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guage is either elegant or ought to be retained; we have no means of deciding on the question; but its offensiveness to classical taste is not of itself a sufficient argument against translating the Scriptures into it. The Bible Society has most laudably printed many versions which to refined ears are not a little barbarous. The argument, also, that the missionaries ought to have taught their people English, may be met with the reply, that it was found impracticable; and with the argumentum ad hominem, why do you at home not teach all your own people to speak English? why do you print the Bible in Irish, Welsh, and Gaelic? The question, then, must rest upon its individual merits. Those merits we cannot pretend to discuss, knowing no more of NegroEnglish than we do of Gaelic-nor so much. Our only reason for referring to the subject is to defend ourselves, if defence be necessary, against the charge of having lauded what we did not laud; and this for a corrupt motive, and to the serious injury of a cause which we are unceasingly anxious to advocate.
We, however, heartily thank the Edinburgh Christian Instructor for his honest zeal in behalf of the oppressed Negro-slave. We readily forgive all his many and unjust censures upon ourselves, in virtue of his merits in this great common cause; only let his zeal be always directed by truth, and tempered with charity. We wish he would peruse some excellent passages on this subject in a powerful and admirable volume of sermons lately published by his fellow-townsman, Dr. Andrew Thomson. The author's text, or motto, prefixed to a most valuable series of sermons, is, "Be zealous ;" and most Christianly does he descant upon the virtue of zeal; adding many necessary and important suggestions respecting "those principles and maxims under the influence of which this affection must be cherished, in order to its being an acceptable part of Chris
tian character." We wish we had room for a few lengthened extracts, as it gives us great pleasure again to recommend this volume of sermons, which seems to have been written by a different Dr. Andrew Thomson to him whose anti-Biblesociety speeches, though sufficiently "zealous," have been somewhat deficient in those excellent marks which the sermon writer says should characterize this affection," in order to its being an acceptable part of the Christian character." We particularly recommend to the Editor of the Edinburgh Christian Instructor the fourth and fifth sections of Dr. Thomson's series. In the former, he shews that "our zeal for religion must always consist with moral integrity;" and in the latter, that "it must be under the government of charity." He justly remarks, that "it is not more necessary that we seek to attain a lawful end" [such, for example, as putting down the British and Foreign Bible Society, or disgracing the Christian Observer], "than it is necessary that we seek to attain it by lawful and unexceptionable means"-[not, for instance, by asserting that people said and did what they did not say or do]. We strongly commend the following remarks of the author to the diligent perusal and serious reflections of his name-sake of the Edinburgh Bible Society, as also to the Editor of the Christian Instructor, and other "zealous" controversialists both north and south of the Tweed, especially in the matter of the Bible Society:
"Charity is of unspeakable consequence in the exercise of zeal. If we were not induced by charity to take an interest in our brethren of mankind, we could take no pains and make no great exertion to promote their welfare." "Our zeal being awakened to care for them, charity comes on to soften that aspect of sternness and severity which it might otherwise assume, and to mould it into a form more consonant to the nature and cir
cumstances of those for whom it is to labour, as well as to the spirit and precepts of that religion which it is desirous to propagate."
"The more sinful and the more opposed (to the Gospel) any individuals are, the more requisite it is that our zeal should be employed to bring them to the acknowledgment of the truth, and to the obedience of Christ. And, consequently, it is of high importance that we cultivate that charity which leads us to be forbearing-to repress harsh judgments and uncandid suspicions -to hope for change even where appearances are most forbidding and untoward-and to shew the kindness that is undeserved, instead of the anger that is provoked."
The reverend author goes on, very rightly, to shew that we are not to countenance what is wrong: but even in this case, he adds, "There is no reason for excluding charity. That virtue may find here ample scope for its exercise, in qualifying those views which have excited our displeasure; in moderating the expression which we give to the feelings which have been awakened; and in stimulating us to correct, if possible, the errors which we have detected; and to reform, if possible, the evil habits that we have reprobated." "It will also hinder us from going too far in those cases in which imperfect information or defective sagacity disqualifies us for judging with impartiality and earnestnessfrom believing the evil which we have only reason to suspect-from ascribing to bad intention the injuries which have originated in mere mistake-from setting down as a fixed and inveterate habit what is nothing more than an occasional aberration-and from treating as an instance of hardened and desperate wickedness, what is only waiting for the application of Christian compassion and Christian counsel to be stirred up to godly sorrow and holy resolutions and fruitful penitence.'
We add from Dr. Thomson the following excellent injunction: "Let
all the efforts of your zeal be made in charity; but never forget that truth is the grand object;" and we would ask the Edinburgh Christian Instructor, whether "truth" characterized the assertion that we "lauded," or even gave an opinion upon, the Negro-English Testament; or whether the "zeal" that stated that we did so, with a view to ground upon it a sweeping invective, was the zeal of charity." To make the charge heavier, the Instructor has dragged in "Haffner's infidel preface." Let him honestly quote verbatim any passages in our work to which he objects on this subject, and we shall then be able to reply to his charge. We deny that the Bible Society ever abetted Haffner's preface, or that we "bepraised" them for so doing. The only passages in which we recollect introducing the subject are in our volume for 1826, pp. 631 and 813; where we "bepraise" them for "their inflexible firmness [not in abetting, but] in opposing themselves to the publication of the Strasburg preface, from the first moment they heard of it." We think that the Edinburgh Instructor, and every honest man, ought to unite with us in this praise.
UNIVERSITY OF HALLE.
For the Christian Observer.
THE University of Halle is dear to every Christian, of whatever name or country, who has read the history of one of its most eminent and pious professors, the ever-memorable Franck. This celebrated collegiate institution, which has at this moment twelve professors and nearly nine hundred students, is, we lament to say, one of the strong-holds of German Neologianism. The lectures of the learned-but, alas! fearfully heterodox-professors, Gesenius and Wegscheider, are attended by a far larger number of pupils than those of the other professors;
and both these influential persons, who form the minds of no small number of young men annually entering the sacred ministry, have long and avowedly advocated the system of what is most unjustly called Theological Rationalism. The Confession of Augsburg, though still nominally adhered to, is utterly derided by them, and, of course, by their pupils; and they do their utmost to set aside all the distinctive characters of Divine revelation.
The Evangelical Gazette of Berlin has, with great boldness and faithfulness, detailed some of the enormities of the Neologian system, as exhibited in the academical lectures of these professors. In consequence of two able articles which appeared in that publication on the subject, the students who side with these professors were greatly irritated against the orthodox portion of the community of Halle, whom they call "the mystics," and parti. cularly against Professor Tholuck, who was thought, but incorrectly, to have penned the obnoxious articles. The writer is now known to have been M. de Gerlach, a gentleman of high official station at Halle. The insurgent students proceeded to placard the walls of the university with Latin manifestoes; as, for example," Wegscheriderus, omni ex parte Christianissimus, vivat, floreat, crescat:" and again,-" Mementote, commilitones dilectissimi, VII. ante Cal. Jul. 1530, perfragerunt majores vincula papæ! Post denique tria secula iterum laqueis circumdare minantur stultitia, et error, et stupiditas! Agite! anno 1830 versamur; aperite oculos; cingimini," &c. The rest of the proclamation seems directed against the pious and learned Professor Tholuck, who is characterised as well worthy of being the general of the Jesuits."
It is not necessary to follow up the details of these unacademical proceedings, which led to much insubordination, and even rioting; so much so that the king of Prussia CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 345.
has taken up the matter, and directed the minister of ecclesiastical affairs to report whether the charges against Gesenius and Wegscheider are correct. To the astonishment of all parties, these two learned professors have addressed letters to the king and his minister, asserting their inviolable attachment to the Confession of Augsburg. They have not, however, attempted to deny the charges urged against them; a brief notice of which will shew the dreadful character of the theological instruction on which so many of the young divines of Germany are fed during their college studies. The following sample may suffice, without revolting the reader with more than is necessary to shew the profane and infidel nature of the whole system.
Dr. Wegscheider is accused of teaching his pupils, that what St. Luke records of the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist is only a sort of mythological fable: that the advanced age of John's parents, and Zachariah's happening to be dumb, appear to have been founded on fact, but that all the rest is pure embellishment. All the miracles of Scripture, he teaches, are mere inventions; that the announcement of the birth of Jesus by an angel is fabulous; that the antiquity and brevity of the recital should lead us to reject the images and allegories with which it is enveloped, and to seize the main idea, namely, that Christ was peculiarly favoured by Divine Providence, to which we ought to attribute every thing that is good or elevated. The true history of the resurrection of the widow of Nain, he thinks, is that our Lord saw that the young man was not really dead, and recalled him to consciousness by an energetic appeal. The miracle of the loaves and fishes means, that Jesus, perceiving that many persons had a considerable store of provisions, while others had none, with his usual kindness of heart, began to distribute his own little stock, and induced all around him to do 4 D
the same, so that there was an ample supply. This interpretation, Wegscheider says, retains all that is practically useful in the story; namely, the wisdom and humanity of Christ. Peter's walking on the sea is, he says, a fable foisted upon the simple fact, that our Saviour walked round the lake, and Peter swam towards him. The transfiguration was nothing but a sudden storm, which waked the disciples as they were dreaming of some Jewish ideas about the Messiah. The death of Christ he considers as only apparent, not real; the Evangelists, he says, being deceived by their ignorance of physiology and love of the marvellous.—But enough.
