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tains that the Jewish sacrifices did not originate from divine appointment, but from heathen superstitions, and were enjoined upon the Jews merely from a compliance with heathenish customs and attachments. The fallacy of this hypothesis is placed in a clear light by Dr. Magee, who has proved incontrovertibly their divine origin. The great object of Dr. Magee's book is to establish the doctrine of substitution—that Christ Jesus was substituted in the room of sinners, and suffered that punishment which sinners would otherwise have endured in their own persons. This grand point he has settled by an extensive review of the Jewish ritual, particularly of the sacrifices under the law, and of the practice of the whole heathen world; as well as by sacred criticism on those portions of both the old and new Testament, in which the atonement is directly taught. He enters the field of criticism, and attacks the adversaries on their own ground, and with the weapons which they profess to wield. This work should have been laid under heavier con. tribution for this sketch, were it not that we hope every person, who wishes to be thoroughly acquainted with this all important subject, will read the book itself. He will receive the most ample testimony in favour of the truth of the atonement, acquire an extensive knowledge of the heresies in Britain, which relate to it, and discern the present state of the controversy. Still Dr. Magee has not touched the subject of the extent of the atonement. But let it be established, (and he has established it,) that Christ was sub. stituted in the room of sinners and paid to divine justice the debt which they owed, and the conclusion is irresistible that all for whom he was thus substituted, must be saved: otherwise God would be unjust in demanding a double payment for the same debt. He has proved the foundation of the Calvinistic system, to be established on a basis, which cannot be shaken.
There is perhaps no work, since the days of the reformers, that exhibits so much of the patient research and learning of those times as Dr. Magee's. The only point on which he seems not to have very clear ideas relates to the efficacy of
the Jewish sacrifices. He seems to admit that, in themselves, they possessed a certain degree of efficacy, in purging away some crimes committed against the Jewish polity, while the truth is, their whole import, their whole value, consisted in their being types of the great atonement offered up by Jesus on the cross. They were merely “ shadows of good things to come, but not the very image of them," as the apostle Paul expresses it.
There are many denominations of dissenters, who embrace the Calvinistic creed, in Scotland, England and Ireland. The Presbyterians of Ireland would deserve to be mentioned, but the synod of Ulster, by which name their supreme judicatory is known, contains so many members, both among the clergy and laity, who have swerved from the truth, that the general assembly of the church of Scotland have passed an act refusing to admit them to communion with them, or to officiate in their congregations, unless they will undergo an examination as to their orthodoxy. The errors of which the Scottish church is afraid relate chiefly to Socinianism. What proportion of them have fallen into this slough of despair for şioners is not known, but it is great; and their ecclesiastical discipline is very much relaxed. Their state in relation to both practice and doctrine, is probably not better than that of the established church. The act of the Scottish judicatory is highly creditable to them, and indicates that their condition, which had greatly deteriorated, is now improving, while that of the Irish Presbyterians is growing worse. Many of the clergy indeed are said to be grossly immoral.
The Anabaptists arose in Germany in the time of the reformation by Luther. They refused subjection to any government, committed the grossest outrages against all the decorums of human society, and were led by illiterate enthusiasts, who excited them to the commission of the greatest crimes. The tenet by which they were distinguished from all other Christians was, that children should not be baptized, and that those who in infancy had received that ordinance should be immersed. When their fury had exhausted
itself they gradually formed themselves into a regular and orderly society, and adopted the independent form of church government. Their creed is generally Calvinistic, and they differed from the other Calvinistic churches, on no other subjects than those of infant baptism and ecclesiastical government. The society in England has become large, intelligent and respectable. One of its most distinguished writers is Dr. Gill, who wrote a commentary on the scriptures. He abounds with sound and truly evangelical views of the doctrines of grace, but he is a loose writer, whose sentences are free quently without end. He wrote a system of theology, which is rather an English compend of Turrettin, than an original work. On the doctrines of grace, he follows Turrettin, except on the doctrine of justification, which, while he maintains that it is solely founded upon the righteousness of Christ, he asserts is from eternity, and that the justification, which takes place in time on the day of believing, is merely a manifestation of that which took place in eternity. His reasoning on this subject, though plausible, is altogether loose and declamatory. He seems not to distinguish between a determination to justify, and the actual performance of the predestinated act. Booth’s Reign of Grace is preferable to any of his writings; but still his system forms the text book for nearly all the students of theology in connection with the regular Baptists. There are numerous sects, who agree with the regular Baptists on the subject of infant baptism, but are not in communion with them. The greater part of these are known by the general appellation of irregular Baptists, and are of the Arminian school. Their clergy are generally illiterate and many of their people unenlightened.
The regular Baptists have distinguished themselves by their zealous and laudable efforts for evangelizing the heathen. The great missionary station at Serampore, so well known to the Christian world, and the numerous dependencies upon it, were formed under the direction of the Baptist society. Though it is a subject of no little regret that the children of the heathen converts, made through the liberal and persevering exertions of these people, are not taken
into the visible covenant society of Messiah, yet it is consoling to reflect that the doctrines, which through the instrumentality of those missionaries are taught, are strictly evangelical. The way of salvation, through the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus Christ, forms the sum and substance of that gospel which they preach, and which is now shedding its effulgence, upon the long benighted regions of the East.
Mr. Fuller, a celebrated Baptist preacher, was one of the foremost in this great work. He was an honour to England, and generally Calvinistic in his writings on the plan of salvation, except on the extent of the atonement. In his “ De. fence,' one of his last works, he has in a great measure corrected his former exhibitions even on this subject.
The Secession churches of Scotland and Ireland, have also become powerful societies. They adhere rigidly to the Calvinistic system, as this is exhibited in the Westminster confession of faith. The secession church took its rise in the year 1732. It was formed by some ministers, who seceded from the revolution, or established Presbyterian church in Scotland. After the revolution, ministers were imposed upon the church, by an act of patronage, by which it was put into the power of one person, called the patron, to force a pastor upon a congregation, however disagreeable he might be to them. This privilege was claimed by the crown and surrendered by the general assembly. At an opening of the sessions of that body, the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine preached a sermon, in which he declaimed vehemently against this surrender, as a compromitment of the interests of the church, and gave great offence to the members of the assembly, who attempted to censure him. He refused to submit, and together with his brother Ralph and two other gentlemen, Moncrief and Fisher, who joined him, declined the authority of the assembly, and formed themselves into a distinct society, which was called the Secession church. The circumstance, which gave rise to this schism, rendered the cause of the Seceders very popular: they were orthodox and pious men, and their numbers increased ra.
pidly. They adopted the Westminster confession of faith and the larger and shorter catechisms, compiled by that body, as the standards of their faith, and as terms of ecclesiastical communion. The doctrines which they preached were purely Calvinistic, and the great theme of all their pulpit exhibitions, was the atonement made by Christ Jesus. They published an instrument, which they denominated the act and testimony, in which they bear a very explicit testi. mony against many corruptions, which prevailed in the church and state; and recognize most explicitly the doctrines of the Westminster confession of faith. Their preachers were generally pious and sound divines, well instructed in evangelical truth, and zealous in promoting it. The Erskines published many volumes of sermons, which abound with excellent matter, though their stile is far from being either eloquent or forcible; and their arrangement is often loose and unhappy. Those discourses, from the piety with which they abound, have been extensively read, have proved sa. vory to all devout people, and have formed an antidote against the Arminian errors among thousands of the laity. The Rev. John Brown, of Haddington, is the most distinguished divine, which this church has produced. He was for many years their professor of divinity, and has published a great number of valuable books, all of which abound with pious and judicious remarks. His body of divinity contains an excellent epitome of the Christian system, and is replete with excellent matter. His Dictionary of the Bible is his most popular work; and it has passed through a great number of editions. Though Mr. Brown was not a man of very brilliant powers, or very profound learning, his industry, discrimination, and orthodoxy, were a means of elevating the character of the Secession church and greatly increasing its numbers.
A member of this church, Mr. M'Crie, has lately pub. lished a life of the great Scottish reformer, which evinces much learning, sound judgment, and liberal views. He rescues the character of Knox from the load of obloquy which had been heaped upon it by infidels, heretics, and