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God. We have committed two evils, "forsaking "the Fountain of living waters, and hewing out "broken cisterns which can hold no water." Now, Dr. Hopkins applies all this to self-love, and scarcely mentions the idolatrous love of the creature, of which the scripture is so full. While self-love seeks its good in the creature, it is downright selfishness; the glory of God, and the good of others, except for our own sake, are wholly neglected: men stand in each other's way; the divine law stands in the way of them, and every species of ungodliness and unrighteousness is the consequence. When men, in religion, seek eternal salvation, merely as deliverance from misery and the enjoyment of happiness suited to their taste; their selfishness and idolatry remain. But when they seek the Lord, and return to him, and seek happiness in his favour and service, in renewal to his image, beholding and adoring his glorious excellencies, and enjoying his love; they are cured of selfishness and idolatry; they love themselves. wisely, and in a holy manner; and they never seek their own happiness so entirely, as when they most readily labour, venture, suffer, and deny themselves to glorify God, and do good to his crea
5. Self-love, in this case, receives a new direction, and is exercised in a new manner; but it is gratis dictum to assert, that it is an opposite prin
ciple. Thus it subsists in angels, thus it subsisted in man, created in the image of God. Sin did not destroy this principle, and implant another, but gave it a perverse direction, from which grace re
6. If we condemn all self-denial for the sake of our own salvation, we must condemn much of the scriptures; yet, proud self-justifying self-denial, in hope of a carnal heaven, is downright selfish
7. If there were a hell, in which God and men were loved, and God adored in holiness, grace might lead a man to be willing to go thither for the general good of the universe; but to be willing to be eternally unholy, i. e. eternally to hate God and man, is a singular effect of disinterested love of God and man; and the scripture requires it not: Christ exemplified it not. He knew he should be glorified when he submitted to be made a curse for us.
Upon the whole, I think Dr. Hopkins generally strains the bow till it breaks. He represents that which, if attainable at all, must be the summit of created holiness, as possessed by men who doubt whether God be not their enemy; and, in many things, his theory is too fine spun, though much of it is radically true and important. England, Sept. 1796.
Remarks on the Theological Magazine.
As to the Theological Magazine, I am apt to say, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy. The Americans, at least some of them, seem in danger of corrupting christianity by philosophy, as much as Origen and Clemens Alexandrinus did of old. From some things, perhaps, carried rather too far by Edwards, and Bellamy, some of them take occasion to introduce notions subversive of their most important principles: nay, the negative side of the modern question, (respecting faith being a duty) is evidently implied in some of the papers signed Speculator: and one of them on Blame almost equals even Mr. Hume himself, who says the want of honesty, of sense, and of a leg, is equally criminal. Excuse my freedom, and impute it to my fear of extremes, and of speculating away the gospel, and running into Scepticism or Fatalism.
England, Sept. 1796.
Remarks on Hopkins vindicated.
To the Editor of the Theological Magazine.
London, May 18, 1798.
In your Magazine for March and April, 1797, there is a paper entitled, "Dr. Hopkins vindicated," in which I am in some measure concerned. A friend sent me "Dr. Hopkins' Inquiry into the Nature of True Holiness," and some other American books, desiring me to give him my opinion of them. Accordingly, having marked a few particulars as I read, which I felt an objection to, I sat down when I had done, to write a familiar letter on the subject, amidst a hurry of other engagements; and, without stopping or transcribing one line, I filled two sheets with my remarks. I had not the least idea that I was writing for the press, and much less could I have conceived that my hasty thoughts were destined to meet the critical inspection of the acute metaphysical theologians of New-England. But I soon learned that some, at least, of my remarks had crossed the Atlantick; and, at length, I was astonished, and rather displeased, at seeing them printed in your Magazine.
The vindicator of Dr. Hopkins has compelled me to this vindication of myself, by his animadversion on my introductory observation, in which I referred solely to the haste in which I was about to write my sentiments, and not at all to the superficial consideration with which I had formed them. Had the vindicator lamented, that men, destitute of the requisite talents, or whose views in these respects biassed their reasonings, would engage in such discussions, I should have held my peace; but superficial investigation preceding an apparently dictatorial decision constitutes a criminality, of which I do not wish to be suspected by my American brethren. For considerably more than twenty years I have given up myself to such studies, and have at least been sufficiently addicted to metaphysical speculations. The religious people in Old England look upon me as a New-England divine, which is to them, in general, no recommendation: I have been much indebted to Brainerd, Edwards, Bellamy, and others; and I yet regard them with veneration, as writers of deep discernment and eminent piety, though I have some few reserves. Had I been writing to some of my countrymen, I could and should have filled my paper with observations on the excellency of that kind of religion contained in Dr. Hopkins' work, when compared with the laxity of principle too prevalent here; but I had no occasion to do this, for my friend well knew, that our sentiments on