« EdellinenJatka »
the philosophers have got on the right track; they get along so rapidly. If they could only be kept from making worlds, it is impossible to say with what brilliancy science would shortly blaze.
Now it is to be hoped, that as soon as divines become philosophers, in the true sense of the word, their work will advance in the same rapid felicitous manner. Whenever that day comes, they will know that in respect to imputation of sin and righteousness in the covenant of works, all that can be known is the fact: That in respect to the reasonableness of that dispensation, all that can be known is that infinite reason established it that in respect to its justice, nothing can be known, save that Jehovah the source of all justice, has done it. If this will satisfy mankind, the preachers of the gospel can satisfy them with undoubted scriptural authority. And if that will not satisfy them, why let the worms crawl on their throne, and call their maker to account for having made them thus. He will trample them in his wrath-unless his bowels should yearn, and then he will give them a new heart and new mind; and they will acknowledge that he has done all things well. If any one imagines that he ever will know any reason why God created our race to be saved or damned, by the imputed righteousness, or imputed sin of a representative, let me hasten to eure him of his delirium ; let me give him a lethean draught, that he may forget his terrene follies, and reconcile himself to his fate. This is the medicine of the mind.
Isa. 45, ix. &c. "Woe unto him that striveth with his maker! Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou? Or thy work, He
hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, what begettest thou? or to the woman, what hast thou brought forth ?"
Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker. Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands, command ye me ! ! !"
I had thought to have paraphrased this passage: but I can't touch it. Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without wisdom? If you can see—see : If not, I can do no more.
Those among men, who are devoted to high intellectual efforts, may be divided into two classes, the students of nature, and the students of grace, philosophers and divines.
"One sire begat them, and one mother bore!" And sorry I am, when I see any fraternal strife among them. Could they but agree, they would soon kick out of the world the bastard breed of sceptics, infidels, and atheists.
After all, the divines are of the nobler family. But the philosophers have, as yet, played the man in the higher style. Their scale goes down to the ground with a most ponderous gravity; while our scale kicks the beam, as if there was nothing in it. What can be the reason that for two centuries, less or more, philosophy should be making such prodigious advances, and divinity standing stock still?
Look, ye divines, at your twin brothers! There is one, with his crucible in one hand, and his thermome
ter in the other-covered all over with sweat and cinders—a true son of Vulcan, putting nature to the torture, to compel her to reveal some of her secrets. Look up! there is one of them scrambling to the very top of the Andes! Now I would not be along side of him for all beneath the sun. What does the fellow mean? Is he going to get a tenement among the stars? No! he is a philosopher, and bye and bye he will come down, (if he should not break his neck) and will bring in his pocket some lichens and mosses, and pebbles and when he gets his brothers about him, you will wonder to hear what conclusions they will draw, conclusions which excite the sneer of ridicule only in countenances where the lambent smile of wisdom ne. ver played. Look there! just at your feet, there is one of them going perpendicularly down to the shades, through the shaft of a horrible mine-hole before fifteen minutes he will be fifty fathoms into the very bowels of the earth, among pitfalls, and choak damps; and the earth every moment threatening to cave in on his head.
Well, are all these men fools? No. They are students of nature; and they mind their books. What is the result? Behold what the God of nature has given them as the reward of their devotion and industry. Tell any one of these blades that you have got a new theory; he laughs in your face; and asks you where are your facts? From that family theories have long been banished.
But how is it in the other family-among the theologians? What have you been doing all this time? What have you discovered for a few centuries? Just nothing. Did you mind your books-the books of the sacred volume-these are your books-did you mind
them? If you had, I am sure the God of grace is not so niggardly of his favours, as to refuse you some game for your hunting. The Bible, the Bible, cried Chil lingworth, is the religion of Protestants. And any one who pleases, may cry, the Bible, the Bible, is the world of the theologian. Don't be mistaken. The Bible is not explored. There is many a terra australis incognita, in that moderate volume. And until theologians place themselves for life on the holy page, we shall have no discoveries! Perhaps some may have worn epaulets for seven years, and never measured, with the line in his hand, a single encampment; perhaps a man may have been seven years a minister of the gospel, and never have analysed a single book of the sacred volume, nor expounded it to his flock. How can there be divines in this way of working?
The philosophers are playing the men. Nothing in the heavens above, or in earth below, can escape them. Not a star can show its head, but they will know something about it. Not a substance in nature but they will find some use for. All this is as it ought to be. But how goes the day among the divines? What are they doing? What single thing has been done by them now, for centuries, to purify the church's faith, and bring her up in all things, to the purity of the sacred model. Are not all the systems of false philosophy, that ever corrupted the church of God, in full vigour, corrupting it still? Are there not as many parties in the Christian church, as ever there were, with their jarring doctrines, and mutual contradictions? And what are the divines doing? they are very gravely looking on, and leaving it to one metaphysician, to destroy the theory of another metaphysician. That much is easily done; he tears one system down, and builds up another; and thus leaves
the world as well off as he found it. The metaphysicians will never be able to do this work, they will never, to all eternity, produce a good moral theory. God reserves that work for his own sons of the holy anointing oil; and they will come forth with the holy sword of the spirit, and jugulate these human sophistries; and preach the gospel just as they find it in their Bible. And then the world will enjoy a good system, as fine a theory as ever infinite wisdom devised.
"O mihi tam longæ maneat pars ultima vitæ Spiritus et quantum sat erit tua dicere facta."
But the sigh is in vain! A new generation must arise in the Christian church-the race of commentators. The world is just ready for them. The pioneers have cleared the way. They have rummaged every monk's cell; they have dusted every little tatter of a manuscript which contained so much as one jot, or one tittle of the sacred volume. They have put them into the hands of the Bible critics, who have weighed each one of these jots and tittles, with as much scrupulosity as if their everlasting all were at stake. They have given us the sacred volume, as complete and as pure, as we expect ever to get it. But now we want a race of men to search the Scriptures, and tell us exactly what they contain. Whenever the church beholds her sons studying the sacred books, with the same ardour, assiduity, and perseverance, which the philosophers are now displaying on the book of nature, she will find herself already reformed; her wrinkles all gone; and herself restored to the virgin beauty of her youth.
The Christian church does need a race of philosophical ministers. But they must be philosophers of