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the ineekness of contrition and the simplicity of faith ; and thus, not being “rooted in Cbrist,” as the Apostle expresses it, they became “ spoiled through that philosophy and vain deceit which “ is after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, " and not after Christ.” When, therefore, they came forth to encounter the infidel with “ wisdom of words," they grew impatient of the doctrines which he could defy them to divest of mystery; in fact, they were ashamed of the Gospel of the Cross.

This, it is even charitable to conclude, was the occasion of that mistaken policy, which appears to bave been among the earliest causes of a defection from evangelical piety in this Protestant church. The deification of human reason, is the fatal extreme into which the huinan mind is prone to be repelled, on its first escaping from the trammels of a superstition which has enslaved and debased it; and this supplies the explanation of the fact, which lies as the heaviest charge against Protestantism, that it has so extensively proved the path from superstition to infidelity. But our inquiry does not terminate here. How came these individuals to have it in their power, from the station which they cupied, to effect by their combived efforts and example, the change which we regard as mainly attributable to their confederacy?

Upon this part of our subject we wish to speak with peculiar saution, but we must speak with plainness. To us it appears, that to nothing is tbis circumstance, in the first place, more distinctly referrible, than to the dangerous practice exemplified in the instance of Turrettini, of constituting the Christian ministry, in effect, though not in hypothesis, un hereditary profession, by appointing the son to succeed to the ecclesiastical station occupied by the father. In the Romish Church such a practice might seem consistent enough with the notions entertained of a sacerdotal succession and of rites of inherent efficacy; but for Protestant Presbyterians, who reject those fallacies, no such excuse can be made. The Christian ministry is not a Levitical order, nor is it, (what there is perbaps equal danger in its being regarded,) a profession, to the functions of which professional character is the sufficient requisite. Invaluable as are the auxiliary accomplishments of human learning and critical skill, a man may be a scholar and a critic, and yet be destitute of theological knowledge; and he may be learned even in theology, and yet be a novice in the school of Christ, and utterly disqualified to sustain the sacred office, the chief business of which is the preaching of the Gospel of reconciliation. Most of the heresies which have infected the Christian Church, have originated with a learned ministry, destitute of the genuing spirit of piety; have been the product of perverted ingenuity and unsanctified talent;' and similar results may always bg

expected to follow, when men are educated for stations in the Church, as for a learned profession, and invested with the sacred office without a strict reference being had in the first place, to their character for personal piety. Parental partiality, and what we may perhaps be allowed to term a sacred ambition, have to answer for the introduction into the ministry, of many a son of a prophet, upon whom the mantle of his father had not fallen, nor any portion of his spirit rested ; and in these cases a secularity of character and a consequent deterioration of religious sentiment, will, in some form or other, mark the declension in the scale of motive, and betray the insufficiency of all bereditary and educational endowments, as well as of all official qualifications, to constitute an individual the worthy successor to a truly Christian pastor. Some Apostolic servant of Christ has perhaps with his name, bequeathed his office, to a son in whose attainments ail liis watchful cares seemed to be repaid, and who, he delighted in imagining, would carry on the work nearest to his heart, when his own earthly labours should be tera minated. That son, more wise, more learned, more liberal than his father, thinks himself into doubt, begins to philosopbize upon Christianity, affects moderation in his creed, and at length takes up with some modification of Arianism. Still, the line is to be perpetuated, and the third of the family is, by human predestination, (possibly the only sort of predestination now recognised by the parent,) a reverend in his cradle; but, educated in liberal notions, he drinks in the spirit of more enlightened times, and grafts on the ancient stock of orthodoxy, the creed of rationalism : he becomes a Socinian. Such is, too often, the progress of deterioration; not that we mean to insinuate that it necessarily arises from the supposed circumstance of hereditury succession in the ministry, but we feel warranted in saying, that whensoever the decided signs of regenerate character are dispensed with, as the first condition of any plan or intention on the part of the parent, respecting the destination of

to the ministry, or when they are not at least viewed as the chief pre-requisites to any specific appointment, there is room to apprehend that the consequence will be, that greatest bane of the Church, an inefficient and unconverted iinistry.

The probability of such a result, will, however, be greatly increased, in proportion as the office of the Christian minister is coupected with secular consideration and advantage, and as the inducements to assume it as a profession, partake of certainty. Wben, after all, the appointment of the candidate depends upon the choice of the people, and the prospects of secular advantage are subject to this condition, and every thing, therefore, depends upon the individual's adaptation to the sacred business of his office, there is far less danger that stations of authority and

his son

influence should fall into the hands of secular men. But should the living, or the oflice to which the youth is destined, be in the gift of the family, or at the disposal of the State ; should the constitution of the Church be such, that influence may easily secure the hereditary appropriation of official appointments, there remains nothing to prevent the ministry from becoming a professional occupation.

