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Reason is the judge and interpreter of revelation ; but in no other sense on matters revealed, is reason an “ umpire.” It decides that the scriptures are given by inspiration of God, and it ascertains their true import. Having done this, its first and most imperious demand is, that we bow implicitly to their decisions.

If these remarks are just, they show what is the only true construction to be given to the following sentiment also in the author's prefatory illustrations. “If we are called upon to believe facts or testimony, it is only such as are shown to be worthy of belief; or if we are required to acquiesce in any peculiar mode of proceeding, it is not until the justice, wisdom, and excellency of it, are den!opstrated.” We indeed, “ are called upon to believe only such facts as are shown to be worthy of our belief;" but in regard to many such facts, (viz. those on which reason is not competent to decide of itself,) that which shews this, is simply the testimony of God concerning them. It was the high excellence of Abraham's faith, that not only without any other reason than this, but even contrary to all ordinary grounds of human belief in such cases, or in the language of Paul, “ against hope," he“ believed in hope ;" and in this very thing is he presented, as the great leader and example of his spiritual successors. “Who against hope believed in hope, that be might become the father of many nations.” So also, “ we are not required to acquiesce in any peculiar method of proceeding, until the justice, wisdom, and excellency of it are demonstrated ;” but often, as in the case of Abraham's call to sacrifice his son, or the Savior washing his disciples feet, that which demonstrates these, is the unexplained appointment of him who is a wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” Such a faith, as the author well observes, “is an act of reason, and is plainly nothing more than reason itself in exercise on objects of a peculiar character and class,” viz. objects for our knowledge of which we are dependent on divine testimony; inasmuch as reason can ask for no bigher proof of any fact than the authenticated testimony of God, and can bave no surer ground for acquiescence in any proceeding as just, wise and excellent, than his acknowledged appointment.

These remarks suggest a modification, not altogether unimportant, of another part of the author's prefatory discussion. "If I were asked,” he says, “whether an authenticated communication from God, is not a sufficient reason for believing every thing contained in it, I might say, in the first place, that admitting this, faith would be no longer unreasonable ; there being good and sufficient reason for it. But I must add in the second, that the statement needs a limitation. An authentic communication from God is a sufficient reason for believing every thing contained in it, provided nothing be contained in it contrary to the common sense of mankind.The exception here suggested is altogether out of

place and impertinent; it being impossible that any thing contrary to the common sense of mankind, should belong to a communication from God. The limitation suggested, relates entirely to the question of the authenticity of the communication. When this is once settled, it is absurd and irreverent to suppose any contradiction between the competent, unperverted reason of man, and a record which is acknowledged to be a revelation from God. It is supposing our Maker to place in the human heart a principle of judgment which, within certain limits, as Mr. Hinton says, is unerring and irresistible in its decisions, and then to contradict those very decisions by a voice from heaven! It is, in other words, setting God directly against himself! The question, then, ought never to be raised, whether reason is to yield to revelation, or revelation to reason. Neither is to yield, for they can never come into collision. On subjects respecting which reason is competent to decide, her testimony must be coincident with that of revelation. On subjects beyond her reach, her sole office is to interpret the word of God, and to bow to his decisions. In neither case, therefore, can the supposed collision take place.

With these qualifications, which indeed are rather explanations of the real meaning of the author, than exceptions against it, his remarks on this subject appear to us not only just, but of high practical importance. That the absurdities and errors which some have connected with the scheme of evangelical truth, have led thousands to discard it, is notorious. Nor has this been the limit of the evil. To an incalculable extent, they have been the occasion of irreligion in its more ordinary forms. We particularly commend to our readers the following remarks of the author on this point.

Every one knows that, among the methoils by which unbelievers have either attacked christianity, or justified their neglect of it, the denial of its reasonableness has been resorted to with peculiar frequency and effect. The leaders of the Unitarian controversy have conducted it avowedly on this ground, and have modestly denominated their system Rational Christianity; and the same style of argument is employed largely by the whole school of infidelity. A similar species of opposition to divine truth, may be traced in the humblest and most ordinary forms of irreligion. You find the lover of sin arguing, that, since he can do nothing of himself, it is unreasonable to require any thing of him, unless the Spirit is given; that it is equally unreasonable to call upon him to believe in Christ, when perhaps Christ did not die for him; and that, whatever his crimes may be, it is clearly unreasonable to keep him everlastingly in the fire as a punishment for them.

Without admitting that every thing which may have been deemed unreasonable is really so it must be allowed, that, so far as any representation may appear to be unreasonable, its influence as a convincing or persuading power must be counteracted and diminished. It is not in

the nature of things, therefore, that christinity should be deemed unreasonable, without an obstruction being thus raised to its progress. And the actual state of the case amply confirms the expectation, to which } knowledge of human nature leads. Among the causes which have hiddered the prevalence of religion, no one perhaps has been more influential than the fact, that what has been exhibited as religious truth, has been repugnant to the common sense of mankind. It has been owing to this cause that infidelity has nursed itself in the very bosom of the Romish church, and has derived more strength from the monstrous errors and mummeries of her communion, than from all other sources besides; it has been on this ground that secular religious establishments generally have supplied so many arrows to the enemy's quiver; and, for my own part, I feel no hesitation in ascribing the slow progress of real godliness in the midst of religious instruction to a similar cause. Speaking of course of instrumental causes only, I conceive that the degree to which the general scheme of religious truth, as now maintained by evangelical professors, appears to men at large to be unreasonable, is a principal occasion of the deep, and long, and seemingly impenetrable slumbers, of our privileged but perishing population. pp. xxii,-XXIV.

The Essays are fourteen in number, and are entitled—the Existence of God—the Nature and Capacity of Man-Divine Reve. lation—the Revealed Character of God God's Moral Government of Man-the Effects of the Fall-a Future State—the Elements of Future Happiness and Misery—the Eternity of Future Punishment—the Accusatory Aspect of the Gospel-Hereditary Depravity-Whether Christ died for all men—the Nature and Practicability of Repentance-the Nature and Criminality of Cnbelief. Full discussions of subjects so various and comprehensive, could not be expected in a sinall volume like this; much less would an extended analysis of the work, be practicable or useful in our own notice of it. The Essays are all conducted with a steady reference to the single point announced in the title-page; and with this constant aim, there are certain leading principles on which the author seems chiefly to depend, for accomplishing bis object. They are, in general, what are called in this country, New England principles: though we regret to see intermingled with them, some unguarded statements, and some philosophical theories which are peculiar to the author, and which materially detract from the efficacy of the truths which they are intended to support. We shall first advert to some of the great points of Mr. Hinton's theological system, and then comment on what we think some of his errors.

1. In respect to the connection between Adam and his descendants, Mr. Hinton maintains, that by a constitution of God, and a covenant with Adam," the welfare of bis posterity was identified with his own, and suspended on his conduct; so that if he had been faithful in the point on which he was tried, all his descend

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ants would have been made happy for the sake of his fidelity, while all should participate likewise in the consequences of bis failure." Hence, he supposes, that if Adam had stood, all our race would have been holy, from the commencement of moral agency; and that in consequence of his fall, all do invariably begin to sin from the earliest moment of moral action.

This certainty, however, with all the natural evils of our present condition, he strenuously insists, has come upon us, as a mere consequence, and not as a punishment of Adam's sin. He denies, in the strongest terms, that the penalty of the broken law, was ever inflicted either on Adam or his posterity. The continuance of Adam's life, be considers as an absolute demonstration, that it was not inflicted on him, but set aside by the introduction of a new dispensation of pardon through the blood of the atonement. find accordingly, that before a word was said to the criminals, in what God said to the serpent, an annunciation was given of the woman's seed, who should bruise the serpent's head, and undo the mischief he had wrought.” But if the penalty was thus remitted through a coming Redeemer, to Adam, no one will pretend, that it was inflicted on the rest of the race. 6 The evils which we now suffer because of Adam's sin, are not laid on as penalty, or as of the nature of punishment, but beneficially for the purpose of salutary discipline. AMiction is chastisement, not destruction; correction, not condemnation ; kindness, not wrath.” From these views respecting the infliction of the penalty, says Mr. Hinton, "we derive the most cheering confidence of the happiness of all, without exception, who die in infancy : while those who live to moral agency, become open to the calls, and motives, and issues presented to us in the scriptures.” This confidence respecting infants, however, is obviously to be considered as merely a strong hope, for where the scriptures have not decided, it does not become us to dogmatize.

2. As to the ground of the certain and universal sinfulness of our race, Mr. Hinton is not equally full, though his views, we think, cannot be mistaken. ' In the fall, as he supposes,“ perished the rectitude of man's nature," or in other words, "a bias to holiness," which would have been impressed upon the race, if Adam had stood. In place of this, we have now a “ bias to evil,” from which all the existing transgressions of mankind proceed. Whether this bias in Mr. Hinton's view, is a distinct and specific tendency to sin, as its appropriate object: or simply a general tendency of this kind, resulting from the force of the natural appetites, in the absence of higher principles, (as Edwards represents it,) does not certainly appear. We incline, however, to suppose the latter, because Mr. Hinton considers the phrase, “by nature children of wrath,” as describing merely deeds of sin wrought under natural

impulses." But be this as it may, he is very full in his declarations, Wat this Lias to sin is not criminal or deserving of punishment, and say's sarcastically, “If any one should insist, that a bias to evil is ani evil bias, and inust deserve punishment. I only say, let the punishment be confined to the bias, u bich does deserve it, and let bot an atom of it fall upon the unfortunate innocent in whom it is, not only involuntarily, but unconsciously, lodged."

3. As to the character of infants, Mr. Hinton's viens coincide perfectly with those of Prof. Stuart. With the same warmth op ibis subject, which we find exibited in the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Mr. H, says, “ To affirm that the babe desborn, upon any ground whatever, deserves God's wrath and damnation, is revolting to human nature; and if that be religion, is well fitted to generate infidelity.”

4. Criminality or ill-desert, Mr. Hinton represents as consisting wholly in voluntary acts of disobedience to known duty.

Desert of punishment is an idea which attaches itself necessarily and exclusively to a conscious and voluntary agent. If a being, who is so made and situated that he may justly be expected to do right, should do wrong, he may deserve blame; but to talk of sin in the abstract, or of ** the fault and corruption of man's nature," " deserving God's wrath," is nothing less than absurd. That which is not voluntary can have no desert, whether of good or evil. In accordance with this principle are all the declarations of holy writ.” The soul that sinneth shall die. The wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men.” And in every case it is against the deeds and feel. ings of men, and not against their nature, that the denunciations of truth are directed.

pp. 252, 253. Our author, however, thinks that the words sin and deprarity, may be used not only in their leading and proper sense, to denote all-desert, but also in a secondary sense, to describe that which tends to evil. Hence he speaks of “ hereditary depravity," " the depravity of our fallen nature," etc., meaning by these phrases to describe the natural, “ bias," or tendency to evil in the human mind, which he declares in the strongest terms, to be entirely free from guilt or ill-desert.—“ To sin in this sense,” he says, “ no desert of punishment can be attached.” We need not say, what confusion of ideas such a use of language is calculated to produce.

5. The entire capacity of men to obey the commands of God, is the point on which Mr. Hinton insists more than on any other. This capacity he does not represent, like some even among us, as consisting merely in our possessing the faculties of understanding, will and conscience, so that if our hearts were changed, we should be able to do our duty. He maintains that we have power to change our hearts without divine intervention; and despairs of

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