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veneration for magistrates, and a just regard for law and order. Let them feel and fully realize that their individual interests are identified with the interests of their country, and that both are involved in the propagation of the pure principles of Christianity. Let all parents and guardians of youth enlist in the same cause, and the work shall be done.
If it be true that the people are the fountain of civil power, how indispensable is it that this fountain should be pure! How else can the government be in the hands of good men ? If, then, we allow a foreign population, destitute of religious and political knowledge and principle, to infect us with their poisonous breath ; if we allow our youth to riot with them in indolence, luxury, and wickedness; if we neglect to raise them to the dignity of intelligent and responsible beings, by the appliances of intellectual, moral, and religious culture; then may we expect the fair fields of our extensive and constantly ex. tending republic to be speedily overrun with the briars and thorns of religious and political beresies, which will ultimately destroy those trees of liberty planted by our fathers, and which have been purtured by our patriotic statesmen.
How shall this corrupt mass be purified? Can philosophy do it? In the ten thousand experiments which it has tried, it has been found a “physician of no value." Can mere mental culture do it? This is equally inefficient. Neither of these can reach the seat of the disease. They may, indeed, enlighten the understanding in political science and civil jurisprudence ; but they cannot reach the heart, where is the chief seat of the disease. Here, therefore, to the heart the remedy must be applied ; and Christianity alone can do the deed. This applies itself to the heart; and, if its remedies be taken, and its prescriptions followed, a radical cure is effected here ; and if “the tree be made good, the fruit will be good also.” Then, when the heart is changed from bad to good, if the understanding is enlightened, the judgment accurately informed on the principles of moral and political science, as well as on the great fundamentals of religion, the people will be prepared and qualified to discharge their duties with an enlightened patriotism, whether in or out of office. That magistrate who is under the influence of these principles, and is actuated by the motives inspired by love to God and man, can be guilty of no acts of cruelty, of sanctioning no oppressive measures, nor of neglecting those duties which are essential to the welfare of the state. And those citizens who are under the influence of the same judgment and motives, will most cordially co-operate with all such magistrates in seeking the peace and prosperity of the community at large.
Under these impressions, we once more call upon all who love their country, to use their best endeavors to diffuse this Christianity among all orders and ranks of men. Let the ignorant be instructed in its doctrines and precepts, the profligate reformed by its power, and all regulated in their social intercourse by its morals, and the state shall be safe, the country shall be blessed and happy, and our civil and religious institutions shall be preserved from deterioration, and be handed down to future generations in all their purity and integrity. Thus shall we bequeath to our posterity an inheritance more precious than gold, and more enduring in the blessings it confers upon man. kind than the everlasting hills.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
Art. VI.-LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR ON THE
WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
MR. SPECTATOR, -There is one truth which the discussion respecting the witness of the Spirit between you and ourselves is well calculated to evince. It is this : that controversy, unless carefully guarded from degenerating into a mere utterance of the spirit of strife, is a twoedged sword, cutting one way as well as another-injuring the right as well as the wrong. It is likely to produce this effect, particularly when carried on through the medium of works issued at regular intervals, perused by distinct classes of readers, who read what is sent them, not because they desire information on any particular subject, but seek information because they have already bought the vehicle which con. veys it. In such a case each writer has every advantage with his own readers, and none with his adversary's. For the former, he is so deeply concerned as to seek their good opinion by any means in his power ; for the latter, so little as to give himself no concern as to what they think or how they feel.
It is possible, in any controversy, for those who have the truth, to defend it by insufficient arguments, or by arguments which, though they go not the whole length of conviction, are yet of some force. It is quite possible, even for those who are in the right, to misplace a word, to distort an illustration, or having a complete view in their own minds, yet not to state it fully to others. It is possible (for there is no man that liveth and may not sin) that though generally courte. ous and fair, they may occasionally give rein to bitterness of feeling and expression.
Under such circumstances, as flies pass over all a man's sound parts to light on the sores, so the opposing party, all for himself and for the truth only as it serves himself, may feel as though it were his privi. lege to display in full proportion the unsound, giving his reader no hint that there is a sound argument which he cannot answer; to dilate upon and magnify the harshness of his opponent's spirit and expression, without any intimation that though that spirit is occasionally irregular, yet it is generally such as it should be. This is the trick of the trade; and that class of men who in all professions can understand nothing of a trade but its tricks, will not fail to resort to it.
In rigid fairness, the whole argument on both sides should be placed before all who read on either side. The necessity, however, of this (which cannot perhaps be expected in all cases) may be obviated in a great degree by a fair and ample statement, on each side, of the arguments, objections, and illustrations on the other.
But I am not about to inflict upon you any lengthened exhortation to duty in this respect. What I think of you, and of your manner of treating the present subject, will appear shortly. Only let me observe, that as in your first piece there was not any such quotation as the. case required from Mr. Wesley, whose doctrine you professed to be examining, so in your last,--though there be a few curtailed extracts
VOL. VIII.-October, 1837. 39
from the opponents whom you seem to be answering, yet there is not any quotation calculated to evince either the tenor of their arguments or the spirit in which they carry on the discussion. This is a suspi. cious circumstance, which you will no doubt account for in your own way.
What I wish chiefly is, to remind myself publicly of my own obli. gations, and to insinuate into the minds of the readers of this periodi. cal, to consider whether the writer before them seems to deal with his opponent in the spirit of fairness. Perhaps the present series of remarks will not be found to be very regular or methodical; but if I have my wish, you will be able to understand, in each leading remark, precisely what I mean. Besides remarking generally upon the subject, and your manner of treating it, I shall endeavor to make good the following positions, though they will not be formally separated from the body of the remarks,—viz. : That you have misrepresented Mr. Wesley—that you have misrepresented us, the writers in the Method. ist Magazine that you have misrepresented, and even caricatured, the doctrine apart from its propagators; and finally, proh pudor ! you have misrepresented yourself.
1. In the first place, I have a few remarks to make respecting the application of epithets by one to another. I shall make such remarks upon these in passing as may seem to be necessary to bring out their true character, though my prominent design is to let our readers know precisely how you designate us, and how we designate you.
You say on p. 171, vol. ix, of the Spectator, “ Neither of the writers has attempted a defence of the real doctrine of Mr. Wesley, or replied to our remarks with a disposition to meet the question as it is. They signify their belief in the doctrine—do their utmost to evade and mystify the subject, and spend the chief of their strength in giving utterance to some very bitter railing against the Christian Spectator.” To this
you add on page 174, “We repeat it, that neither Dr. Bangs nor his coadjutor argue to the real question, although both evince that they know what it is, and profess an entire coincidence with Mr. Wesley."
Now what is the full import of these sentences? Do we indeed do our utmost to mystify and evade? Do we indeed spend the chief of our strength in giving utterance to some bitter railing ? Unfortunately for us, your readers cannot judge of the truth or falsehood of that remark; but, as I lay it before our readers, they can. Let them determine for themselves. Your assertions are not worthy even of contradiction. I repeat them here, that others, and perchance you yourself, may be sensible of the nature and strength of the feelings with which you write.
“ One or two of Dr. Bangs' misrepresentations we feel called upon to notice. In one instance he so misrepresents our remarks upon Mr. Wesley's character as to make us say he was at times absolutely insane,"-p. 171. In reference to this, it is conceded, and that too with gladness and singleness of heart, that Dr. B's article presents your use of the epithet "insane,” in reference to Mr. Wesley, in too strong a light; nevertheless as the misrepresentation was occasioned by misapprehension, and consisted in an exaggeration of the strength, not in a misstatement of the essential import, of the expression, he feels his conscience no more oppressed by the memory of it, now that it is rec
tified, than he feels of hesitancy in making an acknowledgment of his mistake. The readers of the Magazine are requested to judge for themselves. These were your words." There we find the true ex. pression of its peculiar elements," i. e., of Mr. Wesley's mind—“ the insane as well as the sane." Let your language be compared by the reader with Dr. B.'s alleged misrepresentation of it. You proceed to say, “We are accustomed to regard dogmatical and vindictive parti. sanship as a species of insanity: how far Dr. Bangs was under its influence, in this instance, we will not take upon us to decide.” That also must pass unanswered.
“ There are some statements,” you say on p. 173, “ in the Methodist Quarterly that constrain us to prefer a more serious charge against Dr. Bangs."." He deliberately represents to his readers that we affirm that the Holy Spirit has no influence in the conversion of a sinner; and that we entirely exclude the divine agency from the work of culti. vating human nature, and fitting for heaven. THIS IS NOT TRUE ; and if Dr. B. read our remarks he had the means of knowing that we expressly affirmed the contrary." I had intended to remark upon this passage somewhat extensively, but I perceive it were labor lost. I re. mark, 1. Dr. B. does not represent you as affirming that the Holy Spirit has no influence in the conversion of a sinner. He says,
66 After thus excluding the Holy Spirit, &c.,” meaning that you inculcate such a doctrine as leads to his exclusion. If he anywhere represents you as affirming that the Holy Spirit has no influence, &c., his remark has escaped my notice. 2. You say, if Dr. B. had read your remarks he had the means of knowing that you affirmed the contrary. I find no such affirmation to the contrary, though I have read your piece, word by word, for the purpose of finding it. You do indeed use language which implies some agency of the Holy Spirit; but that does not fal. sify Dr. B.'s remark. Do you not know that the Pharisees rendered the commandments of God of none effect by their traditions ?
Yet they did not deny that God had commands. So Dr. B. did not mean that you in terms deny the Spirit's influence, but that your doctrine is such as to leave no place for him. What use shall I now make of that most emphatic sentence which you have so forcibly obtruded upon me, This is not true?
Speaking of Mr. Wesley you say, “whom Dr. Bangs pronounces the most cautious writer of his age. Dr. Bangs pronounces no such thing. He says, (Meth. Mag., vol. xvii, p. 245,) " who, perhaps, was one of the most cautious writers of his age.”
There are other expressions of like character, tending to show the esteem in which you hold those who differ from you, which I had in. tended to present; but it is not very necessary, and the time fails.
It is not necessary that I should present, in full tale, our remarks which are personal to you. If the reader is curious he will find them where they can take no new coloring from my fancy, in the Method. ist Magazine, already referred to. I solemnly declare, however, that there is nothing there at all equivalent to the language which I have quoted from you, and nothing to justify that language. You are styled a self-confident reviewer you are said to be deceived by your own prepossessions—it is intimated (ironically) that you may have criticised Mr. Wesley, without having read him, &c. Dr. Bangs' arti.
cle is conceived in a tone of sarcasm, and the second article has something of the same character. This, I believe, is the head and front of our offending, our argument against yours excepted.
2. It is not possible for me to meet that assertion of yours, that we evade and mystify in such-a way as to destroy its intended effect. Doubtless you intended it for your readers : I can only answer it for mine.
However, that there may be no doubt, I will briefly enumerate what Dr. Bangs and his coadjutor have said and done in those "anni. hilating strictures” of theirs. The two pieces differ in this, that while the one examines the doctrine chiefly, the other is more exclusively directed to your remarks upon the doctrine.' Dr. B. first and at length gives Mr. Wesley's statement of the doctrine--a thing which should have been done by you. He then proceeds to defend it by an appeal to Scripture and by the experience of the saints of the Most High in all ages. He then confirms it by an appeal to the recorded experience of several eminent persons in the Calvinistic department of the church, thinking, no doubt, that the testimony of these men would be spurned, least of all by you. These are the prominent points of his piece, though he, in conjunction with his coworker, examines your remarks in detail, giving to each one all the attention which the most fastidious opponent could desire.
When you remark that, though we know what the real question is, we neither of us manifest a disposition to meet it, do you mean that we are knaves, or fools, or both? It is of no great importance to me what you mean. I would choose, in such a controversy, rather to be spoken of, than to speak in that way.
3. What you say of Mr. Wesley's character demands a passing notice. All you can desire respecting your use of the word “insane” has been cheerfully granted you. You intended to intimate, not that Mr. Wesley was an insane man, but that his mind contained certain insane elements. But if that were all you meant, why do you spend so much strength in proving him a mystic, after you had defined a mystic to be one destitute of that essential element of a Christian character termed by the apostle a sound mind? Did you there misrepresent Mr. Wesley or yourself? You dwell much upon Mr. Wesley's ghost stories, and upon his credulity. “During the last century,” say you," he has not a parallel in this respect, in any man who possessed a moiety of his claim to intelligence."
Did you never hear that Samuel Johnson and Robert Hall were strongly inclined to believe in the marvellous ? Were not they of the last century? or had they no claim to a moiety of Mr. Wesley's intelligence? Mr. Wesley's intelligence ranks high for one destitute of a sound mind.
Touching the ghosts, however, there are a few remarks to be made. Credulity and incredulity, as I believe they rest upon one foundation, so they generally go together in the same person. Take the man who is credulous in one line of inquiry, and lead him in a new direction, and you will see his incredulity. The infidel, who denies the being or at least the revelation of God, can yet admit omens, and swallow the most prodigious stories, illustrative, not of the agency of unseen beings, but of eternal fate and invisible chance. Byron, the profligate