Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

these would before long be qualified and disposed to become teachers. This latter course of instruction, too, I should expect to begin at once, (since, if fit to be settled, I should be able to undertake it without much devotion of time,) and to repeat through my ininistry, receiving, after it had been once finished, a new class annually from the Sunday school. I should attempt no more till this had been once gone over; after which it would be familiar, and easy to repeat and improve with succeeding classes. Then, (that is, at the end of four years,) to carry on further those who had thus attended me, and collect with them an audience of all adults in the congregation who should be so disposed, I should institute the weekly expository lectures on the books of scripture, for which, by this time, I should expect to have a degree of leisure and qualification. Thus, at the end of four years, the system would be in complete operation, and it would be for time and diligence to do the rest. The minister would conduct personally two exercises a week, leading him to studies the most useful possible, if only his own improvement were considered; and what remained would be done for him, by those whom he was successively qualifying.

What a situation, Messrs Editors, and what a prospect, would be those of a minister, who, in his mature and declining life, was addressing hearers, who, through seventeen years, from infancy to the most responsible age, had been thus, from week to week, under his tuition!

A FRIEND Or RELIGIOUS EDUCATION.

SAN EXHIBITION OF UNITARIANISM.'.

Messrs Editors : A tract with the above title, having fallen into my hands, I am induced to give it a passing notice, which, if you please, you will insert in the Advocate.

The garbled quotations which make up the pamphlet, remind me of a text taken by a certain preacher, whose zeal was much excited by the high plumes, bows, etc. of the female part of his audience. It was, “top-knot come down ;' from which he gravely lectured his hearers upon their departure from scripture rules. Some of the good ladies, wondering that they had never noticed in their bibles so plain a direction, turned to the chapter and verse, and found, “Let him who is upon the house-top not come down, to take any thing out of his house.' So, if the readers of this tract will turn to the works from which the extracts are taken, they will find that the author of it has given the meaning of many of the writers just about as fairly as the above named preacher gave the sense of his text.

But it is too serious for sport. I am grieved to see one who, it is supposed, thinks himself a christian, thus misrepresenting his fellow christians. If it were an iafidel who had done this, an enemy to all religion, we should not wonder; but that a man who calls Christ Master, should thus wantonly violate the rules which the Saviour has given for our conduct, is indeed lamentable. Must not the compiler of this work know, that Jesus enjoined it on his followers to love one another, and made this the distinguishing mark of discipleship? that he said expressly, “As ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so to them ? Does the writer say that Unitarians are not followers of Christ? I would ask him if he is aware of the awful responsibility which he assumes? if infallibility has been bestowed upon him, that he thus judges the hearts of his fellow men? Does he never think it possible that he may mistake? and if his own system should be erroneous, does he never reflect upon the solemn account which, in such a case, he must render, for his opposition and enmity to the truth ? He cannot say, that he should like to be treated in this manner himself. He and every man of information must know, that a more objectionable book could be made in the same way from Orthodox publications ; one which would contain matter quite as objectionable, even to the Calvinists themselves, as this contains. Every person who has listened to Orthodox preachers, or been in the habit of reading what they have written, must know, that a most heterogeneous compilation could be made from their productions. How would this writer like such a collection of detached sentences from Calvinistic books ? His conscience will, I think, compel him to say, that he has done that to others, which, if done to himself and his friends, would excite his indignation. The temptation to reply to such a work in a similar manner is strong. I hope, however, that no Unitarian will attempt it; although he might plead in excuse, that it was the easiest mode of defence, and the most effectual method of convincing our opponents of their unfairness.

I rejoice in the belief, that a majority of the Orthodox community disapprove of such publications. But let me ask them, are you doing right to support, in any way, a Society which throws such works into the hands of the ignorant ? If they only reached the wellinformed, they would be powerless; but that much pains is taken to circulate them where the true character of Unitarianism is unknown, the fact that this tract has reached us, who reside in a small country town, some hundreds of miles from Boston, abundantly proves.

I will mention but a single proof of this author's intention to deceive the ignorant, and of the unfair means which he takes for this purpose. It is seen in his quotations upon the verbal inspiration of the scriptures. He certainly would not, if he has any reputation at stake, endeavor to support such a doctrine under his own name. He must know, that the idea of verbal inspiration, in the sense in which the Orthodox would have to contend for it, destroys the veracity of the gospels; that the discrepancies of the Evangelists are utterly incompatible with such verbal inspiration ; that it would undermine the foundations. of our faith; and that the intelligent of his own party would not support him. Yet, knowing all this, he would have it appear, not in so many words, but by implication, that the Orthodox do believe it, that it is taught in the bible, and that Unitarians deserve to be condemned for disbelieving it.

If the unlettered knew the meaning of 'verbal inspiration, this would have no effect; the Unitarian belief upon the subject would, at once, approve itself to their good sense. But, unaccustomed to distinctions and technicalities, they confound it with all inspiration; and the writer taking advantage of their ignorance, has endeavored to throw the whole odium of this bugbear upon Unitarians.

Your readers may deem this tract unworthy of so much notice; but I think that, when such things are sent to our dwellings, some effort should be made to rouse the slumbering consciences of our fellow christians, so that they may feel and check what is wrong in the measures which the leading ones of their party are pursuing, to the prejudice not only of Unitarians, but of the cause of religion in general. Maine.

T. Y.

[blocks in formation]

Letters to Rev. Joel Hawes, D, D. in review of his Tribute to the Memory of the Pilgrims. By Samuel J. May, pastor of the First Church in Brooklyn, Conn. Hartford, 1831. pp. 72.

The publication which called forth these Letters, contains, with some valuable truth, many unfounded assertions and insinuations respecting Unitarians and Unitarianism, to which the Letters are intended as a reply. The most charitable construction we can put on the language of Dr Hawes is, to suppose him real

« AnteriorContinua »