« ForrigeFortsæt »
What Mr. B. says, (p. 106,) I think, if it has any meaning, asserts that sanctification is not that by which Christians obtain evidence of their justification, and is as absurd as any position of
or of any Antinomian. What is said of the thief on the cross, (pp. 135, 136,) though taken alone it be true, yet viewed in connection with his scheme, appears to me to be a loose, unmeaning, selfcontradictory harangue.
Mr. Booth's assertions (pp. 171, 172) are inconsistent with an unholy, unregenerate sinner's believing the gospel, and with desiring and receiving the blessings of it; for how can that be the object of faith which is not seen or willingly received, which is not desired or relished? But I am tired of attending the inconsistencies and absurdities of this author. And perhaps I have said too much. Let them who do not see the errors and inconsistence avail themselves of the advantage of all the good things to be found in his “ Reign of Grace.”
I have read Mr. Scott, and think him orthodox, so far as he goes, in his notion of the warrant and nature of faith in Christ. But he says some things which seem to be a little inconsistent, or at least want to be more fully explained. Perhaps Mr. B. will take no public notice of him, since he has opposed him so tacitly, without mentioning his name, or expressly quoting him. I believe it will be wise in Mr. B. to be silent.
I am not satisfied that Mr. Scott clearly distinguishes between selfish affections and disinterested exercises of religion, and think there is reason to believe he does not, both from his making no remarks on this head upon what Mr. B. advances in his “ Glad Tidings,” and especially from what he says respecting American divines : “ That sometimes they seem to intimate that an almost total disregard to our own happiness is essential to true grace. They do not clearly distinguish that wise and holy self-love, which God originally planted in our nature, from that carnal, apostate, and foolish self-love, which is the consequence of the fall.” (pp. 3, 4.) If by holy self-love
he means any thing distinct from disinterested benevolence, and which is not necessarily included in it, as it seems he does, he must mean that which is in the nature of it sin; and consequently does not properly distinguish selfish religion from that which consists in disinterested affection, or between true and false religion. It is presumed that his neglect to make proper distinctions on this head has led him to censure some American divines as “making many unscriptural distinctions, and advancing positions which obscure the glory of the gospel.” Of this, however, we and the public might have been better able
lators of any state have right to make laws to restrain their subjects from the practice of piracy, in any place whatever, and to punish men, when convicted of this crime, though committed in places, in other respects, out of their jurisdiction. But it is to be hoped there are but few, very few, citizens in this state who now think the slave trade is, in itsell, innocent and lawful. Are not all who have acquainted themseives with the nature, circumstances, and manner of this trade, and are willing to consider it impartially, fully convinced that it is one of the most flagrant instances of open violation of all the rights of mankind - of inhumanity, cruelty, and murder that have ever been perpetrated by any civilized nation? It would fill volumes fully to display the unrighteousness, the horrible cruelty, and bloodshed which have been the attendants and consequences of this inhuman traffic, by which millions of our fellow-men have been, contrary to all right, and in the most cruel manner, forced from their native country and all dear connections, and sold into most ignominious, abject slavery, there to wear out a wretched life, and leave their children in the same miserable state. And many thousands of them have been murdered by the barbarous treatment of them on board the ships, or after they have been sold. This, therefore, will not be attempted here; but the reader is referred to what has been written on the subject in a number of late publications.
It is well known that the inhabitants of this state have had a greater hand in the slave trade than any other on this continent, and, therefore, must have incurred the greatest share of the guilt. And what can we do less than say, “We will do so no more" ? Is not this the only hopeful way to escape the vengeance that now hangs over our heads? This trade has been carried on many years by the connivance, at least, if not the encouragement, of the legislature. How proper, how im. portant is it, then, that they should now arise and bear testi. mony against it, and do all in their power to abolish it forever - that they should be the first in setting the good example, and show their approbation of the wise and noble resolution of congress in the beginning of our struggle for liberty! To sit still now, and be silent, is to neglect the best opportunity to wash our hands, as far as possible, from the blood that otherwise must be found in them, and prevent impending wrath bursting on our heads.
Let us, then, with one voice, say to our fathers who shall convene in the next general assembly, “ Arise, for this work belongeth unto you. We will be with you. Deal courageously, and do it, and the Lord shall be with the good."
II. It was urged, that it is improper for this state to take up the matter, and prohibit the slave trade, since it has been laid before congress by a petition from the general meeting of Friends in Philadelphia, desiring that, in their wisdom, they would enter upon some measures to put a stop to it; and that honorable body have it now under their consideration.
This appears so far from an objection, that it is rather a strong argument for making such a law without delay. For this is so far from dictating to congress, or taking it out of their hands, that it would be the most express and proper approbation of their resolve just mentioned, and will tend to strengthen their hands in so good a work, if they be disposed to do all they can to prevent the revival of that pernicious trade, of which we must not entertain the least doubt.
The legislature are to be honored and applauded for the measure they have taken gradually to abolish slavery in this state. There have been strong objections, however, against the law lately made for that end, particularly that clause of it which obliges the towns, where the blacks who are to be free shall be born, to be at the charge of their education till they be of age, or can maintain themselves. It is said, this lays an unreasonable burden on the few towns where most of the slaves are, while the greater part of the state will be at little or no charge; whereas it ought to be laid equally on the whole state, as it is by the connivance or neglect of the state that the slavery of the Africans has been introduced and continued among us.
If this objection be well founded, the honorable general assembly may, and doubtless will, make such amendment in that particular as wholly to remove the complaint. But let it be remembered, that since this evil practice has been so long continued, and got such deep root among us, it cannot be expected it may be eradicated and abolished without great difficulty, and so that no one shall suffer by it more than another. And as it is so important and necessary — in order to do justice to the injured Africans, and promote the public good, and our acting a consistent part, who have been such mighty advocates for our own liberty — that liberty should be restored to them, ought we to think much of a little expense, or of doing more than we think is our equal part, in order to answer such important ends ? Besides, it will be said, with some appearance of justice, at least, that the towns where there are the most slaves ought to be at most of the expense necessary for the removal of this evil, as they have the greatest
, share of guilt, and have had the most advantage by it, if slavery be, indeed, any advantage; but if it be not, let the masters free
LETTER TO DR. RYLAND, Of Northampton, England, on the Controrersy between Dr. Hopkins and Rer. Abraham Booth.
NEWPORT, November 24. 1797. Rvv. And prar Sir: I thank you for your kind communication, (without date,) accompanied with two parcels, containing Mr. Scott's “ Warrant and Nature of Faith in Christ," together with four pamphlets, of the chief of which you are the author; and Mr. Booth’s “ Reign of Grace," which came to band on the 1st instant.
I had before seen all the pamphlets you have sent to me, except your sermons to your congregation at Northampton, on your leaving them, and have been much gratified and pleased with them. Mr. Hall was an amiable, excellent man. I read your discourse at the ordination of Mr. Fawkner, to my church, which was highly approved by them. I have for a number of years been acquainted with your character and writings; and you have had my affectionate esteem and good will. Messrs. Fuller, Sutclif, and Pearce, of Birmingham, have also much of my esteem and love.
I have been surprised, and not a little grieved, to find that Mr. Booth's “Glad Tidings” has been reviewed and highly approved and recommended in the Evangelical, Missionary, and Gospel Magazines; and in the latter (I think, for I have them not by me now) a passage is selected from him, as very excellent, which appeared to me to be senseless, evasive, and contradictory. I presumed you could not approve of that book, and was confirmed in my opinion by a piece inserted in the Evangelical Magazine, of which I concluded you was the author, which evidently had reference to Mr. Booth’s publication, and was calculated to sap the whole foundation of it. As it is not by me now, I cannot refer to the number nor the signature.
You did not think proper to mention Mr. Booth’s book ; and I perceive he is so popular a writer that it is thought not best expressly to oppose him. When Mr. Scott wrote, he, as Mr. B. observes, tacitly directed it against various things in his “ Glad Tidings;” not thinking it best, openly and expressly, to "mention and oppose him and his book. I think we should not be so cautious in America.
Let the goodness of Mr. Booth's heart and life, and his abilities, be what they may, his theory of Christianity and religious exercises is wholly selfish; which is as opposite to true religion as darkness is to light, as sin to holiness. In support of this selfish religion he has written his “ Glad Tidings.” Is he not therefore to be blamed? And ought he not to be withstood to the face ? Besides, it may be asked, Can the utmost Christian candor and charity reconcile with Christian uprightness and benevolence an attempt to expose and condemn an author, as perverting the gospel, by artfully transcribing here and there a sentence of his, while he wholly overlooks the arguments which the author thought sufficient to support his assertions?
It appears he was on the same selfish, inconsistent plan when he wrote his “ Reign of Grace.” He says nothing in the whole treatise, that I have observed, inconsistent with a wholly selfish religion, and repeatedly asserted that which necessarily implies it. He says, (p. 248,) “ It is self-evident that the rigor of the sanctions of the law of God can never be loved by a