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The Nonconformist. No. XXVI.
5 wbom Alonso the Wise, himself an Manichæans, who, by their zeal to Estrologer and adept, may be proposed extirpate these dangerous intimacies, as the model and perfection. With adınitted their power to influence the these subjects were naturally asso- temporal and spiritual fortunes of ciated those arts of magic and dæmo- mankind. The South of France was Bology, which bear strong traces of accordingly early and long the chosen their Oriental origin.
seat of all witchcraft and magical opela considering the theological cha- rations, and many fell victims to the racter of the being or beings by whose rage which seemed every where to exinfidence, and by alliances with whom pect that the Devil's kingdom was it was supposed that the laws of the sure soon to be uppermost, unless his Creator of the universe might be con- subjects were most vigorously put troaled, the current superstitions will down. The same spirit seems to have be better understood, when we consider dictated the charges on this head the prevalence of those opinions on which were brought against the Temthe nature and power of the principle plars. of evil, in which many sects, both of It is rather singular, that the belief Mahometan and Christian Orientalists in communion with the evil spirit, concurred.
magical incantations and witchcraft Neither the opposing principle of should have survived, nay, have acevil, as recognized by the Islamite and quired for a time deeper influence over the Christian Manichæan, nor that the inind, from the Reformation. But, with which the forbidden alliances of perhaps, this is ascribable (in the same the middle ages were supposed to be way, as we shall hereafter observe, entered into as a constantly active concerning several matters of opinion belligerent power, seem, in inany re- which, from being speculative, became spects, to coincide with the theologi. then dogmatic), to the new light in cal Lucifer. It is true, that, in the which men began to consider opinions popular mythology of much remoter and prejudices, which had been too times, in the heathen days of Europe, deeply rooted in the popular creed to the principle of evil, as a fatality, as be at once discarded. Luther admitted an almost equally-balanced existence and enforced the belief of the existof conflicting power, seems every ence and constantly active energies where a predominant article of belief; of an evil principle, though by disbut the perfect and scientific character carding all the legendary speculations, afterwards given to the operations of on which it had long been founded, the same principle, seems to be the he recognized it merely under the product of the conjoined efforts of the character of the theological Satan, and Talmudist, Gnostic and Mahometan gave it a dogmatic weight and solemspeculators, in the schools where un- nity, by basing it on scriptural authobounded licence of inquiry was encou- rity. In this light, the persecution raged. From these arose the laboured, of dealers in black arts was as perseWiredrawn treatises on spiritual and veringly and unrelentingly pursued by dæmoniacal essences and intelligences, professors of the Reformed faith, as and the systems of popular tactics, on even in darker ages, by those who which was to be carried on the un. had handled the same subject as one Ceasing combat between the two prin- of a more speculative character. There ciples which they represented. was a species of joviality attached to As might have been expected, the the older popular demons, to the countries most exposed to the influ- pucks, swart-elves and goblins, the ence of Hispan-Arabic opinions, were bogles, nekkers and nixes, who vexed the first to be singled out as the sub- and crossed the victims of their wayjects of persecution, as soon as the ward antics. This disappeared with jealousy of the church was awakened. the Reformation ; but the principle of The Albigeois were acknowledged as controul over the benevolent agency Janichæans; and it was a short step of Providence was still admitted, and to charge them with unholy alliances all its operations transferred to the with the power whose active energies account of the Devil and Antichrist. they were supposed most heretically In more important theological opi. to admit, though it seemed to be for- nions, Europe has been greatly affected gotten that those became the real by the direction given to its studies,
and to the cultivation of the human the European schoolmen are intimind, by the Moorish schools. The mately connected with, many of them scholastic philosophy is almost exclu- educated in, the Spanish schools ; at sively derived froin thence. I need the head of whom, in order of time not observe, that the philosophy of and influence we inay, perhaps, place Aristotle was early and ardently em- Gerbert, afterwards Sylvester II. Even braced by the schools of Bagdad and so late as the age of Petrarch we find Spain, and gave birth to those subtle from him, that the learned exalted metaphysical reasonings, which scan- Averroes above the Christian fathers dalized many of the more orthodox in no very courteous terms: “ Utibelievers, and produced an infinite nam te Averroem pati posses, ut videres variety of sects, who disputed on all quanto ille tuis his nugatoribus major the intricacies of predestination, li- sit.” berty, free grace, necessity, &c. The The adoption of the scholastic phiMahometan doctors had, most conve. losophy, by the Dominican and Franniently for the peace of their church, ciscan brotherhoods, comtemplated its an adınirable plan of preventing ascendancy throughout the whole cirschism, by at once declaring the field cle of European literature; but still of these controversies neutral ground, we find the church and many of her and