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It would be superfluous to remark on the gentlemanly character of this extract, which must be apparent to every one. I shall speak of its purport only. The Reviewer shifts his ground from the influence of the work and the University, to the accomplishments of the gentlemen who preside over and direct them; and asks whether they are not learned and able men? Certainly they are; I never thought of refusing them the title. Then why do they not turn their energies toward the establishment of foreign missions, he asks again, if not in their official, yet still in their individual capacities? My answer is, they do. Of the five whom he has specified, three have been, to my certain knowledge, advocates of the missionary cause. The exertions of the Hollis Professor of Divinity are well known to all. The Dexter Professor has also contributed his aid, though in a less public manner. And any one who will look into the Unitarian Miscellany, formerly edited in Baltimore by Mr Sparks, will be satisfied that he likewise has done much, by the transmission of tracts and in other ways, for the interest of Unitarian Christianity in India. What the sentiments of the two other gentlemen are on this subject, I know not. If they are not active in promoting a foreign mission, I have no doubt that it is because they do not esteem it their duty to be so. If the Reviewer asks, why those learned men who are favorable to this cause, have not effected more in its behalf; my answer is one which I have made in substance before; they are few, and have neither the wealth nor the personal influence to raise a missionary fund at pleasure. It is singular, however, that the Reviewer should have selected, and that too in all the ardor of conscious triumph, individuals whose real sentiments are so destructive to his argument.
I am tired of this; but I have begun, and I must go through. He comes next to the Boston merchants; my answer in regard to whom, he says,' is, if possible, still more strikingly absurd.' The case is this. The Reviewer, in order to fix upon us the charge of indifference to the spread of religion, asserts, with his customary pomp, that if the Moravians possessed the wealth of our merchants, they would do something with it toward the conversion of the heathen. In return, I content myself with informing him that merchants are not Moravians, nor Moravians merchants. The one class immerses itself in business, devotes itself to gain, and the result is wealth. The other separates itself from the world, devotes itself to the conversion of the world, and the result is intrepid, persevering, and sometimes successful missions. Why does not the Reviewer propose the Moravians as an example to the merchants of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore? Are they better Christians; do they perform more deeds of charity; are they more zealous friends of religion than the merchants of Boston? Let merchants be compared with merchants, and not with Moravians, nor with monks. I will leave it entirely with the reader to say, whether the standard of comparison proposed by my antagonist, or my answer to his proposition, is the most absurd.
But, says the Reviewer, 'the Seeker had expressed himself as being a great admirer of the Moravians, and of their missionary operations in particular; and he had commended them to my very particular notice as models worthy of imitation. Accordingly, 1 took it for granted that he would not shrink from the standard, which he had himself so strenuously recommended.'—Now, if the Reviewer will take the pains to recollect, he will find that I recommended them to his especial notice and imitation, with respect to certain of their qualities, which he had himself particularized; I recommended them as the 'simple, noiseless, unpretending Moravians.' And I am sorry to say that he has not heeded my counsel. For my own part, I shall shrink from no standard which I recommend as such. But I have not yet adopted the Moravians as my standard, without exception; nor do I intend to set them up, while I retain my senses, as a standard for merchants.
The Reviewer, to be sure, finds me remarkably dull and slow in apprehending the exceeding force and conclusiveness of all that he says. I seem 'to labor under some special obtuseness of apprehension.' I weakly evade 'his plain and pinching argument.' And therefore he is so kind as to repeat the said argument once more; though he resolves that if he does not' see something that looks more like an honest attempt to answer it,' he will positively bid me farewell. That is said with an air, I must acknowledge. But it is no uncommon thing for disputants of a certain order to see, or affect to see, all the acuteness on their own side, and all the obtuseness on the side of their opponents. This must be very pleasant, I presume, and withal very convenient. It is an old expedient, however, and by some is not thought to be very convincing.
The argument is repeated in the form of a dialogue, the conception of which is novel, and the appearance singular. On the execution of this conference, I have one or two remarks to make.
As the Reviewer takes the management of it into his own hands, he must have had but little wit indeed, if he had not managed it, apparently at least, to his own advantage. Notwithstanding this, it amounts to nothing more than the assertion, that all, whether Unitarians or others, who do not zealously support foreign missions, are not Christians. No matter what may he their lives and examples, their virtues and charities, their doubts, scruples, convictions; if they do not directly contribute to the establishment of missionaries among the heathen of foreign lands, they are not Christians. That is the main argument of the dialogue. On this point, he presses me sore. 'But are these men Christians?' 'Please to explain. Are these Unitarians Christians?' 'Then do you acknowledge them as Christians?' This is the burden of the song from stanza to stanza. Now the Reviewer may fashion for himself what criterion of Christianity he pleases; but my plain answer to him is, that a zeal for missions is not my criterion. And to reply to another of his questions, 'how do you account for the fact that these Christians take no interest in Christianity?' I say, there is no such fact to account for; because I will not allow that an interest in Christianity is synonymous with an interest in foreign missions. It is my opinion, however strange it may sound to the Reviewer, that a man may be worthy of the name of Christian, without having ever contributed his aid to a foreign mission. And to assist the Reviewer's conceptions on this point, I would ask him, in my turn, whether the Orthodox were not Christians, before they were roused up to exert themselves in the work of missions? There was a time when they began their operations; a time not very far distant; and before that time, aye, long before, they were in a better condition, both with regard to numbers and means, than Unitarians are now. Does the Reviewer acknowledge those antecedent orthodox generations, as Christians? Are the modern Orthodox, the Orthodox who aid missions, the only Christians who ever lived, the only 'apostolic school?' What is to become of those men, straight enough too in their way, who never contributed a farthing to a foreign missionary fund? Do the Reviewer and his friends condemn them to the forfeiture of the christian name, and of the ' glory that is to be revealed?' He is fond of the story of' Johnny Dodds and ae man mair,' who were the only true kirk, if I may judge from his telling it twice; let him refer to it again.
It is now only about two years since Unitarians began to collect their scattered forces, and act in concert, and as a body. It is hardly two years since the American Unitarian Association was formed. We had just begun to cooperate in this manner, when the project of a mission to India was started, and efforts were made, which are still continued, to accomplish it. And yet we are charged with being backward in the missionary cause; and the charge is a popular and often reiterated argument in the mouths of the Orthodox, to induce people to believe that we have no zeal for religion, no interest in Christianity. Some other charge, quite as charitable, and quite as well founded, will take the place of this, when this can no longer be repeated. But it will all be in vain. Yours, &c.
THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF HOLINESS.
Holiness is christian goodness. A holy character is a christian character. In order then to acquire holiness, the christian scriptures must be received as the guides of faith and practice. They must be faithfully studied, and whatever doctrines they reveal must be believed; whatever duties they enjoin must be performed, although it should require great and constant exertions; whatever sins they condemn must be forsaken or avoided, although this should cost much self-denial and many painful sacrifices. As every one is answerable to God for his religious opinions and conduct; so must every one decide for himself what doctrines are revealed, what duties are required, and what sins are forbidden. The scriptures must be examined so regularly, a christian spirit so faithfully cultivated, duty so constantly performed, and sin so vigilantly avoided, that the result may be habits,—habits of religious thinking and feeling, which shall manifest themselves in the outward conversation and conduct. Habits like these must constitute the character, and be formed by voluntary, persevering, prayerful exertions, aided by the promised influences of God's sustaining spirit. If a man be thus faithful to himself, his character will be christian, belong to what denomination he may; because he will have formed it according to his sincere understanding of the truths and requisitions of the christian religion. And because christian, it will be holy; for, I repeat it, holiness is christian goodness.
But if holiness is acquired, perhaps it will be asked, whether there is a period in the life of every Christian, at which its acquisition commenced? Strictly speaking there must be such a period; although it is generally unknown to the person himself. This time is different with different individuals. Some commence a christian life, the formation of a christian character, in the very morning of their days; others in youth; others in middle age; and others in advanced years. The causes which lead to this commencement are also various; almost as various as the individuals affected by their influence. Those who commenced at a very early age, who cannot remember the time when they did not love God and conscientiously endeavour to obey his laws, are indebted, doubtless, to the early, judicious instructions of pious parents and friends. And though, for a time, their knowledge of God and Christ and the gospel, was very imperfect, yet they acted up to the light they enjoyed, and truly commenced the formation of holy characters. But you might as reasonably require them to specify the time when they began to love their earthly parents, as the time when they began to love their heavenly Father. Others, who have passed a few, or perhaps many years, in a careless, thoughtless manner, as regards religion, are led to reform their characters, to begin the practice of neglected duties, and the correction of unholy affections and sinful practices, by the perusal of the scriptures, the instructions of the sabbath, the goodness of God, serious reflection, and self-examination. Others, again, are aroused from their spiritual slumbers, by extraordinary means; such as the loss of friends, recovery from sickness, a remarkable preservation, a striking providence, or a powerful excitement of mind. There are still others, of all ages, who have not even begun to form christian characters, who pay no sincere regard to the divine instructions of Jesus. Besides, there are different degrees of goodness and wickedness, both in those who are endeavouring to live christian lives, and those who pay no regard to Christianity. In this world, no one can be so good as not to have something bad attached to him; if he could, he would be a very angel; for