« السابقةمتابعة »
A just being cànnot, under any circumstances, punish the innocent for the guilty. God is, a, just being. Therefore he cannot, under any circumstances, punish the innocent for the guilty. Then, if God cannot punish the innocent for the guilty, and Christ was innocent, he could not punish Christ for the guilt of man.
The priest's answers follows:
It is competent to a Sovereign God to demand satisfaction, that shali please himself; God chose the satisfaction of Christ's death;, therefore he was competent to accept it, as a sufficent atonement for the sins of the world.
Is this a syllogism, or is it an answer to the syllogistic argument, that preceded it?-If not, how.can they be légitionately answered by a syllogism ? They have been put to me, and I doubt not, can be syllogistically answered.
The next argument relates to responsibility and is presented as below :
Every being, intelligent, or otherwise, free or constrained, přnduce effects according to its nature and its citcumstances.
Man is a being comprehended under the descriptions above. Therefore he produces effects according to his nature and circumstances.
If so, how is he responsible to God in the future world ?
ANSWER. Your questioner seems to have great confusion of ideas, else he would never have constructed such syllogisms as you have sent us. We cannot at present enter upon the wide and momentous subjects, we shall do this at some other opportunity. Meanwhile we shall content ourselves to give you, what you and your friend are in search of.
It is not unjust in God, as the moral governor of the universe, to make and accept a sacrifice for the guilty, sufficient to save countless myriads of beings from sin, and its consequences. Such a divine sacrifice was the obedience to the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is not unjust in God to make and accept the sacrifice of the cross.
If your syllogism in reference to responsibility were, correct, on the same grounds you might come to the conclusion that man is not accountable to society for his conduct, and, that therefore the murderer shall not be punished. Here is another for you, which you and your friend can test.
A being capable of choosing for himself the motives under which he will act and the course he will pursue, must be responsible to his Creator, accordings to the opportunities and capacities he has of knowing and doing his Creetorwill. Such a being is every sane man. Therefore, every sane man is accountable to his Creator.
Market Street, Hyde, Feb. 24th, 1855. "ON THE FORMATION OF CHARACTER." SIR,
I value "authorities," when their statements agree with facts, which can be observed by ourselves.
1 did not attempt to lead any to believe that "The Empire” endorses the dogma, -"That man's character is formed for him.” At the commencement of the extraet taken from "The Empire, ” and inserted in No.6, of “The Defender,”—I said, “the following statement, is taken from the Empire," signed “Cáto, '-_and then quoted, what I believe pröves-“That man's character is formed for him.” By this I acknowledged the author, and gave the name of the
paper that contained his statement. The inference was my own as to what the statement proved; viz. " That man's character is formed for him.
But you, Sir, say, in No. 7 " Defender”--the assertion, which I made,--you believe to be a pernicious and deadly error? Yet you admit what " Cato' does say is a part-truth, that our inward experience is influenced by external circumstances. If external circumstances do not form character,--why do the religious people take such pains in training children, to their notions, in all the Sunday schools throughout England ? It appears singular to me that men who observe and think do not see this truth.
It is a fact, that we have no control over our birth, or the qualities of our physical constitution before birth ;- neither can we chose our parents, the temperament they will give to us, whether good or bad to begin with in life. : It is equally clear we have no choice of the country in which to be born, at what period our existence shall commence, who shall be our parents, the language first spoken to us, or what particular set of circumstances shall surround our early life, and give impressions to onr faculties, or sensations, which develop mind and feeling, and impart knowledge to us as we grow up to youth and manhood. How familiar the saying “We are as clay in the hands of the potter,' meaning that external circumstances acting upon our early life, according to the skill or want of skill in the arrangement, will produce à character that shall become good and honourable, middling or dishonourable, society. We have it again in this aphorism, "As the twig is bent so is the tree inclined. There are many statements made by Christians to the truth of the formation of individual or general character;-and yet they do not seem to see the just inference deducible from their own sayings. Witness the commands, the precepts, and the advice given to children not to play with bad boys, or associate with evil company! Early impressions often repeated, in time form tests, by which we approve or disapprove such other impressions as may come after. Experience sometimes proves our early tests are erroneous, and then we change them, (often called our principles)—but it was the new knowledge wrought ont of experience, or facts we knew not of before, (for want of the experience,)- that causes the change.
