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foundation of the apostles and prophets; and who would have their faith stand, not in the pretended wisdom of fallible men, but in the plain declarations and instructions of the gospel, which is “the power of God. They will find all the main points of scriptural evidence, adduced with great clearness and conciseness, leaving every argument in its naked force, unencumbered by needless words, circumlocution, or repetition. We do not know that they would be likely to meet elsewhere an equally extensive view of the subject comprized within so small a coinpass, and set forth in so satisfactory a manner. The Ser mons are six in number, with the following titles :
Sermon I. The Father alone to be worshipped, as the True God.
Sermon II. Christ and the Father, two distinct beings. Sermon III. The names, titles, and works of Christ, consi
Sermon IV. Christ does not possess the peculiar attributes of God.
Sermon V. Christ is not to be worshipped as God.
We spare ourselves any analysis of the contents, and present but one specimen of the book.
• The circumstance that both are mentioned in the same connexion, is no evidence that both are equally worshipped. This is confirmed by the following examples. “ And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord and the king.” (I. Chron. xxix. 20.) Here Jehovah and David are connected as objects of worship, in the same way, as God and the Lamb are connected in the passages under consideration. Had these words been found in the New Testament, with the name Christ instead of the king, it is needless to say, how they would be applied by Trinitarians. We should have been told of the inconsistency, nay the idolatry, of uniting a creature with the Creator, in the same act of worship. The passage now shows, how we are to estimate this kind of argument. It proceeds on a wrong supposition ; viz. that both of the persons, mentioned, must be equally objects of worship. When the congregation worshipped Jehovah and David, they doubtless worshipped each according to his character; the first, as God, the second, as king of Israel. Both were worthy of honour; but in unequal degrees. So, when blessing, honour, &c. are ascribed to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb; the nature of the case, and the description, given of the two, show, as in the other instance, that only one of them is worshipped as the supreme God. The language here no more proves the Lamb to be equal, or equally worshipped, with him, who sitteth on the throne ; than, in the other case, it proves David to
be equal, or equally worshipped, with the Lord. Our Saviour said, 6 Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.” (Luke ix. 26.) Had the last clause been ;-" when he shall come in his own glory and of the Father, and of the holy Spirit ;"—we should probably have been told, that the glory of the three is the same, and therefore that the three must be equal; and, further, that it is inconsistent to mention the glory of a creature in connexion with that of the supreme God. The passage however entirely refutes this mode of reasoning; and shows, from the very best authority, that the glory of creatures may be mentioned in the same connexion with that of the Creator, without any design of representing them to be equal. St. Paul said, (1. Tim. v. 21.) “ I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels.” Had this passage been read ;-"! charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy Spirit ;" it woold doubtless have been regarded as a proof of the Trinity ; on the ground, that, in the most solemn charge, which can be given to man, a created being could not consistently be united with the supreme God. Perhaps it would have been considered an act of worship to the three persons in the divine nature : and as an instance of the equal glory, which they receive. Of s him that overcometh,” Christ said, “I will write upon bim the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, and my dew name.” (Rev. iii. 12.) Though this is never thought to prove the supreme divinity of " him that overcometh ;" yet, the angel, who is supposed to be Christ, is thought by many to possess essen, tial deity, because God said “ My name is in him.” (Ex. xxiii. 21 ) Why is an inference drawn in the latter case, which, as every one knows, cannot be drawn in the other ?—pp. 57–59.
The History of the Church of Christ. By Joseph MILNER,
M.A. 5 vols. 8vo. Boston. 1809. 12mo. 1822.
We rank ourselves with those who believe that the world is gradually growing wiser; in religion as in every other department of knowledge. And yet on this supposition, we can hardly account for the singularly vicious taste of the public. evinced by the sort of books that are growing into popularity. Why is it that the solid and deep-toned, though in some respects erroneous, devotional works of Taylor and Baxter and Watts, are every where giving place to the flimsy sentimental trash continually teeming from our presses, in the shape of Diaries
and Experiences ? Why is it that the sensible and learned Expositions of scripture by Whitby and Doddridge, are likely to be intirely supplanted by the cumbersome volumes of Scott, whose wearisome • Notes and Observations,' are not only read and endured, but praised and held as almost oracular? These surely are signs which would seem to indicate a retrograde movement of the human min:/; so far at least as religion is concerned. It certainly must prove some such movement that another edition of Milner's Church History is demanded ; an author remarkable for nothing more than for ihe dull and heavy manner in which to retails his dull and heary matter. Our surprise that there should be a demand for a new edition of this book is the greater, be. cause the same suloject has been so often treated by other and abler hands ; by men holding the same theological opinions with Milner, and yet in every respect superior to him as ecclesiastical historians ;--not only more learned, consistent and impartial, but also more dignified, more interesting, and even more powerful as the advocates of their party, and certainly more respectable as its representatives.*
The very principle on which Milner proceeds in writing his history, and which he boasts of so much as his new plan, is liable we conceive to very strong objections. He thinks that
