Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

“ Latin Etymology: a Compilation selected from the most approved Philologists, Philosophers, Historians, Poets, and other writers, in which will be found various criticisms and quotations from ancient writers, and which is moreover enriched with all the terms that have been transferred from the languages of Holy Writ into the Latin language. By John Funger, a Friezelander. Published at Francfort, in the Palthenian College, at the expense of John Rhodius. 1605." This is a book replete with important matter, philological, geographical, classical, and theological, capable itself of forming the nucleus of valuable works on all those subjects; and works of this description have doubtless furnished the idea, and much of the matter, for the classical and theological dictionaries which have subsequently seen the light, and attained in each succeeding age of the literary world to greater accuracy in design and perfection in execution. Leigh's “ Critica Sacra,” published in the times of the Commonwealth, has also much of this general character. Wilson's "Christian Dictionary,” published early in the seventeenth century, and often reprinted, is a very copious and useful compilation ; especially as enlarged by Simson. It was superseded by the more ample and learned work of Dom Augustine Calmet, a French Benedictine monk, and abbot of Lemones, published about the commencement of the eighteenth century, and entitled “ A Dictionary of the Holy Bible.” It appeared at first in two volumes folio, with which two more volumes were subsequently incorporated, having been published first under the title of a supplement. It will not be questioned, that this excellent publication, especially as enlarged and improved by the late Mr. Taylor, and which has been translated into Latin, Dutch, English, and several other languages, has been a principal source, to which all subsequent works of this description have been mainly indebted for the valuable matter which they have been instrumental in diffusing among theological students and the religious community at large.

Several things in Calmet's Dictionary have become obsolete ; and, considering the geographical and other discoveries which have been made since the time of the author, many of its articles are very defective, of the dictionaries of Brown, Buck, Jones, Robinson, and others of less note, it is not necessary particularly to speak. They al} have their excellencies, and have been extensively useful. Some of them treat exclusively of Biblical subjects ; others, only of theology; and those which unite both are too limited in their plan to admit of that discussion which many of the topics require ; or they contain matter which many persons, with ourselves, deem objectionable. Dr. Robinson's work is copious in its details, and respectable in its execution; but what must be thought of the author's professions of fairness and candor after reading the following extract ? - Assurance of reconciliation to God," says he, " is a doctrine held by the Methodists, by whom it is frequently termed the new birth. Without doubt a good man may be filled with hope, even a well founded hope, which will comfort and refresh his soul. But what shall we say, when we are told that a condemned criminal could rise from his knees, and eagerly exclaim, • I am now ready to die ; I know that Christ has taken away my sins, and that there is no more condemnation for me!'

a

Such pera

6

6

sons, we are told, were originally either very wicked sinners or merely formal Christians, but that at some period, on a sudden, and generally in accidentally hearing some Methodist preacher, they were, in the language of the Methodist, .convinced of sin,' or for sin ; then, and not till then, they became sensible that Christ died for them. Upon this follow such influxes of Divine grace, called by them experiences,' that the man continues from thenceforth fully assured of his salvation: occasionally indeed certain doubtings and backslidings occur ; but, upon the whole, there is a perseverance to the end in this blessed state.” This mass of confusion and absurdity is given as a fair statement of the Methodist doctrine of assurance ! It would be inconsist. ent with our present purpose to expose the ridiculous misrepresentations, arising either from ignorance or design, or most probably from a mixture of both, with which this one passage is replete. We shall content ourselves with observing, that its commencement and close are worthy of each other, and truly characteristic of the whole! That the Methodists identify assurance with the new birth, and that they conceive a certain perseverance in a state of grace to be a necessary consequent upon it, are monstrous mistakes ; and one cannot divest one's self of surprise that so respectable a compiler should have fallen into them.

On the whole, it is evident that a Theological and Biblical Dictionary, fair in its statements, judicious in its selections, properly comprehensive in its scope, and emanating from a mind, rich in its acquaintance with the vast and ever-accumulating stores of knowledge, which criticism, history, and natural philosophy enclose in their wide domains, was still a desideratum in the religious world. And we feel much confidence in expressing our opinion, that the result of Mr. Watson's. efforts for its supply, in the extensive, but compact, and not too unwieldy or diffuse compilation, now presented to the public, will be found possessed in an eminent degree of the qualities which we have specified, as justly called for by the enlightened spirit of the times in which we live. In this work, indeed, the theological inquirer will at once possess himself of a valuable mine of information on a vast variety of subjects intimately connected with the all-important object of his studies, and be materially assisted to acquire that quick and accurate perception, which will be his best guide in selecting a library for himself in future life. It is, indeed, a more complete body of divinity than are many works which have been published under that name.

In a work of this kind no one will expect to find the different articles to be strictly original ; though in this a considerable number of them are so in whole, and a still greater in part. The preparation of such a manual consists principally in selection; and to accomplish this in the midst of such immense materials as are supplied by divines, lexicographers, critics, commentators, and travellers, of all ages and nations, is no easy task. It can only be successfully executed by a person of extensive reading, correct judgment, and very enlarged and comprehensive views. We have already adverted to some of the sources of information which Mr. Watson has explored; but to specify the whole of them would far exceed our limits. It will be observed that the plan of this work is more ample than that upon which publications of this

nature usually are formed. It is Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical. On the topography of the Holy Land, many of its articles are particularly rich and interesting ; and nearly all of those which relate to the distinguishing doctrines of revelation are copious and argumentative. The notices of the leading Jewish and Christian sects will be of considerable use to the student of ecclesiastical history. As a book of reference this Dictionary will doubtless obtain an extensive circulation among Christians in general ; but to the Wesleyan connection it will be invaluable. It is the only work of the kind they have ever possessed; and will be found to embody all their peculiar tenets ; while its tone and spirit toward every class of evangelical Christians are kind and friendly. To younger ministers of our connection, to the great body of local preachers, and to many private families and individuals, it will be of immense utility. The information which it contains is admirably condensed, while it is comprehensive and important. Nothing extraneous has been inserted. The maps by which it is enriched are neatly executed ; and the volume altogether is one of the finest specimens of typography that ever issued from the Methodist press. The second edition of this Dictionary is already in a course of publication.'

LIFE AND TIMES OF ARMINIUS.

[ocr errors]

BY PROFESSOR STUART, OF ANDOVER. In the second number of the Biblical Repository for 1831, is an article under the above title, from which we propose to give some extracts. Before, however, the appearance of this article, · The Works of James Arminius,' in two volumes Svo. by James Nichols, were published in London, in which that eminent Reformer and able defender of the truth is exhibited in a true light, and vindicated from the foul aspersions which had been cast upon him by his adversaries. On comparing the extracts from Professor Stuart with the full and copious dissertations of Arminius as furnished by Mr. Nichols, we are satisfied that the former has aimed to give a fair representation of the sentiments, and to do justice to the character and conduct of Arminius.

We prefer presenting to our readers the results of Professor Stuart's researches into the life and times of Arminius, first, because, being a professed Calvinist himself, he may be supposed to be free from any improper bias in favor of Arminius or of the system of doctrines which he so ably defended. Secondly, those who have heretofore ranked

. Arminianism among the heresies of the day, will hereby be more likely to be convinced of their error, and of the truth of what we have uniformly maintained, that our doctrine and Arminianism being identical, except in one point, it cannot be classed among the exceptionable dog mas of Pelagianism.

The following is Professor Stuart's historical account of Arminius:

• James Arminius, (called in Latin, Jacobus Arminius, and in Dutch, Jacob Hermanni or Van Harmine,) was born in 1560, at Oudewater, a small but pleasant and thriving village in South Holland. While an infant his father died. It happened, however, at that time, that there was at Oudewater a priest by the name of Theodore Emilius,* who was distinguished for erudition and piety, and who had forsaken the Romish Church, and had emigrated from place to place, in order to avoid its persecution. Moved by compassion for the indigent condition of Arminius, he took him under his care, instructed him in the learned languages, and inculcated on him frequent lessons of practical piety. He became so interested in the distinguished talents and rapid improvement of his young pupil, that he continued his education until he was sufficiently advanced, or nearly so, in his studies, to be sent to a university. It appears, that some time before his death, Emilius had removed to Utrecht with his pupil ; and there he died, leaving the young Arminius without any means of support. Soon after this event, however, the bereaved youth obtained a second patron in Rodolph Snell, a native of Holland, who had been obliged to quit Marburg, where he had resided, on account of the incursions of the Spaniards, and had recently come from Hesse. Snell was himself distinguished for a knowledge of the mathematics. He soon returned to Hesse, accompanied by his young pupil; but he had scarcely arrived there, before news came that the Spaniards had taken Oudewater, burnt it, and massacred all its inhabitants. Arminius, being exceedingly distressed at this news, set out immediately for his native place; and arriving there, he found it a heap of entire ruins, every house being burnt, and his mother, sister, brother, near relatives, and nearly all his fellow townsmen, murdered. He returned immediately to Hesse, performing the whole journey on foot. Here however he did not stay long. News reached him, that the university of Leyden had been founded by the prince of Orange. He soon set out once more for Holland, and betook himself to Rotterdam, which was then the asylum for such of the sufferers at Oudewater as survived, and also for many refugees from Amsterdam. Here Peter Bertius (the father of P. Bertius who wrote the funeral eulogy of Arminius) was persuaded to receive him into his own family ; and he afterward sent him, with his son P. Bertius, to the university of Leyden. Here young Bertius was the constant companion of his studies and of his person. He describes Arminius as exceedingly devoted to literary pursuits. He cultivated much the study of poetry, mathematics, and philosophy, and became the ornament and example of the whole class of students to which he belonged. He was greatly beloved and extolled by his instructors. His principal instructor in theology here was Lambert Danaeus, who had taught theology at Geneva, and was distinguished for his knowledge of the Christian fathers and of the scholastic divines.

