Henry Grew - April 27 1849 on Jehovah's righteousness

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Henry Grew - April 27 1849 on Jehovah's righteousness - Hcformntonj. THE BIBLE DISCUSSION. ....
Hcformntonj. THE BIBLE DISCUSSION. . Phii.aiI.pbia, April 11, 1849. "oIIkjcry C. Wright: Dear Friend You ask, Can the most atrocious rimes be turned into virtues and duties Y I reply, i tat which would be an atrocious crime for man to do, j perfectly just for God to do, Henry C. Wright be jUue. I would be an atrocious crime in me to ' ?nd the electric fluid to the body of the innocent I a be in the cradle, which I know will destroy its life. tct you say that God docs this, and that he is just in t o doing. 1 ou think that ' a renewed statement of the ques tion at issue is what the present state of the contro versy demands of you. I beg leave to differ from you on this point. I think you are fairly called upon to answer my arguments offered to prove the invalid ity of yours, to support your allegations of the injus tico of what the Bible claims to be the commands of Jehovah. You repeat your quotations of the objectionable acts correctly in the main. There is no evidence, however, of God's commanding or approving every thing which Jacl said to Sisera. You repeat your . reasons for believing these acts to be unjust. I have endeavored to answer these reasons, and to prove that they are not valid. It remains for you to prove that my arguments for this purpose are inconclusive. 1 our feeing, that trying to prove that it would be unjust for God to have commanded Moses to slay the Canaanitcs, is like trying to prove to a man his own existence,' only proves to my mind that your confi- dence in your present theory is irrational. Reason must certainly decide that we have not the same infallible knowledge of the former as of the latter, 1. ' They are opposed to the unchangeable relations and obligations of man to man.' I have proved the futility of this objection by the principle that man's relation to God, and his relation to his brother man are not the same, and that justice itself requires dif ferent acts, or duties of different grades, of intelligent and moral beings. Your misapprehension of this im portant principle of truth is, perhaps, your starting point into the field of error. All intelligences are bound by the law of righteousness, but righteousness gives authority and rights to the Creator which never gives to the creature ; authority also and rights to the human father which it does not give to the child, &c. x our second reason is, that such acts are opposed to the instincts of our nature in favor of justice, That some of the ways of the Infinite, contemplated independently of a future retribution, do not perfectly harmonize with our ideas of natural justice, I admit, But that all the acts you object to, considered in con ncction with the general revealed truth, are of the character you specify, I deny. I believe that this de nial will be sustained by fact. Is it not a fact, that to a majority of readers, the record of God's destroy' ing the wicked inhabitants of the antediluvian world, and the command to Moses and Joshua to cast out and slay the Canaanitcs for their iniquities, accord with our natural consciousness of God's rightful au thority to punish transgression ? Your third reason is, that these acts 4 conflict with the idea of an unchanging God of justice and goodness. How is this, unless we suppose that God's immutability requires him to treat all moral beings alike, without respect to character ? It is true indeed that his goodness is universal and immutable. But that very goodness and justice affix a penalty to his holy law. It conduces to the order and happiness of the universe. As God has a right to take the life he gives, the destruction of the innocent with, the guilty, whether by disease, earthquake, or the sword of man, involves no injustice. The fourth reason is, They contradict the paterni ty of God and the fraternity of man. I ask you to prove, if you can, that they do so any more than the pestilence or the earthquake, which you admit that he ' sends.' I affirm that reason, as well as holy scripture, affirms the justice of God in punishing his children for transgression, and destroying them for' ever, if they will not submit to his righteous govern. ment. I affirm that the removal of the innocent, by death, from the present state, is perfectly compatible with his paternal love. It may be a great blessing. Your fifth reason, is, that they contradict ' also the essential spirit and principles of Christianity." There is indeed a difference in some of the laws pertaining to the old and new covenants. Jesus Christ has abolished the law of retaliation, eye for eye, and life for life, &c. Neither does God now command one nation to slay another for their sins. Some things, which were shadows of better things to - come, arc done away, viz., sacrifices of beasts, sabbath days, &c It is matter of fact, however, that under the Christian dispensation, the Almighty accomplishes his right eous judgments by. human instrumentalities. The Roman army under Titus was as much the rod of the Lord's anger as was the Assyrian monarch. It is Jesus Christ himself, whose spirit and precepts you profess to admire, ruling by the appointment of the Father, who breaks the nations with a rod of iron, and dashes them to pieces as a potter's vessel, involv ing in the same general ruin, the innocent babe and the hoary-headed sinner. It was the merciful and compassionate Saviour of sinners, who solemnly