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ence of the best system. Dr. Fitch advocated this view of the subject in an article in the Christian Spectator, in which he maintained, that the evils that exist in the moral universe may arise from the nature of the moral universe itself; and he adduced the probabilities in favor of such a supposition. * Such a theory, said their opponents, limits the power of God. It makes him desirous of preventing sin, but unable to prevent it. God has complete control over every creature, and can keep all his subjects frem sinning, and bring all sinners to repentance. They go on to charge the New Haven divines as teaching for truth, what they only suggested as a probable solution of a difficulty, and deduce many alarming consequences from their theory.
Out of this inquiry respecting the reasons of the permission of sin, sprung others.
1. One was, the same as that which lay at the foundation of the inquiry respecting the nature of sin, viz. What is the nature of a moral agent? He is one, say the New Haven divines, who has in all possible circumstances the power of choice. This definition, some thought, denied the power of God to control moral agents, overthrew the doctrine of irresistible grace, and made man independent of his Maker. Others said it was the old Arminian doctrine revived, of a self-determining power of the will.
2. Another question agitated was, in what manner does God govern a moral universe ? Not by physical omnipotence, say the New Haven divines, but by an influence consistent with moral agency, leaving the mind free to act otherwise. This their opponents thought was the doctrine of moral suasion, and left it uncertain to the divine mind, whether he could keep any in holiness, or secure the perseverance of the saints.
3. Another inquiry was, Is not God disappointed and unhappy in the results of his moral universe ? Some said, He cannot do all the good he would, and must therefore be unhappy. Dr. Tyler said, He cannot accomplish his decrees and do all his pleasure. The New Haven divines said, He foresaw and purposed all things from eternity, and is not disappointed in the result, but infinitely blessed in his infinite beneficence; whilst he is indeed “grieved" with the transgression of his law, and desires that all sinners should come to repentance, rather than continue in sin. Thus the theory suggested as a possible mode of accounting for the permission of sin, was carried out in the discussion, through the principal doctrines of the gospel, in a manner to awaken great alarm lest the whole fabric of Calvinism should be subverted. Inconsistencies were charged on the New Haven divines. It was asserted that they bad departed from the standard theological writers of New England; and when they attempted to show their agreement with them, in all the essential doctrines of the Calvinistic system, they were suspected of insincerity and accused of self-contradiction. They complained that they were misrepresented; but they were charged with unintelligibleness in their writings. They claimed that their opponents abandoned their original positions, and came to that ground on which there was a virtual
* Vol. iv. (Quarterly Series,) p. 614.
agreement; and they were charged with departing from their own ground, or with insincerity. Their doctrines were continually misstated; they were charged with errors which they solemnly disclaimed; they were branded with names of Arminian, Pelagian, and Unitarian, and ranked with those who had been foremost in opposition to orthodoxy."
Under such circumstances, it is wonderful that the “New Haven speculations” have prevailed, in so short a time, to such an extent as to require for their suppression, a new theological institution in the State of Connecticut; the union of a party in New England with the Old School party in the Presbyterian church; and the revolutionary and violent proceedings of the majority of the General Assembly of 1837. Especially is it wonderful that such results should have taken place, from the discussion of the question, what is the nature of sin and why is it permitted, when all parties in the controversy are agreed, in all the important articles of the Ca nistic creed. Yet there can no doubt, that even the measures of the memorable Assembly of 1837 owe their origin and result to the controversies in Connecticut, more than to any other single cause; and that they who formerly condemned Hopkinsianism, are now arranged in a party, which receives its chief countenance and sympathy in New England from Hopkinsians of the highest school; while they whose heresy is an object of alarm, agree much more nearly than their opponents, with the old Calvinists.* These wonders must be accounted for, in part, on the ground of the misapprehensions which prevail in a portion of the Presbyterian church, respecting the doctrines of the New Haven school. The removal of misapprehensions has greatly promoted harmony and confidence in New England, and will no doubt one day do it in the Presbyterian church, whatever may be the issue of the present conflict.
