Imatges de pÓgina
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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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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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On Mr. Hune's Argument against Miracles.

703 of it with rapture in contemplation of Hume's argument against miracles an whole universe filled with life, is inconclusive, and that testimony happiness and love? I am not one of may be of a nature to amount to those who think the news too good 10 absolute certainty, and of certainty be true. I have already expressed my there can be no degrees. Probability belief that as a deduction from pre- is a word by which we express nothing mises already admitted, concerning but our ignorance of causes ; and, in the Divine perfections and govern- fact, no event ever took place, agreement, the doctrine is a highly rational able to the laws of nature, that was one, and what every enlightened or could be previously improbable. reasoner must feel disposed to receive. Such an event may have appeared to But I am afraid we go too far when us improbable, from our ignorance of we presume to ascribe this doctrine to existing causes; but, certainly, whatJesus Christ or his Apostles. They ever has taken place, to him who certainly predicted some events in knew all the causes in action, was terms sufficiently distinct and clear, not in the slightest degree improbable. such as the resurrection and a future We are somewhat acquainted with juilgment, e. g: “God hath appointed the laws that govern human testia day in which he will judge the mony, but we are in general wholly world in righteousness by that man ignorant of the previous circumstances, whom he hath ordained." “ The which produce any given event, in all trumpet shall sound and the dead shall cases where testimony is wanted; for be raised incorruptible." And it was of our own transactions we want not just as easy for them to have said, the testimony. It is then, perhaps, not wicked shall be severely punished for a correct to say, that a very slight testiwhile, but shall afterwurds le brought mony, will overcome a greater preto repentance and be saved, if they had vious improbability; for of any given been appointed to reveal anything fact, there was in the thing itself no upon this subject.

previous improbability, and we are Finally, Sir, it appears that the always conscious that what we call New Testament is completely silent improbable, is only owing to on this subject, which some of our ignorance of causes, of which ignobrethren seem so anxious to make a rance we are also conscious, as to part of Christian belief; and when almost every occurrence where testiwe reflect on what has been the con- mony can be required. Still this argusequence in former ages, of admitting ment which sets aside all previous various additions to the primitive doc- improbability, supposes that the fact trine, inerely because they seemed to contemplated happened according to be deducible from certain texts illo the operation of known general laws; understood, or to result from prin- and as all we see and observe may be ciples already established, or were explained, when the particulars are supported by the authority of eminent known, by these general laws, there panies, Unitarians cannot be too will still attach to the mind a sense of careful how they enlarge their creed. improbability, when a fact is reported, A certain class of the orthodox con- in contradiction to the known operasider their preachers inspired, and tion of these general laws. For inevery thing uttered from the pulpit stance, Mr. Cogan, in spite of hiin. has the force of Divine truth; it'is self, would require stronger and more with them the word of God. But as circumstantial testimony, to satisfy Unitarian preachers make no such him that a man had risen froin the elaim, it will be the indelible disgrace dead, than that a man had died. How of their hearers, if they have no better does this feeling arise, for it is evident reason for their belief, than that such that if this be the fact, testimony is are the opinions of their teachers. sufficient to ascertain it? It arises, I I am, Sir,

presume, from such a fact being conYour's, &c. trary to general experience, and to its R. L. being a violation of a known general law. Now this gives a certain

degree SIR,

Dec. 3, 1816. of force to Hume's reasoning, and I I

AGREE with your excellent Cor- think it must be admitted that it seems

respondent, Mr. Cogan, in your to shew that testimony should be here last Number," (p. 6-14,) that Mr. of the strongest kind.

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I think it to be impossible for any moral discourse. The epithet dry is so man to read of the 'miracles of the frequently applied to morality, that I second and third centuries of the wish to know what there is in it to Christian æra, without being more justify or occasion its being so called. inclined to disbelieve the iniracles than I think it must meet some morbid to believe the testimony. But why? quality in the mind which receives it From a lurking suspicion, of which with disgust; to such a mind, how very the improbability of such miracles is dry and disgusting must be our Saviour's the foundation.' He begins to ques- Sermon on the Mount, as that is ention the testimony, and to bring for- tirely composed of moral precepts. ward certain general reasons against Were these precepts reduced to pracits credibility, such as that it was tice, it would so improve the mental then the interest of many that such taste and moral constitution, that what miracles be believed, and that men's is now dry and disgusting would be minds were then prepared to receive received even with a zest—that happy easy proof of iniracles. But these are union would then take place between only general and indeed very flimsy faith and works which constitutes the reasons, by which to impeach the religion of Christ. veracity, or observation, of multitudes That Unitarian ministers should ocof religious men, who were ready to casionally preach doctrinal sermons, suffer death for religion, and many of and defend their opinions against their whom did suffer death. If we make opponents, is useful and necessary; but thus free with human testimony at while so many preachers are deprecithis distance of time, when the cir- ating, morality (and the relish with cumstances are to us most imperfectly which this is received their crowded known, where are we to stop? l audiences declare), it behores the for. fully agree with Mr. Cogan, that the mer rather 10 increase than to abate degree of testimony is io determine their exertions in that important part the particular question concerning any oftheir Master's work, the enforcing the miracles, and I am quite sure that precepts of the gospel. Who are they testimony nay be such as to establish whom the Scriptures dignify by the any fact, be it miraculous or otherwise. appellation of his peculiar people? As the human mind is constituted, those who are zealous of good works. rarity passes for improbalility, and one I would recoinmend it to J. B. when miraculous fact being established, the he invites his friends to a controversial conceived improbability of others is entertainment at a Unitarian chapel, to diminished, until their frequent occur- warn them of the possibility of their rence takes away all sense of impro- meeting with only inoral fare, which bability from the mind, and their though less palatable, may, if it does proof becomes as casy as that of any not meet a disposition to indigestion, other fact. In the abstract, therefore, afford solid and wholesome nourishthere is nothing in Mr. Hume's argu- ment. ment, yet it is one which will ever carry with it an imposing air of reason. Sir,

Dec. 3, 1816. If these remarks procure us a few more WISH our friends at Edinburgh lines from Mr. Cogan, your readers will be pleased:

raising a fund for a new chapel, and A. B. C. shall be happy to contribute my mite

to so desirable an object. I think, SIR,

Bristol, Nov. 25, 1816. however, they would do well, in the TOUR valuable Miscellany fre- first instance, to imitate the conduct of

quently contains hints to minis- their brethren at York, Thorne, &c.ters for their improvement in the mode see what they can raise among theniof conducting their pulpit exercises. selves, and then lay their case before the In your Repository of last month (p. public. 584), J. B. recommends it to Unitarian There seems no mode of supporting ministers to preach statedly once a the great cause of Unitarianism so free fortnight upon a doctrinal or contro- from objection, as that of giving enversial subject—those who invite their couragement to the building and refriends to this treat, would not then be building of chapels, where circumpained by their disappointment and stances render such measures prudent. disgust at hearing in its stead a dry, Let us therefore hope, that as chapels

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