Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

marked the industry and energy of her public press, or that has examined the list of her biblical scholars, or that has looked at the number and excellence of her literary institutions,-can hesitate for a moment in assigning to that enlightened and rising country, a high place in the scale of nations ? To say nothing of her statesmen, of her active commerce, of her naval and military prowess, of her constantly-augmenting national resources, of her ardent love of freedom,-it were enough for the advocate of the gospel to point to her bright catalogue of Christian divines. On her propitious soil, piety, and genius, and theological literature have sprung up with surprising luxuriance; so that in every department of Biblical science she can boast of men who have few equals in mo: dern times. When we mention the names of EDWAŃDS, and DWIGHT, and MASON, and STUART, they associate themselves with the highest veneration we are accustomed to yield to the most distinguished genius, when cultivated by learning, and when con

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

secrated to the honour of God, and the welfare of mankind. by Buť rapid as has been the march of theological knowledge in America, we are happy to perceive, that her great Biblical scholars have no sympathy with the wretched sceptieism of the German school ; in reference to which, Dr. Alexander expresses himself in the following just and pointed manner :-" There is something reprehensible, not to say impious, in that bold spirit of modern criticism, which has led many eminent Biblical scholars, especially in Germany, first to attack the authority of particular books of Scripture, and next, to call in question the inspiration of the whole volume.. To what extent this licentious. ness of criticism has been carried, I need not say; for it is a matter of notoriety, that of late, the most dangerous enemies of the Bible have been found occupying the place of its advocates ; and the critical art, which was intended for the correction of the text and the interpretation of the sacred books, has, in a most unnatural way, been turned

against the Bible; and, finally, the inspiration of all the sacred books has not only been questioned, but scornfully rejected, by Professors of Theology! And these men, while living on endowments which pious benevolence had consecrated for the support of religion, and openly connected with churches whose creeds contain orthodox opinions, have so far forgotten their high responsibilities, and neglected the claims which the church had on them, as to exert all their ingenuity and learning to sap the foundation of that system which they were sworn to defend. They have had the shameless hardihood to send forth into the world books, under their own names, which contain fully as much of the poison of infidelity as ever distilled from the pens of the most malignant deists, whose writings have fallen as a curse upon the world.”

When we look, for instance, at the glowing and spirit-stirring compositions of such a man as Dr. Channing, and call to remembrance how much his religious views accord with those of the German critics whom Dr.

[ocr errors]

Alexander has so manfully denounced, we cannot but apprehend that there remains for America a greater trial of her faith than has yet befallen her; and we can only pray that those distinguished men* who are able to detect the wiles of Satan concealed beneath the specious garb of an unsanctified verbal criticism, will continue faithfully to sound the trumpet of alarm in the ears of their countrymen, and exert their utmost energy and zeal to preserve the rising ministry of the United States from forsaking the pure

faith of their ancestors, which has been as “ a wall of fire round about them, and the glory in their midst."

When we reflect that at the head of their theological seminaries there are men so thoroughly alive to every thing like the spirit of religious innovation, and who are, moreover, so well acquainted with the lite

* We might here refer to that eminent biblical scholar, Moses Stuart, who is well acquainted with German literature, and who full well knows how to detect its half-concealed scepticism. Even Dr. Channing himself has felt the force of his enlightened animadversions.

rary affectation and seductive arts of the German school, we cannot but entertain the fairest hopes as to the future orthodoxy of the New World. And when we perceive the love of the grand truths of Christianity combining, as in their case, with a sincere and enlightened attachment to human learning, as the handmaid of religion, we can have little permanently to fear, on their behalf, from the onset of error, however supported by great names, rare talents, and pre-eminent acquirements.

There is some force, too, in what Dr. Alexander has said of the protection which the indolence of the age, in reference to matters of biblical criticism, extends over the public mind. “ The only effectual security,” he observes, “which we have against this new and most dangerous form of infidelity, is found in the spirit of the age, which is so superficial and cursory in its reading, that however many elaborate critical works may be published in foreign languages, very few of them will be read, even by theological students, in this country.”

« AnteriorContinuar »