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the catastrophe prefigured in the nineteenth SYSTEMATIC theology has had a wider chapter, it is reasonable to conclude, that a range of marketable value, of late years, period of considerable duration will be occupied by the awful series of events which have been than most similar articles. Some have ushered in by such portentous phenomena."- held that there can be no intelligent pp. 450—455.
knowledge of scripture without it, while
others have deemed it useless or worse, There is nothing in the present aspect regarding it as a remnant of the schoof European affairs that should lead to lastic habits of the dark ages. Within wavering from any opinions which a this nineteenth century to teach theofew months ago it was reasonable to en
logy, otherwise than by system, was tertain. They are on the point of reckoned, in some quarters, impossible, settlement;—so they have been again and in others, to teach it systematically and again. “We would have healed
was publicly condemned. We rejoice Babylon,” may kings, emperors, and to find that the study of systematic presidents say, “ We would have healed theology is reviving, but it is doubly Babylon, but she is not healed.” It is important that the whole science should in accordance with the general plan of be prosecuted in an improved, teachable the infinitely wise Ruler to leave a de spirit, and that it should be subject to gree of mystery around the immediate such laws as are embodied in the very issue of his dispensations. It is not nature of a divine revelation. perhaps his intention that we should be
Man's first business as an inquirer able to ascertain with perfect certainty after truth is to interpret the bible, in the precise line on the chart over which its individual passages, and to ascertain we are at the present moment passing; their meaning. In such efforts he yet it is our duty to study it, to be needs a knowledge of scripture lanwakeful, and to hold ourselves prepared
of eastern customs, and generally for the sudden development of his pur- of biblical archæology. Even without poses. Certainty would perhaps be this knowledge, however, a good man will inconsistent with that state of vigilance often gather from the bible a compreand submission which is most becoming, hensive and sound system; the tendenand most conducive to our welfare; yet cy of the human mind to compare and probability it may be possible to attain generalize its knowledge is so strong, by comparing the signs of the times and the summaries of truth given in with inspired intimations. Of this we
scripture are so clear and full.* But may be sure, that it behoves us to hold
generally, the inquirer who repudiates ourselves in readiness both to labour system is less successful. He is either and to suffer. To this frame of mind compelled to confine himself to scripnothing will be more conducive than ture language, or is exposed to the risk the well regulated study of prophecy of misrepresenting one doctrine in statIt is on the eve of the effusion of the ing another, or more commonly still, he seventh vial that the voice of the Master is tempted to overlook the due proporcries, “Behold I come as
tion and connexion of doctrines--an Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth
error the more seductive that it is his garments."
founded on truth, every item of his
creed being true, but having the effect System of Christian Doctrine. By Dr.
of falsehood through distortion or unCarl J. Nitzsch. Translated by the Rev.
scriptural enlargement. Systematic ROBERT MONTGOMERY, M.A., and JOHN HEMEN, M.D. Edinburgh : T. and T.
• See for example Tit. ii. 11-14, Eph. ii. 20, and Clarke, 1849.
the Epistle to the Romans.
theology, so far as it is scriptural, helps pretation of scripture will come to be us to avoid these mistakes. It supposes regarded but as a means to higher that the phraseology of scripture has knowledge and a nobler end. been examined and explained. It be- The proper place of this science, gins its processes by classifying scripture in relation to biblical exegesis, may statements under their forms-precep- be illustrated by a reference to kindred tive, promissory, doctrinal; or under investigations. In nature, the objects their truths, or blending the two systems of creation are scattered in endless vaof classification under both. It ends by riety. There is really unity and order assigning to every truth and duty such among them, but it is more or less cona place, both as to its order and import- cealed. A knowledge of those objects ance, as properly belongs to it. When or of the facts connected with them is every truth and duty has thus its proper the science of natural history. А place, each honouring the rest, and all knowledge of the connexion of those appearing to full advantage, we have facts and of their mutual relation, or of framed a true, a divine system.
