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wise be established, agreeably to structed in every good work ; not which they should be examined, that only, which pertains to docwhether they were strict in main- trine and reproof, but also to cortaining that conversation, which rection and instruction in rightbecometh godliness, and whether eousness. To this end it were they were proper persons for to be wished, that the minds of teaching Christian morality, and youth in colleges and academies, forming the manners of men to should be made acquainted with every kind of virtue; for the man practical theology, and instructed of God ought to be thoroughly in- in various cases of conscience..
THE EFFECTS OF TEMPORIZING faults. But if he had written eve
RELIGION, ry thing in the most unexception. EXEMPLIFIED IN THE CON- able manner, I had no inclination DUCT OF ERASMUS.
to die for the sake of truth. Eve.
ry man hath not the courage re(Continued from p. 372.)
quisite to make a martyr; and I We have in this year, 1521, a am afraid, that if I were put to the remarkable letter of Erasmus, trial, I should imitate St. Peter." addressed to his friend Pace, dean It was proper to give these exof St. Paul's. “I see, now,' traordinary words at length, besays Erasmus, “that the Ger- cause, though he hath elsewhere mans (the German Lutherans) dropped some expressions as are resolved, at all adventures, to mounting nearly to the same engage me in the affair of Lu- thing, yet perhaps he hath no ther, whether I will or not. In where
where so frankly opened his this they have acted foolishly, mind, and so ingenuously owned and have taken the surest meth- his timidity. The apprehension od to alienate me from them and of losing his revenues, the reputatheir party. Wherein could I tion which he still enjoyed in the have assisted Luther, if I had de- Court of Rome, and which he was clared myself for him and shared loth to give up entirely, and possithe danger along with him? On- bly the fear of being excommunily thus far, that instead of one cated and proscribed, and perhaps nian two would have perished. poisoned or assassinated, might I cannot conceive what he means work together upon him, and reby writing with such a spirit : strain him from speaking freely one thing I know too well, that concerning the controversies he hath brought a great odium then agitated. However, to do upon the lovers of literature. It him justice, he still maintained is true that he hath given us the truth, though cautiously and many a wholesome doctrine, and obliquely. Although he' fremany a good counsel ; and I quently censured Luther, yet he wish he had not defeated the ef- heartily wished that he might fect of them by his intolerable car: minta and extort from
his enemies some reformation both of doctrines and manners; but, as he could not imagine that Luther would succeed, he chose to adhere outwardly to the strong er party. "I follow," says he, "the decisions of the pope and the emperor, when they are right, which is acting religiously; I submit to them when they are wrong, which is acting prudently; and I think that it is lawful for good men to behave themselves thus, when there is no hope of obtaining any more."
"Le Clerc often censures Erasmus for his lukewarmness, timidity and unfairness, in the matter of the reformation, and I, as a translator, have adopted these censures, only softening them a little here and there: for I am, in the main, of the same opinion with Le Clerc as to this point. As Protestants, we are certainly much obliged to Erasmus; yet we are more obliged to the authors of the Reformation; to Luther, Melanchthon, ZuingliOecolampadius, Cranmer, Bucer, &c.
"Erasmus shews at large, that whatsoever pains he had taken to keep upon good terms with the divines of Louvain, it had been impossible to gain their friendship; and that some of them had cruelly deceived him, particularly Joannes Atensis, who was one of the most able and considerable persons amongst them. Then he makes a transition to Luther, and censures his violent proceedings; as if Luther could have brought the Christian world to measures of reformation, in spite of the Romish court, without plain dealing and animated expressions! He declares his hatred of discord to be such, that
he disliked even truth itself, if it was seditious. But Luther, who was of another humour, would have replied, such was his hatred for falsehood and oppression of conscience, that he thought it better to suffer persecution, if it arose, and to break loose from such a tyranny at all adventures, than to stoop down, and live and die under it, and hear a thousand lies vented and obtruded under the venerable name of Christian doctrines. They who are bold and resolute will approve these maxims of Luther, and they who are cautious and dispirited will close in with those of Erasmus. It must be acknowledged, that in this Luther acted rather more like an apostle, or a primitive Christian, than Erasmus. If the first Christians had been afraid of raising disturbances, they would have chosen to comply with the Sanhedrim, and to live at peace with their countrymen, rather than to draw upon themselves so much hatred. Some of the great, says Erasmus, meaning the king of Denmark, are of an opinion, to which I cannot assent, that the malady is too inveterate to be cured by gentle methods, and that the whole body must be violently shaken, before it can recover its health. If it be true, I had rather others should administer this strong physic than myself. Very well: but then we ought to respect and commend, and not to censure those, who have the courage and the constancy to do what we dare not practise."
(To be continued.)
With pleasure we extend the knowledge of the following very seasonable and just sentiments, which are clothed in a style of energy and elo
ON LIBERALITY IN RELIGION.
(From the Christian's Magazine.*)
A WRITER of celebrity has said, that where "men are without some fundamental and scientific principles to resort to, they are liable to have their understandings played upon by cant phrases and unmeaning terms, of which every party in every country possess a vocabulary. We appear astonished when we see the multitude led away by sounds; but we should remember, that if sounds work miracles, it is always upon ignorance. The influence of names is in exact proportion to the want of knowledge."
multitude; and to whom, if we cannot yield our confidence, we may not deny our respect. The influence of fashion is so subtle and so imperious; the levity of social intercourse is so adverse to reflection; dissent from the circling opinion is, for the most part, so ungraciously received; a fling, whether in jest or earnest, is so convenient a substitute and a popular epifor fact; thet, without expense either of thought or knowledge, is so expeditious a mode of determining controversies, which otherwise
would be of stiff debate, that the judgment is surprised through the imagination; and the mind is hurried into its decisions without firmness to resist, or leisure to pause. He who has access to that sort of company, which wears the reputation of intelligence, and does not recollect to have seen this course of things, has made a bad use of his eyes or his memory. How roughly individuals, communities, and even truth itself is often handled
by such summary sentences, every writer on logic or ethics accounts it his duty to show. The design of this paper is not so much to dwell on the general evil of the practice, as, on the one side, to repel an opprobrium, and, on the other, to sift a claim, which it has been employ
ed to sanction.
