Page images
PDF
EPUB

few. It corrupts the moral taste, the Protestant, whatever his designaand hardens the heart-cherishes and tion-all these, too, have shown by strengthens the base and violent pas- | their acts, that this very principle sions destroys the distinguishing held dominion over them. Nor is it features of Christian charity, its uni- confined to the natural religious feel. versality and its love of enemies— ings of man. Examine the history of turns into mockery and contempt the all systems, purely social and politibest virtue of Christians, humility cal, and it will be seen that men, weakens the sense of moral obligation whether they be the disciples of Com-banishes the spirit of improvement, munism, as taught by the dreaming usefulness, and benevolence, and in- Fourier, the earnest - hearted and culcates the horrible maxim that quixotic Robert Owen, or the asinine murder and robbery are matters of and unprincipled Louis Blanc-whestate expediency.”

| ther they be St. Simonians, or even Let every one, then, who fears God benighted and unintellectual atheists and loves man, put his hand to the -all, whoever they be, have been work, and the time is not far distant, intensely animated by the principle when

of proselytism. This principle, there“No longer hosts encount'ring hosts fore, has an existence. Shali crowds of slain deplore;

THE DESIGN OF THIS PRINCIPLE. They'll hang the trumpet in the hall,

The Diving Being, when he made And study war no more!"

A. C.

man's soul, foresaw its liability to strange and fearful wanderings from

the prescribed path. He saw that THE QUESTIONS OF THE

before the cycle of human existence PRESENT AGE,

was completed, there would be unCONSIDERED IN THEIR RELATION TO numbered millions of souls passing DIVINE TRUTH.

through the world ; and that if the NO. 111.—THE STATE CHURCH. whole, or any portion of these, were (Continued from puge 450.)

to be preserved in purity, the knowThe principle in human nature ledge of His existence, nature, and upon which the promulgation of attributes, must be transmitted from Christianity depended, was that of one generation to another. He, thereproselytism that principle itself fore, implanted in the first man Adam, being composed of two other elemen-a faculty, or rather a desire adapted tary principles, social affection and to his future destiny- He created in natural communicativeness. The pro- | the soul of man a proselyting faculty, selyting principle exists in every which faculty itself is composed, as heart, and works with undeviating we have before stated, of social affecand indestructible power. The uni- tion and natural communicativeness, versal workings of the human soul, the former principle being the motive, from primæval times to the present and the latter the means — the two hour, have demonstrated the existence principles combined effecting one reof this principle. The Fire-worship- sult, conversion to certain articles of per, the Priest of Isis, the Budbist, faith, good, bad, or indifferent, as the Brahmin, the Pythagorean, the their nature may be. Platonist, the Gnostic—these, and THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS PRINall associations of men in ancient CIPLE, INDEPENDENT OF RELIGIOUS times, have shown by their endea- FAITH. vours to spread their doctrines, that! Man being destined for a social their souls were animated by the pro- state, the Divinity implanted in his selyting principle. And in later nature social affections, which prompt times, the Mahometan, the Catholic, him, when in a healthy state of mind, to seek for companionship in his | implant the same faith in the minds thoughts and feelings—to seek the of his two sisters, and succeeded. fellowship of kindred souls. That Shortly afterwards he and his sisters man has naturally strong social affec- were seized by the Inquisition : the tions when in a healthy state of mind, priest was condemned to immediate is evident from the fact that the first death, but his sisters were offered indications of insanity are a morbid their lives on condition of recantalove of solitude, and a general dislike tion. “ No,” said they, “ we will to the presence of human beings. not deny our faith, for our brother This is true with regard to his affec- was too good to deceive us, and too

tions, considered as existing in the wise to be mistaken :" so they died. | heart, without any reference to the Social affection here worked out its | operations of the mind.

especial purpose. God himself has We can see this elementary princi- recognized the existence of the mental ple of proselytism working in man's habit we have mentioned, inasmuch mental operations, though we are as our Elder Brother is too good to generally unconscious of it, as in- deceive us, for he was perfect-sinless fluencing our own judgment.

