the Adam Kadmon, the second Adam of St. Paul, the incarnate one in the Messiah.

Were it not for the silence of Philo and Josephus, which I am unable to explain if the Wisdom of Solomon was written so long before Christ, I might perhaps incline to believe it composed shortly after, if not during, the persecution of the Jews in Egypt under Ptolemy Philopator. This hypothesis would give a particular point to the bitter exposure of idolatry, to the comparison between the sufferings of the Jews, and those of idolatrous nations, to the long rehearsal and rhetorical declaration of the plagues of Egypt, and to the reward of 'the just man' after a death of martyrdom; and would besides help to explain the putting together of the first ten chapters, and the fragment contained in the remaining chapters. They were works written at the same time, and by the same author: nay, I do not think it absurd to suppose, that the chapters after the tenth were annexed by the writer himself, as a long explanatory appendix; or, possibly, if they were once a separate work, these nine concluding chapters were parts of a book composed during the persecution in Egypt, the introduction and termination of which, being personal and of local application, were afterwards omitted or expunged in order not to give offence to the other Egyptians,—perhaps, to spare the shame of such Jews as had apostatized through fear, and in general not to revive heart-burnings. In modern language I should call these chapters in their present state a Note on c. x. 15-19.

On a reperusal of this Book, I rather believe that these latter chapters never formed part of any other work, but were composed as a sort of long explanatory Postscript, with particular bearing on certain existing circumstances, to which this part of the Jewish history was especially applicable. Nay, I begin to find the silence of Philo and Josephus less inexplicable, and to imagine that I discover the solution of this problem in the very title of the Book. No one expects to find any but works of authenticity enumerated in these writers; but to this a work, calling itself the Wisdom of Solomon, both being a fiction and never meant to pass for anything else, could make no pretensions. To have approximated it to the Holy Books of the nation would have injured the dignity of the Jewish Canon, and brought suspicion on the genuine works of Solomon, while it would have exposed to a charge of forgery a composition which was in itself only an innocent dramatic monologue. N. B. This hypothesis possesses all the advantages, and involves none of the absurdity of that which would attribute the 'Ecclesiasticus' to the infamous Jason, the High Priest. More than one commentator, I find, has suspected that the Wisdom of Solomon and the second book of Maccabees were by the same author. I think this nothing.


Ib. p. 36.
Philo throws out a number of declarations, that shew his own and the Jewish belief in a secondary sort of God, a God subordinate in origin to the Father of all, yet most intimately united with him, and sharing his most unquestionable honours.
The belief of the Alexandrian Jews who had acquired Greek philosophy, no doubt;—but of the Palestine Jews?


Ib. 2. p. 48.
St. John also is witnessed by a heathen (Amelius,) and by one who put him down for a barbarian, to have represented the Logos as "the Maker of all things," as "with 'God'," and as "God." And St. John is attested to have declared this, "not even as shaded over, but on the contrary as placed in full view."
Stranger still. Whitaker could scarcely have read the Greek. Amelius says, that these truths, if stripped of their allegorical dress, Greek: (metapephrasména ek taes tou Barbárou theologías) would be plain;—that is, that John in an allegory, as of one particular man, had shadowed out the creation of all things by the Logos, and the after union of the Logos with human nature,—that is, with all men. That this is his meaning, consult Plotinus.


Ib. 9. p. 107.
"Seest thou not," adds Philo, in the same spirit of subtilizing being into power, and dividing the Logos into two.
Who that had even rested but in the porch of the Alexandrian philosophy, would not rather say, of substantiating powers and attributes into being? What is the whole system from Philo to Plotinus, and thence to Proclus inclusively, but one fanciful process of hypostasizing logical conceptions and generic terms? In Proclus it is Logolatry run mad.


Chap. III. 1. p. 131-2.
Such would be the evidence for that divinity, to accompany the Book of Wisdom, if we considered it to be as old as Solomon, or only as the Son of Sirach. But I consider it to be much later than either, and actually a work of Philo's. * * The language is very similar to Philo's; flowing, lively and happy.
How is it possible to have read the short Hebraistic sentences of the Book of Wisdom, and the long involved periods that characterize the style of all Philo's known writings, and yet attribute both to one writer? But indeed I know no instance of assertions made so audaciously, or of passages misrepresented and even mistranslated so grossly, as in this work of Whitaker. His system is absolute naked Tritheism.


Ib.
The righteous man is shadowed out by the author with a plain reference to our Saviour himself. "'Let us lie in wait for the righteous'," &c.
How then could Philo have remained a Jew?


Ib. 2. p. 195.
In all effects that are voluntary, the cause must be prior to the effect, as the father is to the son in human generation. But in all that are necessary, the effect must be coeval with the cause; as the stream is with the fountain, and light with the sun. Had the sun been eternal in its duration, light would have been co-eternal with it.
A just remark; but it cuts two ways. For these necessary effects are not really but only logically different or distinct from the cause:—the rays of the sun are only the sun diffused, and the whole rests on the sensitive form of material space. Take away the notion of material space, and the whole distinction perishes.


Chap. IV. 1. p. 266.
Justin accordingly sets himself to shew, that in the beginning, before all creatures, God generated a certain rational power out of himself.
Is it not monstrous that the Jews having, according to Whitaker, fully believed a Trinity, one and all, but half a century or less before Trypho, Justin should never refer to this general faith, never reproach Trypho with the present opposition to it as a heresy from their own forefathers, even those who rejected Christ, or rather Jesus as Christ?—But no!— not a single objection ever strikes Mr. Whitaker, or appears worthy of an answer. The stupidest become authentic—the most fantastic abstractions of the Alexandrine dreamers substantial realities! I confess this book has satisfied me how little erudition will gain a man now-a-days the reputation of vast learning, if it be only accompanied with dash and insolence. It seems to me impossible, that Whitaker can have written well on the subject of Mary, Queen of Scots, his powers of judgment being apparently so abject. For instance, he says that the grossest moral improbability is swept away by positive evidence:—as if positive evidence (that is, the belief I am to yield to A. or B.) were not itself grounded on moral probabilities. Upon my word Whitaker would have been a choice judge for Charles II. and Titus Oates.


Ib. p. 267.
Justin therefore proceeds to demonstrate it, (the pre-existence of Christ,) asserting Joshua to have given only a temporary inheritance to the Jews, &c.
A precious beginning of a precious demonstration! It is well for me that my faith in the Trinity is already well grounded by the Scriptures, by Bishop Bull, and the best parts of Plotinus, or this man would certainly have made me either a Socinian or a Deist.


Ib. 2. p. 270.
The general mode of commencing and concluding the Epistles of St. Paul, is a prayer of supplication for the parties, to whom they were addressed; in which he says, Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and—from whom besides?—the Lord Jesus Christ; in which our Saviour is at times invoked alone, as the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all; and is even invoked the first at times as, the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all; shews us plainly, &c.
Invoked! Surely a pious wish is not an invocation. "May good angels attend you!" is no invocation or worship of angels. The essence of religions adoration consists in the attributing, by an act of prayer or praise, a necessary presence to an object—which not being distinguishable, if the object be sensuously present, we may safely define adoration as an acknowledgement of the actual and necessary presence of an intelligent being not present to our senses. "May lucky stars shoot influence on you!" would be a very foolish superstition,—but to say in earnest! "O ye stars, I pray to you, shoot influences on me," would be idolatry. Christ was visually present to Stephen; his invocation therefore was not perforce an act of religious adoration, an acknowledgment of Christ's deity.





Footnote 1:   The Origin of Arianism Disclosed. By John Whitaker, B.D. London, 1791.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Oxlee on The Trinity and Incarnation1


1827.


Strange—yet from the date of the book of the Celestial Hierarchies of the pretended Dionysius the Areopagite to that of its translation by Joannes Scotus Erigena, the contemporary of Alfred, and from Scotus to the Rev. John Oxlee in 1815, not unfrequent—delusion of mistaking Pantheism, disguised in a fancy dress of pious phrases, for a more spiritual and philosophic form of Christian Faith! Nay, stranger still:—to imagine with Scotus and Mr. Oxlee that in a scheme which more directly than even the grosser species of Atheism, precludes all moral responsibility and subverts all essential difference of right and wrong, they have found the means of proving and explaining, "the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation," that is, the great and only sufficient antidotes of the right faith against this insidious poison. For Pantheism—trick it up as you will—is but a painted Atheism. A mask of perverted Scriptures may hide its ugly face, but cannot change a single feature.


Introduction, p. 4.
In the infancy of the Christian Church, and immediately after the general dispersion which necessarily followed the sacking of Jerusalem and Bither, the Greek and Latin Fathers had the fairest opportunity of disputing with the Jews, and of evincing the truth of the Gospel dispensation; but unfortunately for the success of so noble a design, they were totally ignorant of the Hebrew Scriptures, and so wanted in every argument that stamp of authority, which was equally necessary to sanction the principles of Christianity, and to command the respect of their Jewish antagonists. For the confirmation of this remark I may appeal to the Fathers themselves, but especially to Barnabas, Justin, and Irenæus, who in their several attempts at Hebrew learning betray such portentous signs of ignorance and stupidity, that we are covered with shame at the sight of their criticisms.
Mr. Oxlee would be delighted in reading Jacob Rhenferd's Disquisition on the Ebionites and other supposed heretics among the Jewish Christians. And I cannot help thinking that Rhenferd, who has so ably anticipated Mr. Oxlee on this point, and in Jortin's best manner displayed the gross ignorance of the Gentile Fathers in all matters relating to Hebrew learning, and the ludicrous yet mischievous results thereof, has formed a juster though very much lower opinion of these Fathers, with a few exceptions, than Mr. Oxlee. I confess that till the light of the twofoldness of the Christian Church dawned on my mind, the study of the history and literature of the Church during the first three or four centuries infected me with a spirit of doubt and disgust which required a frequent recurrence to the writings of John and Paul to preserve me whole in the Faith.


Prop. I. ch. i. p. 16.
The truth of the doctrine is vehemently insisted on, in a variety of places, by the great R. Moses ben Maimon; who founds upon it the unity of the Godhead, and ranks it among the fundamental articles of the Jewish religion. Thus in his celebrated Letter to the Jews of Marseilles he observes, &c.
But what is obtained by quotations from Maimonides more than from Alexander Hales, or any other Schoolman of the same age? The metaphysics of the learned Jew are derived from the same source, namely, Aristotle; and his object was the same, as that of the Christian Schoolmen, namely, to systematize the religion he professed on the form and in the principles of the Aristotelian philosophy.

By the by, it is a serious defect in Mr. Oxlee's work, that he does not give the age of the writers whom he cites. He cannot have expected all his readers to be as learned as himself.


Ib. ch. iii. p. 26.

Mr. Oxlee seems too much inclined to identify the Rabbinical interpretations of Scripture texts with their true sense; when in reality the Rabbis themselves not seldom used those interpretations as a convenient and popular mode of conveying their own philosophic opinions. Neither have I been able to admire the logic so general among the divines of both Churches, according to which if one, two, or perhaps three sentences in any one of the Canonical books appear to declare a given doctrine, all assertions of a different character must have been meant to be taken metaphorically.


Ib. p. 26-7.
The Prophet Isaiah, too, clearly inculcates the spirituality of the Godhead in the following declaration: But Egypt is man, and not God: and their horses flesh, and not spirit. (c. xxxi. 3.) * * *. In the former member the Prophet declares that Egypt was man, and not God; and then in terms of strict opposition enforces the sentiment by adding, that their cavalry was flesh, and not spirit; which is just as if he had said: But Egypt, which has horses in war, is only a man, that is, flesh, and not God, who is spirit.
Assuredly this is a false interpretation, and utterly unpoetical. It is even doubtful whether Hebrew: unable to transliterate. html Ed. (ruach) in this place means spirit in contradistinction to matter at all, and not rather air or wind. At all events, the poetic decorum, the proportion, and the antithetic parallelism, demand a somewhat as much below God, as the horse is below man. The opposition of flesh and spirit in the Gospel of St. John, who thought in Hebrew, though he wrote in Greek, favours our common version,— flesh and not spirit: but the place in which this passage stands, namely, in one of the first forty chapters of Isaiah, and therefore written long before the Captivity, together with the majestic simplicity characteristic of Isaiah's name gives perhaps a greater probability to the other: Egypt is man, and not God; and her horses flesh, and not wind. If Mr. Oxlee renders the fourth verse of Psalm civ.—He maketh spirits his messengers, (for our version—He maketh his angels spirits—is without a violent inversion senseless), this is a case in point for the use of the word, spirits, in the sense of incorporeal beings. (Mr. Oxlee will hardly, I apprehend, attribute the opinion of some later Rabbis, that God alone and exclusively is a Spirit, to the Sacred Writers, easy as it would be to quote a score of texts in proof of the contrary.) I, however, cannot doubt that the true rendering of the above-mentioned verse in the Psalms is;—He maketh the winds his angels or messengers, and the lightnings his ministrant servants.

As to Mr. Oxlee's abstract intelligences, I cannot but think abstract for pure, and even pure intelligences for incorporeal, a lax use of terms. With regard to the point in question, the truth seems to be this. The ancient Hebrews certainly distinguished the principle or ground of life, understanding, and will from ponderable, visible, matter. The former they considered and called spirit, and believed it to be an emission from the Almighty Father of Spirits: the latter they called body; and in this sense they doubtless believed in the existence of incorporeal beings. But that they had any notion of immaterial beings in the sense of Des Cartes, is contrary to all we know of them, and of every other people in the same degree of cultivation. Air, fire, light, express the degrees of ascending refinement. In the infancy of thought the life, soul, mind, are supposed to be air—anima, animus, that is, Greek: ánemos spiritus, Greek: pneuma In the childhood, they are fire, mens ignea, ignicula, and God himself Greek: pur noeròn, pur aeízôon Lastly, in the youth of thought, they are refined into light; and that light is capable of subsisting in a latent state, the experience of the stricken flint, of lightning from the clouds, and the like, served to prove, or at least, it supplied a popular answer to the objection;—"If the soul be light, why is it not visible?" That the purest light is invisible to our gross sense, and that visible light is a compound of light and shadow, were answers of a later and more refined period. Observe, however, that the Hebrew Legislator precluded all unfit applications of the materializing fancy by forbidding the people to imagine at all concerning God. For the ear alone, to the exclusion of all other bodily sense, was he to be designated, that is, by the Name. All else was for the mind—by power, truth, wisdom, holiness, mercy.


Prop. II. ch. ii. p. 36.

I fear I must surrender my hope that Mr. Oxlee was an exception to the rule, that the study of Rabbinical literature either finds a man whimmy, or makes him so. If neither the demands of poetic taste, nor the peculiar character of oracles, were of avail, yet morality and piety might seem enough to convince any one that this vision of Micaiah, (2 Chron. c. xviii. 18, &c.) was the poetic form, the veil, of the Prophet's meaning. And a most sublime meaning it was. Mr. Oxlee should recollect that the forms and personages of visions are all and always symbolical.


Ib. pp. 39-40.
It will not avail us much, however, to have established their incorporeity or spirituality, if what R. Moses affirms be true * * *. This impious paradox * *. Swayed, however, by the authority of so great a man, even R. David Kimchi has dilapsed into the same error, &c.
To what purpose then are the crude metaphysics of these later Rabbis brought forward, differing as they do in no other respect from the theological dicta of the Schoolmen, but that they are written in a sort of Hebrew. I am far from denying that an interpreter of the Scriptures may derive important aids from the Jewish commentators: Aben Ezra, (about 1150) especially, was a truly great man. But of this I am certain, that he only will be benefited who can look down upon their works, whilst studying them;—that is, he must thoroughly understand their weaknesses, superstitions, and rabid appetite for the marvellous and the monstrous; and then read them as an enlightened chemist of the present day would read the writings of the old alchemists, or as a Linnæus might peruse the works of Pliny and Aldrovandus. If he can do this, well;— if not, he will line his skull with cobwebs.


Ib. pp. 40, 41.
But how, I would ask, is this position to be defended? Surely not by contradicting almost every part of the inspired volumes, in which such frequent mention occurs of different and distinct angels appearing to the Patriarchs and Prophets, sometimes in groups, and sometimes in limited numbers * *. It is, indeed, so wholly repugnant to the general tenor of the Sacred Writings, and so abhorrent from the piety of both Jew and Christian, that the learned author himself, either forgetting what he had before advanced, or else postponing his philosophy to his religion, has absolutely maintained the contrary in his explication of the Cherubim, &c.
I am so far from agreeing with Mr. Oxlee on these points, that I not only doubt whether before the Captivity any fair proof of the existence of Angels, in the present sense, can be produced from the inspired Scriptures,—but think also that a strong argument for the divinity of Christ, and for his presence to the Patriarchs and under the Law, rests on the contrary, namely, that the Seraphim were images no less symbolical than the Cherubim. Surely it is not presuming too much of a Clergyman of the Church of England to expect that he would measure the importance of a theological tenet by its bearings on our moral and spiritual duties, by its practical tendencies. What is it to us whether Angels are the spirits of just men made perfect, or a distinct class of moral and rational creatures? Augustine has well and wisely observed that reason recognizes only three essential kinds;—God, man, beast. Try as long as you will, you can never make an Angel anything but a man with wings on his shoulders.


Ib. ch. III. p. 58.
But this deficiency in the Mosaic account of the creation is amply supplied by early tradition, which inculcates not only that the angels were created, but that they were created, either on the second day, according to R. Jochanan, or on the fifth, according to R. Chanania.
Inspired Scripture amply supplied by the Talmudic and Rabbinical traditions!—This from a Clergyman of the Church of England!

I am, I confess, greatly disappointed. I had expected, I scarce know why, to have had some light thrown on the existence of the Cabala in its present form, from Ezekiel to Paul and John. But Mr. Oxlee takes it as he finds it, and gravely ascribes this patch-work of corrupt Platonism or Plotinism, with Chaldean, Persian, and Judaic fables and fancies, to the Jewish Doctors, as an original, profound, and pious philosophy in its fountain-head! The indispensable requisite not only to a profitable but even to a safe study of the Cabala is a familiar knowledge of the docimastic philosophy, that is, a philosophy, which has for its object the trial and testing of the weights and measures themselves, the first principles, definitions, postulates, axioms of logic and metaphysics. But this is in no other way possible but by our enumeration of the mental faculties, and an investigation of the constitution, function, limits, and applicability ad quas res, of each. The application to this subject of the rules and forms of the understanding, or discursive logic, or even of the intuitions of the reason itself, if reason be assumed as the first and highest, has Pantheism for its necessary result. But this the Cabalists did: and consequently the Cabalistic theosophy is Pantheistic, and Pantheism, in whatever drapery of pious phrases disguised, is (where it forms the whole of a system) Atheism, and precludes moral responsibility, and the essential difference of right and wrong. One of the two contra-distinctions of the Hebrew Revelation is the doctrine of positive creation. This, if not the only, is the easiest and surest criterion between the idea of God and the notion of a mens agitans molem. But this the Cabalists evaded by their double meaning of the term, 'nothing', namely as nought = 0, and as no thing; and by their use of the term, as designating God. Thus in words and to the ear they taught that the world was made out of nothing; but in fact they meant and inculcated, that the world was God himself expanded. It is not, therefore, half a dozen passages respecting the first three proprietates2 in the Sephiroth, that will lead a wise man to expect the true doctrine of the Trinity in the Cabalistic scheme: for he knows that the scholastic value, the theological necessity, of this doctrine consists in its exhibiting an idea of God, which rescues our faith from both extremes, Cabalo-Pantheism, and Anthropomorphism. It is, I say, to prevent the necessity of the Cabalistic inferences that the full and distinct developement of the doctrine of the Trinity becomes necessary in every scheme of dogmatic theology. If the first three proprietates are God, so are the next seven, and so are all ten. God according to the Cabalists is all in each and one in all. I do not say that there is not a great deal of truth in this; but I say that it is not, as the Cabalists represent it, the whole truth. Spinoza himself describes his own philosophy as in substance the same with that of the ancient Hebrew Doctors, the Cabalists—only unswathed from the Biblical dress.


