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unless we first know that it can be granted without a miracle, the is stant we ask for it; nor yet even utter the Lord's prayer itself, be cause the conversion of the world the next moment may involve an impossibility; or because the bread of to-morrow cannot be given us to-day? We ask Dr. Spring whether he has never prayed for prospective blessings thus conditioned-blessings which he believed neither would nor could be granted the next following instant? Would he regard it as a palpable impropriety to pray that an unborn infant might live under the government of God in this world—might become a child of God through his transforming grace-might arrive at manhood, and become an able and successful preacher of the gospel to lost men, and all this, without knowing the moment when the child should be born and become a sinner? Is it rational to believe that the consecration of Samuel to the Lord by his devout mother, before his birth, was unconnected with “all supplication" in behalf of the child for spiritual blessings ? Where or what then is the warrant for Dr. Spring's favorite opinion, that we must first know, that a child has sinned, before we can with propriety, pray that he may become a child of God ?

Once more, what high value pertains to the privilege of praying for infant children on the principles of Dr. Spring. “They are born in sin.”'_“Their hearts are full of evil.”'_“ They are under the wrath and curse of God, and there is no redemption for them but through the propitiation of his only Son.” But we ask again, what hope for them, even through this propitiation ? The word of 3 God, according to Dr. Spring's method of interpretation, decides absolutely and without qualification, that every born infant must perish eternally, unless he repents and believes except he puts off the old man and puts on the new!

Dr. Spring tells us, that " there are more that die in infancy, than in any other period of equal extent.” We ask then, how many of this class of human beings, are born-sin-die--and perish forever under the curse of God, before the parental prayer can be uttered, or even con ceived in the heart? And especially before it can be easily be * lieved, that with adequate views of their sinfulness and their duty, they can turn to God in genuine repentance, or believe in him to as a rewarder of the penitent?

But we fear that we are wearying our readers with questions which must appear too trivial to be asked or answered. And yet in the decision of these questions, lies the vast importance y which many theologians attach to the doctrine under discussion; die as if all supplication to a covenant God on the part of christian parents for the dearest objects of earthly affection, were forestalled

, unless the precise instant of actual sin be first determined.

We can easily understand, how those who believe in the doctor trine, that sin is a created or propagated property

of the soul, mint amit the privilege of praying, that as soon as God creates a soul

, he would

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nstantly make his own work over again. We can also readily ppreciate the sensibility of a pious mind, when it assumes as indupitable truth, that infants are sinners at the moment of birth, and that those broad and general forms of expression in the scriptures respecting regeneration, and justification, apply to them as truly as to others. Or, could we, through any medium, gain access for the truths of religion to the minds of new born children-could we in

struct them in the nature of sin and holiness, and exbibit to their - apprehension, the duty of repentance, or faith, or of making a new

heart and a new spirit ; some solicitude to ascertain the precise instant when moral agency commences, would be rational. But when we have rejected the monstrous dogma, that God creates the soul sinful, and damns it for being so; when we have once learned that to interpret the popular language of the sacred writers to the letter, is to give it a meaning which they never intended, and by which all who die in early infancy, being incapable of faith, are fatally excluded from heaven; and especially when we reflect, how entirely vain must be all attempts to impart to the minds of newborn children, the knowledge of God, or of right and wrong, in the lowest degree, we may well acquiesce in our ignorance of their moral state and relations, and confide them and all their interests to Him who gives them being, and retains their destiny so exclusively at bis own disposal. This view of the subject seems to us so to harmonize with the wisdom which characterizes the revelation of God, as to afford no slight presumption, that instead of gratifying a useless curiosity on our part, he has rather furnished an occasion for the delightful exercise of confidence and hope in his perfect character and perfect government. Nor is there scarcely any incongruity more to be wondered at, than the solicitude on this subject which is sometimes manifested by parents of enlightened piety; and the consequent propensity which they show, to reason and conjecture respecting things which God conceals in the secrecy of his own counsels. Plainly, in this early- period of children's existence, God has imposed no parental duty, on the performance or non-performance of which, their spiritual and immortal interests are made at all to depend. Indeed, he gives them existence in circumstances, which render the performance of such duties utterly impracticable. At the same time, to believe that children at this period, possess that knowledge of moral truth, which is requisite to moral responsibility,-beings to whom, as we know, we impart the first elements of knowledge in inferior things, if not of this also, is to task reason and common sense in a manner, which is not after the manner of God. How obvious, too, the designed and absolute silence observed in the sacred oracles on this subject, except perhaps the assurance, that at this early period, “ children have no knowledge between good and evil.”* At a subsequent, convenient

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time, the injunction of an external rite, in which parental faith consecrates them to God in the covenant of his love, is the only vine requirement respecting them. How then, we ask, could God more distinctly unfold and limit parental duty on this subject, in accordance with the dictates of that reason, by which he consents that his word and his ways should be tried? How could he more clearly teach us to confide our infant offspring, during the interval of early infancy, to Him as our God, and their God; or how bring us under a more sacred pledye, as their minds open to the reception of truth, to train them up for Himn and heaven? Is it not strange, that christian parents, with just views of God's character

, of bis covenant, and of the principles of his moral administration, should allow their solicitude to extend beyond the performance of these obvious, practicable, and important duties?



We are now prepared to contemplate Dr. Spring in the position he has taken. Peculiar and alone in his views of the doctrine of native depravity, he has raised himself on a solitary eminence, where, uncountenanced and unsupported, he repels the approach of the entire orthodox community. By this stern exclusion of others, even those from whom he differs least, what does Dr. Spring ex: pect to accomplish? We know, that the expedient of denunciation and vituperative clamor is the fashion of the day; and if we may judge from the spirit of intolerance manifested in many forms, it is confidently relied on as a potent substitute for lack of argument. But what can a minister of Christ, hope to effect by resorting to such an expedient in such a cause? Can he expect to convince the religious community, that those who on this point are thoroughly orthodox, even more so than himself, are heretics? Can be expect to honor Christ by the excision of his own members? Can be expect to convince of error, by furnishing proof of his rance ? Can he hope to intimidate by an impotent violence ? Or, has he some pique against “old friends," at whom he is aiming, what he deems a merited retribution ? position will only serve to render himself,— (a fatality which always attends some men,) the less to be heeded.

But, we impute to Dr. Spring no such vain designs and expectations. The incredible nature of these suppositions

, only server to render the course taken by Dr. Spring, one of the most inexplicable of all occurrences. Why is it, that Dr. Spring should assail Prof. Stuart, his New Haven brethren, and virtually, that large class of christian ministers, who stand first in talent, in toil, and successful labor in the cause of their Master, with tions, and odious personalities? Why is it, that he charges men

, who, tried by any standard, are more orthodox than himself, with “ assaulting the doctrine of native depravity, and in their own coll ered way to the field?” Why is it, that he even quotes scurrilig itself, from a slanderous publication, to which neither the author nor

If so, the solitude of bis



publisher dared to affix his name, and even endorses it by the commendation, that it is written “ in a christian spirit !" Why is it, that he charges men who have not departed on the point at issue, from Hopkins, Dwight, Emmons, Woods,—nor indeed from any orthodox writer who can be named, with being “advocates of the Pelagian doctrine;" “ the opposers of native depravity ;" adopting *error because it is soothing to the pride of human reason, and the self-righteousness of the natural heart,”—“plucking one truth after another from its orbit, till we are left to grope our way back to Pelagian darkness ;" going rapidly onward to Unitarianism, subverting the gospel, prostrating vital piety, corrupting revivals of religion, and injuring the souls of men?' One would suppose that Dr. Spring would have some pretext for all this ; something in the form of a reason to render, except that those who are the objects of his attack, agree, on the very point in debate, with the orthodox of New England, and that he does not! It is therefore with regret, and with astonishment, from which we can find no relief, that we ask, what is it that has led Dr Spring to this vituperation and personal abuse? The difference at most-yea, at most—is, that Dr. Spring holds that infants, at the very instant of their creation, commit known actual sin, while the entire orthodox church either deny, or decline to admit, his strange position! Such is the ground of his denunciations—such the dividing line' he would draw—the impassable barrier he would fix, between the ministers and churches of the Lord Jesus Christ !

We cannot but say, that we feel ourselves deeply injured by this spirit of intolerance, which we know to be entirely causeless, and which in its measures is so nearly allied to prisons, pillories, and gibbets. And yet, Dr. Spring speaks of his “ love of old attachments and old friends." He is sighs for union and peace in God's long disjointed and contending heritage!” We impeach not his sincerity; and yet we cannot doubt, that he adopts the most effectual means of promoting the very division and discord, which he professes to deprecate. Surely, that union among his disciples for which the Savior so fervently prayed, must be the result of something more heavenly and divine, than the personal invective of angry controversy, concerning the instant when infants begin to sin.

If ever there was a case of causeless and undue excitement, in which men of piety and influence were called upon to repress the heats and eruptions of sectarian and party strife, the present is such a case. We indeed possess but little influence on such a subject, except as, (we trust, it has been furnished by our example. We are the very object of assault. Our voice of remonstrance, therefore, will be likely to be lost on those who assail us. Some, we know, would propose to us to retire from the discussion. This, we think, is not our duty. Our orthodoxy is loudly and extensively impeach

We feel able, and in reference to the station we occupy, bound to defend it. Calm and dispassionate discussion, we believe, will be useful. We might say it is indispensable. We are friends to this. We have engaged in no other. We shall not shrink from this. But to employ every artifice to alarm, to excite, and to alienate good men from one another, is only blowing the flames of contention, and widening the breach, which is already the disgrace and calanity of the christian church. These are maladies which can be cured, not by“ a divisive spirit,” but only by “a spirit of love and of a sound mind." This troubling of the waters, is not by an angel from heaven, nor can any healing result be anticipated as the consequence.


The chief points about which real christians differ, are those in respect to which the scriptures are silent. They are almost without exception, mere human theories, which the ignorance and presumption of men have attempted to palm on the oracles of God. Would christians learn to estimate their differences more equitably —would they assign to the truths in which they agree, their relative importance, and make those concessions to each other which can be made with a good conscience,—then might we look for the fulfilment of the prayer of their Lord, that they all may be one.” They would cease from propounding new terms of communion, and from all attempts to lord it over the conscience, and to exalt their own philosophic dreams into fundamental truths of christianity. The scheme of identifying a party with the only chureh of Christ, would be abandoned: the foolish clamor about heresy among brethren would be hushed; and no one be required to surrender his opinions or his conscience to the claims of ecclesiastical domination. When shall these things be? When shall every truth be judged of by its own legitimate evidence? When shall that honest independence of mind, so much admired but so little prevalent, take the place of those party antipathies and attachments which instil their venom into theological discussions ? When shall the spirit of Christ teach his disciples how to differ? When shall an awful fear of God, hold its torch over the sacred pages of his word, to illumine all inquiry, and to guide into all truth?



Many attempts have been made to explain away the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and to represent it as an imaginary scene, and not a real event. It may be interesting, therefore, briefly to examine, Whether the temptation was real-Who was the tempter -How the temptation was effected-and, What purpose it was designed to subserve.

Was the temptation real or imaginary ?

1. Christ was tempted in all points as we are, (Heb. iv. 15,) i.e. in all respects, or in all important particulars. But christians are liable to real temptations, and are warned against them. The temptation of Christ, therefore, was real and not imaginary.—But,

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