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whatever, having indeed no other acquaintance with him than what arose from his meeting him once or twice in a mixed company in Bath some years ago. It is therer fore erroneous principles, and not the authors of them, that he now stands forth to oppose.
In my first letter to you on this subject, I only called your attention to the subject in hand in very general terms, hoping that you would not fail to review the ob jectionable sermon in the critical department of your Miscellany as soon as possible. Two numbers having however come out since, the one in which my first letter was inserted, and no notice being as yet taken of the sermon in question, I am induced again to draw my pen in the same cause.
The text which Mr. Warner hath selected is: DIqtth. xxvi. 52.—Put up again thy sựord into his place; for all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword,
Upon the above misunderstood and misinterpreted text of holy Scriptyre, hath Mr. Warner built an edifice fair and goodly in his own eyes, to prove that war in general, defensive as well as offensive, is totally irreconcilable with the spirit of christianity. And so firmly persuaded is Mr. W. of the truth and stability of his foundation, that he boldly challenges the whole world to overthrow it. With an appearance of much truth and candour, the sermon writer declares, that if he can be convicted of error, he will fully and readily retract what in such case may be considered as “ the crude notions of his own funcy;" and will also“ then be ready to acknowledge, that his argument is not made put--that his premises are unsound his conclusions false--and himself deserving of severe reprehension." The author of " A LETTER TO THE Rev. Richard WARNER;" and, after him, the acute writer who still further investigated the subject, in a pamphlet intitled, “A REMONSTRANCE. ADDRESSED TQ. THE Rev. RICHARD WARNER, ON THE SUBJECT OF HIS FAST SERMON;" have clearly detected the fallacy of his reasoning, and yet hath he not complied with his promise of confessing and retracting his error; at least as far as the present writer hath ever heard. Now forasmuch as the wiseşt men are liable to mistakes, and the best are noi exempt from errors of judgment, the candid and liberal mind will ever regard these imperfections with an indulgent eye, as being the common lot of our frail and fallible nature: but when they obstinately persist in er
ror, and perversely resist the most clear and evident conviction, then do they merit the severest chastisement which offended Truth can inflict.
The text which Mr. Warner hath selected, appears at first sight to be peculiarly adapted to the end he had in view, but upon a nearer inspection it will be found, notwithstanding the false gloss which he hath given it, to be not at all favourable to the doctrine he desired to 'establish.' As this isolated text of the New Testament is the hinge upon which the whole argument turns, we will consider it with some considerable degree of attention, as it very well deserves; and from thence imagine we shall be able to convict Mr. Warner, both of misconception and misinterpretation of it.
In the explanation which Mr. W. gives of the circumstances in which our Saviour was placed when he spoke the words of the text to St. Peter, he is pleased to say, that “ he was seized upon by lawless Ruffians ;" this however is a very mistaken notion, and this very greatly alters the sense and meaning of the words which our Lord addressed to his disciple. So far were the parties who apprehended the person of the blessed Jesus from being " lawless Ruffians,” that they were in reality officers of the law, armed with a legal warrant from the SANHEDRIM of the Jews, (a court fully competent to grant such a warrant,) and sent to apprehend the person of Jesus, who, on the accusation of certain persons of his being guilty of certain practices contrary to the law, considered him in the light of a malefactor; and on his being afterwards convicted on the false testimony of corrupt witnesses, punished him with the death of the vilest malefactor. The centurion, and the band of soldiers which he took with him, had nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of the party they were sent to apprehend; their business only was to execute the warrant of the magistrate, and the proper court would afterwards decide whether the prisoner were guilty or not. When the forward zeal of St. Peter therefore induced him to draw his sword, and smite off the ear of MALCHUS, our Lord reproved him in the words of the text for resisting the legal officer who came to apprehend him; adding that all those who take the sword of violence, in an unjust cause, and to resist the laws of their country, should perish by the sword of justice, for such violation of those laws. If this be the true interpretation of this passage of the New
Testament, Testament, which has been so differently represented by Mr. Warner, to answer the purpose of his theory; it will appear that these words of the Redeemer have nothing at all to do with the question of war in general, but solely meant to reprove the illegal violence of an individual, and particularly when that violence was exerted to oppose the magistrate's warrant in the hand of his proper officer.
The foundation of Mr. Warner's theory (supported solely by the authority of this misunderstood text of the New Testament, and a misconception of the spirit and meaning of the doctrine it was intended to inculcate) being thus, I humbly conceive, rooted up, the noisy declamation of that gentleman must directly fall to the ground. To follow him through all his windings -and doubtings in the cause of error and misconception, is a task which falls not within the compass of a letter, but it has been ably executed by the two authors whose answers to the sermon writer have been mentioned above.
At p. 16 of the sermon, the author, after quoting our Saviour's declaration at the tribunal of Pontius Pilate, as mentioned by St. John xviii. 36, "My kingdom is not of this world, &c.” adds," he [our Saviour] set at rest for ever the much agitated question of the consistency or inconsistency of war with the christian religion." Upon this text of the N. T. I would observe, that our Saviour here meant to assert, that if he were an earthly sovereign his servants, like the servants of such temporal sovereigns, would fight to prevent his being delivered to the Jews; but how then, as he observes, would the Scriptures be fulfilled, and the end of his mission, to die for a full atonement of the sin of the first Adam, be ac-. complished. These last quoted words of our Saviour therefore solely respect himself, and can by no means signify, that in after ages of the christian church, when himself was ascended into Heaven, and his religion adopted by kings and princes of the earth, the professors of his religion were bereby commanded not to defend themselves, or those of their subjects under their authority, when attacked with violence and injustice by wicked men. Such an argument, whatever our sermon writer may think of it, is impossible and absurd. He might with equal truth and propriety argue, that on account of this declaration of our Lord, whenever any king
or:prince embraced the christian religion, he should from that moment give up his authority and power.
The marrow of this controversy may be reduced to the following easy and natural syllogism. Self-preservation is the first law of nature. The author of the christian revelation hath no where abrogated any part of that law, but rather confirmed it.-- Therefore he hath not abrogated self defence, or defensive war, which is a part of the law of nature.
The present writer is as great an enemy to all unjust and unprincipled warfare, as Mr. Warner himself can possibly be, and it is for this very reason he stands up as the professed advocate for defensive war, which is undertaken to repel that unjust violence. I suppose Mr. Warner will allow that self-defence will justify an individual in any violence he may be obliged to use to preserve his life, or property; otherwise his principle ties up the hands of all honest men, and grants an unrestrained indulgence to wicked and profligate men, which he will find some difficulty in making consistent with any state of society whatever. But if this principle be allowed to individuals, let Mr. W. shew why it ought to be denied to kingdoms and states; and if he cannot do this, as I assert with considerable confidence that he cannot, then Cadit quæstio.
Of the general merits of the “ LETTER TO THE REV. RICHARD WARNER," it may be observed, that the author has penned his pamphlet with elegance and judgment, but he seems to have been afraid of giving offence to the feelings of his friend, and has not therefore put forth all his strength in his " LETTER," but in the “ POSTSCRIPT" he has touched the most vulnerable parts of Mr. WARNER's principles with a master's hand.
And with respect to the later production intitled, “Ą REMONSTRANCE, &c.”itevidently appears to be the production of a man of much reading, and very considerable abilities, and he has ably handled the subject he has undertaken to investigate. It contains a full answer to the arguments contained in Mr. Warner's sermon, (though diffeTent from the manner in which the same is treated in this letter,)and if Mr. W. has not the candourto retract publicly his ill-founded theory, at least it is to be hoped for his own credit, he will have the wisdom to renain silent: since to prolong the unequal conflict is but to insure to himself a disgraceful defeat.
The wide circulation of Mr. Warner's principle, by the means of the press, induces me, Sir, to extend as widely as possible, an antidote to the same by the pages of your excellent valuable Miscellany; in order that those who have been misled by the false reasoning of the author, may be directed to two writers, who seem to me to have completely answered him. As to the trifling hints of my own on the same side of the question which are contained in this letter, I shall be most happy if they can add any weight to a cause, of the truth and justice of which we can never be too fully assured in the awe fully critical times in which we now live.
A FARTHER HINT ON THE SUBJECT OF TITHES.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
Correspondent of your's, who signs himself Rec
Tor, pp. 351, 352, of your Magazine, Nov. 1804, hath offered some hints to his clerical brethren on the subject of tithes, which are certainly entitled to their serious consideration. In addition to a pretty long letter which I wrote you on this subject some time since, and which you have honoured with a place in the pages of one of your former volumes, allow me to add, that very recently a brother clergyman told me on this subject, , that the corn tithes of his parish, which is a very extensive one, were regulated by act of Parliament some years since atcording to the average price of corn throughout the kingdom. When corn was low in price, a less sum was paid per acre for tithes, when it was higher the tithe rose in proportion. I think some such plan as the above might be amicably entered into by each incumbent and his parishioners; and I am of opinion, it would greatly promote the cause of religion, and encourage peace and harmony between Rectors and their flocks.