reproof) are the express language of gusted with Trinitarian doxologies the disciples of our Lord, the writers nor offensive Calvinism - worship of the New Testament. I cannot, constantly attended by some of his however, notwithstanding the re- brother Unitarians instead of which proaches heaped upon me, alter my habitually to sanction with his putone. The confidence I have espres- merous and respectable family and sed has been produced by a perusal, friends, an established service in whick amongst other writings, of some dis- his ears' must be perpetually assailed courses of Mr. Belsham from the words with those doxologies, which his pas of Luke-That thon mayest know the tor in London terms idolatrous, and CERTAINTY of these things wherein in which sentence of everlasting damthou hast been instructed ; and from nation on himself stares bim in the those of Simon Peter (which liave so face—such inconsistency has naturally displeased Candidus) We believe and given great offence, to both Trinitaare sure that thou art that Christ, the rians and Unitarians, and I by no Son of the living God. “Happy they," means repent simply stating what says our author, “ who upon just has been much talked of, and which grounds can adopt this language of surely ought to be explained to the UNHESITATING CONFIDENCE.” (p. 2.) Christian world, or the stumblingBut it now appears that this happy block be removed: but the mere frame of mind, is, in the opinion of statement of the fact is adduced by even a professing Christian, I hope Candidus as additional evidence of in this respect a unique in the Chris- my intolerant principles, of my being tian world, one of the most despica- a persecutor. I cannot reply to such ble, and the most to be deprecated; absurdity; but if the gentlemanlike and that the person enjoying it, is to nerves of your correspondent will be classed with those who “claim suffer him to go through a discourse infallibility!" In spite of this “con- on the subject, I recommend to his demnatory sentence," I feel inexpres- perusal one preached and published sible satisfaction in being able to adopt by the learned and philosophical dithe language of another writer, an il- vine, “ the worthy minister of Essex lustrious sufferer in the cause of free Street Chapel,” who has a happily for inquiry,—the late Robert Robinson, me, proved so able an auxiliary in the who in the closing year of his life, present contest, and who will not be when contemplating the grand, pri- suspected of prejudice against, or unmary truths of Christianity exclaimed gentlemanlike conduct towards Mr. I HAVE NO DOUBTS.

Smith. The title of the Sermon isThe mere statement of Mr. Smith's The Right and duty of Unitarian conduct in habitually attending Uni- Christians to form separate societies tarian worship in London, and Trini- for religious worship. The text, 2 tarian worship in the country, has so Cor. vi. 16–18. “What agreement disgusted Candidus, that he has pro- hath the temple of God with idols ? nounced my language “ uncalled for, ... Wherefore come out from among ungentlemanlike, and intolerant.” them and be ye separate, saith the Now, Sir, when Mr. Smith was quot- Lord, and touch not the uuclean ed as an authority to Christians, I thing,” &c. couceived it by no means “ uncalled Candidus acknowledges that “ his for" to mention one instance of his pub- discussion with me has much more of lic conduct which in the judgment a personal nature than he could wish, of many prevented that authority from but which," he adds, "it seems imbeing implicitly acknowledged; and possible to avoid in such cases." I notwithstanding the “ knock-down” however think nothing could have style of this “gentlemanly writer,” been easier, and indeed it unfortuI must still beg leave to express my nately happens that the personalities opinion, that for an open professor of of your correspondent form a continUnitarianism, a member of an Uni- ued series of mistakes: he is scarcely tarian Church, in London, one whose more happy in his present conjectures talents, station, and general respec., about my sentiments and profession tability, unite in placing him as a city' than when in his former letter he, to set upon a hill--for such an one, when prove my inconsistency, addressed me he might join in Protestant Dissenting as “a certain gentleman imprisoned worship, where he need not be dis- for reviling Mr. Pitt's administration." If Candidus knows to what sect I be. My ambition is, I confess, to deserve, long, I suspect he knows more than if but even in a far inferior degree, I do myself

. I am sorry I cannot re- the encomium passed on the renowned turn his compliment by acknowledg. Chillingworth. “Upon the whole," ing myself as one of his sect, and that says his biographer, “ we should there “is no difference in our religious choose to say that Chillingworth was sentiments." Deeply impressed with tied to no system : he was an inquirer, a sense of the truth and importance of not ashamed to take up and lay down Christianity, and of the danger of re- principles, according to the evidence jecting it, I must declare that the brought forward by constant invesreligious differences between us, judg- tigation : his was not Trinitarianism, ing from the sentiments in his letters, not Socinianism, but a sort of eclectic are as wide as the two poles ; a decla- faith, culled from all systems, in proration I can easily make without feeling portion as he found any of them agreean iota of personal enmity.

