Imágenes de página

Corder to Phoebe Stow, that although Maria Marten was a young woman, "she was not likely to be troubled with any more children;" and further, that he knew "when he was not with her, nobody else was," be added to the preceding impressions; let all these facts be duly estimated, and then let any reasonable mind say whether there be not sufficient natural and physical ground for the alleged supernatural interposition, through the medium of a dream; in the anxious direction of the waking thoughts, in the irritated brain which was the consequence of this anxiety, and in the scattered facts just detailed,which, if embodied by that organ, when acting on without the govern ment of the will, and clothed with its own involuntary imagery, would easily invest obscurity with an impression of murder and would localize that deed to the spot in which the absent individual was last seen with William Corder. There is surely no necessary ground for supernatural agency in such a history; all is clearly and satisfactorily accounted for on rational principles. Even allowing that the vengeance of the Almighty was thus pursuing the murderer, and suffering him not to live, the honour of God and the ways of his Providence are more completely vindicated, when we see them brought about by the agency of natural causes, than by supposing a special interference with the established order of nature; since, if we may admit the idea of comparison as applied to an Infinite Being, that appears to be a greater exertion of power and wisdom, which orders all the manifold events and circumstances of life, health, and disease, so as to bring about certain designs, than when these designs are accomplished by one supernatural visitation.

Others attribute, much too vaguely, the suggestion of evil thoughts, the prompting to sinful conduct, and even the production of dreams, to the evil spirit. Now it is fully CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 331.

allowed, that, by the transgression of man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and sin reigns in our mortal bodies. By this fall of man, he has become corrupt; prone to ill; averse from good; delighting in that which is contrary to the law of God, and in rebellion against him. But satanic influence is often alleged as a kind of excuse for sin. Man thinks himself half excused for his transgression, when he says that he was tempted to sin; and really fancies that this temptation could not be resisted, except with extraordinary difficulty, because it arose from a very powerful adversary. St. Paul says, that "when he would do good, evil was present with him ;" and St. James most satisfactorily states, that " every man is tempted when he is drawn aside of his own lusts, and enticed " by them into obliquities of conduct. And this is the simple fact. Sin is the evil principle embodied in action. By the fall of our first parent, every faculty of the soul has become debased; man easily falls into error; courts the deepening shades of vice, and even loves it; but very difficultly regains the steep ascent to God and heaven, from which there is a constant recoil in his rebellious heart. Now, till that heart has been renewed by Divine grace, there is a constant propensity to evil; and afterwards there is, or ought to be, a never-failing opposition to that corrupt tendency, which man inherits from his first parent. And it is only by the restraining and preventing grace of God, that any are enabled to stand against such an overwhelming tyranny; overwhelming, because the heart loves it, and eagerly clasps the chain by which it is held. Since, then, it is only by a new and living principle, even the grace of God which bringeth salvation, that the Christian escapes the corruption of sin, which is in the world; so, in the absence of this living principle, man becomes the slave of his sinful propensities: he is a tempter to 3 G

himself, and he falls into gross vice from listening to the voice of his corruptions. Yet God has furnished him with a counteracting principle, if he will sincerely ask for it; and has promised to bestow it liberally. Now it will not be contended that satanic influence is superior to this sacred holy agency; it is only that man is too proud to ask for this boon, too corrupt to esteem it; he delights in iniquity, and in the gratification of his passions: to their depraved influence he listens with pleasure, and when conscience reminds him of his deviations from rectitude, he rejoices to lay the blame upon the temptation of Satan; as if Satan would be permitted to exert any power over him, except through the medium of his unrenewed nature; his disposition to sin; his corrupt propensities; and his delight to serve sin, rather than be found obedient to the Saviour, and living a life of righteousness by faith upon Him who is the Son of God.

But what are we to say on the subject of errors in opinion and judgment? Man, sinful man, is the slave of Satan, because, since the Fall, he thinks incorrectly, reasons erroneously, determines has tily, judges unfairly both soul and body are subject to this debasing influence; and therefore the spiritual principle has lost its power, and its attributes have been perverted, while the power of manifesting these operations has been curtailed, by the feebleness and morbid tendency of the organ destined for such visible manifestation. In both ways, error is produced; and the operations of Satan upon the mind are made through the medium of this perversion of its functions, which, being applied to the affairs of life, leads to error in opinion, and obliquity of conduct. Let not, then, the presumptuous find shelter from the stings of conscience; or the timid Christian distress himself by considering those views, and opinions, and feelings, as the im

mediate result of satanic agency, which are, in fact, produced by the perversion of his own mind; but rather let him pray to be led into all truth, and strive to redeem the time; and, in the strength of the Lord God, to recover that origi nal perfection of the spiritual principle in which our first parent was created.

