Imatges de pÓgina


"The above paragraph contains four distinct allegations or charges. I occupied the students and ministers who came to my house with the mysterious points of the Christian religion. Iinoculated them with my own exclusive and intolerant spirit. I insisted on the contempt with which reason ought to be regarded; and I waged war against good works. For the truth of the whole, you appeal to my publications.

the pulpits of Geneva to compensate to the students for this woeful defect. The doctrines and the examples of the heathen philosophers, together with the recommendation of a very scanty morality, dressed up according to the oratorical art, formed the general topics of preaching at Geneva, while the name of the Saviour of the world was rarely and slightly mentioned. In the smooth superficial harangues of most of the preachers, it is unquestionably true that the mysterious points of the Christian religion" had no place. Scarcely any thing peculiar to the gospel was exhibited. There was little or no allusion to the fall of man, or his ruined condition by nature: nothing of the necessity of the New Birth, which the Lord urged so particularly in his conversation with Nicodemus as the only way of access into his kingdom; or, if this doctrine was referred to at all, it was explained to signify mere reformation of conduct. The imputation of Adam's guilt being repudiated, the imputation of the Redeemer's righteousness, and justification by his blood, were also set aside. The person, and the work of the Son were passed by. The work of the Spirit was overlooked. The strict precept of the holy law, requiring perfect, universal, and unceasing obedience, which, if preached in its extent and spirituality, without the gospel, would drive all to despair, formed no part of the instruction. There was nothing brought forward to affect the conscience of a sinner, or to lead him to cry out, "What must I do to be saved? In short, what was preached was neither law nor gospel. But all this was extremely pleasing to the people, who seemed quite satisfied with their preachers, by whom they were all addressed as Christians. They appeared to be in the state of those who are spoken of by the prophet, "which say to the Seers, see not; and to the Prophets, prophesy not unto us

"In order that what you refer to may be understood, and all misrepresentations occasioned by the above or similar statements obviated, it is necessary to be explicit and particular in my reply to each of your charges. I shall begin by adverting to the first allegation, and shall fully explain how far I occupied the minds of the ministers and students who came to my house with the mysterious points of the Christian religion, and my reason for so doing.

"When I went to Geneva in the year 1816, one of the theological students having been introduced to me, we entered into conversation respecting the gospel. On every thing peculiar to it I found him completely ignorant; yet in a state of mind that seemed


to show that he was willing to be instruct-right things; speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.' Thus, as was said to Israel of old, "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets propesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?"

ed. He returned next day and brought another student with him. I questioned them respecting the Revelation which God has made in his word, and respecting their personal hope of salvation, and the foundation of that hope. Had they been trained in the schools of Socrates or of Plato, and had they enjoyed no other means of instruction than those afforded, they could scarcely have been more ignorant of the doctrines of the gospel. They had, in fact, learned much more of the doctrines of those heathens than of that of Jesus Christ. To the Bible and its contents their studies had never been directed.

"As for you, Sir,in particular, I have been present when you preached, and I am free to declare, that never in my life did I hear the word of God so directly contradicted from the pulpit as in your discourses. You as suredly, above all, could not be accused of occupying the minds of the people with the mysterious points of the Christian religion. No, you preached indeed on the "mysteries," but it was to prove to your


would enhance the gratification which I feel in having been made instrumental in carrying back the light of truth to a place where it shone with so much lustre, but in which it had unhappily been extinguished. To use the words of an eloquent speaker at one of our public meetings here, in reference to Geneva, "We borrowed from them at the Reformation the torch with which we lighted the fire upon our altars; ́and cold, indeed, must be the heart which would refuse them a spark to rekindle the flame which now burns so dimly upon their own."

