Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

fered from us in the choice of a remedy for these evils. The agents of the A. H. M. Society have said, “ Let the two be united, let them become one in fact, as they are in object.” But the agents of the Board have said, “No, let the A. H. M. Society retire." Similar to this, if I rightly remember, was the doctrine of Mr. Russell, as expressed in the Synods of Ohio and Cincinnati, in October, 1829. He could not then deny the ex. istence of these evils, but when to provent them, I requested that the Presbyteries might be advised to become auxiliary lo both Boards, and thus reduce their action to one, Mr. R, resisted the proposition, and urged the Presbyteries to become exclusively auxiliary to the Board of Missions. How then has it come to pass that the Board bave so little knowledge of existing difficulties and collisions, in which their own secretary appears to have acted so important a part, and of which their own agents have been so fully aware? Have the secretary and agents failed to report these collisions to the Board ? Then let them answer it to the Board, and to the injured cause of benevolence in the Presbyterian church, rent by divisions, which it is far less important to conceal than to cure. But they are not and cannot be concealed. The Board are not ignorant of the existence of the collisions and difficulties complained of. Testimony sufficient to place this declaration beyond a doubt, was uttered on the floor of the last General Assembly, though much was suppresved; and the letter from the Presbytery of Cincinnati, to which Mr. R. was replying in the remarks now before us, is full and explicit on this subject. Why, then, are we told, in view of all this testimony, that the Board do not apprehend any serious evils from the separate action of the two general societies? These evils are already so great that they have disturbed the tranquillity of numerous congregations, Presbyteries, Synods, and the General Assembly itself, and have produced two great parties in the Presbyterian church, in relation to an enterprise, whose proper spirit as well as its necessities, call for united and concentrated action. If these are not serious evils, then I know not what evils, or what disgrace inflicted on the church of Christ, may be regarded as worthy of our serious and earnest efforts to remove them. For myself, I am ashamed of the divisions and animosities that now exist on this subject; and so deep is my impression of the guilt of these divisions, that I cannot cease to make it, as it has been hitherto, a leading object of my endeavours, to persuade these contending parties, to become one, that the world may know that God is with them of a truth. On this object“ my heart is fixed." I know that it is both good and pleasant for brethren to act together, as well as " to dwell together in unity;" and witnessing, as I have occasion to do, so much of the evils complained of, my fathers and brethren of the Presbyterian church will bear with me, if I use solicitude, and earnestly beseech them actively and zealously and without delay, to promote a result so much to be desired,

What measures ought now to be adopted, I do not feel prepared even to suggest. So far as the western states are concerned, I trust our brethren on the ground will be prepared to express their wishes to the next General Assembly, or that they will adopt other measures to secure that harmony of action so essential to the peace of the churches and the permanent prosperity of the Missionary work. In this way it is hoped they will exhibit an example of union which will constrain the churches of the older States to cease from those divisions, which have already impressed upon the action of their be. nevolence so deep a stain of opprobriurn, in the face of the world.

I have now said all that I deem necessary to publish in reply to Mr. Russell's letter to the Presbytery of Cincinnati. Having, at the commencement of these communicatione, expressed the niotives with which I felt constrained to enter upon this discussion, I need only add that most of the disclosures which I have made, have been as painful to myself as they will be to every christian reader. I have also followed out some comparisons between the A. H. M. Society and the Board of Missions, which I would gladly have avoided, had they not been introduced, in the letter under review, in such a manner as to render them necessary to the perfection of my reply. I have however endeavoured to keep my own heart with all diligence, and to feel that I was writing not for a party, but for the cause of the Prince of Peace. Peace and union are my object, while I have fell that my brethren generally could not appreciate the necessity of efforts to effect such a result, without a knowledge of facts in relation to existing and apprehended evils.These facts I have endeavoured to exhibit fearlessly and without reserve, as far as they have appeared to be necessary. I now leave them before the public, and commend them to the prayerful deliberation of the western churches, and to the over-ruling providence of God, while I repose in the confident assurance that“ truth is great and will prevail.

With a deep seuse of my unworthiness to have been the advocate of such a cause, I remain the friend and brother of all them that "pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

ABSALOM PETERS, New York, Jan. 5, 1831.

TRUE AND COMPLETE

NARRATIVE

OF

ALL THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE PHILADELPHIA PRESBYTERY,

AND OF THE PHILADELPHIA SYNOD,

IN RELATION TO THE CASE OF THE

REV. ALBERT BARNES.

Errores, qui non refelluntur probari videntur; gangrænæ enim sunt, quas irritant, non curant, blandiora remedia."

Not to refute error, is virtually to approve it; for it is a gangrene which mild remedies aggravate, but do not cure.

487
PHILADELPHIA :
Printed by Russell f. Martien, No. 224 Walnut Street.

[ocr errors]

General Agent of that Board, were members of the minority!* Arguments of this class, however they might indicate the policy, certainly did little credit to the understandings of those who broached them. They doubtless produced an effect upon some minds: it soon became apparent that there was a popular and an unpopular side to the question, and those who were unwilling to encounter reproach, and submit to misrepresentation, had their resort.

The motion was at length put to the house, “Shall the commissioners have leave to prosecute the call ?" and it was carried in the affirmative, by a vote of twenty-one to twelve. The minority then recorded the following Protest, and the Presbytery adjourned.

PROTEST. We, the minority in the above case, do hereby protest against the foregoing decision for the reasons following, viz:

The Rev. Albert Barnes, the person to whom the call from the Frist Presbyterian Church was directed, in a Sermon preached, and lately published by him accompanied by notes, which he has entitled " The Way of Salvation," and in which he professes to give the leading doctrines of the Bible, respecting God's way of saving men," has, as we conceive, broached errors, which we, as guardians of the purity of the Church, cannot, in any way, countenance; because we believe them to be opposed to the doctrinal standards of the Presbyterian Church, and in their tendency, exceedingly dangerous; as will be seen from the following particulars, viz.

1. It is believed by the undersigned that the Rev. Mr. Barnes has denied in this Sermon, with its accompanying notes, the fundamental doctrine of original sin, as plainly and expressly taught in the standards of our Church. So far from admitting the federal and representative character of Adam, and our responsibility, in him, he says at page 6, “Christianity does not charge on men crimes of which they are not guilty. It does not say, as I suppose, that the sinner is held to be personally answerable for the transgressions of Adam or of any other man, or that God has given a law which man has no power to obey. Such a charge and such a requirement would be most clearly unjust.” And again, at page 7, he says, “neither the facts,

* We had regarded this as an idle threat, incautiously uttered, but we have since learned that an individual of that congregation, who had pledged himself in the 100 dollar subscription, has since declined to redeem his pledge!

Mr. Russell, from his former associations, was well qualified to engage in this debate, and expose the dangerous speculations of the new school divinity. This he did with much force and ability, and this, we are glad to say, he continued to do, although reminded that a calculating policy would best subserve his official success in the management of the Assembly’s Missions,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

nor any proper inference from the facts, affirm that I am in either case personally responsible for what another man did before I had an existence." Again, in the same page, he asserts, that the notion of imputing sin is an invention of modern times.And again, in the same page, he

says, “Christianity affirms the fact, that in connexion with the sin of Adam, or as a result, all moral agents will sin and sinning will die;" and then proceeds to say, “ It does not affirm, however, any thing about the mode in which this would be done.

There are many ways conceivable in which that sin might secure the result, as there are many ways in which all similar facts may be explained. The drunkard commonly secures as a result, the fact that his family will be beggared, illiterate, perhaps profane or intemperate. Both facts are evidently to be explained on the same principle as a part of moral government.” Here, it is conceived, the author of the Sermon represents the effects of Adam's fall upon his posterity as their misfortune and not as their sin. And the Protestants do further consider it to be implied in the statements of the Sermon, that infants are sinless until in the exercise of moral agency they do positively, by their own act, violate the law. Vide Con. of Faith, cap. vi. and Catechism Larger and Shorter, on Art. “ Original Sin.”

2. On the doctrine of the Atonement, the Protestants believe that Mr. Barnes maintains sentiments which are in direct contradiction to those set forth in our doctrinal standards. At page he says,

- This atonement was for all men. It was an offering made for the race. It had not respect so much to individuals as to the law and perfections of God. It was an opening of the way of pardon, a making forgiveness consistent, a preserving of truth, a magnifying of the law, and had no particular reference to any class of men."

Again, at page 11, he says, "The atonement of itself secured the salvation of no one;" and again, “ The atonement secured the salvation of no one, except as God had promised his Son that he should see of the travail of his soul, and except on the condition of repentance and faith.” Vide Con. of Faith, cap. viii. 5 and 8.

Again, at page 10, he says Christ“ did not endure indeed the penalty of the law;" and again, page 11, he says, “Christ's sufferings were severe, more severe than those of any mortal before or since; but they bore, as far as we can see, only a very distant resemblance to the pains of hell, the proper penalty of the law. Nor is it possible to conceive that the sufferings of a few hours, however severe, could equal pains, though far less intense, eternally prolonged. Still less that the sufferings of human nature, in a single instance, for the divine nature could not suffer, should be equal to the eternal pain of many millions.” Vide Larger Cat. Q. 38.

In all this language the Protestants do sincerely believe, that Mr. Barnes denics that Jesus Christ was a vicarious sacri

11,

fice that his atonement had a definite design--that it was in itself efficacious—and that it was a proper satisfaction to divine justice for the sins of his elect.

3. In this Sermon, the Protestants believe that Mr. Barnes employs language on the subject of man's ability, which is contrary to the standards of our Church.

In speaking of sinners rejecting the Gospel, he says, page 14, “It is not to any want of physical strength, that this rejection is owing, for men have power enough in themselves to hate both God and their fellow men, and it requires less physical power to love God than to hate him ;” and on the same page, he evidently insinuates that man's sole inability is in the will, and the principal effect of conversion upon the will. Again, page 30, in speaking of the causes which exclude a sinner from heaven, he says, It is simply because you will not be saved." The Protestants believe that to ascribe man's inability to the will alone, is contrary to the doctrine of our Church. Vide Con: of Faith; cap. vi. 4.

In addition to the foregoing reasons founded on the doctrinal errors advanced in the Sermon, we protest also, because,

1. In the forecited Sermon, professing to give a summary of leading doctrines relating to man's salvation, no mention whatever is made of the doctrine of justification by faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ, a defect, which, under the circumstances, cannot well be accounted for, except on the supposition that it was not received by the author; and,

2. Because the author of the Sermon makes certain general declarations which induce us to believe, that he does not properly regard his obligation to adhere to the doctrinal standards of the Presbyterian Church. Thus, at page 6, he saysvin relation to one of his statements, “It is not denied that this language varies from the statements which are often made on this subject, and from the opinion which has been entertained by many. And it is admitted that it does not accord with that used on the same subject in the Confession of Faith and other standards of doctrine.” And, again at page 12, he says, “The great principle on which the author supposes the truths of religion are to be preached, and on which he endeavours to act, is, that the Bible is to be interpreted by all the honest helps within the reach of the preacher, and then proclaimed as it is, let it lead where it will within or without the circumference of any arrangement of doctrines. He is supposed to be responsible not at all for its impinging on any theological system; nor is he to be cramped by any frame-work of faith that has been reared around the Bible."

And we do hereby further protest against the forementioned decision, because,

1. We believe, for the reasons stated above, that the decision

« AnteriorContinuar »