Page images

was not fairly dealt with ; and it is this which has excited our surprise, and enhanced our admiration of the man who, amid such disadvantages, could do so well. Had he been spared to feel his ground more firmly, to make a correct estimate of his own excellencies and defects, to grapple resolutely with his difficulties, to enrich, by deep and consecutive thought, aided by close and persevering research, a mind already gifted with noble faculties, it is impossible to say how far he might have gone.

It would not be fair to exhibit as specimens of these draughts, detached paragraphs or sentences; they have not received the necessary elaboration for such a dismembering process. We shall take, therefore, without any very careful selection, a larger portion as an average sample of these compositions.

• I. We will establish the fact, that the gospel does produce the most salutary effects on the mind and deportment.

• We mean to say, that the gospel, by its holy power, produces a radical, a total change ; that it forms us new creatures in Jesus Christ; and makes us partakers of a divine nature: the members of the body, and the faculties of the soul, are alike affected by its blessed influence; that tongue, which was once an unruly member, full of deadly poison, now tells the wonders of redeeming grace; those eyes, that were once evil and full of adultery, are now turned to heaven with pious adoration, or gushing with tears of penitence for sin ; those ears, which before could listen to nothing but what was sinful and depraved, are now opened to attend to the things of the kingdom ; the hands are lifted up to God in prayer; the lips praise the name of Jesus. That heart, which was once a cage full of unclean birds, is now a temple for God to dwell in, through the eternal Spirit. When the power of the gospel is experienced in the heart, the obstinate become mild ; the self-willed,

l submissive; the careless, thoughtful; and the dissolute, holy. It is not enough that the gospel enlightens the judgement, and elevates the affections, but it must do more; it must transform both soul and body into the image of Christ, and thus affect the temper and the conduct; and that it does this, may be proved— from the design of God,--and the testimony of example. Learn that the gospel produces a holy effect upon the disposition and deportment of mankind, • 1. From the design of God.

Jehovah determined to accomplish, by the inspiration and diffusion of the gospel, what the law could not do, in that it was weak: he chose it to be the grand means of turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan to God. He ordained it to be the sword of his Spirit, that should slay our corruptions; the rod of his strength that should rule in our hearts; and the noblest display of the power of God, in raising us to a high elevation of mental and moral excellence. He resolved in his eternal mind, that his word should heal the nations of the deadly plague of sin, and clothe the people in the garments of purity. Then, surely, the purpose of the Lord must stand, and he will do all his pleasure, because he wisely determined that it should be so ; therefore his gospel powerfully inAuences the temper and conduct. This may be also seen

- 2. By the testimony of example.

· Let those who have received the gospel in the love of it, be viewed by us as a long cloud of witnesses to its truth and divine effects; for into what heart has it darted its influence that has not, from being obdurate and hard, become tender and susceptible? Who is there that firmly believes the gospel testimony, that does not adopt a different line of conduct from that which is pursued by the children of disobedience? Through the power of the gospel, those who were cruel and profane, as Manasseh, like him begin to seek the Lord their God, and repeat with full purpose of heart. Those who were as extortionate as Zaccheus, when the salvation of the gospel comes to their ears and their hearts, like him feel a spirit of pure benevolence to the world, and love to Him, who caused his grace to abound much more than sin. Those who persecuted the saints, like Saul of Tarsus, when the light of the gospel shines into their souls, throw down the weapons of hostility to Christ and his chosen, and determine to war a good warfare under the protection of the Captain of salvation. When all other attempts at reforming the character have failed, the gospel has gloriously succeeded. It has taught the liar to become sincere ; the intemperate to become sober ; the proud to become humble; the wanton to become chaste ; and the self-righteous to submit to the obedience of faith. Yea, am I not addressing some who glory in the thought that they are trophies of its power, and who stand in the church of Christ as monuments of its grace : though ye were sometimes foolish and disobedient, the time past of your life has sufficed you, wherein to have wrought the will of the Gentiles ; and you now desire to serve God in all holiness and righteousness. What, though I might, after I had mentioned some of the slaves of sin, say, “ And such were some of you ;” yet I rejoice that I am able to add, “ but ye are washed, but ye are justified, but ye are sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God;” and therefore you display the influence of the gospel, in your temper and conduct.' pp. 264–267.

