tained in the Pentateuch, in all parts and particulars, is miraculously inspired or revealed to man * or is it, like the law of Massachusetts, a human work in whole or in part? 12. Do you believe that any prophet of the Old Testament, solely through a miraculous revelation made to him by God, did distinctly and unequivocally foretell any distant and future event, which has since come to pass, and in special that any prophet of the Old Testament, did thereby and in manner aforesaid, distinctly and unequivocally foretell the birth, life, sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, so that Jesus was in the proper and exclusive sense of the word, the Messiah predicted by the prophets and expected by the Jews? 17. Do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was miraculously born, as it is related in two of the Gospels, with but one human parent, that he was tempted by the Devil and transfigured, talking actually with Moses and Elias; that he actually transformed the substance of water into the substance of wine; fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes; that he walked on the waters; miraculously stilled a tempest; sent demons out of men into a herd of swine; and that he restored to life persons wholly and entirely dead 2 23. Do you believe that the writers of the four Gospels and the book of Acts, never mingled mythical, poetical, or legendary matter in theircompositions; that they never made a mistake in a matter of fact; and that they have in all cases reported the words and actions of Jesus with entire and perfect accuracy 24. Do you believe the miracles related in the book of the Acts—for example, the miraculous inspiration of the Apostles at Pentecost; the cures effected by Peter, his vision, his miraculous deliverance from prison “by the angel of the Lord,” the miraculous conversion of Paul,” &c. &c. The answer to these questions as they might

be found in Unitarian books and pe. riodicals we do not care to quote. What they would be, is too notorious to need a reference or verification. The attempt to deny that the opinions indicated by these questions are inconsistent with Unitarian orthodoxy, would wake in scorn a thousand deafening echoes. But it will be asked, “What if all this be so 2° What if leading Unitarian writers and divines have held some and even all of these opinions and are still retained in fellowship, has Mr. Parker therefore a claim to the same fellowship ! Their opinions are not the same with his. And whence does he derive his authority, from practice or liberal principles, to complain of inconsistency and injustice, in that he is refused while they receive courtesy and fellowship 2 Let us look at the state of the case. What have the Boston Association done in the way of withholding this fellowship * They have not expelled Mr. Parker from their body. They have not fastened upon him a formal censure. But they have generally refused to exchange with him; which is a withholding of courtesy that thirty years since, and in respect to the same Boston Association, was deemed a grave and unpardonable offense, to proceed against which, council after council was called, in “the Dorchester controversy.” Five of the entire Association and three only of the city members have exchanged with Mr. Parker since May, 1841, while the other associations in the neighborhood have done as before. Some of this body have been zealous to impose on ‘the ministry at large, the implied promise, as a condition of their office, that they shall not exchange with him. They have indirectly shut him out from the Thursday lecture; they have morally and publicly held up Mr. Parker as unworthy the confidence of the community “as a Christian teacher,' and his system as deism and not Christianity. They have treated him in such a way in personal conference, that it has been semi-officially stated, that it was surprising that a man of spirit and delicacy should not take the hint and withdraw from a place where he was not wanted. Under these circumstances, what are Mr. Parker's grounds of complaint, and are they well founded ? He has no where stated them in the form and order in which we present them: we think, however, that they are substantial, and deserve the consideration of all concerned. 1. His first ground of complaint is, that his brethren having done so much, have done no more ; that having in effect degraded him from their society, and sought to deny him caste in his profession, they have not done it in form and with the reasons clearly assigned, and by a regular process, such as is common to all organized societies. Mr. P. has been served with no definite charges; no trial in which he might face in his defense confronting witnesses and confronting arguments, and no sentence or decision on which to stand or to which to yield. We know very well that a charge may be falsely and foolishly urged against a man, and yet it defines what he is to meet. If guilty, it measures the extent of his guilt, and secures him from all imputation of greater guilt than he deserves to bear. If innocent, it gives him the most effectual instrument of self-defense. A trial, too, may by perjury and stratagem be a means of the basest cunning; but it is also a priceless boon, as giving opportunity to unmask the false swearer and expose the cunning machination. A sentence may but proclaim the iniquity of a corrupt judge; but even in that case it gives the injured man the best and surest instrument by which to argue his cause over again at the tribunal of public opinion: while if it be just and true, it

defends him whom it convicts from

worse imputations and more enor

mous accusations. Hence, regular

and organized bodies, with all their

imperfections, are greatly to be pre

ferred to those that are irregular and

therefore irresponsible. These last are proverbially unfair and indefinite in their charges, prejudiced and impatient in their inquisition for truth, capricious in their decisions, and remorseless in the execution of them. Hence, all societies of men, who respect themselves, the public and the truth, if they receive a man to their fellowship, do it on the principles on which their union is based ; if they remove him, they respect these principles by giving the coup de grace in an orderly way. It is only theater rowdies and half insane politicians that hustle a man out when they are determined to endure him no longer. We see not why all this is not as true of things ecclesiastical as of things secular; and yet there are men who are seized with a cold shivering at the very name of a creed and of discipline as maintaining a creed, and at once begin to talk of the dreary history of councils and the inquisition: whereas, we understand the very essence of the inquisitorial spirit to be a capricious disregard of facts and of the principles of justice. That in which the inquisitor and the Jesuit agree is, that it is right to do any thing and in any way for the church; or in other words, to sacrifice the individual if the cause demand it. We are not insensible to the evils that pertain to a creed, and to the spirit that too often is present in discipline, and

against these evils and this spirit we

would guard ourselves; but we pray

to be delivered from associations,

whether ministerial or otherwise,

that have no principles of union,

except to tolerate us as long as

they can, and then to get rid of us, because they must, without

telling us or telling the community


2. Mr. P. may complain that it is a thing unheard of and new that liberal Christians have a symbol or creed, and that it is inconsistent with all their principles to frame or use such a symbol.

The question here is a question of fact. It is not what ought to be, but what actually is and has been. It is not whether it is fit that a symbol should be held, but whether liberal Christians have held one, either written or implied. Much argument has been used in the newspapers and pamphlets, to prove that a bond of sympathy and union is needed in a common belief; and much more has been said, in the way of ridicule and warm assertion, to show how absurd and profane it is for a teacher who believes in a divine revelation to exchange with one who preaches that such a thing can not be and never was given. Much that has been said on this point, has been truly said, and well said, and earnestly said.” We certainly can have no objection to it, but heartily approve it all.

But the fact remains fixed, that the Unitarians have in the past fought most lustily against all kinds of creeds, and called them by the hardest names. In distinction from the sects, as they have been pleased to call them, they have held themselves forth as liberal Christians, including men of all faiths but of one spirit— or as Mr. Furness says, “ of a free, honest and charitable temper.” Especially have they cried out against the enforcement of a creed in the way of discipline. The thought of such a thing has filled them with horror, and called up the most doleful images of the dungeons of the

* The following, from the Christian Register, is worth copying:

The New WAY to keep the FLock.

“What do you do when unbelief
Is trumpeting its views?
Why put it in the pulpit, sir,
To keep it from the pews.”
Vol. III. 58

inquisition, of Father Dominic with his red-hot iron tongs, of the rack and the thumb screw. It is said, indeed, that in these objections to a creed there has always been intended a creed raised from the Bible, while it was implied that the Bible was received as a revelation; that when every other creed was rejected, it was asserted in the same breath that the Bible was their only creed;—that in the phrase liberal Christian, the predicate liberal was limited by the subject Christian, and that Christian implies the receiving of the Christian Scriptures as true. We admit that this was often the fact. But this does not make in the least against the fact asserted, that the arguments, the principles, by which they fought against creeds, thus limited, would not ride over these limits as easily as over any other. This does not prove that they are not such as to force them to receive a man, who defines for himself what Christianity is—especially if he holds that Christianity is a perpetual and not an occasional revelation from God. These arguments are summed up by asserting the difference between a man's religion and his theology, and the assertion that his religion was to be the test of fellowship and not his theology. If, then, a man passes this test—if his religion is confessedly satisfactory—what more is to be said, especially if his unbelieving theology treats the moral part of the Bible with greater respect than others treat it, with their greater respect for its history ! Nothing is to be said. Mr. Parker is still to be received, or their principles must be abandoned, and with their principles, all their fine arguments ad liberalitatem, for themselves, and ad invidiam, against the sects. But again, is it said that it may be very proper to give our fellowship to Mr. Parker as a Christian believer, but not as a Christian teacher ? We see not why, as long as the religion which he teaches is true, which is the main thing in the case. If Christianity be but a revelation of the doctrines of the absolute religion, it may be to be regretted indeed that Mr. Parker does not take our view, or the right view, of some things pertaining to its history and sanctions; but who shall say that he does not teach Christianity; and if he teaches Christianity, who shall say that he is not a Christian teacher ? The argument then relating to the fact in respect to their holding the Christian revelation, has neither pertinency nor force, when we show to what the principles would lead when the facts are changed. The principles of liberal fellowship are the principles on which Mr. P. stands, and he must stand a liberal Christian still, and a Christian teacher till they set up new foundations. So have these principles been understood by a large portion of the Unitarians. So Mr. Furness understands them, so does Mr. Ware, so does Mr. Clarke, none of whom believe with Mr. Parker. So do many of the laymen understand them. The discussions show it. On the one side, we have the assertion that liberal Christians have received the Bible in fact, and on the other, the argument from liberal maxims. 3. Mr. Parker may ask, what is in fact the symbol, or creed, by the application of which he is now to be excluded from fellowship. It is loosely said in reply, the same that has always prevailed and been understood to exist, the reception of the Christian Scriptures. This is admirable as it meets the ear, and we doubt not as it meets the heart of many devoutly disposed Unitarians. But what is it to receive the Christian Scriptures in the liberal sense of the phrase ? The Mormon receives the Christian Scriptures. So, too, we believe, does the Mohammedan. We remember that in our childhood, we heard of an old soldier of the Revolution who said that