their laws as we phrase it, is natural It is clear from this view that sys-philosophy. Now the texts of scripture tematic theology differs from interpre- form the materials of theology as the tation or exegesis. The one is concerned facts of nature do of philosophy. only with the meaning of individual Interpretation ascertains the meaning passages, the other classifies those of the first, as natural history ascertains passages and considers them in their the second. General comprehensive relation to one another and ourselves. laws and a sound theological system are It is equally clear that systematic theo- the respective results. Natural facts : logy differs from mere speculation. It may the knowledge of them, or natural hisattempt to explain and harmonize appa- tory and their connexion and relation, rent difficulties; but if the explanation or natural philosophy, is the order in the be not revealed, it is conjecture only, first case. Scripture texts, the knowand may be regarded as probable or ledge of their meaning or interpretation, doubtful according to its intrinsic merits. and the connexion of those texts, or It is not the business at all events of systematic theology, is the order in the theology systematically considered to second. pronounce upon it. It is true that this The sacred scripture may be studied department of inquiry has been in systematically for a double purpose; every age the arena of metaphysical either to ascertain its doctrines or to and religious discussion, and many have determine its rules of morality and in consequence deserted it as unfruitful holiness. The system of doctrine thus and exhausting. But this has been the framed is called dogmatic or doctrinal fault of the theologian and not of the theology, and the system of duty moral ology, and it must be corrected not by or practical theology; both being most neglect but by more assiduous and de- closely interwoven in scripture as they vout cultivation. If men will but regard are in human experience. systematic theology as that arrangement So far all treatises on systematic theof scripture truth and duty, in its close ology agree. This distinction is uniconnexions and nice dependencies, formly acknowledged, and the two which most nearly agrees with the branches of inquiry are traced in their view of it entertained by the Great ramifications by all writers in this Teacher, it will become honoured natural order. amongst us again, and even the inter- When they come to discuss the doc
trines of scripture, there is, for the most portant what order is taken, yet it is part, the same agreement as to the deserving of consideration whether order of investigation. They begin the old systems may not have obscured with the Godhead, and proceed chrono- the truth, discouraged exertion, and inlogically through a history which com- fected the minds of many with a premences with the original purposes of sumptuous and a priori spirit of the Father, and terminates in the glory investigation. This suggestion is congiven at the consummation of all firmed by the practice of one of the things to the Son, and in this order the profoundest of the puritan theologiansstudent of nearly all our systems (in- John Howe, whose "Living Temple” cluding the various confessions and begins by setting forth man as apostate catechisms of Europe) must proceed. from God, as restored by Emmanuel, The whole process, however, is objec- and as made the temple of the Holy tionable. It introduces the student Spirit. Andrew Fuller seems to have first to the abstrusest doctrines of scrip- had a similar conviction, and had reture. It attempts to place him at the solved to frame a system of divinity top of the ladder and bids him descend. that should begin with the cross as its It gives him the air and feeling of centre and have other doctrines gatherpossessing in himself the key to all ed round it; though it is questionable knowledge instead of putting him in whether the fragment of a system which the attitude of childlike inquiry. It he prepared embodies this conviction treats theology as a science of mathe- with perfect accuracy. The whole matical demonstration, whereas it is, spirit of that fragment is, however, a above all others, one of investigation, beautiful illustration of the true temper revealing itself by partial disclosures of a Christian inquirer. In the postand not always unveiling, even to the humous lectures of Dr. Chalmers, we humblest, the connexions that exist be- find this order adopted throughout; and tween its clearest truths. A sounder if the volumes had contained nothing and more scriptural system seeks to re- more of value, the illustration they verse this order or to modify it. The supply of what we deem the scriptural bible reveals truth historically, tells us method of studying scripture would in its earlier parts but little of the alone have made them worthy of an nature of God, and in its whole tenor honoured place among modern contrisuggests a more modest order of re-butions to theology. search. When it teaches on system, These remarks will prepare the reader as in the Epistle to the Romans, it for the opinion we form of the book begins with man as guilty and fallen, placed at the head of this article. It points out the glorious provisions of the belongs in the order of its arrangement gospel to cancel our guilt, renew our to the first and large class of treatises hearts, and fit us for heaven--forgiving indicated in the preceding paragraphs ; mercy, sanctifying grace—and as it pro- though in some of the departments of ceeds in its discussion, touches but inquiry, especially toward the close, the lightly on abstruser truth, and seeks order is sounder. It begins with reverather to connect it with the cross and lation, its evidence and rules of interour salvation than to exhibit it in its pretation; it then discusses “the Good” own independent significance. And (God and man as unfallen), “the Bad," this is the order in which, we have long or sin and its consequences, and lastly, thought, theology should be studied; “Salvation,” in its nature, discipline, and though it may seem at first unim. external manifestations, and results. Each section begins with what the glory, Rom. viii. 15–30. Hence divine justiwriter deems the scriptural view of the fication is the perfect abolition of a penal state point to be considered, and this is fol- as a justification of life. . . . In a nega
tive aspect it is the pardon of sin, in a positive lowed by remarks, either on particular one it is the adoption and appropriation of an passages, or on theological writers in rela- eternal inheritance.” tion to it. These views, however, are too
§ 192. BAPTISM. often statements on the scripture doc
“ As a pledge and seal that man may be retrine or on parts of it, and not exhibitions of the doctrine itself. The author Christ our Lord, in conformity with natural
ceived into the fellowship of the new life in rather beautifies or unveils an angle of prophetical symbolism (Ezekiel xxxvi. 25, Zech. the thought than gives the whole xiii. 1), instituted baptism, which even by his thought itself—a serious defect, where express word, by the apostolical practice, and completeness of view is essential. The by other incidental allusions, is declared to be
an external surety of regeneration by the English reader will find the style re- spirit. Grace does not require baptism in markably repulsive and obscure, often order to justify men, bat man, as associated unintelligible. The translators think with the church on earth, needs the fellowship
of Christian institutions." they have done justice to the matter of the original, and blame the author; but
He thinks that it becomes the theowe are sure that they have not done logian to “defend infant baptism, partly justice to their mother tongue. We are from the analogies of Mark x. 14, 1 sadly disappointed, too, to find that the Cor. vii. 14, and by the facts of nature author knows nothing of English and experience, and partly to concede divines, a school pre-eminently adapted, its defectiveness and need of compleby strong sense, largeness of view, and tion.” As may be supposed, he finds it evangelical sentiment, to correct the
difficult to discover the evangelical literary and theological tendencies of stand-point” which excludes “a magithe German mind. So far as we have cal or merely legal appropriation of seen, Whitby and Thomas Burnet are salvation,” and yet secures to an infant the only English writers quoted in a the “communications of Christ.” He volume of more than four hundred
thinks the church"
have reason to pages, and neither of these writers believe," &c., and “ may perceive no represents even a class of English obstacle,” &c. Here Dr. Nitzsch has authors.
