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8, &c. &c. only point out the un- be universally acknowledged, and doubted fact, that man has much that the investigation of such plain variety and contradiction in his truths should be at this time necescharacter. But the assertion of a sary. The only things which are complete debasement would be to natural 10 mankind, are such as ascribe such a degree of imperfec- hunger, thirst, impressions upon the tion (I had almost said of error and senses, liability to disease, pain, misconstruction) to God's works, and the like. Let but the reader as would imply neither praise, nor keep in mind this distinction, and wisdom, nor goodness in him, and he will easily perceive that if "sin" would authorize such an ever-in- be said to be natural to us, it must creasing progress in corruption, as be only in some assumed and inwould make the world too bad ferior sense, and that the arguing either for mankind to live in it, or from it in any other, causes much for God himself to suffer its exist- inaccuracy of Christian sentiment. ence.
Perhaps what leads most to error If any other passages in Scrip- upon this subject, is the expression tore are adduced in proof of this in our Catechism, stating that by necessary depravity in human na “ nature we are born in sin." Yet ture, I conceive it will be found surely this by no means necessarily upon a candid examination of them, must be so explained as to imply that they are either general, strong, any thing contrary to what is here comprehensive expressions, deno- affirmed. Our present state of ting what may be true, in the nain, being is doubtless the effect and without noticing exceptions ; or consequence of sin; namely, Adam's that they partake of the peculiari- sin: and if, by a very allowable ties of Eastern figurative phrase- mode of speech, substituting the ology; or that so far as they are cause for the effect, we say that we true at all, they are only the result are born in sin, that is in a state the of men's own blameable departure consequence of sin, and as a race from better knowledge; the effects of beings, collectively considered, of evil habits arising from propensi. under God's comparative displeaties unduly indulged; dispositions sure, theologically and judicially early corrupted ; bad education; now called “ children of wrath,” prejudices injudiciously directed; from which we are removed by all which may be well admitted, baptism into a state of " grace," or without supposing either a total favour, by a quasi regeneration, ruin, or an irresistible dominion of every fair construction is secured evil, or any necessity to sin by the to the expressions used, and neither very frame and constitution of our truth, or fact, or critical exposinature: always keeping in mind the tion becomes intruded on. St. Paul ordinary assistance of God's grace; (Gal. iii. 22.) says, “ the Scripture and that superintending Providence, hath concluded all under sin," by which goodness and virtue upon OnxAHJE TO warta (very remarkable!) the whole, even in the Heathen all things, universa, omnia, ‘uto TMO world, have been in general ever expecéptiav, --under the charge of sin ; sustained, but which among Chris. the same marta, which were made tians are more highly favoured, in by Him, or Christ; (John i. 3.) tbose who pray for God's assistance “ hath included the whole creation to keep them in all goodness, and under the general charge or comto guard them from the extreme of prehension of diminished favour in evil.
his sight, or sin," brought on by It is lamentable that in the nine. Adam. Whereby, scripturally teenth century of Christianity, these speaking, the whole universe beelementary principles should not comes divided between that charge
from Adam, and the removal or In proceeding to refute these posiexculpation of that charge by Christtions, I shall cautiously suppress In this sense also we may intelligibly every private allusion, and confine be said to be born υπό αμαρτιαν, my observations exclusively to the under sin, or in sin. But this by scriptural expositions suggested by no means implies sin by“ nature,” Aleihes. as God creates us, or a natural The first text upon which he comnecessity of sinning. Sin in such ments is Malachi ii. 14-16, disa case would not be sin. The word puting the justice of the appeal nature also has various senses and which was made to that text, by modes of application. Let us the Archbishop of Tuam. hope that due consideration will • The Archbishop," he says, better explain this subject, together “ rested his vote on the solemn with some others relating to the denunciations in the second chapter early history of man, bis sentence, of Malachi, against putting away,' death, and fall, which by many are and the calamities with which God not sufficiently contemplated, and visited such a practice, declaring are spoken of in unwarranted ex that he hated putting away.' It tremes.
is certainly matter of surprize, that N, R.
this passage of Scripture should be Feb. 1821,
thus interpreted by so able and conscientious a prelate, Malachi,
in his second cbapter, represents, To the Editor of the Remembrancer. under the type of a marriage, the
covenant by which the Jewish paSir,
tion was bound to the worship of The time has happily returned when Jehovah, and threatens with loss of passages of Scripture, which treat his favour those who had · dealt of marriage, adultery, and divorce, treacherously with bim, putting may be dispassionately and impar- away the guide of their youth, and tially discussed. The attention of the covenant of their God.'
