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God comes, or, who are authorized, commissioned, and inspired to declare the will of God to mankind. In this sense all Unitarians admit and maintain, that Jesus Christ was a God. The mere application to him of this title consequently proves nothing. As a learned Unitarian

author observes," The question is not, whether Christ is called God in Scripture, for that is undeniable ; but, in what sense the word is to be understood." (H. Taylor's Considerations on Ancient and Modern Creeds compared, p. 124.) The established principles of criticism require, that we should prefer that interpretation, which is agreeable to the clear and universally acknowledged doctrine of the Scriptures, before that, which is contrary to any known truth, or which is attended with any considerable difficulties. Since therefore it is a fact, about which there is among Christians no dispute, that Jesus was a person," unto whom the word of God came;" since we know, that he vindicated the application to himself of the title God, taken in this sense (John x. 34, 35.) and since we do not know, until it be proved, that the title belongs to him in any other sense; we ought thus to understand it, wherever we find it applied to him in the Sacred Scriptures, unless there be some particular circumstances in the mode of application, which point him out as THE SUPREME GOD, THE ONE LIVING AND TRUE GOD, The God of Gods, or THE GOD WHO IS ABOVE ALL."

The name God being given then to prophets, rulers, judges, and angels, it will be seen how little distance, considering the use of the scripture writers. it would go, toward proving the supreme deity of our Saviour, even were it often given him in scripture. It will appear from the remarks we shall next offer, how far this is to be allowed.

RELIGIOUS BOOKS.

A FRIEND expresses in a note the satisfaction and improvement which have been derived from the following books ; and adds the remarks subjoined,

Nelson's Practice of True Devotion. Fellows' Picture of Christian Philosophy. Porteus' Lectures on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Letters of Henry Kirk White. Mason on Self Knowledge. Hannah More's Practical Education. Scougal's Life of God in the Soul of Man. Merivale's Daily Devotions. Fellows' Guide to Immortality. Harwood's Introduction to the Study of the New Testament.

“ Hannah More's Sacred Dramas are very useful to young persons, as they familiarize them with interesting portions of scripture history, and Ganganelli's Letters are excellent for those in more mature life. It is true that the former is a strict Trinitarian, and what would be more shocking to many, the latter was a Roman catholic. But I am of Mrs. Barbauld's opinion, who says

we may see much good in a doctrine to which we cannot give our assent; we may respect tendencies of a sect, the tenets of which we utterly disapprove."

ON PROVISION BY LAW FOR THE SUPPORT OF CHRISTIAN

INSTITUTIONS.

The approaching Convention for the revision of the Constitution of Massachusetts, is an object of interest in no point of view more, than as regards the effect it may have on the religious institutions of the state. Our present Constitution makes provision, on the most large and liberal basis, for the support of Christian worship and teaching amongst the people ; wisely considering, that the general safety and happiness could be in no way more certainly secured, than by insuring familiar acquaintance with religious truths. Under this system, the past and present generations have happily and virtuously lived, and various denominations of christians have flourished and increased. With this system however, many, for various reasons, are much dissatisfied, and efforts will be made, perhaps successfully, to expunge the present article on this subject from the Declaration of Rights. We cannot but feel that such an event would be unhappy, and injurious to the general cause of religion and of the state. We cannot enter at large into the subject, or attempt to state fully the grounds on which this opinion may be defended. But we beg the very serious attention of our readers to a few paragraphs, while we express our earnest hope, that our fellow citizens and fellow christians will not suffer themselves to be led, by the vague cry of toleration, liberality, and rights of conscience, or the still more vague dread of an uphallowed alliance between church and state, inconsiderately to abandon the provisions of our forefathers, under which we have so long prospered.

There is danger that the nature of the constitutional provisions may not be understood. There is nothing in them like an established church, or a form of patural faith and worship. All sects and opinions of protestant christians are alike protected. There is no alliance of church and state ; no combination of an eccle

siastical with a lay aristocracy for mutual support and defence. The church is as republican as the governinent itself. The peo. ple choose their own ministers, and they will be of such denomination as the majority of parishioners approve. There is no controul over the conscience; no proselyting spirit. The right of every individual to maintain bis own opinions, and to worship his Creator in such form as his judgment may dictate, is secured. Let the article in question he examined, and it is impossible to find in it any thing, but a recognition of the great principle, that to the happiness and good order of every community, religion is most essential. The very fact, that the protection of the law is extended alike to all the sects, into which protestant christians are divided, gives the assurance that the power vested in the legislature, can never be abused for the purposes of political oppression. And what is this power? Simply to make provision for the support of public religious instruction by such teachers, as the majority may prefer. And is this an object, which any government, having in view the safety and happiness of the people, can properly neglect ? But it may be said, the very nature of religion forbids the interference of the civil arm. Our Saviour said, “ my kingdom is not of this world”—and his disciples violate the spirit of his religion, if they attempt to promote it by the aid of temporal power. Let it be remembered, that the Constitution confines. itself to providing, that there shall be instruction in the principles of religion and morality; it compels no one to hear doctrines, or to join in a mode of worship, which his conscience condemns ; it assumes no authority over the belief; it selects no creed as the orthodox faith. It trusts the cause of religion to the fair influence of reason and truth over the mind, without presuming to enforce their instructions by any legal enactments. What it requires, is only, that throughout the Commonwealth, there be schools for teaching those great and all-important truths, which can never cease to be taught without involving the downfal of good order, and good government; without even the corruption and overthrow of our free institutions, and the destruction of the spirit of liberty. What, we would ask, but the christian religion, has given rise to the liberal and enlightened views of the mutual rights and relations of men, now prevailing in the greater part of the civilized world? What else has gradually elevated the serf and bondsman till his claims as a man are acknowledged, and the class of slaves has disappeared from most of the nations of Europe? To what, but to the extension of Christian principles, which teach us to regard all men as brothers, and equal in the sight of God, can we ascribe the influence and power, which the middling and commercial classes

