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They "fell endlong' into the Serbonian bog' of a virtual infidelity!" Such shameless denunciations excite our surprise and pity. For the honor of our common nature we could wish they were never uttered. They will fail, we are sure, of their end. They may produce a temporary effect on ignorant, credulous, and timid minds, but only a temporary one. They wound the cause of christian peace and charity, but they will fail of producing the impression they are designed to make. It is too late for such weapons to succeed. It is vain to attempt to resist the progress of the age. It is vain to attempt to carry back the human mind to the state in which it was several centuries ago. It is vain to attempt to put down a spirit of research, and effectually to check the growth of liberal sentiments. They have struck too deep root to admit of being ever eradicated. Opposition will now serve only to strengthen their hold and quicken their progress. The time is past. The current has swollen to too great a magnitude, and is too powerfully set to be restrained. The advocates of spiritual tyranny and intolerance may throw up mounds-these mounds are no more than sands heaped together on the shores of ocean, which the next wave drives away.
The article in the "Spirit of the Pilgrims," which has called forth these remarks, is designed to give some account of William Whiston, a celebrated English divine and mathematician, who died about the middle of the last century. His views of the Saviour were strictly Arian. He believed in his preexistence, and considered
him entitled to inferior worship. His character and sufferings are portrayed in a lively manner by Bishop Hare, in his very ingenious treatise on the "Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the Study of the Scriptures." Those of our readers, who are not already familiar with the passage, will be gratified, we think, with an opportunity of perusing it. For ourselves, we have never been able to read it without deep emotion. Whiston, observes the Bishop, "has all his life been cultivating piety, and virtue, and good learning. Rigidly constant himself in the public and private duties of religion; and always promoting in others virtue and such learning as he thought would conduce most to the honor of God, by manifesting the greatness and wisdom of his works. He has given the world sufficient proofs that he has not misspent his time, by very useful works of philosophy and mathematics; he has applied one to the explication of the other, and endeavored by both to display the glory of the great Creator. And to his study of nature, he early joined the study of the Scriptures; and his attempts, whatever the success be, were at least well meant; and, considering the difficulty of the subjects he has engaged in, it must be allowed that in the main they are well aimed; and, if he has not succeeded, no more have others who have meddled with the same subjects. Nor is he more to be blamed than they. To be blamed, did I say? I should have said, not less to be commended. For sure it is a commendable design, to explain scripture difficulties, and to re
move the objections of profane men, by showing there is nothing in the sacred writings, but what is true and rational.
"But what does a life, thus spent, avail? To what purpose so many watchful nights, and weary days? So much piety and devotion? So much mortification and self-denial? Such a zeal to do good, and to be useful to the world? So many noble specimens of a great genius, and of a fine imagination? It is the poor man's misfortune (for poor he is, and like to be, not having the least preferment) to have a warm head, and be very zealous in what he thinks the cause of God. He thinks prudence the worldly wisdom condemned by Christ and his Apostles, and that it is gross prevarication and hypocrisy to conceal the discoveries he conceives he has made. This heat of temper betrays him into some indiscreet expressions and hasty assertions; designing to hurt nobody, he fancies nobody designs to hurt him; and is simple enough to expect the same favorable allowances will be made to him, that he sees made to those who write against him. As to his learning, it is his misfortune that he is not skilled enough in the learned languages to be a great critic in them, and yet seems not to be sensible of his deficiency in this respect. And what advantage is taken of this, that he has not less heat and more criticism? His learning is treated in that manner, that you would think he did not know the first elements of Greek; though, even in that, he is much superior to most of those who make so free with him; and you every day hear his performances
run down as whimsies and chimeras, by men who never read them, and, if they did, could not understand them. Nor does his warmth of temper come off better; it is all over obstinacy, pride, and heretical pravity; a want of modesty and due deference to just authority; they, that speak most favorably, look upon him as crazed, and little better than a madman. This is the poor man's character; and, low as he is, they cannot be content to leave him quiet in his poverty; whereas, had he not been early possessed with a passionate love for the Scripture and philosophy; had he not thought it his duty above all things to promote the glory of God, and been persuaded that could no way be so well done as by the study of his word and works; it is more than probable he had, at this time, been orthodox; and then, instead of his present treatment, his faults would have been overlooked; the learning, he excels in, would have been extolled, and no defect would have been found in other parts of it. He would have been cried up as an ornament of the age, and no preferment would have been denied or envied him.”
Such was the man whom the "Spirit of the Pilgrims" denounces as an infidel! and Chillingworth-the learned, the pious, the excellent Chillingworth-must his name too be branded with the epithet of infidel? Heaven be thanked, our fellow mortals have no power to determine our final doom. From the weak and erring decisions of man there is an appeal to the judgements of
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a just and merciful God. This is our consolation, and our joy. It is a small matter that we are judged of man's judgement; He that judgeth us is the Lord.
RECIPROCAL DUTIES OF MINISTER AND PEOPLE. PUBLIC WORSHIP.
MESSRS EDITORS-I wish to invite the attention of your readers to some remarks on the reciprocal duties of minister and people. These duties I shall divide into two general classes; those of the sabbath, and those of the week. Those of the sabbath naturally include the public devotions, instructions and ordinances of the church; and also the religious instruction of children, and ministerial exchanges. My observations in this article will be confined to the public devotions; and will relate to the object, form and sentiment of christian worship.
1. In the first place, the minister is expected to lead in the devotions of the congregation. Who then is the proper object of christian worship? To what Being must he offer their prayers? To our heavenly Father; the only living and true God; the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; the One undivided, all perfect Creator, Governor and Parent of the Universe. I should not be thus particular when addressing a christian community, had not some religious