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precious books, but I could name them argument looked well at first sight; but if I chose.
turn it and examine it, and it proved a Mr. MONTGOMERY— Really Mr Cooke's meteor that gleamed for an instant, and grounds of belief caupot be very tenable, disappeared for ever. Did not these very when such contemptible triftes as he geutlemeu preach and exhort from the would represent those publications to be, Bible in their pulpits ? Was this mendaffright him so horribly.
ing the Bible ? No, it was illustrating Mr. Cooke wished to impress on the the doctrines of the Bible, by applying house the real danger to be apprehended them to the principles of their belief, from these “ trifles.” An ignorant man and letting them know the opinions of who went into an apothecary's shop, each other. It had been stated that they night take up a medicine which, to a were ouce a happy and a fair church; mau of skill, who knew how to com but he doubted it: they more resemble pound it with another medicine, might the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw ip prove harmless when swallowed; but if his dream, with the head of gold, arms of taken in its crude state by the ignoraut, silver, thighs of brass, and feet part of would be certain death. So it was with irou and part of clay. This is a true picthese works-they might be “ trifles" in ture of that body, and he entreated the the hands of the skilful, but death to the Synod to separate the iron from the clay, untaught. He (Mr. Cooke) would en lest the statue should crumble down and dearour to shew what effect these “ tri. fall into dust. fles" would produce. Oue “ trifle" was Dr. WRIGAT made some general reto shew that the Bible did not contain marks, relative to the impropriety of the great leading articles of their faith. the procedure. He hoped this Synod Auother “ trifle” was to prove Christ would pause before it adopted any meato be a mere man, such as he now saw sure that would tend to disturb and disbefore him. Was this a “ trifle"? An. tract the body. other “ trifle" was to represent Jesus Mr. F. BLAKELY said, after the elo. Christ as an exalted angel, and the Holy quence and arguments which had been Ghost a uonentity. That was no “ tri- used by Mr, Mitchell, Mr. Montgomery, fle,” for it took away from mankind the Mr. Deuham, and others, he did not inblessed doctrine of the atonement. tend detaining the house, more especially
Mr. MONTGOMERY said it was most as their time was very precious. But he unfair in Mr. Cooke to confound and felt bound, in justice to himself, to make mix up the doctrines of Arianism and a few observations. His opinious were Socinianism, which he well knew were so well known, at home and elsewhere, so essentially different. Such a course that he had nothing to dread from the could only be pursued to mislead the issue of the present question. He was public mind, and to create unmerited not a Trinitarian; and he was aware odium.
that his sentiments had been caricatured, Mr. CookE.—They are twin brothers; and that it had been said by misguided par nobile fratrum. The gentleman who people, that he had no Saviour ; but so eloquently addressed you yesterday, though he might labour and suffer remade a powerful appeal to your feelings proach, he would trust in the living God, as husbands and fathers. The picture was who was the Saviour of all men. Many pain:ed in lively colours, to produce effect, might set up to be masters over him, but and to strike the eye of the superficial one was his Master, even Christ, and all inspector. But suppose all that he said his sincere disciples, of every church, he prove reality, should such consequences would consider as brethren. He might drive them from the discharge of a duty be charged with depending on his own they owed to their Heavenly Master? righteousness for salvation ; but he was Let them not dread any consequences- too well acquainted with his own weaklet them disregard even the tears of their ness and imperfection to trust to such a wives, and the cries of little children. false priuciple, and so well, he thought, (Hear, Hear.) Yes, it is evdeut the gen. with his Bible, as to know and believe tleman knew how to enlist the weakness that he must trust to the grace and mercy of humanity on his side; but the whole of God in Christ Jesus. His brethren was the work of the hand of a conjuror, who assisted him ou sacramental vccawhich lighted the candle that gave a sions, knew that he spoke fully and freely momentary power and effect to the phan- his sentiments to his congregation. He tasmagoria of his imagination.
would not be a hypocrite, in the Synod or Another gentleman had said yesterday, out of it; and after all that had been said that if they made an article of faith, they about acloak, there was no man who would attempted to mend the Bible. Now this venture to charge him with requiring
any. He had heard, with much pain, After several attempts of other memmisrepresentations of sentiments from bers to address the house, it being uodifferent quarters; but was certain that derstood that that part of the motion truth, more than triumph, should be the which required signatures should be aim and object of every Christian. As omitted, the clerk prepared to call the for the propositious contained in the ino. roll, each member to stand up on alltion, he would not sign them, even if he swering to his name. believed them; because it would be giv Mr. MONTGOMERY and several other ing up his right of private judgment, and members now retired. suffering others, no better than himself, The roll being called, 117 ministers to influence him by threats. It was ad- and 18 elders answered, “I beliere the mitted by all who were intimate with doctrine;" 2 ministers answered, “Not;"* him, that he was as well acquainted, and 8 declined voting. if not better, with the subjects under The next day the following PROTEST consideration, as any of his brethren of was handed in, signed by a number of equal standing. He had carefully read ministers and elders, against the decision and studied his Bible under the intluence of the Synod in passing a declaration of of prayer, and could see no reason for faith : changing his opinions.
