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the opinion of Mr. A., a synoptical exhibit of the doctrine of the atonement taught in the Scriptures. Let the reader determine for himself as to its correctness, and also how it is possible for Christ to be “ the Saviour of all men,” in any known or proper sense of that phrase, without intending to make salvation attainable by all. If this were not God's design in the atonement, we confess that we are thrown back upon our former difficulties respecting Calvinism-difficulties which remain undiminished both in number and magnitude after all the efforts of her advocates and expounders to remove them. What though the “ atonement is sufficient for a thousand worlds,” yet if God only designed to make salvation attainable by a small minority, and to “select” them as the objects of his infinite charity” from the remain. ing “ corrupt mass of guilt and wretchedness,” how are we to understand or justify the invitation, “ Ho, every one that thirsteth ?" &c. Who can explain the mystery, or “justify the ways of God with men,” on such a procedure? Who can reconcile such contradictions ? But while our faith cannot get over this difficulty without faltering and stumbling, it may not be the case with others. They may be so much in the habit of disposing of paradoxes, or they may be so attached to a certain system of doctrine, or their minds so differently constituted from ours, that when all is hung round with thick clouds and darkness to us, it may be a path light and smooth before them.
Having extended this review as far as accords with our own design, or probably the reader's patience in the perusal; having glanced at some of the “difficulties” which have been discovered in Arminian Methodism, we shall add in conclusion a very few remarks. We must take a rapid and cursory survey of the remaining part of this extraordinary production. There are some highly important doctrines which Mr. A. submits to his theological ordeal by which to test their freedom from error and difficulty ; but they have stood too long, resisting the heaviest shocks of much more powerful antagonists than they have at present to contend with, to be soon shaken or easily disproved.
The captious and petulent author of the work under reviewpardon these epithets-finds difficulties in Methodism “upon the subject of regeneration, and the evidences of a change of heart;" in reference to “sinless perfection;" with regard to the characteristics of a genuine work of the Holy Spirit; its connection with camp meetings; with respect to religious ordinances; the gross abuses practised in the denomination; in regard to its form of church government, which he esteems“unscriptural, anti-republican, unjust, and tyrannical.” Such, then, are the remaining difficulties by which Methodism is encumbered on the showing of the Rev. Mr. Annan, and against which he has come forth as the daring champion of the Calvinistic host; and, like the self-confident Philistine, he seems to bid defiance to the camps of that portion of both Protestant and Catholic Israel-for he finds several points of contiguity and relationship between them--which he regards as being arrayed against him. But, if the reader has the curiosity to see in what manner he sets forth and sustains this part of his work, we beg leave to refer him to the book itself; and he will not only gratify his love of novelty, but discover this peculiar trait in the character of the work,
considering the age and character of the denomination whose doctrines and discipline are so wantonly assailed, that the work is a little behind the times. There has been a time when such distorted constructions of the doctrine, and caricatured features of the economy and usages of Methodism, might be palmed on the public as a true portrait. But at the present this can only be done to a very limited extent, and with a very small portion of community. To the intelligent, reflecting, candid reader, who takes broad, extended, discriminating views of every subject before he forms his opinion of it, and then does it without prejudice, the work carries its own refutation upon the face of it. And it will require no ordinary measure of that "charity which hopeth all things, and which thinketh no evil,” to justify the spirit which characterizes this production. Whoever will take the trouble to peruse it, must not be surprised if he find men charged with inconsistencies and absurdities, at whose feet he would esteem it an enviable honor to sit. Nor must he startle, as if a prodigy had presented itself, when he looked for no. thing but the most familiar objects, if he now and then hear the strange and unexpected echo of objections and abuses which he had supposed were long since met and refuted, in a manner the most satisfactory and conclusive. Let him remember that this is an age characterized by daring adventure, paradoxes, and recklessness. Nor should it be thought remarkable, if in the great and general, not to say headlong, movements of the present times, past scenes should occasionally be acted over again; or, like the objections of infidels to Christianity, difficulties multiplied with as much assurance of their serious magnitude and disastrous tendencies, as if they had never been heard of before. Let him expect to find comparisons drawn, and parallels run, between things and objects with natures so opposite, so different, and under circumstances so diverse, that it never once entered into his waking thoughts that analogy between them could have even an ideal, much less a real, existence. And if he have some practical acquaintance with the