The Greatest Writer of the 19th Century » Brownson's Writings » Parkerism, or Infidelity

Parkerism, or Infidelity

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1845

Art. III.--1. The Relation of Jesus to his Age and the Ages.  A Sermon preached at the Thursday Lecture in Boston, December 26, 1844.  By Theodore Parker, Minister of the Second Church in Roxbury.  Boston: C.C. Little and James Brown.  1845. 8vo. pp. 18
2.  The Excellence of Goodness.  A Sermon preached in the Church of the Disciples in Boston, January 26, 1845.  8vo. pp.16.

Rev Theodore Parker is, nominally, a Unitarian minuter, and is the pastor of the Unitarian congregation in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. He is a man of some pretensions to scholarship, has undoubtedly looked over a great variety of books, and is a very effective  rhetorician.  At the present moment, he is, perhaps, one of the most conspicuous figures in our Boston community, and is causing no little excitement and trouble in the bosom of the Unitarian denomination, in consequence of professing to be a Christian teacher, and claiming to be treated as such, while he sneers at what all the world has hitherto deemed sacred, and labors, with untiring zeal and perseverance, to destroy whatever has hitherto been considered essential to the Christian faith and worship.

The trouble and excitement grow out of the fact, that such are the avowed principles of the Unitarian body, that they cannot withdraw or withhold from him their fellowship without condemning themselves. In an evil hour they discarded all doctrinal tests, and laid down the broad principle, that every man professing to be a Christian, if he exhibit what they call the Christian life and character, shall be received and treated as a Christian, whatever the peculiarities of his belief. Mr. Parker, presuming on his life and character, plants himself on this principle, and demands, all infidel as he is, to be treated as an accredited Christian teacher.

" I am a Christian," he says, " and I prove it by my life and character ; on what grounds, then, do you pretend to withdraw from me that fellowship you once gave me as a Christian minister ?"

" On the ground that you deny Christianity, and, under the name of Christianity, teach rank infidelity and foul impiety "

"Who has constituted you judges? It is a principle of trie Unitarian denomination, that each member, whether private person or public teacher, has the right, unlicensed and unquestioned, to interpret Christianity for himself. Admit that my interpretations differ from yours, yet by what right do you denounce them as infidel and impious ? "

" We denounce them, because they deny Christianity itself in any and every sense in which the world has hitherto understood it."

"If you say that, you condemn yourselves as well as me ; for the appeal to prescription will no more sustain your interpretations than mine."

"Christianity is evidently distinguished from infidelity, and there must be some line of demarkation between it and infidelity."

"And you have drawn it in discarding doctrinal tests, and making one's Christianity to consist in his moral character, saying, with Pope,
:For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right.'"

" But no man, whatever his moral character, can be a Christian, unless he believes in Jesus, that is, the Divine mission of Jesus."

" Then you eat your own words, deny the sufficiency of character, which you have heretofore asserted, and, contrary to your fundamental principle, introduce a doctrinal test. But I do not deny the Divine mission of Jesus Christ: I admit it."

"Yes, as you do the Divine mission of Plato, or of Theodore Parker."

"I admit it in my sense, and you only admit it in yours ; and have not I the same right to interpret Christianity for myself, that you have for yourselves ? "

" To interpret Christianity, but not to deny it. We complain of you, not for misinterpreting Christianity, but for denying it, and leaving no Christianity to interpret, or even to misinterpret."

" But, before it can be determined whether one does or does not deny Christianity, it must be determined what is Christianity.   I have the right to  determine for myself what it is. Therefore, unless I deny what I determine it to be, you cannot, on your principles, accuse me of denying it."

" Words have a fixed and determinate sense. If you deny whatever is understood by the word Christian, in its authorized sense, you deny Christianity."

" Authorized! by whom or by what? The Catholic Church ? Then you are condemned ; for you are as far as I am from using the word Christian in the Catholic sense. By general usage, that is, tradition ? Then, also, are you condemned ; for you, as well as I, reject Christianity in its traditionary sense. And how long is it since Unitarians admitted the authority of tradition or general usage in theological matters? Admit this authority, and you must abandon all you have contended for, and make your peace with Holy Church as soon as possible."

"We admit this authority, not in settling theological matters, but simply in settling the proper use of theological terms."

"A distinction without a difference. If you accept this authority in settling the meaning of the word Christian, you accept it in settling all that you are to understand by Christianity; for all included in the word Christianity must be covered by the word Christian.     To appeal to tradition or general usage to settle the meaning of words is the same as appealing to it to settle faith itself. You and I agree in rejecting all traditionary authority, and in asserting the unrestricted right of private judgment. Then there can be, for us, no authority for settling the meaning of terms but private judgment, any more than for settling articles of faith."

" But were we to admit this, every thing would be unsettled ; no two men could talk intelligibly together for a single moment; there would be no standard, no test, for any thing. All reasoning would be at an end ; for no one could convince or refute another, since one might be using the same word in one sense, and the other in a totally different sense. All science, morality, jurisprudence would be out of the question, and even social intercourse would cease, and man become solitary, for want of a medium of communication with his brother."

" Perhaps so: but this is a consequence which you must accept as well as I, unless you choose to abandon the right of private judgment. Private judgment means something or nothing. If it means nothing, let us talk no more about it. If it means something, if it means any thing, it means that the individual is his own judge of truth in all cases whatsoever. If you assert it in face of the Church, you must assert it also in face of the State, of moral codes, and even of science. It is the assertion of the supremacy of man, and the annihilation of all conventionalisms. If you recoil from this conclusion, blush to call yourselves liberal Christians, confess and abjure your heresies, and return forthwith to Mother Church. For my part, I plant myself on the indefeasible right of each man to judge for himself, and to follow his own private convictions of truth and duty, lead they were they may."

" Nobody wishes to prevent you from following your own convictions of truth and duty; nor do we deny that you may be a Christian. We do not refuse to fellowship you as a Christian, but simply as a Christian teacher; not because you may not in your heart believe Christianity, but because what you teach is not Christianity."

" So you say, but not so say I; and I have the same right to say what I teach is Christianity, that you have to say what you teach is Christianity."
" No man who denies the supernatural mission of Jesus can be a Christian teacher ;  and you do deny it."

" A doctrinal test again ! Do you or do you not discard all doctrinal tests ?    If not, humbly apologize for all that you have been saying these last thirty years. If you do, you can no more insist on a doctrinal test in the case of the teacher than of the private Christian. Moreover, if you insist on a doctrinal test, I demand your authority to impose one. You are but men ; your authority is only human authority, and you with one voice deny the right of any human authority to dictate in matters of faith. If you can impose one test, you may another ; one article, you may two, and thus, if you choose, the whole Thirty-nine Articles, or all the decrees of the Council of Trent."

