Imágenes de página

duced to put them away for ever! So shall there be added to the spiritual church of God, some who shall be saved from the wrath to come!



Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. YOUR Number for June contained a judicious letter, signed T. B., on Mr. Faber's surrendering, as untenable, the argument against Transubstantiation derived from the abstract impossibility of proving an absurdity; an argument convincing ly used by Tillotson, Bennet, and most other writers on the subject. Mr. Faber's statement had not, however, passed without notice previously to the reply of T. B.; for upon reading his "Supplement to the Difficulties of Romanism," I find in that excellent piece of controversy, a fuller account of his views, in reply to the objections of Mr. Gabett, in his " very valuable and powerful work, the Nullity of the Roman Faith." Mr. Gabett maintains his argument by a series of powerful reasoning and evidence, which I do not think can be answered.

The truth of Christianity, Mr. Faber had remarked, is "incontrovertibly established by overwhelmingly sufficient testimony." But transubstantiation, he adds, can be proved to exist, at present, in the Church of Rome. There is, therefore, no abstract impossibility, he says, against proving its existence in the days, and under the sanction, of the Apostles: and if so, he concludes, "I must admit its truth." Nay, but, objects Mr. Gabett, "Before we admit the validity of your hypothesis, remove the barrier that lies in the way; and shew us how the truth of Christianity can be established by testimony more 'overwhelmingly sufficient than sufficient than that which demonstrates transubCHRIST. OBSERV. No. 332.

stantiation to be false; and disprove me, when I maintain, under sanction of Scripture, that this tenet overturns all certainty of evidence. For it strikes at the identity of the man Jesus with the Son of God, which St. John grounds upon the evidence of the senses, that they had seen, heard, looked upon, and handled, of the Word of life.' It strikes at the certainty of what St. Luke calls infallible proofs' of the resurrection, which were none other than what the senses afforded. It strikes at the ascension which took place publicly, for no other end than that the sorrowing church might have sensitive foundation for her trust in Him, who is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour. What, too, means St. Luke, when he urges the authenticity of his Gospel, from the consideration, that it was derived from those who had been 'eye-witnesses' of the Word? Is not the entire guilt of disbelief imputed to the Jews on this account, that they rejected the testimony of their senses? If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.' Suppose a modern Jew to take up the Roman hypothesis, what answer would they provide for him?"

In another place, also, Mr. Gabett contends against it on the express grounds, that it annihilates all evidence, even the very evidence on which it rests itself; and thus affects the first principles of Christian faith for "Transubstantiation implies, that our senses, legitimately employed on a proper subject, may be and are so glaringly deceived, as to annihilate all dependence upon them." Mr. Gabett, like every Christian man, "abhors the presumptuous application of finite faculties to decide upon the fitness and probability of infinite mysteries" but we must not forget, he adds, that Scripture was given for our learning, for our salvation; and that we have no other medium of 3 R

obliquities which, unassisted, he could not but fall into."


The argument objected to by Mr. Faber has certainly never yet been proved to be fallacious. have looked into Dr. Milner, and other Roman-Catholic writers, to see how they attempt to refute it ; and their allusions to it only shew how hard it presses upon them.

In the discussions upon Catholic Emancipation, it was often said by the opponents of that measure, "We cannot depend on the oath of Catholics; we must have securities:" to which it was answered, "If you cannot depend on their oaths, where is your security for your securities ?" So to those who tell us, "There may possibly be evidence for the truth of transubstantiation," we may ask, "Where is your evidence for the evidence?

attaining to this learning, than by the use of our eyes or ears; which transubstantiation affirms to be no faculty at all, when directed to Divine subjects. But how is the church herself to communicate her dicta by other media? "Can any operation of sense be more simple than the apprehension of the common viands of life? If what you see and feel, smell and taste, to be bread and wine, are not merely no bread and wine, but absolutely nothing palpable, how are you to be certain that the terms This is my body,' express what the cast of the types seems to imply?" "The inward and spiritual grace, signified in the Eucharist, is doubtless the object of faith alone. But the outward and visible sign is the object of sense. And for this end was it appointed, that, by sensible certainty of the outward emblems, faith might feed on the certainty of the inward benefit. Religion is, indeed, a thing of faith, a faith the gift of God; yet so a gift as to be conveyed through the medium of sense. 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' Now, the ear is as truly employed on a Divine subject in hearing the word, as the eye and lips in contemplating and receiving the Eucharist. But if the word give an uncertain sound, and the hearing may not be confided in, is not a wide and effectual door opened to every phrenetic imagination? Faith, instead of being that infallible assurance which renders it to the believer the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,' becomes a spiritual delirium.