thus allowing space for their most more wary sons protesting against the ardent spirits to expatiate, without latitude assumed by these inquirers, coming into collision with the essen- who, on the other hand, not being tials of its faith. Among them we allowed, (as the Mahometan pbilosohear of such things as orthodox secte. phers had wisely been, under similar In this way, too, the union with Jew circumstances,) to treat these subjects and Christian believers, in the prose- as neutral ground, sometimes denied cution of similar inquiries, was greatly the tendency of the latitude claimed, facilitated. Points of difference were and at other times boldly inet the avoided, and we have the singular Biblicists, as they were called, and spectacle, which these ages afforded, sought to establish a distinction beof the most hostile sects pursuing the tween reason and revelation, contend. deepest theological speculations in per- ing that tenets, which were philoso. fect unity, and Christian doctors, open- phically true, might still, with perfect ly educated in Mahometan schools, consistency, be theologically false, or writing on the subjects, and professing contrary to the orthodox faith. the opinions, there discussed and in- In pointing at the coincidence between culcated. There is, I believe, now no the theological pursuits of the Araquestion that the whole system of the bian and the scholastic systems, and schoolmen is to be found in the spe- the consequent probability that the culations of the Mahometan metaphy- one was indebted to the other, I do sicians and commentators. Even the not mean to assert that the same sub. precise dispute, which so long agitated jects had not agitated the controver. the European schools, between the sialists of the Latin Church before the * contending sects of Nominalists and proper age of the schoolmen. As Realists, is stated and discussed by AJ early as the 9th century, in the days Gazel.
of John Erigena and 'Hincmar, the The original scholasticism of the same subjects were the occasion of Arabian schools required little or no eager controversy (though Anselm, accommodation to the specific objects in the 11th century, is called the first of the Christian. Their doctrines on metaphysician since the days of Authe Divine Being and his attributes, gustin); but it is to be observed, that observes Denina, on Grace, Free this was the precise æra when the Will, Human Actions, Virtue and freest intercourse with the Mahometan Vice, Predestination, Eternal Punish- Universities was established. In tracment and Heaven, even the very ing the history of the scholastic philotitles of the works of the Arabians sophy, it would be difficult to deny and the schoolmen on these subjects that many of its branches were cultiare so similar, that one cannot doubt vated in the form of comments and that the one was copied from the reasonings from Boethius and St. other. Indeed, some of the names Augustin, before the Aristotelian phiwhich stand foremost in the ranks of losophy came into vogue ; but it is
The Nonconformist. No. XXVI.
7 tertainly true that the scholastic sys- Reformers checked. We are not to ten owes all its perfection and scien- look to the Reformers as immediately the establishment to the Arabian introducing any great extension of schools, and this fact is sufficient for freedom of inquiry on those religious by purpose. It must further be ad- subjects, at least, which had not been sitted to me, that a principal branch considered as immediately essential to of the studies thus brought into vogue, the interests of the church. The peconsisted of the theological specula- culiar doctrines which they enforced, tions in question, and the popular im- may all of them be said to belong to portance of the latter would certainly the schoolmen; and, of course, (if be greatly increased by such a con- the origin of that school is correctly Derion, if they did owe their existence placed,) primarily to the Arabian Unito it,
versities. Instead of increasing the However absurd many of the spe- freedom with which these points were culations of the schoolmen, it is im- to be canvassed, the immediate effect possible to refuse them their utility of the Reformation was to limit the is exercising the human mind, in pre- boundary, (at least so far as the church paring it for more serious investiga- itself was considered,) and it will be tions, and, above all, in stimulating it difficult to say, that the peculiar docto resistance to the shackles which it trines which it made essential to salwas the tendency of the Papal govern- vation, and based on scriptural authoment to impose. If the scholastic rity, had not a contracting influence reasoners had only given rise to the on the mind. Biblicists, (who laboured, and in the It is true, that some of the Reend effectually, to expose their sophis- formers, in the difficulty which they tries, and draw the mind to nobler might well feel in warranting their objects,) they would have deserved peculiar dogmas from the Scriptures, sorte gratitude at our hands. The professed to found much on the auorthodox Biblicists little thought that, thority of St. Augustin, preferring a in vindicating the Scriptures as the test Christian father to a Mahometan docof theological and moral truth, they tor or his scholastic disciples : and if were laying the foundation for heresy these Reformers had been the first much more dangerous to the church, broachers of the opinions they so zealthan could have been brought upon ously enforced, as essentials to salvait by those who were content to give tion, and had not merely adopted docoutward submission to its authority, trines which had been for many ages in exchange for free liberty to pursue the common subject of discussion in their subtle disputations in nonessen- the schools, ive might have overlooked tials.
