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Her's was the humbler, yet severer fate,
What though no pageant o'er her humble earth,
Here shall the virtues, which her soul possess'd,
[Mr. Orton has said, “there is much truth and weight in these lines.”
This commendation appears rather cold, for the poetry of the passage is as fine as its wisdom. It is an imitation of Chaucer by Dryden.]
He bore his great commission in his look ;
Glorying in the Cross: A sermon delivered before the Asso
ciated Congregational Ministers of Salem and (ils) vicinity, at Malden, Massachusetts, on Tuesday Sept. 8, 1818. By JAMES Sabine, late Pastor of the Congregational Church,
St. Johns, Newfoundland. Published by request. · We feel some reluctance to make any reference to this sermon; because whatever notice we may take of it, will give the author a consideration to which he is not entitled. It contaios an attack upon the Unitarian clergy of our country, particularly those of Boston, and upon the citizens of our metropolis gene. rally. Some of our readers may recollect, that it is about a year, since the same person preached a sermon in commenora, tion of the benevolence of the citizens of this place, in relieving the sufferings of the inhabitants of St. John's, where he then resided; and had, if we mistake not, some further agency in expressing their gratitude. The character of the present discourse may be estimated from the following passage.
“ But there is another class of teachers. Certain men crept in unawares who privily bring in damnable heresies, denying the only Lord, and our Lord Jesus Christ--even denying the Lord ihat bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make inerchandize of you: wbose judgment now of a long time lingerrth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.' --Whether this passage of Scripture be a propbecy, or a description of what bad actually taken place, or whether it partakes of the pature of both, is of little consequence in our present discussion. It is very evident that the saine •Spirit' which speaketh expressly' speaketh 'Truly' when he says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Speaking lies, (not openly) but in hypocrisy. having their consciences seared with an hot iron. These certain men who bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them, do it ly stealth, creeping in unawares and privily, with feigned words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, by which to serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, do through rovetousness make merchandise of the inwary. In putting these passages of Scripture together, I was pever more forcibly struck with any thing in my life, than with the exact reseinblance which the description bears to the once disguised, but now unmasked Unitarian clergy of these regions.
“ The true character of this class of pretenders to the order of Christian ministers is delineated by themselves, or at least by an apostle of their own, and therefore to give them the credit for telliog the truth in this case, can be no slander. They tell us that they propagate their sentiments by cautious and prudent sermons, gradually and insensibly bringing over converts to their system. Persons thus converted, while beguiled into insensibility, must be very senseless converts at best. A confessor propbet of their's tells us, that •No reformation from prevailing errors could take place if those who are acqnainted with the truth should, through fear of persecntion, conreal it from public view'-and That it is base and unbecoming the dignity of a man in this nineteenth century, in this land of Jiberty and free inquiry, to bow down to popular absurdities and superstitions, and quietly to abandon the unalienable right of private judgment." This is certainly the most manly way of propagating Unitarianism; the otber must be a very base and senseless way: but these two ways involve no small contradiction, and indeed it must be so, for hypocrisy and absurdity are always near kindred.
** In opposing these enemies of the cross, there is but one weapon to be used, and a powerful and efficient one it is—The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' Preach the word, continue instant id season and out of season, rebuke, exhort, reprove with all long suffering and doctrine. Let there be po truce or compromise with these doctrines, assail them by all possible and legitimate means. Institute a most systematic attack, by preaching among these benighted people wherever an opening offers. Let your mission to these regions of darkness be as direct and systematic as your mission to the Chickasaw and the Chocktaw Indians."
But whatever may be the character of the sermon, or its author, we think its publication is so connected with certain other facts which we shall point out, as to give it a sort of importance. It does not stand unrelated and alone. It is not Mr. Sabine, but some of those, whose language he speaks, and who have connected themselves with him, who will be the objects of our animadversion in the remarks which we are about to make.
The first thing, we shall observe, is that this sermon, probably from the circumstance of its gross inconsistency with what had been previously known of the author, seems to bave attracted more notice than other similar productions; and many of our friends appear to have an erroneous impression, that there is something of novelty in this style of attack. But the fact is quite otherwise. The author has been with men who have taught him his manners and his language. He came here, we may reasonably suppose, favourably impressed toward the citizens of Boston. These first impressions he had to unlearn, and to acquire a different set of opinions and feelings. He has indeed made rapid proficiency, but be has not yet excelled his masters. We will point out a few of those compositions
whicb may have been given him to study; and produce some quotations to show the correctness of the assertions we have made.
