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God's agency in the regeneration of men, they would not teach us the nature of that agency, and show us wherein it is different from his agency in the production of sin. But this class of texts is not the only one.
If we examine the bible, we shall see that there is a class of texts, which ascribe the existence of holiness in the human heart to the “ Holy Ghost," to the “Spirit of God,” to the “Spirit of the living God,” etc. These passages, as we affirm, overthrow the Pelagian view of the divine influence in the production of holiness. For they are phrases signifying a special, supernatural agency of God, an influence different from that by which ordinary events are secured. In proof of this, we alledge the fact, that, so far as we have been able to examine the bible on the point, these phrases are never used in relation to common, ordinary events. They are nowhere used except in relation to acts of creation, miracles, prophecy, inspiration, and the existence of holiness in men. But in creation, miracles, prophecy and inspiration, as all must admit, there is a special, supernatural. agency. Why not then, we ask, in the production of holiness? We not only see no warrant for not giving ihese terms the same import, when used in relation to this subject, but we are bound to give them the same import, according to all correct rules of interpretation. Hence, as we have said, these texts entirely overthrow the Pelagian scheme.
These passages likewise overthrow the reasoning of the advocates of divine efficiency in the production of sin. For they can bring us no such passages as these, in relation to the existence of sin in the human beart. We know of no passage, which, in this peculiar form of expression, ascribes sin io God's agency. In other words, sin is nowhere ascribed to the “Holy Spirit,” or to the "Spirit of God.” This class of texts, therefore, forbids our adopting the scheme of special agency in the production of sin.
If we look still farther into the language of scripture, we shall find another class of texts which throw light on this subject. These passages are those, which so connect an agency of God with other agencies, in the production of holiness, as to recognize the fact of a distinct agency on bis part, over and above ordinary agency. This text may be quoted as an example; " Ye have purified your souls, in obeying the truth through the Spirit." Here the agency of the sinner is spoken of, the instrumentality of the truth, and the agency of God; and the agency of God is recognized as a distinct thing from the other two. Were they the same, they could not be thus distinguished. This class of texts, therefore, is directly at war with the Pelagian doctrine, that God has no special agency in the regeneration of men.
Nor do these texts agree any better with the opinion of those who advocate a direct divine agency in the production of sin. For similar texts are nowhere found, in relation to the existence of sin in the hearts of men. Where can a text be fonnd of such import as the following ?-Ye have polluted your souls, in yielding to temptation, through the Spirit. Such passages will be sought for in vain.
But we have another class of texts still more decisive on the question. This class of texts are those which deny the production of holiness in the human beart, without the direct and special agency of God. Take as an example the following: “Who is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as God gave to every man ? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is be that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." Here by the planting of Paul, -that man who was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles,-and by the watering of Apollos,that eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, -are doubtless meant the most perfect instrumentality of natural, secondary causes. And it is denied, that this kind of agency alone bad produced holiness in the Corinthian converts. The apostle distinguisbes between these natural, ordinary agencies, and the higher agency of God, and declares, that the result was not effected by the forner. For he says, “ So then neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.”
In this class of texts, we have a full and explicit denial of the truth of the Pelagian scheme.
The same texts, too, most clearly forbid our coming to the conclusion, to which the advocates of direct divine efficiency in the production of sin would bring us. For where do they find texts furnishing the least shadow of a depial of the sufficiency of second causes in the production of sin? Where does the bible deny, that ordinary, natural, secondary agency is sufficient, without a higher agency from God, to produce sin in the hearts of men ? We think we shall call upon them in vain to bring us any texts of this class.
But what we have now said, is not all that may be said, respecting the scriptural view of this subject. For when we have examined these several classes of texts of which we have only given examples, and seen what they teach us, we cannot read those other and more general passages, which ascribe the existence of holiness in men to the agency of God, without understanding them also to teach the doctrine of God's special agency in this thing. The fact of a supernatural influence ascertained from the one, must control the interpretation of the other. But, when we read, that God is the author of sin, too, in some sense, not baving any texts which teach us, that he is its author in any other than an indirect and secondary manner, while we have texts which teach us, that this is the way; we are required to interpret these texts according to the principle already stated, “ What he does by another he is said himself to do."
The principle of interpretation in these cases may be thus illusfrated : Suppose we knew from other sources, that Solomon, laboring with his own hands, had built the temple. Then when we read the passage, “ Solomon built the temple," we must, according to the known facts in the case, construe this passage as affirming that Solomon erected the building with his own hands. But suppose we know from other sources, as we do, that Solomon's agency in building the temple was that of general direction, not of direct agency? Then when we read the passage, we are required to interpret it as affirming no more than a general direction or control. Thus, in the one case, to apply the principle, we are required to ascribe holiness to God's special agency, while in the other, we are required to ascribe sin merely to his providential government.
Putting all the various texts together, therefore, which asc:ibe holiness to God's agency, and giving them their only true interpretation, we see how full, how explicit, how unquestionable, is the scriptural testimony to the fact of a direct, special, supernatural influence in the production of holiness in the human heart.
Here we bring our argument to its conclusion. The scriptural view, of the doctrine of divine influence in the production of holiness in men, is this :—God has an agency in the regeneration of men. That agency is direct and special, in opposition to the PeJagian scheme of mere providential influence on the one hand, and in opposition to that scheme of efficiency on the other, which would make God in the same sense the author of sin as of holiness.
