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he believeth not the record which der at, that he, who sent all the
other prophets, should send one (2.) He that honoureth not the more, called Jesus Christ? EspeSon, honoureth not the Father's cially, if all the use of his coming, GOVERNMENT, as secured by the were simply to tell us, that God was Son's mediation.
too merciful to do us an injury; or, If we deny the Divinity of Christ, that he would not punish those who and deny, or lessen the value of his ought to be pardoned? We have atonement, we must deny, or pro. most reason to wonder, on this byportionably lessen, the evil of sin, pothesis, at his being called the the importance of the law, and the light of the Gentiles, who, accordauthority, majesty, and infinite ing to the Socinians, is become the loveliness of the scriptural character greatest idol in the world! Strange of God. Thus we must detract indeed, that the greatest and plainfrom the diguity of the Lawgiver est of all the prophets should be the and moral Governor, in proportion worst understood !!!* as we do from the Saviour.
If Christ be no more than man, (3.) He honoureth not the fire and have done no more toward our ther's Grace in the gift of his Son. salvation than the Socinian scheme
If Christ be not truly divine, and imports, how are we to account for yet made some atonement, as the the stress that seems to be laid upon Arians suppose, we have far more faith in lim? Consider, when he room to wonder, that he should gave his apostles their commission, make so great a purchase, as the with what a promise, and with what salvation of the whole church; than a commination was it attended. He that he should give so great a price that believeth, and is baptized, shall for it, as his own blood. But, ihe be saved; and he that believeth not, scriptures always turn our surprise shall be damned. And how often into the other channel; teaching us are similar declarations repeated in not to marvel that God so loved the New Testament? Now, if be CHRIST, as to pardon innumerable be God manifest in the flesh, who sins
, for his sufferings; or, as to made atonement for sin by the sagive eternal life to millions, for his crifice of bimself; and if, without ubedience; but, God so loved the such a wonderful expedient, either world as to give his only begotten we must bave been the victims of Son, &c. and, he that spared not God's righteous displeasure, or the his own Son, &c. how shall be not law of God must have been dishowith Him freely give us all things ? poured-by our escaping its curse, John iii. 16. Rom. viii. 32. Herein and justice, purity, and truth have is the love, which is most to be ad. been sacrificed to our safety; we mired, not that God loved his own wonder pot at this edict. If faith Son, who always did the things that be considered as importing the repleased him, and who was so wor- nunciation of self-righteousness; a ihy of his love, nor even that he justification of the claims and granted us salvation for his sake, charges of the Lawgiver: a betaking but that he gave his Son to be the of ourselves to sovereigu mercy as propitiation for our sins. 1 John our only refuge; a cordial acqui
escence in that way of salvation But, if Christ be a mere man, and which glorifies both the government made no atopement, as the Socinians assert, how is the grace of God an
* See J. Ryland's Chard Sermon, 1794. nililated! What have we to won- P. 35, 36.
and the grace of God; and, in a which it is insinuated, that those
(To be continued.)
Civil Magistrate. to be condemned: if such points as these may be left undetermined, or if they may be determined in the To the Editors of the Baptist Magazine. way least to the honour of the Sa.
GENTLEMEN, viour; then, I own, its requirement An Article appeared in the must appear arbitrary altogether. I Baptist Magazine for November, can no more account for so much entitled, “ Blasphemy cognizable by stress being laid upon believing Je. the Civil Magistrate :" on this artisus to be the Messialı
, than if the cle I beg leave to make some obserlike importance had been annexed 10 the belief of any other proposi.
Mr. Rowe's Sermon at Warminster, tion; for instance, respecting the P. 21. taking of Babylon by Cyrus, and + J. Ryland's Letter to Mr. Rowe,
P. 34-76. his release of the Jews from caprivity, or relative to Jonali's preach- ference to either of the others which
This paper has been printed, in preing at Nineveh.
we have received ; because it is not anonja i bave read a Sociniau sermon, in mous.
vations, and rely on your candour cal " well-being of the community," and liberality for their insertion. and is usually connected with seri
J. I. condemns the opinion of ous injury to the individual who is those who maintain the unlawful. affected by it; the latter must be ness of prosecutions for infidelityt left to Him who has said, “ Venas a " popular mistake." I hope to geance is mine, I will repay." prove ibat it is no mistake at all; According to J. I.'s reasoning, and, I am persuaded, be it what it atheists and infidels, who “ cannot may, that it will become increasingly feel the obligation of an oathi," and popular.
therefore cannot be trusted, are not J. I. affirms that “this is not an fit 10 be members of civil society. ecclesiastical, but a civil or political But wirat is to be done with them? question.” Persecutors have always Shall we banish them from the found it very convenient to treat as country, lest, if they stay, they political crimes those actions which should commit perjury, and ruin have been deemed offences against their neighbours ? or, shall we wait the protected religion. This conduct till we see how they behave themof theirs has resulted from the con- selves, and defer punishment till viction, that a contrary mode of the crime is commiited ? It is not proceeding would lead people to difficult to determine what decision suspect that the religion thus de- common-sense will come to on such fended, was unable to support itself a point. If all were to be expatri. by fair argument: thus prophets ated who " cannot feel the obligaand apostles have suffered as male. tion of an oath," we should be factors—see Amos vii. 10-13. Acts frightened at the desolation of the xvii. 6,7. But Christianity disdains land, and strangers, passing through the use of such a weapon, though it it, might suppose that some direful has been employed with so much famine, or pestilence, had raged cruelty against herself,
amongst us. But J. I. does not J. I. asserts, that blasphemy " is seem to be aware that he is arguing of the same class of crimes, and is from tbe tendencies of actions; he so considered by the commou and wishes us to be convinced that, bestatute laws of the kingdom, as per- cause the principles of infidels tend jury and profane swearing :" and to falsehood and perjury, they are he
argues, ihat, if the magistrate is to be punished. But, let J. I. be10 punish perjury and profane ware, and let Protestant Dissenters swearing, much more ought he to beware, and let all Englishmen bepunish blasphemers. My mental ware, of the doctrine of tendencics; vision may
be dim, but I must con- it is a most ensuaring and dangerfess that I cannot clearly discern ous doctrine. If men are to be this supposed analogy. It appears punished, not for overt actions, but to me that perjury and profane for the tendencies of their actions, swearing, or blasphemy, are not then farewell freedom-our boasted " of the same class of crimes.” The liberty is gone! first is an offence against man, as a My opponent argues from the less breach of the ninth commandment; to the greater. He says, "Shall libel the others are direct offences against be a crime to be punished by the God: the former ought to be pu- judges, and shall the name of Jehonisbed, because it regards the politi- van be contumeliously reproached,
and his providence denied, and the What J. I. has written, does not refer Christian magistrate manifest do reto infidel opinions, but acts of blasphemy.
EDITORS. gard for his honour, por respect for
his government ?" I answer, Yes; Christianity made any alteration in
laws of England.” On this subject, there are two im Now, I inink, it may be easily living portant questions to be considered; shewn, that Christianity does not first, wbat is the design of civil go interfere, in the least, with civil government? Secondly, has Cbristi. vernment. It leaves it as it finds it, anity made any alteration therein ? with this exception, that ihe mild
As to the first, we shall generally and gentle influence of the gospel, agree. Civil government is a wise by softening the rugged beart of and beneficial institution, intended man, has led to the amelioration of for the preservation of life, liberty, human laws, and destroyed wuch of and property. It regards man as a the cruelty which formerly accomsocial being, recognizes his rights, panied the exercise of power. But, protects him from injury. But, with waving this, and understanding that religion it has nothing to do. The Christianity is “ part of the laws of magistrate is not to inquire, whether England,” we come immediately to his subjects are of this, or of that the inquiry, "What injunctions does religion, or of any religion at all; Christianity itself give, relative to here he has no right of interference. its propagation and defence?" For So long as they maintain peace and if Christianity be the law of the good order, and refrain from injur- land, that law must be agreeable 10 ing one another, they are to be re- Christianity. garded as good snbjects, whatever “ What saith the scripture ?" Let be their religious opinions, or even the advocates of prosecutions for though they have no religious infidelity, bring forih ibeir“ strong opinions.
reasons," and summon all their bibIf this statement be correct, and I lical knowledge to the contest. Let apprehend that no Protestant Dis. them produce the passage in which senter will object to it, the question the Lord Jesus Christ, and his aposbefore us is not a " civil or political tes, bave directed us to defend a question ;" it is purely religious, and spiritual religion by carnal weapons, must be treated accordingly. I an. to substitute a sword of steel for the ticipate an objection, derived from sword of the Spirit, and to immure the peculiarities of the Mosaic eco- an adversary in a gloomy dungeon, nomy. But are my opponents will. rather than to endeavour, by a proing to go all the lengths of their own cess of conclusive reasoning, to argument? Are they content that “shut him up unto the faith ?” But blasphemers should be punisbed it is needless to pursue the argilwith death, according to the Jewish ment further; I will only refer to law?
Luke ix. 49--56; John xviii, 36; The second question is, has 2 Tim. ii. 24-26.
A truly Christian government subject of morals, it may be neces. will be guided by Christian princi- sary, that the crime, which I have ples, and will use no other mode of contended is cognizable by the civil desence of those principles than magistrate, should be yet more Christianity itself warrants. Most plainly defined. In the book of cordially do I agree with our im. Leviticus, chap. xxiv. verse 16, it is mortal Milton, that “to uphold re. said, “ And the Israelitish woman's ligion otherwise than to defend the son blasphemed the name of the religious from outward violence, is Lord, and cursed:” that is, as may no service to Christ, or his king. be seen in verse 15, (O! the awful dom, but rather a disparagement, depravity of man!) “ cursed his and degrades it from a divine and God!" which is twice in verse 10, spiritual kingdom to a kingdom of called “blaspheming the name of this world, which he denies it to the Lord !" In accordance with this be, because it needs not force to description, I defined blasphemy, confirm it.” See his " Treatise of in my last paper, as being committed Civil Power in Ecclesiastical by those persons “ who had denied Causes." Works, Vol. I. p. 552, the being, and had spoken in terms folio edition.
of impious irreverence of God;"J. 1. maintains, that, in " discoun- or," who had publislied such blas. tenancing and suppressing impiety phemies." Our great lexicographer and irreligion," there is å "legiti- calls a blasphemer, “ a wretch that mate exercise” of the magistrate's speaks of God in impious and irreauthority; that is, as a magistrate, verent terms;" and defines blasphehe is bound to suppress impiety. my to be “an offering of some inThe Roman Emperors thought so, dignity unto God himself.” BLACKand, therefore, persecuted the stone, in his Commentaries, de Christians, who, in their view, were scribes blasphemy against the Alimpious atheists. We have been mighty as being committed " by accustomed to consider those Chris. denying his being or providence; tians as martyrs ; according to J. or, by contumelious reproaches of I.'s reasoning, they were criminals. our Saviour Christ:"-as, also," by Our Missionaries, too, if tbis argu- profane scoffing at the holy scripment be valid, must not complain ture, or exposing it to contempt and of bonds, imprisonment, or death, ridicule.” To this statement, that for ridiculing the heathen gods, In- profound lawyer, and constitutional deed, the consequences of J. I.'s writer, adds: “ These are offences theory will lead bim much further punishable at common law by fine than he seems to be aware. I have and imprisonment, or other infamattempted to point out some of his ous punishment; for Christianity is mistakes, and, by so doing, to coun- part of the laws of England." teract the injurious tendency of his For the purpose of proving, that system,
the laws of England, in respect to
J. M. C. blasphemy, are opposed to the laws Southwark, Nov. 18, 1824.
of Christianity; and that I have
acted the part of a " persecutor," Blasphemy not cognizable by the in attempting to shew that they are Čivil Magistrate,
perfectly compatible, is the object AN INDEFENSIBLE POSITION.
of J. M. C. in the paper to which
this is a reply. In order that a proper judgment As to the charge of persecution, I might be formed on his important hope to be able to prove, that it rests