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usually keep their gems, no man would despise a diamond because he found it in an earthen porringer. In the treatises of Owen there is many a sentence which, set in a sermon, would shine like a brilliant; and there are ingots enough to make the fortune of a theological faculty. For instance, we open the first treatise in the last collective edition of his works, and we read—“It carrieth in it a great condecency unto Divine wisdom, that man should be restored unto the image of God, by Him who was the essential image of the Father; and that He was made like unto us, that we might be made like unto Him, and unto God through Him ;” and we are immediately reminded of a recent treatise on the Incarnation, and all its interesting speculation regarding the “Pattern-Man.” We read again till we come to the following remark :-“It is the nature of sincere goodness to give a delight and a complacency unto the mind in the exercise of itself, and communication of its effects. A good man doth both delight in doing good, and hath an abundant reward for the doing it, in the doing of it ;" and how can we help recalling a memorable sermon On the Immediate Reward of Obedience,” and a no less memorable chapter in a Bridgewater Treatise, “On the Inherent Pleasure of the Virtuous Affections” ? And we read the chapter on “ The Person of Christ the great Representative of God," and are startled by its foreshadowings of the sermons and the spiritual history of a remarkably honest and vigorous thinker, who, from doubting the doctrine of the Trinity, was led to recognise in the person of Jesus Christ the Alpha and Omega of his theology. It is possible that Archdeacon Wilberforce, and Chalmers, and Arnold, may never have perused the treatise in question ; and it is equally possible that under the soporific influence of a heavy style they may never have noticed passages for which their own minds possessed such a powerful affinity. But by the legitimate expedient of appropriate language perhaps by means of some ornament or elegance”.
Jeremy Taylor or Barrow would have arrested attention to such important thoughts; and the cause of truth would have gained had the better divine been at least an equal orator.
However, there “masters in Israel” whose style has been remarkably meagre ; and perhaps “ Edwards on the Will” and “Butler's Analogy,” would not have numbered many more readers although they had been composed in the language of Addison. We must, therefore, notice another obstacle which has hindered our author's popularity, and it is a fault of which the world is daily becoming more and more intolerant. That fault is prolixity. Dr Owen was too busy to be brief; and in his polemical writings, he was so anxious to leave no cavil unanswered, that he spent, in closing loop-holes, the strength which would have crushed the foe in open battle. No misgiving as to the champion's powers will ever cross the mind of the spectators; but movements more rapid would render the conflict more interesting, and the victory not less conclusive. * In the same way as the effectiveness of his controversial works is injured by this excursive tendency, so the practical impression of his other works is too often suspended by inopportune digressions; whilst every treatise would have commanded a wider circulation if divested of its irrelevant incumbrances.
* In his delightful reminiscences of Dr Chalmers, Mr J. J. Gurney says, " I often think that particular men bear about with them an analogy to particular animals : Chalmers is like a good-tempered lion ; Wilberforce is like a bee.” Dr Owen often reminds us of an elephant: the same ponderous movements—the same gentle sagacity-the same vast but unobtrusive powers. With a logical proboscis able to handle the heavy guns of Hugo Grotius, and yet fine enough for untwisting the tangled threads of Richard Baxter, in his encounters with John Goodwin he resembles his prototype in a leopard-hunt, where sheer strength is on the one side, and brisk agility on the other. And to push our conceit no further, they say that this wary animal will never venture over a bridge till he has tried its strength, and is assured that it can bear him; and, if we except the solitary break-down in the Waltonian controversy, our disputant was as cautious in choosing his ground as he was formidable when once he took up his position.
PROLIX, PROFUSE, PROFOUND.
Within the entire range of British authorship there exist no grander contributions towards a systematic Christology than the “ Exposition of the Hebrews,” with its dissertations on the Saviour's priesthood; but whilst there are few theologians who have not occasionally consulted it, those are still fewer who have mastered its ponderous contents; and we have frequently known enterprising students who made entrance on such a book as the “Perseverance of the Saints,” or the “ Justification,” but like settlers put ashore in a cane-brake, after struggling for hours through the preface or the general considerations, in despair of reaching the promised land, they were glad to retrace their steps and seek some other region which offered an easier landing-place amidst its less luxuriant vegetation.
