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But he speaks so clearly on this subject that comment is perhaps needless.

"In the Bible the Christian doctrines ... stand as indications of the character of GOD, and as the exciting motives of a corresponding character in man.".

This assumption must not pass without notice: often they so stand, not always, as he would imply. When St. Paul bids Timothy hold fast the form of sound words, or St. Jude exhorts us to contend earnestly for the faith, these Apostles seem so to direct for the sake of the faith itself, not for any ulterior reason. When St. John requires us to reject any one who brings not the true doctrine, nothing is said of it as an "exciting motive" of a certain character of mind, though viewed on one side of it, that doctrine certainly is so. St. Paul glories in the doctrine of CHRIST crucified as being a strange doctrine and a stumbling block. St. John states the doctrine of the Incarnation, in the first chapter of his gospel, as a heavenly truth, which was too glorious for men, and believed on only by the few, by which, indeed, the Father was declared, but which shone in darkness. But to return:

"In the Bible, the Christian doctrines are always stated in this connexion, they stand as indications of the character of God, and as the exciting motives of a corresponding character in man. Forming thus the connecting link between the character of the Creator and the creature, they possess a majesty which it is impossible to despise, and exhibit a form of consistency and truth which it is difficult to disbelieve. Such is Christianity in the Bible; but in creeds and Church articles it is far otherwise. These tests and summaries originated from the introduction of doctrinal errors and metaphysical speculations into religion; and in consequence of this, they are not so much intended to be the repositories of the truth, as barriers against the encroachment of erroneous opinions. The doctrines contained in them, therefore, are not stated with any reference to their great object in the Bible, the regeneration of the human heart by the knowledge of the Divine character. They appear as detached propositions, indicating no moral cause, and pointing to no moral ef fect. They do not look to GoD on the one hand as their source; nor to man on the other as the object of their moral urgency. They appear like links severed from the chain to which they belonged; and thus they lose all that evidence which arises from their consistency, and all that dignity which is connected with their high design. I do not talk of the propriety or impropriety of having Church Arti. cles, but the evils which spring from receiving impressions of reli gion exclusively or chiefly from this source." pp. 93, 94.

It is always a point gained to be able to come to issue in a controversy, as I am able to do here with the writer under consideration. He finds fault with that disjoined and isolated character of the doctrines in the old Catholic creed, that want of system, which to the more philosophical mind of Bishop Butler would

seem an especial recommendation from its analogy to the course of nature. He continues,

"I may instance the ordinary statements of the doctrine of the Trinity, as an illustration of what I mean. It seems difficult to con. ceive that any man should read through the New Testament candidly and attentively, without being convinced that this doctrine is essen. tial to, and implied in every part of the system: but it is not so diffi. cult to conceive, that although his mind is perfectly satisfied on this point, he may yet, if his religious knowledge is exclusively derived from the Bible, feel a little surprised and staggered, when he for the first time reads the terms in which it is announced in the articles and confessions of all Protestant Churches. In these summaries, the doctrine in question is stated by itself, divested of all its Scriptural accompaniments, and is made to bear simply on the nature of the Divine Essence, and the Mysterious fact of the existence of Three in One. It is evident that this fact, taken by itself, cannot in the small. est degree tend to develop the Divine character, and therefore cannot make any moral impression on our minds." pp. 94, 95.

Now, here, if it were to the purpose, this author might be encountered on his own ground. Surely, if it were religious to do so, it might be asserted, in contradiction to his last remark, that the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity does "tend to develop the Divine character," does "make a moral impression on our minds;" for does not the notion of a Mystery lead to reverence awe, wonder, and fear? and are these not moral impressions? He proceeds:

"In the Bible it assumes quite a different shape; it is there subservient to the manifestation of the moral character of GOD. The doctrine of God's combined justice and mercy, in the redemption of sinners, and of His continued spiritual watchfulness over the progress of truth through the world, and in each particular heart, could not have been communicated without it, so as to have been dis. tinctly and vividly apprehended; but it is never mentioned, except in connexion with these objects; nor is it ever taught as a separate subject of belief. There is a great and important difference between these two modes of statement. In the first, the doctrine stands as an isolated fact of a strange and unintelligible nature, and is apt even to suggest the idea, that Christianity holds out a premium for believing improbabilities. In the other, it stands indissolubly united with an act of Divine holiness and compassion, which radiates to the heart an appeal of tenderness most intelligible in its nature and object, and most constraining in its influence." pp. 95, 96,

Here, at length, Rationalism stands confessed, and we hear openly the "mouth speaking great things," described in prophecy. Again:

"The hallowed purpose of restoring men to the lost image of their Creator, is in fact the very soul and spirit of the Bible; and whenever this object does not distinctly appear, the whole system becomes dead and useless."

If so, what judgment are we to pass upon such texts as the following? "We are unto GoD a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other, the savour of life unto life." "What if GOD, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory?" "He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man whom He hath ordained." "Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be."* The glory of GoD, according to Mr. Erskine, and the maintenance of truth and righteousness, are not objects sufficient, were there no other, to prevent "the whole system" of revealed truth from "becoming dead and useless." Does not this philosophy tend to Universalism? can its upholders maintain for any long while the eternity of future punishment? Surely they speak at random, and have no notion what they are saying. He proceeds:

"In Creeds and Confessions this great purpose is not made to stand forth with its real prominency; its intimate connexion with the different articles of faith is not adverted to; the point of the whole argument is thus lost, and Christianity is misapprehended to be a mere list of mysterious facts. One who understands the Bible may read them with profit, because his own mind may fill up the defi. ciencies, and when their statements are correct, they may assist inquiries in certain stages, by bringing under their eye a concentrated view of all the points of Christian doctrine; and they may serve, according to their contents, either as public invitations to their communion, or as public warnings against it; . . . but they are not cal. culated to impress on the mind of a learner a vivid and useful apprehension of Christianity. . . Any person who draws his know. ledge of the Christian doctrines, exclusively or principally from such sources, must run considerable risk of losing the benefit of them, by overlooking their moral objects; and, in so doing, he may be tempted to reject them altogether, because he will be blind to their strongest evidence, which consists in their perfect adaptation to these objects. The Bible is the only perfectly pure source of Divine knowledge, and the man who is unacquainted with it, is, in fact, ignorant of the doctrines of Christianity, however well read he may be in the schemes, and systems, and controversies, which have been written on the subject. . . . The habit of viewing the Christian doctrine and the Christian character as two separate things has a most pernicious tendency. A man who in his scheme of Christianity says, 'here are so many things to be believed, and here are so many things to be done,' has already made a fundamental mistake. The doctrines are

2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. Rom. x. 22, 23. Acts xvii. 31. Rev. xxii. 12.

the principles which must excite and animate the performance," &c. pp. 139-141.

It is not the design of this Paper to refute Mr. Erskine's principles, so much as to delineate and contrast them with those of the Church Catholic. Since, however, he has already, in several of these extracts, assumed that Scripture ever speaks of revealed doctrines in a directly practical way,-not as objects of faith merely, but as motives to conduct,-I would call attention to the following passage, in addition to those which have been above pointed out. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that We do know, and testify that We have seen; and ye receive not Our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."*

Some persons, doubtless, are so imbued with modern glosses and the traditions of men, that they will discern in all this but a practical exhortation to conversation, change of heart, and the like but any one who gets himself fairly to look at the passage in itself, will, I am persuaded, see nothing more or less than this, that Christ enunciates a solemn Mystery for Nicodemus to receive in faith; that Nicodemus so understands His words, and hesitates at it; that our Lord reproves him for hesitating, tells him that there are even higher Mysteries than that He had set forth, and proceeds to instance that of the Incarnation. In what conceivable way would a supporter of Mr. Erskine's views make the last awful verse "subservient to the manifestation of the moral character of GOD," or directly influential upon practice? unless, indeed, he explained its clauses away altogether, as if they meant nothing more than is contained in the next verses, "As Moses," &c., and "God so loved the world," &c. All this is too painful

* John iii. 3-13.

to dwell upon. The latter part, particularly the conclusion, of the sixth chapter of the same Gospel, would afford another instance in point.

Now, let us hear what Mr. Erskine says in like manner on the doctrine of the Atonement, which he would exalt, indeed, into the substance of the Gospel, but in his account of which, as well as of the other Mysteries of revelation, he will, I fear, be found wanting.

"The doctrine of the Atonement through Jesus Christ, which is the corner-stone of Christianity, and to which all the other doctrines of Revelation are subservient,”

Here is the same (what I must call) presumptuous assumption,

"has had to encounter the misapprehension of the understanding as well as the pride of the heart."

Now let us observe, he is going to show how the understanding of the Church Catholic has misapprehended the doctrine.

"This pride is natural to man, and can only be overcome by the power of truth; but the misapprehension might be removed by the simple process of reading the Bible with attention; because it has arisen from neglecting the record itself, and taking our information from the discourses or the system of men who have engrafted the metaphysical subtilties of the schools upon the unperplexed statement of the word of God. In order to understand the facts of Reve. lation, we must (sic) form a system to ourselves; but if any subtilty, of which the application is unintelligible to common sense, or, uninfluential on conduct, enters into our system, we may be sure that it is a wrong one."

The author here alludes to the Catholic teaching in the words "systems of man ;" indeed it has been fashionable of late so to speak of it; but let me ask, which teaching has the more of system in it, that which regards the doctrines of revelation as isolated truths, so far as they are not connected in Scripture itself, or that which pares away part, and forcibly deals with the rest, till they are all brought down to an end cognizable by the human mind? It must be observed, that the author expressly sanctions the formation of a system, which Catholic believers do not. He proceeds,

"The common sense system of a religion consists in two connexions, first, the connexion between the doctrines and the character of God which they exhibit; and secondly, the connexion between these same doctrines and the character which they are intended to impress on the mind of man. When, therefore, we are considering a religious doctrine, our questions ought to be, first, What view does this doctrine give of the character of God in relation to sinners? And secondly, What influence is the belief of it calculated to exercise on the character of man? . . . The first of these questions leads us to consider the Atonement as an act necessarily resulting from,

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