the intermediate progress of opinion, The cultivation of the scholastic and admitted, that the doctrines now tæte, however, continued to the æra broached arose from actual investigaof the Reformation. Hus3 was a zeal- tion, and early Christian authority, ous Realist, Luther a Nominalist. however obscurely developed. At Immediately previous to this epoch, it present there seems no reason why met a powerful corrective in the re- the Motazalite sectary should not at vival of Greek learning; and a bene- least equally share the credit of them feial result would doubtless (indepen- with the Christian father. dently of the actual Reformation) have The distinction between the tenets shewn itself in the formation of minds held by Luther and his followers, and who would have extracted the inarrow the same opinions in the months of of the ancient “philosophy, illus- the Arabians and schoolmen, seems trated it by the aids of genuine litera- only to be, that the latter had treated ture, and the rules of good criticism, them merely as matters of philosophic and corrected it by the dictates of right speculation ; the former warranted reason, and the doctrines and principles thetn solely from Scripture, and thereof true religion.” Even if the Ger- by gave them a deeper, and, if erroman Reformation had not broken out, neous, a more pernicious influence. this collision must have etablished, in In this view, the good effects of the the bosom of the church, a liberal, Reformation are to be sought not in enlightened and eclectic spirit, which, its immediate results, not in the suin many respects, the violence of the periority or originality of the dogimnas
which it delighted to inculcate, but in brethren to lay this phraseology aside. the principle which it cherished, to be But what is the just conclusion to in time the destroyer of its own ab- which we are led by the absence of surdities, and in the recognition of this phraseology from the sacred vobiblical authority as the ultimate ar- lume, contrasted with its prevalence gument, which, when falsely applied, in the dialect of modern Christians ? might, for a while, only sanctify and That the views, of which it is the nagive weight to error, but must in the tural expression, were not the views end complete its work, in overturning of the sacred writers. The same the systems of those who brought it ideas will and must give rise to the into operation.
same language; and no stronger arThe early Biblicists who stood for- gument can be brought to prove that ward, perhaps in a bad cause, and to two persons do not think alike on any support the dogmatic corruptions of topic than that when treating of this the church, were the persons whose topic they do not speak alike. And efforts first led the way to the over- it will appear incredible to any man, throw of that fabric which they sought who is at all acquainted with the conto protect, and their successors have, stitution of the human mind, that if in like manner, furnished a corrective the apostles had regarded the death of for the absurdity of their creed, in the Christ as the procuring cause of every very authority on which they sought spiritual blessing, they should never to place it, and in the testimony of have adopted that phraseology which the witnesses by whom they intended is so frequently in the mouth of every to give it a more durable existence. Christian who holds this doctrine. I
E. T. know that the mere sound of one text
of Scripture will weigh, with the geSIR,
nerality of Christians, more than fifty VALER TALCKENAER, in his Scholæ on negative arguments, not less convin
the first Epistle to the Corin- cing than that which has now been thians, p. 153, thus renders part of stated; but to an impartial man who the last verse of the fourth chapter of possesses comprehension of mind to the Epistle to the Ephesians Ama- estimate the force of such arguments, biles et gratiosos vos exhibete inter this reasoning will appear to fall little vos invicem, sicuti Deus in Christo short of demonstration.* But this is sese vobis exhibuit gratiæ plenum. It not the only instance in which our is, indeed, well known that the Com- orthodox brethren confute themselves, mon Version is wrong; but the au. by deviating from the language of thority of Valckenaer is not without Scripture. When they talk of God its value, as his orthodoxy will not be the Son and God the Holy Ghost, called in question, and his profound when they speak of an infinite satisskill in Greek is the just admiration of faction made to infinite justice for the the literary world. But when this sins of mankind, when they speak of verse is properly translated, there re- God as being reconciled to the world mains no passage in the Christian by Jesus Christ, &c. &c., they speak Scriptures in which God is said to as Scripture never speaks. And why? bestow any blessing on mankind for the sake of Christ. Whence, then, did this expression intrude itself into * This reasoning applies to every view the Received Version of the New Tes. which has been taken of the doctrine of tament, and whence has it found its the Atonement. Whether Christ be supway into the ordinary language of posed to have paid a full satisfaction to professing Christians ? The answer is the offended justice of God, or by his at hand, because it naturally arises obedience and death to have vindicated out of the views which have been en
the honour of the Divine government, tertained of the end proposed and given, in either case sin may be said to
so that siu may, with propriety, be foreffected by the mediation of Christ. Ve forgiven on account of what he has It flows from the orthodox doctrine done and suffered, in other words, for his of the Atonement, as the stream from sake. And if the apostles never used its fountain ; and I am much mis- this language, the obvious conclusion is, taken if any force of criticism or of that they did not entertain the views of argument could induce our Calvinistic which this language is the symbol.
a explain a
Mr. Luckcock on the Birmingham Sunday-Schools.
9 Because they think as the writers of the New Testament, and an hypothesis the New Testament never thought. so abhorrent to reason as (previously Much as they reproach their theolo- to all inquiry) to afford no small pregical adversaries with wresting the de- sumption of its falsehood. And grantclarations of Scripture from their ob- ing that it would explain some pasrious meaning, they themselves use sages in the volume, there are many a phraseology, inseparable indeed from others (to say nothing of the general their system, but which is no where tenor and spirit of the book) to to be found in the sacred volume; which it stands manifestly and dia-, and a phraseology which, were they to metrically opposed. cease to use, their doctrine, I verily When I said that the Calvinistic beliere, would not long survive its system is abhorrent to reason, I said distuse. They make it their constant nothing more than what is acknowboast that their views of Christianity ledged by some of its advocates, who are conveyed in the New Testament vehemently object to reason as an from beginning to end, as though their arbiter in matters of religion. But doctrines were there expressed with reason is like nature, expellas furcâ, the same clearness with which they tamen usque recurret. It
indeed are sometimes expressed in their own be misemployed, but employed it will creeds and confessions; and it never be. Calvinists themselves reason in seeins to occur to them that their behalf of their doctrine, though, in system (granting for a moment that it my judgment, they reason ill. Their is not unscriptural) is laid down in system is deduced from Scripture by to part of the sacred volume as a reasoning, though reason impartially connecterl scheme, and that no one exercised will never find it there. Reaarticle of it is promulgated in terms son, indeed, we must, if we wish to which do not at least admit of a dif. reconcile the sacred volume with itself. ferent interpretation. And yet their Otherwise, we may believe any thing doetrine is capable of being laid down, and every thing; as there is no docand is laid down by themselves, in lan- trine which certain passages of Scripguage which no inan can misunder. ture, detached from their connexion, stand. For instance, that all mankind will not appear to support. were sentenced to everlasting misery in
E. COGAN. consequence of the sin of their first parents, is a proposition, the terms of
Birmingham, which are perfectly intelligible. And SIR,
December 6, 1822. it would have been as easy for an man, to have stated this proposition nagement and success of the Sundayin language which would have equally Schools belonging to the Old and New precluded mistake and evasion. And Meeting Societies in this town; and if the belief of the Calvinistic doctrine each such request subjecting me to a s essential to our future happiness, lengthened detail in writing of partithe least that we might have expected culars, which even leisure itself would would have been, that it should be rather avoid, I beg leave to trouble clearly defined in that volume which you with the insertion of the following is intended to make us wise unto sal- proposal in your liberal Miscellany. ration, and not be left to be inferred Some time ago, I published a statefrom it byahe interpretations of falli- ment of the establishment and proble men. The orthodox divine, in- gress of the said institution, with the deed, will tell us that his interpretations display of its laws and management, of Scripture are obvious and certain, together with a few lectures prepared and can be rejected only by a mind for and delivered to the youths therewhich is perversely and wilfully blind with connected, under the title of to the truth. So says the Catholic ; “ Moral Culture.” [See Mon Repos. and so, if he pleased, the Unitarian XIII. 767.] This contains all the sight say too. But who is to judge general information in my power to between them? In truth, the whole give, as it was not intended to enter Cakinistic system is neither more nor into the minutiæ of the arrangements, less than an hypothesis to explain à but rather to exhibit such an outline certain phraseology which is found in as would be better filled up by the VOL, XVIII.