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prison in our own favour, ought rather to have induced us to proclaim how much they have done for us, how far they have advanced for our instruction, than to boast of the farther advances and improvements which we have made for ourselves. And should we not be guilty of the basest ingratitude, if we were to undervalue or despise (what we presume to call) the little they have d nc for wsi As well might the admirers of the Thames, the Severn, and the Trent, despise the little streamlets first issuing from the springs, because they swelled not at once into deep and navigable rivers, and before they had received, in their course, the tributary streams that flowed into their respective channels. That great philosopher, Sir Isaac Newton, at the very height of his reputation, had too much of the humility of a Christian to despise, the author of the first six hooks of the Elements of Geometry; he would have been ungrateful if he had then despised him, because had he despised him before he began his course of mathematical studies, he never would have beoome the great philosopher. But it is the fashion, with tho illuminizing philosophers, to decry the learning and wisdom of former times, in order to six the charge of a want of light aud information on our reformers. They went very far to be sure, and as far, perhaps, as the nation wished them j but they did not ro far enough, it seems—that is, they did not go so far as these philosophers now with to go. The fame argument is not less applicable to the æra of the Revolution. The leaders in that business went a great length certainly, and as far, I mould think, as the nation wiihed them; but they did not go the length that these philosophers seem desirous of going. There is another memorable epoch in our history, viz. the. rebellion of the last century. Will the philosophers tell us, whether the agents and promoters of that rebellion went far enough? Will they accuse Cromwell, and the ntth-monarehy-men, of a want of light and information? I will, however, tell the philosophers that it has proved a very fortunate and providential occurrence for this nation, that the leaders of that rebellion went so far as they did, as it afforded the nation a twelve years experiment of the despotism of a republic, or rather of an individual, who, under the pretence of a Republic, usurped the sole power, and ruled, with a rod of iron, with which they were lo thoroughly disgusted, so completely sickened, that the day of the restoration of monarchy was indeed a day of joy and thmkfuluess to them, lint to conclude this head on the superiority of the present age in learning and wisdom, above all that preceded it, I will only put the following questions—,-Had we been destitute of the helps aud advantages which past experience has transmitted to if, Humid we have been the learned and enlightened nation that we are? Could we so quickly and readily have made those advances and improvements which we have now been enabled to make? Dry up the spring, or turn the course at the fountain-head, and how loug will the river continue to flow? The foundation mult be laid before we attempt to erect a building. The child must be p»ught to spell before he be required tu read. L,ct us then drop. for ever, the odious and invidious comparison. If our ancestors have not transmitted to us the light of a meridian fun, let us be satisfied with what they have imparted; let us receive it with humility, and employ it with thankfulness; and let us not disparage what they began by boasting of what we have smithed. Let us, in short, adopt the Christian rule of universal justice, " Do unto others as you would others should do to you;'" our posterity, in the next century may vaunt their superior learning and wisdom; but should not we have good reason to complain of their injustice, as well as their arrogance, if, on that account, they contemned aud despised us?
I soall now examine into the. pretensions of some of these illuminizing philosophers, who set up their individual claims to iuperior learning and wisdom, and who particularly hold themselves forth as interpreters and translators of scripture. Os Priestley I shall say nothing. IIis misrepresentations have long since been sufficiently refuted by many learned and pious men, and his contradictions in his interpretations of scripture have been most luminously exposed by the Rev. Mr. Burn of Birmingham, whose " Letters" are, perhaps, less known than they deserve to be. The next prominent character is Mr. Wakcfield. You, Sir, have already (No. V. Pp. 558, 55p.) pointed out two instances, which clearly sliow either that he is grossly ignorant of the (/reek language, (which no one, who knows Mr. W. can suppose,) or that he has as grossly perverted and misrepresented the scripture. To these instances I will add a third. Mr. \V. some few vears ago, exhibited himself' to the world as a "translator of those parts of the New Testament which are wrongly translated in our common Version." In that pamphlet he thus translates the following words, (Rom. xiit- 4.) —'itn Siei-Aovo; eciv, exhvtc fk dqyw ta To Xsiv.ov ■n^x'cQO^-i—
,*'He is an avenging minister unto wrath to him who doeth eril." Here a mere sciolist in Greek cannot but see that Mr. W. has suppressed (as insignificant 1 suppose,) the word d.-ou, a
, word which had been joined once before in this very verse with Jiœ«'.Fo--, and which is the most significant word in the passage, inasmuch as it lhows the origin of the power of the supreme magistrate, and declares explicitly, "whose minister he is,"—" tu/'.yi' authority he hath." If a man has preconceived ihc derivation of power from the people, his supprellion of the word Seou would be perfectly consistent. But St. Paul appears to have been of a different opinion, for he enjoins our submillion for cuipiaice sake; and he immediately adds, "..for this cause pay yon tribute also, for they arc God's ministers attending continually upon this very thing," that is, " to execute justice and judgement," the thing before spoken of. Here, again, the A]»stlc calls them ministers of God, giving a continual and intenle application (wfwcafrifovrrff) to the administration of justice, which he assigns as <T -reason, for paying tribute to them. In this interpretation ever}' thing appears harmonious, consistent, and apposite. But Mr. \V. translates the latter part of the verso thus, "for there
are ministers of God attending to this very duty." Were I disposed to criticize this translation, (as Mr. \V. profelses to corrtd our present version,) I might ask what word there is in the original to which the word duty corresponds, and whether the word ir^xufTi^ttmc does not imply something more than limply atttndi,ig to? But not to dwell upon this, I would atk who the persons are that are here called ministers ot" God, as Mr. W's translation evidently supposes them to he different from the persons before-mentioned as exercising the supreme power? And what is the duty to which he imagines them to be attending? And now, Sir, I would appeal to any man, who has a common acquaintance with the Greek language, it these are faithful interpretations, or even correct translations, of Scripture. Thus I take my leave of Mr. Wakerkld.
The next claimant to superior learning and wisdom in scriptural exposition, is Mr. Beliham.—The corruption of human nature, or original sin, Mr. B. denies to be a scripture doctrine. I should have thought daily experience would have sufficiently proved it, without having recourse to scripture. But let us refer to scripture. Mr. B. observes that the passage, " we were by nature the children of wrath, even as others," (Eph. ii. 3,) means only " that the persons to whom St. Paul wrote, had been originally Gentiles, enslaved like others to the idolatries and vices of their heathen state." According to this statement, then, this passage does not apply totbe Jews, to whom were committed the oracles of God, to those of them, at least, who believed, to those of them who, by the prov idence of God, were preserved from falling into the idolatries and vices of the heathen state. But if this statement be true, still I lhould think the words a; *«; u Xotval will include the Jews, and the rest of the world, mankind in general, agreeably to what the apostle has observed in the epistle to the Romans, (iii. Q,) "We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles to be all under sin." "For (he fays) all have sinned." (23) " That every mouth may be slopped, and all the world become guilty before God.*" (lo.) In another place, (Rom. v. 13, lp,) the apostle fays, "As by the offence of one, judgement catn« upon all men to condemnation ; so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life. For as by one, man's disobedience, many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one, sliall many be made righteous." Every smatterer in Greek, knows that the words 01 iroMoi, mean the many, i. e. in scripture language, mankind in general, all men. As lure then, as the meritorious obedience of Christ, and his lubmislion to the death upon the cross, is the appointed method of atonement and propitiation, Yor the sins of the whole world, as fun: as " Christ Jesus came into the world to five sinners," (1 Tim. i. 15,) so sure is it that in Adam, all have sinned, and that in Adam all die. "As by one man, sin
• But Mr. Edwards, in his' Defence of the Christian doctrine 1 original fin," in reply to Dr. Taylor, (Part ii. ch. 3. sect. 3.) has clearly and s;u>i'actorily proved, that by •• we" St. Paul means the Jews, of whose njtiju be wi>, and by the "others' the Geutileiand the rest of the world.
tntered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. v. 12.) The words ip I, might with equal correctness have been translated in whom, i. e. in Adam, in whom, all have tinned. But not to multiply particular texts, I think the general tenour of scripture is clear in savour of the doctrine. This may serve to obviate Mr. B's. statement of this doc* trine, as " a phnrasuic tradition, (See his note. p. 241,) and contrary to our Lord's own declaration, in reply to a question proposed by his disciples, concerning the man blind from his birth." But, with submission, I am opinion, oar Saviour makes not the smallest allusion to original fin.
