« PreviousContinue »
is no future, as not knowing in the space of a few years, that he should repent because he had made man on the earth, and it should grieve him at his heart, is an idea too shocking and ridiculous to be believed by any serious and rational person.
The passage, as Mr. Bellamy translates it, appears perfectly rational and consistent, and agrees with the declaration of Jehovah when he had finished his work : but as it stands in our common translation, it presents an idea derogatory to the character of God, and inconsistent to the last degree.
I submit the foregoing remarks to the candid perusal of the public, with a firm conviction that they will be the means of satisfying many serious and inquiring minds.
From the (Gardiner) Christian Intelligencer.
Bennington, (Vt.) May 1, 1827. Dear Sir, I fear that one of Dr. Beecher's Great Fires has just passed over our town, and that it will leave behind it a scene of "noral desolation." I have never subscribed to the doctrine of universal salvation, but the religion of Jesus Christ, pure and undefiled, under whatever name it may be presented to us, is a religion from which we have every thing to hope and nothing to fear. It is however liable to be abused; and when I say that all the sentiments contained in the following Creed, have been either directly or indirectly advocated in conferences and published from our pulpit, and that repeatedly, I think you will agree with me, that any thing rather than the religion of Jesus is preached among us.
With a view to contribute my mite towards staying the march of bigotry and intolerance, and to throw a
little shield around morality, I send you the following CREED for publication in your paper. Being written expressly for this place, it perhaps contains some pèculiarities of expression, which may not be exactly understood by the generality of readers, though I think it will not be wholly uninteresting to any. K.
1. I believe that one, and one, and one added together, makes one; and that nothing subtracted from three leaves one.
2. I believe that the heart of man is totally depraved, so much so that it is impossible for him to do a good action, and that his best motive is disinterested malice towards God and man.
3. I believe that the greater part of mankind are elected and appointed by the decrees of God to eternal damnation, and consequently that salvation is freely offered to, and may be obtained by all.
4. I believe that our religious and moral duties consist principally in the observance of the Sabbath and in attending our meetings, in refraining from profane swearing, and from all amusements, and that it is well for a man to avoid lying, cheating and slandering his neighbors but these last are non-essentials.
5. I believe that the conversion of every sinner is a special miracle wrought by God upon the heart, and this accounts for the fact, that those who are very wicked before conversion, generally remain so afterwards.
6. I believe that the purer the morality of one who has not been the subject of a miraculous regeneration, the greater is the aggregate of his guilt; and the more virtuous his conduct is, the more certain is the evidence that he is sealed to eternal damnation.
7. I believe that charity towards those who differ
from us in belief, is no part of christian duty-but that it is the duty of the world to be charitable towards us.
8. I believe that the people of God ought not to encourage in business, or be instrumental in appointing to office, any person who does not belong to our church, however just and upright his conduct may be. This would have the happy effect to bring morality into disrepute, and would moreover manifest our love to our enemies, as we should thereby make them all good christians, or at least hypocrites!
9. 1 believe in the infallibility of our faith, and that every one who doubts it, "has never read his Bible, is fighting against God, is a liar, and an infidel."
10. I believe that hereafter we shall take ample vengeance upon unbelievers; and for this purpose, I believe the all-wise and merciful Creator has so constructed the immortal world, that the hallelujahs of the righteous will be heard in the lowest regions of hell, and, mingling with the groans of the damned, will reverberate upon the ears of the saints, giving sweetness and intensity to their bliss; while at the same time it will increase beyond measure the justly deserved horror and despair of the wretched tenants of the dark abyss.
Lastly. I believe that our doctrine is a doctrine of charity, of love, of reason, of common sense, and that it proclaims "peace on earth and good will to men."
INFLUENCE OF DOCTRINE.
Among the lovers and patrons of virtue, morality and religion, and elegant and interesting writers on moral subjects, perhaps few, if any females have gone before Mrs. Barbauld, in refined taste and correct style. Her productions are sought with avidity, and read with both pleasure and profit by the learned and virtuous of both sexes. Perhaps however it is known to but few of her admirers that she is a zealous advocate of the doctrine "of the restoration of all Vol. 8.
things;" which will be shown by the following beautiful extract from her pen. We recommend it to the serious consideration of all our readers, particularly those of her sex; and would say to them in the affectionate language of Jesus, "Go ye and do likewise."-Editor of the Utica Magazine.
"Above all, it would be desirable to separate from religion that idea of gloom which in this country has but too generally accompanied it. The fact cannot be denied; the cause must be sought, partly in our national character, which I am afraid is not naturally, either very cheerful or very social, and which we shall do well to meliorate by every possible attention to our habits of life; and partly to the color of our religious systems.
one who embraces the cominon idea of future torments, together with the doctrine of election and reprobation, the insufficiency of virtue to escape the wrath of God, and the strange absurdity which, it should seem, through similarity of sound alone has been admitted as an axiom, that sins committed against an infinite Being do therefore deserve infinite punishment-no one, I will venture to assert, can believe such tenets, and have them often in their thoughts, and yet be cheerful. Whence a system has arisen so incompatible with that justice and benevolence, which in the discourses of our Savior, are represented as the most essential attributes of the Divine Being, is not easy to trace. It is probable, however, that power, being the most prominent feature in our conceptions of the Creator, and that of which we see the most striking image here on earth (there being a greater proportion of uncontrolled power than of unmixed wisdom or goodness to be found amongst human beings) the Deity would naturally be likened to an absolute monarch; and most absolute monarchs having been tyrants, jealous of their sovereignty, averse to freedom of investigation, ordering affairs, not with a view to the happiness of their
subjects, but to the advancement of their own glory; not to be approached but with rich gifts and offerings; bestowing favors, not in proportion to merit, but from the pure influence of caprice and blind partiality; to those who have offended them, severe and unforgiving, (except induced to pardon by the importunate intercession of some favorite) confining their enemies, when they had overcome them, after a contest, in deep, dark dungeons under ground, or putting them to death in the prolonged misery of excruciating tortures-these features of human depravity have been most faithfully transferred to the Supreme Being; and men have imagined to themselves how a Nero or a Domitian would have acted, if from the extent of their dominion there had been no escape; and to the duration of it, no period.
"These ideas of the vulgar belief, terrible, but as yet vague and undefined, passed into the speculations of the school'men, by whom they were combined with the metaphysical idea of eternity, arranged in specific propositions, fixed in creeds, and elaborated into systems, till at length they have been sublimed into all the tremendous horrors of Calvinistic faith.-These doctrines, it is true, among thinking people are losing ground, but there is still apparent, in that class called serious Christians, a tenderness in exposing them; a sort of leaning towards them, as in walking over a precipice one should lean on the safest side; an idea that they are, if not true, at least good to be believed, and that a salutary error is better than a dangerous truth. But that error can neither be salutary nor harmless, which attributes to the Deity injustice and cruelty; and that religion must have the worst of tendencies, which renders it dangerous for man to imitate the being whom he worships. Let those who hold such tenets consider that the invisible Creator has no name, and is identified only by his character;