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deserve to be imprinted upon the heart and mind of every reader. Still there are some defects, affecting the whole tone of the author's doctrine and the character of his theology; and we feel it our duty not to close our review without pressing a representation of them upon his candid and deliberate reflection.
In the first place, there is a want of distinctness in his conception of the characters to whom his admonitions are directed. Of course, every writer and preacher is at liberty to select, from time to time, the class of persons whom he thinks it best to address; but it is not consistent to deliver to one class of hearers or readers arguments or reflections which are suited only to another. Now, the author's view of the Scripture revelations of a future state constitute a series of lectures; and he has "thought it advisable to print them almost exactly as they were delivered;-in the homely and simple style which was adopted with a view to the instruction of a mixed congregation, consisting principally of the unlearned." (View, p. vii.) This is not the class of persons whom we should have expected a clergyman to select for propounding all the peculiarities and difficulties which are heaped together in this little volume. But, besides this grievous want of judgment, in puzzling plain, unlettered persons with these subtleties, instead of feeding them with the bread of life, there is a want of moral discrimination of character; the persons addressed being supposed, as a matter of course, to be practically in a state of salvation; to be looking forward to heaven as their final portion, and to be interested in all the promises of God. Yet these persons are occasionally spoken of as if the whole subject of eternity and of salvation were entirely new to them. Indeed,
we cannot but notice what we must characterize as a most defective view
of the awful line of difference which separates, even now, the converted from the ungodly; and of that renewal of heart, that spirit of adop
tion, that sanctification of the Holy Ghost, by which the boundary line is passed. Thus he tells us,
"There is no reason to suppose that any sufferings, from disease, poverty, or other worldly affliction, can be in themselves meritorious, and likely to entitle any one to acceptance with God. If, indeed, any person supports such trials with Christian patience and fortitude, that will doubtless make him an object of God's favour." View, p. 251.
Surely none but those who are already objects of God's favour can bear their trials with Christian patience and fortitude; for none but Christians can possess, or exhibit, Christian patience. It is of great consequence to keep this distinction steadily in mind,—that we are not made objects of God's favour by our own good qualities, but by his tender compassion and fatherly care for us (Rom. v. 8; 1 John iv. 10). Dr. Whately seems to regard all persons who are born in a Christian country, and baptized, even in infancy, into the Christian faith, as equally entitled to the comfort of Christian doctrine. In his estimation, they start, as it were, alike; and no difference exists between them, except that which arises from their greater or less attention to certain practical duties of religion. Now, the Bible regards men under a different aspect. Some, though born under the dispensation of God's mercy, and by birth-right heirs of his covenant, have "neither part nor lot in this matter;" because, though belonging visibly to the family of faith, they have never themselves possessed any real faith in the Saviour (John viii. 47; x. 26). Others have laid hold of the promises for themselves, by faith, which is of the operation of God; and, though subject to temptation, withheld by infirmity, and often drawn back towards the world, they are yet seeking, through Divine aid, to live by faith, and not by sight: and to address such persons as persons whose attention cannot without difficulty be kept awake to their own eternal existence hereafter, after the subject has lost the attractions of novelty, is productive of confusion.
Dr. Whately sometimes appears to us to push his candour in concession beyond the limits warranted by the standard of truth. For example, he writes:
"Some have ventured first to conjecture, and afterwards confidently to teach, that the punishment of the wicked in the next world will not be eternal-which, they contend, is inconsistent with the goodness of God; and that all will at length be brought to immortal happiness. Now, whether this their doctrine be true or not, I scruple not to say, that it is highly presumptuous in any one to assert it; since it is wholly unwarranted by Scripture; and therefore, even if their opinion be right, they cannot possibly know it to be right. The expressions used in speaking of the rewards of the faithful and of the punishments of the disobedient are the very same; both are described in the like terms, denoting that they shall have no end: as, for example, Matt. xxv. These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life everlasting."" View, pp. 181, 182.
"In our translation it is 'everlasting in the first part of the sentence, and 'eternal' in the other; but in the original Greek the same word is used in both places." View, p. 182.
