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HAPPY are we to announce, that the admirable Essay, by Dr. Drummond of Dublin, on the doctrine of the Trinity, in reference to the controversy between Mr. Pope and Mr. Maguire, and which we reviewed in our First Volume, p. 459-465, has produced so powerful an effect in Ireland, as to require a second edition. It is much enlarged, and if possible improved. We heartily recommend it to our readers. We have space only for an extract from the additional Preface:
"As to the arguments hitherto arrayed against the chief doctrine of the Essay, they are thin and vapoury, and of no consistence. When touched by a single spark of truth, like the chymist's bubbles of gas, they explode and disappear. One Rev. Orator affirms, that the doctrine of three in one' must be true, because it is embraced by the majority; and for this, he merits an encomium from Mahomet, Juggernaut, and the Bonzes of China. Another expatiates on the horrible impiety of questioning it on account of its being mysterious and incomprehensible, since many things are beyond our ken; and for this, the believers in the incarnations of Bramah should honour him with a temple or Pagoda. A third, determined to swell the general clamour, took up the polemic trumpet, and tried to sound a charge, but, ‘inceptus clamor frustatur Hiantem.' The feeble note scarcely struggled into existence. It died away before it could be ferried across the Liffey, and only a favoured few in the vicinity of Usher's Quay, heard its expiring sigh. Another Rev. Performer, who boasts an alliance with Episcopacy, having expended some blank cartridge against the Author, at a public meeting in Belfast, got a congregation assembled in Dublin for a charitable object, and surprised them, as by a sudden volcanic eruption of smoke and ashes, with a rumbling peal of invective against Unitarianism. Zeal without knowledge' was gratified at the expense of charity; and in the kindling enthusiasm of the hour, his admirers saw, or thought they saw, a mitre hovering over his head. But a certain Unitarian Christian, who chanced to be present, saw the visionary appearance also, and to his eye it seemed by its conical shape, its tassels and its bells, to be a much more appropriate adornment. The most active and persevering of all the enemies of the great Bible truth, that God is ONE, began his operations more systematically, by clearing away the rubbish' of reason and common sense, that he might have ample room for the erection of his grand theological batteries. The work was soon completed, and he continues to fire away as fast as he can prime and load. Fortunately, he seldom fires with ball, and never hits the mark. They whose intellect is in their EAR, are amazed and edified by the astounding noise; and are ready to testify, that the surest mode of expediting the march of an irrational theology, is to pioneer the way by pros→ trating the understanding.
"One of the Author's chief misdemeanours, is the construction of a creed, so simple and so scriptural, that all can understand it.
Would that every creed had been so constructed! then, instead of being involved in contentions and animosities, which destroy all the kind affections, the Christian world would be at rest, and the Religion of the Gospel would be producing its genuine fruits'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men.'
"Another offence is the attempt to revive some good old doctrines, which, in this corner of the world, seem to have been almost forgotten. The Dublin Christian Examiner' says, that the Author has not even the meagre satisfaction of being original in his statements.' Most true. He lays no claim to originality or invention; and, therefore, his readers may enjoy, with him, not the meagre, but the plump, round, and full satisfaction of knowing, that the doctrines contained in these pages, are not the discoveries of a new adventurer in the field of theological inquiry. They are of much older date than those of Calvin, Athanasius, or Pope Nicholas the First. They are founded on the Rock of AGES, and are coeval with the Bible.
WE had hoped that, in England at least, we had seen the last of prosecutions for Unbelief. It seems our expectations were too sanguine. Another of those mischievous exhibitions, disgraceful alike to the proposers and abettors, has lately taken place. The language, for uttering which, Mr. Taylor was indicted, might well have been allowed to take its fate. It could have effect only on minds impervious to argument. The moral feeling of humanity revolts at it. The only chance of its doing injury, was to prosecute its alleged author. Mr. Taylor, although "in holy orders, or pretended holy orders," apparently knows little respecting the subjects on which he treats. Disgusted with the popular opinions of the day, and deeming them to constitute "part and parcel” of Christianity, he threw up the whole in contempt. He did this before he had read any Unitarian publications, and if the tirade pronounced by him on his trial, be a specimen of his knowledge, he has yet read them to but little purpose. Nothing which Mr. Taylor could utter, would do the thousandth part of the evil to the belief and practice of the gospel, as will his prosecution. It is in flagrant opposition to all the dictates of Revelation. It can do no good, it may, and will, we fear, be the precursor of mischief. As evil, however, is seldom unmixed, there is one benefit perhaps it may produce, it may lead people to draw a distinction between the genuine religion of the Saviour, and that which forms "part and parcel of the law of the land," and it may thus tend to draw out the conclusion more clearly, that though Revelation be founded on the Rock of Ages, it does not follow Established Churches are; the one, may need legal buttresses for its support and protection; the other, disowns, for it needs them not. We would particularly refer our readers, if they have any doubts on this matter, to the Sermons of Mr. Aspland on Blasphemy, and Mr. Fox on "the duties of Christians towards Deists." We make an extract from the last named discourse.
"There is a sensitive apprehension about many good people, which ill beseems the man of enlightened mind and steady principle. The Deist strikes at my religion:' Well, he is only breaking his weapon against a rock. 'He argues against the holiest doctrines of my faith:' does he? Listen to his arguments, and if they be valid, allow their force; if not, rejoice in a faith which will stand the test of reason. 'But he abuses and reviles:' then he disgraces himself and injures his cause, and do you with a better cause employ nobler weapons. In this he breaks the laws:' so it appears.-Ought a Christian to invoke the aid of such laws?
