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perstition in the world on this subject; yet is it right to concede so much to unreasonableness and superstition as this objection proposes to do? Is it right, out of deference to these mistakes of the world, to neglect an otherwise acknowledged and binding duty, which we owe to religion and to God? Besides, if the judgment of the world is wrong in this matter, the proper course is, not submission to it, but an endeavour to correct it. And nothing would be so effectual for this purpose, as a course of earnest and unquestionable piety, connected with a reasonable enjoyment of the pleasures of this life. Yet more; if there be unfairness and injustice in this opinion of the world, can we not estimate it for what it is worth? Can we not show some independence in the noblest of all causes? Can we not stand up firmly in the integrity of our own consciences ? Can we not bear this slight wrong in the discharge of our duty ? Can we not, I ask once more, can we not take
up thus far the cross of Christ, when we follow him? In short, we contend for manifestation in the concerns of religion, as a duty very important to ourselves, to society, to the
great cause, whose progress is the paramount interest of the world. The best hopes of this life, the only hopes of a future life, are bound up in this cause; and it ought to stand forth so prominently amidst our objects and pursuits, that none could mistake it, that none could say of us, what is said of so many, that they know not what our feelings are on that subject, or whether we make it a subject of any thought or interest whatever.' This interest, this thoughtfulness, this solemn regard for things divine and eternal, if it exist in us, be it remembered, is itself invisible. No man knoweth it, till it is manifested by us; no human eye can pierce the depths of the soul where it first springs up; and it demands, therefore, of the kindling eye and the speaking countenance, of the eloquent lips and the uplifted hands, and of the solemn vow sworn upon the altar, to give it expression. Religion should not wander through the world, unknown, unrecognised, hiding itself in corners, stealing through darkness and silence in its way to heaven. No; but it should walk forth, with its own noble air and mien, in its own atmosphere of light; coming to the light, so that its deeds shall be manifested that they are wrought in God. It is willing, and it ought, to be seen, and known, and read of all men; to be an uttered speech and wisdom which none can gainsay; to be a manifested aim and
purpose, which none can misunderstand; to be a shining light and brightness, to which none can close their eyes.
Every thing else has manifestation among men; yes, formal and express manifestation ; the spirit of gain, the spirit of ambition, the love of pleasure; they all have their avowals, their pledges, their forms. Why shall not the spirit of religion, in like manner, show itself and bind itself with vows and testimonies ?
It hath more need than they ; for it is liable to be overborne and buried, in the mass of earthly interests and vanities that from every quarter press upon it.
We confess that a survey of the state into which men are every where fallen, or are exposed to fall, that a more careful estimate of the moral condition of society around us, that more reflection upon the fearful temptations and dangers that beset it, that a more thorough conviction, we may say, of the evils that prevail in the world, have led us to think more than we have formerly done, of the importance of giving what virtue, what piety there is in society, all the manifestation, all the power of manifestation, of which it is capable. The prospects of society, if in some respects they seem to be more promising than formerly, in others, appear more perilous. It will not yet do, if it will ever do, in this world, for good men to take their simple, separate, silent way to the grave. It will not do to dismiss from our system of moral discipline any means, however humble, of promoting the virtue and purity of the world. The flood of worldly maxims and practices that is sweeping through the earth threatens such danger, that all possible landmarks and barriers should be lifted up to stay its course.
Souls are struggling in that mighty deep of human passions; and they should call to one another, and cheer one another in the perilous strife. They should, indeed, put forth their own strength, and pray to God for help; but they should, also, lay a hand upon every support, upon every floating plank, that will help to buoy them up. The conflict is brief, as well as perilous ; all will soon be over; and moral safety, therefore, should be the engrossing and manifest concern. The blessed haven, where are rest and safety, lies within reach; but the dull tide will not float us thither, the strong arm of irregular and misdirected effort will not bear us to it, — nay, but we must plainly direct our course, and spread abroad our sail, and command and concentrate all power, action, mechanism, to the one great purpose. Thus does it become Christian men to live in this world; and thus doing, thus declaring their great aim, thus letting their light shine, may they hope to bear the greatest number of their fellow-beings with them to the heavenly land.
Art. VI. — Exposé Historique des Discussions élevées en
tre la Compagnie des Pasteurs de Genève, et M. Gaus
sen, l'un de ses Membres ; &c. Historical Account of the Discussions between the Company of the Pastors of Geneva, and M. Gaussen, one
of its Members, on occasion of a Point of Ecclesiastical Discipline : Addressed by the Company to the Church of Geneva, and accompanied by Documents. Geneva. 1831. 8vo. pp. 160. Such is the interest attached to the affairs of the church of Geneva, that nothing can take place there without attracting the attention of the Christian world. That little Protestant community, early celebrated for its zeal in the Reformation, and more recently for its faithful adherence to the great principles of that illustrious era, is watched by its Protestant sisters with a jealousy, which allows nothing that occurs within its borders to pass uncriticized. The world is made to ring with lamentations over her defection from the faith, and a busy zeal is engaged in aggravating the story of her heresies and casting odium on her name.
So far is this ungenerous spirit carried, that even the misdeeds of other Swiss churches are attributed to her; and so little do men care discriminate, where they can blacken a body they dislike and add an emphasis to the hue and cry against Unitarianism, that they make her responsible for the imprisonments and banishments which have been perpetrated by the Orthodox cantons of Vaud and Berne. We are sorry to say, that this crying injustice is done, and unatoned for, by men from whom we should as little expect ignorance as wrong on such a subject; though, at the same time, we must add, that it corresponds but too well to the reckless party spirit, with which the religious controversy of the times has been carried on. Geneva has been guilty of no such flagrant wrong. She may have erred ; most unfortunately she is an established, national church, and wields power, — she may possibly have used it injudiciously. But to banish and imprison belongs to her Orthodox neighbours, not to her; and we do not understand how good men justify it to themselves to wantonly attribute to her what was done by others, or to aggravate with hasty zeal the errors of which she has been really guilty. We do not admire her government; we are not apologists for her wrong. But where there is so much eagerness to defame her, we confess we feel disposed to step in and cry, Audi alteram partem. We are not willing that all the religious journals should circulate stories to her disadvantage, without one word uttered in her defence. The defendant always has a right to be heard before he is condemned, and we humbly submit, that the favored children of America ought to extend this common justice to one of the oldest and favorite daughters of the Reformation.
We have done something on former occasions to make known to our readers the character and history of this church.* Since our last article, indeed within the last twelve months, circumstances have arisen, which were originally of little moment, except on the spot where they occurred, but which, from the use which has been made of them, have swollen into importance. The attention of the public was first attracted to them by an article in the Christian Observer,' for November, 1830, headed' Religious Intolerance in Geneva,' which, copied into other journals, circulated through the Christian world, and within a few months was followed by two other articles. This is the language used in the first article, after a few preliminary remarks.
We grieve to say, that the spirit of intolerance has again broken forth; not in some remote rural district, but in Geneva itself; not on the part of a few obscure bigots, but on the part of the venerable Company of Pastors, and not directed against some rash and ignorant individual, whose conduct could be urged as a pretext for hostility, but against one of the most faithful, pious, humble, regular, and useful ministers which the modern church of Geneva can boast,
* See The Christian Disciple, New Series, Vol. 1. p. 214, and The Chrisian Examiner, Vol. iv. p. 37.
M. Gaussen, the well known and beloved pastor of Satigny. The dominant ecclesiastical party in Geneva have never forgiven M. Gaussen the offence of republishing, with Mr. Cellerier, the Helvetic confession, which they wish to be forgotten, as the monument of their heterodoxy and secession from the true principles of their church. But his exemplary conduct and his ecclesiastical regularity have hitherto prevented their finding occasion against him. * * *
"The circumstances to which we allude are the following. M. Gaussen lately received from the Company of Pastors an order to renew the use of its catechism in his schools ; which he declined doing, as well he might, from the heterodox complexion of that document. The refusal was made a pretext for hostility ; and it has even been seriously proposed to deprive him of his benefice. All moderate and well judging persons in Geneva have declaimed against such intolerance and persecution.'
This was written while the proceedings at Geneva were pending, and it is observable how readily - we do not say how charitably — the writer attributes them wholly to a revengeful spirit on the part of the majority of the clergy. Indeed the coloring of the whole, written while the inquiry was yet going on, shows too eager a desire to criminate. Nothing but this can account for the member of an established church so openly countenancing insubordination in such a case as this. What would he say to the doctrine as applied to an English clergyman, that he did well’ to refuse teaching the church catechism, because he esteemed it heterodox ? In another paper on the same subject, he bitterly censures the Genevan pastors for allowing M. Chenevière, one of the most celebrated of the pastors and professors,' to retain his benefice after publishing an essay on the trinity and calling it a most deplorable error; and asks, 'How many months, or weeks, or days would a clergyman of the Church of England, or a professor in our universities, be permitted to retain his office after such a declaration?' We really do not understand the consistency of this.
In his succeeding articles this writer gives a brief ex parte view of the affair, calling it a persecution, likening M. Gaussen to the martyrs, and, apparently on his authority, accusing the other pastors of what is disingenuous,' dishonorable,' and insidious,' and speaking of the church as
N. S. VOL. VI. NO. IJ.