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five-and-twenty, you will at fifty; and the sooner you begin the better, both for yourselves and others.
We are persuaded that Mr. Griffith will forgive us for having made his volume the occasion for the above proemium. It contains so much to benefit the mind of the Christian, so much of earnest and scriptural piety, and of forcible discussion and appeal, that we can readily overlook some peculiarities, which to our old-fashioned optics are not agreeable. We have selected one of the discourses among those least marked by this ambition of style, which we thought would not be inappropriate for a family sermon, while it affords our readers an opportunity of judging of the volume for themselves. We have made a few brief omissions and alterations, chiefly verbal: we say verbal, because we are not clear that in one or two places we know exactly what the author's phrase was meant to express. The love of antithesis is sometimes too strong upon him. Thus, he says, "all that is necessary on God's part has been done for us by the work of Christ; all that is necessary on our part must be done in us by the Spirit of Christ." What is the precise meaning of the latter clause? If something is done in us by another, the words" on our part," as contrasted with "God's part," seem more pointed than specific. We have
omitted also the remark, that it was by that Spirit which was given
without measure to Jesus that he
Father," because the sentence is
with the Son, and both into conjunc-
There is indeed a sense in which
We have penned these slight crihave here and there (it may be over ticisms, to shew the author why we cautiously) altered a word or two, in transcribing his sermon. Our useful, as suggesting the importance remarks may, however, be further of that care which every clergyman should bestow in revising his disment in them which is not perfectly courses, that there may be no statesimple, capable of being understood, and incapable of being misunder
stood. With this observation in
mind, our author will see why we have omitted the concluding passage of his discourse. It is as follows:
"O the wondrous condescension of our
God! O the ingenuity of his compassion! the delicacy of his solicitude! Call up within your minds every image that can represent effectual interference, and every sentiment that can animate the soul; combine these results in one accumulated whole such are the complicated pledges
of the efficacious intermediation of Christ;
such the complicated blessedness of those who trust in him." p. 90.
A passage like this, heard from the pulpit, or even cursorily perused in print, may appear striking; but ask the hearer or reader what was the exact idea which he carried away from results in one accumumulated whole, combined of every image that can represent effectual interference and every sentiment that can animate the soul, and these results, moreover, forming compli cated pledges and complicated blessedness. It had not been difficult to convey the idea probably in tended by the author if he had not gone out of his course-we were going to say to Chalmerize it. Perhaps we may add, as we are upon the point of verbal criticism, that in revising a sermon many words must be given up, which in the act of composing appeared to flow in most felicitously. "Ingenuity" and "delicacy," might he felt by the writer of the above passage, on revision, to be not sufficiently reverent as applied to God. "Interference" sounds to an uneducated ear not in its neuter classical sense of interposition, but colloquialized into meddling; and intermediation" is neither an English nor a theological word. In endeavouring to avoid common-place writing there is often danger of mistaking novel words or combinations of them for new ideas; as if an architect, wishing to be original, should choose bricks of shapes and sizes different to those in common use; instead of employing the same materials as his neighbours, and exhibiting his skill in the merits of his design.
It would have been ungracious to our author to have offered these homely suggestions, if there had not been sufficient of what is valuable in his pages to enable him to bear them.
The discourse which we have transcribed furnishes, as we have said, a fair sample of his volume, both in doctrine and in style. Occasional obscurity, whether in particular passages or in the general structure of his compositions, is a fault against which he has to guard; but it is a fault which is easily remediable by due attention to simplicity-that golden excellence of writing and preaching, simplicity; and true simplicity is not alien to profound thought, elegant diction, lucid arrangement, or the highest elevation of eloquence and feeling. But it may be right to remark that we do not mean mock simplicity; for mock simplicity is the veriest bathos. We sometimes meet with instances of it in authors who ought to know better, and in whom it is sheer affectation. It is frequently akin to another common mistake, that vulgarity is simplicity, and that an ungentlemanly style is the most striking and intelligible. Archbishop Tillotson, to shew that we ought to believe the mysteries of revelation though we cannot comprehend them, tells us that we eat and drink every day without being able to demonstrate that our baker, or brewer, or cook does not put poison into our bread, or meat, or beer. Such a passage must disgust every auditor who has received an education above that of a village pauper, and the illustration would have been quite as striking without the vulgarism. The same remark applies to the practice of modernizing Scripture language and allusions. Wits have jested about "the pennypost office of Jerusalem;" yet some discourses from the pulpit are nearly as incongruous in their associations. A highly respectable and pious clergyman, we remember, in his published funeral sermon for the late Duke of York, taking for his text, "They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Abner, and all the people wept," begins his discourse with telling us that "the history of the text is most affecting and
distressing. The commander-in-chief Christian, and perhaps even verge upon doctrinal incorrectness.
But enough of these subordinate though not unimportant points. We shall break off with a quotation on higher matter; namely, the following, from the excellent discourse on "faith the source of heavenlymindedness:"
"And O then, brethren! let me close with this one important direction for resisting the temptations of the flesh, and of the world, and of the devil, and walking still erect amidst them with all the holy communion with God, by faith. Never, dignity of a Christian man!—namely, Seek never will you overcome the world by mere resolve, and struggle, and endeavour; its toils are far too closely twined around rather raise your thoughts, your feelings, you to be broken by your utmost force; your desires, gradually, almost perhaps imperceptibly, above them. It is with us as with an infant mind. The vision of the better must beguile us from the worse. Set before an infant some attractive ob
is hailed by a brother officer; Hebron was about the same distance from Jerusalem as Windsor is from London! The passage before us represents the royal son of Jesse appearing as chief mourner." Another eloquent preacher, in a sermon delivered at the Assizes before the Judges, since published, opens his subject (Acts xxiv. 25) with saying, "In the year sixty, or thereabouts, there occurred in the city of Jerusalem a very serious riot, which proceeded to so great a degree of violence that it became necessary to call in the military to suppress it." Surely this is the affectation of simplicity, and is any thing but simple. But to return from this digression: we would not reduce all preachers to one style, and what may in one be artificial may in another be natural; but simplicity becomes all. ject; it will forget immediately the toy it Contrast two such writers as Cecil holds: it drops unnoticed from its grasp. and Dr. Chalmers: both are admirBrethren! faith unlooses our grasp from able in their way, but how different! ther's love, and satisfies us with a Father's the world! Faith occupies us with a faThe former strikes off his matter at smile, and sets before us high and heavenly a heat; shoots, like the Parthian, things; and even while we know it not, flying, and scarcely pauses to see our hold upon the earth is weakening, and whether his arrows have taken efwe are letting it fall with all its paltriness from our embrace. Would that I could fect. The latter presses on, pursues win the young, the gay, and the aspiring closely, allows no quarter, returns to try this method of deliverance! to look to the charge after every pause, off for a moment from the base imitations, refreshed with new strength, and ties, the splendid jewels of Heaven. Why, the mere paste of earth, to the bright realidealing repeated blows. Cecil's there is not one single thing, brethren, "Remains" furnish admirable spe- which most attracts you in the world, but cimens of Cossack fighting; while I can shew you it in all its fullness in reliChalmers's sermons are a more than gion: for, let me ask, What is it makes you love the things of earth? is it for Macedonian phalanx: if you evade themselves, or for the feelings they produce the first onset, you are soon over- within your own minds? for the sense of powered by the mass, and joy and hilarity, the sense of power and pressure, and concentration of successive ranks deur, the sense of satisfaction and of ease, possession, the sense of dignity and granof conflicting warriors. Yet both, which Yet both, which you find they can in some degree to our idea, are simple and natural; excite in you? I believe there is not one but it is their own simplicity and thing in all the treasures of riches, honour, nature, which could not be imitated which worldly minds can contrive-that power, pleasure-in all the infinite variety without being forced and unnatural. can do more than minister-(and O how Simplicity of style, we might have poorly, how insufficiently, how transiently added, has also another excellence, minister!)-to one or other of these sensations. Well, then, I will change the that it is usually connected with causes and you shall then have these effects, higher qualities; whereas the effort these same effects, but raised to all their to produce effect is too often pro- fullness and stability: the joy of God's ductive of paradoxes, exaggerations, God's Spirit; the dignity of God's child countenance and favour; the power of and startling assertions, which great- and heir; the satisfaction, the ease, the ly puzzle and distress the humble peace that passeth understanding, of God's
friend and favourite! And now, then, where is the world, with all its blandishments? It has stolen heavily away! So long as you are in this heavenly frame of mind, it cannot choose but steal away: it has no hold upon you: it has nothing to offer you, no bait to set before you-nothing that you have not got already in your mind in far greater perfection. It is baffled, therefore; it is overcome; and this has been the victory whereby you conquered it, your faith!-your faith, which brought you near to God, and led you up to holy elevation!" pp. 208-211.
DR. P. SMITH'S SCRIPTURE TESTI-
(Concluded from p. 511.)
IN resuming our notice of Dr. Smith's elaborate work, we find the second and third volumes so closely filled with remarks and criticisms upon a great variety of passages of Scripture bearing upon his subject, that it would be tedious and impracticable to follow up his detail: we shall therefore chiefly confine ourselves to an outline of his general plan, interweaving a few valuable
The second volume is devoted to an inquiry respecting the information to be obtained concerning the person of Christ, from the narratives of the Evangelical history, and our Lord's own assertions and intimations : the third, to the statements of the Apostles on the same momentous question.
