Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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tenor of the Sacred Writings, and so abhorrent from the piety of both
Jew and Christian, that the learned author himself, either forgetting
what he had before advanced, or else postponing his philosophy to his
religion, has absolutely maintained the contrary in his explication of
the Cherubim, &c.

I am so far from agreeing with Mr. Oxlee on these points, that I not
only doubt whether before the Captivity any fair proof of the existence
of Angels, in the present sense, can be produced from the inspired
Scriptures, - but think also that a strong argument for the divinity of
Christ, and for his presence to the Patriarchs and under the Law, rests
on the contrary, namely, that the Seraphim were images no less
symbolical than the Cherubim. Surely it is not presuming too much of a
Clergyman of the Church of England to expect that he would measure the
importance of a theological tenet by its bearings on our moral and
spiritual duties, by its practical tendencies. What is it to us whether
Angels are the spirits of just men made perfect, or a distinct class of
moral and rational creatures? Augustine has well and wisely observed
that reason recognizes only three essential kinds; - God, man, beast. Try
as long as you will, you can never make an Angel anything but a man with
wings on his shoulders.


Ib. ch. III. p. 58.

But this deficiency in the Mosaic account of the creation is amply
supplied by early tradition, which inculcates not only that the angels
were created, but that they were created, either on the second day,
according to R. Jochanan, or on the fifth, according to R. Chanania.

Inspired Scripture amply supplied by the Talmudic and Rabbinical
traditions! - This from a Clergyman of the Church of England!

I am, I confess, greatly disappointed. I had expected, I scarce know
why, to have had some light thrown on the existence of the Cabala in its
present form, from Ezekiel to Paul and John. But Mr. Oxlee takes it as
he finds it, and gravely ascribes this patch-work of corrupt Platonism
or Plotinism, with Chaldean, Persian, and Judaic fables and fancies, to
the Jewish Doctors, as an original, profound, and pious philosophy in
its fountain-head! The indispensable requisite not only to a profitable
but even to a safe study of the Cabala is a familiar knowledge of the
docimastic philosophy, that is, a philosophy, which has for its object
the trial and testing of the weights and measures themselves, the first
principles, definitions, postulates, axioms of logic and metaphysics.
But this is in no other way possible but by our enumeration of the
mental faculties, and an investigation of the constitution, function,
limits, and applicability 'ad quas res', of each. The application to
this subject of the rules and forms of the understanding, or discursive
logic, or even of the intuitions of the reason itself, if reason be
assumed as the first and highest, has Pantheism for its necessary
result. But this the Cabalists did: and consequently the Cabalistic
theosophy is Pantheistic, and Pantheism, in whatever drapery of pious
phrases disguised, is (where it forms the whole of a system) Atheism,
and precludes moral responsibility, and the essential difference of
right and wrong. One of the two contra-distinctions of the Hebrew
Revelation is the doctrine of positive creation. This, if not the only,
is the easiest and surest criterion between the idea of God and the
notion of a 'mens agitans molem'. But this the Cabalists evaded by their
double meaning of the term, 'nothing', namely as nought = 0, and as no
'thing'; and by their use of the term, as designating God. Thus in words
and to the ear they taught that the world was made out of nothing; but
in fact they meant and inculcated, that the world was God himself
expanded. It is not, therefore, half a dozen passages respecting the
first three 'proprietates'[2] in the Sephiroth, that will lead a wise
man to expect the true doctrine of the Trinity in the Cabalistic scheme:
for he knows that the scholastic value, the theological necessity, of
this doctrine consists in its exhibiting an idea of God, which rescues
our faith from both extremes, Cabalo-Pantheism, and Anthropomorphism. It
is, I say, to prevent the necessity of the Cabalistic inferences that
the full and distinct developement of the doctrine of the Trinity
becomes necessary in every scheme of dogmatic theology. If the first
three 'proprietates' are God, so are the next seven, and so are all ten.
God according to the Cabalists is all in each and one in all. I do not
say that there is not a great deal of truth in this; but I say that it
is not, as the Cabalists represent it, the whole truth. Spinoza himself
describes his own philosophy as in substance the same with that of the
ancient Hebrew Doctors, the Cabalists - only unswathed from the Biblical
dress.


Ib. p. 61.

Similar to this is the declaration of R. Moses ben Maimon. "For that
influence, which flows from the Deity to the actual production of
abstract intelligences flows also from the intelligences to their
production from each other in succession," &c.

How much trouble would Mr. Oxlee have saved himself, had he in sober
earnest asked his own mind, what he meant by emanation; and whether he
could attach any intelligible meaning to the term at all as applied to
spirit.


Ib. p. 65.

Thus having, by variety of proofs, demonstrated the fecundity of the
Godhead, in that all spiritualities, of whatever gradation, have
originated essentially and substantially from it, like streams from
their fountain; I avail myself of this as another sound argument, that
in the sameness of the divine essence subsists a plurality of Persons.

A plurality with a vengeance! Why, this is the very scoff of a late
Unitarian writer, - only that he inverts the order. Mr. Oxlee proves ten
trillions of trillions in the Deity, in order to deduce 'a fortiori' the
rationality of three: the Unitarian from the Three pretends to deduce
the equal rationality of as many thousands.


Ib. p. 66.

So, if without detriment to piety great things may be compared with
small, I would contend, that every intelligency, descending by way of
emanation or impartition from the Godhead, must needs be a personality
of that Godhead, from which it has descended, only so vastly unequal
to it in personal perfection, that it can form no part of its proper
existency.

Is not this to all intents and purposes ascribing partibility to God?
Indeed it is the necessary consequence of the emanation
scheme? - Unequal! - Aye, various 'wicked' personalities of the
Godhead? - How does this rhyme? - Even as a metaphor, emanation is an
ill-chosen term; for it applies only to fluids. 'Ramenta', unravellings,
threads, would be more germane.



[Footnote 1: The Christian Doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation
considered and maintained on the principles of Judaism. By the Rev. John
Oxlee. London, 1815.]


[Footnote 2: That is, Intelligence or the Crown, Knowledge, Wisdom. Ed.]





* * * * *





NOTES ON A BARRISTER'S HINTS ON EVANGELICAL PREACHING. 1810. [1]


For only that man understands in deed
Who well remembers what he well can do;
The faith lives only where the faith doth breed
Obedience to the works it binds us to.
And as the Life of Wisdom hath exprest -
'If this ye know, then do it and be blest'.

LORD BROOK.


'In initio'.

There is one misconception running through the whole of this Pamphlet,
the rock on which, and the quarry out of which, the whole reasoning, is
built; - an error therefore which will not indeed destroy its efficacy as
a [Greek: mísaetron] or anti-philtre to inflame the scorn of the enemies
of Methodism, but which must utterly incapacitate it for the better
purpose of convincing the consciences or allaying the fanaticism of the
Methodists themselves; this is the uniform and gross mis-statement of
the one great point in dispute, by which the Methodists are represented
as holding the compatibility of an impure life with a saving faith:
whereas they only assert that the works of righteousness are the
consequence, not the price, of Redemption, a gift included in the great
gift of salvation; - and therefore not of merit but of imputation through
the free love of the Saviour.


Part I. p. 49.

It is enough, it seems, that all the disorderly classes of mankind,
prompted as they are by their worst passions to trample on the public
welfare, should 'know' that they are, what every one else is convinced
they are, the pests of society, and the evil is remedied. They are not
to be exhorted to honesty, sobriety, or the observance of any laws,
human or divine - they must not even be entreated to do their best.
"Just as 'absurd' would it be," we are told, "in a physician to send
away his patient, when labouring under some desperate disease, with a
recommendation to do his utmost towards his own cure, and then to come
to him to finish it, as it is in the minister of the 'Gospel' to
propose to the sinner 'to do his best', by way of healing the disease
of the soul - and then to come to the Lord Jesus to perfect his
recovery. The 'only' previous qualification is to 'know' our misery,
and the remedy is prepared." See Dr. Hawker's Works, vol. vi. p. 117.

For "know," let the Barrister substitute "feel;" that is, we know it as
we know our life; and then ask himself whether the production of such a
state of mind in a sinner would or would not be of greater promise as to
his reformation than the repetition of the Ten Commandments with
paraphrases on the same. - But why not both? The Barrister is at least as
wrong in the undervaluing of the one as the pseudo-Evangelists in the
exclusion of the other.


Ib. p. 51.

Whatever these new Evangelists may teach to the contrary, the present
state of public morals and of public happiness would assume a very
different appearance if the thieves, swindlers, and highway robbers,
would 'do their best' towards maintaining themselves by honest labour,
instead of perpetually planning new systems of fraud, and new schemes
of depredation.

That is, if these thieves had a different will - not a mere wish, however
anxious: - for this wish "the libertine" doubtless has, as described in
p. 50, - but an effective will. Well, and who doubts this? The point in
dispute is, as to the means of producing this reformation in the will;
which, whatever the Barrister may think, Christ at least thought so
difficult as to speak of it, not once or twice, but uniformly, as little
less than miraculous, as tantamount to a re-creation. This Barrister may
be likened to an ignorant but well-meaning Galenist, who writing against
some infamous quack, who lived by puffing and vending pills of mercurial
sublimate for all cases of a certain description, should have no
stronger argument than to extol 'sarsaparilla', and 'lignum vitæ', or
'senna' in contempt of all mercurial preparations.


Ib. p. 56.

Not for the revenues of an Archbishop would he exhort them to a duty
'unknown in Scripture', of adding their five talents to the five they
have received, &c.

All this is mere calumny and wilful misstatement of the tenets of
Wesley, who never doubted that we are bound to improve our 'talents',
or, on the other hand, that we are equally bound, having done so, to be
equally thankful to the Giver of all things for the power and the will
by which we improved the talents, as for the original capital which is
the object of the improvement. The question is not whether Christ will
say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant', &c.; - but whether the
servant is to say it of himself. Now Christ has delivered as positive a
precept against our doing this as the promise can be that he will impute
it to us, if we do not impute it to our own merits.


Ib. p. 60.

The complaints of the profligacy of servants of every class, and of
the depravity of the times are in every body's hearing: - and these
Evangelical tutors - the dear Mr. Lovegoods of the day - deserve the
best attention of the public for thus instructing the ignorant
multitude, who are always ready enough to neglect their moral duties,
to despise and insult those by whom they are taught.

All this is no better than infamous slander, unless the Barrister can
prove that these depraved servants and thieves are Methodists, or have
been wicked in proportion as they were proselyted to Methodism. O folly!
This is indeed to secure the triumph of these enthusiasts.


Ib.

It must afford him (Rowland Hill) great consolation, amidst the
increasing immorality * * * that when their village Curate exhorts
them, if they have 'faith' in the doctrine of a world to come, to add
to it those 'good works' in which the sum and substance of religion
consist, he has led them to ridicule him, as 'chopping a
new-fashioned' logic.

That this is either false or nugatory, see proved in The Friend.


Ib. p. 68.

Tom Payne himself never laboured harder to root all virtue out of
society. - Mandeville nor Voltaire never even laboured so much.

Indeed!


Ib.

They were content with declaring their disbelief of a future state.

In what part of their works? Can any wise man read Mandeville's Fable of
the Bees, and not see that it is a keen satire on the inconsistency of
Christians, and so intended.


Ib. p. 71.

When the populace shall be once brought to a conviction that the
Gospel, as they are told, has neither terms nor conditions * * *, that
no sins can be too great, no life too impure, 'no offences too many or
too aggravated', to disqualify the perpetrators of them for
- salvation, &c.

Merely insert the words "sincere repentance and amendment of heart and
life, and therefore for" salvation, - and is not this truth, and Gospel
truth? And is it not the meaning of the preacher? Did any Methodist ever
teach that salvation may be attained without sanctification? This
Barrister for ever forgets that the whole point in dispute is not
concerning the possibility of an immoral Christian being saved, which
the Methodist would deny as strenuously as himself, and perhaps give an
austerer sense to the word immoral; but whether morality, or as the
Methodists would call it, sanctification, be the price which we pay for
the purchase of our salvation with our own money, or a part of the same
free gift. God knows, I am no advocate for Methodism; but for fair
statement I am, and most zealously - even for the love of logic, putting
honesty out of sight.


Ib. p. 72.

"In every age," says the moral divine (Blair), "the practice has
prevailed of substituting certain appearances of piety in the place of
the great 'duties' of humanity and mercy," &c.

