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contrary, much, very much may be accomplished; if every individual will but resolve to do bis part and reform one. This surely is little to require from a patriot, but it is all that is necessary, to make Britain a happier country than it has ever been; and let not a hundred, or ten, or five, defer the attempt, because they do not know of a million pursuing the same plan. It may likewise be urged that this will be more feasible, when our wishes are accomplished on all the important questions which will be discussed by the new Parliament; but why allow a certain benefit to depend on an event, over which we have no immediate control. Most assuredly, all the advantages of the Reform Bill contemplated by all politicians never will be realized; let each then do what he can to ameliorate his own condition, and to cause the brow of care to relax, the smile of peace to beam afresh, and bomeborn joys to bloom with greater beauty and increased luxuriance.

But though some may be ready to grant that this plan may considerably augment domestic happiness, they may be inclined to dispute its efficacy in redressing public grievances. It may be urged, it will not lessen our taxation, it will not relieve us of tithes and teinds, it will not do away with the English poor laws. Yes, we confidently answer, it may in time do all this; it would relieve us of oppressive taxes, for public men would learn to keep a conscience; economy would be practised; sinecures would be abolished. The system of tithes and teiods would be abolished; every sect would be required to support its own ministers, and no individual, when he feels that he is a moral and accountable being, an heir of immortality, would grudgingly contribute his aid towards rewarding, and liberally rewarding too, those who have duties to perform, the most important to the temporal and eternal welfare of all mankind; whose blessed office it is, “ to point the path to heaven, and lead the way.” The English poor laws likewise would be abrogated, for if men were to practise selfreform, they would learn to respect themselves and others; measures would be adopted to promote general happiness, and the industrious would then be supported by their own labour, instead of starving as paupers, and becoming the degraded recipients of a weekly pittance wrung from the hard-earned store of those, but little raised above them in the scale of society.

Allow me to conclude, Mr. Editor, with expressing a hope, that many a reader of the Pioneer, will, in the sense here proposed, be willing to subscribe himself,


The Evidences of Christianity. By William Ellery

Channing, D.D.

(Extracted from a Volume of Discourses, lately published by the admira

ble Author, and dedicated to the Religious Society in Boston, Massachussets, of which he is one of the Ministers. ]

ROMANS i. 16: I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. These words of Paul are worthy of his resolute and disinterested spirit. In uttering them, he was not an echo of the multitude, a servile repeater of established doctrines. The vast majority around him were ashamed of Jesus. The cross was then coupled with infamy. Christ's name was scorned as a malefactor's, and to profess his religion was to share his disgrace. Since that time, what striking changes have occurred! The cross now hangs as an ornament from the neck of beauty. It is blazoned on the flags of navies and the standards of armies. Millions bow before it in adoration, as if it were a shrine of the divinity. Of course, the temptation to be ashamed of Jesus is very much diminished. Still it is not wholly removed. Much of the homage now paid to Christianity is outward, political, worldly, and paid to its corruptions much more than to its pure and lofty spirit; and accordingly, its conscientious and intrepid friends must not think it a strange thing to be encountered with occasional coldness or reproach. We may still be tempted to be ashamed of our religion, by being thrown among sceptics who deny and deride it. We may be tempted to be ashamed of the simple and rational doctrines of Christ, by being brought into connexion with narrow zealots, who enforce their dark and perhaps degrading peculiarities as essential to salvation. We may be tempted to be ashamed of his pure, meek, and disinterested precepts, by being thrown among the licentious, self-seeking, and vindictive. Against these perils we should all go armed. To be loyal to truth and conscience under such trials, is one of the signal proofs of virtue. No man deserves the name of Christian, but he who adheres to his principles amidst the unbeliev. ing, the intolerant, and the depraved.

you; and

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” So said Paul. So would I say. Would to God that I could catch the spirit as well as the language of the Apostle, and bear my testimony to Christianity with the same beroic resolution. Do any ask, why I join this attestation to the gospel? Some of my reasons I propose now to set before in doing so, I ask the privilege of speaking as the Apostle has done, in the first person; of speaking in my own name, and of laying open my own mind in the most direct language. There are cases in which the ends of public discourse may be best answered by the frank expression of individual feeling; and this mode of address, when adopted with such views, ought not to be set down to the account of egotism.

