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wish to know the point of dis. which Mr. N. cannot and will pute, or the state of the con.
His reasoning is as troversy.'
follows. Power or ability, in It seems, that both Mr. NILES relation to this subject, must and those, whose system he at. mean one of two things ; either tacks, fully believe, that men first the properties of our minds, are by nature so entirely de. which fit us to be the subjects praved, that unless God by his of certain operations, to expespecial influence renews their rience certain effects, such as hearts, they will not be holy, the properties or faculties of To this doctrine it has in every sensation, perception, under. age been objected by the impeni, standing, and willing, which are tent sinner, if this be the case, distinct and prerequisite to ac. then I am not criminal for my tual feeling, knowledge, and continuance in sin, for I have not volition ; or secondly the sure power to renew my heart.' It is connexion, which subsists bein respect to the mode of repelling tween the acts of the will and this objection, that a difference certain events, which follow of opinion has arisen. Mr. N. those acts. Now when it is said, if we understand him, would say that impenitent sinners have the to the sinner, your heart is natural ability to repent, if the sinful, it is destitute of love to word ability be used in the lat. God, it is contrary to his law, ter sense, then we shall have the and in that consists your guilt; strange assertion, that repent. it is of no consequence how your ance will assuredly follow the heart became sinful; it is no unholy volition of the impeni. matter though it is impossible tent sinner to repent. But if for you to repent. With this the word ability be used in the answer Mr. N. would content former sense, then all the parade himself. The gentlemen, whom of metaphysical subtilty, which he opposes, the Rev. Dís. Em.
was designed to demolish the mons, SPRING, and CRANE, strong hold of the sioner,amounts would say very much the same only to this, that he has certain thing, but in order completely properties of mind, that he has to silence the sinner, they would understanding and will, and if explain themselves and address he repented he would repent !' him in this manner - You are Such an empty declaration as able to do your duty, but not this Mr. N. cannot regard as willing ; you have natural pow. worthy of the good sense of er to obey the commands of God, ihose, whom he opposes, inas.
have not the moral much as it does not meet the power ; God requires no more objection of the sinner, and as than what you have natural it asserts only what every body ability to perform, but your admits. hearts are disobedient ; you have We do not see how the force as much power to repent as to of this reasoning can be evaded, move your hand, but you will and we gravely suspect, that all not repent ; your inability is the supporters of the distinction moral, not natural.'
between natural and moral abili. It is this representation, with ty and inability, from Jonathan
Edwards down to the writers of out their oro salratioa, s to the present day, mean no more perform the connos actions of by the distinction, not withstand. life.” To this it is objected, ing all the parade of system, than that ability, as coa noals ased, the plaio fact, that a bad heart, relates to the sure cospexioa be. or a want of disposition or will tween the will and the conse. to obey God is no excuse to the quent effect, which cannot kere sinner, who has understanding be the meaning ; of course the to koow his duty. This is a above assertion, as the common very evident truth, and it was reader would understand it, is not necessary to dress it up in not correct. It may be tree the shape of a metaphysical however as Dr. E. qoderstood it. theory. Still howerer it may The peculiar views of Mr. X. not be so trifling a distinction, as exhibited in this pamphlet, as Mr. N. would represent it. seem to be the following. Con. If the sinner, who is endeavor. sidering the affections and ro. ing to jastify himself for his con. lition as a property of the soul tinuance in iniquity by pleading in the same sense, that the u. his inability to be holy, is re. derstanding is, he chooses to call minded, that his inability con. them natural powers, while at sists in nothing but his sinful the same time he ackoowledges, temper, his sinful heart, his sin, that they are exclusively moral fal affections, his sinful will, powers also, since to them must and if he is told, that he is con. be referred all that is sinful or strained by no necessity, which holy. When therefore a man is would not give way if he loved utterly opposed to holiness, he God supremely, ought this to considers him as being under a be considered as an impertinent natural inability to be holy. reply?
Virtue and vice, holiness and Does Mr. N. then really agree sin, have not however, in his in sentiment with the gentlemen, judgment, any relation to natura! whom he attacks, and is the dif. power, for they respect only the ference only about the meaning of heart. Whenever the heart is words? We think this is actual. wicked, a natural inability af. Jy the case in regard to the prin. fords no excuse, and whenever cipal subject discussed, though the heart is good, the same ina. there is a difference in some res. bility does not diminish the good. pects. We oweit to the clear defi. ness. All affections, volitions, nitions, contained in this pamph. and exteroal acts are only of im. let, that we are enabled to see the portance, as they show the state point of controversy, and that of heart. The commands, and we see it to be merely a question exhortations, and promises of relatiog to the import of words. the Scriptures do not imply, that We have no doubt but that the men have any power to repent, author of the pamphlet has the but only express the duty of better of the argument--that is, men, and teach them what will that he attaches the truest mean. be the cvent of obedience and ing to the words of his mother disobedience. tongue. Dr. Emmoos says that At the close of his pamphlet, inaers 66
are as able to work the author points out some of
the evil tendencies of the doc. ry, or any other property of the soul trine, that sinners have the nat.
may be so called. Of course the want of
them, where they are needful to an efural power to make themselves fect, may as properly be pronounced a new hearts ; but his apprehcn. defect of natural power as may the want
of understanding or bodily strength.” sions relate solely to his view of the doctrine, which is certainly The faculty of the will is un. different from the view of those, doubtedly one of the natural who inculcate it. They attach a faculties of the soul; it is a prediferent meaning to the words, requisite to volition, or the ac. in which it is expressed. His de. tual exercise of the faculty. But sigo is to obtain some explana. when the power is actually extions of it.
erted in relation to moral sub. We have examined this trea. jects, for instance when a pař. tise with some attention, and ticular command of God is un. though we find in it much derstood, and the mind wills ingenuity and patient thought, either to obey or to disobey it, yet we do not perceive, that the or what is the same thing either writer differs greatly from those, loves or hates it ; this act is of whom he opposes. The contro a moral nature, because it is versy is very much respecting the necessarily cither holy or sinful. meaning of words. The fol. Suppose the mind to be so form. lowing passage seems to be to ed as invariably to prefer what the point.
is sinful, would this uniform, " It is at once as easy, and more famil- fixed, and certain preference of jar, literal, and intelligible to say, one
evil, which is an act of a moral has a disposition or volition, or that he is nature, prove that the soul is willing to do a thing, than to say he has under a natural inability to what moral power to do it; and to say he is not willing, than to say he is morally unable, is good ? It would according to tence with respect to doing it ; to say good is necessary, in order that or that he labors under a moral impo- Mr. N. for the preference of that a bad heart is a wicked thing, than to say, that a bad heart is moral inability goodness should be attributed to to do right, and that a moral inability to the heart, and this preference is do right is a wicked thing.'
wanting. But is not this to con, This is very good, for it is strip. found the distinction between ping metaphysical theology of natural and moral power, which its technical language ; but per.
Mr. N. himself recognizes ? Let haps the work might be done
an appeal, for instance, be made more thoroughly, and even the
to the charity of a rich miser, author's " volition” might be
who has every prerequisite to
the bestowment of a portion of throwo aside with the other
his wealth, excepting the dispo. terms. We were surprised at the in. sition, the want of which is his
moral defect or sin. Yet this accuracy of the following para. graph, which contains the sub- disposition being “needful to stance of the author's peculiar
the effect," the want of it is, acopinion.
cording to Mr. N., a defect of
natural power. Is not this en. “ It seems to me evident, that affec- tirely to annihilate the distinc. tions, volitions, &c. may be called natural tion between natural and noral powers in the same sense, in which per***ption, knowledge, intelligence, memo. ability ? 6 We are in in.
numerable instances," says the lo favoring us with a new edi. author, "both unable and un. tion of Buck on Experience we willing.” Was the miser unable think that the American editors to bestow his money? Was he have evinced their judgment and under a natural inability to give taste, and rendered an acceptable it? What was there wanting service to all the friends of Es. except the volition ? Was not perimental Religion. his inability solely moral? If Mr. Buck is well kaowo, a so, how is Mr. N. consistent the author of a Theological Dic. with himself, or how does he tionary, a work of considerable differ from those, whose senti. merit." His Young Christian's ments he examines ? If then by Guide, and his Anecdotes are the sinner's natural power to not yet known in this country, repent or to make himself a new but we hope that the favorable heart be meant, that he has eve. reception of the work nor bery prerequisite faculty, and that forens, will encourage the Amer. nothing is waoting except the ican editors to favor es with very repentance or the new heart one or both of them. Itself, the want of which is sin, This little treatise on Relig. or moral inability, what is the ious Experience is remarkable subject of this controversy but for the simplicity of its arrange the meaning of words?
ment and style, and for the ri. cellent advice to Christians of all ages, and in all situatious with
which it aboonds. 4 Treatise on Religious Erpe The table of contents, prefix.
rience, in which its nature,evi. ed to the work will give an idea dences, and advantages are of its nature and design, considered. By Charles Buck. Chap. 1. On the nature of From the Second Lundon Edi Religious Experience in general. tion, Boston : Lincoln & 2. On the advantages of Experi. Edmands, 1810. - 12mo. pp. ence. 3. The Young Chris. 266.
tian's Experience. 4. Experi.
ence of the Christian in middle We have been repeatedly age. 5. Distressing Experience. gratified with the many excellent 6. On happy Experience. 7. transatlantic publications which Remembrance of past Experi. have been presented to the Amer. ence. 8. On the relation of ican public, from the press of Experience. 9. The aged Chris. Messrs. Lincoln and Edmands. tian's. Experience. 10. Dying In a country like ours, where Experience. 11. Advice re. so few original works can be specting Experience. 12. The expected, it requires no inconsid. Evil of the wapt of Experience. erable judgment to select from These subjects are important, the immense variety of foreign and we can assure our readers publications, those, which are that they are treated by the au. best calculated to promote the thor in a very useful, interesting, religious interests, as well as to and practical manner, and will attract the attention, and to well repay an attentive perasal. gratify the taste of the public. In his introduction the author
is aware that he has selected a many excellent observations, and, subject which will be despised as affording a good specimen and ridiculed by the men of this of the author's style and manner. world.
p. 232, 233
“ If our experience p. 6. "Nothing, says he, is more 'com. makes us satisfied with ourselves ; if mon than to despise what is termed Re.
can sit still from year to year, ligious Experience: Infidels sneer, the without concern for others, if our cold hearted condemn, and the ungodly property, our talents, our time are all ridicule it Being unacquainted with it laid out for our own interest alone 5 themselves they suppose it is all the work if we rest only in cold wishes ; in com
of imagination or the heat of enthusiasm monplace observations on the state of e in others But it seems not a little re mankind; if we are ready to reproach
markable, that while the term is admit those, whose zeal shames our timidity;
ted, when applied to those parts of sci if we carelessly let slip opportunities of e ence, which are founded on sensible tri- doing good, which present themselves to
al, it should be rejected when applied to us, and which may never return more, religion ! why should not experimental how can we call ourselves Christians? divinity be equaliy as reasonable as ex
Let us not talk of our knowledge, our perimental philosophy ? Indeed we must experience, our talents, our respectabilibe at a loss to conceive what real relig- ty, our membership of churches, while
ion is without experience ; for however the world is falling down about us and we e excellent it may be as a theory, we know sitting still in criminal inactivity. Cold
it is nothing except it engage the affec- heart! unfeeling creature ! contracted tions and regulate the conduct: It is true, soul! Go to the inhospitable desert, it does not refuse the exercise of the un dwell in the wilderness, hide thyself from derstanding; it does not discard investi.
the face of man, if thou art determined gation ; but it calls with more ardent
to be of no use to society ; but it thou motives to purity of principle, devoled
professest to be a Christian, act in charness of mind, lively emotions, and useful
acter. Look around ; behold the multiexertions, than it insists on a pursuit of
tudes perishing on the shores of eternity! mere speculative notions, or knowledge,
what is thy knowledge if kept to thyself, which does not at all interest the feel.
while the world is in darkness ? What ings, or impress the heart. And, indeed,
thy talents, if not used for the advantage of what is the intelligent mind, the acute
those who are yet in misery? What thy reasoner, the learned critic, the man that
Experience, if it does not lead thee to can collect, judge, review, arrange, and cominiserate the deplorable state of those repeat, if he be without experience,
who are still in the gall of bitterness and when compared to him, who, with a
bonds of iniquity? Arise therefore; common, understanding, enters with all shake off the slumbers of night The the energies of his soul into the very spir.
sun of time is up, but will soon decline ; it and enjoyment of divine truth? The
work wbile it is day; for the night will former beholds the beautiful object, dis
soon come when no man can work.' eerns its different features, and admires its just proportions ; but the latter does To the American edition is more :--he actually possesses it as his added some helps to private deown, lives under its influence, and is transformed into its delightful image."
votion, entitled--The Closet
Companion, comprising 10 pagPerhaps nothing is more liable to abuse than religious experi. es, which gives an additional val.
ue to the work. ence, of this the author appears to be fully sensible, and to
A Sermon at the Inauguration have taken considerable pains to
of the Rev. EDWARD D, Grif. guard the subject against misrep
FIN, D. D. Bartlet Professor resentation. If one part of his work is
of Pulpit Eloquence in the
Theological Institution in Anmore important and interesting
dover, June 1, 1809, by Sam. than the rest, we should say it is his chapter on “advice respect.
UEL SPRING, D. D. Boston:
Farrand, Mallory, & Co. 1810. ing Experience." From this chapter we select the following No event has for many years interesting passage as containing taken place, so interesting to