Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

have expected from Mr. W. a correct interpretation of the passage, instead of which he suffers himself to be misled by the use of the word Gospel in the common version. The Apostle is merely referring to the case of the ancient Israelites, who ' could 4 not enter' into Canaan ' because of unbelief,' from whose criminal and fatal disobedience he takes occasion to admonish Christian believers to preserve a salutary fear lest they, by similar behaviour, should be excluded from heaven. * For,' he remarks, 'to us also belongs the promise of entering into a state of rest.' 'for we also have received the good tidings' x.*l ydf \<t^i iinyyi\Hri*!mt. 'The biheeste (promise) of entryng in to his 'rentein teld also to us'. Wicklitfe. The meaning of the passage is very obvious; we are surprised that Mr. Wilson should not have discerned it. We certainly cannot admit Prov. vih\ 22—32, to be one of the strongest proof passages,' sufficient of * itself to determine the doctrine of Scripture concerning the 'divinity of Christ.' We are aware that it has by many writers been cited for the purpose; but how respectable soever those writers may be, we cannot consent that this passage should be used as they have used it. The whole chapter evidently relates to the same subject; it is, therefore, unfair to detach the 22nd and following verses from the preceding, with which they unquestionably are most closely connected. The Translators of the Common Version evidently consider the whole chapter as a description of wisdom. Isaiah lix. 16. Job xxxiii. 21, do not appear to us to support Mr. Wilson's averment (p. 105.) that .' we are expressly informed, that the highest orders of spiritual 'beings were at a loss to conceive in what manner fallen man 'could be saved from the consequences of sin, consistently with 'the holiness of God and the honour of his government. Of the latter passage he has given an incorrect translation. Nor do we think that Exod. xx. 22. Neb. ix. 27, 28. (p. 110.) are passagesat all to his purpose; which is the case with several other quotations and references.

In the Appendix, p. 176, the following remark occurs:

'1 John iir. 16- *' Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us."

« The words in italics are left out by Griesbach, because not supported by the best and most ancient authorities.'

Now, so far is this from being the fact, that the words in Italics do not even exist in the received text; they could not therefore be left out by Griesbach. Griesbach, in his note, cites a few authorities for the addition of the reading Tow 9sou -to the text

'Mr. Wilson, Appendix, p. 175, on the reading of Acts xx, 28, remarks, that the received text ' follows the vulgate and 'some manuscripts of comparatively recent date.' The reading of the received text 9t»u is supported by the Codex Vaticanus B. 1200, which Air. Wilson describes as 'a very ancient naauu4 script, and of high authority.'

The.Codex Bezce, not containing the Epistles of the New Testament, cannot of course be cited as evidence of the reading Eph. iii. 9, as Air. Wilson's note (p. 176) on the passage imports.

V. < wish we could have avoided noticing the faults of this book; but we feel it to be a service to the Author, as well as a part of our duty to the public, to point them out, A work of such brevity, and so comprehensive in its plan, ought to be both select and accurate in the statements and arguments which it includes.

If the New Testament be our proper guide in the adoption ot religious tenets, we are to satisi'y ourselves with the receptio» of its testimony in the simplest form, because we are not, while employed in ascertaining its design, engaged in the investigation of opinions, but are limited in our concern with its details to the single object of understanding its meaning as an authoritative communication. On the credence, therefore, of passages, which no various readings perplex, and which no criticism can invalidate, we believe the Saviour of men to be truly and properly Divine, and the ' death of the cross' to be a real propitiation for sin. We feel the force of that appeal, " Was Pcud "crucified for you?" as indicating in the fullest manner that the-<leath of Christ bears a relation to our interests which na. other death can bear; with it alone is connected the remission of our sins, and our peace with God as its unspeakably great andrich effect. We feel the strongest and the strangest surprise, that persons with the New Testament before them, should declare that all the purposes of that revelation which it contains, are, on its own evidence, accomplished, in the contemplation and regard due to Christ as an instructer and an example. Were these all that our relation to him involves, it is to us the most unaccountable of all moral phenomena, that the descriptions of his ]>erson, of his character, and of the purpose of his manifestation to the world, should be in a style so remote from that which the business of teaching requires, so alien from that which is necessary to display the excellence and force of example. In believing that.Christ came into the world to put amay qin by the sacrifice of hinmelf, we are in possession of a principle which is never repulsed by the language of the New Testament, and which alone-is wanted for its elucidation and consistency. The state of man requires that other means for his restoration than either teaching or example, be employed: these, it is true, are parts of the design of the new economy; but the removal of bn

guilt by a sacrifice for 9in is its primary purpose—the sacrifice oi Ciirist through whom we receive the ' Reconciliation.'

Mr. Wilson's Work is divided into four chapters: On the oriterion of sacred truth. On the pre-exisience of Christ. On Hie Divinity of Christ. On the importance of the Doctrine, with an Appendix of Criticisms, comprised in fourteen pages. As a speciinVn of the argumentative address of the Author, we extract apart of his remarks on the passage, S Cor. viii. 9.

* " Ye know" says Paul to the Corinthians, "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that' though he was rich, yet for your s..kes he became' poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

* Upon the fact of his pre-existence being antecedently established, the Unitarians think that this passage may fairly be considered as a graceful allusion to it, but by no means as an independent proof. We i: e satisfied, from what has been said, that the Saviour was in possession of glory " before the world was," and we would therefore infer, according to this admission, that in this glory, he is said in the passage before us, to be rich, whilst he also became poor. Bui we further think that its phraseology absolutely and unequivocally conveys the idea- It directly asserts,, that he now was, what before ha, was not. "Being rich he became poo*." To avoid the conclusion which must necessarily be drawn if these words in Italics be rightly rendered, the Unitarians contend for the translation, he lived in poverty; and upon this idea they thus state the passage :—" Ye know the kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sai-es he lived in poverty, that ye through his poverty might be rich." From this they understand, that he voluntarily relinquished those comforts and conveniences of life, which he procured for others by the'exercise of his miraculous powers, and which he might have obtained for himself had it been consistent with the plan of redemption. But he exposed himself to want and misery in every varied form, to leave his followers an example of patience, resignation, and self denial, that there they might be rich in faith, piety, and benevolence.•

'The truth of this exposition in a great measure depends upon the rendering of the verb, to be poor, instead ot the common version, to become poor Hut independent of its inconsistency with our Saviour's antecedent assertions concerning his pre-existence, we are justified in. rejecting this translation, upon the authority of the leirned SchleusHer, and an host of other venerated names.f ♦' Rich," says Archbishop Newcome, •* in the glories of the divine nature, lie became poor, by taking on him human nature, and appearing even in an humble state of life." "He was rich," says Dr. Doddridge, "in the glories of the heavenly world, and in supreme dominion and authority there, yet lor your sakes he became po r." "Though he was rich," us Dr.

* Wakefield's Inquiry, p. 176. Belsham's Inquiry, p. 121.

-J- Ttux "'»> " Pauper no," "Ad mendicltatem reductus surr." Scltleusner. Newcome, quoted by Befsham. Doddridge in /««». M'Knight in toe. Hammond in b,c.

Vol. X.N. S. 2H

IVf'Knight translates the passage, "yet for your sake lie became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

'But even if the Unitarian translation were supported by these great authorities; were it, as it is not, philologically accurate: and were either mode of rendering admissible, it would still be difficult to defend their translation upon their own hypothesis. Jesus of Nazareth, they tell us, was ignorant of the nature of his commission till he win about thirty years of age, when he was led to the scene of his grand temptation, for the express purpose of teaching him, " that bin powers were not to be employed for his own gratification and tl\e rehef ef his necessities; but for the benefit of the human race in obedience to the will of God."* If then he had otherwise employed them, he would have opposed the design of him who bestowed them, and of course would have failed in the execution of his commission. In abusing them, he would have been chargeable with high offence, and in not abusing them, under such prohibitions, there was surely no uncommon merit; especially as, according to the Unitarian opinion, he was only in possession of his powers for little more than the Space of one year.f The words under review were employed by the Apostle to set him forth as a pattern of condescension and generosity; but it is difficult to conceive what motive to the fulfilment of these charities the Corinthians could deduce from the fact, that this Jesus, during that short period, was not permitted to work miracles for the gratification of his own necessities. It is easy, on the contrary, to understand the nature of the Apostle's argument, and we cannot be susceptible of gratitude, if we feel not the force of the motive which is founded upon the common interpretation of his words. In this view of them, we have a transcendent and unexampled display of love and condescension. "Many waters could not quench it, neither could the flood* drown it. The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man had not where to lay his head. - Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."' pp. 35—39.

Never was argument morn lame and inadequate to its purpose than the reasoning of Unitarians in (his instance. That Jesus had the power of using the miraculous agency with which, according to Ihetn, he was endowed, for purposes of personal support or gratification, they cannot venture to affirm; but utiless he could have so employed that agency, lie could not be rich in their sense of the expression; and there surely could be no "gracious goodness" in Jesus's living in poverty, while he could not possibly have lived otherwise. Never was reference, on-Uaitanan principles, so completely unmeaning as that of Paul *• the condescension raid kindness of our blessed Lord. This is one r»f the numerous"passages which no ingenuity of cri

* WakeneU's Inquiry, p. 182. Eelshmn's Inquiry, p. 44-8. f Belshaio, p. 4-lS.

[graphic]

ticism or interpretation, will ever divert from their proper

purpose and meaning1.

Mr. Wilson's Inquiry is one of the fairest and most temperate publications which we have seen on the subject which it brings

under discussion: he docs justice to the opinions of his opponents, and treats them with respectful attention, wisely coneluding that misrepresentation and the use of irritating language are not required for the service of truth. \Ve have only further to express our wish that more care had been employed in preparing the present work for the public, which wish the Author may consider as intended to serve his own interests by suggesting the necessity of a complete revisal of»the Inquiry, - li.mlil a second edition be demanded.

Art. VIII. Narrative of mu Captivity in Japan, during the Years 1811,1312, and 1813. With Observations on the Country and the People. By Captain Golownin, R. N. To which is added, an Account :>f Voyages to the Coasts of Japan; and of Negociations with the Japanese for the Release of the Author and his Companions. By Captain Rickord, 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1818.

"VS/TIMl regard to nations not less than individuals, it must always be agreeable to a benevolent mind to have prejudices removed, and to exchange an unfavourable opinion for a favourable one. There is, perhaps, no country against which Europeans entertain more dislike and suspicion than Japan. Except, indeed, to the Dutch, whose uniform policy has been either to conceal or to misrepresent, the Japanese are a people almost unknown. The timidity of character which is in them a far wore striking feature than the cruelty of which it has Bometitpes given them the appearance, has induced them to seclude themselves from almost every advantage of commerce, lest it should likewise subject them to iopovations in their habits, or to the discovery of their weakness. Although the field pf Captain Golownin's observations was unavoidably very limited, yet, from the peculiarity of his situation, he was brought into much nearer contact with the Japanese, than he would have been under circumstances, which might have commanded more of the shew of respect, but would, at the same time, have induced more of their characteristic dissimulation and reserve. His Narrative i« written in an unaffected style, and the simplicity which pervades it has the appearance of being the simplicity of truth. He professes to describe only what came within his .own observation and experience, and to report only what the saw with his own .eyes.

Captain Golounin was in 1811 appointed by the Russian Government to the command of the Diana, imperial sloop of war, wUfi /orders to explore as minutely as possible, the southern

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »