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This great and most those of ability to become instru. desirable change this renovation ments in carrying on Unitarian of holy scriptural religion, will, worship, the avowed worship of doubtless, sooner or later, take One Eternal God, agreeably to place, after a long and dark night the doctrines of his blessed Son, of apostacy. But means, under our appointed High. Priest, ComProvidence, must be used: and mon Lord and Saviour.' The what means can be supposed more simplicity of Unitarian principles suitable than endeavours to bring and worship, requires not the aid into active usefulness, on an ex- of robes, lofty pulpits, and splen tensive scale, among the sober and did houses, as essential in social well-informed commonalty, the devotion. Where, consistently powers and energies of the human with numbers and means, plain mind? Among men prepared to and commodious buildings may lay aside the weight and burden of be erected, they are desirable, and ecclesiastical prejudice and do. will of course by degrees be preminion, which neither they, nor pared; but where those means are many of their fathers, have been wanting, and the number of breable to bear. thren small, a decent room, or That the national church is in part of a building, may be approdanger, has often been said, and priated and licensed for the sacred echoed by interested churchmen, use; or, in some instances, a fain this country, but never with mily sitting room may be well emmore alarm than now. This is ployed, for social worship. If notorious. The professed cham- conveniencies serve, it may be a pions of the church may continue Christian office to invite any of the to complain; but the influencing neighbours to attend and be witmotives are obvious; and com- nesses of the order, and partakers plaint from such men is natural. of the benefits, of such serious emBut while sincere Unitarians have ployments. To this end the preno particular views of overturning vious distribution of small and any church, merely as such, and pious Unitarian tracts may be are purely concerned for the in. an excellent preparative. A plain terests of truth, and the personal moveable desk, purposely conimprovement of their fellow-men, structed for the use of the officiat they must leave the event to Pro- ing brother should be provided, vidence, which works by his own and when used decently covered; instrumental means; and the end suitable seats or chairs may be of his working they are sure will easily had. Let all things be done be right. This is their ground of decently and in order. procedure and of trust.
The main article of religious With such views, and on such exercise will of course be the soprinciples, I would recommend to lemn reading of portions of sacred the Unitarian committee or board, scripture, both in the Old and New in London, the issuing of brother. Testaments; those portions will ly admonitions to their fellow. doubtless be preferred which treat professors, in districts throughout of social and religious duties, and the country, where stated minis- devotional godliness. Other de teis are not settled, exhorting votional books (there being many
which are rational, pious, and be pleasing and profitable to refresh well-known) the committee may their memories and feelings, and advantageously recommend a se- to partake with others of what they lection of. In the mean time the had before approved as excellent. good sense, discretion, and expe. If the understanding be well-inrience of the parties using such formed, and good affections excithelps, may be relied on as suffici ed and strengthened by public ent to determine their choice, ac- hearing, the main end of preaching cording to their peculiar circum. is answered: and by the use of stances. It can hardly be neces. correct and animated compositions sary to add that the most clear and respecting those truths which never solemn principles of Unitarian change, a great point may be sefaith should be conspicuous in cured, i.e. the prevention of weak every work that is used, whether and incongruous addresses, which in the department of doctrine, though delivered extemporaneously prayer, or psalmody. It may from the best motives, may some. sometimes happen that a serious times prove worse than unprofitabrother, officiating for the general ble.
edification, may be so gifted (for Among the names which now there are gifts both by nature and occur to me, for selection of disgrace, independent of human courses, I will mention the followlearning) as to address a small ing, viz. The doctors Lardner, congregation profitably, without Samuel Clark, Foster, Price, Jebb, reading, and if so such a service Priestley, Toulmin, Rees, Carpenmay be most acceptable. But in ter; and of untitled brethren, general, it is probable that a solemn Abernethy, Bourne, Lindsey, public reading of a printed reli- Kentish, Fawcett, Jardine, &c. gious discourse, may be more commonly useful. Of such discourses there exist a great abundance, from the hearts and pens of many learned and pious Unitarian ministers-men whose works, though their authors are dead, yet speak and speak excellent truths. Others yet live, and live worthy of the works they have sent forth. Many of those invaluable volumes of discourses, though familiar to more general readers, may be new to the greater part of such country congregations, whose members The success of this plan of inbut for such opportunities of hear- struction and edification may deing, might never know of the ex- pend, in a considerable degree, on istence of such religious instruc- the diligence and qualifications, tions. To those whose reading natural and acquired, of those may have extended to all the members who mostly officiated. works which may be selected for I say mostly, because it seems dethe purpose in view, it must ever sirable that public reading should
Others might be pointed out, perhaps to equal advantage, and which must be well known to the London committee. From the whole mass of excellence a sufficient variety might be easily selected, and sent, either as presents, or at reduced prices, where the cost was an object with country correspondents. But it would generally happen that money for such purchases would be readily paid, by those who were sincere in the cause.
not be uniformly confined to one have recommended, take my leave person, in a place or district, if for the present. it can be conveniently avoided; but that the talents of more than one, where talents exist, should be encouraged, both for social good, and that accidental disapMarden, near Hertford, pointments may be less likely to SIR, April 25, 1812. happen. Grave and moral cha- In perusing the writings and racters are necessary, and should the records of sensible, intelligent be preferred before age, or literary and benevolent men, who seem to have the benefit of mankind much at heart-when we find, or suppose we find, a beclouded imagination often mistaking error for truthhow great is the disappointment.
I have been led to this reflection
skill, where, in the latter, moral rectitude and seriousness are less conspicuous. The life should "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour." Under the head of discipline, in such congregations, brotherly love, and that morality in the perusal of Dr. Buchanan's which is founded in reverence of Christian Researches, a work religion, will furnish the best pre- highly interesting to every wellvention of the need, either of au- wisher to the Christian cause. To thority or censure. Diligence in see a person foregoing the comforts religious duties, and fervency of of a settled habitation and the spirit in the performance, are ex- sweets of domestic life, to travel cellent patterns of practice, and at the peril of health, and oftenguards of union in all congrega- times at the risk of life itself, is tions and as experience proves truly admirable, and demands both the advantage of frequent religious our respect and admiration; but assemblies, I would propose its be- it is lamentable if the perpetuation ing strongly recommended, that of error and idolatry should be the evening meetings be holden, where- effect of such virtuous sacrifices. ever they conveniently may be, at The part of the Researches I least once in the week, as well as now allude to will be found in on the Christian sabbath. Their page 261 and onward, entitled, diffusive usefulness, especially in Vestiges of the Doctrine of Revepopulous districts, may be great, lation in the East-which vestiges and they must be found beneficial are, "Trinity in Unity, Incarto the most religiously experienc- nation of the Deity, Vicarious ed--while the setting open of a Atonement for Sin, and the Indoor, for evening instruction and fluence of the Divine Spirit." I edification, to the poor and la- need not attempt to prove to Dr. borious, after the toil of the day, B. or his intelligent reader, that is a work of Christian charity, the various idolatries of the Eastwhich will not fail of a blessing. ern nations and the sacrifices ofI must now apologize for having fered by them, did exist much stated my opinions so much at earlier than Christianity itself. length, and with the warmest History, sacred and profane, at. wishes for the success of what I tests the facts, nor does the Dr.
Mr. R. Flower on Dr. Buchanan's
call in question the antiquity engage any one whose time is de which the Hindoos ascribe to such voted to Christian research. practices-how those ceremonies or doctrines which existed previ. ous to Christianity itself, can be
The Doctor's notion of the wor
ship of a triune God, necessarily leads him into difficulty, and be called a vestige of that which fore the reader proceeds three pages he finds in a note a recommendation of Idolatry.
follows, I am at a loss to account, and must leave the learned Doctor, and the advocates of vicarious and human sacrifice to solve this difficulty.
