« VorigeDoorgaan »
religion, so much as to their domestic object of Dr. Sunith's accusations of education, and to the circumstance of the Genevese is, through them, to every one being personally known to attack the English Unitarians, by rehis fellow-citizens.” This, then, is, presenting their doctrines to be prothe morality of self-love, calculations ductive of gross immorality and imof worldly interest, fashion, and mere piety." I beg leave to reply, that I respect to man; it is the morality have no covert designs. My motives which has often shone brilliantly in and objects are no other than what Heathens and Deists : but I must re- are openly avowed. The imputation nounce the Bible before
can accept here laid upon the is not true. But I it as Christian morality: The former shrink from no fair consequence of rises from motives only selfish, and my principles, believing both the prinwill follow the course of custoin and ciples and their consequences to rest convenience: the latter is a stream upon the eternal basis of scriptural from the divine fountain of holiness; authority. Those Unitarians with its principle is love to God, venera- whom I have opportunities of intertion for his authority, and sincere de- course would, I am assured, readily light in his law; and its object is an bear witness to the disposition and entire conformity, first of the thoughts conduct which I habitually slew toand affections, and then of the outward wards them. I honour them for their character, to his pure and righteous many personal and social excellencies, WILL. Upon all other morality, the and am never backward to arow my awful question will produce withering respect. But, if I am asked whether confusion. “ Did ye it at all unto I regard their religious system as reME, even unto me?” [En ma consi- concileable with the gospel of Christ, dération, et à cause de moi? Lecêne's as a safe ground of trust for a sinful Version.] “Did ye not it unto your- creature, or as a foundation on which selves ?" Zech. vii. 5.
that structure of holiness can be built Mr. B. dilates upon the impossibi- which the New Testament represents lity of the Genevese making any at- as essential to the Christian character; teinpts for the spiritual benefit of my houest convictions, forced upon their benighted neighbours, on account me by what seems to me the broad of the severe intolerance of the Popish light of divine evidence, convictions governments around them, and the which I cannot resist or conceal or political danger of provoking those compromise, oblige me, in faithfulness governments; but he entirely over- to God and man, to say, No. It is looks the essential point of the argu- very unwelcome to write so much ment, and which I had explicitly laid about one's self: but Mr. B. has down. This was, that such attempts compelled me. were not made at the time when those This gentleman does me also great difficulties either did not exist, or wrong, when he says that I have " exwere easily superable ; namely, the pressed my utter contempt for moral period of sixteen or eighteen years, serions. In no part of my letters in which Savoy was united to France. can he find such a sentiment, either It was during this period that the expressed or implied. No one could evangelical churches and societies of so understand me, except by pervert. Great Britain, Holland and North ing what I trust I have with sufficient America were labouring to extend the explicitness declared, that morality, best of blessings in ignorant districts not founded on Christian principles, at home, in Ireland, and among the is not the religion of Jesus. Heathen to the ends of the earth. He charges me with “ indulging in Happy should I be to be contradicted a violence of abuse—altogether unrein what I advanced in my first letter, strained by candour or courtesy, and to be assured, on good grounds, extreme bitterness, -enunity to M. that the Genevese did improve the Chenevière and the Genevese Pastors, golden opportunity, and labour to-hating them with perfect hatred, introduce the Scriptures and scrip
--and using language which reminds tural instruction among that “ honest us of a “mixture of coarse abuse and and simple-hearted people,” as Mr. B. cant." Upon these accusations I must calls them.
again appeal to the seriousness and “I believe the main candour of your readers. I will vindi
Mr. B. says,
cate no evil passions, nor intemperate interests to serve. I would not vindilanguage ; and if I have been guilty cate my friends beyond what I believe of either, I yield myself to censure. to be the strict warranty of truth. I But let me be judged justly. The plead for nothing but liberty, integrity, strongest expressions that I have used, and that which I am convinced is gehave been in repelling allegations con- nuine Christianity. Some inconsidecerning doctrines, particular persons rable mistakes 1 may perhaps have and specific facts, which I am satisfied committed; but I am convinced that are flagrant violations of truth. I all the main and essential parts of have adduced my proofs in each case: both my facts and my arguments are and upon those proofs I rest the pro- iinpregnable. With this conviction, priety of my language.
I do not think myself bound to conI beg leave to remark, in passing, tinue the controversy. Enough has that Mr. B. is mistaken in the insinu. been said, on both sides, to enable the ations which he throws out, as if the impartial to judge. revealed religion of the Old Testament I again return sincere and respect. sanctioned the indulgence of malevo- ful thanks for the ample opportunity lent passions. The Hebrew verb usu- which you have afforded me, not only ally rendered to hate, signifies, in Ps. of pleading for religious liberty, a tocxxxix. 22, and, in other places, to pic on which we are perfectly agreed; feel aversion or disgust on account but of vindicating sentiments which of that which is wrong and base: and, you do not approve, and which have in this sense, it is predicated of the been, I fear, disagreeable to many of best and purest ininds, and even of your readers. the Deity himself. Some writers, wlio
J. PYE SMITH. call themselves Christians, seem sot to be aware that to discredit the reve- P.S. Nov. 18. I request permislations made to the patriarchs and sion to add an extract from the Cor. prophets is, in its necessary conse- respondence of a Traveller on the quence, to reject Christianity itself. Continent, which appears in the Lon
In the remaining parts of Mr. B.'s don Christian Instructor for the presecond letter I find nothing relevant sent month. I have not the most disto the case which does not appear to tant idea or conjecture who the writer be sufficiently obviated by what I have can be. It does not appear that he written before. All, therefore, that I is acquainted with the state of relirequest of any reader is a fair and gious parties at Geneva. He is misimpartial comparison of his objections taken in his account of the times of with the corresponding parts of my the public services. The three services letters.
on each Lord's-day, extending to an M. Chenevière has sent to you a hour each, are at seven, nine and paragraph, complaining that I have three; besides which there is a Catedo addressed to him injurious language, chetical Exercise at four. Your read-insults instead of reasons ;:--and ers will judge for themselves, what that I was “embarrassed by a state- regard is due to the testimony of an ment of facts.". It is always easy to unknown person. It is dated Sepmake such replies ; but others must tember 1824. judge of their validity. I have in- “ Well; I am now at Geneva, the tended him no injury. I have offered centre of Protestantism: here are no him no insult; unless it be an insult crosses, no reliques, no decorated alto bring EVIDENCE, as I have abun- tars. The eye is no longer offended dantly done, of the numerous and with waxed and painted puppets, rewide departures from truth which ap- presenting virgins, infants and crucipear throughout his Summary. These, fixions; nor is the ear ainused with
presume to say, were not insults, the audible devotions of the people; but reasons, and weighty reasons, all is simple, unaffected and unprewhich it behoves M. C. very seriously tending. But is all right? I have to consider. I cheerfully leave to all been unfortunate in not meeting with competent and upright judges, the the friends to whom I had introducdecision between his statements and tions, so that I have seen nothing of reasonings, and those which I have the people in their houses, and can opposed to them. I have no personal only tell the impressions things have
made upon me as a passing stranger, establishing the justness of my arguI inquired in the streets for the best ments. But, as I fear that such as preacher, and was told that the most equitable comparison will not be made celebrated did not preach yesterday, by all, I am induced to ask your inbut if I went to the Madelaine I should dulgence for a few sentences. Every hear a minister of acknowledged ta- topic in Mr. B.'s last letter, except lent. To the Madelaine I went. M. one, I ain content to leave to the good M—, a man about 33 years of age, sense and judgment of your readers ; was in the pulpit. The subject was but that one is too important to be beneficence, charity and alms-giving : passed by. It refers, not to my opunder these heads, so fertile in appeals nions or feelings merely, but to the to the feelings, he made an eloquent, most vital doctrine of Christianity. powerful, impressive sermon. In Mr. B. (pp. 662, 663,) bas selected many parts his eloquence was quite and combined what were, in my letter, dramatic, and he drew pictures of dis- passages separated by important parts tress, which dissolved bis audience in of the connexion; and thus he aims convulsive tears! But there was not to produce, upon those readers who a word from beginning to end to re- may not be aware of the contrivance, mind his hearers that they were sin- an impression which wonld be far ners, not a word on the necessity of from correct. Let me, then, intreat repentance, nor a syllable on the sub- them to look at my third letter, (Mun. ject of faith in the great atonement. Repos. pp. 468, 469,) where they will lle concluded by assuring the people find that my censure of M. Chene. that they had only to go on with in- vière was founded upon his representcreasing energy, lo multiply as much ing as licentious and inimical to the as possible their acts of beneficence, practice of good works, a book which and they would assuredly receive their he must have read, partially at least, just reward of eternal life! This may, and which, therefore, he could not I suppose, be considered a tolerably but know to be of a perfectly opposite fair specimen of the present state of spirit and tendency. My language is, pulpii instruction in this celebrated indeed, strong : but, if it be taken (as city,
Mr. B. has been careful not to take A Peruvian, who has been for the it) in its connexions and with its aclast day or two my travelling compa- companying evidence, it still appears nion, was with me at church, and ob- to me not 100 strong for the JUSTICE served, shrewdly enough, that the of the case. I expressed those feelsermon might have been preached to ings which extreme misrepresentation any religious sect in any part of the could scarcely fail to excite: but I world, so little did it contain of that wish that I had repressed them, not which is peculiar to Christianity. because I consider them as not me
“ The religious services of the city, rited, but because they are harsh and which began ai nine in the morning, irritating, and I fear that they violate were all over by three o'clock, and at the precept to “instruct in meekness six the theatre was open, and an actor those who oppose themselves" to the from Paris was announced to take his truth. leave in a tragedy by VOLTAIRE!" Yet I solemnly remonstrate with
Mr. B. for representing my statements Homerton, as if they had referred to personal Sir, December 16, 1824. holiness, and the unchangeable obliVOME peculiar hindrances have pre- gations of universal virtue, when they
vented my secing the last number are in the plainest manner restricted of the Monthly Repository, till to-day. to the single point of the JUSTIFICAI had thought that it would not have tion of a sinner in the sight of God. been necessary for me to trouble you If he is so unacquainted with the docfurther upon the Genevese Contro- trines of religion as not to be aware of versy: and I still think that, to any this broad distinction, if pone of the one who will compare, fairly and ut books of his excellent ancestors hare length, the passages in my former descended to him, which might have letters, on which Mr. Bakewell has given hin the information, and if he remarked, with his animadversions, choose not to take the trouble of a nothing inore would be needful for little research ; Le must escuse my
reminding him that the paragraphs nexed to the Ecclesiastical Polity, p. from which he has garbled his extracts 513, ed. 1639. sutticiently declared it.
J. PYE SMITH. Not that I, in any degree, make human anthority the ground of faith; Mr. Bakewell's concluding Remarks but to shew Mr. B. that there are
on the Present State of Geneva, in matters which he has not yet learned,
Reply to Dr. J. Pye Smith. and which are well deserving of his most serious study, I transcribe a pas
LETTER IV. sage from a writer of no mean name, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury, who was certainly an acute and pene
Dec. 9, 1824. trating man, and whom the Anglican AM aware that your readers may Church proverbially designates as the think the controversy respecting judicious.
Geneva has already been protracted “ We do not teach Christ alone, to a length beyond what its imporexcluding our own faith, unto Justiti. tance may merit, and I hasten to concalion; Christ alone, excluding our clude what I have farther to remark own works, unto Sanctification; Christ on the subject. I consider all the alone, excluding the one or the other main points which I have advanced, as unnecessary unto Salvation. It is respecting the state of morals in that a chiklish cavil wherewith, in the mat- city, to be in a great measure conter of Justification, our adversaries do firmed by Dr. Smith's last letter: he. so greatly please themselves; exclaim- candidly admits that the Genevese, in ing that we tread all Christian virtues the tine of their “coerced orthounder our feet, and require nothing in doxy” in the 16tb and 17th centuries, Christians but faith, because we teach were very likely to have the sins of that faith alone justifieth. Whereas, “hypocrisy, canting, avarice, cheating by this speech we never meant to ex- and secret aboinination.” It is difficlude either hope or charity from cult, nay, impossible, to conceive how being always joined as inseparable the departure from this systein could mates with faith, in the man that is be productive of the moral degeneracy justified, or works from being added which Dr. Smith in his foriner letters as necessary duties required at the confidently asserts to have been the hands of every justified man: but to case. When Dr. Smith is called upon shew that faith is the only hand which to prove the gross inmorality and putteth on Christ unto Justification, dissolute inanners of the Genevese, he and Christ the only garment which, cites two instances to make good the being so put on, covereth the shame accusation; the one, of a job having of our defiled natures, hideth the in- uttered profane expressions (wbich perfection of our works, preserveth the Genevese say was not true *); us blameless in the sight of God, before whom otherwise the weakness of
* With respect to the mob and outcry, our faith were cause sutficient to make at Geneva, mentioued by Dr. Smith, never us culpable, yea, to shut us from the having heard of it when I was therei
wrote to a friend to know how far the ac. kingdom of heaven, where nothing count of Dr. S. was correct—he informs that is not absolute can enter.-How
me, that when Messrs. Guers and Emthen is our salvation wrought by paytaz first formed a congregation, chiefly Christ alone? Is it our meaning, that of young men and women, they assembled nothing is requisite to man's salvation, in the evening in an obscure part of the but Christ to save, and he to be saved town. The novelty of the thing drew quietly without any more ado? No; together at first a number of persons, we acknowledge no such foundation. principally children, who brought lanAs we have received, so we teach, terns, and cried, “ Down with the Mö. that, besides the bare and naked work miers,” but the magistrates afterwards wherein Christ, without any other sent gens-d'armes to preserve the peace
and to protect the new sect.
With reassociate, finished all the parts of our redemption, and purchased salvation spect to the cry of “ Down with Jesus
Christ," from the strictest inquiries it himself alone, for conveyance of this does not appear that it was ever uttered. eminent blessing unto us, many things My friend says, “ Ce cri n'est en notre are of necessity requirexl." Ilook• pays dans lu bouche et le cour de perER's Discourse of Justification, an
the other, that some soldiers“ took manners are much the same. He religious tracts from terrified children, says that, on Sundays, respectable and ramming them into their pieces, men and their families attend such boasted, We fire off the Lord”! The houses, “and do not seem to feel any Genevese Government keeps a few repugnance at joining in the dance hired soldiers in its pay, who may be with females whose society might be inuch like the soldiers in other coun. supposedl no acquisition. It is no tries, but I am certain that they dare stain on a man's morals or piety to not repeat such an act, were it known be present. Such things she adds) to their officers, or to the magistrates; are not exactly what we would expect and it is as unfair to charge the Ge- from Calvinists or Presbyterians.” nevese with profaneness for a single (Mitchell's Tour.). It appears from act of these men, as it would be to this account, and froin that of Sir J. defame the English Calvinists, for any Carr, that Calvinism does not possess act done by our soldiers in the Green any high degree of preserving influPark.
ence over the morals of a people proDr. S., finding the evidence for the fessing it. Surely Dr. Smith and his immorality of the Genevese of the friends, who are so zealous for the present day so defective, moves the reform of Genevese heretics, would do charge back forty years, to 1784. This well to direct their attention elsewhere, reminds us of the wolf and the lamb and visit their Calvinist brethren in in the fable: “If it was not you, Holland: but errors in conduct are was your mother" ! He has also considered by many religionists as tribrought forward the rhapsody of M. files compared with errors of faith. de Joux, written twenty years since, Now let us turn to Geneva. At the in the time of the captivity of Geneva. time that I was there, a circumstance It is exactly what we may every day occurred which proves in a striking hear well-meaning preachers in En- manner the care that is taken to pregland pour forth against their own serve young persons from moral concountrymen, measuring them by an tagion. A company of Italian opera imaginary standard of perfection at dancers, passing through the city, which society has never yet arrived. performed for a few nights at the Such lamentations are of little value theatre. During one of the reprein aiding us to form. comparative sentations, the gesture of an actor, estimate of the morals of any people. which would have passed without the It is, however, with the present state slightest notice on the London stage, of morals in Geneva that we are con- was considered as indecorous. A macerned, and I feel fully assured of the gistrate who was present immediately truth of all that I have written respect- ordered the piece to be stopped for ing it in my former letters.
the evening, and the spectators withAs Dr. Smith declines the challenge drew. Dancing in private houses, even to bring forward a moral comparison of the first citizens, is not allowed to of the Genevese with Calvinists in be continued longer than 12 o'clock other cities, I will refer your readers at night: a heavy penalty is levied on to the account of Holland in 1816, by those who violate this regulation.Mr. James Mitchell, M. A. : “ The Among the Orthodox Genevese, acprevailing religion is pure Calvinism: cording to Bishop Burnet, as I have any preacher who were to oppose the before mentioned, secret debauchery tenets of Calvin, would draw upon " was managed with great address ;" himself the vengeance of the Synods.” but unfortunate women whose crimes Notwithstanding this, Mr. Mitchell became notorious, were drowned in says there are 500 spiel-houses in the Rhone - which, I suppose, was Rotterdam alone, where unfortunate regarded as washing away the sins of young women are purchased like slaves the people. The modern Genevese and kept for prostitution : respectable- compel known prostitutes to live in looking persons bring their wives and one street, to prevent their mixing daughters on Sunday evenings to see generally with the citizens : thus they the girls dance. He inquired several endeavour to lessen the pernicious eftimes the number of these infamous fects of an evil which it has been found spiel-houses, and was constantly told impossible to annihilate in large and five hundred! In Amsterdam, the densely-peopled cities.