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ced and controlled, so as to make certain, ultimate and eternal purposes, without interfering with the liberty of individual will, or the responsibility of individual persons. There is a sovereign Power, whose counsels are always guided by infinite wisdom and kindness, to whose government, and not to chance, caprice and creature management, the Universe is indebted for its stability, and by which its progress and final consummation, according to the eternal purpose, is secured. These truths, underlying the system of Calvinism, both reason and piety, the profoundest reflections of philosophy, and the deepest demands and actual necessities of our moral nature, alike require in constructing "an intellectual system of the universe," and grappling with the dark problems of present existence. No man or body of men can have strength or continuity, in church or state; can meet successfully the actual difficulties in the way of movement in our world, without grasping, digesting, and assimilating, these great elemental ideas. Amidst the convulsions of the present state, nothing else will furnish anchorage, or in its more dangerous calms, any certain impulse to activity. This is the testimony even of those who do not understand its philosophy, and have never felt its power.
But this strongly vertebrated system, probably more than any other, needs for its perfection to be clothed all over, made living, true, beautiful and influential, by the infusion of inward life, the harmonious and free working of genial piety. Around its angles, if the figure is allowable, there must be described a circle, in which, while the points are all enclosed, the strong activities and affections of regenerated nature may have ample verge and scope for appropriate manifestation. Since the settlement of the Augustinian controversy, and re-establishment of the same fundamental truths, by the Herculean labours of Calvin, this has been the desideratum—to have a living Calvinism. Without piety, it tends to formalism and a freezing orthodoxy or killing Antinomianism, as Arminianism degenerates into mere nervous sentimentalism, or ungovernable enthusiasm, for lack of substance. Genuine Presbyterianism, especially American Presbyterianism, expressed in the memorable periods of the Adopting Act in 1729, and the Basis of 1758, presents the best reconciliation and actual harmony of these great elements, amidst the one-sided tendencies, which circumstances and controversies have occasioned, developed and strengthened. It is well known that different types of Christianity, entered into the composition of the first American Pres
he enal foroplet out the living Cher, th the
bytery, viz., New England and Scotch-Irish, and that tendencies, theologically, in different directions, have ever since existed, and have sometimes been antagonistic. From the times of the Tennants, down to the trials of Barnes and Beecher, there have been representatives and advocates of living Calvinism, and dead orthodoxy. “The body without the spirit is dead.” The spirit without the body, incomplete. Presbyterianism or Calvinism, without the vital forces and free activities manifested in the revivals of the era of Whitefield and the Tennants, is not complete, “totus teresque," any more than in the Moderatism of Scotland, so witheringly exposed in the characteristics of Witherspoon; or in the Arianism of the synod of Ulster. Living Calvinism, from the pressure of the times, took distinctive form in the “new side” section of the church, and found refuge and reproductiveness in the “Log College,” and affiliated influences, and lineal successions. Without this element, Calvinism is but a stalwart skeleton, a sepulchre of departed glory, “a valley of dry bones, exceeding dry.”. A “ Constitutional History of American Presbyterianism," leaving out these elements, or crowding them into a corner, resembles the play of Hamlet, with the part of Hamlet omitted; the drama of the Reformation without Luther, or the Revolution, without Washington. This will clearly appear from the admirable little work of the revered and now departed Dr. Alexander, entitled “The Log College,” which seemed piously designed to rescue from intended or inadvertent disregard, these good old worthies. New Side, and the Log College, were in the true line of succession, in the defence and maintenance of living Calvinism. Thence came Nassau Hall, in New Jersey; Liberty Hall, in Virginia ; and Jefferson College, in Western Pennsylvania ; centres of wide and growing radiation, where, for the times then present, the vital forces of living Presbyterianism were embosomed-histories of thrilling interest yet to be written !
Living Calvinism expressed in the Adopting Act, and incorporated into the Basis of Reunion already alluded to, (as we trust will soon be developed by a competent hand,) was a principle which the men of other times deemed of vital importance, not to be betrayed even for the sake of union and its advantages. Their example is pregnant with instruction, and must be regarded, whenever plans of reconciliation are hereafter discussed. Ingenious efforts have indeed been made, to prove that the advocates of " liberty of prophesying” at the periods alluded to, meant something else, or nothing, or designed to
regions as, threaten, for causes been a s
stultify themselves, by stickling for trifles at that solemn crisis. But it was not so. There was a principle at the bottom of their pertinacity, a principle for which they had contended and suffered, and were reproached and afflicted, and which they purposed to preserve, in the period of re-unification, and amidst the joyous pæans accompanying it. This principle was the same for which others have been found willing to suffer and be reproached, and sever the tenderest ties of personal attachment, and relinquish the most hallowed of associations; viz., that while they held the great vitals of the system intact and sacred, they were to be allowed to give it power and influence and life, in practical personal application, especially amidst the outpourings of God's Spirit, without incurring suspicion of heresy, or being condemned by the cold-hearted and formal, for disloyalty to truth, or disorderly measures for doing good and saying souls. This principle can never safely be overpowered, or repressed. There are torrid regions to be avoided, but polar regions also, towards which the sluggishness of men continually is tending, threatening to bear along with them the Church of God. Since 1821, for causes well known to intelligent American Presbyterians, there has been a strong gravitation towards dry orthodoxy, and special virtue in "contending in a way not very apostolical,” for the faith once delivered to the saints. Whenever men, whose circles of activity have still the inscribed angles of Calvinism, or whose living bodies have the underlying system of orthodoxy to preserve them from improper manifestations, come to be repressed, repudiated or crushed; when mere accuracy of system, and swearing in the ipsissima verba of formularies, is the sole recommendation of excellence, and efforts to do good and save men by adaptation to existing tendencies, or resistance of gross perversions, is deemed recreancy to faith and order; when men in pressing upon the sinner his responsibility, must put in a caveat of utter impotency to save their orthodoxy, or offend the Holy Spirit by an obtrusion of his agency, when the sinner's guilt is the point in hand; in such a case, there must be, if piety and a good conscience is preserved, a living protest in the body, and a perpetual controversy; or liberty of serving God and saving men, must assume for a time, at least, a distinctive life somewhere else. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
The struggle in this case, and in all such cases, is not for latitudinarian forms of expression, capricious opposition to hallowed phraseology, or license for fanatical measures, though
or a time, or liberty Protest in the and a
fore life of piety anaing, good, and avon. In such a car with a
there is always liability to these extremes, but for the life and soul of a chosen system of faith and order. It is the old and ever perpetuated controversy between the dogma and the life, (whether consciously or unconsciously of its true bearings on the part of its advocates,) which cannot be abandoned with a good conscience and divine approbation. In such a case “the higher law” of doing good, and saving men, and preserving the life of piety and the church, must govern, if the choice is forced on us by circumstances or the exercise of power. Our body is called to hold itself aloof from licentiousness and disorder, by orthodoxy on the one hand, and be preserved from inaction and formalism, by piety on the other. These principles, blended in harmony, are to enter into the Church of the Future. As the Petrine and Pauline types of Christianity were harmonized in a higher form by the apostle John, in whom law and life were reconciled in love; so permanent Presbyterianism, in our country and world, must be characterized by living Calvinism. As Christ out of different national elements made “one new man" in the primitive Church, so He may hereafter make a glorious Church of those who hold now to one form of faith and order, combining the separate excellencies of all by “unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.”
III. There is a co-operative Christianity, as distinguished from exclusive ecclesiasticism, which we are called on to maintain and defend, and as far as possible exemplify. We have already intimated that it may be impracticable to carry out the true ideal, owing to uncontrollable circumstances, and inexpedient even to attempt its present actualization. The doctrine of universal free trade may be the true ideal of commercial intercourse, and yet a restrictive or protective policy may be best, interemistically. Equality is the highest ideal, and yet gradation may be best in present circumstances. As far as in us lies, we must live peaceably with all men, and labour co-operatively with all Christians. When we cannot do all we would in such a world, and such a church, we must do what we can, hoping for better times to realize our higher ideal.
The tendencies conveyed by the terms we have used above, have always existed and are entirely intelligible. On the one hand, to conduct the work of doing good denominationally, on the other, to unite the energies of all evangelical Christians, in making a common Christianity as widely and speedily prevalent as possible.
In discussions on this subject, the words “church” and “ecclesiastical” are sometimes used, as if the opposite pole was worldly or pagan, and by this confusion of the Church with a particular denominational organization, much that is hallowed in association is gained for one form of benevolent action, and real, even if unintentional, injury is done to the other system. The Church is the body of Christ, which has different members, with distinct functions and adaptations, but designed to work together harmoniously, “knit together in love,” towards a common result. These parts have mutual need of each other, so that “ by that which every joint supplieth in the effectual working in the measure of every part, it maketh increase of the body, to the edifying of itself in love," and to the ultimate accomplishment of God's great purposes. The mystery of God's will, in regard to the dispensation of the fullness of times, has been made known, and it embraces, both recapitulation under one head, and the harmonious co-operation of all the members. Whether the fullness of the time is come, when the ideal can become actual, is a serious question ; but that all should labour for its realization, none can doubt, who feel that Christianity is not a cunningly devised fable. The staunchest advocates of ecclesiasticism out of the Romish church, or high church Episcopacy, allow that there are some spheres of cooperation among Christians. For example, in distributing the Bible, in colonizing the Africans, and until recently, in circulating an evangelical literature, and conducting Christian Seminaries of learning and general education. On the other hand, the warmest advocates of the other system allow that some things can best be done denominationally. In our own body there is a nascent sentiment, which seems destined to make itself felt, that in this latter category are yet to be embraced, Education for the ministry, and the conducting of Missions, domestic and foreign. Young Presbyterianism (we use the phrase without any invidiousness,) among us, is fully committed to this idea. Though “grey hairs are here and there upon” us, we have not lost our sympathy with youth, or purpose to avail ourselves of all its energies, or superior tact in discerning “the times” and their resulting obligations. We hope never to become so old as to set up for infallible oracles, or to imagine that “wisdom will die with us,” or our contemporaries in age, or collaborators in counsel and plans. Whatever may be said of the truth, or may be discovered of the present expediency of these two tendencies, their existence cannot be denied. Volun