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ly the most distinguished and familiar, they are the Rev. Job Orton, Rev. Hugh Farmer, Dr. John Aikin, Rev. Samuel Merriale, the well-known author of Daily Devotions, Dr. Andrew Kippis, and the pious and eloquent Rev. Newcome Cappe. I do not mean to apply to the first of these the remark just made in regard to the opinions of Doddridge's students. Orton's were probably very similar to those of his master, but he resembled him quite as much in his affectionate and candid tem
He was a liberal Christian, in the best sense of that term at least. As to the others whom I have named, there will be no dispute where they are to be classed ; and I think, that a fairer comment was never given upon the history of an institution, at once orthodox in doctrive and catholic in spirit, than this. Never shall we meet with a more unequivocal test of the natural result of a mode of education, which does indeed allow the “ulmost latitude of inquiry.” In truth, if there ever
an instructor whose whole character at once silenced doubts and objections as to the justice of such a conclusion, Doddridge surely was the man. Our opponents we have little doubt would indignantly reject the supposition, and with good cause, who will deny ?) that the “presence of God could be er. er withdrawn” from the scenes which he honoured, or that “the spirit of piety could there decline.” They will not admit, no, not for a moment, that he could ever suffer the “pure word of God to be adulterated by adventurous and unballowed speculation." He was not the man, we are confident, to encourage that spirit of half-learned “pedantry, which produces rash and frivolous criticism on the Scriptures, which always delights in paradox, always believes where others doubt, and doubts where others believe.”
In closing these remarks it would be ungrateful not to embrace the opportunity thus presented, of rendering Dr. Porter our thanks for pressing this subject upon our notice. It is impossible not to wish that those wbo are so eager to claim the name
* Of this, I cannot refrain from giving a specimen alike honourable to the writer, and to that most exemplary christian divine to whom it refers. It is to be found in a letter of Orton to the Rev. S. Palmer of Hackney. “Were 1 to publish an account of silenced and ejected ministers, I should be strongly tempted to insert Mr. Lindsey in the list, which he mentions in his Apology with so much veneration. He certainly deserves as much respect and honour as any one of them, for the part he has acted. Perhaps few of them exceeded him in learning and piety. I venerate him as I would any of your confessors. As to his particular sentiments, they are nothing to me. An honest pious man, who makes such a sacrifice to truth and conscience as he has done, is a glorious character, and deserves the respect, esteem, and veneration of every true Christian."
of Doddridge, were better acquainted with his real character, and evinced more practically their reverence for its authority, Let them not be too ready to forget the friendly intercourse in which he lived with the amiable and pious Lardner, of his great affection and esteem for whom, his letters contain a striking tes. timony. Let pastors and congregations alike remember, that when some narrow minds in his society would have excluded from the rights of Christian communion, an Arian believer, it was he who interposed a firm and steady resistance to the altempt, declaring himself ready to sacrifice his place and even his life, rather than suffer such a stigma to be cast upon one wbose Christian character pone could assail. Let it be im. pressed on his successors in the schools of the prophets, that no opinions which his pupils found reason to adopt, however remote from his own, produced any diminution of his assistance and kind regard, as his biographer Dr. Kippis has gratefully testified. If the wish were not altogether chimerical, we could desire to see all our schools of sacred instruction, committed to the care of men, if indeed so many could be found, altogether such as Doddridge in temper, character, and, we are willing to add, even opinions. Tbat the interests of piety and charity would triumphantly flourish under such protection, will be readily conceded by all. And after the statement which has now been made, your readers will think it requires no spirit of prophecy, to discern the results which would follow in regard to those also of knowledge and truth.
ON FARMER'S HYPOTHESIS RESPECTING OUR LORD'S TEMP.
Mr. Editor, The following remarks were thrown together upon being requested by a
friend to lend him Dr. Farmer's Essay on the Temptation. They are submitted to you with the hope of your approval, by Yours, &c.
PRILALETHES. My Dear Friend,
THOUGH Dr. Farmer's dissertation on our Saviour's Temptation is ingenions, and discovers a sincere desire to attain and support the truth, yet as it does not appear to me to proceed upon just principles, I will suggest some thoughts which occurred to me in the perusal of it, and afterwards mention an exposition of the account of the Temptation, which seems to my judgment less exceptionable.
