Imatges de pÓgina

The Nonconformist. · No. XXVI.

225 trary nature, which is altogether a our country from one of its foulest religion of the mind, resting upon stains. Whence is it, we may ask, inoral considerations, both for its that the governments of the world authority in the first place, and for its have manifested so much readiness to influence upon individuals and society ? take under their patronage the truth Can the power of the law multiply, and the doctrines of Christianity, the evidences of this religion, or exhi- ich admit of no beneficial alliance bit them with greater advantage to the with temporal power, while so little minds of unbelievers? Or can it even reverence has been paid to its golden counteract the misrepresentations of lessons of justice and humanity, which scoffers and revilers, which inay be might so well be made the basis of conveyed in a whisper as well as in a legislation? It cannot be thought book? The law can only provoke strange, if this circumstance should aud injure the enemies of our faith, excite a suspicion, that when governwithout in any effectual manner check- ments display so much zeal in defence ing the progress of infidelity, while all of Christianity, they have usually other the odium of its unjust proceedings is objects in view than the interests of reflected upon Christianity; for which true religion and the moral welfare of the enlightened friends of this religion the people. cannot be expected to be very forward Little attention seems due to the in the expression of their gratitude. plea for regarding Christianity as part

I cannot refrain from observing, in of the law, drawn from the supposithis place, that there is one sense in tion that it is necessary to support the which it seems possible that Christian- civil regulations of society, and the ity may be made a portion of the law validity of judicial oaths. That Chrisof the land; I mean, by infusing its tianity is the foundation of all the just and benignant spirit into the whole institutions of the country, as has system of our jurisprudence and do- been asserted, appears to be a very mestic government. Doubtless, every vague and extravagant position. Some Christian would rejoice to see of our most valuable institutions, it beloved country elevated above the has been thought, may be traced to a nations of the earth, by the justice and time prior to the introduction of mildness of her criminal code, and by Christianity into the country; and, at the equitable manner in which all the least, this religion professes no direct operations of the law should provide interference with the political relations for the liberty and welfare of all and establishments of mankind. Yet classes of the community. And when it may be readily granted, that Chris. this system of wisdom and benevolence tianity, by its tendency to render men had been completed, no true disciple upright, peaceable and lovers of truth, of his Master would blush to own it adds strength to judicial testimony, and as the work of Christianity. But, can in various ways affects the best interit be true, that Christianity is yet a ests of society. This, however, is not part of the law in that country where because it is the law of the land, but its first injunctions are violated, by because it is the belief of the people : fighting against its adversaries with and unless we can be furnished with the weapons of oppression, and where better evidence than experience has hithe heart of humanity is daily afflicted, therto afforded that the interference of with beholding crowds of unhappy the law is likely to promote the belief beings cut off from existence, almost and reverence of Christianity among in boyhood, for a fraud or a robbery? the people, we cannot admit, that Ye archbishops and bishops, ye chan- such interference is conducive to the cellors and judges, the joint guardians good order of the community, of our holy religion, make good the A general glance at the history of maxim of the law; dispense from your the Christian religion, is not very learned and right reverend benches a likely to give its enlightened believers portion of the spirit of the Christian any great partiality for its close alliLawgiver, and move the hearts of our ance with law and temporal authority. legislators to establish the humane In proportion to the extent in which endeavours of Romilly and Mackin- the civil power, in every country of tosh, and to cleanse the reputation of Christendom, has been perunitted to



2 G

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

embrace this religion with its false the only medicines which the civil
protection, its proper energies of truth power can now administer for the
and moral excellence have been en- cure of infidelity. The sting of the
feebled, and it has waned to a mass of law, for this purpose, has lost its
pitiful superstitions. It has been the power; it can only irritate, not de-
least understood and practised, and stroy its victims.
has consequently produced the fewest Many circumstances there undoubt.
beneficial effects on the improvement edly are in the present condition of
and happiness of man, in those coun- Christianity, calculated to excite a.
tries where it has been made most more than ordinary degree of interest
dangerous to call its truth or its sup, in the minds of its serious professors.
posed doctrines in question. And This religion is now perhaps more
where has Christianity at length as- than at any former period, except at
sumed the most respectable and digni, its first introduction, before the tri-
fied aspect in the eye of reason, and bunal of the public. The body of
produced the happiest effects on the the people, who have no learned sys-
religious character and habits of the tems to support, but whom the in-
people? In those countries where its creased means of education, and the
evidences, its doctrines and records, spirit of the times, have awakened to
have been exposed to the most unli- inquiry upon religious subjects, who
inited discussion; where the friends have no secular interests depending
of religious liberty have succeeded to upon their profession or denial of
the greatest extent in wresting from Christianity, but who cannot fail to be
the hands of the civil authorities the sensible, that the truth or falsehood
power to injure Christianity by their of religion is a question that involves
pretended patronage. These are plain the most momentous consequences to
and powerful lessons from experience, themselves; these are the inquirers to
which, if governments overlook, re. whom Christianity is now appealing
ficcting and liberal Christians should for belief and attachment in a more
keep constantly in mind. .