" We have heard all this said time and again; but we want no authority for saying, that a man who in express terms denies a horse to be a horse does deny a horse to be a horse. The thing is evident of itself. The supernatural mission of Jesus is Christianity, the very thing to be admitted, if you admit it at all."

" So you may think ; but suppose I think differently, who is to decide between us, pronounce you right and me wrong ? But you have no right to say what you do; for you and the fathers and doctors of the sect have always maintained the contrary,  that Christianity is not belief of this or that, but life, character."

"Yet these doctors and fathers have all believed in and taught the supernatural mission of Jesus."

" But they never insist on this belief as essential to one's Christianity. And what if they do ? Who gave them authority to impose a creed, whether longer or shorter, to forge chains for the free-born mind ? Am not I also a man? Stand I not on as high a platform of individual independence as they? Then, if you appeal to fathers and doctors, remember there are older fathers and doctors than these Unitarians, whose authority is as much against you as against me. If there must be an appeal to fathers and doctors, let us have the elder and more venerable, not the younger and less weighty."

" But it is evident from the Sacred Scriptures, and all the sources from whence information can be collected concerning the subject, that a denial of the supernatural mission of Jesus is a denial of Christianity itself."

" So you say; but is your assertion authority? You make the assertion only on the authority of your interpretation of the Bible and other historical documents ; and have not I as much right to interpret these as you have ?"

" Yes, but you are bound in morals to interpret them honestly, according to their plain, obvious sense."

" Who is to decide between us, whether yours or mine are the honest interpretations ? "

" If a man, having a tolerable pair of eyes and ordinary human faculties, looking at the sun through an unclouded atmosphere, should maintain that it is square or triangular, we should want no authority to call him dishonest, any more than we should any other manifest liar. Some things are so plain, that no man can deny them without prejudice to his sanity or his honesty. The fact that the supernatural mission of Jesus is essential to Christianity is one of these."

" So you say; but, if so, all Unitarian preaching has thus far been false; for its burden has been, life, not belief, is essential ; be good and do good, and God will never ask you what you have believed."

" You misinterpret us. Unitarians are Christians, Christian believers, and have never taught, or intended to teach, that belief in Christianity is not essential to one's Christian character. They have insisted that all should believe Christianity; but not that it was necessary that any one should believe this or that particular explication of it."

" Eliminate all the particular explications, or expositions, of Christianity, and what will you have left ? "

" Christianity."

" And Christianity in general, meaning nothing in particular! Just as if a man could even form a conception of Christianity in general, save through conception of it in particular! We learn the general in the particular. Abstract from mailer all its properties, and what will be your conception of what remains ?"

" We have no disposition to follow you in a metaphysical discussion, for which you yourself have no remarkable aptitude. What we mean to say is, that there are certain bounds, beyond which one cannot pass and remain within the pale of Christianity. Within these bounds we recognize the unrestricted right of private interpretation, but not beyond."

" This, in principle, is all the Catholic Church herself says. She merely prescribes certain bounds, that is, certain articles of faith, which she holds essential to the integrity of the Christian faith ; within these she also recognizes the fullest individual liberty. You are free to interpret as you will, so long as you advance nothing which is contra fulem ; and you yourselves say no more than this. But where, on your principles, is the authority that prescribes the bounds beyond which one cannot pass without passing out of Christianity ? "

" They are prescribed by Christianity itself."

" But what is Christianity? By what authority is this question answered'? "

" By the Bible."

" True ; but the Bible as construed by the private reason of each interpreter."

"The Bible is so plain, so unequivocal, that no man who respects its authority can possibly mistake the point where Christianity ends and infidelity begins."

"So you say. Tf you give to the language of the Bible its traditionary sense, I agree with you ; but that sense condemns you. If you give to the Bible the sense each chooses to give for himself, then I disagree with you ; for then the sense of the language of the Bible is indeterminate, and can be only what each determines it to be for himself."

" But you deny the Bible itself."

" I do no such thing. I hold it to be the greatest of books. I may deny it in your sense ; but I admit it in mine, and you admit it only in yours."

" Yet you deny its inspiration."

" Not at all. It is the product of the purest, deepest, loftiest inspirations ever experienced by the human soul."

" But you deny its Divine inspiration."

" I do not. I believe it Divinely inspired. All that is true, pure, deep, and noble in human life is from God. God speaks in every true thought, in every pure affection, in every lofty aspiration, in every noble deed."

" Very fine, and answers admirably the purpose of throwing dust in the eyes of the simple and ignorant. Yet you deny the supernatural inspiration of the Bible."

" That depends on the sense in which you use the word supernatural If you mean by it that God himself inspired the authors of the Bible, I agree with you. If you mean something else, I cannot answer, till I know what you do mean."

" But you do not hold that they were infallibly inspired."

" Nor do you; for you have written books not a few to prove that the sacred writers could and did err."

" But you deny ..the authority of the sacred writers."

" When they err, but not when they tell the truth ; and what more can you yourselves say ? "

" You deny the miracles."

" And so do you, in part at least; and you might as well deny those you retain as those you reject.    Moreover, miracles are not Christianity; at most, they are only a branch of its evidence. And what difference can it make, whether one believes it on the authority of miracles, or on some other kind of evidence ? "

" If you deny the miracles, you have no sufficient evidence for believing it."

" Appropriate enough in the mouth of a Catholic contending for mysteries, but strangely misplaced in the mouth of a Unitarian, who professes to believe that Christianity is reasonable and rational ! The doctrine is its own evidence ; and the rule is, to conclude from the truth of the doctrine to its Divine origin, and not the reverse."

" You reject the sacraments, and sneer at those who are so weak as to derive strength and comfort from the Lord's Supper."

u You yourselves also reject the sacraments in the sacramental sense ; and the two, of the seven observed by the Church, which you nominally retain, you retain merely as rites or ceremonies. Even you yourselves do not contend that rites or ceremonies are essential to Christianity. In rejecting them, I reject, then, nothing essential, yourselves being judges. As for the sneering, all I have to say is, if any of you are weak enough, superstitious enough, to fancy you can be spiritually strengthened and comforted by the empty ceremony of taking a bit of bread and a sip of wine, you deserve to be sneered at, at least to be compassionated."

In our judgment, Mr. Parker has decidedly the advantage in the argument. We do not presume the Unitarians ever intended to lay down principles which should render it impossible to trace the boundary between their doctrines and infidelity. We believe they honestly, as a body, mean to be Christians, and no doubt, in their way, try to be Christians; but in vindicating their own dissent from the general faith of Christendom, they have been forced to lay down principles and adopt a line of argument as available for Theodore Parker as for themselves. They could defend themselves only by discarding all doctrinal tests, that is, all creeds or confessions; and if they discard all doctrinal tests, they cannot withdraw or withhold fellowship from Mr. Parker as a Christian teacher, without standing self-condemned before the world. But they have too much respect for Christianity to fellowship one who so undeniably rejects every thing distinctive, venerable, or valuable in the Gospel.

As low and unworthy as their own views are of our blessed Saviour, they cannot consent to place him in the same category with Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, and Theodore Parker. They are obliged, therefore, to resort to some doctrinal test.

But here is a new difficulty : who has the right to impose a doctrinal test?    The Unitarians have very properly denied the right of all human authority to dictate in matters of faith.  They have maintained,  and in this they are honorably distinguished from all other Protestant sects,  that God alone has authority over reason and conscience, and that no human authority, however constituted, by what name soever designated, has the right to step in between man and his  Maker, and demand adherence to this or that creed, to this or that form of worship.   In this they have asserted a great principle, which every one who has any just appreciation of Christian liberty must hold fast under all circumstances, and at all hazards.    Then either a Divine authority to impose it, or no legitimate doctrinal test. Say any thing else, and you assert the principle of the grossest spiritual tyranny; and it is because Protestants do say something else, and because, all human as their authority confessedly is, they have attempted to control the reason and conscience of their brethren, that they have been from the first, and still are, the most bitter enemies of religious liberty.  They have clamored for Christian freedom, we admit, but only the better to cover their designs against it.    The devil, when he would deceive, always comes in the guise of an angel of light.    Now, what is to be done ?    Our Unitarians must have a doctrinal test ; and yet, as they have confessedly only a human authority, they have no authority to impose one?    Tf they say, Reason is from God, and therefore reason is the authority, they gain nothing; for the test will be what each man in the exercise of his own private reason chooses to make it.    If they say, The Bible, it will be no better, so long as they add, the Bible as interpreted by private reason.    If they say,  The congregation, they get only a human authority; besides, they fall into the gross absurdity of making those to be taught the judges and instructers of the teachers.   None of these alternatives will avail them, and they must  say,   Either,no doctrinal test, or a Divinely constituted and commissioned Church to impose it.    But they cannot dispense with a doctrinal  test, if they mean to  keep up any distinction between Christianity and Infidelity.      Therefore there must be a  Divinely constituted  and commissioned  Church. But there is no such Church, unless it be the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, as we have proved in a preceding article, and as Unitarians themselves will admit. Then they must either fellowship Mr. Parker as a Christian teacher, or return to the bosom of the Catholic Church, whose authority is not her own, but that of God speaking and governing, supernatu-rally, in and through her.

But, if we believe Mr. Parker has the advantage in the argument with Unitarians, we have no wish to see him sustained, and we have not the least conceivable sympathy with the views and movement he for the moment represents. His doctrines are superficial, unphilosophical, unchristian, false, and pernicious. The fact, that they can find warm admirers and partisans in our professedly Christian community, tells a sad tale for our intelligence, faith, and morals. They are the most damnable doctrines the devil can desire to have propagated. Their prevalence would be ruinous to social order and moral well-being here, as well as to the soul hereafter.
Mr. Parker, as a man, may have some amiable and interesting qualities ; he may have a lively fancy and an excellent memory ; he may have made very respectable literary acquisitions, and be able to write in a style of more than ordinary beauty and effectiveness ; but all this cannot excuse his abuse of God's gifts, and perversion of them to the very worst of causes, or be a valid plea for standing before the public under a false name, and in a character not his own. He knows that he is not, in any received sense of the word, a Christian believer, that he is what all the world understand by an infidel, and yet he would fain palm himself off upon the community as a Christian teacher. We cannot reconcile this with that high moral sense and heroic virtue claimed for him by his friends. He has, moreover, proved himself insensible to the moral obligation every man incurs who puts forth doctrines on his own authority. He has been refuted more than once, both as to his literature and philosophy, his scholarship and his theology, and from sources not unworthy of the respectful consideration of greater and more learned men than he. If half that has been urged against his doctrines in the Christian Review, Christian Examiner, Boston Quarterly Review, and other journals, be well founded, his doctrines are unsupported by a single particle of evidence, and rest only on ignorance of sound philosophy, misstatements of historical facts, misquotations, and false and unwarrantable glosses of the Sacred Scriptures, and other writings to which he refers.    It was His duty, as a professed public teacher,  on  the   appearance   of  these   apparent   refutations, either to retract his doctrines, or to show that they might be true in spite of what was alleged against them.    He has done neither.    He has not proved himself possessed of the humility to retract, nor the courage to reply.    We concede the craft of his silence, and that, if his motive be to gather a party around him, silence is unquestionably his wisest and truest policy ; for a he well stuck to will pass with the multitude unquestioned, and be embraced as God's truth.    But the honesty of such craft, the morality of such policy, is worthy of the serious consideration of those who are so loud in claiming Christian fellowship for Mr. Parker on the ground of his life and character. Thus  far, moral as he is, he has  proved himself void of all sense of moral responsibility as a public teacher, and that he feels himself privileged to bring scandalous charges against the whole Christian world, and when called  upon to sustain them, to slink back into the dark, and wait his opportunity to reiterate them.    In this he not only refuses to give to them that ask him a reason for the hope he professes to entertain, but disgraces our common manhood, and may well be treated not only as an alien from the commonwealth of Christ, but as an outlaw from the republic of letters.
It is this false position in which Mr. Parker stands before the public, and this cowardly, if not dishonest, policy of continuing to reiterate his doctrines  without replying to the grave objections urged against them, that give him his present importance and influence.    In his true light, standing forth under his own name, and attempting in a fair and manly way to maintain himself, he would attract no great attention, and gain few partisans.    He has, no doubt, very considerable abilities; he has unquestionably looked over quite a variety of books, and can tell the titles of a great number; he has, we cheerfully admit, dipped into many subjects, and can talk flippantly on most topics that come up in conversation; he has a lively fancy, and even  some humor; but he is no   miracle; his scholarship is rarely to be trusted ; his statements, even on indifferent matters, cannot be taken with confidence, unless backed by some authority beside his own ; and as a thinker he is singularly crude, vague, loose, and superficial.    He throws no light on any subject he treats, settles no disputed passage in literature, history, criticism, philosophy, or theology, speculative or practical, and he uniformly leaves every subject he touches more confused than he found it. This even his friends must admit. We have neither time nor patience to go into any general examination of Mr. Parker's doctrines, nor could we, if we had, consent to do so, while he claims the moral right to ignore what is said against them, and to continue to repeat, as if nothing had happened, the often refuted falsehood. All that is proper to do, in the case of such a man, is, to strip off his sheep's clothing, and let him stand before the public in his utter nakedness.

