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Christianity, while he utterly despised those softenings and accommodations by which some German divines attempted to render it less distasteful to the Infidel Frederick of Prussia. "Under the pretence," said he, "of making us rational Christians, they make us most irrational philosophers." He adds, in one of his letters, "I agree with you that our old religious system is false but I cannot say, as you do, that it is a botch-work of half-philosophy and smatterings of knowledge. I know nothing in the world that more drew out and exercised a fine intellect. But, truly, a botch work of smatterings and half-philosophy is that system of religion which people now want to set up in the place of the old one; and with far more invasion upon reason and philosophy than the old one ever pretended to. If Christ is not the true God, the Mohammedan religion is, indisputably, far better than the Christian, and Mohammed himself was incomparably a greater and more honourable man than Jesus Christ; for he was more truth-telling, more circumspect in what he said, and more zealous for the honour of the One and Only God, than Christ was, who, if he did not exactly give himself out for God, yet, at least, said a hundred two-meaning things to lead simple people to think so: while Mohammed could never be charged with a single instance of double dealing in this way." Let the Unitarian, so called, weigh this testimony of an avowed Infidel, and henceforth become more consistent, not by bending the testimony of Scripture to his pre-conceived opinions, but by bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
There is one concluding reflection which has often forced itself upon us while perusing the preceding remarks, as it has also upon the mind of our author, namely, Can a doctrine be scriptural which requires for its vindication so elaborate a defence? Ought it not, if true,
to have been written in the sacred page as with a sunbeam, that all might read, and none might mistake? Now, our view is, that it is so written; and it appears to us inexplicable that it should ever have been doubted by any who profess to credit the Sacred Record. We have adverted to the opinions of sagacious Infidels, and we might equally refer to the faith of Christians, the most illiterate as well as the most learned. The prima facie evidence, therefore, is in favour of the doctrine; no elaborate course of criticism is necessary to prove it to those who read the New Testament with faith and simplicity But, unhappily, ingenious men have tortured and perplexed plain things, and their laborious miscriticismis require just criticisms to overturn them. Give us the simple text of Scripture, or even some half-dozen texts from it, and we shall find nothing more necessary to convince those who have not been prepossessed by false glosses: but where error has entrenched itself, there is a previous process before truth can arrive at the throne of the heart: the intruding bulwarks of false opinions must first be levelled with the ground, and a way be opened for the entrance of the King of Glory. The truths contended for are so palpably laid down in Scripture, that the large majority of professed Christians in every age, and especially those who have been in the habit of seriously studying holy writ for their souls' health, have never entertained a doubt upon the subject. But if cunningly-devised objections are fabricated, adequate replies are needed; and greatly indebted, therefore, are we to those who, like the pious and learned author whose work has suggested these reflections, have threaded the mazes of sophistry, and established the truth as it is in Jesus. Unblemished health is, however, better than the most propitious cure: we would, therefore, recommend those who have found strength and com
fort in the true belief, as they find it in the word of God, not to perplex themselves unnecessarily and wantonly to learn all the cavils which have been urged against it. They have the pearl of great price, let them not give heed to those who would tell them it is a bauble: they have the true coin of the heavenly realm, let them not confound it with the counterfeits of man's invention. There is, however, a sense
in which they ought to try all things, expressly that they may hold fast that which is good; they should also be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them; and for both these purposes,-for the confutation of error, and the establishment of truth on some of the most important doctrines of our holy faith-doctrines without which Christianity is a worthless shadow,-Dr. Smith offers them much valuable assistance.
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THIRD CENTENARY OF THE
veneration of every other Protestant church for its general excellence as a compend of Scriptural truth. The churches which adhere to this confession have this year celebrated with great solemnity the third centenary of this memorable era. The king of Prussia, in his proclamation announcing the intended celebration in his dominions, justly describes the Augs burg Articles as having greatly conduced
to the purity and stability of the Protestant church; and he solemnly prays, "May the commemorative festival of the presentation of this confession of the faith of Christians, built upon the word of God and the doctrines of salvation therein revealed, and which is as true now, and ever shall be as true, as it was three hundred years ago, and in the spirit of which I also heartily join,-contribute to enliven and confirm the true faith throughout the evangelical church, and excite in its members unity of spirit, and new resolutions to follow true piety and a spirit of Christian charity and tolerance."