Juinen has of late been powerfully dah hath profaned the holiness of directed to these passages, but in the Lord which he once loved, and the ardour of debąle and contro hath married the daughter of a versy, interpretations have been pro- strange god.' Mal. ii. 10. It is the posed, which, in the season of calm
more extraordinary that this view of reflection, it seems not possible to the chapter did not occur to the justify and approve, A writer, Archbishop, as it is an allegory of whose letter, bearing the signature continual and favourite occurence of Alethes, and addressed to the in the prophetical writings. It is Archbishop of Canterbury, baş ap- the entire subject of the sixteenth peared in the Morning Post and chapter of Ezekiel, where the Jewish Courier, has expressed his anxiety nation is represented as a foundling that the scriptural law of divorce girl, nourished and brought up by should be "
correctly and well un. God, married to him when she bederstood.” In this anxiety, every came of nubile years, and subsegood man will cordially concur; but quently found faithless to his bed, in his endeavours to attain this de- by adui:ery with many nations, and sired and most desirable conclusion, under circumstances of unparalleled he will regret to obserye that the ingratitude and aggravation.” positions of Alethes are wholly un It is not easy to discover the pur. tenable, and that the means to pose for which this writer recites which he resorts, are expressly cal- Solomon's description of the adulculated to defeat or delay the pure tress, for it is she who forsaketh the pose which lie professes to pursue. guide of her youth, and forgetteth
the covenant of her God, Proverbs ii. less repudiations is maintained. 17. which is very consistent with Lowth states the substance of the the received and ordinary interpre- chapter to be this: “ From the tation of Malachi, but bears no tenth verse be proceeds to reprove possible relation to the refined and the people for marrying strange worecondite meaning which Alethes men, and even divorcing their for. would fasten upon his words. But mer wives to shew their fondness whence is this meaning derived ? for such unlawful marriages :" and Has it any authority to recommend in his comment upon the several it, or is it such as would occur to verses, he shews the bearing and any plain man in reading his Bible? consistency of the argument. The In the contents prefixed to the commentators in Poole's Synopsis, chapter in the English Bible, it is Calvin, Drusius, Grotius,' Menonoted :-“ 1. He reproveth the chius, Piscator, and others, all agree priests for profaning the covenant: in the same interpretation of the 11. and the people for idolatry: text: and in proof that this was the 14. for ADULTERY: 17. and for original exposition, it may be reinfidelity.” Thus a distinction is marked that Selden in his Uxor made between the eleventh verse, Hebraica, recites the words of a which treats of idolatry, and the Jewish commentator, on ver. 13. fourteenth, which relates to adul- that when a man repudiates his tery: it is of adultery that King first wife, or the wife of his youth, James's translators understood the the altar sheds tears upon his ac. treacherous dealing of the Jews count. with the wife of their youth, or of Thus strongly does the current of their covenant: and it is of the authority flow in favour of the retreacberous dealing of the Jews by ceived interpretation, to which the adultery, and of the divorces to Archbishop of Tuam appealed, and which it led, that in their translation to which Alethes objects. It is not the Lord declares his hatred. The meant to assert, that this figurative marginal references in the Bible, exposition may not be found in other upon this, and upon many other passages of the prophetical writings. texts, recommend the same inter- Lowth, in his Index, refers to “marpretation as the title of the chapter, riage as an expression of God's coand prove the harmony and con. venant with the Jews," but he does sistency of our only authorized in- not mention the text of Malachi; terpretation. In the preceding ver- and it will hardly be pretended, that sion, there is a marginal note on
the admission of the figurative sepse Ver. 14. “ This is another fault in one text, excludes the plain and of which he accuseth them, that is, literal interpretation of another. It that they brake the laws of mar- is always dangerous to allegorize the riage.” There is therefore, as it Scriptures without necessity, when were, an hereditary exposition of the purport of the writer does not the text in the Church of England, require that his words should be which is not yet extinct, for in the mystically understood, and when notes extracted from Dr. Pocock, their natural force and meaning are Archbishop Secker, W. Lowth, not inadequate to the design with Bishop Hall, and Archbishop New. which he writes. Even on these come, and inserted in the Family occasions, the plain sense of the Bible, published under the sanction words often contains a sound and of the Society for Promoting Chris- wholesome truth; and before the tian Knowledge, and vigilantly su- proposed interpretation of Malachi perintended by some of our prelates, can be established, or its force on the same natural and obvious inter- the law of divorce can be evaded, pretation of the iniquity of cause it is necessary to shew that the
literal meaning is either untrue in the undoubting and settled convicitself, or inconsistent with the con tion of the author's mind, whose text, and that the figurative meaning opinions and language were the is indispensable to the full and clear same, notwithstanding the difference interpretation of the passage. of the subjects of which he treated,
There are some other texts, on and in which he had no theory to which, at a future time, I may be establish concerning regeneration. tempted to offer some observations, In the treatise “ De Successionialways assuming that it is of the bus in bona Defuncti ad Leges Hehighest importance to public and bræorum,” he assigns the reasons private virtue, that the doctrine of for which a deceased proselyte had divorce should be “ correctly and no heir: “ Proselytes of justice well understood.”