doctrine, discipline, and economy of Methodism, let him not hesitate to accede, that if the difficulties and absurdities set forth in this work have an existence in verity, and not in morbid prejudice, blind mistake, or blank and wilful error, he has many things yet to learn before he can claim correctly to understand the system. But let him comfort himself with one reflection—a reflection resting on the strong ground of full assurance—that the reverend author of the “ Difficulties of Arminian Methodism” has not been delegated with plenary authority to act as the representative of the communion with which he is associated, and in whose behalf he has come forth, to hold up these difficulties to the world, sounding the note of caution, heresy, and alarm, with regard to the doctrines, authors, discipline, usages, and abuses of the religious association, which through them is made the object of his rebuke, criticism, and censorious animadversion. Many of the former will be as unwilling to endorse the sentiments, spirit, and style of the author, as the latter will be ready to repell the sweeping and ungenerous charges. Charges, often built on conclusions drawn from the most illiberal and forced constructions of acknowledged premises; and sometimes from assumed premises, which have been discarded by Methodists in the most definite and positive terms. Or, perhaps, instead of repelling such groundless accusations, and explaining such far-fetched and sublimated difficulties, they will prefer to pass them by in silent contempt; feeling too much self-respect and consciousness of integrity of motive, purity, and correctness of principle, and orthodoxy of doctrine, to meet attacks and insinuations coming in a manner so low, that it could scarcely be lower, and in a spirit so hostile and captious, that, in the reply, meekness and candor would be sacrificed to bigotry and prejudice, and argument, explanation, and testimony, would not only be rejected, but perverted, and in the result worse than thrown away.
St. Louis, April 19, 1839.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
PROFESSOR BUSH'S NOTES ON GENESIS Notes, Critical and Practical, on the Book of Genesis. By George Bush, A, M.,
Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature, New York City University. The introduction to this work is valuable. It contains, in a small compass, and in the usual perspicuous style of the author, a large amount of interesting information. We would refer especially to the account of the early versions of the Bible. The comparative merits of the Targum of Onkelos, that of the Pseudo Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum, are shown by giving translations from each, and placing them in juxtaposition with the English translation. The reader can thus judge for himself, even from the brief specimens fur. nished, of the degree of value to be attached to these versions.
As it respects the translation so well known under the appellation of the Vulgate, the following remarks will no doubt tend to remove any unfavorable prepossessions against that work, in consequence of its “ having been officially authenticated by the council of Trent, and made the standard of ultimate appeal” by the Roman Catholic Church. Prof. Bush here quotes from Campbell. Prelim. Dissert. X., part 3,
“ It is no further back than the sixteenth century since that judg. ment was given in approbation of this version, the first authoritative declaration made in its favor. Yet the estimation in which it was universally held throughout the western churches was, to say the least, not inferior, before that period, to what it is at present. And we may say with truth, that though no judicious Protestant will think more favorably of this translation on account of their verdict, neither will he on this account think less favorably of it. It was not because this version was peculiarly adapted to the Romish system that it received the sanction of that synod, but because it was the only Bible with which the far greater part of the members had, from their infancy, had the least acquaintance. There were but few in that assembly who understood either Greek or Hebrew: they had heard that the Protestants, the new heretics, as they called them, had frequent recourse to the original, and were beginning to make versions from it; a practice of which their own ignorance of the original made them the more jealous. Their fears being thus alarmed, they were exceedingly anxious to interpose their authority, by the declaration above men. tioned, for preventing new translations being obtruded on the people. On the whole, therefore, we ought not to consider the version in ques. tion as either better or worse for their verdict. It is not intrinsically calculated to support Romish errors and corruptions, nor ought it to be regarded as the exclusive property of that Church. It is the legacy of the earliest ages of Christianity to the universal Church, much older than most of the false doctrines and groundless ceremonies which it has been brought to countenance."
We think it due to a work elaborated with so much care, and com. bining so large an amount of research and critical acumen, as Professor Bush's does, to notice, with some particularity, a few items in the author's extended exposition of the Book of Genesis; not with the intention of discussing mooted points, but rather to direct the attention of our readers to them, and to compare them with the views of others on the same subjects. Our time and limits will not, how. ever, allow us to do the justice to the work in this respect which may be thought due to it.
In the first verse of Genesis, as to the word 27a, "created,” Prof. Bush thinks "it is a matter rather of rational inference than positive affirmation, that the material universe was created out of nothing."
He founds his opinion upon the use of the word in other places. He adduces evidence from the use of the word in every other instance in Scripture except this, to show that the import of the term is twofold. 1. The production or effectuation of something new, rare, and wonderful; the bringing something to pass in a striking and marvellous manner. 2. The act of renovating, remodelling, or reconstituting something already in existence.
Upon this point, Dr. A. Clarke says, “Created," "Caused that to exist which, previously to this moment, had no being. The rabbins," he adds, “who are legitimate judges in a case of verbal criticism on their own language, are unanimous in asserting that the word x2 bara expresses the commencement of the existence of a thing; or its egression from nonentity to entity. It does not, in its primary meaning, denote the preserving or new forming things that had previously existed, as some imagine ; but creation in the proper sense of the term, though it has some other acceptations in other places."
To this we subjoin the opinion of Prof. Stuart on the meaning of this word in this place; which he thinks, and as it seems to us justly, is mainly to be determined by its connection with what follows,
“Some have supposed that the word xna, in verse 1, means only to dispose of, to arrange, to form, viz., out of materials already existing, to reduce to order. But verse 2 shows that no mere arrangement or disposition of matter can be intended by xn3; for after the action implied by this word had been performed, the earth still remained in a chaotic state. That the original matter of the heavens was in a similar condition is evident from verses 6-8, and 14-19. All order and arrangement plainly seems to be considered, by the writer of Gen. i, as having been affected after the original act of creation."
Prof. Bush, however, in opposition to these authorities, thinks that, in all the various parallel passages cited by him in which the
word is used," the act implied by the word is exerted upon a preexisting substance, and cannot therefore strictly signify to create out of nothing. Allowing then,” he concludes," that the materials, the primordial elements of the heavens and the earth, were brought into existence at an indefinitely prior period, the term'create' may be understood as expressing the action of the almighty Agent upon the rude chaotic mass, in molding and arranging it into its present comely order and grand and beautiful forms. This view of the writer's language is undoubtedly more consistent with ascertained geological facts than any other, and it is certainly desirable to harmonize, as far as possible, the truths of revelation with those of natural science.”
Were we to hazard a conjecture of our own on this point, it would be as we hinted above, to determine its meaning by the connection it sustains to what immediately follows. Allowing the word to be correctly used, as it undoubtedly is, in the sense attached to it in those passages quoted by Prof. Bush in support of his position, yet it seems hardly proper to call these passages strictly parallel passages; for the word could be used but once, unless in a precisely similar connection, to imply the creation of something out of nothing. The whole of what we call the present existing material creation was produced by one act of almighty power. Various combinations have taken place since in the different strata of the earth, perhaps, and in its form; but the act of creation was in itself one and complete. The word therefore could be used but once in its original sense; and that this was as the creation of something out of nothing, seems clear from the fact, as Prof. Stuart has observed, that after the action implied by this word the earth still remained in a chaotic state, as appears from verse 2.
It might also be proper to inquire, if the original word, translated "create," merely means the modelling of pre-existing matter, is not the plastic power of the Spirit of God, which moved upon the face of the waters, abridged? If“ the term 'create' expresses the action of the almighty Agent upon the rude chaotic mass,” what, we ask, are we to understand by “the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters,” when “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep ?"
We refer the reader to Prof. Bush's hypothesis, in his notes on chap. i, verse 14, to reconcile the apparent discrepancy between the creation of light on the first day, with the fact that the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day.
Our author supposes that the sun was actually created on the first day; but, as during that and the two subsequent days, “ the globe of earth was surrounded by a dense mass of mingled air and water, the rays of the sun would be intercepted: but that on the fourth day the clouds, mists, and vapors were all cleared away, and the atmosphere made pure and serene; the sun of course would shine forth in all his splendor, and to the eye of our imagined spectator would seem to have been just created; and so at night of the moon and
In connection with this subject, we quote the following from Rev. G. R. Gleig's admirable“ History of the Bible ;” published, it is true, in a cheap and popular form by the Harpers, but none the less