We are better pleased with this royal edict than with the address of the General Consistory assembled at Strasburg on the same occasion. In the circular, in which they announce to the clergy and laity of the Augsburg Confession the intention of celebrating this festival, and issue directions for so doing, they express themselves in a manner which, we fear, was intended to have a Neologian aspect. They speak, indeed, with high praise of the Augsburg Confession, and the courage and constancy of their ancestors in defending the rights of conscience, and rejecting human authority in matters of religion; but when we might suppose the circular was about to urge their successors to live and die faithful to the same code of Scripture doctrine, it glances off with saying, that" the Augsburg confessors honestly expressed what by their indefatigable investigations they had hitherto discovered in the Divine Word, but by no means intended to shut the door against further researches, either by themselves or their successors." This is true: the reformers did not profess infallibility; and they exhorted men, as the circular truly states, to search the Scriptures for themselves; but they never meant what M. Turkheim, M. Haffner, and the other signers of this address, we fear, would insinuate, that such points as the doctrine of the Trinity and the Atonement,-in short, all mysteries ought to be given up with the marching intellect of an inquiring age; or as the circular neologically expresses it, "those only can attain a religious conviction clear, vivid, and independent of the yoke of authority and opinions, who know how to ally to the revelation of the Holy Scriptures, the natural light of human reason.' They add," The spirit of Protestantism is the spirit of God himself, which is displayed in the intellect of man."
We may be able, in another Number, to collect a few particulars of the interesting
solemnities on this occasion in the different parts of the continent. We, however, deeply lament that they should any where have been rather a festival in honour of human reason than of scriptural truth; which they must have been among those who have imbibed the spirit of this Neogian circular.
FRENCH PROTESTANT CHURCH. Our Protestant brethren in France are greatly rejoicing at the late changes. "We have entered," says the Archives, "upon a new era for the cause of liberty and truth, perhaps even of Christianity. If the longmeditated and obstinately pursued projects of the counsellors of the discarded dynasty had been accomplished, Christianity had mourned in weeds over the tomb of liberty, if even she had been permitted to shew her grief and mourn her losses. What might we not have feared from a power which had undertaken with a single word to muzzle the press, in despite of the habits and the wants of the public? Having witnessed this bold attempt, we cannot wonder to find greater credence given to the report that there was to be a proscription and massacre, of which the chief friends of liberty were to have been the victims, and which had utterly rooted out Protestantism in France."
After giving thanks to God for his mercy in this great deliverance, which, it is said, "will form a new epoch in the history of French Protestantism," the Archives proceeds to state, that "a great step is taken towards the complete enjoyment of religious liberty," that the organization of their churches will no longer be shackled by restrictive laws and penal codes; they will not, as formerly, have to supplicate in the anti-chambers of Popish or Jesuit prefects or ministers for the regulation of their ecclesiastical affairs; their theological faculties will no longer depend upon the heads of Catholic universities; their schoolmasters will no longer be at the mercy of political agents, vested with academical authority, and the peasant will no longer be ill used by servile agents for meeting his Christian friends for religious worship." The inference which the writers derive from these considerations is, that their duties increase with their privileges, and that to whom much is given from them will much be required. May every Protestant in France feel the force of this conclusion, and with unostentatious meekness, yet with active zeal and ardent charity, enter upon the new duties which are opening before him!
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
THE successful opposition to the unconstitutional measures of the late government in France, seems to be the signal for stirring up the latent embers of discontent in various other parts of Europe. A large portion of the continent has been for some years one vast volcano, with a crater in almost every principal town and city; which there required only a single shock to urge into one general and overwhelming concussion. We are led to this remark more particularly by the present disturbed condition of the kingdom of the Netherlands; to understand which, as well as other recent continental events, it is necessary to revert to the circumstances which gave rise to the formation of that ill-assorted state.
At the period of the first French Revolution, the nations of Europe had for the most part been for generations accustomed to certain well-defined political and geographical divisions; but soon these land-marks were removed, and, at the period of Bonaparte's highest elevation, almost the whole continent had become re-modelled. Upon the expulsion of that common enemy of mankind, at the conclusion of the war in 1814, it became requisite to re-adjust the continental balance and the Congress of Vienna, composed of all the great powers of the most civilized quarter of the globe, undertook that difficult and delicate task. In so doing, the conduct of Great Britain was marked by great liberality and disinterestedness, as respected territorial and political aggrandizement; which she neither asked nor wished for, though she had, for nearly a quarter of a century, fought the battles of Europe, at a fearful expense both of blood and treasure. Some of the other allies were more rapacious; but, upon the whole, we sincerely believe that it was the general wish to place the states of Europe upon a solid and satisfactory footing.
But to please all parties was impossible. To recur wholly to the territorial and political arrangements which had existed before the war would have been neither desirable nor practical; much less was it possible to adhere to those new adjustments which had grown up under the giant sway of imperial France, and which naturally fell to pieces with the conquest of Paris, and the expulsion of the Napoleon dynasty
Upon looking back at the difficulties of the case, it would seem to have been the safest and most satisfactory plan to have consulted, in a good measure, the reasonable wishes and rights of the various nations whose interests were involved in
the new arrangements; and thus to have prevented future changes, not by external force, but by securing internal repose and contentment. But a different view of the question appears to have been entertained, and, we doubt not, with perfect honesty, by the leading members of the allied powers, It was thought better to model out Europe in such a manner as might preserve an even balance of power, and especially prevent any future aggressions on the part of France; and, in case of partial discontents or risings, to concentrate, if necessary, upon the disturbed spot the whole force of Europe to restore the equilibrium.
In the mean time, till the various parties concerned had become accustomed to their new lot, and grown satisfied with it, it was considered desirable to establish a sort of international military police, and to bridle the malcontents with the force of foreign arms. The agitations of fiveand-twenty years had every where left a boiling surf, which it was thought necessary to watch with suspicion till the elements should gradually settle into peace, lest all Europe should again be exposed to shipwreck. One great object was to cripple those powers which had the most zealously abetted the common enemy, in order to prevent a recurrence of the evil.
Amongst these arrangements the King of Saxony was constrained to give up part of his dominions to Prussia: Genoa was awarded to the King of Sardinia; the north of Italy to Austria, and a large slice of Poland to Russia; Norway was cut off from Denmark, and given to Sweden; and, to complete all, with a view to raise a powerful barrier against France, the Netherlands were severed from that country, and tacked on to the United Provinces, and made a kingdom under the Prince of Orange, by the title of King of the Netherlands.
Many of these arrangements, as was anticipated, were highly unpopular among the parties whose condition was thus allotted without their consent, nay against their urgent remonstrances. Other discontents also soon began to arise in various places, from the non-fulfilment of promises which had been made, as was the case in the German states, to afford constitutional governments and liberal institutions to the people. Hence, as we before remarked, all Europe has been for fifteen years, one vast volcano, which has exploded occasionally in various places, but with only partial effect, and has been, for the time, apparently extinguished. In particular, in Spain, in Naples, and in Portugal, the people rose, and obtained
by force, a charter or bill of rights; more democratical certainly than we Britons think desirable, though less so than our children in America have adopted; but whether good or bad, at least susceptible of improvement, and incomparably better than the blind and cruel despotism of a Ferdinand or a Miguel, or the yoke of the house of Austria. But in all these cases the armed police of Europe interfered, and, at the point of the bayonet, restored the old despotisms, and scattered the constitutional charters to the winds. The insurgent nations were conquered, and others were intimidated by their fate; but in the mean time the elements of dissatisfaction have only been spreading more - widely and deeply; and, at this very moment, trains are laid all over Europe, which seem to require only such a signal as the late successful revolution in France, to cause the whole magazine of combustible elements to explode. And who shall say, after such an explosion, when the elements may again return to peace?
