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As I have hinted something above a of the strange lengths which have been run, and of the unwarrantable excesses which some late systems of the eucharistic sacrifice manifestly abound with; it may reasonably be expected that I should here give some account of what I there intimated. I must own, it is the most unwelcome part of my employ, and what I least wished to be concerned in. It can never be any pleasure to a good mind to be exposing failings, even when there is a necessity for it; but it is rather an abatement of the solid satisfaction arising from the maintaining of the truth, that it cannot ordinarily be done without some kind of rebuke, open or tacit, upon every gainsayer. When I first engaged in the subject of the Eucharist, I saw what necessity there was for throwing off the material hypothesis, (being unscriptural, and uncatholic, and many ways unreasonable,) lest it should hang like a millstone upon the neck of the main cause. Nevertheless, I endeavoured to remove that weight with all imaginable tenderness towards persons, living or dead; designing only to rectify mistakes, in a manner the most respectful, so as not to betray the cause of truth. What I could not approve of, in a late learned writer, I expressed my dislike of, where necessary, in the softest terms; scarce noting the deformities of his system in any explicit way, but wrapping them up in generals, and throwing the kindest shade over them. But by what has appeared since, I find, that every degree of tenderness, and every token of re
• Sec above, p. 175.
spect must be looked upon as nothing, unless I could have commended the same writer, as a person of sound judgment b, in the very things wherein he certainly judged amiss, and much to the prejudice of those important truths which I had undertaken to defend. A very particular stress is laid upon that gentleman's solid learning and judgment in this very question : he was, it seems, visibly superior in learning and argument to all opposers; insomuch that a 'most eminent person, in 1716, had not the courage to contradict him, however disposed to it, in the article of the sacrificed. I have no inclination to detract from that gentleman's talents : though the proper glory of a man lies not in the possession, but in the right use of them. Admiration of persons has often been found a false guide in our searches after truth. Very great men have frequently been observed to run into great excesses : and I doubt not but to make it appear that he did so in the article now before us. Men must, at last, be tried by truth, (which is above every thing,) and not truth by men, or by names e, That I may observe some method, I shall point out the excesses which that learned writer appears to have run into, under the heads here following:
See Dr. Brett's Remarks on Review, p. 97. and compare p. 1, 121, 123, 156,
c“ Mr. Johnson's books had given great offence to many in the highest “ stations in this Church. Dr. Hancock, Dr. Wise, and Dr. Turner, and " some others were encouraged to answer him; but they were all found to “ be too weak to be any of them, or all together, a match for a man of his “ solid learning and judgment : he was visibly their superior in learning “ and argument, and their faint essays served but to raise his reputation." Brett, ibid. p. 122.
d“ This eminent person, whoever he was, (for Mr. Johnson does not “ name him,) and who was least expected to favour the doctrine of the sacri“ fice, had not the courage to deny it to be one." Brett, ibid.
The design, I suppose, of that eminent person, was not to enter into the debate at all, but only to suggest an healing thought, viz. that since every thing of moment was perfectly secure without the material hypothesis, there could be no good reason left for the warmth that was shown in it. A wise reflection : which ought to have been thankfully received, and seriously attended to. • See my Importance &c rol. v. p. 334.
1. In depreciating spiritual sacrifices beyond what was decent or just.
2. In overvaluing material sacrifices.
3. In overstraining many things relating to our Lord's supposed sacrifice in the Eucharist.
4. In overturning or undermining the sacrifice of the cross.
5. In the wrong stating our sacrifice in the Eucharist.
6. In giving erroneous accounts of the Evangelical or Christian priesthood.
These several heads may furnish out so many distinct chapters: I shall take them in the order as they lie, and shall proceed as far in them as necessity may seem to require, or my present leisure may permit; reserving the rest for any future occasion, according as circumstances may appear.
C HA P. I. Showing some Excesses of the new Scheme, in depreciating
I. I MADE mention before of Mr. Johnson's taking it for granted, that spiritual sacrifice cannot be sacrifice properly so called f: which was throwing off a very important question too negligently, and forbidding it a fair hearing.
