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pitiation for our sins. Thus their Christology is little better than heathenism in a mist. It is a disgrace to their intellectual manhood and their erudite pretensions, as well as to their consistency and moral honesty. In fact, we, who know them, know that they are either infidels, or that, with no more faith than they, all their religious pretension is only contemptible, even as “a religion fit for gentlemen and scholars.” If a man desires, on the whole, to have a religion that he can carry to ruin and despair along with him, let him pretend to take that of God, in some strange way, and then change it, and change it, in some other way, till it about suits the heart, that is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. And if, on the wisdom and the safety of such a course, “for gentlemen and scholars,” he cares to read an inspired commentary, he may easily find one in the New Testament; he may be specially commended to 1 Cor. 1 : 18–31. But if he reads, and honestly digests, especially if he believes what God says to him in that luminous passage—rebuking then and there the heathenistic rationalism of the arrogant Greeks, it may be to him not only an amusing novelty, but the means of the Spirit, used and blessed to his salvation. He will then find the Bible a new book, only because he becomes a new man; and many a firmament of glories, in the universe of the new creation, will it open to his wonder, his adoration, and his joy. Another powerful element of evil, by which many of our contemporaries are ruined for eternity, is found in religious ignorance or vacuity, mingled with civic and social assumption, co-working with pride, in a land where we are all “born equal,” and where the illiterate may strut, as well as vote, on the same platform, with intelligence, good-breeding, and piety. Such men are too consequential ever to own, if indeed they know, their want of knowledge, or to learn the value of the learning that others have. They are all for leveling downward; and consider the glorious “aristocracy” of
RIGHT READING. 15
true religion as an odious monopoly, offensive to their ideas of republican equality. Instead of making themselves like God, they make a God that is like themselves. Hence they hate and discredit the man of Christian piety, not relishing to think that the righteous is more excellent than his neighbor. And in this connection, there is often seen a reckless vulgarity of sinning, that justly offends God, as well as his people; and for which, if the sinners that perpetrate and practice it, only knew how much it will cost them in the end, they might, perhaps, be brought to the conclusion that they could ill afford to pay it—nor do they dream how soon, how swiftly flying on wings of flame, the reckoning-day will overtake them For all such, if we could procure or provide some instructive and versatile, as well as sound, and thorough, and pungent reading, that might occupy their attention, a good end would be answered. Such reading must be without cant and commonplaces; without all fanaticism and affectation; original, natural in manner, manly and true in thought, and so blending the charm of narrative or anecdote, with the lessons of truth and the maxims of wisdom, as hopefully to propitiate the mind, in order to convince and reform it. He that winneth Souls is wise. In all my intercourse with men, at home and abroad, I have endeavored, for forty years, to read their characters by their words and actions, especially in the light of divine revelation; and, in a sense subordinate only to the knowledge of God, I concur in the sentiment, That “the proper study of mankind is man.” What man is, in all his living phases, interests me INFINITELY MORE than the ruins of old castles, and abbeys, and palaces; than cataracts and natural scenery; than mausoleums, and monuments, and pyramids; than specimens in the fine arts, marble or canvass, or than any other curiosities of nature or art, which are all the vogue among the fashionable ; with whom instruction is intolerable, and religion the most
16 OUR PRESBYTERIAN DISRUPTION.
melancholy thing in the world; who have time to spend on trifles, and with whom, practically, the greatest trifle is eternity. All my own observation here has had, on my own mind, only this two-fold effect—it has grieved and exercised my spirit; and it has strengthened and edified my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have seen what infidelity is, what heresy, what indifference, and what are all the dazzling honors of ambition, wealth, pride, and fashion. In my final interview with CHALMERs, that in his study, I had to tell him, as he was urgent to know from me, something, or rather every thing, about our Presbyterian disruption in this country. I, of course, gave him what I think is the truth of the matter; and in my account of it, I have been careful not to commit him or his judgment on either side, even so much as probably I might in truth and justice lest I should seem to invoke the testimony of the dead, not impartially, to what you think with me, was infallibly the right and the truth, in the portentous strife, and concerning the abominable wickedness and fratricidal perjury of the exscinding acts of 1837 and 1838. He seemed grieved that ministers and brethren of a common faith, in substance quite as correct and as unanimous as could rationally be expected in our then great national Presbyterian Church, with all their sectional diversities of education and preference, should so fall out by the way, and enact so ferocious a schism, and so great a scandal before the eye of heaven and of earth. Indeed, it had its latent but sure effect to weaken the bonds of our national Union; and with other analogous examples, ever to be religiously deprecated, of ecclesiastical organizations, so many of them severed in our country, it seemed to say, with horrible encouragement and acclaim, to our political and selfish demagogues, and our Hotspurs of the South and of the North, of the East and of the West—Go it, gentlemen, all of you. We of the Church and the ministry set you the example, follow it; split the country; destroy the nation;
GOD OVERRULES EVIL. 17
down with our arch of states; excision is the way; revolution is the thing; fury is our catholicon; and self-will our patriotism, as well as our piety. We copy the illustrious example of the legitimate son of the wise King Solomon, the venerable exscinder Rehoboam of old; and if you will only copy ours, we can enact all consequent advantages very similar, in our day, in promoting disruption, apostacy, captivity, and all the other honors and blessings of such salutary “reforms” and necessary revolutions, at Dan and Bethel, among the tribes of Israel. Some, indeed, have the coolness to tell us of the good results; as if these were the vindication of their wickedness; as if better results might not have been better reached by other and proper means. The argument is, then, as follows: God has overruled all these earthquakes of evil, to accomplish his own wise and good purposes; therefore the means were good which we used, because providentially it seems that the results are. It were easy to show, in this work or any other, that such an argument is no better than sophism and impiety—proving nothing, or INFINITELY too much. The truth, however, is clear; res ipsa loquitur. God overrules every thing—glory to God alone ! The results of the murder of his own dear Son are salvation and glory for evermore, as all the ransomed of the Lamb shall know and sing in heaven. Were Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas, the Jewish high-priest, the scribes and the elders, the lying witnesses, Barabbas, the blaspheming and impenitent thief, and all the orgies there of the carnal mind, which is ENMITY AGAINST GoD, are these, therefore, all innocent, praiseworthy, glorious, because they were such exscinders, counselors, helpers, and sub-agents of eternal providence, in this scene of human and infernal darkness, but more of superhuman and celestial light, as appears in the tragedy of the crucifixion ' It is not them we thank, or excuse, or palliate, if God should make it all, as he makes all other events, in some way subserve
18 DOCTRINES OF EMMONS.
the purposes of his eternal wisdom, goodness, and philanthropy. As for Emmonsism, I only say, that it has had a very bad
influence, honored and beloved brethren, in several places of our extensive Zion, before we were bisected, and subsequently in both sections of our Presbyterian community, as well as in many other ecclesiastical places of our common country. And it may have indefinitely more. Will you allow me, with entire respect, frankly to say, what some of you, if not all, could well attest with me, that I have known many, or at least several, of your own honored order in the Church, who, as Ruling Elders, have been not tinctured, but pervaded and saturated with the system; and who have thereby shown and experienced its appropriate fruits, in their dryness, their hair-splitting and heartless abstractions, their hardness of character, their want of Christian sympathy, their waning usefulness, their retrogradation in spiritual fervor, their interest and power in prayer lapsing to apathy or settling in antipathy, their losing a good report, and their ultimate inanity and unprofitableness, as full of false wisdom— till they became DISINTERESTED in every thing good, with a witness. They were not aware of their danger when they began to be taken with the glitter of his theory, with its marvelous speciousness, with its promise of superior philosophy, with its seeming short-cut road to all religious learning and knowledge; and when others saw that the Bible itself began to be postponed to the sermons of Emmons, they were not sensible of it. Their indocility, their puffed-up obstinacy, their sublimated self-complacency, made them quite superior to their own pastors in their assumptions. They came to church, not as worshipers, but as critics. They were censors-general of the ministry; knowing every thing but their own danger, arrogance, and want of true knowledge. All this I have seen, and even felt ; though not much, if at all, in my own pastoral relations. But some of my beloved