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The Christian examiner and theological review, Volume 3 online

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of great moment and difficulty.

In considering what ought to be done, reference should be
bad to what has already been attempted. Experience should
here, as every where, be one of our most respected mcmitors.
All the attempts which have hitherto been prosecuted to evan-
gelize the heathen, have been undertaken by those, with whose
peculiar- views of the christian system I have no sympathy.
These views have, as I think, led them into ooosideraUe ern»rs,
and prevented their making much definite progress in their
work. Nevertheless, before I notice these errors, and lest I
should be suspected of unworthy motives in doing so, I would
take the opportunity of paying my sincere tribute of admiration
to the zeal and constancy, which have distinguished the mo-

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182 Foreign Mtuiam.

dern missionaries to the heathen. I declare then, that there is
something which warms my feelines like a eenial Qtey in the
sight of men, aye, and women too, forsakmg family and home ;
committing themselves to the broad ocean; throwing diemselves
into the midst of a strange country, an idolatrous people, and
perhaps an unhealthy climate ; setting up their humble ateir in
the very shadow of some huge and worsnipped image ; sufier^
bg all things, enduring all things, disease, imprisonment, insuhs,
and worse dian all, neglect, contemptuous neglect ; but stiU
maintainmg their stand, and refusing to despair, because they
came to save souls. Here is something that I can respect. I
believe not as they do, that every soul which they fail to con-
vert, is doomed to everlasting misery ; I believe not a number
of doctrines which they mculcate as bdispensable ; but, fixed
as I am in my own opinions, and ready as I am to avow and
defend them, I do not rank myself, nor do I wish to be rankedi
amon^ those who coldly condemn all missionary undertakings,
as visionary and fanatical; and who, while sitting comfortably
at home in the enjojrraent of all the ministrations of ease and
pleasure, can laugh at those, who, for duty's sake, and in their
Master's cause, turn from them aU, and sacrifice them all.
And if hereafter other hands should conduct, in other, and
through God's blessing, in better and more successful ways,
the work in which they have been toiling ; let it never be for-
gotten, that they were the pioneers who boldly advanced into
die wilderness, and made known its difficulties, if they did not
overcome them ; acting with a martyr's courage, if not with a

n bet's discernment, and serving as guides and beacons even
eir wanderings and failures.
' Thus having spoken freely in their praise, let me be permit-
ted to speak with eaual fre\sdom of what I conceive to he some
of their errors. The principal one appears to be, that diey
are altogether too technical. Conversion, under their manage-
ment, is a systematk^ afiair, to be e&cted in a precise manner,
according to scholastic rules, and wearing a regular, business-
like aspect. They are too sparine in considerations of univer-
sal mcN^ty, and'too bountiful in phrases of mystical and inde-
finite meaning. They hedge themselves about with the pecu-
liar notions, which they have transplanted firom some theological
seminary ; and those whom they wish to attract, they of course
repel. They begin, as they have been used to do in their

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Foreign MisnaM. 183

sermons at homei with the doctrme of total depravity. Instead
of representing to a native the horrors and evil consequences
of the licentiousness and idolatry of his countrymen, they talk
to him of his lost state by nature, in consequence of the fall of
the first man. They then proceed to lay open to him, that
for this guilt, the strict justice of die Supreme Being required
an atoning sacrifice, wmch was made hy the only Sm of God,
who was equal in glory with him, and of the same essence,
and who, by submitting to death, appeased the wrath of his
Father. Faith in the Son, and in his atonement, they then
declare to be the only way of escape from the efiects of
Adam's transgression ; and the native is required to profess
this faith, and rely on the merits of Christ, and be baptized.

By those who ought to know, it has been stated, that not
a single well informed and educated native of India has yet
been made a christian by this process, ^he fact should ex-
cite no wonder. The process consists or a series of technical
propositions, which can hardly be supposed to address them-
selves very forcibly to 'the understanding, because they are for
the most part unintelligible ; and these are suf^rted by
loose quotations from the Bible, for which the native cannot be
supposed to entertam much reverence, for he has not beeiji
brought up to reverence it, nor to regard it as of divine au-

But these errors do not operate so adversely in some places
as in others. The islander of the South Seas is less forward
with his doubts, objections, arguments and cavils, than the
learned Bramin of Hindostan. This cause, and others have
operated to render the mission to the Sandwich Islands emi-
nently successful. And should we repine at that success?
Heaven forbid ! We should rejoice at it. When we read
that the inhabitants of those islands have to a very great ex-
tent been induced to relinquish their idolatry, their brutal ex-
cesses, their barbarous practices ; that they have wholly aban-
doned the horrid custom of human sacrifices ; that they have
been taught to read and write, and induced to enter with
spirit into some of the arts and habits of civilized life, we should
rejoice; these are subjects of rejoicing. It is of ver^ little
comparative consequence what supposed doctrines oi Chris-
tianity they are taught, so long as they are induced to obey its
morad laws, and cultivate its heavenly temper in their hearts.

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184 Foreign Missions.

So far from undervaluing, or in any way apposing this particular
mission, I should be sorry if it were to languish, and if an ur^
gent call were made on the christian public to support it, under
any untoward or threatening circumstances, there are few
causes to which I would sooner contribute my feeble ex-

And yet, though I do not regard the preaching of the doc-
trines of orthodoxy as much of a hindrance in that part of the
world, I do not certainly regard it as a help. It has been of
little impoitance either way ; the mission having been success-
fully advanced by causes with which it had no concern. But
in other parts of the world, in India, for instance, I look upon
it as a serious detriment. The natives there, or at any rate
the higher orders of them, are imbued with various knowledge,
acute, and skilled in the arts of disputation. To them the doc-
trines of trinity and atonement are far from acceptable, for
they do not comprehend their value, and they consider them
as too shnihr to that mystic theology of ^eir own nation, which
many of them in their hearts despise. Without the counte-
nance of these orders, or individuals belonging to them, no
success is to be expected ; for the distinction of ranks is car*
ried to such a lamentable excess, that the lower castes are the
mere dust on which the others tread, and their 0{Hnions are
of no importance ; indeed they would hardly dare to think,
without the approbation of their superiors.

It is impossible to say, exactly, what course ought in all

B>ints to be pursued in the attempt of chrisdauizing India,
ut I think it undeniable^ that it should be far more simple,
practical and rational, than that which has hitherto been tried.
The superior morality of the gospel should chiefly be insisted
on ; the great doctrines of the unity of Grod, his perfections
and his providence, should be placed in contrast with the absurd
features of polytheism ; and the purifying precepts of Jesus
with the solemn contradictions of philosophy and the degrading
- maxims of the world.

An opportunity has lately been offered to those who have
long wished to see Christianity thus preached in India, by a
call for assistance and cooperatbn from some of similar senti-
ments there, seconded by the wishes of that distinguished na-
tive, Rammohun Roy, and a few of his countrjnnen. ^ A
way is thus laid open for the introduction of simple christiani^r.

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Motels Royal Rule far Readers. 185

of unitarian christianhy, into those immense and populous re*
gions. Great immediate success is not to be looked for ; but
much may be accomplished by perseverance and good judg-
ment ; and I rejoice that those of liberal opinions are now
enabled to come forward^ and heartily unite in the great work
of foreign improvement.

I do not venture to foretelly that this opportunity will Jbe
embraced by so many, that any effectual aid will be rendered
from this part of the world. I can only hope and pray that
it will. If after all our efforts, our work should fail, I trust
we shall bear the disappointment with equanimity ; if it should
succeed, I trust that we shall never be seduced to follow a bad
example, and forget the meekness of christians, by indulging
an unseemly triumph over those who now exalt their horn and
speak scornfully of our people ; I trust that we shall imitate, as
weU as praise ' the spirit ot,the simple, unpretending, noiseless
Moravians.' Yours, fac.

A Seeker.


More?8 Royal Rule far Readers,

[Extract from the Preface General to a Collection of several
Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More, 2d Edition, 1662,
being part ' of certain Advertisements for the more profitable
perusing his Books.']

If any expect or desire any general instruction or prepara-
tion for the more profitably perusing of these my writings^ I
must profess that I can give none which is peculiar to them, but
what will fit all writiiigs that are writ with freedom and reason.
And tliis one Royal Kule I would recommend for all, JSTot to
judge of the truth of any proposition till we have a settled and
determinate apprehension of the terms thereof Which law
though it be so necessary and indispensable, yet is there none
so frequently broken as it ; the effect whereof is, those many
heaps of voluminous writings and inept oppositions and contro-
versies that fill the world. Which were liinpossible to be, if
men had not got a habit of fluttering mere words against one

VOL. Ml.— NO. IH. 24

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186 Here$y and Implicit Faith.

another, without taking notice of any determinate sense, and
so did fight as it were with so many Hercules' clubs made of
pasteboard, which causes a great sound, but does no executioo
towards the ending of disputes. For as no man will ever be
so extravagant as to affirm, that a triangle is a quadrangle, or
a square a circle, having the distinct ideas of those figures in
his mind ; so it would be as impossible for him to pionounce of
any thing else falsely and absurdly, if be had as perfect and
Mettled a notion of the things concerning which be seems to
pronounce. But this first and main principle of wisdom being
neglected, it is no wonder that men clash as ridiculously ana
causelessly as those two country cbwns, who in their cups had
like to have gone to blows, because the one professed himself
a Lutheran and the other a MirtiniiU

Milton on Heresy and Implicit Faith.

Well knows he who uses to consider, that our faith and
knowledge thrives by exercise, as well as our limbs and
complexion. Truth b ^mpared in scripture to a streaming
fountain ; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression,
they sicken into a muddy pod of conformity and tradition.
A man may be a heretic iti the truth; and if he believe
things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so
determines, without knowing other reason, thoueh his belief
be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes bis heresy.

There is not any burden that some would gladlier post
off to another, than the charge and care of their religion*
There be, who knows not that there be of protestants and
professors, who live and die in as errant an implicit faith, as
any lay papist of Loretto. A wealthy man^ addicted to his
pleasure and to his profits, finds religion to be a traffic so en-
tangled, and of so many piddling accounts, that of all mysteries
he cannot skill to keep a stock going upon that trade. What
should he do ? Fain he would have the name to be religious,
fain be would bear up with his neighbours in that. What does
he therefore, but resolves to give over toiling, and to find him-
self out some factor, to whose care and credit he may conunit
the whole managing of his reli^ous afiairs; some divine of
note and estimation that must be. To him he adheres, re-*
signs the whole warehouse of his religion, with all the locks

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Ab Firiue mOumt Trial. 187

and keys into hn custody, and indeed makes the very peraon
of that QMui lus reiigk>n ; esteems his associating with him a
sufficient erklence and commendatory of his own piety. So
that a man may say hb religion is now no more within him-
self, but is become a diiridua) roovablei and goes and comes
near him according as that good man frequents the house.
He entertains him, gives him gifts, feasts him, kxlges him ; his
religion comes home at night, prays, is liberally supped, and
sumptuously laid to sleep ; rises, is saluted, and after the malm-
sey, or some well spiced brewage, and bett^ breakfasted than
be whose morning appetite would have gladly fed on green figs
between Bethany and Jerusalem, his religion walks abroad
at eight, and leaves his kind entertainer in the shop trading all
day without his religion.

Another sort there be, who, when they hear that all things shall
be ordered, all things regulated and settled,^ nothing written
but what passes through the customhouse of certain publicans
that have the tonnaging and poundnging of all free qioken
truth, will strait give themselves up into your bands, make them
and cut them out what relidon ye please. There be delights,
there be recreations and jolty pastimes, that iviU fetch the day
about from sun to sun, and rock the tedious year as in a de-
l%htful dream. What need they torture their heads with that
which others have taken so strictly and so unalterably into
their own purveying f These are the fruits which a dull ease
and cessation of our knowledge will bring forth among the
people. How goodly, and bow to be wished were' such an
obedient unanimity as this f What a fine conformity would it
starch us all into? doubtless a staunch and solid piece of fi^me*
work, as any January could freeze together. From ' A
Speech for the Liberty of Utdicerued PrirUing.*

Ab Virtue without Trial.
Impunity and remissness for certain are the bane of a
commonwealth; but here the great art lies, to discern in
what tl»e law is to bid restraint atid punishment, and m
what things persuasion only is to work. If every actk>n which is
good or evil in man at ripe years, were to be under pittuice,
prescription, and compulsion, what were virtue but a nam^,
What praise could be then due to well doing, what gramercy

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188 Liberia of the Preu.

to be sober, jturt/ or contiDeDt i Many there be that compkia*
of divine providence for suflering Adam to transgress. Fool-
ifib tongues ! when God gave him reason, he gave him freedom
to chooise, for reason is but choosing ; be had been else a mere
artificial Adam, such an Adam as he is in the motions. We
ourselves esteem not of that obedience, or love, or gift, which
is of force ; God ihereibre left him free, set befc^e him a pro-
voking object ever almost in his eyes ; herein consisted his
merit, herein the right of his reward, the praise of his absti-
nence. Wherefore did he create passions within us, pleasures
round about us, but that these rightly tempered are the very
ingredients of virtue? They are not skilful considerers of
human things, who imagine to remove sin by removing the
matter of sin. * * * * Though ye take from a covetous
man all his treasure, he has yet one jewel left ; ye cannot
bereave him of his covetousness. Banish all objects of lust,
shut up all youth into the severest discipline that can be ex-
ercised in any hermitage, ye cannot make them chaste, that
came not thither so ; such great care and wisdom is required
to the right managing of this point. Suppose we could expel
sin by this means ; look how much we thus expel of sin, so
much we expel of virtue ; for die matter of them both is the
same ; remove that, and ye remove them both alike. This
justifies the high providence of God, who though he commands
us temperance, justice, continence, yet pours out before us
even to a profuseness all desirable things, and dves us minds
that can wander beyond all limit apd satiety, lb.

Liberty of the Press.

I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the
church and commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how
books demean themselves as well as men ; and thereafter to
confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefac-
tors. For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a
potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose
progeny they are ; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the
purest efficacy and extraction c^ that living btellect that bred
them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive,
as those fabulous dragon's teeth ; and being sown up and down
may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other*

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Po^. 169

hand, unlets wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as
a good book. Who kills a man kilb a reasonable crealuroi
God's image ; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason
itself, kiUs the image of God, as it were in the ^e. Many a
man lives a burden to the earth ; but a good book is the
precious life blood of a master spirit, imbalmed and treasured
up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can
restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss ; and
revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loes of a rejected
truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse. We
should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the
living labors of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of
man, preserved and stored up in books ; since we see a kind of
homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a martyrdom. A.


'T b but the daystar^s earliest glance,
The dairn is sleeping darkly still.
And wherefore do these bands advance
In silence to the lonely hill ?
They wait Jadea's promised king.
Whose arm of power shall set them free ;
And hence their hopes thus warmly clii^,
Thou lowly Son of Man, to thee.

Is this their king ? His head is crownM
Only with pearls of morning dew ;
His throne-— the cold, unsheltered ground ;
His poor attendants - faint and few.
Away ! away ! their hope ffrows dim ;
But passion blazes wild and high,
And eyes are sternly bent on him
That almost whisper — ^Thou shalt die !

He moves with mild, commanding air,
He speaks in tones divinely sweet,
And every lip is breathless there.
And every heart hath ceased to beat.

Digitized by


190 Paeify.

'T 18 all a trancing hash heneath,
As when the strains of angels flow,
Who leave the burning throne to breathe
Their heaven upon the world below !

They long for one revenging hour
To wake Jodeit's old renown ;
They long for an- archaiigel's power
To dash their hated tyrants down.
Each hand is starting to the l|ilt ;
Each heart is fam to swell the flood
To drowB the scars of Roman guilt.
And quench their country's wrath in blood.

The Saviour speaks — and all around
The tones fall gently on the hill ;
Even Nature pauses at the sound,
And all her eleoaents are still.
The gales that herald morning's hour
Sink noiseless as the dying sigh.
While each stern spirit feels their power
And lays its treasured fury by.

Hear they aright ? ' The humble, poor.
The mourners and the meek are bless'd ;
For them shall God unbar the door.
That leads to vales of heavenly rest.
The gentle sons of peace and love.
Who dry one source of human tears.
Shall wear a glorious crown above.
Through heaven's unending march of yearsJ

He points them to the red cloud's wings

Above the radiant east unfurl'd ;

And lo \ the sun majestic springs

In gladness on the waking world.

The rocks and hills-^he wave and shore —

The field and forest tXk are bright,

And Nature's thousand voices pour

Her full heart-breathings (^ delight.

* 'T is like your God \ his gentle rain,
His liberal sunshine widely falls
Alike upon the desert plain«
And yonder city's towering walls

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Poetry. 191

The undeserving of his care.
And they whose thoughts are all above,
The guilty ^d the grateful share
A father's never-weary love.

Be like thy God — ^be like the son —
And where thy healing power extends,
Let willing deeds of love be done
Alike to enemies and friends ;
Then like yon city, lifted high
Above the cold world thou shalt be,
And spirits that would fain deny,
Shall yield their grateful praise to thee*

At his co&mand yon lily springs, /

With more than royal pomp displayed.

And not the proudest of your kings

Was half so gloriously arrayed.

He sends those careless birds to float

Delighted in the golden fay ;

He gives the music of their note,

And feeds them through life's little day.

Those wild-flowers that so proudly rise,
Have each its birthright from on high,
And not a stricken sparrow dies.
Without a mandate from the sky.
Then fear not — God wfll hear thy prayer,
Will guard thee safe from every harm,
Thy Ufe will bless with constant care
And death of all its power disarm.

Behold that straight and upward way
Where travellers move apart and slow,
And that broad road where thousands stray
Upon the flowery vale below !
The last is like the path tojpain ;
The narrow leads to worlds of joy,
Where that pure happiness shall reign,
Which death may never more destroy.'

Thus long he speaks — and long their eye&
In musing on the earth they cast ;
Their gaze is chained in deep surprise.
And passion's glances aU are passed.

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192 Poetry.

Long — ^long their troubled hearts shall keep

The memory of that mighty charm,

Which spread as o'er the stormy deep,

A sudden and a waveless calm. P. W«




To me, my sweet Kathleen, the Benshee* has cried,

And I die— ere tomorrow I die.
This rose thou hast gathered, and laid by my side,

WiU hve, my child, longer than I.
My days they are gone, like a tale that is told —

Let me bless thee, and bid thee adieu ;
For never to father, when feeble and old,

Was daughter so kind and so true.

Thou hast walked by my side, and my board thou hast spread^

For my chair the warm corner hast found.
And told my dull ear what the visiter said.

When I saw that the laughter went roand.
Thou hast succoured me*still, and my reason expressed.

When memory was jost on its way —
Thou hast pillowed my head ere I laid it to rest —

Thou art weeping beside me to-day.

O Kathleen, my Love ! thou couldst choose the good part.

And more than thy duty hast done ; —
Go now to thy Dermot, be clasped to his heart.

He merits the love he has won.
Be duteous and tender to him, as to me :

Look up to the mercy-seat then,
And passing this shadow of death, which I see.

Come, come to my arms back again.

* In the Irish superstition, the Benshee is the warning spirit that aii'
nonnces death.

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Sparks' CoUedian ofEaays and Tracts. 393

Abt. IV. — A CoUection of Essays and Tracts in Theolo^,
from various Authors^ with Biographical and Critical
JVbtices, By Jared Sparks. 6 Vols. 12mo. Boston.
1823—6. ^

Mr Sparks commenced the publication of this Collection
not long before the resignation of his charge at Baltimore, and
has continued it in quarterly numbers to the present time.
Having now arrived at the close of the sixth volume, the pub-
lication is to cease. We are not inclined to suffer this event
to take place without notice ; for we have regarded the under-
taking of the editor as an important one, and have been ac-
customed to give a heartywelcome to the numbers as they
successively appeared. We take leave of the series with sin-
cere thanks and unfeigned regret ; regret for the discontinuance,
and thanks for the service, which we think has been rendered to
the religious public. For it cannot be that selections like these,

Online LibraryN.C.) Bennett College (GreensboroThe Christian examiner and theological review, Volume 3 → online text (page 20 of 56)