in every age there have been real followers of Christ who have constituted his church, and that 'to illustrate the character of these men, and point out some of the effects of the Holy Spirit upon them,' is the true and proper object of the ecclesiastical historian. Under these impressions he gives us what he is pleased to call, 'a history of the out-pourings of the Divine Spirit ;' without paying much attention to the secularities of the church, to its forms and customs in different ages, to the causes of its errors and dissentions, nor even to chronology or the connexion of the narrative. Now we do not deny that such a work, executed with judgment and in a good spirit, presenting in a connected series the lives and pious meditations of all the best men that have lived under the christian dispensation, would answer many useful purposes, and would be on the whole a very good book. But it certamly would not be a good history of the church in any proper sense of that word, since from the very principle of its construction, it would be materially deficient in the information which such a work is expected to give. Milner gravely tells us in his Introduction, that an history of the perversions and abuses of religion is not properly an history of the church; as absurd would it be to suppose an history of the highwayınen that bave infested this country, to be an history of England ;' and indeed we might give this as a specimen of our author's profound and discriminating observations. It is true we do not expect to find in the history of any country, a history of its robbers and beggars. But what would Milner have said to a history of England, in which the reigns of Edward the Third, and Henry the Eighth, were entirely omitted or slightly touched upou, because forsooth they were bad men and trampled on the laws. Besides, a work composed upon this plan, bowever well executed, could answer but very imperfectly the moral purposes of an ecclesiastical bistory. The office of an ecclesiastical historian is not to give us merely a dry chronicle of facts, nor yet to fatigue us to death, by a tedious recital of the religious experiences of honest well-meaning men. His object is, or at least it ought to be, to teach us human nature, as it is affected by religious truth and religious error; to point out the thousand forns which faith and piety and religious zeal have assumed ; to show the mutual influence which church and state, religion and learning, have had on one another; to convince us that there have been good men and bad men of all persuasions, and in all religious connexions; above all to demonstrate the abso. lute futility of all arguments in favour of a disputed doctrine, drawn from its antiquity, its general reception or the authority of distinguished names; and in tine, to make us truly and thoroughly liberal with respect to all sectarian differences, in the same sense and in the same way, that travel and an extensive acquaintance with he world, make men liberal as to all local prejudices. These are the proper objects of ecclesiastical history; but it is plain that none of them can be compassed on Miner's
* It is olyjected to Mosheim, and perhaps with some degree of justice, that he is too voluminous a writer and too erudite, as well as too much employed upon civil affairs, and upon the schisms and corruptions of the church, rather than upon the church itself, for general reading. But there are other works against which none of these exceptions can be taken, in particular the following :- • The History of the Christian church from the Birth of Christ to the Eighteenth century : including the very interesting account of the Waldenses and Albegenses. By William Jones. 2 vols. 8vo. 4th Edition. London: 1819. flere is a work respectable in every point of view, embracing the same period and written upon nearly the saipe plan with Milner's, coining too from an orthodox man and designed expressly for popular reading; and yet this book has been allowed to reach a fonirth edition in England without baving been reprioted in this country
We admit that some writers have dwelt too exclusively on the errors and corruptions of the church, and in a tone too of sarcasm, or levity, or heartlessness, which we altogether disapprove ; and the tendency of which upon common readers, must be to produce a deep and inveterate scepticism. Among such writers we must class Gibbon, Miduleton, and.
Robinson, amusing and instructive as we consider them in other respects. Still we cannot but think that truth is often as much advanced by a judicious exposure of error, and piety by the unmasking of hypocrisy, as by any other means.
And though we must regret that men calling themselves Christians, and the only Christians, should ever have resorted to arts and practices that have brought dishonour upon the Christian name, yet as such has been the fact, it may be well for the public to be apprised of it, as it may do something to prevent a recurrence of similar impositions.
We have said more perhaps than was necessary upon our author's plan, as he does not scruple to depart from it himself whenever it suits bis purpose. It is against the manner and spirit with which he has executed his plan that we would be understood principally to protest. Indeed he seems to have thought of his plan merely because it affords him a fairer pretext for saying nothing but what is good of the orthodox, whom he chooses to consider as the church, and nothing but what is bad of the heretics, whom he chooses to consider as the adversaries of the church. What really distinguishes the work before us from all others of the kind is ihat it is an avowed attempt to make it apo pear that there has been no piety, no humility, no real virtue out of the orthodox communion.
• Yet I shall beg leave,' says the author, “to insist on the necessity of our understanding certain fundamental principles, as necessary to constitute the real gospel. The divinity of Christ, the atonement, justification by faith, regeneration--we have seen these to be the principles of the primitive church, and withia this inclosure the whole of that piety which produced such glorious effects has been confined, and it is worthy the attention of learned men to consider whether the same remark may not be made in all ages.' I. 142.
Speaking of the modern Unitarians he asks, ' Are these the Christians of the three first centuries? Were they such men as these whom Celsus scorned ? No surely. Jf they were, their worldly ambitious spirit might easily have found some of the many pretenders to the Roman empire with whom they might have united. We should have seen Christians active in politics, bargaining with different competitors for the empire, and insisting on some communication of temporal powers and privileges to themselves. Men so void of heavenly ambition would have displayed that which is of the earth; and had Ebion's religious sentiments been then as prevalent as now, the humble, meek, charitable, passive, Christians would not have adorned the historic page ; but the turbulent, aspiring, political sons of Arius and So