We must decline inserting the extract, which you have sent us from an article by Mr. T. Cooper. If that gentleman really holds your opinions, he will thank us for this course. He would not surely like statements so vague, desultory, and indefinite, without one particle of logical proof, to be put forward as an ex'. pression of his matured convictions. If he holds sentiments similar to yours you can tell him from us, that our pages are open to him for their exposition and defence.
You will have observed that we have inserted your own remarks in full. This we cannot promise to do again, unless you write more carefully, and save us the trouble of correction and punctuation. We must have “copy” somewhat fit to put into the compositor's lands. Those who take advantage of our “open page" should give us reasons, not authorities; and should not inflict upon us the trouble of reading "twaddle.” If none of the leaders of the opposing camp are inclined to cross swords with us; from sheer pity, we must try to state their case for them. We wonder that all of their followers do not enquire, as some are doing, why it is that they are so silent.
Can you not invite one of them to discuss in our pages this vexed question of the doctrine of circumstances ? If man is the creature of circumstances, will none of them tell us of what circumstances are the creature ?
· How it is that you have come to the conclusion that man's character is formed for him, we cannot discover. If you would only attempt to define “character,” you would perceive the perfect absurdity of your position. It would be as wise and true to say, that a house is built by its materials. All that
have said only proves that " our inward experience is influenced by cxternal circumstances," —a part-truth that we never thought of denying,—but does not furnish one item of proof for the dogma that “a man's character is formed for him." We would surround men with the most favourable possible circumstances for the growth of their moral nature, and the maturing of a noble character, but we would never overlook the fact that the human mind has not only the power of resisting the influence of those circumstances, but of creating and surrounding itself with circumstances of an opposite tendency. With the strongest inducements to virtue, a man may indulge in vice; and in a very world of evil, a man may show his integrity and uprightness. The self-determining power of the human will is a fact of universal conscious
This fact you entirely overlook. By tne self-determining power of the will, we do not simply mean, that we can do what we please, but that we can choose the motive under which we shall act. The power of choice is still more important than the power of action, and this belongs to the human mind. The causes acting independently of the will do not determine the volition ; that is determined by the will itself in the exercise of its own sovereignty. This fact no logical ingenuities, no sophistical difficnlties can ever set aside.
We may give you a few of our reasons for holding and saying that the dogma that a man's character is formed for him" is a pernicious and deadly error.
1. It involves a denial of man's free moral agency.
5. It would furnish an excuse for the vilest and basest crimes that ever have been committed.
6. It would lead men to expect an acquittal at the bar of God for sins, that will bring upon them the deepest and direst damnation.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS. IN OUR NEXT.
:—“An unpublished letter of John Locke;" “A few serious words to all unbelievers ;" Aufseher; and several other articles of interest, for which we cannot find room in this No.
RECEIVED.—J. B. Liverpool, Egomet, Kwaxa. A pressure of work hinders our correspondence with several friends, who will be attended to as soon as possible.
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a Weekly Itagazine,
OF CHRISTIAN EXPOSITION AND ADVOCACY.
Who knows not that truth is strong, next to the Almighty; she needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious, those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.--MILTON.
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 1855.
205 God unchangeable.
196 The Predictions in the Gospels...... 206 Infidel Slander wholesale and retail......... 200 Has Secularism any Poetry?
208 The Bible the Friend of Woman
202 Sayings of the Wise
THE DISCUSSION AT HALIFAX BETWEEN THE Rev. BREWIN GRANT AND MR. JOSEPH BARKER, ON THE
ORIGIN AND AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE,
There was a great decrease in the attendance to-night, many of the seats in the orchestra and front of the body of the hall being vacant. Mr. Jennings occupied the chair.
Mr. BARKER said that Mr. Grant had told them that Emanuel Swedenborg did not get his idea that God existed in a human form from the Bible. But that was more than Mr. Grant could know. The doctrine was there, and no consistent believer in the Bible ought to reject it. One word more with regard to paganism. He no more believed in the perfection of paganism than in that of Judaism or Christianity. In pagan books we had imperfections, indecencies, and in them there was no perfect example, and no perfect rule of morals : but in pagan books we had sentiments beautiful and lofty, most humane, pure and benevolent, and many noble examples. We had pagan writings, which in some respects excelled all the best portions of the Bible, but all were imperfect and none were to be taken as absolute authorities. The proper way to use them, then, was to take the good and leave the bad. He kept himself free, receiving no book as his authority, but believing in progress. In many things we were far a-head of the ancients, but we were daily getting further a-head. Infinite
No. 13, Vol. 1.
progress had been made in the past, and we had the prospect of infinite progress before us in the future. To charge the secularists with hating the Bible, was foolish; it was only the notion of its Divine authority they hated. As Mr. Grant said, when Cicero spoke of the people, he did not mean all the population. The Romans did not admit conquered people to all the rights of citizenship at once, but they gradually kept extending such rights to them. Of course Roman advocates of democracy could not proclaim their just and liberal laws and get them into operation in one day. But that the English, French, and other nations had got their ideas of government from Rome, was certain. He observed that many of the statements in "Christianity Triumphant,” were erroneous, and quoted from and commented upon that work, in order to prove that such was the case. Then followed a long string of quotations from Leviti. cus and other books of Moses, of laws which Mr. Barker considered both unjust and cruel, because they gave power to the Israelites to carry on slavery in its worst form, and to visit with the punishment of death comparatively minor offences that would have been better dealt with by less severe penalties.
Mr. GRANT said he believed there was no set of laws so good as were the laws of Moses, for the Jews under the circumstances in which they were placed. Mr. Barker perpetually transferred his notions from Judaism to the Bible, as though Judaism meant the Bible, whereas the laws of the Jews were national laws for a people under particular circumstances, and were not imposed on any other people in the world. Mr. Barker declared that there were many good things in heathen books, but that they were all imperfect. He, however, had used them to answer his (Mr. G's) first positive argument for the Bible—that in the first two chapters of Genesis there were better, higher, holier, nobler principles than were to be found in any other books in the world ; and that the very circumstance of the Bible teaching such principles as were not taught nor attained to by any human writer, was proof that it came from a supernatural
Mr. Barker, instead of disproving it, or finding anything equal to it first quoted and then budgled heathen writers. In Cicero could not be found those principles of liberty laid down in the first chapter of Genesis. Mr. B. admitted that Cicero only meant a few when referring to the people; therefore his (Mr. G's) statement was true, that Tom Paine could not get his " Rights of Man" from anywhere but the Bible. Mr. Barker attempted to answer some quotations from “ Christianity Triumphant,” but instead of answering those statemetits, he answered statements chosen himself. All the quotations he (Mr. G.) took, he took himself, and he wanted Mr. Barker to answer them. Mr. Grant quoting from “The Christian," one of Mr. Barker's works, showed that Mr. Barker, from his seventeeth to his fortieth year, regarded the Bible as a standard of truth and duty, of right and wrong; and during that time he studied it attentively and carefully, so that there was scarcely any passage on any great subject, which had not been frequently pondered in his mind. In the same work, Mr. Barker also stated that the nations where the Bible was accepted and most read and studied, were the wisest, best, and happiest nations. These quotations Mr. Grant followed up by others from Mr. Barker's tracts on true religion. There he said the laws of Moses were generally divided into three kinds—the moral law of the ten commandments, the political law, and the ceremonial law. Referring to the character of those laws, Mr. Barker said that regard for the poor and friendless ran through them; that a master was forbidden, in the most solemn nanner, to deprive the hireling of his wages, or put him to inconvenience by neglecting to pay him at the proper time; and that the laws as to slavery were so strict, that it was with great difficulty it could be continued, and it appeared to have died away uuder the rule of Moses. Mr. Grant then