« הקודםהמשך »
tain, for purposes of concentrated effort in the propagation of truth, how pastors and churches understand the Bible.
“In the nature of the case, I have been able to perceive no adequate cause for the virulent invective employed against creeds; but when I have compared the creeds of the Reformation with the Bible, and have perceived their general coincidence with the unperverted
dictates of revelation, and their efficacy in uniting the churches and · preserving the truth, I have not been surprised at the torrent of
declamation which has been poured forth against them; though I have not ceased to feel astonishment at the misrepresentations of them, which men, of veracity in other respects, have felt themselves at liberty to make.. An invading enemy is always prejudiced against fortified positions, and standing armies; and would much prefer an open country, and an undisciplined militia. And if the goodnatured people invaded, would consent to adopt the same prejudices, and to act upon the defensive, without concert or fortifications, they would much oblige the enemy; who, both before and after their subjugation, would doubtless eulogize them, as pre-eminent in liberality and the social virtues. . . ;
“Creeds and associated churches create a rugged warfare to the innovator, and reward him with slow gains, and stinted victories of doubtful continuance. Who ever knew a professor of religion of lax morals, who was not opposed to evangelical discipline; or one buffeted for his faults, without reformation, who did not cry persecution ; or an attempt made to unite churches for the defence of the Gospel, which did not arouse the energies, and call forth the declamation of those who avow their opposition to the doctrines of the Reformation. Not a movement can be made on this subject, but instantly the pope is at the door; the dungeons of the inquisition are under our feet, and the chains, the rack, and the stake, and the fire are prepared. It is strange indeed, that the friends of truth should fear those associations of churches, which the enemies of truth regard, above all things, with aversion and dread. Strange that the prevalence of the same. creed, and the same principles of association, by means of which the power of the pope was broken, and half his dominions wrested from him; should be regarded with terror, as the sure means of establishing in this land his iron-hearted despotism. I cannot read such declamation, without deep and continual sorrow of heart, that the friends of truth should be deceived and alarmed by it : while the enemy, laughing at our credulity, moves on in firm phalanx, to divide and conquer.' 'Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might: weep day, and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”” pp. 206—209.
We only add that, through this whole volume, there is the same luminous perception and exposition of trụth as is here apparent. Not only doctrinal truths are advanced, but difficulties of a theological and practical nature, difficulties too of every day occurrence, are fully met and obviated. No young clergymạn, on theological student, should be without these Sermons. It was Locke, we believe, who recommended the study of Chillingworth to those who desired to reason. Those, who wish to clarify their percepVOL. I.
tions, and give them strong utterance, who wish to think, and to make others think, would do well to become familiar with these Sermons.
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS., 1. A Review of Rev. Mr. Whitman's Discourse, preached before. the Second Religious Society in Waltham. Boston: T. R. Marvin, 1828. pp. 48.
We agree with others, who have expressed an opinion on the subject, in thinking that the Discourse of Mr. Whitman deserved the notice which is taken of it in this Review. The grossness of his language, the bitterness of his spirit, the fallacy of his reasonings, and above all, his manner of quoting and treating the Holy Scriptures, ought to be exposed. Those who acknowledge Christ as a divine person, and ascribe to him divine honors, are expressly denounced as “ denying the Lord Jesus," and consequently as exposed to be denied by him before his Father which is in heaven. And the only excuse which Mr. W. can frame for his antichristian neighbors is, that possibly they do it ignorantly,
But, of this excuse, Trinitarians cannot in conscience avail themselves.' For, of whatever else they may be ignorant, they ascribe divine honors to the Saviour with their eyes open. They do it, after diligent attention to the subject, and with the full consent of their understandings. Hence, in the judgment of Mr. Whitman, and from the commendation bestowed on his Sermon, we have a right to add, in the judgment of Unitarians generally, Trinitarians are chargeable with “ denying the Lord Jesus.” “ Here then we hold ;” and holding here, we make the following requests, which no Unitarian, who regards so much as the appearance of consistency, can deny us. We request that it may not longer be said, whenever a purpose can be answered by saying it, that there is little or no difference between the two great classes which at present divide the religious community. Will Unitarians say that there is little or no difference between themselves and those who deny the Lord Jesus? We request them henocforth to desist from their professions of respect and veneration for the religious character of the Puritans and Pilgrims. Will they pretend to venerate the religious character of those, who were guilty of denying the Lord Jesus? We request them, farther, to cease from their complaints about the iniquity and cruelty of what they are pleased to call “the exclusive system.” What fellowship do they wish to have with those who deny the Lord Jesus? Does Mr. W., or do his admirers, really wish to exchange pulpits with one, who persists in denying the Lord that bought him ? It rather becomes them to pity us, as antichristian idolators, and to pray and labor for our conversion, than to be complaining because they cannot have ministerial and Christian fellowship with us.
