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out, we do not scruple to declare our sorrow and fear in regard to the publication of these volumes. Sorrow, we say, and fear–because we will not affect a contempt for Dr. Emmons: it would be the very effrontery of ignorance to do so. His weapons are fearful weapons. He is an enemy whom no system need wish to meet. As a metaphysical writer he has, within our knowledge, no superior, if an equal, for stating exactly what he means in the shortest, clearest, plainest, strongest, and (in the sense of the mathematicians) most elegant manner. You never doubt an instant what his doctrine is. You never find him, like Dr. Taylor, complaining that he is not understood. Nay, he is understood, and that too well. His intrepidity in the assertion of the most startling and odious of his dogmas is perhaps the grand secret of his strength; he saves time by it; he saves the multiplied explanations and ambages of the New Haven school; he commands respect for his candour, and there is a sort of sublimity in the very impiety of his declarations, when he tears the veil away from the secret pavilion of God, tells us what Jehovah can and cannot do, and trumpets in the very sanctuary that God is the creator of every sinful thought of men and devils.

Again we fear the influence of Dr. Emmons because he is a master of subtle dialectics. No man reasons more clearly, more ingeniously, or more speciously. No man better knows how to assume the point, at the very moment when the opponent is least expecting such a turn. The countenance is so open, the mien so erect, and the manipulation so bold and unembarrassed, that you never dream of legerdemain. The ratiocination of Dr. Emmons most nearly resembles those chains of mathematical reasoning which brings out startling and even opposite conclusions; they occupy, enchain, exercise and astound the mind, but they do not convince. We doubt not, there are to this day many who think they have been made willing to be damned; they have yielded to the seeming proof, notwithstanding the never-ceasing and healthful revolt of consciousness, reason and grace. We fear the effects of an entangling in any meshes of thin-spun sophistry: the more subtle the more dangerous; the invisible net is worst. We fear the necessity which sound men will be under to unravel these specious tissues, and the metaphysical cast which must thereby be given to theological disquisition. New England has in every portion of her enlightened and happy territory groaned under the influence

of this very evil. Since the days of Edwards it has been true. Far different in our estimate is the sort of thinking there prevalent, from that which marked the era of the Reformed Divines. They too were philosophers. They too handled the scholastic scalpel. Since the days of Aristotle none have more nicely dissected, or more dexterously unfolded every web and tissue. But the materiel of their operations was derived from discourse,' using the term in its higher sense ; from exegesis, from sound authority, and from divine experience. They reasoned with holy awe. It was not from dulness that the great minds of the Dordrecht Synod failed to reach those points which Emmons laid open. They saw them. What was it which they did not see, of the tendencies of their almost unwarranted speculations! They saw and shuddered. They looked over the brink, but they beheld an abyss and they returned. They distrusted their sounding line, when its lead sank into the depths of divinity, and ceased to read off the fathoms, when they found themselves declaring falsehood. They reverenced positive statements of revealed truth, as superseding all argument. Hence, when weary and astounded at the seeming issue of some of their flights, they alighted on the solid supports of revelation. Hence the abundant exegetical discussion in such writers as Calvin, Gomar, Turretine, Witsius, Zanchius, Van Maestricht, Mark and Wyttenbach; while Emmons and the metaphysical divines treat the text of scripture as a mere impertinence; to be cited exoterically, but to be twisted to any meaning or emptied of all.

In speaking so highly as we have done of the close reasoning of Dr. Emmons, and in thus exalting its power, we must not be understood to represent it as fairand conclusive. If it were fair and conclusive, its results would be truth ; but our complaint is, that, so far as they are peculiar, the results are false. And there is always cause to fear the ingenious statement of error. Error is always and only evil. Every assertion-the merest assertion of a false proposition is evil: hence the enormity of all falsehood. But when such assertion is accompanied by a display of reasons, neat, bright, concatenated, apparently inseparable from the premises, from one another, and from the conclusion, the danger is greatly increased. Besides the few who will be misled by the argument, there are the many who will be captivated by the show of it. The evil is all the greater, when the false

hoods are engrafted on truth, or as in the present instance, when they borrow the name of an accredited system. How easily may the young student of theology be led into absurdity and error who comes to the study of Emmons, believing him to be only a profounder and more consistent Calvin !

No system of theological opinion has been more fully refuted than that of Dr. Emmons: and none has given more clear indications of approaching dissolution. Single positions indeed, such as that all sin is voluntary action, will continue to be a part of other and more cunning theories, but Emmonism, properly so called, has ceased to propagate itself. Its casual entrance into a theological school, even of New England, in insulated rustic students, is as strange and incongruous as the apparition of Banquo at the feast. Other forms of error possess the public mind. But nevertheless, the republication of these speculations in a new and attractive shape will awaken a temporary attention, vex the minds of inquirers, puzzle the unwary, and cause experienced polemics to take down their old armour.

