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defended by their numerous disciples, who believe themselves, in the fullest sense of the words, Gospel Christians.TM
In fine, what more nonsensical than the philosophical reveries of the infidel Hume? He denied the existence of every thing we see. He said there was no real sun in the heavens, nor a real earth under our feet; and that our eyes, and ears, and hands, exist, not in reality, but only in imagination. Now it is as easy to believe that twice two is ten, as to believe that we have no real existence, but exist only in each others imagination. And yet the reputation and sophistry of Hume, the novelty of his opinions, and their irreligious tendency, secured for him many admirers and disciples. And there is no knowing how far this moral pestilence would have spread, if, under Providence, it had not been checked by the writings of Beattie, Campbell, and other champions for the truth.
The absurdity therefore of any system of error is not enough to prevent popular delusion; particularly if it is a system that is not "according to godliness:" and the ministers of the Gospel therefore, who are the divinely appointed guardians and defenders of gospel truth and holiness, cannot, by this plea, be justified for acting the part of "dumb dogs;" lest the people "perish for lack of knowledge." When errors the most baneful are put into a popular and plausible shapesuited to the depraved taste of man-ingeniously disguised, and ushered forth under the sanction of, Thus saith the Lord in his holy word-and carried by a thousand vehicles to the remotest parts of our country-it becomes the friends of revealed truth to take care that the cause of God and of souls be not injured.*
m Horne's Introd. vol. ii. part 2, ch. 1. n Isa. lvi. 10; Hos. iv. 6. *The new Universalism, which commenced in this country about fifty years ago, being first preached by Murray, numbers at this time, about 130 ministers, 500 congregations, and thousands of professing members. The state of New-York alone has at least 70 societies. In Ohio alone, within the space of seven years, they increased from 20 to upwards of 1500 members! They hold three annual conventions, in New England, New-York, and Ohio. They supported, in 1822, eight periodical publica
These are some of the reasons which, in our view, render the present publication a duty. And if these are not deemed sufficient, more may be found in the course of the ensuing remarks.
We do not flatter ourselves with the hope of convincing all who hear or read our remarks. Some are incapable of weighing an argument, or of estimating evidence. Such will always choose what pleases them best, without regard to reason or truth. Some are misled, by sophistry and false principles of reasoning, into errors flattering to their pride, or grateful to their depraved inclinations; and as we easily believe what we wish to be true, truth has poor prospects, when both sophistry and a depraved heart are leagued against her. Some have committed themselves; and the pride of being thought consistent, prevents them from retracing their steps. Some are Gallios, who care nought about these things; and whose indolence keeps them from feeling an interest on either side. In fine, some are blinded by the influence of prejudice, enthusiasm, or passion; and such cannot see the truth, shine it ever so refulgent. Such persons are not very promising candidates for conviction.
But a vindication and exposition of the truth may hope for a fair hearing, from all who are capable of judging, who feel an interest in the truth, and who are anxious to be guarded against error-from all those who are unprejudiced, and desirous of information, upon the all-important subjects of religious truth and duty. This, we trust, forms a very numerous class in society. And upon all such, at least, we hope the following remarks may have a salutary influence. And as these are scattered over the whole of community, we may further indulge the hope, that, through the blessing of God, the knowledge and the influence of revealed truth may,
tions; and besides their larger works, no less than 10,000 copies of these are constantly circulated through every state, section, and district of the country! By these means, under the fascinating influence of their doctrines, their converts, preachers, and societies, are rapidly increasing.
through their agency, be extended to many of those by whom they are surrounded.
Lest our numerous references in the margin should be thought pedantic, we remark, that we deem it the duty of every writer upon important or disputed points, to quote his authorities. Neglecting to do so, looks at least suspicious: it leads to the inference that the writer has no authorities to quote, or that he quotes at random, or that he is afraid of having his authorities examined, lest they should not bear him out in his assertions. Nothing indeed is to be supposed true, merely because it is believed by some learned men: and we are among the last in the world who would stand, hat in hand, bowing to authorities. The opinions of the learned are worth nothing, any further than they are supported by arguments and by facts. Still, it is always a satisfaction to know that we have great names on our side. We are ready to call in question every opinion that is not thus supported. And if any system of doctrine were sanctioned by the authority of the learned and good, for a long series of ageslike the fabled chain of fate, let down from Jupiter's throne to our earth—it might, on this account, with considerable propriety, be deemed indissoluble. Besides, quoting authori ties is a directory to those who wish to read more largely upon the subject.
Further, as religious truth is not systematically taught, but dispersedly contained in the Scriptures-as the whole truth upon any subject can never be learned, except by bringing together into one view every passage in the sacred volume. relating to that subject-as the neglect of this is, next to the depravity of our nature, the most fruitful source of those errors, sects, and heresies, with which the Church of God is afflicted-and as very few Christians have the means of finding out in what part of God's word a passage is found, if the place where it is quoted be not designated-we have taken care always to enable the reader to turn to the passage in the Bible, and see the connexion in which it stands, and the bearing which it has upon the subject under discussion.
In fine, if the language that occurs in the ensuing remarks is sometimes strong and startling, it is because we can find no other language that would do justice to the subject—that would adequately convey our ideas-that would exhibit the truth to the reader in all its force and all its dimensions. And though we extend to the motives and the consequent conduct of our fellow-creatures, every indulgence that the enlarged charity of the Gospel demands, we do not feel at liberly to hold any parley with error. We feel bound to give it no quarter: and we are anxious to exhibit it to every one, in all the deformity in which it appears before heaven; that it may excite in us an abhorrence, proportioned to the degree in which it stands arrayed against the pure truth, and the benevolent purposes of a pure and holy God.
A Christian should indeed neither do, say, nor write any thing, without a religious motive, and a sufficient reason. We have endeavoured, therefore, to weigh every phrase and every sentence; and while our reasons for what we have said are such as appear to us sufficient, our motives are such as, we trust, the Searcher of hearts will approve.
MODERN UNIVERSALIS M.
WHOEVER has heard an able and experienced lawyer plead a bad cause, must have observed how, by wit and sophistry, he can make "the worse appear the better reason:" and how, by his eloquence and appeals to the passions, he can induce men to believe, or do, what, in the calmer moments of reflection, they would condemn. In general, not one out of twenty is capable, at the moment, to detect the sophistry of an able and experienced reasoner: and hence the multitudes who are incompetent to form an enlightened judgment, founded upon a comprehensive view of the subject, follow the opinion of the speaker last heard; and veer about from side to side, as present feelings and arguments may move them. Hence the experience of mankind has laid it down as an invaluable rule, that if we wish to come at truth, we must "hear "with both ears" before we decide. And that our judgment may be enlightened and unprejudiced, truth and justice, in our courts, are not left to be collected from the representations of interested pleaders, who have a side or party to support; but a well informed and experienced judge is appointed to detect sophistry, to strip the subject of all that is irrelevant, to point out what laws, and facts, and arguments have a bearing upon it and in fine, to present the whole matter before