תמונות בעמוד

person; while a human body and soul, not a distinct human person, were assumed, and became constituent parts of that divine person, that he might become perfect as a Saviour. By taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, he was made perfect, and became the author of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him.

His second argument is but an amplification of the first; and has been answered; for the very person that re. deemed man covenanted to do it; and his assuming humanity in no wise affected his personality, so that there was no need of the presence of that constituent part of his Mediatorial being, until the time for obedience and suffering, in the form of a servant, arrived.

His third argument is drawn from several passages of scripture which speak of Christ's coming into the world, and taking on him animal nature, or body, or flesh, without the least mention of taking a soul. The texts relied on are the following: John i. 14. The word was made flesh. Rom. i. 3. He was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh. Rom. viii. 3. God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Gal. iv. 3. God sent forth his Son made of a woman. Philip. ii. 7, 8. He was made in the likeness of men, and was found in fashion as a man. Heb. ii. 14. 17. As the children are partakers of Aesh and blood, he also himself hkewise took part of the same, that he might in all things be made like his brethren. Heb. v. 7. In the days of his flesh he offered up prayers. Heb. x. 5. A body hast thou prepared me. Since the scriptures on several occasions speak of Christ's soul, and yet say nothing about his taking a soul, when he came into the world, it is reasonable, says our author, to infer, that he had a human soul before his incarnation.

Now we contend, that flesh in the scriptures, is so far from meaning merely a human body, exclusively, that it commonly denotes the whole of a human nature, consisting of a body and soul in union. In this sense it is used in Gen. vi. 12, 13. Au flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. The end of all flesh is come before me. Surely flesh did not mean body here, exclusively; for that would restrict moral depravity to matter. Christ says, except that the Lord had shortened those days, VOL. I.

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no flesh should be saved." Mark xiii. 20. Here the word means human souls as well as bodies; and the last clause of the verse implies that “the elect” were included under the term. We read, moreover, that “by the derds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.” Rom. iii. 20. The souls of men are surely subjects of justification, and not their bodies considered as distinct from them. It is needless to quote more passages to the same effect; for what we have already adduced will show, that it is perfectly consistent with the general language of the bible, to consider the word flesh as meaning human na. ture, when Christ is said to have come in the flesh. The word was made flish, and Christ became man, are synony, mous sentences. He was made, o born, (as the best cri. tics render it,) according to the flesh, i. e. according to his whole human nature, of the seed of David. God sent forth his Son, made, or raiher born, of a woman. Gnd sent his Son into the world in the likeness of sinful flesh, or, in the form of a sinful, conden.ned human being. He did actually take flesh and blood into union with himself, as truly as God's children have bodies united to their souls. In the days of his flesh, while he was a man, as well as God, upon earth, he offered up prayers. And a true body was prepared for him, no less than a human soul united to that body. Because a body was prepared for him, it cannot be made to appear that nothing else was prepared for him, at the same time, and in conjunc. tion with it.

The fourth argument of Dr. W. is this: among many of the learned, and some of the vulgar Jews, there was a tradition of the pre-existence of the soul of the Messiah. So there was a tradition too, among them, and is to this day, that God came down to the garden of Eden and danced a hornpipe with Adam and Eve; and one tradi. tion is as good an argument as the other.

His fifth argument is this: Since the body of Christ was produced by a supernatural generation, it is not un. reasonable to suppose that the soul of Christ also was derived immediately from God before any creature was made.

In reply, we ask, is every reasonable supposition a

truth? And why should the soul have been created be. fore the body?

Such arguments as these, adduced by Dr. W., may satisfy Dr. Ailison; but we hope, for the honour of their understanding, that they will not many of our readers.

We shall consider his “ ('onfirmation of this Doctrine by Arguments drawn from the happy Consequences, and the various Advantages of it,and shail adduce scriptural evidence, that the human soul of Christ did not exist before his body, at some more convenient season.

ARTICLE VIII.Official Documents of the Presbytery of Al

bany; exhibiting the trials of the Rev. John Chester, and Mr. Mark Tucker; together with the whole case of the Rev. Hooper Cumming. Published by order of the Presbytery, &c. Schenectady, 1818. pp. 255. 8vo.

The two gentlemen first named in this title page, were honourably acquitted of every crime charged against them; and justified for that course of conduct which was made the ground of prosecution. The last was virtually convicted of every thing alleged against him, by the testimony adduced by the two former in their own defence. Several attempts were made by the Presbytery of Albany to proceed to issue in the case of Mr. Cumming; but the Judicatory was met at every step by the intimation, or affirmation, that there was probable cause for suspecting that he was partially insane. Many letters and records of presbytery, and witnesses, were introduced to prove this fact of a probability. The evi. dence which comes very near establishing it, is that which proves Mr. Cumming to be supernaturally addicted to lying. It is natural for men, uninfluenced by the grace

of God, to speak falsely, when they conceive that any advantage is to be gained by it; but it is something above natural lying, for a man to lie disinterestedly.

Another thing, we think, might have been proved; that Mr. Cumming formerly believed, and tanght, the tenet lucidly inculcated by Dr. Emmons and the Rev. Huiland Weeks, commonly called one peculiarity of

Hopkinsianism, that every moral action of a renewed man is perfectly holy, or perfectly sinful; and that these perfectly holy or sinful moral actions are perpetually al. ternating in a Christian's mental exercises. Such an opinion as this might have accounted for the strange inconsistencies of his conduct; for he seems to have been a child of God, and a thorough child of the devil, very frequently. Whether Mr. Cumming renounced this tenet, when he discarded, publicly, some of his lately cherished Hopkinsian notions, we are unable to say. The Presbytery, however, finally came to the following decision in his case.

Resolved, That the Rev. Hooper Cumming, against whom certain charges have been preferred, but who, as this presbytery have probable grounds to believe, labours under a partial derangement of mind, and has for that reason been adjudged an unfit subject of discipline, be permitted, at his own request, to withdraw from all further connexion with this presbytery, but that it is not in the power of this presbytery to pronounce him in regular standing, or to hold themselves in any wise, responsible for his future acts, either public or private." p. 239.

On a revision of the proceedings of the Presbytery, the Synod of Albany

Resolved, That the same be approved as correct and in order, except, so far as relates to their allowing the Rev. Hooper Cumming to withdraw from under their care, while charged with immoralities, which permission this Synod deem not presbyterial, the same not coming under the general rules of discipline.

“ And, whereas, the Rev. Hooper Cumming, late a member of the presbytery of Albany, has, while charged with immoralities, withdrawn from said presbytery. And whereas, said presbytery have allowed him to do this, on the probable ground of his partial derangement, a plea which had been set up in his behalf by Mr. Aaron Hand, one of his elders;

" Therefore, Resolved, That this Synod no longer recognize the said Hooper Cumming as a member of this body, or as a minister of the gospel in regular standing." p. 254, 255.,

This decision of the Synod was approved by the last General Assembly. 'The Synod was unquestionably cor. rect in declaring the act of the Presbytery not presby. terial; for a minister of the gospel, who is a member of

presbytery, can leave it only by regular dismission and recommendation to some other portion of the visible church, or by death, or by excommunication. No member of the church in the world should be permitted to run at large into the congregation of aliens; and a minister should be acknowledged to be a minister, until regularly suspended, deposed, or excommunicated. If any clergyman against whom a course of discipline is commenced may run away from it, and thereby quash all proceedings in his case, we may as well as not, relinquish the divine ordinance of government altogether.

But what should the Synod of Albany have done, af. ter deciding that the permission given to Mr. Cumming to withdraw was unconstitutional? An unconstitutional act being, from the very fact of its unconstitutionality, null, Mr. Cumming was still a member of the Presbytery of Albany. Shall the Synod direct the Presbytery to proceed against him until he is acquitted, or condemned, suspended, deposed and excommunicated, for insanity or immorality? Or shall they take the case into their own hands? Some Presbyterians think they should have done the former. The Synod, in our opinion, did neither; for they did not remand him to the Presbytery; they did not suspend him themselves; but imitated the act of the Presbytery which they censured, by allowing him still to run at large; for their declaration that they do not recognize him as a member of their body, nor as a minister of the gospel, is not a sentence of deposition, suspension, or excommunication.

Some think that Synods have all presbyterial powers. If they have, the Synod of Albany might have deposed Mr. Cumming themselves, had they tried him, or had a presbytery under their care done it, and sent up their records of the process.

Long continued insanity, especially when it leads to immoral conduct, is sufficient cause for divesting any one of ministerial functions. Neither a madman nor a knave should be a preacher of the gospel.

It is not our design in this article to trace the history of the unhappy Mr. Cumming, or of any one else; but to lay down the first principles of ecclesiastical process,

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