direct and open manner than the There are also particular circum- circunstances of the Christian world stances in the present times, which have heretofore admitted. Now these must render any interference of the are the class of persons to whose law in behalf of Christianity altoge- minds it is most desirable that Christher injurious. It is no longer possi- tianity should be presented free from ble for the civil power, as in past ages, any association with objects foreign to shield this religion from the inves- from its nature and spirit. Philosotigation of unbelievers, nor even from phers and men of habitual reflection their ignorant and malicious misrepre- cannot be so easily imposed upon, by sentations. The adversary or the the accidental association of things reviler of Christianity cannot now be which have no proper connexion. But consumed at the stake. Only a few the mass of mankind judge from ap-. of the boldest can be chosen to be pearances and from general represenimprisoned and harassed as exam- tations. Since, therefore, the question ples. By such examples the preju- concerning the truth of Christianity dices of unbelievers may be con- appears to excite increasing attention firmed, and their passions excited, amongst the people, it becomes daily but their tongues cannot be silenced. more necessary, that they who consi“ Schism,” says an old and sensible der this religion to be wholly indepenwriter, “is an ailment in the body dent of all human law and government, politic, not curable but by an utter should vindicate it from every false extirpation of the limbs infected, and representation; that they should openly a steady cruelty, zealously pursued denounce all means of persecution without pity or remorse. All petty taken for its defence; in other words, severities, however wholesome they that the principles of consistent Nonmay appear, are only quack medicines, conformity and perfect liberty of opiwhich put the patient to pain, without nion and discussion should be earnremoving the distemper.". Such are estly supported.

H. A. * Mandeville's Free Thoughts, Chap. 9.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

On John viü. 58, &c.

Upon the vexatu quæstio of “God “ Before Abraham was, I am."

the Son” and the Son of God, no

John viii. 58. incident recorded in the New TestaSIR,

ment seems likely to throw more light, VE orthodox interpretation of or to afford more unequivocal evi

, ers. It is not my design to bear my entitled the Transfiguration. Whether humble testimony against that almost “the Vision” determine in favour of intolerable badinage of Athanasian- the orthodox hypothesis, or of the ism on this particular subject; the scriptural statement, let a review of only argument I propose is the argu- it in a prominent point decide. ment ad verecundiam. And onc might The supernatural exhibition appears think it were decisive enough with an to have been vouchsafed for the purordinary controversialist. “God the pose of attesting the person of Christ. Son" (on the shewing of these inno- * We were eye-witnesses of his mavators upon scriptural phraseology) jesty,” says one of the spectators some is unwittingly challenged by the Jews time afterwards. And the accompaas“ taking too much upon himself,” nying attestation from heaven was in in making use of words which seemed these words, “This is my beloved to them to imply that he was in his Son.” What then was this “maown opinion "something greater” jesty," and what the precise meaning than Abraham or the prophets. To of this testimonial ? We cannot this challenge He is prepared, it surely ascertain either point better seems, if we are to believe these advo- than by referring to the impression cates of his equality with God, cate- made by it on the minds of the parties gorically to reply, and is about to do at the time. so in such express and unambiguous And first, let us put the question to terms, as shall leave no doubt in the the contemporary witnesses. Peter minds of his disciples of his being not (" not knowing,"indeed, according to only superior to these Jewish wor. the Evangelist, “ what he said”) rethies, but of his being their Jehovah marks, in the agitation of the moment, himself. He postpones, however, for “Let us make here three Tabernaa few moments the astonishing disclo- eles : one for Moses, and one for Elias, sure. It is not made, where undoubt- and one for God the Son!edly under such circumstances he could delirium at its height have sugInight have looked for it, eo instanti gested such a proposition as this? with the disparagement of his person, How well his subsequent conduct and on the part of his incredulous oppo- that of his fellow-disciples corresnents. No, the rebuke is immedi- ponded with any such notion, is well ately parried by a somewhat different known. They resume their discourse assurance unquestionably. “ Whom with this their glorified Master more makest thou thyself ?” is the question suo: Peter rebukes him, and John is asked. The Almighty, in the person seen lying on his bosom. Let us now of a human being, is catechised as to make our appeal to the Old Testament his pretensions to rank above Moses saints. They must surely have been and the prophets. What is the reply? well acquainted with “ the mystery of "If I honour myself, my honour is godliness," have rightly appreciated nothing.” Is it possible to repress “the majesty” of the person with a smile upon the prospective construc- whom they were at the moment tion of the concluding averment? The brought in contact. Are they then "I am,” about to make the awful