asked the proud Pharisees, How can ye escape the condemnation of Gehenna ? Christianity, in her loveliness, denounces a sorer punishment on her opposcrs, than was ever inflicted on the transgressors of Sinai's covenant. To the returning prodigal, indeed, she opens her arms of salvation, but for the impenitent and unbelieving she reserves the lake of tormenting and annihilating fire, of which the flames of Sinai's mount were only a shadow. It remains for you to prove, if you can, that all these things arc any more rcconcile-able with your theory than the things you condemn. You should have more regard for the reputation of your own reasoning iacuuy, man 10 represent inai I.. - . the same acts done by different persons and in different circumstances cannot be right in one case, and wrong in another, without converting a lie into truth.' Has the Infinite Source of all being no right to do any thing but what a creature of the dust may do ? L there no difference, in respect to obligation and authority ? Will you place the Creator and the creature on a level ? Not, mark you, in respect to obligation to conformity to justice itself, but in respect to what is just for each to dot Will you ever place a human father and his child on such a level ? You well know that you would not. You know that the very same acts of obedience which the father may rightfully require of the child, cannot be rightfully required by the child of the father. I have proved that Jesus Christ and his apostles have sanctioned the same judgments of the Old Testament which you condemn, and, consequently, that if the prophets were mistaken, the Saviour and his disciples were also, and the claim of the New Testament to our confidence is no better than that of the Old. In this view of the subject, it appears more appropriate for mo to ask you, Where then is man's resting place ?' In thus invalidating the sacred volume, you take away all assurance of Immortality. With Socrates and Plato, you may conjecture and hope, but you have no assurance. You may tell me .that you trust in the justice, benevolence and mercy of God. You see sin and misery existing, notwithstanding these divine attributes. How do you know, independently of the Bible, that they will not continue in the future state i How do you know that the desd shall live again, or that there are pardon and eternal life for beings that have sinned ? You do me injustice in representing that according to (my) views, Cod ha converted all that is hating, revengeful, era- el &c into all that is pleasing, holy and just in his sight ;' and that there is no conceivable crime which would not instantly become a duty, if God commanded it.' You know that what I have written clearly implies my belief that God cannot command that an innocent' being shall be punished,' and that it would be unjust if he did so. You know that I have writ-tcd that God does things because they art right, and that things are not right simply because he does them, independently of the principle of righteousness. It is indeed impossible for God to lie, but this impossibility is of a moral nature. God has infinite power to do wrong, if he pleases. H not, where is his virtue in doing right i There is no moral virtue in the earth keeping its true orbit. God is infinitely excellent, because, with infinite power to do wrong, he is infinitely and immutably disposed to do right. Yours truly, HENRY GREW. , . I V We have received the following letter from Edward M. Davis, of Philadelphia, dated New York, 4th Mo. 3, 1849. ' Dear Friend : I regret very much not to be able to be with you, this year, in your efforts to enlighten the community on the Sabbath question ; but, in lieu of my presence, I send you $20 for the use of the Convention. This is about what it would cost me to go and come, and my motto is, oo or pay and do both if you can. Our friend, William Logan Fisher, handed me a few copies of his bold and well-timed memorial to our legislature, saying that he wished you to have them, and desired me to suggest that the Convention draw up and adopt, for extensive circulation, a brief yet comprehensive address on the important subject which calls the Convention together. There are many of us who would be glad to be with you, and none more, as they told me yesterday, than my honored and dearly beloved father and mother, James and Lucretia Mott. , Yours, very truly, E. M. DAVIS. . To W. L. Garrison. PETITION OF GERMAN SEVENTH DAY BAPTISTS. We give below the form of petition prepared by our German Seventh-day Baptist brethren, for presentation to the Legislature of Pennsylvania at its approaching session. They earnestly request the English Seventh-day Baptists who reside in Pennsylvania, to send petitions to the Legislature from their respective communities, in such form as they may think proper. This should be attended to immedi ately and thoroughly. To the Honorable the Senate and House of Repre , tentative of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, tn General Assembly met : The Memorial of the undersigned, members of the Seventh-day Baptist denomination, residing in the County of - respectfully represents: That the observance of the seventh day of the week (commonly called Saturday) as the Sabbath, is a prominent article of their Faith, and has always been religiously and conscientiously adhered to by them and never, until lately, have they been disturbed or molested for not observing the first day of the week as the Sabbath. Among the earliest settlers of Lancaster county were large numbers of this sect and they and their children have continued to reside there for upwards of a century, in the peaceful enjoyment of the Rights of Conscience. Others have lived in Franklin county for upwards of seventy years, and no one ever dreamed of enforcing against them the pro vis ions of the Act of 1D4, until the summer ot lo4c when, in consequence of a prosecution - instituted without their agency, for the disturbance of a relig ious meeting at now Hill, many members ot this denomination were time and again prosecuted, and compelled to pay fines and costs,and in some instances undergo imprisonment, tor performing secular duties on Sunday. In Bedford county, also, the members of this Church have been : repeatedly subjected to prosecutions, fines and costs, on the same account. These prosecutions have, in almost every instance. been instituted upon the information ot individuals. whose lives manifest but little regard for religion and the sanctity of the Sabbath, and who seem to be ac tuated more by a spirit of persecution and intole rance than by any love of the Christian faith. Your memorialists, believing that the Constitution of the United States, and of tins btate, miaranteed to them the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, appealed for redress to the high est judicial tribunal oi the Commonwealth and they regret to add that they appealed in vain. The Act of 1794, under which their brethren were proceeded against, was decided to be within the spirit and meaning of the Bill of. Riirhts, declaring that 4 all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences,' and that no human authori ty can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the nehts of conscience Bv appealinir to your honorable bodies, tney mean no reflection whatever on the iudicial tribunal of the State : on the contrary, they have ever entertained the highest respect for the constituted authorities of Government. But inasmuch as the existing laws compel them either to observe a day which they can not conscientiously regard as me oaDDatn, or suDject them to fines and imprisonment, they humbly and respectfully ask for the enactment of a law to exempt them from the provisions of the first section of the act entitled 'An Act for the prevention of vice and immorality.' passed the 2.2d day of ApriL 17S4. If the Legislature, in a law for the relief prayed for, shall deem it proper to enforce the observance of the Seventh, JJay by those professing to oeneve it to be the true Sabbath, your memorialists , will be per fectly content. - Sabbath Laws. A late number of the New Concord iO.) Free Press, contains an article in favor of penal enactments against the desecration or tne sabbath,' which does credit neitner to nis intelli gence, his logic, nor his candor. How his readers generally can swallow some of his assertions and reasonings, we do not know ; but he draws on his imagination a little too much in the former, and on his prejudices in the latter, for intelligent and thoughtful men to trust either. For example, he af firms, in reply to Mr. Garrison's plea for liberty of conscience, that William Jjioyd iiarrwon wouia allow the slaveholder to sacrifice one or a dozen ot liis slaves upon a fiery altar, as an act of conscientious worshio to God.' If the editor can make himself believe so absurd and incredible a statement, he must have a remarkable power of self delusion. If the Sabbath laws have no-better defence than he makes for them, we hope, for the sake of truth and tolerance and common sense, that they may speedily be repealed. Such assertions and such loffic are never needed in a good cause. Penn. Freeman. Trass Cocrtship. An old Count paid his ad- dresses to one of the richest heiresses of Paris. I n asking her hand in marriage, he franklv said to her : Miss B.. I am very old, and you are very young ; will you do me the honor to become my widow f W My dear madam,' said a doctor to his patient. I am truly gratified to see vou vet in life At mv last visit yesterday, you know I told you you had but six hours to live.' Yes, doctor, you did, but I did not take the dose you left for me.' Absence of Mind. An elderly gentleman, walking along the street, took hold of a cow's tail and grace fully placing it over her back, exclaimed, ' Madam, you hare dropped your boa. CP Some one, looking at a rich man, said, Poor man, he toiled day ana night until he was forty, to gain his wealth, and he has been watching it day and night, ever since, for his victuals and clothes.' ' A country clergyman being opposed to the use of the violin in the church service, was, however, overruled by his congregation, who determined upon having one.- isn toe following Sunday, the parson commenced the service by exclaiming in long drawn accents, t You may f-i-d-d-l-e and s-Un-g the 40th psalm.' '' ' ' - E7 What do yon drive such a pitiful lookinr ear- case as that for i Why don't you put a good heavy coat of flesh on him r asked a person of an Irish cartman, about his horse. A heavy coat of flesh! ma voumccn! ! Be all the blessed powers, now, toAen tAs poor croteur eon scarce carry the little Moth therm is oh 'im I ' S. Y, fyirit of the Times. a . . . " . el I ly A, at me me "and city ter, me one a just I for of Her one he see for not out. that. chamber just roof country me

Clipped from
  1. The Liberator,
  2. 27 Apr 1849, Fri,
  3. Page 4

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  • Henry Grew - April 27 1849 on Jehovah's righteousness

    mamacitalc – 28 Nov 2013

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