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perception, the evidence in favour of the latter method of interpretation, seems more weighty than all which even Mr. Stuart has advanced against it. The scope of the passage (to evince the necessity of divine grace in order to the sanctification of the soul) appears to me to be well served by an exhibition of the selfdisplicency which a vigilant and tender conscience entertains concerning its own feelings. The instances of phraseology, in some respect similar, which the author brings forward, in order to shew that the brighter side of the picture admits an application to an unrenewed mind, are all widely different from the case before us. In all of them, the bearing of the language cannot be mistaken for the characters were evidently ungodly, and the connected parts of each description even rest upon that fact, as prominent in itself, and principal in the argument. Here every thing in the interior and essential properties of the description, is of a contrary kind. I am much inclined to suppose, that the apostle had in his memory, and that he here vividly portrays, the feelings of his own mind, in the period, by him never to be forgotten, between his being struck to the ground near the gates of Damascus and his receiving peace of mind by faith in his gracious Redeemer. In that awful three-days, the SPIRITUALITY of the law of God was, for the first time since he received being, opened to his mental view. Tenderness of every moral feeling, the initiative but genuine love of holiness and hatred of all sin, were now implanted in his heart by the Divine hand. If, under discoveries less extensive of the glory of infinite holiness and justice, the patriarch cried out, "Behold, I am vile!" and the prophet, "Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips!"-well might Saul of Tarsus, with his heart now divinely renewed, and under the piercing discipline of the Spirit of grace, leading him "to know the law," give this largeness of scope to his expressions of penitential feeling. The waves and billows of sin, forcibly recollected though truly abhorred, overwhelmed his soul: deep called unto deep of vehement self-reproach and overwhelming woe: the supposition of pardon and acquired holiness was far from his mind; probably he entertained not the faintest hope of either his exquisite sensibility of moral feeling, in so fine and generous a temperament, now governed by a purity of principles perfectly new to him, could not but vent itself in
expressions which the lapse of thirty years would not obliterate, but which it would be as absurd to understand in a literal and unmodified absoluteness, as his other declarations that he was "the chief of sinners,-less than the least of all saints,-not meet to be called an apostle." These utterances of abasement and distress flow not from any unsanctified heart. Impassioned memory would give the force of action to the scenes which it raised up from the terrible gulf, out of which the mind entertained as yet no sense of deliverance: and hence the terms expressive of doing and working things most foul and abhorred, and of being sold for a slave to the most horrid tyrant, were employed. All this, though at such a distance of time, most suitably and effectively answered the purpose of the epistle, to prove that the moral law could excruciatingly discover sin, but could afford no deliverance from it. To those who have felt the bitterness of sin, and have struggled to be free from its hateful workings, who "sorrow after a godly sort,"-"looking unto Him whom they have pierced; and mourning for him, as for an only son; and being in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for a first-born;"-to them, the whole description will be no paradox. Upon the whole subject, I beg to recommend, to both the practical Christian and the theological student, a volume by the Rev. James Fraser, a minister of the Church of Scotland in the last century, and a man of rare talents and devoted piety, "The Scripture Doctrine of Sanctification; being a Critical Explication and Paraphrase of the Epistle to the Romans, chapters vi. vii. and viii. verses 1-4." It may be regretted that Mr. Stuart appears not to be acquainted with this excellent work.
From the leading sentiment of the first Excursus, concerning the application to our blessed Redeemer, of the term SON OF GOD, I must profess my dissent: but I need not here assign my reasons for adhering to the commonly-received doctrine, having done so in a work on the Person of the Messiah, published some
Fully according with the views of our esteemed author upon the profound and humbling subject of divine predestination, I cannot help lamenting, that, in Excursus IX., he has introduced passages from Augustine, the clearest thinker and the most scriptural divine of all the fathers,--Anselm, (Archbishop of Canterbury,
one of the greatest and best of men in the worst of times, on account of the tyranny which he had to resist, and the superstition with which he was himself beclouded,)--and the excellent Dutch divine, Francis Gomar, the colleague and antagonist of Arminius;passages which are of a very offensive and revolting kind, but which would probably appear in a different light were they not torn from their connexion, or were they accompanied by the corrective and explicative influence of other passages from the same authors. Of such modifying passages, many might be found in Augustine; for example: "It was not the power, but the patience of God, that hardened Pharaoh's heart. When the stroke of God smote him, in his affliction he was humbled; but when divine forbearance granted him relief, again self-elated, he resumed his pride. It was no compulsory power of God, but his own wickedness and unconquerable pride continually acting against God's commands, that caused Pharaoh's heart to be hardened."* "No one can rightly say that this hardness of heart befell Pharaoh unmeritedly: on the contrary, it was the punishment due to his unbelieving disobedience, by the judgment of the retributing God."† Very numerous are the passages of this description in other parts of the works of Augustine. He was not indeed a perfectly consistent, any more than an infallible, writer; as he often ingenuously acknowledged. He did not always keep in view the distinction, of which he had some approximating conceptions, between the natural and the moral power of an accountable being. But surely we ought to pay a superior regard to the more constant and clear flow of sentiment in his voluminous writings, composed at different times, and in different degrees of his mental and spiritual progress; than to the less frequent, the harsh, and the obscure. As for the former of the passages which the Excursus cites from him (that from the book on Grace and Free-will), it is grievously disfigured by omissions, and by the suppressing of the immediate sequel, in which the African father earnestly cautions his readers against supposing that the hardening of the hearts of the impenitent is from any other efficient cause than their own wickedness and the merited judgments of God: and he enforces his admonition by citing (Prov. xix. 3.), "The foolishness of a man
Homil. de Tempore; inter Homilias, 88. + Exp. Prop. ex Ep. ad Rom. § 62.
perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth against the Lord." In the whole passage, he beautifully displays the acts of penal retribution, including the hardening under consideration, as taking place in the strictest rectitude according to the deserts of the sinner; and as forming a contrast with the principle upon which salvation is bestowed upon sinful man, the principle of pure, unmerited, rich, and glorious grace.
Equally do I complain of the injustice done to Gomar, a faithful man of God, and a very valuable writer. I have diligently searched every part of his works that refers to this subject; but I can find no passage at all resembling the alleged citation. Yet there is much, very much, written in a deeply reverential spirit, and in the most temperate and judicious language, upon the subject of the divine decrees; and which is actually in the very strain of Mr. Stuart's happiest passages, and to the same tenor of senti
With respect to the citation from Anselm, I can only say that, as Dr. Tholuck gives no reference, nor any hint to enable one to verify his citation, I have diligently searched the works of that great man, especially the express Treatises which refer to the doctrines of Grace and Predestination; but I have discovered no passage like that here alleged. On the contrary, I find many passages, ample and clear, upon the same subject, and indicating a fine judgment, a careful abstinence from rash speculation, or even unguarded language, and the most reverential spirit towards the deep things of God. For example: "I think that, by the grace of God helping me, I have proved that a perfect accordance between the foreknowledge of God and the free choice of man is by no means impossible; and that there is no objection to this conclusion which does not admit of a satisfactory answer. It is evident that predestination may be affirmed, not only of the good actions of men, but also of those which are evil: as God is said to do evil; meaning not that he actually works it, but only because he permits it: and so he is said to harden any man, when the meaning is that he does not soften; and to lead into temptation, the sense still being that he does not deliver from it. There is, therefore, no impropriety if, in this way, we affirm that God predestines wicked men and their wicked actions, when he does not rectify them. But we say that God foreknows and
predestines things which are good in a more special manner; since he not only is the cause of their natural existence, but also of their moral quality, their goodness: whereas, with regard to evil actions, he is the cause [or support] of their essential existence, [i. e. the physical ground of the actions,] but not of their evil. When the Scripture speaks on the side of grace, it does not subvert the freedom of human choice: and when, on the side of free choice, it does not exclude grace. When, for instance, our Lord says, Without me ye can do nothing,' he does not mean, Your own freedom of choice avails you nothing; but, It can effect nothing without my grace. And when we read, 'It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God who sheweth mercy,' it is not denied that man's freedom of choice is exercised when he wills and runs; but the intent of the passage is, that his so willing and running is to be ascribed, not to his own freedom of choice, but to grace. If to a naked person, to whom nothing was due on the ground of right, a garment were not given; or if, when given, he were to reject it; his nakedness would be imputable to none but himself. So when to a creature conceived and born in sin, and who has no right of claim for any thing but punishment, God grants to will and to run, the effect is not of him that willeth or of him that runneth, but of God who sheweth mercy:' and, as for him who receives not that grace, or who, having received, rejects it, it is not of God, but of himself, that he continues in his hardness and wickedness."* Now, let these citations be compared with that adduced by Tholuck and Stuart; and surely these will be allowed to have a claim to modify and explain that. If the reader will peruse the brief account of the character and writings of the excellent Archbishop, in Milner's History of the Church of Christ, Cent. XI. chap. v., he will find abundant evidence of humble and tender piety crowning a mind of uncommon strength and sublimity.
The fact is, that my valued friend has avowedly borrowed these quotations from Dr. Tholuck, who (admirable man as he is, and much more candid than many of his Lutheran brethren) is far from conceiving truly and rightly of the Calvinistic doctrines. It is further remarkable, with regard to the passage given as from
From the Tractatus de Concordia Præscientiæ et Prædestinationis, necnon Gratiæ Divinæ, cum Libero Arbitrio, Qu. i. cap. 7. Qu. ii. cap. 2. Qu. iii. cap. 5.