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saw that in a very short time, they would sweep ignorance, superstition, and tyranny in all its forms, out of Europe, and out of the world; he saw that they multiplied faster than all his tyrants, of both breeds, could kill them. He therefore fell upon a new plan. He must make themselves the instruments of their own ruin. How? not by chopping off toes and fingers, not by slitting noses and cropping ears, but by corrupting their blood at the fountain of the heart. By corrupting their GRAND DOCTRINE, justification by the righteousness of Christ. The doctrine itself could not be denied all at once. The whole body of the reformed believed it, and had a thousand texts of Scripture to support it; and would have given up their whole religion, their Bibles, and all their hopes, the moment they gave up this doctrine. And that was a sacrifice he knew they could not, and would not make. And if they kept that doctrine, he might annoy, but he could not triumph over them. They would reach the portals of glory at last. Corrupted it must be. But how? By making them philosophers, by starting questions which they cannot answer, and whenever they give an ignorant answer, accept it, get it into their creed, into their pulpits, into all their ideas respecting divine things: and then, getting a philosopher of fine brain, and logical talents, and making him take their own foolish philosophy, and argue it against them, and show them that by the laws of that intellect which God has given them, if they reason from their own principles, they must in the end, give up some part of God's truth.
The event was well calculated. In all this we are only supposing the devil to have been a good logician. And every logician knows, that one of the finest trips within the wrestling ring of sophistry, consists in ask.
ing a question, and if the respondent answers wrong, don't touch him yet-ask him to prove its connection with the truth which he is defending, and you impugning; he does it ardently, and as he imagines irrefutably. The sophism is now, by the chemical attraction of the imagination, identified with the truth. But if you are a true sophist, don't touch him yet:-ask him again what good consequences will flow from the whole. He proves one good consequence and another, and these generate other consequences. Now clench him. Revive the answer to your first question, demonstrate from other principles, that it is absolutely wrong, he will struggle, but he must submit at last; and you cut up all his fine consequences, and the truth which he united to them, shares their fate. You have triumphed; and so triumphs the fiend, when he cheats the gospel minister in a little bit of false philosophy, and persuades him to mingle it with the churches food; the pure gospel of Christ.
It may be said that the particular idea which has given rise to this whole discussion, and has been treated as so dangerous a sophism, and false philosophy, is to be found in the writings of the most distinguished chiefs of the Calvanistic churches, and is heard in the sermons of most Calvanistic preachers. It must be admitted that this is matter of fact. And though I am not quite sure that it is altogether innoxious therefor it has generated questions, whether the essence of saving faith consists in believing that Jesus Christ died intentionally to save ME-it has created troubles in many honest, anxious hearts, respecting their RIGHT to believe the gospel-and some things else perhaps : yet it has been, in a great degree, neutralised by the stubborn faith, the glorious characteristic of the Cal
vanistic family. For although consequences after consequence, in a train of argument, should be carrying a Calvanist towards the gulph of error, the moment he gets his foot on a text of Scripture which he understands, he recovers his feet. How he got there, perhaps he knows not, perhaps he cares not, but he is sure he is right.
Perhaps I may be cautioned, that there are among those who hold this idea, men who are unquestioned philosophers, on every ground within the range of liberal science, and no where so much philosophers as on the grouud of Christianity. I rejoice in asserting that it is so and did I not know that they are a magnanimous race, who love truth, and love the man, who utters it, I should blush for my own insignificance, while I thus speak.
After all, preaching the philosophy of Christianity, is not preaching the gospel. Perhaps there is too much preaching of this philosophy of Christianity. I do not presume to judge the men who are capable. They are capable of judging for themselves; but I give my opinion. That it is imprudent and dangerous to preach the philosophy of Christianity, unless on the ground, and at the time, that the devil's philosophy is publicly, and from the pulpit, troubling the church. In that case you have no choice, you must gaff chicken against chicken, the true philosophy, against the false, and look on-never fear, there is no doubt of the main.
I said I trembled for the day when Calvinists should turn philosophers, and let the churches look to it and tremble too. It is this philosophy of Christianity which we too often hear, and always complain that we do not understand it. And this very philosophy of Christianity is most frequently taken up by our young
est men, that's the danger. God knows in what a manner they frequently manage the matter! You shall see a youth just licensed, assuming the most dangerous positions in all the wide universe of Christianity, and challenging to conflict, single-handed, the most fearful champions that ever the devil sent to hew down the armies of the living God.
If this plain speaking should be received with a sneer, as if it were only the result of the vanity of age irritated by the vanity of youth, let them cry-Go up bald head!-In defiance of what mortal man can think or say of me, I tell the young, and tell the old, and I tell the whole of you, that this everlasting preaching of the philosophy of Christianity by all sorts of men of all sizes, will work mischief. We have got one theorist already, and perhaps some other may be just putting on, and flapping his wings, for an aerial flight. O be admonished, and keep the ground, remember the fate of Icarus. The pinions you have, are borrowed pinions, and they are stuck together with wax; and assuredly they will melt, and down you
Nititur pennis vitro daturus
If you must have an aerial flight wait till wings have grown on your own shoulders. You tell me you have a new theory which will be of vast service, indeed you dont see the extent of it, it is so large: well go on in secret and unravel the mystery. O that would require a long time, and all that time the world will want the use of it. I will publish it to the church, and improve it by the objestions and suggestions of others and then, if it is found worth nothing, or per
nicious, I shall retract it. Will you? In the name of your Lord, how dare you throw into the midst of his church this unknown thing? What if it should turn out some monstrous hydra, and devour the sons of men? And though somebody, though yourself should at last slay the monster, will that resuscitate those whom it has devoured?
You tell me that you see something dimly twinkling through the mist, on the field of Christianity, and you promise yourself a discovery, but it is difficult. I ask, did you go out to look for difficulties, that you might have the glory of ranking with discoverers? Then the devil must have been your guide. And yonder he is, in that dim light, and as you advance it will grow brighter and brighter, and carry you on farther and farther, now towards this point of the compass, and now towards that, till at last, if divine grace interpose not, down it goes, and down you go in some Serbonian bog. Did you challenge the fiend, or did the fiend challenge you ? If you challenged, mind you must fight the battle without a second. You'll be beaten, and killed too, unless some one comes by, and rescues you out of his hands. But did the fiend meet you at your master's work, and clutch you? then you must buckle to, your master has pitted his own blood against Satanic powers; himself for your second; let no one hear your voice but him; and be cool. And if the field be the philosophy of Christianity, long and dubious will this conflict be and bitterly shalt thou bleed, and mournfully shalt thou groan, and dolefully shalt thou call on thy master for help. And when all thy veins are sluiced, and thou liest wallowing in thy own blood, and all thy joints dislocated, and every bone in thy body broken in the last deadly grasp of desperate deter