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years, been solicitous to avoid in their of doctrine called orthodox, evangelipublic discourses every thing as to cal, Calvinistic, Moravian, Methodisdoctrine and motive which, upon any tic, Mömier, (or however designated system, could be called purely Chris- for honour or reproach,) is false, that tian? Why have their favourite sub- it cannot stand its ground against free jects been industry, friendship, plea- inquiry, and that, therefore, the opposure, the care of oue's health, the site classes of religious opinion must panegyric of their country, homage to be true, or, at least, approximations the laws, and other topics furnished to the truth? rather by Seneca, Rochefoucault, and To these just questions I will return Montesquieu, than by the prophets what appears to me to be the answer and apostles of inspiration? Why is of right reason and sober truth. it their habit to cover their faith or 1. No outward circumstances, nor want of faith under general terms, combination of outward circumstances, designedly capable of a variety of can extinguish the liableness to err; interpretations ? Why do they use or can guarantee to any individual, language calculated to mislead and still less to a multitude of persons, deceive : as when M. C. says, “Each the certainty of discovering truth. one of the Pastors confessed that Je- Were this the case, the discovery of sus was a Divine Being”? (P. 5.) truth, instead of being a moral and They know well that, had they the intellectual operation, would be a integrity and the honour to speak out, merely mechanical process. one would say, “I am an Arian of 2. However favourable in appearthe old school," another," I incline ance this state of things was to the most to the sentiments of the Polish advancement of sound knowledge and Socinians ;” another, “I rather at- scriptural faith ; yet, if it were comtach myself to those of the modern bined with a growing spirit of levity English Unitarians ;” a fourth, “I and irreligion, the absence of fervent adopt the system of the German prayer, the neglect of the devotional Antisupernaturalists," and, last of and practical study of the Bible, the all, noi a few would have to confess, employment of nó zealous and judi“ I have never taken the pains to cious means for multiplying and difmake up my mind upon any religious fusing the Scriptures among all ranks doctrines or opinions whatsoever." of the community, its good tendency
II. I solicit the particular notice of would be paralyzed, and it would only yourself, Sir, and all your readers to nourish a feeling, first of indifference, the domineering and intolerant spirit and then of scepticism. of M. C. and those who think and act 3. The immediate effect of this with him.
state of outward circumstances is proWhen subscription to all human perly this, and no more than this ; confessions, articles, and tests, was io withdraw one cause of bias for or abolished in the Church of Geneva, against any religious system : but it it was with the intention that the most leaves all other causes in possession free exercise of mind should take place of their power of influence. on all religious subjects, that the in- 4. There are such other causes, terpretation of scripture might be al- numerous and powerful. I need only together unshackled, and that the mention, among the external ones, clergy might be under no manner of the sway of fashion and the solicitaimpediment in promulgating, or the tions of interest ; and of those which people in receiving, whatever each one are internal, that strong and subtle among them might conceive to be prejudice against truth and holiness true. And were not these good ef, which (as I must profess my convicfects produced ? Was not such a tion that the word of God most plainly state of things the most favourable and fully teuches) is deeply seated in for “proving all things, and bolding the heart of every human heing, till fast that which is good”? If, from he is brought under the governing such a cause, the interests of Calvin- influence of genuine piety, or right ism went rapidly to ruin, and the affections towards the holy and blessed adoption of latitudinarian systems be- God. came all but universal ; is it not a 5. Besides these general causes, the strong presumption that the scheme present case obliges us to refer to those which, in my humble opinion, come regularly to the holy commuspring out of, and are nourislied by, nion, whenever the routine requires the frame and texture of all secular it, without remonstrance or the smallestablishments of religion. This class est impediment; and that profligacy of circumstances embraces a funda- and blasphemy ainong the lower orinentally wrong view of the proper ders have increased at a fearful rate, ground of authority in religion, 'an without (till just now and by the attachment to the established system influence of the persons whom M. C. from civil and political motives, the reviles) any counterbalancing increase idea of religion as consisting of a of pions, humble, sober, and virtuous certain routine of outward actions, Christians ? and the regarding of the Christian I have been led into this digression, ministry as a genteel and agreeable because it seemed incumbent upon profession for youths of a studious me to shew the reasons why à meaturn and a love for letters, apart from snre, in itself just and laudable, has a supreme deference to its peculiar utterly failed to produce the good nature and proper qualifications. On effects which would have comported this last I may be permitted to lay the with its own proper tendency. I regreatest stress, convinced that, where turn to my course of argument, and it is suffered to prevail, it has been, I lay down this position: That, by and ever will be, the bane of real the letter and spirit of the act for religion. But, in civil establishments abolishing subscription, any and every of religion, this is the natural tendency Genevese minister had, and ever hus, and the usual course of things : the THE SAME RIGHT in retain or revive, rank of the clergy is, in a great and and to defend and propagate, the old regular measure, filled by the sons of faith of their own Church, which any the clergy, so devoted even from their other Genevese minister had or has io infancy, or selected from a regard, deny and oppose
it. not to religions qualifications, but to I will not affroat your readers by predilection, literary taste, connexion, attempting to prove this position. Í or family interest.
even think that M. Chenevière him6. That all these causes have had self will not controvert it. If it be their unrestrained scope of operation admitted, I ask, with what face of in the Presbyterian Church of Geneva, consistency or of common sense do must be evident to all who will reflect M. C. and his majority in the Veneupon the obvious facts of the case. rable Company outrage, calumniate, Besides these, peculiar causes have and, as far as in them lies, persecule had their effect. Among these I rec- (I use these words advisedly) memkon the compactness of the little bers of their Church, or separatists State-Church, the facility of its ma- from it, for no other offence than nagement, the promptitude of its their holding and teaching the very movements, its having its eyes and its doctrines which were held and taught hands almost literally in every family, by the fathers and founders of that and its being, till the present time, Church? Were the ministers of Genearly if not entirely a stranger to neva freed from the authority of a the existence of Dissenters from its known, clear, and intelligible Confescommunion.
sion of Faith, in order to receive the 7. I appeal to M. Chenevière him- far heavier yoke of the indefinable and self, and to all who will inquire into mutable opinions of those who, from the history of Geneva, whether it is time to time, might form the majority not an undeniable fact, that the relax. in the Company? Yet this gross abation of manuers among all ranks of surdity is the soul of M. C.'s reahis fellow-citizens has increased and soning. spread, in proportion to the departure · I have intimated above that the mafrom the old theology and the preva- jority in the Company have shewn a lence of that which was privily brought disposition to persecute those who in, cautiously and artfully to supplant differ from them. That, in saying it. Is it fiot a fact, that open infidels this, I do them no wrong, I need no and immoral persons have exceedingly further evidence than M. C.'s own multiplied ; that such eharacters, per. shewing.
His stateinents in your fectly notorious for infidelity and vice, Number for February, stripped of
pelne red in his love and garden, at his A with a friend the other day and
their special pleading and reduced to enlightened and upright men. Our the plain detail of facts, tell us that [religious] assemblies enjoy, by the M. Malan, a minister of spotless cha- favour of God, a prolongation of racter, rare talents, distinguished at- peace.” tainments, and most kind and amiable I shall have to request indulgence manners, was, by the intrigues of for another communication upon vasome among the clergy, first deprived rious other parts of M. C's allegaof his situation as a tutor in the col- tions. lege, the chief support of his family ;
J. PYE SMITH. then ejected from the pulpits of the Establishment; then reproached as
Bristol, if he were committing the greatest
May 29, 1824. crime, because he preached in a
CONVERSATION which I had own expense with the aid of some the subject of Peace Societies, 'imfriends ; afterwards dragged before the pressed itself so strongly on my mind, Venerable Company (their more usual that I am induced to request room in style) or Consistory, interrogated like the Repository, more fully to express a criminal at the bar, or rather like a my sentiments on a matter so imporvictim of the Holy Office at Madrid ; tant to the virtue and consequent hapand finally, deprived and degraded, so piness of the world. My friend earfar as it was in the power of M. C. nestly protested against what he called and his ruthless associates to degrade the absurd and impracticable lengths such a man, a man whose appearance to which the system was carriedbefore them forcibly reminds us of lengths which, if acted upon in the that of Hus and Jerome before the present day, would be most injurious Council of Constance.
to mankind! To argue that self-deYour intelligent readers would not fence was criminal and unchristian, fail to remark it as the climax of M. not only in nations but in individuals, Malan's offending, that, notwithstand- was, he said, foolish and unnatural; ing his being deposed and all the and proceeding to such extremes, terrible prohibitions of the Consis- drew upon the Societies the contempt tory, he still "continues to conduct of the generality of men, and preventreligious worship in his chapel, in de- ed many of those who were sincere fiance of the civil and religious au- well-wishers to the cause, from giving thority.” (Mon. Repos. p. 75 of this it their countenance and support. Volume.) I cheerfully leave to your I reminded my friend that no test readers the estimation of this offence; was proposed on the admission of a but I must submit a little correction new member—no question asked or in the terms of the statement. That pledge required respecting how far he he is acting in opposition to the eccle- was disposed to go ; and considering siastical authority, I readily enough this, it would be an unprecedented admit: and may God enable him to degree of intolerance in any single
stand firm and unmoved against their person to prescribe to the rest, the 'unrighteous decrees! But I believe boundaries beyond which their conthat the “civil authority” is here un- victions must not be allowed to carry fairly introduced. The Company has them; and say, “Thus far may ye go, not been wanting in its urgencies with but no farther!! the government to gratify their wishes The matter to be settled appears to by putting forth its vigorous arm : me to be simply this. bút hitherto the Council of State has prove of the Parent Society's publicarefused to become the tool of the tions? Our grand object is their disvengeful Consistory. I am happy to semination. If they contain solemn cite a passage from a letter of M. truths, deeply interesting to the temMalan to a friend in England written poral, and still more to the great, in February last : and, in a letter to eternal concerns of our fellow-menmyself some weeks later, he makes no can you hesitate to countenance and mention of any change or the appre. assist in spreading them as widely as hension of a change. "Honourable possible among all ranks, that all may and impartial justice is the character learn to think and reason more justly of our inagistrates, who are the most on a subject of such vital moment?”
Do you ap
My friend passed by what I last said, safe and uninjured in property amongst again to return to the impossibility these untaught and lawless tribes, as of living in the world we see around a friend dwelling in the midst of us, on such merely theoretical prin- friends. No one molested him or his, ciples, (for believing it our weak side, though they were in possession of he chose to go back to our denial of much that must have been highly dethe right of self-defence). But to re- sirable to the Indians; and these were ply was not difficult. “How does it fully aware, that if a small number of happen that the large and most re- their armed men had gone into the spectable body of people called Qua- houses of Penn's people in Philadelkers, who, for ages, have tried the phia or elsewhere, they might have experiment, live as securely as any taken whatever they pleased-no reother description of persons, though sistance would have been made at the it is well known that they never so time, and nothing more in future was resist, as to endanger the lives of to be apprehended, than a fair statethose who attack them, and never ment of the case, and an appeal to the prosecute for felony? Yet, to say the justice of their chiefs. least, it is a generally-admitted fact, While the entire management of that they are not more frequently the Pennsylvania vas permitted to remain prey of highwaymen or house-break- in the hands of those who might most ers, than those who take the full truly be denominated friends, the benefit of our coercive civil code.” Christian principles upon which they
This stubborn fact my opponent uniformly acted, proved themselves its could not deny, nor account for on amply suficient defence; and happily any other ground than the natural an experiment so deeply interesting to generosity of man's nature, which the whole human race, was suffered thus manifests itself even in the most to last fully long enough to convince depraved characters, generally shewing the least willing to believe the possian indisposition to attack those who bility that it could be so, of its entire they know are restrained by principle success; proving that man is not born from defending themselves.
