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oaths, to swear, or to fight; all these things, and many other inconsistencies, are supported for Christian practice, from particular parts of not only the Old, but the New Testament; so that whether for a rule of faith or practice, the Bible will be found to be “a mere nose of wax,” “a Lesbian rule” which men may cut and carve, and mould as best pleases them."
These sentiments are not new, they were boldly advanced in the seventeenth century, by an enlightened and pious man; but such is the estimation in which most of the high professors in religion now hold the Bible, that no man, who was not raised entirely above the love of their affections, or the fear of their frowns, would venture to repeat them, or to speak the simple truth respecting it. Formerly the case was different. Great precaution was used in publishing the scriptures, it was made death in the reign of Henry 5th, for common people to read them, and copies of them were only al. lowed at a much later period in some of the churches, and were there affixed by a chain ; and by royal authority it was decreed, that they should be read “ moderately, and not for strife;" a law was afterwards made, to prohibit all but gentlemen and merchants from perusing them; in the preamble it is stated, “ that many sedi
tious and ignorant persons had abused the li. berty granted them for reading the Bible, and that great diversity of opinion, animosities, tu. mults, and schisms had been occasioned by perverting the sense of the scriptures."*
In taking a more enlarged view of those na. tions which have had the Bible, and scem to consider themselves as the peculiar objects of Divine regard, if it were not for the assurance of the truth and immortality of the religion of Jesus Christ; I might blush that I was a white man, or a Christian.
Christian. Oppression and blood . shed have marked their footsteps in every quarter of the world ; and it would be difficult to say whether the poison of their deadly touch, had been most sensibly felt, by the simple in. habitants of Asia, Africa or America.--"Leave us to ourselves,” is the emphatic language of every people, where their feet have trod, “your friendship is deceitful, your smiles are artifices;” and yet missionariesgo among them to labour te convert them to what they call Christianity !A sword is held in one hand and the Bible in the other. Can there be a greater infatuation?
“White men would always be telling us, says the Indian, as recorded by Heckewelder, * of the great Book which God has given to * Humes history of England.
them, they would persuade us that every man was good who believed in what the Book said, and every man was bad, who did not believe in it. They told us a great many things, which they said were written in the good Book, and wanted us to believe it all.
We would probably have done so, if we had seen them practise what they pretended to believe, and act according to the good words which they told us. But no ! while they held their big Book in one hand, in the other they had murderous weapons, guns and swords, wherewith to kill us poor Indians! Ah! and they did so too, they killed those who believed in their Book, as well as those who did not. They made no distinction.!"*
It is not only the Bible, but other books are referred to, as standards of faith. They may be objects of curiosity, as showing the sentiments and feelings of men of other times; but all books are to be placed upon the same footing, and any confidence in them may shew us where our faith is; every hope in them proceeds from a want of confidence in the power of God; a religion that is founded upon books, is no religion at all.
Neither is example any thing-following the most holy men, cannot make us holy, nor do
Historical and Literary Transactions.
ought towards effecting our rightcousness: for ás sin is in the mind, so is salvation there. It is there the work must begin, and there it must be accomplished. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light," but the eye is not single that is looking upon books or men-even upon the outward conduct of so righteous a person as Jesus Christ as a pattern, and inasmuch as we do so, we form to ourselves an idol, which we worship instead of God.
So far from denying the divinity of Christ, I have the most assured belief of it; but he was made divine, as all men must be, by his obedience to the power of God which dwelt in him, he was made "perfect through suffering,” and nothing suffered but those feelings, which he had in common with the whole human familyIt would be presumptuous to attempt to follow his footsteps, or adopt his sentiments, exc!llent as they may be, but by and through the convictions of our own minds, which would make them also true to us.
No part of the ministry of Christ was more pure,
than where he directed his followers from himself unto God; telling them that " he that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me,” John xii. 44, and this ap
pears to have been the whole drift of his ministry. There is no true belief in Christ, that is founded on his birth, miracles, death, or resurrection; it is only by a unity in the one spirit with him, in which we become his brethreri, co-heirs with him, that we truly know, that he was indeed the son of God. Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister and mother." Mark iii. 35. .
I well know how much mankind are looking to the outward and corporeal body of Christ; professing to have a dependance upon his intercession for them at the throne of the Father; and upon his blood, shed upon the cross; some as washing away their sins, and others, as the means the infinite and merciful Jehovah has made use of, to give salvation to man!! Such outward views, I may term ridiculous, without feeling disposed to ridicule any serious subject; but truly, I do not know any better word to make use of.-If they be true, it will follow that Judas who betrayed Jesus, and the Jews who nailed him to the cross, have all been instruments of our salvation! Pontius Pilate who delivered him up to be crucified, should be hailed as that man, who most of all contributed to effect the salvation of his fellow creatures! Surely the feelings of Pilate must have deceive