Should the question here be asked, What is the exact nature of this influence or agency ? we reply, that the scriptures do not inform us. They teach us the fact, that there is a supernatural agency,—that there is an influence over and above the natural influence of truth and all second causes. But what the specific nature of that influence is, farther than this, except that it is consistent with the moral agency of man, they do not teach us. Where the scriptures leave it, there let us leave it also.
ART. VII.-WAYLAND's ELEMENTS OF MORAL SCIENCE.
The Elements of Moral Science. By Francis Wayland, D. D., President of
Brown University, and Professor of Moral Philosophy. Second edition. NewYork : Cooke & Co.
It augurs favorably to the interests of morality and religion, that works like this of President Wayland's are multiplied at the present day. Amidst much excitement of feeling, and incessant action, the call for works on moral science indicates, that there is, after all, a solid basis of christian principle, and quiet, sober inquiry in the minds of the community. It is not all agitation and
mere external show,—the foam and noise of controversy,—the bustle of action. The ruffled surface of human opinions and interests rests on a tranquil depth of truth and dispassionate thought. There is a soundness at the core,—there is a purity of the elements in operation, which, we believe, will be acknowledged sooner or later, in the effects that are produced. The public is settling down on clear and powerful principles of right; though in the transition there is a degree of disquiet and disturbance. There is, indeed, a greater agitation in the minds of men ; there is a wider invasion of social order, there is more of controversy and dispute, than could be wished, in the moral changes which are taking place. But this effect is not so much a just cause of alarm as many imagine. It is the natural result of the breaking up of old prejudices. It indicates, that there is wrong in the opinions and institutions of society ; but wrong that is seen, and on the part of many, execrated and abandoned. It is not the annihilation of social order, neither does it threaten such a catastrophe. Mobs and controversy exist, but they exist because powerful truth is at work, and calls forth the opposition of the bad, as well as the cheering of the good. No one can think it strange, that the thorough discussion of the elementary principles in moral and political science which is going on at the present time, should not produce a sensible agitation of the public mind. In proportion to the regard which mankind have for virtue and religion, will their feelings be enlisted in the analysis of these subjects, or in the wellsustained controversies of which they are the source. Occasional madness and misrule are the perversion of a healthy public sentiment. They are the scum or the sediment of the agitated, purified mass.
That there is a demand for ethical disquisitions, we in fer from the fact that they are repeatedly presented to the public. The taste which patronizes them, we say, is auspicious; it shows that there is a fund of good feeliny amidst much that appears otherwise ; while those works themselves will counteract the tendency which no doubt also exists, to undue excitement and agitation. Inquiries into the foundations and rules of morality, or into the elementary principles of religion, will prove a sort of balance-wheel in the system. Men, the more they are given to serious thought and the examination of moral subjects, will turn away from appeals to their passions, and obey the voice of truth and reason. We cannot but anticipate with pleasure the time when inquiries of this kind will, in some degree, claim the attention of the whole mass of the christian and virtuous public,-commencing in the nursery, and extending to the infant-school, the sabbath-school, the bibleclass, and every association whose object is mental and moral improvement. Could the truths of moral science be early and universally learned, how propitious would the effects be on all the most precious interests of mankind ! A new generation, and different from
any that ever preceded it, would rise up, and the errors and vices of past ages would in a great measure disappear.
Until of late years, there has doubtless been a want of competent and suitable human guides, in the science of morals. Books on the subject, especially before the time of Paley, were too scholastic, voluminous or general, to be adapted to public use. Paley, in his Moral Philosophy, produced a work, in its plan much better calculated to advance moral science than any that preceded it. He brought to the task which he undertook, several admirable qualifications. He was luminous, methodical, concise, and had a large share of good sense, and peculiar aptness for illustration. He einbraced also in bis work, a system of practical ethics of very extensive application. These qualities of the writer and of his book, gave him a popularity surpassing that of any of his predecessors in this department of inquiry. Yet Paley is, in some respects,—and those of no small importance,--a deficient and unsafe guide. He bestowed but little attention on the theory of morals, and in that part of his work is lame and unsatisfactory. Exceptions have justly been taken to the general principle upon which his system is founded, to wit, expediency, and also to several details in his practical ethics. His book, indeed, contains a singular mixture of truth and error, and should not be put into the hands of youth, to be read without discrimination. Its use as a text-book in our colleges, may not extensively perpetuate its wrong principles, since they will be apt to be corrected by the teachers of moral philosophy in those institutions; though even here it would be obviously better to have an improved text-book. As a work for general circulation, it has long been felt to be inadequate to the wants and behind the spirit of the age. Its place has been partially supplied by other similar works, in many separate points deserving of commendation; but no one of them, as a whole, answering the purposes sought in a system of moral philosophy. We believe, that the christian public have been, for some time, prepared to welcome a treatise containing views in advance of Paley and most other ethical writers.
Such a treatise, in some respects, is the work before us ; and from examination we can cheerfully recommend it as adapted both as an academical text-book, and as a reading volume for the community at large. We will not say, indeed, that there is still no want of something better, and especially of the right thing for the younger portion of learners and readers,-a work more simple, popular, and engaging than any we have as yet known,-a work of lively details and abounding in illustrative anecdotes, prepared with special reference to our sabbath-schools and to our more ele