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learning and fidelity, produces a more correct and faithful translation, we will vote to discontinue the use of king James's ; for we are not opposed to improvements ; but it is not wise to attend to every forward individual, who pretends, that he has improved the translation of the scriptures. If there can be any essential errors pointed out, let a general council be called, who shall present the church with the needful alterations. Mr. Belsham's improvements, as well as the improvements of the Rev. Elias Smith, ought to have due attention paid to them; but they ought not to expect, that they should be viewed as the men possessing the only wisdom with which God has blessed our benighted world. If we thought so, we should confess, that we had not as yet felt sufficiently the importance of their existence among us.
We are not offended, when men endeavour to procure a better translation, and desire any alteration in the present English text ; much less should we call them “ heretical” and “wicked” for doing so ; but we want considerable proof that a better translation has been procured.
We must attend to what a Layman calls “the real point and the only point” of difference between those who are called the liberal clergy and the orthodox. He says it rests on this ground : “ The orthodox believe in Calvin and the Westminster Assembly ; the liberal christians in Christ and his Apostles.”
We cannot consider this as a fair statement of the real point and the only point of difference between the liberal clergy and the orthodox. Does the church of Rome belieye in Calvin and the Westminster Assem
bly? Will the Church of England acknowledge such leaders, or will even the Dutch reformed Church?
Will the Churches of Sweden and Denmark, or the French church either Papal or Protestant (which are all reckoned among the orthodox) agree to this statement ?
We are no advocates for Calvin's peculiarities, nor do we suppose his mode of church government the most scriptural or the most useful; in short, we agree with him in nothing, but in what he agreed with the Father of the Reformation ; we prefer the enlightened views of the Saxon Reformer to the Genevan.
The real point of difference between the orthodox and the liberal party, as they are called here, is, whether Jesus Christ is God, or not? Whether we must rely on the merits of his obedience and death for the pardon of our sins, or not?
The orthodox say, that Jesus Christ is truly God as well as man, and that his obedience and death are the ground on which God will pardon our sins; that is the Calvinism which I mean to defend,* and endeavour to offer some proofs from the scriptures that those are the doctrines of Christ ; and if I can prove that those doctrines are christian doctrines, it will follow, that a Calvinist is a Christian. It is true, that there are other ques, tions connected with this controversy ; but as a Layman
* The doctrines of Imputation, Election, the Influences of the Spirit and the Perseverance of the Saints, as introduced by a “ Layman,” we shall leave for the present, At the same time, we are ready to acknowledge, that this is not, abstractedly considered, simply a Trinitarian controversy; we are sensible that every fundamental doctrine of Christianity is included in it. Mr. Belsham worships another God, preaches another gospel, and looks for a very different felicity than those do who expect to worship the Lamb that was slain to all eternity.
has chosen to reduce them to one, for brevity sake we shall keep to the same. It must be shewn, that a Calvinist is a Christian ; I must therefore explain what I mean by a Calvinist, and what is meant by a Christian. To acknowledge that there was such a person as Jesus Christ, and to assent to the simple history of his life, is not to be a Christian, according to the proper signification of the name, because that is nothing more than what Jews and Mahomedans believe. A Christian therefore must mean one, who believes in the doctrines of Christ, and trusts on him for salvation. Where the christian religion is established in a nation, as in England, unless any of the people express an opposite opinion, they are generally denominated Christian; the same as the Hebrew nation was generally called Israelites, though it was fully understood, that all were not Israel who were of Israel.
We mean by a Calvinist, not one who adopts exactly all the opinions of John Calvin, or those who follow particularly his mode of Church Government ; but we mean one who holds the principal and essential doctrines which Calvin exhibits in his " Institutions of Christianity," or the doctrines introduced into the articles and formulas of the church of England and other Protestant and Reformed Churches. That those doctrines in general are Christian, I never knew any person seriously deny, nor can I suppose that a “ Layman” seriously wishes to insinuate that Calvinists are not Christians; but still his pamphlet is thought to carry with it that insinuation.
I pray that a “ Layman” as well as “ Amana,” in the day of trial, may prove sincere christians; and may we, who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Sept. 15th, 1815.
The Catholick Question in England is, whether the Roman Catholicks shall be emancipated from the disabilities they labour under, in consequence of their adherence to the spiritual authority of the Pope of Rome? The Catholick Question in America is, whether a Roman Catholick priest is obliged to divulge upon oath, as a witness, what he knows of any individual's crimes, supposing him to have received his information from the religious confession of the culprit ? However important those two questions may be considered by the parties concerned, it cannot be pretended that either of them are equal in importance to the Catholick Question at Boston, at present agitated from the pulpit and press.
The question is, whether Jesus Christ, who was the child born, was also the mighty God? This momentous enquiry does not refer to any particular church, the universal church is interested in its discussion ; it refers as much to the Greek church as to the Latin much to the Romish as it does to the English ; as much to the Dutch as to the French ; as much to the Swedish as to the Danish ; as much to the Episcopal as to the Presbyterian ; as much to the Baptist as to the Congregationalist, &c. &c. If it were only a sectarian
dispute between a few congregational Ministers in the State of Massachusetts, we should willingly let it rest; but the question is truly catholick, it concerns the salvation of all the faithful. It appears necessary to keep the true question before the publick. It is one in which an Arminian is as much interested as a Calvinist. Arminians believe in the unity and trinity of the Deity as much as Calvinists; they unequivocally believe in the proper divinity of the Saviour ; they believe in the satisfaction of Christ's obedience and death: it is therefore disingenuous to state the question as a “ Layman” has done. I might as well ask, Are you a Christian or an Unitarian ? This is not a controversy respecting the divine decrees of Election and Reprobation; it is not a dispute relating to the Perseverance of the Saints ; neither of the five points, on which Arminians and Calvinists dispute, ought to be stated in this controversy, and no other point can properly and exclusively be called Calvinism.
It is with “Unitarianism,” in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word, that we have to do, and why the Arians should interfere, unless they feel an alliance, is unaccountable. If they are sincere in professing a wish to exalt the Saviour to the highest possible degree, they must deplore the degradation of him in Mr. Belsham's writings, and why do they not join the orthodox in opposing every thing which is calculated to degrade the Saviour to the lowest possible degree? “ The Unitarians generally believe that Jesus having exercised his publick ministry for the space of a year, or perhaps a little more,* suffered
* It has been generally believed, that Christ exercised his ministry about three years; it is singular that Mr. Belsham should make a differ,