without guile : he is too wise to be Man, with regard to the opinions mistaken, for he is the Incarnate he holds independently of any higher Word, the Fountain of all Truth, the faith, strives for converts to those Creator of the Human Soul. opinions, because each convert is, in The second element which com. his eyes, an additional guarantee for | poses the proselyting principle is the correctness and reasonableness of communicativeness. In the heart of those opinions. We have often seen every sane mind, there dwells a dethis principle working in the minds of sire of communicating its thoughts Atheists, who, when hard pressed for and feelings, especially if they be arguments, have adduced as evidence joyous — sorrow and gloom being of the truth of their convictions, the causes of silence and retirement. It so-called conviction of Voltaire—and is an attribute of man that he desires very dishonestly, too, for Voltaire was to communicate to his fellow-man not an Atheist, though he hated his thoughts rather than his feelings. priestcraft. We have often heard It is natural, for the foresight of his these same men attempt to prove that nature warns him not to disclose to Christianity is a system fraught with others the channel in which glides evils, the evidence they adduced the full stream of feeling ; for those being the immoral conduct of some of to whom he has disclosed this great its votaries. Now, though this be a secret, may become either his oppovery ridiculous method of proof, these nents or his enemies. Hence it is Atheists were only unconsciously ex- only to those in whom he especially ercising a mental habit which God trusts, but more especially to woman, had implanted in them for wise and either as his wife or the chosen of his future purposes. The social affec- heart, that he reveals the inner tions and reason were to work in springs of action—the impulsive feelunison, the one influencing the other. ing, which is alike the source of weakWe remember reading an affecting ness and majestic strength--that she instance of the moral and intellectual may reciprocate that confidencecharacter of an individual being re- that in her he may behold his own garded as the guarantee for the truth soul reflected, as in a crystal mirror : of his doctrine. A Spanish priest there has been given by God to had embraced the Reformed doctrines, woman an earnest desire to reveal and, impelled by the inward working her feelings rather than her thoughts, of the proselyting principle, sought to I so that they two may become one soul.

It is true that there are some who, and their harps silent, as they watch like Delilah, make use of that trust its entrance through the gates of life only to betray and destroy; but they That young soul is purer and more are very rare, and do not check that transparent than the marble of Pengeneral confidence in woman's truth, telicus ; and yet, like that marble, for love (one of whose beautiful attri- the hand of the sculptor must give it a butes is to think no evil) whispers form. As the sculptor to the marble, that this is not the parasite which de- is the mother to her infant's soul : stroys, but rather the vine which will she may chisel it till it be like the adorn the tree that gives it shelter Sun-God, radiant in beauty : she and a portion of its own strength. may render it as robust and colossal

But there is another reason for as the fabled Hercules, or brutish woman possessing a larger portion of and lascivious as a Satyr; and therecommunicativeness : it is that to her fore has she been gifted with a deeper is committed the care, the instruction | love of the pure and beautiful-for of the young soul. ;

she, unlike the sculptor, carves for When the world received from the eternity, and not for time: her statue uttered word of God the command to will be immortal. begin its untiring course, the stars And this principle of communicasang together — the spheres in their tiveness works with a constant power motion became one grand choir, from in every human heart, particularly if which proceeded the hymn of nature, any glad-tidings are to be told. Does and to the Eternal Throne there not every man know that his first imarose

pulse is to communicate to some friend “ The deep music of the rolling world,

or relation anything which affects Kindling within the strings of waved air him with peculiar pleasure ? Every Æolian modulations."

man's personal experience answers And from the Sons of God—the that it is so. It was the voice of naArchangel, the Cherubim, the Sera- ture which spoke when the Apostles phim

Peter and John answered the threats “ The glad cry sounded, swelling to His praise,

of the Jewish rulers in these words— Who thus had cast another sparkling gem, “ We cannot but speak the things we Little, but beautiful, amid the crowd

have seen and heard.” No, nor can Of splendours that enrich his firmament.”

| any other Christian ! If such be the joyons chorus over We have now shown the nature, the birth of a fair young world, shall design, and manifestation of the prothere be joy over the birth of a young selyting principle — we have shown soul ? Will not rather the angelic | the united characteristics and effects voices be hushed ? Will not their of the component elements of proseradiant wings befolded, as they lytism, social affection and natural watch in solemn suspenseits entrance communicativeness. We shall now into the world ? It may be higher show their application in the propaand holier than they — it may gaze gation of Christianity. with steadfast eye on Him whom they Christianity gave to man every only know by their power and love, thing which the nobler faculties of his and whose presence is alone declared soul desired. The Roman or Grecian to them by that voice of still and might be so filled with pure and awful sweetness—it may, in its holy noble feelings, as to love Nature for and happy course, show them another her own sake ; but even then he was evidence of divine wisdom, causing consumed by doubt and anxiety- he their harp-strings to wake again : or felt that he was perhaps wasting the it may be a lost, a condemned soul ! | joys of life in abstaining from sensual and therefore are their voices hushed, pleasures, and he became filled either

with pride as he contemplated his All were free, that his soul was as own moral superiority, or else with precious as his master's, that he, if moody discontent at the limited por- he denied all ungodliness and worldly tion of his spiritual knowledge. But lusts, should yet wear an eternal Christianity giving assurance of eter- crown-would not he communicate nal life, would not the Roman father to his fellow-sufferers the glad-tidings who beheld his sons (in whom, per- that their souls were free—that there haps, were seeds of great and noble was a just God, who regarded 'no virtues) rushing into vice from sheer man's pecuniary or political privirecklessness and indifference, obeying leges, who alone regarded the pure every wild impulse and wayward de- | heart, the consecrated mind ?-would sire-would not this man, when con- | not this ever be the subject of his verted to the faith, proclaim to those discourse ? Such were the applicasons the “ glad tidings” of an eternal tions and working of the proselyting pleasure that would never cloy ?-of principle in those days. And the an Eden of such ecstatic bliss, that same faculties are in existence in the every revolving age would but give human soul now. Christianity was, the soul an enlarged capacity of en- and is, in harmony with human najoyment ? Would not every motive ture. We have shown that it deof which man is susceptible impel him pended for propagation on a faculty to proclaim the same heart-gladden- which exists in the human mind, ining truths to his own children ? dependently of any leave asked from, Would not the Christian wife strive or given by, “ King, Lords, and to convert her heathen husband to Commons” — we have shown that the same faith, in order that he, whom every principle of our nature prompts she regarded as the greatest treasure us to communicate the Christian the wide earth contained, might dwell truths to those whom we love — we with her in a home where, divested have shown that an unvarying and of all earthly passion, the purer, the ever-working impulse, causes man to divine part of love would alone sur-communicate the Christian truths to vive ? Would she not be an eloquent | those who are only bound to him by and indefatigable preacher of the the common tie of humanity ; and gospel ? Where is the heart that when we have shown the means and would not do likewise ? The Roman method of the instruction and governPolytheism taught that the infant ment of the Christian church in its which died before its young mind had congregational capacity, the evidence blossomed, was destined for hell. that Christianity depends not for any Would not the heart of a bereaved part of its success on Acts of Parliamother thrill with anguish, that her ment—this evidence will be full and babe was doomed to such a fearful complete.

J. G. L. fate ? But when slie pelieved that

(To be continued.) Teacher who said, “ Of such are the kingdom of heaven”- how her heart

OPINIONISM. would overflow with joy! Would not the common sympathies of our THERE is a growing taste for opinnature cause her to communicate to ionism in the ranks of reformation, others the principles of that faith This has ever been the harbinger of which says, that when the harvest of schism, the forerunner of all discord, the earth is ripe, the sheaf of kindred vain jangling, and bad feeling amongst hearts shall be bound up again ?-or all classes of religionists. It has, inwhen the poor slave whose life was deed, ever been the plague of Chrisone continuance of toil, and misery, tendom. I have therefore resolved to and degradation, heard that in Christ be clearly and fully understood on this subject ; and shall be at pains to But we do not admit the right : for define this new name of an ancient if this be a Christian right, it is an pest, with all perspicuity and preci- equal and an inalienable right. Now sion.

if the liberty of propagating one's own And first let me ask, What is an opinions be the right of a Christian, opinion ?" Persuasion without proof;" then every man, woman, and child in say some of our lexicographers. It Christ's church has a right to propais a speculation built on probable gate his or her opinions, and to comevidence. It is neither knowledge plain it that right be not respected by nor faith ; but, in the absence of these, all the Christian community. And it is an inference, a conclusion to as there is no restriction as to the which the mind inclines or assents number or magnitude of subjects on according to its information and modes which opinions may be formed, there of reasoning. As vision puts an end can be no limitation of the number of to faith, and fruition to hope, so know- opinions that may be offered for ledge and belief put an end to opinion. adoption or propagation ; and thus Knowledge is our experience ; faith, the whole earthly pilgrimage of the our assurance of the experience of church may be occupied in the discusothers ; and opinion, our persuasion sion of such opinions. of the probability of a matter which Again, if such be the right of all, it we neither know nor believe. In one is the duty of all to listen and judge ; sentence, then, knowledge is the cer- for all Christian rights oblige to cortainty of our own experience ; faith, responding duties. If only one person the certainty of the experience of in a church has a right to propagate other persons; opinion, the probability his opinions, it is the duty of all the of our own reasonings. I know that rest to listen to him ; for that the very honey is sweet; I believe that William nature of the right implies. But if IV. is dead; and I am of opinion that all have the right in question, then all the North American Indians are of are obliged in turn to propagate his Abraham's extraction.

own opinion on any one or all of the An opinionist is one fond of opin- ten thousand topics on which a person ions, but especially of his own. Opin- may form an opinion : for be it obserionism, then, it may be presumed, is | ved, the dominions of opinion are fondness for opinions. But that I larger than the dominions of knowmay meet the exigency of the crisis ledge and faith united. and give a proper latitude to this term, We are therefore rationally and I hereby define opinionism to be, the religiously compelled to deny any such liberty of propagating one's own opin- right. It is not the right of any one ions.

citizen of Christ's kingdom to propaSome of our correspondents suppose gate any opinion whatever, either in opinionism, as thus defined, to be an the public assembly or in private ; element, an essential part of Christian consequently it is not the duty of all, liberty; and if any restrictions should nor of any one, to listen to an opinbe imposed upon their benevolent ionist in his efforts to dogmatize or efforts to propagate whatever comes establish his opinions. This is an into their heads, they instantly com- important point, and we state it conplain of an infringement of their rights. fidently and boldly. It is not long since we have been | Opinions in religion can have no blamed by some for not opening our authority. Precepts, promises, and pages to the propagation of certain threatenings, sanctioned by Omnipoopinions, and thereby have incurred tence, are the weapons of the Holy the censure of not paying a proper Spirit. Men may form opinions and regard to the rights of others. I walk by them on all subjects of mere

« PreviousContinue »