תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

or, which is much the same, a • Marrow-man,' and new schemer.' The simplicity of the gospel is, in a manner, lost with many in the pursuit of what is above their reach; and the practice of religion, in strife and contention about what they are never like to understand.”

This, however, was the least part of the mischief occasioned by the controversy. The church-courts, having obtained this triumph over the Representers, strained every nerve to put down the party. Every device was resorted to in order to prevent the apprehended mischief from spreading. Good Thomas Boston was “staked down in Ettrick,” a place unfavourable to his health, and where he encountered many trials. The other Representers were annoyed in various ways, by their respective synods and presbyteries. Young men of undoubted talent and piety, if suspected of “savouring of the Marrow,” were frowned upon and kept back, while others were planted in churches who were little acquainted with the gospel, or rather decided enemies to the doctrine of grace. The sad consequence was, that the National Church was left to pine for a century under the withering influence of a legal and semi-pelagian ministry.

The controversy was not entirely confined to Scotland; in a short time afterwards it was transferred to England. The celebrated Mr Hervey entirely agreed in the views of the Marrow-men, particularly in regard to the appropriating assurance of faith, and not only gave expression to these views in his well-known “ Theron and Aspasio," but has passed the following high encomium on the “Marrow” with Boston's notes: " A book designed to guard equally against Antinomian licentiousness and legal bondage. The thoughts are just and striking; the arguments solid and convincing; the diction is familiar, yet perspicuous; and the doctrine exceedingly comfortable, because truly evangelical. The notes are, I think, a masterpiece of candid and judicious criticism, in which the nice discernment of the logician sifts, distinguishes, and adjusts the rich furniture of the divine. Perhaps, I may venture to say, that this little treatise pours as much light upon the gos- . pel and grace of Christ,—and, together with the notes, afford as many important distinctions in divinity,--as any book of its size whatever.” + Hervey was assailed with great bitterness and unfairness by Mr Sandeman, a disciple of Mr Glass of Tealing, who was deposed by the General Assembly in 1729. This led to a controversy which extended to America, and which would furnish matter for a history by itself.

* Preface to “Sober Inquiry into the Grounds of the Recent Differences," 1723. " The most acute of all the books in favour of the Marrow," and afterwards known to have proceeded from the ingenious pen of Mr Riccaltoun'of Hobkirk, who was probably also the author of the Political Disputant."— Account of MarrowControversy in Christian Instructor, vol. xxx. p. 545.

+ Theron and Aspasio, Dial. 18, vol. ii. 358.

Our previous remarks may have prepared the reader to estimate the merits of this controversy; and our limits will not admit of our entering upon them much farther. Few will now be found to deny, that in the leading and characteristic principles for which the Marrow-men contended, they were merely following in the steps of the divines and preachers of the Reformation. All our reformers, Luther and Calvin, Hooper and Latimer, Knox and Craig, spoke the same language. Nothing is more remarkable in the writings of these champions of the faith, than the freedom and boldness with which they enunciate the tidings of grace.

And while such were their antecedents, there can be as little doubt that the theology of the Marrow is that of our Leightons, our Halls, our Romaines, our Newtons, our M'Cheynes, and our Chalmerses. Its leading principles may be comprised in two words—FULL ATONEMENT and FREE SALVATION. On these two pillars, like the Jachin and Boaz of the ancient temple, was the whole fabric built and upheld. In their system, the atonement of the Saviour stood forth in all its plenitude, as a complete satisfaction given by the Surety of sinners in their

room, securing pardon and life for all whom he represented. They did not consider it necessary to abridge its virtues and merits, in order to extend them to all men, or to furnish ministers with a warrant to offer them to all. They found their warrant to do so in the offers of the gospel; nor did they deem it essential to find out a warrant for God to justify him in making these offers. They saw no inconsistency in preaching a full Christ as well as a free Christ to mankind at large, and sinners of all kinds; for they found this already done to their hand by Christ himself and his apostles. Some members of his synod having denied that there was any gift of Christ as a Saviour to sinners of mankind, Ebenezer Erskine rose, and with a tone and manner which made a deep impression, said, “ Moderator, our Lord

, Jesus said of himself, “My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven:' this he uttered to a promiscuous multitude, and let me see the man who dare say he was wrong." Much did they delight in pointing the believer to the special love of Christ in dying for his own; but equally careful were they to point the sinner to the death itself

, as the proper and only object of saving faith. To the believer they said, Think on the love of the Saviour, fixed upon you from all eternity, shedding his blood for you, drawing you to himself, and fitting you for the kingdom he hath purchased for you. To the sinner they said, Look not to the secret purposes of God, or to the intention of the Priest in offering himself, but look to the sacrifice offered,

which is sufficient for all. We do not say, “ Christ died for thee;" this would imply a knowledge of the secret purposes of the Most High, and secret things belong not to us; but we may say, “ Christ is dead for thee,” that is, he is exhibited as crucified and slain for thee-for thy benefit, for thee to look to for salvation, as the serpent was lifted up for the wounded Israelite to look to for healing,--for thee to flee to, as the city of refuge was appointed for the manslayer to flee to for safety.

Nothing, therefore, can be more scriptural and more simple than the view which the Marrow-men gave of saving faith. They represented it as trusting in Christ alone for salvation. This has been the faith of God's elect in all generations. It is the faith in which all true Christians live, and in which even those good men who have theoretically impugned the definition, if they do not now live, are sure to die. It is the view of faith in which even Baxter himself, who had spent much ink in quarrelling with the definition, ultimately expressed his acquiescence. More recent definitions, by attempting to simplify the subject, have only involved it in mystification and confusion. Mistaking the distinctions by which our elder divines sought to remove the rubbish and exhibit the simple idea of saving faith, standing up apart from all its counterfeits, for so many definitions of the idea, our moderns would simplify the question by allowing all this extraneous matter to remain; and contenting themselves with defining faith, which needs no definition, they fail to describe the special character of faith in Jesus Christ, in such a way as either to satisfy the trembling sinner, or to convict the presumptuous hypocrite. The nature of saving faith, as not merely a cold assent to the truth of the divine testimony, but as the betaking of the heart to the Saviour, speaking in and offering his hand to us in that testimony, and resting upon him for salvation, and consequently as implying both appropriation and assurance, is now so fully owned by evangelical divines in all churches, that it would be a waste of time to enlarge on it.

The rapid strides made by evangelical truth during the present century, have carried us so far ahead of the meagre“ Moderate' theology of the last, that the danger now lies in quite an opposite direction from that in which it was apprehended by our fathers of the “ Marrow" school. Our “modern divinity” is too often like the marrow run to oil and set on fire. It has all the extravagance of its phraseology, with none of the substantial ingredients which our old divines judiciously mixed up with it , to qualify its fervour, and convert it into wholesome aliment. Some would-be heresiarchs have even pretended to sneer at our

NO. V.

2 F

Marrow-men, as if they had only seen half-way through the truth, and acted merely as pioneers of themselves—the true champions of the gospel! When this chaff has blown away, the prejudice which has been done to these good men will yield to the general conviction, that they were thoroughly familiar with the gospel plan, that they knew the truth, and the truth had made them free. We may have fallen upon happier modes of presenting the truth than that of spiritual paradox; we may have learned to walk over the ground of Christian privilege and duty with a freer step, instead of painfully picking our way between Neonomianism and Antinomianism, or needing rows of palisades to guard us at every step from entering on forbidden ground; and yet, among all evangelical churches, at home and abroad, the same free and unfettered gospel as that advocated by the Marrow-men is really preached. Error is a perishing annual; truth is an evergreen. The church has outlived the effete moralism of the last century; and the vigorous growths of a scriptural evangelism, springing from the inner life of faith, and fed with the dew of heaven, promise erelong to supplant not only the poisonous plants of heresy, but the puny products and fungous excrescences of a dead and formal orthodoxy.

ART. VII.-1. The Victory of Faith, and other Sermons. By

JULIUS CHARLES HARE, M.A., Archdeacon of Lewes, Rector of Herstmonceaux, and late Fellow of Trinity College.

Second Edition, 1847. 2. The Mission of the Comforter, with Notes. By JULIUS

CHARLES HARE, &c. Second Edition, revised. 1850. 3. Sermons preached in Herstmonceaux Church. 2 vols. By

JULIUS C. HARE, &c. 4. Essays and Tales. By JOHN STERLING. Collected and

Edited, with a Memoir of his Life. By JULIUS C. HARE,

&c. 2 vols. 5. The Contest with Rome : a Charge to the Clergy of the

Archdeaconry of Lewes, delivered at the ordinary visitation in 1851; with Notes, especially in answer to Dr Newman's recent Lectures. By JULIUS C. HARE, &c.

1852. 6. The Means of Unity: a Charge delivered at the visitation

in 1842 ; with Notes, especially on the Anglican Bishopric at Jerusalem, and on the need of an Ecclesiastical Synod. By JULIUS C. HARE, &c.

7. The True Remedy for the Evils of the Age : a Charge

delivered at the visitation in 1849; with Notes, especially on the Educational, Matrimonial, and Baptismal Questions.

By JULIUS C. HARE, &c. 8. The Unity of the Church : a Sermon, with Introductory

Remarks on Uniformity. By JULIUS C. HARE, &c. 1845. 9. The Unity of Mankind in God: a Sermon preached on

the occasion of the Jubilee of the Church Missionary

Society, 1848. By Julius C. HARE, &c. 11. A few Words on the Rejection of the Episcopal Bill to

Amend the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal. By JULIUS C. HARE, &c. 1850.

. 12. Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers. First Series, Fourth Edition, revised. 1851.

Second Series, Second Edition, with large additions. 1848. 13. The Religions of the World. By FREDERICK DENISON

MAURICE, Chaplain of Lincoln's Inn, and Professor of

Divinity in King's College, London. 14. Christmas Day and other Sermons. By F. D. MAURICE,

&c. 15. Moral and Metaphysical Philosophy. Part I. Ancient.

By F. D. MAURICE, &c. 16. The Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament. By F. D.

MAURICE, &c. 17. Notes on the Miracles. By R. C. TRENCH, B.D., Professor

of Divinity in King's College, London, and Examining Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Oxford. Third Edi

tion. 18. Notes on the Parables. By the Same. Fourth Edition. 19. Hulsean Lectures. Two Series in one. By the Same. 20. Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet. An Autobiography. 2

vols. 21. Twenty-five Village Sermons. By CHARLES KINGSLEY,

Rector of Eversley. Second Edition, revised. 1851. . THOSE who are at all acquainted with the present tendencies of theological thought in England, will not be surprised that we should deem it important to direct special attention to the writings of Archdeacon Hare, or that we should couple with his name those of the other writers, some of whose works we have placed at the head of this paper. Few men, if any, are exercising at this moment a more important influence on the great body of the rising and genial mind of the country, both within and without the English Church, than the author of the “Victory of Faith” and the “ Mission of the Comforter;" and in that influence, such as it is, and whatever it

« הקודםהמשך »