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them. But surely something more than a helm is neces. sary to those who would cross the pathless deserts of the deep. If Mr. G. were turned adrift, a hundred leagues from land, when neither sun nor stars appear, without a chart, without a compass, and without a pilot, he would find that a helm alone is but a useless thing; and would well enough exemplify the folly and madness of those philosophical theologians who make Divine revelation bow before human reason. Or, if he would condescend to embark with those who understand the art of spiritual navi. gation a little better than himself
, he might probably learn that while Socinian landmen throw their charts overboard, and nail their compass down to the point on which they have resolved to steer because their helmsman is a lubber, the orthodox mariners learn the course which they are to steer, only from their chart; use their compass to direct them on the course which is thus prescribed, and oblige their helmsman, though “a seaman every inch of him," to steer, not according to his own whims, but according to the directions of their pilot.
It is not “precisely” the same thing to assert that reason is the “ rule” by which reason, the “ judge,” must try the spirits ;” or that it is the “ touchstone of every doctrine" by which this “supreme umpire” is, " in every difficulty and doubt,” to decide. Mr. G. has made a gross mistake in calling St. John as an evidence of the propriety of making reason “ the touchstone of every doctrine." “ Beloved,” says the apostle, “ believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Thus he makes reason the “judge” in this question, but by no means the “ touchstone” by which it is to be tried. He gives us a scriptural test, and teaches us to bring every doctrine to the touchstone of revealed truth. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth
. that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God," 1 John iv, 1-3.
That “neither Jesus Christ nor his apostles rejected reason” as the judge, we readily grant. And this, as the slightest examination of Mr. G.'s quotations will show, is all that he has proved. Who but himself would have
thought that Jesus Christ taught us to appeal from the Scriptures to the “ touchstone” of reason, when, on a subject of pure revelation, he said to the Jews, “Search the Scriptures, for in them
ye have eternal life; and they (not reason) are they which testify of me?" John v, 39. Èqually distant from the point to be proved is the text which he has cited from St. Paul, and which, taken in connection with the context, runs thus : “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ,” 1 Cor. x, 14-16. Here the apostle appeals, not to reason, but to the institution and design of the Lord's supper, which is a doctrine of pure revelation. Unless, therefore, Mr. G. can prove that grounding an argument on the infallible testimony of divine revelation is the same thing as to submit the doctrine of revelation to the “ touchstone” of reason, he will gain nothing. Once more, however, let us hear him on this point. He seems to think the question decided by that saying of St. Paul, “ Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Without supposing it necessary to make
any alteration in the translation, may it not be asked, How does it appear from hence, that the apostle teaches the Corinthians to try the doctrines of Scripture by the “ touchstone" of human reason? or that he would have the full persuasion which he recommends, to be the result of argumentation, rather than of a more perfect knowledge of what is required by the word of God? While Mr. G. answers this question, we proceed to remark that St. Paul is speaking of the observance of Jewish festivals ; a point this, on which revelation only could decide. And the apostle chose rather to inculcate brotherly affection than to encounter the harmless prejudices of either of the parties in this dispute. Some persons, in conformity with the context, make a slight alteration in the translation, and read the whole passage thus: “Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up; for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another : another esteemeth every day alike. Let every
one (εν τω ιδιω νοι πληροφορεισθω) abound in his owth sense;" for it is a matter of pure indifference. 6 He that regardeth the day regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it,” Rom. xiv, 4-6.
The fallacy of this common Socinian argument lies in the confusion of the terms. Mr. G. has heaped together the words “judge” and “rule," "umpire" and "touchstone,” and fancies that because he has proved reason to be the proper "judge,” he has equally proved that, in opposition to the divine testimony, reason is also the “ touchstone" of truth. Such is the infallibility of Soci- . nian reason!
It is now our turn to appeal to the authority of the sacred writers. The following citations will be more than enough to prove
that in matters of religion mere human wisdom is folly ; that it is an obstacle to the wisdom which cometh from above; that the wisdom taught by reason ought to give place to that which is taught by revelation ; and that to mingle human wisdom with the wisdom of God, is like blending darkness with light, or poison with our food.
“ Christ sent me to preach the gospel; not with wis. dom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us who are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe ? where is the disputer of this world ? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom ; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not
many wise men after the flesh ; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise,"
" that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wis. dom, &c., that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wis. dom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught. But we speak the wisdom of God, in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew ; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth; but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. For who hath known the mind of the Lord; that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ,” i Cor. i, ii. “ Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak," James i, 16, 17, 19. « Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, He taketh the wise in their
own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men," 1 Cor. iii, 18–21. " Let God be true, but every man a liar : as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged,” Rom. iii, 4. “To the law, and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Isa. viii, 20. "Foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes,” 2 Tim. ii, 23. Charge them before the Lord, that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker," 2 Tim. ii, 14–17. Charge some that they teach no other doctrine," 1 Tim. i, 3. “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doc. trine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof come perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth: from such withdraw thyself," 1 Tim. vi, 3-5. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain bab. blings, and oppositions of science, falsely so called, which some professing, have erred concerning the faith,” 1 Tim. vi, 20. “Because that when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise they became fools," Rom. i, 21, 22. “ For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say,
lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit,