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Unitarianism, and Translation of the Racovian Catechism. 453 words give him all the satisfaction in ments in the language and style of the my power on both these points, original text.
I have certainly not abandoned the Instead of the marginal notes with History to which your Correspondent which such a collation would have Fefers. Ever since the first public kisfigured and burthened the pages of notice was given of 'iny desig:), my the Translation, without answering attention has been directed to the any purpose of utility, I shall substisubject; and I have been engaged, as tuie some short remarks in those parts opportunity offered, in searching after of the work that relate to points of and collecting materials for its execu- doctrine, respecting which modera cion. A variety of circumstances, Unitarians differ in opinion from the which need not be here detailed, and, authors of this formulary. By this above all, a severe and long protracted method of annotation, the reader will bodily indisposition, have hitherto be furnished with a comparative view put it out of iny power to digest and of the two systems; that is, of Unitaarrange the multiform mass of ma- rianism as it is now generally professed, terials which I have succeeded in and of Unitarianisını as it was held by bringing together. I can, however, those great and venerable men, who assure your Correspondent, that it is formed so brilliant a constellation in my fixed parpose, if Providence vouch- Poland at the era of the reforınation, safe me health, to proceed with the and to whom, under Providence, the work; and to devole to it as large a cause of divine truth is so signally in. portion of vime as I can spare, after debted. This course was thought to ihe imperative demands of my pro be in some measure necessary, in order fessional and other avocations have to guard those persons, who have yet been answered.
to learn what Unitarianism is, against It affords me satisfaction to be able attributing to its professors in the to inform your correspondent, that the present day opinions which have long Translation of the Racovian Catechisın been abandoned, in this part of the after which he inquires, is in such a world at least, as unwarrarted by the state of forwardness, that by the time Scriptures. A few other notes will this paper ineets his eye, it will, most be occasionally introduced, containing probably, be in the hands of the references to approved modern writers printer: and unless some unforeseen upon some of the topics discussed in accident occur to interrupt its progress the Catechism; and furnishing notices through the press, I have no doubt of additional anthorities for particular of its being before the public by the emendations of the Greek text of the month of December.
New Testament, which have been In my original announcement of supplied, since the publication even this work I stated my intention to be, of the last edition of this work, by to make the translation from the most the laborious researches of Griesbach recent authorized edition; but, at the and others, and the present highly same time, 10 collate the text with improved state of Biblical criticism that of the preceding editions, in order and Biblical knowledge. These are to mark the alterations which had at to be considered as supplementary to éuccessive periods been made, and the learned and curious notes which thus exhibit the changes which bad were published by the last editors of taken place in the opinions of the the Catechism, and which will be Polish Unitarians. I have deemed it ad given with the Translation. I shall viseable, however, on se-consideration, only observe farther, for the informato abandon this part of my design. On tion of your Correspondent, that there a minute comparison of the several will be prefixed to the work a Brief editions, and I believe I am in posses- Sketch of the History of Unitarianism sion of every one that was published on the Continent, from its first apin Latin, I observed that no material pearance in Poland, until the final alteration, in respect to any matter of expulsion of its professors froin that religious belief, had been introduced country in the year 1660. This will by the learned editors of those which exhibit a faint outline of what the were last printed. The chief diffe- larger History is intended to comprize. rences consist of explanatory additions,
I am Sir, when the subjects appeared to be ob
Your's, &c. scarely stated or insufficiently explain
THOMAS REES. ed; and of some considerable improve
On Doctrinal, or Controversial Preaching. SIR,
July 5, 1816. ånd I know of no party in the Church I
BELIEVE it is very generally that is not occasionally loud and
imputed as a fault to the liberal bitter enough against all Schismatics Dissenters, (inost of whom are now (i. e. Dissenters) and Unitarians Tag denominated Unitarians) both by their '80X7V. Now, to attribute a fault orthodox brethren, and even by many (supposing it to be a fault) to those of their own body, that controversial, who are least chargeable with it, or doctrinal preaching is becoming too appears to me very much like “pullprevalent among them. I have fre. ing out the mote out of thy brother's quently of late heard this style of eye, and behold a beam is in thine preaching severely condemned, and
own eye." I cannot help again considered as a grievance by some of expressing my surprise, that the dethose who attend on it.
merit of controversial preaching (if it That our opponents should com- has demerit) should be most laid to plain of this style of preaching is not the charge of those who least practise to be wondered at, as by its means the it. errors of the prevailing systems are I know that a bad construction exposed to view, and it seeins to be must of course be laid on every thing the fashion of the day to belabour the done by the Unitarians, even on poor Unitarians with every kind of things praiseworthy in others. Thus, accusation that may be conceived rather an Unitarian, who arows his religious than proved. Thus by a writer in the opinions, and declares his reasons for Quarterly Review they are accused of doing so, is unpardonably arrogant indecency and ribaldry, though without and presumptuous, destitute of a real quoting chapter and verse. But my religious principle, devoid of charity, surprise is, that any, who are in the and neglectful of piety and a devomain with us, and who have embraced tional spirit. But let us now for a at least a comparatively pure system of momeni suppose the Unitarian reliChristian doctrines, should object to giously to follow the course chalked the occasional use of that kind of out for him by his friends. While the public instruction, which is the most practice of controversial preaching is effectual means of diffusing the know, general and incessant against him, let ledge of them in the world. As I him wholly withhold all controversial have in some instances heard this subjects from the pulpit: while others objection strongly urged by people of on every hand are denouncing his great respectability, and cultivated religious sentiments as heretical and ininds, and as possibly it inay be more daunable; while he is represented as generally extended than many are belonging to the fraternity of Deists, aware of, I have thought it my duty and a more dangerous enemy to to draw the attention of your readers religion than Atheists because more to the subject, that it may be fully concealed ; while all this and much discussed, and by that means become more is going on on every side of him, better, and more generally understood. let not a word drop from his lips "In a multitude of counsellors there which shall lead any one to suppose is wisdoin,"
that he is conscious of any difference, It has rather excited my surprise to of any offence, of any opposition, of hear this style of preaching objected, any denunciations against him; while arclusively, against the Unitarians, as if others are zealously contending for it were much more reprehensible in error (as in his opinion they must be) them than in others. I believe it may let him not open his mouth even for be correctly stated as a matter of fact, the truth--lei the unclean spirit of that it does not prevail to half the dumbness incurably possess him. extent (to speak within compass). Now let us suppose that the Unitarian among those who have been called were to follow this good advice of his rational Dissenters, as it does among friends, what construction would they the orthodox, both within and with in that case put on his conduct? They out the pale of the church. Indeed would then with much reason urge the discourses of the evangelical party against hiin, that he is conscious that in the church, of the whole body of his principles are bad and false, and Methodists, and of the Orthodox that he is ashamed to avow them, Dissenters in general, consist almost that they do not bear to be brought entirely of controversial materials ; forth to the light, and to be made
On Doctrinal, or Controversial Preaching.
457 manifest : and they would say this impressed with the obligations which with a great appearance of truth. For, we are under to perform our duty. suppose two persons sold manufactured We go not to inform our reason, but goods, and one of them exposed his to excite and improve our feelingswares in the most public manner, and not to be informied, but to be pershewed them in the best light, but suaded. the other very carefully deposited them As to the affirmative part of your in the darkest corner of his warchouse, object in going to a place of worship, and shewed the greatest reluctance to well and good; and are not proper expose them to view it is not diffi- means made use of to answer it? cult to guess in what manner even The Scriptures are read ; devout vnprejudiced persons would be dis- hymns and psalms are sung; and your posed to construe their inotives respect- wants and devout wishes are made ively.
known unto God by the common l'have been told by those who are prayers and supplications of the con: averse to the introduction of contro- gregation. Yet more--the sermons versial subjects into the pulpit, that are generally of a moral and practical the practice is a sure mark of bigotry. tendency. But is it reasonable that Be it so.
“If I by Beelzebub cast your feelings be exclusively regarded out demons, by whom do your chil- that public worship should inonopodren cast them out?" Let
every your affections, and banish your denomination take as much as belongs reason: Must your pious affections to them of this bigotry, and let not and devotional feelings be necessarily other sects throw a stone against the injured, and the word becoine unproUnitarians, I will not say till they are fitable to you, if sometimes your themselves without sin, but only till minds be informed concerning the they have as little as the Unitarians in doctrines of Christianity, if your intel
lectual powers, those which make you This as an argumentum ad hominem rank among the higher order of beings, is as conclusive as I can wish. But I be called into exercise? Has God in will not rest the matter here. I con- the institution of public worship, made tend that occasional preaching on the provision only for your affections, doctrines of Christianity is both proper and left your reason to shift for and necessary. How are the Scrip- itself? tures to be explained if not from the As to the higotry of controversy, it pulpit? How are we to get rid of the is a quality which does not necessarily anti-christian doctrines which have belong to it. Controversy may be, and been so long received, if we are not ought to be managed with a charitable to utter a syllable against them? How and even brotherly spirit towards those are the minds of those who read but whose opinions we oppose. The little to be informed and enlightened? manner and the spirit constituite and the bulk of all congregations bigotry, not the opposition of senticonsists of such persons: and, it may ment. There is no bigotry in a liberal be asked finally, what are we to teach exposition of our opinions; the essence if not Christian truth, the preaching of bigotry consists in the damnatory of which, of course, is controversial spirit, the exasperation of feeling, the preaching, if it has been contro evil surmises, the ungenerous susverted ?
picions and the unkind propensities The answer which I have heard which are attendant on controversy made to this last interrogatory may be conducted in an unchristianlike mani considered as another argument against ner. controversial preaching worthy of brief I have been told by the opposers of notice.
all controversial preaching, we have We do not go, it is replied, to a a sufficient knowledge of the doetrines place of worship ready prepared with of religion, but we want constantly our critical scales to weigh arguments; to be impressed with a sense of our we do not go there to be puzzled with duty, and to have our devotional feel definitions and syllogisms; we do not ings habitually exercised. go for the exercise of our intellectual I cannot admit the correctness of the powers; but we go for the sake of first part of the argument. Very few Cherishing devout affections towards indeed have a comprehensive knowi ebe Deity, and to be more dceply ledge of the Christian Scriptures, and
On Doctrinal, or Controversial Prcachingthe doctrines ' which they contain. with the doctrines of Christianity? I The corruption of Christianity has do not believe it. These persons been so radical, and the language of surely have a dislike of strong meats, the Scriptures has been so systematic because they are by them indigestible. cally misinterpreted, that the reading of But grani these are some who are a few meditations and prayers, and a well informed on such topics—will few select sermons, written in a liberał they be so interested in their feelings style, can neither discover the error, as not occasionally to allow what is nor manifest the truth; both of which suitable and necessary for others the are equally necessary for the perfect ignorant? There is certainly a nuemancipation of the mind. Most mierous class that want information persons, it is true, have a general concerning the doctrines of Christisuperficial knowledge of Christianity; anity. Those whose education and and were a preacher to take a super- situation in life, whose daily necessary ficial common-place view of any doc- attention to the concerns of life, to trine, there would be some justice in their daily bread, preclude the acquithe objection, as far as it regards those sition of much knowledge by reading who are really well informed. But and books, are they never to be inthe truth of the case too generally is,' structed in the fundamental truths of that even of those who will resort to religion, and never to be informed of this argument, few, I fear, have more and guarded against erroneous opithan a superficial knowledge of ditier- nions, lest fastidious ears should be ent systems of religion, or of the inter- offended? The young people in most pretation of the Scriptures. I have societies are without much elementary certainly a strong suspicion that their knowledge on the subject of religion. dislike of attending to the doctrines Are they, 100, to be led to suppose by of religion, and the arguments by the quality of the matter that always which they may be defended or descends from the pulpit, that the assailed, arises, immediately and en- Christian religion is sufficiently laught Lirely from their unacquaintedness and inculcated by a few well-turned with them. I believe it to be always sentiments about the amiableness of a plain matter of fact, that those who virtue, the pleasures of refined emaare least acquainted with the sub- tions, and the harmony of well-tuned jects of controversy, are least interested affections? I have no damnatorý in the discussion of them, and vice clauses in my creed; but I know very versa.
well what dependence is to be placed Involved in religious error as men on this kind of Christian institution. have been for ages, systematically For one thing-our most notable de perverted as the language of the Scrip- fections, of which I scarcely ever knew kures has been from time immemorial, an instance which was grounded upon so completely changed as alnıost every avowed principle, are to be attributed expression of the Sacred Writings has to the policy which dictates this kind been from its original intention ; is it of public instruction. at all probable that general readers, It has been asserted, that contro. those who have a dislike for all contro- versial preaching necessarily scandaversy, those whose reading is trifling lizes the minds of those who differ and fashionable, those who deem it a from us, and that thus frequently the mark of great ignorance of the world most excellent and worthy men, even and rusticity of manners to arow friends and relations, are disunited in undisguiserlly and publicly singulaçity charity and estranged in affection from of religious profession or opinion, and one another; and that, therefore, for exhibit independence of religious cha- the sake of peace and charity, contro sacter; that those who never think of versial subjects should never be introreading any thing on religious subjects duced into the pulpit, but a prayer and a chapter, or per Peace and charity are certainly most chance a volume of sermons, or lec- excellent things, and, well understood, tures, or sacred dramas, by some are to be considered among the essenpopular writer, which the ama popu- tials of religion; but they are not the laris may have sufficiently consecrated, only essentials, nor should we suffer with perhaps a treatise on education that to be sacrificed to them, which is in which religion is forgotten that more important and essential than these should be sufficiently acquainted themselves
On Doctrinal, or Controversial Preaching.
469 It is a thing of general notoriety, barbarons and priestly-tyrannical sua that great difference of opinion exists perstition substituted for the religion of between very worthy and good men. Christ: and, in a word, if this arguNow, is human nature, improved by ment means any thing, we must bare religion too, really so constituted, that the world for peace and harmony's the arowal of our belief, and the de- sake in quiet possession of all its mulfence of our principles, must necessarily tifarious idolatries, errors, superstitions, lead us to hate and injure one another? rices. O, all ye holy martyrs and conAnd must wise and good men mutually fessors, what infernal cnemies were you conceal their sentiments with great to the peace and tranquillity of the care, and religiously forbear to urge world: the holy zeal with which your their claims on the attention of man- noble army was animated, was a brand kind, lest they should be scandalized, from Hell. Thou Martin Luther, with and be led inio disputes? And would thy undaunied host of reformers, what this kind of forbearance and conceal- a pest wert thou to the world :-how ment be that 'thing which we call much malignity was displayed in conChristian charity ?
sequence of thy reformation; how Surely, a very false notion of charity many bloody wars were kindled; how and peace is iniplied in the above argu- many cities reduced to ruins; and how ment. Jesus Christ said, that he came many fair provinces laid waste and to set a man at variance with his neigh- populated. And thou,'O Priestley, bour, the father agaist the son, and (famam qui terminet astris,) whose unthe son against the father, &c. Here common sagacity in discovering, and is an undoubted breach of charity. unappalled courage in publishing to But surely he is not guilty of it, though the world, truths long obscured and he be the occasion, who believes in lost, naturally attracted the entity of Christ, and follows him; but he is mobs and interested priests; though guilty of it, who suffers the conscious thou hadst enlightened and benefited integrity of him who honestly avows Europe by thy discoveries, and thy nahis belief in Christ to be the occasion tive country might be proud of nume ef enmity and variance. “ Offences bering thee amongst her most honoured must come;" but the woe is to him by sons; yet, enemy of tranquillity, welt whom they unreasonably come, not to didst thou deserve thy fate: laudable * him who is the innocent occasion of was the design of the infuriated mob, them.
instigated to burn thee, together with If we allow its full scope to this ar- thy library and apparatus ; holy were gument, it proves too much, and is the maledictions, lies and calumnies of plainly inadmissible. If peace and thy interested enemies; and glorious harmony are the only things to be con- for the conclusion of the eighteenth sulted, Jesus Christ should not have century was thy banishment to a dispreached repentance, a change of re- 'tant region, beyond the 'confines of ligious sentiment and practice, to the civilized inhumanity. world, nor shonld he have so vehe I am afraid that the spirit of sational mently attacked the Jewish Scribes inquiry has been long declining among and Pharisees because he differed froin the Presbyterian and rational Dissentthem. The apostles acted very wrong ers; and 'the richer class, I am well in unsettling the minds of men, and aware, are exceedingly averse to every setting them at variance by their novel innovation, to every improvement, to all opinions, and, as it were, turning the church-discipline, to doctrinal preachworld upside down. All missionary 'ing, in the exposition of the Scriptures: undertakings since the days of the they will give no countenance to cateapostles to our own, must be regarded chizing, to lectures, 10 associations for as crusades against peace and charity. information. It is no wonder that our We should never assail the idolatry societies in many places are in a deand superstition of the Heathen, be- pressed state, in soine extinct. They cause their minds, of course, are scun- will become extinct in many more, dalized and offended: the Mahometans without a renovation. I could disclose must be left in quiet and peaceable pos- more of the evil, if this were the proper session of the errors of their false pro- place. I think I could point out as phet, of their seren heavens, their radical causes of our decay as have yet beautiful virgins, &c.: the Catholics appeared in any of the communications must be quietly suffered to retain a you have published, but tbis rue Hot