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our hearts are attuned to the myriad voices of joy in which his own exuberant blessedness breathes through his creation. We have all experienced the balmy exhilaration which seems to enter through every sense on the first mild vernal day,
“ So pure, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth, and sky," that draws us out, after the long confinement of the winter, to rejoice in the beauty, and fragrance, and melody of rural scenes. How all nature appears to brighten in its Creator's smile ! how joyous are all living creatures! We sympathise with the glad world ; and that is unconsciously sympathising with its Maker on high ; who, we feel, rejoices with it in its happiness. This bland and elevating emotion is such as I conceive would be excited vividly and constantly by a perfect sympathy with God.
And now I ask, all ye who read these pages, is it not worth our while to cultivate this congeniality of spirit with the Father of our spirits ? Think of him, then, often, as with personal affection. Away with the chilling abstractions of metaphysical theology. Love him, not with the understanding only, as an infinite and eternal first cause, to talk about, but with the heart, and the sanctified imagination; presenting him in the more definite image of an interesting Friend. Feel towards him as towards an object of the heart's true love ; who, though in his natural attributes he rises above all human apprehension, in his moral, is well pleased to receive the affection of the lowliest mind..
To nourish this sympathy, farther, walk in the light, as He is light, the light of the soul, truth, and good
ness. Love truth and goodness above all things, knowing that He loves them; they are the elements on which He lives, as we live on food, and air. And love all mankind, your brethren, your Father's children ; saying to yourselves, at this very moment his tender regards are upon these same persons on whom mine rest: I rejoice in the thought : may it stregthen the fellowship that draws me, through them, to himself'. Dwell then, often, in fine, on the noble thought of the apostle— God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.' And therefore, as the grand lesson teaches, let us love one another.'
COMPLAINTS OF ORTHODOXY.
A letter to William E. Channing, D. D, on the subject of Religious Liberty. By Moses Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary, Andover. Boston : 1830. pp. 52.
We have read this letter with a feeling of grief and disappointment. We have never been able, it is true, to discover in the writings of Professor Stuart, those marks of extraordinary candor, which some have been fond of attributing to him. But we had supposed, that he had some self-respect, and some regard to common decency. We have not been accustomed to expect from him that strain of coarse and vulgar declamation, but too common in some of the leading orthodox publications of the day; and the present pamphlet, therefore, occasions us the more surprise and regret.
The Letter is evidently designed to draw forth a reply from the individual to whom it is addressed; and did we think its intrinsic merits such as to require any notice from him, our present remarks would be spared. But we do not so deem of it. We regard it as a desperate attempt to prop up a sinking cause, and wipe off the stigma very justly fastened on the advocates for exclusion and uncharitableness.
We have no dread of its effects. In one respect, we think its publication augurs well. It shows that the class of christians, whose sentiments, we suppose, the Letter may be regarded as speaking, are beginning to feel, that a powerful reaction is taking place ; that the current is strongly setting against a spirit of sectarian bigotry and intolerance, and unless they can prove, therefore, that their opinions and measures do not tend to uncharitableness and the destruction of all national freedom, their downfall is sure. This, we say, augurs well. It indicates a sound and healthful state of public sentiment. The advocates of a harsh and gloomy theology, have been made to feel the necessity of convincing the world, that their views and policy are not at war with the sweet charities of the gospel, not at war with nature and common sense. This is precisely the crisis we have long wished to see. In this respect, however we may disapprove the spirit of the present publication, we hail its appearance with joy. We hail it as evidence, that the cause we have been long advocating, the cause of true liberality and catholicism, is gradually gaining strength. The prospect, in fact, never appeared more encouraging.
Professor Stuart, who wishes to be understood as uttering the feelings of the orthodox generally of this Commonwealth, thinks that they have, as a body, grievous cause of complaint against the Unitarians, and especially, Dr Channing. They have been stigmatized, he asserts, as conspirators,' against the religious liberties of the community ; in proof of which, he quotes several passages from Dr Channing's writings. Of the character of these passages, our readers will be able to form an opinion, from the following extracts.
"Is it said, that, in this country, where the rights of private judgment and of speaking and writing according to our convictions, are guarantied with every solemnity by institutions and laws, religion can never degenerate into tyranny; that here its whole influence must conspire to the liberation and dignity of the mind ? I answer, we discover little knowledge of human nature, if we ascribe to constitutions the power of charming to sleep the spirit of intolerance and exclusion. Almost every other bad passion may sooner be put to rest; and for this plain reason, that intolerance always shelters itself under the name and garb of religious zeal. Because we live in a country, where the gross, outward, visible chain is broken, we must not conclude that we are necessarily free. There are chains not made of iron, which eat more deeply into the soul. An espionage of bigotry may as effectually close our lips and chill our hearts, as an armed and hundred-eyed police. There are countless ways by which men in a free country may encroach on their neighbor's rights. In religion the instrument is ready made and always at hand. I refer to Opinion, combined and organized in sects, and swayed by the clergy. We say we have no Inquisition. But a sect, skilfully organized, trained to utter one cry, combined to cover with reproach whoever may differ from themselves, to drown the free expression of opinion by denunciations of heresy, and to strike terror into the multitude by joint and perpetual menace; such a sect is as perilous and palsying to the intellect as the Inquisition. It serves the minister as effectually as the sword. The present age is notoriously sectarian, and therefore hostile to liberty,'-Election Serinon, pp. 27, 28.
Again Dr Channing says: . We do not deny, that our brethren have a right to form a judgment as to our christian character. But we insist that we have a right to be judged by the fairest, the most approved, and the most settled rules, by which character can be tried; and when these are overlooked, and the most uncertain standard is applied, we are injured; and an assault on character, which rests on this ground, deserves no better name than defamation and persecution.
"I know that this suggestion of persecution, will be indignantly repelled by those, who deal most largely in denunciation. But persecution is a wrong or injury inflicted for opinions; and surely assaults on character fall under this definition. Some persons seem to think, that persecution consists in pursuing error with fire and sword; and that therefore it has ceased to exist, except in distempered imaginations, because no class of christians among us is armed with these terrible weapons. But no. The form is changed, but the spirit lives. Persecution has given up its halter and fagot, but it breathes venom from its lips, and secretly blasts what it cannot openly destroy,'—Channing's works, p, 561, 562.
These and other passages of similar import, are adduced by Prof. Stuart, as specimens of the language, in which Dr Channing is accustomed to speak of the Orthodox ; and they contain, as he thinks, a charge of open and foul conspiracy,' of 'a settled design to invade the religious liberties of this community. You have charged the orthodox,' says he, with a settled, steadfast, unrelenting purpose to suppress all free inquiry respecting matters of religion.' Again, they are accused,' he asserts, of plotting against the dearest rights of all who have any respect for religion :: they are held up to the world as combined to oppress and to enslave (in a religious respect) their fellowcitizens;' as plotting to enclose the community in the toils of the Inquisition;' as being dark and designing conspirators against the religious liberties of their country.' To sum up all, he says, addressing Dr. Channing,