« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
alone is fully presented; the theological opinions are for the most part only briefly hinted at. In the course of 300 pages it gives its concise summary of the history of doctrines, and resolves them all into philosophy as their head and centre. Of course it is brief. The most important matters are often only hinted at. Yet it is an instructive book. Its perversions are not so much of the opinions of individuals as of the whole substance of Christianity. Its errors are chiefly in its philosophical constructions of doctrines.
Such a system can afford to let the New Testament teach the main features of the orthodox scheme, for the New Testament has only the value of a record of the opinions of men, 1800 years ago; it can afford to let the current testimony of the universal church be on the side of orthodoxy, for the church is overmastered by philosophy. It can afford to be critical and thorough and comparatively impartial in giving all the facts of the case, for these facts are but the woof of the web which their system itself is weaving
But it cannot afford to let a single article, not merely of the. Christian faith, but even of the bold creed of natural religion, remain in its simplicity and integrity. It transforms and undermines each and all of them. Natural theology fares no better, but even worse, at its hands than does revealed religion. It sweeps through the whole sphere of faith, and with relentless hands destroys all that has ever been held dear and sacred. It knows nothing saered except philosophy; it holds nothing as true but its own annihilating processes and desolating conclusions. It is the deadliest enemy which Christianity has ever encountered; and, only by Christianity, only by orthodox Christianity can it be overcome. The bulwarks of natural religion are insufficient against such a logical and learned and philosophical foe. A neg. ative faith has nothing to oppose to its vast generalizations. A faith that rests only on abstractions is already in alliance with it. A faith whose only bulwark against deism and infidelity is in the doctrine respecting miracles cannot hold its ground against the criticism and pliilosophy of this new enemy.
A faith which rests only on tradition cannot abide the searching tests which this school applies. Only a faith which rests in Christ as its centre, which is wronght by His spirit, and allies the soul to Him, which relies upon His sacrifice, and sees in Him the very incarnation of deity; only a theology which has its root and its life in Christ can withstand the encroachments of that fearful philosophy, which after annulling all faith in the past and all hope for any.
Nature of the Contest with Rationalism.
thing beyond the seen and temporal, leaves nothing for the race of man to accomplish, excepting the reorganization of human society in such a manner as will conser the largest and longest happiness upon those whose only destiny is to be denizens of this earth for threescore years and ten. The time is sweeping on when he who will not be a Christian must be a pantheist; when he who does not find God in Christ, will find him only in the human race; when he who does not love the human race for the sake of Christ will have no higher love than love to humanity.
Against this arch-enemy of Christianity the whole Evangelical German theology is now waging battle. On the field of his- . tory, in the sphere of criticism, in the domain of philosophy even, it is opposing it step by step. Every inch of ground is in dispute. It is not German theology as such which has led to these sad results ; for it is against these results that the most vigorous efforts of this theology are now directed. Nor in them do we find the whole of German philosophy, nor even its necessary consequences; any more than we find the legitimate tendencies of Locke's system in the sensualist school of France. But we do here find the most learned and acute and philosophical system which ever did battle with the Christian faith. And in this con. flict Christianity must either be annihilated or victorious beyond all former example. It is not a system of absurdities, it is not a mere matter of speculative inquiry, it is not a system which is so irrational that it should excite only our derision,-not such a thing is it that now engrosses the whole power of the German mind, and is feared by German Christians as nought else of human origin is feared; but it is a system the most comprehensive, the most intolerant, the most consistent, the most aggressive, which the human mind has ever reared. In no sport was it built up, and by no sneer will it be dissolved. The noblest minds and hearts of Germany are now contending against it—and this contest they wage not only for themselves, but for us also. And that it may issue in the final triumph of Christ and his church should be the constant prayer, as it is the firm faith, of every Christian heart.
IMPORTANCE OF A PURITAN LIBRARY IN NEW ENGLAND.
Near the centre of the city of London, north of the old London wall, west of Bishopsgate street, etc., are several localities which are particularly interesting to Protestants and to the descendants of the Puritans. On the west is Smithfield, soon to be reclaimed, as we would hope, from the degrading use to which it is now applied, that of a catile-market. The spot in which the martyrs were burnt is said to be in the centre of the pens, where the gas-lamp now stands.
On the north is Bunhill-Fields' Burying.ground, converted by Dr. Tindal, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, into a cemetery for the use of the Dissenters. It is walled and well kept; the tablets and various monuments are in their proper position; many young trees are growing, and the whole ground has a tidy appearance, though it has slight pretensions to beauty. It is known that one hundred thousand persons have been buried there; and this number constitutes but a part. It is understood that a Baptist clergyman has been collecting the inscriptions for publication. To a non-conformist, it is indeed sacred ground. We will select a few names from the distinguished or pious dead, whose memorials are there : John Bunyan, whose sufficient epitaph is, "author of Pilgrim's Progress ;" Isaac Watts, D. D., the sweet singer of Israel; Mrs. Susannah Wesley, who died July 23, 1742, aged 73, mother of nineteen children, (among whom were John and Charles Wesley,) and whose inscription is :
“In sure and steadfast hope to rise,
The cross exchanging for a crown;" Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe; George Burder, author of the Village Sermons; Samuel Stennett, D.D., the hymnologist; Daniel Williams, D. D., founder of the Red Cross library; Rev. Charles Buck, writer of the Theological Dictionary; Rev. Thomas N. Toller, the friend of Robert Hall; Henry Hunter, D. D., author of the Scripture Biography; Robert Winter, D. D.; Daviil Nesmith, founder of city missions; Rev. George Clayton ; Thomas Pringle, a philanthropist and poet; George Jerment, D. D.; Al.
593 exander Waugh, D. D., whose praise is in all the churches; Robert Simpson, D. D., tutor in Hoxton Academy; John Hardy, a strenuous desender of civil and religious liberty in the time of Wilkes; Rev. Daniel Neal, the Puritan historian; Dr. Lardner, author of the Credibility of the Gospel History; Dr. Abraham Rees, editor of the Encyclopaedia; Rev. John Townsend, the founder of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum ; John Guise, D. D.; Dr. Gill, the Commentator; Richard Price, D. D., etc.
Allhallows church, in Bread street, contains the remains of John Howe; in that same street, John Milton was born, and in that church he was baptized. He died of consumption at his house, Artillery Walk, close to Bunhill Fields' burying ground. His remains were interred near those of his father, under the chancell of St. Giles's church, Cripplegate, two or threc minutes' walk from his house. On a pillar which supports the north gallery in this old church, is a tablet, on which are the following inscriptions : " Mr. John Milton, author of the Paradise Lost, born Dec. 9, 1608, died Nov. 8, 1674, was buried in this church. Milton's father, John Milton, died 1647, was also buried here.” Fox, the martyrologist, was also buried in this church. Here Cromwell was married. A lit. tle east of Bunhill-Fields, in Tabernacle Walk, is the Tabernacle meeting-house, erected by George Whitefield; John Wesley's chapel is also near; the first house on the right, in the court in front, was the residence of Wesley, and here he died in 1791. In Christ church, Newgate street, Richard Baxter was buried.
But the most interesting object in this vicinity, in some respects, is the Red Cross library, in Red Cross street, Cripplegate, founded, as before stated, by Dr. Williams. The building, substantial and commodious, is on the east side of the street. It could not be placed on a more appropriate site. It is in the centre of that arena, where the great battles of civil and religious liberty were fought. It is near the spot embalmed by the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Here Baxter, Bates, and Howe proclaimed the gospel with an unction, a power, and a comprehensiveness that have not since been surpassed. Hither, also, Whitefield's burning eloquence attracted
And here Wesley was gathered to his fathers, full of years and honors. On this spot the blind poet meditated his “high argument.” On this ground, multitudes have slept in Jesus, and together are waiting, in “sure and certain hope.” Others may visit St. Paul's, or Westminster, or Windsor, where the
"By subsequent alterations in the church, the chancel is now in part the main aisle.
mighty dead of England rest in state; but to the Puritan, to the believer in Jesus, to him who honors the champions of freedom, or who delights to recall the names of those who preached the gospel almost with the tongues of seraphs, no locality in England, and perhaps but one on earth, is so full of impressive reminiscences.
Dr. Daniel Williams was born in Wrexham, Denbighshire, in 1644. He was one of the first who entered the ministry after the ejection of the Nonconformists in 1662, and was regularly admitted as a preacher at the age of nineteen. He spent some of the first years of his ministerial life in preaching in various parts of England, and then went to Ireland and became chaplain to the countess of Meath. Subsequently he was the pastor of a respect. able church in Dublin, where he remained nearly twenty years. Towards the close of the reign of James II, in 1687, his opposition to Romanism in Ireland exposing him to danger, he came to London and took a foremost place among the Nonconformists. After the revolution, he was often consulted on Irish affairs by king William. About A. D. 1700, he became pastor of a church in Hand Alley, Bishopsgate street, where he remained twenty-seven years. On the death of Richard Baxter, in 1691, by whom he had been highly esteemed, he was chosen to succeed him at the Merchants' Lecture, Pinners' Hall, Broad street, which had been established in 1672, under the encouragement of the principal merchants and tradesmen belonging to the Presbyterian and Independent denominations in London. At this lecture, Drs. Bates, Manton, Owen, John Howe, Baxter and others officiated. The Antinomian controversy created parties among the Dissenters interested in this Lecture. Mr. Williams, rendering himself obnoxious to those who advocated the Arminian tenets, withdrew, along with Dr. Bates, Mr. Howe and others, and established another Tuesday Lecture at Salter's Hall. Mr. Williams's enemies, being foiled in impugning his opinions, endeavored to destroy his character, but without success. He took an active part in promoting the union between England and Scotland, consummated in 1707. In 1709, he received the honorary degree of D. D. from the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, at the same time with Dr. Calamy. On the accession of George I, in 1714, he had the honor of presenting the address to his majesty, at the head of the London Dissenting clergy of the three denominations. His health had, by this time, visibly declined. He died Jan. 26, 1716. In the funeral sermon, preached by Dr. Evans, who had been co-pastor with him