Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the habit of condemning Unitarians or their opinions, that their judgment is not a matter of infallibility; that no authorities, however numerous and respectable, can determine religious or any other truth by suffrage; that whenever we condemn opinions differing from our own, that judgment of ours is merely the judgment, the opinion of a mortal, frail, fallible, compassed about with errors and prejudices. We ask, in all solemnity, is this the style in which one frail human being should speak of the conscientious and deliberate convictions of another human being? We have sometimes been almost tempted, by way of experiment, to retort the tone of arrogance assumed toward us; we have wished to see how it would re-act, if we were to pronounce ex cathedra upon orthodox opinions and character as they do upon ours. We are far from seriously recommending this, however, though we have precisely the same right to do to them what they do to us; that is, neither has in fact any right whatever. Still, in point of argument, our right to call them “ heretics, not Christians,” and to cut them off from the body of the faithful, is precisely equivalent to their right of giving us these opprobrious titles. Did we assume this style, it would be what is called, in another branch of knowledge, reductio ad absurdum. In fact, this whole system of exclusion and denunciation, is both an absurdity and a scandal. We have, however, no ambition of the kind. We hope that Unitarians will never countenance any dogmatism or assumption. Behold a more excellent way,--to seek truth for ourselves, and help others to find it; to respect the sanctity of mind, and reverence the individuality of conscience; to think no man the worse man, or the worse Christian, however be may differ from us, but cordially offer the right hand of fellowship to every one who, in simplicity and sincerity, endeavours to ascertain the will of God for himself, that he may obey it.

REVIEW. Supreme Religious Worship due to God the Father only.

By W. H. Drummond, D. D. pp. 106. Dublin: T. Tegg & Co.

To recommend to our readers Dr. Drummond's vindications of Christian truth, would be a work of supererogation; they recommend themselves by their intrinsic worth and pure Christian truthfulness and earnestness. The publication now before us, is an additional contribution, on his part, to the great cause of Christian simplicity; bearing the stamp of the same vigorous mind-the powerful demolition of religious error, the unveiling of sophistry, and the exposure of cant-by which his other works are characterised. This work contains the substance of several lectures delivered in reply to the Rev. Dr. Urwick’s book on the Saviour's right to divine worship. It is a masterly and triumphant reply,--presenting a clear and forcible elucidation of the subject, and demonstrating irrefragably, that the true worshippers must worship the Father only, in spirit and in truth, in the name of Christ Jesus. The work is divided into eight chapters, in which Biblical criticism and sound reasoning are equally brought to bear against Dr. Urwick's hypothesis and assertions; Unitarians and Unitarianism are unanswerably vindicated from the calumnies of their opponents; and the shameful proceedings of certain members of the Synod of Munster and their abettors, with their longings for the possession of Unitarian property, are exposed in all the hideousness of their bigotry.

Right and Wrong among the Abolitionists of the United

States, go. By John A. Collins. Glasgow: Gallie; Symington; M*Leod; Robertson; Smeal;-London: Ball & Co. pp. 74.

The American Anti-Slavery Society was formed in 1833. The exertions of WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON, unaided and alone, put forth years previously, in the singleness of his heart, in exposure of the atrocities of the monster evil of slavery, were mainly instrumental to its institution. As in duty bound, he branded slavery as a sin alike against God and man. Awakened by his powerful appeals, thousands of hearts were penetrated by the wrongs of the slave, and banded themselves together for the removal of this curse from a land boasting of its freedom. Despite of mobs, persecution, blood-shedding, the conviction spread, not only that the existence of slavery in America was in flagrant violation of the first principles of their much vaunted “ Declaration of Independence," but that it also set at nought the inalienable rights of

man, the spirit of Christianity, and the laws of God. Perceiving their craft to be in danger, every artifice has been resorted to by the slaveholder, and all others whom he could influence, to prevent the demolition of this “domestic institution.” Congress has been bullied, the clergy have been scared, the press has been bribed; tar-andfeather legislation, lynch law, pillage and persecution, kidnapping and murder, have all been deemed suitable and fitting agencies to perpetuate the injustice, and drive the honest and faithful from the exposure of its iniquities. Foiled in these attempts by the martyr-spirit which animated the Abolitionists, recourse has been had to the dastardly feelings of compromise, expediency, sectarianism; and once and again, under the fostering influence of these varied instrumentalities, other Societies have been organised, which, with the profession of a love for the slave, were in reality in league with his oppressors. One by one these devices of the enemies of universal liberty were broken

and the latest form assumed for the destruction of the original Society, and thereby of the hope of speedy and unconditional emancipation, is that taken, in 1840, under the name of the “ American & Foreign AntiSlavery Society.” The ostensible reason assigned for the formation of this Foreign Society, is altogether preposterous. Our readers may well be astonished, when they learn it is on account of the original Society having recognised the rights of woman as well as those of man! By the original constitution, any person subscribing a certain sum for its support was entitled to membership. Many women subscribed, and were of course members. These, and others like-minded, were urged to form Female Anti-Slavery Societies. They did so, and their efforts were indefatigable and successful. But some of the most active of their number, as well as among the men, were unorthodox in religion, and the slaveholder clutched at the fact with eagerness, feeling assured that that fact could, well managed, be turned to good account on his behalf. Hence, whispers were spread abroad respecting Garrison, and May, Chapman, and Mott, and all sorts of heresies imputed to them. Quakers, who thought it no shame that women should speak in their churches, were scandalised that some women should uplift their testimony against slavery, or be appointed on committees, or deputed as delegates. Clergymen, who patronised female associations for the dissemination of the Bible, held up their hands in affright when women so far stepped out of their province as to associate to diffuse the spirit of the Bible! The new, and as it is truly termed, Foreign Society, sprang into life from this intolerance; from the same cause, the women delegates were rejected by the Anti-Slavery Convention in London; and under its baneful influence, Lucretia Mott was not allowed to address the Glasgow Emancipation Society at Dr. Wardlaw's Chapel.

up;

The contemplation of such bigotry is indeed sickening. The Anti-Slavery platform was loudly asserted to be a spot set apart and free from this melancholy sectarianism. We knew full well, that with all the talk about liberty, and the shaking of hands with a coloured man before large audiences, that there was more of stage effect, and a courting of popular favour, than of principle, in these exhibitions. We knew full well, that the same courtesy would not be extended to a white man, were he not branded with the broad arrow of Orthodoxy. We are not surprised, therefore, to learn the resignation of Dr. Wardlaw and Dr. Heugh, et hoc genus omne, whose liberty is exclusion, and whose salvation is only for the elect. But we do deprecate the fact, that any who really love freedom for its own sake, and because it is man's right and God's gift to all his creatures, should stand aloof, or impede by their hallucinations, the vindication of great and sacred principles, though the country to which they have immediate reference be far removed from their own. The interests of Civil and Religious Liberty, in any quarter of the world, have a bearing and a reflective influence on the extension and establishment of human rights everywhere. It is our duty, therefore, to sympathise with those in

every clime who are labouring to break the bonds of oppression; wbilst our most energetic, persevering efforts are specially given to educate, and upraise, and bless the millions around us.

Mr. Collins's work is an interesting and instructive document. It is preceded by a letter from Miss Martineau, couched in strong terms of approval of the labours

of the original Abolitionists, and of confidence in their integrity and pure Christian benevolence. She is right. They have stood the fiery trial of scorn, persecution, calumny, desertion—they have perilled property and life on behalf of the slave, and are still faithful found among the faithless. Mr. Collins has done well in prefixing that letter to his pamphlet. There is no succumbing to bigotry in that action. Not so with the Rev. Mr. Keep, of the Oberlin Institute. Before visiting this city, he had copies of pamphlets stitched together, containing one specially referring to the Institute for which he came to beg, and also that of “The Martyr Age," written by Miss Martineau. Being told it would be injurious to his subscription-list if be retained her pamphlet, the scissors were set to work, and that admirable history of the glorious struggle of Right against Wrong, was cut out! Mr. Collins had similar advice tendered to him; but, like an honest man, he rejected it. We confess, that the conduct of some of those professed American Abolitionists, who can be hand and glove with Unitarians in the towns where our societies are numerous and their members influential, and who keep aloof from them where they are comparatively but few, has much disgusted us. In such cases their bearing bas been, too, supercilious in the extreme, and destitute of all sympathy with kindred struggles. Truth to say, this lack of moral honesty is a feature of the worst species of slavery--the slavery of mind and heart to prejudice, fashion, numbers. It is akin, however, to that philanthropy which exhausts all its power on Hindoos and Africans, and allows thousands to wallow in ignorance, and perish by vice, at its very threshold; which, sending abroad all its sympathies, is destitute of any for home consumption; which, descanting most glibly on foreign slavery, is silent on the wrongs inflicted in its own country, and regardless of the improvement, freedom, and happiness of its fellow-countrymen; and which, in its reckless zeal for foreign objects of commiseration, repels the hand of aid offered from without the pale of its sectarianism, and scowls on every individual, however generous and self-sacrificing, if he cannot pronounce, at its dictation, a required and contracted shibboleth.

« PreviousContinue »