The import of the question was this, *' Why was this man-bom blind, was it on account of his own fins or the sins of his parents'!" Uur Savour's reply is to this purport, " It was not on account of his own sins, (hereby obviating the notion of the foul's pre-existenct? and transmigration, which many of the Jews, aud pollibly tome of his disciples, believed,) or the sins of his parents, that he was born liliud, but for this, that the works of God Ihould be made manifest in him." When, afterwards the Pharisees charge the men with being "altogether born in Jhs," it does net appear upon what ground they made use of that expression, whether as having received the notion from their ancestors by tradition, or as having collected it from the genuine source, the writings of Moles. At any rate, Mr. B. is perfectly unwarranted in calling it " a Pharisaic tradition directly contrary to our Lord's own declaration." Our Lord, as it appears, neither affirms nor denies it. And it is observable, how strong an expression the Pharisees employ, oAs;, "altogether," thoroughly completely, from head to foot, the whole man.—But a denial of, the corruption of human nature was a preliminary step necessary to introduce a denial of the atonement and propitiation made by the death of Christ, his pre-existence and deity, .and the influence of the holy spirit, "none of which doctrines, fays Mr. B. (p. l/O) are true in fact, or derive the least countenance from the Christian Scriptures." For the pre-existence of Christ, I will only mention his own declaration, '^before Abraham was, I am j" and his prayer to the father, a lhort time before he was about to leave the world, "Now, O Father, glorify, thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Ia ihort, if after reading the whole of St. John's Gospel, (which I presume makes a part of Grieibach's editioti of the New Testament) any man can doubt the pre-existence and divinity of Christ, I must be allowed to fay that I much marvel at his unbelief.—Mr B. observes, (See note, P. 214,) that the word rendered propitiation, (Rom. iii. 25.) has no other Jaife in the sacred writings, than that of a mercy-feat. This may be true with respect to the Old Testament, but is not so clear as to the New. Mr. B. as a scholar and a biblical critic, must know that, by a ver}' cornmod figure in rhetoric, the name of the thing signifying, is frequently applied to the thing signified, that the type and the anti-type are soinetimes expressed by the tame word, that the cause and el'est are often used promiscuously, and that the writers of the New Testament taiwnt abound with instances of this kind, in words adopted from the Old; that consequently the word i*arTifio», which in the Old signifies a mercy-scat, is in the New Testament not improperly rendered by a word denoting the effect of Mercy, propitiation, reconcilement. Ivlr. Locke observes on this passage, '■ as the atonement under the law, was made by blood sprinkled on the propitiatory or mercy seat, (Lev. xvii. 14,) lo Christ is here set forth to be the real propitiatory or mercy-seat in hi* own blood"."-"In another part of his work, (Pp. 69. 70,) speaking of "Jetus Christ being at she right hand of God, making intercession for us," (Horn, viii.34,} Air. B. observes, " the exact import of the phrase (making intercession) it is very difficult to ascertain; probably the writer himself annexed no very distinct idea to it. [N. B. Si. Paul annexed no Tery distinct idea to what he wrote.] At any rate, the literal interpretation cannot lie true, for God, an infinite spirit, batb no right band at which Jesus can Jiund to intercede." I will not, Mr. Editor, so disgrace the learned world as to ask if such an observation ought to have proceeded from a scholar and a critic; but I will only say, that if a boy in the fifth form, at Eton, had ventured such an observation in his exercise, I verily believe, he would rrot have escaped the cultomarv correction.—When a man is determined todenvany particular doctrine to be a scripture doctrine, it is Ik> very iHfficuil m.itter; if such doctrine rests on the general tenour of scripture, ftiM it is to be denied, because no one particular text can be adduced as expressly maintaining it j isa particular text be stiown clearly ta support it, then the importance of the doctrine is too great to be admitted on the authority merely of a tingle text. Such is the method in wiiich some interpreters of scripture have been known to argue, and have endeavoured to argue 1*5 out of every doctrin* of revelation. But these doctrines, ftandon too firm a ground to be shaken by such arguments.
And now, Sir, let me aik you, will the serious enquirer into scripture doctrines left satisfied with such expositors and translators as these? Will the world, do you think, be disposed to grant that superior learning and wisdom, that greater ability in explaining, or greater fidelity in translating, the scripture, are the exclulive property of such persons? Will it not rather conclude that they who set up such an arrogant claim, are but too apt to be " wise in their Do conceits?" I am, Sir, &re.
To the Editor.
"AT THEN men of superior talents, improved by extensive erudition, V V make use os th'.-ir pre-eminence in society to advance the cause of prejudice, and strengthen the endeavours of irrational opposition, we lament the degeneracy of genius, we execrate the prostitution of acquirement. When we see these men investing themsehes