« AnteriorContinuar »
moral agency and moral obligation, the will not having intelligently decided against God; and therefore it is improper to affirm that the child is sinful or depraved. Yet the fact is unquestionable, that from birth the appetites, passions, and affections of the child, as they develop themselves, crave indulgence; and the habit of such indulgence being formed before intellect is developed sufficiently to have cognizance of law, the bias of its nature therefore is to sin, according to our author's own showing of what constitutes the essence of selfishness. Is the child like any mere irrational animal, under no moral constitution whatever? Nor can it be till its intellect is sufficiently developed to be furnished with the knowledge of God's character, supremacy, and law? Then are innumerable adults, and whole masses of the heathen world who have not the knowledge of God, under no moral constitution, for the same reason. The Bible, however, teaches a very different doctrine.
The moral constitution or covenant, ordained with Adam, was ordained for the race, and both affects the condition and exerts a determining influence on the character of his offspring, as it forms the rule which God observes in His treatment of them. If language can have any meaning at all, the Bible, plainly and pointedly teaches, that our first parents, by their sin, became the cause of the sinfulness of their race-that all the successive generations of men which have invariably and uniformly been sinners, have been rendered such by their violation of that constitution or covenant. By one man's discbedience many were made sinners." "By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation." This is not a mere natural result,-the simple effect of physical causes operating according to the established laws of nature. It is the legitimate moral result of a moral constitution ordained by God for the race, which has been violated by their divinely constituted head and representative, their first father, Adam. The moral government of God, as the Bible teaches, includes in it other elements than that of distinct personal responsibility. Philosophy may pronounce it unreasonable, unjust, for God to deal with men, on any other principle, than direct personal accountability. But revelation announces the fact that God has organized and conducted His moral government in this world, on the principle of federal representation also. It is so interwoven with the very structure of human society that it is impossible for government to be successfully maintained without acting upon it. Governmental constitutions, treaties, leagues, and covenants, charters and corporate obligations, and the succession, perpetuity, and unity of the political organization, all involve it. The acts of one man, as parent governor or public officer, affects others according to the law of relationship, and that, both as to conditions and developments of character, just as that of Adam did his
offspring. The bias of our nature to evil as well as the domin ion of death was consequent on the fall, and ensued by virtue of our relation to Adam, according to the provisions of the moral constitution ordained with him for the race. His sin and fall have exerted a determining influence upon the developments of human nature,-have given, as it were, a stamp to the moral character of men. The fact is undeniable, however philosophers may theologize upon the subject. That it would have been dif ferent if our first parents had not sinned, is just as true as that neither they nor their offspring would have died. How, we know not, nor care to inquire. By sinning against God, and perverting thus that moral constitution which have been efficacious to preserve from death, and to confirm the race in holiness, our first parents have given it power to draw down universal death, and rendered themselves fountains of corruption.
Our author may talk and rail, as he pleases, about the injustice of God and of His transactions, viewed in any other light than that of his philosophy. He may pour torrents of ridicule on that style of speech which designates the race as morally depraved, and represents them to have been rendered such by the fall of the first pair, by the forfeiture of Divine influences, and the consequent bias or tendency in all to sin, and he may think that he has delivered himself from all embarrassment and perplexity in his theologizing; but he only leaps out of one difficulty to land in another and still greater. For, affirming that "moral depravity can ONLY be predicated of selfish ultimate intention."not of the mind or soul or man himself, only of its exercises he is forced, absurdly enough as it appears to us, to give no less than eight long and labored dissertations, on what he calls the attributes of love! and five on the attributes of selfishness!! Love and selfishness, it will be remembered are, with him, mere acts of the will, ultimate choice or intention, which however simple at one time he makes them, now, according to his own showing, become so complicated that there is no end to the ever-varying attributes pertaining to these acts. What a vast mass of elaborate confusion he has heaped together, under the category of attributes of an act, by which he has continued to cover up from his own view the notov yeudos, the radical error of his philosophy, the reader will perceive, when we state that he has numerically detailed some thirty-seven qualities of benevolence, considered as an act of the will-all essential to that act's being veritable holiness, and some twenty-seven qualities of selfishness, considered as an act of the will, and constituting it sin!! Why he has not made the antagonism more complete, we are somewhat curious to know.
[The balance of this Review we are obliged to defer to a future number.-ED.]
1IL. p. 450.
1. A History of the Purchase and Settlement of Western New York, and of the Rise, Progress, and Present State, of the Presbyterian Church in that section. By Rev. JAMES H. HOTCHKIN. New York: M. W. Dodd, 1848.
