« AnteriorContinuar »
United States' General Annual Chris- required to first enter it themselves by tian Conference,' which convenes in the Door-Christ Jesus. Most of the the month of September, and usually ministers are supported by salaries continues in session about a week. The raised by voluntary subscription, and subordinate Conferences are, at pre- not by constraint. The salaries of sent, thirteen in number. The Chris- the preachers are in general so trifling, tian denomination, being the last that that they are not calculated to enrich has arisen in America, has experienced them, though they afford ample means great opposition from old and popular of subsistence. Some being able to sectaries ; but their preachers, being support themselves, do not accept fired with a holy zeal, and accustomed salaries. to endure hardships as good soldiers,' “ I have now given you some genehave pressed through violence, borne ral ideas of your brethren in America, reproach, and, by the grace of God, and though they fall short of a reply have reaped an abundant harvest. They in full to all your questions, may lay have many of the peculiarities of a a foundation for you to obtain the denomination yet in its infancy. Use- sought-for information. I have striven less forms and ceremonies they pro- to be correct in my succinct view, but fess to reject, and are in the custom this must rest on the documents in my of adopting scriptural expressions, and possession, from which I derive my rejecting what they regard as the ' doc- information. I am pastor of a church trines and commandments of men.' connected with the Christian denomi. They disdain the application of the nation, and Mr. Benedict referred your term Rev. to the clergy, on the ground letter to me to answer, as you were that it belongs to Deity alone. They mistaken in his being a General Bapare in sentiment Anti-Calvinistic and tist: he, however, professes a friend. Anti-Trinitarian. They receive the ship for you and your people. It Scriptures as their only rule of would be very pleasing to me and to faith and practice; consequently re- all our people to hold a regular corject all other creeds and articles of respondence with our transatlantic faith.
brethren. We might soon, if desirable “ As my paper will soon arrest my to you, send messengers to your progress, I must proceed to make Assembly, and receive yours in our some general remarks, and close. The General Conference, by which we American Baptists consider' regene- might be brought more intimately ration' an indispensable qualification acquainted. As I am young and unfor baptism, and those who admit open married, I could realize no greater cominunion require all their commu- pleasure than that of visiting my brenicants to have experienced vital holi- thren on that side the Atlantic, beness. They all believe that the misery holding their order and uniting with of the finally impenitent will be of them in preaching Jesus and the Reequal duration with the felicity of the surrection ; but a deficiency in prorighteous, except a few of the Chris- perty must prevent such a voyage, tians, who believe in the complete and chain my feet to the American annihilation of the wicked. The Bap- shores. tists have a few colleges and other
“ In about two weeks I expect to seminaries of learning under their coinmence the publication of a large patronage. The National College at religious newspaper, to be devoted to the seat of Government is under their theological discussion, &c.; of which jurisdiction.* Some of the preachers I am sole editor and proprietor, and of all the Baptist denominations are am desirous of possessing some of regularly educated, and others become your English publications, from which preachers by the exercise of their to derive some matter for it. If you, respective gifts ; but in all cases, those or a society for that purpose, will who are admitted to administer the procure a quantity of late Magazines, ordinances of the Lord's House, are &c. &c., and send me by the first
vessel that sails to our ports, I will
immediately on their receipt, collect This, it is presumed, must be un- a quantity of our publications and send derstood to apply exclusively to the Par- you. Perhaps you might make an licular Baptists.
G. S. arrangernent with the publishers of
Difficulty of a purely Spiritual Conception of the Deity. 351 certain religious works to send theirs amongst the Jews previous to the and receive mine in exchange, by Christian æra, could not possibly emwhich we shall obtain a better know. brace the views of Christians of the ledge of what is going forward.
person of Christ. In the holy bonds of the Gospel, And yet, Mr. Editor, this gentleI am affectionately yours,
man's notion frequently recurs to my “ REUBEN POTTER, Jun. recollection in my intercourse with
persons holding the popular creed, “Should you be able to comply and suggests a somewhat formidable with my request, in forwarding a col- difficulty in regard to the adoption of lection of periodical works, the sooner Unitarian views by plain, unlettered you send them the more the favour minds. It has, I believe, been often will be enhanced. Letters from you hinted, the Unitarian doctrine is too and any of your friends, will be grate- abstract and philosophical; too ratifully received, and be certain of re- onal (I had almost said) for popular ceiving the earliest attention,
belief; but, thinking as we do, the “If you wish to open a correspon- Scriptures most clearly teach the wordence with either of the other denomi- shop of a Spiritual Being, (not Jesus nations, I will refer you in my next Christ, but à Being in a high spiritual to ministers who will be happy to sense, the Father of Jesus Christ,) I unite in it. As my writing is scarcely feel more affected, Sir, by the difficulty legible, and I have had but little time which seems to attend the competent to devote to it, I fear you will not be conception and grasping of the idea of able to read me. Inaccuracies you such a Being by uncultivated minds. will please to excuse. Let me hear It will occur to many of
your readers, from you soon.
how relieved such minds seem, the inIn great haste, I am yours, stant they associate the person of Jesus
" R. POTTÉR, Jun. Christ with the Godhead; they then “ The title of my paper is the expatiate with all freedom on a parGospel Palladium.
doning God,” a “merciful God,” &c.; " Mr. G. Smallfield,
and if their convictions are not very “ Hackney, England."
clear, their feeling's seem then to have an object to which they promptly
attach themselves with grateful, ferSIR, June 10, 1823.
Conversing lately with a well-meanCreaders of term correspondents were ingfennara og bote ese this
wenn man Rev. John Hope, formerly Tutor of scemed peculiarly happy in a new Warrington Academy, (mentioned in religious experience, I found it impos
sible to fix her view for a moment on the Theolog. Repos. Vol. VIII. 86, 577,) was educated, and at what the Deity separate from the personal age he commenced his studies ? What image of the Saviour. She notwithwas his father's Christian name? and standing declared she prayed to God, where he resided when John was and, I had some reason to believe, born ?
used a language in prayer that might A CONSTANT READER.
seem almost correct and scriptural to Unitarian Christians. But, till the
person of the Mediator was in her SIR,
view, her ideas seem to have been M and
R. BELLAMY (who has dise without an object, and her words withbrew scholar) has somewhere said guidance, Mr. Editor, I shall be happy that we can have no other conception in the suggestions of any of your of the Deity than as embodied in the intelligent readers on this difficulty ; person of Jesus Christ ; and that, in and beg to ask them, whether we may our prayers, we address a reality only not (for a creature of sight and sense so far as we have the image of Jesus as man is) refine too much in the Christ before us. This may seem to worship of God, and reject the aid of come strangely from one familiar the senses and imagination more than with the Jewish Scriptures; who must it could ever have been intended we have known that the worship of God should do ? For my own part, I freely
confess the difficulty I have ever felt the charms of poetry in connexion to lay hold on the Deity, (reverently with the Unitarian question ? But, "using the words,) without the aid of a Sir, would not our cause be more
natural object or inoral relation bor- acceptable to certain classes, if we - rowed from things of the carth ; and, drew it off more froin the dryness of perhaps, in ininds of the noblest a theological argument, and brought powers, the idea of the Deity in its it in closer contact with the elegant grandeur and excellence, is least of all arts of life ?* separable from great and beautiful But I am trespassing, Sir, and need objects submitted to the senses. It your indulgence for the inconsistency certainly seems a beautiful accommo- of adverting to the question of facilidation to human imperfection, and 'tating the success of Unitarianism must be acknowledged a very lovely with the higher classes, when my · feature of Christian truth, that it pre- original object was, to consult your sents a Deity to us under the parental correspondents on the best mode of
relation, and thus greatly aids the obviating the difficulty first alluded to; struggling mind of inan; at once en- namely, that of unlettered minds to 'abling the understanding in some mea- 'form any conception of the Deity sure to grasp the object, and making without the aid of personality; that it dear and interesting by touching the is, (what is usually the case,) without sweetest affections of the heart. Miglit the human form of Jesus Christ being not, Sir, the Christian worship of the suggested to the imagination. Father be aided by means which seem
ALBANUS. to be studiously rejected by the Reformed Christian Churches, and particularly by Noncons of our denomi
Dr. J. Jones on Gen. iv, 26. nation? Would it essentially violate O passage range the law of pure and spiritual worship to introduce any more sensible mediu so widely mistaken, or the mistake of of adoration amongst us? It appears which has opened so wide a door to 'to myself, we aim at a simple abstract the influx of superstition as the folworship which wars with human in- lowing: “ Then merr began to call on 'stincts, and a character of mind insepa- the name of the Lord.” Gen. iv. 26. Table from the circumstances of human This is the exact rendering of the life; and that we deny our devotional original, according to the vowel points, “sentiments the benefit of associations and yet it is obviously at variance with which might aid their fervour without the iruth, Adam, Eve and their chilinjuring their purity. The burst of dren, especially Abel, having from the adoration suggested by the blue sky beginning never ceased to call on the or green earth is surely correct and naine of the Lord. If we disregard good; and devotional feeling never these points we have the true sense : more pure and amiable than when “ Then men began to call themselves prompted by the winds and the waves, by the name of Jehovah," that is, they the woods and the streams, the valleys assumed the title and attributes of and the mountains, &c. We have the eternal God, thinking themselves music and poetry in our worship; immortal on the earth. This presumpmight not painting and sculpture also tion, however impious or unreasonaassist it?' I suggest this with mis- ble it may now appear to us, was, in givings, aware of the shock of it to the then circumstances of mankind, the severer character of Nonconfor- very natural. The leading idea, which mity, and the simplicity of our Unita- men ever attached to the character of rian faith. But may we not be super- God, was exemption from death; and stitiously afraid of superstition? And, as there were among the Antediluvians though the spirit and principle of reli- those who lived for ages in full vigour, gion must ever be one and the same, without, it is probable, being visited 'must not its modes and forms be 'accommodated to the character of the age, and ever modified by the prevail- * The architecture of the New Chapel, ing standard of intellect and taste? Finsbury, will not, I trust, disgrace either It was once 'asked, (with a little ill- the age, or its neighbour, the Londou nature perhaps,) who ever thought of 'lnstitution,
Dr. J. Jones on Gen. iv. 26.
by infirmity or sickness, they began original. The phrase pinban a to consider themselves as gods, and to translated sons of God in our cominon hold themselves forth as such to the version, means “ Sons of the Gods," world, thus claiming the submission that is, the sons or descendants of and homage of their fellow-mortals. those who made themselves gods, or, Moses mentions this circumstance as according to the language of Moses, the origin of idolatry, and proceeds to who called themselves by the name of state the shortening of the period of Jehovah. These men, instead of conhuman life, and the destruction of the fining themselves to a faithful union world by a food, as the consequences with one woman, agreeebly to the of it. But it being his purpose to marriage institution appointed and rerelate the pedigree of Adam, who re- commended to. Adam by God himself, mained in the knowledge and worship indulged themselves in promiscuous of the true God, unseduced by the intercourse with the daughters of men, impious presumption of their degene that is, women in the lower classes of rate brethren, he digresses to fulfil life, and thus gave birth to a race of that purpose; and after exhausting children who, possessing vast stature it, he returns to the subject. Thus, and great bodily strength, and withal “ Then men began to assuine the abandoned on the world, without virname of Jehovah. And it came to tuous example 'or education, lived by pass when men began to multiply on violence and plunder, the terror and the face of the earth, and daughters disturbers of society. Many tales rewere born unto them, that the sons of specting these marauders, who in after the Gods saw the daughters of men days were called Giants, were doubtthat they were fair, they made them less handed down to posterity by the their wives whomsoever each might family of Noah ; and it is to these choose. And the Lord said, My breath traditional tales, current in his days, shall not for ever reinain in man, for that Moses alludes when he says, he is himself but flesh, so that his They became violent and mighty days shall be a hundred and twenty men, the saine with those who of old years. Thus there were marauders in were men of renown.” those days: for after the sons of the The other mistake lies in the verb gods had commerce with the daughters 1174 idun, which our translators have of men, they bare them children who rendered by “ shall strive,” while the became violent and mighty men, the Syriac and Arabic Versions, the Chalsame with those who of old were dee Paraphrase, the Septuagint, and men of renown."
