Изображения страниц

to this, I maintain that a word may in twn places have the same sense, without referring to the same person ; and that two words may apply to the same person without having the same sense.”

The author then goes on to prove this; and having thus exposed the main fallacy of Mr. Porter, concludes the paragraph as follows:

“Is it not awful that men will stake their salvation on silly sophismos ? Unitarians are for ever dabbling in metaphysics ; yet if ever they have displayed any specimens of real metaphysical acuteness on this question, I have not been so fortunate as to light on them.”

Being obliged to conclude, we must omit the notice we had intended of the reviewer's remarks on some of the other passages, and just refer to the pamphlet itself any of our readers who may not yet bave perused it. They will then be able to see the arbitrary and unphilosophic nature of the criticism em. ployed by Unitarians, and how utterly weak and puerile is their most plausible ratiocination when analyzed by such a Goliath in controversy as the reviewer. Mr. Carson is just the man who has every accomplishment for exposing blundering criticism and inconclusive reasoning. His knowledge of philology and metaphysics, as well as of what is of scarcely less importance-the laws of controversy seems to be equally profound. No man in Britain, we venture to say, has made higher attainments in the philosophy of language, or in what the Germans call the science of Hermeneutics, as distinguished from Exegesis. These attainments have been a powerful instrument in his hands for establishing truth and uprooting er

How much bas he already accomplished in the way of detecting and exposing false first principles, which have been the means of propagating so much error in the world; and of propounding canons of criticism which contain their own evidence, and must therefore be universally recognised, as are the axioms of mathematics. “ Criticism,” says he, “is but in its infancy, though learning be an antediluvian patriarch;" and, therefore, is he labouring to advance the former to the rank: of a science, in order that the cause of scriptural truth may be advanced, and we may be able to feel as confident of the correctness of our interpretation of language, as we are of the conclusions of reason from

truth. If Mr. Porter has read the “ Review," and be not yet prepared-palinodiam canere-to read his recantation, let him consider, as the author conjures him to do, whether his rejection of the doctrine of Christ's Deity is not to be attributed to his disaffection to the thing itself, and not to there being any want of



evidence that Scripture, interpreted by the most authentic laws of language, clearly teaches it. After the irresistible arguments with which the reviewer has plied him, we cannot conceive how he can any longer refrain from admitting the doctrine which he has been labouring to overthrow,--except, indeed, be be determined to take his stand on the principle adopted by some of his Unitarian brethren in England, and deny that he is bound to admit the conclusiveness of an argument or the truth of a doctrine, merely because an evangelist or'an apostle has advanced it.

The POSITION of the CHURCH of IRELAND, and the

DUTY of PRESBYTERIANS in reference to it, at the PRESENT CRISIS. By a Member of the Synod of Ulster. W. M'Comb, Belfast. P.p. 80. 1835.

Tais pamphlet is characterized by firmness, charity, ability, and richness of both thought and diction. The author is a Presbyterian, and compromises none of his principles, yet does he every where breathe the spirit of brotherly love toward the sister church; and even while he censures in her what he thinks to be wrong, he does so in a way that must approve itself to the friends of the Establishment. We regard him as the friend of religion and of the Church of Ireland. He finds fault with some of her arrangements and functionaries, but bis are the smitings of a fri Were the pamphlet written in another style, we confess we are not of those who would recommend its circulation. We have no sympathy with the mob-cry, down with the Church.' We know the spirit of many who raise it, and it is not the Establishment they hate so much as the religion of the Establishment.

As long as her ministers were worldly men, they were allowed to bold their places in peace; but now that they have been animated with the spirit of their office, and are, to a great extent, holy and devoted men, the spirit of the world is incensed against them, and would thwart their faithful labourings. Still, while we have no sympathy with such enemies of the Established Church, we cannot belie our principles so tar, as not to desire to see her abuses corrected. We wish to see the people elevated to the place they should bold in the government of the Church-we desire to see all its ministers the freemen of the Lord and we would contend for the liberal support of the working clergy, who are left, to a great extent, destitute, by the neglect of the dignitary on the one hand, and that of the people on the other. These things, in common with the best men in the Establishment, we wish to see improved, aud we trust a gracious Providence will over-rule the excitement of the times to that end. Such a pamphlet as that before us, is well calculated to promote this consummation. There is in it the promise of a distinguished authorship. And should its youthful, but not inex. perienced writer be spared some years among us, the Synod of Ulster will not, we trust, be long without another distin. guished author besides its learned and indefatigable historian and clerk. We have space only for one extract, showing the spirit of the writer toward the Church of Ireland.