ing with the Bible."* ' To which may I am repeatedly addressed as an be added another excellent example, Unitarian minister.” Now, I con- the late Mr. Cappe, of whom his vefess, that if Unitarianism includes in nerable and most useful relict has reit the sentiments I have been oppos- corded, that he was not fond of claiming, I shall be as anxious to abjure ing any of the party names hy which the name, as one of your respectable the Christian world are unhappily correspondents declares he shall be, divided. if that strict sense of it maintained by But, I fear, Sir, I have wearied your another respectable correspondent readers as much as I have myself in should prove to be correct: but this sport of literary duck-hunting ; without giving any opinion on the I may however venture to promise interesting discussion on this subject, that I shall never intrude on them in now carrying on in your Repository, a similar manner.

I have already I proceed to observe, that Candidus shewn I am by no means anxious for in addressing me as an “Unitarian the last word, having left your corminister,” has “ exalted me above respondent Chiron in possession of the measure.” To prevent therefore any field, repeating his redoubtable and misunderstanding on this point, it is modest assertion, that all the defendnecessary to observe, that I hold no ers of Christianity in this country are distinction between clergy and laity ; "cowards and braggadocios.” Should that I have smiled at the idea of a Candidus therefore feri inclined to reman being rendered of a sacred order, new the contest by repeating, for a by any act of others of a sacred order ; third time, his refuted charges, or or by any of those titles, or distinc- by inventing others of a similar nations of dress,—those trifles which I ture, I shall no longer continue a conam sorry to observe are in this en- troversy in which confutation so far lightened age, even by men of sense from producing conviction, draws and piety, deemed necessary to be down additional abuse on the confupreserved for the amusement of our tator. My silence, I am persuaded, numerous grown babies in the Chris- will not be misconstrued by your tian church.

readers. What is of much greater As I never was pastor of a church consequence, is the question-Who and have no right to the term“ mi- has acted, as a Christian, the most connister," as it is commonly used, so I sistent part ?-He who has defended suspect my right to the tern Unita- the friends of Christianity and prorian will scarcely be allowed, more fessed his faith in the very language especially as men of learning have not of the sacred writings, or he who yet settled what is included in the has “ inveighed violently” against him term. My occasional services have for so doing.–This important question been nearly equally divided amongst will be decided by him whom all Calvinists, Methodists, Trinitarians Christians acknowledge to be their and Unitarians ; my aim is I hope to sole Lord and Judge, and whose de do good to any denomination of cision cannot be erroneous.

An atChristians who inay require my ser- tention to his decisions, as already a vices. I have no wish to be called pronounced on some of the great by any other names than those of Christian and Protestant Dissenter. * Monthly Repos. Vol. ix. p. 214.

points in discussion—the truth and have judged that such a discourse importance of Christianity, and the would be useful to their neighbours, general state of unbelievers, I. ear- with whom they could not avoid being nestly recommend, as a proof of my involved in controversy on the subgood will, to Candidus, on parting, to ject. In such circumstances, I should his most serious attention.

think it wrong to decline preaching B. FLOWER. on the existence and influence of the


June 30, 1815. I know not whether I rightly unTHE remarks of A Subscriber to derstand your correspondent's ques

[ocr errors]

been noticed by me sooner, had not Testament sufficiently clear to wartravelling and preaching occupied my rant a Missionary in deciding upon time so fully as to leave no leisure for it?" I apprehend a Missionary is as writing.

capable of deciding upon it as any Your correspondent mentions his other person ; provided he takes equal serious doubts with regard to the pro. pains in examining it. I further priety of a Missionary making the think that the New Testament fally existence and influence of the Devil warrants us to decide against the poa topic of popular preaching." I ap- pular notions of the Devil and his prehend the propriety or impropriety supposed influence. I have not leisure will depend upon circumstances. On now to go into the inquiry, whether it this, and some other points, I have be" probable, that our Lord and his never preached in places where the apostles, believed, in some degree, in leading doctrines we maintain were some sort of evil spirit :" I think your not already received and professed, correspondent will hardly say that it and seldom indeed but at the request is at all probable, that either our of sensible and pious friends. In break- Lord or his apostles believed any ing up new ground, and till an Uni- thing like the notions now maintained tarian church has been planted, I have respecting the Devil and his influence thought it right to confine myself to on the human mind: which is the the first principles of the Unitarian, only point in question. If he will which I regard as the first principles give himself the trouble to read my of the true evangelical doctrine ; and Essay on the subject, a new edition to insist on these theoretically, expe- of which was published last year, he rimentally, and practically. When will fully know what I think our this has been done with good effect, Lord and his apostles taught respect. I have not thought any topic which ing it. has a material bearing on the charac- To your correspondent's question, ter and government of God, and on “ Docs not the statement of such a the moral system, improper to be subject shock and terrify serious Chrismade the subject of a discourse; es- tians, holding the vulgar faith, and pecially when expressly called for. close their ears against a Missionary?" That the popular notions concerning I reply, this depends on the time and an invisible evil being, and his in- manner of giving the statement. As fluence on the minds of men, has such to the time I have sufficiently exa bearing, I think your correspond plained myself, and the statement ent will admit. They are the ground may be given in a manner that will of much vile superstition, and from not be offensive even to delicate ears, them men derive many excuses for nor alarming to any who will not be their improper spirit and conduct. alarmed at whatever opposes their Mauy who have been convinced that prejudices in favour of popular posuch' notions cannot be reconciled tions. So far as my experience goes, with what the scriptures clearly I have not witnessed the effect which teach concerning God and his go- your correspondent apprehends: I vernment, have still felt great diffi. have scen no evil effects produced by culty in rejecting then without seem- my preaching on the subject; but I ing to reject what some places of have witnessed the contrary. I readscripture appeared to them to coun- ily admit, that this subject may, if tenance ; hence they have been de- introduced unseasonably, or stated sirous of hearing a discourse, illustra- injudiciously, or in coarse and offentive of such parts of scripture, and sive langage, prodaced the bad effect he anticipates; and the same may be as far as we can from abuse. After said of many other subjects; but I all I have not found preaching on the trust Unitarian Missionaries will al- subject in question productive of the ways have the judgment and prudence effects intimateri. to guard against the evil feared by the I agree with your correspondent subscriber to the Fund. After all

, is that it is “ dangerous 10 pull down, it possible to avoid, sometimes, shock- rather than build up the faith of the ing and terrifying serious Christians, common people." Those who have holding the vulgar creed? I have heard me most, know it is my plan to known this done by a faithful state. lead my hearers to right views of ment of the doctrines of the divine Christian truth, before I attempt to unity, the humanity of Christ, and expose the fallacy of the opposite nothe free unpurchased mercy and grace tions: indeed I conceive the latter to of God. Yet I have seen such shocks be in a good measure done so far as subside, and the ears of the persons the former is effected. Yet, as the so alarmed, instead of being finally apostles not only preached one God, closed against a Missionary, have been but declared they are no gods which fully opened, and they have received are made with hands, so I conceive as divine truth what at first greatly we ought, with prudence and canterrified them. What I most dread dour, to expose and refute error as is having hearers who are too indif- well as plainly declare the truth, esferent to be either alarmed or pleased. pecially by shewing that the language If a Missionary is to avoid every sub- of scripture does not express such ject that will shock and terrify some doctrines as the popular system supserious Christians, he will labour to poses it to express, and which are inlittle purpose.

compatible with the “ sole, all-perYour correspondent further asks, fect, and infinitely just and merciful “ Does it not furnish low-minded, ir- government of Almighty God." religious men, who will not examine

I remain, Sir, the scriptures, and who care nothing

Respectfully yours, about missionary preaching, with an

R. WRIGHT. authority for scoffing, and introduce'the maxim of no devil' into ale-houses Sir,

N some of your pages last yeur, where it will be esteemed a licence to which I have not now an opporvice?" To this 1 answer, our rejec- tunity of referring to, there appeared tion of the popular notions concerning a sort of defence of the practice of the Devil and his influence is gene- certain religious teachers receiving rally known, before a Missionary en- and giving each other the title of ters publicly on the subject, and is Reverend. The arguments (if they de. more likely to be abused before a pro- served the name) seemed to me exper statement is given and the sub- cessively weak and inconclusive, and ject well guarded, than afterwards : quite unworthy of the rational and - nor can I see how the rejection of those philosophic principles which distin. notions should give a licence to vice. guish your publication. The blind What subject is there that will not attachment of the professed adherents furnish some low-minded, irreligious of misnamed orthodoxy, to the puerile men, with a pretext for scoffing, &c.? absurdities and unscriptural practices but arc we on this account to avoid of the apostate Church of Rome, gives declaring the whole truth, or opposing me but little concern. It is what may pernicious error ? If we proceed with be expected until the prophetic deall due prudence, we may lament, but nunciation be fulfilled, and “ the we cannot blame ourselves for the whore is made desolate and naked conduct of such persons, who will be and burnt with fire.” Sec Rev. xvii. equally likely to abuse the doctrines 16. But that the enlightened friends of free grace, of the infinite goodness of primitive truth, the intrepid opand mercy of God, and of limited posers of prevailing corruptions of punishment; but are we therefore to Christianity, the avowed worshipers conceal these doctrines, lest ungodly of only one God, even the Father, men should turn the grace of God should wish to retain such a childish, into licentiousness? Is it not enough unscriptural and antichristian appenif we correctly state, and guurd them dage to their wines, appears such an FOL. X.


[ocr errors]

anomaly as to deserve severe repre- that it is their opinions alone that ought hension.

to be listened to with reverence ? It has been often urged that the sd. The retaining of this title by subject is trivial and uniinportant, Unitarian ministers is inconsistent with therefore ought not to be agitated. that manly and independent spirit Repeated consideration for many years which ought to inspire every part of has confirmed me in a contrary way our system. of thinking. In the present state of They ought to shew the world that Unitarianism it is of great moment, they are superior to those paltry arthat its friends should look at every tifices by which an antichristian part of the system, that they should priesthood deceived and enslaved our carry their dissent from human tra. unenlightened progenitors; that they ditions and unauthorized impositions desire not to have their opinions rein religion to its legitimate extent, ceived under the sanction of personal and that they should be consistent pretensions to holiness, learning, or throughout. Observe then,

sacred character; that their authority Ist. That it is a violation of our lies wholly in the truth of the docMaster's express command for his dis- trines, and in the evidence by which ciples to receive or give any titles ex- they are supported ; and that these pressive of distinction and authority they submit to the unbiassed and canin religious concerns. Matt. xxiii. sia did examination of every man by a 12. Thc Rabbies and Fathers of the rational, unambiguous and unreserved Pharisaic School were soon succeeded declaration of what appears to them by the Reverend Fathers of the Chris- the duty of a Christian both to believe tian church, notwithstanding Jesns and practise. Far be the degradation had explicitly said "It shall not be from them, of seeking to place them so among you." It has been said that selves even in appearance on a level we are rather to regard the spirit of with the teachers of superstition and these precepts, and that our Lord's fanaticism, who, as if conscious of the object was only to impress on his prostration of their own understandings, disciples the duty of humility. I ask desire to clothe themselves in the in reply, How will the spirit of the trappings of outward sanctity and ofprecept be observed, if its letter be ficial dignity. Let Unitarians labour daily broken with impunity ? to fix their reputation on a basis

20. The appropriation of such a title which will sustain it with honour, to our ministers is inconsistent with when the general blaze of universal enlarged and liberal views of Chris- knowledge will extinguish those petty tianity. It was doubtless intended by meteors, which owe all their lustre the antichristian hierarchy that first to the darkness of the hemisphere in adopted it to discriminate an order of which they move. I rejoice to see men exclusively authorized to teach some of our most distinguished leaders religion and to perform sacred offices. disposed to abandon the use of the But we acknowledge no such mono- title that occasioned these reflections, poly in religion. And we ask any and I doubt not their example will be man who claims it, from whom he followed. To accelerate this it only derived his authority? Every Chris- remains for the people to cease from tian man who is able, has a right to calling their preachers Reverend, and teach those who choose to be taught they will not long continue to give by him; and to do it or decline it the title to one another. according to the dictates of his own

I remain, dear Sir, understanding and conscience. It is , Yours very respectfully, therefore a supposable case, that the

ROBERT LITTLE. whole of a small society might be so enlightened as to instruct and edify Chapel Exemption Bill. one another. Would these he all cal.

SIR, June 20th, 1815. onde Reverend brethren? It is how, I'into the merits of this bill, but ever generally requisite that one or two able persons should be selected merely, as a friend to Christianity for the important work of public in- and disinterested conduct in its prostruction. But is it therefore consis- fessors, to inquire of some of the nutent to give these an appellation merous readers of your widely-ex. which may be understood to signify tended miscellany the true cause of

« VorigeDoorgaan »