图书图片
PDF
ePub

bute sinful properties, and dispositions, and inclinations to our Lord's human nature, I am speaking of it as considered apart from Him, in itself; I am defining the qualities of that nature which he took upon him, and demonstrating it to be the very same in substance with that which we possess.

We pass over the division of Evangelists from Apostles, as if they were two distinct sets of persons (which, however, is not a slip of the pen, for he does so again at pp. 6 and 7), although it marks a want of precision, which is the most essential quality in a critic, and come to the strange assertion that no mention is ever made in the New Testament of the human nature as being apart from the Divine ; that one nature was not apart from the other, nor by the orthodox ever so considered ; and we take leave to inform this assertor of impossibilities, that the truth is directly the opposite of what he here dogmatically and ignorantly asserts, for that the human nature is always mentioned in the New Testament, and considered by the orthodox, as apart from the Divine. The two natures, after their union, constitute the one person, the God-man Christ Jesus, and are therefore for ever indissolubly united; but their separateness before the incarnation, and their necessary and eternal distinctness as Creator and creature, as Infinite and finite, as Unchangeable and mortal, is the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in flesh, every where taught in the Scriptures, and constantly maintained by the orthodox. It is taught wherever our Lord is called Son of God and Son of Man; wherever the Word is said to be made flesh, to have dwelt among us, to be Immanuel; and it is taught by all the Apostles: as Paul, writing of his own kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom. ix.5),“ of whom,” he also declares, as "concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all God blessed for ever;

thus making Christ's consanguinity to the Jews precisely the same as his own: while John makes it the very mark of Antichrist to “ confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh(1 John iv. 3). Mr. Duncan here adopts the heresy of making a confusion of the two natures of Christ ; of merging one in the other; whereby he would certainly cease to be either perfect man or perfect God. All the writers who have exposed themselves in this controversy have shewn the same incapacity to comprehend the difference between two natures making one person, and two persons making one person,

From what follows, however, Mr. Duncan clearly and explicitly denies that Christ took the flesh of Mary, the flesh of the fathers, or the flesh of David, or the flesh of Abraham; and asserts that he took a new flesh, created for the first time within the womb of the Virgin. He quotes these words from Mr. Irving, “ The qualities of that nature which he took upon him, the very same in substance with that which we possess ;” and

VOL. II.-NO. IV.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

then makes the following comment: “It is certain that the qualities of our nature are corrupt, depraved, and devilish. But

you give out that the qualities of Christ's nature are substantially the same as ours; therefore corrupt, depraved, and de• vilish. Perhaps you will say, O you mistake;

mistake; I mean, that the qualities of that nature which the Lord took upon hiin are sub'stantially the same as ours. Now, reader, we beg you to mark the next sentence. • Why truly there is no difference : for ' that which he took upon him was of course his own nature, or 'body, or flesh.'—This, which is so much a matter of course to Mr. Duncan, is plain contradiction of Scripture, which says, that, instead of taking “His own nature or flesh,” he took OUR “nature and flesh:” and Mr. Duncan, putting in the word “body," as synonimous with “ nature,” and “ flesh,” gives another proof of that ignorance which we remarked above, whereby he is unable to distinguish between a nature and a person.

He proceeds; • The Scriptures inform us that . Christ's conception was immaculate: a " body was prepared for

him ” (Heb.x.5); THE CREATION'--mark it, reader, we beseech you—' the workmanship of the Holy Ghost (Luke i. 35). And

this is that nature, or flesh, which the Lord, the Eternal Word, • took upon him.' This heresy he again repeats in p. 16: The • human nature of the Mediator did not exist before he took and

bore it.' So the promise to Eve, that her Seed,” that an offset from her, that her nature, should bruise the serpent's head, is yet unfulfilled, and is never to be fulfilled at all! This heresy we believe to be most rife in the church, and to be prevalent amongst the majority of the Evangelical Clergy in Scotland and Dissenters in England : we trust better things of the Evangelical Clergy in England-at least, Mr. Dodsworth has put forth two sermons containing perfectly sound doctrine on this most vital subject.

So much for the orthodoxy of Mr. Joseph Duncan, which he informs us in his preface, Christians of judgment and under

standing, having perused, urged me to lengthen them somewhat, * and give them to the public. We recommend the Reverend gentleman to betake himself to the Athanasian Creed, and then to his Aristotle, before he again ventures to expose himself in reasoning on divinity.

But we have not yet done with Mr. Duncan. The insolence of his language must not be overlooked, when The Record, and all the other popular journals, not only propagate the false doctrine on this subject, but also praise and justify the violent manner in which the heretics promulgate their abominations. In p. 7 he thus addresses Mr. Irving : Retract your erroneous and antiscriptural definition of the work of the Mediator. Publicly confess your faith in the testimony borne by the Evan

'gelists, and Apostles of the Lord, to his great work having been accomplished on the cross upon mount Calvary.'

In p. 8 he affects to sneer at an attempt of Mr. Irving's to explain, to such theological babes as Mr. Duncan, the difference between a nature and a person ; which he aserts is so very casy to understand, that it is like throwing dust in one's eyes' to endeavour to shew the distinction, for that the doctrines of the Gospel are perfectly understood without any metaphysics whatever. Yet, however easy this may be to the rest of mankind, it is a difficulty which Mr. Duncan has not surmounted; for the whole of p. 8 hangs upon his incompetence to see that very distinction; and he charges Mr. Irving with saying of Christ's person, that which he does say of the human nature which he assumed before it became part of his persona charge which can only arise from Mr. Duncan's necessity of having the point explained to him, or from wilfully and falsely putting into his adversary's mouth sentiments which he never held.

