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PREFACE.

The readers of the Monthly ReposITORY have already been apprized of the change which has taken place in its Proprietorship, by the Editor's purchase of the Copyright and Stock from the Unitarian Association. The principles which it advocates, and the objects to which it is devoted, remain the same; and the exertions of the Editor will be unceasing to render it increasingly efficient for the promotion of Knowledge and Truth, of Civil and Religious Liberty, and of whatever tends to facilitate the improvement and multiply the happiness of mankind. In the pursuit of these objects he hopes for the continuance and extension of the assistance which has already been so kindly afforded him; for the support of enlightened, zealous, and benevolent Chistians ; and for the blessing of Divine Providence.

MONTHLY REPOSITORY Office,

67, PATERNOSTER Row.

THE MONTHLY REPOSITORY

AND

REVIEW.

NEW SERIES, No. XLIX.

JANUARY, 1831.

DR. J P. SMITH'S SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY TO THE MESSIAH.*

DR. J. P. Smith's “ Scripture Testimony to the Messiah,” is a work which has attained to the highest reputation, not only within the pale of the particular sect to which the author belongs, but amongst all classes of believers in the doctrines of reputed orthodoxy. It is certainly to be ranked amongst the ablest defences of those doctrines which have ever appeared. Learned, ingenious, and laborious, it deserves the attention of all who are interested in the great controversy to which it relates : and if the irresistible tendency of the system he defends, and the perverting prejudices to which it gives occasion, have led the author often to treat his opponents with great real injustice, there are also indications of kind feelings, and of a desire to act towards them with candour and Christian meekness, which may with many persons give more weight to his censures, rendering them, when founded in error or misrepresentation, more dangerous, if not more offensive.

It has been a special object with Dr. Smith to furnish a reply to the

Calm Inquiry" of Mr. Belsham, and it is in reference more particularly (though by no means exclusively) to this object, that we now propose to examine his volumes - not that we would hold up Mr. Belsham's work as faultless either in plan or execution—not, certainly, that we consider the great body of Christians who adopt the sentiments he defends, as answerable for ihe mistakes into wbich he may have fallen or the improper spirit which he is accused of having manifested -- but his work being honestly esteemed by us an able and satisfactory treatise on a very important subject, written under the influence of an enlightened, disinterested, and impartial love of truth; and the effect it has produced upon the minds of many intel

• The Scripture Testimony to the Messiah : an Inquiry with a view to a satisfactory Determination of the Doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures coucerning the Person of Christ. By John Pye Smith, D.D. <3 Vols. 8vo. Zud, Edit. Loudon, 1829.

VOL. V.

ligent and sincere inquirers being well known to us, we were anxious to satisfy ourselves respecting a laboured attack upon it coming from an individual who stands so high both as to character and attainments as Dr. Smith : and having long since fully satisfied ourselves, we think it seasonable at this time, when our venerated friend has been taken from among us, and his work, in consequence of the very small number of copies remaining, may perhaps for the present have its circulation somewhat restrained, to call the attention of our readers to the true state of the controversy, and assist them in judging how far Dr. Smith has succeeded in invalidating Mr. Belsham's arguments, or in otherwise defending the prevailing doctrine respecting the person of our Lord..

Dr. Smith's work is divided into four books, of which the first is occupied with preliminary considerations; the second is “ On the Information to be obtained concerning the Person of the Messiah from the Prophetic Descriptions of the Old Testament;" the third, “ On the Information to be obtained concerning the Person of the Christ from the Narratives of the Evangelical History, and from our Lord's own Assertions and Intimations ;” and the fourth, “ On the Doctrine taught by the Apostles in their Inspired Ministry concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This distribution of the subject may probably be the most natural and useful for the impartial student, who, as he meets with each passage which may have a possible bearing on the point he is investigating, will refer to lexicographers, scholiasts, and commentators, without distinction of party or opinion, and having obtained all the aids he can, will form his own independent judgment. But where the object proposed is to set before our readers the results of our. inquiries, and to compare these results wiih those obtained by others, we cannot help thinking that such an arrangement as Mr. Belsham's (who collects and examines in order the texts which have been adduced in support of each point of disputed doctrine) is more clear and satisfactory, as well as more favourable to conciseness. We do not think it the best method for the instruction of students, yet we were hardly prepared for the following remarks from any one possessing the least share of judgment or candour :

“ The selection and arrangement of texts was certainly, so far as it went, a suitable means; provided a due regard were had to the studying of each in its proper place and connexion. But to throw down before a company of inexperienced youths a regular set of rival and discordant expositions, in general without any additional, or at least doctrinal, comment of the compiler's own,' appears to me to have been a metbod not well calculated to lead into the path of convincing evidence and well-ascertained truth. It might excite party feeling, wordy disputation, unholy levity, and rash decision : but so far as either from the theory of the case or from experience I am able to form a judgment, I could not expect a better result, except in rare instances indeed.”-Scripture Testimony, Vol. I. Chap. vi. p. 160, second edition.

On what grounds is it here insinuated that, under Mr. Belsham's guidance, a due regard was not had to the connexion of texts, in defiance of his own rule on the subject : “ In order to judge of the true sense of a disputed text, it is necessary io consider the connexion in which it stands” ? (Calm Inquiry, Introd. p. 3, 2d ed.) So long as important passages of Scripture are differently understood by men of learning, who are able each to give some plausible reasons in favour of his own interpretation, what can the honest and impartial instructor do but lay before his pupils, or, in Dr. S.'s phraseology, “throw down before a company of inexperienced youths,”

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