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ogy, he is equally successful in destroying faith; for how can one believe a proposition when he knows not the meaning of its terms? We repudiate his doctrine as unwarranted and disastrous in its results. The principle or sentiment of justice is not one thing in man and another in God. We deny that the ascription of justice to Him, nullifies the ascription of infinitude, and if we could not understand how He can be just, in our meaning of the word, while He is infinite, we are still bound, and rationally bound, to believe that He is just. The pure human conception of compassion and of all the other forms of excellence, truly represents the reality of these attributes in God. Our author professes to find support for his objectionable views in the Bible. But the Bible teaches that man is in the image of his Creator. The Bible invites men to discern the righteousness and mercy of God which are displayed in His Providence and His miraculous interpositions. It is fatal to Mr. Mansel's theory on this subject, that we do actually see in the works of God and in His Word, a wisdom which sets before it ends and chooses means to attain them, a Justice, a Truth, a Mercy, which are fully analogous in kind to the same qualities in man. "We must remain content," says Mr. Mansel," with the belief that we have that knowledge of God which is best adapted to our wants and training. How far that knowledge represents God as He is, we know not, and have no need to know." But why call that "a knowledge of God" which does not "represent Him as He is?" And why speak of manifestations and revelations of God, which neither manifest nor reveal Him?
It is in keeping with Mr. Mansel's entire view that he not only disparages theology as a science, but Natural Theology in particular. In this, he is equally consistent and erroneous. It is the glory of English divines that they have done so much in the department of Natural Theology, and their labors will not become obsolete until the truth which is presupposed by Revelation and necessary to the understanding of Revelation, shall have passed away. As long as the Bible continues to say that we are the offspring of God, that He is not far from any one of us, that in Him we live and move and have our
being, and that the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, there will be room for investigations and for settled conclusions in this noble department of knowledge.
In the same spirit, Mr. Mansel is disposed to put a comparatively low estimate on the internal evidence of Revelation in contrast with the external proof. Here again we must be allowed a total dissent from his strain of remark. It is one of the most meritorious services of theology, in our day, that the internal argument from the structure of Christianity in its relation to human necessities and from the character of its founder has been most impressively exhibited. It is this argument which has convinced thousands who would never have been persuaded by the other species of proof. It is granted that some have gone to an extreme, and have affected to think lightly of miracles and Apostolic testimony, but this is no reason for undervaluing one of the noblest and most useful achievements of modern theology.
Mr. Mansel is himself an earnest man; but we fear that some of his positions are adapted to foster intellectual indolence. It is an easy way of avoiding thought, and of disposing of the problems of theology, for the student to say that they are beyond our powers. There are not wanting men in the clerical office who deliver themselves from mental exertion and from research by this convenient subterfuge. Richard Baxter found many such in his day, and complains that his "hard studies and darling truth" made him and some others "owls, or reproached persons, among those reverend brethren who are ignorant at easier rates." But whatever may be the influence of Mr. Mansel's philosophical creed, he has himself afforded an example of the most fruitful kind of theological inquiry. His work has the signal merit of grappling with fundamental questions. There is very much discussion among us upon the subjects of religion, which is on the surface. The doctrine of Eternal Punishment is handled in such a way as to make it evident that the writers have never inquired into the nature of punishment and the necessary, or retributive relation of punishment to sin and guilt. In the same manner,
the Atonement is considered, and a theory sought for, when the subject requries a definite view of the grounds of penalty, of the relation of the moral attributes of God to his will, and of their relations to each other. Some of our older writers may well become our models in thoroughness. Owen understood where the seeds of theology are, when he set himself to write a special treatise on the nature of Divine Justice. Cudworth and Clarke, and many others whom the theological scholar will at once recall, in their inquiries, began at the foundations, and they have made the English literature in doctrinal or systematic theology to be much richer than in any other branch of the science.
We have welcomed Mr. Mansel's work as a fresh sign of intellectual activity at Oxford. The theological books which have been sent out from the venerable university within the last few years, representing, as they do, various schools of opinion, indicate a great degree of activity and life. In truth, the theological mind of England is awake as it has not been for a long period. Religious scholars are mastering the continental philosophy and theology, and appropriating what is good, while they reject what is bad. We augur the best results from the soundness of the English mind, when that mind is placed in contact with the highest German speculation and scholarship.
ARTICLE III.-MR. DANIEL LORD AND THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.
A NEW question has arisen in the American Tract Society, more important than any question of mere expediency, or even of the performance of a specific duty; a question which reaches into the very organism of the Society, and the foundations on which it rests. Has the Society, under its charter and constitution, the right to control its own affairs, or has it so divested itself of authority, that its Executive Committee, elected by it, are absolute and uncontrollable, and may conduct the business of the Society in accordance with their own views, uninfluenced and unassisted by the expression of the opinions or wishes of the Society itself?
This is a question of vital interest. The relations which this Society bears to the churches of the country, and to the great interests of religion, are so multifarious and extended that this question rises in importance above every other, and must be settled in such a manner as to command the approval of the Christian community on which the Society depends for support. The officers of this Society, and of all our benevolent Societies, must be responsible, not merely to their own consciences and to God, not simply to the public sentiment of the community, in that general sense in which every man is so responsible, not only to the churches, from which contributions are received, but to the Society from which they derive their appointment, which should have the right and the power to demand and enforce a strict specific responsibility. If the members of the Society have no rights which the Executive Committee are bound to respect, the plan of a voluntary Society for benevolent ends must be abandoned. Better the system of ecclesiastical boards, better the system of priestly control, than a so-called voluntary system, which allows no volition and no freedom, except to the agents and officers of the Society.
It will be remembered that at the late annual meeting of the American Tract Society, a resolution was offered by William Jay, Esq., as follows: "Resolved, That the publishing committee be instructed to publish, during the coming year, one or more tracts on the moral evils and vices which slavery is known to promote, and which are so much deplored by evangelical Christians."
Whereupon Daniel Lord, Esq., rose and opposed the adoption of the resolution, and advanced the idea that the Society has no right to instruct or advise its officers. So conclusive did he regard his own argument and so thoroughly exhaustive of the subject, that he concluded by moving to lay the resolution of Mr. Jay on the table, for the expressed purpose of preventing any debate or reply.
We propose to examine this question by reference to the charter and constitution and practice of the Society, and such principles of law as seem applicable to the case. If in so doing we detect the fallacies, and expose the errors of Mr. Lord's argument, we do so with a high regard to his character as a man, and to his legal reputation. For we are not of the number of those who think that when a man of his character makes an argument it is necessarily conclusive, since we know that it is the duty of an advocate to sustain the interests and views of his clients as best he can, and that a professional man of high attainments is not always employed on the right side, and that such an one sometimes uses arguments which do not meet the approval of the courts of last resort. To the Christian community, Mr Lord has referred the discussion, and to that tribunal of last resort the decision may safely be left.
We proceed then to an examination of the charter and constitution of the Society, upon the construction of which two instruments the legal aspects of the question depend. The charter passed May 26, 1841, provides:
1. James Milnor, *
and William A. Hallock, and all such persons as now are, or may hereafter become members of the American Tract Society, formed in the city of New York in the year 1825, are constituted a body corporate,