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dency. And we are glad to record our belief, that he stands alone, among those who occupy Unitarian pulpits, in entertaining such views.

We may not leave the subject here. Practical questions of no little interest are connected with it. The inquiry is a natural one perhaps - how should the advocate of such opinions be regarded and treated by the ministers of religion, and by the religious community? Under the explanations which were given in the earlier part of this article we showed how in our judgment he should be regarded. We are willing to say how we think he should be treated.

Let him then be treated as any other propagator of what are deemed erroneous and injurious opinions should be treated. This however will not be thought a definite answer. Shall he be persecuted? No. Calumniated? No. Put down? No; if by this phrase be signified the use of any other than fair and gentle means of curtailing his influence. Shall he be silenced, or be tolerated? Not tolerated; for the exercise of toleration implies the right to restrain the expression of opinion by force, but the validity of such a right cannot be admitted in this country, and should not be allowed in the Christian Church. Nor silenced; unless open argument and fraternal persuasion may reduce him to silence. But on the other hand, he should not be encouraged nor assisted in diffusing his opinions, by those who differ from him in regard to their correctness. No principle of liberality or charity can require any one to aid in the diffusion of what he accounts error, especially if he think it pernicious error. Neither directly nor indirectly may he, in justice to his own persuasions, promote the purposes of another who wishes to divert public confidence from those persuasions. We cannot understand that impartiality of mind which is as desirous that one opinion as another should be brought before the community. Nor can we perceive the reasonableness of the demand, which is sometimes made upon a religious teacher, that he shall let all sides be heard. All sides' means every form of enthusiasm, fanaticism, infidelity and irreligion. We cannot believe that any good will come to the souls of men from converting the church into a spiritual Babel, or that Christian liberty is maintained only by opening the doors to all possible extravagance and license.

If Mr. Parker had confined himself to the inculcation of positive opinions, a very different case would have been presented. Silence might then have been the only needed intimation of dissent. For there may be minds constituted like his, that will find more satisfaction in the views which he presents than in those which the judgments of numberless wise and candid men in different ages have accepted. Besides, his instruction embraces something more than either philosophy or theology; and when we have heard him expound the great principles of morality, and apply them to the practices of the day, we have felt that he might be an instrument of great good to the land. But so long as he considers it his duty to undermine the foundations on which the faith of the multitude rests, and justly rests, - not content with the affirmative statement of his own grounds of faith, so long do we conceive it is both proper and incumbent upon those who differ from him to express their difference in frank and strong terms.


In similar terms, we say, let him speak who espouses opinions which we consider untrue and dangerous. He holds our views to be untrue and harmful. Let him say so. let not silence be imposed upon us, while the freest speech is claimed for him. By Christian liberty, we understand the unshackled exercise of the powers which God has given to any one, in the use, exposition, or defence of what he accounts valuable truth, in the place which Providence permits him to occupy; but not in the place which it has fallen to another to fill. And by Christian liberality, we understand the ready consent to such an exercise of his powers by every one else, together with the utmost candor in judging both of what is said and of the motives which prompt to its utterance. This liberality let no one neglect to cherish in himself, and this liberty let no one attempt to wrest from another.

Cases may possibly arise in the application of these principles which shall present some difficulty. Is not the liberty of him who is placed under any kind of exclusion violated, it is asked, and are not the principles of Christian liberality disregarded, when the pulpits of other ministers are closed against him? We think not. Ministerial exchange of pulpits is a matter of personal convenience and private judgment. We never supposed that a preacher

had a right to enter any pulpit but his own, except by the courtesy of a friend who might extend to him the invitation, or through the request of the people to whom the pulpit belonged. We may indeed be sorry that our brother does not think the Gospel would be faithfully delivered by us to his congregation, but if this be his honest opinion founded on a knowledge of our preaching, we cannot complain because he acts in consistency with that opinion.

It is said, indeed, that the exclusion of another from a Christian pulpit, by him who has the control of its doors, is an act of illiberality and injustice, because it in effect holds him up to public opprobrium. We protest against such an interpretation. By withholding from our neighbor the opportunity of using our pulpit for the propagation of what we regard as error, we merely say that we consider it error and do not wish to help in its diffusion; and this we may say, and ought to say, not only indirectly by such an act, but in the most direct and unequivocal terms. Our neighbor doubtless expresses elsewhere the same opinion respecting our discourses, and if he is an honest man, he will be very likely to express his opinion in our pulpit. There are those who think it is as well that people should sometimes listen to what is unsound in doctrine. We are not of this way of thinking, for we believe that truth is always better than error; and, to repeat the familiar but pertinent remark, what each man accounts the truth stands to him as the absolute truth, and demands from him the same loyal service, and therefore we esteem it a minister's duty to present to his people, not only in his own preaching, but also through him whom he may introduce into his pulpit, what he himself believes, and not what he disbelieves. If we are wrong in this decision, all that can be charged upon us is timidity, not exclusiveness.

But it is contended that this is receding from the ground taken by the denomination to which we belong nearly thirty years ago, when the division arose between the Orthodox and the Unitarian portions of the Congregational Church in this Commonwealth. Possibly it is. We think however that the ground of complaint against the Orthodox at that time for refusing to exchange with Unitarians was, that they considered us as denying what was essential to salvation, and therefore regarded our teaching as not only

unsound, but fatal. We remonstrated against this as a judgment altogether too harsh, and therefore maintained that the separation which it induced was unrighteous. In the fervor of debate at that time it is not improbable, that some of our writers used stronger expressions than were consistent with a correct understanding of the principles involved in the controversy-though we have no such examples in mind. We do not remember that we have ourselves ever felt any disposition to complain of Trinitarian ministers for excluding us from their pulpits. We certainly should not seek an exchange with a Unitarian, if we believed in the Trinity. We do not desire an exchange now with one who accepts that doctrine, for we have no wish to convert the Christian pulpit into the arena of a gladiatorial theology. It seems to us better that the ministers of the different sects should decline this official intercourse, than that the discourses and prayers of one Sunday should efface the impressions made by the discourses and prayers of the previous Sunday, and the worshipper be led to think that he goes to church only to be made a captive by one or another theological champion. Our present system is best suited, both to promote the improvement of the congregations and to preserve kindly feelings among the clergy.

Some persons, verging to the other extreme, demand much more than the exclusion from their pulpits, by his brethren, of him who makes it his object to spread what they deem false and hurtful opinions. They require that he be cast out from the professional sympathies of those with whom he has been associated, and that a rebuke be administered to him by some formal act of the denomination to which he has been considered as belonging. We are unable to perceive the propriety of such measures. They can do no good, for they will only enkindle a fiercer curiosity to hear "the heretic," and will put into the mouths of his friends the cry of " persecution," which is now the surest means of drawing around a man admiration and sympathy. They will have little effect in "setting things right before the public," for the public with due respect let us say it - we have learned to regard as a very thick-skulled or a very simple-hearted personage, who, do what you may, will think of you pretty much as he pleases.

After a while he generally comes to a right conclusion; and so he will in this case. But the best way to bring him speedily to such a conclusion is, to go straight on in the way of duty, as if no such public existed. Our most serious objection, however, to the adoption of such measures as those to which we have referred is, that it would be contrary to the spirit and practice of our denomination - a spirit and practice drawn from judgments founded, as we believe, in a correct understanding of the New Testament and a wise use of the history of the Christian Church. It is not our way, to pass ecclesiastical censure. We are willing - at least we have said we were willing to take the principle of free inquiry with all its consequences. There never was a principle yet, entrusted to man's use, which has not been carried to extravagant results. The principle of philanthropy of what follies and mischiefs has it been made the occasion! We have no faith in the efficacy of malediction. And the very fact that for months the Unitarians have been urged from without and from within to denounce, or renounce, Mr. Parker, and yet have not found out how to do it, shows that it is strange work for them. Ecclesiastical censures are weapons which they have not yet learned to handle.

Is it said, as a reason for such action, that the denomination are responsible for the opinions advanced by one of their number, unless they subject him to rebuke or separate him from their society? Yes, it is said; and by whom? By those who know that from the first we have disclaimed responsibleness for each other's opinions, and denied in the most emphatic terms the justice of holding us under such a responsibleness. We are not answerable, and should not allow ourselves to be made answerable, for the belief or the disbelief of those with whom we may sustain friendly or intimate relations. Our body holds itself accountable for the eccentricities, either in opinion or conduct, of no one of those who compose the body. When what seem to any in the denomination to be unscriptural or dangerous sentiments are advocated in its bosom, they are free to express their dissent if they please; but no one is justified in construing their silence, if they choose to keep silence, into a sympathy with the peculiar views that may have been thrown out. Censure and expulsion for opinion's sake, we

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