Will the Barrister rest the decision of the controversy on a comparison
of the lives of the Methodists and non-Methodists? Unless he knows that
their "morality has declined, as their piety has become more ardent," is
not his quotation mere labouring - nay, absolute pioneering - for the
triumphal chariot of his enemies?


Ib. pp. 75-79.

It is but fair to select a specimen of Evangelical preaching
from one of its most celebrated and popular champions * *.

He will preface it with the solemn and woful communication of the
Evangelist John, in order to show how exactly they accord, how clearly
the doctrines of the one are deduced from the Revelation of the other,
and how justly, therefore, it assumes the exclusive title of
evangelical. 'And I saw the dead * * * and the dead were judged out of
those things which were written in the books, according to their
works. And the sea gave up the dead * * and they were judged every man
according to his works'. Rev. xx. 12, 13. Let us recall to mind the
urgent caution conveyed in the writings of Paul * * 'Be not deceived;
God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
reap'. And let us further add * * the confirmation * * of the Saviour
himself: - 'When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, * * * but the
righteous into life eternal'. Matt. xxv. 31, 'ad finem'. Let us now
attend to the Evangelical preacher, (Toplady). "The Religion of Jesus
Christ stands eminently distinguished, and essentially differenced,
from every other religion that was ever proposed to human reception,
by this remarkable peculiarity; that, look abroad in the world, and
you will find that every religion, 'except one', puts you upon 'doing
something', in order to recommend yourself to God. A Mahometan * * A
Papist * * * It is only the religion of Jesus Christ that runs counter
to all the rest, by affirming - that we are 'saved' and called with a
holy calling, 'not' according to our works, but according to the
Father's own purpose and grace, which was 'not' sold to us 'on certain
conditions to be fulfilled by ourselves', but was given us in Christ
before the world began." Toplady's Works: Sermon on James ii. 18.

'Si sic omnia'! All this is just and forcible; and surely nothing can be
easier than to confute the Methodist by shewing that his very
'no-doing', when he comes to explain it, is not only an act, a work, but
even a very severe and perseverant energy of the will. He is therefore
to be arraigned of nonsense and abuse of words rather than of immoral
doctrines.


Ib. p. 84.

The sacred volume of Holy Writ declares that 'true' (pure?) 'religion
and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the
fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world'. James i. 27

This is now at least, whatever might have been the meaning of the word
'religion' in the time of the Translators, a false version. St. James is
speaking of persons eminently zealous in those public or private acts of
worship, which we call divine service, [Greek: thraeskeía]. It should be
rendered, 'True worship', &c. The passage is a fine burst of rhetoric,
and not a mere truism; just as when we say; - "A cheerful heart is a
perpetual thanksgiving, and a state of love and resignation the truest
utterance of the Lord's Prayer." St. James opposes Christianity to the
outward signs and ceremonial observances of the Jewish and Pagan
religions. But these are the only sure signs, these are the most
significant ceremonial observances by which your Christianity is to be
made known, - 'to visit the fatherless', &c. True religion does not
consist 'quoad essentiam' in these acts, but in that habitual state of
the whole moral being, which manifests itself by these acts - and which
acts are to the religion of Christ that which ablutions, sacrifices and
Temple-going were to the Mosaic religion, namely, its genuine [Greek:
thraeskeía]. That which was the religion of Moses is the ceremonial or
cult of the religion of Christ. Moses commanded all good works, even
those stated by St. James, as the means of temporal felicity; and this
was the Mosaic religion; and to these he added a multitude of symbolical
observances; and these formed the Mosaic cult, ('cultus religionis',
[Greek: thraeskeía]). Christ commands holiness out of perfect love, that
is, Christian religion; and adds to this no other ceremony or symbol
than a pure life and active beneficence; which (says St. James) are the
'true cult'. [2]


Ib. p. 86.

There is no one whose writings are better calculated to do good, (than
those of Paley) by inculcating the essential duties of common life,
and the sound truths of practical Christianity.

Indeed! Paley's whole system is reducible to this one precept: - "Obey
God, and benefit your neighbour, because you love yourself above all."
Christ has himself comprised his system in - "Love your neighbour as
yourself, and God above all." These "sound truths of practical
Christianity" consist in a total subversion, not only of Christianity,
but of all morality; - the very words virtue and vice being but lazy
synonymes of prudence and miscalculation, - and which ought to be
expunged from our vocabularies, together with Abraxas and Abracadabra,
as charms abused by superstitious or mystic enthusiasts.


Ib. p. 94.

Eventually the whole direction of the popular mind, in the affairs of
religion, will be gained into the hands of a set of ignorant fanatics
of such low origin and vulgar habits as can only serve to degrade
religion in the eyes of those to whom its influence is most wanted.
Will such persons venerate or respect it in the hands of a sect
composed in the far greater part of bigotted, coarse, illiterate, and
low-bred enthusiasts? Men who have abandoned their lawful callings, in
which by industry they might have been useful members of society, to
take upon themselves concerns the most sacred, with which nothing but
their vanity and their ignorance could have excited them to meddle.

It is not the buffoonery of the reverend joker of the Edinburgh Review;
not the convulsed grin of mortification which, sprawling prostrate in
the dirt from "the whiff and wind" of the masterly disquisition in the
Quarterly Review, the itinerant preacher would pass oft' for the broad
grin of triumph; no, nor even the over-valued distinction of miracles,
- which will prevent him from seeing and shewing the equal applicability
of all this to the Apostles and primitive Christians. We know that
Trajan, Pliny, Tacitus, the Antonines, Celsus, Lucian and the
like, - much more the ten thousand philosophers and joke-smiths of
Rome, - did both feel and apply all this to the Galilean Sect; and
yet - 'Vicisti, O Galilæe'!


Ib. p. 95.

They never fail to refer to the proud Pharisee, whom they term
self-'righteous'; and thus, having greatly misrepresented his
character, they proceed to declaim on the arrogance of founding any
expectation of reward from the performance of our 'moral
duties': - whereas the plain truth is that the Pharisee was 'not
righteous', but merely arrogated to himself that character; he had
neglected all the 'moral duties' of life.

Who told the Barrister this? Not the Gospel, I am sure.

The Evangelical has only to translate these sentences into the true
statement of his opinions, in order to baffle this angry and impotent
attack; the self-righteousness of all who expect to claim salvation on
the plea of their own personal merit. "Pay to A. B. at sight - value
received by me." - To Messrs. Stone and Co. Bankers, Heaven-Gate. It is a
short step from this to the Popish. "Pay to A. B. 'or order'." Once
assume merits, and I defy you to keep out supererogation and the old
'Monte di Pietà'.


Ib. p. 97.

- and from thence occasion is taken to defame all those who strive to
prepare themselves, during this their state of trial, for that
judgment which they must undergo at that day, when they will receive
either reward or punishment, according as they shall be found to have
'merited' the one, or 'deserved' the other.

Can the Barrister have read the New Testament? Or does he know it only
by quotations?


Ib.

- a swarm of new Evangelists who are every where teaching the people
that no reliance is to be placed on holiness of life as a ground of
future acceptance.

I am weary of repeating that this is false. It is only denied that mere
acts, not proceeding from faith, are or can be holiness. As surely
(would the Methodist say) as the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son, so
surely does sanctification from redemption, and not vice versa, - much
less from self-sanctifiedness, that ostrich with its head in the sand,
and the plucked rump of its merits staring on the divine [Greek: Átae]
'venatrix'!


Ib. p. 102.

'He that doeth righteousness is righteous'. Since then it is plain
that each must 'himself' be righteous, if he be so at all, what do
they mean who thus inveigh against 'self'-righteousness, since Christ
himself declares there is no other?

Here again the whole dispute lies in the word "himself." In the outward
and visible sense both parties agree; but the Methodist calls it "the
will in us," given by grace; the Barrister calls it "our own will," or
"we ourselves." But why does not the Barrister reserve a part of his
wrath for Dr. Priestley, according to whom a villain has superior claims
on the divine justice as an innocent martyr to the grand machinery of
Providence; - for Dr. Priestley, who turns the whole dictionary of human
nature into verbs impersonal with a perpetual 'subauditur' of 'Deus' for
their common nominative case; - which said 'Deus', however, is but


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