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from performing the duties of their office with conscientious vigor? If they have, it follows that they are liable to the blame of all the infidelity, and superstition, and extravagance that prevail. It was their duty, and, if they have omitted it, they have been inadequate to their office, or unworthy of it, not barely to impart the doctrines of the church, but also to give the best possible explanations of them to their scholars, since teachers were to proceed from their schools for all times, and situations, and orders, and since they, no less than themselves, would undertake to set limits to the explanations of religion. It was their duty, and if they have omitted it, they have been hirelings, and unworthy of their office, to find, in respect to their scholars, whether the pains of their teachers were fruitless; whether their pupils united with clear views of the whole extent of religion, of theology, and of subsidiary knowledge, an intelligent, judicious, honest and benevolent spirit; and it was their duty to be vigilant that they did honor to their important calling by their lives. This is all that Christianity requires; she rejects every thing unbecoming her intrinsic power and dignity. She aims to conquer and to rule by force of her native virtue and truth. And, with confidence in this unborrowed worth, with which she is endued by heaven, she has contended, for eighteen hundred years, with all opposition, fearless of every foe, however armed for defence. She has contended and conquered, and concluded every warfare with renovated strength; and she will continue to conquer to the end of time.
No state should suffer the principles upon which the virtue and tranquillity of men depend to be shaken by sceptics and opposers. No care is superfluous, which aims to make practical religion secure from all possible danger, and to promote ignorance, in many particulars, in regard to those to whom it is beneficial, and whose illumination, in those para ticulars, would be injurious. But, on the contrary, there can be no right to keep those in ignorance, who ought to be enlightened, and whose instruction is indispensable to their tranquillity. The sword that one takes from the child, that he
may not wound himself, he puts into the hands of the man, that he may accustom himself to its use, and educate the child to employ it for its own safety. It is the duty of the state to provide institutions for the instruction of all elasses of its citizens, and thus to make those of every condition capable of continual improvement; but never should it oppress the genius of the nation by the power of compulsory statutes.
Semler in his last years seceded from this opinion, and thus contradicted the whole system of his former life. He lost in consequence all external support, and his reputation for moral and literary consistency. The corps of orthodox ecclesiastics, into which he wished to be again incorporated, received him into their communion' as a deserter; the liberal theologians were astonished at his sudden change, and the severe sallies which he made upon them, and his repeated dec. lamations against certain men of extensive views, who had associated for the purpose of introducing a universal Christianity, at the expense of a local church, consisted of intolerable accusations, wholly unaccompanied with proof. In fine, he found himself at length neglected by all the world. He did not at first perceive how low he had suddenly fallen from that height, which he had ascended in the course of thirty laborious years; but there were not wanting those who pointed it out to him. Wholly unworthy of his former greatness, he now called upon all the theological and juridical faculties, with the full confidence that they would support innocenee and rectitude, against those who opposed him with mere words and projects instead of honorable actions. Filled with extreme vexation he indulged himself sometimes in offensive language, and sometimes in loud protestations coneerning his irreproachable charaeter. He frequently called upon the public to do him justice in his most recent learned disputes. At length he became dissatisfied with the whole course of pursuits to which he had devoted his life, and wandered to other fields, which he hoped to occupy and explore more peacefully. At first he amused himself with natural history, which afforded him pleasure in his old age, and some recompense for the
pains of his earlier years: after he had tormented himself long enough with the bungling works of man, he was prepared to take delight in the masterpieces of nature. But since old age is subject to infirmities, it is not wonderful, that, by the secret charm that attends what is obscure and mysterious, he suffered himself to be led from what is perceptible to the senses, to what is merely visionary, and took delight in the dark and absurd philosophy of Rosicrutius. Fully convinced that, as great trees spring from small seeds, so gold and silver have their peculiar seeds, which thrive in a proper soil, he took great delight in alchemy. He, who in his earlier yćars had been continually at war with superstition and extravagance, suffered himself in the last years of his life to be imbued with a visionary philosophy; firmly believed in a secret chemistry and physics, and in some ancient light that has vanished ; and under such convictions he was a long time employed in making air and chymical drugs.*
But although the justice of history cannot pass over in si. lence the infirmities of old age, yet, lamenting the imperfections of human nature, we would throw a veil over the deformities of our father Semler, and dwell rather upon the virtues and excellences of his mind. We cannot but reflect upon what this great theologian accomplished in that part of his life, when his intellectual powers were in their full vigour; and upon all that his acute and subtle mind has composed, read, collected, examined, and prepared for scholars who are to come after him. We cannot bút consider how violently he was persecuted and calumniated; how long and earnestly he contended, and how much he endured, in the cause of truth, and in furnishing that light upon theological subjects, which we now enjoy; how severely he must have often been
* [The close of Semler's days will remind some of our readers of the lines of Johnson :
In life's last scene what prodigies surprize,
wounded, when he found his sincere intentions mistaken, and their honesty doubted—and when they were malignantly ridi. culed and slandered; how painful it must have been to have heard his attacks upon theological speculations reproached as attacks upon Christianity itself; and how often he must have stood in need of a spirit like that of Luther, in whose bold manner he had labored to think and write, in order to break through the host of jealous and envious opposers, enflamed against him by a well meaning, but ignorant zeal. We must consider also, that the power of a hero, as great and superior as it may be, must at length be exhausted in old age, by continued effort and constant warfare; that he may become the sport of Liliputians and Pygmies, who, because they have innumerable legions against one giant, lead on continually a new and increased host; that by the decay of bodily strength, even the strongest intellect inust in the end be weakened, the firmest mind become irresolute, and the boldest dis, pirited, and wholly unlike itself. Even Newton in his old age did not understand his Principia, and filled up his time with writing upon the Apocalypse; but still his name is held in grateful remembrance by the mathematicians, who have succeeded him, as that of a new creator in their science. lives also the name of Semler in our remembrance:
-the first reformer of modern theology, the boldest and best read theologian, and the most rich in profound investigations and new results among those who have deceased during the eighteenth century. His zeal, his activity, his efforts in pursuit of more pure and correct knowledge, and the long catalogue of his deserts constitute an example for those, who after him are engaged in theological studies, to excite them to the same indefatigable diligence and activity,
Spargite humum foliis, inducite fontibus umbras,
UPON THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE
66 SON OF GOD." The phrase “ Son of God” and its corresponding ones, though used so often, and with such variety of application in the scriptures, have been the subjects of as much controversy, as words of the rarest occurrence. It is the design of these remarks to review the cases of the application of these. phrases, and of the qualifying epithets, which are sometimes joined with them, that we may the better resolve their meaning when applied to Jesus Christ.
1. We may observe then that angels are called sons of God, probably from the superior dignity of their nature to the human; and by use of the well known Hebrew idiom, which employed the names of God in the formation of the superlative degree.
2. Good men are sometimes called children and sons of God, from their being objects of his paternal favor and blessing
3. The children of Israel are called collectively sons of God, to express the peculiar relation, which they bore him as his chosen people. A few examples of this use of the phrase may be quoted. “. Is not he thy father that hath bought thee." Deut. xxxii. 6. 6 I will lead them--for I am a Father to Israel." Jer. xxxi. 9. 6 I will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons.” 2 Cor. vi. 18. 6 Doubtless, thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us." Isaiah, lxiii. 16. 6 But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Potter.” Isaiah, lxiv. 8. How small a portion are these of the texts, in which God is spoken of as the Father of his chosen people!
4. Christian believers are caled sons of God, because he hath “ begotten them again unto a lively hope.". Some of the instances of this application are the following. cording to the will of God and our Father.” Gal. i. 4. 66 One God and Father of all, who is above all.” Eph. iv. 6. “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father.” 1 Thes. ii 1.