Imatges de pÓgina

our faith, in which the weapons of our Christian warfare are kept bright and fit for use,-in which the sacred shields are hung up,-on which the ensign of Him we serve is displayed, and in which the holy fire is kept burning:-and great was my disappointment on finding, that to the public at least, it appeared to have been surrendered as untenable. I considered myself incompetent to the task, and shrank from the undertaking, until a principle of duty silenced every objection.

A lady of great respectability, as eminent for character as for rank, resident within my benefice, sent me his Grace's pamphlet, along with extracts from other authors on the same side of the question, and requested my opinion. That was a call which I was bound to answer to the best of my ability, and for that call I am grateful,—and in obedience to it I laid his Grace's opinions to the square and plummet of scripture: I weighed his arguments in the balance of divine truth; and I found his opinions and arguments utterly irreconcileable with scripture and truth: and having found enough to convince myself, I felt it my duty to lay the grounds of my conviction before the public.

Untrained in controversy, I have endeavoured to assume and feel the character of a sober and diligent inquirer after truth. I have laboured to divest my mind of every prejudice or favourite prepossession, and to approach the subject as new, and impartially to sift the arguments on both sides of the question proposed. I have used all diligence in making myself acquainted with the subject. Like many controversial writers, I have read only the authors on one side; but, unlike most, I have read only those who are opposed to the opinion which I espouse, and at the other side I have read one only book;-but that book, the Bible. I have carefully considered his Grace's arguments; I have studiously examined all the authors he has quoted, as well

as all others which I could procure, who had written on the same side of the question: but I set out with a determination to try those arguments by scripture alone, and to eschew all human authority. I have also determined not to slur over, or pass by, or conceal, a single argument which I have met with on the other side, but fairly and candidly to lay them all before my readers.

I have found, and the discovery confirmed me in my resolution to prosecute the inquiry,—that the question is to be decided by an accurate, close, and minute examination of scripture; and that human learning is no farther concerned, than so far as it may be useful to elucidate the true meaning of divine revelation, and to interpret difficult passages of scripture, the obscurity of which sometimes arises from imperfect translation. In general, therefore, my proofs shall be such as every diligent reader of the Bible, who endeavours to read under the influence of that Holy Spirit who has promised to lead him into all truth, can understand. And therefore I earnestly intreat all those who may have the patience to read these pages, to have the sacred book of revelation open before them, and diligently to examine those passages of scripture which I shall quote. My quotations must necessarily be large, for they are the evidences on whose testimony the question is to be decided: but to the lover of divine wisdom, which is of more value than fine gold, and sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb, I need make no apology for the largeness of my quotations, or the minuteness of my disquisitions upon them. There is the same difference between the word of inspiration and human learning, as is observable between the works of nature and those of art. When lately present at an exhibition of the wonderfully magnifying powers of the gas microscope, I was forcibly struck with an observation to this effect, made by the exhibitor, on the different

appearance of the works of nature and of art when powerfully magnified. The microscope magnified some millions of times. He showed the point of the wing of a butterfly, and the tongue of a horsefly, magnified to dimensions twelve feet long, still perfect in workmanship, exquisite in symmetry, and beautiful in finish; while the finest cambric appeared as a rude and rustic reticulation of reeds. In like manner, no human composition can bear a very close examination; but divine revelation, the more closely examined the more excellent it appears: all is order, and beauty, and harmony, and proportion, and symmetry, and perfection.



FINDING myself thus unavoidably engaged in controversy with an elder of our church, a master of our Israel, I wish to pay all due respect to his rank, his talents, his amiable qualities, and his kind disposition. And I trust that his candid mind and good sense will distinguish between the respect which I wish to pay to his person and office, and the freedom with which I shall treat his opinions and arguments. They also shall be treated according to their own merits and rank, and not according to those of their author.

I heartily sympathise with his Grace's feelings and expressions of condemnation of the unworthy methods which have been resorted to in opposing his pamphlet by abuse instead of argument. The following are his Grace's words : (Page 24 :)—' Such being at least my own persuasion, and the duty of observing the Lord's-day being admitted, while

the only question is as to the grounds of the observance, it might have been expected that this question might have been discussed without acrimonious violence; especially when it is considered how little (if any) censure was incurred by Dr. Paley, who decidedly denies the obligation of the fourth commandment, in a work which is used as a text-book in one of our universities. But some cause or other, which did not operate in his case, has, in the present, excited in several writers such a violence of opposition, as has led them even to misrepresent my views. I regret this, for the credit of the christian name; though it is so far satisfactory, as affording a presumption, that what I really have maintained, is not open, even in the judgment of adversaries, to any valid objection.'

We have seen the evil of this acrimonious violence,' and 'violence of opposition,' when unaccompanied by argument. It injures the cause in which it is used; it is an indication. of weakness, and gives his Grace plausible grounds for converting it into a confession of his adversaries, that his opinions are not open to any valid objection :-" The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." But while I join his Grace in condemning such an empty, noisy, and offensive mode of controversy, I must dissent from his considering the question as to the grounds of the observance,' as a secondary consideration. The primary, and indeed

the entire, question rests upon the grounds, viz., whether those grounds be divine or human authority. His Grace places the observance on the authority of the church; I hope to place it upon divine authority.

With as little justice has his Grace been accused of broaching new doctrines, and publishing novel opinions: with the exception of one or two trifling arguments, there is nothing new in his little book: the same opinions and arguments have been adopted and used, I lament to say it,

by eminent and learned divines. But because I thus defend his Grace from the charge of novelty, do I mean to represent him as faultless? By no means. His pamphlet is calculated to do much mischief, and has already done mischief. I regret that a publication on so momentous a subject has been put forth with so little consideration. He has given a meagre sketch of the arguments of others: he has taken the question up hastily, and treated it superficially. I say hastily, for he does not appear to have carefully tried it by the standard of scripture; during his rapid review he does not seem to have opened the sacred volume: he quotes erroneously, from defective memory: he has not consulted the English Bible to determine the words, or the Hebrew or Greek to ascertain the meaning.

I say also that he has treated it superficially. He has not made the most of the question; he has dressed up a slender figure, with which it is difficult to grapple; he has not clothed it with the nervous muscles and sinews of Heylyn and Bramhall. The strong arguments which he has omitted I must borrow from his able allies, and lend to his Grace, to give the subject sufficient bulk to aim at, and sufficient strength to wrestle with.

I grieve to say, that his Grace's opinion has been supported by eminent men, whose names are inscribed upon the polished pillars of our church,-Heylyn, Barrow, Taylor, Bramhall, Baxter, Mede, giants in learning, who could singly, and with ease, lift from the press the massy ponderous folio, which two hundred of our modern degenerate pamphleteers could not compile with their united exertions. But those great geniuses were fond of great paradoxes. Those giants were too much raised above the objects levelwith common eyes. They could not look at any subject without putting on their powerfully magnifying glasses, which often gave them a false view of what our Creator

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