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dried up, and one effectual step would be taken towards a complete and final union. The parties, by being brought into more intimate relations, would be in a better situation to dispose of remaining differences; and the Saviour, who prayed so fervently while on earth for the peace of his followers, might be expected to approve, and bestow his blessing.
A word further in relation to the volume before us, and we have done. The greater part of it is from the pen of Mr. J. G. Fuller, son of the late Rev. Andrew Fuller, and a member of the church recently under the care of the lamented Robert Hall. It seems from this circumstance, that Mr. Fuller is not a closecommunionist of the straitest sect—such as abound in some parts of the United States.—The discussion is carried on in the form of a dialogue, and claims to be specially fair, because the advocate for open communion is introduced as using the very language and arguments of Mr. Hall.” It may appear, however, on a little reflection, that scarcely any method could be more unfair ; as nothing is easier than to select particular passages from a connected discourse, and reply to them in a manner which may seem plausible, while yet the grand argument of the discourse—its bones and sinews—are left unbroken.
THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: A Discourse
preached at Sherburne, Mass. March 21, 1830. By Amos CLARKE. Boston: Press of the Independent Mes
senger. 1832. pp. 15. A MORE EXCELLENT WAY: A Sermon preached in the
Evangelical Church in Sherburne, on Sabbath, June 24, 1832, designed as an Examination of a Sermon by Rev. Amos Clarke, entitled The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. By SAMUEL LEE. Boston : Peirce & Parker.
1832. pp. 24. A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE REv. Samuel Lee, Min
ister of the Evangelical Church in Sherburne. By Amos CLARKE, Minister of the First Parish and Church in Sherburne. Cambridge: E. W. Metcalf & Co. 1832.
A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE Rev. Amos CLARKE, Minister of the First Parish and Church in Sherburne. VOL. VI.-NO. III.
By SAMUEL LEE, Pastor of the Evangelical Church in Sherburne. Boston : Peirce & Parker. 1832. pp. 28.
One can scarcely live a day, without being witness to the fact, that the charge of guilt is often made to rest on the innocent.
Men charge others with the very things of which themselves are most guilty. The world is full of such examples. Men are loud in their denunciations of the “mote” that is in their brother's eye, while, at the same time, a “beam" is in their own eye.
These thoughts have been suggested by the recent controversy at Sberburne. It seems that within two or three years there has been a secession of the Orthodox in that place from the Unitarians. The former clergyman was the Rev. Mr. Townsend. He, it appears, was both nominally and really, an Orthodox man. He was understood to be so, in the main, Loth by his people and by the churches in that vicinity; and, according to Mr. Lee's statement,-a statement made, we believe, on the authority of written documents which Mr. Townsend left behind him--he was not only understood to believe, but did in fact believe, “in the great doctrines of Orthodoxy, viz. total depravity, or the entire destitution of holiness previous to regeneration; instantaneous regeneration ;-that the Holy Spirit (to use his own words) is the great agent in producing this change ;'—'personal and unconditional election ;' and (in the last years of his ministry) the supreme divinity of Christ." At least, it appears that he was so far Orthodox, that some of his hearers, (who are now connected with the Unitarian society,) “when subjected to the pressure of his sentiments from the pulpit, were arrayed against him as a party for effecting his dismissal.” [Mr. Lee's Letter, p. 14.]
In the course of Divine Providence, Mr. Townsend's health failed, and Mr. Clarke, the present Unitarian clergyman, was invited to preach as a temporary supply. After preaching some months, it became evident that Mr. T. would not be able to resume his labors again, and the people, (Mr. T. being absent at the South on account of his health,) began to think of settling another man. Some thought of Mr. Clarke as the proper man ; others dissented, and, among other reasons for their dissent, urged their belief that Mr. C. was a Unitarian. The charge of Unitarianism, if we mistake not, was denied by Mr. C.'s friends if not by him, and both, we believe, agreed in regarding it an injurious and unauthorized insinuation. The result was, a request from some of the parishioners, that he would "preach his sentiments," so that they might know
whether he was or was not a Unitarian ; and this after he had been preaching among them some six months or more.* Mr. C. did according to request. Thesermon which is now printed, and which was the commencement of the controversy, is the same, we believe, that was preached on that occasion.
As might be expected from the character of the sermon, the people were still unable to determine definitely what his opinions were, though more than ever satisfied of his Unitarianism. The final result was a secession of the Orthodox ; the formation of a new society; the settlement of Mr. C. over the Unitarian society, and soon after, the settlement of Mr. Lee over the Evangelical church and society.
It was not, however, as yet, fully admitted that Mr. C. was a Unitarian. For the first few months after his settlement especially, we believe the charge of his being a l'nitarian, was generally treated by his friends as a slander, and not unfrequently retorted upon those who made it, with the declaration that he was as Orthodox as Mr. Lee, or Mr. Townsend. Indeed, it would seem that up to the very time at which Mr. C. printed the sermon which occasioned the present controversy, the effort had been studiously made, to persuade his people and Mr. Lee's also, that there was no essential difference between the sentiments of the two. For some reason, we will not stop to inquire what, Mr. C. and his friends have been extremely unwilling to be called Unitarians. The name seems to have been a terror to them, and the constant effort has been, to make it appear that Mr. Lee and Mr. C. were substantially agreed.
At length, some two years after it was preached, (singular delay !) the sermon, entitled “ The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," is published, and “circulated extensively," as Mr. Lee informs us, " through both the congregations of the town,” with the understanding that it was “an expression of the sentiments of its author.” Mr. Lee is thus furnished with a convenient opportunity of showing that there was an essential differ. ence between his creed and Mr. C.'s__"such a difference, that if the one preaches the Gospel, the other preaches another Gospel.” This he accordingly attempts to do, and, as we think, does effectually do, in a sermon, designed as a "review" of Mr. C.'s, from the same text, and, so far as” was “practicable, the same division of subject.” Mr. Lee justifies himself in this attempt by the fact to which we have just adverted, viz. the efforts made, to induce the belief that he and Mr. C. did not materially differ. “It is known,” he says, speaking of Mr. C.'s
Preached six months, and yet left his people in the dark as to his sentiments! Did Christ, did Paul preach in this manner ?
sermon, " its author claims to be considered as not differing in his views very materially from myself: and that the impression is very general, especially among his own congregation, that he does not." “ All have heard it again and again asserted, that my religious belief differs not materially from that of its author. Its author has himself expressed an opinion to this effect.”
In this state of things, therefore, it became Mr. Lee's imperious duty to improve the opportunity presented, and show, as he has done, that there is a heaven-wide difference between his belief and Mr. C.'s. It was a duty he owed to himself, to Mr. C., to the members of their respective congregations, and to God: Mr. Lee evidently felt it to be so.
And the whole tenor of what he has written shows that he spoke in the sincerity of his soul and in solemn earnest, when he said, in the commencement of his sermon, “ The expression of sentiment I am now about to make, has become to me a duty, without having performed which, I should be afraid to die and go to the presence of my Judge.” The manner and success with which Mr. L. has discharged this duty, will appear in the sequel.
The text of each sermon is 2 Cor. viii. 9 :-“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich :" and the plan of each is to consider, first, the person of whose grace the Apostle speaks—Jesus Christ : secondly, the persons on whom this grace was bestowed—the 6 sinful children of Adam :" thirdly, the proof of this gracehe became poor : and lastly, its good fruits and happy effectsthat ye might be rich.
In respect to the first particular, the person of whose grace the Apostle speaks, Mr. C. tells us “it was the Lord Jesus Christ.” But who or what the Lord Jesus Christ was, whether a man, or an angel, or a super-angelic being, he tells us not a word. He does indeed say, (Sermon, pp. 4, 5,) that he “proceeded forth and came from God, and was rich ;" and that he “not only existed before the foundations of the earth were laid,” but also rich.” Now though it may be fair to infer from this, as Mr. Lee (Sermon, p. 6,) does, that Mr. C. believes Christ to be “a super-angelic being, existing before the foundations of the world were laid,” still it is solely a matter of inference. Mr. C. himself tells us not a word, in his sermon, explicitly to this effect. He tells us that Christ“ proceeded forth and came from God,”—and “existed before” [he came on earth ;] but this is only telling what Christ did, not what he
The question to be answered here is, Who was this
Christ that thus proceeded forth, &c. ? Was he a man, or an angel, or what? These questions Mr. C. has left unanswered. Nor does he throw any farther light on this point, when he goes on to say that Christ " was rich." For the questions still come up, What kind of a being was this Christ, who was rich? Was he a man, or an angel, or what? And here again we are left as much in the dark as before. Each reader is left to guess out for himself who or what this being was.
We know that Mr. C., in his letter (p. 19) designed as a reply to Mr. Lee's sermon, notwithstanding Mr. L.'s express declaration that he (Mr. C.) believed Christ to be "a super-angelic being,” still throws out the suspicion, that Mr. L., in saying that he himself believed Christ to be a proper
man" as God, had but resorted to a "device" (!) designed “to leave the impression on some minds," that he, (Mr. C.,) inasmuch as he did not believe Christ to be God, did therefore “believe him to be only “ a proper man.” And he seems to throw out this charitable (?) suspicion by way of complaint, as if Mr. Lee were doing him an injury in supposing that he believed Christ to be nothing but “a proper man. And yet neither in his letter or sermon do we find that he tells us explicitly what more than this he believes him to be. He says that he is not God, and intimates that he is something more than “a proper man." But what more? Where has he told us? It is true he informs us that Christ not only proceeded forth," &c., but was also“ rich”—and that his being rich consisted in the fact, that " he possessed the love of his Father in heaven; the fellowship and communion of angels; power to control the operations of nature; a knowledge of the secret thoughts of men, and of the hidden things of God; and unerring wisdom.” (Sermon, p. 7.)
, He speaks too (Sermon, pp. 9, 10) of Christ, as "the only begotten;" as being “in glory with the Father;" as á exalted far
* lo respect to this point, we are utterly at a loss how to account for the unfairness of Mr. C. 'Mr. Lee had stated in the very outset, (Seimon, p. 6,) that Mr. C. cons:dered ('hrist“ a superungelic being existing before the foundations of the world were laid, and so excited as to be entitled to the homage of angels as well as men.” Now we ask, did Mr. C. read Mr. L.'s sermon? If so, then he must have read the express declaration of his, that he supposed Mr. C. to believe that Christ was a super-angelic being, &c. Why, then, in face of this express declaration, and with no reason for do. ing it, except that Mr. Lee had said that be himself believed Christ to be “a real and proper man" as well as God, why does Mr.C. charge him with resorting to a "device" designed to deceive the people and make them think that he believed Christ to be “only a proper man?'? 'Did he do this ignorantly? How could he ? Mr. Lee's express declaration that he (Mr. C.) considered Christ super-angelic, &c. was before him. Why then did he charge Mr. Lee with a trick-a "device ?" Is this the charity that thinketh no evil? We are constrained to say that Mr. C. knew better than to suppose that Mr. I.. had any such device in mind; and that the "device," if there be any lies with Mr. C. and not with Mr. L., and we are farther constrained to throw Mr, C's impeachment of character back upon himself, and say of bim as he has of Mr. Lee, "whether this device," to impeach Mr. Li's character, “will succeed any better than its predecessors, time must determine."