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But this alliance is also intended to put down infidelity. How far in Christendom infidel principles are progressing, we cannot say. We believe that in the manufacturing districts of England, and in the United States of America, as well as in France and other parts of Europe, where there is some education, and where irrational views of Christianity prevail, there is unbelief to a great extent-nor is it to be wondered at. Men cannot receive Christianity in the irrational and narrow view in which it is presented to them; nor can they see amidst the bitterness and evil speaking which characterize the evangelicals, how they could be better or happier by joining them and hence they reject Christianity, and too often scoff at religion. But infidelity, springing from these causes, never can be overthrown by an alliance which is founded on those very principles that are so repug. nant to the understanding and the heart.
Under the name of infidels we understand are also included the sect everywhere spoken against-Unitarian Christians, This is tolerably plain, from the fact that a belief in the Trinity is one of the articles of the alliance; and we are therefore to see in this formidable combination a great effort for the destruction of our church. But there is an alliance, more powerful, growing up for the protection and establishment of the truth, which is yet destined not only to frustrate the efforts of such confederations, but to scatter them like the baseless fabric of a vision. It is the alliance of freedom and love which are gradually spreading, and which, as they increase, will redeem Christianity from the enthralment of human creeds and human passions, and establish “peace on earth, and good will towards men."
A view of the articles of the “alliance,” as we have been able to gather them, will best exhibit its nature and its elements. Those only are invited to join who hold what are usually understood to be evangelical views on the following doctrines :
1. The divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency, of Holy Scripture.
2. The unity of the Godhead, and the trinity of persons therein. 3. The utter depravity of human nature, in consequence of the fall.
4. The incarnation of the Son of God, and his work of atonement for sinners of mankind.
5. The justification of the sinner by faith alone.
6. The work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner.
7. The right and the duty of private judgment in the interpretation of Holy Scripture.
These, then, are the leading principles on which the alliance is formed. Against its constitution we have two remarks to maketwo objections to set forth.
It requires members to believe in certain doctrines about which
wise men and good Christians have differed—and requires, at the same time, that the members should maintain the right and the duty of private judgment. This is very like saying, you are at liberty to use your eyes, and it is your duty to do so, but you must see as we command you. You are at liberty to use your feet, and it is your duty to do so, but you must walk just so far as we command
and no farther. Or rather, it is as if they put blinds on a man's eyes, and then told him that it was his duty to look as far as he pleased as if they put fetters on a man's feet, and then told him he might walk as far as he liked. How very like these creed-bound Protestants are to the unfortunate slaves, who, amidst the clanking of their chains, are sometimes heard to sing the songs which they have learned in praise of liberty. For consistency's sake this article about private judgment should be struck out of their constitution, or modified after some such fashion as the following—" The right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of Holy Scripture, so long as that interpretation agrees with our evangelical views of Christianity.”
Another objection we have to make to the constitution of this alliance is, that it makes doctrine, not practice, the test of fellowship. Any man, it would appear, who holds or professes to hold (for it comes to the same thing) evangelical opinions, is admitted as a member--no matter how opposed his life may be to the precepts and spirit of the gospel. He may, in the ordinary business of life, have forfeited his honour and his credit; he may be full of malice and all uncharitableness towards his neighbours-(the better he hates the Papist and the Arian, the more evangelical, of course)- he may be addicted to the intemperate use of intoxicating drinks-not just a drunkard, perhaps, but rather free in the use of the bottle, at least for a Christian minister-he may be a man-stealer, or a cradleplunderer in America—or he may hold his fellow-man as chattel property. But these are small matters. Doctrine, not practice, is what they want. They wish to present a firm, united, irresistible array against Popery and infidelity, and, therefore, they have formed an "evangelical alliance !"
In this alliance there must be not a jot of heresy—not a tittle of Popery. Some of the brightest ornaments of the church have not held the articles of the alliance in all their integrity. Price and Priestley, Channing and Tuckerman, would have rejected some of them, and therefore they would have been deemed unworthy members of this self-styled evangelical confraternity,—to which the dishonest, the impure, the intemperate, and the slave-holding, are admissible. Had Fenelon lived now, his Christian benevolence and piety would have given him no claim to their fellowship ; and Theobald Mathew they would spurn from them as an idolater, though his zealous and self-denying labours have done more in a few years for the emancipation of man from sin than the "evangelical alliance" can accomplish, should it live for centuries. But it will not live for centuries. Its existence must be as transient as its elements are worthless and incongruous. The alliances that are destined to prcmote the truth of God and the happiness of man, are those which are based on liberty and love-alliances for securing to man the freedom of his body and the freedom of his mind, for rescuing the drunkard from degradation, the wretched from misery, and circulating knowledge, happiness, and purity throughout the world. Such societies bear upon them the impress of Christ's gospel, and must secure the testimony of God's blessing.
GENEVA AND CALVINISM, GENEVA, the capital of the canton of Geneva, las nearly 30,000 inhabitants—beautifully located on the western extremity of the lake of Geneva. The river Rhone, as it issues from the lake, divides the town into two parts. On a little island in the river, it is said, there are traces of a tower built by Julius Cæsar, to prevent the Helvetians from crossing it. Cæsar, in his Commentaries, giving an account of his wars and conquests in this region and in Germany, makes mention of Geneva, as the “extreme fortress of the Allobroges, and nearest to the borders of Helvetia.” There is nothing of interest in the buildings, or public works, or appearance of the town. Its sole interest is in its situation and historical associations. This little town, situated on the frontiers of France and Sardinia, and the Italian States of Austria, small and contemptible in itself, has not less than 30,000 strangers passing through it per annum; and it has had a mighty influence on the destinies of many nations. Here, un doubtedly, were first sown the seeds of those political opinions which overthrew the British throne, and brought the head of Charles I. to the block; which produced the American Revolution, and established the American Republic; which overturned the French Monarchy, and brought Louis XVI. and his queen to the guillotine ; which produced the reign of terror, overturned the Gallic priesthood, and church, and aristocracy, laid France at the feet of Napoleon, disturbed, for a time, all the kingdoms of Europe, and sent the world's conqueror to die a chained victim on the rock of St. Helena. From Geneva went forth the theological dogmas that gave a tone to the religious spirit of Holland, Scotland, Germany, New England, and the United States. CALVINISM!! a word of precious and infinite import to some, of unmitigated scorn and loathing to others ; embodying to some all that is true, just, and saving in Christianity; to others, expressive of all that is cruel, intolerant, bloodthirsty, revengeful.
John Calvin, in 1536, was passing through this town, from Italy to Basle, a fugitive from the pious wrath and fury of the Pope and his cardinals. Farel saw him, persuaded him to remain here, and in two years, by his influence, mainly, the Genevese had abolished Romanism, expelled their bishop, and adopted the Reformation. Here Calvin lived, and died, aged 55, after 24 years of uninterrupted and all but supreme power; here he was buried, forbidding the Genevese to mark the spot where he was buried with any monument; and the site of his grave is not known. Now, Calvinism and Calvin are among the things and men that have been in Geneva. Geneva, for ages, had groaned under the iron sway of the Dukes of Savoy. From their bloody sway she was delivered by the Reformation, but only to come under the dictatorship of Calvin—not much less severe and bloody. The pulpit of St. Peter's church, the only building in town worth seeing, built in the 11th century, became the tribune and judgment-seat of Calvin: and he visited every transgression of his code of morals with the most severe, vindictive punishments. He was the President of the Consistory, of whose prominent members one-third were ministers, and the rest laymen ; and this tribunal had power to inquire into men's private opinions and acts; and into all family affairs, of whatever rank, and however private. Calvin's code of sumptuary laws was rigidly executed by the Consistory. By this code, dinners for ten persons were con fined to five dishes, and plush breeches were interdicted; adultery was punishable with death; gamesters were exposed to the pillory, with a pack of cards tied round the neck. Calvin's influence burnt Servetus at the stake for errors of opinion, though he had not undertaken to propagate those opinions in Geneva, and though he belonged to another nation, and had come to Geneva at Calvin's request. This act of Calvin can admit of no palliation, and it casts a stain upon him and his fellow-reformers at Geneva, as great as that which the burning of Huss cast on the council of Constance. Calvinism burnt Servetus, stabbed the Archbishop of St. Andrews, hung the Quakers in Boston, murdered the witches in Salem, and butchered and murdered the women and children of the deceived and plundered Indians of New England.
Without discussing the merits of Calviuistic theology, the spirit of Calvinism has been one and the same. BLOOD FOR BLOOD is its vengeance-breathing motto. Calvinism has ever been found in league with legalized robbery and murder the world over. She did, indeed, do much to emancipate the mind of Europe from the blighting, poisoning touch of Popish despotism - but she did as much to chain the souls of her followers to her own bloody car. In spirit, she is no improvement upon her grim and bloody predecessor. Calvinism was shocked, horrified by theatrical exhibitions in Geneva, and interdicted them by severe penalties ; but she could deliver the body of
Servetus to the flames without remorse. As I stood on the spot where Popery burnt Huss in Constance, and on the spot where Calvinism burnt Servetus, I could but renounce, for ever, with a deep and settled purpose, Calvinism, Romanism, Protestantism, Mahommedanism, Presbyterianism, Hindooism, Methodism, Congregationalism, and all other sectarianism, as essentially and necessarily hostile to Christianity and humanity. They are man's bitterest enemies. They fill the world with strife and blood -- set man against his brother, and, of course, against his God.
H. C. WRIGHT.
ARE MITCHEL, ARMSTRONG, AND PORTER, DEAD?
1 Thess, iv, 13.
Lord, save me ere I sink,
Like Peter, in the waves !
I live among their graves !
I see where friends have passed
The dark flood safely o'er.
Where Jesus passed before ;
Fair is Immanuel's land,
Where forms celestial stray,
And crowd the milky way.
No marks of sin are there,
with love interred,
No hearts with hope deferred.
O loved and lost on earth!
Your graves around me lie,
Your homes are in the sky;