This, we have reason to believe, is the actual state of things pretty generally in the Protestant churches of the Continent. They are not, for the most part, politically circumstanced as the Church of Geneva is, as being an establishinent; many of them are in a state of bare toleration; but in all of them, whatsoever power is exercised, is in the hands of the pastors, and is transmitted by them as among the rights of their order. The ministry not unfrequently descends, from father to son, in true Levitical succession ; and nothing, therefore, exists to check the progress of deterioration, when once the Church has begun to exhibit the effects of outward prosperity, or of doctrinal corruptions.*

We offer these considerations, as tending to throw some light upon the interesting subject, but as by no means comprising a satisfactory answer to all the points of the inquiry. The luxuriance of infidelity in a soil once saturated with evangelical knowledge, is a circumstance which, if not wholly inexplicable, is fraught with perplexity. The personal and literary influence of Voltaire, of Rousseau, and of Gibbon, contributed, no doubt, most powerfully, to the de-christianizing of Geneva; and wherever the language of France extends, as the medium of polished intercourse, the virus of infidelity was propagated froin the same pestilent sources. The general adoption of the French language by the courts of Germany, during the reign of Louis XIV, may be adduced as a collateral cause neither remote nor uncertain, of the corruption of Christian faith and public morals, which dates from about that period: it certainly facilitated, to a vast extent, the dissemination of thedeistical writings of the French wits and philosophers. Indeed, if we consider that the introduction of a foreign language is almost identical with the adoption of its literature, and that the same political changes which originate the former circumstance, will lead to a constant intercourse between the two nations, to a naturalization in the one of foreign manners, and habits, and prejudices, and to a subjection, in the course of time, to the moral ascendency of the other, that event will not appear to be one of trivial moment. The general characier of the molern literature of the Continental nations,

* May not the general declension of the Presbyterian Societies in England, be, in part, attributed to the operation of similar circumstances?

has been, we conceive, hostile to the interests of Christianity, and has conspired to promote a spirit of irreligion. Among the reinote causes of this irreligion, it must be admitted, too, that the new direction which bad been given, about the era of the Reformation, to the energies of the emancipated intellect, by the successful application of experimental induction to physical science, and the philosophical spirit wbich it engendered, had, in too many instances, a baneful operation, in indisposing men of scienee to submit their minds to the claims of moral evidence, and to the authority of Divine Revelation. Instances of the most presumptuous and ignorant misapplication of the principles of mechanical philosophy, to subjects beyond the utmost limits of discovery, occur in the history of modern science, which shew to how dreadful a degree the pride of science may pervert the human mind, even while engaged in the contemplation of phenomena peculiarly adapted to overwhelm it with a sense of its own nothingness. And must we not confess, that the revival, or rather the origination of the science of Biblical criticism, has also had an effect the very reverse of its appropriate effect, on the Protestant divines of the Continent? Has it not led away the critic and the philologist from the great business of theology, and favoured habits of speculation and dubitancy, which, when applied to the subjects of Revelation, have destroyed the simplicity and weakened the assurance of faith ?

Finally, looking at the present state of the Continent, and witnessing what appears to be so awful a withdrawment of the Spirit of Christ from the churches of the Reformation, have we not reason to regard this combination of probable causes, as receiving its consummation, in a judicial dispensation of the Alinighty? Is it not adapted to excite some apprehension, that this day of rebuke and blasphemy is a punitive visitation upon the Protestant churches, when we perceive many among the professors and pastors even of the foul and bloody Church of Rome, outdoing the Protestants in zeal for the Iloly Scriptures and the cause of Christ, and the half-Christianized population of Muscovy and of the kingdoms of the North, crowding into the kingdom of heaven before them? Is not one ready to imagine that there must be some obvious and radical enormity, which has led to this spiritual desertion of what we have regarded as portions of the true Church? Does it not remind us of that declaration of the Almighty to those who were once bis peculiar, people : “ You only bave I known of all the families of

the earth, therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities?"

There is perhaps nothing in human conduct, or in national character, which has been attended by more distinct expressions of the Divine displeasure, than the misimprovement of religious privileges. If, then, that signal interposition of Divine Pro

vidence, which effected what we glory in as The Reformation, should appear, upon examination, to have been, so far as regards the lessons which it taught the Christian world, wrought in vain; if Protestant bishops and Protestant presbyters should be found to have lorded it over the consciences of men in the very spirit of Popery; if, untaught by persecution, they have turned persecutors of the Church of God, in the very spirit of the wicked servant who immediately after his lord bad remitted him his debt of ten thousand talents, arrested, without compunction, his fellow-servant for a hundred pence; if, again, the principle that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith, has been systematically abandoned as a fundamental law of religious obligation by ecclesiastical rulers, and the word of God has been suffered by Protestants themselves, who are indebted for every thing to the Scriptures, to remain a sealed book to the mass of mankind; if little anxiety has been manifested to fulfil the commission of the Saviour, by enlarging the bounds of bis kingdom; if, on the contrary, the spirit of evangelical zeal has been repressed and fettered by state regulations, and the preaching of the Gospel subjected in Protestant countries to the cogpizance of human laws as a crime; if religious liberty has thus been wantonly and wickedly invaded by the descendants of men who bad, for the sake of that most precious of social rights, suffered the loss of all things, standing fast, even to the death, in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free; if the kingdom which He declared is not of this world, has been treacherously surrendered to worldly policy and worldly might: such condemning proofs of the abuse of privilege, and the disregard of Divine instruction, may seem to vindicate the retri. butive justice of that dispensation which bas consigned the churches of the reformed faith to spiritual desolation.

That England has been preserved as the Pharos of the moral world, amid the darkness and the tempest that have visited the neighbouring shores, is a circumstance wbich demands to be brought home more emphatically to our gratitude. It is impossible, on reflection, not to be struck with the remarkable manner in which, within this insulated portion of eivilized Europe, religious liberty and religious knowledge, benefits inseparable, have been preserved from extinction; how, by means of that liberty which was so hardly wrung from Protestant tyranny, at the expense of the tears and blood of the Puritans, our ecclesiastical divisions have been made instrumental in perpetuating the doctrine and the spirit of the Reformation ; how the Nonconformists, at one tiine the sole depositaries of evangelical truth, have contributed to check the spread of avowed infidelity and heresy within the Established

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