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While we thus freely express our opinion on the manner in which these confessions are admitted in churches, we are far from saying or believing, that such compendious systems can be of no use If they were employed only as means of instruction, like other writings of fallible men, they might be of real service, to christians. They might be viewed as expressing the opinions of the compilers, and afford a variety of topics for profitable discus sion, and thus be means of real improvement in knowledge. But when these human systems are made the standard of faith to the churches which adopt them, in such a sense that the members feel bound by them, they are evidently a substitute for the BIBLE; and more or less of" gross misrepresentations of it, are substituted in the place of the simple and perfect original." The confession of faith will then be employed as a Rule by which particular passages in the Bible must be measured, and with which the words of inspiration must be compelled to accord. Instead of correcting the confession by the Bible, the Bible will be explained by the confession of. faith. Yea, so far as the churches feel bound by such

"human formularies and systems," those things, which ought to be used only as means of instruction, operate as a real barrier to improvement. In respect to all the doc. trines contained in the confession, the inquirer after, truth is thus addressed by the adopted system, "Hitherto

shalt thou come but no farther; here shall thy progress be stayed."

Such confessions regarded as standards of faith, not only check free enquiry, but expose professors of religion to reproachful duplicity, or bitter contentions. In almost every community there are some minds that cannot submit to such fetters as "human systems." They will prefer the Bible as a standard, and inquire, whether the human system does agree with that standard or not. In most cases thorough inquiry will first produce doubt and then dissent respecting some particular Articles. The more popular the confession, the greater is the danger, that duplicity, or contentions, will result from a person's being convinced that some of the articles are erroneous. Those who have not sufficient fortitude to meet opposition and reproach, will be exposed to perpetual duplicity to conceal their dissent from the popular creed, But such as may be convinced that some articles in the confession are erroneous, and have too much virtue, fortitude, and independence of mind, to expose themselves to a course of degrading duplici

ty, will avow their dissent; man system" which he does and this avowal will probably not understand, he expresses be followed by bitter animosi- his confidence in man, and not ties, and bring on the dis- in GoD or his WORD. If, then, senters the most severe re it be more safe to trust in the proaches. Lord, and in the Scriptures as the word of his grace, than to trust in man, and his word, it is more safe to assent to articles of faith in the language of inspiration, than in the language of uninspired men.

Such are some of the natural consequences of admitting "human systems" as binding on the consciences of church members. In view of these things we cannot but recommend, that confessions of faith should be in the language which the Holy Spirit has dictated. This, it is presumed, would be no disadvantage as to unity in sentiment, and it would be of great advantage as to unity of affection, which is a thing of the highest impor

We may add, if believers in i Jesus' subscribe to the words of inspiration with incorrect views of their import, and afterwards, by advancing in knowledge, find reason to change some of their opinions, they will have no occasion to alter the articles of their confession. The articles may stand from age to age, whatever advances the church, or individuals, may make in theological knowledge. But when human systems are substituted for the language of Scripture, neither the church, nor individual members, can make any considerable advances, without being exposed to the inconvenience of needing a corresponding change in the articles of their confession.

It may probably be asked, what shall christians do, after having given their mutual assent to articles of faith in the language of scripture, if on comparing their ideas, it sha!! be found, that there is a real difference of opinion on some important articles? We frankly answer, Let each do to his brother as he would that his brother should do to him. As each individual would reasonably desire the spirit of love


It may probably be objected, that many professors would not understand every article of a confession of faith, if they were all in the language of Scripture. It is admitted that such would probably be the case; yet, in our opinion, the language of Scripture is generally far more simple and intelligible, than the language of human systems." But admitting, that as many church members would give their assent to articles which they do not understand, in the one case as in the other, still there would be one very strik ing difference in the two cases. By giving his assent to the language of Scripture, without a clear understanding of its import, the believer would only express his confidence in God, and in the Scriptures as the word of God. Eut when he gives his assent to a "hu

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and forbearance to be exercised towards himself, let him do the same to each of his brethren. In this way they will keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, and leave the work of judging the heart to him who has been or dained of God for that purpose. But, consistently with this spirit of love and forbear. ance, each one may manifest concern for his brethren whom he views to be in error, and may do all in his power to correct their supposed mistakes.

If the foregoing answer should be unsatisfactory, we will give another-In the case supposed, let the different members be as forbearing towards each other, as persons of the same sect usually are who have mutually assented to a "human system," but have different views of the same articles. Among those who have adopted a human creed respecting the Trinity, we often see an admirable spirit of forbearance. You will rarely find two persons, who perfectly agree in explaining this article of their faith; and you will often find their explications in the most perfect opposition one to the other; yet, among those who admit the article, you will seldom find any hardness or bitterness, on account of the diversity in their explanations. One may believe that by the three persons in one God, are intended" three distinct beings united by mutual consciousness;" another, that the three persons are but one being, a third, that by the three

persons are intended no more than "three attributes" of the one God; a fourth, that by the three persons are intended only "three distinct offices" of the same Being, &c. &c.Yet with all this variety of discordant opinions, they can love one another, and we hope, "with a pure heart fervently." Such forbearance among chris. tians is highly commendable; and we are not able to see why the same brotherly love might not be exercised, in regard to differences of opinion, if their articles of faith were all expressed in the language of the Holy Spirit.

