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cannot exist without articles of faith, nor the Presbyterian system be sustained without them. This is an assertion in the face of facts; it is denying motion in the presence of one who walks. The national church of Neuchâtel has no confession. The church of Geneva exists,- to the great displeasure of those who for fifteen years have done all they could to undermine and destroy it. It has existed without confessions of faith for more than a century. Previous to the year 1706, its teachers made an engagement to believe and teach all that was contained in the Helvetic formulary and the confessions of faith;
at that period, they engaged only not to contradict them in their preaching. This was a great step, since, notwithstanding the shackles, the conscience was left free.* At length, in 1725, the Company of the Pastors, in concurrence with the Council of State, ordained, that nothing more be prescribed to candidates than this truly Christian rule : 'You promise to maintain the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, as contained in the books of the Old and New Testaments, of which we have a summary in our catechism.' It was made the duty of the Moderator to exhort the subscribers to avoid in their preaching such subjects as were useless, or merely curious, or likely to disturb the peace.
“The Company were led to take this step by the dissatisfaction which the churches, and especially the Lutherans, had expressed, with the Helvetic articles, the reluctance of many candidates to bind themselves for ever on points which they had not thoroughly investigated, — the agreeableness of this new form of subscription with the spirit of the Reformation - and the lessons of experience, which could not be lost on so enlightened a body. Notwithstanding that it has been denied within a few years in the pages of the Archives du Christianisme, it is yet true, that the Council of State did concur with the Company in this act. We have proof of it in our records. Thus Geneva was the first to return to liberty of conscience; she put restraints upon intolerance; she showed herself superior to the notions which are still too generally received. Truth advances at a slow pace; but it advances, and it gains dominion
* After the year 1706 these subscriptions were not required. “This is not the only particular,” said Le Clerc, in which the magistracy and clergy of Geneva at the present day hold forth a praiseworthy example to other Protestants,- and show that they know how to follow the true principles of the Reformation and the genius of the gospel, after attaining to a better understanding of them than they possessed when they had not wholly rid themselves of the spirit of Rome. Happy they who can say thus much!” Biblioth. Rais. tom. vii. p. 84.
at last. This very year, the church of Zurich has renounced all articles of faith drawn up by men, and appeals to the Gospel as the only infallible rule. Let us hope that all churches will finally adopt our principles, and reject those deceitful lights which mislead instead of guiding.
“An attempt has been made to show, that the leaders of the Genevan church have been guilty of self-contradiction; they have been reproached with the prohibitory regulation which they imposed on the preachers throughout the Canton in 1817. You have fallen into the same inconsistencies, it has been said, with which you reproach confessions and creeds; your regulations are vexatious, and you intrude upon the liberty of which you profess to be the defenders. But in difficult circumstances, and for a specified, limited purpose, it is certainly possible to introduce prohibitory regulations, without at all violating the principles of the Reformation or of a wise liberty. It is a means of peace to which many churches have had recourse. In 1554 a rule was established in Switzerland forbidding to preach predestination, and suppressing the abusive and anathematizing language common at that time. In 1614 the churches of Holland took the same precaution on the same subject; the synod of Loudun in 1659; the king of England in 1621. In the eighteenth century the church of Neuchâtel took the same step on occasion of the violent disputes which had arisen on the question of the eternity of punishment. Geneva, in 1817, simply forbade one sort of discussion in the pulpit, and the preaching, in a disputative style, on the doctrines of the trinity, the imputation of Adam's sin, and predestination.
“ The difference is very plain between these regulations and confessions of faith. They say nothing of believing or not believing. They leave the conscience in possession of all its rights. They simply require, that, in a season of agitation, men shall conduct themselves prudently; not demanding of them to teach respecting any subject in a manner opposed to their own way of viewing it, but simply not to bring forward in the pulpit all their opinions, and to maintain always a peaceful and inoffensive manner. In all other respects, they may preach, write, teach, just as they please ; and experience has shown, that, under the operation of this rule, the government of the church has constrained no one in the free and frank expression of his doctrinal opinions and principles. These regulations are temporary, not permanent; matters of discipline, not of faith; the liberty of the preacher is in some degree abridged by them, and that is an evil; but it is a sacrifice for the sake of peace, a less evil than con ntion, and one which can offend no
one's conscientious convictions, because it allows to all the free expression of their thoughts. Where a Protestant church permits such a restraint for a time, it does nothing in contradiction to its own principles. The restraint ceases with the occasion, and as soon as peace is restored. No subscription is required, no test, no oath ; it is a precautionary measure of the ecclesiastical government, with a view to the avoidance of trouble,-just as the civil government which is most strongly attached to liberty makes a temporary inroad upon it, when it forbids the people to approach places infected with contagious disease, and to receive thence articles of living, to be deprived of which may be an injury to many; but such inconveniences are not to be regarded in the comparison with the fatal evils which would result to the community from the absence of all inspection and restraint.” — pp. 115 – 118.
This is undoubtedly to be regarded as a satisfactory explanation and defence of the measures alluded to. the idea of a national church be admitted, it is not easy to imagine the ground on which objection to them can be consistently raised. There is in them no intolerance, or despotism, or shackling of conscience; nothing but the exercise of the church police. Whether wise and discreet, is another question ; but no one would have dreamed of calling it oppressive, except he had an end to answer by so doing. At the same time, it would have better suited our notions of what is both expedient and right, if there had been no exertion of this power of the church in the case, if absolute and unlimited liberty had been allowed, to speculate and preach, even at the hazard of the public peace. To be sure, this would hardly have comported with the dignity of an establishment; but when so much of what is substantial had been surrendered to liberty and conscience ; when, like sincere, honest, fearless followers of Christ, they had set all consciences and souls free, because
66 Consciences and souls were made
To be the Lord's alone ;”. why should they have hesitated to permit the public disputations, evil though they might seem, which are the inevitable
of that freedom ? Being a Presbyterian church, they clung to their authority in matters of discipline after surrendering their authority in matters of faith. This perhaps was natural; but we think it would have been happier
if they could have perceived that both must fall together. But then they would have ceased to be a Presbyterian Church.
Art. II. A Manual for the Afflicted: comprising a prac
tical Essay on Affliction, and a Series of Meditations and Prayers, selected and arranged for the use of those who are in Sorrow, Trouble, Need, Sickness, or any other Adversity. By the Rev. THOMAS HARTWELL HORNE, B. D. of Saint John's College, Cambridge. With an Introduction, and an Appendix of Devotional Poetry, by the Right Rev. GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, Bishop of New Jersey. Boston: Allen & Ticknor. 1833. 12mo. pp. xx. 252, 31.
If we believed and loved, not only the Scriptures, but certain doctrines, called orthodox, which some have deduced from the Scriptures, we should commend this book heartily and entirely; for it is peculiarly rich in consolations, counsels, and devotions drawn from the great Scriptural storehouse. But as it often departs from the Scriptures, or misinterprets them, to introduce sentiments and petitions in which we cannot conscientiously join, our commendation cannot be hearty nor entire. We will say freely of it, that we are acquainted with no other volume of devotion so replete with appropriate selections of Scripture, and which, on this point, would be so satisfactory to the afflicted.
We therefore regret that its general usefulness is impaired in the manner which we have already stated.
The book, as its title imports, consists of two main parts; the first being an essay on affliction, and the second a collection of meditations, prayers, and passages from the Bible. The first part is introduced by the following beautiful motto.
“The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Who found not thorns and briars on the road." The subject of afflictions, as dispensations of Providence, is discussed in three chapters. The first of these treats of the doctrine of Scripture concerning the origin and design VOL. XV.-N. S. VOL. X. NO. II.
of afflictions ; – the second, of the best preparation for afflictions, and our improvement of them, and our duty on being delivered from them; and the third, of the privilege and duty of prayer, especially in seasons of affliction. From the first section of this third chapter, we will select an extract, to illustrate the Scriptural character which generally prevails throughout the essay. It will also give a glimpse of some of its defects.
“Reader! art thou desirous of the KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH? - Pray. So did David; 'O! send out Thy light and Thy truth': let them lead me. In Thy light shall we see light.' Psal. xliii. 3. xxxvi. 9. The only channel (an apostle teaches us), by which we can obtain this light from God, is PRAYER. 'If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it shall be given to him.'
James i. 5. “Dost thou want more Falth ? — Pray. The Scripture teaches us that "faith is the gift of God;' and the apostles of our Redeemer have shown us by their example, that, in order that we may be enriched with this precious treasure, it must be sought by prayer. •Lord!' said they, 'increase our faith.' xvii. 5.
“Dost thou feel the necessity of a CHANGE OF HEART?—PRAY. So did holy David, who earnestly supplicated God for this grace. Create in me a CLEAN HEART, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.' Psal. li. 10.
"Dost thou need STRENGTH lest thou shouldest be weary of well-doing? - PRAY. So did Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ. He besought the Lord to grant the believers at Colosse that strength, which no man can find in himself. • We do not cease,' said he, 'to pray for you, that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.' Col. i. 9, 10.
“Is THY SOUL CAST DOWN within thee? - Pray. So did David, 'the sweet psalmist of Israel, by whom the Spirit of the Lord spake. 2 Sam. xxiij. 1, 2. · The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God : O Lord ! I beseech Thee, deliver my soul.
He heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him.' Psal. xviii. 5, 6, cxvi. 3, 4. And a greater than David Jesus Christ — 'in the days of his flesh offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.' Heb. v. 7.