« AnteriorContinuar »
frequently create confusion. For instance, the French name of the celebrated editor of the Greek Testament was Robert Estienne; but as he is always called in English Robert Stephens, it would have led the reader into error, if 1 had called him by any other name. A similar motive has induced me to call the wellknown Oxford editor of the Greek Testament by the name of Dr. Mill: for though it was not his real name, but was formed from the omission of the termination in his Latin name Millius, yet as he is generally known by the name of Mill, it might have perplexed the reader if I had used any other.
As the Lectures for the present year were finished, before the description of the first branch of Divinity was completed, I thought it necessary at the end of the last Lecture to make some general observations in respect, both to that, and to some other branches of Di. vinity not yet described. The reasons for so doing are assigned in their proper place, and therefore it is unnecessary to mention them at present. There is only one point, on which I must say a few words, in order to prevent misconstructions, or false inferences from what I have asserted. On taking leave of my audience, I noticed, among other subjects, which will be matter of future discussion, the conformity of the doctrines of the Church of England with the doctrines of Scripture. And hence was deduced the inference (which necessarily follows, if those premises are true) that to dissent from those doctrines, was to dissent without a real cause. From this declaration no candid Dissenter will conclude, that the speaker was animated by a spirit of persecution, or wished that religion should be combated by force. Though I am myself convinced, that the doctrines of the Church of England are agreeable to Scripture; though I am likewise convinced (what I did not express in the Lecture, as the subject did not require it) that there is nothing in the discipline of our Church, which is inconsistent with Scripture, I should be very sorry that any man, who quietly and conscientiously dissented from either, should be interrupted in the exercise of his own worship, or his own opinions. But if a Professor of Divinity in an English University, standing in the University pulpit, and addressing himself immediately to the members of that University, all of whom are educated in the Church, and most of them as ministers of the Church, cannot declare, that the doctrines of the Church are agreeable to Scripture, and consequently that there is no real cause to dissent from them, if under such circumstances, and before such an audience, he cannot make this declaration, without giving offence to those, who are of a different persuasion, the persons so offended must expect something more than the free exercise of their own opinions; they must be unwilling to grant to the Establishment the same toleration of religious sentiment, which they claim and enjoy themselves. These remarks are so obvious, that.I should have thought it unnecessary to introduce them, if I had not received a letter containing reproaches for making the declaration in question.*
When, according to the plan proposed in the second Lecture, the time shall arrive for the description of that branch of Divinity, which relates to the Doctrines of the Bible, it will be examined with all the attention, which the importance of the subject requires, But to enter upon this branch, before those, which precede it, have been fully described, would defeat the "sions: and in some of them the difference is such, "that one should hardly suppose they were analysing M the same subject." In support of this observation, I referred to two writers, no less distinguished by their learning than by their rank, one of whom divides Theology into four, the other into fourteen classes. Here the Reviewer remarks, "It appears to us that "he (the author) misunderstands the design of both "these Prelates. They seem to have had no other "object in view, than the recommendation of books, "and to have made their distribution, not for the di"rection of the Student in arranging the order of his "studies, but solely for their own convenience and "that of their readers." Now if the opinion be correct, that those learned writers " had no other object in "view, than the recommendation of books,*' they at any rate present one species of theological division, and as in this species Uiey are so unequal, they afford a fair instance of the observation, that theological writers are not unanimous in respect to the divisions of Theology, an observation which was made in such general terms, as to be capable of including every species of theological division. But I really did suppose that they had another object in view: I supposed, that the distribution of the classes, under which the books were arranged, was not wholly jdrtuitous: and being unable, when a classification is once introduced, to discover why the books of one class should be placed before the books of another class, Unless the author of the classification intends that those of the former should be read before those of the latter, I coneluded, that whatever might be their primary' object, they at least intended to unite " a plan of study" with "a classification of books." In this conclusion I was confirmed by the fact, that the learned Prelate, who makes the four-fold division, really has observed, and accurately observed the principle just mentioned: and on this very account I commended his theologicah arrangement, with the exception of the last class, in which a .^-division would have rendered the classification more complete. With respect to the other learned Prelate, though I could not discover the fact, that he had observed the principle in question, and therefore described his arrangement as less judicious (which implies no disrespect to his general learning,) I supposed, that he at least intended to make his classification of books in some manner subservient to that course of study, which he himself approved. And though in my own opinion the course of study, resulting from this classification, is less judicious, than the course of study resulting from the other classification, I thought that I was not unjust in concluding, that he really had such a course of study in contemplation, because he himself says at the end of the Preface, " I subjoin the following questions with the ref"erences annexed, in order to shew how far the heads "or chapters under which the books are classed, may "be useful toward forming a regular course of 'study,-"
* This letter, u appears from the post mark, was put into the post' office at Cambridge. It was sent on Sept. 15, more than three month* after the Lectures were finished, but only three days after the manuscript had been sent to the printing-office for publication. There are various indications of its being written in a disguised hand. No name - is affixed to it: but it appears to have been composed by a person not unacquainted with the subject, though upon the whole it is an incoherent rhapsody. The writer begins with expressing his surprise at the "fase assertion," as he calls it, contained in the above mentioned declaration. He then immediately proceeds to correct an error, which in his opinion I had committed on a former occasion, in maintaining that the Articles of our Churcli are not Calvinistic, though " every person, who has read, knows (as he asserts) l lint the authors of them were Calvinists." But the letter is chiefly distinguished by the spirit of intolerance, which it uniformly breathes, and by the views of the writer, which it too manifestly discovers. In these respects it is so remarkable, that I at first intended to publish it: but, as it is too long for insertion in this Preface, I will quote only one sentence. Having previously extolled the present state of religious toleration in France, which I am sure no English Dissenter, who had read the Article! organiquet des Cultet Protettan* in the late French Concordat, would wish to see adopted in this country, he proceeds, with manifest reference to the Church of England, in the following manner: "Antichrist must fall: the late events on the Continent prove, that the blood if the Saintt must be
avenged." From this single sentence a tolerable judgment may be
formed, both of the temper, and of the viishes of the writer. It is to be hoped, that there are not many, who with the same sentiments unite equal zeal.