Page images
PDF
EPUB

• Divine commission. Fancy is not employing her pencil here. • The scheme is concerted; the machinery is at work; the mis

chief is begun.'-Does any reader doubt it? Let him read the following proposed plan of clerical opposition to the pro'gress of Neologism in England'; copied from the Jewish Expositor for June last,-a periodical now happily defunct. The plan purports to be the suggestion of a valued correspondent' who writes from the Continent.

· I will tell you what I think ought to be done against rationalism. 1. Form a little association of three, four, or more staunch men, clergy and laity of the Church of England, in each diocese, who conscientiously devote themselves to the Lord, to withstand infidelity in every shape. II. That this association publish no report, and consider themselves as responsible to none but the Lord himself. III. That they meet at stated periods, as may be agreed upon. IV. That between the times of meeting, each member endeavour to procure the latest catalogues of theological books selling in London, mark all commentaries, expositions, doctrinal works, &c., and either himself give the character of the author, or at least ask the other members, do they know it, at the next meeting. V. That those who have the means, opportunity, &c., read the books, and apply earnestly to the study, for the object of controversy. VI. If it be possible, get either a gazette or a small periodical going, for the express purpose of exposing the doctrines and devices of Rationalism, and shewing how they stand opposed to the doctrines of our Church. VII. That all keep a watchful look out as to sermons, translations, &c., coming out in England, at the universities, and elsewhere. VIII. If a rationalist work appear, by a member of an English university, that the Association immediately present a denunciation to the bishop of the diocese, and to the chancellor of the university to which the delinquent belongs: the denunciation to be signed by all the members of the Association in that diocese. (This business of signing a denunciation, to which all who will become members of the Association should oblige or bind themselves, would keep out the undecided.) IX. If the bishop or university take no notice, then go further, to the archbishop of the province, king, &c.; and if all fail, then publish the whole matter, with all the names affixed. This mode would soon shew what the Church of England has to hope or to fear from its shepherds in this dread crisis, and would shew the danger in its fullest extent.'

• The plan deserves consideration ; but where are the men?'

Where are they? We should most naturally look for them at Rome or Madrid. In the days of the Star-chamber, they abounded in England. But can the proposers of the plan be even now at any loss for coadjutors? Have they not already 'a gazette and a small periodical' ready to their hand? And who so proper to be the superior of this secret order, as the Rev. Thomas Boys, Ex-editor of the Jewish Expositor, and Hebrew and Theological Tutor to the Jewish Society? For his Vice, there is the Rev. A. S. Thelwall, late of Amsterdam, his coadjutor and double, who is acquainted with all particu• lars'. 'And as Associates, we may name the Editor of the Record, his correspondent, T. P. P., Henry Drummond, Esq., the Rev. Washington Philips, and, if they can but be brought over to Episcopacy, Robert and Alexander Haldane. But why do we speak of the plan as merely in petto? The machinery

is at work, and the mischief begun '; and the first victim selected is Mr. Greenfield, the Editor of the Comprehensive Bible, and the recently appointed superintendant of the Translating department of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

The Comprehensive Bible was first published in the year 1826. For three or four years, the publication was universally regarded as one which did the highest credit to both the Editor and the Publisher. Not an objection was heard against any part of its contents. With scarcely a single exception, not a whisper was breathed against the value and unexceptionable tendency of the notes, or the unimpeachable competency and orthodoxy of its Editor. But mark the fact. No sooner is the Editor of the Comprehensive Bible appointed by the Earl Street Committee to an official situation in connexion with the Bible Society, than, at once, the full cry of neologism is raised against him; and the Comprehensive Bible, which orthodox clergymen had been unsuspectingly using in their studies and pulpits, and recommending to their focks, is discovered to be a mass of insidious error.

The Rev. Mr. Boys, the jure divino censor-general of modern theology, commenced the attack in the Christian Review,a small periodical' which has since sunk beneath his mortiferous pen. He was followed by a reverend correspondent of the Record Newspaper, -of whom it is but justice, however, to say, that he appears to be a man of very different spirit: he had the candour to speak of the supposed neological tendency of the passages objected to, as ‘undesigned', and to term the publication that in many respects valuable work'. To Mr. Gipps's Letter, there appeared in the same Newspaper, a full reply from a third party, entirely unconnected with either the publisher of the Bible, or with the Bible Society. From this letter, we must transcribe a paragraph or two, which will sufficiently illustrate the nature of the criticisms which called it forth.

It is much to be regretted that Mr. Gipps should have given his extracts so partially; and it is, therefore, due to your readers to state, that from an examination I have made, a complete refutation of the accusations has been elicited ; and since the notes in the Comprehensive Bible are, in general, accompanied by reference to authorities, and are often in the very words of the most celebrated divines, I cannot but

be surprised at the rashness of any one, especially a clergyman of so high a character as Mr. Gipps, who should, in a garbled form, impugn their sentiments. Thus, No. 4, Isaiah xxxviii. 8, B, is the production of Bishop Stock; No. 6, Ps. cxviii. 12, y, that of Dr. Delaney; and No 10, that of Bishop Lowth and Dr. Blayney. No. 11 is quoted from Dr. Mcad, 12, from Bishops Lowth and Horsley, and 13, from Archbishop, Newcome and Bishop Lowth. To Archbishop Newcome the editor is indebted for No. 14, and for No. 16, to Dr. Doddridge. Neological, or infidel sentiments, no one, with success, can ever attempt to attach to these writers; and the reader will be convinced, by reading the extracts in their proper connection, of the groundless nature of the accusation made by Mr. Gipps. But, notwithstanding what has already been exhibited under No. 1, the reader will scarcely give credence to the fact, that the quotation from Michaelis, under No. 13, as being in the estimation of Mr. Gipps, "an infidel passage, ' is thus satisfactorily controverted by the editor in the language of Archbishop Newcome:--

““ But, as Archbishop Newcome judiciously observes, the Prophet is not to be considered merely as a poet, or as a framer of those august and astonishing visions, and of those admirable and poetical representations, which he committed to writing ; but as an instrument in the hand of God, who vouchsafed to reveal himself, through a long succession of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificent and uniform whole, but also in different manners, -as by voice, by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical visions,” &c.

• It is not, however, my intention to enter upon further explanation, as that is the province of those more immediately interested ; but as I am apprehensive some

of
your
readers

may

be led to consider the neological sentiments of Germany to be advocated in the notes and other parts of the Comprehensive Bible, I owe it to the editor and publisher to bear my public testimony, that I consider that work as the concen. tration of the clearest and most powerful arguments hitherto adduced in such a form in defence of those sentiments which are the basis of sound and scriptural theology. I have happily had opportunity and inclination afforded me of reading many theological critics and commentators; but to no one of them do I owe so deep an obligation as to the editor of that work. Indeed I may venture the opinion, that if to establish the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, to exhibit the deity of Jesus Christ, and to confirm the miracles as direct displays of God's power, be, as they are, all-important in such a work, in these respects it will be found to furnish evidence the most bright, and arguments the most irrefragable, clothed in language both pure and energetic.'

The next attack appeared in the Jewish Expositor for November, 1830, (the second small periodical' which has sunk under the weight of Mr. Boys,) and came from his own chaste pen. In reference to the proofs adduced by Mr. Benham, of the orthodox character of the authorities followed by Mr. Greenfield, this gentleman thought it sufficient to say: While we maintain no infallible authority on our side, we are bound not to defer, when what some consider high authorities are cited VOL. VI.-N.S.

LL

6

6

his Vice, there is the Rev. A. S. Thelwall, late of Amsterdam, his coadjutor and double, who is acquainted with all particu• lars'. And as Associates, we may naine the Editor of the Record, his correspondent, T. P. P., Henry Drummond, Esq., the Rev. Washington Philips, and, if they can but be brought over to Episcopacy, Robert and Alexander Haldane. But why do we speak of the plan as merely in petto? 'The machinery ' is at work, and the mischief begun'; and the first victim selected is Mr. Greenfield, the Editor of the Comprehensive Bible, and the recently appointed superintendant of the Translating department of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

The Comprehensive Bible was first published in the year 1826. For three or four years, the publication was universally regarded as one which did the highest credit to both the Editor and the Publisher. Not an objection was heard against any part of its contents. With scarcely a single exception, not a whisper was breathed against the value and unexceptionable tendency of the notes, or the unimpeachable competency and orthodoxy of its Editor. But mark the fact. No sooner is the Editor of the Comprehensive Bible appointed by the Earl Street Committee to an official situation in connexion with the Bible Society, than, at once, the full cry of neologism is raised against him; and the Comprehensive Bible, which orthodox clergymen had been unsuspectingly using in their studies and pulpits, and recommending to their flocks, is discovered to be a mass of insidious error.

