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To the language of your second position, I cordially assent. I shall take the liberty, however, to show in what sense I conceive that “ Christ's kingdom is not of this world;"--and this will be done, by considering the design of his declaration at the bar of Pilate; which will prepare the way for an attack upon your third position.
Christ was arraigned at the bar of Pilate, on the accusation of treason to the Roman government, Pilate, not knowing in what the treason consisted, commenced the trial with the interrogation-What crime Christ had been guilty of? whether he had directly or indirectly interfered with the civil authority, or made any pretensions, or laid to kingly power? The answer follows : "my kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews :" “ If rebel. lion had been my object, is it reasonable to suppose that I should have made no resistance?"_" All the authority that I claim is that of a religious teacher from heaven.” This explanation was perfectly satisfactory to Pilate, and he publicly declared the innocence of our Saviour. From this declaration of Christ, nothing more or less can fairly be inferred, than a design of Christ to establish a religion; which religion did not interfere with the
and authority of the Roman government; that Christ was no rival of Cæsar, nor wished for any rivalship: in fine, that he was simply the founder of a religion,
and not a political leader. Now, let me ask, how it appears,
any way whatever, from the bare fact that he is the founder of a religion, that civil government is opposed to his kingdom? But such is your inference; for you say, thirdly, we may infer," (from the first and second positions,)“ that the kingdoms of this world are not united, but opposed, to the kingdom of our Lord,” (p. 14.) You proceed, however, with further proof: “ If they are 'not for him they are against him; and if they gather not with him, they scatter abroad. They must therefore be at war with the Lamb,” (p. 14.)
Should you strictly take into view the nature of a converse, you would soon be led to the discovery of your error, in concluding that a want of union proves,
every case, a diametrical opposition. Can we say that the kingdom of Scotland, previous to its union with that of England, was always in opposition to it? Is there either opposition or union between the empires of France and China ? Yet, according to your argument, if they are not united they are opposed. The fallacy of your reasoning may be exposed in a different way.
The government of a kingdom cannot, in a religious' point of view, be considered as a moral per
It is a mere instrument or machine, in the hands of nien, under God, designed for the accomplishment of certain purposes. In its nature, therefore, it is susceptible of a use, either favourable, or otherwise, to the prosperity of Zion. The result,
then, of an administration, (setting aside an over-ruling providence,) would depend on the views and character of the persons to whom it is intrusted. If persons who are friendly to the cause of Christ are placed at the helm of government, it will be used, so far as that friendship is sincere, for the suppresssion of vice and the promotion of virtue. If the ruler's character is different, government in his hands might be, (if God did not interfere,) an engine of iniquity. But as the Divine Being the king's heart whithersoever he will, as the rivers of water are turned,” and makes even “ the wrath of man to praise him," I see not how you arrive at the general inference, that “the kingdoms of this world,” (without exception even of those in the hands of good men,)“ are in opposition to the kingdom of Christ,” (p. 18.)
But to return to my former ground. To infer opposition, because there is not union, is a manifest sophism. Are theology and algebra united ? Surely they are not' opposed. This species of logic is sound, only when used as our Saviour used it, to show the existence of a bad character, by the absence of a good one, in a case in which, from the nature of the thing, there could be no medium.
Your fourth position, or rather inference, is, that “ the kingdoms of this world belong to the kingdom of Satan ;” (p. 18.) and you say, in a note, “if the kingdoms of this world do not belong to Satan, then it was no temptation to our Lord, when
he offerred them to him,” (p. 18.) A production of this kind might have been expected from a different plant of a different soil; but, Sir, from one whose pretensions to religious experience and theological acquisitions are by no means small, it is as unexpected as it is surprising. Now, Sir, permit me to say, (and I beg you to take no exceptions at the freedom which I use here or elsewhereas a Christian I am persuaded you cannot,) that a doctrine like this cannot be admitted, for a moment, as corresponding with the perfections of God. The character of God is here arraigned; his providential government denied; a limitation of his general government advocated, and majesty and the right of control conferred on Satan ; a dignity which he himself never had the audacity to lay any claim to, otherwise than as a stratagem to deceive.
I am not less surprised at the manner in which you support this doctrine, than at the doctrine itselfI mean, by the testimony of Satan," who was a liar from the beginning.” We too well know that it is a leading feature of his character, to promise and not to fulfil. Let me refer you to the use of our first mother and the serpent. He said unto the woman,
“ thou shalt not surely die.” “ Ye shall be as gods.” An application of your new logic to this case, will set the soundness of your argument in a conspicuous point of view.
“ If Satan had not the power of fulfilling his promise, it was no temptation to Eve to make it to her.”
But how was the promise fulfilled ?
L" She pluck'd, she atem
A right of disposing of earthly kingdoms, was not necessary for the accomplishment of the devil's purpose when he tempted our Saviour ; for he had the power to present objects to the eye in a delusive manner, which
every advantage which he could possibly have had in case of absolute right of disposal. It was unquestionably his design thus to attack Christ in his human nature, in order to defeat the object of his mission into the world. His anxiety how he should fulfil his promises was not greater at that day, than at the present. Homage was his object; and, had he obtained that, his promises would have been easily fulfilled.
The fact is, there is not the least semblance of correctness, as I conceive, to be found in this doctrine. What is the language of St. Paul? Does he say that the ruler is the minister of Satan? “Rulers,' (says Paul, and I quote his words) “are the ministers of God, and for good.” Daniel The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." St. Paul says,
“ Christ hath put all things under him.” Christ says, power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth.” But you, on the evidence of the arch-deceiver, con