Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

a creditor but a judge, and that a judge is different from a creditor. All this may be very acute, very legal, but, theologically, it has one imperfection, that of mistaking entirely the relation between God and man, of turning false analogies into false premises, and, of course, deducing from them false conclusions : of properly having nothing to do with the true matter in hand, and leaving the question precisely where it was before. “Our opponents," says the Preacher, “assert that sins are to be regarded as debts, and as debts only.” We assert no such thing, have never asserted it, but all the contrary, and to such an idea the whole tone of our argument and of our system is in most perfect contradiction. We have no such low view of God as to think that man could owe him anything, nor any such presumptuous view of man as to imagine he could make payment to his God. Yet upon this poor assumption whole pages of declamation are wasted, for if it serves any purpose it is but to beat down the man of straw which the lecturer himself had fashioned. We hold no such view, and therefore we have never defended any such. We do our best to maintain what we assert ; if others assert doctrines for us, we leave them the pleasure of the refutation ; although it is only when men invent opinions for opponents that they have the double enjoy. ment of first building up and then pulling down. We do not regard sins as debts for which payment can be made to God; but we may fairly assert that on this principle rests the whole scheme of orthodoxy. What are the atonement and righteousness of Christ but a payment or equivalent to God for the salvation of the elect ?—the very nature of the system implies this idea, and in truth it is the only idea that gives it even the appearance of consistency; for crime as such can. not be punished in the person of another, but a debt can be fairly pasu by the money of another. If I commit high treason against the sove. reign-to borrow an analogy from the Preacher-it would be sao work to lay the head of some one else on the block for it—but is owe a severe creditor a thousand pounds, a rich and generous tiend may pay it in my stead, and no social principle is violated by the suda stitute.

Mr. Buddicom makes the following modest apology for the price sumed infallibility of himself and brethren, and their right to attaci all heretical deniers of it. " While, however," he observes, “We are prepared to contend for the lawfulness and duty of an affectionare inroad upon the regions of spiritual error, we remember that our movement is not purely and primarily aggressive. A volume of LEC

[graphic]

NOTES.

and that a judge is diferent from a recent uite, very legal, but, theological, i les

staking entirely the relation between Gel Ise analogies into false premises audio em false conclusions : of properly being e matter in hand, and leaving the quanti

e. Our opponents,"ears the Prati regarded as debts, and as detect ever asserted it, but all the center a e of our argument and of current

. We have no such low mies of Con we him anything, nor any com a magine he could make mos në ption whole pages of destro e use it is but to best da se morate

had fashioned. Memang er defended anr sud. De hoca

if others assert doctis ir a utation ; although it walk then that they have the duaz enojot

tures, preached expressly on the controverted doctrines of Chris. tianity (as the lecturer denominated his subjects), in a chapel now occupied by one of our respected opponents, has been before the world. In these and other similar measures, the fortress of true Christianity, the only safe munition of rocks for the souls of men, hath been attacked by mine, and sap, and open assault. And shall there be no attempt to countermine, no sally made, no arm raised, in a forward movement for the truth as it is in Jesus ? Our regret is rather due to the culpable silence of the past, than to the proceeding of the present time.” (Lect. p. 440.) The reverend and respected Preacher refers to a volume of Lectures, by the Rev. George Harris, delivered in this town some years ago: those Lectures, unfortunately, I do not possess; but I have read them with much pleasure, and many passages of them I should wish to quote in support of my own general arguments. But the Lecturer greatly mistakes if he imagines that we complain of orthodox aggression. Controversy, political and religious, is the fair expression of civilised and progressive opinion. We do not blame those who oppose us, we have never done it, -we have not complained that war was made on us, but we did most righteously complain that the fair laws of warfare were denied us. Our people were invited to go to Christ Church to listen to wise and learned men, to be converted, by hearing their religion spoken of as blasphemy and outlawry—to hear themselves designated as enemies to their God, and dethroners of their Saviour, and the spiritual slayers of their kind. They were denied any religious equality. They were abused, and vituperated, and denounced; but they were not listened to their condemnation was sternly uttered—but their defence had not even the poor tribute of a hearing. Nay, grave clergymen pleaded that they could not have their religious sensibilities disturbed or hurt by Unitarian roughness, as if manly controversialists were to shrink from opposition with the fastidious delicacy of timid devotees. We neither complained of controversy, nor avoided it; on the contrary, we met it promptly, sincerely, and willingly—with ability, it is possible, inferior to our opponents—but not with less zeal, less alacrity, or less honesty. When our respected opponents challenged our attendance, it was not as antagonists on the opposite sides of a subject open to discussion, but as accused to give in their confession of repentance, or as criminals to hear their last sentence of punishment. We, how. ever, blame not the Lecturer, Dono tywe rather agree with him and them. We have

hich we needed ; Unitarians

[graphic]

alling down. We do not regard

be made to God; but are The whole scheme d'orthalu pes of Christ but a neza be elect :-the rest

it is the only in the

[ocr errors]

er, blame not the Lecturer, nor his party,

We have received a lesson which

[graphic]

have stood too long on the defensive, when they should have been on the aggressive: had they been faithful to their trust, it may be that the degrading dogma of original sin, and the atrocious doctrines of election and reprobation could not now, in this country, be matters of dispute. “Our regret (to use the words of the Lecturer) is rather due to the culpable silence of the past than to the proceedings of the present time." It is a remarkable fact in the history of religion, that all the doctrines which have been most generally condemned as heresy, have been pure or benignant ones; and all persecutions and religious hatreds, bodily or social, have been directed against their professors. Not to mention the Christians, who burned Jerome and Huss; we might refer even to the heathens who poisoned Socratesto uphold the personality of Satan—the reality of his existence, and the malignity of his nature,-to declaim upon hell's torments and to announce eternal perdition on the great mass of God's family—to create excitement by the grossest pictures of vice and misery is the certain way to popularity. The popular taste, as it has yet been developed or nurtured, has been coarse and ferocious, and if any thing could prove to me the doctrine of universal depravity, it would be the toleration of the horrors of Calvinistic orthodoxy.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH,
WHO DWELLETH IN US, AND TEACHETH ALL THINGS.

Fay Bancov cavitators icones,

[graphic]
« EdellinenJatka »