Imatges de pÓgina
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Lord of Rochester, many of these my opinion any rule to others when words inight have been well spared; any better expedient shall be offered, but I wist it is often seen that the but that I would be glad we considered greatest clerks are not always the wisest hereof, as the greatest affair that doth inen.” To which the Bishop replied, or may concern us. For if in all hu

My Lord, I do not remeinber any man actions it be hard to find that fools in my time that ever proved great medium or even temper which may clerks."

keep us from declining into extremes, When the Commons heard of this it will be much more difficult in relispeech, they conceived so great indig- gious worship; both as the path is nation against the Bishop, that they supposed narrower, and the precipices immediately sent their Speaker, Audley, more dangerous on every side. And attended with a number of the mem- because each man is created by God a bers, to complain of it to the King; free citizen of the world, and'obliged and to let his Majesty know, “ how to nothing so much as the inquiry of grievously they thought themselves in those means by which he may attain jared thereby, for charging them with his everlasting happiness, it will be fit lack of faith, as if they had been infidels to examine to whose tuition and conta or heretics," &c. To satisfy the Com- duct he commit himself. For as see mions, the King sent for the Bishop of veral teachers, not only differing in Rochester, and demanded of him why language, habit, and ceremony, or at he spoke in sınch a manner? The pre- least in some of these, but peremplate answered, “ that being in parlia- tory and opposite in their doctrines; ment, he spake his mind freely in de present themselves, much circumspecfence of the church, which he saw tion must be used. Here then taking daily injured and oppressed by the his prospect, he shall find these guides common people, whose office it was, directing him to several ways, whereof not. to judge of her manners, much the 1st yet extends no further than to less to reforin them. And therefore the laws and religions of each man's he said he thought himself in conscience native soil or diocese, without passing bound to defend her in all that lay those bounds. The end, reaching within his power." However, the much further, branches itself into that King advised him “ to use his words diversity of religions and philosophies, more temperately another time." that not only are, but have been ex.

But the injury the Commons thought tant in former times, nntil he be able they had received, by this reflection, to determine which is best. But in was not so easily digested; for, one of either of these, no little difficulties the members making use of the gospel will occur. For, if each man ought doctrine so far, says Lord Herbert, as to to be secure of all that is taught at take a reasonable liberty to judge of home, without inquiring further, how things; and being piqued at the Bishop can he answer his conscience? When for laying it all on “ want of faith," looking abroad, the terrors of everstood up in that House and spoke to lasting damnation shall be denounced this effect :*

on him, by the several hierarchies and • MR. SPEAKER-If none else but visible churches of the world, if he the Bishop of Rochester or his adhe. believe any doctrine but theirs. And rents did hold this langụage, it would that, amongst these again, such able less trouble me. But since so many and understanding persons may be religious and different sects, now con- found, as in all other affairs will equal spicuous in the whole world, do not his teachers. Will it be fit that he only vindicate unto themselves the believe God hath inspired his owo nanie of the true church, but labour church and religion only, and debetwixt invitations and threats for no- serted the rest; when yet mankind is thing more than to make us resign our so inuch of one offspring, that it bath faith to a simple obedience; I shall not only the same * Pater communis' crave leave to propose, what I think fit in God, but is come all from the same in this case for us laick and secular carnal ancestors ? Shall each man, persons to do. Not that I will make without more examination, believe

his priests in what religion soever; * Lord Herbert has not given us the and when he hath done, call their name of this speaker. Hall says he was a doctrine his faith? On the other gentleman of Gray's-inn.

side, if he must argue controversies

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Free Speech on the Sulject of Reformation. 1530. before he can be satisfied, how much them requiring a peculiar scrutiny and leisure must he obtain? How much consideration. Neither shall he fly .wealth and substance inust he con- thus to particular reason, which may sume? How many languages must soon lead him to heresy; but after a he learn? And how many authors due separation of the more doubtful must he read? How many ages must and controverted parts, shall hold he look into ? How many faiths must himself to common, authentic, and he examine? How many expositions universal truths, and consequently must he confer, and how many con- inforın himself, what in the several tradictions reconcile? How many articles proposed to him is so taught, countries must he wander into, and as it is first written in the heart, and how many dangers must he run? together delivered in all the laws and Briefly, would not our life on these religions he can hear of in the whole terms be a perpetual, peregrination; world: this certainly can never de while each inan posted into the other's ceive him ; since therein he shall find country to learn the way to heaven, out how far the impressions of God's without yet that he could say at last wisdom and goodness are extant in all he had known or tried all: What mankind, and to what degrees his remains then to be done? Must he universal Providence hath dilated ittake all that each priest, upon pretence self; while thus ascending to God by of inspiration, would teach him, be the same steps he descends to us, ho cause it might be so; or, may he cannot fail to encounter the divine leave all because it might be other majesty. Neither ought it to trouble wise? Certainly, to embrace all re- hin if he find these truths rariously ligions, according to their various and complicated with difficulties or errors ; repugnant rites, tenets, traditions, and since, without insisting on more points faiths, is impossible, when yet in one than what are clearly agreed on every age it were not possible, after incre- side, it will be his part to reduce them dible pains and expences, to learu out into method and order; which also is and number them. On the other not hard, they being but few, and apt side, to reject all religions indifferently for connection: so that it will con. is as impious, there being no nation cern our several teachers to imitate us ihat in some kind or other doth not in this doctrine, before they come to worship God; so that there will be a any particular direction; lest othernecessity to distinguish. Not yet that wise they do like those who trould any man will be able, upon compari- persuade us to renounce day-light to son, to discern which is the perfectest, study only by their candle. It will be among the many professed in the worth the labour, assuredly, to inwhole world; each of them being of quire how far these universal notions. that large extent, that no man's un- will guide us, before we commit outderstanding will serve to comprehend selves to any of their abstruse' and it in its uttermost latitude and signifi, scholastic niysteries, or supernatural cation. But, at least, that every man and private revelations. Not yet but might vindicate and sever in his par- that ihey also may challenge a just ricular religion, the anore essential and place in our belief, when they are demonstrative parts from the rest, delivered upon warrantable testiinonys without being moved so much at the but that they cannot be understood as threats and promises of any other re- so indifferent and infallible principles ligion that would make him obnox- for the instruction of all mankind. ious, as to depart from this way: there Thus, among many supposed inferior being no ordinary method so intelli- and questionable deities, worshipped gible, ready, and compendious, for in the four quarters of the world, we conducting each man to his desired shall find one chief so taught us, as end. Having thus therefore recol. above others to be highly reverenced. lected himself, and Logether implored – Among many. rites, ceremonies, the assistance of that Supreme God volumes, &c. delivered us as instruwhorn all nations acknowledge, he ments or parts of his worship, he shall must labour in the next place to find find virtuie so eminent, as it alone out what inward means his Provi- concludes and suins up the rest. Indence hath delivered, to discern the somuch as there is no sacramen: true not only from the false, but even which is not finally resolved into it; from the likely and possible; each of good life, charity, faith in and love of God, being such necessary and essen- us to a general concord and peace ; for tial parts of religion, that all the rest when we are agreed concerning these are finally closed and determined in eternal causes and means of our salrathem.-Among the many expiations, tion, why should we so much differ lustrations, and propitiations for our for the rest? Since as these princisins, taught in the several quarters of ples exclude nothing of faith or trathe world in sundry times, we shall dition, in what age or manner soever find that pone doth avail without it intervened; each nation may be hearty sorrow for our sins, and a true permitted the belief of any pious mirarepentance towards God, whom we cle that conduceth to God's glory; hare offended. — And lastly, amidst without that, on this occasion, we the divers places and manners of re- need to scandalize or offend each ward and punishinent, which former other. The common truths in reli. ages have delivered, we shall find ligion, formerly mentioned, being God's justice and mercy not so limited, firmer bonds of unity, than that any but that he can extend either of them thing emergent out of traditions, whe even beyond death, and consequently ther written or unwritten, should disrecompence or chastise eternally. solve them. Let us therefore establish These, therefore, as universal and and fix these catholic and universal undoubted truths, should, in my notions; they will not hinder us to opinion, be first received; they will believe whatsoever else is faithfully at least keep us froin impiety and taught upon the authority of the Atheisni, and together lay à founda- church. So that whether the Eastern, tion for God's service and ihe hope of Western, Northern, or Southern a better life. Besides, it will reduce teachers, &c. and particularly whe men's minds from uncertain and con- ther my Lord of Rochester, Luther, troverted points to a solid practice of Eccius, Zuinglius, Erasmus, Melanc virtue; or when we fall from it, to ani thon, &c. be in the right, we laicks unseigned repentance and purpose may so build upon these catholic and through God's grace to amend our infallible grounds of religion, as what sinful life; without making pardon so soever superstructures of faith be easy, cheap, or mercenary, as some raised, these foundations yet may supo of them do. Lastly, it will dispose port them.'

MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

Remarks on Mr. Toz's Argument from truth of their system, that "there is Scripture for Cniversal Restoration. but one God, even the Father;" they

entertain various 'shades of difference Sir,

on alınost all the minor parts of T is highly gratifying to the friends Christian speculation, and that withdiscover so much anxiety to wipe away tion that ought to exist among all the reproach of inactivity and want of Christian brethren. Perhaps no other zeal with which they have been so sect has allowed, or is capable con long assailed by their opponents. And sistently with their principles of al. among the various efforts of their lowing, such freedom of private judg. newly acquired zeal for the dissemina- ment and public avowal of individual tion of their peculiar opinions, the opinion, among their members, with institution of weekly lectures in diffe- out dissolving their social union. It rent parts of the metropolis, is one of is desirable that this peculiarity should the most promising, and has I under- be well understood by the meinbers of stand been already eminently success- other sects, especially by those who ful. One of the pre-eminent advan- are hostile to our general opinions ; tages of the Unitarians over other otherwise they will be apt to inipute to religious parties, is the unfettered frec. the body, sentiments that only belong doin which its ministers and members to some of its members; and hence, may and do exercise in the discussion no doubt some of our adversaries have of disputed subjects in theology. Per- derived (what they consider) a ground fectly united in the grand fundamental for triumph, in the discordance and

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Argument from Scripture for Universal Restoration.

701 inconsistency of our system. Let thein which rests apparently only on that know that we have no differences foundation. But with all this preamong us, that are inconsistent with disposition in favour of the subject, the simplicity and integrity of Christ, will you believe it, Mr. Editor, I reian worship, or unfeigned subjection mained unconvinced. For it must be to the moral precepts of the gospel; observed, as Mr. F. very correctly and all differences or another descrip- told us, his business was not to prove tion we hold it a duty and privilege to the doctrine by reason, nor to trace respect in our brethren. The weekly its natural production from other lectures I have alluded to, are adapted known truths of Christianity, nor to to bring these varicties of opinion into shew how many preponderating arguview; and as it is likely that cachments might be accumulated to make preacher will state on such occasions, it almost certain to every one that the the strongest grounds upon which he truth was on that side ; but it was to supposes his peculiar views to rest, shew that the faci itself was predicted they afford a fair opportunity of can- in the Scripture. Iloc est opus, hic: Yassing fully those subjects which may labor. This if I am not mistaken he be considered as principally of Unita- failed to accomplish. Nor can it be rian growth and culture. The result thought any, depreciation of his tamust be, the more speedy detection of lents to say this. He did all that can the weakest parts of the system, and be done, all that his various predeces the stronger confirmation of its un- sors have done, and did it in my estiquestionable truths. I am sure your mation in a better manner than any valuable Miscellany will be alivays of them; but the proposition itself is open to every proper attempt to pro- too stroug to be borne out by Scripmote these objects. Permit me then ture, and what in such a case can any to offer a few ihoughts on the lecture man do? Of the texts adduced as delivered by Mr. Fox, at Worship predictions of the ultimate deliverance Street, on Thursday, Nov. 281h. The of all men from sin and misery, there subject was, The final happiness of all appeared to me none but what were men predicted in the Scripture.

capable of a very different explication The perspicuity and energy of the without any torture. It was certainly preacher's style, ihe unhesitating and very injurious to alledge Matt. xxv. copious appeals to the express declara- 46. No doubt punishment may be tions of Scripture, the brilliant elo- corrective as well as vindictive, and quence, the correct and classical taste everlasting very frequently means a with which it was delivered, did great limited duration : but I cannot think honour to Mr. F. and was eminently it would ever enter into the thoughts calculated by immediate impression to of a common reader of the Scripture silence objections, and to satisfy the that the expression, “shall go away advocates for the opinion defended, into everlasting punishment," should that the whole was unanswerable. I mean a prediction of the final happiness suppose few persons who were present of the wicked. could be insensible that the dazzling Romans viii. 19-23, seems as little lustre thrown upon the subject, ren- to the purpose. Suffice it to say that dered scepticism for the moment al- “ the world itself may be delivered most impossible. For myself I had from the bondage of corruption, being several powerful incitements to faith, universally blessed with the liberty of such as, my high esteem for the God's children;" during a long period, preacher, whom I am permitted to of paradisaical happiness in which the call