seen prostrating themselves before the anagnorisis only a moment or two af- second person of the Trinity, veiled terwards, leads to it by the preceding in human flesh, in mute, unutterable observation! Respect for the in- adoration? “ They were talking with firmities of our common nature arrests Jesus,” says one of the reporters of my pen. I feel a blush rising on iny the event, “ they were speaking of his own cheek, and spare that which decease which he should accomplish at must surely by this time have quite Jerusalem,” another. crimsoned that of my opponent.


Address of the Presbyterian Church in since your Grace's arrival in Ireland,

Cork, to his Grace the Archbishop beg leave to offer to your Grace our re-
of Cashel, on his Primary Visitation spectful congratulations on that event.
Charge, with his Grace's Answer. Dissenting, for conscience' sake,

est the following address and your Grace enjoys elevated rank ; yet reply, and deem them worthy of per. firmly believing that the seeds of salmanent record in our Repository: Yation are sown in every church which The Archbishop of Cashel seems to confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord hold the same noble moral rank in to the glory of God the Father, and the Irish Church, that the Bishop of that it is of far less importance to any. Norwich does in the English.* Such society of Christians to say, that they men are not only the ornament, but are of Paul,' they are of Apollos," also the defence of their respective they are of Cephas’-than that they communions. The Address and Reply are of Christ'; we feel ourselves have been sent to us in a Cork news- called upon to express our approbapaper, and we insert the introduction tion of those sentiments of Christian to them which we here find.

charity and love, breathed through

out your Grace's Primary Visitation “The documents which we subjoin, Charge-sentiments which must chacomprising the Address of the Pres. racterise the first act of your Grace's byterian Congregation of this city to Archiepiscopal functions, not only as the Archbishop of Cashel, and his an adınonition worthy of distinguished Grace's answer thereto, possess pecu- literary talent, but also honourable to liar interest-indeed we may add im- the feelings of your Grace's heart. portance-at the present moment. It The liberal and enlightened views is soothing, in the midst of the religi- of Christian brotherhood which that ous strife which is waging in this une admonition holds to all the disciples fortunate country, to find, at least, of the Lord Jesus Christ, are calcuone set of Christians claiming for lated to calm the tumults caused by themselves, and conceding to others, the bursts of intemperate zeal-to the right of exercising conscience in repress that spiritual intolerance so all spiritual matters; and paying a unbecoming in the Christian minister, tribute of approbation to the instruc- and to inculcate in the minds of all tive lessons of kindness and concilia- those who are labouring in the vinetion which lately proceeded from the yard of their great Master-that, as distinguished prelate whom they have as they are fellow-travellers through a addressed. It is equally, if not more world of trial, they are fellow-sharers gratifying, to witness the kindred spi- of errors, weaknesses and infirmities; rit which pervades the reply of this and, though differing in opinion in distinguished personage. We do not what your Grace has denominated think that the visitation charge of his 'forms not essential to salvation,' Grace, which is the subject of eulogy yet are they fellow-worshipers of by the Presbyterian body, and which, the same God, fellow-expectants of doubtless, our readers have fresh in the same mercy, through a Redeemer, their remembrance, will have made and therefore dwell in the unity of the a greater irnpression on the public spirit and the bond of peace. mind, than this brief but beautiful “ Although fully conscious that record of true Christian feeling and your Grace, in the discharge of your opinion.