Mr. Haldane then quotes the paragraph which we have above extracted from his opponent's pamphlet, and thus proceeds :

"While such was the deplorable state of religious instruction in the Theological Academy, the school in which they had hitherto studied, nothing was heard from

bearers that they had nothing to do with them. In your exclamation," Ah, are we not born pure!" profound ignorance of the word of God was manifested in a manner more gross than ever I witnessed either before or since; and the whole train of your reasoning proceeded on this assumed principle; a principle not more contrary to the express declarations of scripture, the conduct of Providence, and the whole plan of redemption, than to the universal experience of mankind. Yet you are theological professor at Geneva!!

following the superior illumination of the present age. I did not attempt, however, to make them disciples of Calvin, or of any other man, to say, I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos; but to bring them to be followers of Christ, to sit at the foot of his cross, and to learn of Him, who spake as never man spake. I therefore appealed to no authority, either ancient or modern, but solely "to the law and to the testimony," always reminding them, that, "if they spake not according to this word, it was because there was no light in them." Is. viii. 20.

"The two students whom I first conversed with soon brought others; their visits "With doctrinal instruction I connected became so frequent, that I suggested the attention to practical godliness, and conpropriety of fixing a certain hour for them stantly inculcated the necessity of their at stated intervals. Three evenings of the paying regard, in the first place, to their week were appointed for this purpose, and own salvation. I showed them that they eight of the students commenced a regular must have a right view of God as revealed attendance at these times. I took the in Scripture, subsisting in three distinct Epistle to the Romans as my subject, and persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy this portion of Scripture I continued to ex- Ghost; infinite, eternal, unchangeable. I plain to them during the winter. After drew their attention to the character of we had proceeded for about a fortnight in God, as holy, just, good, and merciful, this course, I was earnestly solicited in the perfections which, in their combination, name of the other students to begin anew; are all of them gloriously displayed in the in which case, I was assured the greater Gospel. I warned them against the loose part of the theological students would at- and erroneous notions so generally entertend. I accordingly did so, and their attained concerning the way in which mercy tendance through the winter, and till the is excercised. God is, indeed, “merciful time of their vacation at midsummer, con- and gracious," "he delighteth in mercy?" tinued numerous and regular. but while justice is an indispensable attribute, mercy is solely vouchsafed as he sees good. Accordingly, to fallen angels, God has displayed only his justice, while to fallen man he has declared himself merciful. "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him." Psalm ciii. 17. This mercy, however, is never exercised but in strict conformity to justice; and mercy is not to be found but where justice has received full satisfaction. Here we were led to consider the state of fallen man, and his personal character as a sinner, as well as to an examination of the holy law of God, both in its perfect precepts and awful sanctions, and to see that it is only in Christ that we can be redeemed from its curse and eternal condemnation; and born again in order to participate in the blessings of his redemption.”

"The attention which these interesting young men very soon manifested to the word of God was more than I anticipated. The truth is, that any thing like biblical instruction was altogether new to them. The study of the word of God had formed no part of their preparation for the ministry. Every other branch of improvement necessary to qualify them as scholars and public speakers, appeared to have been attended to; but a smattering of church history, some superficial knowledge of what is called natural religion, combined with a more extensive acquaintance with the writings of the heathen philosophers, was all they attained in the shape of theology. As far as I was enabled, I endeavoured to lay open to them the rich stores of religious instruction, contained in the Epistle to the Romans, a portion of the word of God which, on the continent, is very generally considered unintelligible.

"In studying this epistle, I turned their attention to the great doctrines of the Gospel so successfully revived at the Reformation by Luther and his associates, as well as by Calvin, with whose writings, though the founder of their church, they had no acquaintance, and whose theological sentiments they had been taught to regard as quite antiquated. In discarding the instructions of these reformers, they had been led to understand that they were

Mr. Haldane then proceeds to lay before us, an epitome of his Lectures on the epistle to the Romans, which takes up a dozen or fourteen pages of the present volume, and which is so truly excellent, that all his readers, we are Sure, will unite with us in regretting that he has not yet published them in an English dress. They are, however, in circulation upon the Continent, in French, in 2 vols. 8vo. where, we have

no doubt, they are working their way, like leaven in the mass of meal, (Matt. .xiii. 33.) But we must break off, for the present month, intending, if the Lord will, to resume the subject in a future number, when we shall also take some notice of the Rev. Daniel Wilson's "Letters," written during his late trip to Geneva and other places, from which, also, we shall present our readers with some very interesting extracts.


A Sermon on Slavery, Preached at Kettering. By JOHN KEEN HALL, M.A. London, Hamilton, Adams, and Co. 1824. pp. 58. pr. 2s. THE author of this Sermon, we suppose to be the successor of the venerable Fuller, in the pastoral office over the Baptist Church at Kettering. As a composition, the pamphlet does considerable credit to Mr. Hall's talents; but we are exceedingly surprized and grieved at witnessing the complexion of political feeling which pervades it; and we must tell the preacher, in limine, that he has given a most unfair and disingenuous representation of the doctrine of the apostles on the subject of a Christian's subjection to civil government. The text is Isaiah lviii. 6. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" In discussing his subject, Mr. Hall endeavours to illustrate and support the following propositionsThat Slavery admits of no scriptural defence that it is in its nature and tendency, repugnant' to Christianityand that it is, therefore, our duty zealously to promote every judicious measure which may lead to its early and complete abolition.

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founded, and to vindicate Christianity from this opprobrium. Let the reader now mark how he does it.

Having glanced at the subject of Slavery as it existed under the Jewish law, he comes to notice an assertion which has been made by some, that Christianity itself is not inimical to slavery, and here he takes occasion to remark that if such were the fact-if the Gospel were not friendly to our dearest rights," the noblest minds would be involved in perplexity and distress; many would be driven to infidelity; and Christians themselves would think meanly of a revelation that checked the tide of generous emotion, and paralyzed the soul which it saved." p. 18. He, therefore, is at some pains to examine the argument on which the assertion is

He sets out with a fair and candid admission, that when Christianity was first promulgated, Slavery abounded in the Roman Empire, and, in many cases, in its severest, and most irksome forms; and yet, that there is not, in the New Testament, a single passage in which it is prohibited or condemned. He then gives a perfectly fair representation of the matter, acknowledging that the apostles and first ministers of the word, never meddled with the secular affairs of men or states-they went forth with the glad tidings of mercy, a message from heaven addressed to men in their fallen condition-unfolding the grand scheme of human salvation; but that they were not commissioned to act as legislators, or to interfere with the institutions of civil society. He admits that "the sacred writings were not intended to make any change in the rules of our duty, nor to exert any direct influence, on our political condition," but to teach sinner's the way of salvation-to renovate their natures, and finally raise them to "glory, honour, and immortality."


We shall now lay before the reader a few extracts from Mr. Hall's Sermon, by which it will be seen on what grounds he places the subject of our obedience to "the powers that be.”

"The Apostles well understood the design of their office; and, absorbed by their sacred duties, they left undisturbed the rights which are ours by the appointment of God, announced in the constitution of nature. It was too plain to require illustration, that of these, Christianity was not intended to deprive us, and they are too dear and important to render it necessary that we should be stimulated to their

defence by the precepts of revelation.

"We are not then to be persuaded, that because the New Testament refrains from the management of political affairs, it is therefore the will of God that Christians should offer no resistance to oppression; or that they should remain tamely neutral, where it becomes others to arouse all their vigour. To resist a tyrant, to demand or to resume personal liberty, where such conduct was previously right, cannot be transformed into a crime by the law of Christ, or be forbidden to his followers. Though he inculcated meekness, yet he would never encourage meanness of soul. He cannot have condemned you to the absolute controul of every man who will only take the trouble to rule. Nor when the general community may be resolutely

contending for freedom, are the Christians among them doomed to shrink from the toil and danger. Is it the duty of infidels and profligates alone to alleviate our miseries?