"What is the effect of prosecuting Deism on the individual who is thereby consigned to punishment? You make of him a hypocrite or a martyr. You confirm his worst prejudices, and make him hate Christians and Christianity. Penalty and imprisonment were never yet the means of sincere conversion. Man clings to the faith for which he suffers; his enmity rises with your inflictions. Is it a good deed thus to make the Gospel hated? Or suppose his spirit shrinks from the fiery trial. You have then made a hypocrite. No triumph that, for a good man to glory in. How does it affect his party? See, say they, how these Christians meet us; we argue, and they prosecute; we refute, and they imprison.
"Such prosecutions are a breach of the great principles of impartial justice and equal right, which are the foundation of civil society. The Christian has no more natural right to punish the Deist, than the Deist to punish the Christian. Persecuting laws, however small the number of persons in a state who are exposed to their operation, are an invasion of the social compact; at best, an usurpation of the majority over the minority, only to be vindicated on the assumption that power is right. We unite for the protection of life, liberty, and property, not for that of religious opinion.
"I would not have on record such a confession-a tacit and im. plied confession at least-of the weakness of Christianity, and its need of the aid of the civil power. That it is so, may be disclaimed in words; why should it be proclaimed by facts? It is a libel on the Gospel. If there be forms of Christianity which require that protection, let them be known for what they are, the reveries of men, and not the Word of God-the creatures of the State, and not the offspring of Heaven."
THE opposing Bible Societies of Glasgow held their Anniversaries, the friends of the Parent Institution, on the 6th November, and the advocates of "pure circulation," on the 15th. We notice these meetings merely for the purpose of putting on record, the great marvels with which two of the Speakers astonished and enlightened the audiences. At one, the Rev. Dr. Paterson remarked, that "when he went to the Continent, Socinianism and infidel principles prevailed, and scarcely were the pure doctrines of Christianity
recognised. If these principles were again to find a footing, their cause was lost, and lost for ever! In one of the German versions of the New Testament, he could not recognise a vestige of the divinity of our Lord! In another part of the Continent, he found 6000 copies of the New Testament filled with the doctrines of Socinianism! These 6000 copies were put into his hands, that he might see them destroyed, and he consigned these anti-christian translations to a fortress, where they remained till this day in good custody!"
At the other, the Rev. P. M'Farlan, who during the summer had been on the Continent, affirmed, that "the characters of the individuals employed by the British and Foreign Bible Society in circulating the Bible, are as far distant from Christianity as can be. He could say, generally, every fact stated by Mr. Haldane respecting these men, he found confirmed in his short tour. He knew a Pastor, an excellent man, in an academy under a Professor, who did not know there were three persons in the Godhead; or the doctrine of Atonement!"
No doubt, the information communicated by these gentlemen, sounded awfully in the ears of those to whom it was addressed! As to the dungeoned Bibles of Dr. Paterson, we quote Mr. M'Farlan's remarks:-" They," the Members of the Parent Society, "had not only adulterated the Word of God, but were guilty of the blackest dishonesty. The Doctor had got hold of a number of impure Bibles; and what did the meeting think he did with them? Why, they were locked up in a fortress! (A laugh.) He should like to know for what purpose they were consigned to a fortress! He knew, when a man was put into a fortress, it was either for the purpose of being hanged or liberated, after being confined a certain time; but why consign Bibles to a fortress? He wondered who had the key of this fortress-perhaps some of the apocryphal gentlemen, who would let them out some day!" (A laugh.)
We trust, too, that some may be led, by Mr. M'Farlan's statement, to look again into their Bibles, and as "one excellent man," even a Pastor, has not been able to find the Trinity or Atonement in his Bible, they may also perchance meet with the same difficulty. They will, at any rate, find, if they do not deem the Acts of the Apostles to be apocryphal, that some disciples, on being asked, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" made the reply, "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost;" and that reply may lead them to wonder, too, where the doctrine of the Trinity can be found, if the Holy Ghost be not. We wish well to the circulation of the Sacred Records; we more strongly desire that people would read as well as circulate them; and above all, that they would most strive to understand their teachings.
"The Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper."
THIS Synod assembled in the Town of Diamper, on the 20th June, 1599. Its "Acts and Decrees" are intimately connected with the History of the Church of Malabar, or Christians of St. Thomas, of which we gave an account in our last Number. This was the seventh year of the pontificate of Clement the Eighth. The Synod being constituted in the usual manner, and having ordered its members, upon pain of excommunication, not to leave the town until the Synod was ended, without express leave from the Metropolitan, proceeded to business. After decreeing, authoritatively, the necessity of a firm and full belief in the creed; and defining the number of sacraments to be seven, and the doctrine of Transubstantiation in its strictest sense; and affirming, that, in the mass, "there is offered to God, a true and proper sacrifice of pardon, both for the quick and the dead," they decreed, "that the saints now reigning with Christ in heaven, are to be reverenced and invoked;" and further, that their "relics are likewise to be reverenced on earth." They recognised the authority of the Council of Trent, and reprobated the heresies of Nestorius, Theodorus, and Diodorus; the Synod proceeded to anathematize the Patriarch of Babylon. Next, they required all who were members of the Church of Rome, that they should solemnly swear,
never to obey him more in any matter, nor to have any further commerce or communion with him, in things appertaining to the church." The Synod next proceeded to "The Doctrine of Faith," which they contrived to render as mysterious and incomprehensible as could possibly be done, by the most casuistical polemic of the present day. In the 5th chapter,|| we are informed, that "our souls are not derived by generation, as our bodies are, but are created by God, of nothing, and by the divine ordination infused into our bodies, at the time when they are per
† p. 109.
+ p. 113.
$ p. 118. I p. 125.