Images de page

abuse. Dr. Bowden and Mr. How never discover so much wounded feeling and irascible temper, as when they meet with intimations of any affinity be. tween some of their high-toned doctrines, and those of Popery. The intimations of this kind which my book contains, were made neither lightly, nor with passion; but with a conscientious persuasion of their correctness. This persuasion remains with undiminished or rather with increased force. And it happens, unfortunately for these gentlemen, that similar charges of popish origin and tendency, have been brought against several of the same doctrines, by some of the most pious and learned Bishops of their own church. Nor can I forbear to add, that the pointed resentment which my opponents manifest at every suggestion of this kind, is calculated to excite the suspicion, that they feel it more easy to rail at such intimations than to ansiver them.

Dr. Boruden makes frequent and heavy complaints, that, in citing authorities, I have not been sufficiently careful to refer to the precise chapter and page. He rebukes me severely for the trouble which I have given him in this way ; and more than once insinuates that my references were made in this general manner, either because I had never read the books quoted, or because I was unwilling the quotations should be fairly examined. Without stopping to answer the insinuation, I would ask this gentleman whether, in writing plain, didactic, pastoral addresses, such as my Letters were intended! to be, it is either customary or proper to attend with as much care to references, and to detail wit! as much exactness the history of every quotation, as in works of a controversial nature? If I do not misconceive both the point of propriety, and the actual practice of the best writers, it would have been vain parade, as well as needless scrupulosity, to croud my pages with references. The Professor's rebuke is therefore unmerited. But is Dr. Bowden himself free from the fault with which he charges me? He is not. After a number of severe, and certainly not very delicate remarks, on my want of precision in a few of my references ; and, after solemnly promising to act in a more "scholar-like” manner on his part, he has, if I do not mistake, fallen, at least as frequently as myself, into the very omission of which he so heavily complains. This is as unpardonable as it is extraordinary. But it is only one among the numerous facts which daily prove that it is much more easy to see a mote in our brothers's


than a beam in our own. Dr. Bowden and Mr. How both repeatedly insinuate, that I quote writers at “ second-hand," that I “ garble" quotations; and that I frequently either entirely mistake, or wilfully pervert, their meaning. These are heavy charges; but they give me little concern, firmly persuaded that all who read my Letters, and compare my citations with the works from which they are derived, will need no other refutation. How far my opponents have a right to assume lofty airs about mutilating quota

tions, or giving them with parade at second-hand, you will be better able to judge before you coinplete the perusal of these sheets. I have, indeed, read little--alas! by far too little. But I have read enough to perceive that all ignorance and all mistakes are not on the side of Presbyterians. And though I have sometimes been compelled to quote writers at second hand, and on trust, because their books were not within my reach ; yet I have consulted a sufficient number of originals to detect arts of which their authors would have been wise not to invite an investigation.

But Dr. Bowden makes another complaint, which is still more extraordinary. He thinks me very censurable for not having stated, in addition to the arguments in support of our opinions, the principal answers,

“the triumphant replies," which Episcopal writers have given to these arguments. In one case, particularly, he addresses me thus: “ You cer. “ tainly must have heard of, if you have not read, “ Slater's Original Draught, in answer to lord King, “ which it has always been confidently said, made “ his lordship a convert to Diocesan Episcopacy. “ If you have heard of Slater's book, but not read “ it, you should have made a point of procuring

it, and of stating his answer, that your readers

might have a fair opportunity of judging for themu selves." Vol. I. Letter 7. p. 186. I can assure this learned Professor, who so kindly undertakes to instruct me in my duty, that I both possessed and had read Slater's work, long before I ever heard of Dr.

Bowden or his Letters, and that, however it impressed lord King, it was so far from converting me to Diocesan Episcopacy, that it rather served to confirm me in my Presbyterian principles. But is it possible that this complaint of Dr. Bowden can be seriously made? Did I not distinctly announce, in my introductory Letter, that my object was, not to write a full and complete treatise, but a small and popular manual? Did I not fairly apprize my readers, that this plan would “lay me under the necessity " of being every where extremely brief, and of to“ tally excluding many topics, both of argument " and illustration, which might be profitably intro6 duced?” And did I not, to relieve, in some measure, the difficulty thence arising, promise, that“no

arguments should be urged, but those which I “ believed to have stood immoveably solid, after

every attempt to answer them?” Was it my du. ty, then ; would it have been proper, after all this, when I felt myself obliged to omit many arguments on my own side, which were, in my view, powerful and important; to introduce arguments, many of them frivolous, and most of them destitute of real force, merely for the purpose of swelling my work into a number of volumes, and preventing it from being read by those for whom it was intended ? I have the charity to believe, that if Dr. Bowden had indulged a moment's reflection, he would have been ashamed to urge a complaint so unworthy of 'his grave

character. Besides, if it was my duty to state in detail all


those arguments which the fond partiality of some, Episcopal writers has been pleased to style answerable," " triumphant,"

triumphant," “ demonstrative,” &c. was it not Dr. Bowden's duty to do the same with respect to the arguments of Presbyterian writers ? But has he done this? If I do not mistake, every impartial reader will pronounce, that in my little manual, I have gone as far, if not further, in stating the arguments and replies of my opponents, than this gentleman has in his two volumes.

These gentlemen, in the course of their strictures, have allowed themselves frequently to employ language of which I cannot forbear to exhibit a specimen. Dr. Bowden charges me with “contemptible cavilling ;" with “ contemptible puerilities;” with “ misrepresentations gross to excess ;" with writing " nonsense,"“ palpable nonsense, " &c. &c. &c. Mr. How's pamphlet abounds with language, which I hope he will reconsider, in his cooler moments, with shame and regret. He charges me with " a continued strain of misrepresentation;" with “ an outrage on decency itselt;" with a construction “as puerile as it is disingenuous;" with “ fanatical absurdity;" with “violations of the plain language of Scripture, as presumptuous as are to be met with in the entire an. nals of fanaticism;" with “ talking like a deranged fanatic;" and with advancing allegations which I

ought to know, and cannot but know,” to be groundless. In fact, he frequently imputes to me, in terms a little indirect and softened, known and

« PrécédentContinuer »