“ done no worse than others what no A specimen or two of the writer's
man can do well." views will give a better idea of his work
On the whole, we deem the book a than any further description.
valuable contribution to theology;
though it will prove of most service to $ 146. JUSTIFICATION.
the student, and especially to such as “Upon this boundary line of condition man can give it a place among other volumes is delivered partly from the dominion of the
on the same themes. guilt of sin, and partly from the power of sin itself. The former is justification . and is, indeed, distinct from conversion and Essay on Christian Baptism. By BAPTIST sanctification, as an act of judgment, yet at the same time is communicative (?) act, and as
W. Noel, M.A. London: James Nisbet such is to be perceived in our peace of con
and Co. Foolscap 8vo., pp. viii., 321. science, in the spirit of adoption, in intercessory
This work having left the press just prayer which we enjoy from this spirit, and is experienced also in our open access unto God, time enough to allow us to take a curas well as in the consciousness of our being sory view of it before the conclusion of co-beirs with Christ, and participating in his our labours for the month, we hasten to
gratify those of our readers whose inte- " I assume in the following essay that the rest in the esteemned author will lead word baptism means immersion, and that to them to desire early information re- fact I hope to adduce in a separate volume.”.
baptize is to immerse ; the evidence of which specting its contents.
In such a case, pp. v-vii. the anxiety is, not to know what the reviewer thinks of the performance so In the introduction Mr. Noel assigns much as what the author has designed | reasons for believing, that Christian bapto do; we shall, therefore, present our tism was instituted by our Lord, after friends at once with the preface. It is his resurrection from the dead, as reas follows:
corded in the twenty-eighth chapter of
Matthew's gospel; that the command to “During my ministry in the establishment, the ministers of Christ to baptize is to an indefinite fear of the conclusions at which I might arrive, led me to avoid the study of the baptize in water; and that it is the question of baptism; but I felt obliged to exa
will of Christ that disciples or believers mine honestly each passage of scripture upon in him should be baptized in water in the subject which came in my way, and the all successive generations. These preevidence thus obtained convinced me that liminary points being disposed of he repentance and faith ought to precede baptism. The reasons assigned by the Anglican cate- proceeds to show, in the first chapter, chism why an infant should be baptized without that baptism, as a profession of repentrepentance and faith are very unsatisfactory. ance, faith, and consecration to the As soon, then, as I had settled my mind upon Triune God, must be preceded by faith the union of the churches with the state, I
The turned my attention to this question.
and by discipleship to Christ.
Aware how many are disposed to attribute any
second chapter is devoted to the examiopinion which contradicts their own to such a nation of New Testament baptisms and partial, one-sided investigation as they practise New Testament language respecting themselves, I determined to form my judgment the nature and effects of baptism,
the entirely by the study of the scriptures, and of such authors as advocate the baptism of infants. object being to prove that no one who To that determination I have adhered. And does not make a consistent profession not having read a single baptist book or tract, of faith ought to be baptized." I publish the following work as an independent
“Infant Baptism ” is the title of the testimony to the exclusive right of believers to third chapter, and it begins with Christian baptism. Undoubtedly I might have enriched its pages by an examination of
“ General Considerations to show the the able and excellent authors who have written Unlawfulness of Infant Baptism.” Here on the same side ; and by the use of their we shall neither be just to the author, reasonings and researches might have escaped some of the errors of detail into which it is nor kind to the reader, unless we furnish possible that, in the discussion of a question so
a specimen. extensive and so complicated, I may have fallen : but then I should have lessened its “Infant baptism differs essentially from the value as an independent testimony. Several of baptism of believers. The believer is active in the works with which I have the misfortune to his reception of baptism, but the infant is differ are written with ability and with calm- passive; the believer asks for it as a privilege, ness, especially those of Wardlaw and Leonard the infant receives it without its consent; the Woods, of Halley and Godwin. Nothing can one by it professes his faith, the other professes be better than the spirit which pervades the nothing. The baptism of the believer and the volumes of Budd and Bickersteth: if I dissent baptism of the infant are, therefore, two differfrom their conclusions, I gladly express my ent baptisms, with different significations and conviction of their honesty; and, while con- different consequences; and both, therefore, to tending against one of the opinions of pious be lawful, must have a separate warrant from pædo-baptists, I earnestly hope that nothing the Lord. Since they are quite different instimay ever diminish the cordiality with which tutions, the precept which enjoins the one we may act together in promoting the cause of rather by inference forbids the other. Since the Redeemer.
Christ has commanded a baptismal profession,