Imatges de pàgina


taken on account of religion; and you add the reply said to have been made to the emperor of a great nation in the east, when urged to receive christian missionaries into his dominions—Christians have whitened with human bones all the countries into which they have been admitted.'

Now ask the imaginary stranger, after this survey of Christendom, what sort of religion he supposes that beings who have been thus occupied for centuries, possess, and what the character of the Divinity they worship ;-could he be induced to believe, that the God they profess to adore and imitate, is a Being whose characteristic attribute is love; that they hold a religion which is his gift, which forbids pride and revenge, and inculcates throughout a meek, a gentle, and pacific temper? Could he be induced to believe this? No.

This, it may be said, is presenting the dark side ofthe picture. True, it is so. Christianity has nourished in multitudes, a spirit of true piety and virtue ; it has carried consolation into the dwellings of affliction ; it has rendered important services to the cause of letters and of humanity. These should never be forgotten in an estimate of its fruits. Still, the evils just referred to have existed, and, in part, still exist. Christians have never since the first ages, been united in bonds of fraternal affection. Still, charity is a name on their lips, not a feeling in their hearts. They have never kept the unity of the spirit in the bond of

* Christian Spectator, for Dec. 1830, which gives the above results, taken mostly from the publications of the American Peace Society.

peace,' and they appear as far from it now, as they ever were. Still, the practice of human butchery, and the miseries of war continue, and there appears little prospect of their speedy termination. Christians have yet much to learn. Christianity has not yet acconplished its work. It has not infused its pure and benevolent spirit into the great mass of believers. The deficiencies of christians, indeed, afford matter of humiliating reflection. Never was a law more disregarded than the christian law of love.

Of the evils of war, of its sources in the selfish or revengeful passions of human nature, and the means of mitigating its horrors, and bringing about, if possible, its final abolition, we shall not at present attempt to speak.

The animosity which exists among christian sects, is an evil of less magnitude, it is true, than public war, but equally inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, and opposed to common justice and humanity. This evil, we think, calls loudly for a remedy. There is one lesson, particularly, which christians have to learn, before bitterness and denunciation will cease, and that is, a practical belief of their own fallibility. The consequence of such a belief will be, modesty and moderation in proposing and defending their own views, and respect for the character and indulgence for the supposed errors of those who differ from them in religious opinion. Intolerance and bigotry come from a feeling of certainty that we are right, and others wrong, and this feeling implies a tacit belief of our superiority to deception, our exemption from the possibility of error, that is, of our infallibility. Analyze the feelings and views of those who are so ready to denounce others as unbelievers and impious, deniers of the Lord that bought then, who shut the gates of mercy on all who do not belong to their own little sect, you will find that no pope was ever more certain that he held the truth than they. The language of their actions, if not of their lips, is, others believe that they are right, but we know that we are so. Indeed, such language is sometimes heard. Now this is the very spirit of popery

The great lesson, then, which christians have to learn is, a lesson of humility and candor, growing out of a practical belief of their liability to error. Further, they must learn not to ascribe to the Divine Being the passions, the weaknesses, and infirmities of human nature, and not to suppose that, having endowed man with only finite capacities, he will punish him for speculative error, which, from the very constitution of his nature, he cannot escape.

These lessons one would think the easiest imaginable to be acquired. But the history of nearly eighteen hundred years, proves the reverse.

Christians are as far from being united in affection--united in opinion they never have been, and never can be they are as far from being united in affection now, as they were in the days of Origen, or Athanasius. They are as bigoted and exclusive, as unjust and illiberal in their estimate of each other's views and attainments. In some respects they are more so. The age is growing more and more narrow and sectarian. - This wisdom,' says St James, alluding to similar bitterness, contention, and strife, this wisdom cometh not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.'

So much then has christianity to effect before good will and peace will prevail on earth. It must overcome pride, selfishness, revenge, and lust of power ; it must divest men of a belief of their own infallibility, of bigotry, uncharitableness and narrow views, of the foolish conceit that God is altogether such an one as themselves, and that in dispensing the benefits of his mercy, he regards the barriers of sects and creeds.

What then remains for us to perform? What but that we endeavor to extend the sphere of our christian sympathy; that we exhibit charitable judgment and candor ; that we strive to eradicate from our breasts those irascible and selfish passions, whence come uncandid speeches, strife, division, bitterness, and hate; and that we make diligent efforts to inspire in others a horror of all injustice, cruelty, and intolerance; a horror of whatever interferes with the full enjoyment and exercise of freedom of thought, and the right of private judgment. And on this work we should enter with resolution and earnestness. Christians have been long enough engaged in strife of words, and foolish questions, while the great precepts of love and charity have been neglected. It is time they went back to first principles. It is time they manifested a desire to soften animosity, to banish feuds, and seek the things which make for peace,' peace among themselves, and peace without, peace in the church, and peace throughout the world.

0. P. D.






Few questions have so deeply agitated the christian church in different ages, as that relating to the comparative importance of faith and works. At one period, or in one sect, we are told that all are to be saved by faith. At another period, or in a different denomination, a supreme consequence has been attached to good works. Now how are we to account for these apparently conflicting statements ? Are the sentiments of christians on this subject so radically different, as such language would seem to imply? We believe not. We believe they have not fully understood each other's views, and their minds have been embarrassed by the seeming ambiguity of the scriptures, on the terms of acceptance with God. In the writings of St Paul, for example, we are taught that a man is justified by faith ;' and that' by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God.' 'By grace,' says that apostle, "are ye saved through faith.' But in the epistle of St James, we are told that by works is a man justified, and not by faith only. "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works, when he had offered his son Isaac upon the altar?' Let us endeavor to reconcile these declarations of scripture, and exhibit the conditions of human salvation in such a light as shall make the bible appear consistent with itself and with the deductions of reason. In one passage it is expressly said that we are saved by hope;' while in another it is stated unequivocally that we are saved by grace ;' and in a third, he that believeth shall be

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