Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is not! You know, you see with your own eyes, it is not! They shun this time; they avoid it, as owls avoid the day, and as doers of evil shrink from the light! They dread calm discussion; they dread the times, when they can be answered without interruption; and when they can be pinned down to their assertions, called upon for proofs, and sifted closely. You will find them choosing for their appeal, times of excitement, and party spirit, periods of distress or embarrassment, and consequently periods of irritation and prejudice; when they can pretend wonderful concern for your sufferings, wbich they will not make any sacrifices to alleviate-and when, under impatience of present evil, you are most prone to judge from your feelings, rather than your reason, to give ear to any impudent quackery, and too often to be made the dupes and victims of factious and vain traitors. They choose also times and places where they can make false charges, by coarsely violating the order of the meeting, and cannot be refuted unless those, who could answer, would follow them in their disorderly, and indecent conduct. Their times are contested elections, mobmeetings, beerhouse and newsroom assemblies, and other times when “Common Sense can be overborne by clamour, and the voice of reason and truth overcome by brute force, and outrage. They dare not submit their views in distinct written statements, with reference to facts, laid before you at a time, when you can calmly consider them.

2. We have noticed the times, next let us consider the means, chosen by these agitators. And let us again consider what would be the means chosen by an advocate of truth and reason, that we may compare those means with such, as are usually chosen by agitators.

The advocate of truth will not be afraid to put bis name to his statements—he will make them openly

and also distinctly-he will refer to his authorities... he will give particulars, dates, places-be will make his charges plainly and not sneer and insinuate what be dares not avoWoche will not wilfully put forth false statements---he will not descend to tricks to mislead, nor take advantage of mob prejudice or violence to terrify or boot down bis opponents---he will not endeavour to stifte enquiry into parties, principles, or actions, by personalities or attempts to direct the hatred and persecution of the ignorant against the man, who institutes that enquiry, and appeals to your

66 Common Sense." No man can be so ignorant as not to understand that the above would be the marks by which the candour and honesty of an appeal might be judged. Now, friends, try us and try the enemies of “ Common Sense” by these marks. See if you can discoverin our Magazine, one single instance, in which we have departed from these principles? And see whether, in every one of them the enemies of “Common Sense do not stand self convicted by their deeds---deeds notorious, and within your own observation and knowledge. For example, their appeals are addressed to your passions, not to your reason---they deceive you by misstatements and magnifying evils, by lying placards. Cries of persecution, of which they produce no evidence (but of which direct evidence* can be produced against them)---processions, falsehoods, tricks of all sorts, to raise hatred and prejudice, and to get up pretences of public countenance, are among their every day arts. Their publications are without a name ; fit means for slanderers, and for a cause and agents, which shun the light. They cower in darkness to stab at and detract from the character of one who stands forth, and openly defies them. They repeat often refuted falsehoods, which they bave the baseness to adopt,

See, for example, the case of Wardle School, No. 3, "Common Sense."

Common

but not the manliness to stand forth and defend. They parade their plaster loaves, their inflammatory bills, their paid lecturers, their bludgeon guarded processions, their self constituted preacher, their Sunday school teacher, and boy, parliaments. They practice again and again the stale trick of putting forth a bible to be seized for a rate of sixpence; which though legally due they choose not to pay without legal process, that they may excite ignorant prejudice, and raise an hypocritical cry of persecution, to blind you to the real truth. For the same purpose they set up their own opinion or interest, against the decisions of the lawful tribunals of the nation; and, when suffering the penalties of resisting the law, they try to blind your Sense" by raising your prejudices in their favour, under pretence of being Martyrs for conscience. They raise mobs---make false statements, knowing that a fool or a knave may in a dozen words put forth a lie or a fallacy, which a wise or honest man cannot refute in a volume, and may probably never be allowed an opportunity of exposing before those who have been deceived by it. What they lack in facts and argument, they strive to make up in sneers and personalities, and ignorant profaneness and blasphemies, and (whensoever they dare) in violence and terror, Are these your heroes and champions. O liberty, civil or religious! Are these your leaders and teachers ? Let the honest well-wisher of his Country--- Let the respectable dissenter, consider these things. Pause, brethren; use your “Common Sense." Beware how you embark yourselves, your character, your country, your temporal and eternal interests, with men, whose objects, cause, and principles, require the support of such disgraceful and demoralizing arts and proceedings. They appeal to passions, and prejudice---we appeal to reason, conscience, and Common Sense." Whether we, or they, are to prevail, will not sway us. We will do our duty, leaving the result to the great Disposer of all events. We stand fearlessly before you and ask no favour. To us man's Judgment is of comparatively small moment. Our lives, our facts, our arguments sball be continually before you. We desire only your welfare, and the triumph of truth. We trust that truth will at last prevail, we submit it to your “ Common Sense.” Judge ye, brethren; yea, Judge at your eternal peril---judge calmly, and without prejudice, and faithfully obey THE TRUTH.

VARIOUS MEANINGS OF THE WORD CHURCH.

The term which we translate “Church,” is occasionally employed by the sacred writers in senses different from those which we connect with it; as for instance, to designate the people of God under the former dispensation, or even to express any public assembly: with those meanings I am not at present concerned. Its ordinary application in Scripture is to a society of Christians, or of those who believe in Christ. God Himself according to Scripture has 6 called” all such “out of darkness into his marvellous light;" (I Peter, 11., 9.) so that, as it is said elsewhere, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” (Rom., IX., 16.) Thus the Church of Christ is not formed by the mere voluntary association of individuals, but by divine grace, operating either by miracle, or by ordinary means of divine institution. And this

to be implied in the very Greek word translated “Church,” which is derived from a verb signifying “to call forth."

The applications of this term to the Christian society are various.

1. It sometimes means the whole Christian body or society, considered as composed of its vital and essential numbers, the elect and sanctified children

seems

of God, and as distinguished from those who are only externally and temporarily united to Christ. In this sense we may understand the apostle speaking of a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." (Ephe., V., 27.) And again: the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven." (Heb., XII., 23.) It is generally allowed that the wicked belong only externally to the church.

2. The church means the whole society of Christians throughout the world, including all who profess their belief in Christ, and who are subject to lawful pastors; as in these passages: “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” (I Cor., X., 32.) “God hath set some in the church; first Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," (I Cor., XII., 28.) &c. this universal church are many lesser societies or churches.

3. It is applied to the whole Christian community of a city and its neighbourhood; thus we read, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,” (I Cor., 1., 2.) the church of Jerusalem is mentioned, (Acts, VIII., 1.) Antioch, (Acts, XIII., 1.) Ephesus, (Ephe., xx., 17.) Laodicea, (Col., V., 16.) Symına, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia. (Rev., II., 3.)

4. It sometimes means a Christian family or a very small community meeting in one house for worship, as in the following passages: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila,........likewise greet the church that is in their house;" (Rom., XVI., 3.) Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in this house;" (I Cor., XVI., 19.) “Nymphas and the church which is in his house;"

15.) “The church in thy house.” (Phil., 2.)* In these passages the “ Church” means the members of the Church meeting or dwelling at such houses. Eds. C. s.

(Col., IV.,

« PreviousContinue »