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that it is not on the most numerous. When a change will take place we venture not to predict, for we are quite at a loss to understand the auguries of the body, or the nature of the policy which guides it. But change it must, or cease to be the religion of the working people. Every working man ought, as a sacred duty, to teach his children that Methodism has been a principal means of strengthening the hands and setting up the power of his oppressors. The people in the great manufacturing districts, where are the strongholds of Methodism, ought, with united voice, to tell their preachers, that they, as a body, have brought the bread taxers into power, and that they have refused to lift up their voice for justice and humanity, while he that grinds the face of the poor has received their support. The people are yet silent, but let them speak out, and they will not only be heard, but be successful. The Methodist ministers, after all, are nothing without their people. There is a point beyond which the patience of these people will not extend—when that is reached—when the people of Methodism see that their interest identifies them with the rest of the people in their demand for untaxed bread; that moment the downfall of the present dynasty is sealed, Toryism and Wesleyanism will be divorced, and the accession of strength to the cause of free trade in corn will compel any government to yield to justice, what will probably, till ther, be tenaciously held by the avarice of the aristocracy.
Art. IV. 1. The Knowledge of Jesus the most excellent of the Sciences.
By ALEXANDER CARSON, A.M. Edinburgh. 1840. 2. History of Providence, as manifested in Scripture ; or Facts from
Scripture illustrative of the Government of God: with a Defence of the Doctrine of Providence, and an Examination of the Philosophy of Dr. Thomas Brown on that subject. By ALEXANDER CARSON, A.M. Edinburgh. 1810.
THE 'HE title of the former of these volumes is both true and
fascinating. The knowledge of Jesus is in one sense a science, and assuredly it is the most excellent of the sciences. All other knowledge sinks into insignificance and worthlessness in comparison with it; and happy will it be when those who pursue science shall cease to idolize it, and shall neither disdain nor neglect to sit at the feet of Jesus, and to learn of him. In opening the book to which this title is prefixed, however, the reader will not find that it is devoted to an illustration of the sentiment so aptly-we may say, so beautifully expressed. VOL. X.
There is much, indeed, said about and (with too much reason, but not always with justice) against philosophers; but there is not, as the title might have led us to expect, an exhibition of the sciences ordinarily so called, and a contrasted exhibition of the gospel of Christ, for the demonstration of its greater excellency. What the contents of the book really are, and wherein the principal value of it (in the author's judgment) consists, will appear from the following summary furnished by his own pen.
" I have now, I think, proved seven grand points. First, That God manifests himself in his works, as to a part of his character. Second, That, though God manifests himself in his works, no man ever from these works learned the lesson which they teach. No man, without the Scriptures, ever learned from creation and providence as much of God as is taught by the works of creation and providence. Third, That the character of God, in which there is ground of confidence to sinners, is to be learned only from the Scriptures. There only is God seen as a just God and a Saviour. Fourth, That the character of God as he is manifested in the gospel contains its own evidence. It cannot be known without being believed, and on this ground the rejection of it is condemnation. Fifth, That the character of God is manifested in his Son Jesus Christ. The Father is known only by knowing the Son. Instead of knowing the Father better than the Son, nothing is known of the Father but as it is seen in the Son. Sixth, That the gospel is neither more nor less than a manifestation of the divine character. The character of the Son, and of the Father, and the gospel, are all virtually identified. The gospel reveals the Father by revealing the Son, in whom the Father is seen. of salvation through the atonement was necessary to show God to be what he is. Seventh, That the Scriptures employ phraseology about the gospel that implies that it is a self-evident truth. If the view which I have given of this subject is truth, it brings forward truth that hath lain unnoticed in the Scriptures since the days of the apostles. I am not aware that these views will be found in any human writings. If my positions are fairly made out, they are of incalculable importance in many respects.'-pp. 302, 303.
Our readers will see from this quotation that Mr. Carson travels over a wide space, and touches, unquestionably with a vigorous and masterly hand, a great variety of topics. He challenges attention, however, particularly to a sentiment of ' incalculable importance,' which (in his judgment) ‘has lain
unnoticed in the Scriptures since the days of the apostles,' and which, so far as he knows, is not to be found in any human
writings. This is an announcement, certainly, of stirring import, and is fitted to engage prompt and serious attention. For ourselves, we yield it readily at such a call.
Upon looking after the sentiment in question, we find it expressed in the following terms. The character of God, as
"he is manifested in the gospel, contains its own evidence.' The gospel is 'a self evident truth; so that 'to unfold the
gospel is to prove it. After remarking on our Lord's words, John xiv. 6, 11, our author thus further explains himself.
In the light of this passage, the gospel has its evidence in itself. If God is seen in the gospel, in the very sight there must be evidence of his godhead. Is it possible that God shall appear, and yet that it shall not be known that he is God by those who truly behold him ? This would be a supposition totally unworthy of God. Jehovah in his glorious perfections is infinitely above all his creatures, and there can be no difficulty in recognizing him when he appears. He that sees God in the character in which he manifests himself in the Scriptures, would as soon look on the sun and ask if it is light, as, on seeing God, ask, Is this God? Even the queen of Persia might mistake the favorite for Alexander, because the friend of the king may have as much appearance of majesty as the sovereign himself.
But no man will ever see God, and ask, Is this God ? When God discovers his character to the mind, there is self-evidence that he is the true God. They who do not recognize him do not truly see him, though in the Scriptures he stands before their eyes.'—p. 256.
We are not sure that we understand Mr. Carson; and he must excuse us if, among the ideas from which we select one as his most probable meaning, we should mistake him. His view, as we conceive it, is, that the method of expiation for sin by the vicarious sacrifice of Christ for his people--for this is Mr. Carson's exhibition of the scriptural character of God-must necessarily appear to every one who understands it to be the method in which God is actually dealing with men, and a divinely wise and glorious method of dealing with them. We take him to maintain that no man who understands this doctrine can either doubt whether it represents the fact, or refuse his acquiescence in the system. We do not find ourselves able to agree, on the instant at least, in this sentiment. We are not satisfied as to the ground upon which
such conviction of the truth and excellency of the gospel must be supposed to arise. If any particular representation of God's character is to bring to me an instantaneous conviction that it is a just one, it must be because of its conformity with some ideas of God more or less distinctly preconceived in my mind; just as, if I were to recognize a stranger at first sight, without his being named to me, it would be owing to a conformity on his part to the image I had created of him. Now we know that there are in human nature certain impulses of justice and benevolence, by their conformity to which all representations of the divine character are quickly brought to a species of test by mankind; but we are scarcely prepared to admit that these impulses
are universally-if in any case-so comprehensive, accurate, and vivid, as to furnish an immediate certainty that some particular representation of the divine character is correct. Have all men such antecedent thoughts of God that they are entitled to say, I know that this description of his character is true, because it agrees with what I have conceived of him?
We can scarcely look with greater satisfaction on the result to which such a sentiment would lead. If, when a representation of the divine character approves itself to the mind of a man, this is to be deemed conclusive of its truth, then such representations as may not gain this concurrence may justly be held in continual doubt; and the mind of man itself may thus become the absolute test and standard of truth. One may then say, Such a view of the divine character cannot be a just one, for my mind revolts from it. Is the human mind in a state of fitness for the office of umpire between contending representations of the character of God?
Further, we think that facts contradict our author's hypothesis. We can have no hesitation in saying, that many persons understand what Mr. Carson means and exhibits as the character of God in the gospel, who, nevertheless, neither feel any complacency in it, nor believe it to be the mode of his conduct towards men. Mr. Carson, we are aware, meets us at this point by saying that such persons do not understand the gospel. On John xvii. 3, 'This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,' he lays it down that salvation is connected with knowledge, in the simple meaning of that term, and that we cannot • know the truth without approving of it. It is much safer, he adds, as well as more scriptural, to say, that, though 'the true knowledge of God is eternal life, if men are not
changed in heart and life they do not really know God,' p. 267. For our part, we must say that we think it both more scriptural and more safe to take the term yiváokw in the sense of love (a use of it with which Mr. Carson cannot but be familiar), and to allow the result of exercising the understanding, apart from any state of the feelings, to be called knowledge.
pon his principle, what interpretation would the author give to the following passage ? 'If I had not done among them the 'works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but ' now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father, John xv. 24.
We think we have done more justice to this volume, and shown more respect to the author, by noticing pointedly the main feature of it, than we should have rendered by a slighter mention of its subordinate parts. From its successive pages we could extract with pleasure many beautiful and valuable pas
sages; but we must hasten to as extended a notice as our limits will permit of the remaining volume.
The History of Providence exactly corresponds with its title, The principal events of Scripture history are taken up in succession, and briefly treated, with great simplicity, judiciousness, and piety. The book is well fitted to become a thoughtful Christian's pocket companion, and it is no small eulogy on both parties, that it was such to the late lamented Dr. Olinthus Gregory. The examination of the philosophy of Dr. Thomas Brown is shrewd and effective, and highly characteristic of the author. A short example will justify our praise. Dr. Brown says that the great charm of the celebrated passage of Genesis
descriptive of the creation of light, consists in its stating nothing more than the antecedent and the consequent.' On this Mr. Carson remarks
With respect to the cause of this sublimity of the celebrated pas. sage in Genesis, I question Dr. Brown's philosophy. It in no measure depends on any theory with respect to power. And, as a matter of fact, men, on feeling the sublimity, never think of the philosophy of the subject. The sublimity, however, does not consist in the stating of nothing more than the antecedent and the consequent.
If this were a true prescription for producing sublimity, there is no writer who might not equal Moses. • The general ordered the army to dine, and they dined,' is an expression which has the essentials of Dr. Brown's sublimity ; but it is never likely to become a rival to the expression in the book of Genesis. In statement there is no difference between the two expressions. What, then, is the essential difference which confers such sublimity on one of them? One of them commands what a command is fit to effect. Command is the usual means employed to produce such effects. The other expression commands what a command has no tendency to effect, even as a means. Not only this, but the command is addressed to what does not exist, and the thing which does not exist is viewed as hearing and obeying the command, by coming into existence. It is here, especially, that the sublimity lies.
-Pp. 349, 350. With a saving clause against being supposed to agree with every thing in these volumes, we must quit them with high general commendation. It is quite evident that they are the production of a writer long habituated to deep and searching thought, and possessing a great command of language. We will only hint to Mr. Carson, who will take it as the sincerest token of our high respect for him, that he would write both more persuasively and more convincingly, if he would study habitually to be what he has elsewhere termed 'extravagantly gentle.'