were usually admitted by circum-
crifice, and a man who had been
was always held regenerate or born To the Editor of the Remembrancer. anew (regeneratus et renatus:)
all respect to his former kindred Sir,
was entirely superseded, and in virIn the controversy upon regenera- tue of this sacred privilege, he was tion, it was attempted to throw a held to have no kindred afterwards, doubt upon the sense in which the either in respect of succession or of Jews understood the words regene- marriage, except the issue which rate and regeneration, and to make followed after his baptism or iniit a questionable point, whether the tiation. A Gentile, from the motruth of their opinions could be ment that he became a proselyte, satisfactorily proved and ascertained. was accounted to be born aneu, and The assertiou of Waterland, and the of a new mother, as was feigned in authorities to which he refers in the the Hebrew law. His father, moDiscourse upon Regeneration, and ther, sons, and daughters, previously the incidental notices of Wall in the born, and his brothers, ceased, acIntroduction to the History of In- cording to the Jewish notion, to fant Baptism, left no room for these bear these relations, The reason doubts in the mind of any sober which they assign for thus superand accomplished divine. The writ- seding the former kindred is, ihat ings of Selden, whose authority in a proselyte, as soon as be becomes matters of Hebrew philology and a proselyte, is esteemed an infant philosophy will not be disputed, born as it were of a new mother : so are from the singular perplexity and that a proselyte of this kind is diobscurity of his Latin style, less vested of self, of former lineage, known than from the treasures of and of all consanguinity derived learning which they contain they de- from it; and the effect of this re. serve to be: and as I have recently generation is that no kindred with had occasion to look into them, you the Gentiles, or existing in his Genwill perhaps allow me to lay before tile state remains to him, as by the reader the substance of some the Roman law no servile kindred few passages, accompanied with the remains after manumission. When texts of Scripture which they ap- Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and chief of pear to illustrate and explain. If the Jews, wondered at the words of it should be thought that there is our Saviour, concerning regeneraan unnecessary repetition of the tion, and asked, “ How can a man same matter in these brief extracts, be born again, when he is old ? How I will only remark, that it is from can these things be?" Our Saviour that repetition that I wish to inter answered, “ Art thou a master of
Israel, and knowest not these behold all things are become new." things?" To masters of Israel, ac- 2 Cor. v. 16, 17. quainted with the received opinions, A further illustration of the same the notion of regeneration by water text will be found in the following or baptism was sufficiently clear. passage, in which the attentive This is the meaning of Tacitus: reader will not fail to trace the lana “ Circumcidere genitalia instituere guage of St. Peter upon the same Judæi, ut diversitale noscantur. subjects. “ Being born again or Transgressi in morem eorum idem regenerated" as new born usurpant. Nec quidquam prius im- babes:” αναγέγεννημενοι. αρτιγεννητα buuntur, quam contemnere Deos, Bpegn. Both are Jewish expressions exuere patriam, parentes, liberos, addressed to Jewish converis: what fratres vitia habere.” Proselytes would be the interpretation of a who in their own persons first ob- Jew? tained that title by profession, re “ A new lineage," says Selden, tained no notion of their country or “ was assigned to the proselyte, in kindred, they were esteemed to be the same manner as a new name, and born anew, and from another stock; as soon as any person was initiated in other words they were regene. he was called regenerate. It is the rated. Hence it followed, that they common saying of the Talmudists, held their former kindred with which the proselyte, from the time that they were connected by blood, to be he becomes a proselyte, is esteemed, vile': they considered themselves to as it were, an infant newly born," be free and disengaged from all even as if he had been born of a new former bonds of affection, piety, mother. Hence it followed, that he and duty, whether to relations by did not retain his ancient kindred or blood, or to countrymen by local relation by blood, nor include among habitation : and they considered that his kinsmen either brother, sister, those relations were to be despised, father, mother, or children previ. on the ground of their being gen- ously born. These relations, as they tiles. It is a singular notion, arising were by nature, were at an end. from the law of regeneration, and a Even if his father, mother, son, or renewed lineage, that proselytes di- brother, should become a proselyte vested themselves of their country. at the same time with him, the kinIn regeneration they assumed ano dred or consanguinity between them ther country, Judea, even although nevertheless was determined. It they were born again (renali) out was a received rule, · Whoever was of Judea : and afterwards they were the kinsman of a proselyte in his called Jews, and truly held to be gentile state, is not his kinsman now,' Jews, although the name of Prose- or in his proselyted state. As if he lytes distinguished them and their had now been first created, or had posterity from the Israelites who fallen from heaven; he was alto, bore that name by descent and gether a new man, divested of all originally." De Succ. c. 26. former consanguinity, not less than
St. Paul probably alludes to opi- of gentilism. No one could, there. nions of this kind, in the effects and fore, succeed him as his heir, on the results of regeneration, when he ground or pretext of former consan. says, “ Wherefore henceforth know guinity. The proselyte of justice we no man after the flesh; yea was regenerated in such sense as to though we have known Christ after be taken for a new man, who previs: the flesh, yet now henceforth know ously had not been born. When, we him no more: therefore if any therefore, Nicodemus wondered at man be in Christ he is a new crea the saying of our Lord, 'Ye must ture; old things are passed away; be born again ;' and pressed the