I have nothing to object to his first and second sections, in which he remarks on the common wodes of explanation ; he has indeed very well refuted them ; but in his third section, he attempts to shew that by the words, “ Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness,” Matt. iv, 1. the evangelist means to intimate that the events subsequently described took place in vision. This does not seem a very natural mode of interpretation; and by comparing this passage with others in which the same phrase occurs, we may find, I think, a more probable signification ; for instance, Isaiah xlviii. 16. “ The Lord God and bis Spirit hath sent me;" Luke, iv. 18. spirit of the Lord is upon me ;" i.e. I am under a divine in. fluence, I am sent by God. In like manner, I cannot but think it was the intention of the evangelist to signify merely that our eviour was led into the wilderness by a divine inpuise. That the Jews did not use the phrase "in the spirit," to signify in vision, seems to be proved by Ezekiel xi. 24. “ Afterwards the spirit took me up, and brought me in vision by the spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity." In vision is here added to the spirit, and by the spirit of God. These phrases therefore alone do not signify in vision. *
Dr. Farmer adds, that it was a vision presented by God; and, as the evangelists declare, and the whole narration plain ly indicates, that there was an actual and real temptation, he would stand liable to the charge of saying that the Almighty tempted, his beloved Son; but to escape from this, he urges that it was an instructive and symbolical vision. Sec. 4. This is an idea which, to say the least, the evangelists do not suggest, and it seems to me to be in opposition to their meaning. They all say that it was a scene, not of instruction or of prophetic communication, but of temptation, and nothing else. How does it appear that instruction of any sort was conveyed to Jesus? He was left to himself, he answered from his own mind the suggestions and instigations of the evil one. Com pare this scene with the vision of Peter, Acts x. 9-16, the object of which was to convey a moral lesson. We see the use of this from the error into which Peter fell, and which was immediately corrected by the voice from heaven. But Jesus fell into no error, and, as far as 'appears, received no instruction. “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Another objection to Dr. Farmer's theory, is the agency by which he supposes the instruction to be conveyed. He does not, to be sure, maintain the actual presence of Satan, but he
conjectures that our Saviour saw him in vision; that is, be sup. poses Christ to have seen an image of what I conceive never existed. I do not intend to give elaborately the arguments against the existence and agency of the Devil, but I will just bint at some of the reasons which induce me to regard the doctrine as false. First, the unreasonableness and apparent absurdity of supposing that there is a being able to cope with, and even to thwart Omnipotence itself. This, I grant, would weigh but little against the express declarations of Scripture, but I think it may be easily shewn that the idea has originated from an abuse of the language of tbe bible. Satan, in the He. brew, means nothing more than an adversary, or opponent, and so it is frequently translated. Thus Numbers xxii. 22. “The angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary to Balaam.” Satan in the original. Thus it is rendered likeris in 1 Kings xi. 14. 23. 25. Compare also 1 Chron. xxi. i. with 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. In one of these places the anger of the Lord, and in the other, the instigation of Satan, is referred to as the cause of the same effect. In the New Testament, Satan is said to have entered into Judas, John xiii. 27 ; and Peter says to Ananias, “Why hath Satan entered into thine heart," Acts v. 3. What can be the meaning of these passages, unless we suppose Satan to mean evil intentions, or bad passions ?
Great stress is laid upon the unclean spirits or devils, so often mentioned in the gospels. By these I think are meant diseases of various kinds, which were supposed by the Jews of that age, to be owing to possession by devils. A spirit of unclean. ness, or an unclean spirit, was used by them in the same manner as a spirit of infirinity.* Luke xiii. 11. 12.
This doctrine, which has arisen from a misconception of the language, seems to me to be in direct opposition to ihe spirit of the holy Scriptures. Nothing can be more explicitly contradicted than is this doctrine, which savours so strongly of Magianism, by Isaiah xlv. 7. “ I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil, I the Lord do all these things ;” and by Amos iii. B. “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath done it ? St. James says, i. 13. 14. “ Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust.” A strong and almost necessary inference from this passage is, that our own corrupt hearts, our own vicious inclinations, are the only tempters to whose influence we are exposed, the only adversaries to God and holiness to whose power we are subjected. From these passages, we may infer that the apostles and evangelists merely adopted the popular phraseology of their times, without intending to imply any assent, or give any confirmation to the doctrine, which, in its literal meaning, this language supposes.
* See Lardner's Discourses on the Dæmoniacs mentioned in the N. T.
But whether the personal existence of the Devil be believed or not, the theory which supposes his agency in this transaction, either real or visionary, must still be regarded as equally faulty. For how is it possible to believe that such a being as Satan could offer temptation to our Lord? Who can suppose that even the weakest and most worthless of men could listen, with any
other feelings than those of horror and aversion, to proposals regarded as proceeding immediately from Satan, whether really appearing in a bodily shape, or whether only imagined thus to appear. It is necessary, therefore, either to give up the idea of ihe personal appearance of Satan, whether in reality or in vision, or to contradict the assertion of the sacred historians, who declare that this transaction was properly a temptation. Dr. Farmer seems somewhat perplexed between these alternatives, and unsuccessfully attempts to shew that the objection, the weight of which he allows with respect to the common mode of interpretation, does not apply to bis. He, at one moment, regards this scene as an actual temptation, and at another, as designed to convey prophetic and moral instruction. This produces a confusion and want of simplicity, which is another important objection to his system.
The reasons, then, which oblige me to regard bis theory as erroneous, are, 1. that there is nothing in the evangelists to justify bis supposition that the scene took place in vision; on the contrary, every thing indicates that it was, in some way or other, a real transaction; 2. that there is nothing which looks like a design to convey instruction, whether prophetic or moral; that none was either needed or given ; 3. that neither reason nor scripture authorizes the belief of the existence of any evil principle like our idea of Satan, and it is therefore unreasonable to suppose that God would produce a visionary representation of such a being; 4. that he could possess no power of tempting our Lord, either in his own person, or in a visionary representation; 5. that there is a great want of simplicity and perspicuity in Dr. Farmer's manner of explaining the narrative.
I will now propose what seems to me a preferable mode of ex position. I suppose that Jesus, immediately after bis baptism, being full of the holy spirii, was led by a divine influence to the wilderness. It is natural and easy to conjecture that he spent the forty days in prayer, meditation, and direct com. New Series-vol. I.