The influence of the work cannot but be injurious, upon the preaching of the gospel. It has already been so in a high degree, and to a wide extent, in all those parts of America which have felt the power of New England; as what part has not? A Sermon, in the eye of Dr. Emmons, and of some before and since his day, is a composition of very marked character, but unlike any thing bearing the same name in other parts and eras of Christendom. All Dr. Emmons's works are sermons, and all his sermons are turned out of the same mould. Indeed, it might almost be said, that, through life, he was a sermonizer, and nothing else. He was not a student of the dead languages; he was not an expositor of scripture. He did not practice parochial visitation. Though he had a farm, he was no agriculturist; he was no traveller. While he was a profound thinker, he made no pretensions to erudition. For more than seventy years he patiently went on in constructing sermons. It would have been wonderful, if he had not acquired a great facility in his art. They are all alike; whatever be the subject, there is the same short and easy exordium, the same statement of the proposition, the same brevity of proof, and the same disproportionately prolix “ improvement." His method of sermonizing we consider the worst of all methods. “I seldom preached textually,"

he tells us, “but chose my subject in the first place, and then chose a text adapted to it.” On this method, any thing may be preached from any text. Thus, when he would show that love precedes faith, he founds his doctrine on the fragment—“But Faith which worketh by Love:” and when he would teach, that God discovers no order in calling men out of the world, his text is—“ Without any order." It is reasoning, which is claimed, and with justice, as the great characteristic of these discourses; but the reasoning, even where it is not sophistical, is not scriptural. It is rationalistic; spun most ingeniously out of the author's own head, and not founded, as a general rule, on the positive teachings of revelation. When scripture is quoted, which in comparison with Calvinistic divines, Dr. Emmons seldom does, he appends the passage as a purpureus pannus ; it is no part of the texture; as one who should say, "if you must have a text here it is?' Just so the French preachers cite their little morsels from the Vulgate. You may leave the text out, and yet lose nothing.

The preaching of American Congregationalists of a certain age and school, may be characterized as metaphysical; that of Dr. Emmons was such in an eminent degree. In this, so far as our knowledge goes, it differs from all other preaching, since the world began. We say preaching, for metaphysical theology has flourished in the most brilliant periods of the church ; but only here has the wall been broken down between the church and the schools. The Athanasian, the Augustinian, the Calvinistic theology was highly metaphysical; but the same men who demonstrated the osteology of truth on the tables of their lecture rooms, fed their flocks with the food of plain doctrine. Let any man satisfy himself by looking first at the extant discourses of Austin, Calvin, Rivet, Daillé, Charnock, Owen, the Erskines, and Saurin, and then at those of Dr. Emmons. Even in Germany, where philosophy is rampant, we are informed that a metaphysical sermon would not be tolerated. In the hands of ignorant, foolish, erroneous or mischievous men, such sermons become the stalking-horse for inane janglings and heresies: as no one acquainted with New England theology needs to be told. Yet the theology of New England is a varied structure, the parts of which are not to be confounded, and the very errors of which savour of thoughtfulness and dialectic skill. Of the fathers of the school, it is impossible to speak with

out reverence, for of this Academy the Socrates was none other than the venerable Edwards, and those who followed him, including Dr. Emmons himself, were mighty seasoners, and pious men; of whom, all and singular, we shall take heed not to speak in any terms but those of respect. The disciples of President Edwards, who adopted his principles and imitated his method of theologizing, were Dr. Bellamy, Dr. Samuel Hopkins, Dr. Stephen West, Dr. John Smalley, Dr. Samuel Spring, and Dr. Nathanael Emmons. As President Edwards had made great use of abstruse reasoning to remove some of the objections which were commonly made to the doctrines of Calvinism, so those theologians were encouraged to go still further in this metaphysical method of theologizing, until they brought out an entirely new system, which they considered a great improvement on old Calvinism. While these divines were agreed in rejecting several of the most offensive doctrines of the old system, they did not all proceed to the same length, in the new opinions which they adopted. Dr. Bellamy agreed with Mr. Edwards in his general views, but departed in some particulars from what had before been considered the standard of orthodoxy; while Dr. Hopkins and Dr. West went boldly forward, step by step, until they had carried out their new opinions as a system. Dr. Hopkins took the lead, was the principal writer, and published the new divinity, in a work of considerable extent; it therefore took his name, and was thenceforward denominated HOPKINSIANISM. Dr. Smalley seems not to have proceeded to the same length in his new opinions as Dr. West and Dr. Hopkins; and his views were very generally adopted by the ministers of Connecticut. Dr. Emmons, as appears by his own account, received his views of this system from Dr. Smalley, under whom he studied divinity; but being of a speculative turn, and possessed of a very acute and metaphysical mind, he was not contented to stop on the moderate ground assumed by his master, but went on to adopt and publish many opinions in advance even of Hopkins and West; so that, although he was willing to be denominated a Hopkinsian, he had by his new and startling doctrines so modified the system of Hopkinsianism, that his followers thought proper to give his name to the peculiar opinions which he had united and advocated. Dr. Emmons may, therefore be considered as having given the finishing strokes to the fabric of the new divinity. And it

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