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Scripture respecting the efficacy of moral qualifications, include any kind of promise of such supernatural aid as shall enable the enquirer to dispense with the exercise of his natural faculties. We are assured, however, that, though those qualifications will not be found an infallible guide to truth, they are a powerful preservative from error; and that to the want of them are to be attributed the infidelity of some, and the heresies of others. As an additional inducement to the cultivation of sound moral habits, we are told

That the enquirer after religious truth, cultivating this genuine disposition to know and to do the will of God, may well confide in that communication of heavenly aid, which, if duly sought for, will not fail to be bestowed, as a blessing upon his endeavours, by him, who "giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." In whatever point of view we consider the subject, we shall find this position incontrovertibly established, that the willing and ingenuous mind, the free and unrestrained surrender of every thought and purpose, of every imagination and affection, to the all-perfect will of God, is the first principle of religious duty, the germ of every thing which is afterwards to expand and ripen into action. It is that, which can alone produce the fruits of sound Christian knowledge ; and to which, when duly planted and watered by human industry, the Divine Benefactor will assuredly give the increase.

The Sermon concludes with recommending caution in not being too hasty in imputing a want of moral qualifications on ordinary occasions to others, or too slow in suspecting a want of them in ourselves.

In the third and fourth Sermons we are called to a consideration of this text of Scripture—“ If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God”-the meaning of which, according to the Professor's explanation, is,

Let him, both as to the Doctrine and the Interpretation, be careful to advance nothing contrary to those sacred oracles, nothing that may bring into competition with them authority of a different kind.

The question then, which it is in the first place necessary to determine, is this :

Whether there be any authority paramount, or even equivalent to the Sacred Word, which, either as jointly connected with it, or as its judicial superior, may claim our unreserved ubedience? If there be any such, the sincere inquirer after truth must submit to its pretensions. If there be not, to admit such pretensions is not only superfluous but dangerous; as derogation from the authority which possesses the rightful claim.

And here, he observes, it will be found, That we have three distinct parties to contend with, all widely differing from each other, yet all asserting principles injurious to the just pre-eminence of scriptural authority. The first of these, the Papist, insists upon the necessity of an infallible Judge or Interpreter

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of doctrine, in the person of some visible Head of the Church, from whom there shall be no appeal. The second, comprising various sects, contends, that every doctrine of Holy Writ must bend to the decision of human reason as the supreme judge in matters of Faith. The third, a multifarious order of Interpreters, gives supreme sway to a supposed inward light, or immediate communication from the Holy Spirit, supplementary to Scripture, and infallible as well as irresistible in its operations.

Our limits will not permit us to follow the author through the very powerful arguments which he brings to disprove the pretensions of the Church of Rome to infallibility; and the authority of unwritten traditions. The far greater part of our readers need not to be convinced that those pretensions have no foundation whatever, either in the Bible or in reason. All that was requisite to put at rest a question of this nature, was accomplished long ago; and were it not that certain recent events have communicated to this subject an interest and importance which it had long ceased to possess, it might now have been passed by in silence. Neither will it be necessary on the second topic, to say more than that we completely agree with the author in his condemnation of those, who “ look upon it as a noble and glorious task, to bring the doctrines of celestial wisdom into a certain subjection to the precepts of their philosophy, and to make deep and profound researches into the intimate and hidden nature of those truths, which the Divine Saviour had delivered to his disciples.” It is surely the height of absurdity to make reason the judge of things placed so completely beyond the reach of reason, that, as our author justly remarks, “ they can be received only upon the credit of the Sacred Oracles, being to our apprehensions incapable of any thing resembling a scientific demonstration :" nor are we more inclined to admit the assertions of those, who maintain that reason is of no avail in the interpretation of divine truth, and assert the necessity of a miraculous heavenly illumination. The first of these errors would lead us into Socinianism and infidelity; the second into religious absurdity and fanaticism. The proper province of reason, with respect to Scripture-Interpretation, is easily ascertained; and let us not endeavour to extend it further than it can or ought to be extended; nor, on the other hand, let us deny it that influence to which it has a just claim. We shall make a short extract from this very excellent discourse

, conveying a caution which deserves to be had in remembrance.

With reference to the errors we have now been considering, let us remember that there are lights which dazzle and mislead; blind the judgment instead of showing objects in their true shades

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and colors. “ Take heed,” therefore, it is the emphatical warning of the Redeemer himself; “ Take heed that the light which is in thee be not darkness !"

After having exposed the erroneous opinions of others upon these subjects, the author, in his fourth sermon, proceeds to enquire what is the true opinion; that is to say, “what deference is justly due to Church authority, to human reason, and to the ordinary assistance of the Holy Spirit.” He settles with precision the degree of obedience, with respect to articles of Faith, which the Church may lawfully exact from her members.

The Papist looks to one visible Head of the whole Christian Church, the universal arbiter of religious controversies, infallible in his decisions, and from whom there is no appeal. The Protestant acknowledges no such universal Head, nor deems the Church itself, acting even by its legitimate rulers, to be either gifted with infalli. bility, or vested with such authority as may annul the right of its individual members to appeal to Scripture itself. The Church, he contends, has no lawful power to enjoin any doctrine or observance militating against the written Word. And the reason is this: that the authority of the Church being derived from Scripture, as the charter by virtue of which it governs, It cannot with impunity violate the charter itself. It is the constituted Guardian of the truth, and may do whatever the Scripture enjoins or permits, for the government and edification of the body at large; though it cannot originate, as of its own right, docirines or duties really necessary to salvation.

