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think that its prevailing characteristic is simplicity of thought and of expression. What some would express in a labored and pompous manner, is here presented in a simple, artless way. There is no ostentation of learning; yet there are continual proofs of extensive acquaintance with men, and things, and books.
While adverting to some of the excellencies of Mr Jay as a writer, we must notice the peculiar felicity of his illustrations. In his Preface, speaking of certain ministers, or writers, whose " aim it would seem to be, rather to dazzle, than to enlighten ; to surprise, rather than inform," he says,
The ideas they wish to pass off as new, when examined, are found only commonplace sentiments. The well is not really deep; but you cannot see to the bottom because of their contrivance to make the water muddy. They are not really tall ; and so they strain on tiptoe. They have not a native beauty that always appears to most advantage without finery; and so they would make up the deficiency by excess, and complexity and cumbersomeness of ornament. Pp. XI, XII.
On page 217, speaking of adversity as testing the character, and adducing the example of Job, he proceeds:
“Was he then perfect in the trial? He bore the proof; and was evinced to be gold. But he was not free from dross. He partially failed in the process, and even cursed the day of his birth. He-left a perfect example to be furnished by one who was fairer than the children of men; in whom—when the prince of this world came, even in his hour and power of darkness, he found nothing; no guilt to accuse him of; no corruption to operate upon. Agitate pure water, and no defilement will appear; but let the sea that has filthiness at the bottom be troubled, and however clean and clear it looks above, its waves will cast up mire and dirt. Afflictions are to the soul, like the rains to the house: we suspected no apertures in the roof, till the droppings through told the tale. The effects of these trials therefore are always humbling to the Christian. He is convinced by them that he has much less grace than he imagined: and he is often rendered a wonder as well as a grief to himself.'
We shall be excused for introducing another instance of happy illustration :
“The full knowledge of heaven, therefore, is no more practicable than it is expedient. We have no adequate medium of receiving the communication; and heaven entering the mind now, is like the sun entering the house through a few little erevices, or the sea flowing through the cavity of a straw. There is an amazing force in language, as we see in some most powerful and affecting works; but words, however chosen, can no more express heaven, than paint can do justice to light, or heat, or joy. p. 361.
But has not Mr Jay his faults ? Doubtless he has. It is pleasing, however, to believe that these have arisen from the desire to accommodate his language to the smallest capacity, and to make a vivid impression upon the mass of his hearers. We have seen commendatory expressions in a review of these Lectures, by which a young man might be induced to adopt Mr Jay as a faultless model. But such commendations cannot be sustained by a careful ex
amination of the work. Mr Jay is an excellent model in respect to the various, and copious, and interesting views of subjects which he presents; in respect to a style simple and easy to be understood, and to happy transition from one division of a discourse to another. But an imitator will, almost certainly, copy his faults; and will so copy them, as to make them far more conspicuous than they are in the original. He will probably labor for an affected simplicity, and will use a carelessness of language that may degrade his subject, and defeat some very important parts of the preacher's office.
other characteristics, he will be in danger of contracting a disposition to indulge a whimsical play upon words. We feel justified in expressing this caution, by Mr Jay's use of such phrases as—blab the secret out'-'a medical attendant always dangling at your heels.' As instances of playing. upon words, we notice
Charity to the soul is the soul of charity' — The board' (i. e. the table) .slays far more than the sword' — Now, this joy enters the Christian; but then, he will enter the joy'—'while the joy of the Lord is your strength, you shall not want the strength of the joy.' We may be censured as hypercritical in selecting for a list of faults expressions so neatly constructed, so devoid of grossness, and, as we believe, so well adapted to impress particularly a certain class of hearers and readers. Let it be observed, it is the frequency with which such expressions occur that we censure; for however salutary an occasional use of them may be, yet after a short time, even the common sort of people are pleased with them rather as indications of ingenuity and as peculiarities of a favorite preacher, than as deeply infixing in the mind important and saving truth.
As this part of our remarks is specially intended for young preachers, we would also hint that several passages of Scripture are applied in these Lectures in a manner which cannot, we think, be justified by the soundest principles of biblical interpretation.
We will notice but two instances in which the Scripture is wrongly interpreted. The first occurs on page 355. The word Gospel, it is there said, is sometimes taken 'for revelation at large; and thus it is to be understood when it is said, “ The Gospel was preached to the Jews, but the word preached did not profit them;" alluding to Hebrews 4:2. Now the word Gospel, as here used by the sacred writer, appears from the connexion to mean, not revelation in general, but good news, or promised blessings; as if Paul had said, 'Unto us have good news been proclaimed, or have blessings been promised, as well as unto the Jews.'
The second occurs on page 366. “ Does not the Saviour inform us that the friends, benefactors have made of the mammon of unrighteousness, shall receive them into everlasting habitations ? The passage referred to is used as proof of the opinion, that saints will know each other in heaven. We mean not to question the truth of this opinion ; but that Mr Jay's application of this passage is not strictly correct, appears from the design of our Lord in the parable, Luke 16th Chapter—and from the peculiarity in the structure of the New 'Testament Greek. They shall receive you, in this passage, is equivalent to Ye shall be received. A similar instance is found in Luke 12: 20. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. If this sentence were rendered exactly from the Greek without regard to idiom, it would be,' They require thy soul of thee."
We sincerely lament that in a work of so general excellence, there should occur any passages capable of an injurious construction. But if we mistake not, the remarks on pages 107—109, are of this character :
'It is not necessary that we should approve of every opinion or usage among those with whom we connect ourselves. It is far better in lesser matters, if we have faith, to have it to ourselves before God; and to exercise forbearance and self-denial, rather than for the sake of some trifling difference, to endeavor to originate a new party, or remain destitute of the benefits, and violating the obligations, of social christianity. We should guard against an undue attachment to any particular scheme of church policy, [polity?) when, though the abettors profess to be governed by the Scripture only, and consider every iota of their system as perfectly clear and binding; others, more numerous than themselves, and equally wise and good, and entitled to the leading of the Spirit of Truth, draw a very different conclusion from the same premises. Mr Newton, speaking of the several systems under which, as so many banners, the different denominations of Christians are ranged, observes, “That there is usually something left out which ought to have been taken in, and something admitted of supposed advantage, unauthorised by the Scripture standard. A Bible-Christian, therefore, will see much to approve in a variety of forms and parties; the providence of God may lead and fix him in a more immediate connexion with some one of them, but his spirit and affection will not be confined within these narrow enclosures. He insensibly borrows and unites that which is excellent in each, perhaps without knowing how far he agrees with them, because he finds all in the written word.” With regard to myself,' continues Mr Jay, “though I have a preference and attach comparative importance to the things wherein pious men differ, yet there is no body of Christians, holding the Head, with whom I could not hold communion; and to whom I would not join myself, if circumstances withheld me from my own denomination, rather than remain a religious solitaire.
It will be, I presume, committing an unpardonable sin with bigots, when I express my persuasion, after all I have read of the claims, whether Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, or Independent, to the only scriptural standard, that there is no very definite plan of Church Government laid down in the New Testament; so that while one mode is canonized, every other is absolutely wrong. Deviation from prescribed orders is sinful; but where there is no law, there is no transgression. “As oft,” says the Apostle, “as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.” Now had he told us how often we are to do this, we must observe such times only, or oppose the will of God. Is it so, now the thing is left undecided ? May there not be a difference in the frequency of its observance, without sin? It is otherwise with the recurrence of the Sabbath; this is determined both by command and example. It would have been criminal in Moses not to have made the snuffers of pure gold; or the holy oil of a mixture of certain ingredients; or the priest's robe of such a quality, such a color, and such a length: for he had express instructions to do so, and the pattern of every thing was shown him in the mount. But in what mount has our model of circumstantial regulation been exhibited? What Moses received it? Where do we find
a particularity of detail in the gospels of the Evangelists; or in the Acts, and Epistles of the Apostles ? Where do we find many of the materials of angry debate and exclusiveness which have occupied so much time, and spoiled so much temper, in the system of Christianity? A system designed for every nation, and people, and kindred, and tongue-a system too sublime in its aim to lose itself in minuteness—too anxious to unite its followers in great matters, to magnify little ones—too truly noble, not to be condescending-too tender, not to be tolerant, too impartial, not to say to its subjects, receive one another as Christ also has received you; you that are strong, bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please yourselves. pp. 107–110.
There is such an infusion of benevolence and liberality in these pages, that we fear the mere stopping to examine the sentiments here introduced, may bring upon us the charge of being needlessly sensitive on certain points. Mr Jay's language, in the main, we ourselves could adopt. But we must ask, what are the lesser matters,' respecting which we must exercise forbearance and selfdenial,' in preference to remaining' destitute of the benefits of social Christianity?' Mr Jay does not enter into particulars, except his merely mentioning the claims, whether Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, or Independent, to the only scriptural standard' of Church Government. The majority of his readers, however, in this country, we believe, will readily think of the ordinances of the New Testament as included among these lesser matters;' and they will be encouraged, by these remarks, to rank among things of small moment the positive institutions which the Head of the Church has established, and to censure as narrowminded those who consider Baptism and the Lord's Sapper as so important parts of the faith once delivered to the saints, that they ought to be earnestly contended for. The remarks of which we now speak will be abused as an occasion for invidious and unjust comparison between different portions of the Christian community. The views expressed in the pages just mentioned, we think, would permit a Christian to give countenance to what he might deem error; and thus would take just so much support from the cause of truth. Is there no such thing as religious truth? Is not religious truth capable of being discovered? Is it not important that it be discovered and maintained, and obtain universal sway? For ourselves, we think every Christian is bound to search for truth in the Bible, impartially and devoutly and perseveringly: and when he discovers truth, he is bound to consecrate to its cause whatever talents his Lord has given him. And if, in the prosecution of his duty, he must oppose certain principles, let him gird himself for the work ; but let him do the work with all charity and generosity, yet with all firmness. And if in the prosecution of duty, as enforced by his convictions of scriptural truth, he cannot join hands in every religious solemnity with some Christian brethren, let not those Christian brethren harshly and carelessly accuse him either of suspecting their Christian character, or of cherishing a bigotted attachment to nonessential circumstantials. No doubt, there are certain things to which the term indifferent circumstantials may be applied ; and which ought not to prevent persons of different opinions respecting them from being united together in a church relation. But surely Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not among indifferent circum
Let the ecclesiastical history of ages long since past by, but still affecting the religious opinions and practice of millions, testify. Who does not know that the perversion of these ordinances and of various external relations has almost invariably been an inlet of most destructive influence? Who does not know, that in those times and in those places which have been most distinguished by sacred regard to primitive simplicity, there has been the happiest and most salutary prevalence of real, saving piety? With these views, we are not disposed to undervalue either the form of church government, or the due administration of Christian ordinances. But we do not recommend a spirit of hostility among Christians; we do not wish them to be alienated from one another, and to deny themselves the enjoyment and the encouragement which result from Christian fellowship. There is wide common ground on which Christians can meet—there is an extensive circle of subjects on which they can communicate with one another. And when on certain subjects, they cannot conscientiously associate, let them on those subjects follow their convictions of duty-duty, as enforced simply by the unerring word of God; and let none indulge a spirit of crimination. We remember to have often heard it said, The best way to destroy error is, to maintain truth.
Our design in these remarks is, to relieve the denomination to which we are attached from the charge of bigotry and of a narrow mind in the abstaining from communion at the Lord's table with those whose practice in the preparatory ordinance we judge to be unscriptural. We wish that this subject might be looked at in its own simplicity; and not in all that terribleness with which it has been invested (we regret to fear) for party purposes. Strange to say, we have heard of men who would grant the correctness of those principles which actuate our denomination respecting church-communion and who would confess that they themselves, if they were Baptists, would do likewise; but who yet, almost in the same breath, would denounce the practice to which we allude as most illiberal. To us it appears, that the principles which regulate communion at the Lord's table among Baptists are essentially the same as those which are acknowledged by the body of orthodox Pedobaptists in the United States; but in the professed application of the principles, the Baptist churches are more exact, because their views of Baptism are more definite. Ought not then all this talking and writing about communion to cease ? and ought not the effort to be directed to the core of the difficulty, namely, the proper manner of viewing the ordinance of Baptism ?
We know not that Mr Jay, who is himself a Pedobaptist of the Independent, or Congregational connexion, had in view the case of a he Baptists and the Pedobaptists. But if he had, and if his remárks are intended as a gentle reproof to the Baptists for not mingling themselves with others in a church relation, or if others thus construe his language, we are happy in referring them to a few expressions on page 109, which we think afford a full vindication for