“ The undersigned protest agaiost obe Mr. HERON said he had no objection proceedings in this case for the followto the declaration now proposed, for it ing reasons contained his doctrines. But he would “ Ist. Because we regard this meanot subscribe it as a test, becanse he never sure as being, in its introduction and yet saw either the Calvinistic or Arian progress, a direct violation of the law of creed to which he could give his name: Synod, which requires that 'all matters his creed was to be found in the Bible, originating before the Sydod shall first and to no test of human formation would be submitted to the Committee of Orerhe give his signature.
tures, and remaiu upou the Synod's Mr. STEWART, (Broughshane,) as the books for at least one year. seconder of the motion, rose to reply to “ 2ud. Because it is obvious, and has the preceding speakers.
been so admitted by the friends of the Mr. Carlile addressed the assembly measure, that it cannot assure the Syuod at some length, in a most eloquent appeal of the sentiments of any individual, even to their judginents and their feelings, as for a day, and is therefore nugatory. men and as ministers of the gospel of “ 3rd. Because we cannot give our peace, on the want of Christian charity sanction to a proceeding, which, espewhich had been manifested throughout cially under the popular odium now so the whole of this discussion. He had generally excited, evidently creates witnessed with pain, epithets the most temptation to iusincerity. opprobrious, insinuations and assertions " 4th. Because we do not approre of the most uncandid, and sarcasms biting the practice of bearing solemn testimony and bitter; the whole of which proceed to a mysterious doctrive of pure Revelaing was strongly opposed to the lessons tion-in the words of man. given by our Lord and Master to his dis “ 5th. Because, as put and carried, ciples and followers. There was an evi- this measure operates directly as a test dent want of Christian charity in the hearts of individual faith; is strictly inquisiof many speakers who had addressed the torial in its nature and effects, and such house; and their sentiments and conduct an infringement on Christian liberty, as were calculated to do every thing but is without a precedent among us, and promote brotherly kindness and true wholly inconsistent with the fuudamenChristian charity.
tal principles of our church.”
CORRESPONDENCE. The New Monthly Magazine has paid the Monthly Repository the compliment, or done itself the honour, of transferring to its pages some of its poetry. To this the Conductors cannot object, provided the respectable Editor of the former work ack
nowledged the source from which he copied. Several communications have been received.
THE MONTHLY REPOSITORY
NEW SERIES, No. XI.
ON DIGNITY OF CHARACTER. AMIDST all the frailty, inconsistency, and imperfection of the human mind, generally and individually, there is such a thing as dignity of character. Of the dignity of human nature we do not now speak ; that comes from the hand of God, invested with the grandeur which pervades the whole creation, incapable of degradation, and unsusceptible of change. It was called forth out of nothing, endowed with irresistible energies, and graced by the blessing of its Maker; and, secure in its immortality, was sent forth conquering and to conquer, armed with a divine commission to wrestle with and overcome the powers of Sin, Death, and Time. It is not for us to describe the majesty of this favoured child of God; a majesty too dazzling for our weak vision, too capacious for our limited conceptions. It is not for us to delineate that of which, amidst the clouds and darkness of this world, we can catch only faint and imperfect glimpses, and which is reserved to be one of the most stupendous revelations of the future world. When we stand on the threshold of heaven, strengthened to gaze on its glories and listen to its harmonies, we shall, for the first time, comprehend the greatness of human nature, and adequately rejoice in its destination,-a greatness superior to our present conceptions of the glory of an archangel;-a destination more blissful than we can now imagine the benevolence of God himself to have
But the dignity of human character is not too high a theme for man. It is only from the relation which men bear to one another that the perception of this quality is obtained. In the sight of man alone, is there such a thing as positive dignity of human character ? To the view of the Divine Being, the weakness, the perverseness, the guilt of his creatures are so evident, they fall so far short of the standard of moral greatness which he has set up for them, and so infinitely below the holiness of his nature, that if there be any perception of difference, it can be only of a few of the very lowest degrees of comparative littleness. It can only be that one man is a little above another in the scale of moral greatness; it cannot be that any are positively great. In proportion to the advances that one man has made over another, is the difference between their perceptions of dignity. He whose moral progress is scarcely begun, is but little conscious of the greatness of human nature; more VOL. I.
