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the knowledge which he has hitherto attained is as nothing in comparison with the vast unknown. It is said of one of the early reformers, that when he lay upon his death-bed, if any present were tant theological questions which then discoursing upon some of those imporagitated the Christian world, he would raise himself up in his bed, and would call to them to speak out, for that he should die with more comfort if he could learn some new truth before his departure. And a late venerable and learned prelate, who was an inquirer after truth all his days, did not distinctly discern the complete evidence of the simple humanity of Jesus Christ till he had passed his seventieth year."-P. 20...
same kind. He informs his correspondent that the Unitarian brethren at Calcutta have not yet succeeded in getting an eligible piece of ground for the erection of a chapel, but look confidently forward to this object. And he concludes with saying, that he feels a strong wish to visit Europe and the other quarters of the globe in the ensuing year; with a view, amongst other satisfactions, to a personal acquaintance with the Unitarians of Europe.
ART. IV.-Two Sermons: the First,
on the Love of Truth, including a Summary of the Lectures delivered at Essex Street Chapel; the Se-, cond, on the Benefits arising from Theological Controversy preached in Essex-Street Chapel, November, 1822. Introductory to the Course of Lectures for the Season. By the Rev. Thomas Belsham. 8vo. pp. 52. Hunter. 1823,
R. BELSHAM gives in mary of his Lectures," of the subjects of which the following is a list: Evidences of the Jewish and Christian Revelation. Inquiry into Inspiration. State of the text of New Testament. Doctrines of Divine Revelation: Person of Christ: Holy Spirit: Atonement: Original Sin: Election: Grace: Perseverance. Constitution of a Christian Church, under which head is discussed the question of the support of the Christian Religion by the Civil Power. Positive Institutions. Nature and Foundation of Virtue and Moral Obligation. Phenomena of the Human Mind. Natural Arguments in favour of a Future Life. On all these interesting topics the preacher states the arguments in his usual perspicuous manner, and delivers his last thoughts. The summary is a syllabus of theology, and will be useful to the inquirer, and particularly to the lecturer. In conclusion, some reflections are made upon the subject of truth, which are both instructive and encouraging. We extract one passage:
"The sincere lover of truth will never cease to inquire, as long as the powers of intellect and investigation remain for the little which he knows, inspires a thirst after further information; and he is conscious, that, however successful the result of his inquiries may have been, all
The second Sermon is an inquiry into the useful purposes answered by error and controversy, and into the duties which the present unsettled state of things imposes upon the sincere professors of the Christian doctrine. Under the former branch of the inquiry, Mr. Belsham shews that controversies
have confirmed the evidence of Christhey present a just cri
terion for the discovery of truth, that they give birth to many of the sublimest virtues, that they are some of the most powerful stimulants and guards to personal and social virtue, and that they will eventually terminate in the discovery of truth, and in the prevalence of general unanimity and universal peace. The duties of the Christian in these circumstances are pointed out, viz. Submission to the will and wisdom of God, acquiescence in the divided state of the church, steadiness at the post of duty, and triumph in the prospect of the ultimate reign of truth and goodness. With great discrimination the preacher indulges much fervour of spirit. The most marked feature of this discourse is confidence in divine truth. The glowing descriptions and animated appeals which abound in it, cannot fail of interesting the reader's best affections.
On the benefits resulting from Persecution Mr. Belsham says,
"The advocate for truth is sometimes required to endure persecution of various kinds, and in various shapes. And time
"Chytræus of Rostock, who died A. D. 1600, aged 70.-See Fuller's Lives and Deaths of Modern Divines."
has been, though happily those times are passed, in which the confessor of the Christian doctrine has sealed his testimony with his blood. And these are circumstances in which the most exalted virtues of the heart have been brought into exercise. To suffer martyrdom voluntarily and cheerfully, in a good cause and upon good principles, is the highest perfection of the human character. We venerate the hero who sacrifices his life in the field of honour, and the patriot who offers himself as a victim upon the altar of liberty and his country's rights;to die in such a cause is sweet and glorious. What then is it to suffer and die in the cause of truth, of virtue, and mankind! What a constellation of virtues is here displayed-zeal and courage in the defence of truth; resignation to the will of God; love to the human race; patience and fortitude under suffering; meekness, forbearance, and forgiveness of enemies; contempt of death in an honourable cause; and a glorious triumph over pain and ignominy and martyrdom, in the assured hope of sharing in the victory and in the throne of that glorious Leader, with whom and for whom they are now content to suffer."-P. 39.
We are particularly pleased with the following statement of the good ends to be answered by religious differences:
"This harmony of spirit among those who differ in belief and in forms of worship, is a state of things which, however desirable in itself, the infirmity of human nature will seldom admit, and which the knowledge of mankind will not allow us to expect. Not penetrating each other's motives, not comprehending each other's views and prejudices, we do not make sufficient allowance for each other's errors; and are ready to wonder that what appears so clear to ourselves should not appear with equal strength of evidence to others. And it is well if we do not impute their conduct to improper motives and an unworthy bias. Be it so. In this imperfect world we are ourselves imperfect, and we live among imperfect beings. But even this defect of charity is not without its use. Christians of different sects and parties do not in general think well of each other. Trinitarians and Unitarians, Calvinists and Arminians, Churchmen and Dissenters, are apt to regard each other with dislike, and to speak of cach other with contempt. But this mutual jealousy among different sects constitutes one of the most powerful motives to moral vigilance and to the practice of personal and social virtue. Regard to the
credit of the sect will not only lead men to be more than ordinarily kind to their fellow-sectaries, but will stimulate them to vigilance over themselves and others, that they may not by irregular and disreputable conduct entail disgrace upon the party which they espouse. Different sects frequently vie with each other in zeal for laudable and useful undertakings, in order to shew that their peculiar principles are at least equal with those of their neighbours in prompting to good works. This sectarian emulation is not indeed the best and purest principle of action; but it is powerful and useful; it is a good substitute where better principles are wanting, and comes in aid of better motives where such motives exist. Human virtue in its best state is very imperfect; and it requires every stimulus to keep it in vigorous action, and to repel indolence and sloth. And experience proves that virtue and religion prosper least when there is a dead calm in the intellectual and moral world, where there is no discussion of argument, where there is no collision of interest, where there is no vigilant sectary to spy out, and to publish, and to exaggerate the errors and failings of the dominant party; and where the triumphant sect domineers over the minds and consciences of the people with proud and unresisted sway."-Pp. 41-43.
ART. V.-A Familiar Dialogue be
tween a Calvinist, a Socinian, and an Infidel; intended as an Answer to Mr. Wright's Pamphlet, called "The Trinitarian and Unitarian," &c. designed chiefly to guard the Minds of Young Persons against the pernicious Influence of Socinian Principles. By B. Kent. 12mo. pp. 32. Trowbridge, Clark. ART. VI.—Truth and Facts Stated, and Misrepresentation Detected; a Review of Mr. B. Kent's “ Familiar Dialogue between a Calvinist, a Socinian, and an Infidel." By R. Wright. 12mo. pp. 36. Liverpool, printed by F. B. Wright: sold by Eaton, and Fox and Co., London. 1823.
R. WRIGHT is not allowed to remain inactive. He has been challenged to theological combat by Mr. B. Kent, a Dissenting Minister, at Trowbridge, and has readily taken up the glove. As far as argument and good temper can prevail, Mr. Wright is decidedly successful, but
these, we fear, are not the means by which Mr. Kent and his partizans will allow a controversy to be decided.
Mr. Kent is a polemic of that school which holds that every thing is fair that is done against an adversary. He scruples no language, however gross, and makes statements without any seeming care concerning their truth. What must be thought of a Christian minister who says, "it is my firm opinion, that if it" (the "Socinian scheme") "were generally to prevail in this town, in a few months' time half our tradesmen would become bankrupts; such loose principles naturally lead to loose conduct, and loose conduct will always undermine a man's character and credit in society" (p. 16); and who can allow himself further to say, "A Socinian meeting is a house of call, where the God of this World directs his votaries to step in and stay a while, till they can obtain license to mix with the horrid crew of scoffers and libertines, who live as Atheists in the world" (pp. 29, 30)! This outrageous man vows enmity (p. 30) against Unitarians; but we think that there are few persons above the condition of barbarians who would set any value upon the friendship of such a fire-brand.
There is still something ludicrous in Mr. Kent's wrath. Passion vents itself in metaphors, and this enraged gentleman thus describes the Improved Version: " It came into the world at first with a horrid black skin and with cloven feet, and with a viper's sting under its tongue; and after all their attempts to hide its deformity under the finest and most costly drapery that art and labour could furnish, all the world have agreed to pronounce it an ugly monster, and are afraid to go near it" (p. 17). The meaning of this insane rant is simply that there is one Version of the Scriptures, with Notes, compiled from the labours of the learned of all parties, into which Mr. B. Kent is afraid to look.