Web Series-Tol. II.

have acquired in all the governments, which originally were found. ed on the principles of feudal aristocracy? And when Christians instruction shall cease to be regarded as the most important good, which a government can provide for its people, what can we expect, but the decline of good morals, and the consequent return of ignorance and despotism ?

It may be thought by soine, that there is security enough in the attachment of the people to religion, and that we may rely on a voluntary provision. But those who reason thus, forget that this very attachment is the fruit of that legal provision for public instruction in religion, which from ancient times has existed among us.* They forget, that it is because from their earliest years they have heard the lessons of piety inculcated from the pulpit, that the great mass of our population are decent in their observance of the Sabbath, and revere the institutions of Christianity. Let the legal support be removed, let it be once solemnly declared, that the people of Massachusetts no longer consider the Christian Religion, as the basis and support of their government, and who will undertake to foretell the consequences ? But it is enough to say, that the power of compelling is only given, « in all cases, where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.” If then the attachment to religious institutions be so strong, that provision would continue to be voluntarily made, through this article were expunged from the Bill of Rights, its continuance can assuredly dó no harm; while to expunge it may be followed by the most alarming evils.

We would add a few words on the importance of conforming, so far as the present Constitution goes, the government of the country to the religion of the country. We profess to be Chris

We profess to receive the light of revelation as the greatest possible favor of the Deity. We profess to consider ourselves bound to carry its injunctions into all the duties of life. We hope to form our characters by it here, and to bear the stamp of that character forever. We profess to believe that Christianity should infuse its influence, its graces, and its author. ity into the actions of our lives, open and private, public and domestic. Farther, we profess to believe it to be our individual duty to recommend Christianity by our example ; to extend its influence and authority; to recommend it by shewing our sense of its importance, and to diffuse the knowledge of it over the whole world, as far and as fast as we are able, for the enlightening of the nations, and the salvation of men. Now, if we in truth feel the pressure of these high and solemn duties upon us as in

* See the Act of 1692–(Col. avd Prov. I aws, p 243,) which provides at once for the support of ministers and schoolmasters.

dividuals, how do we escape from their weight, in our social capacity, as members of the state ? Is it not equally imperative upon us to endeavour for the infusion of the spirit of Christianity into the rule and conduct of our society? Is it more important, what the opinions, or what the example of individuals may be, than what the opinions and examples of the whole, as represented in the corporate society may be ? Has government no duties to perform, which require a christian spirit, or a christian character? Has it no examples to set, which may do good or evil ?And while we are exerting ourselves, in common with other christian nations, to carry the blessings of the christian character over the world, should we signalize ourselves for consistency, and leave no room to question the sincerity of our professions, if we should declare, in the fundamental articles of our social compact, that we hold it to be not at all indispensable, that this Christiavity should be the religion of our government; and that we hold ourselves excused even from giving it a decent preference over infidelity and atheism ?

In this view, it must be regarded as matter of high importance, that we, as a Christian people, should insist upon having none but Christian rulers. And we cannot see that this defrauds any one of his rights. Strictly speaking, there can be no right to be elected into an office. Election to office, goes upon the

opinion of the electors of the trustworthiness of the elected. It is altogether matter of trust, and confidence, and good opinion; and no man can claim, as matter of legal right, the confidence and good opinion of his neighbors. If then the electors may choose whom they please, and may do this on the score of such qualifications as they please to require, they may, if they see fit, make such qualifications general requisites, and may prescribe them before hand, as essential to the subject of their choice. If two candidates were this day before the people, for the chief magistracy of the commonwealth, the one a christian, and the other an infidel, they would have an unquestionable right to elect the former, because he was a christian, and to reject the latter because he was an infidel. And they have the same right to say before hand, and to make it a part of their constitution, that they will confine their choice of chief magistrate to such persons as are christians. There is no difference in the cases. If they can rightfully give this preference, in one case, they can as rightfully establish it as the rule for all cases. There is no injustice certainly in this. The only consideration is, whether it be expedient, upon the whole. And this depends upon the opinion which we form of the importance of the qualification. If the ground of distinction be frivolous, or entitled to little regard, it would be most unwise, in establishing a frame of government, to insist on

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