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ries on the Scriptures, with palpable errors, in which the youth of the country are regularly initiated.
Amherst, Mass. Aug. 1813.
LIFE OF SERVETU S.
For the Panoplist.
Mr. Editor, I HAVE been not a little amused with a new biography of Michael Servetus, in the last General
at bridge. The learned writer of this piece has lately been favored with the perusal of a very extraordinary MS. (which he hopes to obtain permission to deposit in the library of Harvard College, p. 31,) and which, since very numerous and learned writers,* have been made to contribute to
the stores of very curious information that it contains, must be a rare acquisition indeed, for that library. Blest with such aid, he has brought out Calvin and Servetus anew upon the stage; and if he cannot lay claim to the merit of making them exhibit new contortions, he is at least entitled to the praise of having exhibited himself, in an attitude as ridiculous as could well be wished for the satisfaction of spectators.
I have often observed, that most sectarians are fond of recounting the persecutions and sufferings of the founders of their respective sects. There is, indeed, no difficulty in ac
*No less than twenty different writers are stated to have been read, in reference to his subject, by the author of the MS.; the "most important of which" have also been read by the biographer in the Repository.
counting for this. The noble army of martyrs in the cause of Christianity, in the primitive ages of this religion, have shed a glory on the cause they defended, which the enemies of the cross can never sully, and which will continue to shine as the sun in the firmanent, and as the stars forever and ever. What wonder, that those who would substitute lic doctrines of their party views, for the cathoshould strive to secure for their Christianity own sect the honors which mar
tyrdom confers, and the influence which may be gained by establishing a claim to the character of a sufferer for conscience sake.
Our biographer, a staunch Unitarian, seems very well to understand this principle. Nothing will do, but Servetus must be a murtyr. Servetus too, was the Father of modern Unitarians. "He was the first Protestant who publicly opposed himself to that doctrine, which at
present day enlightened Christians are continually more and more disposed to regard as one of the most gross corruptions of their religion,—I mean the doctrine of the Trinity.” p. 35.
Had Servetus, however, been a martyr, only of the common class, it would hardly be a sufficiently honorable distinction for the father of modern Unitarianism. It would not distinguish him from thousands and millions who have died as martyrs, and whose names no historical monuments have preserved. Servetus must also be a prophet. About six before his death years as our biographer informs us, Servetus wrote a letter to Abel
Paupin one of the ministers of Geneva, in which he "prophesied his future state, and declared his readiness to meet it," and in which he also discovered, "the zeal of a sincere reformer, and the spirit and determination of a martyr." p. 47.
One instance of prophecy might perhaps appear dubious, unless supported by others. Accordingly, we are told, that Servetus said, (in his book entitled Christianismi Restitutio,) respecting the scholastic opinions about the Trinity, "Future generations will consider them as things to be amazed at." This extraordinary prediction the biographer puts in capitals, and then immediately after reminds us, that "the prophecy of Servetus has already been in part fulfilled." pp. 52, 53.
To enhance the value of his martyrdom, however, it is not sufficient that he sustain the character of a prophet, for so did George Fox, and Brothers, and many şimilar candidates for renown. He must also be one of the first linguists in the world, un derstanding no less than seven different languages; (p. 75,) and as to his skill in other things, "to him must belong the credit of the first intimation of the circulation of the blood, the greatest discovery in modern physiology.
Thus is he equipped for renowned martyrdom. In his final sufferings, "Who," says our biographer, "will deny his undaunted courage, his persever ance and heroic constancy."
I am sorry, Mr. Editor, that I have not been able to bring the very candid production of our author, to bear upon this repre
sensation, so as to illustrate it in the most happy manner. Unfortunately, the author has stated, that even La Roche himself has conceded, that during his last imprisonment, "Servetus was very imprudent and behaved himself like a madman." p. 67.
And as to the "heroic constancy" of Servetus in his martyrdom; when the fire was applied to the pile, "it is said, Servetus uttered a cry so terrible, as to appal the spectators." p. 71.
Thus far our author, as to the first Unitarian martyr. I confess, Sir, Servetus does appear, from the biography of our author himself, a martyr worthy of the cause which he supported,
But your readers will begin by this time to inquire how poor Calvin fares, in the hands of such a historian. I cannot stay to tell the whole story; but I will give them a specimen, from which they may very correctly conclude as to the rest.
Calvin and Servetus had a correspondence by letters. Servetus sent some theological questions to Calvin, which the latter answered, and Servetus replied to his answer. In the next letter to Servetus, Calvin says, (as the biographer translates for us, cautiously omitting his original here,) "This nonsense is too absurd. Do not please yourself with such futile calumnies. Your calumny is too outrageous. I am astonished at your arrogance. Who are you that you would have us, despising the authority of Paul, by whom we know that Christ spake, give heed to your fictions! I do not find in you the candor which an ingenuous man ought to have,
If you have not made the determination to fly from truth and oppose it, I will shew you in a few words, that you have mistaken the meaning of Peter." p. 45. Now what is the sentence passed upon this uncourtly letter, by our biographer? This reply of Calvin is in a style of brutal insolence
Let us now turn to a letter of Servetus, and see how he fares, when he transgresses the rules of decorum.
Servetus wrote to Abel Paupin, one of the ministers of Geneva, and a particular friend of Calvin, respecting the subjects disputed by the former and Calvin thus: "Your Gospel is without the ONE God, without true faith, without good works. Instead of the one God, you have a three-headed Cerberus; instead of true faith, you have a fatal delusion; and good works you say are empty shows. Faith with you is a mere outside coloring with out efficacy. Man with you is a chimera, whose will is enslaved. &c. &c." p. 47.
Now, how does our biographer, so offended at the want of politeness in Calvin, criticise upon Servetus? Why, to be sure, "the language is in some parts coarse and violent, yet it discovers no acrimony, nor malevolence; but the zeal of a sincere reformer, and the spirit and determination of a martyr." And the letter is pronounced to be "in a high degree honorable to his character." P. 47.
Now, Sir, you have a fair specimen of the biographer's treatment of Calvin and of Servetus. Throughout the whole, nearly all which Calvin or his
apologists say in his defence is stigmatized as gross prevarication and falsehood; and nearly all which the martyr Servetus says, or the enemies of Calvin affirm, is regarded as true. A won derful specimen of modern liberality, and of religion reformed "from some of its most gross corruptions," to be sure!
Mr. Editor, I have not one word to say about Calvin or Servetus, by way of apology or attack. If Calvin sinned, what is that to the truth or falsehood of the system which he advocated? When some of the apos tles called for fire to come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans who refused to receive Christ, did they furnish proof to the world that the doctrines which they preached are not true? Much might be saidmuch has been said, for Calvin. I do not wish to attack or defend him. My only object is to shew how he fares in the hands of our biographer; and how an itiner. ant physician, who never would have been known to the world unless he had avowed extravagant errors, nor even then, if men had been wise enough to leave him to himself, grows, under the management of this U. nitarian biographer, into a most marvellous critic in various languages; into the author of the most noble discovery in modern times made in his profession; and into a prophet, and a martyr. Such is the liberality for which we are invited to forsake the good old ways of our fathers. I am, Mr. Editor,
Your humble Servant,
A correspondent has communicated, for insertion in the Panoplist, an argument in favor of establishing a bank, or banks, for the express purpose of furnishing a secure, convenient and advantageous method of investing the property of minors, widows, and all persons, who are not able to use their property in any active pursuit. He urges the propriety of forming an institution of this kind, as an exalted work of charity, and as a compliance with the Divine law, which requires provision to be made for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. The communication is too long to be admitted into our work; and of this there is the less need, as it was a few years ago inserted in the Boston newspapers. The writer does not go into particulars as to the contemplated mode of conducting the affairs of such an institution, of the amount of capital, and many other things, which must be considered in detail, should his plan ever be adopted. Nor does he decide, whether the whole capital, or only a part, should be composed of the property of the persons described, leaving a part, in the latter case, to be taken up by the wealthy, and by men in active business,
who would thus feel interested in the management of the whole. It did not escape our correspondent, we presume, that the widow, the fatherless, &c. can at any time become stockholders in any of the banks now in existence, by paying a moderate sum in advance. Whether this would not be more safe, than to commence an experiment on a new plan, is certainly worthy of consideration.
The last bank which was incorporated in Connecticut has a provision in favor of Charitable Societies, which might be adopted with advantage by the legislatures of other states, in future acts of incorporation. It is, if we remember rightly, in substance as follows: Any charitable society in that state may at any time invest money in the bank at par, and will be entitled to dividends while the money remains thus invested. The society may not transfer the stock, but may withdraw the money invested, on giving six months notice.
A provision might doubtless be made on similar principles in favor of minors, or any other description of persons whom the legislature might think it expedient to patronize.
Our correspondent has our thanks for his communication, though we could not avail ourselves of it in full.
REPORT OF THE DIRECTORS TO THE LON DON MISSIONARY SOCIETY, MAY 13, 1813.
(Concluded from p. 192. )
The brethren were anxiously expecting the arrival of Mr. May, who has maniVOL. IX,
fested a peculiar talent for the religious instruction of children. After being long (but we trust not uselessly detained) in America, by which circuitous route to India, the Directors were obliged to send him, he took his passage from thence in February 1812, in the ship Harmony 29
(together with some Missionaries of the American and Baptist Societies,) and arrived at Port Louis, in the Isle of France, on the 8th of June, where, it is sincerely hoped, as well as at the Island of Bourbon and Madagascar, Missions may be established. When Mr. May and his companions proceeded to India, and whether they have been permitted to proceed to the places of their destination, the Directors have not yet been able to learn.
THE information received from Mr. Hands, as well as from other quarters, concerning the Mission at Belhary, is highly satisfactory, as he is proceeding prosperously in the three great and important engagements of preaching the word, translating the sacred Scriptures, and supporting various schools; in which he is now assisted by a promising young man, a Mr. Taylor, who appears to be the first fruits of his pious labors in India.
Mr. Hands regularly preaches to the Europeans, and his success appears to be considerable, especially among the soldiers, many of whom are seriously disposed. Twenty or thirty of these meet together several evenings in the week for prayer, reading the Scriptures, and Christian conversation. A library of thirty or forty volumes is formed for their use; many good books have been purchas ed for them at Madras; and their advancement in religious knowledge, experience, and practice, has been remarkably great. They have also manifested their love of religion, by making an unsolicited subscription of about fifty rupees for the purchase of lamps and other useful articles for the school, besides a monthly subscription to defray the expense of lighting, &c. Mr. H. has reason to believe that more than twenty of the soldiers (of the fiftysixth regiment of foot) have been brought to the knowledge of the truth since they came to Belhary; and it is peculiarly satisfactory to state, that on the 27th of June, 1812, a Christian church was formed there, into which twenty-seven persons were, on a profession of their faith in Christ, admitted, and several more expressed their desire to be added to their number. This pleasing event filled the heart of our dear Brother with joy and thankfulness, and
*In the Isle of France there are said to be 90,000 inhabitants; and in the Island of Bourbon 120,000, in both places it is probable that Missionaries would be favorably received. The state of religion in both is most deplorable; but their possession by the English is likely to be producive of great advantage to the people.
will doubtless be highly gratifying to this Society.
The school at Belhary flourishes: it con tains nearly fifty children, most of whom have learned Dr. Watts's first catechism, some hymns, and portions of Scripture. The greater part of these children were, before their admission into the school, in a more wretched condition than that of the heathen; they have made good progress in learning, and Mr. Hands expresses his hope that many of them will be delivered out of the mouth of the destroyer, and become lambs of the Redeemer's flock. This school is conducted by a pious soldier, under the superintendance of Mr. H. who has received from several ladies and gentlemen, handsome contributions towards its support.
By the assistance of some kind friends, he has been enabled to erect a Native School House in the Mission garden, where about fifty children of different. castes have been admitted. This school is chiefly under the tuition of a respectable Bramin; brother of his Mooushee; and as the natives are extremely desirous that their children may learn English, Mr. Hands intends, as a stimulus to the schoolars in general, and as a reward to the most diligent, to select a few for that priv ilege; this method of proceeding is likely to conciliate the esteem of the parents, to win the hearts of the children, and to prepare the way for the gradual instruction of the people in the knowledge of Christianity, without alarming their fears, or giving a sudden shock to their prejudices.
Mr. Hands continues to improve in the Kanaada language, and is proceeding with his translation of the Scriptures into it, of which he has sent us a neat specimen. He has not yet begun to preach publicly to the natives, but proceeds, as all Missionaries must at the first, to converse with them in a familiar and affectionate manner; this increases his own ability for speaking the language, and prepares their minds for more public exhortations.
What Mr. Hands states concerning the disposition of the natives to hear the Gospel, is so well calculated to refute the chiections lately made against Missionary efforts as dangerous to the peace of the country, that it deserves peculiar regard. We shall quote his own words.
"The people in general are ready to hear, and to confess the folly of their cu perstitious customs, but not so ready t leave them. They acknowledge the se periority of the Gospel of Christ, but do
*This language has been called also the Kurnata, but Mr. H. thinks improperly. He calls it the Kanaada, but he says it is tulgarly called the Canaree.