The late lord Londonderry had been too much mixed up with the organization of this artificial balance of power to be willing, for some years, to see the dangers that were likely to arise out of it; though even he at length became convinced that some relaxation of the system had become necessary. Mr. Canning, who succeeded to his post, had no such scruples: he plainly expressed his fears. The next war in Europe, he said, would be a war of opinions, and when it commenced no man could tell when or where or how it might end. He wished, therefore, to allow the safety valve to be opened gradually, and thus, by little and little, to let off the dangerous pressure. The policy of lord Londonderry, as we have observed, had been to assist France, Austria, and Russia, to screw it down more tightly; by which, indeed, they for a time repressed a few partial bursts of discontent; but the fierce heat was raging beneath, the elastic power was accumulating its energies, the peril was every hour augmenting, and it seems now not unlikely that one vast simultaneous explosion may ensue, unless prevented, even yet, by wise measures and timely concessions.
The plan of coercing nations by mere severity and military power is becoming every day less practicable. Ferdinand and Miguel are trying perhaps the last experiment to effect it in Spain and Portugal; but no thinking man expects they will -long succeed, and we certainly believe no honest man wishes it. It is only foreign power or influence that has rendered them so far victorious, and the main-spring of this extraneous pressure is now snapt by the late events in France. Our fear in such instances is, that the results may be very far from what well-disposed and well-judging persons wish; as well as that blood may be spilt in obtaining them.
We shudder at the thought that five sixths of Europe should hurry out on a crusade of revolutionising, and forming governments on the impulse of the moment, which may prove in the end little calculated to promote either social happiness or rational freedom. We see much to apprehend in this respect, so long as powerful incentives to popular discontent are any where in action, while those who might allay the evil by wise and timely measures are content with checking its ebullition by terror and physical strength. Contrast the condition of some of the states we allude to with our own free and happy country. In this country we have safety-valves in abundance; we have a free press, a national representation, a right of petition to the three branches of the legislature, the general diffusion of education, juries, public meetings, responsible ministers, and numerous other institutions incompatible with a state of civil thraldom or oppression; and those popular privileges are as much the safeguards of the throne and the coronet as the bulwarks of public freedom. In vain, therefore, may a few Hunts and Cobbetts rave; the nation is in the main tranquil and satisfied: where any thing is seriously wrong there are channels for redress; and, even if it cannot be at once attained, the door of hope is open, and no reasonable man or true patriot dreams for a moment of a revolution: the very notion is absurd, for what is there to revolutionize ourselves for; what should we get by it? clearly nothing, while we risked every thing to perpetrate it.
But reverse this picture. If instead of these safety-valves, the national machine were working under a high-pressure despotism; if, for example, only the single measure of a censorship of the press, as it exists at this moment in various parts of the continent, were imposed_upon us ; what would be the result? The whole nation would be in alarm; we should fear an enemy on every side; the public ignorance of the real state of affairs would lead to every strange dreadful surmise; real evils would be magnified, and unreal ones invented; no man would feel safe; and a verbal covenant of revolution would be ratified in every cottage in the land, before perhaps any danger was suspected. And can we wonder that our neighbours feel in some measure like ourselves? Can we be surprised that the payers of taxes wish to have a voice in the election of those who are to impose them? that those who are to obey the laws desire that they should be liberal and impartial in their tendency; and that the rights and welfare of the public should not be made to yield to individual tyranny or caprice, as must often be the case where the government is despotic, or not moderated by the salutary controul of a representative system? These feelings are natural to all