It will not be necessary to enter again fully on the general influence of physical temperament, in modifying the expression of religious feeling; but a few words of expla nation are due, in this place, to the candid and Christian remarks of H. B., in the Christian Observer, for October 1828. I am fully disposed to allow, that visions of angels, and other appearances, have been seen bypatriarchs, and prophets, and primitive Christians; but I have before stated why we are not to expect a continuation of these extraordinary revelations, and why we should consider them as improbable.

But further; the alleged circumstances are very different. It is manifest, from the cases recited by H. B., that there was always an object to be accomplished by the revelation; and that, for the most part, it was forming a portion of that inspiration which was necessary for the accomplishment of the intended revelation of the whole will of a God of infinite mercy, to his sinful, wandering creatures. How dissimilar is this from the supposed vision of angels, and the revelation of the heavenly glory of Christ, and of the world to come, to expiring mortality, with no object to be answered, no end to be realized.

Another important difference consists in the peculiar condition of the organ of mind. In all the instances alleged by H. B., its integrity was unimpaired; the individuals were in high health; and their internal consciousness enabled them to perceive, what it has pleased the Almighty ruler of the universe to

reveal. This is easily conceivable; but such is the constitution of our nature, that, although this internal revelation cannot be perceived by the organs of sense; yet the individual recipient of such communication will only become aware of the revelation by attending to it, and perceiving it: and it will only be influential by his reflecting upon it, and remembering it; and by his determining, in the strength of Divine grace, to receive it by faith, as a revelation from God; and in the power of the Lord God to act upon it. But attention, percep tion, reflection, memory, judgment, and volition, are intellectual facul ties, whose functions are performed through the medium of the brainular organ; and it is only through this medium that the subject is conscious of the revelation he has received. Although a revelation, or vision, be made to the interior mind or soul; the compound man becomes conscious of such revela tion, and communicates it to others, only through the medium of a bodily organ: and therefore, according to all analogy of the perfection of the Divine government, it would be expected that it should be made when that organ was in a state of health or perfectness.

But the period is now only marked on the page of prophetic and sacred history, when such revelations from on high were necessary; and I return to the observation, that it should be recollected, "that the spirit, though hovering on the verge of an eternal scene, is still confined to its material tenement; and that, whatever it may perceive, is through the medium of that corporeal habitation." This remark of course supposes that there is now no miraculous interposition of God's providence (the idea involved in the consideration of internal revelation to fallen man); and we have considered this communication as unlikely, because the days of vision and prophecy have passed by; because it is unnecessary; and be

cause such recorded revelations have been made in an integral state of the cerebral function. Moreover, these visions are referred to the bodily senses; for the patient commonly points to a particular part of the room in which he has seen the angels, witnessed the Saviour's cross, or enjoyed revelations of the glory of the future world: and at the same time he is usually suffering from other ocular spectra, and perpetually endeavouring to take hold of objects which appear before him, but which, in fact, have no real existence. Besides, I must in truth appeal to the records of my professional experience; and I must state, that these visions are by no means confined to the deathbed of the Christian, who rests from his labour, and whose works do follow him, but that they have also attended the closing scene of those over whom, in the judgment of the most expansive charity, we could have no hope; who, during life, had never exhibited the fruits of faith, obedience, and love to God; and who, at the last, had not shewn that patience, and submission, and acquiescence in the will of Heaven which we should naturally expect from those over whom we could rejoice with confidence, or even rest in expanded hope of their resurrection unto life eternal.

But further; this state, namely, the vision of angels, and revelation of future glory is common to the maniac: who, in his hallucinations, mixes up himself as a principal actor in these glorious scenes, but who still details them with a sufficient degree of approach to truth and consistency, to be classed under the same view. If, then, the particular vision in question be common to the unrighteous, as well as to the righteous; and if its traces be clearly visible in the delirations of the insane; surely, is it not more wise and prudent, more just to God, and more con⚫ sonant to his dealings with mankind, to believe that this appearance really owns a bodily origin, and is

to be ascribed to the imperfect, failing, or perverted powers, of the organ of mental manifestation? This result leaves entirely intact all the revelations of Scripture; which are of a totally different order, and which, in mercy and in love to poor perishing sinners, have been vouchsafed to man, for the establishment of his faith, the extension of his hope, and the increase of his knowledge. Although, therefore, I fully agree with H. B., that such things have been under a different situation of the Christian world, and of the church, I cannot accede to his position that such things are, until the preceding facts and arguments are refuted. Possibly, under some future great change, such things may again be; but of this we are not called upon to determine. The charge of enthusiasm, or superstition, is not preferred against H. B., or against any one who differ from me: for, in the first place, I do not believe that it would attach to him; and, according to my own principles, the precise point of light, in which facts, and views, and opinions, are received by the individual, do very greatly depend upon his physical temperament, and upon its peculiar state, as influenced by health or disease. This, of course, does not affect the truth of any particular point: but it does affect the impression of that truth, and the zeal and earnestness with which it is received; or the caution, and doubt, and prejudice, which absorb and enthral the mind.