Mr. Duncan is also a critic of words : upon one passage he writes (p. 15); “Here the word it is repeated not less than • seven times—a fault of which the veriest school-boy, or scribbler, 'would not be guilty.' The usual language of the Reverend gentleman is as follows: 'It is not possible to read this sentiment,' that Christ reconciled the fallen and rebellious creatures through his creature part (which, by the way, is the whole sum and substance of revealed religion) without feelings of * the deepest horror. How impious, nay, blasphemous, to pub• lish to the church, and to the world, so horrible a libel against 'the Son of God, our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ' (p. 7). Again (p. 17), on Mr. Irving saying, that, though all sin, devils, death, and corruption lay upon Christ, yet prevailed not to incline his human will once to depart from his Divine will, he calls this a most foul, wicked, and blasphemous aspersion on • the character of the Lord.'

By p. 20 we perceive that Mr. Duncan denies the passage in the Catechism of the Church of England which says, " I believe in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind;" and that he holds a doctrine contrary to the Church of England, which is, that the work of Christ was only undertaken for a few. This vile error is closely connected with unsound views on the humanity of Christ : that is, whoever " understands rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ”—whoever knows the difference between two natures making one person, and two persons making one person-will clearly perceive the impossibility that that work could have been effectual for less than the whole nature in which it was done. If all discipline had not been banished from the Church, Mr. Duncan ought to be summoned before competent authority, and made to retract his opinions, or

6

resign his emoluments and honours in that church whose catechism and formularies he disbelieves.

There are really no end to the absurdities that this dogmatizer has contrived to string into thirty-nine pages. In page 26 he asserts that Christ was under the law by imputation, and not because, by the condition of that flesh which he assumed, he was bound by it. In page 28 he denies that Christ was made under the law, but asserts that he assumed an office, like a Bachelor of Arts : 'Suppose you had been made Doctor of Divinity, no one, I

presume, would think of saying you were generated D.D. • When it is said David was made a king, we understand that 'he entered upon his kingly office. Thus Christ in assuming • human nature entered upon his mediatorial office, and became *under the law, as the substitute forsinners. Your divinity is bad, 'your metaphysics are bad, your criticisms are bad.' (p. 29.)— Really such a writer and reasoner is not worth the time, paper, and ink, consumed in exposing him. We therefore hasten to his last page, which is as follows : Your doctrines have no • foundation in Scripture; they are abhorred by your brethren, ' and in substance were publicly condemned and anathematized ' in the last General Assembly of your church. This is positive falsehood. The resolution of the General Assembly did not say one letter that Mr. Irving has not said, with much greater force and clearness, a thousand times. It is true, indeed, that a large party in that sagacious body, as furious and as absurd as Mr. Duncan, heard that some heresy was abroad in the church, though they could not well discover where; and passed a resolution, which they thought hit it, whereas it had not the remotest connection with the point at issue ; thereby only exposing the ignorance of those at whose instigation it was framed. Our present business, however, is with Mr. Duncan, who concludes thus : 'Did you humbly abide by the written word, you would be • honourable and useful. Unstable, giddy, covetous of precedence • and notoriety, you have fallen into a snare, become a troubler of the church's peace, an impugner of Christ's person, and a perverter of his doctrines.' These be the last words of Joseph Duncan; marvellously well pleased with his own performance, at all events : but a more shallow, self-sufficient display of ignorance and pretension has seldom been produced. We dare say, however, it will be hailed, like all the other heretical pamphlets that have appeared on the same side, with rapture, by the theological babes who are fast sealing themselves into an open apostasy of the human nature of Christ. They will not " have this man to reign over them,” under a Pharisaic pretext of love ; and thus, uniting with the infidel against those who hold sound doctrine, will, like Judas and Pilate, equally be found fighting against the Lamb at the time of his appearance.

933

ON THE GOOD AND EVIL OF RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.

Tue religious societies of the present time constitute its greatest moral phenomenon.

The benefit they seem to confer upon mankind is immense; and, if they are compared with any other machinery which has ever been brought to bear upon the happiness of the human race, their power and efficiency appear to justify the realization of the most sanguine anticipations. It is therefore much more easy to sympathize with the feelings of their greatest idolaters, than with those who have either opposed their establishment, or who have neglected to use every lawful means for their support. That error and infirmity are mingled with them, it would be no less impious than absurd to deny. It is necessary, however, to distinguish the evil arising from these sources—which may be prevented, controuled, and suppressed, if any of their members, however few in number, or if any one member, will consistently and perseveringly determine to combat against it until it is eradicated—and another description of evil, which is essential to them, and inherent in them, under the best possible circumstances. It is admitted that the language of their panegyrists has been loathsome to the greatest degree; that the false prophecies, which have been continually delivered, have been calculated to offend all who were better instructed in the true business which the societies had to perform; and that, when it was declared, in more than one public meeting, that they who had opposed the adulteration of God's word were fighting against God, no language can be too strong to reprobate such sentiments, and to reprove the injustice and insolence of such assertions. Still be it remembered, these are the follies of the individuals who utter them, and no more implicate the principles of the societies themselves, than the immoralities of an individual clergyman involve the principles of the church of which he is a member.

Although very numerous, they may be all included in one of three classes ; the first containing those societies which are formed for the Circulation of Books: at the head of which stands in seniority the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, followed up by the Bible and Tract Societies. The firstnamed Society is confined, both for support and to sphere of operation, to the members of the Church of England. But this constitution was not sufficiently narrow and sectarian to please those into whose hands the administration of its affairs had fallen, and, erecting themselves into a party within the church, they schismatically separated themselves from those who were termed Evangelical, and prevented, by every possible means, the accession to the Society of any persons so stigmatized.

« 上一页继续 »