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ANTECEDENT INBEING, INDEED. 207
scriptural usage as they are all now anathema &mo Christ, who do not obey the gospel, and for them in sympathy, we all, who love him, ought more intensely to feel; and then, I deem it, we should all the better know exactly what Paul meant in his tears of blood shed for his countrymen—especially in memory of his former self! But, my dear sir, forgive me for protracting the argument with you ! I must say that your objection is not tenable, nor, for once, is its basis true ; and I come to the result, that, te judice, my view is “the best every way” that Moses Stuart ever knew ' 2. That seems very fair, and I will think of it. 1. I hope you will—on the principle, si quid movisti rectius istis, candidus imperti; si mon, his utere mecum.
Hereabout our collocution ended; and soon appeared his
volume on the principle, illo in loco, of antecedent inbeing ! Non invideo miror magis.
That Paul should ever have had such a spasmodic rabies of transcendental rodomontade and stultiloquent benevolence% after his Christian regeneration, I hold to be, a priori, of all fantasms the wildest ; transubstantiation and apostolical succession themselves—almost—postponed to it. This is more probable, as it occurs after taking an oath of veracity, so solemn, beyond all common precedent, as to preclude all such frightful and impious extravagance, under the notion of oriental hyperbole and poetical impressiveness. By their fruits is a criterion of principles as well as persons, and it is one that utterly condemns the notion of Emmons. Is its fruit to holiness and edification in the gospel of Jesus Christ 7
Besides, the case of Moses, Exod. 32:32, is not at all parallel. Emmons quotes it as one of his hobby texts, “Blot my
* A strange specimen of words, I own; but put for a stranger and a more uncouth specimen of thought, a rare and a perfectly abominable absurdity!
208 PRACTICAL SENSE THE THING.
name out of the Book of life.” This utterly alters the words and the sense. The Book of life of the Lamb had nothing to do with the argument. The expression is merely proverbial for “forget me;” or, as we say, such a one blots me from his book: meaning, I am not in his favor, as before. The answer of Moses plainly refers to the proffer of God to promote him, instead of them; which Moses, as the typical mediator interceding for them, personally declines—preferring, in that respect, comparatively, not to be remembered in his ways! 32 : 10. But they pervert one reciprocally to help the other, and thus fortify their most unedifying and anti-scriptural extravagance. In the mean time, it does immense damage to the souls of men, doing evil, and only evil, and that continually, under the sublimest assumptions of wisdom and holiness. May I be permitted here a general reflection ? Possibly it might, or might not, be readily conceded to a Christian pastor and a practical minister, who has seen some service in the Church of God. It is the constant and the paramount need of the principle and the influence, in large measure, of comMon SENSE and PRACTICAL views, rather than a serene scholasticism, in the interpretation especially of the written oracles of God. Learning is great and good, and very desirable in its place and in its use—not out of its place or in its insidious abuse. Some men are so learned, so full of books, of theories, of rules and exceptions, of immense philology, of technology, of pneumatology, of psychology, of ontology, and all the ologies, with hypotheses and opinions of great men, that their common sense collapses in a foreign and an imposing presence; and their plethora of authorities and erudition, ut helluones librorum, prevents the action of their own judgment, and precludes a just originality of thought—so that their opinion, if they have any that is their own, is a conglomerate of all their reading; as stationary as a weather-cock; as true as an old Turkish time-piece, made,
EMMONSISM DREARY AND COLD As DEATH. 209
as we are truly informed, to announce twelve whenever the sultan was ready and in humor to give his fiat, for the resounding of the gong, as the signal, the oracle, the fact. All the commoner theories on the passage in question are condemned by the rule of the fruits and common sense; so far are they from practical, natural, probable, useful, on the principles of the best biblical interpretation. They are vastly unprofitable, therefore, and even derogatory to the high and plenary inspiration of the written word. Yet what is more common or natural than for an honest Christian philanthropy, in persuading and beseeching men to be reconciled to God, to refer with humiliation to its own former experience ; its recollection of its own confused madness in a previous state of alienation from the life of God? nor is it wonderful, if such an eloquence as Paul was wont to exemplify, in this or a similar relation, should teach the tremendous folly and the impious suicide of all the rebellious enemies of God, by citing and impressing his own example of astonishing anti-Christian zeal and desperation; characterizing it as if glorying in the destination it was inducing; as if acting with a direct aim to the consequence so real of his course; as if coveting the condition of being forever—anathema from Christ. Acts, 9, 1–4 ; 22 : 4, 5; 26:9–11; i. Tim., 1 : 12–17. I subjoin the remark that Emmonsism is a dreary, an isolating, pre-eminently an unjoyous, and a comfortless system. The coldest and the most dissocial religionists I have ever known, preachers and people, in the ranks of the orthodox; the most incapable of private friendship, and the most destitute of the social and the domestic loves and sympathies, their humanities and their home-born affections all exsiccated, and precluded, and gone, I have seen, known, and marked, among this especial class, as properly of them. I could distinctly trace their frigidity, their rigidity, and their aridity to the system that formed their characters. It has
210 COMFORT AND JOY IN GOD ARE SANCTIONED.
almost ruined them for all amiableness and all usefulness. I
LEARN l NG NOT IMPIOUS. 211
all the fruit of his gelid metaphysics, or of the gasconading and the assumption of any of the schoolmen. Scholasticism, in some of its multifarious phases, affects supreme intelligence, and a perfect oraculous mastery in religion. Its idol is philosophy, assumed their own. We are warned to beware of its sway and its deceit.—Col. 2: 8–10. After all, it is literalizing and short-sighted. Its magic is contracted, its gyromancy contemptible. Learning has its highest function, as well as its purest nature and its richest honor, only as coincident with revelation, because taught by it and subordinate to it, in all its proper and its genuine manifestations.