(To be continued.)


I at once admit, that in distinguishing the two modes of expression adopted by the sacred writers, upon which the argument in that paper is founded, I ought more accurately to have written, EK νεκρων οι εκ των νεκρων, from dead, or from the dead; and vɛkpwv or TWV VEKρWV, of dead, or of the dead." That is, I ought to have written out the four expressions instead of the two. ̓Αναστασις εκ των νεκρων certainly does not occur, although we have the analogous expression πρωτοτοκος εκ των νεκρων; and as for avaσraois TWY VEKOWY, it does occur 1 Cor. xv. 42, and also Phil. iii. 11; for it will not be contended, that avaoraow being there in composition with & has any thing to do with the insertion or omission of the article. This, then, is "the head and front of my offending;" and if it should appear, that in this case the occurrence of the article is not material, or at least essential, to the argument, some of the remarks of your correspondent may, on reflection, seem to him uncalled for.

The whole strength of his objection is founded on the assumption, that whenever the preposition Ek is used in the sense of "separation," or "selection," it invariably requires the article before the noun specifying the object from which the separation or selection is made. Now, admitting that this is most usual in classical Greek, (yet not without exceptions, especially in the later classics,) it is surely unnecessary for me to observe, that many instances occur, in which profane criticism will not admit of a very 'strict application to the writers of

REPLY TO REMARKS ON THE TWO, the New Testament. The Divine


Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

MAY I beg the insertion of the following observations, in reply to the remarks of a correspondent in your May Number on my paper in "The Morning Watch."

penmen, always intent upon their subject more than upon the mode of conveying it, do not strictly confine themselves to the rules of the grammarian, and not unfrequently write what scholars would call bad Greek. I trust no unfair advantage will be taken of this observation: it is not intended to prevent the

application of just criticism for the elucidation of the inspired writings, but to shew the necessity of first attending to the use of terms and phrases in the sacred authors themselves, before we proceed to apply those rules which we have deduced from the study of profane writings. In criticism, as well as in interpretation, nothing is more important than comparing Scripture with Scripture. I will therefore content myself with pointing out one or two clear instances in the New Testament, of Ek being used in the sense of "separation" without the article; and which, therefore, as it appears to me, deprive your correspondent's objection of all its force.

In Heb. v. 1: we have was yap ἁρχιερευς ἑξ ανθρωπων λαμβανομενος, "for every high priest taken from among men." Again, Rev. v. 9; και ηγόρασας τῷ Θεῷ ημας εν τω αιματι σου εκ πασης φυλης κ. τ. λ. "Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every tribe," &c. Similar instances we have in Acts xv. 23, Rom. ix. 24, though not observable in our translation.

Your correspondent has rejected the interpretation suggested in my paper; but let the reader judge how satisfactorily he meets the real difficulty. We have two expressions used by the Divine writers, and sometimes in the same passage.

1. αναστασις νεκρων. 2. αναστασις εκ νεκρων. The first your correspondent considers must be rendered a RAISING of THE DEAD; by which, I presume, he means, a raising of dead bodies. The second he renders a RISING from THE DEAD by which he means the state of death. Thus he arbitrarily changes the meaning of both words: avaσraois, in the first instance, he will have to mean raising;" in the second, "a rising." Allowing that avaoraoic admits of an active, as well as a transitive rendering, still, in this case, the change from one to the other is

perfectly gratuitous. But next, he takes the same liberty with the word vexpwv; which, in the first instance, is to be rendered "dead bodies," and, in the other, "the state of the dead." Yet in explaining the latter phrase, your correspondent himself seems almost to admit the other meaning. His words are: "avaoTaσ EK VEρKwv is intended to convey the idea of rising from the dead, without intimating whether the whole or only a part is to be raised." The whole or part of what? Of the state of the dead? What is the meaning of a resurrection of the state of the dead?

It appears to me to be much more consistent, and not opposed to the idiom of the language of the New Testament, to understand each expression in the same sense in both instances; one phrase asserting "a resurrection of dead ones," and the other " a resurrection from dead ones.” Had the sacred writers intended to express a resurection from the state of death, they would, I conceive, have written, not εK VEкpwv, nor ɛk vɛkρov, but εκ του θανατου ; which expression we do find thus used, in a figurative sense, 1 John iii. 14: μεταβεβηκαμεν εκ του θανατου εις την wny, "we have passed from death unto life."

The next objection of your correspondent somewhat surprised me, as coming from a writer who shews himself not ignorant of the language about which he is writing. He charges me with having manufactured one word out of two. But, had he recollected that all the Greek manuscripts are written without any division of words at all, he might have spared himself the collation" of seven different editions of the Greek Testament of the highest authority;" for, after all, the division of the words, where any doubt exists, is exclusively the work of the commentator, not of the writer. I am not unaware of the critical difficulties of Rom. i. 4; but concurring as I do with our

« AnteriorContinuar »