From the present state of society, we look back on the intolerance of former ages with a surprise, which does honour to humanity but at the same time, it is to be feared, with a loftiness of self-complacency, which proclaims that the retrospect administers as much food to our vanity, as to our benevolence.
invader. Whoever shall dare to condemn the opinions of one, is the enemy of all the rest: he must be shunned as an intruder into the sanctuary of conscience; as a stranger to religious civility and liberal refinement, and unworthy of any rank but that which philosophical Christianity has assigned to the bigot.
All this looks grand and magnanimous; and, no doubt, has its effect; especially upon youthful, undisciplined, and timid minds. But if it have more of show than of reality; if it be as intolerant in its own way as any thing which it calls bigotry; and if, under the pretext of oblations to charity, it sacrifice the truth of God and the eternal interests of men upon the altar of practical infidelity; we cannot turn away from it with too open disgust, nor hold it in too deep abhorrence.
One of the things which first strike a critical observer, is the indefiniteness of the ideas attached to the terms “liberal" and "bigoted." It is easy to couple them with a man or a principle; and to extol or decry accordingly and few are loud in their panegyric or abuse, as those who do both by signal. But still, what is your liberality? Is it measured by any standard, or confined within any limits? If not, for aught I can see, it is an attempt to abolish all intellectual and moral distinctions. If it is measured and limited-by what rule? By the word of God? Then you are bound to ascertain its sense, and to oppose every opinion which contradicts it; or else you must contradict yourself: for a rule which you do not apply, is no rule at all.-By your own good pleasure, or your
The pendulum of fashion vibrating in morals, as in dress, from an extreme point to its opposite; we are now required to open the bosom of charity to every class of religious tenets, if we hope to be enrolled among liberal Christians, or to escape the pains and penalties decreed against bigots. As revolutions seldom happen in but one thing at a time, this exchange of feeling appears to have been accompanied with an exchange of principle; and to have included a large portion of the creed of our fathers in the same proscription with their sternness of temper. So that what bishop Butler said of Christianity, may truly be said of orthodoxy :" It is come-to be taken for granted, by many persons, that orthodoxy is not so much as a subject of inquiry; but that it is now, at length, discovered to be fictitious. And accordingly they treat it as if, in the present age, this were an agreed point among all people of discernment; and nothing remained but to set it up as a principal subject of mirth and ridicule, as it were by way of reprisals, for its having so long interrupted the pleasures of the world." Or if dislike to principles once held sacred by the most enlightened and excellent of mankind, has not gone all this length, it has, at least, thrown them into the rubbish of obsolete prejudices. Zeal for their purity and propagation is supplanted by a sort of community of persuasions; in which every one is not only privileged to assert his own right, while he lives in peace with his neighbours, but to demand their aid in repulsing an * Butler's Analogy, Advertisement.
not for its own sake, but as it is controlled by truth: and secondly, that the character of your liberality must be fixed by the relative value of those points which it surrenders under the title of "minor differences." Until this be settled, you can have no permission to glory in being liberal; and to bestow contemptuous appellations upon those who will not go in your train: for you may take credit to yourself for that which shall turn out to be a crime.
conviction of right? Then you assume the office of dictator as much as any man to whom you impute that arrogance; and if you intend to "pluck the mote out of his eye," you must begin with taking "the beam out of your own."-By your particular associates? Every sect under heaven does the same. The Arminian calls the Calvinist a bigot; the Socinian applies the epithet to the advocate of the atonement, and chaunts forth his own liberality; the deist pities the slavish being who believes in Our next inquiry, then, rerevelation; and the atheist smiles spects these "minor differencat the "prejudices" of the de- es." A soft sound with dreaded ist. Or are you liberal because sense! For, unless the writer you think and speak well of grievously err, the characteristic those who think and speak well of the liberality now in vogue, is of you? So did the publicans, to ask nothing more than a and so do thousands with whom general profession of Christianiyou would not wish to be sus- ty; and to refer all its modificapected of any connexion. If tions to the head of "minor your liberality takes a middle differences;" which, in the afpath between the contractedness fair of Christian and ministerial of some men, and the licentious- fellowship, should make no difness of others, so that while you ference at all. If, therefore, one cherish the primary interests of of these liberal Christians shall religion, you overlook the minor explain away the whole faith of differences among its professors, the church of God concerning and embrace them as brothers the new birth-if another shall upon the broad ground of the teach the dogma of universal common Christianity," you are salvation for men, and, if he indeed more definite, but not less please, for devils too-if a third embarrassed. For it is impossi- shall give up the plenary inspirable not to perceive, first, that tion of the scriptures-if a fourth your very medium implies a shall argue against a particular boundary which you may not providence-if a fifth shall deny pass; and consequently, that the influences, or dispute the beyour liberality is commendable, ing, of the Holy Spirit-if a sixth shall abjure the sacrifice and deity of our Lord Jesus Christ: all this, instead of diminishing confidence, or communion, is to be a matter of compromise. Every one retains his own views without contradiction. The generic term "Christian"
Il a encore quelques prejuges, "he has some prejudices left," said the atheists of Paris, concerning David Hume, when he hesitated to shoot the gulf of atheism. He appears, however, to have got rid of his "prejudices," shortly after his acquaintance with those philosophers!