Surely the supposition that such an opinion may be right, in opposition to such evidence, is candour pushed to an extreme. Yet the author makes a similar remark afterwards, as if he himself were not convinced that the punishment of the wicked will last for ever.
"Whether evil and pain will ever cease to exist, or not, we shall then perhaps be able to decide, when we have learnt why they exist at all; which no one will ever be able to explain while this world lasts." View, p. 187.
On the whole, we are constrained to state our conviction that the author has not in any of these volumes developed, or done justice to, the real scope of the everlasting Gospel. We look upon it as an act of grace to mankind, by which a difference is at once made between those who avail themselves of it, and those who are strangers to it or neglect it. Hence, "if any man be in Christ he is a new creature" (2 Cor. v. 17). That one decisive act of embracing Christ as his righteousness and his all, has changed his whole character: he is actuated by new motives, seeks new CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 353.
ends, and becomes altogether a new creature, distinguished from what he was by nature as light is distinguished from darkness, and acting under an influence as opposite to that by which he was impelled naturally as the power of Satan is to the dominion of God. This the author would admit, perhaps, as applied to the case of Christians and Heathens. But even baptized Christians are separated from each other by the same broad distinction. Their eyes need to be opened; and the grand effort to be made for them should be directed to bring them to take that first step which governs all the remainder.
Now we would not willingly misunderstand our respected author; but we much mistake if he does not rather
look upon Christianity as a dispensation of grace by which men are put upon their trial under circumstances of favour which the well-disposed will turn to good account, while the thoughtless and wicked will be indifferent to it; and that, consequently, less difference is made by it between two opposite classes of men than we suppose to be intended.
The difference between this view of the case and the Scriptural view, may be thus paralleled: We should compare the Gospel covenant to the entrance of a prince into his own territories, amidst subjects who have revolted from him. His entrance will immediately divide them into two classes: those who are desirous to return under his authority will flock to his standard; those who stand aloof from him, even though they should not be in arms, are rebels still. Dr. Whately, on the contrary, if we conceive him rightly, would compare it to an absolute king giving a constitutional government to his subjects, who will henceforth be dealt with according to the law, but who are regarded as one people. Which of these two views is the more accordant to Scriptural doctrine we must leave our readers to judge; though we would not press the parallel to its details; for, alas! by nature none of us return to our allegiance till in2 Q
fluenced from on high, and made willing in the day of God's power. Can this be said of the mass of careless persons in a parish, whom Dr. Whately would address as if they were sincere believers, and needed only to be urged on to perfection?
The Character of a good Man as a Christian Minister; a Sermon preached at Bentinck Chapel, Maryle-bone, on occasion of the Death of the Rev. Basil Woodd, M. A. By the Rev. DANIEL WILSON, M.A. Vicar of St. Mary's, Islington. With Notes on the Controversy between the Professor of Divinity at Oxford
and Mr. Bulteel. London. 1831.
and all these doctrines are united in one grand aim-" adding souls to the Lord." Mr. Wilson then applies these particulars to his deceased friend; and in the course of his statement respecting the truly Scriptural doctrines which that excellent man inculcated, he takes occasion to glance in a note, as not alien to his subject, at the unhappy controversy now in progress at Oxford.
"I perceive there is still need to guard against errors on the doctrine of justification. I had thought this truth had now pain and grief that the Professor of Dibeen generally conceded; but I see with the haste, I would fain hope, in which vinity in the University of Oxford-from his Remarks were published,-seems to imply that justification takes place at baptism-that this sign of the covenant conveys the vast blessing-that at that moment the baptized person is righteous, but that his salvation depends on his subsequent works. I have not space here to enter into the question fully, but I must say I consider such a statement as most unscriptural. It is directly opposed to our Articles and Homilies-and in contradiction to the whole spirit of the Reformation. I lament, indeed, that any occasion should have been given to the Professor by the inaccurate manner in which justification was described in the discourse (Mr. Bulteel's) which drew forth his remarks. I agree with the Professor, that the statements in the sermon on that subject are not the Gospel.' To be justified, is not, as it is there stated,
HAVING devoted considerable space to an obituary of the excellent man so justly and affectionately commemorated by Mr. Wilson, we must not trespass far upon our readers with a notice of the present discourse. Nor is it necessary, since the main features, as sketched by Mr. Wilson, correspond very closely with those exhibited in our own pages. Mr. Wilson has most happily selected for his text the character of Barnabas, and the effects of his preaching and conduct : He was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; and much people was added unto the Lord" (Acts xi. 24); and has shewn, in a very striking and ingenious manner, how accurately the passage describes his departed friend. He depicts the good man, when sustaining the office of a Christian minister, as exhibited in his doctrines, his labours amongst his flock, and his private life. First, in his doctrines faith leads the tent. "Barnabas way: was full of faith." And this faith is not the product of the human will, but a fruit of the Divine Spirit: "he was full of the Holy Ghost." And this and every spiritual blessing, with all the steps of his salvation, he ascribes to 66 the grace of God;" for thus is the matter accounted for in the verse preceding the text;
to be made and counted prefectly righteous and holy, without any spot, or blemish, or any such thing;' but is simply the being counted and dealt with as righteous before God. Justification is one thing; sanctification another. We are counted righteous by imputation; we are made holy by the operations of the Holy Spirit upon the heart; and neither one nor the other render us without spot or blemish, or any such thing:' that perfection of holiness will be attained at the end of our course, and not before. I entreat the Professor not to conceive that such inaccurate sentiments prevail to any ex
In a period of thirty-five years, or more, I have scarcely met with a like case. But even this erroneous view is not so fundamentally wrong as that which evas porates the whole doctrine itself in the sacrament of baptism. So here is baptismal justification as well as baptismal is thus virtually overthrown; the glory of regeneration! Need I say that the Gospel the Reformatiou lost; the conscience of men left without hope; the great question inextricable confusion; and Christ, our of our acceptance with God involved in
Lord, robbed of the fruits of his obedience unto death?
"If the Professor fears as to the con
sequences of the doctrine of justification by faith only, let him remember, that sanctification is inseparable from that faith which justifies.
"I enter not upon this topic, but lament that in the sermon alluded to, so much occasion is given, however unintentionally, to misapprehension on this point. Alas! I see little or nothing of sanctification in that sermon, except as it is confounded with justification, in a manner to sap the virtue of both. Let the 3d, 4th, and 5th chapters of the Epistle to the Romans be well understood, and our justification stands forth glorious in the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ. Let the 6th, 7th, and 8th, be then studied, and our sanctification is equally established, by the work of the Holy Spirit changing the whole bias of the soul, and renewing fallen man after the image of God. Let the 12th and following chapters be then read, and we have the rules of obedience by which the justified person walks." pp. 12-14.
We cannot read this discriminating passage without feeling gratitude to God, that, in this age of novelty and extravagance on the one hand, and of heterodoxy or cold orthodoxy on the other, there are not a few faithful ministers of Christ, who, as Mr. Wilson says of Mr. Woodd, and future memorialists will say of Mr. Wilson, have kept closely to the doctrine of Scripture; neither seduced from the grace, the freedom, the plenary mercy, the gratuitous salvation, the whole system of life and love and joy and privilege of the Gospel, nor ashamed of its evangelical duties, its requisitions, its cautions, and its commands. Christ a sacrifice for sin, and Christ an example of holy life, are two prominent characteristics, which are too often virtually separated, but which the good steward of the mysteries of the Gospel well knows how to unite; keeping all things in their respective places; neither depreciating grace nor setting aside duty; not rejecting the Cross of Christ, either in its sacrificial or its self-denying aspect; a cross to be clung to for pardon and justification, a cross to be taken up and carried in meekness and sanctification. Mr. Woodd had seen several periodical phases of the unscriptural ultraism of the
respective schools alluded to by Mr. Wilson; and Mr. Wilson is now witnessing a succession of the same fruits: and thus has it ever been since the Reformation-we might say, ever since the days of the Apostlesand thus perhaps will it ever be, till the days of millennial grace and illumination. There will be the frigid creed that disparages the freeness and privileges of the Gospel; there will be the flighty notions that destroy its lovely symmetry of sound doctrine and holiness. Mr. Woodd had seen several Bulteel and Burton controversies, and, like his judicious memorialist, Mr. Wilson, had discovered that scriptural truth lies far apart from either of the contending systems. We bless God that both our universities can shew us not a few eminent ministers of Christ who have been enabled by his Holy Spirit to discover and adhere to this narrow line of truth and consistency; who neither substitute frost for scriptural moderation, nor fever for genial warmth: and among these, without disparaging many other beloved and honoured names, we know not that Oxford can proffer one that stands higher at this moment than that of Mr. Daniel Wilson; while Cambridge in the same walk exhibits pre-eminently that of the venerable Mr. Simeon, who, when taken to his rest, will be held up as an example to the next age, in precisely the same aspect in which Mr. Wilson has exhibited Mr. Woodd;-as a man truly orthodox and truly evangelical: a man neither fearing to be branded as an enthu siast for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord; nor to be sneered at as a meagre legalist, because he did not soar to the extravagancies of assurance without evidence and imputed sanctification. Would that some of the younger men, who are now glaring with erratic course upon the religious world, would restrain their eccentricities, and, like these, their senior brethren, revolve in the orbit of scriptural truth, attracted by the Sun of Righteousness, warmed and
vivified by his sacred beams, and reflecting them with mild and steady radiance, for the welfare of a barren and benighted world. They might be less gazed at and talked off; but their lustre would wax brighter and brighter; and their light would so shine before men, that the world, seeing their good works, would be constrained to glorify their Father which is in heaven.
Mr. Wilson next proceeds to consider the good man filling the office of a minister of Christ, in his labours among his flock, and in the private duties of life; still keeping up the parallel with Barnabas, whose name means "the Son of Consolation;" who evinced joy at the progress of the Gospel, who exhorted the young converts, and who journeyed to confirm the churches. These particulars are applied with just appropriation to the case of the late Mr. Woodd. We hardly know how to detach one or two passages, as the whole description is connected; but we select the following note, in reference to Mr. Woodd's truly scriptural " moderation" both in doctrine and spirit.
"I know the price at which I recommend moderation, but I am willing to pay it. I would earnestly entreat those of my brethren, who will suffer a word of caution, to consider the immense importance in the present day, of not committing themselves upon difficult and doubtful questions, and of not overstating those that may be true.
The moderation apparent
in all the parts of the New Testament, is as much a branch of inspired truth as the doctrines themselves. With regard to predestination and election, let only the scriptural order, the proportion, the spirit, the persons addressed, the end in view, be preserved, and the tendency of them will be sound and holy. Moderation, wisdom, Christian discretion, have here their place; and so, with regard to assurance and the perseverance of the saints. Conceive only the manner in which these matters lie in the Scriptures, and let them appear in the same form in our discourses, and all will be well. But if these topics be perpetually and crudely insisted on, I can conceive of few things more dangerous. In this view I must protest against the assertions in Mr. Bulteel's sermon, that God beholds no sins in believers; and that to suppose that he takes notice, and is angry with us, on account of sin, is a temptation of the
devil. I must say, I quite agree here
Having thus incidentally adverted to the pending Oxford controversy, we shall pass over Mr. Wilson's remaining notices of his friend, as our readers will find enough, perhaps, on this subject in the Obituary in our last and present Number, and shall extract a few more of Mr. Wilson's observations on this afflicting discussion; and, to say the truth, under all the painful circumstances of the case we shall not be sorry if we can feel ourselves acquitted by this brief notice, of our obligation to go much further into the matter. The substance of it has been anticipated in our volumes again and again; and we know not any thing that needs be added to what has been said on both sides, as often as a Huntington, a Baring, or a Bulteel, has chanced to provoke anew the discussion. The chief danger, to our minds, at the present moment is this, that there is a larger number of persons than ever upon whom these extravagancies are likely to operate, as well as more powerful facilities for giving currency to them. When Mr. Scott, for example, was opposing these scale, by his truly scriptural writings; notions forty years ago, on a large and such men as Mr. Basil Woodd, in their respective spheres, by scriptural preaching; the number of those who were in danger of contagion was comparatively small; nor was there any powerful lever by which the abettors of the unsound opinions could operate widely upon the public sentiment. But how different is the matter at present! Owing to the extended diffusion of true piety, and