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Protestant Dissensions

Brownson's Quarterly Review, April, 1847

Art. II-  I. Religious Dissensions : their Cause and Cure. By Pharacellus Church. New York : Gould & Newman. 1838. 12mo. pp. 400.
2. The Catastrophe of the Presbyterian Church in 1837, including a full View of the recent Theological Controversies m New England. By Zebulon Crocker, Delegate from the General Association of Connecticut to the General Assembly of 1837. New Haven : B. & W Noyes.    1838,.    12mo.    pp. 300.

These works, published some nine years ago, may seem in these days, when all with our Protestant neighbours is in commotion and changes under the very eye of the spectator, to be quite out of date, and to have lost all their interest and importance for our contemporaries ; but if all with heretics is perpetually changing, all remains ever essentially the same. I hey are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth ; ever seeking unity, and never finding it, -uniformity, but always departing farther from it, and involving themselves anew in the same old discussions and dissensions. These works are therefore, in reality, as fresh and as important as if they were still damp from the press, and may well be made the text for a few observations which we wish to offer on Protestant dissensions, and appropriately drawn upon for proofs and illustrations of those dissensions as they have been manifested in our own country, especially by the high-toned and arrogant Presbyterians,  the most bigoted and the most influential of all the sects in the United States.

The dissensions and countless divisions, to which the so-called Reformation, by carrying out its fundamental principle of private judgment, has given birth, have been the standing reproach of Protestantism from its commencement, and must, assuredly, at no very distant day, lead to its total disorganization and ruin, unless some effectual means are soon discovered of bringing its discordant elements into harmony, or at least of retaining the soi-disant Evangelical sec'.s under their respective standards of orthodoxy. Aware of their position, and alarmed by the progress of this cancer, which, under every conceivable form of dissent, eats into the vitals of the " glorious Reformation," the Evangelicals, from time to time, have devised various plans of harmony and union ; but every plan they have been able to devise has, thus far, proved utterly insufficient to arrest the evil they deplore.

The arrogant assumption of church authority by the original authors of the " godly Reformation " was resisted by subsequent innovators, who contended that they had as much right as any to read the Bible for themselves and exercise private judgment in the investigation of truth, and that they were at perfect liberty, when arriving at different conclusions, to reform the Reformation according to their own views of what the Gospel teaches. This right could not be denied without violating the cardinal principle of the Reformation itself, and its exercise has led to the formation of innumerable discordant sects among its deluded followers, each professing to be guided by one and the same infallible rule of faith,  " The Bible, and the Bible alone." Finding, however, that the Bible alone  or rather the Bible as interpreted in Luther's Commentaries and Calvin's Institutes  was insufficient Jor the preservation oUke faitk once delivered to the Saints, of the Reformed stamp,  they had recourse to " Confessions of Faith,'' by subscription to which they hoped that both preachers and people would be held together in the bonds of peace. Vain hope ! Their confessions of faith being composed by fallible men, and confessedly destitute of all claim to infallible authority, were only so many ropes of sand. They contained different doctrines and systems of church government, which it seemed impossible to reconcile with the essential unity of the one faith of the Gospel ; and it became necessary, from time to time, to amend them, and, finally, to leave them to the private judgment of each individual, who, it was admitted, had a perfect right to examine for himself, and receive or reject each and every article, as it should or should not seem to him to harmonize with the " law and the testimony " to which he appealed. Under such circumstances, it was impossible to preserve unity of faith, and consequently the several sects were reduced to the extreme necessity of " agreeing to differ," not only one sect from another, but also as to the individual members of each, so long as they should hold what were termed, in general, the essential articles of the Christian faith. But even this expedient did not avail ; for they could not agree among themselves what doctrines were to be held as essential to the soundness and integrity of the Christian faith. Hence it came to pass, that doctrines, held to be essential by one sect, were set aside by another as unessential; and even among the Evangelical denominations themselves, there is not one in which differences and dissensions do not obtain respecting what are considered essential doctrines, and parties are formed under the distinctive appellations of Arminian and Calvinistic, New School and Old School, High Church and Low Church, &c. These sects and divisions create discord and dissensions in the Christian community, and not only disturb social order, but inevitably tend to destroy all faith in divine revelation ; for, as Lord Bacon justly observes,  " Divisions in religion, where they prevail, are the cause of atheism." Such being the lamentable effects and tendency of sects and divisions among nominal Christians, it must be to the Protestant a subject of interest to investigate the cause of these scandalous dissensions, with a view to discover a cure before the evil becomes irremediable, and draws down upon our common country the curse of atheism, with all its dreadful consequences. To the Catholic the cause and cure of dissensions in religion are so manifest, that he can hardly conceive how men, who have read the history of Protestantism, can be so blind as not to see them But unfortunately, the Protestant commences the inquiry by for granted that the foundation on which his whole system rests is sound and of divine institution, and he looks elsewhere for the cause of the evil which he is desirous to eradicate. But though he may discover secondary causes, they are of such a nature, that even their removal-were that possible in our present fallen state-would not effect the cure of the spiritual malady under which his system labors, except at the sacrifice of all the prerogatives of divine truth, and the establish" men oi latitud.nanan principles and practice, which would render divine faith a matter of no moment,-- a word of no meaning.

The history of the dissensions in the Presbyterian Church in the United States is, with slight variation, the history of the schisms and divisions of other Reformed communions in tins and other countries where they have prevailed ; and it serves to exemplify and illustrate the remarks we have made on the general tendency of Protestantism. That we may nm be suspected of partiality in our sketch, we shall avail ourselves of the author.ty of the Calvinistic author of the Catastrophe for our facts.

" The Presbyterian Church in the United States," says Mr Crocker " was originally composed of Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland, and Congregationalism, chiefly from New England .  The Congregationalists were, at first, the majority, and the two denominations united on the common ground of a belief in he great doctrines of the Bible, and of saving faith in Jesus Christ. This union was continued for a period of tweny-five years, without any written confession or form of government. In 1729 the synod of Philadelphia.....passed an act, not, however, without considerable opposition, adopting the Westminster Confession of Faith with the Assembly's larger and shorter Catechism as being, 'in all the essential and necessary articles, good forms of sound words and systems of Christian doctrine.' By this act, a declaration of assent to the Confession and Catechisms was required, 'in all the essential and necessary articles,' by members of the synod and candidates for the ministry; at the same time it was provided, that, 'in case any minister of this synod, or any candi-date for the ministry, should have any scruple with respect to any article or articles of said Confession or Catechisms...the presbytery or synod shall, notwithstanding, admit him  to the evercise
of the ministry,.....if they shall judge his scruple or mistake  to be about articles not essential and necessary, in doctrine, sorship, or government.' 'The synod also do solemnly agree, that none of us will traduce or use any opprobrious terms of those that differ from us in those extra-essential and not necessary points of doctrine; but treat them with the same friendship, kindness, and brotherly love, as if they had not differed from us in such sentiments.' .....

" Two facts are strikingly exhibited in the adopting act from which these quotations are made. One is, that diversity of sentiment existed in the members of the synod of 1729; the other is, that, in the exercise of a catholic [Protestant] spirit, they were ready to overlook minor differences of opinion, and make an agreement, in substance of doctrine, the basis of union. They declared, that l we do not claim or pretend to any authority of imposing our faith upon other
men's consciences ;.....and utterly disclaim all legislative power and authority in the Church, being willing to admit to fellowship in sacred ordinances all such as we have grounds to believe Christ will at last admit to the kingdom of heaven.' For nearly twenty years, the Congregationalists and Presbyterians, thus united, maintained general harmony; the exercise of Christian Catholicism [Protestantism] preventing serious contentions and unhappy divisions. A difference of vieios, however, respecting presbyterial order and ministerial qualifications distinctly marked two parties in the Church ; and so widely did they differ in sentiment and feeling, that there was needed only a sufficiently exciting cause to produce a separation.    That cause was furnished  by the labors
of Mr. Whitfield......The strict Presbyterians regarded Mr. Whitfield and his friends as ' ignorant and extravagant enthusiasts.' The other party, called the New Side or New Lights, viewed their opponents as  'Pharisaical formalists.' Animosities increased, until the synod of Philadelphia, after violent controversy, was rent asunder, and two rival synods were formed, viz., New York and Philadelphia......

" These synods, after remaining divided for seventeen years, at length, in 1758, were united. The evils which they had experienced by division taught both parties salutary lessons respecting forbearance and toleration ; but diversity of opinion on many important subjects luas not removed. The Scotch and Irish Presbyterians, and their descendants, in general, were Old Side still ; while those of New England origin and sentiments were New Side] and almost as distinctly marked as ever. These two parties... have formed the basis of the two great parties which now divide the Presbyterian Church. The Old School and New School are the Old Side and New Side,  the old divinity and new divinity men of former times. The nucleus of each of the present parties not only existed in 1704, but has ever since existed, the same thing as ever, and now essentially determines the character of the agglomerated mass......Liberal Presbyterianism, being of New England origin, and wearing the impress of New England sentiments, is the object of attack with the Old School party; and hence the present struggle in the Presbyterian Church relates primarily to New England opinions and influence. For the suppression of these opinions, and the removal of this influence the majority of the General Assembly of 1837 adopted their revolutionary measures. Here is found the cause of the abrogation of the Plan of Union, and the proceedings connected with that act.". Catastrophe, pp. 47-53.

These extracts show, that, though the Presbyterians in this country commenced operations, in 1704,with the « Bible alone " as its standard of faith, it was still necessary, in 1729, to adopt a  confession of faith,  with a  smaller and larger catechism. But as they " disclaimed all legislative power and authority in the Church," they very modestly agreed  not to " traduce or use any opprobrious terms " of those that might happen to differ from them in " extra-essential and not necessary points of doctrine."    As, however, they did not declare what points of doctrine were   " essential and  necessary," they left  a very wide margin for men to agree to differ on, without forfeiting their claim to orthodoxy ; but, at the same time, any point of doctrine on which they should happen to entertain different views might be represented as essential and necessary, and those who rejected it might be assailed and cut off from the communion of the Church, as  guilty of denying fundamental articles of failh.    We need not be surprised, therefore, to find that the Westminster Confession and Catechism, which they required the members of the synod and candidates for the ministry to subscribe and assent to, with certain reservations in compliment to the right of private judgment, proved insufficient to hold the members together in unity of faith.    It is true, we are assured, that, by the exercise of a spirit of " toleration,"  to which the Catholic Church has been ever opposed in matters of faith, and which to call " Catholic " is a gross perversion of language,  ministers were allowed  to put their own private construction on the articles, and expound them as they pleased, and no " serious contentions or unhappy divisions"  occurred for nearly twenty years.    Still there were two parties in the Presbyterian Church, "widely differing in sentiment and feeling," who applied to one another most oppobrious epithets, by which their mutual animosities were increased, and the synod, after a violent controversy, was rent asunder into two separate and rival synods.    The separation lasted seventeen years, after which the synod became reunited externally, though the elements of discord and dissension remained ; and, notwithstanding the « Plan of Union," formed with the General Association of Connecticut in 1801, the New fecnool divines and churches were finally, in 1837, declared by a majority of the General Assembly to be « out of the ecclesiastical connection of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and that they are not, in form or lact, an integral portion of said Church." *(footnote; * Minutes of the Assembly of 1837, p. 444.)

The doctrinal disputes and religious dissensions that prevailed, and, to a considerable extent, still prevail, in the Presbyterian Church, clearly demonstrate the insufficiency of the Bible alone as the rule of faith, and that a « standard of orthodoxy 'cannot give an exposition of doctrine which its adherents will feel themselves bound to receive in its integrity but leaves them free to profess or reject particular points, so long as they adopt the whole as containing, in substance, « all necessary and essential " articles. To subscribe to the Confession of Faith, with these limitations, does not restrict the right of private judgment ; for each individual minister and member is at perfect liberty to qualify or explain away any particular doctrine to which he may happen to take exception, and yet persuade himself that he has not rejected any necessary or essential point of doctrine, or set aside the authority, such as it is, of the confession of faith.

Acting on this principle, the New  School divines, while professing the most unlimited obedience to, and confidence in, the Bible alone," as  the  only rule of faith, deemed themselves justified in promulgating opinions at variance with some of the doctrinal views of the confession of faith, which they believed to be repugnanet to Scripture.  But, though neither the Bible nor the Confession of Faith designated any particular
articles of faith as essential, the divines of the Old School did not hestitate to pronounce their doctrines heretical, as containing fundamental errors concerning essential and necessary articles of faith, (p. 78.)   "The sentiments advanced [by the New School] were represented as Socinian, Pelagian, Arminian, pantheistical, atheistical," &c. (p. 87) ; and " a memorial on the present state of the Presbyterian Church," signed by twenty ministers and one hundred elders, was presented to the Gen-eral Assembly of 1834, remonstrating and testifying against the " errors declared to be held and taught within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church." (p. 93.) This memorial was referred to a committee, whose report, though opposed to the views of the memorialists, was adopted by a considerable majority of the Assembly. But, although the supreme judicatory of the Church had thus pronounced judgment against the views of the Old School, the minority did not consider themselves bound by its decision. They protested against it, and published an " Act and Testimony," addressed to the ministers, elders, and private members of the Presbyterian Church, in which they declare that they are constrained to appeal to its members, "in relation to the alarming errors which have hitherto been connived at, and now at length have been countenanced and sustained by the acts of the supreme judicatory of the Church." In conclusion, it recommends to the churches " to refuse to give countenance to ministers, elders, agents, editors, teachers, or to those who are, in any other capacity, engaged in religious instruction or effort, who hold the heresies which it condemns."  (p. 96.)

