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and in the same page with this affirmation, rejecting with vehemence what he terms the common orthodox assumption,

that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good ;'- for this very assumption (whether in itself true or false) is the ground of his own statement ! Palpable inconsistencies belong, of necessity, to a course of reasoning such as this Professor pursues. He cannot allow sin to have been permitted for the sake of a higher good ; because his hypothesis declares, that it arose inevitably from the nature of things, and that the necessity which is its only cause, is altogether independent of the Divine conduct and purposes. But then, when he approaches the same object from another side, and sees that the spectacle of sin and punishment is actually employed in the moral system as a conservative means of virtue, he cannot neglect to avail himself of this reason for its existence; and in hastily taking advantage of it, quite forgets his recent denial of the assumption, that sin is the necessary means of the highest good! One might wonder at such an oversight, if similar instances did not abound in the field of theological speculation.

Thus,' says Dr. W., “your reasoning in the one instance, is really a confutation of your reasoning in the other ; and if it were only froin another writer, I should say, a direct and studied confutation of it. You first maintain that sin is not the necessary means of the greatest good ; and then you maintain that the holiness of intelligent beings, which you certainly regard as involved in the greatest good, could not, in any instance, no, not even by the power of God, be preserved without the existence and punishment of sin. There, sin is not the necessary means of the greatest good ; here, sin, by its existence and punishment, is the necessary, indispensable means of that holiness of God's creatures in which the greatest good essentially consists.'- p.71.

Few men stop short on a perilous course, until they have reached some actual mischief. After himself, as we have seen, taking up this assumption, that sin was the necessary means of preserving the virtue of the virtuous, Dr. Taylor turns round upon his brethren, and in a strain, as we should think from the specimens before us, of very crude and ill-considered argument from consequences, endeavours to shew that, on any hypothesis but his own, there can be no sincerity in the Divine prohibitions, and no equity in the punishment of sin. This is an old sophism, so often exposed, that a respectable and well informed writer might have known better than to take it up anew.

. It is obviously your opinion,' says Dr. Wood to his Opponent, and one in which all orthodox Christians will readily unite with you, that the prohibition and punishment of sin is (are) necessary to give it a salutary influence in the moral world. Sin, in its own nature, is evil, and as such, must be prohibited by the Divine law; and, if committed, must be punished. Its being prohibited by law, and punished according to

law, is all that gives it a salutary influence, or makes it the occasion of good. Unlike holiness, which, in its own proper nature, is good and of salutary tendency, sin in itself is evil, and directly tends to evil, and becomes the means or occasion of good only indirectly, from the manner in which it is treated; that is, its being forbidden and punished. To this view, I have no doubt, you will fully assent. Now God's law respects sin as it is in itself, or in its own nature and tendency. He forbids it because it is a wrong and hurtful thing in a moral agent. As sin is in truth totally wrong, hateful, and pernicious, God would not treat it according to truth, he would not treat it according to his own feelings respecting it, he would not treat it sincerely, if he did not forbid it by his law, or if he did not punish it when committed. It must be evident then, that whenever we represent sin as on the whole for the best, or, according to your manner of speaking, as having an influence by which moral beings are preserved in a state of holiness, we represent it not as it is taken by itself, but as treated in the Divine government, as forbidden, frowned upon, punished. When let alone, or left to itself, its whole influence and tendency is directly and violently opposed to the good of the universe, or to the holiness and happiness of moral beings; and it is only when condemned by God's holy law, and controlled and punished' by his Almighty Providence, that any good can come out of this essential and destructive evil. It is God's righteous government respecting sin, which counteracts its natural tendency, and prevents the pernicious effects which it would of itself produce.'--pp. 79, 80.

Nothing can be much more crude, inconsequential, we might say childish, than the inference, that if sin in any way produces good, it ought to be enjoined, and, when perpetrated, rewarded. Yet, thus reasons Dr. Taylor ! and he scruples not to pursue the futile objections of the most shallow or the most profane minds, as if they were conclusive against the principle he opposes. And yet, this very same principle he himself builds upon, when it serves his turn.

Speaking of the doctrine he opposes, Dr. Taylor says, that, according to it, the transgressor' knows that all sin will prove to

be the necessary means of the greatest good : how then does it • appear that, with this knowledge, he is not benevolent in per• forming the deed ?"

To so strange a question as this,' replies Dr. Woods, I hardly know how to frame a serious answer. The deed in question is, by supposition, a sinful one; performed, as you concede, with a selfish and sinful intention; and yet you ask, “ How it appears that the subject is not truly benevolent in performing it?” Which is equivalent to asking, how it appears that a man is not benevolent in performing a deed of malevolence. And this is nowise different from asking, how it appears that love is not hatred, that holiness is not sin; or that any one thing is not its opposite.—The action, I repeat it, is by supposition selfish and sinful, receiving its name from the intention with which it is performed. Now what is the reason which leads you to change the denomination of the action, and to speak of it as benevolent? Is the nature of the action, or any one of its attributes changed? No. Is the intention with which it was performed different? No. What reason do you assign for applying to a sinful deed, performed with a sinful intention, so unusual an epithet as benevolent? Why, “ the subject is apprised of the utility of the deed ;” and this circumstance makes the difference. A SELFISH deed, then, if only performed with the knowledge of its utility, may properly be denominated BENEVOLENT!-A singular method of denominating moral actions, accord. ing to which they would be called good or bad, benevolent or selfish, not from the intention with which they are performed, but from the knowledge which the agent has of their results! This know ledge of the useful results of a sinful action seems, in your view, to infuse into it a certain quality which counteracts the quality infused by the intention of the agent, and makes a benevolent deed of a selfish one. Yea, this knowledge of the results of a sinful action, appears, in your view, to possess such wonderful virtue, that it transmutes the intention itself with which the action is performed, from evil to good; for you very soberly inquire, how it appears, that in this action, (this sinful action, the agent did not really intend good ?" Why, methinks it appears from the fact, that he really intended eril."

p. 91. In his eighth and last letter, Dr. Woods compares the hypothesis of his Opponent with the common belief of Christians, as to the practical tendency of each; and, we think, he fairly proves, that, so far as abstruse dogmas do at all exert any influence over the sentiments and conduct of men, it is far better to leave the subject of moral and natural evil, where the pious mind leaves it, involved in inscrutable mystery, at the foot of the throne of God, than, with the hope of disposing of it more satisfactorily, to create, as Dr. Taylor has done, an Imaginary Power, mistress even of the Divine government, and which is to sustain the burden of all sin. A course this, which, if all experience is to be taken as our guide, does but for a moment, and in appearance, bring relief to difficulties ; while it never fails to involve the mind in endless inconsistencies, and to lead it astray from piety.

The soundness of Dr. Woods's argument, so far as it is opposed to the theory of Dr. Taylor, is not the only merit which these Letters possess. They afford an excellent example of the close and pressing pursuit of an antagonist, without (as we can perceive) the slightest improper feeling. There is no vaunting, no contempt; there are no anathemas, and no imputations; but many serious and seasonable cautions, the fruit of experience and sound piety, addressed to one who, as it seems, although a teacher, has much to learn of that wisdom which should belong to men in responsible stations. We thus speak of the respective merits of the two professors, without at all taking our ground

personally as the followers of Calvin, or of Edwards, or of Dwight. That were quite another matter. The case is simply that of an ill-concerted, ill-conducted attempt, on the one side, to conciliate scepticism and irreligion; and on the other, of a temperate and convincing exposure of the inconsistencies of the endeavour. Instances of this sort are not without their lesson, and should especially be heeded by young theologians.

We have in this article spoken of Dr. Taylor solely as occupying an ill-chosen position on the ground of abstruse theology. Justice, however, demands that he should have assigned to him a merit he may fairly claim, when he speaks the language of common sense, on the lower ground of practical principles, in relation to the old methods of preaching the Gospel. On this ground, manifestly, there is much (who shall dare to say how much ?) to be remedied. On this ground, great practical errors have become venerable, in the eyes of religious folk, by usage and patronage. The New Haven Tutor feels this strongly;-attempts a remedy; -mistakes (as we humbly think) the precise nature, or seat of the disease, and does, therefore, as much harm as good; or more. We must take the occasion to say, and we would raise our voice high enough to be heard across the Atlantic, that we shall cheer the American divines, if we see them, in a right spirit, and with Christian temper and humility, earnestly plying their forces upon the great practical question of the primitive mode of calling men to repentance. It would do no good to agitate such a controversy just now in England. We are in no condition to handle any grave matter to great advantage. But if the AMERICANS cannot, and do not, follow truth with freedom, and modesty, and to some efficient purpose,-shame upon them! If they would but ask us, we (that is, we Eclectic Reviewers) would propose to them a string of inquiries, for their immediate consideration, not one of which should be trivial, and not one of which can we hope to see satisfactorily disposed of among ourselves.

Art. III. Reflections on the Politics, Intercourse, and Trade of the

Ancient Nations of Africa. By A. H. L. Heeren, Knight of the North Star and Guelphic Order, &c. &c. Translated from the German. 2 Vols. 8vo. pp. xlvi. 528; xvi. 428. Price 1l. 10s.

Oxford, 1832. PROFESSOR Heeren's “ Sketch of the Political History of - Ancient Greece”, received the tribute of our cordial praise in a former volume*; and we then expressed a hope, which we are gratified at having so far fulfilled, that his entire works might

* Eclectic Review, Third Series, Vol. V. p. 443.

denomination of the action, and to speak of it as benevolent? Is the nature of the action, or any one of its attributes changed? No. Is the intention with which it was performed different? No. What reason do you assign for applying to a sinful deed, performed with a sinful intention, so unusual an epithet as benevolent? Why, “ the subject is apprised of the utility of the deed ;” and this circumstance makes the difference. A SELFIsh deed, then, if only performed with the knowledge of its utility, may properly be denominated BENEVOLENT !-A singular method of denominating moral actions, accord. ing to which they would be called good or bad, benevolent or selfish, not from the intention with which they are performed, but from the knowledge which the agent has of their results! This know, ledge of the useful results of a sinful action seems, in your view, to infuse into it a certain quality which counteracts the quality infused by the intention of the agent, and makes a benevolent deed of a selfish one. Yea, this knowledge of the results of a sinful action, appears, in your view, to possess such wonderful virtue, that it transmutes the intention itself with which the action is performed, from evil to good; for you very soberly inquire, how it appears, that in this action, (this sinful action,) the agent “ did not really intend good ?" Why, methinks it appears from the fact, that he really intended evil.'

p. 91. In his eighth and last letter, Dr. Woods compares the hypothesis of his Opponent with the common belief of Christians, as to the practical tendency of each ; and, we think, he fairly proves, that, so far as abstruse dogmas do at all exert any influence over the sentiments and conduct of men, it is far better to leave the subject of moral and natural evil, where the pious mind leaves it, involved in inscrutable mystery, at the foot of the throne of God, than, with the hope of disposing of it more satisfactorily, to create, as Dr. Taylor has done, an Imaginary Power, mistress even of the Divine government, and which is to sustain the burden of all sin. A course this, which, if all experience is to be taken as our guide, does but for a moment, and in appearance, bring relief to difficulties ; while it never fails to involve the mind in endless inconsistencies, and to lead it astray from piety.

The soundness of Dr. Woods's argument, so far as it is opposed to the theory of Dr. Taylor, is not the only merit which these Letters possess. They afford an excellent example of the close and pressing pursuit of an antagonist, without (as we can perceive) the slightest improper feeling. There is no vaunting, no contempt; there are no anathemas, and no imputations ; but many serious and seasonable cautions, the fruit of experience and sound piety, addressed to one who, as it seems, although a teacher, has much to learn of that wisdom which should belong to men in responsible stations. We thus speak of the respective merits of the two professors, without at all taking our ground

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