« PoprzedniaDalej »
Divine nature, that the unity of mind and counsel which characterizes the equal disciples of the same Lord, is compared to the unity which subsists between these two-" That they may be one, as we are." John xvii. 11. Nothing, indeed, can be much more striking or more evidently unsuitable to the condition and circumstances of any mere creature, than the familiar use which, in speaking of himself and God the Father Almighty, our Lord has made of the pronouns, we, us, our “ If a man love me," cried Jesus,“ he will keep my words: And my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John xiv. 23. This is a mode of speech with which (as it relates to Deity) nothing that I know of can be justly compared, but the phraseology adopted by Jehovah himself in the Old Testament: “ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Gen. i. 26. “ Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” iii. 22.'
The whole of the third part of this Essay, 'On Christ in his Reign,' will afford the pious reader the highest edification and delight. We have never read, speaking according to the best of our recollection, an argumentative defence of the divinity of our Lord, so calm, so dignified, so pure from controversial asperity, and at the same time so instinct and glowing with love to the Saviour. In the very spirit of the beloved disciple, the Author seems to dwell on the glories of the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne; and the rich accumulation of evidence, direct and indirect, promiscuously scattered throughout Scripture, which he brings to bear on the fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith, leaves on the mind an impression of triumphant satisfaction, answering to that noble confession with which Mr. Gurney closes the essay.
• For my own part, I may venture to acknowledge a firm convic. tion, (grounded on long continued study and reflection,) that I must either give up the inspiration of Scripture, and with it, perhaps, the truth of Christianity itself, or allow the absolute and eternal divinity of Jesus Christ. In choosing my alternative, I cannot for a moment hesitate ; for as, on the one hand, the inspiration of Scripture and the truth of Christianity rest on a basis which the profoundest thought and widest investigation serve only to establish ; so, 'on the other hand, the glorious doctrine of "God manifest in the flesh," although, as to its mode, mysterious, will ever be considered worthy of all acceptation, by those who are acquainted with the depth of their patural degradation, and know their need of an omnipotent Redeemer.'
We must hastily dismiss the eleventh essay, on Redemption, not as being of inferior interest, but because our limits will not admit of much further citation. It is divided into three sections: in the first, Mr. Gurney states with admirable clearness the Scripiure doctrine of the Atonement; in the second, be treats of the merits and advocacy of Christ; in the third, of the VOL. XXV. N.S.
Scripture doctrine of the Spirit,' he takes a view of our Lord's character as the internal illuminator' as well as spiritual
quickener of mankind.'. It is with peculiar satisfaction that we receive this able, lucid, and explicit exposition of the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith, from the member of a community among whom there has generally been understood to prevail very indistinct if not unscriptural notions on that subject. The only statement which we hesitate to approve occurs at page 455, where Mr. Gurney represents the sacrifice of our Lord as a price paid not only for the redemption of sinners,
but for the outpouring of the Spirit. We object to this language, first, because it confounds what Mr. Gurney has taken pains to distinguish,--the propiatory sacrifice of Christ, which was the price of our ransom or redemption, as being the means
by which the Father saw fit to provide for the satisfac*tion of his justice in the pardon of the sinner,—and, the merits and advocacy of Christ, of which the outpouring of the Spirit was the first fruits. But a second and more important objection is founded on the incorrect application which is here made of the metaphor of price or purchase, to the blessings of the Gospel. It is true, that he who ransoms a captive may be said to buy his liberty; and the party accepting of the ransom may be said to sell either the person or the freedom of his prisoner or slave for an equivalent. But the mercy of God is free and unpurchased; he receives no equivalent for the blessings he bestows. It is in the character of a Moral Governor only that he exacts or accepts a propiatory sacrifice, to declare his justice and his holiness ; and in this reference, our Lord cannot be properly represented as paying a price, but as enduring a penalty. We are justified as criminals; we are re. deemed as the captives of sin; we are constituted heirs of heaven as children of God's family. It is not heaven, but the Church itself that is the "purchased possession." It is not our pardon, but our souls that are bought with a price. The Scriptures employ these and other metaphors to describe, under different views, man's redemption but we must guard against running one metaphor into another. Statements substantially true, but grossly improper in their phraseology, and, very liable to misconception, have originated in the disregard of those limitations beyond which figurative language ceases to be either appropriate or true; and from a confusion of ideas on this point has resulted a metaphorical patchwork bearing little more resemblance to the language of the inspired writers, than the literal translation of idiomatic expressions does to the true force of the original.
In Mr. Gurney's views of regeneration, we fully coincide; and when he remarks that · Divine grace is omnipotent,' he admits all that we are disposed on that point to contend for. We rejoice, too, to find him maintaining the unity of the Church.
Christianity,' he remarks, is a social religion : its virtues are of a character at once binding and diffusive. And amidst all the fruits of the Spirit, there is none so delightful and so distinguishing as that holy love of which God in Christ is the first object, and all mankind the next, and which more especially unites in the bands of the fellowship of the Gospel those persons, of whatsoever name or profession, who believe in the Lord Jesus, and are baptized by one Spirit into one body." Theirs is the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”
" the communion of the Holy Ghost.” And this communion extends itself from the church militant to the church triumphant. It already brings heaven and earth together, and its full perfection will be known in that glorious day when the number of God's elect shall be completed ; (Matt. xxiv. 31;)—when all distinctions of peculiar opinion shall be for ever lost among them ; and when the universal society of saints and angels shall unite in rendering unto the Lord God and the Lamb the same eternal tribute of obedience, thanksgiving, and praise. p. 476.
Between those who believe that Jesus Christ is God, and those who regard him only as a creature, Mr. Gurney remarks, there is, plainly, an infinite difference,' one that admits of 'no compromise. But,
how numerous, how powerful," he adds, are those doctrinal points in religion which are entertained in common by the great majority of the Christian world! One principal object which, in the laborious yet interesting task of composing the present volume, I have always kept in view, has been, to develop these points of union. I have desired to shew to my fellow-believers in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Roman Catholics as well as Protestants Calvinists as well as Armipians—dissenters as well as members of the various established churches—the strength, the breadth, and the saving efficacy of those great features of Divine Truth in which they all agree, main agreement—an agreement which embraces every thing absolutely essential in religion—be more and more accompanied by gentleness, kindness, forbearance, and candour, and, above all, by the 6 unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Of this unity of the Spirit, founded as it is on an essential unity of doctrine, one principal result ought surely to be, our joint and common, or at least our corresponding and harmonious efforts to promote the salvation of the world.' p. 564.
We have passed over the twelfth essay, 'on faith and obedience,' and must not now return to it. "We had marked several other passages for extract, but further citation cannot be
necessary, as few of our readers who place any confidence in our judgement, will hesitate to put themselves in possession of Mr. Gurney's volume. On contrasting these Essays with the Treatise on Christian Doctrine that lately came under our review, one cannot fail to be struck with the immeasureable superiority of the present Writer in true wisdom to our English Sophocles. Those words of holy writ have forcibly occurred to us : “ The meek will He guide in judgement, the meek will He teach his way.” There is a spirit pervading Mr. Gurney's volume, which leaves no room for doubt as to the influence under which it has been composed. But the contrast between the two works is more especially interesting as they may both be considered as reflecting in some measure the character and spirit of the times That Quakerism has undergone some important modifications, on the one hand, since the time of Milton, Mr. Gurney will readily admit; and on the other hand, we feel persuaded that, had our great Poet lived at this era, he would never have put forth opinions so crude and erroneous. Nay, we cannot help imagining that an acquaintance with John Joseph Gurney, instead of the Quaker Ellwood, might not only have had a happy influence on Milton's religious tenets, but have led to the composition of a nobler poem than Paradise Regained.
Art. II. 1. Lays of the Minnesingers or German Troubadours of the
Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries : illustrated by Specimens of the Contemporary Lyric Poetry of Provence and other parts of Europe: with historical and critical Notices and Engravings from the MS. of the Minnesingers in the King's Library at Paris, and from other Sources. Small Svo. pp. 328. Price 145. London,
Fauriel, with Additions. Translated into English Verse, by
lar poetry with which Mr. Bowring has gratified the public, these two volumes may be considered as adding a German and a Greek Anthology,-bearing respectively very different dates. yet, in point of fact, referrible to a similar era in the progress of civilization. In Greece, in Russia, and in Spain, it is as yet but the thirteenth century. Those countries have overslept themselves half a dozen centuries, and they are but now beginning to awake to the light which dawned in the twelfth century, burst forth with morning brilliancy in the
sixteenth, and is now we trust, approaching nearer and nearer to a zenith from which it shall never decline.
The Minnesingers, or Love-singers of Germany, were contemporary with the most celebrated of the Troubadours. The most splendid era of early German poetry opens with the Suabian dynasty in the twelfth century. In Frederic Barbarossa, the most extraordinary man of his age, the infant literature found a zealous patron. His niece had married Raymond Berenger III. Count of Provence, and to his acquaintance with, the Provençal poetry we must ascribe his literary taste. An. epigram is extant, in the Provençal tongue, supposed to have been composed by this Imperial Mæcenas, which is curious as a commentary on the manners of the
And a donna Catalan;
And breeding Castillan;
The dance of the Trevisan ;
The speech of Sicily, (?)*
And a page of Tuscany.' By some writers, this little piece has been ascribed to Frederic II., who was not less distinguished as the patron of literature. He was educated in Sicily, and was also a writer in the Provençal tongue. In Italy, where he almost constantly resided, he revived the academy of Salernum; he pronoted the study of Grecian and Arabic learning, and his active exertions were directed towards imparting to his German subjects the benefit of the Southern schools. By the extinction of the Suabian dynasty towards the close of the thirteenth century, the school of the Minnesingers was deprived of that royal patronage to which it appears to have owed its existence and 'its celebrity; and the commencement of the fourteenth witnessed a total revolution in the literature of Germany. The church had regained its power over the public mind. The crusade against the Albigenses, by which Provence and Languedoc
* We have ventured this as a conjectural emendation of the upin. telligible line as given by the Editor, supposing La Perla Julliana to have been in the original, La Parla Siciliana. La Cour de Kasteltana is rendered by the Editor, ' Castilian dignity ;' we rather suppose it to mean courtesy or breeding, and that önrar is good faith. We have endeavoured, in our rude rhymes, to adhere more closely to the quaint form of the original.