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government should answer the purpose of moral discipline; that it should enforce the claims, or avenge the cause of God. Those evil doers which it is alone competent to restrain, are such as are not subject to the conservative authority instituted for the protection of the personal rights of the community. , And whatever political authority, whether it call itself civil or ecclesiastical, attempts to extend its jurisdiction to the consciences or the characters of men, is guilty of usurping the Divine prerogative, and assumes the character of an oppressor. To govern the heart, to control the character, to dictate to the conscience, to change the will, require the attributes of Deity; and the means and instruments by which this moral government is administered, have no affinity to political sanctions. It cannot be necessary, then, to prove that error is innocent, in order to take away all pretext from religious intolerance. It is very true, that governments are very incompetent judges of what is truth, and what is error; and churches, even infallible churches, are much in the same predicament as soon as they begin to legislate on the subject. But supposing the church to be right in its decision, and the government to be in unison with that Church, the heresy or infidelity which it denounces, however criminal in a moral respect, cannot be visited with political penalties without manifest injustice; without a violation of every sound principle of legislation. If the state is not endangered, nor the rights of individuals invaded, no political offence is committed, and no political penalty can be righteously incurred. The existence of such heresy and error is a great evil, calling for the most active counteraction by other means than force or fine (into which all political penalties resolve themselves); but the arm of power is not the remedy for moral evil. The tares and the wheat must grow together until the harvest. We shall not now enter upon the question of the criminality of error. That subject is fully and satisfactorily treated by Dr. Wardlaw and Mr. Taylor in the works before us ; and in the admirable discourses of Barrow, (whose authority, strange to say, has been adduced in support of the dogma, that belief is involuntary,) it had already received an occasional but masterly illustration. The public are under obligations to the Editor of the present judicious reprint of this portion of his writings. A writer in the Westminster Review had said, “The proof that belief is not voluntary, is well put by Barrow in his first sermon on Faith, but the passage is too long for insertion. The following is the passage referred to, in which it will be seen that Barrow is putting the sentiment in question, preparatory to his exposing its fallacy. “That faith should be thus highly dignified, has . appeared strange to the adversaries of our religion, and has suggested to them matter of obloquy against it. They could not aprehend why we should be commanded, or now we can be obliged to believe; as if it were an arbitrary thing depending on our free choice, and not rather did naturally follow the representation of objects to our mind. They would not allow, that an act of our understand
ing, hardly voluntary, as being extorted by force of arguments, should deserve such reputation and such recompenses; for if (argued they) a doctrine be propounded with evident and cogent reason, what virtue is there in believing it, seeing a man, in that case, cannot avoid believing it, is therein merely passive, and by irresistible force subdued 2 If it be propounded without such reason, what fault can it be to refuse assent or to suspend his opinion about it 2 Can a wise man then do otherwise 2 Is it not in such a case simplicity or fond credulity to yield assent; yea, is it not deceit or hypocrisy to pretend the doing so. May not justly then all the blame be charged rather on the incredibility of the doctrine, or the infirmity of reasons enforcing it than on the incredulity of the person who does not admit it? Whence no philosophers ever did impose such a precept, or did assign to faith a place among the virtues. “To clear this matter, and to vindicate our religion from such misprisions, and that we may be engaged to prize and cherish it, I shall endeavour to declare, that Christian faith does worthily deserve all the commendations and the advantages granted thereto; this I shall do by considering its nature and ingredients, its rise and causes, its efficacy and consequences.” pp. 31, 32. He proceeds to remark, in the first place, that, “as to its nature,” faith “does involve knowledge; knowledge of most worthy, and important truths, knowledge peculiar and not otherwise attainable, knowledge in way of great evidence and assurance.” Secondly, “Faith has also divers ingredients, or inseparable adjuncts, which it doth imply, rendering it commendable and acceptable to God.” As “Faith implies a good use of reason. This is that which commends any virtue ; that a man acting after it, does act wisely, in conformity to the frame and design of his nature, or like a rational creature; using his best faculties in the best manner, and in their proper operations towards the end intended by the all-wise Creator. This is that upon which all dispensation of justice is sounded; a man being accountable for the use of his reason, so as to deserve reward for the right management, and punishment for the misuse of it; this is that, consequently, on which God so often declares himself to ground his judgunent ; , so that, in effect, he will justify men for being wise, and condemn them as guilty of folly; whence, in the language of Scripture, wisdom and virtue or piety are equivalent terms, and a fool signifies the same with a vicious or impious person. And if ever a man deserves commendation for using his reason well, it is then when, upon mature deliberation, he embraces the Christian doctrine; for so doing is a most rational act, arguing the person to be sagacious, considerate, and judicious; one who carefully inquires into things, seriously weighs the case, and judges soundly concerning it. “It was a foul aspersion cast upon our religion by its ancient opposers, that it did require a mere belief, void of reason,' challenging assent to its doctrines without any trial or proof. This suggestion, if true, were, I confess, a mighty prejudice against it, and no man, in: deed justly could be obliged to admit it upon such terms.” pp. 30, 40. Indeed, if we seriously weigh the case, we shall find, that to require faith without reason, is to demand an impossibility; for faith is an effect of persuasion, and persuasion is nothing else but the application of some reason to the mind, apt to draw forth its assent. No man, therefore, can believe he knows not what or why. He that truly believes, must apprehend the proposition, and he must discern its connexion with some principle of truth, which, as more notorious to him, he did before admit; otherwise he only pretends to believe, out of some design, or %. affection to some party; his faith is not so much really faith as hypocrisy, craft, fondness, or faction. “God, therefore, neither does nor can enjoin us faith without reason ; but therefore does require it, as matter of duty from us, because he has furnished sufficient reason to persuade us. And having made his doctrine credible, (a faithful or credible word, and worthy of all acceptation,) having given us reason chiefly to be employed in such matters, as he justly may claim our assent, so he will take well our ready surrendry of it to him, as an act of reason and wisdom becoming us.” pp. 43, 44. These passages will sufficiently show, how sar this profound writer was from thinking that the infidel may be one who, having dealed faithfully with evidence, has come, unavoidably and involuntarily, to a wrong conclusion. But the following paragraphs are still more to the point. “Whoever indeed will consider the nature of man, or will consult obvious experience, shall find, that, in all practical matters, our will, or appetite, has a mighty influence upon our judgment of things; causing men with great attention to regard that which they love, and carefully to mark all reasons making for it; but averting from that which they dislike, and making them overlook the arguments which persuade to it. Whence men generally suit their opinions to their inclinations; warping to that side where their interest lies, or to which their complexion, their humour, their passions, their pleasure, their ease, sway them; so that almost any notion will seem true, which is profitable, safe, pleasant, or anywise grateful: that notion false, which in any such respect does cross them. Very few can abstract their minds from such considerations, or embrace pure truth, divested of them ; and those few who do so, must therein most employ their will, by strong efforts of voluntary resolution and patience, disengaging their minds from those clogs and biasses. This is particularly notorious in men's adherence to parties, divided in opinion, which is so regulated by that sort of causes, that if you mark what any man's temper is, and where his interest lies, you may easily prognosticate on what side he will be, and with what degree of seriousness, of vigour, of zeal, he will cleave to it. A timorous man, you may be almost sure, will be on the safer side; a covetous man will bend to that party where gain is to be had; an ambitious man will close with the opinion passing in court; a careless man will comply with the fashion; af. fection arising from education or prejudice will
hold others stiff; few do follow the results of impartial contemplation. “All faith, therefore, even in common things, may be deemed voluntary, no less than intellectual; and Christian faith is especially such, as requiring thereto more application of soul, managed by choice, than any other; whence the ancients, in their description of it, do usually include this condition, supposing it not to be a bare assent of the understanding, but a free consent of the will. ‘Faith,' saith Clemens Alexandrinus, ‘is a spontaneous acceptance and compliance with divine religion.” And ‘to be made at first, was not in our power; but God persuaded us to follow those things which he liketh, choosing by the rational faculties which he hath given us, and so leadeth us to faith,' saith Justin the Martyr. “The same is supposed in holy Scripture; where, of believers, it is said, ği they did gladly, or willingly, receive the word, and they received it with all willingness or readiness of mind. “And to defect of will, infidelity is often ascribed :- Ye will not come unto me,’ saith our Saviour, “that ye might have life;' and “How often would I have gathered thy children toether as a hen doth gather her brood under #. wings, and ye would not o' and “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come;’ and ‘Of this,' saith St. Peter of some profane infidels, they are willingly ignorant, that by the word of God the heavens were of old;" and the like St. Paul saith, “that they received not the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.' “Indeed, to prevent this exception, that faith is a forced act, and therefore not moral, or to render it more voluntary and worthy, God has not done all that he might have done to convince inen, or to wring belief from them. He hath not stamped on his truth that glaring evidence which might dazzle our minds; he does not propose it armed with irresistible cogency; he has not made the objects of faith conspicuous to sense, nor the propositions thereof demonstrable by reason, like theorems of geometry: this indeed would be to depose .. to divest it of its excellency, and bereave it of its praise; this were to deprive us of that blessedness which is adjudged to those who “believe and do not see;' this would prostitute wisdom to be deflowered by the foolish and expose truth to be rifled by the profane ; this would take from our reason its noblest exercise and fairest occasion of improvement; this would confound persons fit to be distinguished, the sagacious and the stupid, the diligent and the slothful, the ingenuous and the froward, the sober and the vain, the pious and profane; the children of wisdom, which are apt to justify it, and the sons of folly, who hate ... the friends of truth and virtue, and the lovers of falsehood and unrighteousness. “God therefore has exhibited his truth, shining through some mists of difficulty and doubt, that only those who have clear eyes, who do look attentively, who are willing to see, may discern it; that those who have eyes may see, and “ those who have ears may hear.' IHe means this way of discovering his mind for a test to prove our ingenuity, for a field to exercise our industry, for an occasion to express his goodness in crowning the wisdom and virtue of good believers; that ‘ the trial of your faith,' saith St. Peter, “being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tricó with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love ; in whom, though ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. He meaneth also thence to display his justice in punishing the slothful, the vain, the perverse, the profane; that, as the apostle saith, ‘ all men might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Hence, “there must of necessity be offences,’ said our Saviour; hence our Lord was “set for a mark to be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed ; and, ‘there must be heresies,' saith St. Paul: why? that “they which are approved, oi Joziol, persons that can bear the test ‘may be made manifest.’” p. 67–70. “Indeed, more abundant light of conviction, as it would deprive good men of much praise and reward, so, it inight be hurtful to many persons, who, having affections indisposed to comply with truth, would outface and outbrave it, however clear and evident; they would,' as Job speaketh, “rebel against the light, although shining on them with a meridian splendour ; they would plunge themselves into an inexcusable and incorrigible state of impiety, ‘doing despite to the Spirit of grace,’ and involving themselves in the “unpardonable sin;' as we have many instances in the evangelical history, of those who, beholding unques. tionable evidences of divine power attesting to our Lord's doctrine, which they could not but acknowledge, did yet oppose it, did blaspheme against it, and outrageously persecute it." p. 72. “Those, indeed, whom sufficient reasons (such as God has dispensed to us) will not convince, upon them the greatest motives would have small efficacy. So father Abraham told the rich man: ‘ # they hear not Moses and the prophets neither would they be persuaded though one arose from the dead." “They may pretend, if they had more light, that they would be persuaded ; like those who said, ‘Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe ;' but it would not in effect prove so, for they would yet be devising shifts and forging exceptions, or else they would oppose an impudent face and an obstinate will against the truth. “Wherefore it was for the common good, and to Divine wisdom it appeared sufficient, that, upon the balance, truth should much outweigh falsehood, if the scales were held in an even hand, and no prejudices were thrown in against it; that it, should be conspicuous enough to eyes which do not avert themselves from it, or wink on purpose, or be clouded with lust and passion; it was enough that infidelity is justly chargeable on men's wilful depravity, and that ‘re: 2271, ox zov”, they have not,’ as our Saviour saith, ‘any reasonable excuse' for it.” pp. 73, 4.
We may safely admit, that all mental error which is unconnected with the state of the heart, all unbelief which does not involve disobedience, is innocent. There could be no guilt in erroneous opinions, if those opinions were not the result of the perverting influence of moral pravity. “Those who wish to consider mental errors as venial,” remarks Mr. Taylor, “maintain that a man cannot believe as he pleases or as he wishes.” “Now this is greatly a false statement; and, so far as it is true, it is not to the point. It is a false statement; for these very persons do form their faith, at least their notions, according to their wishes. They wish to have their minds left quite at liberty to embrace what notions may suit then, and therefore maintain, that any error in their opinions cannot be sinful. They wish to have the notions they thus form true, and therefore adhere to them at all events. They form to themselves in imagination a god according to their wishes, altogether such a one as themselves; because any other notion, any scriptural representation of the Divine Being, would control their reason in a way their pride cannot bear, and curb their passions so as sensual indulgence dislikes extremely. “They maintain, that believing any statement, dépends upon the evidence concerning it presented to the mind. Now this is in part true; evidence must be presented. Yet it is in part false; because, whatever evidence may be produced, if the mind will not examine it, or even look at it, the most weighty arguments can have no avail. Weakness in the visual organ, may prevent our discerning what is plainly set before us; and a wilful closing the eyes takes place frequently, when we suspect that what is to be seen will be disagreeable to us. The disposition of the mind has therefore much more to do with our actual believing, than the mere quantum of evidence. The perverseness and obstimacy of the will are extremely influ: ential. All these points involve guilt, and make the error so held to be deeply criminal. “It is with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;' while, therefore, a heart of unbelief operates in a man, he will not believe on the Saviour, let the evidence produced be what it may. Prejudice forms a principal ingredient in unbelief; but prejudice supposes there has not been any suitable examination; the opinions formed under this influence most likely are erroneous, and, so far as they are so, the error must incur guilt. “If prejudice and pride, wilfulness and sensual appetites, are innocent, then the opinions formed under the influence of such principles may be innocent also. But the affirmative in this case can hardly be supposed; and if asserted and defended, it will only prove the evil to be deeper than is suspected by the parties, and beyond the power of mere evidence, how bright soever, to remove. “The notion of mental error being venial, is full of evil influence on the mind in many ways. It takes away all fear of error, and sets the mind loose from every bond which might engage it to carefulness in its reasonings upon religious subjects. That hold which the revelation of divine truth ought to have, is weakened. The mind feels at more ease without such shackles, and is soon induced to shake them off. When they have thus forsaken the word of the Lord, what wisdom is in them : “If mental error is held to be venial, as doubting seems to be rational to a half-informed mind, doubts will be raised, and pursued, far beyond due limits. The excursive imagination passes into the enemies' country without perception of the fact, of course without suspicion of the danger. One doubt leads to another, as truly as one truth demonstrated leads to the ascertaining of fresh principles.” p. 18–21. The specific design of Mr. Taylor's volume is, to expose the criminality and danger of sceptical opinions under the form of Socinianism; with a view to guard young persons; for whom the work is intended, against listening to the insinuations which would undermine their belief. “The first ominous trial at the tree of knowledge,” he remarks, “was hazarded in the hope that the produce was good to make one wise.” A comparison is drawn between the case of the infidel, and that of the profligate, for the purpose of showing, that he who sins against the first table of the Decalogue, cannot be regarded as less guilty, although his delinquency is less thought of among men, than he who openly violates the laws of the second table. “Let us coupare the nature of the guilty actions. “If all offences come from the heart, and have their malignity from the intention, purpose, and cherished indulgence; we shall not wonder, if that eye which discerns all our motives, should be more disgusted with the sly sarcasm aimed against his especial proposals of forgiveness, than with the mere animal indulgence which forgets his law. Breaches of the moral precepts do very commonly take place without reference to them, without express purpose of disobedience, but through mere habit and animal excitement. This is guilt, deep guilt. But is it less so to contemplate the express provisions of infinite goodness, and refuse the in 2 To understand i. God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son to die in order to save the guilty, and then coolly to resist the plan in toto ; to set one's self to invalidate the testimony; to tell God that he cannot save men by substitution, or that he ought not? Here the heart is busied in the act, and most offensively determined on it. “In the former case, it is the body sins, though in close connexion with the mind, which is enslaved to its indulgence. The mind indeed sins, actively, foully, and says, “To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant;' constraining the body, even beyond its powers, to fulfil the lusts thereof. The sinner is therefore voluntary, and determined, in his fleshy deeds; there can be no excuse framed for him ; his depravity is great, his delinquency deep. “But shall a sin of the mind be less a sin, because the body has no share in it, supposing it so to be 2 Is not the mind eminently the man himself; and are not its improper actings essentially sin Where the body pulls a trigger and fires a pistol, and a man is slain, the whole guilt lies in the mind's intention. It is murder, or manslaughter, or only accidental
death, according as the purpose or malice prepense shall be. In cases of heretical contumacy, or even of supercilious doubting, the mind is clearly engaged, making its own choice, determining, according to a blinded, or perverse, or at least a criminally careless state of the feelings. He who says, “Give me thine heart,' discerns that the heart is the verything withholden from him ; that it is in decided opposition to him, not yielding obedience, but refusing it in a manner most determined and deliberate. “Does the doubter read on the subject 2 Yes, what? Is it to God's revelation he has recourse, in order to enlighten his judgment, to direct his way? No; it is some book written in express opposition to the sentiments of the Bible, which he prefers. He will examine for himself, he says. And in the true spirit of one who has previously determined, he neglects one side altogether; and examines, if it deserve such a term, only those statements and those arguments, which he previously knows are drawn up in professed enmity to the doctrines which he wishes to prove false. Is not this partial state of mind truly sinful? The wish to find divine statements false, is the mind's own condemnation of them, and resistance against them. To read in this spirit, is to proclaim determined hostility to the truth, and will be so accounted. “That the error is only mental, is no excuse, nor exculpation, nor diminution of the guilt. Guilt might be greater if acted on, certainly ; but it is now exactly what this procedure of the mind makes it; its own purposed rejection of dixine truth, as given us of God.” p. 68–70. Mr. Taylor's volume abounds with striking remarks, and preserves throughout, the tone of firm but affectionate remonstrance. That it will give great offence to Unitarians, he doubtless anticipates: it is not for them he writes. Enough has been written on the Socinian controversy; but a work was wanted, that should be proper to be put into the hands of a young person in danger of imbibing the contagion of scepticism. For this purpose the volume is excellently adapted; and we trust that its extensive usefulness will realize the hope and rayer expressed by the venerable Author. e shall make room for one more paragraph as a further specimen. “Is it assuming too much, my young friend, to say, Be afraid of doubting, when that doubt inust of necessity include a high deference to your own powers, judgment, and authority. Common inodesty might keep up a respect for Scripture cautions, unless the word of God can be proved fallacious. This has never been done. This is not often attempted. It is thought sufficient to decry it in the lump; to take it for granted that it is the work of priestcraft; to revile it as such, without the common justice of examination, or the common good manners of seeming loth to discard an old, a once revered friend. Be aware that such doubting is sinful. . It is not truly doubting, but maltreating ; it is not the determination of prudence, but of petulance; not the calm dictate of judgment, but the heyday of rebellion. “Persons seem not to be aware, that, in most cases, what is called doubting, is real'." deciding. If something should be done, to doubt issues in deciding not to do it. If something must be done, doubting leads to doing the direct contrary to what is proper, and this upon less evidence than was found on the side of safe conduct. To doubt, where there is even time for hesitation, is to steel the mind against the right conviction; and the consequence, in all probability, will be the hasty decision, on the spur of the moment, when at last one must decide, under the baleful influence of this doubting frame; or the passing by the last suitable moment for right action, not having perceived even the symptoms of the crisis. Doubting continues then as a matter of habit; or rather, the decision is really, though imperceptibly made.”—pp. 160,161. The first two Sermons in Dr. Wi. present volume, were briefly noticed on their first publication. They drew down upon him a feeble and indiscreet attack, which he has now ably repelled in an Appendix. The judicious manner in which he has treated the subject, leaves nothing to be wished for. His general position, “that all unbelief of the gospel, has its origin in evil will," he remarks, “be set down as exceedingly narrow-minded and uncharitable; but I dare not,” he adds, “indulge a charity for the sentiments and motives of infidelity.” No word has been more perverted from its true import, than this same word charity. The motives and sentiments of individuals ought to be judged of with candour, and their errors, in many cases, require to be treated with lenity; but to disconnect evil conduct and evil principle, is not to be charitable, but to be guilty of error and treachery. The proper occasion for the exercise of charity is af. forded by offences against ourselves: charit suffereth long and is kind. That charity whic consists in judging favourably of offences against God, is not the Divine grace which is the subject of the Apostle's exquisite eulogy. Closely connected with the subject of man's responsibility for his belief—so closely, Dr. Wardlaw remarks, that it may almost be regarded as a branch of it, is that which relates to the responsibility of the heathen world,— “For what are they answerable, and upon what grounds f" “There are few objections against the Bible more o to be heard from the lips of infidels, uttered sometimes with serious gravity, and at other times with the lightness of a sarcastic sneer.—than that it damns the heathen. Do you really believe, it is asked, in the tone of mingled surprise, derision, and anger, that all the heathen are to be left to perish etermally, because they never had the opportunity of knowing what you call the gospel 2 The objection is the more insinuating because it wears the garb of humanity, and recommends itself to the feelings of benevolence.” The salvability of the heathen, the subject of Mr. Grinfield's dissertation, is, in fact, the question of their moral responsibility put in a different and less proper form. We regret to say, that neither in stating the question nor in answering it, has the author done himself much credit as a theologian. The confusion of ideas which pervades his volume, and the extreme inaccuracy of his statements, are
such as we should not have expected to meet with in the work of a respectable scholar. Mr. Grinfield's professed object is, “to advocate the doctrine of universal redemption,” in opposition to what he is pleased to call Calvinism : which Calvinism he represents as the main spring and foundation of nearly all missionary exertions. “The heathen,” he says, “are continually spoken of as perishing without any possibility of escape; their eternal happiness is represented as depending on the hope forlorn of converting them before they die;—we are urged and exhorted to be kinder than Providence, and more liberal than Grace.”—p. xii. From these expressions it might naturally be inferred, that the author is at all events no very warm friend of missionary exertions; that he does not regard them either as very necessary or very beneficial. More especially as, in a preceding paragraph, he has referred to the small numerical proportion which Christians bear to the heathen population of the globe, as a very “startling consideration,"— an objection against the credibility of Christianity, the strength of which is to be invalidated only by reasonings which seem to deny the necessity of their conversion. Yet, this natural construction of his words, Mr. Grinfield expressly deprecates. * Let me not,” he says, “be thought to overlook the importance of the revelation of Christianity, nor to underrate the duty of endeavouring to spread this knowledge over heathen countries. Born and educated among a class of Christians who, above all others, have been distinguished for their missionary exertions; I should indeed do the greatest violence to my principles, if I did not disclaim in the most public and unreserved manner, the most distant desire to diminish that zeal for the conversion of the heathen, which so honourably distinguishes the present age.” Giving Mr. Grinfield full credit for sincerity in this disavowal, we are nevertheless bound to say, that such is the tendency of his volume ; and that so far as it has any effect, it will tend to diminish such zeal, and to bring into question the reasonableness of the princiles from which it emanates. In like manner, K. Grinfield tells us, that he does not wish “to make any direct attack on the principles of Calvinists,” of whose system the rejection of the heathen, he affirms, forms a component part; and yet, his whole work is professedly an attack upon what he calls the Calvinistic system, of which he knows just so much as he has collected from the pages of the late Bishop of Winchester. Had he taken Bishop Hors. ley's advice to the clergy, to understand Calvinism before they made it the object of ignorant attack, he would never have put forth the present volume. Mr. Grinfield thinks, that “the strength of the general argument for the salvability of heathen nations, cannot be more strongly exemplified, than from the consideration, that it has found its way into the minds of even some professed Calvinists." And he cites with high approbation a striking passage from Newton's Messiah, together with some lines by Cowper, and passages from Grove, Watts, Doddridge,