In giving an account of the places of worship and their appendages, he describes as the most Nothing is more evident than remarkable, the Caves of the this conclusion, that which existed Elephanta, in an island, near previous to a system cannot be a Bombay, and " containing a triad vestige of that system. If this be of three faces," each face of the admitted, and I think it cannot be triad, being five feet in length; the denied, it would be well if the whole of the statue and the spacinext Christian researches made ous temple which contains it, is by the learned Doctor, would be cut out of the solid rock of the an inquiry, if these idolatrous no- mountain. In the the note, page tions and practices of the worship 265,after a description of this graven of a triune god, vicarious sacrifice image and the ancient temple of and an incarnate God, be not which he recommends a repair, is more antient than Christianity added-" every Christian travelitself, and have been injudiciously, ler can assign a reason for wishing nay, criminally incorporated into the emblem of a Trinity in Unity, Christian creeds, and may be ac- existing in an ancient heathen counted amongst the worst corrup- nation, should remain entire durtions of Christianity.-Amongst ing the ages of the world."-Surely the various teachings of our Lord, every Christian sees a reason why he has directed us how and who this idol ought not to be continued; to worship, and I would certainly and even the pious Jew, instructed ask the Dr., or the advocate of by the less perfect system of the triune worship, where our Moses, must see the reason; how Lord taught this doctrine? was it will it square with the second comin the conversation with the wo- mandment, Thou shalt not make man of Samaria, which was di- unto thyself a graven image or any rected immediately to this subject? likeness of any thing that is in was it when he taught his disciples heaven or earth! If in the repair to pray, and left on record an ex- and embellishment of the Eleample of prayer, which one would phanta, some new convert should have supposed would never have be employed by an Episcopalian been mistaken. Or is the wor- divine, in restoring the hideous ship of a triune God, to be found idol of three faces and one body, in the devotional exercises of our and had at first ornamented the Lord himself, or in any of the wall with the inscription of the teachings of the apostles on that Decalogue, after the manner of subject? This simple enquiry the English churches, surely when is surely of importance enough to he recollected the 2d command
ment his hand would tremble and given us of the Inquisition, we his tool fall to the ground, when find its victims are the victims of called to perform this act of viola. force, seized unsuspectingly for tion. holding opinions which have arisen, The chain of argument rela. perhaps, from the writings of tive to vicarious and human sacri- Christians themselves for mere free, is equally fallacious.-"The mental errors, immured in dunheathens use sacrifice respect the geons, and undergoing every speinstitution of vicarious and human cies of torture, which depraved sacrifice; this could not be by imagination can invent till death, chance, therefore it is a vestige of or burning at an auto da fe, shall Christianity."-This mode of rea- release them from their miseries; soning may be thus illustrated.- this is more dreadful than the The worshippers of Moloch thought voluntary sacrifices made annually him an implacable being, requiring at Juggernant.
human and vicarious sacrifice, When we consider this pile of they, therefore, sacrificed their Christian corruption was not erectdearest relations, the infants of ed at once, but by one abuse their bosoms, the pride and beauty after another, in successive gradaof youth, the tenderest ties of na- tion, and is the work of ages, it ture, given for their protection, carries with it a sufficient caution are violated-this simple argu. and admonition to prevent the ment of the antiquity of idolatry, recommendation of perpetuating is sufficient to shew that human any error in religious worship and and vicarious sacrifice is no ves- ceremony. tige of Christianity. The same mode of reasoning may also be applied to the tradition of an incarnate Vishnos.
Another reflection that presented itself on reading this awful account, was, how dreadful is it, that the blood and treasure of our country should be wasted, and its force directed in support of such institutions as the Inquisition at Goa, existing in Spain and Portugal; but as this will lead me into the extensive field of political controversy, I shall conclude with the hope that Dr. Buchanan will revise this part of his Christian Researches, before another edition is called for-assuring the Dr. that the propagation of Christian truth is my only motive for offering these remarks.
The reader of these Researches is no doubt struck most forcibly with the dreadful account given of the worship of the God, Jugger. naut, and still more awful account of the inquisition of Goa; and the question naturally arises to every reflecting mind, which is the greatest evil, the idolatrous worship of this beathen god, or the institution of corrupted Christianity, as represented by the Doctor, in its present state in Goa? One is shocked and disgusted at the narration of the worship at Juggernant, and if there is any consolation arising, while we peruse the hideous account of the sacrifices made at their annual festival, it is, that the sacrifices are voluntary, but in the account
Yours, &c. RICHARD FLOWER.
An Indian Speech.