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mining what is right or wrong in descendant from the Scotch church, the creed or conduct of our fellow and of course, may be considered as Christians, we ought not to make a child of complexion and feature our own peculiar prejudices and somewhat similar to its parent--the habits, nor those of our party, the Associate Reformed Synod, on the criteria of our judgments; but other hand, is a descendant of a should, in this particular, strive to body of Christians who seceded be directed by the word of God, the from the communion of the Scotch only infallible rule of faith and church; and, therefore, although in practice.
its government and doctrines it be Proceeding then, upon this plan, essentially the same as the church it will readily appear, that many of Scotland, yet it may naturally things have been allowed hitherto be conceived to be tinctured a little to divide the Christian church, in its complexion and spirit by some which should not have been suffered of the peculiarities of that body to produce such a lamentable effect. from which it has more directly and
Trifles and prejudices have kept immediately sprung. Hence it is many Christian societies asunder, not wonderful that we should find which ought certainly to have been some of the Associate Reformed united in the bonds of holy affec church, in this country, still tenation.
cious of those distinctions which This remark is peculiarly appli- separated them first from the Nacable to some branches of the Chris tional Church of Scotland, when tian church in this country. Few they considered that church, on acof those religious parties which ex count of political interference, to ist in the Christian community here, have become sadly corrupted. To have had their origin in America. the prejudices of such therefore, They are chiefly the productions of because we think their prejudices that soil, whence the forefathers of had their origin in good intention, those who compose them, originally we are disposed to pay no small desprung
The causes which gave gree of respect. But, well founded birth to the major part of those par as these prejudices in the first inties, consequently, will be sought for stance might have been, we hope in vain in this country. To disco that, by candidly considering the ver these we must explore the his matter, they will see that such
pretory of the respective regions which judices have now, in this land of gave origin to such unpleasant di- | free toleration, no real foundation. visions. Should we, therefore, thus A candid comparison of those cirtrace the origin of many of those cumstances, which first occasion ] unhappy religious divisions, which that body, from which the Associate still continue, in many places in Reformed Synod in this country this country, we shall most undoubt sprung, to secede from the comedly find that the first political munion of the church of Scotland, causes which produced them, do with the present state of ecclenot here exist. This will be found siastical matters in this country, to be particularly true in regard to will, we have no doubt, lead them those two respectable bodies of Pres to such a conclusion. For let them byterians, known, in this country, candidly and carefully peruse the by the names of the General As account which ecclesiastical history sembly and the Associate Reformed gives of the transactions of those Synod. Both these bodies sprung times, when the associate body first originally from the Scotch Presbyte withdrew from the parent church, rian Church;
but not exactly in the and they will, we are certain, readisame way. The Generally Assem ly acknowledge, that political inbly of this country is an immediate terference, and the harsh and inju
dicious proceedings of the eccle courts of deliberation, connected siastical courts, were the causes with the church of the living God, which first produced the secession and upon all other Christian assoin Scotland. Had patronage been ciations, that pastors and people removed, therefore, and the General of all denominations, every where, Assembly of Scotland opened their may be brought more and more to arms to receive the ejected* mini
and be incited to unite sters, with the same Christian be more and more closely in constant nevolence and friendship with which and unremitting exertions to prothe General Assembly, in America, mote the advancement and estahave opened their bosom to their blishment of Christ's kingdom in associate reformed brethren, we the world.
T. G. M·I. have every reason to suppose that they would have returned cheerful
Heviews. ly to the communion of that church, from which, at the time when they did dissent, they considered that
The Fathers of New England. A
Sermon delivered in the Church in they had good reason to withdraw. This, therefore, being our candid opi
Essex street, Boston, Dec. 22, nion, we cannot help rejoicing that
1820; being the second Centennial the major part of our Associate Re
Celebration of the Landing of formed brethren do seem to think it
the Fathers at Plymouth. By the to be their duty to act the part which
Rev. Thomas Sabine, Pastor of we conceive their pious and worthy
that Church. Boston, 1821-32 pp.
8vo. ancestors would, in similar circumstances, have done. We have every This sermon compares the fathers reason to conclude, consequently, of New England to those persons from the liberality manifested by of whom” the writer of the episthe most respectable and intelligent tle to the Hebrews says, “ the world of the Associate Reformed Synod, was not worthy." " They were, that, as the proposal for a complete for the most part, plain men of union was quite unanimous on the country life, men that had been hapart of the General Assembly, so it bituated to cultivate the soil of will be received nearly, if not alto their native land," and were posgether, with the same dispositions sessed considerable worldly by the presbyteries of the Associate estate. They held to the form of Reformed Church; whose approba doctrine now denominated Calvintion, now, is all that is necessary to ism ; which was then, and has ever consummate a union, which we since been, the doctrine of the pubcannot help thinking will be con lic formularies of the Church of ducive to the advantage and com England, of which they were memfort of the Christian church, and bers; but they were opposed to beneficial, consequently, in promot many
of the ceremonies established ing, in this country, the interests of by law, because they deemed them true and undefiled religion. We remnants of antichristian popery, would most earnestly pray, there and thought “that the church of fore, that the spirit of grace and of Christ had instituted a discipline wisdom may be poured out upon all abundantly more spiritual than was
preserved in the Church of Eng* Mr. Ebenezer Erskine, and other mi. land. All persons in the nation, nisters who were deposed from their charges embracing these sentiments, were in consequence of the bold and decided
denominated Puritans." About the testimony which they bore against the law of patronage, and other evils which existed
necessity of purity of heart and in the church of Scotland, in consequence
life, in church and state, they were of the exercise of that law.
all agreed, but they differed in their
views of church government; so a space of eighty years, New Engthat some Puritans were Episcopa- land had so progressed, as to be dilians, some Presbyterians, and some vided into several distinct charterfinally Congregationalists. “Many ed colonies, and so settled and
peo: of the Puritans were of high rank pled were these locations, that counin the schools of learning and divi ty or shire districts were found to nity; as preachers and pastors they be necessary, in order to give the were well received by the people ; | increasing towns a bond of union, but they were persecuted by the and an efficient jurisprudence. court, and by courtly clergymen.” There were, at this time, about 126 A congregation of these people, || towns, which contained about the early in the 17th century, removed same number of parishes, and with to Holland, then “ the only country but very few exceptions, settled in Europe where freedom of reli with ministers." This is indeed gious worship was granted," and unparalleled in any other country settled at Leyden, in which place than our own; but within the last their number of communicants few years states in the south and amounted at one time to 300.
west seem to have multiplied as raHolland this congregation of Chris-pidly as these counties did in New tians might have continued, and for England: but alas ! our new states a time have flourished; but the have fewer well educated ministers more discerning men among them of the gospel than these original saw that a long continuance there districts of the north and east. would finally amalgamate them and Religion alone, independent of their posterity with the Dutch, and every thing beside itself” was the thus their church-state and charac occasion of the first settlement of ter be lost.” A part of the congre New England. So said the public gation, with Mr. William Brewster, records of the pilgrims, their pria ruling elder, for their spiritual vate letters, and the whole course leader in the absence of a pastor, of their actions. So taught Increase removed to New England ; with a Mather, “at the expiration of New design to prepare the way for the England's first century,” when in coming of the Rev. John Robinson, the 83d year of his life, and 66th of and the majority of the church, his ministry, he lamented that “ too which they left in Leyden.“ Though many are given to change, and leave the Plymouth Pilgrim Church had the order of the gospel, which was no pastor residing with them, yet the very design of these colonies. the absence of that officer was in The grand interest of New Engsome measure supplied by the able land is changed from a religious to and well executed services of their a worldly object. All national reruling elder, William Brewster. lations ought to be considered as He was apt to teach, but never subordinate to moral concerns; and could be prevailed on to assume the nations, no less than individuals, pastoral office. There is the copy of ought to seek first the kingdom of a sermon now extant, with a preface God and his righteousness. But dated December 12, 1621, preached where is the nation, at present, in Plymouth, and printed in Eng- which in its national capacity has land 'the year following. This is any conscience, or any true reliprobably the first sermon ever print- gion? Our author concludes his ed from a New England pulpit: and pleasing and spirited discourse, by equally clear, I think, that it was saying, “In a few years, a nation's the work of elder Brewster, though glory and greatness will not be calhe conceals his name."
culated upon the number of her Before the conclusion of the cen- | armies, or the force of her navy; tury, in which the fathers came out, upon her mercantile strength and VOL. I.
influence, her civil and scientific way as that there is an intelligible renown ;
upon the sum of right- and necessary connexion between eousness in the land, upon the num the character of a man and his most ber and purity of her churches, and characteristic actions ;' and," that faithfulness of her ministers, upon the belief of these doctrinal facts has the influence of her moral institu an intelligible and necessary tentions, and upon the interest which dency to produce the Christian chashe takes in the conversion of the racter, in the same way that the be-, world. New England, again sur lief of danger has an intelligible vey thy charter. Remember from and necessary tendency to promote whence thou art fallen, and repent, fear.” p. 18. From a discovery, and do thy first works.” We sub that the Bible ascribes to God just scribe, with many tender regards such sentiments and actions as we for the Scotland of America, a de have before judged to be suitable to vout AMEN.
E. S. E. the character of the supreme moral
Governor of the universe, and from
a conviction of the moral tendency Remarks on the Internal Evidence
of the belief of the doctrinal facts for the Truth of Revealed Reli
of revelation, we may be brought gion : by T. Erskine, of Edin
to a conviction of the authenticity burgh. Philadelphia, published
and divine authority of the Bible. by A. Finley, 1821. pp. 149.
This conviction will arise from 18mo. price 50 cents.
what our author calls the internal
evidence of the truth of the ChrisThis little volume is said to be tian religion. That such an interthe production of a gentleman re nal evidence exists, and may be cently converted from infidelity. It
seen by any intelligent person who is wholly a philosophical work, on will duly attend to the subject, is a subject which every man of good clearly exhibited in the Remarks common sense may clearly under before us. The pages of this work stand. We do not assert that
every are interspersed with many bright part of this production will be rea thoughts; and the tendency of the dily apprehended, and assented to, whole, notwithstanding some excepby the great mass of readers; for tionable representations, we judge it is in some places obscure; in will be highly beneficial. “Sancothers inaccurate in phraseology ; || tify them through thy truth ; thy and not sufficiently full on the word is truth;" or, " they that points of discussion; but every Know thy name will put their trust man may know, that we judge some in thee,” might have been selected propositions to be true, from an in as the text for this discourse. ternal "evidence altogether inde Any system of religion which pendent of our confidence in the
would secure the approbation of a veracity of the narrator;" that we rational being, must coincide, remay believe in the being of a God, marks Mr. Erskine, 1st, “ with the and have some fixed notions of his moral constitution of the human moral character, and of some of the mind;" 2dly, “with the physical component parts of a reasonable constitution of the human mind ;" religion, while we do not assent to
and 3dly, “ with the circumstances the authenticity of Christianity; in which man is found in this that we may be convinced “ that world.” He justly adds, “that a there is an intelligible and neces religion in which these three consary connexion between the doc. ditions meet, rests upon the most trinal facts of revelation and the indisputable axioms of the science character of God," of which we of human nature. All these condihave before conceived, “in the same tions can be proved to meet in the
religion of the Bible; and the wide we can say, “ that there is an intel. divergence from them which is so ligible and necessary connexion bepalpable in all other religious sys
tween the doctrinal facts of revelatems, philosophical as well as popu
tion and the character of God (as lar, which have come to our know deduced from natural religion);" ledge, is a very strong argument (p. 17.) and that the facts of Chrisfor the divine inspiration of the Bi tianity are nothing more than the ble.” p. 21. From these points we abstract principles of natural relicheerfully start with our author, gion, embodied in perspicuity and and arrive at the same conclusions efficiency; and that these facts not with himself, even while we discard only give a lively representation of the doctrine, that man has a sys the perfect character of God, but tem of natural religion, which has also contain in themselves the arisen independently of divine re strength of the most irresistible velations. The human family has moral arguments that one man could never been wholly destitute of the address to another on any human influence of the revelations which interests."
24. God has made to the first man, and To give a specimen of the work, to several of the pious patriarchs and improve our readers by some of antiquity. Still, many who have happy islustrations of the truth, we formed some scheme of religion for shall conclude with this charming themselves, have always been desti extract: tute of the written revelations of “ The materials of the Christian system the divine will. This doctrinal lie thick about us. They consist in the scheme will partake in a greater or
feelings of our own hearts, in the history less degree of rationality and truth,
of ourselves and of our species, and in the
intimations which we have of God from according to the knowledge of the
his works and ways, and the judgments theorist, and the natural operations and anticipatid of conscience. We feel of his judgment and conscience. If that we are not unconcerned spectators of he has heard of the being of a Su
these things. We are sure, that if there
be a principle which can explain and conpreme First Cause of all things, by
nect them all together, it must be a most tradition from
important one for us; it must determine God has made, he will at once be our everlasting destiny. It is evident that lieve it, from the very constitution this master-principle can exist nowhere of his mind, which is always subject
but in the character of God. He is the to several moral and physical laws
universal Ruler, and he rules according
the principles of his own character. The of operation. In like manner, hav Christian system accordingly consists in a ing obtained, indirectly from some development of the divine character; and of the revelations of God to man as the object of this development is a kind, some other religious notions,
practical and moral one, it does not linger
long to gratify a speculative curiosity, but they may be deemed rational, they
hastes forward to answer that most inmay be systematized by the mindo; teresting of all inquiries, "What is the and the whole may be called a sys road to permanent happiness? This ques. tem of natural religion. Such a
tion holds the same rank in moral quessystem is often formed from the
tions, and enters as deeply into the mys.
tery of God's spiritual government, as the constitutional operations of our corresponding question, "What law regu. minds upon subjects of contempla lates and retains & planet in its orbit?' tion originally presented by divine does in the natural world. revelation ; and if this is what our
“ If a planet had a soul and a power of author and others mean by natural
choice, and if, by wandering from its
bright path, it incurred the same perplexi. religion, we have no disagreement ties and difficulties and dangers that man with them. To such a natural re does when he strays from God, and if the ligion as this, the whole system of laws which directed its motions were ad. the written revelation will be found
dressed to its mind, and not, as impulses,
on its material substance,mits inquiry, afto be consonant; and in this sense
had left its course, would also be,