Imatges de pÓgina

Germany into Switzerland, and Italy, had translated George Barn.
resided for a considerable time in well, which was represented ihere
the delightful neighbourhood of with applause,
Lausanne. Crossing the Alps, Mr. K.was a decided Unitarian,
they took up their residence at Tu. at a time when that obnoxious
rin, and were liequentiy at the name belonged to few, and was
court, then not a little celebrated owned by still fewer. He was one
for the politeness and aflability of of the first members of the Western
the royal family. From this city Unitarian Society, instituted by
they went to Florence, and thence his nephew, the late Rev. T. Ken-
to Venice, where Mr. Milliken rick. His early emancipation
died in April, 1763, and Mr. K. from Calvinism he owed to the
soon after returned to Scotland. rational principles of sacred criti-
He had soon occasion to visit the cism which learnt from Dr.
Continent again with the second Leechman. He always delighted
and only surviving son, to whom in the study of the scriptures, and
the air of the South of France was frequently employed himself in
recommended by the physicians. comparing the original of the N.
He conducted him 10 Montpelier, T. with different Latin translations
where he staid a long time and and the principal English and Fo-
afterwards visited with him several reign Versions. His manners
of the principal cities in France were marked with that dignified
and Germany.

politeness, which naturally flowed. Soon after his second return to from a benevolent, liberal and cul. this country, he settled at Bewd- tivated mind, guided by experience ley, and conducted a banking of the best society. Though his establishment there between thirty disposition was tinctured with reand forty years. The active ma- serve, it was wholly free from nagement of its laborious and often moroseness : towards his family he anxious concerns, devolved on him was most affectionate and kind; till within a twelvemonth of his and the author of this tribute to death. Tisough bis early habits his memory, can testify the lively had not been those of a man of interest which he took in the wel. business, his industry and inviola- fare of remoter relatives. He was ble integrity, gave the concern universally respected and beloved which he superintended an unusu, in the neighbourhood in which he al respectability and permanency, lived; and the strong sympathy and obtained for himself an honoure and deep regret which were exable competence. Though much pressed during his painful illness occupied by this employment, and on the event of his death, nothing could check that ardent proved the estimation in which be love of mental cultivation which was held by those to wbum he had he derived from the studies of his been long and intimately known; youth. Whatever time could be To the grief which his numerous spared from business and from the relatives have felt ai the removal calls of duty, he eagerly devoted of one whom they loved and ho, to ancient and modern literature. noured, is united the recollection He'was master of the French and that he was the last survivor of a Italian languages, and when in generation of their ancestors, who

[ocr errors]


were eminent for piety and worth: possession of Mr. Sharp, of this
when they too shall be gathered town, son of the late Mr. Clement
to their fathers, may those who Sharp. Your insertion of these
come after them, be able to bear letters, in the Monthly Repository,
testimony to their characters, in as soon as your limits will permit,
the same spirit of truth which has will oblige,
dictated this imperfect memorial ! Your faithful friend,

Original Letters of Dr. Priest-
ley's, on Baptism ; communi-

LETTER I. cated by the Rev. R. Scott,

Leeds, l'eb. 4, 1770.
SIR, August 17th, 1811. As your letter seems to bear

I do not approve the practice the marks of a sincere desire of of the posthumous publication of information, and not to have been all the letters and fragments that written for any captious purpose, may be met with, wbich have my thoughts on ihe subject of heen written by learned men, It baptism are al your service, or is oftentimes nothing less than a that of any of your friends to whom violation of trust. When, how. you may chuse to communicate ever, the writer himself did


not wish his communications to be It appears to me, that few confined to the person to whom persons in this western part of the they were addressed, but gave him world, enter sufficiently into the permission to shew them to any ideas and notions of the Jews and of his friends, to whom he might other people of the East; and that think they would be useful, as in your objections to intant.baptism, the present instance, it appears to cannot be satisfactorily answered, me we may, without any breach without laying aside some of the of that.confidence which private ideas peculiar to this part of Eucorrespondence demands, give rope, and especially in modern such communications to the pub.

times. Jic, and, particularly, when they Nothing was,

orindeed is, more are illustrative of the scriptures. common in the East, than to ex. Under th's impression, I send you press sentiments and purposes by two letters from Dr. Priestley to actions; and so natural was it to Mr. Clement Sharp, of Romsey, the Jews, to denote purity of heart in this county, and the answer of by outward washing, that we find Vigilius to some queries proposed by the success of John's preaching, by Mr. Sharp, in one of his let. that, though he did not pretend lo ters to Dr. Priestley. - As the teach a new religion, but only Dr. does not disclose the name


upon repentance and of his friend Vigilius, I shall only greater regularity and strictness add that this excellent critic wrote, of manners then was common 2. also, in the Theological Reposi. mong the Jews ; yet that tew of tory, under the signature of Euse. them made any difficulty of being

The originals are in the baptized, considering it nothing


more than a profession of repen- common practice of the Jews, our tance and a new life, and there. Lord had no occasion to give any fore it is called the baptism of particular instruction, as to the repentance. With respect to the proper subjects of baptism. When subjects of baptism, we should con- a head of a family was converted sider, more than we do, the great to Christianity, he and all his power of a master of a family in house, i.e. his children and slaves, the East, and how far his own acts were baptized; not as a mark of affected his wife, children and ser- their being Christians, but of their vants, and indeed every thing be- master being one, and of the oblonging to him : thus, though cir- ligation he was under to educate cumcision was a religious cere- them in that 'religion, and incul. mony, expressive of a covenant cate upon them the maxims of it; between God and Abraham, it this is an obligation that is pecu. was applied, not only to the child- liarly sacred, and hardly ever ren of Abraham, but also to all fails of success all over the East. that were born in bis house, or There is nothing thai a Mahome. bought with money, i.e. his slaves, tan is more intent upon, than to wbo were not in the least interested make his servants good Mussulin the covenant. In fact, it only men. When the children were concerned Isaac ; Ishmael wbo, grown up, or the slaves changed however, was circumcised, bad their service, they might adhere no interest in it at all. See Gen. to the religion they had been xvii. 12, 23. The circumcision of brought up in, or not, as they Ishmael, of the children of Abra. pleased. Infant.baptism appears ham in general, and of his slaves, io me to have been the uniform was not considered as any act of practice of Christians, as far as I their's, but only of their master, can collect from the primitive faand therefore, their consent was thers, till an idea was introduced, not in the least necessary. of the peculiar efficacy of baptism,

When the Ninevites repented, as such, to wash away sins, and at the preaching of Jonah, the cate the safety of dying soon after tle were made to fast, as expres. baptism, before a person had consive of the contrition of their tracted fresh guilt ;-on this ac. masters.

count, Constantine the Great, and I have no doubt but that the many others, deferred baptism till Jews admitted proselytes to their the hour of death. Afterwards, religion, by solemn washing or slaves being generally infranchised baptism as well as 'by circum- and considered as acting for them. cision; indeed, considering their selves, and the power of fathers ideas and practices in other re- over their children having never spects, I should have wondered if been so great in the northern nathey had not done it, and I have tions, Christianity and all the as little doubt, but that when a badges of it, came to be considered, master of a family embraced their in all respects, a personal thing; religion, their children, if not their and hence the conclusion, that no slaves also, were baptized and persons could be the subject of any circumcised. This then being the of its institutions, but with their

[ocr errors]


own consent, expressed when they your conceptions be. The censure were arrived at years of under- of ihe world is not to be regarded, standing,

where the least punctilio of religion For my own part, I endeavour is concerned ; but let us not for. to adhere to the primitive ideas, get, that there are things of more and consider the baptising of my importance than positive instituchildren, as nothing more than tions. Wishing you all the con. a declaration of my being a Chris. solation of our most excellent retian myself and, consequently, of ligion, in the decline of life; and my obligation to educate them in and that you and I may have a the principles of the Christian happy meeting, in that world with religion.

which it brings us acquainted, I have no doubt, but that the only I am, Sir, antient mode of haptism was im. Your very humble servant, mersion, and I should rather ap

