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• sent forth and proceed both from the Father and the Sonne. • John xv. 26., Rom. viii. 2.,. Gal. iv. 6.',

The work in which this perilous jargon occurs, was printed by order of the Parliament as a work useful for this season' (1642). We may conclude that its authority stood high; and indeed, Milton would hardly have adopted it as a text-book, had it not been one of the most approved systems of divinity of that age. Nor were these the dogmas merely of Dr. Wil. liam Ames. Attempts at explication and definition on this inscrutable subject, not less presumptuous and not much less unintelligible, have been received, applauded, and defended to the present hour. It is a happy circumstance, perhaps, when they are implicitly received by a pious mind, because, within the mysterious folds of an enigmatic disguise, they include the truth. Too often, the effect of these pernicious philosophizings is, to bewilder and distress an ingenuous mind, by awakening doubts to which it had hitherto been a stranger. On such a mind as Milton's, it is easy to conceive what an impression of utter dissatisfaction and disgust must have been made by this received explication of the orthodox doctrine. How could he possibly teach his pupils such divinity as this? Ile was, therefore, in a manner compelled to turn his attention to framing a system more accordant, in his own opinion, with the discoveries of Revelation. It is true, that the erroneous dogmas and false reasonings of the orthodox supply no reason for abandoning the truths they hold, and running into opposite errors; but, in making good his escape from error on one side, it is seldom that the theologian does not pass beyond the confines of truth on the other. Milton regarded these human interpretations as unsupported by Scripture. He saw that with regard to such dogmas as these, the Romanists were right,—they could be substantiated only by Tradition, which, to a true Protestant, will not pass for either evidence or authority. But he knew that the knowledge of God could be obtained only from Revelation. The Scriptural doctrine appeared to him to be lost, when it was only obscured under a cloud of logical subtilties; and he therefore set about its re-discovery.

We have already remarked, that Milton's mind was of a poetical, rather than of a philosophical cast,—that he was more imaginative than sceptical, more eloquent than severely reasoning. At the time that he first seriously turned his attention to the composition of his “ Idea of Theology," he was engaged in the construction of his grand poem, in which, as in an intellectual pantheon, every part of theology was to be personified. His great argument led him far back into eternity,

whèn “ the Word was with God," and laid him under a sort of necessity to exhibit the Word in distinct personality, as an object, not of faith 'merely, but of imagination, and as the separate agent in distinct transactions. The abstract metaphysical positions of theologians failed him here. They presented nothing tangible to his grasp or footing. He had at once to achieve the work of the theologian and that of the poet, and yet, if possible, to keep them distinct, never suffering fancy to invade the office of Revelation, but ever bearing in mind the command, while framing this gorgeous tabernacle for Divine Truth, " See that thou make all things according “ to the pattern shewed thee in the mount.” Without venturing to apologize for either his poetical or his theological errors, we must be permitted to give expression to our astonishment, that he has fallen into no worse improprieties. Who but he, while thus soaring into the heaven of invention,

• Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstacy,' would have preserved that perfect self-possession, calmness, and sobriety of manner which he always displays when he approaches the precincts of such awful themes ? And who, that had been beguiled, like Milton, into the semi-Arian hypothesis, which his theme and argument almost seemed to demand, and at all events would contribute to recommend to his adoption,-would, like him, have maintained so reverential an adherence to the language of Scripture, that, with a few ex. ceptions, his creed never leads him into improprieties of phraseology, so that the whole poem has been till now implicitly received as orthodox?

But while we think that the cast of his mind and the nature of his high enterprise might predispose him to this hypothesis, it is quite evident, that he adopted it on what appeared to him solid and scriptural grounds; nor are we left at a loss to know the steps of the process. The main argument on which he rests, is this ; that Generation, however explained, must be an external efficiency. This opinion, it will immediately be seen, he maintains in opposition to the dogma respecting the eternal generation of the Son, grounding his argument on the unauthorized statements of the orthodox on this point. The eternal and necessary existence of the Word, so far from being explained or proved by the tenet in question, is, by such language, involved in apparent contradiction. As a general position, it is self-evident, that generation, derivation, emanation, procession, not less than creation, imply an external efficiency; and every step that is taken to explain the manner of this generation, confirms this idea. Archbishop Secker, for

• John xv.

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sent forth and proceed both from the Father and the Sonne.

26., Rom. viii. 2.,.Gal. iv. 6.', The work in which this perilous jargon occurs, was printed, by order of the Parliament as a work useful for this season' (1642). We may conclude that its authority stood high ; and indeed, Milton would hardly have adopted it as a text-book, had it not been one of the most approved systems of divinity of that age. Nor were these the dogmas merely of Dr. William Ames. Attempts at explication and definition on this inscrutable subject, not less presumptuous and not much less unintelligible, have been received, applauded, and defended to the present hour. It is a happy circumstance, perhaps, when they are implicitly received by a pious mind, because, within the mysterious folds of an enigmatic disguise, they include the truth. Too often, the effect of these pernicious philosophizings is, to bewilder and distress an ingenuous mind, by awakening doubts to which it had hitherto been a stranger. On such a mind as Milton's, it is easy to conceive what an impression of utter dissatisfaction and disgust must have been made by this received explication of the orthodox doctrine. How could he possibly teach his pupils such divinity as this? He was, therefore, in a manner compelled to turn his attention to framing a system more accordant, in his own opinion, with the discoveries of Revelation. It is true, that the erroneous dogmas and false reasonings of the orthodox supply no reason for abandoning the truths they hold, and running into opposite errors; but, in making good his escape from error on one side, it is seldom that the theologian does not pass beyond the confines of truth on the other. Milton regarded these human interpretations as unsupported by Scripture. He saw that with regard to such dogmas as these, the Romanists were right,--they could be substantiated only by Tradition, which, to a true Protestant, will not pass for either evidence or authority. But he knew that the knowledge of God could be obtained only from Revelation. The Scriptural doctrine appeared to him to be lost, when it was only obscured under a cloud of logical subtilties, and he therefore set about its re-discovery.

We have already remarked, that Milton's mind was of a poetical, rather than of a philosophical cast,--that he was more imaginative than sceptical, more eloquent than severely reasoning. At the time that he first seriously turned his attention to the composition of his “ Idea of Theology," he was engaged in the construction of his grand poem, in which, as in an intellectual pantheon, every part of theology was to be personified. His great argument led him far back into eternity.

when “the Word was with God," and laid him under a sort of necessity to exhibit the Word in distinct personality, as an object, not of faith merely, but of imagination, and as the separate agent in distinct transactions. The abstract metaphysical positions of theologians failed him here. They presented nothing tangible to his grasp or footing,

He had at once to achieve the work of the theologian and that of the poet, and yet, if possible, to keep them distinct, never suffering fancy to invade the office of Revelation, but ever bearing in mind the command, while framing this gorgeous tabernacle for Divine Truth, “ See that thou make all things according “ to the pattern shewed thee in the mount.” Without venturing to apologize for either his poetical or his theological errors, we must be permitted to give expression to our astonishment, that he has fallen into no worse improprieties. Who but he, while thus soaring into the heaven of invention,

• Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstacy,' would have preserved that perfect self-possession, calmness, and sobriety of manner which he always displays when he approaches the precincts of such awful themes ? And who, that had been beguiled, like Milton, into the semi-Arian hypothesis, which his theme and argument almost seemed to demand, and at all events would contribute to recommend to his adoption,-would, like him, have maintained so reverential an adherence to the language of Scripture, that, with a few ex. ceptions, his creed never leads him into improprieties of phraseology, so that the whole poem has been till now implicitly received as orthodox?

But while we think that the cast of his mind and the nature of his high enterprise might predispose him to this hypothesis, it is quite evident, that he adopted it on what appeared to him solid and scriptural grounds; nor are we left at a loss to know the steps of the process. The main argument on which he rests, is this; that Generation,however explained, * must be an external efficiency.' This opinion, it will immediately be seen, he maintains in opposition to the dogma respecting the eternal generation of the Son, grounding his argument on the unauthorized statements of the orthodox on this point. The eternal and necessary existence of the Word, so far from being explained or proved by the tenet in question, is, by such language, involved in apparent contradiction. As a general position, it is self-evident, that generation, derivation, emanation, procession, not less than creation, imply an external efficiency; and every step that is taken to explain the manner of this generation, confirms this idea. Archbishop Secker, for instance, in his excellent Lectures on the Creed, speaking of our Saviour, says: 'In respect of his Divine nature, he derived his being from the Father by an eternal generation.' And Witsius remarks, that the very idea of generation, properly so called, namely, that by which one is constituted the Son of any person, includes the communication of the same na• ture,

• How the communication of the essence to the • Third Person by breathing,--differs from the communication * of the same essence to the Second Person by generation, are mysteries,' he elsewhere remarks, the knowledge of which it has seemed good to the great Teacher to reserve for the

celestial state. Accordingly, Milton remarks, that the di• yines themselves argue, that there is a certain emanation of • the Son from the Father; for, though they teach that the • Spirit is co-essential with the Father, they do not deny that • it emanates, and goes out, and proceeds, and is breathed from the Father,--which are all expressions denoting external

efficiency.'. In like manner, it has been usual with theologians to speak of the Father as the Fountain of Deity, -a phrase which virtually concedes the derivation and dependence of the Word and the Spirit. • By calling the Father the Fountain of * the Deity or of the Trinity,' remarks the venerable John Brown of Haddington, by saying that the Divine essence is conmunicated, or that the Son and Spirit are produced, or that

they have a personal, though not an essential dependence on • the Father, learned men have inadvertently hurt this mystery, and given occasion to its enemies to blaspheme.' Whoever asserts that the Son owes his essence to the Father,' remarks Calvin, denies him to be self-existent.' He therefore contends, that as, according to the Scriptures, there is essentially but one God, the essence of both the Son and the Spirit

is unbegotten.' In the next sentence, however, he draws what may seem a distinction too metaphysical for modern readers,

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See Witsius on the Apostles' Creed ; translated (with copious notes) by the Rev. Donald Fraser of Galloway. 2 vols. 8vo. Glasgow, 1823, (Vol. I. p. 153.). We take this opportunity of bearing our testimony to the ability, learning, and diligence_displayed by Mr. Fraser in this pfaiseworthy attempt to make the English reader acquainted with one of the best works of Witsius, and in the valuable notes, critical and theological, with which he has accompanied his Translation. We trust that this recommendation of the work to the notice of our readers, will answer all the purpose of a distinct review of the book, which scarcely comes within our province. We are indebted

Mr. F, for pointing out the passage cited from Secker. Dr. Owen and the late Principal Hill have, he remarks, used similar phraseology.

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