The Rev. Mr. Boys, the jure divino censor-general of modern theology, commenced the attack in the Christian Review,a'small periodical' which has since sunk beneath his mortiferous pen. He was followed by a reverend correspondent of the Record Newspaper,-of whom it is but justice, however, to say, that he appears to be a man of very different spirit: he had the candour to speak of the supposed neological tendency of the passages objected to, as 'undesigned', and to term the publication that in many respects valuable work'. To Mr. Gipps's Letter, there appeared in the same Newspaper, a full reply from a third party, entirely unconnected with either the publisher of the Bible, or with the Bible Society. From this let. ter, we must transcribe a paragraph or two, which will sufficiently illustrate the nature of the criticisms which called it forth.

• It is much to be regretted that Mr. Gipps should have given his extracts so partially ; and it is, therefore, due to your readers to state, that from an examination I have made, a complete refutation of the accusations has been elicited ; and since the notes in the Comprehensire Bible are, in general, accompanied by reference to authorities, and are often in the very words of the most celebrated divines, I cannot but

ever

be surprised at the rashness of any one, especially a clergyman of so high a character as Mr. Gipps, who should, in a garbled form, impugn their sentiments. Thus, No. 4, Isaiah xxxviii. 8, B, is the production of Bishop Stock; No. 6, Ps. cxviii. 12, y, that of Dr. Delaney; and No 10, that of Bishop Lowth and Dr. Blayney. No. 11 is quoted from Dr. Mead, 12, from Bishops Lowth and Horsley, and 13, from Archbishop. Newcome and Bishop Lowth. To Archbishop Newcome the editor is indebted for No. 14, and for No. 16, to Dr. Doddridge. Neological, or infidel sentiments, no one, with success, can attempt to attach to these writers; and the reader will be convinced, by reading the extracts in their proper connection, of the groundless nature of the accusation made by Mr. Gipps. But, notwithstanding what has already been exhibited under No. 1, the reader will scarcely give credence to the fact, that the quotation from Michaelis, under No. 13, as being in the estimation of Mr. Gipps, "an infidel passage, ” is thus satisfactorily controverted by the editor in the language of Archbishop Newcome:

““ But, as Archbishop Newcome judiciously observes, the Prophet is not to be considered merely as a poet, or as a framer of those august and astonishing visions, and of those admirable and poetical representations, which he committed to writing ; but as an instrument in the hand of God, who vouchsafed to reveal himself, through a long succession of ages, not only in divers parts constituting a magnificent and uniform whole, but also in different manners,-as by voice, by dreams, by inspiration, and by plain or enigmatical visions," &c.

• It is not, however, my intention to enter upon further explanation, as that is the province of those more immediately interested; but as I am apprehensive some of your readers may be led to consider the neological sentiments of Germany to be advocated in the notes and other parts of the Comprehensive Bible, I owe it to the editor and publisher to bear my public testimony, that I consider that work as the concen. tration of the clearest and most powerful arguments hitherto adduced in such a form in defence of those sentiments which are the basis of sound and scriptural theology. I have happily had opportunity and inclination afforded me of reading many theological critics and commentators; but to no one of them do I owe so deep an obligation as to the editor of that work. Indeed I may venture the opinion, that if to establish the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, to exhibit the deity of Jesus Christ, and to confirm the miracles as direct displays of God's power, be, as they are, all-important in such a work, in these respects it will be found to furnish evidence the most bright, and arguments the most irrefragable, clothed in language both pure and energetic.'

The next attack appeared in the Jewish Expositor for November, 1830, (the second small periodical' which has sunk under the weight of Mr. Boys,) and came from his own chaste pen. In reference to the proofs adduced by Mr. Benham, of the orthodox character of the authorities followed by Mr. Greenfield, this gentleman thought it sufficient to say: While we * maintain no infallible authority on our side, we are bound not 'to defer, when what some consider high authorilies are cited VOL. VI.-N.S.

LL

« PreviousContinue »