Imágenes de páginas

be an honest man; for the professors of the seminary, by its constitution are bound by the following oath, and profession:-“ In the presence of God, and of the directors of this seminary, I do solemnly, and ex animo adopt, receive, and subscribe the confession of faith and catechisms of the presbyterian church in the United States of America, as the confession of my faith; as a summary and just exhibition of that system of doctrine and religious belief which is contained in the holy scripture, and therein revealed by God to man for his salvation: and I do solemnly ex animo profess to receive the form of government of said church, as agreeable to the inspired oracles. And I do solemnly promise and engage not to inculcate, teach, or insinuate, any thing which shall appear to me to contradi or contravene, either directly, or impliedly, any thing taught in the said confession and catechisms, nor oppose any of the fundamental principles of presbyterian church government, while I continue a professor in this seminary.”

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller, whose name has been before mentioned, is professor of ecclesiastical history and church government. For his orthodoxy which is unequivocal, he has lately been violently attacked by the pamphleteers of the Hopkinsian school in New York. No degree of moderation, no amiableness of character, no reputation, however well earned, nor any respectability of attainments can shield from their attacks, those who do not adopt the dogmas of these gentlemen. But the reputation of the professors, as scholars and divines, stands on a foun. dation not to be shaken by the missiles of such forces, as those arrayed against them.

The text book in theology adopted in this school of the prophets is Turrettin, whose character in relation to orthodoxy, has been before drawn, and which the reader will have an opportunity of appreciating from the translations contained in the following pages. This circumstance places in the strongest light, the opinions of our professors, and secures, as far as human means can secure the alumni of the institution from the contamination of Hopkinsian, Ar

minian and other heresies. This establishment forms a bar. rier against the progress of those errors in New Jersey, and their inroads upon the churches of the middle states, from the north; and is calculated to infuse a desirable vigour into the counsels of the church, which has erected it.

The leading traits in the character of the pupils of this school, are warmth of piety and a missionary spirit. It is surprising, however, that attention to the philosophy of mind forms no part of the course of study prescribed. To combat effectually the advocates of the prevalent mistakes of the times, we must be armed with those weapons, which they profess to wield with such dexterity. They must be met on their own ground, and vanquished there; and tro. phies must be erected over them on those territories which they claim, as almost exclusively their own. It is known, however, that Dr. Alexander does not neglect to initiate, in his lectures, the pupils into the first principles of this im.

portant science,

As to the supply of this church with ministers, the remarks which we have made respecting the Dutch church, may be applied. There are in the church under the care of the General Assembly, five hundred and twenty ministers, and upwards of five hundred and fifty congregations, which in twenty-five years more, will amount, by natural increase, to eleven hundred congregations. In the Princeton seminary there are forty-six pupils; which number, as the term of study is three years, will supply fifteen ministers per annum, or three hundred and seventy-five in twenty-five years. Allowing that as many more should be educated privately, there would still be a deficiency of three hundred and fifty. Could we hope, however, that all the ministers, hereafter to be introduced into this branch of the church, would be orthodox, the interests of truth would rapidly improve. This we are not permitted to expect. On the state of orthodoxy, in New-Jersey, this school must have a favourable influence. The Presbytery of New-Brunswick, are said to be all antiHopkinsian, while in the Presbytery of Jersey, as we have already stated, the otherwise; and from their activi

ty, and the supineness of the friends of truth, the weight of this majority must increase.

The synod of New-York, is now in a great state of fermentation, and Hopkinsianism is gaining ground. The disciples of the northern school have seven ministers in the New-York Presbytery, and the orthodox five; their influence in the capital of the state must tend to advance it. The Presbytery of Albany have a majority of the Calvinistic creed. Emigrations from the New England states increase the relative forces, favourably to error, in the western parts of the state. Hence, though there may be, and probably is a majority of orthodox members in the synod of Albany, it cannot be expected to continue so for many years.

The Associate Reformed Seminary, and the influence of Dr. M‘Leod's lectures and publications, may be considered as auxiliary to the cause of truth, in the Synod of NewYork and New-Jersey. In the seminary under Dr. Mason's care, there are twenty-five alumni, some of whom may be expected to fall into this synod. Indeed there are some of the young men, in this institution, now in connection with the General Assembly.