Our readers may, in the first place, turn to the two reviews relating to the Unitarian Controversy, as it has been called, which appeared in the Panoplist; where he will find the following passages :
Mr. Belsham " has shown us that many of his order," that is, many clergymen in our country, “would have one religion for the vulgar and another for the wise.”-Panoplist, vol. xi. for 1815, p. 250.
They are guilty of "a hypocritical concealment of their sentiments."
“The manner in which Unitarianism is propagated deserves a few moments attention.”
Its advocates, or as the reviewer calls them, the advocates of Socinianism,' “have clandes-, tinely crept into orthodox churches;" and "behave in a base hypocritical manner at which common honesty revolts." pp. 259, 260.
"The conduct of Mr. Belsham, rotten as he is, in point of doctrine to the very core, is purity itself coinpared with the conduct of these,” i. e. of the Unitarians generally of this country. p. 262.
“We have long since ceased to be surprised at any measure which could propagate the principles in question.” p. 256.
The Unitarians' "universally bedaub each other with all the fulsome adulation which they can collect and invent.”
" It is nauseating, it is intolerable, to find such daubiog apon every page." pp. 262, 263.
Respecting their conduct toward the ortbodox. In pretence all is politeness and liberality; in practice we find a rancour bitter as death and cruel as the grave." p. 264.
“ How different" is the conduct of Mr. Belsham, “ from the disguise of our Unitarians, and their whining complaints about illiberality in the orthodox in refusing to exchange with them.” p. 265.
“ The liberal party” “mutilate the New Testament, reject nearly all the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and degrade the Saviour to the condition of a fallible, peccable, and ignorant man.'
Respecting our University we are told,
" It is no longer what it once was. The lustre of science still shines, but the sun of Christianity is eclipsed.” p. 259.
It is asserted of this Institution, in a hypothetical form of expression it is true, but one at the same time which conveys the meaning as distinctly as an express assertion" (hat being, as it were, the heart of the Commonwealth, it is sending poisonous blood to the very extremities of the body politic.'
Respecting “the highest officer in that venerable semi
we are informed ; " That he has thought it a proper employment of his time to sit down coolly to a composition,” which was afterwards “thrown into the world
to furnish new jests for the profane, and increase the natural antipathy of men to religion.” p. 268.
He bas been guilty of “one of the most pernicious and one of the most culpable examples of scotting at religion which can any where be found.” He, and the authors of many other articles in the Anthology, we are told by a direct implication, belong to the “race of scoffers;" and the passage which has excited all this offence, is said to be “written in a style which exactly suits the views and feelings of the Unitarian school." Vol. xii. p. 233 comp. vol. xi. p. 268.
The Panoplist reviewer, we think, need not fear at present that he will be outdone and superseded by Mr. Sabine. There is one trait indeed of the production of the former, wbich the latter gentleman has not yet attempted to imitate; and that is, the intermixture of exbortations to charity and moderation, with such specimens of the practice of ihese virtues as we have quoted.
“Let the orthodox,” he says, “deal with their offending brethren in a solemo, affectionate, tender manner." vol. xi. p. 266.
“To treat their opponents with asperity, contempt, or reproach, is unworthy of them as Christians or as men.” p. 266.
We wonder how this reviewer would write if he should be so unfortunate as to lose his temper; should be moved to something like asperity and reproach; and should in consequence cease to treat his brethren in such a tender and affectionate manner as he has done. In respect to reproach indeed, either this reviewer has entirely changed his opinion, or one of his brother reviewers considers him as in a gross error; for what is here declared to be unworthy of a Christian or a man is, in a late article in the same publication, vindicated as a right from which the author thinks that he cannot be debarred without suffering great injustice.
"And is it come to this, that they who are charged to .contend earnestly for the faith,' must see the Bible assailed, the Saviour denied, and the whole fabric of religiou swept away, without uttering one breath of REPROACH against tbe authors of this moral desolation ? Silence here, is treason agaiost the King of Zion. The men, who openly revile or studiously disguise the grand peculiarities of the Christian system, deserve reproach. Let them, who preach, or encourage others to preach in this manner, look to it."**
There is an indefiniteness in the application of this language, in the connexion in which it stands, which may perhaps leave
* Panoplist for January, 1819. Review of Dr. Porter's Sermon, p. 18.