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fallen into complete disrepute, as possible. Such an education and it is much doubted whether any advocates can be found to defend it. People are now convinced, that from the nature of man, and the evident intention of God, there must be few scholars, in comparison of the whole human race. And they have drawn this practical inference, that it is wise to learn thorough ly those plain things, which are useful in the transactions of every day, and not spend time and labour in a vain attempt to attain those acquisitions, which Providence never designed them to attain, and which, if attained, could neither bring utility, nor happiness.
What is here said, is by no means intended to discountenance any thing, which tends to render the education of youth in general, as easy, and thorough
is a subject incalculably important to society, the foundation of all just notions of government, and a vast assistance to the cause of religion. It may here be remarked, that the disciples of the Old School did more, uniformly, to promote real knowledge among men, than a thousand generations of philosophers would ever do. Those acted in detail, and found something for their hands to execute; these spent all their efforts on paper. opinion which I oppose, is that The which makes men learned, when they really know nothing; which makes them conceited smatterers in things above their reach, while it prompts them to neglect what might prove of im portant benefit. C. Y. A.
ON LIBERALITY IN RELIGION.
(Concluded from p. 428.)
THREE questions arise out of this subject:
First, How far such liberality is consistent with the love of truth?
Discrimination belongs to the essence of useful research. The man who transposes cause and effect; who classes phenomena without regard to their nature; or who huddles together a mass of incoherent facts, will never enlighten the community, nor obtain the suffrages of its well informed members. They all agree that to encourage such Vol. II. No. 10.
(To be continued.)
blunderers, would be to banish knowledge and science from the world. The effect of such a chaos is the same, whether it be produced by individual folly, or by a sort of pic-nic collection, in which numbers contribute their respective shares, and fairly club should that which is absurd in a medley of contradictions. Why every thing else, be rational in religion? It is evident that within the domain of this idol-liberality, there is not a spot on which truth can rear her temple or plant her foot. Because truth of every kind, under every form, and in every degree, is necessarily and eternally intolerant of falsehood.
And therefore to
exempt from challenge a host of never determining that point at discordant sentiments, and that on the most interesting topics, is to wave the rights of truth to the whole extent of the exemption. It takes for granted, either that the truth on these topics is not discoverable; or that it is not worth the trouble of contention. The first of these assumptions is a libel on the word of God; and the second on his wisdom. They who thus abandon the claims of truth, by putting them virtually on a level with the claims of error, are not her friends; and the alternative is plain.
The next question is, How this liberality of theirs consists with fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ?
He was himself the great witness to the truth; and has commanded all his followers to imitate his example. Not one instance can be pointed out, of his countenancing, in the slightest manner, a catholicism which treats with nearly equal regard all opinions and doctrines that shelter themselves under his name. He has charged us to Beware of "false prophets, who come in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." And the apostle, who lay on his breast and imbibed most of his tenderness, has written, " if there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine," (the doctrine of Christ) "receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds." What the doctrine of Christ is, can be deter mined only from his word. But the liberality which is now on its trial, draws its chief praise from
Here, then, are two divine precepts of which it mocks the authority by frustrating the application. Who is to seize the "ravening wolf," if it is a settled rule in theological etiquette tolook no further than the "sheep's skin?" Who shall chase the "Antichrist" from his door, if it be unmannerly and boorish to ask what "doctrine” he brings? There cannot exist a doubt, that if the Lord Jesus himself were to descend with his apostle, in veiled glory, and mingle again with men, one such sentence a piece as are quoted above, would expel them both from the circle of "liberal" Christians! That evangelical hero, Paul, took the elders of Ephesus to record that he was pure from the blood of all men." Why? Because he had thrown the reins on the neck of his charity; had represented the precious truths of the gospel and their opposites as well qualified to harmonize; and had refrained to enforce particular views of doctrine, lest he should infringe liberty of judg ment, or the maxims of good breeding? No! But because he "had not shunned to declare the WHOLE Counsel of God." And they who do, must go to their Judge with "blood-guiltiness" in their consciences. Let this be solemnly pondered by those ministers who, having had the "form of sound words," have been carried away by the cur rent of a spurious liberality; have gradually dropped the peculiar doctrines of Christianity; and now, through fear of offence or the ridicule of singularity, avoid them altogether. that the utmost which can be
said of them is, that if they do not preach the gospel, they do not preach against it—i. e. that their discourses, in every thing, affecting the salvation of a sinner, contain just nothing at all
Horesco referens! Well may their "flesh tremble," when they think, if ever they think, of the interrogatories, which await them at the bar of Jesus Christ, concerning his suppressed truth; his abused gospel; his forgotten cross and all this, for the feather of being thought "liberal," by men who give themselves no trouble to “ escape the wrath to come."
The third question is, How far the liberality under review consists with real charity to men?
The treating as non-essentials and matters of accommodation, all differences which may occur. within the precincts of that gen eral term "Christian," is not to be justified but upon the principle, that such differences cannot endanger the "saving of the soul." Is this true? One man believes and teaches that the Spirit of the living God must change a sinner's heart, and unite him to the Lord Jesus, as the Lord his righteousness and strength, before he can be a Christian, and possess a "good hope through grace"; another man laughs at all this as fanaticism, and maintains that nothing more is necessary to constitute a Christian than a rational assent to the truth of divine revelation, and a good moral life. One man worships the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and his God; another represents him as a mere creature; it may be "a frail, fallible, peccable man." One rejoices in the
sacrifice of Christ, by which he is redeemed from the curse of the law; and another reputes the whole doctrine of redemption through the blood of Jesus to be an old wife's fable. Here are flat contradictions: and contradictions of such a nature, that, if what is usually termed the orthodox side, be true, the opposite involves nothing less than the eternal perdition of those who hold it. Yet all these men call themselves Christians. Now it is clear as the meridian sun, that the word of God cannot stand with both sides; but that the one or the other "has made him a liar ;" and it is no less clear that he who makes God a liar, by not receiving his testimony concerning his Son, is under condemnation. It follows, that they who enlist themselves under the banner of the prevailing liberality, either by teaching that there is nothing in the doctrines of the different sects called Christian, which ought to excite controversy; or by professing their charity for those who hold these most detestable opinions; or by maintaining a studied reserve toward the peculiarities of the mediato, rial plan, are leagued in a conspiracy against the "glorious gospel" of the " great God our Saviour," and those eternal interests of men, from which the faith of it is inseparable. Deceived by this traffic of complaisances, especially when they see the ministers of religion among the most active in promoting it; many rest in the conclusion, that it is of no consequence what they believe, if their character in society be fair. "Searching the Scriptures," for the "words of eternal life," becomes an anti
quated employment. Occasional misgivings of conscience are relieved by the soothing imagination that we are all Christians, and that is enough. Gross ignorance of the gospel thickens apace, in a clime illuminated by its broadest sunshine. The barriers which ought to divide the church from the world, are swept away, and every trait of discrimination effaced. "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" is a tale of other times. And thus, in a “land of Bibles," which cannot be opened without the lightning of God's reprobation of their folly flashing in their faces, miserable sinners, unjustified, unwashed, unsanctified, are praising each other's Christiani ty! The delusion is often foster ed by the very men, whose office should impel them to counteract and destroy it. And there is too sad reason to fear that the loss of the soul is the first thing which awakens numbers from their dream. Yes, they "die in their iniquity; but"-but "their blood shall be required at the hand" of those pastors who "warned" them not. That liberality, therefore, which lets all sorts of opinions pass under the large cloak of "Christian ;" or which forbears to urge, without qualification, the peculiar topics of the gospel, deserves another epithet than "charitable." Of charity it has nothing but the abused name. Instead of executing her benign functions, it comes with perfidy, and cruelty, and death, to the souls of men.
If we look a little closer at this affected liberality, we shall perceive that, exclusively of its tendency, the very attribute which it vaunts the loudest, universal tolerance, has no existence.
The proof is short. No men are more impatient of contradiction in the affairs of common life, than these liberal thinkers; no men contend for their political views with fiercer zeal, or deeper animosity. Why? Because human speculations are certain than the truth of God? or civil arrangements of higher moment than the concerns of a future world? That cannot be pretended. Why, then, do the bosoms of these "liberal" philosophers swell with rage against a political opponent? And surely no men can pursue others with more contempt and rancour, than do they whomsoever they are pleased to stigmatize as bigots. Yet, what have the bigots done? By the nature of the case, they are under no obligation to be as condescending to a "liberal" man, as this latter to them. He is bound by his profession to be as charitable to a bigot as to any other. But the contrary is true. "Bigot" is a brand of infamy; not less than "heretic" or "infidel," and quite as freely applied. Serious as the subject is, one can hardly forbear smiling at the mistakes which we are apt to commit in estimating our own characters. The man who supposed himself inaccessible to flattery, was not aware, till his acuter friend detected him, that this supposition was precisely the point in which his vanity was centred, and was assailable by the flatterer. As little do they,
who plume themselves on their freedom from bigotry, suspect that their "liberality" is the point on which they betray the very temper they denounce in others. Touch this darling of theirs, and you will find that they have as much bigotry as other folk. There are no more decided bigots on earth, than those who are bigoted to liberality. The fact is, that modern liberality is of the same kind and spirit with the old heathen tolerance. One was at perfect liberty to worship his calf, provided another might burn incense to the queen of heaven. And thus Baal, and Jupiter, and Moloch, and Mithras, and all the rest of them, fraternized in the most liberal intercourse. "If you have but a god, no matter who or what; only do not interfere with your neighbours." And it is very possible that, upon the same terms, Christians might, for a time, have fared easier than they did. But the moment they taught men to turn from these vanities to serve the living God, the worshippers of Baal, and Jupiter, and Moloch, and the whole rabble of pagan deities, rushed upon them, and drenched the earth with their blood. So now compliment my dogma, and I will compliment yours. But let unbending truth fall in with the confederacy, and accost the members of it without ceremony. Let her arraign the carnality of one, the corruptness of another, and the unfaithfulness of a third. Let her deny, at once, the Christianity of all who reject the divinity and atonement of our Lord Jesus; or who, admitting both, live without the practical influence of either; and
immediately the cry will be raised. "Bigot," "fanatic," will start from a hundred mouths; and, short of open violence, as little mercy will be shown to wisdom's children by modern, as by ancient toleration. Instead, therefore, of a pure and effective benevolence, this liberality of the age is a mask drawn over the face of enmity to God's holiest truth, and to all who espouse it. That "love" which is 66 without dissimulation," wears guise. It consists in kind affec tions and offices. It can do mnen good without flattering their corruptions, or sanctifying their mistakes. It is he "who converts a sinner from the error of his way," not he who treats it as harmless, that " shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." Between the incessant agitations of dispute, and the oblivious calm of indifference, there is a wide scope for the exercise of Christian forbearance.
But let those who desire not to be entrapped into a fatal security, beware how they listen to the siren song. Let them remember, that an air of affableness and magnanimity is often a passport for error, both speculative and practical, to an undefinable extent. There is so much dignity in freedom from little prejudices, and so much flattery in the reputation of it, that generous minds are thrown off their guard by its very appearance. pressions, slight at first, are deepened by repetition: advantages are imperceptibly gained over the sternness of truth, and the caution of virtue and the head and the heart are perverted, under the seductive notion of over