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yourself. Your Objector, Sir, here represents, not merely a nominal, but a real Christian; a humble Christian, who confessing, as the bulk of Christians, real or nominal, must confess, that he is unequal to the more mysterious and difficult dogmata of Christianity, thinks it better to apply himself to the use of the appointed means, than unprofitably to perplex himself with the analysis of the rock upon which he builds his faith. His profession is to hear and to obey the injunctions and commands of Him whom he has taken for his Lord and Master, in humble sincerity of heart. He does not argue that his Master is austere, requiring to reap where he has not sown, but turns him to the duty imposed. Why, from this, are you to imply, not merely irreligion, but absolute disbelief of all that it concerns him to believe? Why, if he does not believe, should he be anxious to reduce Gospel morality to practice, as a preparation for judgment? Who has told him of this judgment, and how it should be prepared for? and why should he fix upon the difficult realities of practical obedience, in preference to the easier task of ceremonial observance ? Surely, this is an evidence of Christianity-and of sound Christianity too-for it were far easier to say, "Lord! Lord!" than to do the things commanded!
Your opponent here does not deny all, or any
thing of what you would inculcate; but feeling himself too unlearned to enter into your disquisitions of cause and effect, or readily to comprehend the the Oriental language of your preaching, he turns to what he, what all can understand; and if he performs what he professes with the sincerity his language gives promise of, even though the performance be imperfect, He "who judges the heart," and " deals with every man according to his works," will say to such as him, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, for I was an hungred and ye gave me meat," &c. &c.
The text you refer to for authority, Heb. xi. (p. 107) is one where St. Paul impresses upon his Jewish converts, the necessity of holding fast the faith they had engrafted, as they reverenced the authority of their God; but what inference you would draw from it, to the support of your system, as adverse to ours, I am at a loss to discover!
Throughout this page and the next, you go on with an unmeaning invective, contradicting your own former arguments right and left, and assuming in your opponents an undefined degree of negligence and denial of points of belief, by no means warranted even by what you have given as your indictment; so much so, indeed, that one would imagine your objector to represent a person who
denied the very existence of Jesus as an historical fact. You then give a long note entering upon the wide field of St. Paul's epistles, from which, as usual, with religionists of your school, you take the liberty to select texts, which, in most instances, as in the present, are rendered unmeaning by the process. You talk of the value of the argument "that a system is never designated but by what constitutes its prime consideration," &c. (p. 108); quoting the terms " We preach Christ crucified,"— we determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Now, Sir, this is an example of the very thing we most object against in your school; this bringing forward detached and darkly-worded sentences from the epistles, to overpower the imaginations, not convince the reason, of your pupils. Do we deny the history of our Saviour? Do we deny that this history is to be believed? If we do, tell us how we deny it, as you have not yet ventured to charge us directly with any such denial. You surely cannot mean to imply, that these terms you have quoted from St. Paul, should be taken to have any other interpretation than the words "we preach the Gospel of Christ"-" we recognize no other system or doctrine than what the crucified Jesus has given to us," would have. Whoever takes upon him to instruct others in religion, is bound, not only not
wilfully to mislead, but to be specially cautious that he does not mislead, particularly when handling such subjects as you have here undertaken; and did it never strike you, that there is something, very little, if at all short of impiety, in this sort of (improperly termed pious) fraud upon sanguine temperaments? That, in practising it, you are trifling with the word of God1? You next allude to various other texts from St. Paul: (p. 109).—First, where he cautions his Roman converts against substi
1 I cannot but entreat the admirers of Mr. Wilberforce's work, to be upon their guard through this and similar parts of his book, and to give themselves the trouble of examining what is meant, what is insinuated, and what really proved, ere they include the general body of the upper classes of the Established Church in his sweeping condemnation. "Search the Scriptures, for in them are the words of eternal life!" Worthy reader, bear in mind, that the Scriptures, with this injunction, were not given to the beasts of the field, but to men only. And why ? but because God has gifted man with sense and reason to understand them. For the sake of the Giver of the Scriptures, then, do not throw away the means of using them, and from superstitious awe or false humility, however commendable in their sources, suffer yourselves to be led blindfold by any body. Guard your imagination from being led astray by high sounding language, even though it is taken from Scripture itself, for then it is that you are in the greatest danger, because you fancy yourself secure. Search into the meaning, require the reasons, Christianity will bear it all! Fear not, the religion of Jesus is conformable to reason in all its parts, if, with sincere heart and humble faith, you seek to see.
tuting forms, for the realities of Christian practice, and which, you would insinuate, is to your purpose.
Next you take your text from Hebrews, and which, as if in utter forgetfulness that it is nothing to your purpose, you give quite fairly. You say St. Paul reproved his Jewish converts, for "relying, in part only, upon the merits of their observance of the Mosaic institutions, instead of upon the merits of Christ." Of course he reproved them; we should do the same! In this reproof, St. Paul shews, plainly to our minds, what are the sort of works he means to caution his pupils against relying upon, but which have been confounded but too often with works of Christian charity and obedience.
To your conclusion of this chapter, I have no other objection than to your assumption, that its doctrine is peculiar to your own sect, and the inference you appear to wish should be drawn from thence. Your language may, it is true, be rather more high-flown than what would be adopted by the generality of our clergy, but the doctrine actually conveyed is the same. What those who are better acquainted with your cypher may understand in it, I cannot say; but as far as any ordinary man of common sense can perceive, there is nothing he may not have heard at any church