Now, this theological lecturer, it must be remembered, is not a professed infidel he even holds to the creed of Augsburg! he is a professor of divinity in the important university of Halle, and on his lips hang large classes of students, who are to be the spiritual teachers of the rising generation! Can any prospect be more appalling? though, blessed be God, there are names, even in Sardis, that have not defiled themselves with these theological pravities; pravities as absurd as they are heretical.
Gesenius is of a more mercurial genius than Wegscheider, and is accustomed to season his impiety with pleasantry. He inculcates the same views as his colleague respect ing Scripture miracles. It is quite common, says Counsellor Gerlach, to see a class of undergraduates, destined to be the future ministers of the word of God, in a constant titter throughout his Old-Testament readings, especially when he alludes to the opinions, or even the names, of orthodox commentators.
constantly jests about the devil: he cannot mention the sublime and affecting account of the intercession of Abraham, without interlarding it with "The Jews, it seems, were good bargainers even then." But we will not rake further into these profane comments. Let these suffice: and if they do not, we know not what will.
And this at Halle! and not uttered trivially, but with much learning, much misplaced shew of argument and professorial authority before large classes of young men, the seed-bed of the church. What must they think of the Bible, of religion, and of their own intended profession? The evil is awful, the danger alarming; but let not the friends of true religion despair. A revival of scriptural doctrine and Christian piety has commenced in various parts of France, Switzerland, and Germany, not excepting Halle itself, which is desecrated by such profane ravings as those we have mentioned. Our Christian brethren on the continent have a great work before them; but let them not be daunted at the power or the number of the enemy. Greater is He that is with them than he that is against them. Let them not give up in despair even those who are at present opposed to the truth. Much may be done, especially among the younger clergy: nay, who shall say that even the heart of a Gesenius or Wegscheider is impervious to the influence of that Spirit which now they deny, but by whose influences, in answer to the earnest prayers, and directing the diligent efforts, of the faithful, they may, even yet, be led to preach that faith which once they destroyed.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
Sermons preached in St. James's Chapel, Ryde. By the Rev. T. GRIFFITH, A.B. late Minister of that Chapel. 1 vol. 8vo. 11s. London. 1830.
THERE is a school of preaching, which is obtaining many followers among the younger ministers both of our church and the Dissenters; and which we know not better how to characterize than as an imitation of one of the best of preachers, but worst of models, Dr. Chalmers. We could fancy that the writer of the sermons before us had studied in this school; and that he had the great Northern light often in his eye as he penned some of his discourses. Repetition, declamation, labouring after effect, not to say exaggeration, are among the faults of this school;-faults from which our author is not free, and which would convince us that the sermons of Dr. Chalmers were among his household books; even if he had not, perhaps unconsciously, adopted some of that eminent preacher's expressions, his "element," and "all," and "every," and other Chalmeric or Scottish idioms.
Now we do not say this to the disparagement of our author, or other preachers of this school. It is much to the credit of their zeal, their industry, and their talents, that they wish to eschew a monotonous style of sermonizing, and seek to interest and animate their auditors by a mode of composition enlivening, impressive, and intellectual. But in their "orations for the oracles of God," they are often betrayed into a style not sufficiently chaste or lucid; a style which the uneducated will not understand, the highly educated will not approve, and the simple-minded Christian will be apt to think too ambitious and paradoxical; a style which, accompanied by a fervid elo
cution, may produce considerable effect from the pulpit, but will not always sustain critical reflection in reading. This style, however, we ought to add, is not the style of Dr. Chalmers, but rather an imitation of some of its peculiarities; for it would be most unjust to admit that the vices of composition abovementioned, characterize the writings of that able and eminent preacher : but his manner is remarkably his own; in him it is native, and it is simple and impressive; he does not declaim, or exaggerate, or tautologize in the bad sense of those expressions; his words are buoyed up by his thoughts, nor would those thoughts he always content with less glowing and redundant words. But highly dangerous is it to attempt to imitate this style; most perilous is it for any ordinary man to affect the armour of a giant, which is more likely to crush the wearer than the enemy.
We might enter at some length upon this topic, were we not unwilling that our remarks should seem to bear hardly upon any particular work; whereas they relate rather to a whole school, though without meaning to convey the slightest disparagement to the piety or talents of its pupils. It is rather for the writers themselves than for others that we allude to the subject: and our counsel to them is, Whenever you invent a thought which seems to you very striking; whenever there occurs a remarkably strong antithesis; whenever you have constructed an excellent paradox for solution, or set up nine-pins to knock them down, or discovered a novel illustration, or alighted upon an original thought, or said any thing very sententiously or quaintly, or written a paragraph which you think peculiarly Chalmeric-without remorse or mercy cross your pen through it. If you do not at