Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor On Moral Government In The Abstract -- By: John P. Gulliver

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 017:66 (Apr 1860)
Article: Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor On Moral Government In The Abstract
Author: John P. Gulliver


Dr. Nathaniel W. Taylor On Moral Government In The Abstract1

Rev. John P. Gulliver

A system of theology, if constructed upon the ideal of Dr. Taylor, would take, as its central truth, the fact that God is administering a perfect moral government over men. Around this central fact would be grouped all the teachings of nature and of revelation. The existence, character, and providence of God, would be studied with reference to his position as governor. The constitution and history of man would be investigated with reference to his position as a subject. The special teachings of the inspired word respecting

the fall and recovery of the race, would be considered as an exceptional and extraordinary application of the principles of moral government to the work of forgiveness and redemption. Indeed, according to this ideal, it is easy to see that all human knowledge, whether of principles or of facts, whether in the form of science or of history, may be arranged and studied in its relations to the same great central fact, the whole being comprised among the means employed, or the results secured, under God’s government of the intelligent universe.

It was Dr. Taylor’s constant regret, not only that our systems of divinity are made up of partial examinations of subordinate and insulated topics, called forth by the exigencies of controversy, instead of being complete and symmetrical exhibitions of God’s moral government; but that they contain absolutely no full or formal discussion whatever of this vital theme. Vid. Mor. Gov. II. p. 2.

In this conception, therefore, of God’s moral government as centralizing and including all truth, we have the key to Dr. Taylor’s system of theology. To the direct elucidation of God’s moral government, in respect both to its abstract nature and its practical working, he devoted a large portion of his theological lectures. In the department of natural theology his plan was fully executed. And although he did not, in form, arrange the doctrines of revelation about this central idea; yet so fully are all his most elaborate discussions of these doctrines modelled upon the mould of thought brought out in his essays on moral government, that they may be considered as, in fact, a continuation of those essays, being the application of their principles in specific departments of theology.

The volumes before us contain a discussion of this subject under three different forms :

1. Moral government in its abstract principles, as cognizable by the intuitive and deductive powers of man, disconnected from any particular form of ...

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