Rights, Claims, and Duties of Opinion: An Address Delivered Before the Berry St. Ministerial Conference, May 28, 1845

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W. Crosby & H.P. Nichols, 1845 - Freedom of religion - 23 pages
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Page 16 - ... time ? And then, misled by analogies, he applies this to the Infinite Being. And yet he complains of anthropomorphism in the reasonings of other men ! I cannot account this to be true philosophy. The writer, though a bold, seems not to me a sturdy, inductive reasoner. Nay, his analogy, his favorite principle, fails him here. Man is not a machine ; his will, by its very nature perhaps, is, to a certain extent, a disturbing principle in the creation ; and it may create emergencies requiring interposition....
Page 4 - ... of wisdom. And thus opinion, the very lever that moves the world, is cast about as if it were a shuttle-cock for idle sport. Let us attempt then, first of all, to clear up the ground of the proposed discussion and see what it is. And I think this may be in good part effected by a single distinction, which as a ray of light penetrates the cloud ; the distinction, that is to say, between abstract right, claim or duty, and the use of that right, the actual deference to that claim, the performance...
Page 23 - Jesus — that is the great word that needs to be uttered now ! In fine, let opinions fairly unfurl their banners, and not fold them into cloaking veils about the momentous points of difference. Reformers — as they consider themselves — must somewhat sturdily take their ground. They must not wonder at resistance nor rejection. They must let other people think too, and say what they think. They must expect opposition and learn calmly to meet it. They must not construe opposition into unkindness....
Page 12 - not completely rejected. The authority of the absolute truth in Jesus is admitted." Did any body ever reject the authority of absolute truth ? Did any one ever deny the extraordinary virtue of the Christ, or his inspiration, in the sense in which Socrates and Cicero received that gift? Did ever any infidel or Mahometan deny anything of all this ? How are we to distinguish the believer in Christianity from the unbeliever, if our definition of the Christian disciple includes the infidel and the Mahometan...
Page 18 - Do we say anything else now ? And suppose a man, in judging of Christianity, should arrive at the complete rejection of it, and should profess himself in terms to be an infidel ; did we ever say that we should account him to be a Christian ? But this, it will be said, is not the case in hand. The case that now presses itself upon our attention, is one in which the party rejected wishes to be called a Christian believer, and to be received as a Christian teacher. This raises the question on which...
Page 13 - ... raised up Jesus Christ to be a perfect model and authority to me, and hath surrounded him for confirmation of my faith with the majesty of miracle, I do not see how it is possible for me to regard him as a Christian believer or Christian disciple, who rejects all this. When therefore the Wiirtemberg Council of Education made the formal inquiry of Dr. Strauss, what claim he had with his sentiments to hold a Christian professorship, although he made a labored attempt to defend the consistency of...
Page 7 - condemning and judging" — words which bear a severe or a legislative aspect — we simply said " disapproving," or even "disapproving in the highest degree," the difficulty would be removed. Here is the fault; not in judging of doctrines and men — a thing inevitable — but in judging them.
Page 12 - — because they all alike acknowledge the authority of Jesus Christ, and all sincerely profess to stand upon the same basis ; that is to say, the New-Testament record. The fundamental criterion of faith and practice with them all is the same. But what is the case that has arisen in these latter days — in Germany, in England and America ? It is a case in which the authority and the record by which we have been wont to decide questions are completely rejected. ' No,' it may be replied,
Page 20 - Christian congregations, when taught such distracting theories ? What would be their chance of edification and establishment ? Why, upon these theories we cannot even read the Scriptures in each other's churches. If I were to read the New Testament in a meeting of the disciples of Strauss, must they not look upon me as a weak brother, smile at my credulity, and wonder that I should gravely read such things to them ? And if their teacher should read that book in my pulpit, would not the people look...
Page 7 - I. 8 think, to free Christianity from the imputation of such manifest and monstrous absurdity. In the next place, have Christian sects a right to condemn one another's opinions ? Have Catholics and Protestants, Calvinists and Arminians, Orthodox and Liberal Christians, interchangeably such a right? Undoubtedly they have. Their very relation implies it. Nay, they have a perfect right to hold each others' systems to be a complete and even a fatal departure from Christianity. However much they may err...

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