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had he been left to the unbiassed dictate of his own mind in examining the Scripture.

• But a principle is here introduced, for which I find no countenance in the word of God- namely, that a confession of faith can be deereed by a majority, or that an appeal to votes can be made in such a case. Certainly there is no example in Scripture of a majority making any such confession, both for themselves and the minority.' In ordinary matters, where business of any kind is to be done, an appeal to a vote is practicable, and, perhaps, in many cases, the only mode of determining such a question ; but to suppose that a majority can make, not only a joint confession of faith for themselves, but also for the minority that differ from them, even although that minority may acquiesce in their decision, seems to be utterly preposterous.

• But still further ; suppose that a majority in this assembly were to come to a decision to set forth the Westminster Confession as the common creed or confession of faith of the church, that creed would go forth in the name of the whole church, laity as well as clergy. Here we have a new principle introduced—the principle of representation and delegation; and people are supposed to be capable of making a confession of their faith, through the medium of representatives, or persons delegated by them. Again I admit, that if business of any kind is to be done, it is very obvious that a delegation of business is often practicable; and that it may be better done when so delegated, than if the whole body of the people were to attempt to do it themselves. And we have, for this practice, the scripture example of the Apostle Paul, who was delegated by many Gentile churches, to distribute a sum of money, contributed by them for the aid of the poor saints in Judea. But I submit, that a confession of faith is in totally different circumstances—that people cannot confess more than they themselves know and believe, for « with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." That a people can confess faith by proxy--delegates or representatives, is a principle which, so far as I can recollect, has no countenance whatever in Scripture.'

• But a common confession of faith may be supposed to declare the doctrines that are taught by the ministers of the Church that issues it; and this surely must be useful. Is it true, then, that a stranger, coming within the precincts of a church which has issued its confession of faith, can tell, with certainty, what doctrines are really preached in its pulpits? If any of your children were going to Scotland or Eng. land, could you safely tell them, that they might attend, without apprehension, any of the churches of these establishments, for that their articles respectively contain the true doctrines of Scripture and that they would be certain of finding these articles faithfully and zealously proclaimed, in any pulpit connected with these churches? Suppose that the Westminster Confession should be declared by a majority, this day, to be the common confession of this church, would the public be safe in believing, that the doctrines of the confession are really preached in all the pulpits connected with this church? Can we give a pledge to the public to that effect ? Sir, one of the strongest objections that I have to such common confessions is, that they are a fraud

upon the public. I believe they are a fraud, too, which has proved the destruction of thousands and tens of thousands of the souls of men. I have myself known individuals led to attend churches, where the most withering heresies were held by the ministers, or where, if such heresies were not openly promulgated, no truth was promulgated upon the subjects of them ; where there was a total absence of the doctrines of the accredited standard, accompanied with a contemptuous treatment of them, and of those who really believed and preached them. I have known such individuals attend such places for many years, exposed to the blasting influence of soul-destroying darkness or error, simply because the church to which the preacher belonged sent forth to the public the Westminster Confession, or the Thirty-nine Articles of the English Church, as the common belief of the church. And I do say, that if, by the adoption of any such measure by this church, any individual shall be deluded into the notion, that therefore the doctrines of the confession are fully and faithfully preached in all our pulpits, we shall have been making ourselves, and with our full knowledge, parties to a fraud upon the public, of a very awful nature.'

• Is the church, then, to have no common standard - no written document to which it can refer, as the source from which men are to derive information respecting its principles? I answer, that God himself has provided it with such a standard, in the Holy Scriptures. He has compiled the standard of his own church ; He has surrounded and pervaded it with evidences of its divine original ; He has, thereby, superseded all necessity for human compilations; and He has superseded also the inventions to which men are under the necessity of betaking themselves in compiling such documents—such as deciding by majority of votes, or deciding for absent persons, on the principle of representation or delegation. God has erected his own standard in his own church, round which he would rally all his army, and send them forth to fight his battles under it. He has committed his sacred book to his church, that his people may not only derive their own knowledge from it--that knowledge of the truth which is to make them free with the glorious liberty of the children of God—but that they may proclaim it to others as the only true source of information. When a missionary goes to the heathen, among a people perishing for lack of knowledge, and any of the poor outcasts, to whom he addresses himself, should ask him where he may obtain accurate information on such subjects, would the missionary be fulfilling his duty if he were to direct him to the Thirty-nine Articles, or to the Westminster Confession of Faith, or to what is called the Apostles' Creed? Would it not be his duty to point him at once to the Sacred Scriptures, as the only standard of the church--the only authentic source of information ?

• Creeds are, in fact, not the standard of the Church of Christ, as engaged in the great enterprise of subduing the world under Christ ; but they are standards of one church against another, or as they are distinguished from one another. They are the very badges of division in the church, which tend to distract and divide the attention of the people of God, and carry it awaỹ from the work which God has given

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them to do, and to occupy them with contentions and rivalries with one another.

* But, it is pleaded, that men holding the most opposite doctrines would all concur in setting forth the Scriptures as the standard of their respective churches. Well, and what injury is done, when the Scripture itself is put forward, and every man is invited to search and read for himself ? " Men are prone to forget that it is not upon

their testimony that the world is expected to believe, but on the testimony of God afforded in his own word ; and that they are the mere instruments for proclaiming that testimony, and presenting evidence that the Scripture is indeed the testimony of God. Churches are prone to leave this humble, but useful station, and to speak of their bearing testimony to the truth ; as if their professing their belief of it strengthened it with any additional evidence.'-Carlile, pp. 12—19.

Oh that the admirable sentiments expressed in this last paragraph were but incorporated with the minds of all lovers of Christian truth! The evidence upon which faith rests, is incapable of receiving additional strength from human authority, because human authority is not evidence. And yet the sandy foundation has been substituted for the Rock of Eternal Truth !

But the third application of Confessions of Faith, Mr. Carlile proceeds to say, is the most objectionable; namely, when used as terms of Christian or ministerial communion. We rejoice to find the Writer adopting the Scriptural principle, that the Church is bound to receive to her communion all whom God has received ;—that every one who is born of God' is to be recognised as a brother, and has a right to the benefit of Christian communion. After insisting upon the unlawfulness of imposing tests, as terms of communion, he examines their application to the admission of candidates for the ministry. For the purpose of ascertaining the candidate's soundness in the faith, he contends, subscription to a Confession of faith cannot be exacted on any principles that would not apply to the case of every private communicant; and he shews that it is not better adapted to ascertain the fitness of the candidate for the specific duties of the ministerial office. The signature required has, he remarks, a direct tendency to supersede the Scriptural mode of examination; it facilitates deception; and, instead of acting as a safeguard for the truth, becomes a protection to those whose orthodoxy, however questionable, is attested by this equivocal voucher. The actual history of the Church supplies Mr. Carlile with ample evidence of the inefficiency of Creeds.

• What was the history of the Church generally from the time of the Council of Nice, when the creed and confession system was first resorted to, and an orthodox creed adopted; what but a history of steady and rapid corruption, against which the repeated creeds and confessions that were framed from time to time, offered no successful resistance, but were like walls of paper set up to withstand a deluge ! And what has been the history of the Churches of the Reformation after they had got their creeds and confessions regularly arranged ? Look at the whole of them. England soon became a waste where, according to the testimony of many of the members and ministers of the Church, scarcely the voice of a truly gospel minister was to be heard. What became of the Church of Geneva?

Need I tell you, that in spite of its orthodox creed it lapsed into the most withering heresy, nearly approaching to a system of infidelity. What of the Church of Scotland ? Were there not whole districts of that Church lying waste till a few years ago, in which lectures on moral philosophy, or the freezing strains of Dr. Samuel Clark, or of Taylor of Norwich, were poured forth upon a listless people? What was our own Church ? Here the experiment of unqualified subscription was made once and again, and with the same results; uniformly to benumb it, and to cover it with blasting and with mildew.