I proceed to state the reasons why I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and I begin with one so important, that it will occupy


present discourse. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, because it is true. This is my first reason. The religion is true, and no consideration but this could induce me to defend it. I adopt it, not because it is popular, for false and ruinous systems have enjoyed equal reputation; nor because it is thought to uphold the order of society, for I believe that nothing but truth can be permanently useful. It is true, and I say this not lightly, but after deliberate examination. I am not repeating the accents of the nursery. I do not affirm the truth of Christianity, because I was so taught before I could inquire, or because I was brought up in a community pledged to this belief. It is not unlikely that my faith and zeal will be traced by some to these sources, and believing such imputations to be groundless, fidelity to the cause of truth binds me to repel them. The circumstance of having been born and educated under Christianity, so far from disposing me to implicit faith, has often been to me the occasion of serious distrust of our religion. On observing how common it is for men of all countries and names, whether Christians, Jews, or Mahometans, to receive the religion of their fathers, I have again and again asked myself, whether I too was not a slave? whether I too was not blindly walking in the path of tradition, and yielding myself as passively as others to an hereditary faith? I distrust and fear the power of numbers and of general opinion over my judgment; and few things incite me more to repel a doctrine, than intol

erant attempts to force it on my understanding. Perhaps my Christian education and connexions have inclined me to scepticism, rather than bowed my mind to authority.

It may still be said, that the pride and prejudices and motives of interest, which belong to my profession as a Christian minister, throw a suspiciousness over my reasoning and judgment on the present subject. I reply, that to myself I seem as free from biasses of this kind, as the most indifferent person. I have no priestly prepossessions. I know and acknowledge the corruptions and perversions of the ministerial office, from the earliest age of the church. I reprobate the tyranny wbich it exercises so often over the human mind. I recognise no peculiar sanctity in those who sustain it. I think, then, that I come to the examination of Christianity, with as few blinding partialities as any man.

I indeed claim no exemption from error; I ask no implicit faith in my conclusions; I care not how jealously and thoroughly my arguments are sifted. I only ask that I may not be prejudged as a servile or interested partizan of Christianity. I ask that I may be heard as a friend of truth, desirous to aid my fellow-creatures in determining a question of great and universal concern. I appear as the advocate of Christianity, solely because it approves itself to my calmest reason, as a revelation from God, and as the purest, brightest light which He has shed on the human mind. I disclaim all other motives. No policy, no vassalage to opinion, no dread of reproach even from the good, no private interest, no desire to uphold a useful superstition, nothing in short but a deliberate conviction of the truth of Christianity, induces me to appear in its ranks.' I should be ashamed of it, did I not believe it true.

In discussing this subject, I shall express my convictions strongly; I shall speak of infidelity, as a gross and perilous error. But in so doing, I beg not to be understood as passing sentence on the character of individual unbelievers. I shall show that the Christian religion is true is from God; but I do not therefore conclude, that all who reject it are the enemies of God, and are to be loaded with reproach. I would uphold the truth, without ministering to uncharitableness. The criminality, the damnable guilt of unbelief in all imaginable circumstances, is a position which I think untenable; and persuaded as I am, that it prejudices the cause of Christianity, by creating an antipathy between its friends and opposers, which injures both, and drives the latter into more determined hostility to the truth, I think it worthy of a brief consideration in this stage of the discussion.

I lay it down as a principle, that unbelief, considered in itself, has no moral quality, is neither a virtue nor a vice, but must receive its character, whether good or bad, from the dispositions or motives which produce or pervade it. Mere acts of the understanding are neither right vor wrong. When I speak of faith as a holy or virtuous principle, I extend the term beyond its primitive meaning, and include in it not merely the assent of the intellect, but the disposition or temper by which this assent is determined, and which it is suited to confirm; and I attach as broad a signification to unbelief, when I pronounce it a crime. The truth is, that the human mind, though divided by our philosophy into many distinct capacities, seldom or never exerts them separately, but generally blends them in one act. Thus, in forming a judgment, it exerts the will and affections, or the moral principles of our nature, as really as the power of thought. Men's passions and interests mix with, and are expressed in, the decisions of the intellect. In the Scriptures, which use language freely, and not with philosophical strictness, faith and unbelief are mental acts of this complex character, or joint products of the understanding and heart; and on this account alone, they are objects of approbation or reproof. In these views, I presume, reflecting Christians of every name agree.

According to these views, opinions cannot be laid down as unerring and immutable signs of virtue and vice. The very same opinion may be virtuous in one man and vicious in another, supposing it, as is very possible, to have originated in different states of mind. For example, if through envy and malignity I should rashly seize on the slightest proofs of guilt in my neighbour, my judgment of his criminality would be morally wrong. Let another man arrive at the same conclusion, in consequence of impartial inquiry and love of truth, and his decision would be morally right. Still more; according to these views, it is possible for the belief of Christianity to be as criminal as unbelief. Undoubtedly the reception of a system so pure in spirit and tendency as the Gospel, is to be regarded in general as a favourable sign, But let a map adopt this

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