Review Of Dr. Woods’s Works -- By: Heman Humphrey

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:29 (Jan 1851)
Article: Review Of Dr. Woods’s Works
Author: Heman Humphrey


Review Of Dr. Woods’s Works

Heman Humphrey

Dr. Woods is a theologian of the old, or Edwardean school, owning but “one Master, even Christ;” and few if any of his contemporaries, on either side of the Atlantic, have contended more earnestly or ably “for the faith, once delivered to the saints.” Amid the fluctuations of the age, he has never swerved from the primitive New England orthodoxy — the exponent of which, is the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism.

The structure of Dr. Woods’s mind is eminently conservative. It has no elective affinity for new and startling theories, of any kind. He chooses to walk in the beaten path “of the Apostles and Prophets,” heedless of beckonings, however plausible and captivating, on the right hand or the left. Some have thought him quite too slow and cautious, for an age of progress, which outstrips everything but the lightning. But, if he has not “kept fully up with the times,” he has adhered closely to the Bible, and his manifest aim has been, to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.” Old men should be allowed to abide by the old landmarks, and leave it to those, who with better critical and exegetical helps are coming after, to extend tile boundaries of theological science, if they can, within the “charter.” We are just now under such rapid head way, that it needs some strong

and steady hands to put down the breaks, as well as high pressure to drive the engine.

The candid reader of Dr. Woods’s system of theology, as drawn out in these volumes, will find, that though his convictions of truth are strong and earnest, he is no dogmatist. Pie is as far as any one from claiming infallibility for his opinions upon abstruse and debated points, cautiously and deliberately as they have been formed. He believes, that there is more or less of error in all human systems and digests, and that absolute perfection is not to be expected in any. But while he strenuously maintains, that the Bible is a complete and full revelation, to which nothing must be added and from which nothing may be taken away, he regards the Scriptures as an inexhaustible store-house of wisdom and knowledge, ready to yield new developments and illustrations of divine truth, to the devout student.

It is no disparagement of any system of theology of anterior date, if in some respects it is surpassed by others which have since come from the press. As every author may fairly avail himself of the ripest fruits he can gather, in the wide fields of sacred culture by other hands, it were a reproach, if with equal talents and better opportunities, the commentator or lecturer of the nineteenth century, were to make no advances upon his predecessor...

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