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and unremitted concern for of feeling and sentiment, which their state. Where are the was the fruit of correct ideas prosperous, whose prosperity of the merciful purpose of did not enliven her counte- christianity, caused her to nance, and diffuse joy through mourn for the discords and her soul! Where are the Sons alienations in the family of . and Daughters of affliction, Christ. with whom she was not ready Her Bible was her best to weep! It is but a just trib- treasure and her constant comute to those who shared her panion. “ She read therein sympathy, to relate, that she by day, and meditated by unreservedly expressed her night " gratitude to heaven that her From the tenour of her conlot was cast, and that she was versation and life ; from her permitted to associate with outward respect for christian christians, who were inclined ordinances ; from her delight. to reciprocate acts of humanity in the observance of them; and tenderness.
and from the thoughts of her All who had the privilege dependence on God and her of being her witnesses were obligation, which
we have constrained to venerate her often heard, we have console discretion, her exemplariness, ing evidence of her firm faith her uniform display of the in the Son of God, and of the spirit of her religion in those sincerity and constancy of her scenes, which were exposed devotion. We
believe to public observation.
that in the prospect of death We are most to admire her with the elevation of feeling character as a christian pro- and thought which the lanfessor. Her religion gave guage implies, she gave utterthe most solid proof that it was ance to her piety in that dea pure stream from the foun- vout strain ; " whom have I, tain. It was a religion of the O God, in heaven, but Thee, understanding, affections, and and there is none upon earth life. Of few disciples of Jesus that I desire in comparison of can we with more justice say, Thee. My flesh and my
heart She was a cheerful Christian. faileth, but God is the strength Such were her ideas of God, of my heart 'and my portion of the Saviour, and of his Gos-' forever pel, that she was alike preserve
It is not our design to repre.. ed from indifference and in- sent this estimable christian as sensibility on the one hand, having no imperfections, but and from gloominess and su- as one who had a governing perstition on the other. sense of God and religion.
Her heart was warmed with When a disciple who had atcharity. None ever heard tained to such eminence in the from her lips an uncandid school of her Master is no whisper against the sincere longer suffered to shed a lustre and bumble of any denomina- on religion by her example, tion of Christians. A liberality it becometh us to bow with
submission to the will of God. religion, her friends cannot We have cause of gratitude for want sufficient grounds of his goodness in allowing her support and comfort. to live long, in making the In this distinguished female evening of her life honourable,
wonderfully combined and in enabling her so to live the virtues, which give dig. as to die in the faith and hope nity and worth to her sex. of the gospel. We may even Let it be the emplayment of consider it an expression of each surviving woman to surmercy to her, that her remov. vey this portrait, that she may al took place at a time when learn the course to the moral she was useful, and had a re- and religious elevation and to maining capacity to communi. the importance in society, for cate and to receive enjoyment. which a merciful providence
Having the remembrance of has designed her. her character and the hopes of
THE WORD OF GOD PREFERABLE TO HUMAN SYSTEMS. “ It is my carnest wish and that while human learning is prayer, that by a more general making a rapid progress in its cultivation of biblical criti- various branches, the religion cism, the lover of the scripe of Christ is almost every where tures may better understand overwhelmed by human form. and more deeply admire them;
ularies and systems.
Christand that those who neglect a ianity can never have its free due examination of them, or course among men of improve who deny their authority may ed understandings, and even, be convinced of their impor- .among rational creatures in tance, aird may discover the general, while gross misrepresignatures of truth stampt on sentations of it are substituted them. My ardent love and in the place of the simple and admiration of these divine perfect original." writings lead me to conclude The foregoing excellent that they cannot be seriously paragraph was taken from the and carefully read without Preface to Archbishop Newpleasure and conviction. I la- come's “ Observations on our ment that they are impiously Lord;" a book which we have interdicted to a large body of already recommended to the Christians ; that they are so perusal of our fellow christo much disregarded, and of ians. The passage which we course misunderstood by the have transcribed expresses our bulk of Protestants among own views and feelings in reourselves; that many of our gard to the excellency of the clergy, unmindful of the sol. scriptures, the importance of en engagement at their or- biblical criticism, and the evil dination, do not devote their of having the religion of Christ time to the study of them, and "overwhelined with human
formularies and systems," or explained in a greater variety human liturgies, creeds and of senses, than some of the confessions of faith.