the natural enemy of his brother, but With respect to the necessity of de- that it is from early false associations fensive war between nations, I'did not which cause deeply-rooted prejudices fail to bring forward the glorious and and evil habits, that he has gone on most successful experiment of Wil. from age to age, pursuing an occupaliam Penn, who, we all know, settled tion, and even considering it as hoa colony amongst the savage tribes of nourable, which necessarily includes America, and without a single imple- in its practice, every species of vice ment of offence or defence in their and brutality which can be named ! possession from first to last, lived, I perceive, Mr. Editor, that I am during a long succession of years, in proceeding to a length which I was peace and perfect harmony in the far from intending -- but I trust you midst of thein. He began, indeed, as will indulge me a little farther ; the he went on, acting on the true Chris- subject is of no common interest, and tian maxim of “ doing to others as this is, perhaps, the only opportunity he would desire them to do to him.” that I may have, of requesting the atHe did not land on a strange shore, tention of your readers to it. and take possession of what ground The great aim of the Peace Sociehe pleased : had he done so, he must ties is to lead professing Christians to have built a fort, and filled it with consider whether they are acting as armed men to defend his unjust agres- the disciples of him whom they call sion. The sum which this in the first their Master, when they refuse to lay outset would have cost, this just and open a subject of such vast importruly wise man employed in purchas- tance before the eyes of their fellowing the land from its natural owners,
men. We need not fear that a change --and continuing watchful that strict of long-established opinions should justice should be at all times practised too rupidly take place. The poor in the dealings which he encouraged and ignorant are generally slow of før their mutual benefit, between his apprehension respecting matters they own people and them-he remained have never been taught to think of, and, therefore, difficult to impress; healing of the nations"! which will and with the rich, the spirit of the finally obtain a glorious victory over world is a still stronger barrier against every description of evil; and this the attacks of reason and conscience. most destructive branch of it already Who is there, in the upper ranks of takes alarm from the zealous exerlife, that has not some near or distant tions of a few peaceful men. We look connexion with persons in the army for no farther miracles than have alor navy? And this, we may well be- ready been displayed. He, whom the lieve, shuts up the hearts and under. Almighty sent to save mankind by standings of thousands against all in- turning away every one of us from quiry into the necessity or lawfulness his iniquiries," has furnished his true of that profession which affords sup- and enlightened followers with ample port, and gives gentlemanly employ- means to bring about this mighty ment to their friends or relatives. But change. His perfect precepts and the blindness thus occasioned by self- his bright example have “showed Jove, short sighted and cruel self-love, us what is good?!! Both decidedly which would gladly prolong the exist. proclaim, that it is essential to “do ence of a mighty mass of evil, to avoid justice, to love mercy, and to walk a risque of future loss or inconveni. humbly with our God,”-none of ence to the few in whose well-being it which things are practicable in a state takes an interest, does not make the of warfare. cause of peace less the cause of truth The more I consider, the more cerand of genuine Christianity:
tainly do I coine to this conclusion; If this consideration has little weight either the faming sword must wrest with the children of the world, there the New Testament from our hands, is yet an argument which, by taking and utterly destroy, or again immure away all present alarm, may soften it between walls impenetrable to the their indignant feelings, respecting the public eye; or its precious records, future dire effects of what, in contra- which so plainly and powerfully delidiction to their fears, they term our neate the character of our Lord, and theoreticul and impracticable plans. so incessantly in the epistolary parts We entirely agree with them, that exhort his followers to view him as kings and cabinet ministers are of all the perfect model set forth for their meu the least likely to second our imitation, will change that instrument views. They have hitherto ruled by of destruction, and its fellow enemy the sword, and will, of course, be of man, the spear, into those useful among the last to relinquish its use. helpers of the human race, the plougli'Till this kind of rule can be dispensed share and the pruning-hook. with, the war system will only slowly, War and real Christianity cannot and at first almost imperceptibly lose subsist together. Men have called, ground; therefore, none of those who and firmly believed themselves to be are or have been enriched or ennobled zealous followers of the benevolent by the craft, can have any thing to and holy Jesus, while, with feelings fear, except a gradual diminution of of atrocious malignity of which the public esteem (which may already be savage beasts of the desert are happily perceived) for themselves or those by nature incapable, they were leading who have already entered on the blood- bands of their fellow-men to the destained career. The present genera- struction of their brethren! Nay, tion may go down to their graves more than this ; when they have been covered with gilded laurels, before the conducting to the stake or the rack, multitude will be aware of a diminu- those for whom Christ both lived and tion in their splendour-and from died, because they asserted opinions their gains nothing will be taken: differing from their own, they have while those who hold the public purse not only thought themselves, but have employ soldiers, they will doubtless been believed by multitudes of probe well paid.
fessing Christians, to have been true By the great “ Author and Finisher and meritorious disciples of him who of our faith,” that imperishable seed “was led like a lamb to the slaughwas laid in the ground, which will ter," who, “ when he was reviled, respring up producing a plant for “the viled not again;" but willingly. laid