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respect, I would entreat him to lay aside « that inordinate self-love which we indulge for ourselves ;'* and to read with candour the preceding remarks; he will then probably be convinced, that his own doctrines are not quite so free from fanaticisin and enthusiasm, as he at first imagined. He will probably see reason for being more sparing in the use of such opprobrious epithets in future. He will perceive the propriety of " casting first the beam out of his own eye, " that he may see more clearly to pull the mote out of his
os brother's eye.”
On the epithet bigot, so liberally bestowed by the Doctor, I shall now offer a few remarks. Bigot,” says an eloquent American writer, “ is a brand of infamy, not less “ than infidel or heretic; and quite as freely applied. Se" rious as the subject is, one can hardly forbear smiling at “ the mistakes we are apt to commit in estimating our own " characters. There are no more decided bigots on earth, or than those who are bigoted to liberality.”
That these observations are perfectly appropriate, the following paragraph (p. 52, 53) will clearly evince. “If then,
any candid and inquisitive person be desirous of knowing “ what light may be obtained from the researches of learn" ed and pious inen,
I do not advise him to resort to coun“ cils, nor any other assemblies of divines ; because they “ all differ from each other, and have generally been con“ vened for the purpose of fomenting discord, and sup“pressing free inquiry, or to promote some political view. " Neither do I recommend commentators and controver“ sial writers; for these are generally warped by their “ attachment to some human system of doctrinė, which 6, has been engrafted on the word of God; and are, in
general, the most strenuous advocates for some favourite system, for which they wish to be distinguished as cham
pions. For the same reason, you should not consult any “ authors, who are deeply involved in controversy, or “ bound to any human profession of faith. But there are “ some paraphrases, which express the sense of scripture “ in plainer, more intelligible or more modern language “ than our translation, without enlarging on particular “ topics. These may be applied to with profit, if their “ authors be men of liberal sentiments, and not servilely “ devoted to any particular sect or denomination. Of this " class are some of the most distinguished authors in our
* The Doctor's own language,–Being and Attributes. (p. 109.)
language, and most eminent philosophers of modern “ times, neither influenced by sectarian prejudices, nor fet“ téred hy professional trammels. There are some inen of " this character in almost every church ; men whó, from 6 principle, prejudice, or interest, adhere to its forms and “ doctrines in general, but keep themselves at liberty to “ exercise the right of private judgment on particular ques" tions. These authors, though justly chargeable with
some degree of insincerity by their respective churches, 6 and of timidity by more resolute Christians, are, upon " the whole, among the safest guides.”
Such is the liberality and candour of our learned author.
Solomon thought, that " in the multitude of counsellors “ there is safety ;” but Dr. B. is of a different opinion. He does not allow his hearers to consult councils, or assemblies of divines. By this means he contrives to keep out of their hands such books as the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechisms, larger and shorter, the Articles and Homilies of the Church of England, &c.
Again ; he probibits the perusal of authors bound to any human confession of faith. By this measure he proscribes, at once, all books written by the divines of the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, or any other church requiring subscription.*
Once more ; he proscribes another large class of books
ALL COMMENTARIES WHATEVER ! None of his hearers must look into commentaries. All such works are entirely prohibited.
Still farther he proscribes, 1st, “ Controversial writers,' and, 2ndly, “Authors deeply involved in controversy." By the proscription of those two classes—two, I mean, according to the Doctor's arrangement-he prudently keeps out of the hands of his hearers the works of the
* I have subscribed a confession of faith; my writings are therefore useless. Dr. B. has proscribed them. He has prohibited his hearers from reading any such books. Before this sentence of proscription is executed, I would say, “ Strike, but hear.” Hear my defence of creeds, and cunfessions before you condemn them. My desence is before the public. It has silenced one Antitrinitarian opponent. If Dr. B. choose to renew the attack, the field is open. If he decline entering the lists, I shall consider my reasoning in favour of confessions equal, at least, 10 his ipse dixit against them.
most eminent independent divines. Dr. Owen, President Edwards, Fuller, Wardlaw, and many such lights, must all be extinguished. Dr. B. has condemned them to be “put under a bushel.” Why ?—they are either “ controversial writers,” or “ authors deeply involved in controversy.' Let us not, however, imagine that our author meant to prohibit the controversial writings of Arians. By no means. That he did not mean to prohibit their controversial writings, is evident from two decisive facts. Ist. If he had intended to proscribe their writings, he would not have countenanced the republication of the controversial ser. mons of Price and Channing. 2ndly. He would not have published, and put into the hands of his hearers, his own controversial sermons.
Magowan, in his letters to Priestly, happily blending humour with good sense, says: “ I heartily concur with you " in believing the Bible to be the only rule ; , and, to adopt
your own words, sincerely wish that all persons, of all " sects and parties, would study their Bibles more, and ' books of controversy less; yet, I shall have no objection “ to all people, of all sects, reading what may pass between “you and me. I am ready to think, indeed, that it is usual " for polemic writers to suppose that all books of contro
versy are hurtful, except those of which they themselves “happen to be the authors.”