articles of that catechism. We are aware that some We have not mentioned the worthy persons, whose char- “ Assembly's Catechism" for acters we have no inclination the purpose of reproaching it, to reproach, or depreciate, nor as singular in regard to its have been of opinion, that a being understood in different confession of faith in the lan- serses ; but because it has guage of scripture is no defi. been one of the most popular nite expression of the views confessions in our country, and of those who may adopt it ;- most generally known. Other and that creeds of human com- confessions are liable to the posure are more sure cri- , same objection that they are terion of a man's real senti. very differently understood by ments. But we have never those who assent to them. had the pleasure of seeing a Such in fact is the diversity creed, or confession of faith, of opinion among those who in the words of man's wisdom adopt the same creed or conin which the doctrines of the fession, that their formal as. gospel were expressed in a sent is evidence of little more more definite or unambiguous than this, that they have premanner, than they may be stat- ferred a popular confession of ed in the simple and unadulter- faith, in the words of fallible ated language of inspiration. men, to a confession in the
We know indeed, that pas- words of the Holy Spirit. sages of scripture may be When such a long confession differently understood. by dif. of faith is adopted as that of ferent persons, and that per- the Westminster Assembly,
of very contradictory or that of the Church of En. sentiments may honestly sub- gland, it may reasonably be scribe to the same articles of doubted, whether one member faith, If stated in the language in five hundred, understands of the Bible. But this difficulty each article according to the is not avoided by setting aside original intention of the comthe language of scripture and pilers; and it may also be substituting the language of doubted whether so many as fallible man. For it is a well two in the five hundred agree known fact, that persons of in their views of each article. vely different sentiments have What important purpose, then, mutually adopted the “As- do such: confessions answer sembly's Catechism” as a con- excepting that of being Shibfession of faith, and that the boleths to distinguish '. one different persons explain par- party of christians from anothticular articles in that con
making a show of fession in a very different man- unanimity in sentiment, far
Indeed it is doubted beyond the true state of facts ? whether there be one passage
In most cases of adopting of Scripture which has been human confessions or systems,
may safely believe, that s human formularies and sys. two thirds of the church mem- tems,” those things, which bers place their confidence in ought to be used only as means the Pastor and some leading of instruction, operate characters in the church, and real barrier to improvement. adopt the articles proposed In respect to all
the doce by them on the ground of this trines contained in the conconfidence.
fession, the inquirer after While we thus freely ex- truth is thus addressed by the press our opioion on the adopted systein,
" Hitherto manner in which these con- shalt thou come but no farfessions
admitted in ther; here shall thy progress churches, are far from be stayed." saying or believing, that such Such confessions regarded compendious systems can be as standards of faith, not only of 10 use If they were em- check free enquiry, but exployed only as means of in- pose professors of religion to struction, like other writings reproachful duplicity, or bitter of fallible men, they might be contentions.
In almost every of real service, to christians, community there
They might be viewed as ex- minds that cannot submit to pressing the opinions of the such fetters as “humun syscompilers, and afford a variety tems." They will prefer the of topics for profitable discus. Bible as a standard, and in, sion, and thus be means of quire, whether the human sysreal improvement in knowl. tem does agree with
that edge. But when these buman standard or not. In systems are made the standard cases thorough inquiry will of faith to the churches which first produce doubt and then adopt them, in such a sense dissent respecting some parthat the members feel bound ticular Articles.
The more by them, they are evidently a popular the confession, the substitute for the Bible; and greater is the danger, that du. more or less of " gross mis. plicity, or contentious, will representations of it, are sub.. result from a person's being stituted in the place of the convinced that some of the simple and perfect original." articles are erroneous. Those The confession of faith will who have not sufficient forti. then be employed as a Rule tude 10 meet opposition and by which particular passages reproach, will be exposed to in the Bible must be measured, perpetual duplicity to conceal and with which the words of their dissent from the popular inspiration must be compelled creed. But such as may be to accord. Instead of cor,
convinced that some articles recting the confession by the in the confession are erroneBible, the Bible will be ex- ous, and have too much virtue, plained by the confession of fortitude, and independence of faith. Yea, so far as the mind, to expose themselves to churches feel bound by such a course of degrading duplici
ty, will avow their dissent ; man system” which he does and this avowal will probably not understand, he expresses be followed by bitter animosi. his confidence in man, and not ties, and bring on the dis- in God, or his WORD. senters the most severe re- it be more safe to trust in the proaches.
Lord, and in the Scriptures Such are some of the natural as the word of his grace, than consequences of admitting to trust in man, and his word, « humar systems” as binding it is more safe to assent to on the consciences of church articles of faith in the language members. In view of these of inspiration, than in the lanthings we cannot but recom- guage of uninspired men. mend, that confessions of faith We may add, if believers in should be in the language Jesus' subscribe to the words which the Holy Spirit has dice of inspiration with incorrect tated. This, it is presumed, views of their import, and afwould be no disadvantage as terwards, by advancing in to unity in sentiment, and it knowledge, find
to would bé of great advantage as change some of their opinions, to unity of affection, wbich is they will have no occasion to a thing of the highest impor- alter the articles of their contance.
fession. The articles may It may probably be objected, stand from age to age, whatthat many professors would not ever advances the church, or understand every article of a individuals, may make in theoconfession of faith, if they logical knowledge. But when were all in the language of human systems are substituted Scripture. It is admitted that for the language of Scripture, such would probably be the neither the church, nor indi. case; yet, in our opinion, the vidual members, can make language of Scripture is any considerable advances, generally far more simple and without being exposed to the intelligible, than the language inconvenience of needing a of human systems.' But corresponding change in the admitting, that as many church. articles of their confession. members would give their as- It may probably be asked, sent to articles which they what shall christians do, after do not understand, in the having given their mutual asone case as in the other, still sent to articles of faith in the there would be one very strike language of scripture, if on ing difference in the two cases. comparing their ideas, it shall By giving his assent to the be found, that there is a real language of Scripture, without difference of opinion on some a clear understanding of its important articles? We frankimport, the believer would
ly answer, Let each do to his only express his confidence in brother as he would that his God, and in the Scriptures as brother should do to him. As the word of God. but when each individual would reason. he gives his assent to a ably desire the spirit of love