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William Semple, Esq.
tions, and for the melancholy case of Wadsworth Busk, Esq.
those of his flock, who at any time Edmund Offley, Esq.
err from the path of virtue. He canEben. Ratcliff. London.
not but tenderly sympathize with his
afflicted friends, and partake of their Henry Cutler.
sorrows. Death will dissolve the most John Bradfoot.
endearing connexions, and he will be Mercer. Chowbent, Lancashire. often called to bid his final adieu to Jos. Browne. Coventry, London. those whom he highly valued, and
Nathaniel White. Hinckley, Leeds, whose loss to the circles of private London.
friendship, to the cause of religion, Newcome Cappe. York.
and the community at large, he most Thomas Blake. Crookherne, West. sensibly feels and sincerely laments. Joseph Gellibrand, Tottenham.
To trials of this kind, Sir, I am no Henry Moore. West Modbury.
stranger. Occasionally also some who John Walker. Framlingham, Suf- were my constant attendants, either folk.
dissatisfied with the doctrines they Peter Rocquet. Trade.
heard from the pulpit, or influenced Andrew Behmen. Trade.
by some other motive, have withP. A. Dehondt. Trade--bookseller drawn from our worship, and “the in London.
places among us which once knew Earl of Dunmore.
them, have known them no more." William Rose. Tutor.
I am led to these reflections by a let- Henderson.
ter, to which an accidental circum
stance has lately directed my atten1750. Ratcliffe Scholefield. Whitehaven,
tion, sent to me a few years ago by a Birmingham.
respectable young lady who left my Thomas Robins. Bromwich, Da. ministry for the Established Church,
alleging as the reason for the step she ventry. H. Holland. Prescot, Ormskirk.
had taken, her disapprobation of my Matt. Rolleston, M. D. Trade.
religious sentiments. The following
is Wm. Proctor. Witney, Stamford.
my answer, with such alterations, John Alexander. Norwich, Long
omissions and additions, and these don.
are considerable) as the revisal of the Thomas Tayler. London.
copy with a view to the press has William Howe. Essex.
suggested. If you think it calculated Jackson, Coventry.
to assist your young readers, in their Boulton, Baptist. Dublin.
serious inquiries respecting the pure
Christian doctrine and the proper Mr. Epitor,
Oct. 29, 1815. object of religious worship, it is much HAVE had the happiness of be at your service for insertion in your
A UNITARIAN MINISTER. nister of a respectable society of Unitarian Christians on the broad basis, MY DEAR MADAM, in a populous country town. So ma That all Christians have a right to ny circumstances concur to render my judge and act for themselves in relisituation comfortable; I have so few gious matters, in things which conworldly cares, so many kind friends, cern God, conscience, and their eterand such serious and candid hearers, nal salvation, is the first principle of that I am often induced to adopt the Protestantism. I cannot possibly exclamation of the Psalmist, with therefore disapprove of the step you heartfelt gratitude to the gracious Dis. have taken in the exercise of this poser of my lot, “ The lines are fal- right, provided it be done with all len unto me in pleasant places, yea, due deliberation. I have always felt, I have a goodly heritage." I have I now feel, and I trust shall always indeed experienced those trials, which feel a disposition to value and respect every pastor who has the charge of a worthy conscientious persons, howsociety forany considerable time, must ever much they may differ from me expect. He cannot but feel anxiety in religious sentiment. My general for the hazardous situation of inexpe- strain of preaching you know to be rienced youth surrounded by tempta- practical, and when led occasionally
I ing for nearly thirty years the mi
to oppose what appear to me prevail- Some, I am aware, think it ining errors, it affords me pure pleasure cumbent on them to attend the serto reflect, that you never heard me vice of the established church, merely speak in the least degrading terms of because it is the established religion those who maintain them, or pro- of the country in which they live. I nounce respecting persons who cannot know not whether it is on this prinsubscribe to my creed, that " they ciple, that you have left the Dissenwould without doubt perish everlast- ters. If it be, consider, my dear Ma. ingly.” Excellence of character ought dam, what is the fair deduction from to be estimated, in my opinion, not it. On this ground, how is it justiby the articles of faith a man professes, fiable in any individuals to attempt but by the pious and amiable qualities introducing the gospel itself among he displays. When I see these in any a people, with whom an establishclass of Christians, they have my sin- ment of any religious system and mode cere esteem and respect, whether of worship, previously subsisted! Is they attend my ministry or not; whe- it not also putting Christianity, the ther they belong to the established pure revelation of the Divine will, Church, or any denomination of Dis- and the charter of our best hopes, senters. “By their fruits," says our on the same footing, with every other common master, “ ye shall know established religion however absurd them, and a good tree bringeth forth and idolatrous ? Perhaps you think good fruit."
the obligation to conformity arises The reason you allege for leaving from its being a Christian, not a Heamy ministry, which you have at- then 'or Mahomedan establishment. tended from your earliest days, is your How then does the case stand on this disapprobation of the principles 1 ad- supposition, even without extending vånce in the pulpit. Whatever con- our views beyond his Majesty's do. cern I feel at losing so respectable a minions ! A person is born in Engmember of my society, it gives me land, and while he resides here, is real satisfaction to think, that it has bound to attend the episcopal esta. proceeded from my having faithfully blished church. Circumstances, how. discharged my duty, in avowing with- ever, render it expedient for him to out disguise, what appeared to my- leave South Britain and live in Scutself to be the pure doctrines of the land. On the principle we have asChristian revelation. Had you thought sumed, he must join the Kirk, the proper to let me know, whilst an at- established church there, and become tendant on my ministry, what were a Presbyterian. After some years, urthe principles to which you objected, gent affairs suppose, call him to cross and the grounds of your objections, the Atlantic and settle in Canada, in I would readily have done all that North America, still in his Majesty's laid in my power to afford you satisfaction. 'I would more especially have recommended to your serious and of a Unitarian minister, I would humbly diligent perusal, before you had joined recommend to his perusal these two Disthe established church, the admirable courses (together with “ A Vindication of letters, on the subject, of the late ven. Religious Liberty :” a Sermon by the Rev. erable advocate for the rights of con- edition. He might then be led to admit,
R. Aspland) before he published another science the Rev. Micaiah Towgood, that some reasons of apparent weight are whose memory must be ever dear to advanced, in favour of the right of private the friends of religious freedom.*
judgment in matters of religion, and of worshiping God according to the dictates
of conscience, and as a necessary infer* Since writing this letter, two ser- ence, the right of distinct Christian so. mons have been published, the one en- cieties to choose their own ministers : po. titled, “ The Principles of Protestant Dis- sitions these to which the well-meaning senters stated and vindicated,” by the Vicar in “ The Velvet Cushion" objects, Rev. Dr. Rees; the other on “ The Rea- though the one is the leading principle of sons of the Protestant Religion," by the Protestantism, without which the reformaRev. Dr. Pye Smith. If i thonight that tion froin Popery cannot be justified, and the respectable author of that popular the other a fair deduction from it. He is work of fancy, “ The Velvet Cushion," generally supposed to express the real sen. was in the habit of rcading the Monthly timents of the author, the present Vicar of Repository, and would regard the advice Harrow.
dominions, where it has been thought their own master they stand or fall." expedient by our government to es. Among them are certainly many entablish the Catholic faith. Not dis- lightened, pious, liberal, consciene posed to countenance schism by dis- tious men, who would do honour to senting from the established religion any community, and for some of its of the land, he renounces Protestant- members personally I feel sincere reism, professes himself a Roman Ca- spect and cordial regard. This is not tholic, makes confession of his sins to inconsistent with my having serious the priest, and conforms to all those objections to their system of faith and rites and ceremonies, which he had mode of worship, to some of which I before deemed to be silly and super. beg leave to call your attention. Constitious. One year rapidly succeeds sider then, my dear Madam, what our another, and brings on old age with blessed Lord declared before Pilate, its increasing infirmities. He sighs the Roman Governor, “ My kingdom for his native country, and wishes his is not of this world.” But can this be remains, when the vital spark is ex- said of the Church of England ? Is tinguished, to find a grave in the land is not merely a civil establishment, : which gave him birth. He returns to creature of the State? To the State this happy island, the most favoured it owes its existence, by the State it spot in the known habitable globe, subsists, on the State it depends for again becomes a Protestant, and ex. all its power, authority and emolupires in the bosom of the established ments. The clergy, it cannot be deChurch of England. Thus according nied, are as much officers of the State to his local situation, he must be in as those who are commissioned to vinthe course of a few years, on the dicate its supposed rights and fight priuciple laid down, (and which many its battles either by sea or land. The respectable writers have endeavoured King, at present in his name the to vindicate,) an English Episcopalian, Prince Regent, or when a woman is a Scotch Presbyterian, a Canadian seated in the British throne, the Roman Catholic, and then again a Queen, is the supreme head of the sound member of the Church as by Church,“ vested with all power to Jaw established among us.
