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446 On Reading the Scriptures in Public Worship.
which, doubtless, has very much
tians, that Unitarians do not be.
lieve in, or that they lightly es. June 30, 1812. teem the scriptures. In combat. As it is a part of your plan to ing this notion, very lately, in a promote theological disquisition, very serious person, I was on the I have sent you the following que- point of adducing the argument of ries : perhaps some of your learn. the public reading of them as an ed correspondents will have the essential part of Unitarian worgoodness to solve them. Is not ship; when I checked myself on doing and permitting, when predio reflecting how possible it was for cated of an omnipotent and om. that person to have occasionally niscient Being, precisely the same attended at some chapels which I thing? Are not all events the ef. have attended at, without hearing fects of his immediate operation ? any more of the scriptures than the Does not God, in the words of the text; although on the same occa. prophet, “ form light and create sion much time has been occupied darkness, make peace and create in a long desultory extempore 'evil?” is not this ihe doctrine of prayer, chiefly composed of de. the Church of England, as con- iached and trite repetitions which lained in her articles and Liturgy? might well have been spared, with
AN OLD CORRESPONDENT.
advantage to the attention and checks are not common, it may «devotion of the hearers. I do not amuse your readers to read the mean, however, to say that all ex. following copy of it. tempore praying comes under the
66 Messrs. Coutts and Co, above description; on the contrary, Pay to the Rev. F. Stone, I have listened with edification (who was deprived of his living for and delight to some honourable
not believing in the supernatural exceptions to it; but the objection conception of the Virgin Mary) or applies more strongly and more
bearer, twenty pounds." frequently, as far as my experi
It is not merely to gratify the ence bas gone, to that inode ;
curiosity of your readers that I and, as a natural consequence, I
have sent you the above ; for I prefer such as are precomposed. I can hardly flatter myself that hope it may induce many who do
not believe in the supernatural this will be read without offence
conception, to consider the case by some to whom it applies ; but this consideration shall not any fallen a victim to his honesty and
of the poor clergyman, who has longer deter me from offering it to the ignorance and want of charity you, relying on your professed im- of his opponents. A similar check partiality for its admission into your will be received and faithfully apRepository, the utility of which
propriated to the use of Mr. Stone, will, in my opinion, receive an is sent to Messrs. Brown, Cobb, additional proof by it.
and Co. Bankers, Lombard Srect. I am, Sir,
Hoping to hear that such commu. AN UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN.
nications have been made, and
that you may have the opportunity A curious Check on a Banker,
of recording them,
I remain, &c.
ORTHODOX. check upon
banker passed through my hands, and as such
Mr.Wycill's Petition. (Presented
SHEWETH, by Mr. Whitbread during the That it is the duty of all men present Session ; with neorly to examine as diligently as may 10,000 Signatures.)
be in their power the doctrines of To the Honourable the Com. religion, and, after such diligent MONS of Great Britain in examination, to adopt and to pro. Parliament assembled.
fess what may appear to them to The humble Petition of the un. be the truth; and that, in the per. dersigned being Protestants dissent. formance of that duty, men ought ing from the Church of England, not to be obstructed, or discouror,
aged, or otherwise tempted to act (Protestant Christians.) hypocritically, by any law, tend.
Mr. Wyvill's Petition. ing to bias them in the course of your Petitioners humbly beg leave such examination of the doctrines to add, that this request, as it of religion, by subjecting them, in appears to them, is grounded on the case of their dissenting from the most evident considerations of the doctrines of any established justice; and they trust that the church, to sufier death by burn. compliance of the state would yet ing, or otherwise, or to suffer conciliate the affection of millions any corporal or pecuniary punish. of our aggrieved fellow subjects, ment, or to be injured in their re. and unite them for ever to the ina putation by any disability more or terest of the empire. Under each less disgraceful.
of these aspects their request That
your Petitioners acknow. claims, and they hope will be ledge, with high satisfaction, that, found to deserve, the assent of this in the present reign, considerable Honourable House, as they are progress has been made towards statesmen, anxious for the safety the full restoration of the rights of of their country, and as they are conscience, by the wisdom of par. moralists determined to act imliament and the benignity of the partially on the rules of justice. king, rescinding various laws, in But, when your Petitioners conwhole or in part, which were vio. sider farther, that every attempt lations of those rights; yet, since to influence men in their choice other penal laws, not less injuri. and profession of religion by penal ous to those rights remain unre- laws, whether corrupt or compulpealed, since some of these laws sive in their operation, is contrary subject to corporal punishments to the spirit of the gospel, and or pecuniary penalties, others, as forbidden by its plainest precepts in the case of the Test Laws, in numerous passages, they hope it passed in the reign of Charles II. may be allowed them more partisubject to disgrace, disability, cularly, and with all possible earand privation of civil rights, per- nestness, to intreat the members sons whose only offence it is, that, of this Honourable House to rein conformity with their duty, nounce the whole system of persethey have examined the doctrines cution, the long accumulation of of religion, and by such examina. ages of barbarism and discord, tion have been induced to embrace and to free an almost countless and to profess religious opinions multitude of injured individuals different from the doctrines of the from the temptation of ensnaring established church: Your Petiti- tests and the more oppressive se. oners feel it to be their duty hum. verities of our compulsive intole. bly, but earnestly, to remonstrate rance, by the success of such saagainst the longer continuance of lulary councils, at once restoring any of these intolerant laws, and concord and safety to the empire, they do, in conformity with the and freeing the national church premises, expressly petition this from that just reproach of Honourable House, 'that every retaining the support which per. such unjust law may be repealed, secuting laws may be supposed to and the Rights of Conscience may bestow, but which Christianity thus be restored to all the subjects condemns, and would disdain to of this United Kingdom, And accept.
Mr Belshan's Notes on the Tol. sideration, I am clearly convinced
eration Act, attached to his that it was intentional. In a sta Fost Sermon, Feb, 5, 1812. late, the object of which was so
No statute was ever drawn up novel, and of such high importance, with greater caution and precision in which every expression must than the Toleration Act. The des bave been maturely weighed, it is sign of it is to protect lay-dissent. a moral impossibility that such an ers, dissenting ministers and dis. inaccuracy should have escaped senting places of worship from the the sagacity of Lord Somers, the penalties of the law. The first framer of this fainous Bill. And clause protects lay-dissenters, upon no doubt that great statesman and condition of taking certain oaths profound lawyer had his reasons and making certain declarations, for this alteration in the phrasewhich oaths and declaration the ology. Enlarged and liberal as justices of peace, at the general his sentiments are known to have sessions of the peace, are hereby been, and ardent as was his zeal REQUIRED to tender and adminis. in the cause of civil and religious ter, $c. The last clause protects liberty, he was at the same time places of worship, upon condition a warm friend to the constitution of their being certified to the in church and state. And he bishop, or the archdeacon, or the could recollect ibe time when both justices of the peace, and register. were overturned and laid prosed in the court or recorded at the trate by the prevalence of secta. sessions, “ the register or clerk of rian principles and parties. In the the peace whereof respectively is very heart of a law, therefore, hereby REQUIRED, to register the which was intended for the proteca same and to give certificate therof, tion of nonconformists he retained &c. The seventh clause, which this secret check, that if ever the protects ministers and teachers of time should again occur when all descriptions, whether ordained the numbers or the power of or not, and whether connected the nonconformists should excite with congregations or not, (for the alarm, they might learn that their most comprehensive expressions legal protection was not so com. are used, so as to leave no doubt plete, nor their power so great as in the mind of those who are well they might apprehend. How far informed concerning the noncon- this measure, dictated by policy, formists of that age,) obliges them was consonant to justice, is not likewise to take the saine oaths and my present business to inquire. make the same declaration as the If it should be asked, how the laity, and in the same court : bnt nonconformists of that day per: with this remarkable and very im- mitted the Bill to pass, with this portant difference of expression, important flaw in its constitu• viz. which court is hereby 1MPOW. tion ? the answer is not difficult. ERED to administer the same.” They knew the general tenor and Thus leaving it to the discretion design of the law, and were so of the court whether the oath overjoyed at the recovery of their should be administered or not. I liberty, that not being lawyers once thought that this expression they did not nicely scrutinize the was inadvertent: but upon recona terms. If it is said that their VOL. VII.
450 Mr. Belsham's Notes on the Toleration Act. simplicity was duped, I can only all. But no such absurd requisis answer that it were to be wished tion disgraces this famous statute. that this example were singular in The seventh clause of the Act its kind. But in fact no practi. extends its protection to all noncal inconvenience was intended by conformist ministers and candithe learned framer of the Bill, nor dates for the minstry of every dehas any such inconvenience been scription who comply with its refelt till very lately. For more quisitions. “No person dissentthan a hundred years the statute ing from the Church of England was acted upon as if it bad been in holy orders,” i. e. clergymen imperative. Every candidate for who bave quitted the church, or the ministry was admitted to pretended boly orders," i. e. Pres. qualify, and every qualified minis. byterians, Independents, &c. "or ter was regarded as intitled to all pretending to holy orders," i. c. the immunities of the Bill. The candidates for the ministry, abominable abuses of this quali. any preacher,” whether connected fication under Lord Sidmouth's with a congregation or otherwise, administration, when many quali. “ or teacher of any congregation fied for no purpose but to escape of Dissenting Protestants, that The militia laws, first induced the shall make and subscribe the demagistrates to inquire into the ex, claration aforesaid, &c. shall be tent of the toleration : and the liable to any of the pains and Tapid increase of Methodism creat. penalties, &c." ed an alarm which has led to a The tenth clause of the Act discovery which has in fact intirely confers immunities but limits those annulled and abrogated the Toler. immunities to ministers connected ation Act, so far as it relates to with congregations. It repeats the nonconformist ministers, for a tol. same description of persons which eration which depends upon the are enumerated in the seventh discretion of the magistrates is no clause, with the exception of perlegal lolcration at all.
sons pretending to holy orders or candidates for the ministry, who
of course could not be entitled to Nothing can be more extraor- the benefits: The espressions are dinary than the supposition that remarkably precise and clear: viz. this new interpretation of the Tol. “And be it further enacted, that eration Act is authorized and in- every teacher or preacher in holy tended by the act itself. The great orders, or pretended holy orders, Lord Somers who framed the bill, that is a minister, preacher, or and the legislature which passed teacher of a congregation, &c. it, and the nonconformists who shall be exempted from serving were contented with it, must all upon any jury, &c.” Nothing have laboured under a strange be. can be more intelligible, distinct, reavement of intelect for the mo. or consistent than the intentions. ment, if it had been enacted that of the act. Lord Somers having, the candidates for legal protection as he thought, by the introduction should te actually settled with of the word impowered laid in a congregations before they were sufficient caveat to secure the conlegally authorized to preach at stitution, was willing that the rest