that testament he is under. AccordME last time I was at Deal, a ing to the Epistle of St. John, there

gave me an original letter, written up- the Father, the Word and the Holy wards of fifty years ago, by a Mng- Ghost, and these three are one. And gletonian, to a clergyman in Sussex, there are three that bear record on with a view of prevailing on him to earth, the Water, the Blood and the desist froin his purpose of destroying Spirit, and these three agree in one. certain Muggletonian books, which it Now, there is a difference between appears, had fallen into his hands as three being one, and three agreeing a part of a legacy, and which he had in one-the three in heaven being threatened to burn.

but one personal God, though called Conceiving that this curious pro- three, in respect of the three comduction will afford both amusement missions or records on earth. This and instruction to your numerous one personal and majestical God, the readers, pointing out to them the Man Christ Jesus, did purpose in or necessity and manifest advantage of from heaven the throne of his glory, exercising reason and common sense to bear witness to his three records in matters of religion, I have taken on earth. First, before he had transthe liberty of sending you a copy for muted that glorious and spiritual body, insertion.

which was from all eternity, from the M. HARDING. soles of his divine feet to the crown

of his divine head in the form of a

man. He was pleased to bear witness MR. BRISTOW,

to his first testament or record, under I have written this letter to you, in the title of, I am Jehovah, and this order, if it be possible, to prevent you first testament informs us, that this burning the books of my late father, personal God invested his first-comwritten by the Prophets Reeve and missioned prophet with power as a Muggleton, which are as sacred alto- God, to divide the Red Sea by his gether as the Old and New Testa- word, and gave Aaron to be his ments, and of a higher nature, they mouth ; which ought to be truly bebeing no less than the third and last lieved by every one that expects etertestament of the only God, which is nal life. I suppose, you will confess Christ Jesus our Lord; and agree. these were but men, though they ing with and fully explaining the two stood in the place of God. This Í first testaments, which are the lawy call God's first record on earth, which and the gospel, in every thing of con- witnessed that there is one glorious cernment to the salvation of man. God in heaven, who upheld the Is. For, had you seen the whole of the raelites by his great power, and coinwritings of these two last witnesses, manded them to worship him only I am very sure that you conld not and no other God besides him, or have found a place in all their books, distinct from him. Now, this form of but what acknowledges and justifies worship set up by Moses, stood till the Holy Scriptures to be the pure the coming of Christ Jesus our Lord. truth;

and that they were written by This glorious, spiritual and personal the holy prophets and apostles of the God, who gave Moses his commisonly God, the Man Christ Jesus ; sion, had power to descend personally and that the holy prophets and apos- from heaven, dissolve that spiritual tles received their commission from body, form himself into a child of God so to do, and were endowed with unspotted flesh, blood and bone, and inspiration for that very purpose. thus became an absolute man like But it is very clear to my understand- unto us in all things, sinful reason or ing, that they were not to finish the lying imagination only excepted, and mystery of God in their commissions. the head of the second testament or It will be well for them, therefore, record; having first taken up into the that were obedient to the holy pro- glorious kingdom of the undefiled phets and apostles in their time, and heavens above the stars, the persons to the worship set up by them; for of Moses and Elias, investing them every one is to mind the worship of with the power of being guardians of his person and rulers of his kingdom; If, therefore, you cannot believe till his return. Thus they sat in the this last testament, and obey the wora throne of God, as God by his own ship set up thereby, which is to worappointment, till he, Christ Jesus, the ship, one personal God in spirit and only God, had passed through death truth, and not in an outward visible by his infinite power, for the redemp- form, as practised in your nest of tion of all men, who have true faith superstition, I cannot help it. But, as, in this one personal God, and for I mentioned before, I would advise, eternal death to all who shall deny you not to burn the books; for I be, this god-man to be the only God. lieve they cost you nothing; if they After his resurrection and ascension had, my opinion is, you would not ipto heaven, himself being set down be so ready to destroy them. on the throne of glory, which he had You told Mr. Box and his wife you before he created this world, in the would burn them before their doors order we now see it, gaye his apostles and you told me likewise, if I would their commission froin heaven ; for not promise you that none in that all true cominissions must come from county should have them, they should heaven. The commission of the apos- be destroyed. Nay, you said you tles was the commission of the blood would extirpate all the writings of or second record on earth, and God Reeve and Muggleton out of the witnessed to it from heaven, under world if you could. I have, therefore, the title of God the Son; yet, the no great hopes that you will desist same God that witnessed to the first from doing what you bave said. But, record, under the title, I am Jehovah, that you may be left without excuse, of the like.

I have thought good to write you this Now it may be clear to any man letter. And I think, since you set so pot stone blind, that the two testa, little value on this third testament of ments or records have been acted the Man Christ Jesus, the only God, upon by men set apart for that very you may as well give it to Mr. Box, purpose, by the only wise God him or send it me to London by your self. But there must be also a third carrier, and I"will freely pay the carrecord to bear witness on earth, an- riage, and give you sone satisfaction swerable to the third record in heaven, besides, rather than the books should under the title of the Holy Spirit. be burned. There must be also men set apart I believe you may have been some, for this great work, and receive their what instructed by Mr. Brown, your commission from heaven, as the two master, for I have been informed first did theirs. And it is to be ob- that he is no friend to the doctrines gerved, that when God gives a new of Reeve and Muggleton : I suppose commission, the former are made the reason may be, because they so void ip respect to their authorized clearly discover the universal cheat of forms of worship, But all men should the national priests, and every branch pay obedience to that testament they of their priestcraft. are under, and the worship set up After the perusal of this letter, I thereby, as mentioned before in this think you had better give the books letter.

to Mr. Box; he is a very civil pan, I do, therefore, truly believe, that and I am confident will never trouble the only wise God, the Man Christ Mr. Brown or you either about reliJesus, did in the year 1651, by a gion, if you do not give him some voice of words from heaven, the throne particular occasion so to do. of hịs glory, speak to his prophet So to conclude this letter, if you, or John Reeve, distinct' words to the Mr. Jordan, or Mr. Brown, your mi hearing of the ear, and gave him a nister, shall burn the books, or cause commission. At the same time also, them to be burned, then by yirtue he gave Lodowick Muggleton to be of that power I have receiyed from his mouth, and invested them with the Prophet Muggleton, who stood iq power to set life and death before the place of God in his time, I promen, as truly as ever Moses, Aaron nounce you, that have a hand therein, and the apostles had received a com. cursed and damped in sou and body, upission.

from the presence of God, elect men

and angels, to 'all eternity. Written sition ivhich we experience is univerby John Lowden, London.

*sal, and is founded in sentiments (we Thursday, August the 5th, 1773. trust they are prejudices) of almost

unconquerable strength. Now our P. S. If you choose to send an danger' is just in proportion to the answer or the books, direct to John vehemence and universality of these Lowden, at Mr. Burford's, Great sentiments. Saint Andrew's Street, Seven Dials, “ Do we, then, make sufficient al. 'London.

lowance for the honest feelings and

fears of our brethren? For my own SIR,

part, so far as they are disinterested THE following remarks, extracted and affectionate, so far as they regard of the “Christian Disciple," appear to And though they were altogether me '50 valuable, so sound in the in- groundless apprehensions, the subject straction they convey to Christians, ought, in some measure, to sanctify and so forcible in style,' that I trust them. I cannot help thinking that, you will be tempted to give them a with some, it is too easy to fling out place in the Monthly Repository. I vague accusations of higotry, intoleram quite aware that that publication ance, uncharitableness, &c. Evil will is generally devoted to papers of a it be for us, if a good system of faith controversial kind; but it seems to is made the cover of a bad habit of me that we can well afford to exchange feeling, if we have gained a truth and a few pages of its usual contents for 'lost a virtue, if we have become more the sober and temperate animadver- correct than others, only to be more sions of our Trans-Atlantic Christian proud. But some will tell us, perhaps, brethren. Independent of the strong that they feel none of this exasperaconviction I feel that these American tion—that they maintain a supreme “Hints to Unitarians" are no ill-timed indifference towards the opinion of or useless cautions, it is very delight- 'their opposers; I do not believe it. "ful to trace the progress of religion in It is not, (unless we are indifferent to that part of the world where alone it our own opinions,) it is not in our may be said to have its free course. "nature to feel this indifference, and it I hope we are generous enough to would be little to our credit if we exult in its “glorious liberty' -and could. Religion is a subject too imcandid enough to receive with meek- portant to admit of it. Violent opnėss the hints which our distant friends position to what is believed to be the bestow upon us. I regret that the truth that God has revealed, is not paper from which I extract is too long to be lightly regarded. Besides, it is for publication, (unabridged,) in the most unbappily true, that we are all pages of the Repository. It is well of us more or less affected by this deserving of a reprint and extensive 'opposition through the relations and * circulation among Unitarians. intercourse of life. It is here, indeed,

Q. that it comes near to us. It is not Extract from " Hints to Uniturians." the distant sound of the controversy

It is the - Christian Disciple, January and that disturbs our peace. February, 1823.

chilling distrust and alienation that

ënters our own dwellings, and, grie“ It is obvious to remark, vous to say, enters them under the in the first place, that the circumstance sanction of religion. There is to many of that general opposition, which has an almost daily temptation from this been alluded to, strongly exposes Uni- source ; and it is a temptation which tarians to unkind and uncharitable no smiles nor courtesies can do away. feelings. It is too obvious, it may be Religion is the subject of all subjects,

thonght, to need a suggestion. But the all-interesting theme of reflection, "it ought to be remembered that our the great bond of friendship, the resituation is very peculiar. Other classes fuge for our sorrows, and the home of Christians, indeed, have their mu- 'for our best joys. Now, with those tual differences, and the temptation to who feel such an interest in religion, "unkindness among them is found to it naturally forms the most interesting be sufficiently strong ; but the oppo- subject of conversation and of sym

[ocr errors]

pathy. And to have the cold hand of would not do to betray any signs of suspicion or silence laid upon it is a weakness within-as if it were not severe trial.

Still more trying must safe to displace the stones of the wall, it be to the temper, if not to the feel- to see whether the cement be strong ings, to meet with sour condolence, and secure, while the darts of the or gruff rebuke, which will always be enemy are flying thickly around us. , in proportion to the ignorance or “ Á contrast like this may occur to coarseness of him who offers them. some of my readers in the spirit of And it is a great question how we two Monthly Magazines which come ought to conduct in such circum- to us from abroad; the one of them, stances, or rather it is a very great as is very natural, (in circumstances matter to conduct rightly. It is a case of recent change of opinion and of on which every one ought to reflect extreme hardship in the treatment deeply: it is a situation in which every which it suffers,) much employed in one ought to be on his guard, and to settling its own opinions, or in ata fortify his mind with all those views tacking the opinions of others :* much of religion and duty that may preserve employed in speculation, and less him from the great temptation. Think, about what is practical : and withal then, let me say, think, at such a time, indulging a considerable share of selfof the meekness and gentleness of complacency, to which I will not say Christ; think of that great and good how well it is entitled : and the other, Being whose mercy is over us all, and acting well the part of a Christian who bears with us all ; think, with Observer, fearlessly examining into the what earnestness we are exlorted in spiritual deficiencies and faults of the his word, to all gentleness and for. church, lamenting the decays of piety bearance towards those that oppose and urging repentance and reform; themselves ; think, in fine, that, in a and shewing, on the whole, a spirit, few days inore, when this separating which, if there is enough of that cloud has passed away, you hope to salt of the earth,' may preserve even meet those with whom you now differ, the Establishinent. and to dwell with them for ever in “It may be thought that, in speakheaven. Think thus, and it will not ing thus, I am forgetting the cause. be with bitterness or contempt that But I care not for the cause. I say you will regard them.

“ 2. In the next place, it is a very great misfortune of our situation that • Perhaps it' is but fair to observe we are so continually put upon our

that if, as I suppose, the Monthly Repo. own defence. Nothing can be worse sitory be the publication alluded to, our for an individual, or for a body of American friend does not appear to Christians, than the habit of feeling that publication. It is as a vehicle for

enter into the character and object of which this necessity is apt to generate. discussion, as a medium of religious A deep sense of personal deficiencies, communication, that it is chiefly valuable. a wakeful jealousy, a profound hu- It does not pretend to regulate the opimility, a disposition to see the worst nions and feelings of its readers. It only of our case, are the very means of places different opinions freely before Christian' improvement. But it is 'them. It is a sort of printed conference. thought a kind of treason against the Whereas the leading articles in the Chriscause for us to confess our faults, as tian Disciple have in general more the apa class of Christians.

pearance of the decisions of a synod of “ The periodical publications of all divines. They are well-digested, pious large and well-established denomina

and rational. They have all the calin, tions of Christians, you find, teem quiet appearance of regular pulpit diswith earnest expostulations and fearful tarianism in England we must have some

courses--but in the present state of Uniwarnings, on the deficiencies of their field open for fair remark and rejoinder. members. But when we undertake That our own defects as a sect should be any public work of this kind, it must made the subject of discussion and anineeds be, and indeed there is but too madversions, is desirable also. much occasion for it, it must needs

Q. be a citadel for defence: and we are [The “ Hints” being 're-published in apt to feel as if we could not very England, we propose to review them in closely pry into its defects as if it an early Number. Ed.]

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

it without fear or hesitation; I care not selfish and unholy passions. Here for Unitarianism, nor any other cause, then, is a danger of which we ought any farther than it promotes a spirit to be aware, and which in our circumof deep, rational and fervent' piety. stances we are too apt to forget Let it 'come to what its enemies pre- Again, we are accused of making too dict-let it be scattered to all the little of our sins. Now the very cirwinds of heaven, and be without a cumstance of our having been thus record or a name, if it will not pro- accused, may have brought about the mote the sacred power of religion very thing with which we are charged. among us. If it is unfriendly to an We deny that this is the tendency of exalted piety, let it be burned with our principles, and forget, perhaps, the wood, hay and stubble ;' and that it is nevertheless the tendency of God grant that its honest advocates our nature. We are employed about may be saved, though it' be so as argument when we need self-examinaby fire !

tion. We are collecting proofs of the I have, indeed, not one doubt of dignity of human nature, when we the truth of its great and leading prin- ought to be mourning that it is so ciples, and as little that they will be fallen in ourselves.” embraced, like the early instructions, A few striking remarks on other and as the true instructions of Jesus, besetting dangers of Unitarians are as fast as men are able to receive here necessarily omitted, as also a them: and on both accounts, because warm animadversion on the coldness they are true and because they must with which the subject of missions is prevail

, I am the more anxious that too often treated among them. We they should not be made a stumbling- are compelled to pass on to the folblock to those who are yet too weak lowing passages on nominal Unito receive them. It is a very high rc- tarinns." sponsibility committed to our hands, “There are many such who are into hold, if we do hold, the purest different to all religion, who are not system of faith in the world, and it under the strong and sivaying influence deserves to be seriously inquired if even of any prejudices concerning it, there be no danger of betraying it and whose common sense is thereIf we think there is none, this only fore left to operate more freely and shews there is so much the more perhaps more justly: who dread all danger the less we suspect it. And superstitious fears, and rightly: who this, again, is the exposure of which abhor all creeds and systems, and all I was speaking. We hear perpetual human authority, and all dominion warnings of our danger, and we are, of fear over men's minds, and do so in consequence, too apt, it may be, perhaps even too much. However to maintain that we are safe. To this may be, it is certain that all this give an instance or two of this expo- will not necessarily make them Chrissure: we are accused of making too tians; and yet it may make them, in little of our Saviour, and we forget, their speculative views, as far as they perhaps, in our eagerness to defend have any, Unitarians: just as an ourselves, that we are, in common opposite cast of mind, a submission with all men, in danger of thinking to 'fear and prejudice and authority, too little of him. There is in every may fail to make men Christians, and good mind, in every Christian breast, yet may make them orthodox : in a warm veneration and attachment to other words, may make them of the Jesus Christ ; there is a sympathy popular, the prevailing faith. There with him, in his boly plans and pure are also people in the world who disposes, in his compassion to the sinful, like restraint, who dislike seriousness, ia his forgiveness and generous sacri- who cannot bear singularity and strictfices, in his bitter sufferings : there ness in religion, nor do they like is a tender and sacred admiration of plain and close dealing from their his person and character. And all religious instructors, and who are, this feeling springs up spontaneously therefore, naturally attracted to a syswith the piety of Christians, and must tem of doctrine and mode of teachgrow with the growth of all their ing, that appears more cheerful and virtues. And it is liable on the con- liberal. They prefer to hear those trary to be checked and chilled by the preachers, that do not (because they


« VorigeDoorgaan »