Imágenes de páginas

sustain the creed-system. It would be a very diffi. cult thing to assail these premises, in the circumstances under which I write, and not to refer in the most distinct terms to the venerable professor, and his Introductory Lecture, as well as to his “ Letter to a gentleman of Baltimore,” which he wrote in reply to my “Remarks,” and in which he repeated the argument of the Lecture. This explanation I thought to be necessary, not as an apology for any notice I may take of his writings, but merely for the information of my reader.

If any observations in this essay shall be thought severe, I have to say in their justification, that, while with the system under review I can enter into no compromise, personal invective is very far from my intention. Neither is it my wish to be considered as hostile to any particular sect — much less to the presbyterian churches, with whom all my early associations were formed. This essay is concerned with general principles of policy, which belong to all denominations; and which no chain of reasonings, however subtle they may be, nor any series of facts, however extended, can possibly warrant. With ministers and Christians of all sects, who love their Master and keep his commandments, I would be ever ready, as “God in his providence offereth opportunity,” to commune on the broad principles of the gospel; but for sectarian peculiarities, of any form or size, no one, who rejects the creed-system, can have any respect. & Since the “Remarks” were published, events have

been every where transpiring, which have abundantly - verified their predictions. The whole world is star

tled by the fearful combination of difficulties that are

gathering round our moral associations; and is astone ished, not only at the impotency of political and ecE clesiastical chieftains in their attempt to manage and e guide the public mind, but at their pertinacity in main

taining old institutions, which, before their own eyes, are crumbling to the dust. Such is the exhibition now

presented to every liberally-minded man. And it Æ would seem, like as in former cases, that a terrible

infatuation, which sacrifices even the common chario ties of life, and which recklessly libels motives when

it cannot answer arguments, will provoke the Spirit of a judgment.

These impressions I cherished when the “Redi marks” were published, and they form the reason of Du the present Essay. My reader will please take this. 9 declaration, as an answer to all suspicions of personal Po invective, and consider himself as called to the review i of a subject, which refers for the materials of argu^ ment to the circumstances in which it is found. Any id severity, which he may be inclined to censure, it will us then be seen, could not be avoided, without abandon1 ing the argument, or destroying its force by making i it insipid and frigid. Ecclesiastical measures being is as they are, and human liberty being so important, it

were a heartless task to write without being plain, or

to criticise without adducing facts. Such severity the Son of God himself employed, while yet his soul was tortured with anguish, and his love bore him to the cross. And if at any time I have declined from the high example, or have said any thing in an improper manner, or with improper feelings, I refuse not to be rebuked. The reader, however, must award to me enough of the spirit of my subject, not to demand a surrender of personal judgment, without personal conviction.

Baltimore, Jan. 7, 1834.


« AnteriorContinuar »