Remarks On The Biblical Repertory And Princeton Review. Vol. XXII No. IV. Art. VII -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 008:29 (Jan 1851)
Article: Remarks On The Biblical Repertory And Princeton Review. Vol. XXII No. IV. Art. VII
Author: Edwards A. Park

Remarks On The Biblical Repertory And Princeton Review.
Vol. XXII No. IV. Art. VII

Edwards A. Park

In the Biblical Repertory for October, 1850, has been published a Review of the last Convention Sermon delivered before the Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts. Some admirers of this Review have published the remark, that no one can mistake “the hand” that is in it, and have fitly characterized its author as “one of the most accomplished Reviewers in the country.” As it is said to have emanated from a well-known theological instructor; as it suggests some grave questions of rhetoric; and as it illustrates various evils incident to anonymous criticism, it seems entitled to a dispassionate regard. There is no need, however, of canvassing all the principles, right and wrong, which are advanced in the Review, nor of commenting on all the wrong impressions which it makes, with regard to the sermon. We shall content ourselves with noticing a few, as specimens of the many mis-statements into which the critic has inadvertently lapsed.

It is a familiar fact, and one of great practical importance, that there are two generic modes of representing the same system of religious truth; the one mode suited to the scientific treatise, the other to the popular discourse, hymn book, liturgy. They differ not in language alone, but in several, and especially the following particulars: first, in the images and illustrations with which the same truth

is connected; Bernhardt Dogmatic System, for instance, not admitting the fervid imagery which glows in his eloquent discourses; secondly, in the proportions which the same truths bear to each other: Van Mastricht’s scientific treatise, for example, giving less prominence to some, and more to other doctrines, than would be given to them in the earnest sermons of Krummacher; thirdly, in the arrangement of the same truths; Turretin’s arrangement not being adapted to the ever varying wants of men, women, and children; fourthly, in the mode of commending the same truth to popular favor; a treatise of Ralph Cudworth, depending on nice distinctions and scholastic proofs, but a practical sermon of John Bunyan, depending on a bold outline and the selection of a few prominent features which win the heart at once; fifthly, in the words, and collocations of words used for expressing the same class of ideas; the truths in Ridgeley’s Body of Divinity not being clothed in the language proper for an impassioned exhortation, or for popular psalmody. The design of the sermon under review is, to develop some practical lessons suggested by this plain distinction between these two modes of exhibiting one and the same doctrine.

One of these lessons is, the necessity of the preacher’s enlivening a single abstract doctrine...

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