awake to a sense of dignity of character, but, above all, impressed by the external grandeur which invests many children of the world who have no better title to respect. He looks with awe on the man of wealth or rank, and in his estimation, splendour and dignity are nearly the same thing. He may be aware that, external circumstances being the same, one man is raised above another by moral superiority; but this difference is to him almost imperceptible, in comparison with that which is caused by inequality of rank and fortune. Of the dignity of human nature he knows little, and cares less. A more enlightened and better man is aware how little greatness can be conferred by accident of birth or splendour of fortune; but being only partially enlightened as to the moral constitution and destination of man, dwells little on the majesty of his nature, and exalts to an undue degree the greatness of human character. He has a lively perception of the difference between man and man,” but he makes too great a distinction of ranks; despising too much those who forfeit his esteem, and overrating the very slender attainments which the best can make in this world. He who has received a larger portion of light from heaven, and who approximates more nearly to the view which the Divine Being may be supposed to take of the concerns of mankind, sees no longer a shadow of greatness arising from the institutions of society; and being aware of the infirmities which impair the purest and best of human characters, he regards the space as small which separates the greatest from the least; he mourns his own frailties too deeply and humbly to dare to speak of the moral greatness of man, and loves to turn from the humiliating picture which bis experience has drawn, to contemplate the eternal majesty and ever-growing beauty of human nature. In this glorious contemplation his powers are invigorated and his desires expanded; till, though not insensible to the gradations of character which will ever individualize his fellow-men, all human excellence that is diminishes to almost nothing in comparison with that which shall be. Of these three, the first looks not beyond the flowers which deck the paths of the valley; the next bounds his desires to the mountain top, nor dreams of aught attainable beyond; but he who has already planted his foot on ihe summit
, gazes at the ever-burning stars, and is fired with the earnest and fully authorized desire to behold the glories they contain, and to follow their course through the regions of heaven for ever.
But few are those who belong to the third class; few are those who do not estimate too highly the dignity of human character, and imagine themselves to possess no inconsiderable share of this greatness. Yet their notions of this quality are almost as various as their persons. One recognizes its presence where another sees only the littleness of a worldly mind; one regards as poverty of spirit that temper which commands the respect of others. One imagines dignity to be established by the predominance of one quality ; another
pronounces it to consist in the exercise of a different virtue; and if all agree in calling a particular character dignified, each will, perhaps, ascribe the presence of its dignity to a different cause. Not till clearer views and a more diligent practice of duty prevail in society, will men agree in their ideas of this quality, or will it be attained in any eminent degree by more than a few.
The commonest kind of dignity is that which arises from pride: but it is a spurious and evanescent greatness. The proud man, by assuming the possession of great merit, and expecting as his due the respect and submission of his inferiors and the deference of his equals, leads men to take for granted that the merit he tacitly asserts really exists; that the tribute he demands is
track ' While this decision lasts and accomplishes its aims, it commands
really his due. As long as this belief lasts, the tribute will be paid; and as long as his superiority is acknowledged, the proud man will entertain no misgivings as to the validity of his title. But the time must surely come when this factitious greatness will vanish away. The proud man depends on his own resources for his influence over the opinions of men, and on the opinions of men for his happiness. His own resources will soon prove inadequate to the maintenance of his claims; and when a flaw is once discoFered in his title, his demands will be disregarded and his power will vanish away. His happiness depends on the opinion of the world ; the opinion of the world depends on the consistency of his character, or the permanence of his claim to its deference: such a claim cannot be preserved inviolate by one subject to human weakness and frailty ; and therefore a greatness erected on so unstable a foundation must soon be overthrown. Pride is not made for man ; neither is the kind of dignity which arises from pride a lawful, nor can it be a permanent, possession. Should it, by great care, be preserved for a life-time, the day must come when all unfair claims must be annulled, and when some who are greatest in this world will be declared the least in the kingdom of heaven. But the dignity of pride is as partial as it is transient in its dominion. The proud man shews such littleness of mind in overrating his own powers, such narrowness of views in looking not beyond the little circle of self for excellence, that those whose deference he most desires will be least able to afford it. The grand mistake he makes will be at once evident to them; and the pity they feel for his delusion will be in proportion to his anxiety (not expressed, but intensely felt) for their acknowledgment of his superiority. The pride of Coriolanus might keep a strong hold on the imagination of the common herd of the Roman people, and might even command their respect under a reverse of fortune ; but there might be, and probably were, in Rome, enlightened patriots who, in the days of his glory, saw how dependent was his peace on the fluctuating lide of public opinion, and who might whisper to themselves and to each other, when they saw him sacrifice his public duty to his private resentment, that it was no more than they had expected : that his dignity was not of a durable kind, and might therefore, on the first trial of its nature, degenerate in to obstinacy and perverseness. Few could now be found to covet the dignity of Coriolanus.
Another kind of dignity accompanies decision of character. It resembles that of pride in the circumstance that when it originates in a high idea of self, it is liable to the mutability and destruction to which all things of hlaman origin are exposed : it differs from that of pride, inasmuch as it depends not on human opinion for its safety. Decision of character, whether
asing from confidence in self or in a superior power, is incompatible with regard to the Auctuations which are ever taking place in the worlds of
atter and of mind. Events themselves are made to bend before the decison of a master
mind, and oppositions of opinion are of small account with They must bend or break', for its course must not and will not be delayed it passes on like the wind over a field of corn ; bending the pliant, breaking the stubborn, never pausing in its progress, or returning on its
and it will be durable if it be founded on reliance or a superior for then its exerise is not incompatible with a regard to the interests
When it is founded on self-confidence, its day of destruction will cane. Napoleon, for a while, commanded the awe of the whole world, an
respect, power; of