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stand, than an attempt to argue away some of the doctrines of orthodoxy. He then quotes the following passage from St. John" If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds.” This,” he says, “ the beloved disciple meant for the church in every age; he expected they would determine; and if they mistake the application of the precept, it is their own fault.” It seems then that this writer thinks himself not merely privileged, but expressly directed by scripture to deny to his opponents the common offices of hospitality, and civilized life, to reject them, and at least to cultivate a disposition, if he have not the power, to deliver them over to Satan; and all this is to be done for the promotion of brotherly love.
These are novel duties to us, but if they are in fact duties enjoined by our religion, we too must endeavour to practise them to the extent of our ability. If Christianity does indeed require, that we should thus conduct ourselves towards those whose religious opinions are different from our own, we have a considerable change to make in our feelings and habits, but still it must be effected. We too must bring ourselves to adopt a course of conduct, and a style of language, towards those who maintain opinions, which we believe the disgrace of Christianity, considerably different from what we have hitherto regarded as correct.
There is something so utterly inconsistent with the spirit of our religion, in men, whom it is no want of charity to suppose are not better or wiser than many others, thus coming forward, and without modesty or reserve, making claim to peeuliar sanctity and goodness, and peculiar religious illumination; in those who are taught not to judge another man's servant, thus asserting a claim to regulate the opinions of their fellow Christians; in men, probably without any peculiar advantages from natural talents, or attentive examination, pretending to decide so confidently upon questions, with regard to which the wise and the good have been so much divided; in
their perverting the language of scripture to justify a course of conduct, so wholly adverse to that charity, which every page of it inculeates; and in their doing all this under pretence of a zeal for religion, and the promotion of brotherly love; there is something so inconsistent in all this with the real spirit of Christianity, that we turn away from the whole spectacle with some feelings such as we would not wish to have often excited.
Our principles are radically opposed to any institution, which would in the least degree repress the most perfect freedom of examination and discussion, and the most entire liberty and safety of professing opinions. It cannot be that these means, which on every other subject lead directly to the discovery and establishment of truth, on the subjects of religion should only lead to error. But the institution of such a tribunal as is proposed by the writer in the Panoplist would tend to check inquiry, destroy the habit and means of criticism, and bias the judgment. To the existence of this tribunal it is essential that a system of doctrines should be agreed upon by those who compose it; and the system of doctrines which is thus declared to be the true one, and by which all around are to be judged, is that which it is most clearly the interest of all, who are within the influence of the tribunal, to adopt. In proportion to the power of this body is the influence, which is exercised over the minds of those around to adopt its creed, other than that which proceeds from fair examination and honest conviction. This influence will consist in the desire which many will feel to be sharers of the authority which is assumed, that they may become more important, and may indulge their ill-will perhaps towards those who dissent from them in opinion. The fear lest they themselves should become objects of its censure, lest they shonld be denounced and ávoided as heretics, will also afiect some; and some may be induced to yield their reason to their interest, or suffer their understanding to be overcome by timidity, on the false and pernicions principle, that it is better to believe too much, than
too little. These are the most simple causes of an undue bias; and their operation would be certain and immediate.
To those who are young, and who have yet to form their religious opinions, the dark shade of this establishment would be fatal. To differ would insure disgrace, and free inquiry would be impossible. Their faith would be established in ignorance and credulity, and maintained with bigotry propork tioned to the weakness of its foundations. And can it be sapposed that those who have once, associated for the purposes proposed, will ever disturb their own minds with examination, or test that faith which they have sworn to support, or that they will be ready with arguments to answer and convince their opponents, when they have assumed that they are infal. lible, and their pride is eontinually gratified by power, and it is against the deductions of human reason that this to be exerted? No. Bigotry, as it is the effect, so it is the cause of ignorance, and to suppose that theological learning could exist where such power was established, would be contradictory to reason and experience. We state no extravagant consequences; these are the simplest and most harmless ways in which such an institution would operate:-others will occur to every reflecting mind, which would be the distressing and terrible, but not the less certain fruits of its maturity and strength.
The writer in the Panoplist was aware that objections might be made. He himself states what they probably would be. Nor does he deny that such consequences as have been here predicted would follow from the execution of his designs; but by the use of some passages of the New Testament, which we shall now more particularly notice, he has attempted, as we have seen, to throw upon Christianity the disgrace of justifying such designs, and authorizing their consequences. to call ministers to account for heresy," he says, “is a domination over conscience! an intolerant attempt to crush free inquiry! forcing, men to adopt your explanations of scripture! denying that the Bible is a sufficient rule of faith without human creeds! foisting technical and scholastic terms into the place of reve
lation! But not so fast. Do you not call private brethren to account for heresy? If not, you are transgressors of as plain precepts as are found in the Bible. “A man that is an heretie, after the first and second admonition, reject. For heresy alone, Hymenæus and Alexander were delivered unto Satan," though nothing worse appears against them than an attempt to explain away the doctrine of the resurrection.”. Every person, tolerably well skilled in the interpretation of the New Testament, knows that the meaning at present affixed to the words heresy and heretic is entirely different from that in which they are used in the scriptures, or by the early Christian writers, and the argument which is here founded on a false explanation of the language of scripture, might very properly be dismissed with. out further notice, for we cannot expect that those who would urge it would be benefitted by our criticisms. The Greek word cigaris should always be translated in the New Testament, either as it generally is in our common version, "sect, or otherwise, 'party,' but never • heresy,' and neither this nor aipetixos, its derivative, has any reference in its primary meaning to opinions, good or bad. Nor do they in themselves imply any thing praiseworthy or blamable, except as circumstances shall give them such meaning.* But by heresy at the present day
* Αίρεσις is applied in the Acts to the Pharisees (αίρεσις των Φαρισαίων, XV. 5.) and to the Sadducees (aięsous two Eaddsrauw, v. 7.) and by Epiphanius to the Jews in the following passage-Εν τω εν πρωτο βιβλιο πρωτου τομε αιρεσεις εικοσιν, αι εσιν αιδε, βαρβαρισμος, σκυθισμος, ελληνισμος, ικdalquos, x. T. 1. (Respon. ad Epist. Acacii. et Pauli.) i.e. In the first book of the first tome are twenty sects (cigerus) which are those of the barbarians, of the Scythians, the Greeks, and the Jews. The word aigscus is used four times in the Septuagint. (Gen. Ixix. 5. Levit. xxii. 18, 21. 1 Mac. viii. 30.) In two of which it means agreement or compact, and in the others relates to voluntary oblations. The word occurs in 1 Cor. xi. 19. “ For there inust also be heresies (cigeoes) among you.” Here the Greek Fathers in general understand it as synonymous with the divisions before mentioned and as signifying the parties, into which the Corinthians were divided, in eating the Lord's supper; and this we presume to be its true meaning. It is thus that Chrysostom explains it in his twenty seventh Homily on 1 Corinthians. “Aigstets ertavla, και ταυτας λεγων τας των δογματων, αλλα τας των σχισματων τετων.ότι γαρ περι των αιρεσεων τετων απε των κατα τας τραπεζας, και της Φι'λονεικίας ταυτης, και διαστασεως, και εκ των της εξης δηλον εποιησεν. i. e.
is meant opinions which are, or which are supposed to be, con
He (the apostle] is not here speaking of heresies of doctrine, but with ref: erence to the divisions before mentioned". --for that he spake of the parties concerning the tables, and of this strife and separation is manifest from what follows. In a similar manner the passage is explained' by Theodoret, Photius, and Theophylact. (See Suicer's Thesaurus ad verb.] The words of Photius are Αιρεσεις ενταύθα και τας δογματικας φησι, σας περι πιστεως, αλλα τας περι των τραπεζών. Προκρίνοντες γας οι πλεσιοι τες πλεσιες, tus mitas apieri. Photius ap. Ecumenium in 1 ad Cor. p. 452. (the Apostle) is not here speaking of heresies of doctrine relating to faith, but of the parties respecting the tables. For the rich, preferring the rich, neglected the poor.”
Cicero uses beresis to signify a 'sect of philosophy,' in the third sentence of his Paradoxa. For additional examples of the use of the word aigsis, see Wetstein's note on 1 Cor. xi. 19.
The word translated heresy, in its original acceptation had no reference to opinious and implied no censure; but meant only, “election,' choice,' and thence, ta sect,' or 'party. Yet it is evident that as there are cases in which it is a duty to be united, and it must be wrong to have divisions or sects, therefore aigsous, when applied to such cases, may be a reproachful epithet. Thus among Christians at the time of the apostles, when there were such ample and certain means of obtaining all necessary direction and information, the existence of differences of any kind was to be severely censured. Therefore in Galatians they are numbered among the works of the flesh. The word heresy in its scriptural sense is not to be applied to those diversities of opinion, which are unavoidable, because of the imperfection of human nature. But it is a jusť use of it, to aj. I it to those divisions in the Christian community, which are promoted by am. bitious men for their own glory, and to the disturbance and injury of others.
In the same way may be explained how aigerimos obtains a bad sense, though the word whence it comes has none of itself. The radical meaning of aigstixos is, one who chooses, or is fit to choose, (qui eligit vel aptus est ad. eligendum) and thence it comes to mean one who embraces and supports a sect. (Aigstixos, inquit Budæus, qui sectam alicujus amplectitur et fovet.) See Stephens' Thesaurus. It refers to those men who are desirous of promote ing dissensions, the authors of sects, the leaders of parties, without reference to the opinions maintained by them, and has a bad sense only as those parties or sects are improper and injurious to those among whom they exist.
The man who honestly holds peculiar opinions is not an heretic in the scripture sense of the word; (“ Errare possum, hereticus esse nolo,” said St. Augustine, " I may err, but I will not be an heretic;") but he who promotes a separation from him, and thus causes difference and dissension in the church, is an heretic. See Dr. Campbell's criticism on the words aigtos and aigetixos in his Prelim
Diss. ix. part A.