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vere in spite of fatigue and opposition." As for its guilt as a matter of faith, (p. 257), it is really a pity you have not condescended to point out, clearly and definitely, your authority for enforcing your peculiar doctrines as an article of faith.Where is it said in Scripture that those who do not clearly comprehend these matters just as you have set them down, are not Christians? And whence your right to stigmatise with the epithet nominal every Christian whom you imagine to differ from you, even though it be merely in the words of explanation? You really forget yourself, Sir! Your use of the peculiar doctrines of Christianity" is merely a pompous title going off into what I really can find no other name for than unmeaning rant, (p. 258), charging us indefinitely with an unproved dereliction of Christianity.
"LOOKING UNTO JESUS."-Now, Sir, I would ask you, why is this sentence thus blazoned forth here, and so often in the ensuing pages? It is done clearly for some express purpose, and not all the charity I would wish to feel, or the tenderness with which I would wish to remark upon a harmless rhapsody springing from pure warmth of feeling, will enable me to conceive other purpose than mere stage effect. It must be, and I fear is thus put, for the purpose of exciting enthusiasm in warm-hearted, but weak-headed readers. If so,
whatever may be the prudence of it as a tactician acting as the partisan of your sect, as a Christian teacher, it is not well done. A man who takes upon him the awful and responsible task of writing upon such subjects as those now before us, should disdain-what am I saying!-should never have imagined, or should tremble at having imagined, such tricks; worthy only of a mad or knavish field preacher, whose object it is to work upon the distempered imagination of a mob. But a grave, sober Christian, coolly sitting down to converse in print upon such important subjects with his equals, should not give way even to flights and rhapsodies; for do not suppose it is the heart you touch by them, it is but the imagination, the sickly and distempered sensibilities! Many of a certain class have I seen, who would rave and weep by the hour at this sort of declamation, but whose hearts (i. e.) whose reason, if indeed they had any, or whose real feelings and affections, would remain as cased in brass and triple steel.
To proceed :-Your first paragraph, (p. 258), under this head, is no better than a false insinuation against a large majority of the members of the Church of England; for they neither talk of " a composition of duties" nor of "the right of practising little sins." As to the second paragraph, I must content myself with excepting against any
such expressions as " desperate dreams of Divine benignity," which surely is to the full as improper a mode of speaking, as any nominal Christian could have adopted. Upon the substance of the paragraph, I could say much on my own part; but as I do not set myself up for a teacher, I must not impugn the popular creed. Suffice it then to say, that I should have hoped one so really pious, as I believe you to be, and who has given so much consideration to these subjects, might have formed some rather worthier notions of the sufferings of the Christ, than "that sin should not go unpunished':" (p. 259). Let it pass, however-for all this is distinct from the inference you wish to draw, and which I wish not to deny. Between this and your summing up, I find nothing very different from ordinary preachment, unless it be in the style and language, which is, as usual, dark and figurative; and in this you seem to repose your chief claim to superiority: but in this you appear to me to mistake your situation. This sort of language, accompanied by a suitably impressive manner, will often do very well to catch the attention of a vulgar audience, for the purpose of taking advantage of
1 Whoever is curious upon this subject, may find the counter opinion, fully explained, in a little metaphorical work, entitled, Mithra in the Central World, p. 130–136.
that attention, to fix in their minds the truisms and explanations you are so capable of giving; but in print it is utterly out of place. Your readers want instruction, not rhapsodies. They can read texts
what they seek is
and psalms for themselves; explanation and comment. You at last tell us definitely, that "the place held by the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, (p. 269), constitutes the grand distinction between nominal and real Christians." Had this been given me as an abstract proposition, I should at once have assented to it; but since you have explained what you mean by peculiar doctrines," I as readily deny it. You mean to say, if we are to believe your own words, that all who think that holiness is the cause of reconciliation or justification, are nominal Christians; and those who think it is the effect, are real; and this, without any reservation as to whether they, at the same time, confound this reconciliation or justification, with the ultimate salvation of individuals, or not, (indeed, of this matter you appear to have no very clear idea yourself); consequently, you must mean to give it as your opinion, that upon the particular understanding of this proposition, notwithstanding its intricacy, and the weak powers of the bulk of professed Christians for comprehending metaphysical arguments, depends their
reconciliation and justification, and (if they continue in error) their ultimate salvation! Such being your opinion, we can no longer wonder at the great stress you lay upon the necessity of the operations of the Holy Spirit; for it certainly will require a continuous miracle, of no very ambiguous nature, to accomplish the salvation of mankind, if this be really the case. We doubtless have a very different idea of Christianity from this-for we do not presume to think, that the success of the scheme of the All-wise, for the re-establishment of the fallen race of man, the incarnation of the Son, the Messiah and Redeemer promised for ages, can depend upon the understanding by man of any such proposition one way or the other. But we do believe in the excellent doctrines, scattered like wheat among the chaff, generally, throughout your book, viz. that sincere religion, pure motives in consequence, and strict morality, in its degree to be judged of by God alone, as concerns individuals, are commanded and required of those who would profit by the atonement of Christ.
If, Sir, I have judged harshly of you in this Letter, may God forgive me; and may he pardon you where you have judged us harshly. What I have said, has been said in sincerity, not seeking to hurt your feelings, but solely to warn your readers