“The Gospel, it is readily granted, inculcates in the most forcible manner, a spirit of gentleness, forbearance, and forgiveness on all believers; but I am inclined to regard the perfect non-resistance and complete submission to the aggressions of wicked men, so strongly insisted on by our Lord, as in their fullest extent, duties of merely temporary obligation, or at most, as incumbent on his followers, only when in circumstances resembling those which existed in the beginning of

the christian era. For were these rules

understood to be universally and perpetually binding, few things could be more detrimental both to the church and the world, as they would surrender Christians, however respectable and numerous, to the "tender mercies of the wicked," however contemptible or few; and by removing from the malignant, fear, their only restraint, would encourage them to persecute and to oppress."


discern. To us it appears a most unwarrantable mode of procedure, in any professed friend of Christianity, to represent the duties which the apostles have enjoined upon all as things of insinuate that in teaching them" they “merely temporary obligation," or to were accommodating themselves to the exigencies of the times." What is this but representing them as walking in craftiness, and handling the word of God deceitfully." In our humble opinion such representations require no other confutation than a simple statement of the apostle's own words-addressed to the Christians in Rome, and living under one of the most sanguinary tyrants that be subject unto the higher powers: for ever swayed a sceptre. "Let every soul there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God and they that resist, shall receive to themselves dam nation. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake." Rom. xiii. 1-6. If any of our readers desire to see this subject illustrated in the light of the New Testament, they may turn to our Magazine, Vol. vi. p. 129-133, 172– 177, and 197–201.


Once more,

"When we hear them commanding their followers to be submissive to existing powers, and to yield to the oppressions of public or private tyrants, we admire their wisdom and their piety, for we know that they were accommodating themselves to the exigencies of the times, sublimely sacrificing to God, and to his cause, blessings worth more than life; and that they were not, as some have audaciously pretended, rivetting the bodies of servants and subjects in everlasting chains. Had they pursued a different course, they would have occasioned the most deplorable mischiefs. By the assertion of inalienable rights, they would have produced a deep, but not an useful impression; and have made, not real Christians, but mere political adherents. All the injured would have rallied around the standard of the cross, insincere and hypocritical professors would have abounded, insubordination would every where have ensued, Christianity might have continued for a time, not as the source of piety and religion, but of noise, confusion, and terror; and, unless preserved by a continual miracle, would have been wrecked in the universal storm."

These short extracts are sufficient for our purpose-the drift of them is too obvious to be misunderstood-they shew clearly enough the tone of Mr. Hall's politics; but how far he has dealt fairly with the characters of the "holy apostles," we confess our inability to

A Selection of passages of Scripture, for Young Persons to commit to memory. By the REV. W. BROWN, M.D. third edition. Edinburgh, David Brown; and Knight and Lacey, London, pp. 72. 18mo. 1823. pr. Is. sewed.

This is without exception one of the most valuable little tracts that has for a long time fallen into our hands; and we feel considerable regret that it should have attained to a third edition, before we had an opportunity of noticing it. It is constructed upon the plan of Mr. Locke's common place book to the Bible, but with infinitely more judgment, inasmuch as the author's views of Divine truth, and of the general scope of the Scriptures are more correct than those of Mr. Locke were. The tract is divided into 20 chapters, which treat of God-the persons of the Godhead-his works-of man-the character and work of Christthe invitations of the Gospel-the way salvation, &c. On all these subjects, the texts are quoted at length, and the chapters and verses given at the foot of the page. that appears to us impertinent or inappliWe have not met with one single reference cable. By the bye, some children of six feet high, may find this little tract very useful to them in their preparation for the pulpit.


Verbum sat.

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Religious and Literary Entelligence.


IV. That this meeting lament the rejec tion of the Unitarian Marriage Bill, not only as a refusal of just relief, but as an indication of the existence, amongst high authorities of a potent spirit, hostile to liberal principles-a spirit hopeless to propitiate, and difficult to overcome. But that their regret is mitigated by their perception, that this spirit does not influence persons in such elevated situations as the Right Rev. the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London, and the Right Hon. the Earl of Liverpool and that to those distinguished personages, as well as to the noble Whig supporters of the Bill, this Meeting offer, for their more enlightened and more liberal conduct, their public and most cordial thanks.

V. That this meeting are deeply affected by recent events in the British Colonies, especially such as are connected with the loss of the Missionary, Mr. Smith, all circumstances relating to whom they are anxious to see earnestly and thoroughly investigated; that they are assured of the vast individual, local, and national advantages that have resulted from the disin

II. That every new demonstration of


the importance and utility of "The Pro-terested and holy labours of Missionaries testant Society for the Protection of Re- in those distant regions; and that, by exligious Liberty, occasions regret and perience, they are apprehensive that ecgratitude; and, that while this Meeting clesiastical establishments may discourage annually celebrates the success of the Com- those labours, may retard improvement, mittee, in exposing or resisting wrongs, and may impede the progress of civilization they deplore the intolerant spirit whence and Christian truth; and that they therethose wrongs originate, by which such un- fore approve the purpose of the Committee abating efforts are required. That they to petition Parliament against all needless now lament the continuance of attempts to restrictions on religious worship in the assess places of religious worship to the West Indian Isles; and direct their Compoor: to extort turnpike tolls that have mittee to watch, with the greatest caution, been repealed; to disturb by offensive every measure by which the interests of riots, religious worship protected by the Protestant Dissenters, and the cause of law; to withhold the rites of interment religious freedom, may be assailed in any from the dead; to enforce assessed taxes part of the British Empire, now widethat are not payable, and to deprive the spreading over so many realms, and so conscientious poor of all relief. many millions of the human race.

III. That this meeting regard the Test and Corporation Acts as laws which no necessity could originally justify, and for which no practical necessity now exists, and as measures producing disgust and grief to pious churchmen, and degrading to millions of Britons, equal to any of their countrymen in cultivated talent, in public virtue, in patriotic zeal, and philanthropic usefulness, and therefore earnestly desire their speedy abrogation: and that whilst this meeting approve the conduct of their Committee, in declining to concur in any application to Parliament during the remainder of the Session, they would invite liberal Episcopalians and Dissenters of all denominations, and the Wesleyan Methodists, to prepare, by temperate, but firm and simultaneous efforts (as soon as a new Parliament shall be elected), to obtain their total and long needed appeal. ·

[Continued from page 195.]

THE following Resolutions were moved and seconded by the Rev. Mr. Smith; Rev. Mark Wilks; Mr. Young; Mr. Ferrier; Rev. Wm. Eccles; Rev. J. Hunt; Rev. Mr. Townsend; Rev. Mr. Dunn; Mr. Walker; Mr. Townsend; Rev. Mr. Reynolds; Mr. Evans; Mr. R. H. Martin; Rev. Mr. Gilbert; Rev. Mr. Russell; and Rev. Mr. Curwen.

I. That this Society, composed of members of the Established Church, as well as hundreds of congregations of Protestant Dissenters, again express their unabated devotedness to the cause of religious freedom in England, and throughout the world; and again declare, that they esteem the right publicly to worship God, according to the conscience, to be a right which the sincere and wise never can concede, and which it is unjust, impolitic, and impious to infringe.

VI. That this meeting desire that some measures be speedily adopted, whereby the baptismal registers of Protestant Dissenters and Methodists shall be rendered as availing as the parochial registers of the Established Church, and whereby their numerous Baptist brethren should have some valid register of births, and be no longer subject to those peculiar oppressions to which they have been so long and cruelly exposed.

VII. That although this Society have not hitherto opposed grants of public money for the erection of new churches connected with the Established Church; yet, as they are convinced that the vast wealth of that Church supplies resources sufficient for all such purposes, as such buildings are frequently erected without necessity, and converted into means of individual gain; as themselves, at their own

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