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wooden verses of modern art; or overload the simplest history in the world, whose whole character depends on this simplicity, with invented beauties ; so that the silence shall break out into speech, and the husbandman shall talk like a warrior, and the poor family scene shall become a rich epic exhibition ; every thing is immediately revolting, and nature and truth are lost. A quietness should pervade the very reading of these books ; a sort of morning stillness; and a youthful simplicity becomes it the best. It is remarkable how readily children read or hear any thing of such a kind; and in the same manner do you read and retain these narratives. Luther
says of himself, that when he was a monk he could not understand why God would have all this domestic prattle in his bible : but when he became a husband and a father, he learned to understand it, and commented on the first book of Moses almost to the day of his death. Statesmen and mere men of learning, and fastidious corrupted minds, are continually mistaking this book; and some of them have heaped together a great deal of absurdity about it: I rejoice that you are not among the number. Read this, as well as the other parts of the Bible, rather avoiding learned commentaries, and seeking their aid only in difficult and unintelligible passages. The best commentary is to read, in travels through the East, of the life of the Scenites, their customs and manners; and from these argue up to those older times of innocence and strength. Jerusalem's “Considerations" and Letters on Moses," as also Delany's* dissertations upon particular points of this history, are guides to a closer acquaintance with individual passages and situations.
We proceed in this number to the examination of those texts in which the appellation, God, is commonly, and as we think, erroneously, understood to be applied to Christ
. Those which stand foremost, as well for their intrinsic difficulty, as for the importance assigned to them by Trinitarians, are found in the introduction of St. John's gospel. We are not sure that the explanation which we think satisfactory will approve itself to those who are not conversant with theological discussions, or that we
*“ Revelation examined with candour." · Vol, 1.
can make ourselves perfectly intelligible to them upon this much agitated passage. We shall attempt, however to be perspicuous and brief.
In order to understand the meaning of the apostle in these texts, some knowledge is requisite of the philosophical theology, not of the poor who first believed the gospel which was preached unto them, but of those who embraced Christianity at a somewhat later period, who were deeply infected with the pride and the prejudices of a heathen philosophy, and who laboured to assimilate and incorporate into each other, things so very unlike in their nature as Christianity and Platonism, or Gnosticism. It is necessary to know, that there were some who called themselves Christians, and who thought themselves philosophers, who held as a part at once of their religious and philosophical tenets, that there was a class of beings possessed of distinct and separate existence, which were, to use something like their language, emanations from the Supreme Being; and some, who esteeming matter a source of evil alone, and intending to honour their master, denied that he had a body, and asserted that he took upon him merely the semblance of one. They gave the names of logos, light, life, and many such, to individuals of this class of existences, and traced their descent one from another in endless genealogies, which were very probably those which were reproved by St Paul, and which certainly deserved to be styled "prophane and vain babbling, and oppositions of science falsely so called." Those Christians who held such opinions as we have here mentioned, were called Gnostics ; but there were others, who without going into all the extravagancies of this sect, agreed with them in regarding the Logos as a being distinct from God, and in confounding the character and properties of this being, with the person of Jesus Christ. These were the Platonists.
A knowledge of these facts will serve to explain, and we think this alone will point out, in what manner the apostle was led to that remarkable use of language which is found in the commencement of his gospel ; and when these fantastic notions have become as familiar to us as they were to many of the contemporaries of St. John, we shall probably have little difficulty in perceiving that in this passage, he designed to enforce several plain and simple truths in opposition to doctrines so irrational and injurious. We think he meant to shew,
1. That the divine power manifested by Jesus Christ, was not that of an æon, or emanation called the logos, possessing distinct existence and power from the Supreme Being, but that it was the power of God himself.
2. That, he who was the express image of the glory of the Father, was clothed in flesh, that it was no phantom which had exhibited itself to them under a human form.
3. And thirdly, he intended to imply, that there were in reality no such beings as they had imagined, and to point out in what manner all those names of æons, such as light and life, whose attributes they supposed to be exhibited in Jesus, might be used in reference to him, and applied to him.
“In the beginning," he says," was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God;" those attributes of the Deity which have been embodied under this title do not constitute a separate being emanating from him, but are and always have been a part of his nature ; by the exercise of them was every thing made that has been created, and every thing done which he has accomplished; they are the light and the life of men, and a glorious exhibition of them has been made, which men in the blindness of their hearts have not acknowledged. John was commissioned to bear testimony to this exercise of divine wisdom, power and goodness, which is extended to all men, and which has been displayed in the world, though the world knew it not. " It came to its own;" God first showed forth his mercy to his peculiar people, and they have not acknowledged his hand. “ And the logos was made flesh ;" the Divine goodness was exhibited through the agency of one who possessed human nature, who was clothed with a real body like other men. It was no deception, our eyes have seen the glory of the only begotten and dearly beloved Son of God; our ears have heard the gracious truths which proceeded out of his mouth whilst he dwelt among us. And it is of him that John bore witness, &c.
