« VorigeDoorgaan »
burnt with every circumstance of than formerly, and in moderne Thalicious contempt, and Reason times with less in those countries, has been set up, as the only called Christian, than where the guide, and even appealed to, as a benevolent principles of that relispecies of divinity. But what gion are unknown. Notwithhave been the consequences ? standing all the fair pretences Have the promised halcyon days and promises of modern philosoof peace returned? Have we not phers to the contrary, we find, rather witnessed the entire dis- that instead of that peace and solution of every moral principle, harmony which had been so the most unbonnded licentious- liberally promised, the renouncness, the most open avowal of ing of Christianity is attended bribery and corruption, and such with the revival of the ancient a series of inhuman murders, or asperity of war in all its rather of promiscuous butcher- horrors. ies, as have had no parallel But right or wrong, Christianifrom the days of Nero, to the ty must be overthrown ; and so present time, accompanied too self consistent are its opposers, with a lawless thirst of domin- who have raised the hue and cry ion, which has not been equalled against it, on account of its being in any civilized nation?
the cause of cruelty, war, and Many wars have been in the bloodshed, that in the next breath, world, it is true, ostensibly on they accuse it of making its account of religion, but really for votaries mean spirited slaves, and the want of it. But, in order to cowards. substantiate the charge against It is apparent, that in these Christianity, as being the princi- observations infidelity is pal cause of wars throughout the considered as barely a speculaworld, it ought to be proved, that tive error of great magnitude, before its introduction mankind but as a moral evil, arguing a were troubled with no wars, and depraved heart. This will be that those nations, which are more or less criminal, according ignorant of revelation, constantly to the degrees of light, and the enjoy the blessings of peace. several advantages, which people To this kind of evidence the enjoy. In our country, particuenemies of revelation will not larly in New England, there is appeal. The most stubborn something to aggravate the guilt facts stare them in the face. of rejecting Christianity, beyond The gospel breathes nothing, what occurs in France. The but peace and love ; and, where. French nation have long seen ever the spirit of it prevails, it their national worship debased will prove a check to the asperi- by superstition, and the simplity of war. Notwithstanding the city of the gospel veiled by hucomparatively slender influence, man invention. Many of their which religion has had on the more enlightened characters have minds of mankind in general, confounded these additions, it is an undoubted fact, that since which were the effect of superthe introduction of Christianity stition, with religion itself; and, into the world, wars have been while they saw the absurdity ofthe carried on with less barbarity one, rejected both together with
out any examination; and upon Mr. Tennent proceeded to tri. these superstitious additions al, against all human probability built the principal part of their of a right issue, on the ground arguments against Christianity of these considerations, I know itself. But in our country, my innocence; and that God, where we have free access to whose I am and whom I serve, the lively oracles, and the gos- will never suffer me to fall by pel is exhibited in a clear and these spares of the devil, or by convincing light, undebased by the wicked machinations of his superstition, the guilt of reject. agents or servants." ing it will be more aggravated. Now my inquiry is, how he “ You only have I known of all could be confident of this. From the families of the earth," saith Scripture and the perfections of God to Israel, “ therefore will I God, the Christian has sure punish you for all your iniqui• ground for believing, that God ties."
T. will do all things well, that he
will restrain human wrath, when
ever it is most fit that he should For the Panoplist. restrain it, and that he will in. MESSRS. EDITORS,
terpose for the deliverance of
his persecuted children, on all I have read with considerable occasions, on which infinite wis. interest
, the life of Rev. William dom and goodness dictate such Tennene. Among many uncom interposition, He may there.' mon incidents recorded in this fore with confidence commit his account, one presents itself
, ways to the Lord, in a prudent which is thought to deserve par; use of his own reason and of all ticular inquiry.
lawful means for his security. When Mr: Tennent had the But it could not, without immeaffliction to be indicted for perju: diate revelation, be certainly ry, and the time of his trial known, that the contemplated came, he is represented as having trial was an occasion, on which a very extraordinary confidence, the perfections of God would rethat he should be acquitted ; quire him to interpose. God's which confidence induced him
ways are unsearchable ; he does, to proceed to trial, when he in his infinite wisdom, some: knew of very strong evidence times permit the wicked to to be produced against him, little
prosper against the just. The or none in his favour, and in di• God, whom Stephen served, rect opposition to the united
« suffered him to fall by the opinions and warm
snares of the devil, or by the strances of his counsel.
wicked inachinations of his The weight of Mr. Tennent's agents or servants ;” and Stepiety and talents ought never to phen's Master, though he did albe thrown into the scale of er
ways the things, which pleased ror. I do not affirm, that this his heavenly Father, was by conduct of his was erroneous ; wicked hands crucified and slain but, with a sincere desire to be informed, would humbly submit the foltowing inquiries.
* Panoplist, July, 1806, page 61.
The indictment on which Jesus tion is sometimes attended with Christ was tried, was for blasphe- good consequences ; a prudent acmy and sedition; the first of which tion is sometimes accompanied was no less a charge, nor better with bad. supported, than was the alleged The preceding remarks are perjury of Mr. Tennent. With- made with much deference to out recurring to these illustrious the venerable personage to whose instances, Mír. Anderson* might life they relate. be mentioned, who was actually The same inquiries, which put in the pillory, on the same have been made concerning Mr. indictment.
Tennent's confidence, will apply Mr. Tennent's faith, if good, to the confidence of some permust have been supported on sons concerning their temporal some ground; but what ground circumstances.
Some persons, there could have been, it is not when engaging in a particular easy to see.' Scripture ground, pursuit, have a strong confidence it is conceived, there could be of success, though they acknowlnone. Scripture assures us that edge that all appearances are aGod will do well, and that all gainst them. “I have an unthings shall work for good to them shaken faith,” says such a person, that love God; but it no shere " that God will never suffer me tells us, that they shall not be to be reduced to extreme poverpilloried, stoned, sawn asunder, ty." Pray what supports such a or crucified.
faith as this? We are bound to But it will be said, that the believe God's word and rest upevent proved the faith of Mr. on it. But where has God told Tennent to be well' grounded. us, that no good person shall beI answer, the event proved no come extremely poor? Was not such thing. The providence of Job poor? Was not Lazarus reGod was indeed very visible in duced to wretchedness and begthe issue ; but this proved noth- gary? Was not Jesus Christ ing, as to the propriety of going himself in such circumstances to trial, under the circumstances that he had not where to lay his which we have noticed. I may head ? How can I assure mybe persuaded that a large quanti- self of future competency, or a ty of wine will recover my friend freedom from extreme want, from a fever ; and may admin- when some, the latchets of whose ister wine contrary to all pru- shoes, I am unworthy to stoop dence, and the best medical ad- down and unloose, have actually vice, My friend may recover ; experienced such want? but will this prove the pru- True confidence in God, it is dence of my conduct? Anoth- conceived, does not lead men to er person has a fever; and, in- believe, that he will do this par. fluenced by the same confidence, ticular thing for them, but only, which remonstrances will in general, that he will do right. shake or diminish, I give him The language of a rational Chriswine. The patient dies ! Now tian is not, “ I have faith to bemy faith was just as good in one lieve that God will always precase as in the other. A rash ac- serve me from worldly embar
* See Panoplist, for July, p. 60. rassments ;" it is this, “ I know
not what God has in reserve, nor ples of Christian morality and am I anxious : it is sufficient piety. And as this is so importhat he governs in perfect wise tant and difficult a duty, the indidom and goodness. If he bestow vidual members of the church, prosperity, I will rejoice : if he and the church, as a body, ought call me to suffering, by his gra- to do what in them lies to assist cious support, I will still exclaim, parents in dischargingerit. But “ Even 80, Father, for so it hath through the inattention of parseemed good in thy sight." ents and of churches to this LEIGHTON. great duty, there is little ground
to expect that our youth will be a generation to seek the Lord.
