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are those who are most forward to decry every attempt no examine or assert them: and that as a sense of their importance has at any time been excited in any country, there has appeared with it a corresponding zeal to maintain them against all adversaries.
Indeed, it is among the peremptory precepts of Christianity, to " hold fast the form of sound words,” (2 Timothy i. 13) to“ contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints,” (Jude 3;) and this—as appears from the following vesse-not merely against those who are without the pale of the visible Church, but against false professors who are within it. See also the praise and the reproof, that are dispensed to the seven Churches of Asia (Rev. ii. iii.) according as they faithfully discharged this duty, or treacherously neglected it.
Neither is the nature of the duty changed, nor its importance dimin shed, by the numbers who—under the semblance of performing it-have either contended for the doctrines of men as the truths of God, or in vindicating the latter-have departed from the spirit, in which Christians are called to maintain the contest. That it is a nice and trying thing to discharge the duty äright, I readily acknowledge, and desire to remember: but if this were a reason for shrinking from Christian duty, there is not one that I would ever attempt; for I know there is not one that I can perform aright, but as I am enabled to perform it in a spirit not my own.
But will those, who are so anxious that we should not disturb the repose of the Christian world (as it is called) with religious controversy, prevail on that world to give up their opposition to the truths of God's word? No:—the peace they would promote is a treacherous peace. The adversary is not idle, even when he propagates his errors most quietlv, or under the most specious form: and it becomes those who "know the truth,” not to be imposed on by his wiles, but to advance the standard of the Gospel, and maintain "the good fight of faith.” There must be a controversy between divine truth and human error, as long as there are any men in the world who oppose that truth: and those who desire Christians to give up the controversy, do but ask them to surrender their Lord's cause to their enemies,
Many professors of his name will be angry with those who disturb them, by the introduction of such topics. They would rather bave their unbelieving minds left to the uninterrupted enjoyment of carnal repose. "They could do well enough, as they say, ' and be good Christians enough, without being troubled with the truths of script.
The Bjo, to be sure, is all true; but then there are a great many things in it, which we had better let alone. Those who mind them too much are apt to get enthusiastic,and to become strange kind of people, thinking and acting very differently from the rest of the world; and they can see no use in 'contending about these speculative matters.'--Such sage observations are very common, and very natural from those, who really do not believe what the scriptures de clare; but at the same time desire to sail smoothly down the current of the world, in a reputable profession of Christianity. But they must excuse those, wbo do believe the truths of God's word, for asserting and vindicating them, though it should disturb their quiet. 1829
[To be continued.]
FROM THE CALVINISTIC MAGAZINE,
WESLEY'S TESTAMENT. We cannot but admire the wisdom and goodness of God, in causing the great system of Divine 'Truth to be reduced to writing. “ Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." And the will of God, revealed to them, is thus transmitted to fol lowing ages in a permanent and substantial form. Had the truths of the gospel not been committed to writing, but dependent on tradition for their transmission from age to age, how would they have been disguised, mutilated, perverted, and wholly changed from their original purity? For the current of our depraved nature is directly opposed to the truth of God. “ The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God.”
Knowing the hostility that exists in our revolted world against his truth, Jehovah has uttered the most solemn prohibitions against altering his written word. When he gave the law to Israel, be gave them this strict injunction: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it." Deut. iv. 2. To guard further against alterations which they might wish to make in his word, in order to get rid of truths which they did not relish, He gave this command: “Take this book of the law, and put it into the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness agaipst thee."! Deut. xxxi. 26. By the mouth of Solomon he said to the same people, " Add thou not unto his word, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Prov. xxx. 6.
So deeply impressed were the pious Israelites with a sense of the purity and sacredness of the word of God, that when they drew off copies to be used in private or in their families, they not only carefully compared every word with the original, but even counted the letters; thus guarding against the least error.
Equally sacred is the New Testament. - Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” In the concluding chapter of the New Testament, we find these remarkable words: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written
Jesus Christ says,
in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
Wherever the Bible has travelled in our benighted world it has grievously incommoded the propagators of error. It is a light, before which the shadows must flee. It is a rock, that breaks the billows that attempt to shake it. When Antiochus attempted to destroy the religion of the Jews, and bring them to heathenism, he ordered all the copies of the Scriptures which they had among them to be burned, and commanded that whosoever attempted to preserve a copy of the Sacred Book, should be put to death. The same impious artifice was put in practice by several Roman emperors, during their persecutions of the Christians, especially by Dioclesian, who triumphed in his supposed success against them. After the most
barbarous havoc of them, he issued an edict, commanding them, on - pain of death, under the most cruel forms, to deliver up their Bibles.
Though many complied with this sanguinary edict, the greater part disregarded it; and notwithstanding these, and numberless other calamities, the sacred volumes have survived, pure and uncorrupted to the present time. The Pope and his Cardinals, aware that the absurdities taught by the church of Rome, never could be palmed on a people who had the word of God in their hands, absolutely forbade the people to read the Scriptures at all. History records many interesting facts respecting the measures taken by the common people to become acquainted with the scriptures in spite of the power of the Pope. “Mr. Fox mentions two apprentices who joined each his little stock, and bought a Bible, which at every interval of leisure they read; but being afraid of their master, who was a zealous papist, they kept it under the straw of their bed."
When Wickliff translated the Bible into English, the Pope denounced him. But the people began to read the oracles of God, and reformation-principles spread with great rapidity. The Pope and his Cardinals kindled the flames of persecution; many of the followers of Wickliff were brought to the stake; the copies of the Scriptures which they had were tied round their necks, and thus they were burned to death. When French infidels were raging to drive Christianity from the earth, their vengeance was directed with peeuliar vehemence against the Bible. They caused it to be burned in the public street, by the hands of the common bangman.
“But Satan now, is wiser than of yore.” He finds that open as
saults on the sacred book, will not succeed. He finds that there are s
now more Bibles in the world, a thousand-fold, than there were when he commenced the work of burning and destruction. The propagators of error in modern times have taken a new plan. They profess to believe the Bible, but alter its language so as to make it teach just what doctrines they please. Our readers are already aư. quainted with many of the alterations the Unitarians have made in order to overthrow the doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the atonement, and other kindred doctrines. They have also seen some of Dr. Clarke's alterations. Bat perhaps many of them bave not seen Wesley's Testament, and are not aware of the length he has gone in making alterations, in order to prevent the Scriptures from teaching doctrines, to which he was violently opposed. It has been said that Wesley made no important alterations. Our readers shall judge for themselves. That Wesley's Testament has been carried through the country and circulated by Methodist presiding elders, circuit riders, &c. none will care to deny. And how mans families there are connected with the Methodist church, who have no other Testament than Wesley's, it is impossible to say. The copy from which the following extracts are taken, was published in New-York in 1815, by “D, Hitt and T. Ware, for the Methodist connexion in the United States." TESTAMENT.
WESLEY'S ALTERATIONS. Join vi. 64.-But there are some
Junn vi. 64.- But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus of you who believe not. (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they had known from the beginning, who were that believed not, and who should they were that believed Dot, and who betray him.
would not betray him.) Acts iv. 27, 28.- For of a truth," Acts iv. 27, 28.–For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with thou hast anointed, both-Herod and the Gentiles and people of Israel Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and were gathered together
against thy the people of Israel were gathered holy child Jesus, whom thou hast
and together, for to do whatsoever thyointed, to do whatsoever thy band band and thy counsel determined, be and thy counsel before determined 10 fore to be done.
be done. JUDE 4.-For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before crept in unawares, who were of the
JUDE 4.-For there are certain mes of old ordained to this condemnation, described before, with regard to this ungodly men, turning the grace of our condemnation, ungodly men, tummies God into lasciviousness, and denying the grace of our God into lascivious Jesus Christ.
Lord, Jesus Christ. shall take away from the words" or "the shall take away from the worden
Rev. xxii-any man book of this prophecy, God shall take the book of this prophecy, God shall and out of the holy city, and from and the holy city, which are writtes away his part out of the book of life, take away his part of the tree of life, abe things which are in this in this . book.
These are a few of the many alterations Mr. Wesley has made. Let the reader say whether they are important or not. Question 1. If Mr. Wesley had not been secretly conscious, that the
Scriptures as they stand, are at war with his favourite scheme of doctrines, would be have wished or attempted to make these al
terations? Question 2. If the Bishops, Presiding Elders
, and leading men of the Methodist Church, were not secretly conscious that the comthey wish to have it supplanted by Wesley's Testament? non Testament is at war with thc doctrines they teach, would
Question 3. Who shew the most honesty and consistency in the controversy between Arminians and Calvinists? those who loudly and roundly assert that the Bible as it stands is altogether on their side, and yet alter its language, in many important passages and publish large editions of these altered copies for their connection in the United States, and exert themselves to circulate these copies far and wide among their members? or those who are perfectly satisfied with the Bible as it stands, and lift up their
warning voice against any alterations? Queston 4. If all other denominations should follow the example
of the Unitarians and the Methodists, and alter and mutilate the Scriptures for different purposes, where could the humble, honest, devout Christian, find a copy of the pure Word of God, to rest his faith upon while he lives, and give to his children when
he dies? Question 5. If Satan could, by any temptation, induce other de
nominations to lay profane hands on the Sacred Book, and publish and circulate large editions of adulterated copies among their connection,' would it not throw into the shade, all his former schemes against the religion of Jesus, and cause the dark vaults hell to resound with the wild yell of malignant triumph? G.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN SPECTATOR.
LORD BYRON. In a note to some remarks on the character of Lord Byrox, iu the Christian Observer for February, there is a short correspondence between a Mr. Sheppard and the poet, which I beg leave to: transfer to your pages, with a single comment. Almost all infidels, those who have perplexed the world with their subtelties, as well as their more humble disciples, have at one time or other, in the course of their lives, given the lie to their professions. There is a certain feeling respecting “ the invisible things of God,” which is universal in our nature, and which, however it may have been produced there, whether by education, or by the light of God's. works, or by the more immediate agency of him who framed our moral being, lies too deep for any perversity of the intellect to eradicate, or any desperateness of the heart wholly to destroy. And when Christianity comes to be exhibited in its purity, and especially when it is made to “ shine before men” in the meek and unambitious lives of its professors, it finds in this feeling, every where existing in the human bosom, something like the evidence of consciousness that its doctrines are true. I do not say that Byron was an infidel; his impiety consisted rather in a profligate indifference to all religious faith, than in any settled results of a alse philosophy
The first letter is from Mr. Sheppard, and is as follows: