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verging towards liberal views, he is warned, threatened, coaxed, and almost bribed. But if he should prove sufficiently independent to withstand such influence, and should pursue his inquiries until he arrive on the stable foundation of unitarianism, he is forth with dismissed from the list of beneficiaries, although he still makes the Bible the sufficient and only rule of faith and practice, and continues to exhibit a Christian character. The board of directors assign no reason for their conduct; and when the real cause of such treatment is demanded at their hand, they coolly inform him, that he is not so pious as formerly. And if this be not satisfactory, and he still demands a more explicit reason, he is led to understand, that a unitarian belief is inconsistent with evangelical piety. To substantiate all that I have here stated, facts can be produced whenever the proper period arrives. I have omitted giving particular instances, on account of the individuals concerned, having no desire to bring their names before the public unnecessarily. Such is the course pursued by the Education Society to make the community believe they are liberal in their reception and dismission of beneficiaries, when the most rigid system of exclusion is practised. . The last circumstance, to which I alluded, is this. The Society adopt a singular series of measures to prevent their beneficiaries from embracing unitarianism. To some of the more important I will briefly advert. If the beneficiary wishes to receive his collegiate education at Cambridge, every possible exertion is made to frighten him from such a proceeding. The labors of the general secretary proved successful in preventing several young men from entering Harvard University at the last commencsment. If the beneficiary visit freely in unitarian families while teaching a winter school, he is called to account for his conduct. I boarded with one, who was complained of by an orthodox clergyman for visiting in light and trifling company, simply because he attended a weekly reading party in a unitarian parish. The beneficiary is occasionally presented with books of a truly orthodox stamp, and an allowance of some hundreds of tracts is put into his hands for gratuitous distribution. In this way, his orthodox impressions are confirmed ; and his zeal in orthodox measures kept glowing and burning. The beneficiary receives an annual visit from an appointed agent, who converses with him freely on his religious opinions, and worms out his real sentiments on all controverted questions of theology. He then prays with him, and especially for him; and informs the Almighty of the dangers to which he is exposed, and what means are necessary to preserve him in the paths of orthodoxy. All those beneficiaries, who reside at the same literary institution, are obliged to assemble together once a month, according to the laws of a printed constitution. They must make one of their number the secretary of the body, who is to keep an account of all absences from the monthly meetings, note all aberrations in thought, word, and deed, and transmit a faithful history of the same to the general secretary. His answer will then be read for the special benefit of all concerned. The constitution further requires, that four prayers be made on each evening of meeting, and specifies the subjects. One is to be especially for their secretary, that he may be faithful in recording their errors and failings; and also for the whole Education Society. Another is to be made for the cause of orthodoxy in the institution in which they are stationed. A third is for the success of orthodox missions. And a fourth for the conversion of the world to orthodoxy. And above all, the principal of the institution where the beneficiary is educated, must keep a book, in which are recorded the degrees of piety of each student. If this is not binding down the young men to the cause of a party, I know not how it can be done. Every beneficiary must give his note to repay all he receives after he shall have been settled in the ministry three or four years. How those who are ordained over your feeble churches are to comply with this condition is more than I can understand. Every thing connected with the Society is directly calculated to keep the minds of the beneficiaries on one grand concern; the grand concern of orthodoxy. I think this brief statement of facts is sufficient to convince liberalminded men, of all parties, that your Society do not a little to offer a bounty on orthodoxy; not a little that is enslaving to the minds of the young men you aid; and not a little that is subversive of religious liberty, free inquiry, and the principles of congregationalism.
2. Praying. Look at certain orthodox prayers. I will mention four classes which appear to me to be truly unchristian. And, first, take those instances in which orthodox believers undertake to judge the hearts of unitarian preachers, and proclaim their uncharitable judgments to the world, in their solemn addresses to the Deity. I allude to those prayers of frequent recurrence in which orthodox ministers earnestly pray for the conversion of unitarian pastors. Not to deal in generals, I will take one example from the multitude of cases within my knowledge. When I was residing in Billerica, a few years since, one of the students of your seminary held a meeting at the house of a certain widow lady. Almost the whole of his prayer on the occasion was for the late venerable Dr. Cumings, then senior pastor of the church in that town. He became exceedingly earnest, and even agonizing. The substance of his petition was this; that this aged minister might begin the great work of salvation before called to render up his solemn account ; that he might be converted, regenerated, born again, and not suffered to leave the world with his unrepented sins on his soul.
Now, Sir, will you not pronounce such prayers unchristian? Did he not judge the heart of his elder brother?- pronounce it wicked and unregenerate ? And for what cause ? Simply because the worthy
servant of Christ did not believe the articles of his human creed. For no pretence was ever made, that his Christian temper and conduct were peculiarly defective. Just review the circumstances. Here is a minister of the gospel. He once believed the trinitarian creed. He searched the Scriptures prayerfully, and found no support for his peculiar opinions. Like a true disciple, he sacrificed his erroneous sentiments on the altar of divine truth. He manifested the spirit of his Master to an uncommon degree, during a ministry of near sixty years. When the infirmities of age had palsied his powers, a young man of very little theological knowledge, and no uncommon excellencies of character, comes among his devoted people. In solemn prayer he assures them that their revered friend and pastor has never been converted; that he has yet to begin the great work of life; that he has been leading them in the ways of error and perdition; and that he must go down to everlasting woe, unless the Lord regenerate his soul most speedily.
Do bring this case home to your own conscience. Suppose a bold and confident young man, who has just begun the study of theology, should be sent from Cambridge into your neighbourhood. Suppose he should, by any means, collect a few of your pupils and friends to hear him hold forth. Suppose he should make most of his prayer relate to yourself; and earnestly beseech the Almighty to convert your soul, and enable you to begin the work of salvation before called to render up your solemn account. You will admit that he would have as much right, and as Scriptural reasons, for saying all this in relation to you, as your pupil had for saying it in respect to Dr. Cumings. For you certainly will not pretend, that you give better evidence in your temper and conduct of being born again, the only Scriptural evidence on this question, than the Doctor had exhibited for more than half a century. Should such a case occur, would you not say that the young man had travelled out of his province, and taken too much on himself? Would you not aver, that he had violated a plain command of Jesus in pronouncing you unconverted ? — that he was endeavouring to injure your usefulness and character by uttering opinions in his prayers which he would hardly presume to make in his discourses ? — that he was attempting to alienate from you the confidence and affection of your friends and supporters ? — and that such a practice was inconsistent with free inquiry and religious liberty? Why then should not the same things be said of your theological students ?
And, secondly, take those instances which strike at the foundation of domestic happiness. I allude to those examples in which orthodox wives have been encouraged to meet together to pray for the conversion of their unitarian husbands, and confer on the subject, and devise new means of influence. Now, Sir, do you really believe that such a proceeding can be productive, on any principle, of sufficient good to compensate for the domestic misunderstandings and distrust it must engender? Is it not consistent with your consciences or with orthodoxy to spare the peace and sanctity of our homes ? On this topic, however, I forbear to dwell, though I have evidence in my possession to convince any candid person that the public are as yet but half apprized of the extent of the evil.
Look then, thirdly, at those instances in which whole bodies of men are prayerfully slandered. I allude to the extensive combination among the orthodox to pray for the conversion of Harvard University. This union has been formed some time, but has lately been awakened to more fervent devotions by the charitable exertions of an agent of your party. He has recently visited various and distant parts of this Commonwealth, and solemnly assured many congregations, that this ancient college had become a poisoned fountain ; that it would be tempting God, to send their sons to this seat of learning ; that unless funds are raised to erect a church, an orthodox church, in the very vicinity of this synagogue of Satan, we are all dead men and dead women. After getting the one thing needful, he exhorts them to be very fervent in their prayers for the conversion of Harvard University. And many of the orthodox, believing these stories, unite very sincerely one hour a week to pray for some special aid from Heaven to make this college orthodox in its creed.
Now, Sir, will you not pronounce this an unchristian and illiberal measure? Just bring the practice home to your own feelings. Suppose the unitarians should form a combination to pray an hour a week for the conversion of your theological seminary. Suppose they should commission some fiery zealot to visit the various parts of the Commonwealth for this object. Suppose he should declare, that you had become dissatisfied with the Scriptures, and had set up a human standard of religious truth; that you were training up young men to disturb the harmony of our families, neighbourhoods, and societies; and that you allowed no freedom of opinion and thought to your pupils. Suppose he should affirm, that the instructers had lately been so divided among themselves as to lead the students to think they were possessed of very little religion; and that the students adhered so tenaciously to the ejected professor, as to cause the other heads of the faculty to fear they were destitute of piety. Suppose he should aver, that unless a mass of money was obtained to erect a unitarian church on Institution Hill, we are all dead men and dead women. You will allow that he would have as much foundation in truth for such assertions, as your commissioned beggar had for most of his declarations. And suppose such exertions should be successful in organizing a union to pray for the conversion of your seminary to unitarianism. Would you not pronounce such a measure truly unchristian, illiberal, and uncharitable ? And is the sanje conduct any less unchristian when perpetrated by
orthodox leaders ? when a union is formed for prayerfully slandering Harvard University ?
And, fourthly, look at those instances in which unitarians are forced to give an outward assent to the trinitarian belief. I allude to those unscriptural doxologies which are sung in orthodox churches at the close of religious exercises. The congregation are expected to arise and stand during this solemn act of worship; and to have the following or similar sentiments pass through their minds :
“ To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Now, Sir, is not this an unchristian practice ? For there are but very few orthodox societies in this Commonwealth which do not contain a considerable number of unitarians. And should they dare to assert their rights, and either leave the church or remain sitting during this act of devotion, the indignation of the minister and his friends would be heaped on their heads. I indeed know that some have been sufficiently independent to withstand this imposition. In one place, a distinguished judge arose and informed the preacher that no such measures would be tolerated in that congregation. In another society, numbers would not arise while the human creed was uttered by the voice of music. In several instances, the singers have refused thus to profess what they disbelieved. I hope such worthy examples may be generally imitated. For this is a modern invention in our congregational churches. I believe such doxologies were never sung in Andover until after the establishment of your theological seminary. I think they were not introduced into many of the orthodox societies in your county until after that period. And a more illiberal practice cannot well be imagined. For the design evidently is to impress an article of orthodox belief on the minds of the young, before they are able to investigate the subject for themselves ; and also to beat this error into the heads of the adult by dint of frequent repetition. The pious Watts, who wrote so many of these contradictory lines, would have expunged them all from his Hymn-book before he died, had he not disposed of the copy-right of the work. And who will dare affirm, that there is any Scriptural authority for such a usage? Just reverse the case. Suppose a doxology could be framed, which would express the Catholic worship of the Virgin Mary. Suppose a part of their congregations was composed of Protestants. Suppose they were compelled, sabbath after sabbath, to rise and stand while this act of unscriptural worship was performed. Would you not call such a practice unchristian and illiberal ? I have room for no more facts on this subject. Very many examples of a more striking and unchristian character must be omitted. I think these are