After remaining at Leyden about six years, the senate of Amsterdam, being moved by the peculiar reputation for brilliant talents and distinguished application which Arminius had acquired, sent him, in 1582, at their own expense, to Geneva, which was then regarded as the head quarters of the Reformed Calvinistic Churches. Here he enjoyed the instructions of the celebrated Beza, the friend and successor of Calvin, in the famous theological school at Geneva. But here he soon created a prejudice against himself, among the leading men in this school, on account of his enthusiastic attachment to the philosophy of Ramus, which he taught to his fellow students by private lectures, and which he boldly and zealously defended in public. The philosophy of Aristotle was at that time considered as the summit of perfection in this branch of science, not only at Geneva, but in all the schools and universities of Europe. The views of Ramus were opposed to this philosophy; and of course, Arminius, who appeared as a zealous and contentious advocate for the opinions of Ramus, (magnâ contentione pro illâ contendebat, says his friend Bertius,) could not expect to meet with the approbation of the instructors at Geneva. Accordingly, he was soon obliged to quit Geneva. He immediately repaired to Basle, where Jacob Grynaeus was a distinguished teacher. Here he won so much applause and admiration by his attainments and devotedness to study, that he was speedily offered a doctorate in theology by the theological faculty at Basle, he being at that time only twenty-two years

* So Bertius, De Vitâ, etc. Schröckh' writes Petrus Emilius; I know not on what authority.

of

age. This, however, he declined ; justly deeming himself too young to be made the subject of such an honor.

The commotion excited at Geneva, by his opposition to the philosophy of Aristotle, in his absence soon began to subside. In 1583 he returned to Geneva. His own feelings were now greatly moderated on the subject of Ramus' philosophy, and he appears to have lived in quietude, during his second residence at Geneva.

As a characteristic of the times in which Arminius lived and Beza taught, it may be proper to stop the course of our narration for a moment, to make a little inquiry about Ramus and his philosophy, to which Arminius was so strongly attached. Peter Ramus was born in 1515, at Vermandois in Picardy. He was in indigent circumstances; but, from his love of learning, he procured himself a place in the university of Navarre at Paris, first in the capacity of a servant, then of a scholar. When a candidate for his master's degree, he boldly attacked the philosophy of Aristotle, assuming as his thesis, that all which Aristotle had written was false. This made great disturbance. He was forbidden to teach; he was accused of sapping the foundations of religion; and his sentence of degradation was posted up in every street of Paris. Gradually all this died away ; and in 1531 he was made royal professor of philosophy and eloquence in the university. All his difficulties, however, were renewed afresh, when he attempted, as he did, to make an innovation in the pronunciation of a Latin word, and taught the students to sound the qu in uttering quisquis, instead of saying, as before, kiskis. Matters ran so high that the court of justice was obliged to interfere ; who decided, that every one might pronounce

atin as he judged best. Ramus soon after deserted the catholic religion, and was expelled from his professorship ; but after a while he was restored to favor, then attacked by new injuries, and finally massacred, with a vast multitude of other Protestants, on the horrible St. Bartholomew's day, in 1572. His body was thrown out of a window,

a

a

a

« PreviousContinue »