Ib. p. 61.
Similar to this is the declaration of R. Moses ben Maimon. "For that influence, which flows from the Deity to the actual production of abstract intelligences flows also from the intelligences to their production from each other in succession," &c.
How much trouble would Mr. Oxlee have saved himself, had he in sober earnest asked his own mind, what he meant by emanation; and whether he could attach any intelligible meaning to the term at all as applied to spirit.


Ib. p. 65.
Thus having, by variety of proofs, demonstrated the fecundity of the Godhead, in that all spiritualities, of whatever gradation, have originated essentially and substantially from it, like streams from their fountain; I avail myself of this as another sound argument, that in the sameness of the divine essence subsists a plurality of Persons.
A plurality with a vengeance! Why, this is the very scoff of a late Unitarian writer,—only that he inverts the order. Mr. Oxlee proves ten trillions of trillions in the Deity, in order to deduce a fortiori the rationality of three: the Unitarian from the Three pretends to deduce the equal rationality of as many thousands.


Ib. p. 66.
So, if without detriment to piety great things may be compared with small, I would contend, that every intelligency, descending by way of emanation or impartition from the Godhead, must needs be a personality of that Godhead, from which it has descended, only so vastly unequal to it in personal perfection, that it can form no part of its proper existency.
Is not this to all intents and purposes ascribing partibility to God? Indeed it is the necessary consequence of the emanation scheme?—Unequal!—Aye, various wicked personalities of the Godhead?—How does this rhyme?— Even as a metaphor, emanation is an ill-chosen term; for it applies only to fluids. Ramenta, unravellings, threads, would be more germane.





Footnote 1:  The Christian Doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation considered and maintained on the principles of Judaism. By the Rev. John Oxlee. London, 1815.
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Footnote 2:  That is, Intelligence or the Crown, Knowledge, Wisdom. Ed.
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Contents / Index




Notes on A Barrister's Hints on Evangelical Preaching1


1810.

For only that man understands in deed
Who well remembers what he well can do;
The faith lives only where the faith doth breed
Obedience to the works it binds us to.
And as the Life of Wisdom hath exprest—
'If this ye know, then do it and be blest'.

LORD BROOK.


In Initio

There is one misconception running through the whole of this Pamphlet, the rock on which, and the quarry out of which, the whole reasoning, is built;—an error therefore which will not indeed destroy its efficacy as a Greek: mísaetron or anti-philtre to inflame the scorn of the enemies of Methodism, but which must utterly incapacitate it for the better purpose of convincing the consciences or allaying the fanaticism of the Methodists themselves; this is the uniform and gross mis-statement of the one great point in dispute, by which the Methodists are represented as holding the compatibility of an impure life with a saving faith: whereas they only assert that the works of righteousness are the consequence, not the price, of Redemption, a gift included in the great gift of salvation;—and therefore not of merit but of imputation through the free love of the Saviour.


Part I. p. 49.
It is enough, it seems, that all the disorderly classes of mankind, prompted as they are by their worst passions to trample on the public welfare, should know that they are, what every one else is convinced they are, the pests of society, and the evil is remedied. They are not to be exhorted to honesty, sobriety, or the observance of any laws, human or divine—they must not even be entreated to do their best. "Just as absurd would it be," we are told, "in a physician to send away his patient, when labouring under some desperate disease, with a recommendation to do his utmost towards his own cure, and then to come to him to finish it, as it is in the minister of the Gospel to propose to the sinner to do his best, by way of healing the disease of the soul—and then to come to the Lord Jesus to perfect his recovery. The only previous qualification is to know our misery, and the remedy is prepared." See Dr. Hawker's Works, vol. vi. p. 117.
For "know," let the Barrister substitute "feel;" that is, we know it as we know our life; and then ask himself whether the production of such a state of mind in a sinner would or would not be of greater promise as to his reformation than the repetition of the Ten Commandments with paraphrases on the same.—But why not both? The Barrister is at least as wrong in the undervaluing of the one as the pseudo-Evangelists in the exclusion of the other.


Ib. p. 51.
Whatever these new Evangelists may teach to the contrary, the present state of public morals and of public happiness would assume a very different appearance if the thieves, swindlers, and highway robbers, would do their best towards maintaining themselves by honest labour, instead of perpetually planning new systems of fraud, and new schemes of depredation.
That is, if these thieves had a different will—not a mere wish, however anxious:—for this wish "the libertine" doubtless has, as described in p. 50,—but an effective will. Well, and who doubts this? The point in dispute is, as to the means of producing this reformation in the will; which, whatever the Barrister may think, Christ at least thought so difficult as to speak of it, not once or twice, but uniformly, as little less than miraculous, as tantamount to a re-creation. This Barrister may be likened to an ignorant but well-meaning Galenist, who writing against some infamous quack, who lived by puffing and vending pills of mercurial sublimate for all cases of a certain description, should have no stronger argument than to extol sarsaparilla, and lignum vitæ, or senna in contempt of all mercurial preparations.


Ib. p. 56.
Not for the revenues of an Archbishop would he exhort them to a duty unknown in Scripture, of adding their five talents to the five they have received, &c.
All this is mere calumny and wilful misstatement of the tenets of Wesley, who never doubted that we are bound to improve our talents, or, on the other hand, that we are equally bound, having done so, to be equally thankful to the Giver of all things for the power and the will by which we improved the talents, as for the original capital which is the object of the improvement. The question is not whether Christ will say, Well done thou good and faithful servant, &c.;—but whether the servant is to say it of himself. Now Christ has delivered as positive a precept against our doing this as the promise can be that he will impute it to us, if we do not impute it to our own merits.


Ib. p. 60.
The complaints of the profligacy of servants of every class, and of the depravity of the times are in every body's hearing:—and these Evangelical tutors—the dear Mr. Lovegoods of the day—deserve the best attention of the public for thus instructing the ignorant multitude, who are always ready enough to neglect their moral duties, to despise and insult those by whom they are taught.
All this is no better than infamous slander, unless the Barrister can prove that these depraved servants and thieves are Methodists, or have been wicked in proportion as they were proselyted to Methodism. O folly! This is indeed to secure the triumph of these enthusiasts.


Ib.
It must afford him (Rowland Hill) great consolation, amidst the increasing immorality * * * that when their village Curate exhorts them, if they have faith in the doctrine of a world to come, to add to it those good works in which the sum and substance of religion consist, he has led them to ridicule him, as chopping a new-fashioned logic.
That this is either false or nugatory, see proved in The Friend.


Ib. p. 68.
Tom Payne himself never laboured harder to root all virtue out of society.—Mandeville nor Voltaire never even laboured so much.
Indeed!


Ib.
They were content with declaring their disbelief of a future state.
In what part of their works? Can any wise man read Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, and not see that it is a keen satire on the inconsistency of Christians, and so intended.


Ib. p. 71.
When the populace shall be once brought to a conviction that the Gospel, as they are told, has neither terms nor conditions * * *, that no sins can be too great, no life too impure, no offences too many or too aggravated, to disqualify the perpetrators of them for—salvation, &c.
Merely insert the words "sincere repentance and amendment of heart and life, and therefore for" salvation,—and is not this truth, and Gospel truth? And is it not the meaning of the preacher? Did any Methodist ever teach that salvation may be attained without sanctification? This Barrister for ever forgets that the whole point in dispute is not concerning the possibility of an immoral Christian being saved, which the Methodist would deny as strenuously as himself, and perhaps give an austerer sense to the word immoral; but whether morality, or as the Methodists would call it, sanctification, be the price which we pay for the purchase of our salvation with our own money, or a part of the same free gift. God knows, I am no advocate for Methodism; but for fair statement I am, and most zealously—even for the love of logic, putting honesty out of sight.


Ib. p. 72.
"In every age," says the moral divine (Blair), "the practice has prevailed of substituting certain appearances of piety in the place of the great duties of humanity and mercy," &c.
Will the Barrister rest the decision of the controversy on a comparison of the lives of the Methodists and non-Methodists? Unless he knows that their "morality has declined, as their piety has become more ardent," is not his quotation mere labouring—nay, absolute pioneering—for the triumphal chariot of his enemies?


Ib. pp. 75-79.
He will preface it with the solemn and woful communication of the Evangelist John, in order to show how exactly they accord, how clearly the doctrines of the one are deduced from the Revelation of the other, and how justly, therefore, it assumes the exclusive title of evangelical. And I saw the dead * * * and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead * * and they were judged every man according to his works. Rev. xx. 12, 13. Let us recall to mind the urgent caution conveyed in the writings of Paul * * Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. And let us further add * * the confirmation * * of the Saviour himself:—When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, * * * but the righteous into life eternal. Matt. xxv. 31, ad finem. Let us now attend to the Evangelical preacher, (Toplady). "The Religion of Jesus Christ stands eminently distinguished, and essentially differenced, from every other religion that was ever proposed to human reception, by this remarkable peculiarity; that, look abroad in the world, and you will find that every religion, except one, puts you upon doing something, in order to recommend yourself to God. A Mahometan * * A Papist * * * It is only the religion of Jesus Christ that runs counter to all the rest, by affirming—that we are 'saved' and called with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to the Father's own purpose and grace, which was not sold to us on certain conditions to be fulfilled by ourselves, but was given us in Christ before the world began." Toplady's Works: Sermon on James ii. 18.
Si sic omnia! All this is just and forcible; and surely nothing can be easier than to confute the Methodist by shewing that his very 'no-doing', when he comes to explain it, is not only an act, a work, but even a very severe and perseverant energy of the will. He is therefore to be arraigned of nonsense and abuse of words rather than of immoral doctrines.


Ib. p. 84.
The sacred volume of Holy Writ declares that true (pure?) religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James i. 27
This is now at least, whatever might have been the meaning of the word religion in the time of the Translators, a false version. St. James is speaking of persons eminently zealous in those public or private acts of worship, which we call divine service, Greek: thraeskeía It should be rendered, True worship, &c. The passage is a fine burst of rhetoric, and not a mere truism; just as when we say;—"A cheerful heart is a perpetual thanksgiving, and a state of love and resignation the truest utterance of the Lord's Prayer." St. James opposes Christianity to the outward signs and ceremonial observances of the Jewish and Pagan religions. But these are the only sure signs, these are the most significant ceremonial observances by which your Christianity is to be made known,—to visit the fatherless, &c. True religion does not consist quoad essentiam in these acts, but in that habitual state of the whole moral being, which manifests itself by these acts—and which acts are to the religion of Christ that which ablutions, sacrifices and Temple-going were to the Mosaic religion, namely, its genuine Greek: thraeskeía That which was the religion of Moses is the ceremonial or cult of the religion of Christ. Moses commanded all good works, even those stated by St. James, as the means of temporal felicity; and this was the Mosaic religion; and to these he added a multitude of symbolical observances; and these formed the Mosaic cult, (cultus religionis, Greek: thraeskeía) Christ commands holiness out of perfect love, that is, Christian religion; and adds to this no other ceremony or symbol than a pure life and active beneficence; which (says St. James) are the true cult2.


Ib. p. 86.
There is no one whose writings are better calculated to do good, (than those of Paley) by inculcating the essential duties of common life, and the sound truths of practical Christianity.
Indeed! Paley's whole system is reducible to this one precept:—"Obey God, and benefit your neighbour, because you love yourself above all." Christ has himself comprised his system in—"Love your neighbour as yourself, and God above all." These "sound truths of practical Christianity" consist in a total subversion, not only of Christianity, but of all morality;— the very words virtue and vice being but lazy synonymes of prudence and miscalculation,—and which ought to be expunged from our vocabularies, together with Abraxas and Abracadabra, as charms abused by superstitious or mystic enthusiasts.


Ib. p. 94.
Eventually the whole direction of the popular mind, in the affairs of religion, will be gained into the hands of a set of ignorant fanatics of such low origin and vulgar habits as can only serve to degrade religion in the eyes of those to whom its influence is most wanted. Will such persons venerate or respect it in the hands of a sect composed in the far greater part of bigotted, coarse, illiterate, and low-bred enthusiasts? Men who have abandoned their lawful callings, in which by industry they might have been useful members of society, to take upon themselves concerns the most sacred, with which nothing but their vanity and their ignorance could have excited them to meddle.
It is not the buffoonery of the reverend joker of the Edinburgh Review; not the convulsed grin of mortification which, sprawling prostrate in the dirt from "the whiff and wind" of the masterly disquisition in the Quarterly Review, the itinerant preacher would pass oft' for the broad grin of triumph; no, nor even the over-valued distinction of miracles,—which will prevent him from seeing and shewing the equal applicability of all this to the Apostles and primitive Christians. We know that Trajan, Pliny, Tacitus, the Antonines, Celsus, Lucian and the like,—much more the ten thousand philosophers and joke-smiths of Rome,—did both feel and apply all this to the Galilean Sect; and yet—Vicisti, O Galilæe!


Ib. p. 95.
They never fail to refer to the proud Pharisee, whom they term self-righteous; and thus, having greatly misrepresented his character, they proceed to declaim on the arrogance of founding any expectation of reward from the performance of our moral duties:—whereas the plain truth is that the Pharisee was not righteous, but merely arrogated to himself that character; he had neglected all the moral duties of life.
Who told the Barrister this? Not the Gospel, I am sure. The Evangelical has only to translate these sentences into the true statement of his opinions, in order to baffle this angry and impotent attack; the self-righteousness of all who expect to claim salvation on the plea of their own personal merit. "Pay to A. B. at sight— value received by me."—To Messrs. Stone and Co. Bankers, Heaven-Gate. It is a short step from this to the Popish. "Pay to A. B. or order." Once assume merits, and I defy you to keep out supererogation and the old Monte di Pietà.


Ib. p. 97.
—and from thence occasion is taken to defame all those who strive to prepare themselves, during this their state of trial, for that judgment which they must undergo at that day, when they will receive either reward or punishment, according as they shall be found to have merited the one, or deserved the other.
Can the Barrister have read the New Testament? Or does he know it only by quotations?


Ib.
—a swarm of new Evangelists who are every where teaching the people that no reliance is to be placed on holiness of life as a ground of future acceptance.
I am weary of repeating that this is false. It is only denied that mere acts, not proceeding from faith, are or can be holiness. As surely (would the Methodist say) as the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son, so surely does sanctification from redemption, and not vice versa,—much less from self-sanctifiedness, that ostrich with its head in the sand, and the plucked rump of its merits staring on the divine Greek: Átae venatrix!


Ib. p. 102.
He that doeth righteousness is righteous. Since then it is plain that each must himself be righteous, if he be so at all, what do they mean who thus inveigh against self-righteousness, since Christ himself declares there is no other?
Here again the whole dispute lies in the word "himself." In the outward and visible sense both parties agree; but the Methodist calls it "the will in us," given by grace; the Barrister calls it "our own will," or "we ourselves." But why does not the Barrister reserve a part of his wrath for Dr. Priestley, according to whom a villain has superior claims on the divine justice as an innocent martyr to the grand machinery of Providence;—for Dr. Priestley, who turns the whole dictionary of human nature into verbs impersonal with a perpetual subauditur of Deus for their common nominative case;—which said Deus, however, is but another automaton, self-worked indeed, but yet worked, not properly working, for he admits no more freedom or will to God than to man? The Lutheran leaves the free will whining with a broken back in the ditch; and Dr. Priestley puts the poor animal out of his misery!—But seriously, is it fair or even decent to appeal to the Legislature against the Methodists for holding the doctrine of the Atonement? Do we not pray by Act of Parliament twenty times every Sunday through the only merits of Jesus Christ? Is it not the very nose which (of flesh or wax) this very Legislature insists on as an indispensable qualification for every Christian face? Is not the lack thereof a felonious deformity, yea, the grimmest feature of the lues confirmata of statute heresy? What says the reverend critic to this? Will he not rise in wrath against the Barrister,—he the Pamphagus of Homilitic, Liturgic, and Articular orthodoxy,—the Garagantua, whose ravenous maw leaves not a single word, syllable, letter, no, not one iota unswallowed, if we are to believe his own recent and voluntary manifesto3? What says he to this Barrister, and his Hints to the Legislature?


Ib. p. 105.
If the new faith be the only true one, let us embrace it; but let not those who vend these new articles expect that we should choose them with our eyes shut.
Let any man read the Homilies of the Church of England, and if he does not call this either blunt impudence or blank ignorance, I will plead guilty to both! New articles!! Would to Heaven some of them at least were! Why, Wesley himself was scandalized at Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, and cried off from the Moravians (the strictest Lutherans) on that account.


Ib. p. 114.
The catalogue of authors, which this Rev. Gentleman has pleased to specify and recommend, begins with Homer, Hesiod, the Argonautics, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, Theognis, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus. * * *. This catalogue, says he, might be considerably extended, but I study brevity. It is only necessary for me to add that the recommendation of these books is not to be considered as expressive of my approbation of every particular sentiment they contain. It would indeed be grievous injustice if this writer's reputation should be injured by the occasional unsoundness of opinion in writers whom it is more than probable he may never have read, and for whose sentiments he ought no more to be made answerable than the compiler of Lackington's Catalogue, from which it is not unlikely that his own was abridged.
Very good.


Ib. p. 115-16.
These high-strained pretenders to godliness, who deny the power of the sinner to help himself, take good care always to attribute his saving change to the blessed effect of some sermon preached by some one or other of their Evangelical fraternity. They always hold themselves up to the multitude as the instruments producing all those marvellous conversions which they relate. No instance is recorded in their Saints' Calendar of any sinner resolving, in consequence of a reflective and serious perusal of the Scriptures, to lead a new life. No instance of a daily perusal of the Bible producing a daily progress in virtuous habits. No, the Gospel has no such effect. —It is always the Gospel Preacher who works the miracle, &c.
Excellent and just. In this way are the Methodists to be attacked:—even as the Papists were by Baxter, not from their doctrines, but from their practices, and the spirit of their Sect. There is a fine passage in Lord Bacon concerning a heresy of manner being not less pernicious than heresy of matter.


Ib. p. 118.
But their Saints, who would stop their ears if you should mention with admiration the name of a Garrick or a Siddons;—who think it a sin to support such an infamous profession as that through the medium of which a Milton, a Johnson, an Addison, and a Young have laboured to mend the heart, &c.
Whoo! See Milton's Preface to the Samson Agonistes.


Ib. p. 133.
In the Evangelical Magazine is the following article: "At —— in Yorkshire, after a handsome collection (for the Missionary Society) a poor man, whose wages are about 28s. per week, brought a donation of 20 guineas. Our friends hesitated to receive it * * when he answered * *—Before I knew the grace of our Lord I was a poor drunkard: I never could save a shilling. My family were in beggary and rags; but since it has pleased God to renew me by his grace, we have been industrious and frugal: we have not spent many idle shillings; and we have been enabled to put something into the Bank; and this I freely offer to the blessed cause of our Lord and Saviour. This is the second donation of this same poor man to the same amount!" Whatever these Evangelists may think of such conduct, they ought to be ashamed of thus basely taking advantage of this poor ignorant enthusiast, &c.
Is it possible to read this affecting story without finding in it a complete answer to the charge of demoralizing the lower classes? Does the Barrister really think, that this generous and grateful enthusiast is as likely to be unprovided and poverty-stricken in his old age, as he was prior to his conversion? Except indeed that at that time his old age was as improbable as his distresses were certain if he did live so long. This is singing Io Pæan! for the enemy with a vengeance.


Part II. p. 14.
It behoved him (Dr. Hawker in his Letter to the Barrister) to show in what manner a covenant can exist without terms or conditions.
According to the Methodists there is a condition,—that of faith in the power and promise of Christ, and the virtue of the Cross. And were it otherwise, the objection is scarcely appropriate except at the Old Bailey, or in the Court of King's Bench. The Barrister might have framed a second law-syllogism, as acute as his former. The laws of England allow no binding covenant in a transfer of goods or chattels without value received. But there can be no value received by God:—Ergo, there can be no covenant between God and man. And if Jehovah should be as courteous as the House of Commons, and acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Courts at Westminster, the pleading might hold perhaps, and the Pentateuch be quashed after an argument before the judges. Besides, how childish to puff up the empty bladder of an old metaphysical foot-ball on the 'modus operandi interior' of Justification into a shew of practical substance; as if it were no less solid than a cannon ball! Why, drive it with all the vehemence that five toes can exert, it would not kill a louse on the head of Methodism. Repentance, godly sorrow, abhorrence of sin as sin, and not merely dread from forecast of the consequences, these the Arminian would call means of obtaining salvation, while the Methodist (more philosophically perhaps) names them signs of the work of free grace commencing and the dawning of the sun of redemption. And pray where is the practical difference?


Ib. p. 26.
Jesus answered him thus—Verily, I say unto you, unless a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.—The true sense of which is obviously this:—Except a man be initiated into my religion by Baptism, (which at that time was always preceded by a confession of faith) and unless he manifest his sincere reception of it, by leading that upright and spiritual life which it enjoins, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, or be a partaker of that happiness which it belongs to me to confer on those who believe in my name and keep my sayings.
Upon my faith as a Christian, if no more is meant by being born again than this, the speaker must have had the strongest taste in metaphors of any teacher in verse or prose on record, Jacob Behmen himself not excepted. The very Alchemists lag behind. Pity, however, that our Barrister has not shown us how this plain and obvious business of Baptism agrees with ver. 8. of the same chapter: The wind bloweth where it listeth, &c. Now if this does not express a visitation of the mind by a somewhat not in the own power or fore-thought of the mind itself, what are words meant for?


Ib. p. 29.
The true meaning of being born again, in the sense in which our Saviour uses the phrase, implies nothing more or less, in plain terms, than this:—to repent; to lead for the future a religious life instead of a life of disobedience; to believe the Holy Scriptures, and to pray for grace and assistance to persevere in our obedience to the end. All this any man of common sense might explain in a few words.
Pray, then, (for I will take the Barrister's own commentary,) what does the man of common sense mean by grace? If he will explain grace in any other way than as the circumstances ab extra (which would be mere mockery and in direct contradiction to a score of texts), and yet without mystery, I will undertake for Dr. Hawker and Co. to make the new birth itself as plain as a pikestaff, or a whale's foal, or Sarah Robarts's rabbits.


Ib. p. 30.
So that they go on in their sin waiting for a new birth, &c.
"So that they go on in their sin!"—Who would not suppose it notorious that every Methodist meeting-house was a cage of Newgate larks making up their minds to die game?


Ib.
The following account is extracted from the Methodist Magazine for 1798: "The Lord astonished 'Sarah Roberts' with his mercy, by setting her at liberty, while employed in the necessary business of washing for her family, &c.
N. B. Not the famous rabbit-woman.—She was Robarts.


Ib. p. 31.
A washerwoman has all her sins blotted out in the twinkling of an eye, and while reeking with suds is received in the family of the Redeemer's kingdom. Surely this is a most abominable profanation of all that is serious, &c.
And where pray is the absurdity of this? Has Christ declared any antipathy to washerwomen, or the Holy Ghost to warm suds? Why does not the Barrister try his hand at the "abominable profanation," in a story of a certain woman with an issue of blood who was made free by touching the hem of a garment, without the previous knowledge of the wearer?

Rode, caper, vitem: tamen hinc cum stabis ad aras, In tua quod fundi cornua possit, erit.


Ib. p. 32.
The leading design of John the Baptist * * was * this:—to prepare the minds of men for the reception of that pure system of moral truth which the Saviour, by divine authority, was speedily to inculcate, and of those sublime doctrines of a resurrection and a future judgment, which, as powerful motives to the practice of holiness, he was soon to reveal.
What then? Did not John the Baptist himself teach a pure system of moral truth? Was John so much more ignorant than Paul before his conversion, and the whole Jewish nation, except a few rich freethinkers, as to be ignorant of the "sublime doctrines of a resurrection and a future judgment?" This, I well know, is the strong-hold of Socinianism; but surely one single unprejudiced perusal of the New Testament,—not to suppose an acquaintance with Kidder or Lightfoot—would blow it down, like a house of cards!


Ib. p. 33.
—their faiths in the efficacy of their own rites, and creeds, and ceremonies, and their whole train of substitutions for moral duty, was so entire, and in their opinion was such a saving faith, that they could not at all interpret any language that seemed to dispute their value, or deny their importance.
Poor strange Jews! They had, doubtless, what Darwin would call a specific paralysis of the auditory nerves to the writings of their own Prophets, which yet were read Sabbath after Sabbath in their public Synagogues. For neither John nor Christ himself ever did, or indeed could, speak in language more contemptuous of the folly of considering rites as substitutions for moral duty, or in severer words denounce the blasphemy of such an opinion. Why need I refer to Isaiah or Micah?


Ib. p. 34.
Thus it was that this moral preacher explained and enforced the duty of repentance, and thus it was that he prepared the way for the greatest and best of teachers, &c.
Well then, if all this was but a preparation for the doctrines of Christ, those doctrines themselves must surely have been something different, and more difficult? Oh no! John's preparation consisted in a complete rehearsal of the Drama didacticum, which Christ and the Apostles were to exhibit to a full audience!—Nay, prithee, good Barrister! do not be too rash in charging the Methodists with a monstrous burlesque of the Gospel!


Ib. p. 37.
—the logic of the new Evangelists will convince him that it is a contradiction in terms even to suppose himself capable of doing any thing to help or bringing any thing to recommend himself to the Divine favour.
Now, suppose the wisdom of these endless attacks on an old abstruse metaphysical notion to be allowed, yet why in the name of common candour does not the Barrister ring the same tocsin against his friend Dr. Priestley's scheme of Necessity;—or against his idolized Paley, who explained the will as a sensation, produced by the action of the intellect on the muscles, and the intellect itself as a catenation of ideas, and ideas as configurations of the organized brain? Would not every syllable apply, yea, and more strongly, more indisputably? And would his fellow-sectaries thank him, or admit the consequences? Or has any late Socinian divine discovered, that Do as ye would be done unto, is an interpolated precept?


Ib. p. 39.
"Even repentance and faith," (says Dr. Hawker,) "those most essential qualifications of the mind, for the participation and enjoyment of the blessings of the Gospel, (and which all real disciples of the Lord Jesus cannot but possess,) are never supposed as a condition which the sinner performs to entitle him to mercy, but merely as evidences that he is brought and has obtained mercy. They cannot be the conditions of obtaining salvation."
Ought not this single quotation to have satisfied the Barrister, that no practical difference is deducible from these doctrines? "Essential qualifications," says the Methodist:—"terms and conditions," says the spiritual higgler. But if a man begins to reflect on his past life, is he to withstand the inclination? God forbid! exclaim both. If he feels a commencing shame and sorrow, is he to check the feeling? God forbid! cry both in one breath! But should not remembrancers be thrown in the way of sinners, and the voice of warning sound through every street and every wilderness? Doubtless, quoth the Rationalist. We do it, we do it, shout the Methodists. In every corner of every lane, in the high road, and in the waste, we send forth the voice—Come to Christ, and repent, and be cleansed! Aye, quoth the Rationalist, but I say Repent, and become clean, and go to Christ— Now is not Mr. Rationalist as great a bigot as the Methodists, as he is, me judice, a worse psychologist?


Part II. p. 40.
The former authorities on this subject I had quoted from the Gospel according to St. Luke: that Gospel most positively and most solemnly declares the repentance of sinners to be the condition on which alone salvation can be obtained. But the doctors of the new divinity deny this: they tell us distinctly it cannot be. For the future, the Gospel according to Calvin must be received as the truth. Sinners will certainly prefer it as the more comfortable of the two beyond all comparison.
Mercy! but only to read Calvin's account of that repentance, without which there is no sign of election, and to call it "the more comfortable of the two?" The very term by which the German New-Birthites express it is enough to give one goose-flesh—das Herzknirschen—the very heart crashed between the teeth of a lock-jaw'd agony!


Ib.
What is faith? Is it not a conviction produced in the mind by adequate testimony?
No! that is not the meaning of faith in the Gospel, nor indeed anywhere else. Were it so, the stronger the testimony, the more adequate the faith. Yet who says, I have faith in the existence of George II., as his present Majesty's antecessor and grandfather?—If testimony, then evidence too;—and who has faith that the two sides of all triangles are greater than the third? In truth, faith, even in common language, always implies some effort, something of evidence which is not universally adequate or communicable at will to others. "Well! to be sure he has behaved badly hitherto, but I have faith in him." If it were otherwise, how could it be imputed as righteousness? Can morality exist without choice;—nay, strengthen in proportion as it becomes more independent of the will? "A very meritorious man! he has faith in every proposition of Euclid, which he understands."


Ib. p. 41.
"I could as easily create a world (says Dr. Hawker) as create either faith or repentance in my own heart." Surely this is a most monstrous confession. What! is not the Christian religion a revealed religion, and have we not the most miraculous attestation of its truth?
Just look at the answer of Christ himself to Nicodemus, John iii. 2, 3. Nicodemus professed a full belief in Christ's divine mission. Why? It was attested by his miracles. What answered Christ? "Well said, O believer?" No, not a word of this; but the proof of the folly of such a supposition. Verily, verily, I say unto thee; except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,—that is, he cannot have faith in me.


Ib. p. 42.
How can this evangelical preacher declaim on the necessity of seriously searching into the truth of revelation, for the purpose either of producing or confirming our belief of it, when he has already pronounced it to be just as possible to arrive at conviction as to create a world?
Did Dr. Hawker say that it was impossible to produce an assent to the historic credibility of the facts related in the Gospel? Did he say that it was impossible to become a Socinian by the weighing of outward evidences? No! but Dr. Hawker says,—and I say,—that this is not, cannot be, what Christ means by faith, which, to the misfortune of the Socinians, he always demands as the condition of a miracle, instead of looking forward to it as the natural effect of a miracle. How came it that Peter saw miracles countless, and yet was without faith till the Holy Ghost descended on him? Besides, miracles may or may not be adequate evidence for Socinianism; but how could miracles prove the doctrine of Redemption, or the divinity of Christ? But this is the creed of the Church of England.

It is wearisome to be under the necessity, or at least the constant temptation, of attacking Socinianism, in reviewing a work professedly written against Methodism. Surely such a work ought to treat of those points of doctrine and practice, which are peculiar to Methodism. But to publish a diatribe against the substance of the Articles and Catechism of the English Church, nay, of the whole Christian world, excepting the Socinians, and to call it "Hints concerning the dangerous and abominable absurdities of Methodism," is too bad.


Ib. p. 43.
But this Calvinistic Evangelist tells us, by way of accounting for the utter impossibility of producing in himself either faith or repentance, that both are of divine origin, and like the light, and the rain, and the dew of heaven, which tarrieth not for man, neither waiteth for the sons of men, are from above, and come down from the Father of lights, from whom alone cometh every good and perfect gift!
Is the Barrister—are the Socinian divines—inspired, or infallibly sure that it is a crime for a Christian to understand the words of Christ in their plain and literal sense, when a Socinian chooses to give his paraphrase,—often, too, as strongly remote from the words, as the old spiritual paraphrases on the Song of Solomon?


Ib. p. 46.
According to that Gospel which hath hitherto been the pillar of the Christian world, we are taught that whosoever endeavours to the best of his ability to reform his manners, and amend his life, will have pardon and acceptance.
As interpreted by whom? By the Socini, or the Barrister?—Or by Origen, Chrysostom, Jerome, the Gregories, Eusebius, Athanasius?—By Thomas Aquinas, Bernard, Thomas-a-Kempis?—By Luther, Melancthon, Zuinglius, Calvin?—By the Reformers and martyrs of the English Church?—By Cartwright and the learned Puritans?—By Knox?—By George Fox?—With regard to this point, that mere external evidence is inadequate to the production of a saving faith, and in the majority of other opinions, all these agree with Wesley. So they all understood the Gospel. But it is not so! Ergo, the Barrister is infallible.


Ib. p. 47.
When the wicked man turneth away from the wickedness which he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. This gracious declaration the old moral divines of our Church have placed in the front of its Liturgy.
In the name of patience, over and over again, who has ever denied this? The question is, by what power, his own, or by the free grace of God through Christ, the wicked man is enabled to turn from his wickedness. And again and again I ask:—Were not these "old moral divines" the authors and compilers of the Homilies? If the Barrister does not know this, he is an ignorant man; if knowing it, he has yet never examined the Homilies, he is an unjust man; but if he have, he is a slanderer and a sycophant.

Is it not intolerable to take up three bulky pamphlets against a recent Sect, denounced as most dangerous, and which we all know to be most powerful and of rapid increase, and to find little more than a weak declamatory abuse of certain metaphysical dogmas concerning free will, or free will forfeited, 'de libero vel servo arbitrio'—of grace, predestination, and the like;—dogmas on which, according to Milton, God and the Logos conversed, as soon as man was in existence, they in heaven, and Adam in paradise, and the devils in hell;—dogmas common to all religions, and to all ages and sects of the Christian religion;—concerning which Brahmin disputes with Brahmin, Mahometan with Mahometan, and Priestley with Price;—and all this to be laid on the shoulders of the Methodists collectively: though it is a notorious fact, that a radical difference on this abstruse subject is the ground of the schism between the Whitfieldite and Wesleyan Methodists; and that the latter coincide in opinion with Erasmus and Arminius, by which latter name they distinguish themselves; and the former with Luther, Calvin, and their great guide, St. Augustine? This I say is intolerable,—yea, a crime against sense, candour, and white paper.


Ib. p. 50.
"For so very peculiarly directed to the sinner, and to him only (says the evangelical preacher) is the blessed Gospel of the Lord Jesus, that unless you are a sinner, you are not interested in its saving truths."
Does not Christ himself say the same in the plainest and most unmistakable words? I come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick, Can he, who has no share in the danger, be interested in the saving? Pleased from benevolence he may be; but interested he cannot be. Estne aliquid inter salvum et salutem; inter liberum et libertatem? Salus est pereuntis, vel saltem periditantis: redemptio, quasi pons divinus, inter servum et libertatem,—amissam, ideoque optatam.


Ib. p. 52.
It was reserved for these days of new discovery to announce to mankind that, unless they are sinners, they are excluded from the promised blessings of the Gospel.
Merely read that unless they are sick they are precluded from the offered remedies of the Gospel; and is not this the dictate of common sense, as well as of Methodism? But does not Methodism cry aloud that all men are sick—sick to the very heart? If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. This shallow-pated Barrister makes me downright piggish, and without the stratagem of that famed philosopher in pig-nature almost drives me into the Charon's hoy of Methodism by his rude and stupid tail-hauling me back from it.


Ib. p. 53.
I can assure these gentlemen that I regard with a reverence as pure and awful as can enter into the human mind, that blood which was shed upon the Cross.
That is, in the Barrister's creed, that mysterious flint, which with the subordinate aids of mutton, barley, salt, turnips, and potherbs, makes most wonderful fine flint broth. Suppose Christ had never shed his blood, yet if he had worked his miracles, raised Lazarus, and taught the same doctrines, would not the result have been the same?—Or if Christ had never appeared on earth, yet did not Daniel work miracles as stupendous, which surely must give all the authority to his doctrines that miracles can give? And did he not announce by the Holy Spirit the resurrection to judgment, of glory or of punishment?


Ib. p. 54.
Let them not attempt to escape it by quoting a few disconnected phrases in the Epistles, but let them adhere solely and steadfastly to that Gospel of which they affect to be the exclusive preachers.
And whence has the Barrister learnt that the Epistles are not equally binding on Christians as the four Gospels? Surely, of St. Paul's at least, the authenticity is incomparably clearer than that of the first three Gospels; and if he give up, as doubtless he does, the plenary inspiration of the Gospels, the personal authority of the writers of all the Epistles is greater than two at least of the four Evangelists. Secondly, the Gospel of John and all the Epistles were purposely written to teach the Christian Faith; whereas the first three Gospels are as evidently intended only as memorabilia of the history of the Christian Revelation, as far as the process of Redemption was carried on in the life, death, and resurrection of the divine Founder. This is the blank, brazen, blushless, or only brass-blushing, impudence of an Old Bailey Barrister, attempting to browbeat out of Court the better and more authentic half of the witnesses against him. If I wished to understand the laws of England, shall I consult Hume or Blackstone—him who has written his volumes expressly as comments on those laws, or the historian who mentions them only as far as the laws were connected with the events and characters which he relates or describes? Nay, it is far worse than this; far Christ himself repeatedly defers the publication of his doctrines till after his death, and gives the reason too, that till he had sent the Holy Ghost, his disciples were not capable of comprehending them. Does he not attribute to an immediate influence of especial inspiration even Peter's acknowledgment of his Filiation to God, or Messiahship?—Was it from the Gospels that Paul learned to know Christ?— Was the Church sixty years without the awful truths taught exclusively in John's Gospel?


Part III. p. 5.
The 'nostrum' of the mountebank will he preferred to the prescription of the regular practitioner. Why is this? Because there is something in the authoritative arrogance of the pretender, by which ignorance is overawed.
This is something; and true as far as it goes; that is, however, but a very little way. The great power of both spiritual and physical mountebanks rests on that irremovable property of human nature, in force of which indefinite instincts and sufferings find no echo, no resting-place, in the definite and comprehensible. Ignorance unnecessarily enlarges the sphere of these: but a sphere there is,—facts of mind and cravings of the soul there are,—in which the wisest man seeks help from the indefinite, because it is nearer and more like the infinite, of which he is made the image:—for even we are infinite, even in our finiteness infinite, as the Father in his infinity. In many caterpillars there is a large empty space in the head, the destined room for the pushing forth of the antennæ of its next state of being.


Ib. p. 12.
But the anti-moralists aver * * that they are quoted unfairly; —that although they disavow, it is true, the necessity, and deny the value, of practical morality and personal holiness, and declare them to be totally irrelevant to our future salvation, yet that * * I might have found occasional recommendations of moral duty which I have neglected to notice.
The same crambe bis decies cocta of one self-same charge grounded on one gross and stupid misconception and mis-statement: and to which there needs no other answer than this simple fact. Let the Barrister name any one gross offence against the moral law, for which he would shun a man's acquaintance, and for that same vice the Methodist would inevitably be excluded publicly from their society; and I am inclined to think that a fair list of the Barrister's friends and acquaintances would prove that the Calvinistic Methodists are the austerer and more watchful censors of the two. If this be the truth, as it notoriously is, what but the cataract of stupidity uncouched, or the thickest film of bigot-slime, can prevent a man from seeing that this tenet of justification by faith alone is exclusively a matter between the Calvinist's own heart and his Maker, who alone knows the true source of his words and actions; but that to his neighbours and fellow-creedsmen, his spotless life and good works are demanded, not, indeed, as the prime efficient causes of his salvation, but as the necessary and only possible signs of that faith, which is the means of that salvation of which Christ's free grace is the cause, and the sanctifying Spirit the perfecter. But I fall into the same fault I am arraigning, by so often exposing and confuting the same blunder, which has no claim even at its first enunciation to the compliment of a philosophical answer. But why, in the name of common sense, all this endless whoop and hubbub against the Calvinistic Methodists? I had understood that the Arminian Methodists, or Wesleyans, are the more numerous body by far. Has there been any union lately? Have the followers of Wesley abjured the doctrines of their founder on this head?


Ib. p. 16.
We are told by our new spiritual teachers, that reason is not to be applied to the inquiry into the truth or falsehood of their doctrines; they are spiritually discerned, and carnal reason has no concern with them.
Even under this aversion to reason, as applied to religious grounds, a very important truth lurks: and the mistake (a very dangerous one I admit,) lies in the confounding two very different faculties of the mind under one and the same name;—the pure reason or vis scientifica; and the discourse, or prudential power, the proper objects of which are the phænomena of sensuous experience. The greatest loss which modern philosophy has through wilful scorn sustained, is the grand distinction of the ancient philosophers between the Greek: noúmena and Greek:
phainómena This gives the true sense of Pliny—venerare Deos (that is, their statues, and the like,) et numina Deorum, that is, those spiritual influences which are represented by the images and persons of Apollo, Minerva, and the rest.


Ib. p. 17.
Religion has for its object the moral care and the moral cultivation of man. Its beauty is not to be sought in the regions of mystery, or in the flights of abstraction.
What ignorance! Is there a single moral precept of the Gospels not to be found in the Old Testament? Not one. A new edition of White's Diatessaron, with a running comment the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman writers before Christ, and those after him who, it is morally certain, drew no aids from the New Testament, is a grand desideratum; and if anything could open the eyes of Socinians, this would do it.


Ib. p. 24.
The masculine strength and moral firmness which once distinguished the great mass of the British people is daily fading away. Methodism with all its cant, &c.
Well! but in God's name can Methodism be at once the effect and the cause of this loss of masculine strength and moral firmness?—Did Whitfield and Wesley blow them out at the first puff—these grand virtues of masculine strength and moral firmness? Admire, I pray you, the happy antithesis. Yet "feminine" would be an improvement, as then the sense too would be antithetic. However, the sound is sufficient, and modern rhetoric possesses the virtue of economy.


Ib. p. 27.
So with the Tinker; I would give him the care of kettles, but I would not give him the cure of souls. So long as he attended to the management and mending of his pots and pans, I would wish success to his ministry: but when he came to declare 'himself' a "chosen vessel," and demand permission to take the souls of the people into his holy keeping, I should think that, instead of a 'licence', it would be more humane and more prudent to give him a passport to St. Luke's. Depend upon it, such men were never sent by Providence to rule or to regulate mankind.
Whoo! Bounteous Providence that always looks at the body clothes and the parents' equipage before it picks out the proper soul for the baby! Ho! the Duchess of Manchester is in labour:—quick, Raphael, or Uriel, bring a soul out of the Numa bin, a young Lycurgus. Or the Archbishop's lady:—ho! a soul from the Chrysostom or Athanasian locker.—But poor Moll Crispin is in the throes with twins: —well! there are plenty of cobblers' and tinkers' souls in the hold—John Bunyan!! Why, thou miserable Barrister, it would take an angel an eternity to tinker thee into a skull of half his capacity!


Ib. p. 30, 31.
"A truly awakened conscience," (these anti-moral editors of the Pilgrim's Progress assure us,) "can never find relief from the law: (that is, the moral law.) The more he looks for peace this way, his guilt, like a heavy burden, becomes more intolerable; when he becomes dead to the law,—as to any dependence upon it for salvation,—by the body of Christ, and married to him, who was raised from the dead, then, and not till then, his heart is set at liberty, to run the way of God's commandments."

Here we are taught that the conscience can never find relief from obedience to the law of the Gospel.
False. We are told by Bunyan and his editors that the conscience can never find relief for its disobedience to the Law in the Law itself;—and this is as true of the moral as of the Mosaic Law. I am not defending Calvinism or Bunyan's theology; but if victory, not truth, were my object, I could desire no easier task than to defend it against our doughty Barrister. Well, but I repent—that is, regret it!—Yes! and so you doubtless regret the loss of an eye or arm:—will that make it grow again?—Think you this nonsense as applied to morality? Be it so! But yet nonsense most tremendously suited to human nature it is, as the Barrister may find in the arguments of the Pagan philosophers against Christianity, who attributed a large portion of its success to its holding out an expiation, which no other religion did. Read but that most affecting and instructive anecdote selected from the Hindostan Missionary Account by the Quarterly Review4. Again let me say I am not giving my own opinion on this very difficult point; but of one thing I am convinced, that the 'I am sorry for it, that's enough'—men mean nothing but regret when they talk of repentance, and have consciences either so pure or so callous, as not to know what a direful and strange thing remorse is, and how absolutely a fact sui generis! I have often remarked, and it cannot be too often remarked (vain as this may sound), that this essential heterogeneity of regret and remorse is of itself a sufficient and the best proof of free will and reason, the co-existence of which in man we call conscience, and on this rests the whole superstructure of human religion—God, immortality, guilt, judgment, redemption. Whether another and different superstructure may be raised on the same foundation, or whether the same edifice is susceptible of important alteration, is another question. But such is the edifice at present, and this its foundation: and the Barrister might as rationally expect to blow up Windsor Castle by discharging a popgun in one of its cellars, as hope to demolish Calvinism by such arguments as his.


Ib. p. 35, 36.
"And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

"He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou?"

"And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."

"And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right. This do, and thou shall live."

Luke x. 25-28.
So would Bunyan, and so would Calvin have preached;—would both of them in the name of Christ have made this assurance to the Barrister—This do, and thou shalt live. But what if he has not done it, but the very contrary? And what if the Querist should be a staunch disciple of Dr. Paley: and hold himself "morally obliged" not to hate or injure his fellow-man, not because he is compelled by conscience to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to abhor sin as sin, even as he eschews pain as pain,—no, not even because God has forbidden it;—but ultimately because the great Legislator is able and has threatened to put him to unspeakable torture if he disobeys, and to give him all kind of pleasure if he does not5? Why, verily, in this case, I do foresee that both the Tinker and the Divine would wax warm, and rebuke the said Querist for vile hypocrisy, and a most nefarious abuse of God's good gift, intelligible language. What! do you call this 'oving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and all your mind,—and your neighbour as yourself? Whereas in truth you love nothing, not even your own soul; but only set a superlative value on whatever will gratify your selfish lust of enjoyment, and insure you from hell-fire at a thousand times the true value of the dirty property. If you have the impudence to persevere in mis-naming this "love," supply any one instance in which you use the word in this sense? If your son did not spit in your face, because he believed that you would disinherit him if he did, and this were his main moral obligation, would you allow that your son loved you—and with all his heart, and mind, and strength, and soul?—Shame! Shame!

Now the power of loving God, of willing good as good, (not of desiring the agreeable, and of preferring a larger though distant delight to an infinitely smaller immediate qualification, which is mere selfish prudence,) Bunyan considers supernatural, and seeks its source in the free grace of the Creator through Christ the Redeemer:—this the Kantean also avers to be supersensual indeed, but not supernatural, but in the original and essence of human nature, and forming its grand and awful characteristic. Hence he calls it die Menschheit—the principle of humanity;—but yet no less than Calvin or the Tinker declares it a principle most mysterious, the undoubted object of religious awe, a perpetual witness of that God, whose image Greek: eikôn it is; a principle utterly incomprehensible by the discursive intellect;—and moreover teaches us, that the surest plan for stifling and paralyzing this divine birth in the soul (a phrase of Plato's as well as of the Tinker's) is by attempting to evoke it by, or to substitute for it, the hopes and fears, the motives and calculations, of prudence; which is an excellent and in truth indispensable servant, but considered as master and primate of the moral diocese precludes the possibility of virtue (in Bunyan's phrase, holiness of spirit) by introducing legality; which is no cant phrase of Methodism, but of authenticated standing in the ethics of the profoundest philosophers—even those who rejected Christianity, as a miraculous event, and revelation itself as far as anything supernatural is implied in it. I must not mention Plato, I suppose,—he was a mystic; nor Zeno,—he and his were visionaries:—but Aristotle, the cold and dry Aristotle, has in a very remarkable passage in his lesser tract of Ethics asserted the same thing; and called it "a divine principle, lying deeper than those things which can be explained or enunciated discursively."


Ib. p. 45, 46.
Sure I am that no father of a family that can at all estimate the importance of keeping from the infant mind whatever might raise impure ideas or excite improper inquiries will ever commend the Pilgrim's Progress to their perusal.
And in the same spirit and for the same cogent reasons that the holy monk Lewis prohibited the Bible in all decent families;—or if they must have something of that kind, would propose in preference Tirante the White! O how I abhor this abominable heart-haunting impurity in the envelope of modesty! Merciful Heaven! is it not a direct consequence from this system, that we all purchase our existence at the price of our mother's purity of mind? See what Milton has written on this subject in the passage quoted in the Friend in the essays on the communication of truth6.


Ib. p. 47
Let us ask whether the female mind is likely to be trained to purity by studying this manual of piety, and by expressing its devotional desires after the following example. "Mercy being a young and breeding woman longed for something," &c.
Out upon the fellow! I could find it in my heart to suspect him of any vice that the worst of men could commit!


Ib. pp. 55, 56.
As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. The interpretation of this text is simply this:—As by following the fatal example of one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by that pattern of perfect obedience which Christ has set before us shall many be made righteous.
What may not be explained thus? And into what may not any thing be thus explained? It comes out little better than nonsense in any other than the literal sense. For let any man of sincere mind and without any system to support look round on all his Christian neighbours, and will he say or will they say that the origin of their well-doing was an attempt to imitate what they all believe to be inimitable, Christ's perfection in virtue, his absolute sinlessness? No—but yet perhaps some particular virtues; for instance, his patriotism in weeping over Jerusalem, his active benevolence in curing the sick and preaching to the poor, his divine forgiveness in praying for his enemies?—I grant all this. But then how is this peculiar to Christ? Is it not the effect of all illustrious examples, of those probably most which we last read of, or which made the deepest impression on our feelings? Were there no good men before Christ, as there were no bad men before Adam? Is it not a notorious fact that those who most frequently refer to Christ's conduct for their own actions, are those who believe him the incarnate Deity—consequently, the best possible guide, but in no strict sense an example;—while those who regard him as a mere man, the chief of the Jewish Prophets, both in the pulpit and from the press ground their moral persuasions chiefly on arguments drawn from the propriety and seemliness—or the contrary—of the action itself, or from the will of God known by the light of reason? To make St. Paul prophesy that all Christians will owe their holiness to their exclusive and conscious imitation of Christ's actions, is to make St. Paul a false prophet;—and what in such case becomes of the boasted influence of miracles? Even as false would it be to ascribe the vices of the Chinese, or even our own, to the influence of Adam's bad example. As well might we say of a poor scrofulous innocent: "See the effect of the bad example of his father on him!" I blame no man for disbelieving, or for opposing with might and main, the dogma of Original Sin; but I confess that I neither respect the understanding nor have confidence in the sincerity of him, who declares that he has carefully read the writings of St. Paul, and finds in them no consequence attributed to the fall of Adam but that of his bad example, and none to the Cross of Christ but the good example of dying a martyr to a good cause. I would undertake from the writings of the later English Socinians to collect paraphrases on the New Testament texts that could only be paralleled by the spiritual paraphrase on Solomon's Song to be found in the recent volume of "A Dictionary of the Holy Bible, by John Brown, Minister of the Gospel at Haddington:" third edition, in the Article, Song.


Ib. p. 63, 64.
Call forth the robber from his cavern, and the midnight murderer from his den; summon the seducer from his couch, and beckon the adulterer from his embrace; cite the swindler to appear; assemble from every quarter all the various miscreants whose vices deprave, and whose villainies distress, mankind; and when they are thus thronged round in a circle, assure them—not that there is a God that judgeth the earth—not that punishment in the great day of retribution will await their crimes, &c. &c.—Let every sinner in the throng be told that they will stand justified before God; that the righteousness of Christ will be imputed to them, &c.
Well, do so.—Nay, nay! it has been done; the effect has been tried; and slander itself cannot deny that the effect has been the conversion of thousands of those very sinners whom the Barrister's fancy thus convokes. O shallow man! not to see that here lies the main strength of the cause he is attacking; that, to repeat my former illustration, he draws the attention to patients in that worst state of disease which perhaps alone requires and justifies the use of the white pill, as a mode of exposing the frantic quack who vends it promiscuously! He fixes on the empiric's cures to prove his murders!—not to forget what ought to conclude every paragraph in answer to the Barrister's Hints; "and were the case as alleged, what does this prove against the present Methodists as Methodists?" Is not the tenet of imputed righteousness the faith of all the Scotch Clergy, who are not false to their declarations at their public assumption of the ministry? Till within the last sixty or seventy years, was not the tenet preached Sunday after Sunday in every nook of Scotland; and has the Barrister heard that the morals of the Scotch peasants and artizans have been improved within the last thirty or forty years, since the exceptions have become more and more common?—Was it by want of strict morals that the Puritans were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest of Englishmen during the reigns of Elizabeth, James I. Charles I. and II.? And that very period, which the Barrister affirms to have been distinguished by the moral vigor of the great mass of Britons,—was it not likewise the period when this very doctrine was preached by the Clergy fifty times for once that it is heard from the same pulpits in the present and preceding generation? Never, never can the Methodists be successfully assailed, if not honestly, and never honestly or with any chance of success, except as Methodists;—for their practices, their alarming theocracy, their stupid, mad, and mad-driving superstitions. These are their property in peculio; their doctrines are those of the Church of England, with no other difference than that in the Church Liturgy, and Articles, and Homilies, Calvinism and Lutheranism are joined like the two hands of the Union Fire Office:-the Methodists have unclasped them, and one is Whitfield and the other Wesley.


Ib. p. 75.
"For the same reason that a book written in bad language should never be put into the hands of a child that speaks correctly, a book exhibiting instances of vice should never be given to a child that thinks and acts properly." (Practical Education. By Maria and R.L. Edgeworth.)
How mortifying that one is never lucky enough to meet with any of these 'virtuosissimos', fifteen or twenty years of age. But perhaps they are such rare jewels, that they are always kept in cotton! The Kilcrops! I would not exchange the heart, which I myself had when a boy, while reading the life of Colonel Jack, or the Newgate Calendar, for a waggon-load of these brilliants.


Ib. p. 78.
"When a man turns his back on this world, and is in good earnest resolved for everlasting life, his carnal friends, and ungodly neighbours, will pursue him with hue and cry; but death is at his heels, and he cannot stop short of the city of Refuge." (Notes to the Pilgrim's Progress by Hawker, Burder, &c.) This representation of the state of real Christians is as mischievous as it is false.
Yet Christ's assertion on this head is positive, and universal; and I believe it from my inmost soul, and am convinced that it is just as true A.D. 1810, as A.D. 33.


Ib. p. 82.
The spirit with which all their merciless treatment is to be borne is next pointed out. * * "Patient bearing of injuries is true Christian fortitude, and will always be more effectual to disarm our enemies, and to bring others to the knowledge of the truth, than all arguments whatever."
Is this Barrister a Christian of any sort or sect, and is he not ashamed, if not afraid, to ridicule such passages as these? If they are not true, the four Gospels are false.


Ib. p. 86.
It is impossible to give them credit for integrity when we behold the obstinacy and the artifice with which they defend their system against the strongest argument, and against the clearest evidence.
Modest gentleman! I wonder he finds time to write bulky pamphlets: for surely modesty, like his, must secure success and clientage at the bar. Doubtless he means his own arguments, the evidence he himself has adduced:—I say doubtless, for what are these pamphlets but a long series of attacks on the doctrines of the strict Lutherans and Calvinists, (for the doctrines he attacks are common to both,) and if he knew stronger arguments, clearer evidence, he would certainly have given them;—and then what obstinate rogues must our Bishops be, to have suffered these Hints to pass into a third edition, and yet not have brought a bill into Parliament for a new set of Articles? I have not heard that they have even the grace to intend it.


Ib. p. 88.
On this subject I will quote the just and striking observations of an excellent modern writer. "In whatever village," says he, "the fanatics get a footing, drunkenness and swearing,—sins which, being more exposed to the eye of the world, would be ruinous to their great pretensions to superior sanctity—will, perhaps, be found to decline; but I am convinced, from personal observation, that every species of fraud and falsehood—sins which are not so readily detected, but which seem more closely connected with worldly advantage—will be found invariably to increase." (Religion without Cant; by R. Fellowes, A.M. of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford.)
In answer to this let me make a "very just observation," by some other man of my opinion, to be hereafter quoted "from an excellent modern writer;"—and it is this, that from the birth of Christ to the present hour, no sect or body of men were zealous in the reformation of manners in society, without having been charged with the same vices in the same words. When I hate a man, and see nothing bad in him, what remains possible but to accuse him of crimes which I cannot see, and which cannot be disproved, because they cannot be proved? Surely, if Christian charity did not preclude these charges, the shame of convicted parrotry ought to prevent a man from repeating and republishing them. The very same thoughts, almost the words, are to be found of the early Christians; of the poor Quakers; of the Republicans; of the first Reformers.—Why need I say this? Does not every one know, that a jovial pot-companion can never believe a water-drinker not to be a sneaking cheating knave who is afraid of his thoughts; that every libertine swears that those who pretend to be chaste, either have their mistress in secret, or far worse, and so on?


Ib. p. 89.
The same religious abstinence from all appearance of recreation on the Lord's day; and the same neglect of the weightier matters of the moral law, in the course of the week, &c.
This sentence thus smuggled in at the bottom of the chest ought not to pass unnoticed; for the whole force of the former depends on it. It is a true trick, and deserves reprobation.


Ib. p. 97.
Note. It was procured, Mr. Collyer informs us, by the merit of his "Lectures on Scripture facts." It should have been "Lectures on Scriptural Facts." What should we think of the grammarian, who, instead of Historical, should present us with "Lectures on History Facts?"
But Law Tracts? And is not Scripture as often used semi-adjectively?


Ib. p. 98.
"Do you really believe," says Dr. Hawker, "that, because man by his apostacy hath lost his power and ability to obey, God hath lost his right to command? Put the case that you were called upon, as a barrister, to recover a debt due from one man to another, and you knew the debtor had not the ability to pay the 'creditor', would you tell your client that his debtor was under no legal or moral obligation to pay what he had no power to do? And would you tell him that the very expectation of his just right was as foolish as it was tyrannical?" * * * I will give my reply to these questions distinctly and without hesitation. * * * Suppose A. to have lent B. a thousand pounds, as a capital to commence trade, and that, when he purchased his stock to this amount, and lodged it in his warehouse, a fire were to break out in the next dwelling, and, extending itself to 'his' warehouse, were to consume the whole of his property, and reduce him to a state of utter ruin. If A., my client, were to ask my opinion as to his right to recover from B., I should tell him that this his right would exist should B. ever be in a condition to repay the sum borrowed; * * * but that to attempt to recover a thousand pounds from a man thus reduced by accident to utter ruin, and who had not a shilling left in the world, would be as foolish as it was tyrannical.
But this is rank sophistry. The question is: —Does a thief (and a fraudulent debtor is no better) acquire a claim to impunity by not possessing the power of restoring the goods? Every moral act derives its character (says a Schoolman with an unusual combination of profundity with quaintness) aut voluntate originis aut origine voluntatis. Now the very essence of guilt, its dire and incommunicable character, consists in its tendency to destroy the free will;—but when thus destroyed, are the habits of vice thenceforward innocent? Does the law excuse the murder because the perpetrator was drunk? Dr. Hawker put his objection laxly and weakly enough; but a manly opponent would have been ashamed to seize an hour's victory from what a move of the pen would render impregnable.


Ib. p. 102, 3.
When at this solemn tribunal the sinner shall be called upon to answer for the transgression of those moral laws, on obedience to which salvation was made to depend, will it be sufficient that he declares himself to have been taught to believe that the Gospel had neither terms nor conditions, and that his salvation was secured by a covenant which procured him pardon and peace, from all eternity: a covenant, the effects of which no folly or after-act whatever could possibly destroy?—Who could anticipate the sentence of condemnation, and not weep in agony over the deluded victim of ignorance and misfortune who was thus taught a doctrine so fatally false?
What then! God is represented as a tyrant when he claims the penalty of disobedience from the servant, who has wilfully incapacitated himself for obeying,—and yet just and merciful in condemning to indefinite misery a poor "deluded victim of ignorance and imposture," even though the Barrister, spite of his antipathy to Methodists, would "weep in agony" over him! But before the Barrister draws bills of imagination on his tender feelings, would it not have been as well to adduce some last dying speech and confession, in which the culprit attributed his crimes—not to Sabbath-breaking and loose company,—but to sermon-hearing on the 'modus operandi' of the divine goodness in the work of redemption? How the Ebenezerites would stare to find the Socinians and themselves in one flock on the sheep-side of the judgment-seat,—and their cousins, and fellow Methodists, the Tabernaclers, all caprifled—goats every man:—and why? They held, that repentance is in the power of every man, with the aid of grace; while the goats held that without grace no man is able even to repent. A. makes grace the cause, and B. makes it only a necessary auxiliary. And does the Socinian extricate himself a whit more clearly? Without a due concurrence of circumstances no mind can improve itself into a state susceptible of spiritual happiness: and is not the disposition and pre-arrangement of circumstances as dependent on the divine will as those spiritual influences which the Methodist holds to be meant by the word grace? Will not the Socinian find it as difficult to reconcile with mercy and justice the condemnation to hell-fire of poor wretches born and bred in the thieves' nests of St. Giles, as the Methodists the condemnation of those who have been less favoured by grace? I have one other question to ask, though it should have been asked before. Suppose Christ taught nothing more than a future state of retribution and the necessity and sufficiency of good morals, how are we to explain his forbidding these truths to be taught to any but Jews till after his resurrection? Did the Jews reject those doctrines? Except perhaps a handful of rich men, called Sadducees, they all believed them, and would have died a thousand deaths rather than have renounced their faith. Besides, what is there in doctrines common to the creed of all religions, and enforced by all the schools of philosophy, except the Epicurean, which should have prevented their being taught to all at the same time? I perceive, that this difficulty does not press on Socinians exclusively: but yet it presses on them with far greater force than on others. For they make Christianity a mere philosophy, the same in substance with the Stoical, only purer from errors and accompanied with clearer evidence:—while others think of it as part of a covenant made up with Abraham, the fulfilment of which was in good faith to be first offered to his posterity. I ask this only because the Barrister professes to find every thing in the four Gospels so plain and easy.


Ib. p. 106.
The Reformers by whom those articles were framed were educated in the Church of Rome, and opposed themselves rather to the perversion of its power than the errors of its doctrine.
An outrageous blunder.


Ib. p. 107.
Lord Bacon was the first who dedicated his profound and penetrating genius to the cultivation of sound philosophy, &c.
This very same Lord Bacon has given us his Confessio Fidei at great length, with full particularity. Now I will answer for the Methodists' unhesitating assent and consent to it; but would the Barrister subscribe it?


Ib. p. 108.
We look back to that era of our history when superstition threw her victim on the pile, and bigotry tied the martyr to his stake:—but we take our eyes from the retrospect and turn them in thankful admiration to that Being who has opened the minds of many, and is daily opening the minds of more amongst us to the reception of these most important of all truths, that there is no true faith but in practical goodness, and that the worst of errors is the error of the life.

Such is the conviction of the most enlightened of our Clergy: the conviction, I trust, of the far greater part * * *. They deem it better to inculcate the moral duties of Christianity in the pure simplicity and clearness with which they are revealed, than to go aside in search of doctrinal mysteries. For as mysteries cannot be made manifest, they, of course, cannot be understood; and that which cannot be understood cannot be believed, and can, consequently, make no part of any system of faith: since no one, till he understands a doctrine, can tell whether it be true or false; till then, therefore, he can have no faith in it, for no one can rationally affirm that he believes that doctrine to be true which he does not know to be so; and he cannot know it to be true if he does not understand it. In the religion of a true Christian, therefore, there can be nothing unintelligible; and if the preachers of that religion do not make mysteries, they will never find any.
Who? the Bishops, or the dignified Clergy? Have they at length exploded all "doctrinal mysteries?" Was Horsley "the one red leaf, the last of its clan," that held the doctrines of the Trinity, the corruption of the human Will, and the Redemption by the Cross of Christ? Verily, this is the most impudent attempt to impose a naked Socinianism on the public, as the general religion of the nation, admitted by all but a dunghill of mushroom fanatics, that ever insulted common sense or common modesty! And will "the far greater part" of the English Clergy remain silent under so atrocious a libel as is contained in this page? Do they indeed solemnly pray to their Maker weekly, before God and man, in the words of a Liturgy, which, they know, "cannot be believed?" For heaven's sake, my dear Southey, do quote this page and compare it with the introduction to and petitions of the Liturgy, and with the Collects on the Advent, &c.


Ib. p. 110.
We shall discover upon an attentive examination of the subject, that all those laws which lay the basis of our constitutional liberties, are no other than the rules of religion transcribed into the judicial system, and enforced by the sanction of civil authority.
What! Compare these laws, first, with Tacitus's account of the constitutional laws of our German ancestors, Pagans; and then with the Pandects and Novellæ of the most Christian Justinian, aided by all his Bishops. Observe, the Barrister is asserting a fact of the historical origination of our laws,—and not what no man would deny, that as far as they are humane and just, they coincide with the precepts of the Gospel. No, they were "transcribed."


Ib. p. 113.
Where a man holds a certain system of doctrines, the State is bound to tolerate, though it may not approve, them; but when he demands a license to teach this system to the rest of the community, he demands that which ought not to be granted incautiously and without grave consideration. This discretionary power is delegated in trust for the common good, &c.
All this, dear Southey, I leave to the lash of your indignation. It would be oppression to do—what the Legislature could not do if it would—prevent a man's thoughts; but if he speaks them aloud, and asks either for instruction and confutation, if he be in error, or assent and honor, if he be in the right, then it is no oppression to throw him into a dungeon! But the Barrister would only withhold a license! Nonsense. What if he preaches and publishes without it, will the Legislature dungeon him or not? If not, what use is either the granting or the withholding? And this too from a Socinian, who by this very book has, I believe, made himself obnoxious to imprisonment and the pillory—and against men, whose opinions are authorized by the most solemn acts of Parliament, and recorded in a Book, of which there must be one, by law, in every parish, and of which there is in fact one in almost every house and hovel!


Part IV. p. 1.
The religion of genuine Christianity is a revelation so distinct and specific in its design, and so clear and intelligible in its rules, that a man of philosophic and retired thought is apt to wonder by what means the endless systems of error and hostility which divide the world were ever introduced into it.
What means this hollow cant—this fifty times warmed-up bubble and squeak? That such parts are intelligible as the Barrister understands? That such parts as it possesses in common with all systems of religion and morality are plain and obvious? In other words that ABC are so legible that they are legible to every one that has learnt to read? If the Barrister mean other or more than this, if he really mean the whole religion and revelation of Christ, even as it is found in the original records, the Gospels and Epistles, he escapes from the silliness of a truism by throwing himself into the arms of a broad brazenfaced untruth. What! Is the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel so distinct and specific in its design, that any modest man can wonder that the best and most learned men of every age since Christ have deemed it mysterious? Are the many passages concerning the Devil and demoniacs so very easy? Has this writer himself thrown the least light on, or himself received one ray of light from, the meaning of the word Faith;—or the reason of Christ's paramount declarations respecting its omnific power, its absolutely indispensable necessity? If the word mean only what the Barrister supposes, a persuasion that in the present state of our knowledge the evidences for the historical truth of the miracles of the Gospel outweigh the arguments of the Sceptics, will he condescend to give us such a comment on the assertion, that had we but a grain of mustard seed of it, we might control all material nature, without making Christ himself the most extravagant hyperbolist that ever mis-used language? But it is impossible to make that man blush, who can seriously call the words of Christ as recorded by St. John, plain, easy, common sense, out of which prejudice, artifice, and selfish interest alone can compose any difficulty. The Barrister has just as much right to call his religion Christianity, as to call flour and water plum pudding:—yet we all admit that in plum pudding both flour and water do exist.


Ib. p. 7.
Socinus can have no claim upon my veneration: I have never concerned myself with what he believed nor with what he taught &c.

The Scripture is my authority, and on no other authority will I ever, knowingly, lay the foundation of my faith.
Utterly untrue. It is not the Scripture, but such passages of Scripture as appear to him to accord with his Procrustean bed of so called reason, and a forcing of the blankest contradictions into the same meaning, by explanations to which I defy him to furnish one single analogy as allowed by mankind with regard to any other writings but the Old and New Testament. It is a gross and impudent delusion to call a Book his authority, which he receives only so far as it is an echo of his own convictions. I defy him to adduce one single article of his whole faith, (creed rather) which he really derives from the Scripture. Even the arguments for the Resurrection are and must be extraneous: for the very proofs of the facts are (as every tyro in theology must know) the proofs of the authenticity of the Books in which they are contained. This question I would press upon him:—Suppose we possessed the Fathers only with the Ecclesiastical and Pagan historians, and that not a page remained of the New Testament,—what article of his creed would it alter?


Ib. p. 10.
If the creed of Calvinistic Methodism is really more productive of conversions than the religion of Christianity, let them openly and at once say so.
But Calvinistic Methodism? Why Calvinistic Methodism? Not one in a hundred of the Methodists are Calvinists. Not to mention the impudence of this crow in his abuse of black feathers! Is it worse in a Methodist to oppose Socinianism to Christianity, that is, to the doctrines of Wesley or even Whitfield, which are the same as those of all the Reformed Churches of Christendom, and differ only wherein the most celebrated divines of the same churches have differed with each other,—than for the Barrister to oppose Methodism to Christianity (his Christianity)—that is, to Socinianism, which in every peculiar doctrine of Christianity differs from all divines of all Churches of all ages? For the one tenet in which the Calvinist differs from the majority of Christians, are there not ten in which the Socinian differs from all? To what purpose then this windy declamation about John Calvin? How many Methodists, does the Barrister think, ever saw, much less read, a work of Calvin's? If he scorns the name of Socinus as his authority, and appeals to Scripture, do not the Methodists the same? When do they refer to Calvin? In what work do they quote him? This page is therefore mere dust in the eyes of the public. And his abuse of Calvin displays only his own vulgar ignorance both of the man, and of his writings. For he seems not to know that the humane Melancthon, and not only he, but almost every Church, Lutheran or Reformed, throughout Europe, sent letters to Geneva, extolling the execution of Servetus, and returning their thanks. Yet it was a murder not the less: Yes! a damned murder: but the guilt of it is not peculiar to Calvin, but common to all the theologians of that age; and, 'Nota bene,' Mr. Barrister, the Socini not excepted, who were prepared to inflict the very same punishment on F. Davidi for denying the adorability of Christ. If to wish, will, resolve, and attempt to realize, be morally to commit, an action, then must Socinus and Calvin hunt in the same collar. But, O mercy! if every human being were to be held up to detestation, who in that age would have thought it his duty to have passed sentence 'de comburendo heretico' on a man, who had publicly styled the Trinity "a Cerberus," and "a three-headed monster of hell," what would the history of the Reformation be but a list of criminals? With what face indeed can we congratulate ourselves on being born in a more enlightened age, if we so bitterly abuse not the practice but the agents? Do we not admit by this very phrase "enlightened," that we owe our exemption to our intellectual advantages, not primarily to our moral superiority? It will be time enough to boast, when to our own tolerance we have added their zeal, learning, and indefatigable industry7.


Ib. p. 13, 14.
If religion consists in listening to long prayers, and attending long sermons, in keeping up an outside appearance of devotion, and interlarding the most common discourse with phrases of Gospel usage:—if this is religion, then are the disciples of Methodism pious beyond compare. But in real humility of heart, in mildness of temper, in liberality of mind, in purity of thought, in openness and uprightness of conduct in private life, in those practical virtues which are the vital substance of Christianity,—in these are they superior? No. Public observation is against the fact, and the conclusion to which such observation leads is rarely incorrect. * * The very name of the sect carries with it an impression of meanness and hypocrisy. Scarce an individual that has had any dealings with those belonging to it, but has good cause to remember it from some circumstance of low deception or of shuffling fraud. Its very members trust each other with caution and reluctance. The more wealthy among them are drained and dried by the leeches that perpetually fasten upon them. The leaders, ignorant and bigoted—I speak of them collectively—present us with no counter-qualities that can conciliate respect. They have all the craft of monks without their courtesy, and all the subtlety of Jesuits without their learning.
In the whole Bibliotlieca theologica I remember no instance of calumny so gross, so impudent, so unchristian. Even as a single robber, I mean he who robs one man, gets hanged, while the robber of a million is a great man, so it seems to be with calumny. This worthy Barrister will be extolled for this audacious slander of thousands, for which, if applied to any one individual, he would be in danger of the pillory. This paragraph should be quoted: for were the charge true, it is nevertheless impossible that the Barrister should know it to be true. He positively asserts as a truth known to him what it is impossible he should know:—he is therefore doubly a slanderer; for first, the charge is a gross calumny; and were it otherwise, he would still be a slanderer, for he could have no proof, no ground for such a charge.


Ib. p. 15.

Amidst all this spirit of research we find nothing—comparatively nothing—of improvement in that science of all others the most important in its influence * * *. Religion, except from the emancipating energy of a few superior minds, which have dared to snap asunder the cords which bound them to the rock of error * * * has been suffered to remain in its principles and in its doctrines, just what it was when the craft of Catholic superstition first corrupted its simplicity. So, so. Here it comes out at last! It is not the Methodists; no; it is all and each of all Europe, Infidels and Socinians excepted! O impudence! And then the exquisite self-conceit of the blunderer!


Ib. p. 29.
—If of different denominations, how were they thus conciliated to a society of this ominous nature, from which they must themselves of necessity be excluded by that indispensable condition of admittance, "a union of religious sentiment in the great doctrines:" which very want of union it is that creates these different denominations?
No, Barrister! they mean that men of different denominations may yet all believe in the corruption of the human will, the redemption by Christ, the divinity of Christ as consubstantial with the Father, the necessity of the Holy Spirit, or grace (meaning more than the disposition of circumstances), and the necessity of faith in Christ superadded to a belief of his actions and doctrines,—and yet differ in many other points. The points enumerated are called the great points, because all Christians agree in them excepting the Arians and Socinians, who for that reason are not deemed Christians by the rest. The Roman Catholic, the Lutheran, the Calvinist, the Arminian, the Greek, with all their sub-divisions, do yet all accord in these articles:—the booksellers might have said, all who repeat the Nicene Creed. N. B. I do not approve, or defend, nay, I dislike, these "United Theological Booksellers": but this utter Barrister is their best friend by attacking them so as to secure to them victory, and all the advantages of being known to have been wickedly slandered;—the best shield a faulty cause can protend against the javelin of fair opposition.


Ib. p. 56.
Our Saviour never in any single instance reprobated the exercise of reason: on the contrary, he reprehends severely those who did not exercise it. Carnal reason is not a phrase to be found in his Gospel; he appealed to the understanding in all he said, and in all he taught. He never required faith in his disciples, without first furnishing sufficient evidence to justify it. He reasoned thus: If I have done what no human power could do, you must admit that my power is from above, &c.
Good heavens! did he not uniformly require faith as the condition of obtaining the "evidence," as this Barrister calls it—that is, the miracle? What a shameless perversion of the fact! He never did reason thus. In one instance only, and then upbraiding the base sensuality of the Jews, he said: "If ye are so base as not to believe what I say from the moral evidence in your own consciences, yet pay some attention to it even for my works' sake." And this, an argumentum ad hominem, a bitter reproach (just as if a great chemist should say;—Though you do not care for my science, or the important truths it presents, yet, even as an amusement superior to that of your jugglers to whom you willingly crowd, pay some attention to me)—this is to be set up against twenty plain texts and the whole spirit of the whole Gospel! Besides, Christ could not reason so; for he knew that the Jews admitted both natural and demoniacal miracles, and their faith in the latter he never attacked; though by an argumentum ad hominem (for it is no argument in itself) he denied its applicability to his own works. If Christ had reasoned so, why did not the Barrister quote his words, instead of putting imaginary words in his mouth?


Ib. 60, 61.
Religion is a system of revealed truth; and to affirm of any revealed truth, that we cannot understand it, is, in effect, either to deny that it has been revealed, or—which is the same thing—to admit that it has been revealed in vain.
It is too worthless! I cannot go on. Merciful God! hast thou not revealed to us the being of a conscience, and of reason, and of will;—and does this Barrister tell us, that he "understands" them? Let him know that he does not even understand the very word understanding. He does not seem to be aware of the school-boy distinction between the Greek: hóti esti and the Greek: dióti? But to all these silly objections religion must for ever remain exposed as long as the word Revelation is applied to any thing that can be 'bona fide' given to the mind ab extra, through the senses of eye, ear, or touch. No! all revelation is and must be ab intra; the external phænomena can only awake, recall evidence, but never reveal. This is capable of strict demonstration.

Afterwards the Barrister quotes from Thomas Watson respecting things above comprehension in the study of nature: "in these cases, the fact is evident, the cause lies in obscurity, deeply removed from all the knowledge and penetration of man." Then what can we believe respecting these causes? And if we can believe nothing respecting them, what becomes of them as arguments in support of the proposition that we ought, in religion, to believe what we cannot understand?

Are there not facts in religion, the causes and constitution of which are mysteries?





Footnote 1:   Hints to the Public and the Legislature on the nature and effect of Evangelical Preaching. By a Barrister. Fourth Edition, 1808.
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Footnote 2:  See Aids to Reflection, p. 14, 4th edition.—Ed.
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Footnote 3:   Quart. Review, vol. ii. p. 187.—Ed.
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Footnote 4:   See vol. i., p. 217.—Ed.
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Footnote 5:  
"And from this account of obligation it follows, that we can he obliged to nothing but what we ourselves are to gain or lose something by; for nothing else can be a violent motive to us. As we should not be obliged to obey the laws, or the magistrate, unless rewards or punishments, pleasure or pain, somehow or other depended upon our obedience; so neither should we, without the same reason, be obliged to do what is right, to practise virtue, or to obey the commands of God."
Paley's Moral and Polit. Philosophy, B. II. c. 2.
"The difference, and the only difference, ('between prudence and duty',) is this; that in the one case we consider what we shall gain or lose in the present world; in the other case, we consider also what we shall gain or lose in the world to come."
Ib. c. 3.—Ed.
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Footnote 6:   Friend, Vol. I. Essays X. and XI. 3rd edition—Ed.
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Footnote 7:   See Table Talk, pp. 282 and 304. 2d edit.—Ed.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Davison's Discourses on Prophecy1


1825.


Disc. IV. Pt. I. p. 140.
As to systems of religion alien from Christianity, if any of them have taught the doctrine of eternal life, the reward of obedience, as a dogma of belief, that doctrine is not their boast, but their burden and difficulty; inasmuch as they could never defend it. They could never justify it on independent grounds of deduction, nor produce their warrant and authority to teach it. In such precarious and unauthenticated principles it may pass for a conjecture, or pious fraud, or a splendid phantom: it cannot wear the dignity of truth.
Ah, why did not Mr. Davison adhere to the manly, the glorious, strain of thinking from p. 134 (Since Prophecy, &c.) to p. 139. (that mercy) of this discourse? A fact is no subject of scientific demonstration speculatively: we can only bring analogies, and these Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, and others did bring; but their main argument remains to this day the main argument—namely, that none but a wicked man dares doubt it. When it is not in the light of promise, it is in the law of fear, at all times a part of the conscience, and presupposed in all spiritual conviction.


Ib. p. 160.
Some indeed have sought the star and the sceptre of Balaam's prophecy, where they cannot well be found, in the reign of David; for though a sceptre might be there, the star properly is not.
Surely this is a very weak reason. A far better is, I think, suggested by the words, I shall see him—I shall behold him;—which in no intelligible sense could be true of Balaam relatively to David.


Ib. p. 162.
The Israelites could not endure the voice and fire of Mount Sinai. They asked an intermediate messenger between God and them, who should temper the awfulness of his voice, and impart to them his will in a milder way.
Deut. xviii. 15. Is the following argument worthy our consideration? If, as the learned Eichhorn, Paulus of Jena, and others of their school, have asserted, Moses waited forty days for a tempest, and then, by the assistance of the natural magic he had learned in the temple of Isis, initiated the law, all our experience and knowledge of the way in which large bodies of men are affected would lead us to suppose that the Hebrew people would have been keenly excited, interested, and elevated by a spectacle so grand and so flattering to their national pride. But if the voices and appearances were indeed divine and supernatural, well must we assume that there was a distinctive, though verbally inexpressible, terror and disproportion to the mind, the senses, the whole organismus of the human beholders and hearers, which might both account for, and even in the sight of God justify, the trembling prayer which deprecated a repetition.


Ib. p. 164.
To justify its application to Christ, the resemblance between him and Moses has often been deduced at large, and drawn into a variety of particulars, among which several points have been taken minute and precarious, or having so little of dignity or clearness of representation in them, that it would be wise to discard them from the prophetic evidence.
With our present knowledge we are both enabled and disposed thus to evolve the full contents of the word like; but I cannot help thinking that the contemporaries of Moses (if not otherwise orally instructed,) must have understood it in the first and historical sense, at least, of Joshua.


Ib. p. 168.
A distinguished commentator on the laws of Moses, Michaelis, vindicates their temporal sanctions on the ground of the Mosaic Code being of the nature of a civil system, to the statutes of which the rewards of a future state would be incongruous and unsuitable.
I never read either of Michaelis's Works, but the same view came before me whenever I reflected on the Mosaic Code. Who expects in realities of any kind the sharp outline and exclusive character of scientific classification? It is the predominance of the characterizing constituent that gives the name and class. Do not even our own statute laws, though co-existing with a separate religious Code, contain many 'formulae' of words which have no sense but for the conscience? Davison's stress on the word covet, in the tenth commandment, is, I think, beyond what so ancient a Code warrants;—and for the other instances, Michaelis would remind him that the Mosaic constitution was a strict theocracy, and that Jehovah, the God of all, was their king. I do not know the particular mode in which Michaelis propounds and supports this position; but the position itself, as I have presented it to my own mind, seems to me among the strongest proofs of the divine origin of the Law, and an essential in the harmony of the total scheme of Revelation.


Disc. IV. Pt. II. p. 180.
But the first law meets him on his own terms; it stood upon a present retribution; the execution of its sentence is matter of history, and the argument resulting from it is to be answered, before the question is carried to another world.
This is rendered a very powerful argument by the consideration, that though so vast a mind as that of Moses, though perhaps even a Lycurgus, might have distinctly foreseen the ruin and captivity of the Hebrew people as a necessary result of the loss of nationality, and the abandonment of the law and religion which were their only point of union, their centre of gravity,—yet no human intellect could have foreseen the perpetuity of such a people as a distinct race under all the aggravated curses of the law weighing on them; or that the obstinacy of their adherence to their dividuating institutes in persecution, dispersion, and shame, should be in direct proportion to the wantonness of their apostasy from the same in union and prosperity.


Disc. V. Pt. II. p. 234.
Except under the dictate of a constraining inspiration, it is not easy to conceive how the master of such a work, at the time when he had brought it to perfection, and beheld it in its lustre, the labour of so much opulent magnificence and curious art, and designed to be exceeding magnifical, of fame, and of glory throughout all countries, should be occupied with the prospect of its utter ruin and dilapidation, and that too under the opprobrium of God's vindictive judgment upon it, nor to imagine how that strain of sinister prophecy, that forebodes of malediction, should be ascribed to him, if he had no such vision revealed.
Here I think Mr. Davison should have crushed the objection of the Infidel grounded on Solomon's subsequent idolatrous impieties. The Infidel argues, that these are not conceivable of a man distinctly conscious of a prior and supernatural inspiration, accompanied with supernatural manifestations of the divine presence.


Disc. VI. Pt. I. p. 283.
In order to evade this conclusion, nothing is left but to deny that Isaiah, or any person of his age, wrote the book ascribed to him.
This too is my conclusion, but (if I do not delude myself) from more evident, though not perhaps more certain, premisses. The age of the Cyrus prophecies is the great object of attack by Eichhorn and his compilers; and I dare not say, that in a controversy with these men Davison's arguments would appear sufficient. But this was not the intended subject of these Discourses.


Disc. VI. Pt. II. p. 289.
But how does he express that promise? In the images of the resurrection and an immortal state. Consequently, there is implied in the delineation of the lower subject the truth of the greater.
This reminds me of a remark, I have elsewhere made respecting the expediency of separating the arguments addressed to, and valid for, a believer, from the proofs and vindications of Scripture intended to form the belief, or to convict the Infidel.


Disc. VI. Pt. IV. p. 325.
When Cyrus became master of Babylon, the prophecies of Isaiah were shewn or communicated to him, wherein were described his victory, and the use he was appointed to make of it in the restoration of the Hebrew people. (Ezra i. 1, 2.)
This I had been taught to regard as one of Josephus's legends; but upon this passage who would not infer that it had Ezra for its authority,—who yet does not expressly say that even the prophecy of the far later Jeremiah was known or made known to Cyrus, who (Ezra tells us) fulfilled it? If Ezra had meant the prediction of Isaiah by the words, 'he hath charged me', &c., why should he not have referred to it together with, or even instead of, Jeremiah? Is it not more probable that a living prophet had delivered the charge to Cyrus? See Ezra vi. 14.—Again, Davison makes Cyrus speak like a Christian, by omitting the affix 'of Heaven to the Lord God' in the original. Cyrus speaks as a Cyrus might be supposed to do,—namely, of a most powerful but yet national deity, of a God, not of God. I have seen in so many instances the injurious effect of weak or overstrained arguments in defence of religion, that I am perhaps more jealous than I need be in the choice of evidences. I can never think myself the worse Christian for any opinion I may have formed, respecting the price of this or that argument, of this or that divine, in support of the truth. For every one that I reject, I could supply two, and these Greek: anékdota


Ib. p. 336.
Meanwhile this long repose and obscurity of Zerubbabel's family, and of the whole house of David, during so many generations prior to the Gospel, was one of the preparations made whereby to manifest more distinctly the proper glory of it, in the birth of the Messiah.
In whichever way I take this, whether addressed to a believer for the purpose of enlightening, or to an inquirer for the purpose of establishing, his faith in prophecy, this argument appears to me equally perplexing and obscure. It seems, prima facie, almost tantamount to a right of inferring the fulfilment of a prophecy in B., which it does not mention, from its entire failure and falsification in A., which, and which alone, it does mention.


Ib. p. 370.
Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
Almost every page of this volume makes me feel my own ignorance respecting the interpretation of the language of the Hebrew Prophets, and the want of the one idea which would supply the key. Suppose an Infidel to ask me, how the Jews were to ascertain that John the Baptist was Elijah the Prophet;—am I to assert the pre-existence of John's personal identity as Elijah? If not, why Elijah rather than any other Prophet? One answer is obvious enough, that the contemporaries of John held Elijah as the common representative of the Prophets; but did Malachi do so?


Ib. p. 373.

I cannot conceive a more beautiful synopsis of a work on the Prophecies of the Old Testament, than is given in this Recapitulation. Would that its truth had been equally well substantiated! That it can be, that it will be, I have the liveliest faith;—and that Mr. Davison has contributed as much as we ought to expect, and more than any contemporary divine, I acknowledge, and honor him accordingly. But much, very much, remains to be done, before these three pages merit the name of a Recapitulation.


Disc. VII. p. 375.

If I needed proof of the immense importance of the doctrine of Ideas, and how little it is understood, the following discourse would supply it.

The whole discussion on Prescience and Freewill, with exception of the page or two borrowed from Skelton, displays an unacquaintance with the deeper philosophy, and a helplessness in the management of the particular question, which I know not how to reconcile with the steadiness and clearness of insight evinced in the earlier Discourses. I neither do nor ever could see any other difficulty on the subject, than what is contained and anticipated in the idea of eternity.

By Ideas I mean intuitions not sensuous, which can be expressed only by contradictory conceptions, or, to speak more accurately, are in themselves necessarily both inexpressible and inconceivable, but are suggested by two contradictory positions. This is the essential character of all ideas, consequently of eternity, in which the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence are included. Now prescience and freewill are in fact nothing more than the two contradictory positions by which the human understanding struggles to express successively the idea of eternity. Not eternity in the negative sense as the mere absence of succession, much less eternity in the senseless sense of an infinite time; but eternity,—the Eternal; as Deity, as God. Our theologians forget that the objection applies equally to the possibility of the divine will; but if they reply that prescience applied to an eternal, Entis absoluti tota et simultanea fruitio, is but an anthropomorphism, or term of accommodation, the same answer serves in respect of the human will; for the epithet human does not enter into the syllogism. As to contingency, whence did Mr. Davison learn that it is a necessary accompaniment of freedom, or of free action? My philosophy teaches me the very contrary.


Ib. p. 392.
He contends, without reserve, that the free actions of men are not within the divine prescience; resting his doctrine partly on the assumption that there are no strict and absolute predictions in Scripture of those actions in which men are represented as free and responsible; and partly on the abstract reason, that such actions are in their nature impossible to be certainly foreknown.
I utterly deny contingency except in relation to the limited and imperfect knowledge of man. But the misery is, that men write about freewill without a single meditation on will absolutely; on the idea Greek: katt' exochàen without any idea; and so bewilder themselves in the jungle of alien conceptions; and to understand the truth they overlay their reason.


Disc. VIII. p. 416.

It would not be easy to calculate the good which a man like Mr. Davison might effect, under God, by a work on the Messianic Prophecies, specially intended for and addressed to the present race of Jews,—if only he would make himself acquainted with their objections and ways of understanding Scripture. For instance, a learned Jew would perhaps contend that this prophecy of Isaiah (c. ii. 2-4,) cannot fairly be interpreted of a mere local origination of a religion historically; as the drama might be described as going forth from Athens, and philosophy from Academus and the Painted Porch, but must refer to an established and continuing seat of worship, a house of the God of Jacob. The answer to this is provided in the preceding verse, in the top of the mountains; which irrefragably proves the figurative character of the whole prediction.


Ib. p. 431.
One point, however, is certain and equally important, namely, that the Christian Church, when it comes to recognize more truly the obligation imposed upon it by the original command of its Founder, Go teach all nations, &c.
That the duty here recommended is deducible from this text is quite clear to my mind; but whether it is the direct sense and primary intention of the words; whether the first meaning is not negative,—(Have no respect to what nation a man is of, but teach it to all indifferently whom you have an opportunity of addressing,)—this is not so clear. The larger sense is not without its difficulties, nor is this narrower sense without its practical advantages.


Disc. IX. p. 453, 4.

The striking inferiority of several of these latter Discourses in point of style, as compared with the first 150 pages of this volume, perplexes me. It seems more than mere carelessness, or the occasional infausta tempora scribendi, can account for. I question whether from any modern work of a tenth part of the merit of these Discourses, either in matter or in force and felicity of diction and composition, as many uncouth and awkward sentences could be extracted. The paragraph in page 453 and 454, is not a specimen of the worst. In a volume which ought to be, and which probably will be, in every young Clergyman's library, these maculæ are subjects of just regret. The utility of the work, no less than its great comparative excellence, render its revision a duty on the part of the author; specks are no trifles in diamonds.


Disc. XII. p. 519.
Four such ruling kingdoms did arise. The first, the Babylonian, was in being when the prophecy is represented to have been given. It was followed by the Persian; the Persian gave way to the Grecian; the Roman closed the series.
This is stoutly denied by Eichhorn, who contends that the Mede or Medo-Persian is the second—if I recollect aright. But it always struck me that Eichhorn, like other learned Infidels, is caught in his own snares. For if the prophecies are of the age of the first Empire, and actually delivered by Daniel, there is no reason why the Roman Empire should not have been predicted;—for superhuman predictions, the last two at least must have been. But if the book was a forgery, or a political poem like Gray's Bard or Lycophron's Cassandra, and later than Antiochus Epiphanes, it is strange and most improbable that the Roman should have escaped notice. In both cases the omission of the last and most important Empire is inexplicable.


Ib. p. 521.
Yet we have it on authority of Josephus, that Daniel's prophecies were read publicly among the Jews in their worship, as well as their other received Scriptures.
It is but fair, however, to remember that the Jewish Church ranked the book of Daniel in the third class only, among the Hagiographic—passionately almost as the Jews before and at the time of our Saviour were attached to it.


Ib. p. 522-3.
But to a Jewish eye, or to any eye placed in the same position of view in the age of Antiochus Epiphanes, it is utterly impossible to admit that this superior strength of the Roman power to reduce and destroy, this heavier arm of subjugation, could have revealed itself so plainly, as to warrant the express deliberate description of it.
Quære. See Polybius.


Ib.
We shall yet have to inquire how it could be foreseen that this fourth, this yet unestablished empire, should be the last in the line.
This is a sound and weighty argument, which the preceding does not, I confess, strike me as being. On the contrary, the admission that by a writer of the Maccabaic æra the Roman power could scarcely have been overlooked, greatly strengthens this second argument, as naturally suggesting expectations of change, and wave-like succession of empires, rather than the idea of a last. In the age of Augustus this might possibly have occurred to a profound thinker; but the age of Antiochus was too late to permit the Roman power to escape notice; and not late enough to suggest its exclusive establishment so as to leave no source of succession.





Footnote 1:   Discourses on Prophecy, in which are considered its structure, use and inspiration, being the substance of twelve Sermons preached in the Chapel of Lincoln's Inn in the Lecture founded by the Right Rev. William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester. By John Davison, B.D. 2nd edit. London, 1825.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Irving's Ben-Ezra1


1827.

Christ the Word
The Scriptures The Spirit The Church
The Preacher


Such seemeth to me to be the scheme of the Faith in Christ. The written Word, the Spirit and the Church, are co-ordinate, the indispensable conditions and the working causes of the perpetuity and continued re-nascence and spiritual life of Christ still militant. The Eternal Word, Christ from everlasting, is the prothesis or identity;—the Scriptures and the Church are the two poles, or the thesis and antithesis; the Preacher in direct line under the Spirit, but likewise the point of junction of the written Word and the Church, being the synthesis. And here is another proof of a principle elsewhere by me asserted and exemplified, that divine truths are ever a tetractys, or a triad equal to a tetractys: 4=1 or 3=4=1. But the entire scheme is a pentad—God's hand in the world2.

It may be not amiss that I should leave a record in my own hand, how far, in what sense, and under what conditions, I agree with my friend, Edward Irving, respecting the second coming of the Son of Man.
  1. How far? First, instead of the full and entire conviction, the positive assurance, which Mr. Irving entertains, I—even in those points in which my judgment most coincides with his,—profess only to regard them as probable, and to vindicate them as nowise inconsistent with orthodoxy. They may be believed, and they may be doubted, salva Catholica fide. Further, from these points I exclude all prognostications of time and event; the mode, the persons, the places, of the accomplishment; and I decisively protest against all parts of Mr. Irving's and of Lacunza's scheme grounded on the books of Daniel or the Apocalypse, interpreted as either of the two, Irving or Lacunza, understands them. Again, I protest against all identification of the coming with the Apocalyptic Millennium, which in my belief began under Constantine.
  1. In what sense? In this and no other, that the objects of the Christian Redemption will be perfected on this earth;—that the kingdom of God and his Word, the latter as the Son of Man, in which the divine will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven, will come;—and that the whole march of nature and history, from the first impregnation of Chaos by the Spirit, converges toward this kingdom as the final cause of the world. Life begins in detachment from Nature, and ends in union with God.
  1. Under what conditions? That I retain my former convictions respecting St. Michael, and the ex-saint Lucifer, and the Genie Prince of Persia, and the re-institution of bestial sacrifices in the Temple at Jerusalem, and the rest of this class. All these appear to me so many pimples on the face of my friend's faith from inward heats, leaving it indeed a fine handsome intelligent face, but certainly not adding to its comeliness.
Such are the convictions of S. T. Coleridge, May, 1827.

P. S. I fully agree with Mr. Irving as to the literal fulfilment of all the prophecies which respect the restoration of the Jews. (Deuteron. xxv. 1-8.)

It may be long before Edward Irving sees what I seem at least to see so clearly,—and yet, I doubt not, the time will come when he too will see with the same evidentness,—how much grander a front his system would have presented to judicious beholders; on how much more defensible a position he would have placed it,—and the remark applies equally to Ben Ezra (that is, Emanuel Lacunza)—had he trusted the proof to Scriptures of undisputed catholicity, to the spirit of the whole Bible, to the consonance of the doctrine with the reason, its fitness to the needs and capacities of mankind, and its harmony with the general plan of the divine dealings with the world,—and had left the Apocalypse in the back ground. But alas! instead of this he has given it such prominence, such prosiliency of relief, that he has made the main strength of his hope appear to rest on a vision, so obscure that his own author and faith's-mate claims a meaning for its contents only on the supposition that the meaning is yet to come!


Preliminary Discourse, p. lxxx.
Now of these three, the office of Christ, as our prophet, is the means used by the Holy Spirit for working the redemption of the understanding of men; that faculty by which we acquire the knowledge on which proceed both our inward principles of conduct and our outward acts of power.
I cannot forbear expressing my regret that Mr. Irving has not adhered to the clear and distinct exposition of the understanding, genere et gradu, given in the Aids to Reflection3.