exercise all manner of ecclesiastical If such be the necessary operation jurisdiction." (and I think it must be admitted) of the principle of conformity to the established religion of the state, because Prince is not obliged to confirm whatever
* Archbishop Wake observes, that " the it is established, I am surprised that the Clergy shall think fit to determine, any enlightened Christian, who has but has a power of annulling and rejectthe least regard for “ the truth as it ing what they have done, to alter or imis in Jesus," can otherwise than per- prove, to add or take from it." Wake's ceive and feel the futility of it. Is it, Authority of Princes," p. 130, as quoted my dear Madam, too much for me to by “ Towgood in his Letters to White, ** presume, that you admit this to be a p. 256, 6th edition. Harry VIIIth, of principle, which when carried to its persecuting and licentious memory, dejust couclusion, you find will not stand prived the Pope of Rome of being the the test of impartial examination Me Head of the English Church, and vested thinks I hear you exclaim, I join the ed to his successors to the British throne,
that power in himself, which has descendChurch of England, Sir, on account This was exercised by Queen Anne, in the of its own intrinsic merits, as supe case of Whiston. “The Bishops and Cler. rior to any other system of faith and gs in convocation bad solemnly decreed worship I know. These indeed form his books on the Trinity to be dangerous the proper standard by which the es- and heretical." They applied to the Queen tablished church ought to be tried. to sanction their proceedings, which she In the observations I think myself declined; and this refusal of a woman liad called on to make on this occasion, inore weight and authority than the grave whatever be my opinion of its consti- decisions of the learned and venerable botution, its creeds and articles, its rites dy, While, however, the assertor of the and ceremonies, and its forms of de right of Princes, and the advocate for votion, I would by no means cast any of faith, and to lord it over the consciences
priestly claims to decide in controversies ungenerous reflections on the integrity of their fellow-mortals, are dispuțing the of those who do not feel those scruples point with each other, the enlightened, in conforming to it, which I do. “To consistent Christian boldly tells both the
It is a point which requires due teen times a year? You, I doubt deliberation, by the person who wish- not will agree with me, that the es to act in every respect becoming a prayers in which all the persons preconsistent Christian, whether confor- sent are supposed to join, should be niity to such an establishment of re as much as possible unobjectionable, ligion, interferes with the allegiance and formed on the plan of Christian due to Jesus Christ, who is appointed worship laid down in the New Testa. by God his heavenly Father, “the ment. That which heretofore you head over all things to the Church," have been in the babit of attending, and the sole lawgiver in his spiritual is the worship of the one God the Fa. kingdom. To myself it appears in ther, through the one mediator the that light. Should you, however, my
man Christ Jesus. For this we think dear Madam, see no force in this ob- we can plead the authority of those jection, you surely are not disposed sacred scriptures, to which all Protesto give up your right of private judg- tant Christians appeal, as the guide ment respecting what the Church of their faith and worship, and the really determines, and whether or not rule of their conduct, to both the prethis accords with the Christian reve. cepts and examples of our blessed Lord lation. For this purpose, may I be and his holy apostles. In proof of this permitted to recommend to you to position give me leave, among innuread over its articles with serious at- merable other passages, to refer you tention, and impartially bring them to Matt. iv. 10, “ Thou shalt worship to the test of the sacred scriptures. the Lord thy God, and him only shalt Compare also the Athanasian Creed thou serve. John iv. 29, “ The with the Nicene, and both with what hour cometh, and now is, when the 18 called the Apostles', and I am much true worshipers shall worship the mistaken if you do not perceive an
Father in spirit and iù truth, for the inconsistency in point of doctrine of Father seeketh such to worship him.” the one with the other. Sure I am John xvi. 23, “ In that day," says that you will determine the damna- Christ to his disciples, “ ye shall ask tory clauses of the first, to be totally me nothing; verily I say unto you, inconsistent with any authority which whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in man has a right to assume, and with my name, he will give it you." See the mild, amiable and liberal spirit also Matt. vi. 9, Mark xi. xxv, John of the gospel of grace and love.
xvii. 1, 2 and 3, 1 Cor. viij. 6. These objections to the established
declarations be plainer and Church, you may conceive, in a more more express than those contained in peculiar manner to respect the Clergy, the above passages ? May I be perwho are obliged to subscribe its arti. mitted, my dear Madam, to recomcles, to embrace its creeds, and to con- mend to your serious consideration, duct its services. Let this be admit. whether some parts of the public serted ; but does it therefore follow, that vice of the Established Church, be the laity have no concern in giving not inconsistent therewith. I refer their countenance to a system thus eso you particularly to the Litany, which tablished, and attending a service in is read, if I mistake not, every Lord's which two of these creeds are statedly Day. “ () God the Father of heaven, read every Lord's Day, and the other have mercy upon us miserable sin(erroneously attributed to St. Athava- ners! O God the Sen, Redeemer of sius) enjoined to be sung or said four- the world, have mercy upon us, mi
serable sinners! O God the Holy
Ghost, proceeding from the Father Prince and the Priest, “ one is our master and the Son, have mercy upon us even Christ ;” and whether we reside in miserable sinners! O holy blessed a palace or a cottage, whether denomi- and glorious Trinity, three Persons naied clergy or laity, all of us who call and one God, have mercy upou us ourselves after his name, "are brethren," miserable sinners !" and have no ispiritual dominion over one another. We would render to Cæsar unity, perfections and providence of
Divine revelation teaches us the the things which are Cæsar's," and venerate the ministers of religion so long as
the Creator and Governor of the Unithey are bumble, unassuming, diligent perse, unrivaled in majesty and glory, and faithful, but we must “ render to God but the Litany places two other bethe things which are God's.”
ings in the rank of Godhead, sharing
his honours with him. Divine reve- SIR, Bromley, Oct. 29, 1815. lation presents us with but one ob
I ject of religious adoration and wor- the interest excited, among seship, the Litany with various objects rious persons, by the publication, in of address in our prayers, viz. God 1776, of Mr. Soame Jenyus's View of the Father, God the Son, God the the internal Evidence of the Christiun Holy Ghost, and then all united un- Religion. The author had been susder the appellation of “ the holy, bles- pected of Deism, probably on account sed and glorious Trinity."
of some passages in his Letters on the Though I do not consider the dif. Nature and Origin of Evil, though in ferences subsisting among the varions the preface to a 4th edition of that classes of Christians, as affecting the work he had disclaimed the imputaessentials to salvation, which depend tion. That suspicion was, however, more upon the sincerity of the heart, now revived. The author of the View the piety and benevolence of the dis- was supposed, with what justice I position and the holiness of the life, cannot discover, to have insidiously than the peculiarities of the creed; caricatured Christianity by representyet surely what respects divine wor- ing it as prohibiting war, under every ship must be admitted to be of great pretence; also as excluding from the importance. This, my dear Nadam, rank of Christian virtues, Patriotism is deserving the serious attention of and Friendship, according to their every professing Cbristian, who wishi- common definitions.* It is only with es to serve God agreeably to the rules Mr. Jenyns's account of patriotism, prescribed in his word. We should which l transcribe, that I am conendeavour, by the daily study of the cerned at present. sacred scriptures, (like the Psalmist, “ Patriotism also, that celebrated whose “ delight was in the law of virtue so much practised in ancient, the Lord, and in whose law be medi- and so much professed in modern tated day and night,") uniting our times, that virtue, which so long preearnest prayers for all needful aid, with served the liberties of Greece, and our diligent and impartial inquiries, exalted Rome to the empire of the to enlighten our minds in the know. world : this celebrated virtue, I say, ledge of his will revealed by Jesus must also be excluded; because it not Christ, as well as to follow the dic- only falls short of, but directly countates of our consciences. Then, what. teracts the extensive benevolence of ever system of faith and worship we this religion. A Christian is of no embrace, we shall feel the pleasing country, he is a citizen of the world; consciousness of Christian integrity. and his neighbours and countrymen We shall adorn and recommend the are the inhabitants of the remotest doctrine we profess, by a suitable life regious, whenever their distresses de and conduct, and lay a good founda- mand his friendly assistance: Chris. tion for the hope of divine acceptance tianity commands us to love all man. through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Now, my dear Madam, adieu. I
* The following very modern view of need not surely express a wish that the duties of a patriot, 1 extracted from a you will take what I have written, in late sanguinary contest. The doctrine it
public print at the commencement of the good part. Had I not addressed you teaches bas not been always so fairly afreely on this occasion, though I trust vowed, yet it may be regarded as describwith respect and candour, it woulding the practical patriotism of our Chrisnot I think be doing justice to you, tian Courts, Camps and Corporations. to myself, ard to the principles I pro- ** We lament that our own hopes are not fess. Believe me to be, though no
so sanguine as most of our contemporaries', Jonger your pastor, your sincere but our wishes are equally ardent, though friend, and a fervent well-wisher to
we are not persuaded, to the saine degree, your religious improvement, your
of the justice, policy, or necessity of the present confort and your future bap- man, from the moment that his country is
However, it is the duty of every piness.
involved in hostilities, be the priociple
legitimate or unjust, to direct all his efN. B. As there is no secret in this forts, as well as his vows, to promote the letter, you are at liberty to shew it honour and success of the national arms." to any one you think proper.
Public Ledger, Monday, June 5, 1819.