Mr. Wright tells his townsman very frankly that the "Infidel" in his "Dialogue" is of his own creation, and that he is answerable for all that he puts into his mouth. Let us ask Mr. Kent, then, where he got the story, which he makes his Infidel utter, of the Unitarian minister who said in the pulpit "that some of
Paul's Epistles ought not to have been in the New Testament"? (P. 10.) No wonder, that he prompts his “Infidel” to calumny, since he says, in propriâ personâ, that a question relating to the body and spirit of man being put, a few months ago, "to a Socinian minister by another minister of the orthodox persuasion," the answer was, 'O, as to that, Sir, there is nothing immaterial in me; when I die (said the Rev. Divine) there will be an end of me."" (P. 21, note.) The relator of the story puts three notes of admiration at the conclusion. Well. he might. The tale is admirable; but we suspect it is of his own invention, and are sure that it is a gross falsehood. If it be not, let Mr. Kent produce his proofs, and we engage to publish them to the world.
We had marked some other passages of this choice " Dialogue" for animadversion, and particularly its pretended quotations from Socinus and others, which are taken at secondhand and in the most bungling manner both with respect to names and things, but we are disgusted with the writer, and turn to his answerer, who does not answer a fool according to his folly," but with the meekness of wisdom exposes the evils of bigotry and pleads the cause of evangelical truth and charity.
The following passage from "Truth and Facts," will shew the Dialogue writer to the reader in another character, that of a biblical critic :
who deviate from the common version of "After all Mr. K.'s outcry against those the Scriptures, and his censure of new translations, he too can deviate, he too would have a new trauslation of, at least, some texts. (See p. 19.) The text, The Lord our God is one Lord, he would have read, The Lord our GODS is one Jehovah: and speaks with approbation of a Calvinist minister's having so read it in public. Mr. K. then has no objection to altering the translation of the
E. g. Mr. B. Kent quotes, without understanding, a passage from Socinus's author, not named, from whom this "Second Epistle to Balcerimicius :" the learned theologian borrows, evidently meant the second epistle to Balcerovicius. [Socini Op. 1. 424.] it is dangerous to quote works never read, and especially if they be written in an unknown tongue.
Scriptures, though he censures the Unitarians for altering it. As he would alter the English Bible, to make it express the polytheistical notion of Gods; can it be wrong to say that he believes in a plurality of Gods? He would have Jehovah to include Gods. To his substituting Gods for God, I must object as totally unauthorized, an unwarrantable alteration of the sense as well as the language of the Bible, and as subversive of what the Scriptures most clearly teach, that there is but one God, and that God is one, and because it would be directly calculated to lead the people into polytheism and idolatry."-Pp. 20,
One more extract from Mr. Wright's judicious pamphlet will explain the result of this controversy, which, miserably as it has been conducted on the part of his antagonist, will not be without its benefits:
"I called upon the Trinitarian to express his doctrine in the words of Scripture, as I had done the Unitarian doctrine. This Mr. K. has not attempted: he admits that it cannot be done, and even ridicules me for requiring such a thing; but is it unreasonable, that those who identify their notions with the Scriptures, make them essential to salvation, and condemn as the enemies of Christ and the gospel, those who reject their dogmas, should be required to express them in the words of Scripture? Mr.
K. admits, that the terms used to express the Trinitarian doctrine, are not to be found in the Bible, that they were never in the Bible, (see p. 26,) that the doctrine is to be made out by inference, (p. 20,) and in this way he attempts to support it. Trinitarians have a right to adopt what terms they please to express their thoughts; but what right have they to make their thoughts, expressed in their own language, and not in the words of Scripture, essential articles of Christian faith, and to censure and condemn those who will not receive them as such? They have a right to make such inferences from the language of Scripture as seem to them proper; but they have no right to treat as fools and knaves those who think their inferences unfounded, and
cannot receive them as doctrines of the gospel; but who admit as essential articles of faith, and as Christian doctrines, what can be fully expressed in the words of Jesus Christ and his apostles. Enough has come out in the present controversy to establish one important point: viz. That the Unitarian doctrine is fully revealed in plain and positive terms in the Holy Scriptures, and can be fully expressed in the words of Scripture, without either addition or comment: and that the Trinitarian doctrine is not fully revealed in plain and positive terms in Scripture, and cannot be expressed in the words of Scripture, but is made out and supported by inference."-Pp. 24, 25.
PARAPHRASE OF MICHEL ANGELO'S POEM
On the Perfections of the Deity, as they appear in the beauty of his Offspring:
το γαρ και γενος εσμεν
La forza d'un bel volto al ciel mi sprona,
Ch' a lui mi levo per divin concetti,
Nel nobil foco mio dolce riluce