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these subjects I am for Presby- As to articles of faith, I am also terian ordination, and Independent a true Protestant: and I need not church government. I would have say I am no Arian, Socinian, Anministers ordained by ministers; tinomian, or Arminian. From my and would have every single church, or congregation, possess bers of the Presbyterian church, and whose the whole power of managing their doctrinal sentiments and congregational own ecclesiastical affairs : and notions differ more widely from our standwhen any thing is too difficult to ards, than did those of Mr. Green and his
associates-why will they not take the manage among themselves, leave
same honest, frank, and consistent course, it to some disinterested neighbour- that was taken by these worthy men? Our ing churches, to advise and assist controversy with them would cease at them. But no Council, Presbytery, once, if they would place themselves or Synod, have power to govern, But to remain connected with a church,
where they ought to stand-by themselves. or determine any thing for a par- some of whose most important doctrines ticular church, any farther than they really disapprove; and whose ecclethat church submits or leaves the siastical order they dislike and endeavour case to them.
to change-is this right?-If it is, we can
not tell what is wrong. Farther-I am so far Presbyte
Probably some of our readers will think rian, as to think that besides the it a little strange that the sentiments of minister, or teaching elder, in the Editor of the Christian Advocate, on every church, it is proper, it is ra
the subject of church government, should
differ so widely from those of his fathertional, useful and scriptural, to
a father, he will add, whose memory he have lay elders, as well as dea- greatly loves and venerates; and whose cons—So far as I understand their piety he fears he shall never equal. But mode, the dissenting churches in the Editor can only say, he hopes that in
this he has endeavoured to obey the reiSouth Britain, such as were those
terated admonition of the Great Head of of Dr. Watts, Dr. Doddridge, and the church—" One is your Master, even many others, were, and are, in Christ : And call no man your father upon a practice that I nearly concur the earth, for one is your Father which is with; and I suppose they find no
in heaven.” The deep conscientiousness
of his father according to the flesh, in difficulty in practising in their leaving the Presbyterian church, the Edimethod.*
tor most fully believes; and he thinks he is himself truly conscientious, in remaining
in it, and feeling an ardent attachment to * The author of this sketch was plainly it. Nor did the subject of the Sketch ever an Independent, or Congregationalist, in
attempt to act as father, or master, in the the essential principles of church govern
sense of the quoted text, toward his son. ment. Yet so long as he remained a
In no one instance did he ever say a word, member of the Presbytery of New York, with a view to change the Presbyterian into which he was introduced by his early sentiments and attachments of the Editor, friends and patrons, Dickinson and Burr, but left him entirely to his own opinions he never disturbed the peace, or violated and choice, without the least interference the order of the church, of which he was
or apparent reluctance. The Editor will a member: And when he thought he was
add, that although from his first entrance called in duty to speak and act in a manner that was not Presbyterian, he sought, Presbyterian in sentiment, yet he was in
on the gospel ministry, he was decidedly a in a peaceful and orderly manner, a sepa- clined to a very lax administration of the ration from that church; agreeably to a
Presbyterian system, till what he saw, in a fundamental article agreed on in the year journey through New England, more than 1757, between the Synods of New York forty years ago, convinced him deeply and and Philadelphia, when they came toge effectually, that a strict adherence to the ther after a long separation. This article
Standards of the Presbyterian church, Mr. Green pleaded, and left the Presby- both in doctrine and government, must be stery to which he belonged without any
the rock of its peace, and the shield of its censure ; as did three others, who associ- purity. In other words, he was made a ated with him, and formed the presbytery rigorous Presbyterian, by observing the of Morris County, of which some account fearful practical evils, attendant on the will hereafter appear.
ecclesiastical system of CongregationalWhy will not those who are now mem- ists and Independents.
youth, I had heard much said upon zealous to urge Stoddard's printhe principles that are called Cal- ciples. vinistick and Arminian; and when After I had been settled a few I thought at all, I approved mode- years, I was inclined to some norate Calvinism, before I had any tions that were Arminian, or that religion: And when I got my reli- bordered upon Arminianism; espegion in the New Light time,* I cially as to the power of the creabecame a more zealous Calv. ist. ture, the freedom of the will, the I had a great aversion to the op- origin of action, &c. I seemed posers of New Light religion; and also to have some notion that there those opposers in New England, might be a degree of acceptablewhere I then lived, were generally ness to God, in the religious dusupposed to be Arminian, or tinged ties of the unregenerate; which with Arminian principles.
well agreed with the Stoddardian When I settled in the ministry, notion of unregenerate persons I was led into Mr. Stoddard's no- covenanting, and coming to the tions of the sacraments, by Messrs. sacraments. But I continued not Dickinson, Burr, and some others, long in these notions; for when I that I had a high opinion of. They came to weigh and consider things were, in other respects,, strong well, I found I held several inconCalvinists, and zealous promoters sistent sentiments. My sentiments of the reformation, or New Light in general were Calvinistick-I religion; and opposite to those was founded and established in that I had been troubled with as these principles; and yet I found I opposers in New England. Hence had, in a measure, given in to seI was influenced to think they were veral things that were Arminian, right in their notions of 'sacra- and quite inconsistent with my ments. My prepossession in their Calvinistick principles. I had been favour, together with some plau- inclined to such notions of human sible arguments they used, induced freedom, the sufficiency of the me to embrace Stoddard's senti- creature, origin of power, duties ments, which before I had thought of the unregenerate, their covewere not right; and for some time, nanting and using sacraments, as I practised on his scheme, in the were not consistent with other senadmission of church members. timents which I firmly believed, But my church were not generally which I had the fullest evidence of, in that opinion, and I was not and could clearly demonstrate.
When I came to look thoroughly * The doctrinal opinions of the first into things, I found that all the settlers of New England were those of Arminian notions, or doctrines, the old Puritans, who, it is well known, were so connected that they must were strict Calvinists. But before the and would, stand or fall together time of Whitefield, opinions which were
-The same connexion I also found at least more Arminian than Calvinistick, but often a heterogeneous mixture
to be in Calvinistick sentiments. of both, were considerably prevalent; and Dr. Watts's Terms of Christian formality in religion was still more gene- Communion; Edwards's Inquiry ral. Hence the genuine Calvinism of concerning Qualifications for Sacra. Whitefield and Tennent, and their ardent zeal for vital, practical godliness, was
ments, and his book on the Will, called New Light. But in the march of were assistances to me in studying mind, this light has been left so far behind, these points; and were a considerthat it is now considered as Old, and the able means to help to bring me off current New Light, of the present day, is from all the notions that bordered something, that Whitefield and Tennent, were they now alive, would denounce
on Arminianism. with all their energy.
As it was with myself, so I sus
pect it is with many others—The tleties and force, to undermine the reason that they are partly Calvin- truth and pervert the spirit of the ists, and partly Arminians, is, that gospel. This may sound to some they dare not look the Calvinistick like a tone of needless alarm, principles through, follow them to others may smile at the discomfitheir source, and receive them ture of our feelings; while not a with all their consequences. They few may think we attach undue see some of them so clearly that importance to the topicks, which they cannot but believe them; but we have promised to examine in follow them a little farther, they this article. Be all this as it may, are shocked, they appear terrible we honestly believe that orthodoxy, -Here they drop them, and en- truth and practical godliness, are tertain some inconsistent notions more endangered by certain phifor the remainder of their creed. losophical speculations on the docThey believe the perfections of trine and relations of human abiGod, and that he foreknew all lity, than from all other speculathings; but when from God's fore- tions of the age. There seems knowledge, wisdom, power and to us more danger of undermingoodness any argue that the ac- ing the citadel of truth, by errors complishment of all things is, and of this class, than by any, or all will be, according to God's plan- others. When an errorist attacks,
Here the Sketch of Mr. Green's directly, the doctrines of grace, life, as written by himself, is ab- such as atonement and justification ruptly terminated, by the loss of by the imputed righteousness of the last leaf of his manuscript. A Christ, we meet him with a thus member of the sentence which fol- saith the Lord,” and feel secure in lows the above, or of which it is the argument. But when he comes a part, remains, but it is not finish- with his false philosophy, and suced. Some account of the last thir- ceeds in perverting the views of teen years of his life, we hope to human character, sin and ability, give in the next number of our he has fixed a standard of interwork.
pretation which he applies to the
interpretation which disregards Uses and Distinctions of Human philology, analogy, and the usus loPower.
quendi, bringing language and doc
trine to the test of a philosophical The department of mental sci- theory, the process of the interence, with which we head this ar- preter is short, and the labour ticle, is at all times important. easy. It serves also to give men But at this time there is an impor- a vain and reckless confidence in tance attached to its discussion, of the deductions of their own reaabsorbing interest. The philoso- soning, the danger of which has phical speculations of the age are been experienced in ages long since leading theologians astray, pervert- passed. But no disastrous results ing the holy scriptures, unsettling of former ages can alarm the spethe principles of orthodoxy, and culatists of the above description. exerting a mischievous influence They stand upon their own imain practical duties. What can, gined independence, and are intherefore, be more interesting to tent upon some great improvethe Christian publick than the dis- ments in theological doctrine. cussion of those points, where phi- We do not suppose that all the erlosophy has concentrated its sub- rors in doctrine, which infest the
church, nor all the errors in prac- Is it intellect? Is it will? Is it tice, which abound at the present heart? If we speak of each faculday, have their origin in the in- ty in abstract terms, and by itself, fluence of the false philosophy to neither will distinguish them. which we allude; but we do sup- Good and bad men have underpose that a very large share may standing, heart and will; but in be traced to this source. Our one man they are right, and in the views will be developed on this other wrong. What is the primasubject, before we end the discus- ry ground of distinction; or, in sion.
other words, in which faculty is We proceed now to redeem our the foundation of this wide discripledge, given in the last number, mination? To us the heart seems on the subject of moral ability. It to answer the question. Good and will be necessary to bear in mind bad men may perceive the same some things which we have said of things, and choose the same things, power, the idea of which is al
to great extent, but the moment ways gained from a connexion be- we examine the feelings, we pertween cause and effect.
ceive direct opposition. One loves, we speak of moral power? Is it the other hates, holy things. It not because we attach moral cha
necessary to say here, that racter or qualities, to effects or ac- we admit a distinguishing differtions; and from this infer that ence,
both in the exercises of insomething moral belongs to its tellect, and in volitions: And we source? Moral faculties, employ- hold the doctrine of divine illumied in producing moral effects, sug- nation as a guidance. But the difgest the idea of what we call mo- ference in the exercises of intelral ability. What is it? Wherein lect, is in the degree of clearness in does it differ from any other abili- perceiving the truth.
Wicked ty, except in the character of its men must perceive something of source, and its effects? A question the holiness and truth of God, here occurs which ought to be dis- else they would not hate them. tinctly understood and answered We consider the heart, or facul
-What belongs to man of a mo- ty of feeling, as possessing a moral nature; and why is it moral? ral character in itself; it is the priAn answer to this question mightmary spring or principle of acbe gathered from what we have tion. Let this be right and the already said; but to prevent the man is good, though his knownecessity of turning back, and to ledge be limited or extensive; but present the facts in their proper if the heart be wrong, he is bad, relation to the topick now under however ignorant or informed. examination, we recapitulate them We do not say equally good or in this place.
Moral has relation bad, whatever may be the extent to holiness, or sin, right, or wrong. of knowledge. But man is a moThat which is holy or sinful, right ral being, because he has a faculty or wrong, is properly moral, and in its nature moral; it loves or nothing else. There
hates holy objects.
Man is a mosome things belonging to man, or ral agent, because he has a princidone by him, which have no moral ple of agency, and it belongs to character. Whatever will not dis- his moral faculty: consequently tinguish a good or holy being from man is a moral agent. a sinful being, has no moral quali
Now in order to apprehend ty; it is common to both. What clearly, the idea of moral power, distinguishes a holy from a sinful take the following synopsis of seman? It must be something which veral things already discussed. belongs to mind, and not to matter. The heart is the principle of moral
agency, and is necessary to con- We proceed now with the main stitute man a moral agent, because object of this article; some inquiwithout feeling he could not act, ries into the uses and applications could not be blameable, or praise- of human power, together with worthy; and could not be reward- certain uses made of the distinced with happiness or misery. The tion between material and moral understanding is also necessary to ability. moral agency. Not because it is One general use of power is oba principle of action, but because vious from the preceding discusunknown objects cannot affect the sion. Men are by it constituted heart. It is the faculty of intelli- agents, and may be voluntarily emgence, through which the heart ployed to accomplish the purposes receives all its impressions of plea- of God, and promote the welfare sure or disgust; and without which of their fellow men. medium there could be no action. may be employed for valuable purIt is the office of the intellect to poses in his social state, and for devise the means of obtaining the his individual benefit._But is it objects which please, and of avoid- always so employed? Far from it. ing those which pain the heart. The inquiry may be pursued; why In its moral relation, it is necessary not? What controls and perverts to discern what is right and what man's ability from obedience to is wrong; to know the reason of his Maker, from his own and his praise and blame, and the propri- fellow creature's happiness? This ety of rewards and punishments. question deserves careful examinaThe will is also essential to moral tion. We say the heart is the agency. Obedient to the feelings spring or source of action. Let of the heart, the will, or faculty this be right with God, and all of volition, directs the understand- will be right; let it be wrong, and ing and bodily motions to obtain or all will be wrong. The desires accomplish the objects agreeable and feelings will always express to the heart, or to avoid those the character of the heart. Man's things which are disagreeable. ability to do mischief, or accomThe will is necessary to perform plish that which is good, will demany, if not all, the duties in- pend upon his opportunities, means, volved in moral agency; and to sagacity, and intellectual discimanifest the character of the heart. pline; but whether actually he do These are the elements of a free good or evil, depends on the temmoral agent. What now is his per of his heart. moral power? It is suggested by We may as well come directly those moral elements, employed to to the use made of the distinction produce moral results or effects. between natural and moral ability, If man acts right or wrong, he because its discussion will show has moral power; if he does the most important limits and uses both, he has power to do both. of human power. It is alleged, As we said before, that the prin- by a large class of metaphysick cipal idea of natural or physical theologians, that men have natural power is the connexion between power to obey all God's commands. volition and the effect, or to have Let us examine this philosophy: the substitute before mentioned, and if we can spare a little space, that which forms or sustains the we will also examine its theology. connexion; so we say here, the For we hold that the philosophy leading thought, expressed in mo- and theology of this dogma are ral power, is the connexion be- distinct things, although they may tween the feelings of the heart and be blended together, and involve the effects, or actions.
each other. But if we examine