even the Latin Vulgate, have rendered The passage thus brought into one it by terms expressive of the ineaning point of view, and more faithfully I give to it, viz. “ shall remain.” How translated, is clear and consistent. is this to be accounted for? The Some of the descendants of Cain, who Chaldeans often changed the final o having forsaken the true God, and into y, such as the termination of who living for ages probably with great plural nouns d' um, into pun. bodily strength, began to consider Thus the verb 017 dum, to continue, themselves immortal, and to hold perpetuate, became changed into 117 themselves forth as gods to be wor- dun, the same in form with another shiped by their inferiors in rank, might verb already existing in Hebrew, under and years. God beholding their im- the sense of “ striving, contending, piety, reinoves the foundation of it, litigating." This accidental corrupibus saying, “ These men think that tion may have taken place in the times they have the principle of life in them- of Moses or upwards, who has conseselees, and that they will for ever livecrated the vulgar corruption with the independent of me; I will correct primary meaning of “continuing or their presumption: and as they breathe remaining." The corrupted verb dun, only in the breath which I gave them, is the parent of the Greek &ny, onuesos, I will recall it, and thus teach them onda, omouvw; while dun, to contend, humility and wisdom by shortening gave birth to delyos, devvatw,&c. This their days."
confusion having taken place, it was This passage owes its obscurity to natural that the interpreters of Moses t!ie misconception of two words in the should have been divided, some adapt
ing the sense of the corrupted, and But these fallen angels, being spirits, others that of the genuine verb, and could not have commerce with flesh agreeing in nothing but in overlooking and blood in a state purely incorpothe meaning of the passage.
real. The meaning then was, that In the Jewish Scriptures angels are they had previously entered the bodies
sons of God.” See Job i. 6, of men; and the men, thus possessed, xxxviii. 7. Now as the Jews believed acting solely under the influence of that angels were employed under God the supposed indwelling spirits, asin superintending the affairs of men, suined their name of “sons of God.” and as the title by which angels are In other words, they were demoniacs, elsewhere designated is here used by tyrannical and violent men, instigated Moses, it was natural for the Jews to by demons or evil spirits. Hence the conclude that the same writer meant origin of demoniacal possessions. angels in this place. But it seems According to the Jews and many that some of these angels, while en- Christians, good angels are still emgaged in the affairs of men, perceiving ployed in administering the affairs of how fair their daughters were, became But it is thought they will not enamoured of them, and seduced them; look in the face of women, lest they and thus fell from God. Josephus, be tempted, and follow the example the Jewish historian, who could not of their fallen brethren. And to this have been mistaken as to the senti- alludes the following verse of the ments of his countrymen on this sub- Apostle Paul : “ For this cause ought ject, states this to be the fact, in ex- a woman to have a veil over her head, press terms. See Antiq. Jud. i. 4; because of the angels." This illusand also Just. Martyr, Apol. 2, p. 112. trious champion of the Christian faith Here we see the origin of fallen an- correctly understood the language of gels; nor is there another single verse Moses, and his words are to this efin all the Jewish Scriptures that can
fect: “ The inarauders and oppressors be considered as countenancing the of old, who go under the name of sons same absurd and impious notion. But of God, or angels, laid violent hands though the Jews believed in the pre- on those females who came within posterous notion of fallen angels, they their view. For this reason let every did not think it consistent with the woman wear a veil, lest she should character of God to suffer beings so become the victim of temptation, subtle and powerful to roam at large, lest she should expose herself to some worrying inankind and seducing thein person, who, by intrigue or violence, to evil. They therefore imagined that by wealth or power, may lead her the Almighty keeps them chained up astray." Nor should it be forgotten in hades till the day of judgment. that this admonition was given to the This notion is countenanced by Peter. women of Corinth, a place celebrated 2 Pet. ii. 4: “ For if God spared not for its wealth, and in which rich men the angels who transgressed, but cast were collected from every part of the them down to hades, and put them in world to expend their property with chains of darkness, to be reserved for loose women. Hence the proverb, judgment, and spared not the old said in reference to those who had not world. when he brought the riches to, dissipate in debaucheries, food,” &c. It is needless to say that Ου παντος ανδρος ες Κορινθον εσθ' ο πλες, this is a piece of Jewish anythology, It is not every man that can sail to which forms no part of the gospel. Corinth. The circumstance that many For neither Christ nor any of the men flocked from all parts to this city Evangelists sanctions it; and Peter to purchase beautiful women, and to alludes to it as an opinion, which he carry them away either by force or believed in common with other Jews money, must appear to give much before the coming of our Lord; and propriety to this precept of our aposhe himself refers to the very passage tle. in Moses, on which that notion is grounded