Dr. Romeyn's character, popularity, and writings, arranged as they always have been, on the side of truth, are equal to a very considerable numerical force on the other side. This gentleman was educated in Schenectady and New-York, and was originally a member of the Reformed Dutch church. He afterwards joined the General Assembly. His labours in the congregation, in which he is placed in New York, have been greatly blessed. He has lately published two volumes of valuable sermons, which are orthodox of course.

A minister of the Reformed Presbyterian church, the Rev. Gilbert M‘Master, settled in the pastoral charge of a congregation at Galway, has published a valuable essay on the doctrine of the atonement, in which he combats the errors of Dr. Hopkins and his followers. This book is well written, and it is extensively read in the state of New-York. He has also published an Analysis of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, designed as a manual for the instruction

of young people. These valuable works of Mr. M Master, have a tendency to strengthen the hands of the orthodox in the Synods of Albany and of New York.

Dr. M‘Leod has lately published a volume of Sermons, entitled “ True Godliness," which though, like those of Dr. Romeyn, not of a controversial character, but designed for the promotion of holiness, by the direct inculcation of gospel truth, nevertheless strike at the root of the prevalent heresies. These works have not been permitted to pass without attack. A series of anonymous essays entitled " The Triangle,” are now publishing in New York, in which the most virulent attacks are made upon Dr. Mason, Dr. M'Leod, Dr. Romeyn, Dr. Milledoler, Dr. Miller, Mr, Ely, and others. Its pages are replete with all the Hopkin. sian peculiarities, not excepting their high pretensions to metaphysical reasoning, and the style in which they are conveyed to the public, dishonourable to the Christian pame, so far as any thing in that way may be esteemed dishonourable to that holy appellation. Men have a taste for what is personally abusive, and love a well told falsehood; all are curious; many are fond of errors; and the friends of truth wish to know what its enemies are doing; hence this work is read by hundreds. In the revivals of religion, as they call them, the clergy who are of the northern school, put this most unchristian and indecent publication into the hands of those who have their passions and feelings excited by their pulpit exhibitions. Such are the ways of error, and the means by which it diffuses among the unwary, its malignant influence.

A question of great magnitude now presents itself: should the friends of orthodoxy, in the General Assembly, bring the Hopkinsian question to a speedy decision, even supposing that they were to calculate merely as human politicians. It is abundantly manifest, that their Confession of Faith, and Catechisms, with all the solemn promises that young men make to adhere to them at their ordination, do not form an effectual barrier against the assailing foe. It is truly deplorable, that men of whom we would fondly entertain a favourable opinion, do not hesitate to swcar a belief in those instru

ments, while they hold and teach opinions, hostile to both their spirit and letter. But we have daily evidence that they do so. However they may satisfy their consciences, by the help of subtle distinctions, and forced explanations, this affords no relief to the friends of gospel truth. Error spreads, and the great interests of the Redeemer's kingdom are compromitted. Gentle measures have been tried and have failed.

It may be thought the theological seminary will correct the evil, and no doubt it will counteract the operations of errorists; but its progress will be slow; and it is even possible the Hopkinsians may obtain its direction, for an unwise policy called peaceful, has already given Mr. Spring, Dr. Richards, and Mr. Hillyer, a seat in the board. Io twenty years, it will not, without a very great increase, supply more than three hundred ministers; and twenty years ago there was scarcely one Hopkiosian, in the bounds of the assembly. Will not the same causes, which have lately multiplied them, continue to operate? The churches in the north are generally supplied with ministers, and when the young men of Andover complete their studies, and seek for settlements, they travel to the sou where there are numerous vacancies. Their settlement is not merely a numerical increase of the forces, on the side of error; they are active in making proselytes, and though few of the old clergy embrace Hopkinsianism, yet the minds of the young, whose knowledge of polemical theology is limited, become, in many cases, enamoured with specious subtilties, which are mistaken for solid reasoning.

By being long habituated to philosophy falsely so called, we often come to regard with indifference, opinions which at first shocked every Christian feeling. It was thus that the whole of the Reformed church, in France, became gradually corrupted, its foundations sapped, and its ruin finally completed. The events which took place, in that church, hold up to all posterity an example that false doctrines should not be treated with compassion or lenity, when first introduced; otherwise they will gain possession of the garden of the Lord, and, by their noxious shade blast and wither, if

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »