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thenceforward, therefore, they only taught a predestination, which the Christian religion explains, and the Christian life exemplifies.
“ But to what, it may be said, did the Lutherans object in the theory of their opponents, when they abandoned the tenet of ne„cessity? Certainly not to the sobriety and moderation of that part of it, which vindicated the justice, and displayed the benevolence, of the Almighty; but generally to the principles upon which it proceeded; to its presumption, in overleaping the boundary;' which Heaven has prescribed to our limited faculties, and which we cannot pass without plunging into darkness and error; and to its impiety, in disregarding, if not despising, the most important truths of Christianity. A system of such a nature they hesitated not to reject, anxious to conduct themselves by the light of scripture alone, nor presuming to be wise above what God has been pleased to discover. Thus while their adversaries: philosophized npon a predestination of individuals, preferred one before another by, divine regard, because worthy of such a preference, they tanght only that, which has been revealed with certainty, the predestination of a peculiar description of persons, “ of a people zealous of good works,” of the Christian church contemplated as an aggregate, not on account of its own dignity, but on account of Christ its supreme head, and the author of eternal salvation, to all who obey him. Maintaining, not a particular election of personal favourites, either by an absolute will, or even a conditional one, dependent upon the ratio of merit, but a general election of all, who by baptism in their infancy; or by faith and obedience in maturer years, become the adopted beirs of heaven; they conceived this to be the only election, to which the gospel alludes, and consequently the only one, upon which we can speak with confidence, or reason without presumption.
“ If it be observed, that the selection of an integral body necessarily infers that of its component parts, the answer is obvious; the latter, although indeed it be necessarily inferred by the former, is nevertheless not a prior requisite, but a posterior result of the divine ordination. What they deemed absolute on the part of God, was his everlasting purpose to save his elect in Christ, or real Christians, considered as a whole, and contrasted with the remainder of the human race; the completion of this purpose being regulated by peculiar circumstances, operating as interior causes of a particular segregation, For, persuaded of his good will towards all men without distinction, of bis being indiscriminately disposed to promote the salvation of all, and of his seriously, not fictitiously, as Calvin taught, including all in the universal promise of Christianity, they imputed to him nothing like a partial choice, no limitation of favours, nor irrespective exclusion of persons; but, assuming the Christian cha
racter as the sole ground of individual preference, they believed that every baptized infant, by being made a member of Christ, not by being comprised in a previous arbitrary decree, is truly the elect of God, and, dying in infancy, certain of eternal happiness; that he, who in maturer years becomes polluted by wilful crime, loses that state of salvation, which before he possessed; that nevertheless by true repentance, and conversion to the Father of mercy and God of all consolation, he is again reinstated in it; and that, by finally persevering in it, he at length receives the kingdom prepared for every sincere Christian before the foundation of the world. Can any man, whom prejudice has not blinded, rank these sentiments with those of Calvin?"
In the last lecture, Dr. Laurence has considered at length, the 17th article of our church, in conformity with the sentiments of Melancihon, and elucidated by our baptismal service. After the long extracts we have made, particularly the last, wherein the Lutheran scheme is so clearly delineated, it will easily appear to any impartial and considerate observer, whether this famous article does not bear a nearer affinity to that scheme, than to the Institutes of Calvin. Our reformers had principally in their view the clearing away the errors and superstitions of the church of Rome; and to settle a li turgy and confession agreeable to the pure word of God. The doctrines of that church upon the merit of works and of a predestination to eternal life on account of intrinsic worth, were justly considered as dangerous and arrogant. In opposition to them qur articles were framed; and with regard to this particular point of predestination, the learned lecturer exhibits the opposition in the following clear and elegant terms:
" When contrasted with the scholastical doctrine, in how advantageous a point of view, how much more consistent with gospel truth, and declarative of gospel beneficence, appears that of the church of England ! The ever-memorable divines, who compiled her offices, and reformed her creed, instead of exercising their talents in abstruse theory and vain speculation, directed their attention wholly to the word of God. Upon this grounding every position which they established, they taught, with no less simplicity than sincerity, that we possess by nature a tendency to evil, which in itself is no innocuous quality, but one offensive to a just and holy God, when abstractly considered ; that we cannot ourselves in any way atone for sin; but that an atonement has been once made for all by the common Saviour of mankind; and that consequently, instead of attempting to expiate it by our own merits, whether congruous or condign, we ought rather, with a lively faith, united to a truly penitent and contrite heart, to trust in the expiation of Christ alone, because something more is requisite than we can perform, to appease the displeasure and 'satisfy the justice of Heaven. Thus while their adversaries laboured to promote pharisaical pride, and render the cross of Christ of no effect, they solely endeavoured to inculcate Christian humility, and to demonstrate the inestimable vaJue of Christian redemption; not indeed in a Calvinistical sense, as if faith were appropriated to the elect only, for that would have been to exchange one species of personal conceit for another; but in a sense, which both scripture and reason approve, which makes the light of the evangelical as general in its influ. ences, as that of the natural day. For upon the subject of predestination, as well as upon every other, which has been alluded to, their prudence was not less conspicuous than their piety. Approaching it with reverence, and treating it with circumspection, they indulged not, like many in the church of Rome, and like some who were enumerated among the friends of reformation, in abstruse disquisitions upon the nature of the divine will; they boasted not of a philosophy, which affected to soar above vulgar view, and fix its sublime abode in the bosom of God himself. That he, whom the wonders of created being perplex, who knows not half the wisdom of the meanest insect, that man, equally imperfect as impure, should presume to investigate the arcana of the omniscient mind, appeared to them the height of extravagance and crime. Their feelings recoiled at the idea of passing the boundary, which the scriptures have prescribed, and of exploring without an infallible guide the abyss of the unrevealed Godhead; what no human intellect can comprehend, they were contented in silence to adore. Every attempt therefore to explain the will of the unknown God, as he exists in his native majesty, amid clouds of impenetrable darkness, they utterly disclaimed, and spoke only of that consolatory effect of it, which the sacred volumes disclose to us, and represent as certain, the predestination of Christians to eternal life. With this express object in view they intimately blended the doctrine of election with the holy ordinance of baptism, including all in the universal promise, and regulating the decrees ef God by our assumption or rejection of the Christian character; persuaded that the contrary tenet of a predestination by individual destiny is attended with the worst of consequences; that while it furnishes the profligate sinner with a pretext for his vices, it increases the agony
of the slesponding, whose petitions for mercy and forgiveness seem never to reach the throne of gract, bul reiurn to his afflicted soul dis. regarded, if not despised ; adding ten fold horror to his despair."
Having extended our Review of this article to so great a length, we need say no more in commendation of the lectures, or the body of valuable and curious notes appended to them.
The Plague stayed: a Scriptural view of Pestilence, para
ticularly of that dreadful Pestilence the Small-por, with
fact but one, having the same text' and the same subject, and nearly the same language. Mr. Plumptre being impressed with the great importance of the vaccine discovery, and conceiving it his duty as minister of a parish to “ recommend the adoption of it from the pulpit to his parishioners,” sat down to investigate the subject for that purpose.
« In the course of his inquiry, the scriptural application forcibly struck his mind, and as his turn to preach before the University at St. Mary's soon occurred, he thought it a subject of more than sufficient importance for the occasion : For though the discovery of Vaccine Inoculation did not seem so immediately to belong to a seminary for the education of youth, as to a congregation of parents and guardians, yet the scriptural view of pestilence in general concerns every individual of mankind.” Advertiseinent.
The text is Numbers xvi. 48. “ And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed.” Upon that part of the narrative to which this
passage relates, where Moses commanded “ Aaron to take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly into the congregation, and make an atonement for them,” Mr. Plumptre has subjoined the following curious illustration, which, if not perfectly conclusive, must be confessed to be both new and ingenious. " Do we not here see an intimation of the mode of fumigation in infectious diseases! I am indebted (says Mr. P.) for this suggestion to my friend and physician Mr. Frederic Thackeray, the first introducer of Vaccine Innoculation into Cambridge.”
Mr. Plumptre following Mr. Kett, considers Mahomet as intended by the figure of the Star which fell from heaven at the sounding of the fifth trumpet in the Revelations, and he endeavours to make out the “ noisome. and grievous sore which fell upon the men that had the
mark mark of the beast “ to be the small por, the first rise of which he asserts was in Arabia, in the time of Mahomet, or in the year of his birth." We are well pleased to see Mr. Plumptre's laudable zeal in behalf of vaccination, which we regard as an inestimable discovery, but it tvould have afforded us greater pleasure if he had recommended and enforced its adoption in a more rational way. What authority has Mr. Plumptre for fixing the precise origin of the small pox in the time of Mahomel? None. His quotations will not bear him out; for Rhazes, the Arabian physician and historian, who lived in the 9th or Joth century, only says that one Aaron, who practised in the 7th, was the first who wrote on the small pox; and Reiske has referred to an Arabie, but anonymous, manuscript, which fixes both the smalí
pox and measles in the hejra or flight of Mohammed.
The first of these authorities proves nothing; and the latter is mere assertion. Had this mortal disease commenced its ravages at that period, we should not have been without many clear evidences of it, as clear as those which we possess, relative to the history of the Impostor. ::
Such fanciful and forced interpretations of scripture prophecy are to be discountenanced, as only tending to bring the sacred word into ridicule among light and sceptical men.
We coincide in all that Mr. Plumptre so warmly delivers on the value of the vaccine discovery, and on the character of the modest and disinterested person who brought it to light; but we apprehend that Dr. Jenner would not have sat very contentedly to hear himself panegyrized in such puerile language as this. “A benevolent and enlightened individual, detained by kindred ties in the peaceful sequestration of the country, declining the busy and lucrative stations, which would have dazzled more ambitious minds, observing that persons who had passed through a mild disorder; caught from that useful domestic animul, to whose salubrious juices we are indebted for the anost grateful nourishment of life, were never infected by the dreadful pestilence in question; he conceived the idea of bringing inoculation in aid, and of thus anticipating the disease : repeated experiments were tried, and in the end found to be successful. And thus a disease, so mild as scarcely to be called a disease, supplants that most deadly scourge of mankind. Should