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sacred writings speak of damna-, ble heresies; of contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; and of rebuking mon sharply, that they may be sound in the faith. The apostle John declares, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God: He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. The apostle Paul says, A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject. What is the meaning of these passages? Not that we should undertake to judge the hearts of men; not that we should attempt or desire to be "Lords over the conscience;" not that we should condemn rashly and without evidence, or censure with harshness and malevolence, or presume to decide on the final state of those, who hold unsound opinions; but that we carefully discriminate between the truth, as it is in Jesus, and opposite errors; that we love the former and abhor the latter, in proportion to the degree in which they appear to be heretical and mischievous; that we oppose the abettors of heresy, not with personal malice, but with the firmest decision, and with detestation of their false principles; and that, instead of employing language or conduct, which can be considered as giving countenance to their errors, it is our duty, if the interests of religion require it, to hold them up to public view, in their true light, in order to diminish their influence, and to guard men
against their delusion. Nay, this is not only the plain meaning of the passages above cited, and of others of a similar kind, but it is the necessary result of another principle plainly taught in scripture. If all modes of religious faith were equally safe, as to the final attainment of salvation, we might well feel both surprised and indignant to see men, zealously contending for a particular creed, and bearing a warm testimony against different opinions. But when the Holy Ghost has pronounced some heresies to be damnable, will not every real Christian strive to avoid such heresies himself, and warn others, as he has opportunity, against embracing them ? While he loves the most extravagunt heretics, as men, is ever ready to do them good, and daily prays for their conversion and salvation; he will feel it to be as much his duty to abhor their false doctrines, and, if they are doing secret mischief, to detect and expose them, as to counteract the poison administered by an unprincipled physician, or to unfold a conspiracy against the state.
Nor is such conduct in the least degree inconsistent with Christian charity. Dr. R. in some instances, uses this word, in what we must think an unscriptural sense. An eminent writer, has justly said, that "Charity, in the language of scripture, means an ardent and unfeigned love to others, and a desire of their welfare, temporal and eternal; and may very well consist with the strongest abhorrence of their wicked principles, and the deepest concern for their dangerous state." That'
man, therefore, is the most charitable, who is filled with the warmest desire for the salvation of men, and is most faithful in warning them against those principles, which corrupt and destroy. And accordingly bishop Burnet excellently observes, that "whatever moderation or charity we may owe to men's persons, we Owe none at all to their errors, Dor to that frame which is built on and supported by them."
When one class of men be lieve that human nature is totally depraved; that there is no salvation but through the atoning sacrifice of Christ; that the Saviour is a divine person, and that to represent him as a mere man, is subverting the foundations of his gospel, and destroying the hopes of the soul: and when another class believe, that man is now as pure and upright as ever; that to speak of an atonement is to dishonour God; that the Saviour is a mere man; that of course to acknowledge and worship him as God, is gross and abominable idolatry; it is difficult to conceive how these two classes can mutually regard each other with the same satisfaction, as those who perfectly agree. If the Calvinist be right, he cannot consider the Socinian, as a Christian at all; but must contemplate and represent him, when he has occasion to speak on the subject, as an enemy of the cross of Christ. And on the other hand, so far as the Socinian believes in the truth of his own principles, he must regard the Calvinist, as a superstitious and idolatrous corrupter of Christianity. These persons may have much intercourse as neighbours.
Their intercourse may be friendly, and even affectionate. There is no good reason why they should contend with bitterness, or cherish towards each other a malignant or rancorous temper. But that each, so far as he is honest to his principles, and in earnest in his way, must abhor and detest the system of the other, as radically corrupt, as awfully destructive, is too evident to require proof. Dr. Priestly did not hesitate to concede this. He acknowledged with characteristic frankness, in conversation with an American divine, that when Calvinists denied him the title of Christian, and denounced him as little better than a sober Deist, he considered them as speaking a language, which, supposing their system to be true, was inevitable and right.
Dr. R. tells us that primitive Christians differed greatly in their opinions, but were remarkable for their brotherly love and friendship." If by this he means, that the disciples of Christ, in the primitive ages of the church, held free and affectionate communion with each other, while they entertained radically different opinions about such fundamental points, as original depravity, the divinity and atonement of the Saviour, and the necessity of the influences of the Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify the soul, we know not whence he has derived his information, and, until he produces his authority, must doubt the fact. We know that one great reason why the pagans were so much enraged against the earliest Christians, was their holding and avowing such rigid and exclusive opinions with respect to
the only way of salvation. This was a new doctrine, and it highly offended them.
But is Dr. R. consistent with himself? Here also we feel constrained to answer in the negative. He speaks much of charity, and of a mild and indulgent temper towards those who differ from us. But he seems to confine this entirely to those who call themselves Christians. Why this restriction? Does a sober Deist differ from a Socinian nearly as much, as a Socinian differs from a Calvinist? Certainly not. Why then should we not include the Deist in our charity, as well as the Socinian? The profound remark, that “we differ from him as much as he differs from us," applies as perfectly to the former, as to the latter.
Dr. R. while he pleads for universal mildness and charity, is frequently severe on the rigid and "excluding" advocates of orthodoxy. But why so? If all, without exception, who profess to believe in the Christian religion, and whose moral character is good, are to be regarded" with equal satisfaction," however they may differ from each other in articles of faith, why not extend to the highest toned Calvinist, the same indulgence which is grant ed to the most lax heretic? It is one of the most curious phenomena of modern liberality, that every thing can be borne but strict unbending orthodoxy; that every man is sure of indulgent and even of respectful treatment, excepting one, who has such a deep impression of the importance of divine truth, and so tender a conscience, that he cannot yield to the polite concessions, and temporizing compliments of his Vol. III. No. 4.
more liberal neighbours. shall never think this kind of liberality consistent with itself, until it learns to bear with the most rigidly excluding system of principles, as well as of prac tice.
On the whole, we are by no means satisfied with the strain of reasoning, which pervades this discourse. We cannot think that Dr. R. has given a just or discriminating view of the manner in which professing Christians, who differ radically among themselves, ought to feel towards, and treat each other. We agree with him in believing, that they ought not to indulge in rancour or bitterness, or to dispute with a spirit of pride and dogmatism. But if Christians are not bound to cleave to what they deem the truth, with supreme love, and ardent zeal; if they are not enjoined to oppose error in every form, and especially those errors which affect the character of the divine Saviour, and the foundation of our hope towards God; if they are not under obli◄ gations to withstand and denounce, as unsound teachers, and as false guides those, who preach another gospel; in a word, if they are not bound to consider those who reject the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and substitute the miserable and insufficient devices of human wisdom, as enemies of the cross of Christ; and with a mild and becoming temper speak of them as such, and when called upon, to warn others against their fatal delusions; if they are not bound to do this, (which may all be done without one uncharitable or unchristian feeling towards the persons of the deluded) then we
acknowledge ourselves to have mistaken the language, and the spirit of the sacred volume. But if Christian duty be such, as has been stated, we must think that Dr. R. has given a very vague and unsatisfactory, if not erroneous, view of the subject.
With respect to minor observations on this discourse, we have few to make. The arrangement, though perhaps not so distinctly announced, or so formally mark ed, as could be wished, is not objectionable. The style, though sometimes chargeable with redundancy and diffuseness, and in a few instances with inaccuracy, is simple, perspicuous, smooth and generally correct. Dr. R. writes like a gentleman and a scholar. It would give us cordial pleasure, if we were able to declare ourselves as well pleased with the matter, as with the form.
has, with great judgment, made use of the discoveries of Horne Tooke, in his Diversions of Purley. The labours of this grainmarian have thrown much light on the principles of language, and are of such a nature as to enrich a General Dictionary. Our countryman, Mr. Webster, is engaged with ardour in pursu ing the same plan; and we hope, at some future time, the public will be benefited by his labours.
ABEL, the name of a great stone mentioned in the scripture history, is added in the American edition.
Those, who are pleased with the lives of military worthies, will derive satisfaction from the account of the late Sir Ralph Abercromby, in a neat, well written article, which is added by the American editors.
ABERNETHY, John. Concerning this article we have already expressed our opinion and our regret at some of the omissions
DR. REES CYCLOPODIA, VOL. 1. of the American editors.* We
Continued from page 134. ABBADIE. We are happy to observe, that the American Editors, in a subjoined paragraph, have rescued this able defender of the faith, as once delivered to the saints, from the influence of an assertion, in his character, as given by the English editors, that his judgment was inferior to his imagination, learning, &c. But as Abbadie was a distinguished advocate for the doctrine of the Trinity, it is not difficult to assign the cause of such an assertion. Under the articles Abbreviation, Adverb, and Adversative, Dr. Rees, (for him we name to save needless circumlocution)
think it proper to add a few remarks on this article, which has excited such warmth of feeling and strong disapprobation in the Boston reviewers.
Some of our readers, perhaps, need to be informed, that the Rev. Mr. Abernethy was a distinguished Presbyterian minister settled first at Antrim, and afterwards at Dublin, in Ireland; that he became obnoxious to the synod of which he was a member, on account of some opinions, which he expressed and defended with respect to religious freedom; and that he was finally excluded from the synod; which proceeding was called, by his
See p. 132. Vol. III. for August.
friends, an act of persecution, dom and candour in adopting a
and by the advocates of the synod, an act of discipline. Dr. Rees has given him a very excellent character, which he professes to quote from the Biographia Britannica. The American editors, conceiving, probably, that some parts were the offspring of too fond a partiality for a friend, and that others savoured of party spirit, simply omitted all such passages, and left his character to stand on its merits, after fairly stating facts. The following are the most important omissions.
"He was much respected not only by his brethren in the ministry, but by many of the laity, who were pleased with the urbanity of his manners. His talents and virtues gave him a considerable ascendency in the synod, so that he had a large share in the management of public affairs. As a speaker he was considered as their chief ornament; and he maintained his character in these respects, and his interest in their esteem to the last, even when a change of his religious sentiments had excited the opposition of many violent antagonists."
"For this event (his death) he was fully prepared, and he met it with great composure and firmness of mind, a cheerful acquiescence in the wifi, and a fixed trust in the power and goodness, of the Almighty."
"His two volumes of discourses of the Divine Attributes are still held in the highest esteem by those, who are disposed to approve the most liberal and manly sentiments on the great subject of natural religion."
However well intended may have been these omissions, and though much may be said in justification of the motives of the editors, we still think they have furnished a dangerous example to others, which by designing men might be improved to the injury of historical and religious truth. Honesty is ever the best policy. We applaud their wis
different plan of conducting the work.
If the English Life was true and just, such a subtraction from. it is highly censurable; if the subject is praised more than truth will warrant, better have fairly shewn it, and openly taken it away. If the spirit of party has heaped deceitful panegyric upon a favourite, let this be made to appear, and the error corrected; . and let us know also to whom we are indebted for the discovery and correction. It is not improbable that the American editors considered Mr. Abernethy as a latitudinarian divine; (whether truly or not, is not now the question) and that they were desirous his character should have no more than its due weight and influence against the cause of evangelical truth; and therefore left
it to stand on the facts and incidents of his life, which they have given exactly from Dr. Rees. But, though friends to evangelical truth ourselves, we cannot conceal, that we deem this mode of accomplishing their object extremely unfortunate. It is unfortunate, as it throws doubt and distrust over every religious article in their voluminous publication. Suppose the life of the venerable President Edwards should be written in this country, by some person of a kindred feeling, with that glow of affection and admiration, which those who are fond of his writings are apt to feel; and suppose it should be republished in England by a Socinian, who should, without notice, and without authority, (for every man is considered destitute of authority till he produces it) leave out all those passages