What can be plainer than to say: the understanding is the medial faculty or faculty of means, as reason on the other hand is the source of ideas or ultimate ends. By reason we determine the ultimate end: by the understanding we are enabled to select and adapt the appropriate means for the attainment of, or approximation to, this end, according to circumstances. But an ultimate end must of necessity be an idea, that is, that which is not representable by the sense, and has no entire correspondent in nature, or the world of the senses. For in nature there can be neither a first nor a last:—all that we can see, smell, taste, touch, are means, and only in a qualified sense, and by the defect of our language, entitled ends. They are only relatively ends in a chain of motives. B. is the end to A.; but it is itself a mean to C., and in like manner C. is a mean to D., and so on. Thus words are the means by which we reduce appearances, or things presented through the senses, to their several kinds, or genera; that is, we generalize, and thus think and judge. Hence the understanding, considered specially as an intellective power, is the source and faculty of words;—and on this account the understanding is justly defined, both by Archbishop Leighton, and by Immanuel Kant, the faculty that judges by, or according to, sense. However, practical or intellectual, it is one and the same understanding, and the definition, the medial faculty, expresses its true character in both directions alike. I am urgent on this point, because on the right conception of the same, namely, that understanding and sense (to which the sensibility supplies the material of outness, materiam objectivam,) constitute the natural mind of man, depends the comprehension of St. Paul's whole theological system. And this natural mind, which is named the mind of the flesh, Greek: phrónaema sarkòs, as likewise Greek: psychikàe synesis, the intellectual power of the living or animal soul, St. Paul everywhere contradistinguishes from the spirit, that is, the power resulting from the union and co-inherence of the will and the reason;—and this spirit both the Christian and elder Jewish Church named, sophia, or wisdom.


Ben-Ezra. Part I. c. v. p. 67.
Eusebius and St. Epiphanius name Cerinthusas the inventor of many corruptions. That heresiarch being given up to the belly and the palate, placed therein the happiness of man. And so taught his disciples, that after the Resurrection, * * *. And what appeared most important, each would be master of an entire seraglio, like a Sultan, &c.
I find very great difficulty in crediting these black charges on Cerinthus, and know not how to reconcile them with the fact that the Apocalypse itself was by many attributed to Cerinthus. But Mr. Hunt is not more famous for blacking than some of the Fathers.


Ib. pp. 73, 4.
Against whom a very eloquent man, Dionysius Alexandrinus, a Father of the Church, wrote an elegant work, to ridicule the Millennarian fable, the golden and gemmed Jerusalem on the earth, the renewal of the Temple, the blood of victims. If the book of St. Dionysius had contained nothing but the derision and confutation of all we have just read, it is certain that he doth in no way concern himself with the harmless Millennarians, but with the Jews and Judaizers. It is to be clearly seen that Dionysius had nothing in his eye, but the ridiculous excesses of Nepos, and his peculiar tenets upon circumcision, &c.
Lacunza, I suspect, was ignorant of Greek: and seems not to have known that the object of Dionysius was to demonstrate that the Apocalypse was neither authentic nor a canonical book.


Ib. p. 85.
The ruin of Antichrist, with all that is comprehended under that name, being entirely consummated, and the King of kings remaining master of the field, St. John immediately continues in the 20th chapter, which thus commenceth: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, &c. And I saw thrones, &c. And when a thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.
It is only necessary to know that the whole book from the first verse to the last is written in symbols, to be satisfied that the true meaning of this passage is simply, that only the great Confessors and Martyrs will be had in remembrance and honour in the Church after the establishment of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. And observe, it is the souls that the Seer beholds:—there is not a word of the resurrection of the body;—for this would indeed have been the appropriate symbol of a resurrection in a real and personal sense.


Ib. c. vi. p. 108.
Now this very thing St. John likewise declareth * * to wit, that they who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and they who have not worshipped the beast, these shall live, or be raised at the coming of the Lord, which is the first resurrection.
Aye! but by what authority is this synonimizing "or" asserted? The Seer not only does not speak of any resurrection, but by the word Greek:
psychás souls, expressly asserts the contrary. In no sense of the word can souls, which descended in Christ's train (chorus sacer animarum et Christi comitatus) from Heaven, be said resurgere. Resurrection is always and exclusively resurrection in the body;—not indeed a rising of the corpus Greek: phantastikón that is, the few ounces of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and phosphate of lime, the copula of which that gave the form no longer exists,—and of which Paul exclaims;—Thou fool! not this, &c.—but the corpus Greek: hypostatikòn, àe
noúmenon

But there is yet another and worse wresting of the text. Who that reads Lacunza, p. 108, last line but twelve, would not understand that the Apocalypt had asserted this enthronement of the souls of the Gentile and Judæo-Christian Martyrs which he beheld in the train or suite of the descending Messiah; and that he had first seen them in the descent, and afterward saw thrones assigned to them? Whereas the sentence precedes, and has positively no connection with these souls. The literal interpretation of the symbols c. xx. v. 4, is, "I then beheld the Christian religion the established religion of the state throughout the Roman empire;—emperors, kings, magistrates, and the like, all Christians, and administering laws in the name of Christ, that is, receiving the Scriptures as the supreme and paramount law. Then in all the temples the name of Jesus was invoked as the King of glory, and together with him the old afflicted and tormented fellow-laborers with Christ were revived in high and reverential commemoration," &c. But that the whole Vision from first to last, in every sentence, yea, every word, is symbolical, and in the boldest, largest style of symbolic language; and secondly, that it is a work of disputed canonicity, and at no known period of the Church could truly lay claim to catholicity;—but for this, I think this verse would be worth a cartload of the texts which the Romanist divines and catechists ordinarily cite as sanctioning the invocation of Saints.


Ib. p. 110.
You will say nevertheless, that even the wicked will be raised incorruptible to inherit incorruption, because being once raised, their bodies will no more change or be dissolved, but must continue entire, for ever united with their sad and miserable souls. Well, and would you call this corruption or incorruptibility? Certainly this is not the sense of the Apostle, when he formally assures us, yea, even threatens us, that corruption cannot inherit incorruption. Neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. What then may this singular expression mean? This is what it manifestly means;—that no person, whoever he may be, without any exception, who possesseth a corrupt heart and corrupt actions, and therein persevereth unto death, shall have reason to expect in the resurrection a pure, subtile, active and impassible body.
This is actually dangerous tampering with the written letter.

Without touching on the question whether St. Paul in this celebrated chapter (1 Cor. xv.) speaks of a partial or of the general resurrection, or even conceding to Lacunza that the former opinion is the more probable; I must still vehemently object to this Jesuitical interpretation of corruption, as used in a moral sense, and distinctive of the wicked souls. St. Paul nowhere speaks dogmatically or preceptively (not popularly and incidentally,) of a soul as the proper I. It is always 'we', or the man. How could a regenerate saint put off corruption at the sound of the trump, if up to that hour it did not in some sense or other appertain to him? But what need of many words? It flashes on every reader whose imagination supplies an unpreoccupied, unrefracting, medium to the Apostolic assertion, that corruption in this passage is a descriptive synonyme of the material sensuous organism common to saint and sinner,—standing in precisely the same relation to the man that the testaceous offensive and defensive armour does to the crab and tortoise. These slightly combined and easily decomponible stuffs are as incapable of subsisting under the altered conditions of the earth as an hydatid in the blaze of a tropical sun. They would be no longer media of communion between the man and his circumstances.

A heavy difficulty presses, as it appears to me, on Lacunza's system, as soon as we come to consider the general resurrection. Our Lord (in books of indubitable and never doubted catholicity) speaks of some who rise to bliss and glory, others who at the same time rise to shame and condemnation. Now if the former class live not during the whole interval from their death to the general resurrection, including the Millennium, or Dies Messiæ,—how should they, whose imperfect or insufficient merits excluded them from the kingdom of the Messiah on earth, be all at once fitted for the kingdom of heaven?


Ib. ch. vii. p. 118.
It appears to me that this sentence, being looked to attentively, means in good language this only, that the word quick, which the Apostles, full of the Holy Spirit, set down, is a word altogether useless, which might without loss have been omitted, and that it were enough to have set down the word dead: for by that word alone is the whole expressed, and with much more clearness and brevity.
The narrow outline within which the Jesuits confined the theological reading of their alumni is strongly marked in this (in so many respects) excellent work: for example, the "most believing mind," with which Lacunza takes for granted the exploded fable of the Catechumens' (vulgo Apostles') Creed having been the quotient of an Apostolic pic-nic, to which each of the twelve contributed his several symbolum.


Ib. ch. ix. p. 127.
The Apostle, St. Peter, speaking of the day of the Lord, says, that that day will come suddenly, &c. (2 Pet. iii. 10.)
There are serious difficulties besetting the authenticity of the Catholic Epistles under the name of Peter; though there exist no grounds for doubting that they are of the Apostolic age. A large portion too of the difficulties would be removed by the easy and nowise improbable supposition, that Peter, no great scholar or grammarian, had dictated the substance, the matter, and left the diction and style to his amanuensis, who had been an auditor of St. Paul. The tradition which connects, not only Mark, but Luke the Evangelist, the friend and biographer of Paul, with Peter, as a secretary, is in favour of this hypothesis. But what is of much greater importance, especially for the point in discussion, is the character of these and other similar descriptions of the Dies Messiæ, the Dies ultima, and the like. Are we bound to receive them as articles of faith? Is there sufficient reason to assert them to have been direct revelations immediately vouchsafed to the sacred writers? I cannot satisfy my judgment that there is;—first, because I find no account of any such events having been revealed to the Patriarchs, or to Moses, or to the Prophets; and because I do find these events asserted, and (for aught I have been able to discover,) for the first time, in the Jewish Church by uninspired Rabbis, in nearly or altogether the same words as those of the Apostles, and know that before and in the Apostolic age, these anticipations had become popular, and generally received notions; and lastly, because they were borrowed by the Jews from the Greek philosophy, and like several other notions, taken from less respectable quarters, adapted to their ancient and national religious belief. Now I know of no revealed truth that did not originate in Revelation, and find it hard to reconcile my mind to the belief that any Christian truth, any essential article of faith, should have been first made known by the father of lies, or the guess-work of the human understanding blinded by Paganism, or at best without the knowledge of the true God. Of course I would not apply this to any assertion of any New Testament writer, which was the final aim and primary intention of the whole passage; but only to sentences in ordine ad some other doctrine or precept, illustrandi causa, or ad hominem, or more suasorio sive ad ornaturam, et rhetorice.


Ib. Part II. p. 145.
Second characteristic. The kingdom shall be divided.—Third characteristic. The kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.—Fourth characteristic. They shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another.
How exactly do these characters apply to the Greek Empire under the successors of Alexander,—when the Greeks were dispersed over the civilized world, as artists, rhetoricians, grammatici, secretaries, private tutors, parasites, physicians, and the like!


Ib. p. 153.
For to them he thus speaketh in the Gospel: And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
I cannot deny that there is great force and an imposing verisimilitude in this and the preceding chapter, and much that demands silent thought and respectful attention. But still the great question presses on me:—coming in a cloud! What is the true import of this phrase? Has not God himself expounded it? To the Son of Man, the great Apostle assures us, all power is given in heaven and on earth. He became Providence,—that is, a Divine Power behind the cloudy veil of human agency and worldly events and incidents, controlling, disposing, and directing acts and events to the gradual unfolding and final consummation of the great scheme of Redemption; the casting forth of the evil and alien nature from man, and thus effecting the union of the creature with the Creator, of man with God, in and through the Son of Man, even the Son of God made manifest. Now can it be doubted by the attentive and unprejudiced reader of St. Matthew, c. xxiv, that the Son of Man, in fact, came in the utter destruction and devastation of the Jewish Temple and State, during the period from Vespasian to Hadrian, both included; and is it a sufficient reason for our rejecting the teaching of Christ himself, of Christ glorified and in his kingly character, that his Apostles, who disclaim all certain knowledge of the awful event, had understood his words otherwise, and in a sense more commensurate with their previous notions and the prejudices of their education? They communicated their conjectures, but as conjectures, and these too guarded by the avowal, that they had no revelation, no revealed commentary on their Master's words, upon this occasion, the great apocalypse of Jesus Christ while yet in the flesh. For by this title was this great prophecy known among the Christians of the Apostolic age.


Ib. p. 253.
Never, Oh! our Lady! never, Oh! our Mother! shalt thou fall again into the crime of idolatry.
Was ever blindness like unto this blindness? I can imagine but one way of making it seem possible, namely, that this round square or rectilineal curve—this honest Jesuit, I mean—had confined his conception of idolatry to the worship of false gods;—whereas his saints are genuine godlings, and his Magna Mater a goddess in her own right;—and that thus he overlooked the meaning of the word.


Ib. p. 254.
The entire text of the Apostle is as follows:—Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, &c. (2 Thess. ii. 1-10.)
O Edward Irving! Edward Irving! by what fascination could your spirit be drawn away from passages like this, to guess and dream over the rhapsodies of the Apocalypse? For rhapsody, according to your interpretation, the Poem undeniably is;—though, rightly expounded, it is a well knit and highly poetical evolution of a part of this and our Lord's more comprehensive prediction, Luke xvii.


Ib. p. 297.
On the ordinary ideas of the coming of Christ in glory and majesty, it will doubtless appear an extravagance to name the Jews, or to take them into consideration; for, according to those ideas, they should hardly have the least particle of our attention.
In comparing this with the preceding chapter I could not help exclaiming; What an excellent book would this Jesuit have written, if Daniel and the Apocalypse had not existed, or had been unknown to, or rejected by, him!

You may divide Lacunza's points of belief into two parallel columns;—the first would be found to contain much that is demanded by, much that is consonant to, and nothing that is not compatible with, reason, the harmony of Holy Writ, and the idea of Christian faith. The second would consist of puerilities and anilities, some impossible, most incredible; and all so silly, so sensual, as to befit a dreaming Talmudist, not a Scriptural Christian. And this latter column would be found grounded on Daniel and the Apocalypse!





Footnote 1:   The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. By Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, a converted Jew. Translated from the Spanish, with a preliminary Discourse. By the Rev. Edward Irving, A.M. London, 1827.
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Footnote 2:   See supra, vol. iii. p. 93.—Ed.
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Footnote 3:   P. 157, 4th edit.—Ed.
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Contents / Index




Notes on Noble's Appeal1


1827.

How natural it is to mistake the weakness of an adversary's arguments for the strength of our own cause! This is especially applicable to Mr. Noble's Appeal. Assuredly as far as Mr. Beaumont's Notes are concerned, his victory is complete.


Sect. IV. p. 210.
The intellectual spirit is moving upon the chaos of minds, which ignorance and necessity have thrown into collision and confusion; and the result will be a new creation. "Nature" (to use the nervous language of an-old writer,) "will be melted down and recoined; and all will be bright and beautiful."
Alas! if this be possible now, or at any time henceforward, whence came the dross? If nature be bullion that can be melted and thus purified by the conjoint action of heat and elective attraction, I pray Mr. Noble to tell me to what name or genus he refers the dross? Will he tell me, to the Devil? Whence came the Devil? And how was the pure bullion so thoughtlessly made as to have an elective affinity for this Devil?


Sect. V. p. 286.
The next anecdote that I shall adduce is similar in its nature to the last * * *. The relater is Dr. Stilling, Counsellor at the Court of the Duke of Baden, in a work entitled Die Theorie der Geister-Kunde, printed in 1808.
Mr. Noble is a man of too much English good sense to have relied on Sung's (alias Dr. Stilling's) testimony, had he ever read the work in which this passage is found. I happen to possess the work; and a more anile, credulous, solemn fop never existed since the days of old Audley. It is strange that Mr. Noble should not have heard, that these three anecdotes were first related by Immanuel Kant, and still exist in his miscellaneous writings.


Ib. p. 315.
"Can he be a sane man who records the subsequent reverie as matter of fact? The Baron informs us, that on a certain night a man appeared to him in the midst of a strong shining light, and said, I am God the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer; I have chosen thee to explain to men the interior and spiritual sense of the Sacred Writings: I will dictate to thee what thou oughtest to write? From this period, the Baron relates he was so illumined, as to behold, in the clearest manner, what passed in the spiritual world, and that he could converse with angels and spirits as with men," &c.
I remember no such passage as this in Swedenborg's works. Indeed it is virtually contradicted by their whole tenor. Swedenborg asserts himself to relate visa et audita,—his own experience, as a traveller and visitor of the spiritual world,—not the words of another as a mere amanuensis. But altogether this Gulielmus must be a silly Billy.


Ib. p. 321.
The Apostolic canon in such cases is, 'Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God'. (1 John iv. 1.) And the touchstone to which they are to be brought is pointed out by the Prophet: To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no truth in them. (Is. viii. 20.) But instead of this canon you offer another * * *. It is simply this: Whoever professes to be the bearer of divine communications, is insane. To bring Swedenborg within the operation of this rule, you quote, as if from his own works, a passage which is nowhere to be found in them, but which you seem to have taken from some biographical dictionary or cyclopædia; few or none of which give anything like a fair account of the matter.
Aye! my memory did not fail me, I find. As to insanity in the sense intended by Gulielmus, namely, as mania,—I should as little think of charging Swedenborg with it, as of calling a friend mad who laboured under an acyanoblepsia.


Ib. p. 323.
Did you never read of one who says, in words very like your version of the Baron's reverie: It came to pass, that, as I took my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus, about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me: and I fell on the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
In the short space of four years the newspapers contained three several cases, two of which I cut out, and still have among my ocean of papers, and which, as stated, were as nearly parallel, in external accompaniments, to St. Paul's as cases can well be:—struck with lightning,—heard the thunder as an articulate voice,—blind for a few days, and suddenly recovered their sight. But then there was no Ananias, no confirming revelation to another. This it was that justified St. Paul as a wise man in regarding the incident as supernatural, or as more than a providential omen. N.B. Not every revelation requires a sensible miracle as the credential; but every revelation of a new series of credenda. The prophets appealed to records of acknowledged authority, and to their obvious sense literally interpreted. The Baptist needed no miracle to attest his right of calling sinners to repentance. See Exodus iv. 10.


Ib. pp. 346, 7.
This sentiment, that miracles are not the proper evidences of doctrinal truth, is, assuredly, the decision of the Truth itself; as is obvious from many passages in Scripture. We have seen that the design of the miracles of Moses, as external performances, was not to instruct the Israelites in spiritual subjects, but to make them obedient subjects of a peculiar species of political state. And though the miracles of Jesus Christ collaterally served as testimonies to his character, he repeatedly intimates that this was not their main design. * * * At another time more plainly still, he says, that it is a wicked and adulterous generation (that) seeketh after a sign; on which occasion, according to Mark, he sighed deeply in his spirit. How characteristic is that touch of the Apostle, The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom! (where by wisdom he means the elegance and refinement of Grecian literature.)
Agreeing, as in the main I do, with the sentiments here expressed by this eloquent writer, I must notice that he has, however, mistaken the sense of the Greek: saemeion which the Jews would have tempted our Saviour to shew,—namely, the signal for revolt by openly declaring himself their king, and leading them against the Romans. The foreknowledge that this superstition would shortly hurry them into utter ruin caused the deep sigh,—as on another occasion, the bitter tears. Again, by the Greek: sophía of the Greeks their disputatious Greek:
sophistikàe is meant. The sophists pretended to teach wisdom as an art: and sophistæ may be literally rendered, wisdom-mongers, as we say, iron-mongers.


Ib. p. 350.
Some probably will say, "What argument can induce us to believe a man in a concern of this nature who gives no visible credentials to his authority?" * * * But let us ask in return, "Is it worthy of a being wearing the figure of a man to require such proofs as these to determine his judgment?" * * * "The beasts act from the impulse of their bodily senses, but are utterly incapable of seeing from reason why they should so act: and it might easily be shewn, that while a man thinks and acts under the influence of a miracle, he is as much incapable of perceiving from any rational ground why he should thus think and act, as a beast is." "What!" our opponents will perhaps reply, * * * "Was it not by miracles that the prophets (some of them) testified their authority? Do you not believe these facts?" Yes, my friends, I do most entirely believe them, &c.
There is so much of truth in all this reasoning on miracles, that I feel pain in the thought that the result is false,—because it was not the whole truth. But this is the grounding, and at the same time pervading, error of the Swedenborgians;—that they overlook the distinction between congruity with reason, truth of consistency, or internal possibility of this or that being objectively real, and the objective reality as fact. Miracles, 'quoad' miracles, can never supply the place of subjective evidence, that is, of insight. But neither can subjective insight supply the place of objective sight. The certainty of the truth of a mathematical arch can never prove the fact of its existence. I anticipate the answers; but know that they likewise proceed from the want of distinguishing between ideas, such as God, Eternity, the responsible Will, the Good, and the like,—the actuality of which is absolutely subjective, and includes both the relatively subjective and the relatively objective as higher or transcendant realities, which alone are the proper objects of faith, the great postulates of reason in order to its own admission of its own being,—the not distinguishing, I say, between these, and those positions which must be either matters of fact or fictions. For such latter positions it is that miracles are required in lieu of experience. A.'s testimony of experience supplies the want of the same experience for B. C. D., &c. For example, how many thousands believe the existence of red snow on the testimony of Captain Parry! But who can expect more than hints in a marginal note?


Sect. VI. pp. 378, 9; 380, 1.
In the general views, then, which are presented in the writings of Swedenborg on the subject of Heaven and Hell, as the abodes, respectively, of happiness and of misery, while there certainly is not anything which is not in the highest degree agreeable both to reason and Scripture, there also seems nothing which could be deemed inconsistent with the usual conceptions of the Christian world.
What tends to render thinking readers a little sceptical, is the want of a distinct boundary between the deductions from reason, and the articles, the truth of which is to rest on the Baron's personal testimony, his visa et audita. Nor is the Baron himself (as it appears to me) quite consistent on this point.


Ib. p. 434.
Witness, again, the poet Milton, who introduces active sports among the recreations which he deemed worthy of angels, and (strange indeed for a Puritan!) included even dancing among the number.
How could a man of Noble's sense and sensibility bring himself thus to profane the awful name of Milton, by associating it with the epithet "Puritan?"

I have often thought of writing a work to be entitled Vindiciæ Heterodoxæ, sive celebrium virorum Greek: paradogmatizóntôn defensio; that is, Vindication of Great Men unjustly branded; and at such times the names prominent to my mind's eye have been Giordano Bruno, Jacob Behmen, Benedict Spinoza, and Emanuel Swedenborg. Grant, that the origin of the Swedenborgian theology is a problem; yet on which ever of the three possible hypotheses—(possible I mean for gentlemen, scholars and Christians)—it may be solved—-namely:
  1. Swedenborg's own assertion and constant belief in the hypothesis of a supernatural illumination; or,
  1. that the great and excellent man was led into this belief by becoming the subject of a very rare, but not (it is said) altogether unique, conjunction of the somniative faculty (by which the products of the understanding, that is to say, words, conceptions and the like, are rendered instantaneously into forms of sense) with the voluntary and other powers of the waking state; or,
  1. the modest suggestion that the first and second may not be so incompatible as they appear—still it ought never to be forgotten that the merit and value of Swedenborg's system do only in a very secondary degree depend on any one of the three. For even though the first were adopted, the conviction and conversion of such a believer must, according to a fundamental principle of the New Church, have been wrought by an insight into the intrinsic truth and goodness of the doctrines, severally and collectively, and their entire consonance with the light of the written and of the eternal word, that is, with the Scriptures and with the sciential and the practical reason. Or say that the second hypothesis were preferred, and that by some hitherto unexplained affections of Swedenborg's brain and nervous system, he from the year 1743, thought and reasoned through the 'medium' and instrumentality of a series of appropriate and symbolic visual and auditual images, spontaneously rising before him, and these so clear and so distinct, as at length to overpower perhaps his first suspicions of their subjective nature, and to become objective for him, that is, in his own belief of their kind and origin,—still the thoughts, the reasonings, the grounds, the deductions, the facts illustrative, or in proof, and the conclusions, remain the same; and the reader might derive the same benefit from them as from the sublime and impressive truths conveyed in the Vision of Mirza or the Tablet of Cebes. So much even from a very partial acquaintance with the works of Swedenborg, I can venture to assert; that as a moralist Swedenborg is above all praise; and that as a naturalist, psychologist, and theologian, he has strong and varied claims on the gratitude and admiration of the professional and philosophical student.—April 1827.
P. S. Notwithstanding all that Mr. Noble says in justification of his arrangement, it is greatly to be regretted that the contents of this work are so confusedly tossed together. It is, however, a work of great merit.





Footnote 1:   An Appeal in behalf of the views of the eternal world and state, and the doctrines of faith and life, held by the body of Christians who believe that a New Church is signified (in the Revelation, c. xxi.) by the New Jerusalem, including Answers to objections, particularly those of the Rev. G. Beaumont, in his work entitled "The Anti-Swedenborg." Addressed to the reflecting of all denominations. By Samuel Noble, Minister of Hanover Street Chapel, London. London, 1826. Ed.
return to footnote mark

Contents / Index




Essay on Faith


Faith may be defined, as fidelity to our own being—so far as such being is not and cannot become an object of the senses; and hence, by clear inference or implication, to being generally, as far as the same is not the object of the senses: and again to whatever is affirmed or understood as the condition, or concomitant, or consequence of the same. This will be best explained by an instance or example. That I am conscious of something within me peremptorily commanding me to do unto others as I would they should do unto me;—in other words, a categorical (that is, primary and unconditional) imperative;—that the maxim (regula maxima or supreme rule) of my actions, both inward and outward, should be such as I could, without any contradiction arising therefrom, will to be the law of all moral and rational beings;—this, I say, is a fact of which I am no less conscious (though in a different way), nor less assured, than I am of any appearance presented by my outward senses. Nor is this all; but in the very act of being conscious of this in my own nature, I know that it is a fact of which all men either are or ought to be conscious;—a fact, the ignorance of which constitutes either the non-personality of the ignorant, or the guilt, in which latter case the ignorance is equivalent to knowledge wilfully darkened. I know that I possess this consciousness as a man, and not as Samuel Taylor Coleridge; hence knowing that consciousness of this fact is the root of all other consciousness, and the only practical contradistinction of man from the brutes, we name it the conscience; by the natural absence or presumed presence of which, the law, both divine and human, determines whether X Y Z be a thing or a person:—the conscience being that which never to have had places the objects in the same order of things as the brutes, for example, idiots; and to have lost which implies either insanity or apostasy. Well—this we have affirmed is a fact of which every honest man is as fully assured as of his seeing, hearing or smelling. But though the former assurance does not differ from the latter in the degree, it is altogether diverse in the kind; the senses being morally passive, while the conscience is essentially connected with the will, though not always, nor indeed in any case, except after frequent attempts and aversions of will, dependent on the choice. Thence we call the presentations of the senses impressions, those of the conscience commands or dictates. In the senses we find our receptivity, and as far as our personal being is concerned, we are passive;—but in the fact of the conscience we are not only agents, but it is by this alone, that we know ourselves to be such; nay, that our very passiveness in this latter is an act of passiveness, and that we are patient (patientes)—not, as in the other case, 'simply' passive. The result is, the consciousness of responsibility; and the proof is afforded by the inward experience of the diversity between regret and remorse.

If I have sound ears, and my companion speaks to me with a due proportion of voice, I may persuade him that I did not hear, but cannot deceive myself. But when my conscience speaks to me, I can, by repeated efforts, render myself finally insensible; to which add this other difference in the case of conscience, namely, that to make myself deaf is one and the same thing with making my conscience dumb, till at length I become unconscious of my conscience. Frequent are the instances in which it is suspended, and as it were drowned, in the inundation of the appetites, passions and imaginations, to which I have resigned myself, making use of my will in order to abandon my free-will; and there are not, I fear, examples wanting of the conscience being utterly destroyed, or of the passage of wickedness into madness;—that species of madness, namely, in which the reason is lost. For so long as the reason continues, so long must the conscience exist either as a good conscience, or as a bad conscience.

It appears then, that even the very first step, that the initiation of the process, the becoming conscious of a conscience, partakes of the nature of an act. It is an act, in and by which we take upon ourselves an allegiance, and consequently the obligation of fealty; and this fealty or fidelity implying the power of being unfaithful, it is the first and fundamental sense of Faith. It is likewise the commencement of experience, and the result of all other experience. In other words, conscience, in this its simplest form, must be supposed in order to consciousness, that is, to human consciousness. Brutes may be, and are scions, but those beings only, who have an I, scire possunt hoc vel illud una cum seipsis; that is, conscire vel scire aliquid mecum, or to know a thing in relation to myself, and in the act of knowing myself as acted upon by that something.

Now the third person could never have been distinguished from the first but by means of the second. There can be no He without a previous Thou. Much less could an I exist for us, except as it exists during the suspension of the will, as in dreams; and the nature of brutes may be best understood, by conceiving them as somnambulists. This is a deep meditation, though the position is capable of the strictest proof,—namely, that there can be no I without a Thou, and that a Thou is only possible by an equation in which I is taken as equal to Thou, and yet not the same. And this again is only possible by putting them in opposition as correspondent opposites, or correlatives. In order to this, a something must be affirmed in the one, which is rejected in the other, and this something is the will. I do not will to consider myself as equal to myself, for in the very act of constituting myself I, I take it as the same, and therefore as incapable of comparison, that is, of any application of the will. If then, I minus the will be the thesis2; Thou plus will must be the antithesis, but the equation of Thou with I, by means of a free act, negativing the sameness in order to establish the equality, is the true definition of conscience. But as without a Thou there can be no You, so without a You no They, These or Those; and as all these conjointly form the materials and subjects of consciousness, and the conditions of experience, it is evident that the con-science is the root of all consciousness,—a fortiori, the precondition of all experience,—and that the conscience cannot have been in its first revelation deduced from experience. Soon, however, experience comes into play. We learn that there are other impulses beside the dictates of conscience; that there are powers within us and without us ready to usurp the throne of conscience, and busy in tempting us to transfer our allegiance. We learn that there are many things contrary to conscience, and therefore to be rejected, and utterly excluded, and many that can coexist with its supremacy only by being subjugated, as beasts of burthen; and others again, as, for instance, the social tendernesses and affections, and the faculties and excitations of the intellect, which must be at least subordinated. The preservation of our loyalty and fealty under these trials and against these rivals constitutes the second sense of Faith; and we shall need but one more point of view to complete its full import. This is the consideration of what is presupposed in the human conscience. The answer is ready. As in the equation of the correlative I and Thou, one of the twin constituents is to be taken as plus will, the other as minus will, so is it here: and it is obvious that the reason or super-individual of each man, whereby he is man, is the factor we are to take as minus will; and that the individual will or personalizing principle of free agency (arbitrement is Milton's word) is the factor marked plus will;—and again, that as the identity or coinherence of the absolute will and the reason, is the peculiar character of God; so is the synthesis of the individual will and the common reason, by the subordination of the former to the latter, the only possible likeness or image of the prothesis, or identity, and therefore the required proper character of man. Conscience, then, is a witness respecting the identity of the will and the reason effected by the self-subordination of the will, or self, to the reason, as equal to, or representing, the will of God. But the personal will is a factor in other moral syntheses; for example, appetite plus personal will=sensuality; lust of power, plus personal will,=ambition, and so on, equally as in the synthesis, on which the conscience is grounded. Not this therefore, but the other synthesis, must supply the specific character of the conscience; and we must enter into an analysis of reason. Such as the nature and objects of the reason are, such must be the functions and objects of the conscience. And the former we shall best learn by recapitulating those constituents of the total man which are either contrary to, or disparate from, the reason.
  1. Reason, and the proper objects of reason, are wholly alien from sensation. Reason is supersensual, and its antagonist is appetite, and the objects of appetite the lust of the flesh.
  1. Reason and its objects do not appertain to the world of the senses inward or outward; that is, they partake not of sense or fancy. Reason is super-sensuous, and here its antagonist is the lust of the eye.
  1. Reason and its objects are not things of reflection, association, discursion, discourse in the old sense of the word as opposed to intuition; "discursive or intuitive," as Milton has it. Reason does not indeed necessarily exclude the finite, either in time or in space, but it includes them eminenter. Thus the prime mover of the material universe is affirmed to contain all motion as its cause, but not to be, or to suffer, motion in itself.
Reason is not the faculty of the finite. But here I must premise the following. The faculty of the finite is that which reduces the confused impressions of sense to their essential forms,—quantity, quality, relation, and in these action and reaction, cause and effect, and the like; thus raises the materials furnished by the senses and sensations into objects of reflection, and so makes experience possible. Without it, man's representative powers would be a delirium, a chaos, a scudding cloudage of shapes; and it is therefore most appropriately called the understanding, or substantiative faculty. Our elder metaphysicians, down to Hobbes inclusively, called this likewise discourse, discursus, discursio, from its mode of action as not staying at any one object, but running as it were to and fro to abstract, generalize, and classify. Now when this faculty is employed in the service of the pure reason, it brings out the necessary and universal truths contained in the infinite into distinct contemplation by the pure act of the sensuous imagination, that is, in the production of the forms of space and time abstracted from all corporeity, and likewise of the inherent forms of the understanding itself abstractedly from the consideration of particulars, as in the case of geometry, numeral mathematics, universal logic, and pure metaphysics. The discursive faculty then becomes what our Shakspeare with happy precision calls "discourse of reason."

We will now take up our reasoning again from the words "motion in itself."

It is evident then, that the reason, as the irradiative power, and the representative of the infinite, judges the understanding as the faculty of the finite, and cannot without error be judged by it. When this is attempted, or when the understanding in its synthesis with the personal will, usurps the supremacy of the reason, or affects to supersede the reason, it is then what St. Paul calls the mind of the flesh (Greek: phrónaema sarkòs) or the wisdom of this world. The result is, that the reason is super-finite; and in this relation, its antagonist is the insubordinate understanding, or mind of the flesh.
  1. Reason, as one with the absolute will, (In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God,) and therefore for man the certain representative of the will of God, is above the will of man as an individual will. We have seen in III. that it stands in antagonism to all mere particulars; but here it stands in antagonism to all mere individual interests as so many selves, to the personal will as seeking its objects in the manifestation of itself for itself—sit pro ratione voluntas;—whether this be realized with adjuncts, as in the lust of the flesh, and in the lust of the eye; or without adjuncts, as in the thirst and pride of power, despotism, egoistic ambition. The fourth antagonist, then, of reason is the lust of the will.
Corollary. Unlike a million of tigers, a million of men is very different from a million times one man. Each man in a numerous society is not only coexistent with, but virtually organized into, the multitude of which he is an integral part. His idem is modified by the alter. And there arise impulses and objects from this synthesis of the alter et idem, myself and my neighbour. This, again, is strictly analogous to what takes place in the vital organization of the individual man. The cerebral system of nerves has its correspondent antithesis in the abdominal system: but hence arises a synthesis of the two in the pectoral system as the intermediate, and, like a drawbridge, at once conductor and boundary. In the latter as objectized by the former arise the emotions, affections, and in one word, the passions, as distinguished from the cognitions and appetites. Now the reason has been shown to be super-individual, generally, and therefore not less so when the form of an individualization subsists in the alter, than when it is confined to the idem; not less when the emotions have their conscious or believed object in another, than when their subject is the individual personal self. For though these emotions, affections, attachments, and the like, are the prepared ladder by which the lower nature is taken up into, and made to partake of, the highest room,—as we are taught to give a feeling of reality to the higher per medium commune with the lower, and thus gradually to see the reality of the higher (namely, the objects of reason) and finally to know that the latter are indeed and pre-eminently real, as if you love your earthly parents whom you see, by these means you will learn to love your Heavenly Father who is invisible;—yet this holds good only so far as the reason is the president, and its objects the ultimate aim; and cases may arise in which the Christ as the Logos or Redemptive Reason declares, He that loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; nay, he that can permit his emotions to rise to an equality with the universal reason, is in enmity with that reason. Here then reason appears as the love of God; and its antagonist is the attachment to individuals wherever it exists in diminution of, or in competition with, the love which is reason.

In these five paragraphs I have enumerated and explained the several powers or forces belonging or incidental to human nature, which in all matters of reason the man is bound either to subjugate or subordinate to reason. The application to Faith follows of its own accord. The first or most indefinite sense of faith is fidelity: then fidelity under previous contract or particular moral obligation. In this sense faith is fealty to a rightful superior: faith is the duty of a faithful subject to a rightful governor. Then it is allegiance in active service; fidelity to the liege lord under circumstances, and amid the temptations, of usurpation, rebellion, and intestine discord. Next we seek for that rightful superior on our duties to whom all our duties to all other superiors, on our faithfulness to whom all our bounden relations to all other objects of fidelity, are founded. We must inquire after that duty in which all others find their several degrees and dignities, and from which they derive their obligative force. We are to find a superior, whose rights, including our duties, are presented to the mind in the very idea of that Supreme Being, whose sovereign prerogatives are predicates implied in the subjects, as the essential properties of a circle are co-assumed in the first assumption of a circle, consequently underived, unconditional, and as rationally insusceptible, so probably prohibitive, of all further question. In this sense then faith is fidelity, fealty, allegiance of the moral nature to God, in opposition to all usurpation, and in resistance to all temptation to the placing any other claim above or equal with our fidelity to God.

The will of God is the last ground and final aim of all our duties, and to that the whole man is to be harmonized by subordination, subjugation, or suppression alike in commission and omission. But the will of God, which is one with the supreme intelligence, is revealed to man through the conscience. But the conscience, which consists in an inappellable bearing-witness to the truth and reality of our reason, may legitimately be construed with the term reason, so far as the conscience is prescriptive; while as approving or condemning, it is the consciousness of the subordination or insubordination, the harmony or discord, of the personal will of man to and with the representative of the will of God. This brings me to the last and fullest sense of Faith, that is, as the obedience of the individual will to the reason, in the lust of the flesh as opposed to the supersensual; in the lust of the eye as opposed to the supersensuous; in the pride of the understanding as opposed to the infinite, in the Greek: phrónaema sarkòs in contrariety to the spiritual truth; in the lust of the personal will as opposed to the absolute and universal; and in the love of the creature, as far as it is opposed to the love which is one with the reason, namely, the love of God.

Thus then to conclude. Faith subsists in the 'synthesis' of the reason and the individual will. By virtue of the latter therefore it must be an energy, and inasmuch as it relates to the whole moral man, it must be exerted in each and all of his constituents or incidents, faculties and tendencies;—it must be a total, not a partial; a continuous, not a desultory or occasional energy. And by virtue of the former, that is, reason, faith must be a light, a form of knowing, a beholding of truth. In the incomparable words of the Evangelist, therefore—'faith must be a light originating in the Logos, or the substantial reason, which is coeternal and one with the Holy Will, and which light is at the same time the life of men'. Now as life is here the sum or collective of all moral and spiritual acts, in suffering, doing, and being, so is faith the source and the sum, the energy and the principle of the fidelity of man to God, by the subordination of his human will, in all provinces of his nature to his reason, as the sum of spiritual truth, representing and manifesting the will Divine.

Contents / Index




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