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thorough Hopkinsian. He denies the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity. He believes in the total depravity of man's will, through the immediate agency of God, but not in the universal depravity of all his mental and bodily faculties. He believes in common with the Arminians, that Christ made an atonement equally for all men of the human race, so that now God can pardon every sinner or no sinner, without any impeachment of his justice; but the atonement brings him under no covenant engagement to save any. He be. lieves, however, in a particular redemption through sanctification, of all the subjects of the particular election. He deems the heart and the will synonymous, and thinks a sinner loves God by an act of the will. He affirms, that all holiness consists in disinterested love, and all sin in self-love, which he identifies with selfishness; and that neither holiness nor sin is predicable of any thing but the acts of the will. He believes that God is the efficient cause of every act of man's will; as much, and as strictly of his unholy as of his holy voli. tions; and yet, that fallen man has natural ability to do all that God requires. Regeneration he deems an instantaneous, irresistible, act of God, not performed in consequence of any covenant engagement about the atonement, but from mere sovereignty, by which God efficiently causes the first morally right operation of a sinner's will. Regeneration, he thinks, changes a man's will, and is effected not through any instrumental agency, by which God may be pleased to act, but through the physical energy of God's operation on that faculty without any means of grace. He believes the benefit of Christ's righteousness is enjoyed by the believer, but denies that the righteousness itself is imputed to him. After an elected person is regenerated, his moral actions, (that is, his acts of the will,) are either perfectly holy or perfectly sinful; and these continually alternate in exer. cise; the holy, upon the whole, becoming more frequent, until he finishes his course on earth. All the Christian graces are reducible to love; and that modification of love which is called repentance precedes that VOL. I.
which is called faith, in every renewed person. These are some of the peculiar tenets of a Hopkinsian; and while we wish grace, mercy and peace, to all who hold them, we nevertheless again wish, confusion to their
ARTICLE II.-1. The Body of Christ: a Series of Essays on
the scriptural doctrine of Federal Representation. By James
M'Chord. Lexington, Kentucky, 1814. pp. 263, 12mo. 2.--A Plea“ for the Hope of Israel,”-for the Hope of all
the World: delivered on an appeal before the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church. By James M'Chord.
Philadelphia, 1817. pp. 85. 8vo. 3.—The Fiend of the Reformation Detected. Part I. The Truo
Sophisms Detected, which have split the Reformers into Calvinists, Arminians, Redemptional Universalists, &c. By James Gray, D. D. Philadelphia, 1817. pp. 141. 8vo.
The Rev. James M'Chord received his theological education in New York, under the care of Dr. Mason. He was thought a promising young man, of respectable talents; but his self-confidence, and fondness for theorizing, were rather conspicuous; so that his teacher both caressed and curbed him. Had he continued to associate with men of superior mind, for whom he entertained high respect, he would most probably have relinquished those peculiar sentiments which now constitute his distinction, soon after he broached them. His lot, however, was cast in “The Associate Reformed Presbytery of Kentucky,” among clergymen, for whose abilities he seems to have entertained too unfavourable an opinion; and whom he must have concluded he was destined to enlighten. He adopted a theory, and pub. lished it. His brethren deemed his book heretical, and founded upon it a libel, containing nineteen distinct charges of error, on which he was convicted; and for adherence to which the Presbytery suspended him from the office of the ministry. From their sentence he ap. pealed to the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church. According to the constitution of this church,
and the dictates of common sense, an appeal stays the execution of a sentence pronounced in the inferior ecclesiastical court, until the Cody appealed to shall have confirmed it. Asso. Ref. Church Gov. book ii. ch. x. sec. 10. Mr. M'Chord of course continued in ministerial labour until the meeting of Synod, in May, 1816, at which time “his cause was to have been heard; but an indisposition of such a nature as prevented his attendance, and another ground perfectly satisfactory to the Synod, were pleaded by him as reasons of delay. He therefore, persisted in demanding a hearing; and requested that matters might remain as they were, till such hearing could be had.” The Synod referred the matter to a committee, who reported a resolution, that a final decision on the proceedings of the Presbytery of Kentucky, in the case of the Rev. James M.Chord, be deferred until the meeting of Synod in 1817; and an order, that in the meanwhile Mr. M'Chord submit to its decision by abstaining from the exercise of his mi. nistry. In the preamble to this resolution and order, the committee state, that Mr. M'Chord's book denies “the personal representation of the elect by the Mediator, either in the covenant of grace, or in the fulfilment of that covenant by his obedience and sacrifice.” The report of the committee was unanimously adopted. Of this act of the Synod Mr. M'Chord complains loudly, and with sufficient cause. We respect the Synod; but feel constrained to approve the remonstrance of an injured young man, who says, “ Thus the cause was actually judged without hearing the appellant. And not only did the Synod declare their opinion in relation to the matters in controversy; but also passed sentence in conformity with that opinion; at the same time admitting his right to be heard, and agreeing (constructively at least) that the act of Providence by which he was prevented from attending, was a good and sufficient apology for his absence. The most that any court had a right to do,--was to enjoin silence on the points at issue, till the cause should have been heard. With such an injunction the appellant would have cheerfully complied. He has proved that he would have done so, by the fact of his submitting to the sentence they did inflict; unjust and oppressive as it was, ar.d irregularly and unconsti: tutionally as it had been passed.” Plea, p. 34.
In May, 1817, Mr. M'Chord appeared before the Synod, and in defence of himself offered, in substance, The Plea, for the Hope of Israel. After the Presbytery and the appellant had been heard, the Synod appointed a committee to consider and report on a decision to be made by their reverend body. “On due deliberation,' that committee reported a resolution, “that so much of the libel presented by the Presbytery of Kentucky against the Rev. James M'Chord, as goes to charge him with denying that any are represented in Adam, who are not united to him by natural generation, thereby making representation consequent to natural generation; and so much of the libel as charges him with denying that any are represented in Christ, in the covenant of grace, until they are united to Christ in regeneration, thereby making representation in Christ consequent to regeneration, is relevant and true.”
This report was adopted by the Synod; and then Mr. M'Chord protested against the legality of their proceedings, and declined their future jurisdiction. With all due respect for the highest judicatory of the Associate Reformed Church, we must think their proceedings contrary to their own constitution, which ordains, that if" an appeal from a definitive sentence be sustained, the judicatory appealed to shall try the libel, as though it had been originally ordered by themselves." Ch. Gov. Book ii. ch. x. sec. 9. They should have decided on the relevancy of each article, or count, in the libel; and then should have tried the truth of each count decided to be relevant. The question concerning the relevancy of any charge amounts to this; is the crime or error charged in the libel of such a nature as to require judicial censure, suspension, or deposition, if it be proved? Had the Synod pursued this course, they would undoubtedly have determined that several of the charges were not relevant; and probably an undue re
luctance to wound the feelings of the members of the Presbytery of Kentucky, tempted the Synod to pursue the irregular course of constituting a judicial committee, to prejudge the cause for them: and to resolve that SO MUCH of the libel, without specifying which charges, as relates to the representative character of Adam and Christ, is relevant and true. The Synod were placed in unpleasant circumstances; for had they judged the alleged crime of favouring free communion among all visible Christians, to be nothing worthy of ecclesiastical penalties, the Presbytery of Kentucky would have probably come out from the Synod, that they might not be chargeable with touching an unclean thing. Had the Synod judged it to be no heinous affair to teach, “that the Church ought to make and use new songs in the praise of God, as her circumstances require,” their brethren who had condemned Mr. M'Chord for this licentious doctrine among other things, would have thought the glory and usefulness of their section of the Church to have departed. The Synod really were unwilling to sit in judgment on matters like these; and they evidently sought to avoid it, that they might prevent the rending of their little body. Their feelings we commend; but their judgment and even their policy in this transaction are questionable.
Too frequently the ecclesiastical courts in America temporize; and for fear of giving offence, by a strict adherence to their own constitutions and forms of process, bring themselves into inextricable difficulties. In general, it is a just observation, moreover, that our judicatories are less dignified in their proceedings, than the lowest civil courts; because in Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly, the judges frequently legislate for themselves on the occasion, instead of governing themselves by regulations already established and well understood; because the judges turn advocates and disputants, instead of simply giving their first and final judgment on the case at the same time; and because the business of a legislative and judicial assembly is carried on, with all the ardour of debate, which religion is cal