“It were an injustice to the Establishment not to acknowledge, and that most thankfully, that among the inferior grades of her hierarchy she has of late experienced a mighty renovation, Within a shorter period than a quarter of a century ago, the idea generally associated with almost all her ministers, even to the humblest order, was that of indolence, disdainful arrogance, and indifference to the prosperity of the Church of God. In their discourses from the pulpit nothing was studied on the one hand or expected on the other, but the utmost tameness, and an avoidance of every topic calculated to strike terror or alarm. The solid and substantial theology of the Bible was supplanted by cold and lucid dissertations on its evidences, or barren disqui. sitions on morality, and for the Calvinism of the articles there was sub; stituted the low and loose Arminianism of Laud. Frigid and unimpassioned in the pulpit, it was not to be expected that the clergy could be fervent and assiduous in their parochial ministrations, and as a necessary consequence wherever their inAuence extended, religion both in principle and practice speedily declined. Latterly, however, owing to what causes it is unnecessary to inquire, a better spirit has descended on the Church, and many of her ministers have been imbued most thoroughly with the devotedness of other days. Through the Divine blessing on their jnstrumen. tality, she has, in part, been stirred from her guilty slumber, and the call to duty has been sounded in almost all her borders. By many of her clergy the Gospel is now preached in all its grand peculiarities, in simpli. city and power. Of both pastors and people a goodly number are rejoic. ing in the truth, and living under its gentle and hallowed infinence; wbile of the former many in their parochial rounds of duty are noble instances of self-denial and unshaken perseverance in their Master's service. In po other religious community, it is believed, are there more faithful and right-hearted men, and the revival of vital godliness, of which they are at once the evidences and the instruments, bas been hailed by all who take an interest in the fortunes of the universal church with thanksgivings and admiration.”


No. LXX.

JULY, 1835.



Continued from page 262.

IN tracing to its primary cause the decline of Presbytery in England, history certainly warrants the averment, that before any successful attacks were made upon the doctrines of the church, defection had well nigh demolished her dis. tinctive frame-work. Knowing that when once demolition commences, even in the exterior of a building, none can tell where it may stop, the arch-apostate, transforming him. self into an angel of light, undoubtedly suggested this artifice, and succeeded in it, under the delusive idea of ac-' complishing a mighty good hy a very slight interference with ecclesiastical order. Truly, after the distracted state of the church, by great diversity of religious sentiments as well as by fiery persecutions, the prospect of having union, harmony, and love restored among parties who had suf. fered together for conscience sake, was most delightful, and calculated to effect on both sides a surrender of the ground upon which all unimportant differences rested. But bad our Presbyterian ancestors considered that a union brought round by sacrificing vital principles, could only be temporary in its nature, and baneful in its effects, assuredly they had never abandoned the outposts of Presbyterianism, just to prepare the way for an attack upon the citadel. It was the surrender of their scriptural form of church polity, by a professed connexion with a sect of essentially different principles upon this important point, that first launched them into the stormy ocean of unde. fined speculation, and threw them upon the field of de. structive controversy, thus breaking down the safeguards of their piely, opening the flood-gates of impurity, and at the same time disturbing her peace, prosperity, and signal usefulness.

In the former part of this article we attempted to show

that the amalgamation of Presbyterianism and Independcncy, immediately after the revolution of 1688, sanctioned the Erastian sentiment, that the Christian church had no specific form of government based on Scripture testimony, thus leaving the mode of ecclesiastical polity to conjecture, caprice, or taste.

And we now advert to a SECOND EVIL proceeding from this unwise alliance, inasmuch as the deeds of chapels, erected and endowed by Orthodox Presbyterians, became afterwards so constructed as to suit worshippers of any creed, however beretical. Property destined for religious purposes ought to have its deeds of conveyance very differently constructed from those of a private nature. To prevent continual disputes and the alienation of such property, the documents conveying the legal estate should embody a constitution for the sacred edifice, wberein the principles of the Christian persuasion, for whose accommodation it is designed to be held in perpetuity, ought to be distinctly defined. If intended for Methodists, Iodependents, or Socinians, let the deeds contain the senti. ments of the particular sect; and if the erection be destined for the worship of God in connexion with the Presbyterian Church, then let the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of this ancient body, as these are given at large in the standards of the Westminster Assembly, be with equal precision recognised. In religious communities, where regard to the dictates of inspiration prevails over the suggestions of unassisted reason; where parents, in the education of their children, view the principles instilled into the youthful mind of paramount importance above the mere art of reading; and where consistency and stability, in the Christian profession, are recommended to the rising generation by example as well as precept, this minute detail may not be requisite in deeds of chapels. But in a country where the forms stand in much higher estimation than the principles of a church, -where, for the sake of acquiring the mechanical process of reading, the natural guardians of youth are totally reckless of the opinions that may be communicated, - where the religious profession of the present generation affords no security whatever for that of the succeeding, -and where the creeds of congregations as well as the views of individuals are perpetually fluctuating, the tenure by wbich chapels are held cannot be too firmly secured. In all cases, too much

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »