Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

EXCELLENT DIS

erratum.

to Mr. Pitt: who can endure such a fellow? The other has given dead thrust to Gibbon, and a living blow to Payne :- away with him a-la lanterne. But Dr. Toulmin !--- what an COURSE -He has effectually corrected a prevalent and mischievous maistake : the candid and attentive reader will not be surprized that this sermon is published in consequence of earnest request. Such is the language of the Monthly Review.

Let us, Sir, put on our spectacles, and look a little nearer at this excellent discourse. I am no child, to be led by the nose by a Critic, and do not always coincide in opinion even with Aristotle hiniself. Let us first contemplate Dr. Toulmin's orthography. We find, · It cometh from, it includes and chiefly signifieth, &c.' Again, 'Jehovah addresseth himself, he expatiates, &c.' Again, It is the name which giveth confirmation, and it characteriscs, &c.' Again, " the seas, and whatsoever passeth the paths thereof, he created, and He governs.? Such a multitude of instances of the confusion of the old and new modes of expressing the third person of the present tense, could not have been accidental; and they show, that whatever Dr. Toulmin's attainments may be, he is at least not very correct in the English Grammar. Are such blunders to be found in Prettyman and Hurdis? Having slipped so often in his English, it is clear that Dr. T. is right in the only Greek word which he has used ? In one of the three Hebrew words which he has quoted, there is unquestionably an

What an excellent writer! Let us next examine his cloctrine, Mr. Editor. It is acknowledged, upon the very face of the sermon, that it was preached at the Chapel in Essex-street, that is, at the UNITARIAN Chapel. Dr. Toulmin, therefore, is a supporter of that damnable doctrine and heresy, not of the Church of Rome, but of the school of Cracow, de Jesu Chrisia servatore; that abominable heresy, of which the Christian world was guiltless almost sixteen hunulred years; which was gencrated in the hot brain of she turbulent schismatic Faustus Socinus; and which, widethroated as he is, is too gross even for a Papist to swallow ; that heresy, I will add, which has found fewer followers, than any heresy started in these latter times of degenerate Christianity; the heresy, that Jesus was mere man. This circumstance it is, Sir, which makes his sermon appear to be an EXCELLENT DISCOURse in the estimation of the Monthly Reviewers. For we need not to be informed, Mfr. Editor, though our readers may, that the Socinian error has long been a favourite with them. Other instances of their blind attachment to it might be produced; but it is suficient for my purpose, that their critique iipon Dr. Toulinin is a mo-lern proof, and that I can Teadily produce an ancient one from their Review for February, 1754, p. 147. There, an author having asserted that the DivINE WORD did lead a miserable life, and did undergo a painful death, the Monthly Reviewer thought proper to remark, that it was absolwiely incompatible:with supreme Deity to be capable of suffering and death. I cannot refer to the passage, without observing upon it, that we have the testimony of an Evangelist that the word. W 19 MADE FLESÁ. And if we are compelled, by the credibility of this heavenly messenger, to believe that the zvord was made fresh, it seems to me to follow of

course,

course, that the same DIVINE WORD was capable of suffering and death. It is an inference such as plain common sense would have drawn; and there hardly needed an addition to the narrative, to satisfy us that it was possible. The Monthly Reviewers, therefore, are such now, Sir, as they ever have been, quales ab incento: aud Dr. Toulmin is an excellent writer with them, because he is a Socinian. The manifest drift and design of his fermon, is to elevate the title of the supreme being to the utmost poslible height of human conception. Every attempt to give fub.. limity and dignity to the name of God is commendable; but an endeavour of that kind is not to be engaged in, with a sinister intention of depresting the fon, and robbing him of that glory in which he has been invested from eternity. Yei such is manifeftly Dr, Toulmin's design. He has four times directed our attention to that expression of feripture, tbe God and father of our Lord Jefus' Cbrift ; for the purpose, no doubt, of inculcating a perfuafion, that since the Lord of Hofts was God (as well as fatber) of our Lord Jesus Christ, the supreme dignity of the latter, as maintained by Christians in general, is erroneous. " This name, indeed, involves in it, (ays he the idea of fupremacy above all earthly and beavenly powers, above even the name of Jesus, the Lord of all, who hath, otherwise, a name above every name.' That Jesus is inferior to Jehovah, us touching bis manhood, I will readily concede to Dr. Toulmin ; but more, I believe cannot be allowed to him, by any man who studies the fcriptures, with that fingleness of heart, which divests itself of every prejudice. Dr. Toulmin himself, while attempting to drown the divinity of the son in the bright effulgence of the father, has unintentionally given it a splendor which is insupportable to the human eye. This bigh name, says he, the Lord of Hofts, is due to the being wbs created universal nature. And wbo, let us ask him, created universal nature? Does not St. Paul expressly lay of Chrift, by him were all things created that are in beaven, and tbat are in Eartb, vifble and invisible : all tbings were created by him, and for Him; and he is before all tbtngs, and by him all things confift ** And does not the lame divine writer assure us, that it is to the son God speaks, when he fays, The throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever : THOU, LORD, in tbe beginning baft laid (the foundation of the carib, and the beavens are the works of Thine hands ?+ If then this high name be due to tbe being wbo created universal nature, it must follow, from Dr. Toulmin's own words, that it is due to Chrift. Yes, to bim is the name due : it is bis prerogative : it is bis glory : it is bis distinguishing character, and exalts bis name above every name. I appeal to the

