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I imagine what instrument of torture our opponents will be able to invent, that will succeed in extorting from the passage a confession more conformable to their wishes.
But how does the Apostle reconcile the apparent dis. crepancy in his statement? Why just thus :- Levi paid tythes to Melchisedek; but he tells us that he paid these tythes IN Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of bis father when Melchisedek met him." Now, just in a simi.. lar manner the other difficulty may also be removed. All mankind descending from Adam by ordinary generation committed his first sin; but they committed this sin “IN” bim, inasmuch as they were yet in the loins of their com. mon father when he broke the command of God.
These considerations will have little weight with those who charge the writings of the Apostle Paul with frequent instances of inconclusive reasoning. Should they, how. ever, be instrumental in any degree in assisting the exertions of humble and prayerful inquirers, or in placing the subject in a new point of view before the minds of those who are “ established in the faith," my object will be abundantly accomplished.
RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN GENEVA.
WE had begun to hope that the fatal experience wbich Switzerland had of late years of the fearful evils of an intolerant and persecuting spirit; and after the earnest fraternal remonstrances of the whole Protestant world, particularly in France, England, and the United States of America, every lover of his country, above all, every professed friend of religion, in Switzerland, had resolved to banish henceforth all weapons in matters of theology, but those of amicable argument and the Word of God. We grieve, however, to say, that the spirit of intolerance has again broken forth; not in some remote rural district, but in Geneva itself; not on the part of a few obscure bigots, but on the part of the venerable company of pastors; and not directed against some rash and ignorant individual, whose conduct could be urged as a pretext for hostility, but against one of the most faithful, pious, bumble, regular, and useful ministers which the modern church of Geneva can boast-M. Gaussen, the well known and beloved pastor of Satigny. The dominant ecclesiastical party in Geneva have never forgiven M. Gaussen the offence of having republished, with M. Cellerier, the Helvetic Confession, which they wished to be forgotten, as the monument of their heterodoxy and secession from the true principles of their church. But his exemplary conduct, and ecclesiastical regularity, have hitherto prevented their finding occasion against him. Had he become a dissenter, or gone over to wild opinions, instead of remaining in the church, of which he is an ornament, and exhibiting its true doctrines, his offence had been less, as would his influence and capacity for doing good.
The circumstances to which we allude are the following: M: Gaussen lately received from the company of pastors an order to renew the use of its catechism in his schools; which he declined doing, as well he might, from the beterodox complexion of that document. The refusal was made a pretext for hostility; and it has been even seriously proposed to deprive him of his benefice. All moderate and well judging persons in Geneva have ex. claimed against such intolerance and persecution, and the civil authorities have expressed their concern, and endeavoured to tranquilize the matter. In the meantime, M. Gaussen has been constrained to issue a brief statement on the subject to the householders of his parish, who have gathered around himn with filial anxiety and affection. It is a meek and pastoral address, in which he alludes to his having preached among them for fourteen years those blessed truths which were the glory of the Reformation, and which his predecessor Cellerier had inculcated for thirty years before him, and shows good reason why he has not made the modern catechism the basis of his in. struction among the children; not only because it is tedious and unintelligible to them, but because he thinks the pure word of God preferable for this purpose, and because the catechism has been so grievously mutilated, that it exhibits no longer “ those four most important doctrines, the fall, sinfulness, and condemnation of mankind ; justification by faith, in the blood of Jesus Christ; that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and that there is but one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” M. Gaussen adds, that if the pastors will replace those doctrines in the catechism, or restore the Orthodox catechism formerly in use, he will, for the sake of peace and deference, employ it, though he prefers the Scriptures, and violates no ecclesiastical usage or rule of discipline, in not making use of a catechism.
[In addition to the preceding statement, which is taken from the DubIin Christian Examiner for January last, we subjoin, from the same periodical for the present month, the following paragraph, which completes the picture of Arian intolerance in Geneva.]
“The church of Geneva is in a state of great ferment, in reference to the proceedings in the affair of M. Gaussen. The
company of pastors had directed M. Gaussen to use the catechism in his schools and in his personal instruc. tion. In his reply he agreed to the former, and refused the latter, for the reasons which he specified. The com. pany gave him permission to take this course, but direcfed him to withdraw his letter, which he declined, probably considering it would be construed into a disavowal of the sentiments expressed in it. Much subsequent discussion has occurred, the result of which has been, that after a protracted debate of some hours, the company have passed a sentence, that M. Gaussen shall be excluded its sittings for a year; that his general conduct in the affair, without touching upon his religious sentiments, shall be recorded as ecclesiastically censurable; and that his parish shall remain under the supervision of the company. More serious measures were proposed, but were at lengih negatived. The company have determined to publish the proceedings, which will, no doubt, be canvassed in print on both sides. In the absence of these necessary documents, we merely state the above facts, without comment. It is quite clear, however, that the conduct of the company was ill judged, even upon their own principles, in issuing an injunction which they could not sustain ; and the result, sooner or later, we trust, will be, that the light elicited by the discussion will lead to the rejection of the unscriptural catechism, to which M. Gaussen so justly objects
CREATION A PROOF OF SUPREME DIVINITY.
""The degree of knowledge and power requisite for the formation of
created nature, cannot, with respect to us, be distinguished from infinite." —PALEY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. SIR,
It has often been a matter of astonishment to me, when reflecting upon those topics, concerning which the
Christian world is at present so much divided, that those men who have stood forward in defence of views which they conceive to be in accordance with the Scriptures, and who have written and spoken with so much eloquence and effect against what seems to them antiscriptural doctrines, should, at the self same moment, avow their helief in opinions, which, to me at least, appear equally unphilosophical and untenable. I refer to those whe, believing in “THE FATHER” as the only true God, believe at the same time that Jesus CHRIST CREATED THE WORLD. Creation being taken here in its natural and literal signification. These two opinions I hold to be altogether incompatible; the ascription of creation to Christ, while deity is denied to him. My reasons are simply these: By creation I understand “ AN IMMEDIATE EFFECT OF THE DIVINE WILL EXERTING ABSOLUTE OMNIPOTENce."
“God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.” It is an effect of the Divine will, and as such, is the prerogative of God alone. Should the truth of this definition, however, be disputed, (and if granted, it settles the ques. tion,) might I inquire of those who dissent, why do we believe in the existence of a God ? Doubtless they will answer, from the works of creation. If then it be by His WORKS that we infer the existence of a God, are we not bound, consistently with our reason, to believe that the Being who has called these into existence, is God to us? If not, how are we to arrive at a knowledge of the Deity, his character and attributes? If we but refer to the constitution of our own bodies, we shall have a convincing proof of the existence of an intelligent and great first cause. We cannot even raise our hands to our heads, without being struck with this awful truth- Were there no other example,” observes Paley, "in the world, of contrivance, except that of the eye, it would be alone sufficient to support the conclusion we draw from it, as to the necessity of an intelligent Creator." And if our minds lead us to believe in the OMNIPOTENCE OF GOD ONLY, IN CONSEQUENCE OF MANIFESTATIONS OF POWER DISCERNIBLE IN HIS WORKS, how can we avoid the conclusion, that he who created these must be God ? Indeed I can have no conception of an agent creating a world, which, from the power and intelligence manifested in its formation, necessarily leads us to the consideration of an Omnipotent and Omniscient
Being; and yet that agent not being himself God, because those ideas arise in our minds, from the contemplation of the works of that agent; and of course we cannot conceive of a Being more exalted than he of whom, from his works, we predicate Almighty power and wisdom. The subject in fact is resolvable into this-Does natural religion lead us to think of a Being above the actual Creator of the World? If so, what are the principle of our minds, or what the works of nature, which would lead us to inser this? If not-must not the actual Creator be the object of our religious adoration ? If then we are obliged to ad. mit that the Being who actually made the world, must be God at least to us, how comes it that those who deny the Deity of our Saviour, hold as firmly as Trini. tarians do—the doctrine that He was the Being who actually performed the works of creation. Surely these two opinions are directly contradictory.-Creation I have shown, is the sole prerogative of the Deity. It is incommunicable, as it is the exercise of an attribute, incommunicable to the extent required. And I believe it to be an impossibility jör any created being, however great his power, however exalted his rank in the scale of intellectual being, to create one single atom of matter. And if it thus require the exertion of Omnipotence to call into existence a single particle of that dust which floats around us, how can men, who reject the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is contrary to that reason which God has given them, reconcile to themselves the doctrine, that “By him (Christ) all things were created.”—“So that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Can they believe that Jesus Christ was the delegated agent of Omnipotence, in affecting that which it required Omnipotence to perform? Do they really imagine that the power of the Almighty could be delegated to that extent to which he himself possesses it? If so, then the Being to whom such power has been granted, would be, as to power, equal to the God who gave it. And does not suoh a notion shock every principle of reason and common sense ?
If then it be established that the actual Creator of the world must be God to us, it follows—either that Christ is God, or that He did not create the universe.