He then goes on to determine the deference due to the writings of the primitive Fathers of the Church, and the use and value of ecclesiastical antiquity; and in the conclusion to which he comes, he appears to have avoided alike the error of those who ascribe too much weight to the decision of those ancient worthies, and of those who ascribe to them too little.

We do not claim for them any infallibility, any commission to make further revelations of the divine will, or any absolute authority as Scripture-interpreters. The appeal still lies from them, as from all other religious instructors, to that Word itself, which was no less their rule of faith than it is ours: and the highest degree of deference that can be due to them, may be paid without any infringement of that inviolable maxim, “ If any man speak, let him speak as the oracle of God."

We cannot dwell upon the other two heads of this discourse. Our space permits us only to say that the limits imposed to the excursions of our natural reason, appear to us very correctly defined; and that the extent of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, upon which, in furtherance of our own efforts, we may rely, is marked out so as to agree with the declarations of

Scripture, and the expositions of our most approved Divines, In the following passage a very proper distinction seems to be made between “ the Fanatic and the sober-minded Christian," in regard to spiritual assistance.

The former presumes upon the aid of the Spirit, to the neglect of human acquirements : the laiter avails himself of both. The former despises the natural gifts of which he is in possession ; expecting preternatural gifts of which he has no reasonable assurance: the latter diligently cultivates every talent bestowed upon him, relying, at the same time, for help from above to perfect his endeavours. For this blessing on his labors, he confidently trusts in God; knowing that “ whosoever thus believeth in Him shall not be ashamed."

In the fifth Sermon we are directed to employ “ a judicious distribution or arrangement of the subject matter of Holy Writ, such an analysis of its component parts, as may enable the reader to judge of their respective purposes, and their connexion with the general design.” Of this branch of his subject, the Professor makes four divisions, by the examination of which he proposes to illustrate its importance.

First, The general distinction between what is properly fundamental in Scripture truth, and what is not so ; Secondly, the specific distinctions to be observed in the several dispensations of revealed religion, by which, at different periods, the Almighty saw fit to communicate his will to mankind; Thirdly, the variety of subject matter contained in the Sacred Writings, and connected with these particular dispensations; Fourthly, the immediate occasions and purposes, whether general or special, for which certain books or portions of Holy Writ appear to have been composed.

The enquiry into what is properly fundamental in Scripture truth, and what is not so, is one of great importance, though from the very nature of it, the writer can hardly expect the general concurrence of his readers. He who on such a question desires universal approbation, must contemplate nothing that has ever been the subject of controversy. In considering the second division, he supposes two great covenants, one before the fall, the other after it. To these he refers all those divine transactions with mankind,

which he arranges, as they occur in Holy Writ, under the Paradisaical, the Patriarchal, the Mosa 1c, and the Christian dispensations.

Hence, [he says,) we shall readily perceive both the specific and the general characters of these dispensations. We shall perceive that the Paradisaical stands alone, comprehending the first general covenant with Man, and applicable only to that state of innocence and perfection in which he was at first created. We shall also, that the Gospel, the second general covenant inade with Man,

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erceive

did not commence at the time of our Lord's actual appearance upon eartb, but was, in effect, coeval with the fall; having its beginning in the promise made to our first parents, that “the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head." The Patriarchal religion therefore was that of the Gospel, in promise or expectation. The Mosaic was that of the Gospel, in type and prophecy. The Christian was the completion of both.

In the consideration of the third point, he takes a view of the ancient and well known division of the Scriptures, and then briefly lays down the method to be observed in the interpretation of the different books, with reference to the particular subject and character of each, and mentions the knowledge and attainments required in the interpreter.-In the fourth division he brings many strong arguments to prove the necessity of attending to the particular circumstances, under which different books appear to have been written, in order to obtain a right understanding of them; and also to prove that the necessity of attending to these particulars does not detract from their universally beneficial tendency. He extends the rule to the moral precepts and prohibitions in the Bible, as well as to the doctrinal points; and exposes the errors and absurdities into which devout men have often been led by neglecting to attend to it. The discourse concludes with another recommendation of those qualities of the heart, which, when united with the requisite mental abilities, he represents as the best-indeed the only effectual preservative from error in the interpretation of Scrip

We have now followed the learned author through the arguments which he adduces to shew the necessity of a careful analysis of Scripture ; and are come to that part of the work where he considers the counterpart of the subject, that of combining its respective portions into a systematic form.' In reducing the truths contained in the sacred writings into a system of Divinity, it is recommended to us to interpret Scripture by{Scripture-by faithfully comparing together whatever the word of God has made known to us, concerning things above the reach of our natural faculties ; or, as it is expressed in the text, by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” This he represents to be the meaning of that principle of Scripture-Interpretation, of which the works of our theological writers are so full, and which is called the Analogy of Faith. In order to make this rule applicable to every particular case, he makes three divisions of it, all of which he supposes to be comprehended in the Apostle's adraonition.

First, the verbal analogy of Scripture, or the collation of parallel texts illustrative of its characteristic diction and phraseology. Se

ture.

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