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qualifications, of its officers and their powers, of its discipline, of its privileges. How happy our lot, that we live where we are born to the inheritance of Christian liberty; where there is no power in the Church, but that which we ourselves create and administer; where there are no long descended corruptions to render religion odious, and put in jeopardy our freedom, our property, our lives. This liberty which we have received as our birthright, we are bound by every tie of gratitude to preserve, defend, and jealously watch. Remembering that the sway of no power is so blighting and oppressive as that of religion in the hands of ambitious and aspiring sectaries; that none can so treacherously and with such fair appearances insinuate itself into the authority at which it aims; that the strong tendency of the mass of men is to submit without inquiry to what is put forward in the imposing form,— For the cause of God, for the sake of Religion ;' and that religious power once gained in any degree, tends more and more to intrench and strengthen itself; remembering these things, we should feel it our duty to guard with jealousy our Christian liberty, to look well to it that the Church of Christ do not again, in any form, possess itself of power, which will not so much crush and oppress our race, as it will help to defile and destroy religion itself. Let religion reign in the world as a moral and spiritual influence; let it, as a great central sun, send abroad its light and its heat into the hearts of the members of the great human family, causing them to put forth the vigorous shoots of every Christian virtue ; let it do this, and we will bless it, we will rejoice in its light, we will hail it as the chief friend and benefactor of our world. But let it again return to the cruel power it once possessed ; let it again fill the earth with war, bloodshed, and commotion ; let it again rain down its plagues upon mankind; and we will
God to take away from us so great an evil, or work some mighty change in the hearts of men, that we may be able to understand and use and apply it better. But faithful to our trust, we need not fear. The liberty which we now enjoy, shall remain, and gradually diffuse itself over the earth. New York.
WHILE I WAS MUSING THE FIRE BURNED.'
Come to thy lonely bower, thou who dost love
How wrapt in slumber are all things around !
Yet not alone
Its meek and musing melody allied
Give thy prayer a voice !
Messrs Editors: The views contained in the following article may be interesting to your readers who wish to be acquainted with the progress of religious thought in other countries. They present a fair specimen of the mode of thinking and writing on theological subjects, which prevails among a numerous and increasing class of French Protestants. They are not indeed original; but it is encouraging to hear the same truths asserted in a foreign land, which we have long known and loved at home. The article is translated for your work from the Revue Protestante, and if you approve of it, may be followed by others of a similar character, from the same source.
ON THE RIGHTS OF REASON AND OF FAITH.
There are two modes of regarding the source and the laws of religious convictions, both of which are faithfully displayed in þistory, that is to say, in the pro. gressive developement of the human race. They appear, with equal clearness, in the developement of the individual.
The first mode takes it for granted that religion is designed to supply the deficiences of reason, to refute its errors, and that it contains absolutely every thing which should be known or done in the science of morality. According to this view, it is the province of religion to sit in judgment on the reason ; thus, in the middle ages, theology gave its orders to all the philosophy of the schools. This view completely destroys the understanding, and substitutes for it another order of impressions, those of faith, or the religious sentiment, terms almost synonymous. It is the essential distinction of this mode, that it dethrones the understanding, in order to endow the soul with another sense, which is suddenly revealed, and which, were it real and legitimate, would be sufficient to guide it with the clearness of an inward light, sustained by feeling. The pretensions of this state of things are reduced in fact to the position, that reason does not exist after faith is established. Reason is sacrificed on the altar of faith.
The other mode of regarding the laws of religious convictions, takes it for granted as a primitive fact, that the reason of man exists by its own power, prior to every other sentiment and to all science, that faith is not intended to destroy but to develope it, not to take its place, but to assist it in knowing itself. This sys-, tem regards faith, not as the antagonist of reason, but as its ally. It reconciles, though it does not identify them.
According to this order of ideas, faith is a superior mode of instruction, which, even in its superiority, is judged and appreciated by reason, which perceives very clearly that it can give its assent to nothing impossible or absurd. From this view, it follows, that faith, in its greatest action, can produce nothing but a strange and monstrous developement of our moral nature. It ought to be supported on reason while it rises above it. The former of these religious systems tells man, while seeking a solution of the mysteries which oppress him: Believe, or your reason will be of no service to you ; the other tells him, Believe, and your reason will serve you better.
Faith is admitted in both of these systems. But the question between them is, whether faith ought to produce in our soul, a complete substitution for reason, or a more perfect developement of it. In the two systems, very different ideas are attached to the word faith. Since the first admits faith not as an auxiliary but as a sovereign, the substance of its doctrines may be little conformable to reason; nay,
be in express contradiction to it. This will be something essentially different from all our other moral ideas.
In the second, the word faith expresses merely a progress, a perfecting of our nature, which taking its departure from reason, starts from its summits to still higher elevations.
The history of an individual's developement is a miniature of the history of man. In each, we see the birth of these two modes. The human race passes through the same stages, which we traverse as individvals. It has been observed that nations in the origin