Imágenes de páginas

« It is evident," he says, that the act of justification is momentary; it is a single point in our life, on one side of which all the past is cancelled, on the other all is future in bright and brilliant hope. It is a moment of spiritual reanimation; and as when God recalls from death, he by that very act infuses a principle of life, so in this act he not only acquits us from sin, but also infuses a vivifying spirit of holiness. From this circumstance, and because it is due to the operation of the Holy Ghost, the state ensuing from this moment is called the state of sanctification, and must extend henceforward to our life's end."

From this passage I should conclude that Mr. Evans would not allow the propriety of the phrase “ the state of justification;" and in this view he would perhaps be followed by Fidelis. It appears to me that it would much contribute to a right adjustment of this difference, if the parties interested would refer to the judicious labours of Dr. Thomas Jackson, vol. i., b. iv. sect. ii. c. 6. It is impossible to do justice to the reasons of this “ most learned Divine"* by nakedly abstracting his conclusions; but he shews, I think, irresistibly, that it is equally scriptural to speak of the state as of the act of justification that the term may be affirmed as well of the qualification of the person who receives absolution, as of the application of the sentence. He returns again to the same subject more briefly in vol. ii., b. x. c. liii., where he lays down “ two branches of justification: the one by the mere imputation of Christ's death and passion ; the other by participation of his grace.” And he adds, « none is so just, whether by imputation of his merits, or by increase of grace, but may and must be daily more justified. So that the Son of God doth set us free, first, by his sufferings on the cross; secondly, by the laver of baptism and by participation of his life and spirit; and, lastly, he will set us free indeed at the resurrection of the just.” It does not appear, I think, that Mr. Knox was acquainted with the writings of Jackson; he might certainly have found there some support for his position, “ that the reckoning us righteous always presupposes an inward reality of righteousness on which this reckoning is founded." Vol. i., p. 278-9.

Is it not a little remarkable, as a proof how much we are the dupes of names, that the two leaders, under whom disputants on these points are usually classed, were nearly agreed on the question of justification ? “ Paratus sum," says Arminius, " quicquid Calvinus, Instit. lib. 3, de hac re statuit, amplecti, eique subscribere.” Oper. Arm., Leyden, 1629, p. 127. He elsewhere lays down his own positions, which appear orthodox enough, and the first such as Fidelis and Mr. Evans would approve. “ Justificatio est actio Dei judicis, qua de throno gratiæ et misericordiæ hominem peccatorem sed fidelem, propter Christum Christique obedientiam et justitiam a peccatis absolvit et justum censet : ... justitiam tamen suam demonstravit, primò, quod nonnisi præeunte reconciliatione per Christum, secundò, quod nonnisi peccata sua agnoscentes et in Christum credentes justificare voluit.' And yet he would probably have agreed with Mr. Knox in allowing “ the state of justification ;' for he adds, “ Hanc vero justifi

Chillingworth, Sermon ii., g. 28.

[ocr errors]

cationem considerare habemus, tum circa initium conversionis, quando omnia peccata antecedentia condonantur, tum per totam vitam, proptereà quod Deus pollicitus est remissionem peccatorum fidelibus, quoties resipiscunt et vera fide ad Christum propitiatorem confugiunt: finis vero et complementum erit sub exitum vitæ, (this is the same with Jackson's " final justification;"*) quum misericordiam dabit vitam in fide Christi finientibus ; declaratio vero et manifestatio erit in futuro judicio universali."


399. It may perhaps appear that Mr. Knox's views bear a closer resemblance to the doctrine of Osiander, as stated by Calvin, who impugns it with his characteristic stiffness, Instit. lib. iii., cxi. 6. Osiander, according to Calvin, extended the sense of justification to two parts, “ ut justificari sit non solùm reconciliari Deo gratuità veniâ, sed etiam justos esse; ut justitia non sit gratuita imputatio, sed sanctitas et integritas quam Dei essentia in nobis residens + inspirat.” To prove this, he asks, “ An Deus, quos justificat, relinquat quales erant naturâ, nihil ex vitiis mutando ?”

Calvin's reply to this is, “ Responsio perquam facilis est : sicut non potest discerpi Christus in partes, ita inseparabilia esse hæc duo, quæ simul et conjunctim in ipso percipimus, justitiam et sanctificationem. Quoscunque ergo in gratiam recipit Deus, simul spiritu adoptionis donat, cujus virtute cos reformat ad suam imaginem. Verùm si solis charitas non potest a calore separari, an ideo dicemus luce calefieri terram, calore illustrari ? Hac similitudine," he adds, “ nihil ad rem præsentem magis accommodum: sol calore suo terram fæcundat, radiis illuminat; hic mutua est atque individua connexio : transferri tamen quod unius peculiare est ad alterum ratio ipsa prohibet.”

From these words might we not infer, that if Calvin's illustration (which seems to have pleased him so well) be worth any thing, the blunder of those who confound justification with sanctification is no more than a verbal inaccuracy, if so much ? For if we can think of the sun's light at all apart from its heat, (especially in the present. month of August,) it must be by mental or metaphysical distinction, since in their own nature they are never divided. And so the Psalmist, Ps. xix. 6%" nothing is hid from the heat thereof."

For my own part I fervently indulge the anticipation expressed by Alexander Knox, that a time is coming when the application of a sounder philosophy will dissipate much of the inisapprehensions which divide the heirs of one common hope. When Calvin allows, “ Nunquam a gratuita justitiæ imputatione separatur realis sanctitas," (Instit. ii., c. ii, 1,) and even the ultra-Calvinistic Ames, “ Vitam non esse ex justificatione sperandam, cum bonorum operum neglectu, (Bellar. minus Enervatus, iii., p. 132,) who does not see that much of the contest lies in metaphysical distinctions, and that we may be at peace if we will rest in a simpler proposition and forbear the use of a dis

• Vol. i., p. 745. + This alludes to another somewhat obscure tenet of Osiander previously mentioned by Calvin.

puted term? Whether A. Knox is right in his sense of “ justification,” or whether the term “sanctification ” in this sense be more correct, the truth which we contend for is the same. “We participate Christ partly by imputation, as when those things which he did and suffered for us are imputed unto us for righteousness ; partly by habitual and real infusion, as when grace is inwardly bestowed while we are on earth, and afterwards more fully both our souls and bodies made like unto his in glory." Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v., §. 56.

I a

am, Mr. Editor, your very obedient servant, E. C. P.S. May I take this opportunity to note a remarkable error in a very popular book, Thomas Scott's “ Force of Truth,” which, in however many editions it has been repeated, the friends to his memory should at least remove from all future editions of the work ? Among his quotations from Hooker may be found the following sentence—“ As for such as hold that we cannot be saved by Christ alone without works, they do, not only by a circle of consequence, but directly deny the foundation of Faith ; they hold it not, no, not so much as by a thread.” These words may certainly be found in Hooker, (Disc. on Justification, ş. 19, but they are not Hooker's words. Whoever will take the pains to refer to that section of his Discourse, will see that the whole of it is a statement of the objections of his opponent, which he is mustering together in order to answer them; and accordingly this tranchante sentence receives a very full answer in §. 29–31. Ούτως αταλαίπωρος τους πολλοίς ή ζήτησις ΤΗΣ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑΣ.*


MY DEAR ,— As I think it of great importance that works so extensively circulated as Jacob Abbott's should be justly estimated, I beg to call attention to the following observations on a part of the “ Corner Stone." The familiar tone, so constantly made use of in speaking of our Saviour, is highly offensive; and perhaps the best mode of shewing its objectionable nature will be by extracting a passage, and adding a few plain comments upon it. Take, for instance, that portion of the book in which the author speaks of our Saviour's love of nature, (p. 66–71, in the London reprint, published by Wightman). After quoting our Saviour's address on the subject of the lilies of the field &c., he remarks —

"A cold, heartless man, without taste or sensibility, would not have said such a thing as that; he could not, and we may be as sure that Jesus Christ had stopped to examine and admire the grace and beauty of the plant, and the exquisitely pencilled tints of its petal, as if we had actually seen him bending over it, or pointing it out to the attention of his disciples."

* May the Editor take the liberty of expressing his wish that some of the many Correspondents who have sent him letters on Mr. Knox's opinions on Justification, would look at what seems to him a far more important portion of his works, viz., his Treatise on the Mode of our Salvation through Christ. (Not having the book, he may give the title wrongly.) After twice reading, he must say, that it appears to him to do away very much with all that is objective in religion, and to make it wholly subjective. He still cannot but think that he does Mr. Knox wrong, and would be very glad that some one would examine the point.–Ed.

I confess that I cannot feel so sure, as Mr. Abbott appears to be, that he, whom I believe to be the Creator of the material world, as well as the Creator and Redeemer of the moral world, needed to bend over the beauties of his own creation in order to use them for man's spiritual improvement; nor do I think myself justified in presuming to judge of the sources of his enjoyment and his knowledge. It is a subject on which one hardly dares to write, for fear of being betrayed into something like an irreverent expression. The reproof which was conveyed by the vision of St. Augustine, when he attempted to fathom the depths of the great mystery of our faith, the Holy Trinity, would seem to me justly required here also. But to proceed, the author, after speaking of the seed of a plant, and the complicated system safely packed away in its little covering, and the wonderful effects of its growth, thus continues —

“(1) * Now Jesus Christ noticed these things ; he perceived their beauty, and enjoyed it. His' heart was full of images, which such observations must have furnished. (2) He could not other. wise have so beautifully compared the progress of his kingdom to the growth of such a tree; he could not have related the parable of the sower if he had not noticed with interest the minutest. circumstances connected with the culture of the ground. His beautiful allusions to the vive and to the fig tree, the wheat and the tares, the birds of the air, and the flocks of the field, all prove the same things. (3) It is not merely that he spoke of those things, but that he alluded to them in a way so beautiful and touching and original, as to prove that he had an observing eye, and a warm heart for the beauties and glories of creation."

* (2) There is the same kind of evidence that he noticed with the same observing eye, and intelligent interest, the principles and characteristics of human nature,” &c.

Now, in the first place, I am well aware that in speaking of the early years of our Saviour, Scripture has said, that “ he increased in wisdom and in stature.” But I confess that I should tremble, from this general expression to deduce in detail all the sources of his knowledge, and to conclude that they were those of the ordinary race

In the next place, while every feeling heart must acknowledge, with Mr. Abbott, the beauty and propriety of the images made use of by our Saviour, it is more becoming in us to be thankful that they were drawn from objects familiar to all, and therefore were such as all

, or almost all men could enter into, than to speculate how our Saviour acquired his knowledge of them. The real lesson which we ought to learn is this, that all the knowledge of nature which we can acquire may be turned, and ought to be turned, to our spiritual improvement.

Let us now very briefly remark on the leading points in this passage. The writer speaks of our Saviour's “ enjoyment of these things, as if he looked upon them with the eye of man, to examine and to learn from them, and he informs us

, peremptorily that these images must have been furnished from such observations. This is speaking boldly, but hardly so boldly as in the succeeding paragraph, number (2). He there tells us that “our Saviour could not otherwise have made these beautiful remarks !" In paragraph (3) we are told that the nature of these sayings of our Lord proves, that “ he had an observing eye and a warm heart for the beauties and glories of creation!” This language applied to him whom we

of men.

(1) N.B. I have added these marks, and the italics, merely for the facility of reference, and to call attention to the chief points. Vol. VIII.- Sept. 1835.

2 s

acknowledge as the Creator of the world, perplexes us almost as much by being very unintelligible, as it startles and disturbs us by its extreme irreverence.

I would simply ask, whether the whole passage (with the exception of the word “ his kingdom,”) would not be far more applicable to some student of nature, than to such a Being as our Saviour, and whether the last passage would not be a kind of bathos, or a very trumpery common-place in the biography of some young naturalist. We ought most strongly to deprecate such a tone on such subjects. It is no excuse to say that the author had no intention of writing irreverently; and it may be doubted whether any good which can be learned from the rest of these books will make up for the injury which they cannot but do by such a low, earthly, sensual mode of treating the Divine Being. It becomes, at all events, a sacred duty, incumbent on all who desire the propagation of sound religious doctrines and feelings, to examine these books very strictly under this point of view; and it would be well if those who are in such baste to reprint every American book which happens to contain striking passages, or exciting views, would reflect more fully on their tendency. If they think this coarse familiarity proper, they must be prepared to see it carried much farther. When the novelty of this has worn away, something more familiar, if it can be found, must succeed, and I leave it to the serious consideration of every devout mind, whether a succession of such publications would be likely to become a means of edification. I may seem to trespass too long by writing so much on a single passage, but although only one is adduced, passages similar in feeling might be produced from so many portions of these books, that they may fairly be said to imprint a character upon them as a whole.

Thinking that these remarks might perhaps be of use, in calling attention to a point which has been somewhat overlooked, I venture to hope they may appear in your pages; and I beg to subscribe myself,

Yours, &c., S. J.

AGE OF THE LXX. SIR,—In addition to the opinion of Anatolius, alleged by your correspondent “ J. H. B.,” we may obtain an approximation towards determining the time at which the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek by considering the citations from Demetrius, a Jewish historian, which are to be found in Eusebius. (Præss. Evang. I. 9, s. 21, 29.) The phraseology used by Demetrius, and the chronology which he has adopted, (see Hody, 1. 3, par. 1, s. 61,) shew that he derived his materials from the Greek version ; and if he lived, as is maintained by Huet, (Demonstr. Evang. p. 50, neither earlier than the reign of Ptolemy Philopator (B.C. 221–204), nor later than that of Ptolemy Lathyrus (B.c. 117–80), we obtain an age for the ver. sion, at least anterior to the latter period. But from the statement of Clemens Alexandrinus, (Strom. i. p. 337,) that Demetrius brought down his chronological computations to the beginning of the reign of

« AnteriorContinuar »