« PreviousContinue »
which in a worldly sense are weak, with a scrupulous regard to my instructions, and much anxiety lest I should fail in a due adhe4. rence to them; and as also the enforcement of my doctrine was
not by urging the topics which human wisdom employs for persua
sion, but by an exhibition of the power of the Holy Spirit in its 5. support. Which things were so appointed in order that your re
ligious dependence might be placed, not on human wisdom, but on
the power of Almighty God. 6. But nevertheless we publish a system of wisdom in the judge
ment of those who are perfect as to the disposition of their minds, and thereby qualified to appreciate it : yet not a system of wisdom derived from our present state of existence, nor from those who,
for a time, had the lead in religious knowledge through the dispep7. sation adapted to our present existence; but, in opposition to those notions, we publish a system of wisdom, emanating from God, undiscoverable by human reason, and partially revealed by types and prophecies, which system, it is thence evident, God had, previously
to his temporary dispensatious, determined to introduce into the 8. world, for the purpose of promoting us to a state of glory ; which
system, however, none of those who have the lead in religious knowledge through the dispensation adapted to our present existence have understood, though it was thus revealed in that dispensation ; for had they understood it, they would not have crucified
the dispenser of this glory. But neither is it discoverable by 9. natural reason, nor intelligible to the worldly minded, as appears
from what is said by Isaiah in Chap. Ixiv. v. 4. of his prophecy, where, in allusion to the Christian dispensation, it is written, “ the things which human eye hath never seen, and human ear hath never heard of, and which it hath never entered into the human
mind to conceive, these are the things which God hath prepared 10. to be revealed to them that love him.” To us his apostles, how.
ever, God hath revealed these things through the agency af his Spirit, who is fully able to reveal them, for the Spirit of God can
trace all his counsels, even those which have been kept most secret 11. from mankind. And to be convinced that it is only by the Spirit
of God that they could be revealed to us, judge from analogy with human affairs, for what human being is conscious of a man's designs except his own mind within bim? In like manner, also, no
being is conscious of the designs of God, except the Spirit of God. 12. But, then, conformably to this medium of communication, we have
received, not a worldly disposition of mind, but a spiritual one de-rived from God, as the means for enabling us to understand the
revelations which have been graciously bestowed upon us by God. 13. And which we publish in terins taught us, not by human wisdom,
but by the Holy Spirit, combining with them under his direction 14. spiritual knowledge for the spiritually-minded. (And we thus
act, because he who considers things with a view to this life only, which is the natural condition of every man, is not disposed to receive the knowledge which proceeds peculiarly from the Spirit of God, for to him it seems foolishness, neither can he apprehend it,
since to be rightly apprehended it must be spiritually considered in reference to a spiritual state of existence; and therefore, to
him, and so to men in general, spiritual knowledge could not be 15. openly addressed; but he, who by divine influence is become
spiritually-minded, considers all the truths of the gospel, thus delivered under these modes of speech, in their appropriate spiritual point of view, and is, therefore, able to apprehend them rightly:
and at the same time, his results do not require to be considered 16. by any one in any other point of view.) And by the Holy Spirit
only could we be taught how to publish them; for what man has ever known by human wisdom the design of God in the gospel dispensation, and shall therefore instruct him in the mode in which the divine revelations respecting it are to be published, and without which knowledge they could not be rightly published ? but we thus have through the Holy Spirit a knowledge of the design imparted to us from Christ, and are, therefore, enabled under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to publish them rightly.' Mr. Tolley's paraphrase of the passage which comprises the Apostolic formula respecting the Lord's supper, Chap. xi. 23, &c., may be quoted as a fair example of the principle on 'which his interpretations are constructed ; and will very strikingly shew the manner in which he presents to the Christian reader of the Scriptures, the knowledge which he supposes to be intended by the sacred writers, and the perception of which in their writings he reckons of the greatest importance in re. spect to a general agreement in the profession of Christian doctrine.
• I told you that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed (by permitting which God declared his mission to be 24. ended) took bread : and having given thanks to the Father for
the support which he had received throughout his earthly life, he broke the bread into parts, and distributing them to his apostles, said to them, Take, eat; this bread, thus broken into parts, is an emblem of the religious and moral qualities united in me under a bodily constitution, but divided on your account, and separately distributed among you as Christians. Eat bread with this typical
reference from time to time, so as to be a personal memorial of 25. me in my bodily constitution. The cup also, he in like manner
gave them separately, after they had together eaten the bread, saying to them, This cup thus filled with wine, is an emblem of the new covenant respecting the souls of mankind, which I have established with God by means of the shedding of my blood. Drink wine with this typical reference from time to time in such
a manner, that as often as you do it, you may make it a personal 26. memorial of me as the mediator of that covenant. I cannot
therefore praise the spirit in which you perform the rite ; for it is clear from the above account, that as often as you eat bread and drink wine according to this institution, you, professedly, publish
from time to time, till our Lord come again, the fact of his deatli, with a view to counteracting the effect of not having him resident on earth to exhibit to us his personal character as a model for our imitation, and the effect of the assertion of those who, instead of regarding his death as the result of a covenant between God and
him, by which his character is rendered available to human salva.27. tion, represent him to have died as a malefactor. So that who
ever shall profess to eat bread, or drink wine, according to this institution, and do it in a inanner unsuitable to the furtherance of those purposes, will be guilty of destroying the efficacy of the religious and moral qualities united in our Lord under a bodily constitution, but distributed among all his disciples, and of the shedding of his blood; and will accordingly be liable to the consequences of such conduct.'