The former of these lines of argument comprises dissertations on the following points; the miraculous conception; the office and testimony of John the Baptist; the declarations, intimations, and admissions, of our Lord himself; his real humanity, with its characters and affections; and, lastly, the ideas of the Apostles on the subject during his life.
Dr. Smith had before considered the predicted characteristics of the Messiah from the Old Testament; and it is sufficient for adequate proof to shew that to Jesus of Nazareth, and him alone, these characteristics apply. He only was the man of
But we have further evidence. We have the New Testament as well as the Old: we have the writings of Evangelists and Apostles as well as of Prophets; and these have testified of the sufferings and glories of Christ, and completed the last links in that golden chain of argument which extends from Genesis to Revelations; from Moses the prophet to John the divine; from Adam to Jesus Christ. To this vast field of interesting and important research our respected author now directs his investigations.
The first chapter relates, as we have stated, to the miraculous birth of our blessed Lord. Objections have been urged against the initial portions of St. Matthew and St. Luke, relative to this subject, as respects the citations from the Old Testament; the facts related; and the alleged want of reference to those facts in the subsequent parts of the New Testament. But, as Dr. Smith justly observes, it is contrary to the principles of sound criticism to reject, as spurious, parts of the works of an author, which rest upon the same adequate ground of external evidence as the remainder ; unless there are undeniable internal proofs of interpolation or alteration. No such proofs, we are bold to say, can be fastened upon the chapters so vehemently objected to. What it is that would amount to such a proof can indeed only be decided upon by the merits of any individual case as it arises. Dr. Smith, we remember, thought the internal evidence against the inspiration of the Song of Solomon, combined
perhaps with some alleged flaws in the external evidence, strong proof against the claims of that portion of the canon; the Socinian, the Neologian, and others, think the same of the opening portions of the narratives of Matthew and Luke: but we see not, in either case, how the portion objected to can be discarded without affecting other parts of the compacted building. If we set aside the Canticles, how can we prove that any other book is Divine which rests its claim on similar grounds of external evidence? If we reject the controverted portions of the Gospels, how can we rely upon the proofs that apply to the residue?
Dr. Smith remarks as follows, upon some of the objections to these passages.
"The internal difficulties are capable of being disposed of, to a candid and reasonable satisfaction. The citations
from the Old Testament are rather of the nature of classical passages, capable of a descriptive application to the events, than direct prophecies. Such applications have been always common, not only among the Jews, but with every other nation possessing any literature. So we every day apply to observable events, striking sentences of our own poets. The facts related have been solidly vindicated, and the objections to their credibility answered. The chronological difficulties have been obviated; and some solution may be given to the difficulty which arises from the want of reference to these facts in the succeeding parts of the Christian Scriptures.
"The positive evidence for the authenticity of the passages is complete. All manuscript authority that exists is in their favour and equally so is that of the ancient versions. Christian writers who lived within a hundred years of the events, mention the facts as of undoubted certainty, and quote the passages as parts of accredited Scripture. Celsus, the able and acute adversary of Christianity, who flourished in the second century; and Origen, in his reply to him; both consider the history of the miraculous conception as an unquestionable part of the Christian records. So also does the Jewish slanderer who wrote the Toldoth-Jesu. In modern times, the most distinguished Scripture-critics, who with all the aids of every kind of learning that could bear upon such inquiries, have devoted their time and talents to these researches; and who have been the most remote from any
suspicion of what some would call or thodox predilections; have given their most decided suffrage in favour of the disputed portions of Matthew and Luke.”
The objection as to the miraculous birth of our Saviour not being urged by the other Evangelists, or by the Apostles, may be met by the reply that it could not be adduced by them in proof of the truth of Christianity, which could only appeal to miracles to which there was intrinsic testimony; whereas this required the testimony of other miracles to ensure conviction. But Christianity being believed on other evidence, this became a part of the facts acknowledged, and it appears to us and we think not from prejudice, but from fair convictionthat it is implied and taken for granted throughout the whole of the New Testament. Dr. Smith thinks there is " one passage which the fact;" namely, Heb. viii. 2, appears to carry an implication of compared with ix. 11, where our Lord's human nature is represented by the external "tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man," and which was "not made with hands." Yet this "one passage is to our minds not more full or strong than the general tone in which the New-Testament writers speak of our Lord; the whole referring to him as one who possessed attributes altogether peculiar to himself, and viewing him as the Messiah, with a tacit reference, as we conceive, to that very prophecy which our author gives up as a direct prediction of this miracle,that a virgin should bear a Son, and that Jesus of Nazareth was this mysterious being, "Immanuel, God with us." The cession of this important text, as not applicable to the Messiah, except in a secondary sense, greatly unnerves our author's reasoning on this mysterious subject; and to our minds there is something unsatisfactory in much of this division of his argument. He does not appear to us to be so confident as to the effect even of