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sition and persecution. Pray, my good Scripturista, do tell me who acts the manly honest part, and who the part of an impostr and persecutor ?
Aristocles was educated in a Socinian church at Sična. One article of their faith was, that Jesus Christ is a mere creature, who never had any existence before he was born of the Virgin Mary. And they professed to understand all those texts of Scripture which speak of his divinity, to imply no more than that he was God by office. Aristocles, at the age of sixteen, joined in full communion with the church, and publicly gave his assent to their creed. At the age of twenty-four, the former minister being dead, Aristocles was chosen his successor, and put into possession of all their parsonage lands for life, on condition he should continue to preach the doctrines embraced by that particular church. Which, not having studied the controversy, he inadvertently engaged to do, being by the influence of education full in the Socinian scheme. However, within two years after his ordination, having carefully searched the Scriptures, Aristocles was fully convinced of his error, and became a sound believer and a good man. And having counted the cost, he came to a full resolution, at the risk of all his outward comforts, honestly to inform his church and congregation of the change of his sentiments; and to preach up the divinity and satisfaction of Christ, and endeavour to set these points in the clearest light from the holy Scriptures. And at the same time honestly to acknowledge to his people, that he had broken the covenant, which in the times of his ignorance he had made with them; and so forfeited all claim to the churcli's parsonage lands, which accordingly he resigned. “And now,' says he, if you will choose me for your minister, as I am, I am willing to serve you ; but I claim no right 10 IMPOSB a Calvinist minister upon a Socinian church,'-And pray, sir, did not this man act an honest part" ?
n . Did I therefore alter my notions as to articles of faith, which I had once subsèribed, and came to perceive the falsehood of them, I would think myself obliged to follow the dictates of my own conscience, and would endeavour also by all due means to persuade the church to which I belonged to change their faith also. But if I were not able, it would be extremely foolish to fancy that they would act directly contrury to their own principles,in continuing me their minister, and endowing me with that salary, which they had allotted to a pastor that should teach them doctrines which I had found myself obliged to abandon. It were absured to imagine that though those who serve the altar should like the altar, that yet I should live by an altar which I had abandoned, and set up one in opposition to, and ivdeed endeavoured to overthrow.' Ecus on Creeds. p. 91.
Authades, in another part of the Christian world, where Cal vinism was the only established religion, in his youth, joined with the church where he lived; and publicly gave bis aso. sent, according to custom, to the articles of the Christian faith, as contained in their formula, which were strictly Calvinistical, although the church was grown very lax in examinations, without which, formulas, though never so good, will not answer the end. He did not believe their articles at the time, but it was for his credit to be a church-member ; therefore be kept his infidelity to himself, and made a public profession. At length the minister, a good old Calvinist, died. The church and congregation invited Auihades to be his successor. All the time he was op probation, bis chief study was to conceal himself. For by this time, he began to be full in the Socinian scheme. He generally preached on moral subjects, as these gave him the largest scope for popular declamation, and the best advantages to hide his principles. If at any time he preached ou originul sin, regeneration, justification, the satisfaction of Christ, or the influences of the Holy Spirit, as he was obliged sometimes to do, to prevent their suspicions, he took the greatest care to express himself so, as that his secret sentiments should not be discovered by the people. However, some of the more judicious sort suspected him, and feared he meant to act a part. Nevertheless, a great majority invile hiin to settle, and he is ordained. He expressly covenants to preach to them according to their Calvinistic articles of faith ; and on this condition, ihey engage to pay him 100l. per annum. He knew they would not settle bim, if he did not delude them. And he still knows he cannot keep possession of the 100l. per annum, unless he can keep them deluded. Therefore he uses all bis art to conceal biinself from the congregation in general; and in the mean time, is usually cunning to make proselytes to the Socinian scheme, in a secret under-handed way. At length, having made a par
ty he begins to take courage ; and slily dresses up Calvinists as
; bigots, and vital piety as enthusiasm ; and more openly declaims against creeds and confessions, as impositions and engines of persecution, the result of a proud and domineering spirit.; and in a word, the fatal source of all mischief. For so they feel to him. For as he that doth evil hateth the light ; so he that is an heretic hates orthodox creeds and confessions. Poor Authades ! he knows very well, that if his church and congregation would strip off his false colours, and get legal proof of his true character, he must lose his 100l. per annum. He thinks it no roguery for him to impose upon his church, and cheat them out of their money, and out of their principles; but he thinks it would be a piece of the greatest tyranny, and the most cruel and barbarous persecution, if they should find him out, and prove him to be a Socinian, and, as such, have him silenced, and take away his 1001. per annum. Thus every man lives, and thus he dies; and to be sure, you will, candid Scripturista, join with me to look upon and abhor him, as a thorough practised knave.
For you grant, ibe Calvinistic church had ' a right to judge for themselves, what was the true sense of Scripture, and what principles were necessary according to the holy Scriptures, to be believed and professed, in order to be admitted to sealing ordinances, or to be employed as a public instructor.' And if they had a right to do so, their doing so was an inte position upon Authades; but Authades was the only man worthy of imposition. He imposed upon the church when be joined with it at first ; he still in a higher degree imposed upon the church and congregation too, when he settled in the work of the ministry among them. He wanted their money. He obtained it first by dissimulation, and kept it through his whole life by one series of deceit.
And if Calvinistic churches in the Christian world, in this corrupt age, have reason to fear that there are too many of Authades' character, the very wolves in sheep's clothing our Saviour warned us to beware of. (Mat. vii. 15.) can you de
, sire, that instead of obeying the divine counsel, they should tamely resign their right to judge for themselves,' and admit to sealing ordinances and to the work of the ministry, any that VOL. III.
offer, without any regard to their principles? And to suffet themselves to be imposed upon in the highest degree, to the great injury of themselves, and of their posterity, only to avoid the bitter resentments of such men as Aathades, who will cry out, Imposition ! imposition ! Persecution ! persecution ! if
2 you only insist on your right, as Christians, to know the articles of their belief, and refuse to admit them to commubion and into the ministry, unless they appear to be sound in the faith No, sir, you can, consistent with your own avowed principles, desire no such thing. But rather, as Christ has made it the indispensable dnty of all his followers, openly to profess the doctrines of his holy religion, (Mat. x. 29. 32, 33.) charged them to beware of false prophets, (Mat. vii. 15.) and commended them for trying and detecting false pretenders, (Rev. ii. 2.) and as even common sense teaches, that the disciples of Christ have a natural right to know, and judge of the religious sentiments of those who claim to be their fellowdisciples, and expect to be treated as such; so instead of discountenancing the little concern of Calvinistic churches in the present day, to be consistent with yourself, you, who cannot bear to be thought not a Calvinist, ought rather to blame their too great indifference, and call upon them to awake, stand upon their guard, and watch, lest cunning deceitful men šlily creep in, and before we are aware, bring another gospel into O pulpits, and the utmost confusion and discord into our churches. For how can we walk together except we be agreed ? (Amos jii. 3.) Or keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, except we have one faith, one Lord, one 'baptism? (Eph. iv. 3, 4, 5.)
But perhaps you will say, 'The Calvinists are too suspicious already. There are no Arminians, no Arians, no Socinians, &c. among us. The cry is raised by designing men, inerely to answer political ends.' Oh, my good Scripturista! O, that this were indeed the case! O, that our fears were quite groundless! How soon would I believe it, if you could belp me to see just reason for it.' But how would the party
' through New-England, laugh at our credulity in Connecticut, if their friends among us could make us believe all to be safe till they could carry their points here, as they have elsewhere.
In New Hampshire proviqce, this party have actually, three years ago, got things so ripe, that they have ventured to new, model our shorter catechism ; to aller, or entirely leave out, the doctrines of the Trinity, of the decrees of our first parents being created holy, of original sin, Christ satisfying divine justice, effectual calling, justification, adoption, sanctification, assurance of God's love, perseverance in grace, &c. and to adjust the whole to Dr. Taylor's scheme. And in ;heir preface to this new catechism, they tell the world, that. The snarling of party bigots will be liyle regarded' i. e, if all the Calvinists in the country are disobliged, to see their whole scheme given up, they do not care. They look upon us all, as snarling bi
, guts, not to be regarded. This is honest : now they speak their hearts; and cell the world how they feel ! Coine from New-Hampshire along to Boston, and see there a celebrated D. D. the head of a large party! He boldly ridicules the ductrine of the trinity, and denies the doctrine of justification by faith alone, in the sight of all the country, in his book of sermons : come nearer home, come to Willingford ; see there a young gentleman, bold to settle in the ministry, although opposed as an heretic by near half the town. Observe, and see how he conducts. How backward to let his people know his religious sentiments, while on probation! How resolved, never to be examined by the consociation, let it cost what it would, though charged with heresy, and cited to appear before them! Yea, although his opposers offer to accept him for their minister, if upon examination he should appear to be sound in the faith! And yet under these, even under these circumstances, he could find ministers to ordain him!
And how does this young gentleman conduct since his ordination? Does be convince the town that he is a sound Calvinist; as he might easily do, if he were ? No, far from it. Yea, notwithstanding his opposers, (who, before his ordination, had offered to receive him for their minister, if upon examination by their consociation, he should be approved as sound in the faith,) now since his ordination renew the same offer: yea, are willing to leave it to another consociation, (viz. Hartford south,) then convened at Wallingford ; and if they approve him, declare they will accept him for their minister :