Mr. Parker is one of the chiefs of the American Transcen-dentalists. He may or he may not run into all the vagaries of some well known members of the sect; but he is a Transcendentalism and a Transcendental chief. The Transcendentalists are, as is well known, far from agreeing on all points among themselves ; but they all agree in asserting the Divinity of human nature, and that God speaks to us in the instincts or sentiments of our own nature, and not otherwise. They have adopted a very ancient doctrine, and hold what the serpent said to Eve to be the truth. Thus they say, " We are gods, knowing good and evil." At bottom, they are Pantheists, though few of them have the ability or the patience to mould their views into a well defined Pantheism. They profess to be spiritualists, talk much of "the soul," " the noble soul," " the great soul," and " the soul of all." They affect great devoutness, and talk much of pious instincts and pure affections, which, however, are confessedly nothing but natural sentiments, and need but fitting opportunity to become beastly lusts. They have much to say of God, but they deny his personality, his freedom, his providence, and conceive of him, now, as a mighty force pushing itself forth in a world, a man, an elephant, an insect, a moss,  simply because it is force, and must do so, or not be force ; and now, again, they conceive of him as an idea, as man's idea of the Greatest and Best, and varying as vary men's intellectual and moral conceptions, one thing with the rude savage, another with Plato, another with St. Paul, and still another with Theodore Parker; growing always with the growth of humanity, a small affair with the savage, almost as good as no God at all; but great, grand, magnificent, sublime, with the aforesaid Theodore Parker, and to be even more sublime with the future Theodore Parkers in store for us, and who, one by one, with long intervals between, will arise to bless humanity and transform their age and live through the ages.

Revelation is what man's nature reveals to himself, or what he gathers spontaneously from his own ideas, sentiments, wants, tendencies, if this means any thing. It is supernatural, because it does not come from the material world, but from the inward soul ; and divine, because from man's nature, which is itself divine. Each man is God incarnate ; not because there is in each the two natures, but because the human and Divine natures are, at bottom, not two natures, but one and the same nature. The distinction commonly supposed to exist between God and man is merely phenomenal. God is man, and man is God. Who says J, meaning thereby a really substantive existence, says God ; and who says God, says. Hence, to know the will of God, we have but to turn our minds in upon ourselves, to follow the example of the Grand Lama of me and not-we, of whom Doctor Evariste de Gypendole speaks in the preceding article,  and fix our eyes devoutly upon ourselves, and listen to the oracles from the temple within ourselves, or, to be more exact, within our inner' self; for, according to our Transcendentalists, the human soul is best illustrated by an onion, and you do not get at the real self till you have stripped off fold after fold, and come to the innermost of all.

Christianity is accepted ; O, yes, and as divine ; for it is one of the forms with which the human race has sought to clothe its religious sentiment, or in which it has sought to realize its conceptions of the Greatest and Best. By the same title they accept the Fetichism of the African negroes, the Polytheism of the Greeks and Romans, Brahminism, Budhism, Mahome-tanism, and all other religions which have been or are. They are all divine, because they are all human,  the product of the human race. Of all these, Christianity is to be regarded as the least inadequate. For a time it responded to all the religious wants of the soul, and was, during that time, eminently true, eminently useful. But it has had its day. The human race, in its onward march through the ages, leaves it behind,  casts it off, as the mature man does the garments of his childhood,  and seeks now a new form for its religious sentiment, one more in harmony with its present advanced intelligence, which shall better befit its more mature age and growth.

As for our blessed Saviour, they are, in general, disposed to patronize him.,, They speak of him as an extraordinary " Hebrew youth," a noble soul, a pure and lofty spirit, a bold and earnest reformer, discarding all the conventionalisms of his time, breaking loose from all the existing institutions of Church and State, despising the authority of the popular faith and morality of his age and country, even of Moses and the prophets,
and speaking out, from the depths of his own broad and living nature, great moral truths demanded by, and responding to, man's universal moral and religious sentiments, in a word, a sort of Theodore Parker of the first century, minus Theodore Parker's learning and philosophy. 

It were easy to confirm all this by extracts taken at random from the writings of leading Transcendentalists. Take the following from Mr. Parker.
" In an age of corruption, as all ages are, Jesus stood and looked up to God. There was nothing between him and the Father of all: no old world, be it of Moses or Esaias, of a living rabbi or Sanhedrim of rabbis : no sin or perverseness of the finite will. As the result of this virgin purity of soul and perfect obedience, the light of God shone down into the very deeps of his soul, bringing all of the Godhead which flesh can receive. He would have us do the same ; worship with nothing between us and God; act, think, feel, live, in perfect obedience to Him: and we never are Christians as he was the Christ, until we worship as Jesus did, with no mediator, with nothing between us and the Father of all."  Critical and Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 161, 162.

" His life [the life of Jesus] is the perpetual rebuke of all times since. It condemns ancient civilization ; it condemns modern civilization. Wise men we have since had, and good men; but this Galilean youth strode before the world whole thousands of years, so much of Divinity was in him.....In him the Godlike and the Human met and embraced, and a Divine Life was born. Measure him by the world's greatest sons,  how poor they are ! Try him by the best of men,'how little and low they appear! .... But still was he not our brother; the son of man, as we are; the Son of God like ourselves 1 His excellence, was it not human excellence ? His wisdom, love, piety,  sweet and celestial as they were,  are they not what we also may attain? "  lb. p. 157.

" Amid all this [Jewish corruption, sin, prejudice, and formalism], and the opposition it raised to a spiritual man, Jesus fell back on the moral and religious sentiments in man ; uttered their oracles as the Infinite spoke througlW/ic;«; taught absolute religion, absolute morality, nothing less, nothing more ; laid down principles as wide as the soul, true and eternal as God."  Discourse, pp. 256, 257.

" Jesus looked to God for his truth ; his great doctrines not his own,  private, personal, depending on his own idiosyncrasies, and therefore only subjectively true,  but God's, universal, everlasting, the Absolute Religion. I do not know that he did not teach some errors, also, along with it. I care not if he did. It is by his truths that I know him, the absolute religion he taught and lived." Relation, Sfc, p. 14.

Here the excellence of the character of Jesus is plainly said to be Divine, and formally declared to be human, and attainable by us all: which proves, that, in Mr. Parker's view, the human and Divine are one and the same. The same conclusion is obtained from the account which Mr. Parker gives of the source whence Jesus Christ drew his doctrines. At one time, we are told "he looked up to God alone," "looked to God for his truth " ; at another, that " he fell back on the moral and religious sentiments in man." Evidently, in Mr. Parker's view, looking to God and falling back on the moral and religious sentiments in man are one and the same thing. Hence, since man's moral and religious sentiments are integral in man, God and man must be, at bottom, identical. This is still farther evident, from Mr. Parker's assertion, (Discourse, p. 280,) that we verify the truth of Christianity in our soul, because uthe pure water of life must come from the well of God " ; which, at least, implies, if not that the soul and God are absolutely identical, "the well of God," that is, the fountain of life, is in the soul and identical with it.

According to Mr. Parker, Jesus drew his doctrines from the moral and religious sentiments of human nature. It was " their oracles he uttered," and it was through them " the Infinite spoke " to him, revealing to him " absolute religion, absolute morality," u principles wide as the soul, true and eternal as God." This implies that the source whence all truth needed may be drawn is human nature ; and no revelation, not made in and through our moral and religious sentiments, is needed. Stripped of its new and gorgeous apparel, what is this but the old Deistical doctrine of the sufficiency of the light of nature? In plain terms, Mr. Parker's doctrine, then, is, Jesus discarded all the pretended supernatural revelations in which his age and country believed, fell back on human nature, consulted his own soul, and declared what he by the simple light of nature discovered, or believed he discovered, to be true. The light of nature was enough for him ; it is enough for us. Not a remarkably novel doctrine, and one which the old English Deists have set forth with more ability, sound sense, and blunt honesty of. purpose, than we find in the writings of our modern Transcendentalists.

But if nature be sufficient, since we have nature always, how happens it that there is such a contrariety of beliefs in the world, and that such gross and lamentable errors everywhere prevail? If nature be sufficient, it must be sufficient in all and in each. How explain the fact, then, that it does not preserve all and each from error? If not sufficient to preserve from error, how can it suffice to recover us from error, and sustain us in the truth hereafter ? Nature is always the same. Mankind have had it from the first, and all it can give of itself alone, for it can give only itself, and yet, according to Mr. Parker himself, they have scarcely gone right for a single moment, in a single particular. What assurance can he give us, if reduced to nature alone, that we shall succeed any better hereafter ?
Mr. Parker teaches us that the revelation of truth is the result of virgin purity of soul and perfect obedience. But how, without truth, without the light of God, is this virgin purity of soul, this perfect obedience, to be obtained ? Before charity, we had supposed, goes faith ; and we know not how there can be faith where the truth has not been propounded to the understanding. "Do the truth and you shall know the truth" is unquestionably true in its proper sense ; but we can not do the truth without willing to do it, and to will that which is not intellectually apprehended is impossible. Mr. Parker not unfrequent-ly gets the cart before the horse. His notion is, Jesus was a very good man, and therefore God inspired him. Hence, he infers, if we are only good, God will inspire us in like manner ; as if the inspirations of Almighty God, and the revelation of truth, were not necessary as the condition of becoming good !

Mr. Parker denies the necessity of a mediator, and calls upon us to approach the Infinite One face to face. Jesus, he says, looked to God, with nothing between him and the Father of all; so should we. The damning sin of the race is, that they have not done so. " We dare not," he says, (Discourse, p. 5,) " approach the Infinite One face to face ; we whine and whimper in our brother's name, as if we could only appear before the Omnipresent by attorney " ; and yet this same man, who talks so flippantly of looking the Infinite in the face, would be sadly puzzled to see his own nose, or the pen with which he writes his blasphemy, without that officious attorney called light. Does he mean to assert, that man can, while in the flesh, see God otherwise than as reflected in his works,that is, his works of creation, providence, and grace ? If so, will he give some better proof than his own word of what all the world know to be impudently false ? No man has seen God at any time, or can see him and live. Even the heathens, by their fable of Semele, might have taught Mr. Parker as much as that. Mr. Parker makes it an objection to Christian theology that it promises eternal life as a gift. " Its heaven is a place no man has a right to. Would a good man willingly accept of what is not his ? pray for it ? " lb. p. 6. So it belittles a man to receive eternal life as a gift from God ! We must earn a right to it by our own stout hearts and strong arms. When did Mr. Parker earn his right to this present life ? Does it not belittle him to breathe, since his breath is a gift of God, to which he had, has, and can have no claim of his own ?
But these are trifles. Jesus, he tells us, taught absolute religion, absolute morality ; and he thinks, and his friends think, that in this he has done great honor to the u Galilean youth," and laid the Christian world under heavy obligations to him for his condescension. Mr. Parker asserts this, time and again. Jesus is the greatest person of the ages, the proudest achievement of the human race, because he taught absolute religion.  Relation, p. 17. But is this so certain? Whether Jesus did teach absolute religion, he tells us, (Discourse, p. 243,) is very difficult to answer ; for it is no easy matter to decide what is Christianity, and no two men seem to be agreed as to what it is ; finally, such is the character of the records, that not much stress can be laid on them ; lb. p. 249 ; and, after all, the question, whether this or that historical person did teach absolute religion is of small consequence to the race.    lb. 257.

The whole merit of Jesus consists in the fact that he taught absolute religion,  which, after all, is quite doubtful! But suppose he did teach absolute religion, does that imply any great merit on the part of Jesus ? "To ascertain what is absolute religion is no difficult matter. For religion is not an external thing like astronomy, to be learned only by long observation and the perfection of scientific instruments and algebraic processes; but something above all, inward and natural to man."  lb. pp. 240, 241. Nothing very wonderful, then, that this " Galilean youth, who strode before the world whole thousands of years," should have discovered and taught it, and especially, since it is, according to the whole tenor of your teaching, intuitively obvious to every man, woman, and child of the race. Mr. Parker would find it not amiss, when he wishes to say fine things of our blessed Saviour, to stop and ask whether his general notions of Christianity will sustain him in doing so. These eulogiums on Jesus which we meet in Mr. Parker's writings are exceedingly offensive to intelligent readers; for they are altogether too extravagant, assuming Jesus to be what
Mr. Parker represents him, and shockingly irreverent, if Jesus be what Christians believe him to be. Yet we suspect he throws them in to sustain his character before the blushing no, not blushing  maidens of either sex who make up his public, and to escape, if possible, the charge of absolute infidelity.

But, after all, what is this absolute religion, absolute morality, about which our prophet of the nineteenth century keeps up such an unceasing sing-song ? From the phrase itself, and the emphasis with which it is pronounced, the innocent reader is fain to imagine that it means something, and something of the last importance. What, then, is it? The answer in brief is : Be good and do good, and you will be good and do good. Vary the phrase as you will, mystify the subject as you please, this is the whole sum and substance of wlfet Mr. Parker means by absolute religion. Although he may call it " Perfect obedience to the law of God," " Love to God and to man," " Absolute goodness," or by various other names.

Absolute religion may also  be defined, according to  Mr. Parker, to be the fulfilment of the law of nature.    " The law of God," he tells us in many places, is the law which " God wrote in man's nature," and is the law revealed by our natural, moral, and religious sentiments.    To be good and to do good, then, according to him, will be to be in harmony with this law, and to obey all its precepts.    Now, we demand proof that the fulfilment of the law of nature is absolute religion, all that God demands of us.     " Absolute religion," he says, "is perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect love towards God and man, exhibiting itself in a life allowing and demanding a harmonious action of all man's faculties." Discourse, p. 241. Here it is evident that the harmonious action of all man's faculties, so far as they act at all, is  the fulfilment of the law of God, and all that Mr. Parker means by perfect love to God and man.    Is this enough ?    Mr. Parker says it is.    On what authority ?    On his own intuitions ?    But the belief of all the world, the best evidence the nature of the case admits of what are their intuitions, is against him; and why are we bound to credit his intuitions against theirs?     Is he infallible?     How does he know that God has not made us subject to a law above our nature, and which we cannot fulfil by our natural strength, and therefore not without Divine grace supernaturally infused, or shed abroad in our hearts ?    Christian faith is here against him; on what authority does he presume to set that faith aside? On the authority of intuition?    But the fact, that the Christian world has entertained it, lived for it, suffered for it, died for it, is a triumphant proof that intuition cannot be successfully appealed to against it; for the millions who have believed it have had intuitions as well as Mr. Parker, and, according to his own doctrine, intuitions as authoritative as his own. Man, he says, is the measure of man. Then the intuitions of a Christian for in becoming a Christian one does not cease to be a man are as good as his, and are to weigh as much in the argument.
Does he appeal to discursive reason? From what premises will he demonstrate the falsity of the Christian's belief in accountability to a supernatural law? For he must do this, before he has demonstrated that fulfilling the law of nature is absolute religion. We should like to see him undertake to construct a syllogism which should demonstrate either the falsity of the Christian faith or the sufficiency of the law of nature. Does he appeal to Jesus Christ ? But Jesus Christ does not sustain him; and, if he did, it would not avail him, for he says,lb. p. 280,  that Jesus is not the sanction and authority of Christianity, and elsewhere contends that the character of the teacher depends on the character of the doctrine, and not the truth of the doctrine on the character of the teacher. How, then, will he even prove that what he asserts to be absolute religion is absolute religion ? Does he expect us to take it on his word ? Is he incapable of deceiving or of being deceived ? We assure him, high as is our respect for him, we are as loath to admit his infallibility as he is that of the Pope.

But this is not the only difficulty. He tells us, absolute religion is perfect obedience to the law of God. Granted ; but what is perfect obedience to the law of God ? What does this law command me to do in each particular case in which I may be called to act ? Are there no cases in which it is difficult to decide what is the command of God, no cases of conscience, which every man, woman, or child cannot decide infallibly, and instanter 9 Is Mr. Parker prepared to assert this ? If not,  and we cannot believe he is,  what does he tell us, when he tells us absolute religion is perfect obedience to the law of God, but a vague generality, from which we can gather as little practical instruction as warmth from the moonshine in a clear, cold, winter night ? It is no great matter to tell people to keep the law of God. It is like the preacher we once listened to, who kept saying to his congregation, u Come, now, be clever, be clever, be good folks." Men have always believed they ought to keep the law of God ; but their difficulty under the intellectual aspect of the subject has been, to know what the law of God in all cases demands. Absolute religion is not absolute, unless it answers all questions in particular as well as in general.
But a more serious difficulty lies behind,  a difficulty which our " greater Messiah," who speaks in such patronizing tones of Jesus Christ, does not seem to have dreamed of,  namely, how are men to be induced to keep the law, even in case they know it ?    The will is more at fault than the intellect, and is not always nor generally set right by enlightening the intellect. We know our duty, but do it not.    Here is a formidable difficulty to be overcome.    How do you propose to overcome it ? Do you or do you not recognize the necessity of Divine grace to incline the will and to impart strength to obey ?  If not, do tell us how the  disobedient are to become obedient;   how the perversity of the will is to be overcome, and  the man to be brought practically into harmony with the law of God.     If you say yes, we demand of you where, in your absolute religion, which is only what man's natural moral and religious sentiments reveal, and which therefore is itself only natural, you find any intimation of grace, since grace is necessarily supernatural.    Is there grace, or is there not ?    If not, your obedience is impossible ; if there is, your absolute religion is not absolute, is insufficient, for it does not reveal grace, nor furnish it.
Then, again, what shall be done with the disobedient ? If a man fails in his perfect obedience, is he abandoned by his Maker to his disobedience ? If he recover from his disobedience, is his former disobedience pardoned ? You demand perfect obedience. Be it so. But a man who disobeyed yesterday has not perfect obedience, though he obey to-day. What is to be done with him ? Is his past disobedience remitted on condition of his present obedience ? Do you say yes ? On what authority ? Of the Christian revelation ? You deny that authority, and therefore have no more right to plead it when it is in your favor, than you admit we have when it is against you. On the authority of your absolute religion ? But your absolute religion does not go out of nature, and nature is inexorable, knows no remission. Do you say there is no pardon ? Then you leave the sinner without hope, to suffer eternally the agony of remorse ; and, moreover, declare it immoral for us to forgive our enemies, making revenge a virtue; for, if God does not forgive, we ought not to forgive. Are you prepared to admit these conclusions ? If not, admit, as a man, that your absolute religion is a  humbug.

You tell us to be good and do good, and then we shall be good and do good.    As if we were blockheads enough not to know this  without being  told it.     But what  is it to be good and do good ?    Love God and man.    Very good.    But what is it to love God ?     To have  a mere natural sentiment or affection for him, like that which we have for those of our fellow-beings we love ?    Then we are incapable of loving him ; for in this sense we can love only a being individualized to our senses.    Is it to keep his commandments, as says our blessed Saviour, " If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments " ? Then what are these commandments ? To love God and man. But this is no answer ;  for the love to God is in keeping his commandments,  in willing and doing what he wills us to do. There is no love to God, where there is utter ignorance of his commandments.    Hence, faith before charity, as the indispensable condition  of charity, till faith is lost in vision.    What, again, is love to man ?    Simple philanthropy, the natural sentiment of kindness and good-will ?    Or is it our natural love elevated above nature by the charity of God shed abroad in our hearts ?   If the former, we can love only those who are agreeable to us ; for nature cannot love what is repugnant to nature. If the latter, what are the conditions on which this charity is infused ?   What the conditions of recovering it, if lost ?   What light does your absolute religion, which merely says, Be good and do good and you will be good and do good, throw on these questions ?    To  be of any practical value, it should tell us what is good, good in all things, all actions, at all times and under all circumstances, good now and good for ever ; and it is sheer nonsense to call it absolute religion, unless it do this.    If it only answer in general, without answering any thing in particular, it answers to little purpose ; and if it do not answer all possible questions, both in general and in particular, it is an abuse of language to call it absolute.

You have here written, preached, printed, and published a whole sermon to,prove what nobody was ever stupid enough to doubt, namely, that goodness is goodness, is good, nay, excellent. Most grave and reverend teacher, why do you not tell us what is goodness, and how it may be acquired, on what conditions, by what agencies, means, influences, helps, human or divine, natural or supernatural ?    The world has always admitted that we ought to be good, that goodness is good, nay, best ; but enslaved by the ?flesh, the devil, and the goods of this present life, we feel a repugnance to what is good, relish what is evil, and neglect eternal good for that which is slight and transient. Here is the evil to be cured ; and if you are so great an admirer of goodness, why not apply yourself to its cure ? And be assured, you will do little to cure it by screaming constantly in our ears, " Fools, madmen, priests, and idiots, goodness is goodness,  I tell you. I, Theodore Parker, tell you,  I tell you, goodness is goodness, is good, nay, excellent."

But under all this lies a covert design.    Mr. Parker is not so stupid as to suppose  that these stale commonplaces and vague generalities are of any practical importance.    In his mouth the formula, Be good and do good and you will be good and do good, has an important significance.     So has the assertion, that goodness is excellent. What is the thought with which all this is said ?   It is simply, that all that is called good, or regarded by the religious world as important or necessary to the spiritual life, not expressly required by the law of nature, or revealed by our moral and religious sentiments, is not good, and has no relation to goodness ; and that the goodness which is by nature is goodness, and  all the  goodness  there  is or should be aspired to.    What he is striving to do is, to set up nature against grace, and natural religion against revealed religion.    This is the whole sum and substance of his meaning.    Hence, when he  says we should approach God face to face, he does not intend to teach that man can really see God face to face, but that we should content ourselves with our natural knowledge of  God ; and when he  discards the Mediator, it is not because he supposes we stand in immediate union with God, but because he would have man rely wholly on himself, on his own nature, and not trouble himself about any union with God, to which he is not naturally equal.
Mr. Parker expresses a warm admiration of the character of Jesus; but, if you analyze the matter, you will find that he admires him because he believes, or persuades himself that he believes, Jesus discarded all supernatural revelation, all historical religions of all kinds and sorts, and all authority in religious matters but the simple light of nature ; thus making the individual the sole judge for himself, by his own natural intuition, of all questions of truth and duty, in which he set an example
which every one of his professed followers ought to follow. In other words, Jesus was a bold, uncompromising infidel ; that is, in regard to all which, in his age and country, was called religion ; and therefore, in every age, the true follower of Jesus is an infidel, disbelieving what the age believes, and speaking out, from his own heart and soul, what he, by his own natural light, is led to embrace as truth. Here is the whole ground of Mr. Parker's admiration of our blessed Saviour, and this ground is altogether untenable. For the language of our Saviour was, " Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." In no instance does he reject the authority of Moses and the prophets, or assume that the Synagogue was not established by God in the supernatural and miraculous sense the Jews themselves believed. It is true, he supersedes the Jewish dispensation, but by fulfilling it; because he was the reality, of which it was only the type.

So, again, Mr. Parker's moral judgments are all founded on the supposition that true morality requires one to be always in opposition to the established order, whatever it may be. His theory seems to be, that, as soon as a doctrine is once fairly embraced, it should be rejected, and a new doctrine invented and set forth. He always finds the enemies of God and man in the friends of reigning doctrines and fixed institutions. With him, the presumption is, that the man who is a rebel, disobedient to all authority, and indignant at all restraint, is a moral man, a noble soul, and a true child of God. He claims our reverence for himself, on the ground that he has the courage to stand up boldly and arraign the whole world, and denounce all that the world has hitherto venerated and obeyed. In a word, with him, the noblest minds and purest hearts are those who scorn to obey. Lucifer rebelling against God and challenging supremacy with the Almighty is his highest ideal of moral sublimity, and the worthiest model for all who would attain to saintly and heroic virtue. It is not the glorious sun, nor the fixed stars that stud the firmament as so many sapphire gems, that attract his admiration ; but the vapory comet, dashing along, and whisking his watery tail in every sober planet's face. His glory is to destroy ; and despairing of constructing the temple, he trusts to be renowned for burning it. With him bitter is sweet, and sweet is bitter.

A great, perhaps the great, moral doctrine Mr. Parker sets forth is, that we are Christians by being what Jesus was ; that Jesus was simply the model of what we should be and maybe.     " The goodness   actual in  me is possible for all."- Relation, p. 18.    " Can Mr. Parker exert  a bad  moral influence," ask his friends, " since  he holds up Jesus as the ideal of true moral worth, and preaches that all may be, and should be, what he was,  equally great, equally good, equally perfect ? "    Yes, if he interpret the moral worth of Jesus to be  only that of a Voltaire or a Tom Paine.    But admit-ting he  does not so   interpret  it,  admitting  that  he  allows Jesus the moral worth ascribed to him by  the Evangelists, how  can he prove his doctrine ?    If  Jesus   was  what the Evangelists and the Church say he was, we cannot be what he was.; for he  was God, as  well as man.    If we  reject the  testimony of the  Evangelists and the Church,  both  of which  Mr.  Parker  does  reject,  we know and  can  affirm nothing of Jesus at all, one 'way or the other.    Waive this, however ; assume that Jesus was, as Unitarians say, a man ; how does it follow from the fact that one of our race has been what he was, that all can become the same, any more than, from the fact that there has been one Homer, it follows that every man may be a Horner ?    It would be gratifying to some of us, if Mr. Parker would undertake  to prove some of his great doctrines.

Mr. Parker is not only a great scholar, a great theologian, a great moralist, but he is also a great metaphysician. Natural things, he says, reveal the Infinite. " But they are to us only a revelation of something kindred to qualities that are awakened in ourselves."Excellence of Goodness, p. 4. His doctrine is, that the type of all we know is a priori in ourselves ; and knowing is nothing but a perception of the harmony between the object and this type, or, according to Plato, idea, in ourselves. Hence, to know an object to be a jackass is to perceive its harmony with something kindred to a jackass in ourselves. Proceeding from this profound axiom, Mr. Parker obtains a sublime theory of human progress. First, in the order of our ideas, is Power ; second, Wisdom, or intellectual capacity; and, last of all, Goodness. In the first epoch, men deify physical force, and worship a strong God ; in the second, they deify wisdom, or intellectual capacity, and worship a wise God ; in the third, goodness, and worship a good God. All this is admirable ; but where is the proof ? It has not one particle of historical evidence, and is nothing but mere theory.    Men have always held to the supremacy of goodness, and have merely erred as to what constitutes goodness. But what assurance has Mr. Parker, or what assurance can he give us, that he does not also err ? Is he infallible ? What is remarkable is, that the present age, more than any preceding one of which we have any record, falls into what Mr. Parker regards as the error of unduly exalting intellectual power ; whereas, on Mr. Parker's theory, we should be remarkable for assigning to goodness its rightful supremacy. The great objection brought against what we call the Dark Ages is, that they made more account of piety and good morals than of mere intellectual greatness. But, in point of fact, men's notions of what is good do not determine the character they ascribe to God ; but their notions, of God determine their notions of good. Thus, in our own language, we call both God and Good by the same name, not because we first conceive of God as good, but because we first conceive good to be that which conforms to God, participates of the Divine nature,  is Godlike. The nouns of a language must be logically older than its adjectives.

Mr. Parker denounces the religious world, in his usual flippant manner, for having contended for belief and outward worship. Yet he himself says, " JV*o doubt, there are two parts to the service of God,  Faith and Love within the man, Works and Goodness without the man."Excellence of Goodness, p. 13. 1. Here note, goodness, of which he so extols the excellence, is confessed to be outward, merely the outward expression of faith and love within the man. The chief concern, one would suppose, then, should be with the faith and love within. Make the tree good, and the fruit will be good ; and what else has been and is the strenuous endeavour of the Church in all her teachings, exhortations, sacraments, and discipline ? We should like to be told when or where the Church, or any minister of the Church, high or low, has ever taught that any outward service, whether directed towards God or towards man, was worth any thing, if faith and love were wanting within ; nay, even if faith and love were within, if not also the divine principle of charity. Si Unguis hominum loquar, et angelorum, charitatem autem non habeam, factus surri velut ozs sonans, aut cymbalum tinniens. Et si habuero pro'phetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia, et omnem scientiam : et si habuero omnem fidem ita ut montes transfer am, charitatem autem non, nihil sum. Et si distribuero in oibos pauperum omnes facultates meas, et si tradidero corpus meum ita ut ardeam, charitatem autem non habuero, nihil mihi prodest.  1 Cor. xiii. 1 - 3. This has always and universally been the language of the Church from the days of St. Paul down to the latest Catholic priest who has received Holy Orders, and is what every one of the faithful is taught and believes throughout the whole world. If Mr. Parker doubts it, let him read our ascetic books, and the most popular of them all with the great body of Catholics, the Dc Imitatione Christi. A few hours' study of the ascetic works of the Church will teach this man, who accuses the Church of being outward and formal, that he has not as yet taken his first lesson in spiritual religion, that he has never yet penetrated beyond sentiment and imagination. A more imspiritual writer it would be difficult to find. As a proof of his ignorance of the spiritual life, take the following from a chapter on Solid Piety.

" The passage from sin to salvation,  this second birth of the soul, as both Christians and heathens call it, is one of the many mysteries of man. Two elements meet in the soul. There is a negation of the past, an affirmation of the future. Terror and hope, penitence and faith, rush together in that moment, and a new life begins. The character gradually grows over the wounds of sin. With bleeding feet the man retreads his way, but gains at last the mountain-top of life, and wonders at the tortuous track he left behind." —Discourse, p. 151.

This is excellent ! What denies ? What affirms ? What excites terror and hope, produces penitence and faith ? And faith, penitence, and hope are in the soul prior to the generation of the new life ! O, go and study at the foot of the cross, and you will soon be sick of venting these pretty senti-mentalisms and rhetorical inanities !

2. But, note again, to the production of goodness, which is out of the man, Mr. Parker makes faith in the man to be necessary. Here is a precious confession. This* man, who has been berating the Christian world for insisting on faith, now himself is forced to own that it is necessary to the production of goodness, which he has been contending is alone the excellent thing ! And faith is to believe what we see not, and, as we have in a preceding article proved, to believe truth, and not falsehood. So Mr. Parker would do well to eat his own words. " If they [the Christian world] laid the main stress on real piety in the heart, that were well; for it would be making the tree good, when of course its fruit would also be good."  Excellence of Goodness, p. 13. Real piety, according to Mr. Parker, is faith and love within the man! 1 he main stress should, then, be laid on these, because that is making the tree good ; and if the tree be good, there is no danger but the fruit will be good also. Out of Mr. Parker's own mouth, then, we condemn him. He lays the main stress on goodness, and the design of his sermon is to prove its excel-lence. But goodness he says is out of the man. It is not real piety, but a fruit of real piety. Can he get the fruit without the real piety? Can a corrupt tree bring forth zood fruit ? Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? Why, then, does he lay the main stress on goodness, and not on the faith and love without which the goodness cannot be produced ? And why has he the impudence to misrepresent the Church, and to denounce her, for doing the very thing, which, according to his own confession, she ought to have done?

But enough. We have no patience to proceed farther. What we have said will show clearly enough where Mr Parker s true place is. That he may believe he is laboring; in a good cause, for a good end, though hard to conceive, is possible ; for there is no end to the delusions to which one is exposed the moment he plants himself on his own assumed divinity, and starts from the principle of his own sufficiency for himself. The principle of self-reliance, as they call it, but of self-sufficiency as they should call it, so loudly boasted by our Transcendentahsts, and which is nothing but Pelagianism pushed to its last consequences, can be adopted only
with extreme peril. It is the principle which occasioned the lall of the angels, its proper name is Pride, the primal sin, and mother of all sin. A man blown up by pride, lull of the persuasion that he has all in his own nature that he needs, is an easy prey to the devil; and there is no error so extravagant, or so absurd, or so pernicious, that he may not be led to embrace it as God's truth. Mr. Parker, therefore, may possibly believe that he is engaged in a glorious work ; he may look upon himself as a confessor, and almost as a martyr, to the truth ; but he stands in the ranks of the rebellious and the disobedient, among proud, conceited, and superficial infidels. He is doing battle for the enemies of God and his Christ. It is useless, by fine words and vague and circumlocutory phrases, to seek to d.sguise this fact. He is, to all intents and purposes, a rejecter of the Gospel, and he accepts no part of Christianity, save what Christianity herself takes from the ,law of nature. This he may, indeed, accept ; for this is common to all religions and all moralities. But the law of nature, though presupposed and accepted by the Gospel, is not the Gospel. The Gospel, properly so called, belongs wholly to the supernatural order, that is to say, all that is peculiar to the Gospel, or distinctive in the Christian dispensation, the belief and observance of which constitutes one a Christian. All this Mr. Parker undeniably rejects. He is, for this reason, what all the world mean by an unbeliever,  an infidel. Let him, then, be so marked and received. If he chooses to be an infidel, he can be ; so if a man chooses to be a thief or a murderer, he can be ; but at his own peril. As those who value their property or their lives give no countenance to thieves and murderers ; so let those who value faith and salvation give no countenance to the infidel. You cannot touch pitch and not be defiled.
Mr. Parker is dangerous, because the tendencies of a large portion of the Protestant world are in the direction he takes, and he seems to be but giving voice to what already lies struggling for utterance in the minds and hearts of thousands. In this fact is the secret of his popularity, and the pledge of his temporary success. And yet, in the good providence of God, this may be well. It is perhaps well that error should develope itself, and the inevitable result of false principles be fully exemplified. Men will see thus whither they are tending, and, recoiling with horror from the precipice, return to the Fountain of Life, submit themselves to God, and find peace and rest for their souls.