Agreeably to these judicious remarks, it is quite evident that Dr. B. regards as hurtful, and therefore proscribes, all books of controversy, except his own and those of his Arian brethren !-An admirable plan indeed! and well calculated to promote the Arian system !
Such are the books prohibited by our learned author :1. All books published by councils and general assemblies. -2. All books published by the Ministers of the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, or any other church that requires subscription to a confession of faith.-3. All commentaries.- 4. All controversial books, except those published by himself and his brethren. Such is the Index Expurgatorius* of Dr. Bruce !-yes, of that Dr. Bruce who interlards his sermons with the opprobrious epithets of enthusiasts, fanatics, and bigots !
* The Index Expurgatorius was a catalogue of those books prohibirod by the Church of Rome.
It must be granted, indeed, that whilst our author prohibits commentaries, he does not prohibit all books. With certain qualifications and restrictions, he tolerates the use of paraphrases. Why he should prohibit the one class and tolerate the other, is not so clear. That cominentators are more warped by attachment to human systems than paraphrasts, is by no means self-evident. Besides, Dr. Campbell, (a divine no less eminent than Dr. B.) in his Philosophy of Rhetoric, condemns paraphrases, as calculated to weaken and dilute the meaning of the sacred oracles ; and, on that account, gives to commentaries a decided preference. But, waiving these things, it must be acknowledged that our author has not prohibited all books; that, under certain restrictions, he has tolerated paraphrases—and paraphrases too, written by the members of different churches : but what sort of members ? Not those who conscientiously believe the principles they profess; but men who, tampering with their own conscience, burst the trammels of their profession-men who cowardly and hypocritically subscribe orthodox creeds, whilst they teach a different kind of doctrine! Is not this the plain meaning of the Doctor ? If not, I should be glad to know what he means. According to Dr. B.,-if I do not mistake his meaning, and I presume I do not,-a cowardly hypocrite, subscribing one class of doctrines, and teaching another, is " upon the whole among the safest guides”—a safer guide than the orthodox minister, who conscientiously believes, and sincerely teaches, the doctrines he has subscribed! Such is the liberality of that divine who so liberally bestows on his neighbours the epithet-BIGOTS !
Dr. B. censures those, who " neither read nor listen to
any thing that is inconsistent with their distinguishing “ tenets, and who esteem it an abomination to read a book " written by one of an opposite persuasion"-observing, “ that iinplicit faith is no longer the peculiar characteristic wo of the Romish communion. It is equally prevalent aniong - Protestants of this description, and renders them equally - invulnerable to (by) reason and inaccessible to argument. May not such characters turn round, and, with a sarcastic sneer, reply, “ Physician, heal thyself?” What Protestant divine of any denomination-what priest—what Popeever made so bold an attempt to stop up the avenues of knowledge-to render men invulnerable by reason, and inaccessible to argument to wrap them up in the impenetrable veil of an implicit faith-and, in a word, to constitute them fanatics, enthusiasts, and bigots?
OBJECTION II. Dr. B. meanly attempts to raise a prejudice against his opponents, by raking together the most foolish and absurd
hings found in their writings, during a period of three hu dred years. He quotes, for instance, from the Monthly Repository, the following absurd expressions of Luther: “ Christ became the greatest transgressor, murderer, thief, " rebel, and blasphoner, that ever was, or could be, in the
whole world; for he, being made a sacrifice for the sins « of the whole world, is not now an innocent person, and a without sin."*,
In an unguarded moment did such absurd, I had almost said blasphemous, expressions drop from the pen of Luther the reformer. What then ? Are they believed ? are they adopted ? By no means. They are, so far as I know, uni. versally condemned. Why do our opponents ransack the archives of antiquity ; select detached sentences from musty volumes which few possess; and attack rash and unguarded sentiments, which none believe? Why do they expend all their strength in attacking those weak or foolish sayings, which have been a thousand times attacked, and which nobody will defend ? If they think they are able to oppose the orthodox faith, why do they not come forward, and attack it as men? Why do they not attack the doctrines of the Church of England, as contained in her articles and homilies? Why do they not attack the doctrines of the Church of Scotland, as contained in the Westminster confession of faith, and catechisms larger and shorter? Why are they 80 shy, so cautious, and so timid in attacking those subordinate standards ? Why do they attack them so seldom, and so' slightly ? They know, that they contain the real sentiments of the great body of the orthodox-sentiments, which thousands are willing and able and ready to defend.
Again : Why do not our opponents attack our standard
* All that Luther meant was, that our blessed Redeemer stood in the room of the murderer, the thies, &c. so as to bear the penalty of their sins. The Aposile says, “ he was made sin for us!” Luther says, “ he became a sinner for us.' The meaning of both is, that ho became a substitutionary sin-offering. I do not, however, defend Luther's phraseology.