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course with the sacred writer, were never heard from EmAll he wanted of a text was to get a theological proposition from it. While, therefore, his arrangement was masterly, for the particular type of sermon to which he adhered, there was no variety in his method. He never got out of the beaten track. He played on one string. And his habit of dealing with the Scriptures was not adapted to bring their truth, in its various lights and phases, and with its native freshness, before the mind. He showed skill in putting forward obnoxious doctrines in the shape of inferences, after his hearers had unwittingly given assent to the proposition which involved them. By the arguments in the body of his discourse, he softly chained them to a post, where he could cudgel them at his pleasure.
In the mind of Dr. Emmons, the logical faculty was predominant. He spent a vast deal of time, as he avers, in "making joints," or in endeavoring to adjust one religious truth to another, for the sake of building up a coherent system. In this work he was exposed to the danger common to men who are discriminating and analytical, more than comprehensive-the danger of starting with narrow premises. Emmons is noted for his boldness in never recoiling from a conclusion to which his logic had brought him. This boldness is far from being a merit. A conclusion which shocks the moral sense, or is inconsistent with known truth, should prompt a reasoner to a renewed survey of the premises on which it is founded, and a more comprehensive attention to all the facts pertaining to the subject. Not to take this course, argues a logical fanaticism by no means favorable to the attainment of truth. Even if the fault in the premises cannot be detected, the conclusion is to be rejected, in case it is repugnant to conscience or the intuitions of the mind. There are millions of men who cannot find the fallacy in the argument of Zeno for the impossibility of motion; but they are fools if, for this reason, they believe the proposition. In the character of his mind, Emmons resembled the younger more than the elder Edwards. The latter has been styled by Sir James Mackintosh, a Rationalist and a Mystic. He combined in
himself two distinct types of mind, which are seldom united in one individual. This will be evident to any one who will compare his work on the Will with his sermon on Spiritual Light. The younger Edwards inherited that portion of his father, which Mackintosh denotes under the term Rationalist. Eminent as a logician, he is immeasurably below the first Edwards in the imaginative, inventive, intuitive powers of mind. Dr. Emmons belongs in the same category with the younger Edwards. His strength is in handling the syllogism.
The principal innovations of Emmons upon the prevalent theology of New England, have been generally supposed to be these his doctrine of divine efficiency even in respect to the existence of sin; his doctrine of "exercises;" and his doctrine of unconditional submission. We propose to consider these peculiarities of his system in the order in which they are named.
It was formerly thought, unanimously as far as we know, that Emmons held a novel and startling theory upon the relation of God to the sins of men. He was understood to teach that every sinful choice, though an act of man, is the effect of a direct, causative agency on the part of the Creator; that in addition to all the antecedents, whether subjective or objective, which constitute temptation, God puts forth in the case of every sinful choice a positive exertion of power to produce it; so that sin may be said, without figure, to be His work. He has been supposed to condemn the ordinary statement that God preserves the sinful man in being and in the use of his powers, and foreknowing his sin, permits it to be committed-to condemn this statement as insufficient, and to contend that the agency of God extends further, and that if the foregoing statement were the whole truth on the subject, the creature would be independent and his Maker dethroned. He has been understood to teach that the sinful actions of men are not only certain to occur as they do, but also that these actions are made certain in consequence of their being the effect, in the plain, bald sense of the term, of an efficient cause external to the
sinner, that cause being the creative power of God. Such has been the common interpretation of Emmons.
But his careful biographer, and his venerable son-in-law, the editor of his works, pronounce this interpretation incorrect, and endeavor to clear him of responsibility for this obnoxious opinion. In their judgment, this view of his doctrine is not warranted by his language, save in a few cases where it is admitted that his expressions are unguarded; and even here he is defended on the ground that he simply copies the style of the Scriptures.
We have, in this diversity of opinion in respect to the meaning of Emmons, an interesting problem to solve, and one of no small moment in its bearing on the history of our New England speculations. Let us first hear Emmons himself on the question before us, and then weigh the comments of the eminent interpreters who have sent forth his writings to the world.
