Imatges de pÓgina
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1661, which denounced a capital penalty first against those guilty of blasphemy, and next against those who deny the Trinity. It appears, further, that the Lord Advocate stated, that the law of 1661 was modified by a subsequent statute of the Scottish Parliament in 1695, by which it was enacted, that for the first denial of the Trinity a man was subject to fine, for the second to fine and imprisonment, and for the third to death. "This was the law," said his Lordship, "and until it was repealed they were bound to respect it." It is a law which it would not be very easy to respect, even if it were still in full force; but thanks to the liberal spirit of the age, these Acts no longer disgrace the Statute-book. On the 21st of July, 1813, an Act was passed by which all the old laws in England, attaching penalties to the denial of the Trinity, are repealed, and by which these two Scotch Acts of 1661 and 1695 are both quoted and repealed in toto, notwithstanding the respect which the Lord Advocate seems to entertain for them.

We shall be glad to receive these letters, either in the original or in a translation as may be most convenient. ED.

I think I cannot better testify the gratitude I feel to the Legislature for this piece of justice and liberality, than by endeavouring to vindicate it from the unjust aspersion, proceeding from those who ought to know better, that it is still disposed to prosecute opinions which have been held by many of the greatest defenders and greatest ornaments of Christianity, by such persons as Nathaniel Lardner and Sir Isaac Newton.

I have no doubt that the prosecution of Infidels is equally unjust in principle, and equally adverse to the spirit of Christianity, which needs no such props. I shall be happy to learn that there are no unrepealed Scottish Acts which justify interferences with persons of this description, and that in Scotland, Christianity rests exclusively on the solid basis of its own external and internal evidences. Upon what principles of law or justice Deists can be deprived of books which are sold in every shop, and found in every gentleman's library, I cannot at all imagine.

ANTITRINITARIUS.

SIR,

I

Clapton, June 11, 1823. HAVE met, accidentally, with "A Sermon delivered at New Salters' Hall, on Thursday, December 5, 1822, at a Monthly Meeting of Ministers and Churches. By John Boutet Innes. Printed at the request of the Ministers and Congregation." This Sermon, entitled The Doctrines of Grace conducive to eminent Holiness," is designed to rescue Calvinism from the imputation of an Antinomian tendency.

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In pursuance of his design the preacher professes (p. 26) to describe two systems. "One," he says, represents sin as a trivial evil, a mere human frailty," and "represents God as conniving at that frailty," and "eternal judgment as a bugbear." The other, which is evidently the preacher's system, comprehends "the doctrines of grace," according to Calein; how worthy to represent the scriptural "grace of God which bring. eth salvation to all," I leave to the decision of your readers.

The preacher appears on this occasion to have practised no uncommon theological policy; for, like the painter, he casts discretely into shade" what might have been offensive in his picture. Thus he is profoundly silent on that obvious and, indeed, undisputed result of his system, the crea tion, by the Almighty Parent of mankind, of a very large part, if not a large majority of his offspring for no purpose, but to advance his glory by their endless guilt and endless misery, or, in the language of President Edwards, by "leaving them eternally to perish and be everlastingly tormented in hell;" which to the gentleness of his youth" used to appear like a horrible doctrine," till at length this acute metaphysical Calvinist, his heart probably steeled by his scholastic theology, but to his own apprehension his mind enlightened by an " extraordinary influence of God's spirit," discovered that the once "horrible doctrine" wa's " exceeding pleasant, bright and sweet." This writer, of whose talents and character orthodox Nonconformists are justly proud, adopted the system of Calvin in all its horrible consistency, as I had occasion to observe in another place, and his imagi

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nation would often luxuriate on the dreadful possibilities of hell-torments. Thus in his "Dissertation concerning the End for which God created the World," he represents "God's judgments on the wicked in this world, and also their eternal damnation in the world to come," as serving to increase in the elect "a relish of their own enjoyments:" and in one of his sermons he says, that "however the saints in heaven may have loved the damned while here, especially those of them who were near and dear to them in this world, they will have no love to them hereafter," but their sufferings "will be an occasion of their rejoicing, as the glory of God will appear in it." (See his Works by Dr. Hopkins, (1806,) Mem. p. 29; 1.513, 514; IV. 509.)

"The ministers and congregation" were, however, now left to forget that hapless portion of their race, the victims of their Almighty Father's preterition or reprobation, and thus, without the consciousness of inhumanity, they might indulge some self-gratulation on the preference with which they had been favoured, for the Calvinists are, probably, few (and the case of those few is most justly pitiable) who scruple to class themselves in the number of the elect. There must, indeed, have been some danger that an auditor of the preacher would have been prepared to say to one who could not receive "the doctrines of grace" according to the version of Calvin, "stand by thyself, I am holier than thou." The following note, at least, is too well adapted to the encouragement of such an assumption.

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It may appear to some unaccountable, but it is a fact by no means unprecedented, that those who have embraced Antinomianism, sometimes adopt, as their ultimatum, a creed very similar to that which was taught by Socinus. Surprise, however, will cease, when we remember that the two systems are built on principles common to both. Unscriptural and inadequate views of sin are the foundation on which they each rest. Both destroy the very principles of morality, by their attack on the divine law. The one represents sin as altogether venial, the other as venial in a certain class, The one intimates that God does not

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see sin at all, the other that he does not see sin in his own people. Those who are at all acquainted with the controversy between us and those who style themselves Unitarians, know that they found an objection to our scheme of Atonement on the very words of Scripture, viz. that God is not said to be reconciled to us by the death of his Son, but we are said to be reconciled to God."" The preacher then refers to "Drs. Magee and Wardlaw," as having most satisfactorily answered the objection," and quotes a preacher who styles himself a high Calvinist," who had preached that "it was never necessary to reconcile God to his dear elect: he was reconciled to them from all eternity; all that was wanted, was something to reconcile his dear elect to him." The note concludes with a censure on ignorant men" and "their ill-digested schemes."

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cluded that the projector of a note so well calculated to excite, or to encourage popular prejudice, had forgotten to reverence the maxim, de mortuis nil nisi verum, or, at least, that he may be not unfairly classed among those "teachers of the law," whom Paul denounces to his young friend Timothy (1 Ep. i. 7,) as under standing neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." J. T. RUTT.

""

For this Note, "the ministers and congregation" who requested the publication of the sermon, are not responsible. It serves, however, while bringing "those who style themselves Unitarians" into strange company, to shew how a learned orthodox theologian may prove himself (to indulge the charity that "hopeth all things") ignorant as the most "ignorant men" respecting the "creed taught by Socinus." Those who, from their inquiries into the subject, have a right to describe the creed of Socinus, are well aware how that Christian Confessor, from a pious apprehension of encouraging unscriptural and inadequate views of sin," and of thus represent ing it" as altogether venial," was betrayed even into an infringement of the divine prerogative of prescience, lest he should represent God as the author of sin, or diminish, in any degree, the accountableness of man.

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Yet if the writer of this note can quote any "creed taught by Socinus," in which that reformer made an attack on the divine law," and thus attempted to " destroy the very principles of morality," your pages are, I know, at his service; for Tros, Rutulusve is the maxim of your administration. Let him, then, avail himself of your impartiality, and produce his authority for such an injurious imputation on the "creed taught by So Socinus," It will otherwise be con

Mr. Little's Sermon in the Hall of the House of Representatives, Washington.

(Extract from a recent letter from America.)

N

15th February last, a notice ligencer, (Washington city,) stating, that next day (Sunday) the Rev. Robert Little was to preach at the Capitol in the Hall of the House of Representatives, by permission of the Speaker, at eleven, A. M. Then followed a notice by the Chaplain, a young Presbyterian minister of the Princeton school, to this effect: "The Rev. Mr. Breckenridge gives notice that Mr. Little is not to preach in the Hall of the House of Representatives by his request." The Editors of the paper, both of whom attend on Mr. Little's ministry, added, "Mr. Little does not preach in the Capitol by his own request, but in consequence of the desire of several highly respectable persons communicated to the Speaker:" and on Monday morning an article appeared in the same paper, written by one of the most distinguished Members of Congress, expressing great pleasure in consequence of hearing so able a discourse as that which Mr. Little delivered on the preceding day. This was not all. The Chaplain was so unwise as to attempt to catechise the Speaker for allowing Mr. Little to officiate, but he was informed that the disposal of the House on Sundays belonged not to the Chaplains, but to the Speaker; and that his interference was considered as impertinent, arrogant and offensive. The rule has always been for the Speaker to invite ministers of all persuasions who are introduced to him, to preach in the Hall. The Chaplains, as a matter of course, preach in rotation

when no such appointment is made, but they have no right to interfere with what the Speaker does; and it is notorious that all sects stand precisely on the same level. Mr. Little's sermon was so much liked, that 200 or 300 copies were immediately subscribed for, chiefly by Members of Congress. The subject was, Public Usefulness it has been published, but I have not yet seen it. Nobody thought of asking any of the orthodox Reverends to publish what they delivered in the same place.

SIR,

Chichester.
Y the labours of Dr. Priestley,

easy to trace the progress of error in the Christian Church, from the first alteration which took place in the prevailing creed respecting our Lord, till the doctrine of the Trinity assumed to itself its greatest power. And to those who consider Unitarianism to be synonymous with Christianity, we may suppose it would be matter of interest to have information, how the plant which appeared buried under the rubbish of the cloister, has been able again to shoot forth successive leaves, and is in our day so promising, as to give us the pleasing hope that it will become a great tree, bearing leaves for the healing of all the nations. This object might, I conceive, be easily accomplished, if some one connected with our different places of worship would publish, with your permission, through the medium of the Repository, any authentic particulars that could be obtained relative to the introduction of the Unitarian Creed into their respective neighbourhoods.

Under this impression, I have taken the liberty of transmitting a copy of some brief memorials of the introduction and state of Nonconformity at Chichester, which are preserved in the book of Baptismal Registers belonging to the Chapel in Baffin's Lane; the record is headed with these words, "An Account of the Succession of Dissenting Ministers at Chichester from the beginning.”.

It then proceeds: "Dr. Calamy, in his Account of Ejected Ministers, Vol. IV. p. 832, mentions JOHN WILLIS (ejected from Wollavington) as preaching very privately at Chichester, and dying before King Charles' indul

gence, so that he probably was the first who preached as a Dissenter in these parts. In these troublesome times the Dissenters met for social worship at Kingston, and having spies at the outer gate, they gave notice to the congregation when they saw informers approaching. One time, on notice given, the minister disappeared by means of a trap door in the pulpit. The congregation were singing Psalms when the officers entered. I conjecture this minister might be Mr. Willis, or his successor, Mr. JOHN CORBETT, ejected from Bramshot. Vide a very advantageous account of him in Calamy's Abridgement, Vol. II. p. funeral sermon for him. He died Dec. 26, 1680. "Mr. JOHN BUCK. In 1691, he preached and printed a funeral sermon for Mr. Thorowgood of Godalming. And when Mr. Smith of Binderton died, he was buried in his own chapel, opposite his house. His pall was supported by six clergymen, who dropt the pall at the door, and would not enter in, as the chapel had never been consecrated. Mr. Buck preached in the chapel his funeral sermon; and that was the only sermon ever preached in that chapel. He lies buried in the Cathedral (or subdeanery) churchyard. The date upon his tombstone is November 1700.

"Mr. JOHN EARLE was pastor of a church at Gosport, in Hampshire, from whence he immediately succeeded Mr. Buck at Chichester. He was the son of Mr. Earle, ejected from East Tarring, and a relation to Dr. Earle, Bishop of Salisbury. Vide Calamy's Account, Vol. II. p. 687. He lies buried near Mr. Buck. The date upon his tombstone is February 3, 1705. The poetry upon it was the composition of Mr. John Bouchier. In his time there was a separation in his church, with Mrs. Le Gay at their head. They chose Mr. John Eaton their minister; and their meeting-house, though much smaller than the present, was on a part of the same ground. The Presbyterians in that time met in Little London. Upon Mrs. Le Gay's death, the congregation broke up, and joined the Presbyterians, then under the pastoral care of Mr. Robert Bagster, and Mr. Eaton was chosen pastor of Stoke Newington, where he died.

the Doctor, he became at length en-
tirely free and generous in his senti-
ments. The single point he had in
view, was to discover the truth, with-
out any fear of the consequences;
which he was fully convinced must
always in the end prove right, as he
firmly believed God himself made that
the rule of his own actions. That
freedom of sentiment which he im-
bibed from his conversation with Dr.
Avery, he ever after retained through
his whole life, without wavering, for I
declare I never conversed with any
one more candid and generous in his
sentiments. Mr. Predden was so sen-
sible of his happiness from the Doc-
tor's acquaintance, that he has often
repeated it to me, that to him he was
indebted for his right sentiments and
freedom from bigotry.'

"N. B. The above account was communicated by Mr. Thomas Baker, surgeon, in King Street, London, an intimate friend of Dr. Avery's and Mr. Predden's.

"Mr. ROBERT BAGSTER was minister here about 26 years. He was a worthy man, and quite the gentleman. Before he came here, he was chaplain to Lady Hanby. He lies buried near the north side of St. Andrew's, East Street, Churchyard; but has no stone. He died about the year 1730. Mr. Browne of Portsmouth published a sermon preached at his ordination, January 9, 1706-7; and Mr. Loveder, of Havant, preached his funeral ser

mon.

"Mr. John Bouchier never was pastor of the church at Chichester; but he preached there alternately with Mr. Bagster, some years. At one time they held Arundel, at another Midhurst, but the longest time Havant with Chichester; and preached alternately at these places. He lies buried in the aisle of St. Andrew's Church, East Street. The date upon his stone is September 20, 1720.

"Mr. JOHN PREDDEN came to Chichester Dec. 25, 1730, and continued pastor of this church to the day of his death, the 26th January, 1761. He lies buried in the south west corner of St. Martin's Church, in this city. He was the son of a gunsmith in the Minories, London, where he was born. He received his academical learning under Dr. Thomas Ridgley, a very rigid Independent. He preached first at Andover, a borough town in Hampshire; afterwards at Whitchurch, another borough town in the same county. From whence he removed to Guildford, in Surrey, where he was ordained by Mr. Daniel Mayo, of Kingston-upon-Thames, Mr. Daniel Neale, (author of the History of the Puritans,) and others. Mr. Neale, being an Independent, did not join in laying his whole hand on his head in the imposition of hands, but his little finger only. He remained pastor at Guildford twelve years. Dr. Avery retiring to Guildford two or three summers, Mr. Predden fell into an intimate acquaintance with him, which proved a great happiness to Mr. Predden. For as Dr. Avery told me himself, he found in Mr. Predden great honesty and integrity, and a mind strongly disposed to embrace truth; but at the same time as strongly shackled and fettered by the prejudices he had imbibed in his education, from which, by his acquaintance with

VOL. XVIII.

2 U

"Mr. THOMAS JOEL came to Chichester Nov. 1760, as an assistant to Mr. Predden, in which capacity he continued till Mr. Predden's death; and in about a fortnight after that time, he was chosen stated pastor, and continued to officiate in that relation till July 17, 1763.

"JOHN HEAP came to Chichester August 6, 1764."

Thus far the record in the alreadymentioned book: by whom it was made does not appear. It is all in one hand-writing. And the remarks about Mr. Predden are given as an extract, as it is afterwards said, from Mr. The family of Baker, of London. that Mr. Baker originally, I believe, attended the chapel. Some of the descendants or relations live now in Chichester and its neighbourhood, but are members of the establishment. Dr. Baker of St. Alban's, who is also of this family, supports the Unitarian interest in that place, and perhaps he could communicate many more interesting particulars relative to the early state of Nonconformity in this city.

After the words " August 6, 1764," some one else has added respecting Mr. Heap," that he preached till 1788, when becoming infirm, he resigned.".

Mr. Thomas Watson succeeded him, and continued pastor till 1803, when

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