• Revivals have, doubtless, to a certain extent, taken place in most or all of these churches ; but by what means? By the revival of the Confession of Faith ? not at all. England and Scotland are just where they were on that point; and the utmost that can be said for them is, that the revival has taken place notwithstanding the creeds and confessions that existed in them. Our own partial revival, as I have already said, has arisen without unqualified subscription. These revivals have, I believe, come directly from the Bible. The cause of them, under God, has been the formation of Missionary and Bible and Sunday School. Societies. When we began to seek the glory of God in the salvation of men, then he visited and poured upon us the blessing in which we rejoice.

• But what of America ? When I have spoken respecting the inutility of creeds in assisting in the selecting of ministers, on former occasions, some of the brethren were wont to tell me of the prosperous condition of the Presbyterian Churches of America. Will any one now venture to meet me with such an answer? Will any one now hold up as a pattern those Churches of America that have degraded themselves to the very dust of the earth, by their abetting and countenancing that most heinous of all crimes, man-stealing and forcible slavery? But what does the state of the Presbyterian Churches of America, even in a theological point of view, turn out to be, when the truth is more accurately known respecting it? Why that it is distracted by contentions about some of the doctrines of the Confession of Faith ; and ready, as it would appear, to divide into separate communions.

• The measure of unqualified subscription has succeeded, -just as we might expect any measure of human invention introduced among the ordinances of God to succeed :—that is, it has been productive of nothing but evil. The signature of the Confession has proved a ready entrance into the Church for those who desired to enjoy its emoluments, but who either possessed no religious principle, or whose principles were in opposition to those of the previously existing members of the Church. The Church which they desired to enter, told them, by their Confession, what they wanted them to profess, in order to obtain a share of the emoluments. It contrived a catechism for them, in which they had to answer nothing but Yes. This was the most commodious thing imaginable ; and very soon these churches were crowded with persons who, for the same objects, would have cried Yes to any thing.

· But it has been urged, that some of these churches, especially the church of Geneva, has altered its articles as to bring them to countenance Neologian or Socinian doctrine. Well, and what does that prove?

Did their Socinianism flow from their modified confession, or the modified confession from their Socinianism? Is it not manifest that the Church became Socinian under the Orthodox Confession; and that having become Socinian, it then altered its articles ? This was all natural. We do not suppose that a worldly man, who will sign whatever may be required of him, in order to obtain a share of the emoluments of a church, has any taste for signing what he does not believe. If he could get the emolument without signing what he does not believe, he would, in most cases, I am persuaded, omit the signature. Many a man who has taken a false oath at the Custom-house, would rather, I doubt not, have obtained the same worldly advantage without taking the oath ; while yet he would rather take the oath than forego the advantage. It was to be expected that when, under the Orthodox Confession, a majority of the Church of Geneva became Socinian, they would immediately begin to lay aside or to change their Orthodox Confession; and this they accordingly did. But, how did these Socinians get into the church, is the question at issue. Under what system was it that the church became Socinian? Manifestly under the system of unqualified signature to an Orthodox Confession. It was, to say the least, in spite of that Confession ; but I believe it was directly by means of that Confession, that the Church of Geneva became Neologian or Socinian.' Carlile, pp. 44–47.

Mr. Carlile appeals to the Independent and Baptist Churches in this country as a standing proof that unity of doctrine may be maintained without requiring subscription to human formularies. • I cannot,' he says, shut my eyes to the fact, that this Inde‘pendent connexion has succeeded in maintaining for a longer

period, a more perfect uniformity of doctrine in its ministers s without a Confession of Faith, than any other Church with

which I am acquainted has done with the help of such a Con'fession. Lastly, Mr. Carlile arraigns the system of requiring acquiescence in any such Confessions, upon the ground, that there is in all of them an admixture of error; and he then proceeds to shew that the Westminster Confession contains many things in his view positively objectionable. We shall not enter into his objections relating to certain theological statements. To a person of thick and thin Calvinistic orthodoxy, most of them would appear trivial or nicely critical; and the one relating to the Creation we may have occasion to notice specifically hereafter. It would not be difficult to point out other questionable or exceptionable statements in the venerable Summary; but we shall

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