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Body of which he is a member, those of the speaker, that the I transcribe it for insertion in the members could not refrain from Panoplist.
C. Y. A. indulging in an almost unaniThe Solicitor General, in con- mous burst of applause. Let tinuation, observed, that,
reader set Mr. Wilber“ When he looked to the man
force before him as an example at the head of the French Monar- of persevering humanity and vir chy, surrounded as he was with tue, and reflect that the good all the pomp of power, and all man seldom fails to obtain high the pride of victory, distributing rewards even in this life. kingdoms to his family, and principalities to his followers, seeming when he sat on his
OF THE FAITH OF THE NEWthrone to have reached the sum
ENGLAND CHURGHES. mit of human ambition, and the pinnacle of earthly happiness,
No. 2. and he followed that man into (Concluded from p. 14.) his closet or to his bed, and con- From the creeds and confessidered the pangs with which his sions adopted, and afterward breast must be tortured, and his frequently confirmed, by the repose banished by the recollec- fathers of New England, assemtion of the blood he had spilled, bled in Synods, we learn what and the oppressions he had com
the essential articles of mitted ; and when he compared their religious faith. We find with those pangs of remorse, thern summed up in the Westthe feelings which must accompa- minister Confession of faith, and ny bis honourable friend (Mr. in that well known “ form of Wilberforce) from that house sound words," the Asseinbly's to his home, after the vote of Shorter Catechism. this house shail have confirmed I am aware, that it will be ob. the object of his humane and jected that creeds and confessions unceasing labours ; when he are unfriendly to the cause of should retire into the bosom of truth, that they fetter the mind, his happy and delighted family, prevent free inquiry, and foster when he should lay himself bigotry. An abuse of them, I down on his bed, reflecting on admit, may produce such effects, the innumerable voices that as the best things are liable to be would be raised in every quarter perverted to a bad use ; but we of the world to bless him, how deny that these are their natural much more pure and perfect and legitimate effects. The opin. felicity must be enjoy in the ion of the venerable Synods, who consciousness of having preserv- adopted these confessions, I aped so many nations of his fellow prehend, will be deemed by se creatures, than the man with rious nind's the correct opinion whom he had compared him, on on this subject. the throne to which he had wad- " It must needs tend much to ed through slaughter and op the honour of the blessed nama pression.'
of the Lord Jesus Christ,” say The feelings of the house the members of the Synod who
so much in unison with first adopted the Westminster
Confession, "when many church. confession, and found the same es join together in their testimo- to be the eternal truths of God, ny for the truth. The Lord we recommend them (as such) hath signally owned the Confes- to the people to reinember them, sions of the four first general and to hold them fast; and to Councils, for the suppression of contend for them, as containing heresies in primitive times. the faith once delivered to the The Confessions of the Bohem- saints ; to value them, as their ians, Waldenses, and other Pro- great charter and instrument testant reformed churches, have of their salvation ; to maintain been of singular use not only them all their days with upto those who then lived, but also daunted resolution, and to trans. to posterity, even to the present mit them safe and pure to their day. It must needs be a work posterity." pleasing to God, for his servants It is proper here to remark, to declare to the world, what to prevent misconception and those principles of truth are, misrepresentation, that the learne which they have received, and ed and pious compilers of these purpose to live and die in the confessions did not undertake to profession of. Nor are they make a religión, but only to deworthy the name of Christians, clare what were their views of who refuse to declare what they that religion revealed in the believe.” They conclude in these word of God. Nor did they inprophetic words: “What hours tend that their faith should be of temptation may overtake the ground or standard of the these churches is not for us to faith of those who should come say ; only the Lord doth some- after them ; but they resolved times so order things, that when all into the authority of God, his people have made a good con- speaking in his holy word. This fession, they shall be put upon word, not their confessions, was the trial some way or other con- the standard of their faith, as it cerning their sir.cerity in it. is of ours. Their confessions The Lord grant that the loins of contained the doctrines which our minds may be so girt about they received from this holy with truth, that we may be able book. We bring them as evia to stand in the evil day, and hav- dences, that our understanding ing done all to stand."
of the scriptures is consonant The synod of Connecticut, ia to that of the great body of 1708, declare their opinion of Christians, in all former ages. the nature and importance of We appeal to them not as auconfessions of faith, in the fol- thorities, but as witnesses. lowing words: “This confession I anticipate another objection. we offer, as our firm persuasion, It may be said ; “ The' religion well and truly grounded on the of our fathers, and of the ancient word of God, and commend the Christians, was well enough, same to the people of the colony, nay perhaps very suitable for to be examined, accepted and them, in the times and under constantly maintained. Hav- the circumstances in which they ing applied the rules of holy lived. But times and circum. scripture to the articles of this stances are now changed, and Vol. III. No. 2.
of course their opinions and diacely from the Father of lights, views of religion will not suit with whom is no variableness or the present age,”
shadow of turning, it was like I know also, that it has been its divine Founder complete in said by those who have chosen all its parts, incapable of receiv, to-depart from the old paths, and ing any improvement from huit is the principal argument on man learning, or the discoveries which they rest their own, justi- of any future age. At the period fication " That in every science, of its first promulgation, it connot rrexcepting the science of tained an entire system in itself, theology, there is a natural prog- to which nothing can be added, ress to perfection ; that of froin which nothing can be taken course every succeeding age is without rendering it less perwiser than that which went before; fect.* Iis rich treasures are and that from this consideration, deposited in one volume, which there is ground to expect, that was complete in its first edition, with proper
encouragement, published by its inspired authors, revelation will soon be purged and which has been carefully from every thing foreign and copied, (with some various readadventitious, and be reduced, at ings indeed of no essential imlast, to a rational system, found- portance) in the millions of edied on the unerring principles of tions since published. Chriswell interpreted scripture and tians in the first ages of the truth.
church were as capable of unTo the objection and argu- derstanding its essential docment now stated, the following trines, as in any subsequent age. reply is offered. The parallel so This sacred volume has ever often drawn by some men be- been open to the inspection of tween sacred and profane litera- all men, to which, as to a perenture, will not by any means gen- nial fountain, all the learned and erally bold. Human sciences the unlearned are invited to of every kind, it is readily admit- come and take freely of the wated, are progressive. It is not, ter of life. till after much labour and re- But the absurdity of a prosearch, and many unsuccessful gressive religion may be argued attempts, that they arrive at any not only from the difference beconsiderable degree of perfec- tween sacred and profane learntion. But that the same pro- ing, but also from the obvious gression obtains with regard to design of revelation. The the great, distinguishing doc. Christian religion was intended trines, which constitute the to benefit the whole human race. science of theology, no sober be. Its divine and merciful Author, liever will hastily affirm. Chris- therefore, in whose eyes the tianity was introduced into the soul of the meanest rustic, and world by its divine Author in of the rudest savage is equally its full maturity and vigour, in precious with that of the most a state of utmost perfection. It profound philosopher, has so achad no state of infancy and weak; commodated its truths, as that ness to pass through before its genius could be perfectly discova
See Rev. xxii. 18, 19. ered. As it descended imme.
they are intelligible and obvious plain. Excellent to this purto the most ordinary person,' pose are the words of the teamwho studies them diligently, and ed yet modest Chillingworth with an honest mind.
“Propose me any thing out of It is readily admitted, that this book, and ask me whether there are many things in the or pot I believe it, and seem it sacred books, and particularly in' ever so incomprehensible to huthe mysteries, and some of the inan reason, I will subscribe ite doctrines necessarily connected band and heart, as knowing nog with and dependent on' them,' demonstration can be stronger which we cannot explain which than this, God hath said so, elude our most anxious inqui- therefore it is true.". ries, and refuse to be brought' 1I shall conclude any obserwaunder the test of our sevéresť' tions with a pertinent" passage reason.
So there are many from the pious and eloquent things in datural religion, telat Saurin. ing to the divine existence, the?:6 All doctrines that are ina creation and morał government comprehensible are not divine, of the world, and the origin of nor ought we to embrace any moral evil, concerning which it opinion merely because it is be is easy for the weakest man to yond our knowledge. But where ask questions, which the wisest a religion, in other respects, hath may find it difficult to answer.' good guarantees, when we have ? Perhaps clearer knowledge of good arguments to prove thaệ what is now concealed is unat- such a revelation contes from tainable in our present state ; heaven, when we certainly know or it might be hurtful to us in a that
that it is Cod who speak sy ought variety of ways, of which we wu to be surprised if ideas top have now no conception."God Godwhich come' so fully air knoveth how much it is best to thenticated, absorb andi confoundi disclose to us in the present: us ? freely grant, thatchad state. On subjects of this mys-i consulted my own reason onlyo D terious natņve, it is not expected' could not have discovered isome> that we comprehend, but that we mysteries of the gospet: New believe; where we cannot un-' ertheless, when I think on the riddle, we are to learn to trust ;' immensity :o£. Gody when I cast where our faculties are too weak my eyes on that vast ocean, to penetrate, we are to check when I consider tkat: immense our curiosity, and adoré. ally nothing astonishes theç nathe
The doctrines of Christianity ing stumbles me, nothing seems being all comprehended in the to me inadmissible, horx incompres Bible, when once we have ad-hensible soeverit may be. When mitted that this book was 'writ- the subject is divine, I am ready ten by inen divinely secured to believe all, to admit all, to new from error, it'follows, that from ceive all; provided I be convinca this book there lies no appeal; ed that it is God himself whos and that whatever is clearly?rest speaks to mc, or any one on his corded here is the truth of Gods: parto. After this doamnojmovaj though it may be beyond our astonished that there are thacer reason to comprehend örzegob distinct e persons, in: one» divinelt
i blic. On 20 mied
cssence ; one God, and yet a what he affirms, dispute what he FATHER, a Son, and a Holy determines, appeal from his de. Ghost. After this, I am no cisions, and, even after God hath more astonished that God fore given evidence, reject all doc, sees all without forcing any ; trines that are beyond his capapermits sin without forcing the city. Enter into thy nothingsinner ; ordains free and intelli- ness, mortal creature. What gent creatures to such and such madness animates thçe ? How ends, yet without destroying darest thou pretend, thou, who their intelligence, or their liber- art but a point, thou, whose es: ty. After this I am no more sence is but an atom, to measure astonished, that the justice of thyself with the Supreme Being, God required a satisfaction pro, with him, who fills heaven and portional to his greatness, that earth, with him whom heaven, his own love hath provided that the heaven of heavens cannot satisfaction, and that God, from contain ? 1 Kings viii. 27. the abundance of his compassion, “Canst thou by searching find designed the mystery of an in out God? Canst thou find out carnate God; a mystery, which the Almighty to perfection ? angels admire, while sceptics high as heaven what canst thou oppose ; a mystery which ab, do ? deeper than liell what canst sorbs human reason, but which thou know?” Job xi. 7. “ He fills all heaven with songs of stretcheth out the north qyer praise ; a mystery which is the the empty place, and hangeth great mystery, by excellence, l the earth upon nothing. He Tim. iii. 16, but the greatness of bindetle up the waters in his which nothing should make us thick clouds, the pillars of heave reject, since religion proposeth en tremble, and are astonished it as the grand effort of the wis, at his reproof. Lo these are dom of the incomprehensible parts of his ways, but how little God, and commandeth us to re- a portion is heard of him? but ceive it on the testimony of the the thunder of his power, who. incomprehensible God himself.: can understand ? Gird up now Either religion must tell us thy lojns like a man, for I will nothing about God, or what it demand of thee, and answer thou tells us must be beyond our me. Where wast thou when I capacities ;). and in discovering laid the foundations of the even the borders of this immense earth ? declare, if thou hast unocean, it must needs exhibit a derstanding, ch, xxvi. 7, 11, 14. vast extent, in 'which onr feeble: Who, hath laid the measures eyes are lost. But what sur, thereof;?. Who hạth stretched prises me, what stumbles me, the line upon it... whereupon what frightens me; is, to see a' are the foundations thereof fas. diminutive creatures a, contempo tened? Who laid the corner tible man, ia little ray of light stone thereof, when the morn, gliomering through a few fee, ing stars sang together, and all ble organs, controverti a pointį tbe sons of God.shouted for joy? with the Supreme Being, opposes. Who shut : up the sea with that Intelligence, who sits at the doors, when I made the cloud helm of the world ; question the garment thereof, and thick