Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

Note 8, page 38. “At the present moment I would ask, whether it is a vice to doubt the truth of Christianity as it is manifested in Spain and Portugal. When a patriot in those benighted countries, who knows Christianity only as a bulwark of despotism, as a rearer of inquisitions, as a stern jailer immuring wretched women in the convent, as an executioner stained and reeking with the blood of the friends of freedom,—I say, When the patriot, who sees in our religion the instruments of these crimes and woes, believes and affirms that it is not from God, are we authorized to charge his unbelief on dishonesty and corruption of mind, and to brand him as a culprit ? May it not be that the spirit of Christianity in his heart emboldens him to protest with his lips against what bears the name? And if he thus protest, through a deep sympathy with the oppression and sufferings of his race, is he not nearer the kingdom of God than the priest and the inquisitor who boastingly and exclusively assume the Christian name? Jesus Christ has told us that 'this is the condemnation' of the unbelieving, 'that they love darkness rather than light;' and who does not see that this ground of condemnation is removed, just in proportion as the light is quenched, or Christian truth is buried in darkness and debasing error ?"-Channing.

"I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ : for it is True. It is true; and its truth is to break forth more and more gloriously. Of this I have not a doubt. I know that our religion has been ques. tioned even by intelligent and good men; but this does not shake my faith in its divine original or in its ultimate triumphs. Such men have questioned it, because they have known it chiefly by its corrup, tions. In proportion as its original simplicity shall be restored, the doubts of the well-disposed will yield. I have no fears from infidelity : especially from that form of it which some are at this moment labour. ing to spread through our country (America). I mean, that insane. desperate unbelief, which strives to quench the light of nature as well as of revelation, and to leave us, not only without Christ, but without God. This I dread no more than I should fear the efforts of men to pluck the sun from his sphere; or to storm the skies with the artil. lery of the earth. We were made for religion; and unless the ene. mies of our faith can change our nature, they will leave the foundation of religion unshaken. The human soul was created to look above me

ma. eason,

terial nature. It wants a Deity for its love and trust, an Immortality for its hope. It wants consolations not found in philosophy, wants strength in temptation, sorrow, and death, which human wisdom cane not minister; and knowing, as I do, that Christianity meets these deep wants of men, I have no fear or doubt as to its triumphs. Men cannot long live without religion. In France there is a spreading dissatisfaction with the sceptical spirit of the past generation. A philo. sopher in that country would now blush to quote Voltaire as an al thority in religion. Already atheism is dumb where once it seemed to bear sway. The greatest minds in France are working back their way to the light of truth. Many of them cannot indeed yet be called Christians; but their path, like that of the wise men of old, who came star-guided from the East, is towards Christ. I am not ashamed ou the Gospel of Christ. It has an immortal lise, and will gather strength from the violence of its foes. It is equal to all the wants of men. The greatest minds have found in it the light which they most anxiously desired. The most sorrowful and broken spirits have found in it a healing balm for their woes. It has inspired the sublimest vit. tues and the loftiest hopes. For the corruptions of such a religion weep, and I should blush to be their advocate ; but of the Gospel itsell I can never be ashamed."-Channing.

can

Note 9, page 39. “ Having found that pride of reason is an aggression upon other men's reason, arising from an over-estimate of the worth of the age gressor's own, we may now proceed in our inquiry, who are just chargeable with pride of reason? Is it those who, having examined Scriptures, propose their own collective sense of those books me acceptance of others, but blame them not for rejecting it. or more who positively assert. that their own sense of the scriptures only one which an honest man, not under diabolica. find there? The answer is so plain, that a child, who stand the terms of the question, might give it.

of the question, might give it. And yet experience has taught me that there is no chance of unravelling the confused ideas which prevent many a well-meaning Christian from perceiving that the charge of the pride of reason falls upon the Orthodox. Han sense of the Scripture (such is the dizzy whirl

ure (such is the dizzy whirl which their excited feelings produce) must be the word of God, bec

must be the word of God, because they cannot find another. My sense of the Scripture must, the Scripture must, (for instance), on the

(T contrary, be a damnable error, because it is the won

[graphic]

which opposes the wor tures : hence the conclus nounce that pride, (they we propose to you: and you will agree wit

" It is remarkabl proportion as their vie ference than that o

es the word of God, i.e. THEIR sense of the Scrip.

the conclusion that I am guilty of pride of reason. “ReLa pride, (they say,) and you will see in the Scriptures what e to you:' which is to say, surrender your reason to ours,

remarkable that Christians are accused of Pride of reason in
as their view of Christianity contains fewer doctrines of in-

an that of the accusers. Compare the creed of the Trinitarian with that of the Unitarian. The former may be true, and the latter erroneous, though I adhere to the latter ; but unquestionably the Trinitarian Creed is nearly made up of inferences, it is almost entirely a work of reason, though, in my eyes, sadly misapplied. Why. then, is the Unitarian accused of pride of reason, when he only employs it to show that the Trinitarian has not any sound reason to draw those inferences? which of the two is guilty of encroaching upon another man's rights of reason? Is it not he who claims for his inferences--the work of his own reason—an authority above human reason?

"It is not, however, to inferences alone (the work of logical reason) that the Trinitarian creed owes its existence, and, more than its existence, its popularity. My observation has shown me, and that of every competent judge will find, that the strongest hold which that creed has on the minds of its supporters, consists in preconceived theories concerning the nature of God and of sin, and of some necessity which places the Divine Nature in a state of difficulty in regard to the pardon of sin. The work of saving the race of man from a most horrible fate depends (according to this theory) not only on a very mysterious method of overcoming the difficulty which prevents pardon by an act of mercy, on repentance, but also on the acknowledgment of the mystery by the sinner. The remedy prepared by the wisdom of God is (according to this theory) totally powerless, unless We believe a certain explanation of the manner in which it acts.

"Now people who cordially embrace this view very naturally work themselves into a state of the most agonizing excitement : for if the whole world is to perish because it does not know how the saving remedy acts, or because its activity is explained in a wrong way, benevolent men, who think themselves in possession of that important secret, must burn with zeal to spread it, and with indignation against unose who propagate an explanation which deprives the remedy of all 118 power. 'Believing,' says an orthodox writer, though a dissenter from the orthodoxy of the Church of England, the doctrine (of the divinity of Christ) to comprehend within itself the hopes of a guilty and perishing world, while I would contend meekly, I must be pat. doned if, at the same time, I contend earnestly.' It is this preconceived theory (one of the strangest that was ever founded on reasonings à priori) that guides most Christians in the exposition of the New Testament, and even in that of many passages of the Hebrew Scriptures. The notion that sin could not be pardoned unless a person equal to God suffered for it, is the deeply-coloured glass through which the orthodox read the Scriptures. I do not blame them for this extraordinary conception. What I earnestly wish is, that their religious fears may allow them to perceive that this theory of redemption is made up of preconceived notions and inferences. Even i that theory were true, it would unquestionably be a work of reason working by inference. Can, then, the attempt to make it the very soul of the Gospel be acquitted of the charge which is constantly in the mouth of the orthodox? Are they not guilty of the pride of reason?”Heresy and Orthodoxy.

[graphic]
[blocks in formation]

Page 5.—It is bere Unitarians to be Chr nying Jesus to be

BILE Esnclusion

It is here argued that the error, if an error, of denying
to be Christians is as innocent, as the error, if one, of de-

8 to be God. Certainly, if equally involuntary and the pure Ellicrasion of a truthful mind. But, if an error, it involves two errors, -—first, the mistake as to the nature and offices of Jesus, and second, the mistake of making essentials which Jesus did not make, and of passing judgments which Jesus did not pass. It is also essentially Anti-Protestant.

Page 6.—" But if it be a characteristic of true Christianity so to trust in Christ, as to commit the salvation of our souls into his hands, how can we conceive of those as true Christians who consider him only as a fellow creature, and consequently repose in him no such trust?" Trust is a moral act of the mind. We trust Jesus spiritually. Our souls feel him to be the Image of God: and we confide ourselves with a perfect trust to the God of Love whom Jesus imaged. “Let not your hearts be troubled : ve believe in God, believe also in me.” Our hearts are not troubled because our faith rests upon the God whom Jesus has made known to us. This is the only intelligible meaning of Trust as a spiritual act. We trust him whom we believe God to have trusted and sent.

Page 8.—“We maintain that the Bible is alune safely interpreted by its Author and Inspirer, the Holy Ghost.” Do the Trinitarians mean that their interpretations of the Bible are the interpretations of the Holy Spirit ? If so, we can have no controversy with them. If they are inspired to interpret, what the Apostles were inspired to write, nothing is required but that this should be proved.

Page 11, 12.-" The New Testament writers also assert their own inspiration in language equally strong. •All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable,' &c. St. Paul does not here assert his own inspiration, but the inspiration of the Jewish Prophets, the study of whom had made Timothy wise unto salvation through faith in Christ. The Christian Scriptures were not in existence when

Is were written. It is also very doubtful whether the word

« EdellinenJatka »