« AnteriorContinuar »
ii. 5 : “Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him."
They were ready to bite and devour such as opposed them; and even to declare war against those who would not satisfy their avarice and rapacity,' being greedy dogs that could never have enough ;' so that their peaceable and soft language was restricted to their prophesyings before those who paid well for them."--Scott.
This description of men have reappeared from time to time down to the present day, endeavoring to pervert Christianity to secular and political purposes; and to make it accountable, if not for the existence, at least for the immediate and peremptory removal of the greatest evils which since the apostacy of man have proceeded from his depravity and corruption, or which in the righteous providence of God have been visited upon him.
It is characteristic of this whole class of men to give precedence to the temporal instead of the spiritual interests of men. Though they sometimes drive at one thing and sometimes at another, and not unfrequently change the full tide of their zeal to an opposite direction, or push it to the utmost excess, without the smallest regard to consistency; they generally begin by professing extraordinary benevolence towards their fellow-men or some particular class of them, and aiming to reform them by some rapid and easy method, or to deliver them from some mighty evil, preparatory to their being in a condition to becone virtuous, religious and happy. The course which their arrogance, ignorance and recklessness, usually induce them to take is as follows:
1. To decry and denounce those who do not agree with them or follow their lead, especially ministers of the Gospel, and of them the soundest and best.
2. To claim for their object and their plan of operations the first and highest consideration.
3. To assert such abstract propositions and practical dogmas as they deem fitted to the case in hand.
4. To bend the Scriptures and other reverend authorities to their purpose, or else deny or disregard them.
5. To enlist the passions of their followers, exact implicit obedience from them, and rule them with the utmost intolerance and severity.
13. These mentally distempered teachers know or apprehend nothing aright. They proceed as though there was in the apostacy and guilt of men, and the righteous government of God, no reason for the allotments and dealings of Divine providence respecting them. They overlook or disregard the corruption and wickedness of men and the moral government of God; and act as though all the evils of the human race might be easily removed by human means and change of outward circumstances according to the plans which they propose. Regardless of the inward sanctifying influence of the Gospel upon the hearts of men, which comes far short of the object which their zeal would compass, they would suppress these evils at once, and if necessary put them down by force. Hence the extravagant measures they adopt, the passions they exhibit, and the mischiess they occasion. The true reason why they agree in a common object of professedly benevolent effort, is, because they entertain false notions of the real character and condition of man as a sinner, of the moral government of God, and of the spiritual nature and effects of the Gospel, which they wish to uphold, justify and propagate ; and therefore whatever particular heresies they may hold, Pelagian, Unitarian, or those of less pretensions to philosophy and learning, like the crusaders of a former age, they raise what they assume to be the banner of Christianity under which to fight, conquer and produce the mellenium of their hopes and promises.
14. The precepts which require obedience to masters, like those which require obe ience to parents and civil rulers, proceed upon the ground t'nat there is, incident to the relation, authority which the subjects are for conscience sake bound to respect. Those who teach an opposite system, however they may begin, generally end by denying and opposing the authority of civil, parental, and every other kind of government, and all subordination and inequality. The distemper in their minds hurries them on from one extreme to another. It is noticeable as showing the unquestionableness of the authority which appertains to the relations referred to, that the precepts which enjoin obedience upon citizens, children and slaves, uniformly precede those which prescribe the duties of magistrates, parents and masters.
15. No condition or relation can be more undesirable
than that of a slaveholder, on account of the responsibility of it, which would seem to be altogether disproportioned to any advantages or benefits which can possibly result to him. He has hiinself a master with whom in the final judgment, there will be no respect of persons. All his feelings and all his actions, respecting his slaves, are either in obedience to, or in violation of his obligations to that omniscent and impartial Judge. If then he considers that the relation between him and his slaves, is not, like some other personal relations, natural and necessary; that he may, if he will, be released from it; and that while the duties and responsibilities attending it are intimately connected with his spiritual well-being, the relation can compensate him only with temporal and transient benefits, he surely must consider it a most undesirable condition, full of difficulty, requiring unceasing watchfulness and constant effort, and in a word, loading him with an excess of obligation and acconntability, beyond what appertains to other men.
16. It is right and may be expedient for slaves to obtain their freedom when they can do it lawfully. It is, in such a case, at their option-they are not bound to do it—they may choose to continue as they are, or to become free, as they shall deem one or the other condition, most advantageous in respect to the discharge of their duties towards God, and the furtherance of their immortal interests. This is implied in the entire scope of the subject as it is treated of in the Gospel ; and particularly in the fact that the relation is not in itself sinful, and by the consideration that in all their conduct they are to have supreme regard to their spiritual concerns. It may be expedient for slaves under certain circumstances to decline the offer of freedom for the reason, that they can beiter discharge all their duties in their present than in a new and untried condition ; while, for the same reason, a person who is free is not permitted willingly to become a slave.
17. It is among the beneficent tendencies of the Gospel by enlightening the minds of men respecting their obligations to God, their relative duties and their true interests, and by sanctifying their hearts to undermine and dissolve this relation. It was because Philemon had experienced these gracious effects of the Gospel, that Paul felt assured he would release Onesimus from the bond of slavery as well as receive him as a brother. It is only by these gracious
effects wrought in the minds of individuals, that the Gospel operates an amelioration or subversion of any of the institutions and customs of the world ; and, in particular, with respect to slavery, it is perfectly evident that the contrary scheme and method of modern abolitionism is in no respect authorized or sanctioned by the word of God, but must be viewed as opposed and derogatory both to its precepts and its spirit. It is the scheme and method of men of disordered minds, who “teach otherwise," not according to the words or commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18. It is one of the most striking evidencies of the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures that they foretell the appearance, and so delineate the character of false teachers as to leave little room for mistake under any circumstances. They are described as "false apostles—deceitful worknienself-lovers-money-lovers—boasters--proud--blasphemers--disobedient to parents—ungrateful-unholy-without natural affection-covenant breakers-slanderers-incontinent-fierce-without any love to good-men-betrayers-headstrong-puffed up, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power of it-always learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of truth-resisters of truth--men wholly corrupted in mind—undiscerning concerning the faith—unruly and foolish talkers and deceivers; who subvert whole families, teaching things which they ought not—who profess to know God, but by works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and concerning every good work without discernment." Macknight.
These may seem to be severe epithets to be cited as descriptive of any class of heretical fanatics in this enlightened age and country; too severe, some will probably think, who yet are satisfied that there are numbers whose doctrines and teachings are subversive of the Gospel and of the well-being of their fellow-men. We refer such to the faithful, plaindealing words of Scripture, which make no compromise with sin or with error, and which honor God by declaring the truth however directly and severely it may condemn the partizans of falsehood. The appearance, in after times, of such corrupt teachers, is clearly foretold. If, since the apostolic age, any such have ever appeared, of which history gives us an account, we may with certainty decide that many such exist in this land at the present time. To
characterize them more mildly or dissemblingly than the Scriptures do, is no true kindness or charity ; but, on the contrary, would tend to confirm their self-delusion and arrogance, and to pour contempt upon the truth and upon its cordial and consistent friends. We are bound by every consideration of duty to God and to our fellow-men, to make the same discrimination between true and false teachers which the Scriptures make; and it behooves us to remember that one reason why heresies appear is, that those who hold fast the form of sound words may be made manifest.
ART. IV.-LATIN GRAMMARS.
By Rev. ALFRED Addis, New-York.
A new Latin Grammar, by Rev. Baynard Hall, Principal of Bor
dentown Institute, N. J. First Latin Lessons on the most important parts of the Grammar
of the Latin Language, by Charles Anthon, Jay Professor of
Columbia College. The Elon Latin Grammar, by Rev. James Coghlan, A. B. Queen's
College, Cambridge, England, and Rector of St. Paul's Church,
Flatbush, Long Island. A Latin Grammar, by the Rev. J. A. Giles, Head Master of the
City of London School, and late Fellow of C. C. C., Oxford. Second Edition, enlarged and improved.
WHEN an author treads upon ground already preoccupied by hosts of others, it must be from a presumption on his part that he has something better to offer than his predecessors. It proves that he himself is dissatisfied with their labors, if nobody else is; and the public acting on this presumption, have a right to require some satisfaction at his hands for the expense they are to be put to for the maintenance of this new fledged bantling. On a subject so trite as Latin Grammar, it might be reasonably concluded, that as we have had a superfetation of elementary treatises, there ought to be some general demand for the infliction of a new