We call the attention, then, of our readers to several sermons of the Franklin theologian, in which the subject of Divine Efficiency is directly handled; beginning with the famous discourse on the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. That "God raised up Pharaoh to fit him for destruction," is the second head in this discourse. Under this head, it is declared that God "used all the proper and necessary means to form him a vessel of wrath." Having reviewed the career of Pharaoh and described his increasing wickedness, the author raises the inquiry, how it was, when mercies and afflictions tend to improve the character of saints and, not unfrequently, of obdurate sinners also, that Pharaoh grew "worse and worse, under both the smiles and frowns of heaven." Here the opinion that "nothing more was necessary on God's part, in order to fit Pharaoh for destruction, than barely to leave him to himself," is rejected. "God knew," we are told, "that no external means and motives would be sufficient of themselves to form his moral character. He determined, therefore, to operate on his heart itself, and cause him to put forth certain evil exercises in the view of certain external motives." The external motives or circumstances of Pharaoh, though pur
posely arranged in order to make him wicked, would not, his heart being what it was, suffice to accomplish the end in view; and for this reason it was found necessary "to operate on the heart itself." And the logician proceeds, "When Moses called upon him to let the people go, God stood by him and moved him to refuse. When Moses interceded for him and procured him respite, God stood by him and moved him to exult in his obstinancy. When the people departed from his kingdom, God stood by him and moved him to pursue after them with increased malice and revenge."
The justification of God in the treatment of Pharaoh, occupies but little space. There are two considerations presented; first, that better judges than we are, even the leaders, elders and tribes of Israel, and the saints and angels in heaven, who sing the song of Moses at the destruction of Pharaoh, approve of the conduct of God; and, secondly, it is dogmatically affirmed that God had a sovereign right to bring Pharaoh into existence and to operate upon his heart as He did. It is added, in "the improvement," at the end of the sermon, that the destruction of Pharaoh being for the glory of God, and this being a praiseworthy end, the motive of the Creator is benevolent.
It is impossible to deny that the fair interpretation of the language of this discourse, when taken by itself, accords with the common understanding of Emmons's doctrine.
We go on to the examination of other sermons which touch on the same general topic. How does Emmons explain the fall of Adam? In connection with this question, we should look for some light upon his view concerning the origination of sin. In his discourse on "The Activity and Dependence of Man," he affirms that the difficulty is not relieved by the fact that Adam's will was free, since that was true at all times and of all moral agents; nor by the supposition that he was deceived, since in order to be culpable his deception must have been voluntary on his part; nor by referring his sin to the action of his own holy principles. "As the instrumentality of second causes " is insufficient to "account for the fall of Adam," "it seems necessary to have recourse to the divine agency, and
to suppose that God wrought in Adam both to will and to do in his first transgression." "Satan placed certain motives before his mind, which, by a divine energy, took hold of his heart and led him to sin." This kind of coöperation with Satan is distinctly ascribed to God. This is pronounced a full solution of the first sin.
How does Emmons account for the moral depravity of infants? It cannot be explained, we are told, by supposing an inherited corrupt nature; or by the mortality of the body. The assertion of Emmons is, that infants being men in miniature, God "produces these moral exercises in their hearts, in which moral depravity properly and essentially consists." It is just as easy, we are assured, "to account for moral depravity in infancy, as in any other period of life." Later in the discourse, we meet with the declaration that "for the Deity to govern any of His creatures or works by permission," is a sheer impossibility; that "He puts forth a positive influence to make them act, in every instance of their conduct, just as He pleases." The moral world is placed in the same category with the natural world, with the single qualification that in the case of sin the effect of Divine agency is an activity, a volition. It is improper in this case to describe the divine efficiency as compulsory, because the willingness of man is the very thing produced. But any other distinction between the divine agency in the world of matter and in the world of mind, we look for in vain. And Emmons reiterates the doctrine relative to the actions of men, that "the divine agency is as much concerned in their bad as in their good actions." That God produces right or wrong volitions in human hearts, is a statement that frequently recurs. Are men to be blamed for the interpretation they have commonly put upon Emmons's doctrine?
But how does Emmons shield the Divine Being from the charge of being morally responsible for the existence and continuance of sin? If he used the words "efficiency," "create," "cause," "produce," "wrought," in an unliteral sense, in discussing the connection of the Divine Being with sin, we should expect a distinct avowal of this fact, when he comes to ward off the objection that his dogma is derogatory to the