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Sential importance, or a matter of persevere as Editor of the publicaindifference; or, whether slander, tion alluded to, in your partial, un falsehood, malignity, and hypocrisy, just, and unchristian conduct, to are to be tolerated in persons, who reprobate such conduct in the terms profess to be of a sacred order, and it deserves. I remain &c. to be zealous for sentiments pecu
B. FLOWER. liarly evangelical?
The Author of the Statement I before informed you, Sir, that deems it unnecessary to add any my correspondence with you on this thing farther to the above corresponsubject, was not to be considered dence, than to express his ardent as of a private nature. I now fur. hope, that the period is far distant, ther inform you, that as you take when the character of an honest man, upon yourself the entire responsibi- or the freedom of the press, shall be lity of the refusal referred to, I shall at the mercy of the EDITOR of the think it my duty, so long as you EvangeLIGAL MAGAZINE !
.REVIEW OF BOOKS.
Religrous Liberty the Offspring of mutilated and defaced? Why not hurt
Christianity ; a Sermon preached the thunderbolts of his vengeance against at Worship Street, June 4, 1811,
June á 100 the offender in the very act of transgresbefore the Annual Assembly of the
sion? Surely there either can be no
Deity, or this Deity pays no regard to General Baptists : to which are
the affairs of men, or he is incapable of subjoined Schedules of Lord Side producing their reformation. But this mouth's Bill, &c. &c. By John reasoning is founded upon the idea that Evans, A. M. p. 40. 1s. 6d. Sher. we are competent judges of the ways wood, Neely and Jones.
and works of God, ihan which a more The author of this discourse has incorrect opinion cannot be entertained. from the parable of the Tares and
To shew our incompetency let it be re
membered, that we judge falsely oftenthe Wheat, (Matt. xiii. 24—30), times
30), times respecting that part of the divine drawn a variety of useful observa dispensation which is subjected to our tions leading to his ultimate design. observation. For do not the objections After having discussed his first ob- already mentioned suppose, that the servation respecting that “ mixture prevalence of evil is like a dark porten“ of good and evil which we are
tous cloud, through which not a single
ray of light penetrates? Whereas this “ taught to expect in this world,” he
is by no means the case-for evil is freproceeds under his second head to
quently checked in its career, both as to remark on the “ continuance of this individuals and to nations.--Witness the “ mixture of good and evil," under ejectment of our first parents from Pawhich we have the following impor- radise-lhe deluge hy which the inhabitant observations.
tants of the world, excepting one family, Here it may be observed, that as were destroyed the drowning of Phathe entrance of evil into our system, un
raoh and his host in the Red Sea-the der the superintendence of a perfectly
cutting off of Korah, Dathan, and Abiwise, good, and powerful being, bas
ram--the captivity of the Israelities, and been considered a great difficulty, 80
the destruction of Jerusalem ? You will the continuance of it in the system has recollect also, that in profane history we been a subject of equal perplexity.
read of nations, who, distinguished for “ Possessing," it is said,' « an infinity of their vice and profligacy, have been conwisdom, power, and goodness-Why
signed to irremediable destruction. does not the Supreme Being employ.