In his attempts to shew, that those who “ worship Jesus as God, disobey all apostolic instruction,” Mr. W. literally dismembers passages of Scripture, leaving out the one part, which ascribes worship to the Son, just as the part he quotes ascribes it to the Father. « Grace be with you from God the Father"-here he stops in the
middle of the verse, the remainder of which is, “and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.” 2 John 3. An instance of proof such as this, has had no parallel, we presume, since the days of the red man, who could prove from the Bible, that his neighbors ought to furnish him with the means of intoxication, as often as he desired it ;-" If sinners entice thee, consent thou.”
The Review before us follows Mr. W. with a strong and steady hand, and ferrets him out of all his lurking places. It is made clearly to appear, that his argument to disprove the divinity of Christ --that which he turns over and over, and brings forward and urges again and again; is, throughout, a sheer sophism. “Christ is a man; therefore he cannot be God. He is the Son, the anointed, the sent of God; therefore he cannot be a divine person." Yet Mr. W. knows that Trinitarians believe in the humanity of Christ, as sincerely as himself, and that this doctrine is as essential to their system, as it is to his own.
This Review is written in an excellent spirit, is full of truth, and will well repay the most attentive perusal. The following is from the concluding paragraphs.
“What I have written, I have not written in the spirit of controversy. Notwithstanding the provocations contained in the Sermon, I have endeavored to avoid all disrespectful language and reproachful epithets. And though he has accused the great majority of the Christian church, in this and other lands, of denying Christ, and though it appears to me that the difference between the two systems is heaven-wide; yet, I will not pronounce the judgments of God. To his own Master he stands or falls. He is my fellow mortal, and we are to meet each other at another day, at the bar of Him whose character is, in question. It will then be decided, whether I am guilty of too highly exalting Him, or he, of robbing Him of his glory.
“To all, into whose hands this pamphlet may fall, the writer would say,—you are called, by every consideration of duty and personal interest, to examine impartially, and prayerfully, the Holy Scriptures. All your interests as immortal beings are involved in the question relative to the character, and worship, of the Saviour. The present excitement will soon be over, the passions of the day will soon subside, and our final destiny will soon be fixed by reference to the sacred volume which is now, plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. With deep and solemn impressions, remember the inspired passage, “ Unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.”
"Consider the question in debate, as too solemn and momentous in its bearings upon your own soul, to be hastily decided by private attachments or antipathies, by party spirit or prejudice; and with a mind open to receive whatever eternal wisdom shall communicate, repair to the infallible word of God, and Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him duelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” pp. 45, 46.
2. More than One Hundred Scriptural and Incontrorertible Arguments for believing in the Supreme Dirinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1828. pp. 28.