These views of the symbols and design of the Eucharist appear to us to be too subtile and refined. It seems evident, both from the accounts of the original institution of the rite, and from the Apostle's recital, that the reference of the Lord's Supper is to the death of Christ, of which it is appointed to be the commemoration till time shall close. It was not intended, we believe, to exhibit to us the personal character of our Lord for our imitation. The death of Christ is a subject of consideration entirely distinct from the exhibition of the sublime virtues which adorned his character, and to which, in other connections, the primary regard of every Christian is due ; and in the celebration of the Eucharist, it is the only distinct and special object of reference ;– Ye do shew the Lord's death.' In his notes, Mr. Tolley reasons at considerable length to support the views given in the paraphrase, of the import of the Apostle's formula respecting the ordinance. He objects against the common interpretation, that it supposes two actions appointen for one and the same purpose, since both the bread and the wine must equally, and wholly, refer to the body of our Lord and the circumstance of the crucifixion ; and that the participle • broken,' is not a suitable expression, literally interpreted, applied to the human body of our Lord, in reference to whom it is said, 'that'a bone of him should not be broken.' To explain the word 'broken,' as meaning put to death,' is, he thinks, barsh.
• But if," he proceeds to say, as proposed in the former note, we interpret the word body, in the sense of the religious and moral qualities of our Lord, the meaning is, that the united assemblage of them as existing in him was divided or broken into parts, in order to their being transferred to his disciples. And this must needs be the case. By him the character was sustained entire. By no other human being could it be, in our present imperfect state, otherwise than in part. The Christian society, that is, all believers in Christ, by
having these qualities distributed among them, would thus, collectively, possess the human character of our Lord, and, spiritually, form together his body.' p. 290.
We are not quite certain that our readers will receive this explication as a very intelligible one. We are not apprised of any passage of the New Testament, in which the spiritual and moral qualities of our Lord are represented as being his body. In those examples in which the society of Christians is described as a body, it is in reference to Christ as being the head; this is, however, a very different allusion from that which is implied in Mr. Tolley's representation. We see no impropriety in the application of the expression broken,' as figuratively denoting extreme suffering, to the body of Christ; and the parallel passage in Luke,' my body which is given for • you,' would seem to exclude the sense · divided,' or distributed among you, for which the Author contends. In the Passover festival, the eating of the paschal lamb, and the sprinkling of its blood, were two distinct actions, referring to the same object, and were both included in the appointment of the rite. The death of Christ is represented by the Apostle as 'our Passover.' The common interpretation of the terms in the formula of the Eucharist, is certainly the most obvious; and though this may not be a reason with Mr. Tolley for admitting it, we cannot but conclude that it is more in agreement with the occasion of their original use, and with the design of the institution, than is the very abstract explication which he has given in the work before us.
On the words, . The new covenant respecting the souls of .' mankind,' in his paraphrase, Mr. Tolley remarks in his note : · That the redemption effected by our Lord is that of the sonl • distinct from the body, is a truth that will not be questioned.' Now, so far is this from being unquestionable, that the deliverance of the body from the power of sin, and from the dominion of death, is uniformly represented as being included in the redemption effected by our Lord. The words of Christ, . I will raise him up at the last day, and many other passages of similar import in the New Testament, are too explicit in reference to the benefits derived from Christ's death and mediation, to admit of the restriction implied in the preceding · quotation.
Art.V. Christian Characteristics ; or, an Attempt to delineate the
most prominent features of the Christian Character. By T. Lewis, Minister of Union Chapel, Islington. Second Edition.
12mo. pp. 279. London. 1826. THE first edition of the Christian Characteristics,' escaped
our attention. We are glad to find that it has received so much of the public patronage as to encourage the Author to send forth a second impression, and have no hesitation to add our recommendation of its merits to the suffrages which it has already received. It is a good practical book, evangelicalin its sentiments, and in the spirit which pervades it. It is written without pretensions to higher qualities than those which are necessary to the communication of religious instruction intended for the advantage of common readers, to whom it will be very acceptable for the serious and earnest manner in which its several topics are discussed and enforced, and to whom it cannot fail of being highly useful. The delineation of the Christian character is comprised in a series of illustrative essays, founded on the classification of the Apostle PeterFaith, Fortitude, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, and Charity ; preceded by three chapters, Introductory, On the Christian Character essential to Human Happiness, On the Formation of the Christian Character; and followed by a concluding chapter on the Advancement of the Christian Character. We shall copy an extract or two from the pages of Mr. Lewis, for the purpose of shewing to our readers the judicious mode in which he treats the subjects of his remarks.
• There is the business of life, or the employment to which the Christian's application is necessary for himself and his house. He has to “ provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Diligence in his lawful calling for such a purpose is his duty. It is commanded in the word of God " Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” It is positively enjoined. The Apostle, alluding to some who had neglected this duty, says, “We command and exhort by the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” But there is danger of carrying this diligence to excess. Business may be plied with too intense an application of mental and physical powers. It then usurps the place of the “ one thing needful.” The man in this case suffers his mind to be racked with immoderate solicitude about his worldly pursuits. Not content with giving them only a proper share of his time and attention, nor duly trusting the kind providence of God, he engulphs himself in the perplexities and bustle of a fleeting existence. He distresses himself with those carping cares about to-morrow which our Lord