high pastoral duties, seeks not the MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GRACE,

praises of man, but the praise of God;" “We, the Ministers and Elders of yet residing within the bounds of your the Presbyterian Church in Cork, Grace's Archiepiscopal jurisdiction, assembled in our first annual Vestry we cannot refrain from thns publicly

expressing our sentiments of grateful The reader will not fail to recollect respect, and assuring your Grace of the Address of the Eastern Unitarian

our anfeigned wishes that you may Society to the Bishop of Norwich, with enjoy, in this world, bealth, prospethe Bishop's Answer, inserted Mon. Re. rity and peace, and may finally inhe. pos. XVII.521, 522.

rit the promise of your Redeemer,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


Account of Elias Hickes, an American Quaker Prencher. 229 • Where they that be wise shall shine Some months ago the Meeting, of as the brightness of the firmament, and which he is a member, nevertheless they that turn many to righteousness gave him a certificate of full unity as the stars for ever and ever.'with his labours as a minister, in order TO WHICH HIS GRACE RETURNED THE

to his paying a religious visit to the

large meetings of Friends at Philadel“ Permit me to assure you, that I phia. In the performance of this duty, am very much flattered by your kind I understand," a very insidious atcongratulations on the commencement tempt was made by one of his most in. of my connexion with the province of veterate opposers to prejudice Friends Munster.

there against him; but that it fell in “ Conscientiously attached to the the right place, viz. on its disingenuous Established Church, I cannot but feel and unmanly author.” a particular gratification in the candid

I am not acquainted with the preapproval of those, who as conscienti- cise difference in opinion on the docously dissent from it.

trines in question, but your readers “In this our imperfect state of may see (with your permission) by being, it is impossible for us to think the following general description of all alike. Our minds take various the effect of this visit, and the dispobents from education, habits and nu- sition of certain ecclesiastics anong merous external as well as internal the Friends to censure and silence the causes, not always subject to our con- preacher, that it occasioned no slight troul : so that it seems almost as un- degree of agitation among them. A reasonable to quarrel with each other letter from Philadelphia, of a late for the differences in our opinions, as

date, says, “The ancient and venerafor the difference in our statures, com

ble Elias Hickes has paid us a visit plexions and features.

in gospel love; he has kindled a fire in “ Amid the din of parties and the

our midst, and it continues to burn on ebullition of sectarian zeal-of that the altars of the learts of many, espeZeal, I mean, which would appropriate cially the youth of both sexes. Many the character of God's elect to one

able testimonies have been borne in denomination of Christians alone ; it his behalf in our public papers ; he is pleasing to witness the avowal of has stood forth in our meetings, like more liberal principles. We are not the scholar of Gamaliel, and boldly all members of the Church of England, declared the whole counsel of God. but we are all members of the Church The two-edged sword of truth cannot of Christ; and I cannot but rejoice to Eleven elders out of fifteen, and about

be borne by pharisaical professors. find that the Ministers and Congregation of the Presbyterian Church in nine ministers, of the same grade, Cork, participate with me in what strove to destroy his mission, silence appears to their minds, as well as to him and send him kome. But he, my own, the genuine

feelings of Chris- like a bold champion in the cause of tian charity and benevolence.

truth, sounded the ram's horn in our “ Signed, “R. CASHEL.”

borders, and the walls of our carnal Jericho trembled to their base! And

thousands flocked to hear the gospel Sir,

April 6, 1823. preached in primitive simplicity. A esteemed correspondent some in- ecclesiastics, during his stay amongst teresting particulars respecting Elias us. Hickes, of Long Island, near New “ Ten delegates, sanctioned by the York, who has long been, and still is, Pontiff J-- E- addressed a leta celebrated preacher in the Society of ter to him, (which I have not seen,) Friends. He has, however, I am cre- on the subject of his heterodox doc. dibly informed, for the liberality of trines ;' and he answered it in the his sentiments, met with considerable ability which God gave, proving all opposition “ from a few formal bi. their accusations to be false, and gots” amongst his brethren for several founded on bigotry and prejudice, years past, who have accused him “ He has cleared his skirts, and lefi of preaching Hannah Barnard's doc. us to reflect upon his testiroonies. trine.”

But slander, that thousand-tongued


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »