« 上一頁繼續 »
tenets true, and those of others erroneous. To think otherwise is impossible. For, from the instant an individual receives as true any particular opinion, he must consider all those which are of an opposite kind false. No one, for instance, can, by any mental process whatever, possibly believe, at one and the same time, that God consists of three persons, and that he is but one person. A man may, at different periods of his life, alternately believe most firmly each of these propositions, but while he considers either true, he must inevitably esteem the other false.
Thus you differ from the Unitarian and he differs from you, and both are led by the very same law of the mind to look upon each other as erring from the truth. But must cach therefore anathematize the other? Must both indulge in “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, and malice"? Or, if one party only be allowed the prerogative to condemn, to which shall it be awarded? If any thing be clear it is this, that the nature of the questions at issue among Christians, the diversity of opinion resulting therefrom, and the spirit of Christianity, unite to declare that all are fallible ; that the right to con demn for religious sentiments belongs to no human being ; and that mutual candour and charity are indispensable.
He wlio dares to pronounce that certain theological opinions must in cur the displeasure of God, and to consign his differing fellow-christian to perdition, assumes infalli. bility, breaks the command and arrogates the authority of the Saviour. All this, however, you do when yon assert that Unitarianism is a dangerous system, and that its espousers cannot be saved. And you do the very same thing when you say to the Unitarian, “ I am sorry for you, and pity you." Sorry for him, for what? Because he is in dangerous error, you reply. Pity him, why? Because he cannot with those opinions be saved, you answer. If you disown these replies, then you cannot talk of pity and sorrow; for upon nothing else can such feelings possibly rest but the supposition that the individual's sentiments must lead to future misery. So that to say to a Unitarian, “I am sorry for you, and pity you," is to
“ Judge him for modes of faith God's foe,
And doom him to the realms of woe." But to be qualified thus to determine, you must be posses
sed of infallibility. Presumptuous man, “who made thee a judge ?"
But the sincerity of your professions of sorrow and pity may most justly be questioned. When we really possess these feelings we are anxious to assist the object of thein ; and even should he refuse our proffered aid, our deep concern for his case totally disallows anger at his conduct. But do you enter dispassionately, and in the spirit of love, into the investigation of the religious differences between you and the Unitarian?
And are you quite free from anger when you have failed to convince him that he is wrong? If you are unable to give unequivocal, affirmative answers to these questions, then it cannot be true that you are sorry for him and pity him. No, that to which you give the soft names sorrow and pity, is in reality unholy anger.
Another serious objection to your use of the language under consideration, is the gross injustice of its application. If a Unitarian were to address it to you, would you not be displeased ? Most certainly you would; for you
think your opinions true, and could not like to be pitied and mourned over as being in fatal error. The Unitarian
must feel just the same, and you know who has said, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them."
When, then, you substitute the before-named language for argument, you are carried away by“ a zeal not according to knowledge," rashly to utter what can so
scarcely be true, presumptuously to assume infallibility, and daringly to violate the rule of equity and justice prescribed by Christ himself. It is true that you may do this, under the wistaken notion of rendering service to God and to Christ: But if there be truth in revelation, such conduct must be highly displeasing to both. If you maintain that it cannot be so, because those whom you thus treat are, according to your opinion, in error, then must you allow,
the very same. principle it would be perfectly right in those who differ from you to treat you in the same manner. And then too, must you grant, that the Smithfield fires were rsanctioned by Christianity, and pleasing to God. For those who lighted them, thought themselves right; considered those whom they burnt, wrong; and professed to destroy the body for the good of the soul.
If a man say to another, “ You will be lost unless you
believe as I do," there is too much reason to conclude that it would be so if he who pronounces such a sentence were possessed of power to carry it into effect. But I will venture. to say, that such an expression dever dropped: from the lips or flowed from the pen of any Unitarian. Now if you are right and they wrong, must it not follow thas their error is better calculated to produce candour, liberality, and Christian love, than your truth? " By their fruits ye sball know them," is a reply furnished by the infallible Judge of truth.
Jesus also proclaims, “ He that is not against us, is on our part.” The Unitarian professes to believe, that be who thus speaks came from God; spake the words of God; wrought miracles by the finger of God; was by God made both Lord and Christ; is he by whom God will judge the world in righteousness; and that, therefore, he is to be obeyed in all things as a divinely-appointed instructor and sure guide to endless bliss. Is be then against Christ, because when be prays he says, as his Lord bath taught him, “Our Father,” and worships the Father alone, believing this to be true worship, becanse Jesus hath said so; instead of saying, O God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and worshiping a Trinity? You of course think the Almighty should be worshiped by these three names, as being those of the persons of the Trinity: but before you pronounce, with so much coufidence, that this is the form of worship God hath prescribed, and express surprise at those who cannot conscientiously use such a form, would it not be well seriously to consider and impartially to weigh the reasons that are assigned for the strict and simple unity, the unrivalled supremacy and exclusive Deity of the Father?
The Unitarian's language is, “I believe all the doctrines that are clearly taught in the Bible; but I can nowhere in the sacred volume read such phrases as God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, the persons of the Godhead, co-eternal Son, the Trinity, and similar expressions, and therefore I cannot allow them to be scriptural; I dare pot admit them to be parts of revealed truth.” Ought this to be met by you with haughty sarcasm, angry reproof, and bitter anathemas? Will Christ, at his second coming, commend and reward you for so doing, think you? But we are assured, that love of God and love of man shall be rewarded in that day. It must therefore be wiser and safer to attach supreme im.
portance to these than to a mere belief of the doctrine of the Trinity, especially when we do know that, uotwith. stànding the exalted titles that are given to Jesus on account of his mission and office, and although these may be so put together as to be made to countenance his deity, the Ipud and clear voice of Revelation proclaims, in unequivocal language, “ THEN COMETH THE END, WIEN NE SHALL HAVE DELIVERED UP THE KINGDOM to God, EVEN THE FATHER; TIEN SHALL THE SON ALSO HIMSELF BE SUBJECT UNTO HIM THAT PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIM, THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL." What will tben become of your Trinitarianism ?
Trinitarian Christians, reflect ! love charity, remember you are not infallible, do as you would be done by, and condemn no more.
Singular Superstition in the Sandwich Islands. The principal South-Sea Islands have lately renounced idolatry, in whole or in part. The Missionary Society may claim the honour of having converted the Society Islands,
of wbich the best known is Otaheite ; but it is a curious I fact that just before the first Missionaries, Americans, had
visited Owyhee or Hawaii, and the other Sandwich-islands, an enlightened prince, supported by intrepid chiefs, had abolished the religion of the country, on account of its costliness and cruelty. A war was the consequence, in which the Reformers were victorious. The King who paid a recent visit to this country, and unfortunately died on the eve of his return, was the enlightened prince referred to, by whose wisdom and valour superstition received its death blow in the Sandwich Islands. The way is now opened in this interesting portion of the globe for the dissemination of divine truth, and both American and English Missioparies are labouring with industry, zeal and snccess. One of these, an Englishman, Mr. W. ELLIS, has just published, in an 8vo. volume, a Narrative of a Tour through Hawaii, or Owyhee; with Remarks on the History, Traditions, Manners, Customs, and Language of the Inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands." This is a truly valuable, because an authentic work. Readers of all parties will be pleased with it. If many of the Missionaries in the South Seas equal Mr. Ellis in talents and resemble him in disposition, the great
est possible good may be anticipated from their Christian exertions.
We are about to extract from Mr. Ellis's volume an account of a singular system of superstition, formerly preyailing in the Sandwich Islands under the name of TABU. This institution partook of the nature of the Hindu Caste, and in some of its features resembled the Papal Interdict. It was an admirable contrivance by which Priestcraft and Despotism in conjunction put their broad R upon the best productions of the country, and excluded the many from the participation of some of the common bounties of nature. It was only to declare any good thing Tabu, and henceforward it was sacred to the use of Church and King. The hogs of the priests were tabued, and were let loose with the holy mark upon them, and though they committed ever so inuch mischief, it was beld a capital crime to kill them. Natural fish-ponds, which abound in the Islands, have been secured by the same artifice to the privileged orders. The most curious item of TABU, however, is the Ava or drug of which is made the only intoxicating liquor of home. make; the consecration of which to the aristocracy preserves and confines to them the luxury and privilege of drunkenness. It is a pity that the Missionaries should contemplate the application of this superstition to the Sabbath, which might surely be recommended to the Hawaiians on the ground of expediency and utility. To Tabu the Sabbath is so far to paganize Christianity,
• The Tabu formed an important and essential part of their cruel systein of idolatry, and was one of the strongest means of its support.
“ In most of the Polynesian dialects, the usual meaning of the word tabu, is sacred. It does not, however, imply. any moral quality, but expresses a connexion with the gods, or a separation from ordinary purposes, and exclusive appropriation to persons or things considered sacred. Those chiefs who trace their genealogy to the gods, are called arii tabu, chiefs sacred from their supposed connexion with the gods; and a temple is called a wahi tabu, place sacred, because devoted exclusively to the abode and worship of the gods. It is a distinct word from rahui, to prohibit, as the ohelo berries at Kirauea were said to be prohibited, being tabu na Pélé, sacred for Pélé, and is opposed to the