the Bible was a very good book, especially the history of the wars in the Old Testament, which was almost as good as the history of the war of '76. It seems to us that he thought as well of that part of the Bible at least, as certain divines whom the Unitarians receive as on the right side of this Bible-dividing line, while they would set Mr. Parker so rudely over on the wrong side. It has been earnestly contended, for instance, by some very well meaning Unitarians, who are, we presume, innocently ignorant that Mr. Parker is not to be admitted to a Christian pulpit, because forsooth, he denies that Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the prophets, and expected by the Jews on the basis of these prophecies. This may be a very good reason for such a conclusion in itself considered, but it is hardly consistent to be urged by or to those who at the same time receive and honor with high authority and influence those who deny that the Old Testament gives any prophetic intimations of a Messiah. But this was held in a review of Hengstenberg's Christology attributed to Mr. Noyes in the Christian Examiner some ten years since.” But Mr. Noyes is not a liberal Christian only, but a Christian teacher, nor this alone, but one who teaches those who are preparing to be Christian teachers, in the interpretation of the Bible. Mr. Norton can certainly have no bet. ter faith than this, and yet in this very discussion respecting Mr. Parker, he is distinctly and frequently contrasted with Mr. Parker, as a cautious, reverent, and trustworthy expounder of the Scriptures. So too it is earnestly contended that Mr. Parker has lightly and profanely said that the Savior was deceived himself, or left others to be deceived, in applying to himself these prophecies. But Mr. Noyes and Mr. Norton must certainly rest in one solution or the other, if we rightly understand their view of the prophecies themselves, and from what both Mr. Norton and Mr. Furness have written, we gather, that they do not shrink from one, at least, of these conclusions. It is also objected that he makes the recorded facts of the Gospels to be but myths and fables. But Mr. Norton says, of the first two chapters of Matthew, that they are to be rejected, partly for critical reasons, but mainly from objections arising from “the intrinsic character” of the narrative. To the many fictions concerning the infancy and childhood of Jesus, “the narrative in the two chapters appears to belong from its intrinsic character. In the story of the magi, we find represented a strange mixture of astrology and miracle.” The narrative in Luke, is open to no critical objections. It is as genuine as any part of the books which Mr. Norton has labored so long to prove to be so in order to establish Christianity on an unshaken foundation. But of this marative he says, “With its real miracles, the fictions of oral tradition had probably become blended ; and the individual who committed it to writing probably added what he regarded as poetical embellishments.” So also, Mr. Furness gives this as the probable solution of the annunciation to Mary:—“There was every thing in the sentiments of the time and country, and in the probable situation of the mother of Jesus, to exalt her imagination; and in view of her ap

* We give the following quotations. “Having come to the conclusion that the language of the prophets in the sense which we have reason to suppose they assigned to it, gives us no intimation of a suffering, dying Messiah, or one who should rise from the dead, and no clear and proper predictions which were fulfilled in Jesus personally, we have endeavored,” &c. Christ. Exam. Vol. 16, p. 364. So p. 360: “When he . affirmed that he was the Messiah, he only affirmed in figurative language, that he was the inspired teacher sent from God, for whose instructions the Jewish dispensation had been a preparation, and who was designed by God, to fulfill his great purpose in relation to the instruction of J. ewish nation and of the world.”

proaching marriage, to cause her to dwell upon the idea of the Messiah, until the thought wove itself into her nightly visions, and she dreamed that she was the destined mother of that divine personage, and even that she had conceived before her espousals.” “The influence of the mother upon her child before it has seen the light, will not be questioned.” “We know not the mode nor the extent of the influence. It is a divine mystery. Still we must believe that the angel-thoughts and dreams of the blessed mother of our Lord must have ministered a part of the sacred discipline whereby he was prepared and sanctified, even in her sacred womb, to be the Son of God and Redeemer of man.” His conclusion is that incidents pertaining to this period, and certain remarkable experiences of the mother of Jesus, “viewed through the magnifying medium of the faith, veneration, and enthusiasm which the remarkable life that was just closed had produced, were shaped and exaggerated thereby.” And of these the evangelists selected what seemed to them “to be nearest the truth.” Of the Old Testament Mr. Norton holds that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses, and that the civil and ritual law came neither from Moses nor from God, on the ground that parts of them are worthy of neither, and that the prophets and Jesus contended against the whole system of sacrifices with all their force. He allows that there was a divine and miraculous revelation by Moses, inasmuch as Christianity proceeds on this supposition, and is so far responsible for the Jewish religion, and because the elevated views of God among the Jews attested it, and the sublime conceptions of the Psalmists and of Isaiah must have been wrought upon by such knowledge previously given to the race in a miraculous way. We do not make these references, to give an adequate and full account

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