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revert to those dark times, in which an ecclesiastical curse was no matter of poetry, but a very serious thing; and we thank God, that although we are not even now in the full light, yet the palpable darkness of those ages has past away. When unoccupied by such reflections, however, we cannot help being amused with the highhanded and daring confidence of what are called the "damnatory clauses" of this composition. Let us just look back to the second clause. "Which Faith," that is, the string of mysticisms which follows, "except every one do keep whole, and undefiled," what will be the consequence? Why, "WITHOUT DOUBT he shall perish everlastingly." We call that, the sublime of theological impudence.
"If it were considered concerning Athanasius' creed," says Jeremy Taylor, in his Liberty of Prophesying,' "how many people understand it not, how contrary to natural reason it seems, how little the Scripture says of those curiosities of explication, and how tradition was not clear for the article itself, much less for those forms and minutes, it had not been amiss if the final judgment had been left to Jesus Christ; and indeed to me it seems very hard to put uncharitableness into the creed, and so to make it become as an article of faith."
Mrs. Barbauld's "Thought on Death."
THIS beautiful piece has been so often published in our country, of late, that we presume most of our readers must have seen it. We are induced, however, to insert it in our work, from the high opinion which
we entertain of its merit, and from having observed a corrected copy of it in the "Monthly Repository" of November last, accompanied by a note to the editor, from the venerable authoress herself. It seems, from this note, that it appeared in the American publications, and from them was transferred into the Repository, without the knowledge of the writer.
Although we cannot think the difference between the two copies a very important one, yet an author has certainly the best right over the form of his own productions; and an authentic copy is always more valuable than one which is unauthorized. Two alterations only are made. One is in the first line of the second verse, where the word "valued" is used, instead of "borrowed;" and the other is the transposition of the two last verses. The first change is an improvement, but we should doubt whether the same could be said of the second.
Beside their own real excellence, there are associations connected with these lines, which render them more than commonly interesting to us. Mrs Barbauld has passed her eightieth year. Her long and useful life has been spent in the practice of that living piety, which breathes from all her writings, and in the service of that Maker, whose praise she has hymned in some of the finest strains of devotional poetry which our language affords. And now, having arrived at a period, when she must consider the angel of death as having already crossed her threshold, she looks forward to the end without apprehension, and with a triumphant faith to that bright world, where age will be renewed, and the virtuous will meet their reward. And yet she belongs to a denomination of Christians,
which has been charged with having no true religion in life, and no hope in death! Mrs. Barbauld is a Uni
A THOUGHT ON DEATH.
When life, as opening buds, is sweet,
When scarce is seiz❜d some valu❜d prize,
When, one by one, those ties are torn,
Ah! then, how easy 'tis to die?
When faith is strong, and conscience clear,
'Tis joy, 'tis triumph, then to die.
When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
'Tis nature's precious boon to die!
SOME of your readers may think, perhaps, that the phrase at the head of this article is a strange one, and may pardon me for stopping to explain what is meant by the ecclesiastical doctrine of Trinity. That the doctrine is not founded on the positive authority of Scripture, is getting very fast to be allowed even by many who yet believe in it; but no one disputes that it has been the orthodox, that is the prevailing, doctrine of the church, from a very early period, and that successive leaders have moulded it into the various forms, which it has from time to time assumed. The most that any learned protestant can say of it is, thạt it may be fairly inferred from the Scriptures, by comparing together certain passages; while the Catholic thinks it enough, that it was voted to be true by the infallible council of Nice. The episcopal faith in our own country is sufficiently popish, I cannot help adding, in this particular. I heard a learned bishop, three years ago, declare in the presence of a great
congregation assembled at St.'s church -'s church in Philadelphia, that error on such a point in the council of Nice, so near the time of the apostles, was a moral impossibility. Now this unerring council, we all know, was held as "near the time of the apostles" as the year 325 of our era, after extravagance had succeeded extravagance so long in the minds of christians, that there hardly seemed room for one absurdity more. It was made up of ecclesiastics, who had more zeal than good sense or good manners, who were glad enough to travel into Bithynia at the public expense, and to meet the emperor of the world, in whose very presence the first thing they did was to quarrel.
The doctrine of trinity I call, therefore, an ecclesiastical doctrine, and no more; for I am not willing to join with some late German theologians, who, not finding it in the Bible, and ashamed to put it on so frail a foundation as the authority of church fathers, have gravely said, that it receives great countenance from the principles of the absolute philosophy; neither would I build on the reasonings of those, who say that all things in nature point to a trinity, or who refer us to the shadowings forth of that great doctrine in Plato and the Cabala, among the Persians, Chinese, and Hindoos; neither can I give heed to those worthy men, Darjes and Carpov, who have demonstrated their favourite tenet by pure mathematics; neither can I admire the proof exhibited in the conciliatory scheme of the two famous Gregorys of Nyssa and Nazianzus, backed as it is by John of Damascus, that here are reconciled, and brought into perfect harmony, the monotheism of the Jews, and the polytheism of the Gentiles.