J. PRIESTLEY, prove of it at present ; but since it is the application of water, that expresses the purity of heart and

Leeds, 12 Sep. 1770, life, peculiar to Christians, and

SIR, not any certain quantity of it; I received yours

of the 29th of and since the meaning of the rite Alay, only a few days ago. It was is as well understood in whatever not found in the pack of wool, manner it be administered ; and, till the manufacturer had occasion also, since dipping is sometimes to make use of it. Being very imagined at least to be dangerous busy myself, I sent your queries to for the health of children, I think an ingenious friend of mine, who a scrupulosity in this punctilio un- signs Vigilius in the Repository, necessary; and therefore, in this and I enclose you his answer, respect, I do not think it worth which I much approve, in his while to make any alteration in own hand writing. I wish it may the common practice. If I thought give you the satisfaction you want; immersion the only proper bap- but, in this imperfect state, we tism, I should certainly submit to are not to expect a perfect soluit without delay.-1 do think that tion of all our doubts and diffibaptism was intended to be al- culties. We must be content ways observed in the Christian with as much light as is sufficient church, though I should readily to guide our conduct, and, in admit to communion one who lesser things, we must often be dethought otherwise, and had not termined by probabilities only, been baptised.

certainty not being to be had:
I have not sufficiently consider.

I am sorry for the loss you
ed the passage in St. Paul, you have sustained, but it is bappy
I shall be glad if these few out hope.

that you do not grieve as one with-
thoughts shall prove to be of any

I am, with every good wish, service to you, but I doubt not

Dear Sir, but you will think for yourself,

Yours sincerely, and act with freedom and spirit,

J. PRIESTLEY. becoming a Christian, whatever

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]



P.S. I would recommend to Tevca, Matt. xxviii: 19. should your perusal a pamphlet. intitled, have been translated disciple, all Dipping not ! he only or Scrip- nations) and taught to observe all tural method of baptising." things whatsoever Christ hath com.

manded. Invaluable privileges !

Quest. II. Who are the proper

subiicts of baptism? Answer. MR. SILAKP'S QUERIES.

Those who want the privileges. Rom. vii. 14. We know that As 10 chilelren; in many cases of the law is spiritual: its com. common life and affairs, parents mands extend their obligations to not only may, but are obliged to the passions and affections of the introduce their children to privi. spirit, and are calculated to form leges without their expressed and establish in it all holy dispo. consent, nay, even before they sitions and good habits: liut I (a are capable of giving consent, and sinner under the law) am carnal: are justiy blamed if they-neglect feel myself strongly inclined to the opportunities to do it: such indulge the passions and lusts of as making them members of an the flesh : sold under sin : being advantageous corporation, or so. in the condition of a miserable ciety. Parents also, not only slave, who having sold himself to have a right, but are obliged to a master, is no longer at liberty to instruct their children in every act according to his own better thing that they apprehend will be sentiments, but must obey his useful and ornamental to them master's dictates. St. Paul bor- hereafter, and have a right to dea vows the thought and expression mand their attention to such in• from the Old Testament: parti. structions, and to initiate and ac. cularly it is said of Ahab, 1. Kings custom them to practice those xxi. 20, Because thou hast sold things they have instructed them thyself to work evil in the sight of in, so long as they remain under the Lord. See also v. 25, and on, their care and tuition : afterwards in what follows of Ahab's story, they are to choose for themselves, the condition of a slave sold under whether they will continue to obsin : when he heard this message serve them. Under the above de. from God, he humbled himself, scription, must be ranked all things no doubt, beyging forgiveness, and whatsoever Christ hath commandpurposing amendment : but the ed. By baptism, we do not lay Tyrant in him prevailed; he re. our children under obligations to turned to wickedness and perished observe or to do what otherwise in it. See also a like expression, they would not have been obliged 1 Maccabees i. 15, and were to. All persons to whom the gossold to do mischief. But in all pel is, or shall be preached, are, These cases it is the sinner's own and will be obliged to observe all doing. See also 2 Kings, xvii. 17. things, whatsoever God hath com

Quest. I, What privileges are manded by his son Jesus; we annexed to Baptism ? Answer, only procure for them certain From the words of the institution, privileges that will hereafter, be to be discipled, or received among very advantageous to assist them_ Christ's disciples, (the word ually. to fulfil that duty to which they

« AnteriorContinua »