Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

svsd Wed-e bar arphe Detector.o.No! 2.618.000.000,+1 12691 *6 (11901 00:1917 26.1993 tos 2008 UD silu COX0 +0,13. 11 If there's a hole in a' your coats, 31 mb l 26 anonim "BISI

rede
you tent it,

ielu ten' 911 A chiel's amang you takin' notes, Suomi1044 6.!!! tey And, mind, he'll prènt it."--Burns. (« Oh, an you talk of conscience, I must have mine 'eye upon you.

Shakspeare. The Committee of the Glasgow City Mission lament to the subscribers, in their Report, that their efforts are met 803 commonly by the doctrine of God's universal love! Their lamentation is my rejoicing. It is a symptom, I would fain hope, of the improving moral health-the the ological purification of the public mind. Representations of a Deity “ almighty to curse, powerless to bless,” have long enough cast their withering shade over the best feelings of humanity; the demoralising tendency of unconditional election, and imputed righteousness, have for years been too visible. It is time that brighter views should pour their cheering light into human dwellings, and that man, discarding the idea that bis nature is corrupt and loathsome, and more truly deeming that it is capable of indefinite improvement, should feel impelled to exbibit the image of his Maker reflected from the human intellect, and the Creator's ways justified to his creatures, in the confident persuasion, that he is, in all his dispensations, a friend and Father.

It is not to be expected, however, that such a revolution of opinion should occur, without a struggle; nor is it to be looked for, that the advocates of a gloomy and terrific superstition, should willingly let go their hold over the fears and prejudices of the people. Instances may naturally be expected, of those who, from long habit of “ dealing damnation round the land," still wield the once more fearful weapons of menace and denunciation-who, unmindful of the signs of the times, yet expect to stay quiry, by hurling the thunder-bolts of ecclesiastical wrath, and to uproot what they call error, by committing to the flames, not the body (that day is past) but the works of the beretic. Persons who grieve that the glorious truth, “God is Love,” should be gaining a more prevalent faith, cannot be expected to entertain very correct notions as to man's rights, nor to be very scrupulous as to man's feelings or man's property. I was not, therefore, surprised to learn, that one of the City Missionaries (by

in

name, Mackenzie), should, when visiting a supposed misbeliever, and attempting to turn him from his errors of faith (of errors of conduct I believe be could not convict him), should have his intolerance raised to a tolerable pitch. Nor, that when in the midst of the argument, and when excited by heretical pravity, and especially when the heretic produced Yates' Vindication of Unitarianism, that the zealous and heated missionary should attempt to put the hated, corrupting book in the fire! 'Twas but another version of the old story of bigotry. Calvin burned Servetus; and the disciple would have given the like fate to the work which advocated a similar faith to that which the learned and amiable Physician gloried in and adorned. The end to be accomplished, was the same- --the number of the century alone made the difference as to the means In the scuffle, however, the boarded cover was torn off, but the book was preserved from the flames! Such is intolerance in all ages. Violation of decency, and der struction of another's property, is not thought of, so that its unhallowed purposes are effected. 'Truly, there was some show of reason in burning a man's body for the good of his soul; but to burn a book, unless it were the only one, extant- unless the whole edition, were involved in the conflagration--nay, unless the mind which produced it, shared the fate of its intellectual offspring, is not more a robbery, than it would be an act of egregious follya fruitless and misspent toil.

On another occasion, the person visited was a female. I know not if it were the same Missionary; but, at any rate, it was one who preaches often in the city. After in quiries as to where the female attended, he attempted to frighten her, by calling Unitarianism“ a damnable principle”—by asserting, that if she did not turn, she would be damned, and that Hell must necessarily be the portion of all those who held the same doctrines! On the woman expostulating with this Teacher of glad tidings--this proclaimer of the benevolence of the Gospel-that such language was unworthy of his calling, and at war with the example of the Saviour--that terror might keep some in the ranks of orthodoxy, and such dreadful denunciations alarm timid minds; but that it would have the contrary effect with any one who would not be bullied into the popular faith; the Missionary's ire was coused, and, in all the arrogance of the Vatican, he thundered out, “ You are a bad woman!" To this outrage on decency, to say nothing of the violation of all religion, which it evidenced, the female replied, simply, by asking the calumniator if he were a good man? Remembering his creed, his answer was, “ I am not.” On which she replied, “ Then, in that respect, you admit we are equal. This silenced the Calvinist for a time; after which, he said he would take ber out of hell, if she would let him! To which she in substance said, she would bide where she was, for, believing her faith to be the truth of God, she would rather trust in the love of that God whose mercy she had long enjoyed, than venture her futurity with bim, whose conversation showed that his tender mercies were cruel.

I know not if these facts will be inserted in the next Report of the Glasgow City Mission; but surely they ought to be known. I cannot but think there are subscribers who would scout this intrusion into the sanctuary of domestic life-this insulting mockery of sacred things. To carry religious instruction and consolation into the bumble abodes of poverty, is, undoubtedly, a righteous undertaking; but if that object be merely assumed as a mask to cover an abominable inquisition, then ought it to be resolutely contended against, and thoroughly exposed. What a heart-cheering

contrast does the conduct and services of the excellent Dr. Tuckerman of Boston, Massachusetts, exhibit, to the scenes I have now sketched. The readers of the Christian Pioneer know, I believe, that he has devoted himself, as “ a Minister at large," to the wants and moral education of the labouring classes in that city. In page 146 of the 3d Vol. an extract is given from his Journal. The two missions manifest tbe benevolent and anti-social tendency of the two opposing systems of Unitarianism and Calvinism: the one preaching peace, the other damnation; the last bringing confusion, discord, and outrage into the dwellings of penury, and the first persuading to endurance of calamity, soothing the afflicted spirit, and enlightening the way of suffering widowhood, through the dark valley of the shadow of death.

The sayings and doings of intolerance, are not confined either to the city; the pestiferous breath of the monster pollutes the country also. Confined and cabined in by the murky walls of a crowded population, witnessing the degradation and misery of thousands, visiting midst scenes of moral contagion, and beholding objects in whom the buman form divine," is scarcely to be recognised, there may, perhaps, be some palliation found for the indulgence of gloomy views of human nature; and actual depravity may lead the imagination to reveries of original and birth iniquity. “God made the country, man made the town." And amidst scenes of nature's loveliness, bearing the impress of the grandeur and benovolence of the Creator, scenes on which any thing but “ cursed” is inscribed, it is a shame to libel man and defame his Maker, by holding opinions, which, in fact, do both. A feeling of disappointment is experienced, that there Calvinism should uplift its uncouth visage, and that human fanaticism should mar the moral barmony which breathes from nature's beauty. On Mr. Harris's late missionary tour, he appointed to visit Tillicoultry, a small town beautifully situated at the foot of the Ochil Hills. The friends of scriptural inquiry in the place, applied for the use of a school-room in which the preaching might be held. It was not the Parish School, but another which had been built by subscription, and towards which those friendly to Unitarianism had contributed. The application was refused by the Preses, and a meeting of the subscribers called, specially to decide the question. At this meeting, Mr. Browning-an instructor of youth, a Minister among the Dissenters, strongly condemned the Unitarian opinions-would willingly grant the use of the School to all classes but the Unitarian! and whilst avowing himself an advocate for free inquiry, and knowing that every individual who subscribed to the building, was promised equal privileges, declared he would protest if the Unitarians were allowed, for one night, to hold their worship within its walls! When Mr. Browning had concluded his remarks, he was about leaving the meeting, on which he was called on by those whose faith he had maligned, to remain, whilst they showed that he had been misrepresenting Unitarianism, and was, in fact, likewise ignorant of the fundamental doctrines of his own creed. Regardless of this claim of equity, this advocate for free inquiry, this supporter of individual rights, left the room, well knowing, I conceive, that his departure would be the signal of confusion. A great hubbub instantly arose. The Unitarians were denied a hearing, and the matter quickly settled by the larger party crying out, “ All who are against the Unitarians, come to this side of the room." Bigotry blinded their understandings, in this their denial of justice to their fellow-subscribers, and caused them to violate, in their persons, the charities of social life, and to set at nought the reasonable wishes of those against whose characters they could not find any occasion, except concerning the law of their God.

Such intolerance is disgusting, but it is only the natural and necessary fruit of the prevailing creed. When the Dissenters of Tillicoultry hear the preacher declaring, « All who believe not that the Eternal Jehovah died upon the cross, I debar from the sacrament,” is it surprising, that they should deem those on whom the ban of the Church is thus passed, as unentitled to the privileges and courtesies of social life? It is this intolerance of feeling, which is among the most odious characteristics of the popular theology. People will surely one day learn, that « Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will amongst men,” cannot be effected, whilst human creeds estrange men from each other's hearts—whilst the pure milk of the Word is changed into the waters of Marah, and a peculiar faith is accounted more worthy than a righteous life. It is against such feelings and views, that all good men should battle, for they diminish man's happiness, and tarnish heaven's honour. One consolation, indeed, there is, amidst the wanton freaks of human bigotry, they tend to open men's eyes to the mental slavery under which they have so long been prostrated; they will produce, some time or other, a re-action which will snap in sunder the chains in which City Missionaries, and Dissenting Priests, and Church Establishments, would enthral the human soul: gospel truth and gospel liberty will make glad the minds and hearts of God's creatures; and then will that man be esteemed false, however rigid or orthodox his creed, who manifests not his love of God, by loving his brother also.

Mr. Browning admitted, in an after conversation, that the conduct exhibited by the orthodox at Tillicoultry, would tend to promote Unitarianism. I trust, that, in this respect, bis anticipations will be realized. At any rate, I am informed, that, notwithstanding the bigotry manifested, and the bighly excited and almost exasperated feeting evidenced on Mr. Harris's arrival in the town, and the strenuous efforts made to keep people away, yet he preached two succeeding week evenings, to good and attentive audiences. On the second night, those friendly

« AnteriorContinuar »