' my friend; a strong wish that the wicked who are dead, shall not be position expressed in the title of the partakers. As for the phrase lecture might be true; nay further, a selves also which have the first fruits persiiasion that the doctrine of the of the spirit,” it does not seem as final happiness of all men is a most Mr. F. supposes to refer to the body of rational conclusion, from the known true Christians in this life in contra. character of the Deity, from the ob- distinction from the wicked, who served tendencies of Providence, and he thinks will be the last fruits of from many very plain declarations of redeeming, grace; but it evidently Scripture : so that as an inferential polnts to the Apostles and primitive doctrine I hold it as strongly, as per Christians who partook of those emi. haps a doctrine ought to be held, nent gifts of the Holy Spirit which VOL. XI.

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distinguished and sealed the com- auxiliary evidences of the truth of the

of Christianity. Yet doctrine, though not insisted npon as highly favoured as they were, they predictions of the fact.

Such as looked forward to the resurrection of Ephes. i. 10, " That in the dispenthe dead as their final and best de- salion of the fulness of times, he liverance.

might gather together in one all things 1 Corinthians xv. 24-28, Mr. F. in Christ, &c.' But as it is well thought so decisive of the question, as known that “the fulness of times" is to render elucidation unnecessary,

its a phrase used by Paul lo signify the language being scarcely explicable on time of Christ's first coming into the any other principle. Upon a re- world, (see Gal. iv. 4,) I do not see . peated perusal of this passage, I am that any thing more is meant in the

constrained to say that it does not highly figurative passage in question, appear to teach any thing like the than that during the gospel dispensadoctrine of final restoration. The tion the distinction of Jew and Genwhole of the Apostle's reasonings and tile should be done away in religious predictions throughout the chapter matters, and Christ be the one head relate to the resurrection of the dead. of one great body of believers, as is It is quite a gratuitous assumption, afterwards insisted on. that “the end,” in ver. 24, signifies 1 Timothy ii. 4, “Who will have all something beyond the resurrection and inen to be saved, and to come unto judgment. Nor can it be granted, for the knowledge of the truth." I think The end of Christ's inediatorial govern- Macknight has shewn, that the origiment is when the last enemy death nal word here translated “ will," has is destroyed, ver. 26, that is when all the force of the verb command, as also the dead are raised to die no more; in rer. 8, “ I will (command) that then shall he deliver up the kingdom men pray every where, &c." God in to the Father, and himself be subject sending his gospel to the nations, like the rest of his brethren, to that “ commandeth all men every where arrangement which infinite wisdom to repent,” Acts xvii. 30, which is may appoint to follow the present the same as commanding them “to dispensation. The Scriptures seem be saved and come to the knowledge uniformly to speak of the general of the truth." It seems therefore unjudgınent of mankind, as the last act warrantable to extend the significaof Christ's administration of the moral tion of this passage to a future state of government of the world. And as being. I do not know whether the the Christian Scriptures only speak of next text was adduced by Mr. F. or things belonging to the Christian dis- not, for I only write from recollecpensation, all beyond is left at present tion—but I have heard it mentioned involved in impenetrable mystery. by others and therefore notice it here.

Philippians ii. 10, 11, 'is another i Timothy iv. 10, “ The Saviour of text quoted as a prediction of the all men, specially of those who beglorious restoration of all men from lieve." The Apostle is speaking, as sin and punishment, by their being the connexion shews, of the dangers brought to confess that Jesus Christ is and hardships he was exposed to ja Lord, &c. The whole passage in its preaching the gospel ; and he says he connection is a declaration of the glory irusted in the protection of the living conferred upon Jesus Christ in reward God who is the Saviour (or Preserver) of his humility and obedience unto of all inen, but particularly so of sindeath. This reward as we learn from cere and active Christians who devote many other passages consists in his themselves to his glory. But what being invested with authority over all has this to do with the universal hap men, and made their final judge, to piness of mankind? reward or punish every one according If any other passages were produced to their deeds. Every knee therefore they have escaped ny memory; but will bow to him, and every tongue upon a review of these, I would ask 'confess that he is Lord, in that day any impartial person, whether here is when even the wicked must answer any thing like a prediction of that for themselves at his righteous tri- sublime and astonishing scene, the bunal. This text therefore does not brilliancy of which overpowers the necessarily imply any thing beyond. imagination of him who most con

Somc passages were mentioned as fidently expects it, and fills the believer

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