Billeder på siden

unless as having been adopted originally by way of being superlatively anti-catholic. I have nothing to say to it, however, more than to the rest-that while such is the feeling in Scotland, music ought not to be played there! I only notice it, as not having been aware that it was an opinion held by any sect of our Church. We liberals hold the origin of Sunday, and consequently, the minutiae of its observances, to be subjects upon which men may conscientiously differ. I cannot, therefore, allow these differences to be any proof of our want either of religion or sincerity. However little you may be inclined to allow that people may conscientiously differ upon the subject of a sabbath, or other equally undefined matters of religion, your want of toleration will not alter the fact, that they actually do so; and the only mode of forming a reasonable judgment from their actions in these particulars, is from the consistency of those actions with their professed belief. Far be it from me, however, to contend, that in practice we are not chargeable with much of what, for the advantage of your party, you are inclined to throw upon our opinions; for I fear that, like all other men, we should be found sadly deficient, even if judged by our own rule: but I can take upon me to say, that such actions as are inconsistent with that rule, would be almost unanimously acknowledged as

wrong, or to need the justification of circum


I have now given you, Sir, as nearly as possible, what may be termed the general opinion of religious liberals, (I fear the terms will sound a paradox in your ears); but, in truth, any defined opinions of the higher classes, as a body, upon this subject, it is impossible to give, as the definition would vary, in some particular, in almost every individual. I have taken care, however, to keep on the outside the variations are all leanings, more or less, to your own opinions. What I have ventured to give as their opinions, has been drawn from reflections upon what I have observed, both at home and upon the continent; which latter, perhaps, is the fairer criterion, as there their actions are less under the control of what at home might be considered public opinion.

[ocr errors]

P. 159. In the spirit of meekness, patience, humility, &c. we confess we are like every other body of Christians-lamentably deficient; but we by no means plead guilty to exploding and disavowing them, as they happen to be just what we understand in the terms, peculiarities of Christianity, in contradistinction to the cause-and-effect doctrine, which, you say, you understand in the same terms. The manner in which you bring forward the terms,


proper pride, and proper spirit," &c. as a proof of

our misconception, is wholly unfair; for it is unfair to bring forward, as evidence against the religious feelings or opinions of any large body of people, the strictly literal abuse of language indulged in by the thoughtless and worldly, without any reference to religion whatsoever. As it does not prove either criminal want or misconception of religion in the body generally, but merely that it has among it thoughtless individuals, who will misapply words, which, but for their misapplication, are by no means unreal: for pride and spirit, strictly speaking, are proper or improper, according merely to the object to which they are directed, and the principles and motives which rouse them into action.

To Mr. WILBerforce.

Your servant,



CHAP. IV. § 3. 8vo. edit. p. 160.

On the desire of Human Estimation and Applause—The generally prevailing Opinions contrasted with those of the true Christian.


OUR next step is a disquisition upon the desire of human applause and estimation. You begin with what you call " contrasting the prevailing opinions with those of true Christians." But your argument turns, as usual, entirely upon the contrast between the prevailing practice and true Christianity. You commence by making for us an argument, (p. 164), to which we will not object, until, in the last page of it, you make us "prefer a desire for human estimation and applause, for general use, before higher (i. e.) Christian principles of morals." We do not prefer them, but we do not consider that Christianity disdains the aid of our passions, properly directed; but, on the contrary, where the spark of good is, will fan it into flame, and direct it to its

legitimate object. You then make an attack upon our vindication, which, you say, "proceeds upon the innocence of error," (p. 165). You should have proved, not assumed the error, and then shown the process. Your Objector urges his vindication always under the supposition of the due regulation of the passions, and defends not their excess. Here, as elsewhere, you seem to forget who you are arguing with, or choose to suppose your opponent not a Christian, and argue, not against the three or four pages of vindication you have given him, but merely against the objectionable sentence I have noticed. Your argument, in fact, supposes us to propose desire of human esti

mation as a substitute for the motives of Christianity; which you well know we do not. The light left to Pagan moralists, showed them, indeed, the abuses of these passions, but by no means thoroughly nor truly. The whole life of Christ was a practical lecture upon their undiscovered abuses.

[ocr errors]

You begin your "Scripture lessons" by entirely ceding to your opponent all you have made him contend for the use of these passions distinct from their abuse. You then rally to a second attack, (p. 167), first upon the maxim, "that glory is true or false, accordingly as the actions it produces, and the pursuits to which it prompts, are beneficial or mischievous to mankind." We thus

« ForrigeFortsæt »