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denies the value of law, or, of government, or, of the British constitution, because of this political wrangling. Nothing but Depotism can put a stop to it, and the magnitude of the interest justifies the keenness of the debate. Well, then, the magnitude of the interest contained in the Bible, cannot easily be exceeded, relating as it does, to the danger of man, the salvation of God, the undying soul, and the eternal world. These mighty interests are calculated to produce the strongest, because the soundest, state of excitement, and the Bible does nothing to prevent it. The Scriptures of God do not strike us dumb. They do not påralyse our mental and moral nature—the free, the pure, and the sparkling current of the human intellect. They do not engineer it into a muddy and an artificial pool! No! The picture of true religion in the Bible implies knowledge, freedom, activity, and enjoyment. It is represented as light to the eye-liberty to the soul-life from the dead. Its language is, “I speak unto wise men, judge ye what I say. Again,
" Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” I Again, “teaching and admonishing one another,"S and lastly, “ Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."||
* Cor. x. 15, Ephes. v. 17. Culoss. iii. 16. || \ Peter iii, 15.
It is true, when God speaks plainly, there is no room for debate, but, there are points on which He has not spoken. The Way of Salvation is plain, and has its echo in the human conscience, but, there is no Catechism of opinions in the New Testament. There is no Book of Leviticus in the New Testament. There are hundreds of questions left under the guidance of general principles and regulations. And it were absurd to suppose, that men of every age, caste, and character, condition and constitution, should, all, embody those principles, without the slightest variation in their colour, or their form! There is room, therefore, for variety of opinion, and the result is, that there are “differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”*
Now, there is no escaping this state of things, unless Divine Religion be placed at the foot of human depotism -unless we inhale the chloroform of the Church of Rome, and deliver ourselves bound into the hands of her priesthood, and allow them to drug us into a state of spiritual insensibility. Then, indeed, they may deal with us as they please. But, after all, the Church of Rome presents only the appearance of Unity. The surface may appear as unruffled as the stiff, cold, face of death, but, under that surface, there floats in darkness, many serious and monstrous* forms of error, which the narcotic of superstition never fails to engender in the ignorant, and the stagnant mind. The truth is, men's differences arise from the imperfection of their light, and the freedom of their agency. We, with our Bibles in our hands, endeavour to obtain the reality of religious union by increasing man's light. The Church of Rome produces something like the appearance of it, by suppressing his
1 Cor. xii. 5.
If, then, anyone be offended at the conflict of opinion between rival churches, if he should find that it keeps him at a distance from vital godliness, if, on this account, he should be tempted to question the light, the purity, and the power of the Redeemer's Gospel—he ought to consider, that the real ground of his offence, is not, the religion of God, but, the framework of his own mind—the faculties which have a part of that mind, and which live and die with it. He should also recollect, that if he be really honest in his objection, he should use it against science, literature, law, morals, medicine, and politics, as well as against Religion. And we should never forget that until “ He” comes, in whose light we shall see light, there is no way of removing “the offence,” but by suppressing, or, suspending the mental, and moral nature with which our Creator has endowed us. In other words, the various modes of Christian worship have their origin in the constitution of man.
See Appendix, Note B.
"God, working ever on a social plan,
UNITY IN VARIETY AS SEEN IN THE INSPIRED HISTORY
OF TRUE RELIGION.
When we trace the history of true religion from its brilliant spark in Genesis, to its cloud of living glory in the book of the Apocalypse, we find nothing that resembles the universal authority, and the superficial uniformity of the Church of Rome. We find no assembly of believers, assuming to be the mother, and the mistress of all other assemblies. We find each patriarch, administering to his own family, and tribe, without depending upon any other. We see Abel, sacrificing his lamb before “ the Cherubim” and the “flaming sword,” — Melchisedeck offering bread
and wine, as a memorial of the same transcendent mercyAbraham suppressing the agency of his soul, before an altar of stones, and Job, pouring forth his sorrows before God, without temple, or altar, or priest or sacrifice.
In the early history of religion it could not have been otherwise, because nothing was revealed but the substance and the emblem, of the divine character and it were against nature to suppose, that Job in Arabia, Melchisedeck at Salem, Abraham on Mount Moriah, and Abimeleck at Gerar, should, all, express their sense of that mercy, in the same way, and with the same religious forms.
This leads us to make a few remarks upon the real consistency of true religion, and the sort of evidence it presents to us. When we examine the several sections of the Bible, it will be found that the sum and substance of true religion consists, as it ought to do, in the gradual revelation of the same Amighty Saviour. As time rolls on from Creation, to Redemption, there is a growing discovery of His adorable nature, and mind, and character. But, in this increasing discovery, we are never brought to a pause by one part contradicting another. It is the wonderful property of the Bible that, though written by persons differing from each other in everything else, it is always consistent in its substance. It never withdraws any features of the divine character once