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are parties at issue as to the full meaning and acceptation of the term!-from those who refuse to be tolerated, and hold that there is no religious freedom without equality, to those who would maintain the supremacy of a dominant church by every means short of violent persecution. In such a conflict of opinions, and with times approaching us, in which the constancy of men's professed sentiments on this subject will perhaps be more severely tried than it has been at any period since the Reformation, we should look with great interest to any expression of judgment from an enlightened and religious mind, unbiassed by party politics, as to the duty of individual men in following that difficult path which lies between want of zeal and want of charity. But we should vainly seek for such reasoning, or, indeed, for any reasoning on the subject, in the pages before us. Although the author professes to have in view the accomplishment of a great task, no less than to describe and define all the various forms of spurious religious sentiment in a series of works; yet in this, as in his former publications, we find no traces of any endeavour to analyze the emotions which produce them. He has shown some talent in stringing together a series of declamations on the most prominent and obvious topics connected with his theme; and has wandered, much at his ease, among the gloomy memorials of early superstition; but for any thing like a serious application of historical truths, or the lessons of moral philosophy, to the present state of parties in the Christian world, he has left himself no room at all. We looked for something more than a mere panegyric on rational piety, introduced by comparing it with those forms of devotion which every one will at once acknowledge to be false and extravagant, in a work bearing so high a title as the present. We did not expect the air of satisfaction and self-possession of a preacher, who is laying down truths which are recognised by all his hearers, and has no object except to enforce them on their attention. In a work professing to describe fanaticism, we expected not to be exhorted, but to be taught. But this writer keeps sedulously aloof from all the real difficulties of his subject; and parades the weapons of argument in a sort of σκιαμάχια, a contest with chimeras of his own creating. In conducting us through the various excesses of Roman, Mahometan, and sectarian zealots, he seems to have had no other view than that of collecting together a series of striking pictures, for which undoubtedly he possesses considerable talent. To parody a wellknown criticism,-a bolder title, and more timorous contents, were never joined together. He is terrified by the aspect of the abyss which analysis opens before him; and whenever he touches at a

doubtful point, he immediately avoids it under cover of a few dogmatical sentences.

The title of one of his chapters is 'The Religion of the Bible ⚫ not Fanatical.' To point out the true deductions which enlightened reason has made from the letter of the Scriptures, and contrast them with the partial conclusions of misdirected zeal-to mark the precise limit, in biblical interpretations, where sound judgment ends and fanaticism begins-is assuredly no easy task; as any one will perceive who attends to the startling assertions into which zealous preachers and writers are every day seduced, from mere ardour in pursuing the meaning of a favourite text to its extreme consequences. But to lay down a few general canons for our conduct in this respect, and teach us how to keep watch over our feelings, without wholly neglecting their admonition, would be one of the best offices a writer could render to mankind. On the other hand, to maintain the thesis, that the religion of the Bible, taken in a large sense, is not fanatical, requires nothing more than a few high-sounding paragraphs, and an appeal to our common sentiments, and to the pride which we feel in our own belief; for every one of us has been taught, that his religion is not fanatical. This, accordingly, is the manner in which our author has handled his subject. Instead of argument on this allimportant topic, we find only a long, and in some parts an ele-. gant, declamation, against scepticism. Where there is some show of reasoning, we fear it is of that superficial kind which rather gives advantage to the opponent, than serves to protect the reader against his sophistry. For example, in his anxiety to defend the Old Testament from the ordinary objections which are made to it on this score, he enters into a copious review-in some parts, of considerable beauty-of the moral proofs which it affords of divine inspiration. He enlarges on the display of justice and mercy which it exhibits,—on the exalted notions which it conveys of the Divinity, in the course of his dealings with a peculiar people. And he then concludes, the result of such an examination must be, as we undoubtedly believe, to establish the divine original of these books. This point secured—and it is secured, too, on every separate line of argument that is applicable to the subject-and then the fact, that the Jewish lawgiver, and the prophets, and the poets of Israel, were men . immediately commissioned and empowered by God, affords a solution of every apparent difficulty, arising either from proper the spirit and complexion of particular passages, or from the course of conduct enjoined in special instances. What can be more manifest than the propriety of this mode of treating such • difficulties? For one man to accost another as the enemy of

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God, or to adjudge him to perdition, or to strike him to the earth, is indeed an outrage such as bespeaks in the assailant 'the most dire fanaticism, or absolute insanity. But the case 'is altogether altered if this same denunciator, or executioner of 'the wrath of Heaven, is able to show Heaven's credentials actually in his hand. He whom God sends, speaks the words ' of God-delivers a trust which he has no liberty to evade and 'performs a part that can have no immorality, because it proceeds from the source of law. This rule applies, without an exception, to all those instances, so often and so idly produced, ' in which the question hinges exclusively upon the fact of a divine 'injunction given to the speaker or the agent. If the prophet or 'the chief were indeed inspired, then the words he utters, or the 'deeds he performs, are not to be accounted his; and though arrogant and vindictive if human only, are fitting and just if 'divine. Concede the divinity of the Scriptures, and then every 'such objection is merged, or becomes ineffably futile. Deny ' their divinity, and then the argument is altogether unimportant.' Now, if we have fairly represented, as we believe we have, our author's exposition of this great branch of the evidences of religion, it appears to us, that although he may have a sufficient apprehension of that which is undoubtedly the true line of argument on the subject, his confused and verbose style of explanation has not only rendered him liable to the attacks of the sceptic, but has, in fact, led him into the very same partial and one-sided course of reasoning, by which the latter arrives at an opposite conclusion. We assume in common with you, infidels may say, as the basis of our argument, the boundless wisdom, mercy, and power of the Divinity. You cannot deny that this portion of your Scriptures does contain much which is revolting to that moral perception by which alone we estimate and worship that Divinity. You cannot deny that God is represented in the character of a temporal lawgiver, and yet that his dealings with his people in that character are such as may not be held out as examples to earthly potentates. You cannot deny that he appears in divers passages as a jealous, vindictive, implacable Deity; that his favour seems occasionally to have been granted, as that of a corrupt mortal sovereign might be, to submissive observance rather than active virtue; that he is displayed as overlooking the grossest violations of right in those who are designated as his favourites. But you say, that as the moral fitness of the Old Testament proves God to have been its author, therefore we have no right to judge of his actions, where they appear questionable, by the ordinary rules of morality! We arrive at a negative conclusion, precisely by the same process which

leads you to an affirmative. We admit the ethical majesty and beauty of many parts of those writings, but we rest confidently on the attributes of the Deity, and say, that a work which recounts deeds of violence and treachery, as perpetrated by his order, or unmarked by his disapprobation, cannot be divine. We conclude, therefore, that whatever signs of superior intelligence are manifested in that work, must be deceitful appearances-proofs, that the minds of its compilers had attained to a high degree of moral instruction, but no signs of inspiration.

If the first line of reasoning be such as may content the mind of a believer, we do not see how he can quarrel with those who adopt the second. His own assumptions give credit and currency to theirs. The only safe ground upon which he can controvert them, is by freely admitting that this branch of the evidence on which he grounds his faith is neither more nor less than a balance of conflicting probabilities. He must not open the Bible with the determination of stepping out of the way to avoid all the stumbling-blocks which its pages may contain. If he has persuaded himself that the preponderance of what Natural Religion points out as good and holy in the books before him is such as to render what is doubtful, or worse than doubtful, of comparatively no account-then, and not till then, he may dismiss the latter as a profitless subject of thought; or follow the firm guidance of Butler, and believe with him that the God of this mixed universe of good and evil was likewise the God of the Patriarchs, and of the dark and mysterious commonwealth of the Jews. If his mind cannot admit that the weight of probability inclines thus far to the side of belief, he has yet before him the prospect of arriving at the same result, when the other evidences of religion are placed in the scale, the voice of history, the coherence of prophecy, and the overpowering dignity and beauty of the newer revelation.

Fanaticism is the union of enthusiasm with rancour. Throughout the annals of Christianity we find sectaries in abundance, who have believed themselves commissioned to execute the covenant of the men of Judah, to slay those who did not seek the Lord; that the enemies of their faith were given over to them by Providence to oppress, torture, and kill; and that Heaven was well pleased with the execution of its warrant. The history of this species of fanaticism is little more than matter of curiosity to us who dwell in a milder temperature; unless it be with a view of showing how the same spirit, in a community like ours, exerts itself in a different direction. Propose to the most violent of those whom we term enthusiasts and bigots, the work of doing harm to an unbeliever, and he will shrink from the design as a gross perversion of justice and Scripture. But, in order to exa

mine more closely the motives which actuate him in his refusal, let us put the question to him in another form, and enquire of him concerning the propriety of withholding, not acts of justice, but those of social charity, from persons of whose religious sentiments he disapproves, of doing good to a believer, rather than an unbeliever, of preferring to render the kind offices of life to those who agree with us, rather than our spiritual opponents ;— are there not numbers among us to whom the question, put in this shape, assumes an entirely new character? who daily act, without the slightest consciousness of malice or evil intention, upon a principle which, if our premises be correct, we can hardly avoid designating as fanatical? For, if we are to believe that the favour of God is the portion of believers, and his wrath directed against those who adopt erroneous opinions, and that we are entitled in any sense or shape to consider ourselves as the ministers of that favour or that indignation, it seems difficult to know when we are to stop short of the duty of extermination. If otherwise, then no motive whatever, save only the consciousness of personal danger from too close a contact with the seductions of unbelief, (a mean agreement at best,) can justify us in not adopting a precisely similar line of conduct towards all, however differing from us in shades of opinion. No process of analogical reasoning, either from the attributes of the Divinity, or the general bearing of Scripture, can warrant us in encouraging or discouraging by worldly influences this or that sect, doctrine, or opinion. And if the enthusiast take refuge, as usual, in the barren argument of texts, in defence of the practice of showing worldly favour to those who are of the household of faith, for any passage that he so adduces, others may be shown him, which, interpreted by similar canons, would justify warfare and oppression against the household of unbelief.

Thus far we conceive that Scripture and reason abundantly warrant us in extending the limits of toleration; although we question whether these remarks, as well as those which we have made on the interpretation of the Old Testament, will not expose us, in the estimation of this writer, and those who think with him, to the usual charge of infidelity. There is a peculiar sanctimonious diction which pervades a great part of his pages, and denotes the class to which he belongs as clearly as that tendency to prefer rhapsody to argument, on which we have already observed. However liberal in theory, he is not always peculiarly charitable in the construction which he puts on the sentiments of others. He finds no difficulty in charging those who dissent from his own favourite tenets with ulterior designs of hostility to religion itself. There can be no more ready answer to an antagonist

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