Let the Congregational churches of New England, from the experience of the past, learn not to give countenance to rumors of heresy, in regard to those who hold and teach the great doctrines on which their faith is founded. Though some in the ministry should charge their brethren with radical error, on the ground that their theories subvert the doctrines of grace; and should adduce arguments to prove
certain speculations," jf carried out into their legitimate consequences, would remove the ancient landmarks; let them not indulge suspicion, till they see some evidence of actual defection from the faith. Let them endeavor to discriminate between the real sentiments of the accused, and the interpretation and inferences of those who are enlisted in con
So far as “ New Haven Theology” differs from the New England Theology, which Presbyterians used to call Hopkinsianism, it approaches towards old Calvinism. Hopkinsian disinterestedness,-God's efficiency in the production of sin,-concreated actual sin, -sin the necessary means,won all these points the New Haven divines depart from Hopkins towards Calvin and the Westminster divines. The Hopkinsians say that infants suffer and die berause of their own personal sin ; New Haven and Princeton agree in saying that it is in consetroversy. If "the speculations” in question are too abstruse to be understood by them, though the doctrines are familiar which it is claimed they subvert; let them feel safe in the assurance, that heresy always relates to a denial of doctrines, and not to the mere philosophical theories which are adopted as modes of explanation.
Finally, let those who are young in the ministry, lay it down as a principle to be adhered to during their whole life, that they will receive truth from whatever source it may be derived, and however much at variance with pre-conceived opinions. Let them plant their feet upon that sure foundation of the prophets and apostles, the word of God, and attach no undue importance to creeds, and confessions, and the commandments of men. Let them prove all things, hold fast that which is good, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; but let them not imagine that all who differ from them, in philosophical opinions and theories, are heretical, or laboring to bring a food of error upon the churches. Then may charity, and brotherly love, and confidence, unite their hearts, and the kingdom of our Redeemer, through their instru. mentality, be greatly advanced. pp. 278—297.
New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor. New
York, John S. Taylor. 1838. The sweet spirit of James Brainerd Taylor has shed its blessed unction on many a heart which has lingered over the memorials he has left of his devotion to God. A New Tribute cannot be inappropriate to one who was so much beloved; we are gratified therefore to receive any additional materials which may serve to aid us in forming our estimate of his character as a man and a Christian. The present volume is if any thing more interesting than the former volume of memoirs. Although it contains portions of the letters previously published, it also gives others which have no place in the former work. This tribute was originally prepared for surviving friends, and hence it is more unreserved in its communication of his filial and fraternal feelings, and this gives a new charm to the references to his history. His life was short, but it was one of continued usefulness, and every insight we gain into the heart and springs of action of such a man, is a rich addition to our means of self-cultivation and advancement in holiness. We recommend this book particularly to those persons who alledge, that New Haven Theology is destructive of experimental religion ; for James B. Taylor was an attached student of the New Haven Seminary. There was something melancholy in the fact, that one who so greatly loved his home and friends at the fireside there, should die abroad, but kindness waited on his couch, to soothe his pain, and the hand of a brother was
there to close his eyes; while the tears of those whose hearts he had gained, and whom he taught how a Christian could die, bedewed bis grave. His bereaved family could ask no more enduring or more hon. orable memorial for their beloved James, than has been prepared in this present volume. To them, and to all who knew him, with how many tender recollections will its perusal be fraught. The fine paper edition of this work is a handsome, and with here and there an occasional error, a correct specimen of typography, which does honor to the publisher. History of the English Language and Literature, by Robert
Chambers. To which is added, a History of American Contributions to the English Language and Literature. By Rev. Royal Robbins. Hartford. Edward Hopkins. 1837. 12mo. pp. 328.
In this volume may be found the most complete account ever published, of the numberless authors, both English and American, who have contributed to the rich and abundant stores of English literature. Almost every writer of note, who is distinguished in its annals, both earlier and later, is here named, and his works noticed, and peculiarities described. Many 100 of those who deserved a place, from the simple fact that they have written and published, are also here set before our view. We heartily commend it to the general reader, as furnishing the most complete history of English literature, in a condensed and accessible form, which can be found; and to the scholar, as a convenient manual, by which he can revive and make more distinct the recollections he has gathered from his miscellaneous reading, and supply any deficiencies that his earlier studies have left unfilled. Though prepared originally, as it would seem, for the young, and for those who possess little knowledge of the subject treated of, it is a most valuable book of reference for the literary and professional man.
As a dictionary or catalogue of writers, the work deserves high commendation; as a work of criticism, it is as good as such a book could reasonably be expected to be. Next to the ability to write a work of genius, stands the power justly to appreciate and describe such a work. No one can doubt this who is familiar with the criticisms of Coleridge upon Shakspeare, Wordsworth and other writers. To criticise a poet, one must be something of a poet in his temperament; to understand and unfold the merits of a mental philosopher, one must be familiar with inquiries into the nature of the human mind. An estimate of all the writers in the English or any other language, which should be just and adequate to their merits, ought to be prepared by almost as many different men as there are works to be criticised, and would occupy nearly as many volumes as have been composed in that language. The notices which are given in this volume, though distinguished by no attempt to be profound or powerful, are in general candid and liberal, and they may be relied upon as being in a good degree accurate and just
. The additions by the Rev. Mr. Robbins greatly increase the value of the work to the American reader, and form the best, if not the only,
complete view of American literature, which has ever been prepared. Such a history of the various authors who have written upon this side of the Atlantic, has been a great desideratum, and we are happy to see it so well supplied. Names may here find a place, which can assert no well grounded claim to such notice, but we are glad to see a strong light thrown upon the terra incognita of American authorship, even though it may call up not a few names, which had at once met with deserved neglect, or fallen back from the notice of the day into merited oblivion. The editor, for his care and faithfulness, deserves the thanks of all who are interested in the literature of their native land. His researches must have cost much labor and reading, and they are, as far as we can judge, marked by accuracy, and a love of truth. Their results are presented to us in Mr. Robbins' usual chaste and lucid style. It is interesting to behold the advance of our own authorship, from its fantastic and homely beginnings, to its present perfection, and its still brighter promises; to mark the obstacles'with which it has contended, and the favoring impulses which it has received from strong minds of native power at home, and propitious incitements from abroad. We again commend the work to the attention of our readers, as one which will be interesting to all, and with which many of them cannot well dispense, without loss to themselves.
Reports and other Documents relating to the State Lunatic
Hospital, at Worcester, Mass. Printed by order of the Sen
ate. Boston, 1837. pp. 200. 8vo. Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic
Hospital, at Worcester, Mass., December, 1837. Boston, 1838. pp. 71. 8vo.
We have been much interested in the perusal of these works. They contain a great mass of well-arranged facts relative to lunatics, and afford a pleasing evidence of the excellence of christianity in providing for the necessities of the unhappy of every condition and grade. Hospitals, asylums, and institutions erected and maintained for the relief of human woe, the legitimate fruits of christian principles, are peculiar to the christian era, and to lands which are included within the pale of christendom. Dr. Woodward deserves great credit for the lucid reports he has given of the institution which is honored by his superintendence; and the candid manner in which he has drawn his deductions from the various catalogues of his patients as they are classified with respect to age, cause of disease, habits, &c. will commend his opinions to all who are unprejudiced. As christian spectators we were struck by a number of the facts developed in these statements, and would gladly make several extracts, but we must content ourselves with the following, which, together with the works themselves, we would especially urge upon our readers :
"The disparity of cases from various religious causes, of forty one cases, twenty six were males and fifteen females.