This document, subscribed by a numerous and influential body of ministers and ruling elders, was extensively circulated throughout the Presbyterian Church, and contributed not a little to create such an excitement in relation to the spread of heresy among them, as enabled the Old School to return a majority of the members of the General Assembly which met in 1835. By this means the decisions of the former Assembly, in regard to some of the leading points in controversy, were reversed, and the doctrinal errors, alleged to be prevalent in the Church, were pronounced to be of a u dangerous and pestiferous character." (p. 99.) The Old School party, however, did not rest satisfied with this decision, by which the sentiments of the opposite school were virtually branded with the name of Heresy by the highest judicatory of their church. They determined to suppress them altogether, or cut off the errorists from their communion. With this view, they filed articles of impeachment for heresy against the prominent advocates of the New-School divinity,  among others, Dr. Lyman Beecher, formerly of this city, who was tried on "charges of heresy, slander, and hypocrisy" (p. 106), tabled against him by the Rev. Dr. Wilson of Cincinnati. But failing in the end to obtain a verdict against these men, and to cast them out of the church, they, at length, resolved to repeal the Act of Union of 1801 ; to cut off the synods of Utica, Geneva, Genesee, and the Western Reserve ;   and to  exclude  the American Home Missionary Society and the American Education society from the Presbyterian Church.   Having a majority
the General Assembly of 1837, they carried these measures through with a high hand, and thus consummated that violent act which Mr. Crocker designates The Catastrophe of the Presbyterian Church. Thus "the Assembly of 1837 used is unrivalled authority m such a manner as to affect the rights, the privileges, and the opinions of a large portion of the inhab itants of this nation. In addition to the dismemberment o its own body, it struck a blow at benevolent institutions ;.....and it aimed not only to destroy existing relations in the churches under its care, but to sever the bonds  of union, which for many years had existed between itself and other ecclesiastical bodies, as the ground of friendly intercourse and cheerful cooperation in the work of spreading the gospel; no wonder then, that its proceedings have agitated the mass of the people' and produced an uncommon excitement throughout the length and breadth of the land." (p. 2.)                                       

We regret that our limits will not permit us to follow Mr. Crocker through the historical developments he furnishes of the nature and progress of theological controversy and religou dissensions among the self-styled Evangelical Orthodox in New England  which occupy the larger portion of his work.    They may afford us the materials of an article, if, at some future time,  we should take occasion to review Dr. Gardiner Spring's Dissertation on Native Depravity, which occupies so prominent a place in the New England controversy. Our readers will scarcely be surprised to learn, that the man who had the hardihood to proclaim, in the presence of a public meeting in the City Hall of New York, that he would Prefer Voltairian infidelity to Catholic Christianity, " denominates those from whom he differs least as Pelagians, and sets up his own individual opinion as the standard of orthodoxy." (p. 221.)

Such was the disorganized state of the Presbyterian Church in 1837, so bitter the odium theologicum and controversial war are which raged within its bosom, that a premium of two hunched dollars was offered for « the best tract or treatise on Dissensions in the Churches." This liberal offer called forth twenty-seven writers on this prolific theme, whose manuscripts were formally submitted to a committee composed of three learned doctors of divinity, by whom the premium was awarded to Mr. Church, for the work which stands first on our list, and which was subsequently published as the Prize Essay. If any Protestant writer be capable of assigning the cause and indicating the cure of religious dissensions on a Protestant basis, we may presume Mr. Church is the man, and that his Essay offers us the best and most satisfactory solution of the problem to be obtained. If his theory be unsound and impracticable, we may safely conclude that this besetting sin of Protestantism is incurable. That he was well qualified for the task he undertook cannot be doubted. He had previously disciplined his mind for this work of Christian charity by writing a treatise on the " Philosophy of Benevolence " ; and he had especially prepared himself for its execution by " long continued thinking and much careful observation." The handsome premium awarded to him, among so many competitors for the prize, by a committee of learned divines, attests his ability and the superior excellence of his treatise. It may be taken, therefore, as unfolding the best plan hitherto devised, by which the children of the Reformation may be brought into union, and made of " of one heart and one mind."
The arduous nature of the task he assumed, and the meagre prospect of realizing the object contemplated, seem to strike the author forcibly on the very threshold.    He opens his Introduction with this painfully humiliating acknowledgment :__

" The difficulties of the subject before us are felt by the writer to bo above what any mortal, unguided by divine light, can surmount. Nor, under any circumstances, can more be expected than the suggestion of trains of thought that may lead to" other trains of a more lucid character, and so commence the process of approximation to that most desirable state when all the family of God on earth shall be of one heart and of one mind. Nothing, in our view, short of a miracle upon human nature, can promise such a result; but the clear exhibition of those causes of dissension which all parties and sects have only to see to reprobate, together with those principles, the practical adoption of which, without interfering with any one of their present honest convictions, would in the end produce all the harmony that can be expected among imperfect beings. Bare exhortation to union, though eloquent and forcible as an angel could use, till some method is pointed out which will lead to it without contravening what different portions of the church feel to be sacred and inviolable, will be powerless and vain. To array ourselves also against the spirit and measures of any specific portion, as the sole or principal cause of dissensions, when it may, perhaps, embody as much that is pleasing to God as any other, would foreclose with them the success of our endeavour, would exasperate unkind feelings, and, though it might please, could produce no better results upon those who should be spared the lash of our rod. Besides, all such partial representations are not true in fact, as every accurate and can-did observer upon the course of human events must be convinced. Ine upas-tree of dissension strikes its roots alike into every division of the Christian world, drawing from each, in degrees more nearly equal than may bo imagined, its means of nourishment and growth."

As the Essayist does  not probably recognize the Catholic Church even as one of the " divisions of the Christian world " and assuming his statement to apply exclusively to the Evangelicals,  for whose special benefit the Essay was designed we will not gainsay the truth of what he here asserts.    Otherwise, we should consider it our duty to protest against his sweeping denunciation of the Christian world, and to show that the great body of professing Christians, included within the pale of the Catholic Church, are now, and have been for ages of "one mind and of one heart," on all points of doctrine! and have none of those differences and  dissensions  among them that exist among the miserable sects cut off from her communion, and who are commonly known by the name of the heresiarch from whom they derive their system of doctrine or church polity.    It is to these sects Mr. Church addresses Ins arguments and expostulations throughout his Essay of them he speaks at the close of the first section of his introductory remarks, where he informs us that the object he has in view is « to pave the way, if possible, for an adjustment of those differences among Christians [sectarians] which are so revolting to Heaven, so prolific of scandal to the worthy name by which they are called, so much a matter of triumph among the enemies of the cross, and so painful to every correct sensibility." (p. 19.)    He does not presume to indulge the hope of a speedy termination of those scandalous differences among Ins Christian, or rather sectarian, brethren.    He even leaves it doubtful whether it be possible to pave the way to the adjustment, at some future period, « of all their most considerable differences."    He has not a word of comfort for the « family of God," who now reap the whirlwind of dissension, as the natural product of the wind of false doctrine, sowed by their forefathers in their lust of innovation.   The Evangelical Christians of the present generation, he affirms, « must probably leave their carcasses in the wilderness, before one born under better influences, and devoted to holier and enlightened training, can enter upon the land of Christian peace and plenty. But though doomed to war ourselves," he adds, " is it any reason why we should not seek a more peaceful inheritance for our children ? » (p. 40.) Certainly not. Seek, gentlemen, a more peaceful inheritance than Luther and Calvin have bequeathed to you in their misnamed Reformation ; but the experience of three centuries ought to teach you that it cannot be found out of the communion of our one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Mr. Church's plan of Christian union, by which he hopes it may be possible to obviate religious dissensions among Protestants, differs essentially from the scheme devised by other writers on the same subject, who were as anxious as himself to organize an Evangelical Alliance, which should present the appearance, at least, of unity and union among the various Reformed sects.    Seeing that the zeal with which the several denominations contended for their respective sectarian  peculiarities was the chief cause of dissension and the great obstacle  to  union, these  religious  peacemakers recommended that those sects which agreed in fundamental and essential articles should « agree to differ " on all other points of doctrine.    This scheme of union our Essayist rejects, as tending to latitudinarianism ; for, he observes, "by making it appear that each party is bound to concede that all others are right, on condition of their returning the compliment, would be a learful stride towards the profane indifference of skeptical philosophy.   Moreover," he adds, " it would be a violation of the oft-repeated apostolic injunctions to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints." (p. 41.)

A more serious objection to the hitherto prevailing theory on this important subject, our author contends, is, that, even admitting its practicability, it would tend rather to aggravate than to remedy the evil. As to the distinction between essential and non-essential doctrines, he does not hesitate to pronounce it prejudicial to the cause of Christian union, and calculated to produce the most unhappy results. Our readers may, perhaps, - after what we ourselves advanced in our Review for January last,  be curious to learn by what process of reasoning a Protestant writer explodes this favorite theory of I rotestant unity, and thus divests his system of all pretension to that acknowledged mark of the true Church ; we give his argument in his own words.

" We conceive that the union of Christians can never result from conventional arrangement. Even should the denominations be induced thus to unite in the same ecclesiastical organization, and yet the present principles of religious inquiry were left unbroken and undestroyed, it would, like healing a wound with the core still in the flesh, only provide to have the whole break out in new^ and more malignant forms than ever. Nor would the secession of a portion of each denomination to form a union parly be attended with any better results. So long as the germs of the evil remain in our habits of thought and feeling, such a measure would have no other effect than to add another to the list of competitors for the popular favor. We have parties enough already ; and the addition of new ones, like bringing a corps de reserve to the battle's point, never fails of incensing the deadly affray.

" Owing also to our inability to iix the line between essential and non-essential, substantial and un-substantial Christianity, or to the want of those clear and satisfactory views of the subject which others seem to have obtained, we have omitted this distinction as of little account in our plan for uniting Christians. We apprehend that the work of distinguishing between that portion of the Christian scheme which is essential, and that which is not so, would produce very dissimilar views, and thus would incense, rather than extinguish, the spirit of dissension. Certain positions would, in the view of some, fall on one side of this line, and in the view of others they would fall on the other side of it, and endless war would arise about what is essential and non-essential.

" Not only so, but this distinction itself will be found to involve results which no Christian, it seems to us, can fully contemplate without alarm. Essential! to what ? To the salvation of a soul ? Is it the object to retain among the things which are essential only those parts of revealed truth which must have access to a sinner's mind, in order to his regeneration ? But who is able to determine how small an amount may contribute to this result ? If we retain only so much as was in the mind of that person to whose conversion the lowest possible degree of divine knowledge contributed, our essential or substantial Christianity would, we imagine, be compressed into exceedingly narrow limits. How few and simple must have been the inspired truths which effected the conversion of the thief upon the cross, and the thousands of others who, in the first age of Christianity, believed and were baptized^ upon hearing their first sermon from apostolic lips ! But even admitting such to be our definition of essential truth, how indeterminate must be our conceptions, since it lies not within the province of any man to fix the lines of religious knowledge, below winch a saving cflcct cannot be produced !

" And equal uncertainty will attend our thinking, if we make it consist in those points which are common to the Evangelical sects. To ascertain the points which they have in common at this moment would be a most difficult task ; and even if it were done we should be left, at any future period, in great doubt concerning the changes which the fluctuations of opinion in those sects may have produced. Our standard of orthodoxy, being the points of doctrine and practice which are common to these sects, would be subject to all the mutations which are so characteristic of poor erring, human nature. Such a definition of substantial Christians' ty would suspend the revelation of Heaven, and the last hope of man, upon the  brittle thread  of our own dark  and  misguided reason.

If we mean, however, by substantial or essential Christianity not only that portion of inspired truth which is necessary to the conversion of a sinner, but also to perfect the work of his sancti-iication, then we see not how we could exclude any part of that to which God has affixed the seal of inspiration.    Is it not all essential to the perfecting of the saints, to the edifying of the body of Christ ? Dare we omit any thing which God has not omitted ? If our idea of essential or substantial, therefore, as applied to God s truth, comes any thing short of the whole revealed subject-matter, it will have an effect to increase rather than diminish the obstacles to union among Christians, and, at the same time, will im-pose the hazardous task of determining what portion of that to which God has affixed his own infallible impress we must retain, and what portion we may sacrifice. We confess our fear of going an inch in this direction.                                                         

" But we imagine that the distinction of essential and nonessential has been introduced into this subject, either with reference to the opinions of men, or to the different degrees of importance which attach to the different portions of inspired truth Now, if it be applied in the former sense, then we say that all merely human opinions, or all over and above the meaning conveyed by the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth,' as legitimately interpreted, are alike non-essential, while the whole of that meaning is essential. This is an easy distinction, so long as we make no reservations for merely human opinions, and no exclusions of the inspired subject-matter. Or if we apply this distinc ion to the different degrees of importance in the truths dictated by the bpint, then we have only to say that the terms which we employ to express our meaning are 'not well chosen. Because one inspired truth is less important than another, is it therefore unes-

" But we confess that it is easier to show what will not unite the spiritual family, than to obviate the barriers to this most desirable object. Nor do we conceive it possible, as before hinted, for the ingenuity of man to devise any other than prospective measures for their removal. It must be done by turning Christian feeling, investigation, and effort into channels that shall produce an ultimate confluence."  pp. 43-46.

The line of argument traced out in this  extract differs but little from that usually adopted by many of our controversial divines, when combating the latitudinarian principle it refutes. But now that the erroneous character and  skeptical tendency of that principle have been exposed, in a Protestant prize essay treating ex professo of the  subject to which it relates, we presume Protestants, at least of any note, will not  venture, henceforth, to adduce it in proof of their absurd pretensions to unity in fundamental and essential doctrines, to which they have heretofore laid claim, notwithstanding the many important points of doctrine on which they differed.    Like the vain and almost impious chimera of an invisible church, which they invented as a plausible subterfuge when pressed to show where their church existed before Luther's time,  but which they have long since  discarded as an untenable position ; so we trust  they will  also  surrender this  imaginary stronghold  of Protestantism, when  they  discover,  as they must ere long, that the ingenious device by which they attempted to preserve the appearance of unity, where there was none in reality, has proved one of the most fruitful causes of dissension, and created a formidable obstacle to the establishment of Christian union itself.

The removal of the barriers that prevent the spiritual family of the Reformation from uniting together, and forming one body and one fold, can be effected, according to Mr. Church, only " by turning Christian feeling, investigation, and effort into channels that shall produce an ultimate confluence." Now, the question is, what are these channels ? As a con-sistent^ Protestant, the author is obliged to contend that the Bible is the sole medium through which the "primitive Christian conception," as he calls it, of " the truth as it is in Jesus " can be reached. But all Protestant sects have for centuries made use of this channel to arrive at the knowledge of the divine truths of revelation ; yet they do not agree in their views of the primitive Christian conception. Mr. Church not only admits this humiliating fact, but even contends that they have perverted the inspired sense in consequence of " modelling that sense by mental philosophy, natural religion, or human science, and determining what is from our ideas of what ought to be." The estimate he forms of the boasted orthodoxy of all these sects, and the picture he draws of the social evils resulting from their divisions, are worthy of note as coming from a Protestant minister.

" There is not, in our view, a form of Christianity in the universe that ansivers to the primitive model. We do not allude to the imperfections common to human nature of those who hold them, but to the principles and practices which are component parts of these systems themselves, and which a man must adopt, if he makes them his guide in matters of faith and duty. That so?ne of them do not accord to the primitive conception all admit; but every one would make an exception in favor of his own denomination. He believes that his denomination, or at least the basis of its organization, is a perfect fac-simile of the primitive model,  that all others must come and bow down to it, as the family of Jacob did to young Joseph in Egypt, before the latter-day glory can dawn ; and hence, he is fired with the zeal of an apostle to proselyte all other portions of the Christian world to his own measure of thinking. Thence arise endless wars; the laboratory of Christian thinking is made the armory of pointless and ineffectual polemics ; the press groans under a burden of controversial lore ; those woes of afflicted, ignorant, degraded humanity, which the Church is required to relieve, are left unmitigated ; the enemies of the heavenly kingdom make the welkin ring with joyful acclaim at the civil commotions with which it is rent; and the ferment which is kept up in the social state is most dismal and disastrous. And all for what ? Why, simply, to secure the perpetuity and preeminence of certain combinations of religious thought and practice, all of which, we pledge ourselves to make appear, are as remote from the primitive Christian conception as they are from each other. Dark and portentous would be the glare of the millennial church, if its model should correspond to the best of them ! "  p. 48.

It is here frankly confessed that all the various sects of Protestants are as far removed from the primitive Christian model as they are from each other, though they all profess to take the Bible as their only rule and guide in matters of faith and practice. To bring them back to the one faith, and "to secure uniformity in their views of the revealed system of faith and duty, two things are necessary," observes Mr. Church : " the first is to give the study of the Scriptures its due position in the world of mind and in our plans of education ; and the other is to conduct this study on those principles of induction which guide our inquiries in other departments of knowledge." (p. 54.) So it appears the Reformers and their spiritual progeny have been reading and studying their Bible for the last three hundred years without obtaining correct views of faith and duty ! Though learned commentators have spent their lives in the study of the sacred volume, and filled whole libraries with their notes and expositions, they have not succeeded in discovering the inspired sense of the oracles of God. They hardly contain a paragraph upon which different constructions have not been placed. Indeed, says our Essayist, " could the plain matter-of-fact men, who wrote the New Testament, read the commentaries on the text they furnished, which have been written in view of the modern systems of divinity, they must lose the consciousness of their own identity, before they could be made to believe that the construction put upon their words is the meaning they intended to convey." (p. 86.)

Mr. Church not only confesses that Protestants have thus far utterly failed to seize the true doctrine of our Lord, but he contends that they are not even in a condition to do it, and that the attempt to draw up a statement of it would only tend to increase and perpetuate dissension.

" We assume, that, as nothing has been accomplished for the peace of the Church by schedules of Christian doctrine and practice, so nothing is to be hoped from them in future. We therefore make no attempt to draught one of a more lucid character, which shall be adapted to awaken in all the same convictions. So far otherwise is the fact, that these pages assume that the influences under which our habits of religious thinking have been formed, like magnetic steel in a watch, disturb all the movements of our minds, and so give us a result somewhat different from the truth. And hence, should we attempt to separate the pure gold from the alloy in our forms of Christianity, so as to make a new form, to embody all the excellences of the old, and none of their defects, we should, in our present state, mistake the one for the other, and our extract would have as much foreign admixture, perhaps, as any one now before the public. Can any man, who is competent to judge in the matter, pretend that the forms of a more recent date have advantages in this respect over those which have been longer in the field ? Those who think it so easy a matter to disencumber themselves of the ten thousand influences which have sprung up, since the angel of inspiration took his final flight from our sphere, to corrupt the sources of our religious thinking, know little of the human tissue, or of the difficulty of extracting from it what has been so thoroughly wrought into its texture. The sub-ject-matter of the Bible has not yet succeeded to its due position in the intellectual world,-we are not holy enough,  our thinking is not sufficiently immersed in ' Siloa's brook,' and our passions and prejudices are too much enlisted in the existing parties,  to ad-mit of our taking in at once the whole primitive Christian conception, unchanged and unmutilated."  pp. 52, 53.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Essay is that in which the author sets forth the influences which disturb the Protestant injiis study of the Bible, and induce him to misinterpret it. The Scriptures must be understood, and in the sense intended by the Holy Ghost, or they are not the word of God.

" It should always be considered, that the truth revealed is distinct from the language through which it is conveyed, and must remain as inaccessible as if not revealed at all, unless we have the means of extracting it from  the crude elements of words, phrases, and idioms in which it lies imbedded.    The existence of an order of public instructors, in connection with the inspired economy, appears to have found its basis in  this fact.    It began immediately upon the return of the remnant from Babylon, when the Jews first lost the pure Hebrew through intercourse with foreign nations, and when they were cut off from all connection with the thought of their sacred writings, except as they were made acquainted with it by competent interpreters.    It appears  to  have been from this germ, that a permanent order of uninspired teachers in the Christian Church sprang.    Its establishment seems to have arisen from the necessity of some further aid in bringing inspired thought into contact with the mass of mind, than the simple record of it in one or two languages.    By thus regarding the necessity and the  intention of this institution, therefore, the people may learn what kind of teachers to select, and what to expect from them ; and the incumbents of the office are admonished to confine themselves, more exclusively, to documentary Christianity. Their business is not to originate or concoct new matter, but simply to explain so clearly, that God's own thoughts shall blaze before the public eye, and burn upon the public conscience.

" Our illumination from the word of God is exactly in proportion to the degree in which we enter into the spirit and meaning of the language employed. The cant, whining, and sanctimonious manner in which the sacred pages are often glanced over by those who are more concerned to appear religious than to be instructed, or who desire to be so, but mistake the mode, while it imposes on the weak and credulous without improving them, leads the more discerning, but equally thoughtless, to treat the Bible with neglect, as having no meaning at all, or none worth the labor of digging from the rubbish under which it lies buried."  pp. 176, 177.
But the Protestant, in endeavouring to ascertain the sense of the sacred text, is subject to numerous and powerful disturbing influences. The Gospel itself, though it often does produce, is not exactly adapted to produce, uniformity of opinion. (p. 71.)    It was not intended to do so, and could not.

" Nor could the Gospel attain the end of producing a perfect uniformity of judgment, either upon religion or any other subject, without induing us with the power of arriving at unerring conclusions. Before this is done, we must all seize, in every case, upon the same facts, place them in the same order, give each of them the same bearing in our process of reasoning, and that must be the exact bearing of truth, or the result will not be the same. In one word, our minds must be made on the same scale of strength and clearness, expansiveness and vigor, and this must be the scale of infallibility like God, or the end cannot be attained of producing between us a perfect uniformity of judgment "__pp. 74, 75.

The great difficulty lies in the insufficiency of language as the medium of revelation.

" Though the Gospel aims at effecting a lodgment of the same thoughts in every mind, or the same subject-matter, yet, from the character of the human understanding, and the medium of their transmission, we should presume that the saving influence might exist with very considerable error, confusion, and darkness &in judging of the precise nature of what is revealed. If language is sufficiently accurate for all practical purposes, it is by no means an infallible vehicle for the transmission of knowledge. It probably renders us more liable to false impressions than any one of our organs of sensation. This is true of a living language, as it falls from the lips of a living speaker, but applies much more forcibly to one that long since ceased to be spoken......

" But a dead language labors under still greater disadvantages in regard to being understood, since the meaning of its words can only be determined from the fragments of it which have survived the ravages of time. And how difficult is it to recall the ten thousand circumstances, physical, moral, political, or religious, from which the writer's conceptions took their mould ! How much of the force and beauty even of the elegant pages of the unknown Junius, who wrote in our own language less than a century since, are now lost, on account of the oblivion which has come over many of those features in the posture of the political world, or those characters and events, upon which he animadverts! It is difficult to place ourselves in his condition, so as to feel the influences which operated to give shade to the meaning of his language. And it must be still more difficult to place°ourselves in the circumstances of a man who lived thousands of years since, in a different country from our own, and in a state of society now so completely extinct as to leave scarce a wreck behind. And yet we must be able to do it, or we cannot be expected, in every minute particular, to do justice to his meaning. The ever-varying circumstances, therefore, which give rise to different combinations of thought in the mind, together with other causes, must have buried, beyond the hope of resurrection, no small share of every literary relic of antiquity." pp. 84, 85.

But besides this alleged natural and inevitable obstacle to a just understanding of the Scriptures, the Protestant approaches them not vyith a simple mind, solely for the purpose of ascertaining their sense. He has certain preconceived notions, certain intellectual systems of his own, by which he would interpret them, and to which their sense must be made to conform
" The human understanding does not admit of such perfect uniformity in interpreting any document, ancient or modern. There will be errors in different minds, arising from mistaking the proper force of words, from omitting some material item in their conception of the subject as a whole, from an inaccurate arrangement of the ideas expressed, from giving some too much and others too little prominence, or from other sources. Previous habits of thinking, also, will impart their own hues to every new subject that may arise. Let all the facts of the New Testament be spread out before two men of ordinary capacity, the one a pagan and the other a Mahometan, for instance, and the ideas which they would derive from them would be distinctly marked by the notions previously derived from their respective religions."__p. 88.

" Absurd notions of interpretation do much to close the avenues of the mind against inspired thought. These notions are variously modified by the systems which different classes of Christians have, from first to last, adopted. But in the general characteristic of assuming that the sense of Scripture is to be rested, not wholly upon the language employed, but upon the analogy of faith, or something independent of the laws of philology, they are all alike. Few, indeed, have run- these notions up to the same extreme with the neologists of Germany, who aver that reason alone can decide in matters of faith, that the authority of Scripture is to be allowed only when it coincides with our convictions, and that it is nothing more than a human book, ' in which noble and wise men of former times have laid up, entirely in the ordinary manner, the results of their own reflection.' *(footnote: Kant, as found in Biblical Repository, Vol. I., p. 122.) But just so far as we allow the system of faith which we have adopted, or any thing else, to influence us in attaching to the words of Scripture a meaning which they cannot bear, when legitimately interpreted, just so far we verge towards this dismal extreme. For, the moment we vary the meaning, in the slightest degree, from what God intended to communicate, we act on a principle which, pursued up, would lead to the wildest extremes.

" That no denomination in this country are willing to avow such principles of interpretation, we admit; but that every denomination is more or less influenced by them is the only fact that will account for the diversified systems which they contrive to extort from the inspired pages. Can it be supposed that God speaks to us in language so indeterminate as to admit of all these constructions ? Would it not be an imputation upon his wisdom and veracity to indulge such a thought ? That there should be diversities of opinion, to some extent, in regard to the meaning of the Bible, is to be expected from the constitution of the human mind and other causes, as we have before shown ; but it is hardly to be supposed, that the conflicting systems of faith and practice, which have so long competed for the public favor, could have been deduced from the inspired text, unaided by false principles of interpretation. How happens it that the millions of minds, who have first and last advocated these respective systems, should hit precisely upon that track of thought, in reading the sacred pages, unless some common influence operated upon them to produce this result ?

" Though all men, even with correct principles of interpretation, might not deduce the same meaning from ' the language which the Holy Ghost teacheth,' yet it is ^hardly to be supposed, that one or two millions of each generation should hit upon the same system of faith and practice ; another million or two should hit upon the same system, though different from the first; and so, that the social state should be split up into masses, according to definite lines of religious demarcation ; unless the same cause acted upon all the individuals, in each of these respective divisions, to produce in them the same habits of thought, feeling, and action. A uniformity of effect determines the cause to be uniform. Hence, the individuals pursuing each of these different lines of religious thinking and conduct must act under a common influence.

" This question being settled, therefore, we are prepared for another,  Whether this influence, in the case of each of these great divisions, is found in the Bible itself as legitimately interpreted, or in sources wholly extraneous to its pages?    And the very proposal of such a question, we imagine, will show every one that it comes from sources extraneous  to  the Bible.    That is, these different bodies of Christians are each under influences, in iudaimr of the meaning of the Divine Word, for which that word is not accountable, and by which their differences among themselves are produced.    If they have all drawn more or less from the Bible they have drawn enough from other sources to conduct them to' widely different theoretical and practical results.    And the individuals of each of these bodies are willing to admit this fact of those in the others, but not in its application to themselves     We think, however, that it would be easy to show that each and all of them, so far as they are swayed by those systems to which they have attached themselves, entertain unphilological and  erroneous views of the faith once delivered to the saints.    The reason is that they have all been concocted under influences, in judging of the word of God, which must necessarily lead to a distortion of its specific statements, as well as foreclose an impartial view of its teaching as a whole.    Hence, all the systems, which give to Chris-tianity its  diversified  forms in  every generation, embody, with considerable truth, so much foreign matter as to prevent the different classes attached to them from meeting on the simple ground of revealed thoughts.    Brethren in Christ, this may seem sweep-ing, and perhaps we err; but we entreat you to work out the problem of our divisions candidly and impartially, and if the data of reasoning with which we are furnished   from facts and  truth do not give you this  result, we must confess ourselves greatly disappointed.

" Each of the systems, whether that of Calvinism, Arminianism Pelagianism   or any other, rely for their support, not  upon   the Bible as a whole, but upon a certain class of passages and facts of which they take  such a view as makes it necessary for them to explain away, soften down, or variously modify another class of passages and facts that seem to look another way."pp. 177_ 180.

But we are exceeding our limits, and have room for only one or two more extracts. The Protestant cannot consistently take the Bible as the word of God on the authority of the Church. He is therefore obliged to rely chiefly for the evidence of its inspiration on its intrinsic character. But in the course of his inquiry he meets with passages which seem contradictory, and to which infidel writers appeal in their attempts to assail the authority of the Bible. These he considers it his duty to attempt to reconcile ; but the attempt, Mr. Church tells us, is often fatal.                                          

"O, could we read the fate of former adventurers in this region, we should doubtless find among them thousands, of the most Mattering early promise, who have terminated their career in vice and atheism. After searching long for the grounds of harmony and coincidence between different revealed truths, they have at length discovered the impossibility of succeeding; but, alas, mis-taking still the proper province of human knowledge, they have confounded that impossibility with the certainty that the Bible is false, and so have snapped the cords by which it bound them to virtue, and, like lions escaped from their cage, have gone to and fro seeking whom they might devour.

" Others still, being less competent to judge of the difference between what they know and what cannot be known, have fallen into the supposition that they had discovered the secret connection and harmony of these irreconcilable truths, and thus have given battle to those whose superior discernment qualified them for controverting their positions, and, under a pretence that Christianity itself was equally concerned with themselves in the contest have rallied all their forces only to make their defeat still more decisive and disgraceful.

" And in addition to the former classes, there is another to whom Christianity is too dear to be sacrificed on account of their inability to reconcile its seemingly adverse statements; and hence, the ill effects of attempting it are confined chiefly to the time wasted upon that attempt, the distraction of mind which it occasions, and to its influence in diverting them from more important researches and more useful labors. But the worst consequence of supposing it necessary to ascertain the grounds of harmony be-tween the facts of religion is its influence in incensing and perpetuating the spirit of controversy."  pp. 101, 102.

Is it possible to read these extracts, and believe that the author has any confidence in the Bible alone as an available rule of faith ? If we are to believe him, the very attempt to reconcile the apparent contradictions of the Scriptures and to harmonize their doctrines is time thrown away ; is to incense and perpetuate the spirit of controversy,  that is, dissent; to prepare one's self for a more decisive and disgraceful defeat, or for the plunge into vice and atheism ! What more could he concede to the enemies of the Bible ? What more ample concession could he, as a Protestant, make to the unbelievers in our holy religion itself ?

The " disturbing influences " he points out are inherent m the nature of the case, and inevitable. No man can possibly escape them in his efforts to interpret the Bible. The mind must be formed, before it can approach the sacred text as a competent interpreter ; and if it is, it will have its habits, its doctrines, its preconceived notions, through the medium of which, by a law of its own nature, it must contemplate whatever it reads. Only the new-born babe is free from prepossession and the disturbing influences enumerated ; but, unhappily, the new-born babe wants the positive qualifications indispensable to a Biblical interpreter. What, then, is the remedy for sectarian dissensions ? If we understand Mr. Church, his remedy resolves itself into abstinence from all attempts to form from the Scriptures a body of Christian doctrine, to take the Scriptures as they are, philologically explained, and to prepare, by doing good in an uncontroversial way, for understanding their simple sense, and being contented with it.

The great cause of dissension, he says, is in the efforts to obtain a body of coherent and self-consistent doctrines from the Bible. The controversy does not turn on the simple facts or statements of Scripture, but on the conclusions which men draw, or the doctrines they attempt to deduce from them. But conclusions or deductions of reason from revealed data are not revealed truths, and should not be imposed or regarded as matters of faith. Therefore, they should not be drawn, or, if drawn, should not be insisted on as matters of faith. But however valid this reasoning might be in the mouth of a Catholic, who has already a body of faith drawn up and imposed by divine authority, it cannot be adopted by a Protestant; for the simple reason, that he has no way to determine the revealed truth, but by conclusions or deductions from the written word. If he is denied the right to regard these conclusions and deductions as articles of faith, he has and can have no articles of faith at all. His belief becomes a mere vague belief in certain detached and incoherent statements or isolated and barren facts. This is evident from what the author himself says :

" And one has only to look over the history of controversies among the people of God [sectarians], to convince himself that a large proportion of them have arisen from enforcing uniformity upon subjects which cannot be so perfectly settled by the Scriptures as to produce, in all cases, an identity of conviction. They have oftener had respect to deductions from the facts of the Bible than to the facts themselves. The point at issue has not been, whether this or that fact is stated in the Bible, but whether this or that principle is a legitimate deduction from those facts and statements which are alike clear to all.    Take, for example, the controversies which have existed in reference to the person of Christ, (and who can estimate the extent of talent and labor which, from the time of Arius to this day, have been exhausted upon it ?) and it will be found that they have not so much regarded what the Bible speaks, as the use to be made of its testimony. Let a So-cinian and Trinitarian of common capacity sit down to the task of reading together the statements of the New Testament concerning Christ, taking them one by one, and their understanding of them, unless previously determined by their systems, would be very nearly the same. That Jesus was baptized of John in the Jordan,  that the Spirit in the form of a dove descended and abode upon him, while a voice from heaven proclaimed him the Son of God,  that he was tempted forty days and nights in the wilderness, that he raised Lazarus from the dead,  and that the words and works ascribed to him by his four biographers were spoken and wrought as represented, they would both agree. But let them undertake to make out from these facts what sort of a being Christ was, whether God, or man, or both, or neither, and they would be instantly thrown into the heat of controversy."  pp. 59, 60.
Now, what sort of faith in Christ is that which leaves it undecided whether he was God, or man, or both, or neither ? Does Mr. Church suppose that men will consent to be mocked by having that called a revelation which reveals nothing ? Can the human mind be contented to say two and two, two and two, without adding, are four 9 He knows little of the human mind if he does. The abstinence he contends for is impracticable, and would be fatal, on the Protestant principle, to all theological belief, if it were not, and if it were observed.

Nor has the author more to hope from philology. Suppose he succeeds in raising the Scriptures to their " due position in our plans of education," and has them interpreted by grammar and lexicon only, has he secured the interpreter against the disturbing influences he so well describes ? Who will guaranty him that the grammarian and lexicographer have had no prepossessions, no preconceived notions, no favorite doctrines, they wished to advance ? The character of the first edition of Johnson's dictionary of the English language is not unknown, and the Hebrew of Gesenius is almost another language from that of the Buxtorfs. Nor is this all. What will guaranty him the purity and integrity of the sacred text ? The text can be settled only by criticism ; and is he sure that the critic is free from all bias, and that his preconceived notions have had no influence in leading him to adopt one various reading and to reject another ?    Philology is, no doubt, well in its place ; but what it may do, when too exclusively relied on, we are taught by German exegetics, which end in frittering away the word into  nothing.

Mr. Church would have the Bible explained philologically, and its statements regarded as ultimate facts, which may serve as the basis of an inductive theological science, and this, too, as one of the conditions of union, after he had shown that drawing conclusions from its simple statements is the great cause of disunion ! Does the learned author know what induction means ? What is it, in fact, but the very thing he condemns ? But he is charmed with the boasted magic of induction in the natural sciences. He is a Protestant, and is bound to be so. But will he tell us what induction has done in the field of natural science ? Observation and experiment have done something there, we concede ; but that induction has done any thing we shall be prepared to believe, when we find a natural science, so called, that is any thing more than a mere hypothesis, or even when we find all naturalists consenting to adopt one and the same hypothesis.

The last resort is equally hopeless. Men by doing good may, undoubtedly, be prepared to relish the truth ; and our Lord himself teaches us, that, if any man will do the will of his Father in heaven, he shall know of the doctrine. But our Lord said this on the supposition that there was a teacher present to tell what the will of the Father is. Mr. Church adopts the doctrine, that do good and you will be prepared to know the truth. He must have holiness of life, and active benevolence, before he can be prepared to know the truth. But how, before he knows the truth, can he know what is good ? or how, without the truth, have true holiness of life ? If he can be holy without a knowledge of the truth, what matters it whether he know the truth or not ? Let him follow out the doctrine he lays down under this head, and he will find himself in that very latitudinarianism he condemns.

Mr. Church is, however, a man of ability, and these absurdities and contradictions belong less to him than to his system. His work is a complete and unanswerable demonstration of the impossibility of harmony and union on the Protestant principle. Harmony and union are, in the nature of things, possible only in the truth, and in some uniform and infallible means of ascertaining it. His work frankly confesses that Protestants have not the truth, and it sets out on the assumption that  it  is yet  to be  found,   and  that they must be subjected to a long course of judicious discipline, before they can be prepared to find it, or to recognize it when they find it. Uniform and infallible means of ascertaining it they have not, and the author proves they cannot have. Hence, he supposes it impossible to avoid mingling "very considerable errors" with the word. Why, then, talk of harmony and union ? Why seek for them on the Protestant principle ? # Why not boldly accept the scandalous dissensions and divisions of Protestants, unblushingly assert that they are grateful to God and profitable to men ; or else frankly acknowledge that Protestantism is not only a crime, but a blunder,that it has failed, and ever must fail, of its purpose ? Do be consistent. If you will adhere to the Protestant principle, do so manfully ; take it with all its necessary consequences, and do not try to deceive yourselves. Three hundred years you have tried your experiment; you have thoroughly tested your principle, and you know as well as ever you can know its practical workings. You can get no different results, unless you change one or both of your factors. There is no error in the process. Why, then, be ashamed of the results ? If your principles are good, your results are good, and should not be disowned. If it is good to sow the wind, it is good to reap the whirlwind. If it is good to sow to the flesh, it is good of the flesh to reap corruption. If it is good to serve the Devil, it is good to be damned. Do not be ashamed of your wages. Do not add to the sin of rebellion the disgrace of cowardice. Avow your master, and acknowledge yourselves contented with his pay. If you recoil from the scandalous results of Protestantism, blame not the results, but your system, and abandon it. If ye will not be Christians, at least, for the honor of our common humanity, be

Nothing seems to us more ridiculous than these efforts of our Protestant friends to effect harmony and union. Nay, we can hardly view them without a species of contempt. Yet we check ourselves. We, after all, see in them a ground of hope. They prove that Protestants are not wholly given over. They prove that they are not satisfied with their present state, and that they feel they have not as yet realized even their own meagre conception of Christianity. The late World's Convention in London was a striking proof of this. All Protes-tantdom is said to have been represented there, and, if so, the whole Protestant world there solemnly confessed to all mankind, that hitherto Protestantism has proved a failure,  a total failure. What else assembled that convention ? What other fact did it symbolize ? And is it nothing that universal Prot-estantdom should make this confession ? The fact is, Protestants are heartily ashamed of the workings of their system; and they feel, that, unless they can do something to secure a result different from what they have hitherto obtained, it is all over with them. They feel that they are not the Church of God ; that not for such results as they have obtained did Almighty God establish his kingdom on the earth ; and they would fain confer together, and, if possible, devise ways and means to become what they are sensible they are not. But, as says a homely old proverb, "It is impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Poor men ! while we rejoice that the consciousness of a need of religion assembled them together, we cannot but compassionate them in their hopeless task. They are condemned to roll the huge stone up the steep hill, and ever to have it come down with thundering rebound. Unhappy Titans ! why would they make war on heaven ? Wretched prodigal sons ! why,must they starve in a strange land, when in their Father's house there is bread enough and to spare ? They will, some of them, conscious as they are growing of their famishing condition, yet ask this question, and arise and return, and be welcomed as the lost that is found, as the dead that is alive.