It was their own loss, however, that they did not reach the interior; for there they would have found themselves in the presence of one of the greatest of theological intellects. Black and Cavendish were born to be chemists, and Linnæus and Cuvier were naturalists in spite of themselves; and so, there is a mental conformation which almost necessitated that Augustine and Athanasius, Calvin and Arminius, should become dogmatists and systematic divines. With the opposite aptitudes for large generalisation and subtile distinction, as soon as some master-principle had gained possession of their devout understandings, they had no greater joy than to develop its all-embracing applications, and they sought to subjugate Christendom to its imperial ascendency. By itself, the habit of lofty contemplation would have made them pietists or Christian psalmists, and a mere turn for definition would have made them quibblers or schoolmen; but the two united, and together animated by a strenuous faith, made them theologians. In such intellects the seventeenth century abounded; but we question if in dialectic skill, guided by sober judgment, and in extensive acquirements, mellowed by a deep spirituality, it yielded an equivalent to Dr Owen.
Although there is only one door to the kingdom of heaven, there is many an entrance to scientific divinity. There is the gate of free inquiry as well as the gate of spiritual wistful
And although there are exceptional instances, on the whole we can predict what school the new-comer will join, by knowing the door through which he entered. If from the wide fields of speculation he has sauntered inside of the sacred enclosure; if he is a historian who has been carried captive by the documentary demonstration—or a poet who has been arrested by the spiritual sentiment—or a philosopher who has been won over by the Christian theory, and who has thus made a halehearted entrance within the precincts of the faith—he is apt to patronise that gospel to which he has given his accession, and like Clemens Alexandrinus, or Hugo Grotius, or Alphonse de Lamartine, he will join that school where taste and reason alternate with revelation, and where ancient classics and modern sages are scar
carcely subordinate to the “men who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” On the other hand, if. “fleeing from the wrath to come,” through the crevice of some “faithful saying," he has struggled into enough of knowledge to calm his conscience and give him peace with Heaven, the oracle which assured his spirit will be to him unique in its nature and supreme in its authority; and a debtor to that scheme to which he owes his very self, like Augustine, and Cowper, and Chalmers, he will join that school where revelation is absolute, and where “Thus saith the Lord” makes an end of every matter. And without alleging that a long process of personal solicitude is the only right commencement of the Christian life, it is worthy of remark that the converts whose Christianity has thus commenced have usually joined that theological school which, in “salvation-work,” makes least account of man and most account of God. Jeremy Taylor, and Hammond, and Barrow, were men who made religion their business; but still they were men who regarded
religion as a life for God rather than a life from God, and in whose writings recognitions of Divine mercy and atonement and strengthening grace are comparatively faint and rare. But Bolton, and Bunyan, and Thomas Goodwin, were men who from a region of carelessness or ignorance were conducted through a long and darkling labyrinth of self-reproach and inward misery, and by a way which they knew not were brought out at last on a bright landing-place of assurance and praise; and, like Luther in the previous century, and like Halyburton, and Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards, in the age succeeding, the strong sense of their own demerit led them to ascribe the happy change from first to last to the sovereign grace and good Spirit of God. It was in deep contrition and much anguish of soul that Owen's career began; and that creed which is pre-eminently the religion of " broken hearts" became his system of theology.
Children, live like Christians; I leave you the covenant to feed upon.” Such was the dying exhortation of him who protected so well England and the Albigenses; and “the covenant” was the food with which the devout heroic lives of that godly time were nourished. This covenant was the sublime staple of Owen's theology. It suggested topics for his Parliamentary sermons;—“A Vision of Unchangeable Mercy,” and “The Steadfastness of Promises.” It attracted him to that book in the Bible in which the federal economy
especially unfolded. And, whether discoursing on the eternal purposes, or the extent of redemption--whether expounding the mediatorial office, or the work of the sanctifying Spiritbranches of this tree of life reappear in every treatise. In such discussions some may imagine that there can be nothing but barren speculation, or, at the best, an arduous and transcendental theosophy. However, when they come to examine for themselves, they will be astonished at the mass of scriptural authority on which they are based ; and, unless we