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blance which the description bears to the once disguised, but now unmasked Unitarian clergy of these regions.
“The true character of this class of pretenders to the order of Christian ministers is delineated by themselves, or at least by an apostle of their own, and therefore to give them the credit for telling the truth in this case, can be no slander. They tell us that they propagate their sentiments by cautious and prudent sermons, gradually and insensibly bringing over converts to their system. Persons thus converted, while beguiled into insensibility, must be very senseless converts at best. A confessor prophet of their's tells us, that No reformation from prevailing errors could take place if those who are acquainted with the truth should, through fear of persecution, conceal it from public view'--and • That it is base and unbecoming the dignity of a man in this nineteenth century, in this land of liberty and free inquiry, to bow down to popular absurdities and superstitions, and quietly to abandon the unalienable right of private judgment.' This is certainly the most manly way of propagatiog Unitarianism; the other must be a very base and senseless way: but these two ways involve no small contradiction, and indeed it must be so, for hypocrisy and absurdity are always near kindred.
* In opposing these enemies of the cross, there is but one weapon to be used, and a powerful and efficient ope it is— The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.' Preach the word, continue instant in season and out of season, rebuke, exhort, reprove with all long suffering and doctrine. Let there be no truce or comproinise with these doctrines, assail them by all possible and legitimate means. Institute a most systematic attack, by preaching among these benighted people wherever an opening offers. Let your mission to these regions of darkness be as direct and systematic as your mission to the Chickasaw and the Chocktaw Indians.”
But wbatever may be the character of the sermon, or its author, we think its publication is so connected with certain other facts which we shall point out, as to give it a sort of importance. It does not stand unrelated and alone. It is not Mr. Sabine, but some of those, whose language he speaks, and who have connected themselves with hiin, who will be the objects of our animadversion in the remarks which we are about to make.
The first thing, we shall observe, is that this sermon, probably from the circumstance of its gross inconsistency with what had been previously known of the author, seems to have attracted more notice than other similar productions; and inany of our friends appear to have an erroneous impression, that there is something of novelty in this style of allack. But the fact is quite otherwise. The author has been with men who have taught himn bis manners and bis language. He came here, we may reasonably suppose, favourably impressed toward the citizens of Boston. These first impressions he had to unlearn, and to acquire a different set of opinions and feelings. He has indeed made rapid proficiency, but he bas not yet excelleu his masters. We will point out a few of those compositions
which may have been given him to study; and produce some quotations to show the correctness of the assertions we have made.
Our readers may, in the first place, turn to the two reviews relating to the Unitarian_Controversy, as it has been called, which appeared in the Panoplist; where be will find the following passages :
Mr. Belsham “has shown us that many of his order," that is, many clergymen in our country, "would have one religion for the vulgar and another for the wise."-Panoplist, vol. xi. for 1815. p. 250.
They are guilty of “a hypocritical concealment of their sentiments."
“ The manner in which Unitarianism is propagated deserves a few moments attention."
Its advocates, or reviewer calls them, the advocates of Socinianism,' “have clandestinely crept into orthodox churches;" and "behave in a base by pocritical manner at which common honesty revolts.” pp. 259, 260.
“The conduct of Mr. Belsham, rotten as he is, in point of doctrine to the very core, is purity itself compared with the conditet of these," i. e. of the Unitarians generally of this country: p. 262.
“We have long since ceased to be surprised at any measure which could propagate the principles in question.” p. 256.
• The Unitarians' * universally bedaub each other with all the fulsome adulation which they can collect and invent.” *
* “It is nauseating, it is intolerable, to find such daubing upon every page." pp. 262, 263.
Respecting their conduct toward the orthodox. In pretevce all is politeness and liberality; in practice we find a rancour bitter as death and cruel as the grave.” p. 264.
“ How different” is the conduct of Mr. Belsham, “ from the disguise of our Unitarians, and their whining complaints about illiberality in the orthodox in refusing to exchange with them.” p. 265.
“ The liberal party" “mutilate the New Testament, reject nearly all the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, and degrade the Saviour to the condition of a fallible, peccable, and ignorant man." p. 271.
Respecting our University we are told,
“ It is no longer what it once was. The lustre of science still shines, but the sun of Christianity is eclipsed." p. 259.
It is asserted of this Institution, in a hypothetical form of expression it is true, but one at the same time wbich conveys the meaning as distinctly as an espress assertion-"that being, as it were, the heart of the Commonwealth, it is sending poisonous blood to the very extremities of the body politic."
Respecting “the highest officer in that venerable semi. nary,” we are informed;
* That be bas thought it a proper employment of his time to sit down apolly to a composition,” which was afterwards “thrown into the world to furnish new jests for the profane, and increase the natural antipathy of men to religion.” p. 268.
He has been guilty of "one of the most pernicious and one of the most culpable examples of scoffing at religion which ean any where be found.” He, and the authors of many other articles in the Anthology, we are told by a direct implication, belong to the “race of scoffers;" and the passage which has excited all this offence, is said to be written in a style wbich exactly suits the views and feelings of the Unitarian school.” Vol. xii. p. 233 comp. vol. xi. p. 268.
The Panoplist reviewer, we think, need not fear at present that he will be outdone and superseded by Mr. Sabine. There is one trait indeed of the production of the former, which the latter gentleman has not yet attempted to imitate; and that is, the intermixture of exhortations to charity and moderation, with such specimens of the practice of ihese virtues as we have quoted.
“Let the orthodox," he says, “deal with their offending brethred in a solemn, affectionate, tender manner.” vol. xi. p. 266.
“ To treat their opponents with asperity, contenupt, or reproach, is unworthy of them as Christians or as men.”
We wonder how this reviewer would write if he should be so unfortunate as to lose his temper; should be moved to something like asperity and reproach; and should in consequence cease to treat his brethren in such a tender and affectionate manner as he has done. In respect to reproach indeed, either this reviewer has entirely changed his opinion, or one of his brother reviewers considers bim as in a gross error; for what is here declared to be unworthy of a Christian or a man is, in a late article in the same publication, vindicated as a right from which the author thinks that he cannot be debarred without suffering great injustice.
“And is it come to this, that they who are charged to contend earnestly for the faith,' must see the Bible assailed, the Saviour denied, and the whole fabric of religion swept away, without uttering one breath of REPROACH against the authors of this moral desolation ? Silence here, is treason agaiost the King of Zion. The men, who openly revile or studiously disguise the grand peculiarities of the Christian system, deserve reproach. Let them, who preach, or encourage others to preach in this manner, look to it."*
There is an indefiniteness in the application of this language, in the counexion in which it stands, which may perhaps leave
* Panoplist for January, 1819. Review of Dr. Porter's Sermon, p. 18.
the author at liberty to affirm that he did not use it concerning any clergymen, or any Christians among us; but concerning “ Priestley, Belsbam, and the great oracles of German theology," whom he has coupled together in a raiber singular union. How it will be applied by others, however, and how he meant it should be applied, will be sufficiently obvious from such passages as the following, which occur in the preceding part of the article.
“We have no reason to fear that the lax theology of our own country, unaided, as it must be, by civil proscriptions and penalties, can ever succeed to silence the voice of truth in our pulpits. But we ought not to regard with indifference the struggles for ascendancy, which this system has maintained in the heart of New England; and the efforts, which it still makes, to decry the great and peculiar doctrines of the gospel."
After having given these few specimens of the language, which has been used concerning a large proportion of Christians among us, it may be worth while to add a single passage, to show how, in the opinion of at least one writer in the Panoplist, these heretics, both clergymen and privale Christians, onght to be treated. It is from an essay intended to prove the want of Ecclesiastical Tribunals.