Our assurance in things divine rests on the moral inerrency of We can live by no other medium in the affairs of this life. We can prepare by none other, for the blessedness of that which is to come. Grace is not given to bereave man of his faculties, but to disperse the foggy damp of original corruption; to asperge the film of sin; to preserve him from those

[ocr errors][merged small]

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

HAVING seen, in your Number for July, a reply of W. D. to my paper on the two resurrections, I desire to send you a few remarks.

I beg to thank you for having left out of my paper, as originally sent to you, any expression which appeared to you likely to cause offence. When I wrote that letter, I was ignorant who was the author of the article to which it was a reply; I have since learned his name, and can only say, that, from what I know of his character and principles as a minister of Christ, I should feel very sorry indeed to say any thing in the slightest degree disrespectful or unkind towards him. It is not, I assure you, from any pleasure in contest or controversy that I take up my pen, but from a desire to promote, both in myself and others, a more accurate acquaintance with the language of the holy Scriptures, and with the

mind of the Spirit, as in them expressed.

There is a point of biblical criticism at issue between W. D. and myself, which it may be profitable to discuss it is this, as stated by himself; whether "whenever the preposition ε 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."

I would certainly maintain the necessity of the insertion of the article, when it is intended to convey that the separation or selection is made between different parts of the object specified by the noun. If one species of the genus represented by the noun to which the preposition is affixed, is intended to be contrasted with another species, or part, of the same genus, then there is a necessity for the article; but, if the whole of the genus expressed is intended to be contrasted with some other genus, either expressed or understood, then there is no necessity for the article. Το apply this to the case in question-if it was intended to express a separation between certain classes of the dead, VEKOV, or to intimate a selection of some class or individual out of the great mass, then it would be necessary to have the article, and to write EK TWV VEкpwv. W. D. admits that this is most usual in classical Greek; and gets rid of the force of the argument, which he feels to be against him, by saying, that "The divine penmen do not strictly confine themselves to the rules of the grammarian, and not unfrequently write what scholars would call bad Greek." This, I must confess, sounds rather strange from W. D.; for he has, in his paper in the Morning Watch, endeavoured to support the doctrine of two resurrections, from two distinct modes of expression adopted in the New Testament; but if the matter of fact was, as he has stated it, and if the divine penmen did use these two distinct modes of

expression, he could argue nothing from it, if an objector could just use the language with which he now provides him, and say, "The divine penmen do not strictly confine themselves to the rules of the grammarian, and not unfrequentlywrite what scholars would call bad Greek." In his anxiety to get rid of my argument he has incidentally destroyed the very foundation of his own; for, if the divine penmen write bad Greek, as he would suggest, no one can be safe in deducing, as he has done, a doctrine from their mode of expressing themselves.

Whatever may be usual in classical Greek, he thinks he can shew some clear instances in the New Testament of ε being used in the sense of separation without the article, which therefore appears to him to deprive my objection of all its force. It is for your readers to judge whether the texts he has quoted are clear instances to his point, or not: they certainly do not appear so to me. The first he cites is Heb. v. 1: Tas yap aрxiepεvs EĞ ανθρωπων λαμβανόμενος : "For every high priest taken from among men." I conceive, that in this case there is no intention to introduce the idea of selection from amongst the individuals of mankind, but from mankind generally, as contradistinguished from any other class of beings. The distinction intended is between a priest of mankind, and a priest who is the Son of God. This is, therefore, a very different idea from that of a distinction between some of the dead to be raised, and others of the dead not raised.

The phrase εξ ανθρώπων occurs in other parts of the New Testament; and a consideration of the passages may lead us to see plainly its meaning. It occurs Mark xi. 30: "The baptism of John, is it from heaven, or of men?" ουρανε η εξ ανθρωπων; Is it Divine, or human in its origin? The distinction intended to be conveyed is not between different individuals of mankind, but between heaven

and mankind. It occurs also, Acts v. 38: "For if this counsel, or this work, be of men, ε av0ρwπwv, it will come to nought; but if it be of God, εK Oε8," &c. It occurs likewise in the same sense, Rom. ii. 29. The second text adduced by W. D. as a clear instance of the same kind of separation as he contends for in the case of εκ νεκρων, is Rev. v. 9: "hast redeemed to God, by thy blood, ek waons quλns," &c. Now here there is no intention to intimate any separation between the tribes. If there had been any intention of saying, that one or more tribes had been redeemed out of all the tribes, the article, I conceive, would have been inserted; it would have been written, εκ πασων των quλwv. There are many similar forms of expression throughout the Scriptures. Matt. xxvii. 29: "And when they had platted a crown,

ακανθων.” As there was no intention to convey the idea that they made a selection of thorns, but only that the crown was a thorny one, rather than made of gold, or silver, or any other material, it is written without the article. But if it had been the intention of the inspired penman to convey, that they had collected many thorns, and had selected out of them the strongest and sharpest, he would have said, that they platted a crown ɛK TWY AкavƐwv. So, in like manner, it appears to me, that if the inspired penmen wished to convey the simple notion of a resurrection from the dead without introducing the idea of one part being separated from the other, they would write EK VEKOV; but if they wished to convey the idea of one part separated from, and select ed out of, the whole, they would write εκ των νεκρων.

This will appear more clearly, by noticing some places in which there is evidently an intention of making such a separation and selection, in which the article is used. Mark xiv. 20: "It is one of the twelve that dippeth with me in the dish:" εις εκ των δωδεκα. John vi. 8.

"One of his disciples saith unto him," S εκ των μαθητων αυτού. John vii. 25: "Then said some of them of Jerusalem," TIVEÇ EK TWY Iεpoσoλvμтwv. John xviii. 17: “Art not thou also (one) of this man's disciples?” Μη και συ εκ των μαθητων ει του ανθρωπου τούτου. Acts i. 24: "Shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,” αναδειξον εκ τουτων των δυο ενα ον εξελέξω. In these instances there is an intention to express the selection of some of the individuals contained under the genus which the noun signifies, contrasted with remaining individuals belonging to the same genus, and expressed by the same noun, and therefore the article is inserted.

I do not wish to dwell upon any inaccuracies which I was led to remark upon in my former paper; particularly as the manner in which I did it has appeared displeasing to one whom I much respect; but I cannot help saying, that I think the reason assigned by W. D. for having written &avaoraσews as one word, contrary to the authority of all printed copies, far from satisfactory. He says, that had I recollected that all the Greek manuscripts are written without any division of words at all, I might have spared myself the collation of seven different editions of the Greek Testament. Had W. D. recollected that all the Greek manuscripts (he should have said the early ones) are written without any division of words, he would have known that ε avaσraσews being found in the manuscript without any division into two words, did not prove it to be one word, and therefore did not authorise him to write it as one word. It would authorise him, as a critic, to propose an alteration from the way in which the clause is printed in the copies extant; and if he could give satisfactory reasons for the change, then he might make what use he pleased of the amendment; but it would never authorise him, ad libitum, and without notice, to make a change of that kind, and then argue

of Genius

as if the reading he substituted was not only incontrovertibly the right one, but as if it was the only one. Had W. D. stated that the way he read Romans i. 4, was different from all the printed copies, he would have weakened the force of his conclusion, but he would have escaped the charge of misrepresen

; which was not stated as
though it was wilful or dishonest,
but simply as a matter of fact, that
his quotation represented things
differently from what they really
were.-I again beg to subscribe




Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

As the most effectual way of im-
pressing our minds with a sense of
the obligations of genius, or in-
tellectual power in its varied forms
and exercises, it may be desirable
briefly to advert to the stupendous
influence-salutary or the reverse-
which it is found capable of exerting
upon the character and prospects of
mankind. It is impossible to con-
template the nature of man, as it
displays itself in different individuals
of the species, without observing the
immense disproportion which pre-
vails between his physical and his
mental energies. In bodily strength
and in the vigour of his organic
structure, man is far inferior to
many of the lower animals: but
he posesses a hidden, mysterious
which raises him above the
level of his corporeal nature, which
triumphs over the feebleness of his
material frame, and brings the
unwieldy and impetuous tenants of
the forest prostrate in willing sub-
mission at his feet. When we sur-
vey some of the mightier efforts of
human labour, some of the massive
structures that have been reared by
mortal hands, when we mount the
summit of some lofty edifice which
commands a view of the wide pano-
rama of domes, temples, and palaces
with which it is surrounded, when
we contemplate the colossal achieve

ments of ancient industry and art,— the pyramids, the triumphal arches, the subterraneous aqueducts, some faint vestiges of which, just sufficient to testify their stupendous magnitude, are still to be observed on the soils of Egypt, Greece, and Rome: when we transfer our gaze to another element, and witness one of those floating masses which seem to afford the most vivid representation of a world "standing out of the water, and in the water, "-when we notice these diversified results of human power and skill, and contrast them with the physical energy of the agent, we

are struck with astonishment at the apparent disparity which they display. We might imagine that some higher power had been at work, that some mightier arm must have wielded the elements which have thus combined, that some being more than human had thus moulded nature to his will. But when we calmly and deliberately survey these objects as the mere results of well-directed human effort, and compare at our leisure the effect with the immediate cause, we turn away from the scene with a deeper and more overwhelmconviction of the superiority of mind to matter. We perceive with wonder that, provided with how small an apparatus of bones, sinews, and muscles, man can rear monuments of power which seem to bid defiance to the ravages of time, and to partake of the imperishableness

« AnteriorContinuar »