From this very brief explanation of those parts of the passage with which we are principally concerned, it will be seen that we do not suppose the logos to mean Christ, but the Divine attributes which were displayed through him, and consequently that the apostle allows no intermediate existences emanating from God, or supplying the place of a soul to a human body, but claims as the immediate exercises of God's power and goodness, those revelations of truth and acts of mercy which He enabled Jesus Christ to discover and to perform. The explanation seems to us simple and clear ; but we are aware that it may at first, appear very differently to others, and we ask them merely to examine more particularly the statements we have made with respect to the notions of the Platonists and Gnostics, and the probability of St. John's writing with reference to those notions. To us the
supposition, which the trinitarian must make, seems a most extraordinaryone. He must either believe that this obscure language,
which occurs no where else in the New Testament, but which was much in vogue with a numerous and troublesome sect of heretical Christians of that day, was used by St. John without any reference to that sect; or he must imagine, that the Platonists and Gnostics derived their language from that of the Christians. * But we ask, what reason can be given for this very remarkable language, if it was not used in reference to the same terms, which were current among these philosophic Christians. And if it had this reference, we think our case is made out, for we esteem it altogether improbable, if these notions, with respect to the logos particularly, were common to all Christians and made an essential part of their creed, that we should find so much more said about it by the philosophers than the apostles ; we think it perfectly incredible that three separate narratives of our Saviour's ministry, an account of the preaching of the principal apostles, and numerous letters to the churches they, established, should have been written without a syllable escaping from their pens, without a hint dropped even by accident upon these very remarkable subjects. While, on the other hand, as we know from historical evidence, that erroneous ideas with regard to certain intermediate beings between God and man, derived from heathen philosophy, were early incorporated with Christianity, we can perceive no improbability in the supposition, that the apostle who attained the greatest age, and wrote later than either of the others, should have thought it necessary to oppose them. It is in the writings of St. John that we find them explicitly and direct. ly contradicted, and we therefore think it most probable that he intended to check their extension.
It is not to be supposed that this passage can be understood without diligent attention ; and we are able to furnish our readers only with hints to assist their researches, as we should be obliged to devote too much space to an elaborate defence of these positions. The principal difficulty is to render one's self familiar with those modes of thinking, and forms of expression which were common in the times of the apostle, but which now seem so strange and absurd, that we are almost inclined to doubt whether men ever indulged in such vagaries.
* This is the idea of Bryant with regard to the Platonists. See his work on the Logos.
MEMOIR OF JOHN GALLISON, ESQ.
Our last number contained a brief notice of Mr. Gallison
; but his rare excellence, and the singular affection, esteem and confidence which he enjoyed, have been thought to demand a more particular delineation of his character. And the office is too grateful to be declined. In the present imperfect condition of human nature, when strange and mournful inconsistences so often mix with and shade the virtues of good men ; when truth, that stern monitor, almost continually forbids us to give free scope to admiration, and compels us to dispense our praise with a measured and timid liberality; it is delightful to meet an example of high endowments, undebased by the mixture of unworthy habits and feelings; to meet a character whose blamelessness spares us the pain of making deductions from its virtues. And our satisfaction is greatly increased, when Providence has seen fit to unfold this character in the open light of a conspicuous station, so that many around us have had opportunity to observe it as well as ourselves, and that we can give utterance to our affection and respect, with the confidence of finding sympathy and full
response in the hearts of our readers. But we have a higher motive, than the relief and gratification of personal feelings, for paying this tribute to Mr. Gallison. We consider his character as singularly instructive, particularly to that important class of the community, young men. His life, whilst it bore strong testimony to those great principles of morality and religion, in which all ranks and ages have an interest, and on which society rests, seems to us peculiarly valuable, as a commentary on the capacities and right application of youth, as demonstrating what a young man may become, what honour, love, and influence he may gather round him ; and how attractive are the christian virtues at that age which is generally considered as least amenable to the laws of religion. For young men we chiefly make this record; and we do it with a deep conviction, that society cannot be served more effectually than by spreading through this class a purer morality, and a deeper sense of responsibility than are now enforced by public opinion ; for our young men are soon to be the fathers, guides and defenders of the community; and however examples may now and then occur of early profligacy changed by time into purity and virtue, yet too often the harvest answers to the seed, the building to the foundation ; and perhaps it will appear on that great day which is to unfold the consequences of actions, that even forsaken vice leaves wounds in the mind, which are slowly healed, and wbich