As the doctrine just mentioned, is considered by many as of the very first importance, and as there is no other doctrine respecting which professors of religion are more at variance, than those are a mong themselves who make this an article of faith; we think that if equal candor and forbearance should be exer cised by them in all other cases, and all denominations of professors would imitate such an example, the christian world would soon know by experience "how good and how pleasant it is for breth ren to dwell together in unity!"

We have been much gratified by finding in the writings of the learned and worthy Pri mate of Ireland the senti ments we have quoted. As an intelligent dignitary of the Episcopal Church, he was in a situation to know the sad ef. fects of having the "religion of Christ overwhelmed with

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In a work entitled "Northern Antiquities" Mr. Mallet gives the following melancholy account of human sacrifices:


"It is probable that this barbarous practice was formerly almost universal, and that it is of remote antiquity. It was not entirely abolished among the northern nations till towards the ninth century.In every ninth month they renewed the bloody ceremony, which was to last nine days.They chose among the captives in time of war, and among the slaves in time of peace, nine persons to be sacrificed. The wretches upon whom the lot fell were treated with such honours by all the assembly-they were so overwhelmed with caresses by all present, and with promises for the life to come, that they some times congratulated them selves on their destiny. But they did not always sacrifice such mean persons. In great calamities, in a pressing famine-if the people thought they had some pretext to impute the cause of it to their king, they even sacrificed him without hesitation, as the highest

the opinion, that "Christianity can never have its free course among men of improved understandings, and even among rational creatures in general, while gross misrep resentations of it are substituted in the place of the simple and perfect original.”

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price with which they could purchase the Divine favor.— In this manner the first king of Vermland was burnt in honour of Odin to put an end to a great dearth. The kings in their turn did not spare the blood of their subjects; and many of them even shed that of their children. Hacon, king of Norway, offered his son in sacrifice to obtain of Odin a victory over his enemy Harold. Aune, king of Sweden, devoted to Odin the blood of nine sons to prevail on the god to prolong his life. The Ancient history of the North abounds in similar examples."

Mr. Mallet quotes from Dithmore, bishop of Marsberg, a historian of the eleventh century, the following article: "There is in Zealand a place which is the capital of Denmark, named Liderun. At this place every nine years in the month of January the Danes flock together in crowds and offer to their gods ninetynine men, as many horses, dogs and cocks, with the certain hope of appeasing the Gods with these victims."

"Dudo of St. Quintin, a French historian, attributes the

same practice to the Normans. There are still in Friesland, and in several parts of Germany, altars composed of such large stones that they could neither be destroyed by the ravages of time nor by the zeal of the first converts to Christianity. These altars according to the tradition of the inhabitants and the report of creditable historians, have served for the same horrid purposes. The Gauls for a long time offered men to their supreme God, Enes or Tev tat. The first inhabitants of Italy and Sicily, the Britons, the Phenicians, the Carthagenians and all the nations we know of in Europe and Asia are covered with the same re


THE following account of Dr. Wistar, late President of

American Philosophical Society, at Philadelphia, has been extracted from a Eulogium, delivered before the Society, by the Hon. Wm. Tilghman, Chief Justice of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and one of the Vice Presidents of the Society. March 11th, 1818.

Dr. Casper Wistar was born in Philadelphia, the 13th of Sept. 1761, and was grandson of Casper Wistar, who emigrated from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1717. As his parents and ancestors were of the Society of Friends, he was brought up in their religious principles, and received his classical education at a school established by them. That he Vol. VI. No. 11. 42

proach." "The Peruvians anciently offered human sacri fices. The Mexicans once offered five thousand prisoners of war


Such is the account which this istorian gives of the former prevalence of a custom which is now universally ab horred by Christians-the custom of offering human sacrifi. ces to God. This custom has been abolished in Christendom by the influence of Christianity. May we not hence derive a well grounded hope that the same benign influencé will yet abolish the more malignant and barbarous cus→ tom of offering human sacri fices to men?

was a good scholar may be in ferred from his knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. Until the age of sixteen his faculties were expanding; but the peculiar cast of his genius had not been developed. About this period occurred an event which called forth his ruling passion and decided his fate. This event was the battle of Germantown, in the year 1777. His relig ious principles kept him out of the battle, but his humanity led him to seek the wounded soldier, and he was active in assisting those who were administering relief His benevolent heart was affected by their sufferings; and so deeply was he struck, with the happy ef fects of the medical art, that he determined to devote his

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