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divine claims of Christianity, which has, of late, caused deep anxiety and alarm among the 'Unitarians themselves. Many of their young ministers, making the most of Dr. Channing's declaration that “ Christianity is not a doctrine, but a spirit,” seem to regard it as the summit of religious philosophy to cast off all settled opinions in regard to the system of divine truth. We once heard Rev. Dr. Lowell, in the Massachusetts Convention, quote with approbation the saying of Dr. Priestley, “that the longer he studied, the shorter his creed grew.” It was a natural inference, that, if his studies had been sufficiently extended, his belief would have contracted itself till it had no perceptible dimensions left.
Recent developments have begun to convince the sincerer sort of Unitarians, that this strain of remark must be abandoned, or else they will soon have to relinquish all title to the precious name of “ believers." Not many years ago, when Dr. Gannett delivered the Dudleian Lecture, at Cambridge, in which he took occasion to inveigh against creeds with much warmth, Judge Story is reported to have said, as the audience was retiring, “ that the ministers may say what they please, but the time is coming when we shall be compelled to have a creed of our own.” The venerated Story is no more; but the Dudleian lecturer survives to verify that prediction. Witness his Address, published in the last Examiner, in which he contends earnestly “ for some settled, well-defined religious belief." He now says: “I cannot for the life of me understand how a man who has no fixed opinions, no creed which his own thought has written out, can have any solid basis of character. All practical religion, all personal piety, must have a doctrinal basis.” And again he says: “Unless a man believe something, and know that he believes it, and know what it is that he believes, his penitence, his devotion, his hope, are only shadows cast upon his mind by the passing influences of life.” What he thus asserts of the individual he also extends to each church or denomination. must,” he insists, “ have a theology of its own, which can be stated in intelligible language, and be reduced to scientific propositions.” And speaking of his own denomination, he declares emphatically: “ We must have a theology of our own, or we shall perish, and we ought to perish." This great change in Dr. Gannett's views as to the benefit and necessity of “modes of faith,” he has recently manifested on another occasion. He is reported in the papers, as having solemnly charged a candidate for ordination, “ to have a creed, — to hold distinct propositions in theology, each of wbich he could preface with I believe;' and that without this his labors would be desultory and unsuccessful.” These principles commend themselves to common sense and sincere piety.
We rejoice in this alteration of tone on the part of Dr. Gannett and others. For though creeds, like other good things, have been abused and misapplied, they must be resorted to, or there can be no organic Christian union and action, and no intelligent communion of saints. We rejoice, too, because of our profound conviction, that no sincere and devout inquirer can frame a creed from the Scriptures which shall be in harmony with the whole Scriptures, and not be at the same time distinctly Evangelical.
DR. JEWETT's LecturES AND WRITINGS. Of all that “ legion of honor” which has fought in behalf of Temperance, few have striven so bravely, or on so small pay and rations, or with more of cheerfulness and success, than Dr. Charles Jewett. He is eminently fitted for his work, combining a pathos which has nothing "soft" about it, with a mirth which, though unfailing, is never unfeeling; and uniting sound religious principle, with a zeal that never dies and a perseverance that never tires. “ He is a “dear lover” of the wretched victims of vice, and a “ hearty good hater” of the destroying vice which preys
Like Hercules, he is a queller of monsters and oppressors. His book, just issued by John P. Jewett, begins with the Doctor's “frontispiece," engraven so as to bring him freshly before the mind's eye of any one who has seen him just ready to open his lips, and let out the keenest thing he ever said. Then come seven of his unique speeches, discussing with Yankee shrewdness some of the most vital points involved in the Temperance reform. These are followed by certain “ fugitive pieces ” in verse and in prose, furnishing samples of all the author's various styles, moods, and talents. As intemperance seenis, of late, to be recovering ground among us, and as the literature of Temperance has not received many recent additions, we hope that Dr. Jewett's book may have a wide circulation; and that thus, through the press, he may reach even more than he has ever addressed with the voice. He is safe in saying of his book to the rum-sickened public, what he has often said when prescribing a dose of medicine to a suffering friend: “If you can only manage to swallow it, I believe it will do you good.”
DR. Pond's REVIEW of Dr. BUSHNELL. — Having ourselves, as our readers are aware, gone very thoroughly over the same ground, we were surprised to find how completely Dr. Pond had travelled in a track of his own. If we had arranged for a division of labor with him, he could hardly have occupied a more distinct portion of the field. We aimed to fell the tree, by laying the axe to the root. Dr. Pond has lopped off all the branches, chopped them into cord-wood, and piled thein away, not omitting to bind up the brush into fagots for the oven.
His review is distinguished from others that we have seen, by the greater attention bestowed on Dr. Bushnell's Discourse on Dogma and Spirit. This discourse pours great contempt on theology as a science; and the reviewer, as a professed theologian, zealously vindicates his high calling. He seems to feel as did Lord Bacon, when he said: “ I hold every man a debtor to his profession; from the which as men of course do seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty so to endeavor themselves, by way of amends, to be a help and ornament thereunto. This is performed, in some degree, by the honest and liberal practice of a profession, when men shall carry a respect not to descend into any course that is corrupt and unworthy thereof, and preserve themselves from the abuses wherewith the same profession is noted to be infected; but much more is this performed, if a man be able to visit and strengthen the roots and foundation of the science itself; thereby not only gracing it in reputation and dignity, but also amplifying it in possession and substance.
