Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

my opinions, yet, if I have been the instrument of liberalizing a single human mind, of making one individual act from conviction and principle, who before took his faith upon trust, and acted from prejudice, (whatever be the doctrines he embraces) my exertions will have been amply repaid.

But, if there have been those, whether in Established, or Dissenting Pulpits, or in private conversations, who have endeavoured to excite

popular odium against myself and the principles, which I deem it my greatest honour an'l happiness, firmly to believe and to advocate, may refiection teach them the littleness of the motives which instigated their conduet, and may they imbibe more of the spirit of the Gospel of Peace. If in this enlightened age any one could be found, who would despise our acquaintance and not associate with us on account of our principles---if any one should chuse to denominate our opinions thie maniac dictates of horrid wickedness-rifa

any one should venture to say that the Ignorance of those who deny the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, can only be equalled by their Impudence-if any one should so far forget himself to assert that Unitarians are under the influence of the Devil--I say, if in this enlightened age there eould be found individuals who would make such illiberal, unjust and unchristian observations, we should be content to bear the calumny--their reproach would be our greatest honour. We should be per. fectly satisfied to incur the stigma, of believing in the maniac dictates of horrid wickedness together with a LARDNER and a PRIESTLY-of being under the inflaenee of the Devil, with a LINDSEY and a WAKEFIELD

«s know no

-of Ignorance and Impudence, with a Newton and a Locke,-and of having our acquaintance and society despised by persons who could assert such things as these, of Men and of Principles of which they would not be worthy: We would say to them in the words of ARCHBISHOP TILLOTSON,-" If this be Socinianism, for a man to inquire into the grounds and reasons of Christian Religion, and to endeavour to give a satisfactory account why he believes it,” we way but that all considerate, inquisitive men, that are abore fancy and enthusiasm must be either Socinians or Atheisis :"-„We would recommend to them as a fit subject for their study and imitation, the observations made by the late celebrated ROBERT ROBINSON, the first of preachers and one of the ablest advocates for the Deity of Jesus Christ--" Why do you not persee. cute, at least with the tongue, those monstrous Uni. tarians ? Because I have no warrant from Christ to: do so; nor the least inclination to forge one. This is well enough; but why do you praise them in every company? Because a mistaking man, may merit praise for that.very industry which hath led him into an error, and for that integrity, which makes him, against his interest, support it. But what occasion is there to keep company with them, and to maintain an intimacy with them? Because, on every other article, they edify me, and on this, we agree to differ." —And we would give it as our decided opinion, in the words of GENERAL WURTS, that it is only." When men Tave once taken out of Christianity what they have foisted into it,” that "there will be but one Religion, as plain in its Doctrine, as pure in its Morals.”

Let then every person examine the Bible, with that unbiassed attention, and that serious, earnest consi deration, which the important subject demands ; let the understanding be used as the medium, through which its sacred information is received, and by which its parts are compared, and brought into a correspondence with each other, and with those trutlis which nature and experience, clearly convey to us through the same medium ; and the result will assuredly be favourable to the progress of knowledge of the most valuable kind. Hér empire will be extended, and the order and harmony which prevail throughout her dominions, will become continually more conspicuous.

To the MEMBERS of the Scotish UNITARIAN Chris.. TIAN Association, and particularly to the FRIENDS of pure unadalterated Christianity in GREENOCK AND Port-GLASGOW, who are united in support of the grand principles of the Gospel, that, THERE IS BUT ONE GOD, THE FATHER; AND ONE MEDIATOR, BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, THE MAN, CARIST Jesus: the following Statement, undertaken at their request, is respectfully inscribed, (with the most ardent wishes that it may tend to remove the prejudices which obstruct inquiry, and that through its means, Unitarian Christianity may obtain full and candid examination)

by their

Sincere and affectionate Friend,

The Editor Greenock, April 29th, 1816.

А

STATEMENT, &c.

IT
T is too evident that there are great numbers who

read the scriptures in a casual or formal manner, and who hear them read in the public assemblies of the different denominations of Christians, whose minds were never seriously intent upon dise' covering their real meaning. Such persons generally content themselves with a few superficial, unconnected and contradictory notions respecting religion, which they have received, without the least investigation, merely because they were held by their ancese tors; or judging of the value of opinions by the couns tenance and support which they receive from the multitude, they adopt, implicitly, all the dogmas of those creeds or systems which may happen to be po pular in the age or country in which they live. They call themselves Christians, and being arranged under the standards of orthodoxy, they entertain not the least suspicion respecting the soundness of their faith, but are perfectly satisfied with their attainments in divine knowledge, when often they need to be taught what are the first principles of the Gospel. They are not, perhaps, totally ignorant of the facts recorded in sacred history, nor do they discontinue the reading of the scriptures ; but they do not search them with

B

that .seriousness and attention, which ought ever to characterise the exertions of an upright mind in the pursuit of truth. It is the part of a true Christian, in godly simplicity, to pursue the truth for its own sake, that thus, by the blessing of the Almighty, receiving it into a good and honest heart, it may produce all the fruits of righteousness, which arc by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.

The subjects of revelation are indeed too spiritual and sublime, to be studied with a light, trifling, or careless mind. To approach them in such a spirit would assuredly be to insult the God of Truth--to degrade our own rational powers, and to plunge ourselves deeper in ignorance and criminality. But in order to avoid this extreme, is it necessary we should fall into the opposite one, to under-value the noble gift of reason, to silence its suggestionsmto be inata, tentive to its faithful remonstrançes, or to oppose its -sacred dictates, because of its weakness and imperfections, or on account of any supposed difficulties, or impenetrable mysteries of revelation ? Certainly not. - It is admitted that it is the sole prerogative of the eternal Jehovah to give laws to man--it is granted that it is his prerogative also to communicate those laws in any manner he pleases; and whenever it seems right to his infinite wisdom to enlarge old laws, or to reveal new ones, it is our indispensible duty to obey them. But then we are not to receive as divine laws, all doctrines that are recommended to us as such, for this conduct would expose us to the most palpable

« AnteriorContinuar »