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however, which shall be candidly proposed, will be entitled to a candid consideration.” I do not wonder that Dr. Pond is unable to discern the mode of adjusting the existing societies, to the principles and government of Congregational churches. They are irreconcilable. No plan can be devised to render their co-existence compatible with the safety of either. According to the views which I entertain of the tendencies of the present state of the case in the Congregational Church of New England, the attempt to continue even the religious voluntary societies side by side with the churches will result in the ruin of both.
I speak of Congregational churches only, for I am a Congregationalist and am “fully persuaded in my own mind," that Congregationalism is the form and order of church government ordained by the apostles. As to other denominations, I have no call to inquire how they may be able to promote the kingdom of Christ, as they severally understand that kingdom. When they ask my advice, it will be time for me to consider whether I have any to give. I cannot but think that it would be every way better for the Congregational ministers of New England“ to abide in their calling," and not assume to themselves the office of speculating about the affairs of other denominations among themselves, or of burdening themselves with the concerns of the churches out of their limits, either at home or in Europe. If I cannot devise ways and means for the Protestants of Europe to proceed in their endeavours to extend the camp of the gospel without voluntary societies, it does not follow that we are obliged to sustain them here. To deduce practical principles for our own government from the multifarious and involved positions and connexions of evangelical Christians on the continent, and of dissenters in Great Britain, is but making a sorry exchange of our freedom for their galling bondage. After the notion that it is every one's duty to "convert the world,” was broached, and the kindred dogma, that duty and ability are commensurate, was tacked to it, great and wise and good men increased and multiplied amongst us, beyond all precedent. Parish ministers discovered that “ the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers" was not the particular church and society which had chosen them to be their ministers, but that their field was the world.” Private, Christians, male and female, young and old, began to “ feel their great responsibilities," and that
the “conversion of the world” was required at their hands. The trustees of our colleges and theological seminaries, looked beyond the narrow walls of their several locations, and became “ careful and troubled about many” states and nations. Just at this juncture, when thousands of hearts and minds were teeming with great and wise and good conceptions of their high and mighty vocation to “convert the world," the “voluntary principle” came opportunely for their deliverance. From that time to the present, the Congregational ministry and churches of New England (to go no further) have been in perpetual agitation and changes. Our ministers and the members of our churches, to a great extent, misled by the notion that they are bound to look after all the world, and consult for the universal interests of all denominations at home and abroad, and for all the heathen world, and for all coming time to the last day, have very naturally been led to regard the immediate affairs of their own churches, as of comparatively small importance. Hence the innovations on the doctrinalarticles of faith, the terms of communion, the settlement and removal of pastors, ordination of ministers without charge, the multiplication of offices, meetings, exercises, &c. &c., which have in fact, if not in form, changed the Congregational Church into another denomination, adapted to the new views and relations introduced within the last twenty-five or thirty years.
I shall not attempt therefore to provide a substitute for these societies other than the churches themselves, and these as they were thirty years ago. I have no doubt at all, that the Congregational churches of Connecticut in their present ecclesiastical organization, are competent to all the duties which they owe to our country and the world. I am ready to avow, and on all proper occasions to maintain, that it is the duty of our churches and ministers to take into their own hands every one of the benevolent enterprises of a strictly religious character, of which they are now but fractional parts, and to which they are tributaries.
Having refuted the arguments adduced by Dr. Pond in support of his positions, that the voluntary religious societies are in fact, though not in form, institutions of the Church and under its supervision and control ;--that the voluntary principle, in the manner and form of its application and use in these Societies, is of natural right and Scripture warrant ; and that it is expedient and necessary; the main proposition
of the article which he assailed, and its principal arguments, remain unshaken. Until Dr. Pond, or some other person, shall bring forward evidence of the contrary, we shall continue to regard voluntary societies for the attainment of those ends for which the Church was instituted, as incapable of vindication, and inconsistent with the purity and prosperity of Christ's kingdom in the world.
ART. II.-INFLUENCE OF PELAGIANISM ON THE THEOLO-
OF Rev. C. G. FINNEY, DEVELOPED
By Rev. Joseph I. Foot.
