Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

down the wall of separation be- laws of Christ is a stumbling tween his church and the ungod- block to the unenlightened world. \y world.

It tends to keep sinners ignorant The lax discipline and other of the glory of the gospel, to internal disorders of most New confirm their prejudices, and bar England churches produce very their minds more and more ahurtful effects upon the personal gainst it. The enemies of religcharacter of real believers. If ion make our irregularities the they had the advantage of being topic of malignant declamation connected with a church, where and triumphant reproach, and faithful discipline was maintain the foundation of those argued, where eminent goodness ments, which are most injurious was constantly exhibited before to the cause of truth. In addithem in the example of fellow tion to all this, the church has Christians, and where it was the little prospect of rearing a pious constant endeavour of the whole race, who shall be the safe de. body to promote the edification positaries of our holy religion. of every member, they would We have gone back from God, rise to higher attainments in and, according to the natural knowledge and holiness; they course of things, Christianity is would bear more abundant fruit, in great danger of an increasing and enjoy more consolation. But declension. Return, we beseech now they are like trees set in an thee, O God of hosts, look down unfriendly soil. Though not from heaven, and behold, and visit wholly barren, their fruit is less this vine, and the vineyard which abundant and less salutary, than thy right hand hath planted, and it would otherwise be. Their the branch that thou madest strong spiritual health is impaired by for thyself.

Pastor. the noxious atmosphere they breathe. The errors and vices, with which they are surrounded,

DOCTRINE have, though insensibly, a conta

THE gious influence upon them. They

TRINITY. embrace wrong principles and As a time, when the attention are betrayed into wrong prac. of this part of the Christian tice, without being aware of their world is turned upon that imdanger

. It is to be expected, portant and fundamental article that a general declension in the in our holy religion, the divinity spirit of the churches will be at- of Christ, it is seasonable to tended with a correspondent de- bring into view the best lights on clension in the piety of individ- this subject, to aid investigation, ual believers.

and direct to a right result. Drs. The moral disorders found in Watts and Doddridge have deour churches furnish infidels servedly obtained high reputawith their most successful weap- tion in the Christian world for ons against revealed religion, and their piety, candour, talents and present the greatest hinderance learning ; and though we would to its general reception. The call no man Master, yet their want of visible harmony between opinions on controverted points our religious state and the holy are to be respected, as valuable




human testimony, and in this rendered, the Word was a god, view they are often quoted. In that is, a kind of inferior deity, a former number of the Pano- as governors are called gods. plist," was given Dr. Watts' See John x. 34, and I Cor. viii, 5. opinion concerning the doctrine But it is impossible he should of the Trinity. I have taken the here be so called, as merely trouble to transcribe and trans a governor, because he is spokmit to you for publication in en of as existing before the your next number, the senti- production of any creatures ments of Dr. Doddridge on the whom he could govern : and it same subject. The following is to me most incredible, that may be found in the first volume when the Jews were so exceedof his Family Expositor, page 24. ingly averse to idolatry, and the

“ In the beginning was the Gentiles so unhappily prone to Word, and the Word was with it, such a plain writer, as this God, and the Word was God."

apostle, should lay so dangerous

a stumbling block on the very PARAPHRASE.

threshold of his work, and repre-: In the beginning, before the foundation of the world, or the that in the beginning of all things

sent it as the Christian doctrine, first production of any created there were iwo Gods, one subeing, a glorious Person existed, preme and the other subordinate: who (on account of the perfec- a difficulty, which, if possible, tions of his nature and his being would be yet farther increased by in time the medium of divine recollecting what so many ancient manifestations to us) may prop- writers assert, that this gospel erly be called the Word of God. And the Word was originally with view of opposing the Cerinthi.

was written with a particular God the Father of all ; so that to

ans and Ebionites (see Iren, 50, him the words of Solomon might

1. c. 26; 3. c. 11. Euseb. Eccl. justly be applied, Prov. viii. 30;' Hist. 50. 6. c. 14) on which ac-> á He was by him as one brought count a greater accuracy of ex. up with him, and was daily his delight.” Nay, by a generation, sary. There are so many in:

pression must have been neces. which none can declare, and an. Stances in the writings of this union, which none can fully

apostle, and even in this chapter, conceive, the Word was himself God, that is, possessed of a nature

(see ver. 6, 12, 13, 18) where

80s, without the article is used truly and properly divINE. His views are fully explained

to signify God in the highest in the following Note :

sense of the word, that it is some

thing surprising such a stress The Word was God.] I know should be laid on the want of that how eagerly many have contend- article, as a proof that it is used ed, that the word God is used in only in a subordinate sense. On an inferior sense ; the necessary the other hand, to conceive of consequence of which is (as in- Christ as a distinct and codeed some have expressly avow- ordinate God, would be equally ed it) that this clause should be inconsistent with the most ex

press declarations of Scripture, * See p. 354, vol. I. and far more irreconcileable with

Teq&on. Nothing I have said leave it as far as I could in the above can by any means be just- simplicity of scripture expresly interpreted in such a sense : sions. I shall only add in the and I here solemnly disclaim the words, or at least in the sense of least intention of insinuating'one Bishop Burnet, “that had not thought of that kind by any thing St. John and the other apostles I have ever written here or else- thought it a doctrine of great imwhere. The order of the words portance in the gospel scheme, in the original (Oxos wy o ronyos) they would have rather waved is such, as that some have thought than asserted and insisted upon the clause might more exactly be it, considering the critical cir. translated, God was the Word. cumstances in which they wrote.” But there are almost every (See Burnet on the Articles, p. where so many instances of such 40.) a construction, as our version This eminent divine, in his supposes, that I chose rather to Paraphrase on Phil. ij. 5, 6, furfollow it, than to vary from it, her declares his sentiments in unnecessarily, in this important unequivocal language on this passage. I am deeply sensible sublime subject,

this “ great of the sublime and mysterious foundation of our faith," as he nature of the doctrine of Christ's justly considers it, in which he. deity, as here declared : but it speaks of Christ, as an “adorawould be quite foreign to my ble person," "possessed of dipurpose to enter into a large dis- vine perfections," as of right apcussion of that great FOUNDA. pearing “ as God, assuming the TION of our faith ; it has often highest divine names, titles and been done by much abler hands. attributes, by which the Supreme It was, however, matter of con. Being has made himself known, science with me, on the one and receiving from his servants hand, thus strongly to declare my divine honours and adorations.belief of it: and on the other, to



ACCOUNT OF CALVIN'S TREAT- asserted, that the Geneva re. MEXT OF SERVETUS. former long harboured an im

placable hatred of the unfortu. (From Senne bier's Histoire Litera.

ire de Geneve, i. 1. Geneo. 1786. nate Spaniard, used every effort p. 204-227.]

to gratify his malice, denounced

him to the Magistrates of VienThe tragical history of Serve- ne, and caused seize him in the tus happened 1553. It has of morning after his arrival at len been related, to blacken Cal. Geneva. Men easily believe vin's character, by his bitter ene. what is so positively asserted, mies, and by those who had not and almost imagine it impossible seen the pieces in his justifica- that the tale can be false. Yet

It has been confidently Bolzec, the cotemporary and

the mortal enemỹ of Calvin, who tention to his complaints, or rewrote his ļife only to tear his gard to his letters, from the Macharacter in pieces, and Maim- gistrates of Vienne ? Suppose burg, so celebrated for partiality Calvin as cruel as you please, and misrepresentation, durst not why was he silent for seven allege those pretended facts, years, why did he not in an earwhich modern historians have lier period commence his perse: advanced. Bolzec says, that cution of Servetus, and why did Servetus's haughtiness, inso- he not send to every place where lence, and dangerous projects, the heretic resided, the letters he making him hated and dreaded had received from him, and his at Lyons, he left it for Charlieu; Restitutio? It is evident, from yet afterwards returned to Ly- a letter of Calvin, dated Februaons, and communicated his ideas ry, 1546, that Calvin, convinced to Calvin, who keenly opposed of the punishment Servetus de them; and, on Servetus' send served, would not encourage him ing him his Restitutio Christian- to come to Geneva, but intimatismi, broke off all intercourse ed to him what he had to fear, with him. Calvin however did should he venture it. He wishnot betray his secrets, or cause ed, therefore, by keeping him at seize him at Vienne ; for he a distance from Geneva, that he wrote to Viretus and Farel, that might escape the punishment if Servetus came to Geneva, the with which he threatened him, consequence would be, the loss if he came there. So far was he of his life. Calvin naturally from contriving to subject him concluded this from the spirit of to punishment in another place. the laws and government at Indeed, Calvin's writing the Geneva, and from the ideas of Magistrates of Vienne, and sendall sects at that time. Indeed, ing them the Restitutio, could he bore with Servetus as long as answer no purpose. It would there was any hope of his recov- have been ridiculous for him to ery; and it was the Spaniard send them a copy of a book printwho first introduced personal ed in France under their eyes, abuse into their controversy. or to point out what was 'exBucer, Oecolampadius, Farel, ceptionable in it, which the readBeza, and even the gentle Me- ing it would sufficiently do. Aclancthon, approved the sentence cordingly, the sentence passed at passed against him. As it Vienne, gives no insinuation that would be unjust on that account Calvin had interposed in the proto accuse these celebrated men, It is true, that the Magis. it is equally unjust to accuse trates of Vienne, knowing that Calvin of haired to Servetus. Servetus had corresponded with

But Calvin abused his confi- Calvin, applied to the council at dence, and sent to Vienne the let, Geneva for his letters. But it is ters he hud received from him, equally true, that their sentence and the Restitutio Christianismi was founded on the errors in his with which he had presented him. book, and his own confessions ; -That accusation is absurd. not on these letters. Could Calvin, whose name was But Calvin, informed of Serve. execrated by Papists, expect at- tus's escape from the prison of


Vienne, caused seize him two or erted every mean for persuad.. three days after his arrival at ing Servetus to retract ; and, Geneva.-Facts do not quadrate when all proved in vain, asked with this charge. Servetus es- the advice of the Swiss Cantons, caped from Vienne before the who unanimously exhorted them execution of the sentence, which to punish the wicked person, and condemned him to be burned, put him out of a condition of 17th June. If he took fifteen spreading heresy. The intoledays in his fight, he would have rance therefore of the age, not been at Geneva the beginning of the cruelty of Calvin, dictated July, and yet he was not seized the sentence 27th October, that there till 13th August. Think Servetus should be burnt alive. not that he was concealet till Castalio alone had the courage then somewhere else. A little to write a dissertation against prudence would prevent his tar: the punishment of heretics, rying where popery was estab- which, though he was at Basil, lished, lest the clamours of Vi- he thought it necessary for his enne should overtake him ; and own safety to publish under the Geneva was the first place where feigned name of Bellius. There he could expect shelter. Probó have been both former and later ably, therefore, he was seized, instances at Geneva, of similar hot in two or three days, but violent proceedings against hernear six weeks after his arrival. etics. in 1536, all were deprivThe accusations against him ed of the right of citizenship, were, 1. His saying, in his com- who did not admit the received mentary on Ptolemy, that the doctrine. In 1558, Gentilis esBible vain-gloriously celebrated caped death only by retracting. the fertility of Canaan, though Calvin says, in a letter written indeed an uncultivated and bar- at that time, that Servetus, if he ten country. 2. His calling one had not been mad, would have God in three persons a three- escaped punishment, by reheaded Cerberus.

3. His as nouncing his errors, or even by serting, that God was every a more modest behaviour. But thing, and that every thing was Servetus persisted to defend his God. He did not deny the opinions in blasphemous lancharges, but pled the necessity guage : the laws of the times of toleration. The council of could not be violated : and, Vienne demanded that he should therefore, the endeavours of be sent back to them ; but it be some to satisfy themselves with ing left to his choice, he prefer- his banishment, and of Calvin to ted the chance of a more fa- render his punishment less cruvourable sentence at Geneva, to el, had no effect. It is certain, the certainty of capital punish- Calvin deplored Servetus's fate ; ment at Vienne.

and the disputes.in prison were While we blame the princi- managed with much greater ples of jurisprudence, which moderation on his side, than on conducted t}iis process, it should that of the panel. In a period be acknowledged, that the coun- when the principles of toleracil at Geneva neglected nothing tion were not understood, zeal for discovering the truth; exa against opinions subvorsive both Vol. II. No. 4.


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »