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draw a just conclusion, have been nay, the efficacy, of revelation is laid up in the mind by prepara. materially concerned in our actory sciences.
quiring just and liberal notions on There is, however, a species of these points. It can admit of no reading connected with the study di pute, that they whose province of theology, which will, perii. it is to teach religion ought to un. nently and beneficially, accom- derstand it with accuracy and in pany your scientific pursuits. its full extent. It may not be This is the perusal of the scrip. neco
ecessary for them at once to tures in their original languages; make up their minds on every and it is highly desirable ihat question which has been alteryou should devote some portion cated among divines. But they of every day to this; for it will ought to seek the truth with faire improve your acquaintance with ness and diligence; and whatever those languages, furnish the mind points come betore them, they with a rich variety of scriptural should gain clear ideas and come ideas and sentiments, familiarize to a rational conclusion on them : to you the idiom and phraseolegy a conclusion, not the offspring of of ihe sacred writers, and qualify prejudice, but the effect of con. you to judge with more accuracy viction. and readiness of the verdict which I congratulate you, my friend, they give on the questions in die that you are in a situation most vinity, concerning which they favourable to this end. In the will, hereafter, be appealed to as first place, your mind is not decided witnesses. This reading shackled and tied down by subis also, in a practical view, useful, scription to a prescribed systein ; as it is in a critical one, very ser. you are not called upon to exe viceable. There are also other press a decision before you have books in divinity, which may be formed a judgment upon quesoccasionally mingled with literary tions; you are not obliged to take anil scientific aitainments: and a side before you have heard the which will enlarge your stock of merits of a cause.
I piry the ideas, expand your mind, and youth in some celebrated scminaBeule on your heari the best im- ries, who are hy previous sub. pressions. Of this class are such scriptions made slaves to a creed; as treat of the bistory of religion, who, instead of being conducted the evidences of revelation, and free and unbiassed into the tem. the morality of the gospel. ple of truth, are only initiated into
But tlie ibendogy which I wish ihe mysteries of a particular to have kipiout of sight, till you
church. You feel yourself at li. have gone at least through half berty: placed in a seminary your academical course, is the where you will be invited and endiscussion of ihoss points on which couraged to inquire; the manathie Christian world has been so gers and tutors of wbich will nego much divided : on which, howe lect no means of making you and aver, every Christian, as far as he your fellow-students not only good siis abilny and 1111.0, and certain. scholars and enlightened philoso. lyrir Hver ongle to have an phers, but honest and candid be. opun of his win. 'i be honour, lievers. - The best way," to
adopt the words of an excellent as they arise, and to consider man and writer, “ of attaching them as they come before you; re. inen io true principles is to ena- membering, that the conclusion to ble them to examine impartially which you may at present come all principles. Every truth that is upon particular points, is not to necessary to be believed and really be regarded as your last judge sacred must be attended with the ment; from which you will never clearest evidence. Free inquiry depart. New evidence on one can be hostile to nothing but ab. side or the other may hereafter surdity and bigotry. It is only offer to demand your attention; falsehood and delusion which fly and, probably, overbalance that from discussion and skulk in dark- which at first search determined ness.