sermon itself, Mr. Editor, as manifestly juftifying this inference Nevertheless, I do not maintain that this high name is to be applied to Christ; that is, I do not maintain that the scriptures warrant the application. Great pains have been wasted by Dr. Eveleigh, to prove that Christ is once denominated Jebcvab. Upon my mind his arguments have left no conviction. And if there be á pallage in fcripture which will justify our stiling Jesus

* Caloff, I. xvi. 17.

.+ Hebrews, I. vtii. 10.

the Lord of Hofts, or Jehovab Sabaoth, I am yet to be made ac quainted with it. He is certainly named, by the prophet, THE MIGHTY GOD and tbe EVERLASTING FATHER ; and he has pronounced himself to be the king of Israel; titles, which approach fo near to the high name we are dwelling upon, that it feems to be inextricably involved in them. It is to be remarked also, that Christ frequently describes himself, as presiding in such elevated situations of power and great glory, that we are ready to exclaim, veräy tbeu art Jeb:vah. Thar a limilar conclusion was frequently drawn from his words and actions, by those who constantly fura rounded him, cannot be doubted, when we consider the strong es. preslions which they made use of. But to give to him the high name on which Dr. Toulmin discourles, they well knew would expose them to the severeft punishment. If they refrained from inserting among their numerical characters the two Hebrew letters, which, when combined, were expresive of the name of God- I say, if they refrained from inserting these letters among their figures, that God's name might not be filently and accidentally profaned; it is not to be wondered at, that they never applied to Jesus the title of Jebovab, or Jebovab Sabaoth, by open design. But I haften to descend from this awsul discussion ; which I believe is, and which I think ought always to be, interdicted by the statutes of the land, that a subject fo holy may not be hourly subject to violation from the shallow and incompetent reasonings of insufficient man; especially when his mind is not informed to the full extent of what is revealed, and while he irreverently detracts from his Saviour attributes which better information must have compelled him to alJow. If at the close of a paragraph which I have written with a trembling hand, but with a firm and aflured understanding, I might be permitted to turn and smile at Dr. Toulmin, I should say exultingly to him and his Monthly Reviewer, what an excellent divine !

Let us now consider Dr. Toulmin's merits as a critic. And here let us previously observe, that all language whatever has had ils origin from earth. The words by which we understand one another, and all their correspondent symbols upon paper, have been coined and invented by man, for the use of himself, and his fellow-creatures. Every image, therefore, which is delivered over to language, and at the repetition of some particular found is again revived in the mind, was originally taken by the human eye from the visible objects of this world, and in a manner set to music, ly being married to certain letters and syllables, and to that'tone of expression which represents it and them. Whatever word, therefore, is used, muit be referred to this original interchange of sound for fense, if we wish to determine its meaning with critical accuracy. Suppose thenthat a divine messenger should come down from heaven ; he can no otherwise be understood by the inhabitants of this world, but by adopting these tones and their corresponding images ; that is, by speaking the language of man. If he adopes this benguage, it is ablolutely necesary that we believe him to make use of it, always with a strict seference to that imagery from which it was borrowed. We are

not to go up into heaven for a glossary, and a tribe of invisible images, which are to let down the lubject matter of his communication to the level of our capacities. This being granted, I con. tend that the plain and obvious interpretation of Hosts, both in Hebrew and English, according to the current language of this world, is ARMIES. The Lord of Hofis, therefore, is the Lord of armies, the Lord of those armies which men bring into the field; whenever it stands alone, unaccompanied by any additional ex. preslion, puposely used to give it a metaphorical and figurative turn. Consequently, whenever we read of the Lord of Hojis in scripture, it is our duty, unless admonished to the contrary, io helieve it to mean (as the Psalmist has explained it) the Lord strong and mighty, THE LORD MIGHTY IN BATTLE.

I dwell the more particularly on this explanation, Mr. Editor, because the Monthly Reviewer has advanced a step farther than Dr. Toulinin, and asserted, that so to understand this high name, is e prevalent and mischievous mistake; an error, which it migbt bave been erpected that Christian minifteri, instead of countenancing, would apply themselves to retlify. He has added, that tbis name of God bas been greatly mistaken and abufid, when it bas been supposed to teach us to look up to him as the patron of war.

Dr. Toulmin is not so rash. He allows that the word Sabaoth, or Hosts, comes from a root which means to assemble in orderly ranks, and that it sometimes fignifies militaries bodies of men. He says, in another place, “ The word: trantlated bost, doth in one instance describe all the tribes of Israel led out of Egypt, and in another, the armies of that people.' He quotes also from Benfon, that“ it is an observation of the Hebrews, that when God doth mercy to the world, he is called Jebovab: but when he wARRETH he is called Sabaoth, LORD of Hosts." In a's fourth place he admits, that the title includes God's providence as Goit of the armies of Israel; that it includes his power to mufter the bost for the battle, to enroll the strong ones of the earth as bis warriors, and to gatber together the kingdoms and the nations to execute his anger. In a word, he allows that it includes God's agency in making wars to case, in breaking the bow anid jnapping the spear asunder, and in burning the cbariot in the fire. The error, therefore, the prevalent and mischieroils mistake at which the Monthly Reviewer points his finger (if it be an error and a mistake) is not correčied, nor is it in a way to be corrected by Dr. Toulmin.

But is is no error; whatever may be thought of it by that fage adept in what he stiles the divinity of the Old Testament. The LORD is a man of war, faid the lawgiver himielf, in the very beginning. At a very early period, he went forth out of Seir, and marched out of the field of Edom. He is afterwards lublimely described, as puta ting on righteousness for a breat plate, and placing the helmet of fala vation upon his head. The garments of vengeance are his clothing, and he is clad with zeal as a cirak. He takes Judah for his bow and Ephraim for his arrow, and makes a sword of the fons of Sion : he fays to Israel, thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war; with thee. will I break in pieces the nations. He brings forth the chariot and the horse, the arıny and the power ; he lifts up an ensign on the mountains...

he

he blows a trumpet to collect the inhabitants of the world together. He even roars from on high, he utters ' his voice from his holy habitation, he gives a fbout against the inhabitants of the earth. He makes his Qaset in wbirlwinds of the south, he rides apon the horses and chariots of salvation, he is mounted upon a swift cloud. His bow is made naked, his arrows go forth as the ligbrning; the sun and moon stand Still at tbe light of them, and at the sbining of bis glittering Spear. He marcbes througb the land in indignation, be walks tbrough the feas he bobolds and drives afunder the nations, he

soakes bis band over them, and they become timorous as women. The pain of the Lord are many. For bis indignation is upon all nations, bis fury upon all tbeir armies, be des livers tbem to the Naugbter; their flain are cast out, and the mountains are melted with tbeir blood.

Let the Monthly Reviewer, by help of his concordance, refer to all the passages which are here compressed, and impartially decide, whether the divinity of the Old Testament will any longer suffer him to doubt, that the Lord of Hofts, is the Lord of ARMIES; in its first and most general sense. But when I call upon him to allow so much, let him not suppose that I will suffer him to adopt the grai tuitous assumption of Dr. Toulmin, that by means of this interpretation, men are led to conceive, that in the title of the Lord of Hofts, there is a fanction to political schemes of hoftility and bloodshed, Very weak, indeed, must be that understanding, which could drawi fwch a conclusion. The absurdity even of Voltaire did not advance {o far: por can I be persuaded that it ever entered into the mind of any cool and dispassionate reader of the scriptures, to entertain la low and contracted an idea of his Maker. From the heart of a Socinian, accustomed to derogate from the dignity of the fon, un worthy notions of the father may originate; but they who believe in the divinity of the Son, are in no danger of degrading the Father to the level of the heathen god of war. The well-informed examiner, who is not a bigot to the anti-christian do&rines of Socinianism, will perceive in the title of the Lord of Hofts, a title of great dignity, and of great comfort. He will be senlible, that from the beginning, nation has been divided against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He will know, that man is a creature who delights in war. He will recolleet, that wras of universal peace (if æras of that kind have existed) have been short and loon interrupted. He will almost be cf opinion, that the state of warfare is a state of nafure. But, ready as man is to shed blood, ready as kings are to rise sp, and rulers to take counfel together, he will be fenlible that there is one in heaven, who has announced himself to be the King of Kings, and Lord of armies. Under that title, he will perceive that his God is no filent and indifferent spectator of the commotions of this world. He will feel that nothing is left to the decision of chances but that there is an author of success as well as of defeat. He will bave often remarked, that when the probabilities of victory were peculiarly in favour of the stronger tide, an issue attended their exertions which no fagacity could forelce, and for which no philosophy could account. The divine interference has been to hiin, No. XXXI. VOL. VI I.

in

« ZurückWeiter »