Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

their consciences; but I cannot but lament, that so many ingenious persons should be zealously lowering our Saviour in the opinion of his followers. The higher opinion his followers entertain of him, the more willing will they be to obey him., What good can ensue from teaching wretched human creatures to think less highly of him, to whom they have been taught from their youth to look

up

for comfort in the day of distress, and at the approach of death? What evil can ensue from paying him higher honours than he anight possibly claim? This may shew our gratitude at least; and if it be an error, must be venial. It would be better to dispute less eagerly, and love and obey more faithfully.

It is, I think, the great purpose of religion, to afford poor human nature (ægris mortalibus *) a BALSAM FOR THE WOUNDS OF

A dependence on the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, affords that balsam to thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow-creatures in affliction, to whom life would be scarcely supportable without it. Let not then the learned and ingenious labour to extract fo

THE HEART.

[blocks in formation]

sweet an ingredient from the cup of life. Let them rather exert themselves in confirming and extending the falutary belief, than in deAtroying it. All human creatures, at some period of their chequered lives, want every support that can be found. Religious hope is a main column in the fabric of human felicity. Let the good builder add strength to its foundations, but never undermine it.

Let us walk in the good old paths, which our fathers pointed out to us, whenever we can walk in them with perfect safety. They lead to the pleasant regions of hope and peace. And in the journey of life, let us take especial care, not to fall out by the way; and particularly, when the subjects of dispute are fpeculative truths, on which absolute certainty may not perhaps be attainable on this side of

1

the grave.

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

TO THE

SECOND EDITION.

I Did not fuppose it possible that the pre

ceding advertisement could give offence. I thought it, and still think it, perfectly harmless. It appears, however, to have irritated some persons, who stand forward the selfcommissioned champions of Unitarianifm. Like valorous knights, at the gates of a citadel, they post themselves at the avenues to the public, with swords drawn, ready to cut down every one who dares to advance, however peaceably, an avowed believer in doctrines, very innocent in themselves, and handed down to him by his forefathers as a sacred and unalienable deposit.

I folemnly declare, that, in the above advertisement, I intended to give no offence to any man or fect; and, with the shield of that consciousness, I am easy under the attacks of angry antagonists, whom I never justly provoked; and some of whom, as they shoot

13

their

their arrows in the dark, it is not easy, eveni if it were worth while, to repel. Happily it is not worth while ; for what have the public to do with the virulence of personal altercation? He, indeed, who, on a religious subject, descends to infinuations, personally malignant, deserves, and requires, no anfwer.

To controversy I have already expressed a dislike. And that I may be countenanced in my settled aversion to it by authority, I here quote and adopt the opinions of a very found divine, and no less excellent man, Archbishop Wake:

“ There is something in the nature of controversial writing fo corruptive of morality, fo apt to destroy some of the noblest graces of a Christian life, that I look

upon " the case to be much the fame in that, as it « is in other wars; and that nothing less than

absolute necessity ought to engage a good

man in either. What temptations it mi« nisters to pride and pasion, to malice and “ uncharitableness; to falleness and insince“ rity; and what occasions it too often « affords to those, who do not come with a

large portion of calinness and integrity to “ the management of it, for the most indecent miscarriages in some or all of these

particulars,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to

“ particulars, I shall not need to say: I would

to God our own times had not given us too many instances of it; to the scandal of

our religion, as well as to the just censure ss of those who have allowed themselves such “ liberties as nothing can excuse; and it is

to be hoped, when they shall seriously re“ flect upon what they have done, they will « be themselves the most forward of

any 66 condemn it.

“ But of all the kinds of controversies,

as there are usually none more unreason" able, so neither are there any which a man « would less desire to be engaged in, than “ those which arise among such as are mem“bers of the same church, as well as of the “ same society; and have thereby the stri&eft

obligations lying upon them to love and “ unity with one another. In such disputes

as these, every good man would desire the “ office of a peace-maker rather than of a

litigant; and account it a greater honour,

as well as happiness, upon any reason“ able terms, to put an end to a debate, “ than to obtain a victory; which, what

other circumstances it might have to recommend it, would want this, without which all the rest would be of little value, that the breach continues; the bro

56 ther

ever

« AnteriorContinuar »