It is a matter of wonder with many sincere Christians, that fears exist respecting the ultimate results of apparently slight deviations from the formularies of sound doctrine. They cannot see why such departures from the truth should awaken sad apprehensions, or excite the least alarm in the churches. It is supposed, that if an individual appears to be bent on doing good, and on promoting the cause of godliness, and especially if under his preaching there are appearances of revivals of religion, he is to be lest undisturbed in his course, whatever seeds of religious errour he may scatter as he goes. It is declared to be exceedingly sinful to say, or even to hint, that his success is of a doubtful character, and that the progress of errour will sweep away much that is precious and useful.
This has had a remarkable illustration in our own times. During more than twenty years after the beginning of this century, the churches had rest, and were edified ; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Near the close of this period, an individual rose into public notice, who professed to have some new views of faith, especially in respect to prayer. His skill in the work of converting sinners, was extolled. On every side he was regarded as the mighty power of God.
Crowds rushed to his assemblies, and hundreds in them professed to be born of God. His fame penetrated large sections of the country. But the effects of his labours did not appear to be permanent; and his sun hastened to go down in clouds and thick darkness. He exposed himself to ecclesiastical discipline, and was deposed from the ministry. During his decline a successor was rising, who inculcated substantially the same views of faith. Young, ardent and persevering, he went forth like a giant to his work. Wherever he went, the kingdom of Satan was thought to tremble, the bulwarks of iniquity to be prostrated, the atheist to acknowledge God, the deist to believe the Scriptures, the impenitent in unwonted numbers to repent, and the hypocrite to become sincere in the service of Christ. Though his doctrines were not in all respects in agreement with the standards of the Church; though his departures from these were such as to call forth the most serious expressions of alarm; yet success was set up as the criterion by which the truth of his doctrines and the approbation of Christ were to be decided. During ten years, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, were annually reported to be converted on all hands; but now it is admitted, that his real converts are comparatively few. It is declared, even by himself, that " the great body of them are a disgrace to religion;" as a consequence of these defections, practical evils, great, terrible, and innumerable, are in various quarters rushing in on the Church.
But it is not merely the foresight of such practical evils, that awakens alarm in discerning Christians. They understand, that one errour almost necessarily produces another. It is, indeed, possible for an individual to hold a prominent errour, and not to follow on to others, which are its direct and legitimate consequences. But such cases rarely occur. Scarcely can an instance be found, in which a departure from one article of the Faith is not succeeded by an abandonment of many, and sometimes of them all. If a stone be taken from any part of an edifice, the building is weakened ; but if one be removed on which its weight, or the union of its various parts mainly depends, it will totter and eventually fall. So of a confession of faith. If one article be abandoned, the system itself is injured ; and if the rejected doctrine be a prominent one, it will probably lead to the re
jection of all the correlative ones. All these doctrines are essential to the harmony and stability of the system, and when one has been abandoned, the rest are easily rejected.
To prevent the effect of this foresight, and to induce the Christian community to receive those, whose digressions from the received doctrines begin to be apparent, it is often urged, that union amongst men is exceedingly desirable, and therefore no ordinary considerations should be suffered to operate against it. This is unquestionably true respecting many of the minor sorms and modes of Christian life ; but it is vastly misapplied, when used to abate our regard for any article of the Faith once delivered to the saints. Which of these articles is not the declaration of a truth in opposition to a great, and, in general, a ruinous errour ? Which of them does not enter into the number of those for which the best Christian polemics have felt it a duty to contend, and which each errourist in his place has undertaken to destroy? Are we, then, to be gravely told, that a regard for union requires us to reject, or at least not to maintain, some of these articles? If so, then we demand, which of them shall we abandon? If, in consideration of union, we abandon one, why not another ? The motive is equally operative in every part of the creed. The doctrine of the existence of God is the grand point of disunion with the atheist. It is important that all men be united. The blessings of union in views, are many and great. The atheist will not relinquish his cardinal doctrine, that “there is no God.” Why, then, will Christians be so contentious as to maintain it? The deist believes there is a God, but denies that the Scriptures are a revelation of his will. Why, then, do Christians believe and teach, that the Bible is the word of God, when, by abandoning this article of their creed, there might be uninterrupted harmony? The Unitarian denies the true and proper divinity of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Ghost. Why, then, do the orthodox continue to hold and inculcate these doctrines, when little else is demanded as a condition of union, than to expunge them? The Pg gian denies that “ the nature of man is depraved," and healing fres of others only, that they relinquish this doctrine with its corresponding ones. Why, then, are the disciples of Augustine, so contentious as to inculcate that, by nature we are