“But to call ministers to account for heresy is a domination over conscience ! an intolerant attempt to crush free inquiry! forcing pen to adopt your explanations of scripture! denying that the Bible is a sufficient rule of faith without buman creeds! forcing technical and scholastic terms into the place of revelation! But not so fast. Do you not call privare brethren to account for heresy ? If not, you are transgressors of as plain precepts as are to be found in the Bible. *A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.” For heresy alone Hymenæus and Alexander were delivered unto Satan;' though nothing worse appears against them, than an attempt to explain away the doctrine of the resurrection. Heresy, which is said to be permitted only to make a clear and public distinction between true and false professors, is numbered among the most abominable works of the flesh. All this, you may say (profanely enough) is the language of the severe and ardent Paul. What then says the charitable and sweet tempered John, who, it will be allowed, had as much love as any modern latitudinarian? What says he ? Only read bis three epistles, and you will need no more to convince you, that heresy is as decisive a proof of irreligion, and as noticeable by the church, as any iminorality. At this an uproar is raised; the cry on every hand is, The Council of Trent over again! The horrors of the Inquisition ! A crusade against free inquiry and the rights of conscience ! I leave the declaimers to settle this dispute of interjections with Paul and John, and go on to say that if it is nio tyranny to discipline private brethren for heresy, neither is it to deal with ministers. What would the objector bave you do when “there shall be false teachers among you, who shall PRIVILY bring in dampable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring npon themselves swift destruction; and (when) many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
Permit the gentle John to answer. What says he? If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him, God speed; for he that biddeth him, God speed, is a partaker of his evil deeds. **
We might go on to quote other specimens, equally to our purpose with those which we have given. But we conceive
* The author of the above paragraph, who discovers such an indifference to all outcries respecting intolerance and ecclesiastical domination, appears to have similar feelings to those of the Recorder of London, who upon tbe trial of that GREAT heretic, William Penn,declared, that it never would be well with England, till they had something like the Spanish Inquisition in that country. Respecting the misuse of scripture in the passage above quoted, the reader may consult some Remarks upon the article in question, published in the General Repository and Review, vol. II. p. 283 seqq. Campbell's Dissertation on Heresy, prefixed to bis translation of the Gospels. Clerici Historia Ecclesiastica p. 495 seqq. Ann. LXXXIII.-The English words heresy and heretic, do not correspond in meaning to the Greek words which are thus rendered in the common version. 'Argeois (rendered heresy) as used in the New Testament, means sect, party, division, or faction. In the common version, it is translated sect in the following passages :-Acts v. 17. xv. 5. xxiv. 5. xxvi. 5. xxviii. 22. ‘Algetixos (rendered herei ic) which is used but ouce in the New Testament, where it is connected as an adjective with ardgamos (man) viz. Titus jii. 10, means in that place either a man, who joins a new sect, that is, separates himself from the great body of Christians who were connected with, and acknowledged the authority of the apostles, or it means one busy in founding such a sect, a factious man, a promoter of divisions. It is understood in the latter sense by Campbell and Wakefield, the last of whom, in his translation of the New Testament, thus renders the passage : “A fomenter of divisions reject, after the first and second admonition." The criterion of such a person, he observes in a note, may be found in Rom. xvi. 17. On this word, beside the writers above referred to, the reader may consult with profit a tract by Caleb Fleming, entitled St. Paul's Heretic; or several Characteristics of a Heretic collected from St. Paul's Epistle to Titus.
Such is the true meaning of the Greek words in question, as used in the New Testament. The following statement, in connexion with what has been just said, will enable us to understand those passages which have been supposed to relate to heretics and heresy, and which have in cousequence been so much mnisapplied and abused. The apostles, at the time when they wrote, were the authorized teachers of Christianity, miraculously commissioned for this purpose, the representatives of Christ himsell. Bat amid the great moral and intellectual revolution which was going on under their direction, the breaking up and loosening of all old opinions, and the substitution of better doctrines, some men appeared who sought to become leaders of sects among Christians, without acknowledging the authority of the apostles. Bat in refusing to acknowledge the authority of the commissioned teachers of Christianity, their principles went of course to the destruction of Christianity itsell. They were endeavouring to put themselves in the place of the apostles. They were at the same time, as appears from the notices which we have of them, unprincipled men. condemned by their own consciences, seeking some private gain or gratification in the founding of new sects, and whose doctrines led to gross immorality. It is perfectly consistent with the most common notions of
New Series-vol. I.