Reply To Dr. Fiske On Rom. 5:12-21 -- By: J. Forbes
BSac 28:112 (Oct 1871) p. 739
Reply To Dr. Fiske On Rom. 5:12-21
The new sphere of duty to which I was suddenly called in November of last year, and which required my undivided attention to the work of the College Session, prevented my giving any reply immediately to the Review of my Commentary on the Romans, with which Dr. Fiske favored me in the Bibliotheca Sacra for October, 1870. To an author desirous only of attaining to the truth, the objections of one who has given so much attention to the subject as Dr. Fiske are far more valuable, and even acceptable, than the undiscriminating general commendations with which the Commentary has met in most of the reviews of it which I have seen. I feel not more indebted to Dr. Fiske for the confirmation he affords me of the correctness of my conclusions on those points in which he agrees with me in opposition to
BSac 28:112 (Oct 1871) p. 740
Dr. Hodge, than for the objections which he states to others in which he differs from me. Such objections enable an author to correct his statements, if erroneous; or, if correct in the main, to remove the difficulties that stand in the way of the general acceptance of his argument by others.
I feel the more anxious to reply to the objections of Dr. Fiske, because they appear to me to furnish a good example of what I have stated to be the prevailing defect in our theological speculations, and which leads to so much misunderstanding and unnecessary controversy among Christians — the habit, I mean, of overlooking the “many-sidedness” of scripture, and, in forgetfulness that every object, like the shield in the fable, has at least two sides, examining but one side of the truth, and concluding that that which has specially attracted our own attention is the only one, to the exclusion of every other.
Dr. Fiske charges me with inconsistency, because I do not adhere invariably to the same point of view, but look sometimes to the more immediate cause, sometimes to the more remote. Thus, for example, he says: “That his [Dr. Forbes’s] views are not throughout self-consistent is evident from the fact that the condemnation or death of the [human] race is ascribed both to the transgression of Adam, and to their own inherited sinfulness.” But where is the evident inconsistency here? Having traced a phenomenon to its proximate cause, are we thereby precluded from going one step further back in the series of causes and effects? Having traced the death of a man found murdered in a wood to a bullet which had pierced his head, is it inconsistent to inquire further, and to endeavor to discover the hand that pointed and discharged the gun? Suppose a gardener to find that the water from his watering-pan kills his plants, is there any inconsistency in his inquiring...
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