But there is something more SURVEY OF NEW ENGLAND than bare neglect. An evil, CALRCHES.
formerly unknown in New Eng.
land, has been lately introduced (Continued from p. 216.)
into the mode of catechising, ANOTHER evil, which threat. It is obviously very desirable, ens the welfare of our churches, that there be a general uniformity is the neglect or abuse of catechet. in the method of instructing ical instruction. Catechising is youth. The importance of this one of the best and most approv. must be felt by all who consider, ed methods of teaching children' that unity of faith among Christhe principles of religion. No tians is' intimately connected other method has ever been with the honour of Christ and the found so well adapted to the prosperity of his church. It is state of the youthful mind. Chris- to be expected, that the mode of tian catechisms have been the instruction will have a powerful successful means of conveying influence on the youthful mind. from one generation to another Children, who are instructed in the saving knowledge of the gos- the peculiar sentiments of Chris. pel. The general neglect of this tianity, and see the happy effect mode of instruction forebodes in- of those sentiments exemplified calculable injury. A family is a' in the lives of their parents, are seminary of church and state. under advantages to receive the Unless children are educated in most valuable impressions. They the nurture and admonition of will be strongly guarded against the Lord, they are likely to grow the danger of licentious opinions, up in ignorance and vice. What,' and, aster they come to maturity in a moral view, will distinguish of understanding, will be likely them from the heather, if they to embrace the truths of revelaare left without gospel informa- tion. The earlier they are tion ? Every parent is obliged, taught the principles of religion, by the express command of the better will they ultimately Scripture ; by the solemn vows understand them, the more perwhich he makes, when he offers fectly remember them, and the up his children in baptism ; and more constantly and deeply feel by those affections which tender their influence. How highly ly bind him to their welfare, to important, then, that the mode instil into their minds the princi- of juvenile instruction should
comprise the system of divine lightened, unsanctified reason truth. And as there is, and can discovers. But a catechism, be, only one such system ; as the professedly constructed on Chris. particular method of stating it tian principles, and designed to will probably produce such dura. instruct the rising age in the ble effects on the mind; and as truths of the Christian religion, it is so necessary to the harmony must be exceedingly defective, of believers and the peace of the if it do not contain the peculiar church, that the same sentiments doctrines revealed in the gospel, on religious subjects should Suppose it is free from error, generally prevail; it is evidently and contains much moral and of much consequence, that there religious truth. Yet, if it want be a general uniformity in the those truths, which distinguish mode of instruction, Religious the evangelical revelation, it deeducation ought to rest on the serves not the title of a Christian same foundation, 10 proceed on catechism. It is indispensable in the same principles, to be regula; a Christian catechism, that it exted by the same maxims. Now hibit those views of God and his there is no way, in which this law, of the moral condition of uniformity can be preserved so man, of the character and work effectually, as by the general of the Redeemer, and of the adoption of the same catechism method of salvation by grace, for youth, and the same confes.: which compose the essence of the sion of faith in the churches. gospel, and make the Christian
But it is a question still to be religion what it is. considered, what catechism shall Secondly. A Christian catebe adopted? This leads directly chism ought to be composed in to an inquiry concerning the plain, definite, precise language. essential properties of a good Being designed to convey inChristian catechism,
struction to people in general, it . On this subject it is a remark should be written in language which first occurs, that a Chris- which they can understand. Betian catechism ought to contain all ing designed to convey instructhe distinguishing doctrines of the tion on subjects, which are most gospel. If the Christian revela- weighty in themselves, and which tion is designed to make known it is of infinite importance that any truths not taught by the all should rightly apprehend, it light of nature ; to exhibit those should, in every part, be extruths should be a primary ob- pressed definitely, and with preci. ject of a Christian catechism. A sion. The words employed philosophical catechism may should be such, as will give a properly be restricted to philo- complete and exact idea of the sophical truth. A political cate, truths under consideration ; chism may extend no further such, as will clearly mark their than political principles. A cate- limits, so that they may be neithchisın formed merely by the aid er stretched to any excess, nor of unenlightened, unsanctified confounded with different sentireason, we expect, will comprise ments. Every thing, in short, those iruths only, which unen- should be so expressed, that the