« ForrigeFortsett »
for if he was required to believe in any religion, it was the religion of the Quakers" my father being of the Quaker profession, it was my good fortune to have an exceeding good moral education,” (Age of Reafon, P. 37,) and, therefore, it is not improbable that he had no religious education at all. These gentlemen farther speak of Paine's “ elaborate deman
firation of the being of a God," and observe that “as far as this pamphlet goes to establish religion as founded in nature, it can have no bad effect ; since it is not unusual for Infidels in Revelation to think themselves justified in renouncing all religion, and in regarding themselves as exempted from its obligations, when it is manifeft that Revelation is but a part of the broad basis on which religion refs, and that, though by taking it away, virtue lofes an able friend, she is not left entirely without an advocate.". (Ib. P. 397.) Now, mark the infinuations and sentiments of these Theifts* in plain intelligible language. A man may disbelieve the scriptures, (be an Infidel in Revelation, yet not renounce his religion ; a man may disbelieve the scriptures, (be an Infidel in Revelation,) yet consider himself bound by (not exempted from) its obligations !!! These Deists state that it is manifest that Revelation is but a part, (a small part we suppose,) of the broad basis on which religion rests; on the contrary we affirm, and all Christians must affirm, that Revelation is the rock of our salvation, of all pure and undefiled religion ; that it is the cornerfone, the sole basis and foundation, of religion ; that whoever takes away Revelation from religion is an Infidel and Heretic, and the faith is not in him; and that, by taking away ReveJation from religion, the foundation of virtue is annihi. lated.
The Editors of the. Critical Review state that " there are pafrages in T. Paine's pamphlet, which do honour to his religious feelings ;". (vol. XII. P.77) they observe that the following observations of the author are judicious :
“ Revelation is the communication of something, which the per. son, to whom that thing is revealed, did not know before. For if I have done a thing, or seen it done, it needs no revelation to tell me I have done it, or seen it, nor to enable me to cell it, or to write it.
• As we are always desirous of the greatest precision possible in language, by Deift we mean a believer in a first cause having re. jected Revelation; by Theift, a believer in a first cause, ignorant of Revelation.
“ Revelation, therefore, cannot be applied to any thing done upası earth, of which man is himself the actor or the witness; and, confequently, all the historical and anecdotal part of the Bible, which is alınost the whole of it, is not within the ineaning and compass of the word Revelation, and therefore is not the word of God." P.11.
They declare “this is very true ; and Mr. Paine ought to have seen that it relieves the liberal Christian from the neceflity of defending much of what he has attacked.” (Ib. r.
P.79) This is liberality with a vengeance ; but we ask these critics · whether this verse is true,
Ο δε παρακλητος, το πνευμα το αγιον, ο πεμψει ο πατηρ εν τω ονοματι με, εκείνος υμας διδαξει παντα, και υπομνήσει υμας παντα, και EITOV upy. Joan. xiv. 16. · It was one peculiar office of the Holy Spirit to recall to the remembrance of the Apostles the things which they had heard, the things to which they had been witnesses, for human memory being imperfect, the mecanhytos, in our tranflation Comforter, though it might, with great propriety and precision, be rendered the Reminder, revealed to them the whole truth, took away the darkness in which past events were enveloped, and Revelation, like anoxahubis, is only taking away a covering; But these liberal Reviewers perfectly coincide in opinion with this ignorant and presumptuous scribbler, that “all the historical parts of the Bible is not within the meaning and .compass of the word Revelation," and, confequently, that the Pentateuch of Moses, and the gospels of the Evangelists, are of little authority. But, to prevent the posibility of their being misunderstood, they state, “ that many Firm Christians would have no objection to the following statement of what is called the Mosaic account of the Creation (Ib. P. 79) :
* As 'to the account of the creation, with which the book of Genesis, opens, it has all the appearance of being a tradition which the Ifraelites had among them before they came into Egypt; and after their departure from that country, they put it at the head of their history, without telling, as it is most probable they did not know, how they came by it. The manner in which the account opens, fhews it to be traditionary. It begins abruptly. It is nobody that speaks. It is nobody that hears. It is addreffed to nobody. It has neither first, second, nor third person. It has every criterion of being a tradition. It has no voucher. Moses does not take it upon himfelf by introducing it with the formality that he uses on other occasions, such as that of saying, The Lord (pake anto Mofes, fryingi' P.12. 10 To such false surmises we shall answer hereafter. For the present we shall only observe of these Critical Reviewers,
who are semi-christians, when compared with the Analytical conductors of irreligious trash, that they here take an opportunity of avowing themselves UNITARIANS, as the following extract abundantly proves :
“ We will only fay, in general, that the author, takes his idea of Chriftianity from the high Calvinist and Trinitarian schemes, and that a believer of the Unitarian class, not receiving the immaculate conception, nor the inspiration of the narrative part of scripture, nor
of Satan, nor the doctrine of the atonement, would find, that to him, half the book did not require an answer.” Ibid. p. 80.
We ask whether unbelievers in the doctrines peculiarly Chriftian can be Christians, or are these proper judges of pure religion and found doctrines in a Christian country?
(To be continued.)
TO THE EDITOR.
Edinburgh, June 26, 1799. SIR, N the last number of the Anti-Jacobin Review I observe a very
extraordinary paragraph at the end of your Review, of Mr. Ranken's Efray on the Importance of Beligious Establishments. 'That paragraph contains two affertions totally unfounded ; and, as they relate to me, and implicate my character, I must require you to contradict them in the same public manner in which you have brought them forward. This you will not hesitate to do if you
desire maintain any regard for truth, or even the appearance of it, in your publication.
You have afserted, that there is a sect now forming in Scotland, at the head of which I am, for the avowed purpose of sapping the foundation of the Presbyterian church as established by law. You have also said, that zeal against establishments has prompted me to Sell my efate.
These assertions, Sir, are both absolutely falfe, and either your credulity has been imposed-upon, or you have been led to utter these Nanderous calumnies from some improper motive.
The public, whom you have milled, muft, however, be undeceived; and, although you have no title to any confession from me, Į now inform you, that while I use the liberty of every British fubject, to judge for myself in matters of religion, so far from avowing it, I never entertained, in my mind, the most diftant idea of fapping the foundation of the established chưrch; and that it was not for this purpose I sold my estate. So much as to what you hare taken upon yourself to assert respecting me.
I shall add nothing upon your want of candour, in bringing forward, in large letters, with a slight refutation, if so it may be called, a calumny as false as those alluded to above, which Profeffor Robison, without knowing
it to be such, put into his book, and afterwards, as you myft hare heard, publicly contradicted in the newspapers.
I must request you to insert this letter in your next number, and thus, at leait, thew yourself as ready to vindicate where you have injured, and to retract where you have been fo milled, as to censure and make public what you conceive to be reprehendible.
I am, Sir, &c.
BY thus publishing Mr. Haldane's letter, we have, in part, com, plied with his request ; but before we contradict the assertions of which he complains, we beg leave to ftate to him, and to the public, the evidence by which, as he chooses to express it, our credulity has been imposed upon. He complains of only two affertions as implie cating his character ; but in the paragraph to which he objects, there are three assertions, which, as they certainly relate to him, we shall confider feparately, both to convince him, that our regard for truth is equal to his own, and to satisfy our readers that we are not quite so credulous as he wishes them to suppose.
Our first assertion was, that " a sect is just now forming in Scot. land for thị avowed purpose of fapping the foundation of the Presby: terian church as etablished by law. For the truth of this, we might appeal to the pastoral admonition, ordained by the last General Assembly to be read in all the parish churches in Scotland; and even to the fieble, and we must have leave to add, impertinent, answers made to that truly 'Christian address, by the Secretary, and other members of the Society, for propagating the Gospel at Home. But we will not avail ourselves of this evidence, because it was not before us when we wrote our Review. The evidence which, though it did not impofe upon our credulity, compelled our affent, and directed our conduet, will be seen in the following history of that Review.
Early in the month of April, one of our corps received from a Clergyman of the church of Scotland, (not any Clergyman in Glasgow,) a copy of Mr. Ranken's Elay on the Importance of Religious Establishments, together with a letter, giving a pretty full account of the proceedings of the Society for propagating the Gospel at Home!
The very title assumed by this society appeared ominous'; our corie. spondent's letter represented its proceedings as dangerous ; and to con: vince us that his representation was fair, he sent to us the Jourral of a Tour through the Northern Counties 'of Scotland and the Orkney Ies, in Autumn, 1797, by JA. Haldane, J. Alkman, and J. Rate, whom he affirmed to be three members of the society.
Now these gentlemen, in the introduction to their Journal, repre. sent the distinction between Clergy men and Laymen, which is re. tained in the church of Scotland, as Popijt; the discipline of that church as unfcriptural; the mode of providing for the maintenance of her Clergy as improper; and, in the Journal itself, they affirm, that almost all the Clergy in the Northern Counties preach doctrines
directly contrary to the gospel of Chrift! Thus, when treating of lay. preaching, they say, "We use the term lay-preaching, not because we acknowledge a Popish distinction, but becaule the term is generally used and underltood.” Again, “ We do not find in Scripture, that a license to preach the Gospel is necessary, and, when conducted in the ordinary way, li.e. in the way of the church of Scotland, see Pp., and 10,) we maintain that it is completely unscriprural. In p. 14, they compare the church of Scotland to the church of Rome, in the distant ages, prior to the reformation ; and affirm, that lay-preaching was not then more necessary than “ at present, when the Gospel of Jesus is almost unknown in many parts of the country, and little better than heathen morality substituted for the doctrines of Chrift." Nay, in p. 22, they compare the established clergy to the Scribes and Pharijees; and themselves, not indeed in gifts and graces, but in the rectitude of their conduct, to Christ and his APOSTLES !!!
We have said, that Messrs. Haldane, Aikman, and Rate, have re. presented the mode of providing for the established clergy, in Scot. land, as improper; and this we must prove, for they have not faid so in direct terms, as they have directly censured the doctrine and con. duct of those clergy. In P. 19 of their precious introduction, they thus express themselves :--" We are far from meaning to infinuate, that Ministers ought no; to receive a liberal support. To this they are entitled, when their fluck can afford it;" and again-"One great evil which arises from the opinion that Ministers must live in a style superior to that of their hearers, is, that when people are very poor, they cannot afford a fiipend which is thought sufficient suitably to maintain a pattor.” We appeal to our readers—we appeal even to Mr. Haldane himself, whether these expressions do not obviously imply that Clergymen ought to be supported by their hearers ; but it is known to all who know any thing, that the clergy of Scotland are not supported by their hearers; and, therefore, it follows, that, in the opinion of our three itinerants, the mode in which these clergy are really fupported is an improper mode. Nor, is this the wortt effect of such language ; for it is calculated to mislead the ignorant multi. tude, and to make them believe that they are, by law, compelled to support a fet of Ministers, whose do&trines our missionaries have taught them to abhor ; whilst the truth is, that these Ministers live upon a portion of the tythes, their own estate, which for, at least, eighi hun. dred
years, has not been the property cither of the farmer or the landlord, ... That Meff. Ja. Haldane, Aikman, and Rate, have taught the people of Scotland to abhor the doctrine of their parith ninilters, is apparent from their Journal:
“ On the Lord's Day, July the 10th, we preached, (say they,) in the morning, at eight o'clock, in the market-place, to upwards of 200 people. Went to church, and heard fermon. The minister preached from inhn, iii. 8. The sermon did not appear to us glad tidings to linners. The object of it was to thew, that the fon vt God came into the world to instruct and enalle men to actituy the works of the devil. lle reprelented t!, grape as a contact bcoween cious