• And are these the triumphs of the gospel ? Does it indeed produce so divine a change in the moral world? Then surely it is worthy of its Author ; of him, “ for whom are all things, and by whom are all things.” Is it any disgrace to the wisdom that devised it, or the love that gave it to the nations ? No: for in the gospel God has declared the glory of all his perfections, and particularly does his holiness shine in it with radiant lustre.

• Is it the tendency of the gospel to refine and exalt the character ; to make the temper and conduct such as God requires ? Then who would not long for its general diffusion ; who would not exclaim with ardour, “ Fly abroad, thou mighty gospel ?” Who would not love those noble institutions which have in view its wider circulation, and which God has honoured for the conveyance of its blessings to the children of men ?

- But oh! are there not many who profess to love the gospel, and to

you,” will

feel its power, who are filled with envy, malice, and all uncharitableness? Yes, there are! But oh! thou blessed Jesus, are these thy disciples? Most glorious gospel ! are these the men in whose hearts thy truths have made a deep impression ? The Saviour and the gospel alike disown them : and, Depart from me,


never knew hereafter be uttered to them by God the Judge of all.

I dare not persuade myself to leave this pulpit, without asking my hearers, What has the gospel done for you? In the presence of God and all his holy angels, I would put this question to you, and leave you with all solemnity to consult Ĝod and your own consciences on the subject. But oh! do remember, that you may hear the gospel ; you may avow your attachment to it; you may liberally support its interests; and yet die, after all, without experiencing its blessings, and have a neglected gospel rise up in judgement against you, to aggravate your condemnation.

• Here, however, allow me to turn from man to God; suffer me to express my wishes for all who



congregation; and, looking around you, permit me to say to the God of purity and the God of the gospel, “ Sanctify them all through thy truth ; thy word is truth."' pp. 271, 272.

The interest of the volume derives no accession from the preface: it should have taken a higher tone, in speaking of the sermons to which it is an introduction; it is too brief; and it is, moreover, interlarded with very singular phraseology. We are told of Mr. Spencer's watery translation to a better world;' and it is intimated, that • he left our world in the spirit of' one of his favourite verses.

"“ Since none can see thy face and live,

For me to die is best;
Who would not into Jordan dive,

To land in Canaan's rest?”. The writer of these odd expressions, strange in themselves, and stranger in their application, must have very confused notions concerning the limits which separate the solemn from the ludicrous.


Art. VI.-The Character and Offices of Christ illustrated by a com

parison with the Typical Characters of the Old Testament. By the Rev. John Crombie, A.M. Minister of St. Andrew's Scotch

Church, London. 8vo. pp. 468. London, 1827. THE HE Volume before us comprises a series of Discourses de

livered by the Author to his congregation at a Tuesday evening Lecture, and according to the account given by him in his dedication, were very hastily composed. It is unnecessary for us to describe the complexion of the Preacher's sentiments,


as the title itself will indicate to our readers the evangelical quality of the doctrine which pervades these pages. Mr. Crombie uses a copious and pleasing diction, and he manifests a devout spirit in the treatment of the several subjects which he has included in his comparison. The judicious reader of these discourses, however, will not always, we think, be gratified with proofs of the Author's judgement.

The subject of the Discourses,' the Author remarks, 'has been but seldom discussed. He refers, we suppose, to the popular mode which he himself has adopted of comparing particular qualities, and enlarging on the agreements and disagreements which may be supposed to be presented in respect to them, in the history and characters of the persons who are selected as his examples of religious and moral excellence, or between whom important resemblances may be discovered. Of regular series of discourses of this kind, there may not be many instances; but Dr. Hunter's “Sacred Biography” is a well known publication, which we should class among productions in this department, and which the Author, who notices only Mr. M'Ewen's book, overlooks. The subject has, however, been very amply discussed, since there is a multitude of writers who, in almost every variety of form, from Origen's time to the present, have made Allegorical interpretations of Scripture the topics of discussion. Typical Theology is a department of sacred literature, which abounds with expositors, though it presents but few instances of successful attempts to overcome its difficulties and to illustrate its principles. Successive writers have been acute in perceiving the faults of their predecessors, and have very largely rejected their interpretations, without suspecting that their own were to be pronounced erroneous by those who followed them in the same kind of employment. Thus, we find the present Author stating, that, of typical characters enumerated by several theological writers, he has rejected many, and has supplied what he considered as omissions in their catalogues. This branch of theology is very inviting to divines of warm imaginations, who find, in its several particulars, subjects on which to exercise their fancy, and to display their ingenuity. No division of exegesis is more remarkable for the want of sobriety and sound criticism, than this, not excepting even prophecy, which has been so greatly abused in the hands of intemperate and unskilful writers, whose stubborn dogmatism forms the most striking contrast with the humility of their professions, and with the character of serious inquirers, that can well be imagined. Mr. Crombie, indeed, is not chargeable with faults of this nature: if we question the ripeness and accuracy of his judgement, we never find him wanting in the qualities which become the serious and humble instructor.

[merged small][ocr errors]

In deciding on the typical character of the historical facts and eminent persons of the Old Testament, the Author has proceeded, in the rejection of the interpretations which he has discarded, on the ground, that they had not received the tes

timony of the Divine Spirit.' This reference to the authority of Scripture, as supplying the only safe and proper rules of ascertaining relations between the subjects compared in the several discussions in this series of discourses, is very correct, and has only to be carefully and consistently applied, to guide the writer to accurate conclusions. An acknowledged rule, however, is not always honoured in the practice of those who admit its utility, and make it the measure by which they try the productions of others. These discourses of Mr. Crombie will, in many instances, when judged by his own rule, be submitted to a test which will detect their want of correspondencé to the only means of determining the truth of the representations which they contain. He has, in many cases, supposed typical correspondence, where no information is conveyed to us in the Scriptures of such a relation. His own rule excludes mere resemblances, and refers the relation of type and antitype to design. But, in his treatment of the subjects which he brings into discussion, the proof is wanting, that the earlier was an intended pre-figuration of the latter. And thus, the rule of interpretation is resolved into the imagination of the writer. The testimony of the Divine Spirit is required by Mr. Crombie as essential to determine the typical relations of the old Testament. Yet, in the following passage of his Introductory Dis* course,' he appears to censure with some severity the very rule which he had previously represented as the only approveable one, and for a want of conformity to which, he had rejected some interpretations of passages in the Bible.

• Let us next inquire, by what test these ancient types and shadows of the Saviour are to be tried, that we may not fall into error, either by accepting as typical that which is not ; or, by refusing as such, that which is. We have the more need to be cautious in this matter, because an almost invincible prejudice hath been conceived, in the minds of many, against the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, in consequence of the imprudent and intemperate zeal with which it has sometimes been pursued by well-meaning, but injudicious and imaginative

To search every where, even in the plainest narratives, for spiritual allusions, and to change the external appearance of

every passage by the enchantment, as it were, of mystical explanations, is neither wise nor profitable; hath often given occasion to the enemy to blaspheme; and can tend but little to promote the acceptable worship of Him who would be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The consciousness of this fact has led others to the contrary extreme ;-to reject every thing in the Old Testament as typical, which is not expressly declared to be so in the New: an extreme which, if it is at all less injurious to VOL. II.N.S.



« PreviousContinue »