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purpose, this disinterested sacrifice, are altogether forgotten, and nothing is fastened on by fanaticism but the cruel accompaniments of crucifixion.
The personation of the principle of moral evil, is a material idea, and fraught with some of the worst consequences of materialism. It leads the contemplation of the believer away from the curse that sin is to his spiritual nature, to a sort of personal combat with a monstrous product of the imagination, called Satan. The fear of guilt, is thus transmuted into antipathy towards an individual foe. The conception of moral perfectibility is lost in the preparation by which this foe is to be assailed. Christian progress comes to be regarded, not as a progress in which passion, and error, and weakness, are to be insensibly subdued, but as a savage contest, in which hate and cunning are the primary influences on both sides. The mind is weakened and tortured in this miserable delusion; it loses all trace of its heavenly Father, and of his love, or of its own immortal lineaments and sublime capacities, and sinks into the most abject serf of every chimera to which it misapplies the name of temptation.
The orthodox view of punishment is a material view. It threatens the criminal, not with the pangs
of remorse, but with the flames of hell. It is the agony of the body, not the agony of the mind, that is pictured as a hindrance to vice. The awful dogma of eternal torments, is made still more disgusting by the physical apparatus which it só ostentatiously obtrudes. Where are the means of reclaiming and of elevating the bad, when there is no appeal made to the spiritual nature, but only an appeal to the vulgar terrors of sense? What is the value of a propriety of conduct that originates merely in the alarm of being plunged into the fires of the damned? A virtue that is forced, is worse than crime; for it prostrates that freedom which constitutes man's manhood, in order to give him the frigid posture of a moral automaton. Better, a rebellion of the free man, blackened by a thousand acts of depravity, than the constrained submission that results from fear. The morality of fear, is a greater insult to the Deity, than the most repulsive exhibitions of conscious and spontaneous sin.
And if the orthodox view of punishment is material, so also is the orthodox view of reward. The one presents a material hell; the other presents a material heaven. The one threatens sense; the other seeks to fascinate and captivate sense. To regard immortality as a means of direct and immediate communion with God, is preposterous. In a future state of existence we shall be able to carry on only what we have commenced here, a spiritual intercourse with his spiritual attributes. Our transmundane condition will not be sufficient to change our spiritual nature, or the spiritual nature of God. Orthodoxy overlooks this obvious fact; and feeds the fancies of its adherents with the wildest visions respecting their home in the skies. The effect of this is, to fix the mind on some unknown spot, somewhere in the abyss of space, where a sort of refined and pietist sensualism is to flourish unceasingly; instead of fixing it on that true heaven which the soul can find, either here or hereafter, only in its own spiritual expansion.
GOD, then, is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Orthodoxy is material, worships him materially, and must therefore worship him in falsehood. Do I require any other appeal to your hearts, than these two brief assertions, to convince you, that Orthodoxy is as much the enemy of God as it is the enemy of man, and merits all the energies of your most strenuous opposition? God grant that you may have courage thus unshrinkingly and perseveringly to employ your energies for the promotion of His holy reign.
REVIEW. Lives of Eminent Unitarians; with a Notice of Dissenting
Academies. By the Rev. W. Turner, jun. M. A. — London: Smallfield; Green; Mardon. pp. 417.
This very interesting work was suggested, and is published by the Committee of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association. It contains the biographies of Biddle, Emlyn, Peirce, Hallett, Lardner, Foster, Bulkley, Benson, Barrington, Chandler, Lowman, Fleming, Taylor; names indissolubly associated with sacred learning, religious liberty, and intellectual and moral excellence. The work is introduced by a sketch of the early history of Unitarianism in England; wherein the sufferings and martyrdom of Joan Bocher, George Van Pare, Harmont, Lewis, Legatt, Wightman, and others, in defence of the circulation of the Scriptures, and the Unitarianism of their teachings, are recorded in the liberal, religious spirit, which they would have esteemed their best eulogium. An account of some of the Dissenting Academies supported by the free-minded among the Non-conformists—and of their tutors, Dixon, Latham, Rotheram, Clark, Aikin, Towgood-closes the volume.
The biography of the wise and good, is to us always interesting; and the biographies of such men as are commemorated in this volume, are peculiarly so. They are highly instructive as well as interesting. Any denomination might well be entitled to rejoice to have numbered individuals like these among its advocates. Their works and characters constitute an inheritance of moral glory, which can never fade away. They contended for the rights of mind, when the first principles of religious liberty were unknown to the multitude, and consistently maintained by scarcely any even of those who had learned its alphabet; they contended for those rights, too, not only in opposition to popular clamour, but also in defiance of penal law. Honoured be their memories imitated their actions!
We rejoice that this work was projected; we rejoice that it has been so admirably executed. By its publication, the British and Foreign Unitarian Association have established an additional claim to the cordial support of Unitarians; whilst in its excellent and faithful execution, Mr. Turner has rendered good service to principles, which he and his venerated forefathers have for generations so steadfastly and consistently maintained. There are some passages, in the lives of the eminent men whose names we have enumerated, we could with pleasure linger over, and would gladly extract; but as this work of Mr. Turner's deserves to be extensively circulated, and as it ought to be numbered among the books in all our chapel libraries, we abstain from quotation. There are some few expressions in the volume, to which we cannot assent; but as they are manifestly inconsistent with the general tenor and spirit of the work, they will not mar its general usefulness; they arose, no doubt, from the desire of conciliation, and an extreme of charity, which, however amiable in themselves, are apt to beget indifference to all truth. We know this to be far from their author's desire, and we are sure that it is not the way to promote reformation in religion.
Sketches of Married Life. By Mrs. Follen. London,
J. Green; Bristol, Philp & Evans. pp. 231.
THERE is, to our mind, a melancholy interest connected with this volume, in consequence of the lamentable circumstances attendant on the death of the pure and nobleminded individual to whom its pages are dedicated. Those who remember the fate of the Lexington Steamer, and were acquainted with the life of Dr. Follen, one of the victims of that heart - rending catastrophe-who knew and admired his untiring devotedness to principle, his defence of human rights, whether of white men on the Continent of Europe, or of black men in America--who have read Dr. Dewey's and Dr. Channing's sermons in reference to his death, or perused Miss Martineau's "Society in America,” and recollect the interesting friends she delineates—may have some feeling of the perfection of truthful simplicity evidenced in the introductory page of this volume, which is simply and beautifully inscribed : “ Dedicated to Charles Follen, by his Wife.”
It has been said, that truth, to reach the heart, must come from the heart. We are persuaded that this is the case in the present work; and that the purity and happiness of domestic life, which is therein so perfectly and beautifully depicted, are but transcripts of the felicity and purity which once blessed the conjugal relationship of its author. That “married life" is, in innumerable instances, the source and centre of the most enduring earthly happiness, it were treason against humanity to doubt; that it is not always so, arises, not from the relationship itself, but from circumstances in nowise necessarily connected with it. That reckless and improvident marriages, contracted from the whim or caprice of a moment, to spite a rival or a former object of affection
in ignorance of temper, tastes, babits--in disregard of diversity of religious faith, or the many other essential requisites to the sanctity and truthfulness of wedded love -should produce discord, wranglings, discontent, strife, misery, is not at all wonderful. To argue, from such illassorted unions, against the holiest tie by which human beings can be connected, is as rational as to argue against God's goodness, because machinery occasionally lops off an arm; or to deny his existence, because intemperance engenders disease and death. The abuse of a blessing, is no testimony against its use. Men and women who will not control their temper, and dedicate themselves to self-culture and self-discipline, cannot be happy in any relation, and least of all in married life. The coldness and aversion into which married people sometimes settle down, arises from want of mutual confidence; the selfishness which seeks to maintain a separate interest, where one only should exist; the petty jealousies to which that selfishness gives rise; and the janglings and desolateness of spirit, which necessarily result.
The evils and the blessings attendant on the different motives which lead to married life, and the various principles and feelings which guide the conduct in that hallowed relation, are powerfully and faithfully brought out, and strikingly contrasted, in the characters Mrs. Follen introduces to her readers. In Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, are presented, in vivid colours, the melancholy effects of want of openness, candour, confiding trust; in Mr. and Mrs. Selmar, the blissful
Can answer love, and render bliss secure.” The scenes, characters, and conversations, are sustained with power and consistency, and cannot be read without improvement as well as pleasure. It is not the first obligation under which Mrs. Follen has laid society. “ The Well - Spent Hour," with its “Sequel,” cannot be perused by the young, to whom they are specially addressed, without contributing to their improvement;