" Nor inust we say, that the divine these attributes to stop the desolating displeasure against evil is confined merely progress of this evil principle? Why to bodies of men.- Individuals experisuffer the works of his hands to be thuis ence the testimony of God within them
against the commission of sin. Why plain that the tares are not rooted out was CONSCIENCE planted in the human by an Almighty hand-much less be breast? Why are its remonstrances so disposed to root them out by your own imperative as often-times not to be violence before the time which heaven borne, driving the unhappy victim to has appointed.” self-destruction ? Why is intemperance Condemnation of " that rash, followed by a train of baneful diseases, hasty, uncharitable, and intolerant whilst other vices are the sure destruc- spirit which would avenge the cause tion of every species of felicity? This
hs of righteousness ; an office which the is the voice of the Alınighty, raised against transgression; it emphatically de. Divine Being claims to himself" monstrates that he is a lover of righte- and “The expectation of a day of ousness, and a hater of iniquity. retribution when the wicked shall
“ It'ajust be remembered likewise, be punished, and the righteous moet that the continuance of evil affords a with a gracious reward,” form the large scope for the virtues and graces of
remaining heads of the discourse. the good. Many of the duties of the righteous, arise out of that evil by which
In the improvement we have the folthey are surrounded. Portitude, pati
lowing reflections on the differences ence, resignation, all the passive virtues of opinion amongst christians. which ennoble and dignify humanity, “ It is deeply to be regretted That flow from that trying situation in which CHRISTIANS of different denominations we are placed. Even the active virtues are with such difficulty brought to enterare called forth by the mixed condition tain a favourable opinion of each other. in which we find ourselves. Were there we cannot suppose, that persons thinkno enemy, Jesus Christ could not bave ing and acting different from ourselves inculcated the love of our enemy Were are good men. We question their mothere no poverty, charity, in all its fair tives, we misrepresent their views, we varieties, could not exist--Were there reprobate their conduct. The term heno sorrow and sighing, sympathy could resy, with which christians so often renot be called forth, and thus would be proach each other, is of Greek origio, suppressed some of the finest and best and in its original sense means nothing emotions of the human soul. The evils, more than an opinion taken up by an inof which we are most ready to com- dividual, differing from the majority. A plain, are intended to wean us from 'very competent judge, Dr. Campbell, earth, and to prepare us for the pure and observes, that “ as far down as the fifth permanent joys of the heavenly world. century, and even lower, error alone.
“ Nor should we, when lamenting however gross, was not considered as the continuance of evil, forget that the sufficient to warrant the charge of hedelay of punishment is the means of ac- resy. Malignity or perverseness of discomplishing some salutary purposes. To position was held essential to its crime.” complain that evil continues, is in effect Heresy then, in its proper acceptation, to say that every transgression should is an opinion contrary to the church, or be followed by immediate punishment. to the majority. But truth has nothing Where then would there be time given to do with numerical calculations--for for repentance? Where then an opporif this were the case, christians being tunity for imploring the mercy of heaven! outnumbered by Mahometans and hea. Whereas NOW many are plucked as thens, must be banished from the world. brands out of the burning!' Emotions The right of private judgment means noof contrition for past offences arise : and thing if it include not the right of mainthe man, notorious for his wickedness, taining a private opinion, which has has become distinguished for his piety. been deliberately formed by the operaThus bąd the Apostle Paul, when a per- tion of that judgment. Creeds, and secutor of the saints, been struck dead confessions of faith, set up as standards in his career--his edifying conversion-- are destructive of research and inquiry. his unwearied efforts to propagate the For it is expected, by their authors and Gospelmand his instructive writings, abettors, that there should be a confors would have been lost to the world! mity to this standard independent of the The wisdom, and goodness, and mercy evidence with which any one truth is at. of God, are discernible even in the de- tended-a failure is the sure cause of lay of punishment. Cease then to com- displeasure. But the Scripture is the
alone rule of our faith and practice. ward wirh one heart, and with one The BIBLE! the Bible! (said Chillingsoul to repel the common enemy, the worth, a learned and distinguished mem- effect of which co-operation was an ber of the church of England) is the religion of protestants. Falliblemen must
almost instantaneous success.” It not arrogate to themselves infallibilitv. affords us great concern to observe, A sober exercise of reason in the con- that there has been any exception to cerns of religion, as in the common af- this general union, but that an infairs of life, cannot be too highly com- stance has occurred of this nature, mended. Without the free and liberal (unique we hope) and that from a use of our understanding we fall a prey
quarter few would have suspected, too to fanaticism, to superstition, and, to bigotry.
h o plainly appears by the following ar« The same remarks apply also to ticle. schism, a Greek word, meaning a division or separation : and as conscientious A Letter to the Right Hon. Lord belief leads to conscientious practice, an Viscount Sidmouth, upon the subindividual must be permitted to act as
ject of the Bill lately introduced well as to think. For of what use is
by his Lordshap into the House of theory without practice? An enlightened
Peers, intitled An Act to explain zeal is active and operative. " Various opinions dictate various modes of wor
and render more effectual certain ship. And where is the harm of all this Acts &c. so far as the same relate variety? Verily nove. Blessed be God! to Protestant Dissenting Ministers. “ the rent (says Dr. Paley) bath not By Thomas Belsham, Minister of reached the foundation;" and christians,
of the Chapel in Essex-Street.animated by a spirit of meekness, of
MOTTO- Audi et alteram partem. love, and of charity, disturb not the order, nor destroy the peace of civil society.
P. 52. Johnson & Co. “ As to different opinions and modes Mr. Belsham,--the Unitarian mi. of worship, one of the most able of nister of Essex-Street, volunteering scripture critics among the moderns, re- as the champion of the defeated Lord marks, with admirable precision—" No Sidmouth, in his foolish attempt to person, who in the spirit of candour and tamper with the Toleration Act, and charity, adheres to that which, to the
toabridge the Rights of Protestant Disbest of his judgment, is right, though in this opinion he should be mistaken, is
senters ! - Weindeed live in strange in the scriptural sense either schismatic times, and the versatility, and inconor heretic; and he, on the contrary, sistency of some of the professed whatever sect he belongs to, is more eii- friends to freedom, civil and religi. titled to those odious appellations who is ous, constitute the strangest phenomost apt to throw the imputation upon mena of these times ---But what is others: both terms, for they denote only different degrees of the same bad quulity,
y the “ other part” which we are realways indicate a disposition and prac- quired to attend to! Why truly, the tice unfriendly to peace, harmony, and panegyrics of Mr. Belsham, desigued love !"*
to wipe off the reproaches which The conclusion of the discourse is have so justly overwhelmed the weak replete with animated reflections on promoter of intolerance, who is “That union amongstchristians upon throughout this pamphlet held up a large and liberal principle of which to the public in language of serwe have recently had a most memor- vility only becoming the thorough able proof-Protestant dissenters of placed courtier, as an enlightened every denomination, have come for- statesman, the sincere friend of re
* See Dr. George Campbell's (myligious liberty, and of the rights of venerable theological tutor at Aberdeen Protestant Dissenters! But let the Dissertation on Schism and Heresy, pre- author speak for himself. fixed to his excellent translation of the “ The design of the following Letter New Testament,
is to vindicate a highly respectable cha
racter from unmerited obloquye to ex- in the earliest stage. One would supplain a measure which has been much pose that the bill lately introduced in misunderstood to mark what appeared the House of Peers, instead of being, to be its defects-to state those modific as it professed to be, “ An Act to excations by which it would probably have plain and render more effectual the been rendered both more effectual and Toleration Act,” &c. -had been a bill of very generally acceptable and to guard pains and penalties, or at least a reviagainst certain consequences which might val of the famous schism bill of good be fatal to any future application for the Queen Aune. Indeed I have been credirepeal of the penal statutes relating to bly informed that some who signed the religion."
petitions were apprehensive that if your With respect to the “ character” lordship's bill had passed, neither prayof Lord Sidmouth, it may in private
er meetings nor spiritual conferences life, for any thing we know to the
would have been any longer tolerated.
And some among us of more than ordicontrary, be “ highly respectable :".
nary penetration, clearly foresaw, that but if Mr. Belsham means to apply your lordship woald never rest satisfied this epithel to his character as a till you had obtained a revwal of the statesman, wa beg leaf to demand famous Writ de Heretico comburendo : the proof? Does his "high respecta- and were persuaded that like bishop bility” consist in the uniform opposi. Gardiner, of pious and merciful metion displayed during a course of inde mute of mory, your lordship's appetite would
be whetted by the odour of a roasted eighteen years, to the abolition of the Slave Trade? Or in the treaty “ Your bill, my Lord, as your Lord. of Amiens, by the terms of which ship justly complained, has been much his Lordship yielded every one of misunderstood, and greatly inisreprethose objects of the war he had so sented. Your lordship's design wasfrequently declared to be just and to exclude from the christian ministry necessary ? Or in that political in
the ignorant and the vicious-o ex
tend the benefits of legal toteration to sanity which hurried him on to re
many respectable persons who are now kindle the flames of war, by break
protected only by connivance,-10 rening his own treaty ?-Or in that der the law intelligible and uniform,mercenary selfishness, which, note and to inake it imperative apon the withstanding the ample fortune, the magistrate in the case to which the stalarge salaries, and royal gifts en- tute was intended to apply. These objoyed by the Richmond Park mini
and desirable, but the means of attainster, made him grasp at a sinecure
ure ing them were unfortunately not well
iny of 3,000l. a year, which he bestow- advised. Had your lordship happened ed for life on his son, a boy at to be somewhat better informed of the school?--As Mr. B. has not brought views, the customs, and the feelings of forward any evidence in support of the Disscnters, I am persuaded that the Lord Sidmouth's “ highly respect
bill would have been drawn up in a “ table character," as a statesman,
form which would have answered every
practicable purpose which its temperate we are thus obliged to seek for it in and judicious 'friends could have in the prominent acts of his admini. view, and which would at the same time stration !
have been not only perfectly unexcepOur author commences his ad- tionable, but would have entitled your dres to the noble object of his admin lordship to the esteem and gratitude ration in the following language.
of the whole body of Protestant Dis
senters." " Your Lordship mut be not a little Thus does Mr. Belsham endeaastonished at the unparalleled exertions of the Dissenters in opposition to your
vour to turn ito ridicule the late lordship’s bill, and the extraordinary
our glorious and successful exertions of upanimity of persous most hostile to his brethren, and to vindicate the each other in their religious sentiments, proposed violation of the Toleration in their efforts to procure its rejection Act. As to his brethren of more
than " ordinary penetration,” than cepting those of the Methodists on himself, clearly discovering Lord this subject, have in a much clearer Sidmouth's designs as expressed in manner exposed the intolerance, as the paragraph quoted, we shall, well as the various absurdities of till we are informed who they are, be the defunct bill: there did not, inclined to consider such a discovery therefore, exist the least occasion for as confined to the brains ofthe author, the publication of this most injudiand his chosen few; there are however, cious and ill timed pamphlet. many who apprehend that had the What will, however, occasion some proposed measure passed into a law, little surprise, is the discovery, that it would have been introductory to Lord Sidmouth's bill would “ bave some other measures of a similar “ been on the balance a very consi. nature, although they might not“ derable extension of religious liberhave interrupted the prayer meetings" ty;" and that truly because “ the and spiritual conferences of the chris “ benefits of the act of the 19th of tians of more than ordinary penetra. “his present Majesty are limited to tion at Essex Street chapel! Lord “ ministers being preachers or teachSidmouth's language respecting the “ ers of congregations of dissenting dangerous increase of sectaries, af “ protestants, leaving all those who fords sufficient ground for such ap- ' “ cannot conscientiously subscribe prehensions; and if Mr. Belsham “the articles, and who are not mihas not“ penetration" sufficient “nisters of congregations within the to perceive that the late exertions of “ range of the penal statutes." With the Dissenters had something more in respect to the precise meaning of the view than, as he has expressed it in act, we can only determine it by the the language of Dr. Yonng“ To practice. We should imagine that waft a feather, or to drown a fly," all persons who preach, whether we can only account for the want of statedly or occasionally, are inclusuch penetration in a gentleman of ded in the description of“ preachers Mr.B's talents, on the principle of the “or teachers of congregations :" por vulgar maxim :~" None so blind as has the act, we believe, been inthose who won't see."
terpreted otherwise. Lord Sidmouth's It is not the least extraordinary bill as it did not affect any of the circumstance attending this pam- penal laws now in existence, did phlet, that its author, in spite of his not extend its “ beneficent protection numerous fulsome compliments paid to any class of dissenters." to Lord Sidmouth, of whose states. It cannot be wondered that Mr. man like abilities, “candour, and Belsham, when engaged in such a good sense,” he is “indeed so tho- cause, should expose himself to per. roughly convinced," should spend petual inconsistencies and contradicso many pages, nearly half his tions. In the first part of his letter pamphlet, in exposing the defects of he informs us that “his Lordship's the bill, and which evidently prove design was to exclude from the that his lordship did not, after all, christian ministry, the ignorant and understand a matter which had puz- the vicious ... that this was an zled him for several years past. The object important and desirable ... pains which Mr. B. has taken in ra- and that the bill might have been king into the ashes of the dead, is drawn up in a form which would hardly consistent with the chari- have answered every practicable table hint-De mortuis nil nisi bon purpose wbich its temperate and num; and were indeed, entirely un. judicious friends could have in necessary. The resolutions of the view, and which would not only various bodies of Dissenters, not ex. have been perfectly unexception