Dr. Pond has written much, and written well, in defence of the faith once delivered to the saints; but he has never written with more force, conclusiveness, and dignity, than in this last offering of his zeal at the shrine of truth. We are glad that his book is characterized by so good a spirit; " for it is better so to write as to make a critic turn Christian, than so as to make a Christian turn critic.”
ANCIENT AND MOdern OrthodoxY. — It is very often asserted, by those who are unfriendly to the evangelical truth, that our modern orthodoxy is so different from that of our Puritan fathers, that they would not acknowledge us as their “own sons in the faith.” It is true, that some articles of faith are made more prominent, and some less so, than formerly. Thus the great doctrine of the Sainis’ Perseverance is far more strongly hell and asserted than formerly. It has no place in that good Calvinistic confession, the Thirty-nine Articles of Faith of the Church of England; and occupies only a brief clause, among other particulars, in one of the answers to the Shorter Catechism. And the same is substantially true, of that prime doctrine, Regeneration. It is a gross mistake to suppose that Orthodoxy among our fathers bore one unvarying stamp. The diversities of opinion among them were as great as those among the orthodox of the present day; but those diversities did not destroy their unity in respect of the more vital matters in which they were agreed. As Governor Stoughton said, in his Election Sermon, preached in 1668,* while he was yet in the ministry: “ Circumstantial differences ought not to breed substantial divisions; that would be a monstrous and gigantine birth!” And John Norton said before him: “ Unity in judgment is to be endeavored, because truth is one and indivisible; yet some difference touching the truth must be endured, because of the weakness of men.” Agreeable to these sentiments was the practice of that day. Though the Congregationalist Owen and the Presbyterian Baxter wrestled as theologians, they embraced as Christian brethren. Their endless controversy, which fills the shelf of a library, related to matters far more important than those in dispute between Dr. Taylor and Dr. Tyler. Cotton Matber, who cherished the utmost veneration for Baxter, remonstrates with much warmth against liis loose notions on the subject of justification. We have seen a long and loving letter from this very Mather, urging a distinguished Huguenot divine to take refuge in New England from his persecutors; and assuring him that his known Arminian tendencies would not prevent the people from esteeming him for his learning and piety. The two Goodwins, John and Thomas, between whom a like difference existed, were both in fraternity with the Westminster divines. Innumerable instances like these can be cited, shewing that at least as great differences of opinion were tolerated among our fathers, as can be traced between the strictest of them, and the laxest school of theologians recognized as orthodox at the present time. And, therefore, the assertion, that
In this admirable sermon, occurs, for the first time, as we suppose, that classical saying : “God sifted a whole nation, that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness."
our fathers would disown any of their evangelical descendants on grounds of doctrinal defection, must be set down as one of the “fretful pothers ” of peevish ignorance. It is our firm belief that the great doctrines of the Bible were never embraced by a greater number of minds, or held more intelligently and firmly, than at this day. Error indeed abounds, and it always has done since the fall. But truth also abounds, and that more and more from year to year. It is not for a moment to be imagined, that any foes can be too strong for God and his truth. There is one strong proof that the fathers would own us as being in their fellowship; and that is found in the fact that we retain such strong attachment to their writings. The American Tract Society, in seeking to diffuse a popular religious literature throughout the land, doubtless seeks to print such works as will be likely to find general favor with the great evangelical community. And yet how large a proportion of the books selected by the able conductors of that useful institution, is from the pens of those ancient worthies, who, as is pretended by some, in their ignorance both of the fathers and the children, would not vouchsafe to us a corner in the Lord's house. We conclude with the sound advice of Sidonius Apollinaris, that the ancients should be regarded with respect, and the moderns without envy!
Mar. 27. Mr. Samuel V. Blakeslee, Farmington, Iowa; to go as an
Evangelist to California.
Mr. Josiah M. Stearns, Lunenburg, Vt.
Mr. William M. Thayer, Ashland, Ms.
June 14. Rev. L. C. Rouse, Edwardsburg, Mich.
27. Rev. Charles Duren, Waitsfield, Vt. July 11. Rev. William J. Newman, York, Me.
Rev. M. H. Wilder, Howard Street Church, Salem, Ms.
DEATHS OF MINISTERS.
June 13. Rev. Aaron Dutton, New Haven, Conn., aged 69.
29. Rev. Samuel P. Abbot, Farmington, Me., aged 34.
We would first speak of man's way of salvation; then of that divine method which alone can give true comfort and elevation to the soul.
It is man's way of salvation, to be his own savior. He will save himself by his works, by his penances, by outward observances, by rigid abstinence from particular sins, by the cultivation of good feelings, or at best by using Christ in his own strength as means to this end,— without giving himself freely and entirely into the hands of Christ, to be saved by him. This is man's way of salvation. He always prefers to save himself.
Conviction of sin, is more common than some suppose. Probably most persons are occasionally the subjects of it. By the light of nature, and the workings of conscience, especially by the preaching of a revealed law and the gospel of Christ, attended as it usually is by the power of the Holy Spirit, mankind are brought to feel themselves to be wicked. Even the most hardhearted have seasons of relenting, while the more serious often think of God and are troubled. Few feel safe in impenitence, but intend, at least before they die, to take some measures to make their peace with Heaven. Nor is the number small who are actually striving to regain the lost favor of God; striving in their own way, and not in God's way, and so failing; “ For I say unto you,” said the Saviour, that "many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
Among the means employed by the ancient heathen to obtain peace of conscience, one of the principal was self-torture. They VOL. III.