II. Elsewhere he maintains, that “ it is impossible in “ the nature of things, that prayer and praise without sa“ crifice” (he meant material sacrifice) “ can be better “ than with it &.” I pass by the pretence offered in support of this paradox; because it is an old one, borrowed from the Romanists : and it was solidly confuted long
See above, p. 176. I forgot to take Grotius into my list above; who says, Eleemosynæ et jejunia et res similes sunt sacre actiones, et quidem erterne ; ideoque cum fiunt ex fide in Christum, sunt sacrificia novi fæderis, etiam talia per quæ Deus nobis redditur propitius. Grot. Vot. pro Pace, p. 670. Conf. 715.
& Johnson, Unbloody Sacrifice, part ii. p. 123.
ago, by our very learned and judicious Mr. Mason h. I shall only note farther, that the author might as justly have said, that it is impossible for uncircumcision to be better than circumcision, because he who receives circumcision as he ought, must of course have the true circumcision of the heart, and both must needs be better than one.
III. Another the like paradox is, that “ prayer and “ praise are absurdly preferred to material sacrifices i.” Much might be said in confutation of this assertion, both from Scripture and antiquity : but I consult brevity ; besides that the bare mentioning such things is sufficient to expose them. I shall only ask, how came material incense to be laid aside, and naked prayer to be preferred before it, as proper to the saints, under the Gospel k? Incense was symbolical prayer; prayer is the evangelical in-" cense, and as much preferable to the other, as truth is to shadow, or thing signified to the sign or figure of it.
IV. To disparage spiritual sacrifice yet farther, he says, “ A contrite spirit is called a sacrifice by David, though “ it be no more than a disposition of mind fitting us for “ devotion and humiliation, and may prevail with God “ when no real (viz. material] sacrifice is to be had !.” An unseemly reflection upon what are emphatically called the sacrifices of God, in that very place m, as vastly preferable to material sacrifices. The Psalmist did not mean, when material sacrifice was not to be had: for in the verse immediately preceding he says, “ Thou desirest not sa"crifice, else would I give it: thou delightest not in “ burnt offering n.” What could be said plainer, to show the preference of the spiritual sacrifices above all other?
h Mason de Minister. Anglic. p. 585.
* The pretences made for changing the translation, in order to elnde the sense, (p. 131.) appear so forced and unnatural, as not to deserve a serious confutation.
V. The author goes on in the same strain : “ Whatever “is now said of prayer without sacrifice, it is certain, “ that it is but mere synagogue worship o.” It is certain that such prayer is the worship of the saints, under the Gospel, as I before noted. But, I presume, this ingenious turn was thought on to anticipate or to retort the charge of Judaism ; which may justly be objected to material sacrifices, and frequently has been. It is odd to speak of public prayer without sacrifice, when such prayer is itself a Christian sacrifice : but he meant prayer without a material sacrifice; that, in his account, is mere synagogue worship. He forgot, that it runs in Christ's name.
VI. Another position is, that is a sacrifice of righteous“ ness signifies a noble or rich sacrifice, such as it was '“ proper for King David to offer p.” But learned men have well shown, that it signifies true and spiritual sacrifice 9, as opposed to material, typical, symbolical: and such spiritual sacrifice is really richer and nobler than an hecatomb. I am aware that something may be speciously pleaded from Psalm li. 19: and Mr. Johnson makes his use of it. But the learned Vitringa seems to me to have given a just account of that whole matters.
VII. To disparage spiritual sacrifices yet more, and to give the reader as low and contemptible an idea of them as possible, they are compared with the wood offeringst mentioned in Nehemiah u; the fuel brought for the use of the sacrifices : and it is thereupon observed, that “ the 6 Jews of old hoped, as well as other people, by their 56 sweet-scented cane and wood, to render their sacrifice a
• Johnson, Unbloody Sacrifice, part ii. p. 128. P Jobuson, ibid. p. 130.
See Vitringa, de Vet. Synagog. p. 65. Observat. Sacr. tom. ii. p. 499. in Isa. tom. ii. p. 56, 733, 829.
Johnson, Unbloody Sacrifice, part ii. p. 130. s Vitringa in Isa. tom. ii. p. 733. 1 Johnson, Unbloody Sacrifice, part ii. p. 225. - Nehem. x. 34. xiii. 31.