The writer of this Tract begins with noticing some of the more cominon objections to the divinity of Christ; such as, “I cannot comprehend God, as existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;"_" to represent God as existing in three persons, is to represent him as a being wholly unlike any other being ;''—the Scriptures represent Christ as a man; and “it is impossible that he should be both God and man.” Having disposed of these objections in few words, he proceeds to adduce no less than a hundred and twelve “ Scriptural and incontrovertible arguments for believing in the supreme divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,”—embracing, in great variety and extent, the testimony of the inspired writers on this most interesting subject. To this, he adds the testimony of some of the earlier Christian Fathers, as Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Theophilus.of Antioch, Irenæus, &c.; and sums up the whole in the following words :
“We have now seen that all those texts which speak of Christ as in a subordinate condition have not the least weight in disproving his essential Deity, being all easily and naturally explained by the fact, that though he thought it not robbery to be equal with God, he took on him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death for the redemption of sinful men. We have seen of Jesus, that his name is Gop, JEHOVAH; JEHOVAH Of Hosts; the LORD God; the LORD OF GLORY; the LORD OF ALL. He is THE TRUE GOD; the MIGHTY God; LORD OF Lords; and God over all; the First and the last; the self existent I am.- We have seen that all the attributes and incommunicable perfections of JEHOVAH belong to Christ. He is ETERNAL; IMMUTABLE; OMNIPRESENT ; OMNISCIENT; OMNIPOTENT. We have seen that the works which can be done by none but JEHOVAH himself, are done by Christ. Ile created all worlds, and upholdeth all things by the word of his power; governs the whole universe, and is the light of heaven. By his omnipotent voice he will raise the dead at the last day, and decide the eternal destinies of all fesh. Although the company before his awful tribunal will be as innumerable as the sand upon the sea shore ; yet will he perfectly recollect all their actions, words, and thoughts, from the birth of creation to the end of time: impossible for any creature, but easy for Christ. He is also to his church what none but God can be : he is the source of all grace and eternal salvation to his people; and we are to act towards Christ exactly in the same manner as we are to act towards God the Father,—to be baptized in his name; to believe in him ; to pray unto him ; and to serve and worship him, even as we serve and worship the Father; and not thus to honor the Son, is the same, and equally sinful, as not to honor the Father.These are some of the things which irresistibly prove the GODHEAD of the Saviour. What stronger proof can the power of language convey? What stronger proofs than these have we of the existence and perfections of the Father ?”' pp. 27, 28.
We find it difficult to speak of this little work in terms of sufficient commendation. The design of it is happy, and it is happily executed. The arguments, though not all original, are well ar
ranged, and they are, what they claim to be,“ Scriptural and incontrovertible.” They constitute a body of evidence in favor of the supreme divinity of Christ which never can be refuted or removed. The Unitarian may as well think of tearing the sun from the heavens, as of removing from the Bible the evidence on this subject. For if one passage is stricken out, there are others; and if these are mutilated or explained away, there are many more. And when passages seem for the moment to be explained away, they are not. They stand in the faithful record just as they did before; and the next time the unbeliever opens his Bible, they stare him in the face, and flash back abused truth upon his smothered conscience. Those who have waged war with the plain declarations of Scripture, have engaged in a hard and hopeless controversy. Better relinquish the Bible altogether, or be willing to abide by its decisions.. .
But to return to the Tract; we earnestly hope, and we believe, that it will have an extensive circulation. Why may not the American Tract Societies adopt it, and scatter it far and wide. We wish copies of it to be multiplied by thousands and tens of thousands, till it has reached every village and hamlet, and borne its testimony in every dwelling throughout our country. '!
MISCELLANEOUS DEPARTMENT. .
PROTESTANTISM IN FRANCE.. ' ·
Letter of Peter Bayssiere..
i (Concluded from p. 220.) But, added 1, without letting her perceive my extreme satisfaction at her recital, is this all you know of the Protestant worship? have you never seen them commune ?
I have seen them commune, also, returned my wife ; it was the same day, for that is the only time I was ever at their church. It was the day of Pentecost, a great holiday for them as for us.
Tell me, pray, how did they commune?.
This is the manner, said she. I have mentioned a table before the pulpit ;' well, this table serves them for an altar. It was covered with a very white cloth. There was in the middle, a plate of bread and two cups of wine. When the minister had done preaching, he took a book, and read from it very fine things on the communion, the sufferings and death of Christ. He then spoke of the duties of communicants ; and every body rising, he made a prayer. He then descended from the pulpit, and placed himself, standing, near the table. He took a small piece of bread, which he ate, after pronouncing aloud some words which I have forgotten. When he had eaten the bread, he took the two cups in his hands, and again pronouncing some words which I did not hear, he drank a little of the wine.
And, after the minister, did the others commune in the same manner?
Yes, exactly in the same manner: The minister had no sooner finished, than the principal persons approached the table, two and two, and received each a small piece of bread which they ate, and drank a little wine from the cup which he presented them. The rest of the assembly, the women after the men, did the same; and when all had communed, the minister again mounted the pulpit, and made a new exhortation; and having made the last prayer, he dismissed the people, recommending the care of the poor.
The Lord's Supper! said I to myself; the Lord's Supper! The conformity which I perceived between the Protestants and the Christians of the primitive church gave me unusual joy. I desired, with new ardor, to know the ground of their doctrine, not doubting that I should then myself become a Protestant."