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originated those numberless combinations of a religious and patriotic nature, by which, in the eyes of other nations, this couniry is most remarkably characterized. But the Continent has always occupiest a considerable proportion of our commercial enterprise; and this consideration, therefore, is vot sufficient to explain why, till very lately, there has been so little interest excited in reference to its religious aspect, and how it has arisen, that we have ielt discharged from all concern, as Protestants, in the prosperity of a cause witia which we were once identified. Should this unconcerc appear to have been produced merely by our being in a state of political hostility, that would be another evil of no small magnitude to be added to the catalogue of plagues and curses, the awful fruit of war. It has been
the numerous important benefits indirectly resulting from the operations of the British and Foreign Bible Society, that it has served to re-open our communications with our Continental neighbours, in the character of fellow Christians, and to re-kindle our sympathies, in some degree, in the behalf of the Protestant churches. It has also been the ineans of developing the real state of things in respect to religion, by presenting a test of Christian zeal and Protestant consistency; and it has made us better acquainted than we could otherwise have been, with the extreme destitution of religious knowledge, which is generally prevalent. Had it, however, done only this, had it but served to expose the lamentable deterioration of the Reformed Churches, both in doctrine and in discipline, the secularity of their pastors, and the infidelity which has been long eating, as a canker, into the vitals of the Protestant churches, the disclosure would seem to have come almost too late to allow of our entertaining the hope of their revival. But, in the exertions of this most excellent Institutions, Divine Providence seems to have raised up the only adequate remedy for the iguorance and irreligion which it has brought to light. . In this point of view, we know it is extensively regarded by pious foreigners, who recognise it as a merciful interposition of the great Head of the Church, for preventing the utter decay of vital Christianity, and the extinction of the light of the Reformation in those very countries on which it first arose. In the simplicity of its plan, in the singleness of its object, it has furnished a basis for the most extensive combination of Christian agency, that has ever been witnessed ; and, as it was the only scheme that could have been devised, commensurate in extent with the vast sphere of exertion which has opened to us, so it was the only practicabie means by which, without exciting political and ecclesiastical jealousies, the instrumentality of this country could have eficientiy employed in bringing about a second Reformation of the Christian world. Its singular adaptation to this great end, has been demonstrated by the wonderful results which have already attended its progress. Already has there taken place “ a shaking ;" the dry bones have heard the word of the Lord; symptoms of vitality appear in the unexampled spirit of union which has been excited.; and the breath seems about to re-enter the exanimate forms from which the spirit had departed.
The fact itself to which we have adverted, stands, unhappily, in no need of verification, and it is one in which po Protestant, by whatever ordination he may hold, ought to feel himself otherwise than personally concerned that there has taken place, to a most alarming extent, a tacit or more open abandonment of the doctriues of the Reformation, among the Reformed Churches of France and Germany. The poison of infidelity has indeed tainted the sources of instruction, and has thus insinuated itself through every vein of society. Deism, either in the garb of infidel Philosophy, or disguised under the specious form of Socinianized Christianity, is found serving at the altar, presiding in the college, and lecturing from the professor's chair. As the necessary consequence, the tone of Christian morality has suffered a corresponding relaxation, the Lord's day is openly violated, and in Protestant cities, once characterized by the good order and decorum which reigned in them, the state of public morals has become notorious, while all indications of zeal for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures and the promotion of the kingdom of Christ, on the part of even the clergy, have long since disappeared.
If there is one spot, on which, longer than on any other, the indignant spirit of the Reformation might be supposed to linger, as loth to take its departure, one spot more interesting than another, from the remembrance of its former glory, or more important, on account of its local advantages, as the citadel of Protestantism on the Continent, that spot is Geneva. The church of Geneva was once the glory of the Reformation : how has that glory departed ! It is bere, more especially, that, during eighty years, Arianism and Socinianism have been gaining ground, and their de-christianizing influence has been most unequivocally manifested. It is here, that Protestant zeal has suffered so complete extinction, that although, provoked by the example and the incitements of the British Parent Institution, a Bible Society has been established, it exists only in name and in the titles of its officers, its operations being absolutely paralyzed by the spirit of infidelity. The progress which Socinianism had made among the pastors of Geneva, so long ago as when the French Encyclopedists were engaged in their infernal labours, was such as attracted the complaceut attention of those malignant con-spirators against the best interests of society. Plusieurs ne croyent plus la divinité de Jesus Christ, writes the Author
of the article Genève, dont Calvin leur chef était si zélé * défenseur, et pour laquelle il fit brúler Servet.' In another part of the same article, it is remarked, that it was not surprising that the progress of Infidelity should be less deprecated at Geneva than elsewhere, since religion was there almost entirely reduced to the worship of one God, at least among all above the lowest class; reverence (le respect) for Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, being all perhaps that remained to distinguish the Cbristianity' of Geneva froin pure Deism. It was at this period that M. Vernet, one of the pastors of Geneva, a professor of Divinity, betrayed, by a phrase which Voltaire cites with sarcastic triumph, what advances had been made towards the surrender of the essential peculiarities of Christianity. Vernet,' writes Voltaire to D'Alembert in 1757,
the professor of Divinity, who printed that Revelation is useful, is at the head of the Committee.' In the same letter, that malignant foe of his Redeemer writes, « The magistrates and the priests come to dine with me as usual. Continues
à me laisser avec Tronchin, le soin de la pluisunte affuire • des Sociniens de Genève ;' and in another to the same correspondent, in the same year, “ It cannot be otherwise than
that in Calvin's own town, with a population of four and twenty * thousand thinkers, there should still remain a few Calvinists;
but they are extreinely few, and are well abused. All honest ' folks are Deists. Six years after, in a letter to the same friend, he declares with high satisfaction, ' Il n'y a plus duns ' la ville de Calvin que quelques gredins qui croient au con• substantiel.*
For a long time, the pastors of Geneva were anxious to decline the honours of an acknowledged fraternity with infidelity. The charges brought against them by the Encyclopedists, they endeavoured to explain away or evade.t Their public forinularies still remained irreconcileably at variance with ibe sentiments they were supposed to cherish, and both prudence and the decorum of outward consistency, rendered it advisable
* By this term, le consubstantiel, Voltaire means the Deity of Christ.
+ The Pastors of the church of Geneva,' writes Rousseau,' are asked if Jesus Christ is God: they dare not answer. They are asked what mysteries they admit, they dare not answer. A philosopher casts upon them a hasty glance; he sees through thenı; he discovers them to be Arians, Socinians; he proclaims it, and thinks that he does them honour. Immediately, alarmed, terrified, they assemble, they consult, they are agitated; they know not what saint to call upon; and after manifold consultations, deliberations, conferences, the whole terminales in a nonplus, in which is said neither yes, nor no. These clerical gentlemen of yours are in truth singular beings. One knows not either what they believe or what they disbelieve; one does not even know what they pretend to believe ; their only method of es. tablishing their own faith, is by attacking that of others.'
to refrain from the open promulgation of opposite doctrines. The lower classes, the gredins, were not as yet prepared for the language of avowed Socinianism ; besides which, when the -object is to make unbelievers rather than believers, the suppression of truth, and the gradual lowering down of the import of evangelical phrascology, are found the most effectual means of producing the negative character. Names and phrases are the sast things which undergo a change; nor can they be with safety laid aside, till long after the dissolution bas taken place of that living principle which they once imbodied. This new Genevese Catechism, however, is a proof, that the lamentable period has arrived, when it is found no longer expedient to conceal the deterioration of religious sentiment, or to submit to the restraints of the antiquated phraseology of orthodoxy.. In the New Gepevese Catechism, remark our English Socinians, there is not only no exposition or defence of the doctrine of the
Trinity, but not even an allusion to it.' The Genevese pastors, it is added, " are on the high road of reformation, and their * next Catechism inay not merely omit, but openly expose pre• tended orthodoxy.'* Such is the language of triumph held by the illuminés of our own country, in reference to the very circumstances, the anticipation of which gave so much satisfaction to the patriarch of Ferney' and his worthy compeers.
One would have thought, that when it was decided to venture upon such a publication as the present, there would be at least an end put to all equivocation and evasion on the subject, and that the Church of Geneva might benceforth be written Socioian at full length. Yet, since this point has been boldly controverted, and it is still thought necessary, whether from policy or from the characteristic timidity of Socinianism, to attempt to involve the matter in some uncertainty, we shall lay before our readers a few specimens of the alterations in this improved version of the Geneva Catechism. This last catechism, it has been boldly aflirmed, 'does not differ much from many of the ancient cate
chisms edited by Osterwald, De Roches, Verves, Vernet, &c.'; and again : “ The mention of God and Jesus Christ, is exactly • the same as in the catechism of Osterwald.'t
In Section viii, we meet with this question :
• A. On account of his miraculous birth, of the excellence of his nature, and of his intimate union with God.'
The following is the corresponding passage in Osterwald's Catechism, according to the edition of 1747.
Monthly Repository, April 1816, p. 235. + See a Letter in the Morning Chronicle of Oct. 24, 1817, from Rev. Theoph. Abauzit, a Swiss minister resident in London, who has distinguished himself as the opponent of the Bible Sooiety.
Why do we attribute to Jesus Christ the rank (qualité) * of the only son of God?
• A. Jesus is the only Son of God, not only on account of his miraculous birth and his resurrection, but also principally • because he is of the sume nature with God his Father.' References are subjoined to John i, l, and to Rom. ix, 5, in proof of this position, which, in the Geneva Catechism of 1814, are of course omitted.
In Osterwald's Catechism, the question, Is it necessary to believe in Jesus Christ-is thus answered. - Faith in Jesus • Christ is necessary, because it is only by hin that we can be • saved.' To the succeeding question, * Did men stand in need
of a Saviour,' the answer is, 'Yes, because they were sinners.' And to believe in Christ, is defined as believing that he is the
Son of God and the Saviour of the world, and resting upon him all our hope of salvation. Let us turn to the Reformed Catechism of 1814. Faith in Christ is there stated to be
(a belief that he is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and our only Saviour; and a reception of his religion as divine.'
It is said to be necessary to believe in him,
• because it is he alone who has taught us to know and to serve God aright; and it is by him alone that we can be saved.'
Again : we have the question, 'How has Jesus saved us from our sins ?? The answer is,
• First, by proclaiming and confirming to us by his death the pardon of our sins on condition of repentance ; secondly, by offering us in his doctrine and his example, and in the aids of the Holy Spirit, the means of becoming sanctified and of meriting salvation.'
In like manner, in Osterwald's Catechism, Jesus Christ is described as sustaining the offices of King, and Priest, and Prophet, because (1) he reigns over all things, and especially over the Church ; (2) he offered up bimself a sacrifice for our
1 sins, and intercedes for us in heaven ; and (3) be has taught us the will of God in the most perfect manner. The corresponding passage in the Socinianized work before us, is as follows: «Q. In what manner was Jesus Christ King, Priest, and Prophet?
A. Jesus Christ was a King, because he gave us laws; a Priest, because he offered himself up in sacrifice for us ; a Prophet, because he taught us the will of God, uttered many prophecies, and performed
• Q. What reflection arises from all that we have said concerning the person of Jesus Christ?
A. That his character ought to inspire us with respect, submission, confidence, and love.'
Thus, this Catechism takes deliberately into its style the identical term, on the application of which by Vernet to Jesus Christ, Voltaire founded such unmeasured exultation.