THIS is an octavo of 600 pages. It is a valuable and much-needed book. The author was evidently fitted for the task which he has executed so creditably. He has lived and toiled for nearly 50 years in the field he describes. His judgment is sound, his mind unbiassed, and his spirit kind. It is an impartial and accurate history, we think, and may be relied on in its statements of facts. Its style is simple and unpretending, but it wears such an air of honest truth, and so abounds with valuable matter, secular and ecclesistical, as to make it not only readable but really instructive. Though a plain history of the Presbyterian Church of Western New York, it is a marvelous record. What have fifty years wrought there! The annals of history cannot show a parallel case, of such rapid growth and signal prosperity. What was then a spiritual and moral wilderness, is now the garden of the Empire State, blessed with as intelligent, sound, and strong a church as can be found on earth, nourishing a million of souls, and mighty in all the elements of influence and prosperity. This history is valuable for many reasons. It will enlarge our ideas of the extent of that field, and of our capability of growth and improvement. It contains a full and minute account of the rise and history of the Presbyterian Church in that important section, about which such conflicting opinions have obtained. The history and results of the much-talked-of “ Plan of Union," form a most interesting and instructive chapter. While the materials which it furnishes for an intelligent and impartial judgment in regard to the condition (as to doctrine and discipline) of the Presbyterian Church of Western New York, previous to, and since the famous " Exscinding Act," are ample and available. It seems to us that no man can read this history impartially, and doubt the injustice and wickedness of that measure towards the ministry and churches affected by it, or believe what some are disposed to affirm of them at the present time. What are we to think of Mr. Cheeseman's recent book in the light of this sober veritable history? It is a gross caricature of, and heartless libel upon, the Presbyterian church of the region named. Place the two side by side, and which are we to believe? Which gives the best evidence of credibility, candor, honesty of intention, and Christian temper? We leave the public to judge. We earnestly commend this history to the attention and patronage of the Presbyterian church, believing that while it will promote no party interest, or individual ambition, it will subserve the higher end of truth and righteousness. 2. The Power of the Soul over the Body, considered in relation to Health and Morals. By GEORGE MOORE, M.D., Member of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
The use of the Body in relation to the Mind. By the same author.
OUR thanks are due to the author for a London copy of these valuable works. Coming from a distinguished medical practitioner, they possess circumstantial as well as intrinsic interest. The theme is a grand one, replete with interest, and wide and solemn in its relations; and wisely and ably is it handled. The writer is not a profound nor an original thinker, yet he is eminently philosophical and instructive, suggestive and practical. The volumes contain little elaborate logic or metaphysical subtlety, but abound in skilful suggestion and happy illustration, and furnish a sagacious and enlarged analysis of man in the various modes and states of his being, as well as in his relations. They do not speculate or theorize, but most earnestly address themselves to the intelligence, candor, conscience, faith, and good sense of the reader, and cannot fail to have a strong practical bearing on the health, THIRD SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. 4. 12
morals, and religion of multitudes. We are especially pleased with the spirit of enlightened and elevated piety which pervades these essays. We rejoice that medical science has been brought to pay such homage to the Christian religion, and lend all its influence to commend it. There is a vast amount of infidelity and irreligion in the medical profession; but this distinguished practitioner, who ranks among the first in the Kingdom, gives a clear and manly utterance to the great truths of Christianity, breathes the spirit of humble and earnest piety, and uses all the skill and power of his pen to bring others to see and feel as he himself does. We trust they will be read and studied, and prove as useful as they are popular. They have already passed through several editions in Great Britian. The Harpers have wisely added them to their list of recent issues, and at about one-fourth the cost of the London copy. We commend the volumes to our readers.
3. The Gospel in Advance of the Age, being a Homily for the Times. By Rev. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, M. A., Minister of Percy Chapel, London, author of "Christ our All in All," " Luther on the Spirit of the Reformation," "The Messiah," etc., etc. Third edition. Edinburgh and London: 1848.
OUR thanks are due to the distinguished author for an English copy of this valuable work. It is a fine octavo of 508 pp. Mr. Montgomery is extensively known as a poet and a controversialist. He has produced many works of no little merit-the present we should think the best of all. He is a strong churchman, but evangelical in sentiment, and catholic in spirit. The style of this work is popular, full of poetry and vivacity; there is no little original and profound thought in it; he shows a practical acquaintance with the tendencies and great questions of the age, and much practical wisdom in suggesting a remedy for what is evil. The subjects discussed in this volume are diverse and multiform, but they have all a manifest bearing on one grand idea, the paramount claims of religion. There are four divisions to the book. "On the Spirit of the Bible and the Spirit of the Age," an able introductory dissertation covering 109 pages. "Introductory Reflections on Christ and Christianity," brief and valuable, "Doctrinal Exposition of the Saviour's Homily," in seventeen chapters, and the "Principle of Divine Regeneration applied to the character of the age," in twenty-nine chapters. The "application" to many of the leading questions of the day in Great Britain, including the baptismal controversy, the Newman development, the Romanistic party, (Puseyism) etc., etc,, is timely, able, manly, masterly. There are developments here that may well startle an honest, pious churchman, and every Protestant Christian, also. We admire the writer's boldness and faithfulness in looking the monstrous error, and all the evils which threaten the church, right in the face, and in insisting on a radical reform. His is a voice for the times-may it be heeded. The work has already been translated into German. We invite attention to it, and hope it will soon be republished in this country.
4. Tables of Logarithms of Numbers and of Sines and Tangents, for every ten seconds of the Quadrant, with other useful tables. By Prof. LooмIS, of the University of New York, 1848.
PROFESSOR LOOMIS has added another to his series of works on Mathematics. His former treatises on other branches of the science are standard works, and have been extensively adopted as text books, and the present one will doubtless be received with the same favor. He has evidently devoted much time and toil to the preparation of these tables. They are designed to secure greater accuracy, and simplify the process of computation. This design is happily accomplished. The Tables are so prepared and arranged as to save a vast deal of labor in computing the corrections, and enable one to arrive at almost perfect accuracy. Numerous comparisons have been made with standard authors, whole tables have been re-computed, and numerous corrections made in those in common use; so that these Tables will be found the most convenient of any before published, and "sufficiently extensive" (they are of six decimal places)" for all purposes of academic and collegiate instruction, as well as for practical mechanics and surveyors."
5. Infant Baptism, a Scriptural Service, and Dipping unnecessary to its right administration; containing a critical survey and digest of the leading evidence, Classical, Biblical, and Patristic; with special reference to the work of DR. CARSON, and occasional strictures on the views of DR. HALLEY. By the Rev. ROBERT WILSON, Professor of Sacred Literature for the General Assembly, Royal College, Belfast. London and Belfast: 1848.
THIS recent and extensive work on the baptismal controversy, was sent us a few weeks since, from London, and we are happy to introduce it to the notice of both parties interested in it in this country. It is an octavo of 534 pages. It discusses the subject of infant baptism in a most thorough and able manner, and withal in a Christian spirit. It exhibits the fruits of extensive research, profound erudition, and a careful and candid survey of the entire field of evidence embraced in this controversy. The author is evidently familiar with the views of all the leading writers on both sides, and produces a mass of evidence in favor of his conclusions which it will be hard to set aside or resist. He maintains the Pædobaptist views, in the orthodox sense, in opposition to the masterly Carson, Drs. Gale and Cox. His analysis, and digest of evidence in favor of them, is truly learned and powerful. "In prosecuting the inquiries, the principal testimonies from the ancient classics, the Hebrew, and Greek Scriptures, and the writings of the fathers, have been examined at considerable length, and the results, in some interesting cases, tested and sustained by comparison with artistic monuments of antiquity. The chronological order has been, to a certain extent, followed in tracing the signification of the more important terms; the structure of the passages in which these terms occur, has not been overlooked as a modifying element; and the principle has been broadly asserted, that the ascertained usage of any particular period is not the slave of antecedent usage. Baptism, for instance, in the writings of the apostles may not exactly correspond to baptism in the works of Hippocrates or Plato; and in that case each must stand upon its own evidence, the earlier usage having no power to overlay or coerce the latter. This principle does not limit the province, though it aids in wisely applying the products of historical philology,' which renders valuable service in determining the mode of the ordinance, and the discipleship predicated of its subjects." We are pleased to see the previous labors of Prof. Stuart, and of Dr. Edward Beecher, highly appreciated by this learned and able critic, and frequent reference made to the series of able articles published by them in the early numbers of the Repository. We cordially commend this volume to all who feel any interest in this controversy, not only for its varied learning and critical research, but as a model for all to study who enter the field of religious controversy.
6. Spiritual Heroes; or Sketches of the Puritans, their Character and Times. By JOHN STOUGHTON. With an Introductory Letter by JOEL HAWES, D.D. M. W. Dodd: 1848.
THIS is a book of decided interest. The times to which it relates; the characters it describes; the stirring events which it sketches; and the noble sentiments which it illustrates, lend to it a peculiar charm. The early Puritan life and times, form a grand subject for investigation and study, and every new contribution and development tends to place it before the eyes of the world in its true light. This is not so much a connected history as a graphic portraiture of some of the earlier Puritans and Nonconformists. The materials for this work were collected, partly from historical authorities, and partly from local traditions. and church records, so that its heroes are not fancies but stern and glorious realities, however traduced in English history. The lives and sufferings of those exiled confessors and martyrs, are powerful to instruct and thrill the heart of every Christian and patriot. We bless God for such a noble ancestry. The Puritans saved England in the crisis of her destiny, and, under God, made America what she is; and let their memory be honored, and their character revered. The great battle with Popery is to be fought over again, both in England and in this country, and glad are we that such materials are being gathered. We note a single exception to this book. We doubt the perfect impartiality of the author as a witness, in the case of the Independents and Presbyterians of those times. Strongly sympathizing with the former, we fear that he has unwittingly done injustice to the latter. Presbyterianism will not suffer in comparison with Independency in its struggles and sacrifices for freedom of conscience,