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Without doubt he shall perish everlapU ingly , ' we cannot be supposed to mean that ev eiy trifling verbal ^ difference on a subject above our knowledge shall doom even the best of men to eternal destruction : tj ^ is is contrary to our belief as sons oi the Church of England ; it is contrary
to our charity as Christians ! But when words grow into things , when verbal distinctions , as they very rapidly do , grow into practical evils , when a mau shall wilfully reject , insidiously undermine , or knowingly degrade any leading doctrine of the Christian dispensation ,
then he is amenable to this clause . The revelation of God to man , the glories and graces of the Christian dispensation , are iiot objects trf capricious sport or idle contention . They are not to be received at pleasure , nor rejected with impunity .
Those who have the power and opportunity of ascertaining , of receiving , and of defending their truth , must , in reason , be answerable for their wilful rejection or intentional corruption . God is not mocked : that which a man soiveth that
also will he reap . But even here we must remember that God , not man , is the Judge ! And when the judgments of < 5 od are threatened , they neither are nor can be threatened absolutely , "but with a final and essential reservation for the mercies of Infinite Wisdom . "
Such , is the mode after which a pious and learned divine has explained away the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed at the commencement of the nineteenth century . Of
its validity the reader must decide . But we must be gratified to perceive orthodox clergymen , fust bound hand and foot by their subscription to articles of faith , yet striving to reconcile their credence of them with the
dictates of common sense , and with the suggestions of Christian charity . The practical remembrance of this truly evangelical apothegm , that God , not man , is Judge , is a sovereign remedy for all uncharitableness and bigotry .
Had this obvious truth been recognised , the Athanasian Creed , in all its hideous deformity , would never have been composed . Jt would not have reared its head to affright the timid , to embolden the censorious , and scatter dismay throughout the religious world . The uncharitable surmise and
savage anathema , now indelibly staining the page of ecclesiastical history , would , under the recognition of this
admirable sentiment , have been suppressed . Indeed , it is the usurpation of the province of the great Judge of all that has spoiled the temper of individuals , murdered the repose of communities , and deluged the church of God with blood . This is the Antichrist denounced in the mysterious
book of the Revelation , closing the canon of Scripture , and which the hallowed spirit of prophecy , announcing the second coming of the Messiah , assures us shall be destroyed at the brightness of his rising . Charitably judging each other , is a duty of the first order , solemnly and repeatedly inculcated in the New Testament-
Resigning the ultimate condition of our brethren of a different faith to the wise and merciful disposal of the alone Searcher of hearts , Truth would fearlessly pursue her inquiries , proclaim
undismayed the result of her labours , and reign triumphant I Error ceasing any longer to delude her votaries |) y false hopes or groundless fears , fe 7 e should speedily return to the doctrines and spirit of primitive Christianity .
Madame de Stael has thus felicitously expressed herself on the subject : " Men whose affections are disinterested and their thoughts religious—men who live in the sanctuary of their conscience
and know how to concentrate in it , as in a burning glass , all the rays of the universe—these men , 1 say , are the priests of the religion of the souly and nothing ought ever to disunite them . An abyss separates those who conduct themselves
according to calculation and those who are guided by feeling . AH other differences of opinion are nothing ; this alone is essential 1 It is possible that one day a cry of union may be raised , and that ell
Christians may aspire to profess the same theological , political and moral religion ; but before this miracle is accomplished , all men who have a heart and who obey it , ought mutually to respect each other T
Ministers of the Established Church and among the Protestant Dissenters , would do well to Recollect , that it is the illustrious grace of Christian charity , pronounced by the Apostle of the Gentiles to be greater than faith and hope , which will hereafter be ernbJazoned and perfected before the throne of God in heaven . J , EVANS . wmmm . v . ' , ' ' ¦ ' <¦
608 The Athanasian Creed .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1825, page 608, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2541/page/32/