you one way. The mind should Inquire then freely; inquire ever be kept open to conviction. impartially. Let truth be your With this reserve, it is exceed. only object; search after it with ingly proper, that you should endiligence and constancy. In the deavour to make up your mind search after truth, do justice to on some subjects, before you apevery sentiment, by calmly hear, pear in public character. ing, though it militare against Should you ask, what are these your preconceived opinions, the subjects? I reply, such as relate evidence advanced in its support. to the object of worship, and the Let not prejudices against parti- principles that will most frequen:cular parties and denominations ly recur in your discourses, and of Christians be a bar, as oppor. form the grounds of your practitunity offers, against the investi, cal addresses; and to these may gation of their tenets and prac- be aided the positive institutions tices. Good sense, learning, and of Christianity; because they will moral worth, are not peculiar to be continually coming into exer. any party, and these will entitle a cise. man to a Candid hearing, though
The field of controversy is his ideas (on some points, and at wide and thickly set with thorns the first mention) should appear and briars; but the liberality of to be fanciful and absurd. It is later times has, to a great degree, net to be expected indeed, that in removed the obstructions to our your academical course, you traversing it with ease and plea. should be able to command time sure. Questions in theology are for the examination of every sys. simplified, stripped of the scho. tem, much less for the discussion lastic forms under which they for. of every question which has been merly appeared, and treaied with controverted among Christians. more fair discussion, moderation, The course of lectures on bich and candour. Much has been you will attend, will guide the done towards bringing (very point method of your inquiries; and it into full view, and referring it to a may be sufficient, without antici. decisive tribunal, by a critical in. pating subjects, to wait for them vestigation of the sense of scrip
ture; and by such treaitses as have * Price's Sermon for a new Academi: professedly brought together and al Institution, p. 46,
closely examined the scnse of the
texts, which bave been supposed frequently employ the most value 10 hold forth a particular doc- able of those hours which we des. trine.
tine to sacred study, in collecting This method is a good one, and arguments in their favour, and in has its advantages. But there is vain endeavours to explain them; still a better method to obtain sa. while every text of scripture is, in tisfaction concerning the doctrines its turn, perverted from its obvi. of Christianity, and that is, to ous meaning, in order to support have recourse to the Scriptures them. themselves in the first place, and • How much more reasonable, to study them according to the previously to investigate, with paorder in which the writers com. tience and critical attention, ihe posed then. The great and good sense of each particular text or Dr. Jebb has furnished an excel. passage, in the natural order of Jent plan of this mode of study, as the writer, and to defer the for. it concerns, particularly, the four mation of opinion, until, like a Gospels. Should it not enter in principle of sound pbilosophy, to the course of the divinity, lec. suggested by a numerous train of tures which you will receive, you experiments, it forces itself with will do well to pursue it in your accumulated evidence on the private studies.
yielding mind! The reflections of this admir- " It is solely owing to the pre. able man merit your close regard : posterous
method of enquiry I will give them to you. " The above described, that the holy reinquirer into the credenda con. cords of our faith have, very inju. tained in the Gospels, resembles riously, been supposed to be so the inquirer into the fundamental loosely worded, as in effect to Jaws of nature, before a better countenance opposite opinions philosophy had taught us the van. and 10 justify the most fantastic ity of systems, and inclined us to doctrines. adopt the humble process of es- 46 But let us for a moment reperiment.
Acct, and let the refection teach We : begin our researches in us wisdom, that the same phe. theology with the assumption of a nomena of nature which were certain set of religious tenets, and brought in evidence of the fig
ments of remote antiquity were Such are Dr. Clarke's “Scripture also applied to support the equal.. Doctrine of the Trinity :" Dr.Jobn Tay lor's “ Scripture Doctrine of Original ly vain hypotheses of more mod. Sin :” “Bishop Law's Examination of all ern times, The laws of the ma. the Texts where the words, “ Soul or terial world, in consequence of the “Spirit,' occur in the " Appendix to the introduction of a beiler method Considerations on the Theory of Religivn:" “ Edwards' Doctrine of Irresisti.
of investigation, are, however, ble Grace :" Dr. Sykes' ".Sçripture Doc. now demonstrated to be consis. trine of the Redemption of Man by Je. teni, simple, and invariable, af. sus Christ :" Foot's " Letters on Bap- fording a just and
easy explication tim:" "Dr. Carpenter's “Unitarianism the Doctrine of the Gospel," and Mr.
of every natural appearasice. If Belshamis“Calm Inquiry into the Scrip a similar process be observed, suc. ture Doctrine concerning the Person of cess may reasonably be expected Christ."
to be our reward, when we ex.
plore the sacred sources of religi. and do the will of God, which is ous truth,''
partial and limited, cannot be These hints are, certainly, sug, sincere; and, ihough just and gested with peculiar force and correct ideas on all speculative propriety to you, Eugenius, as points may not be necessary to you are destined to the character individual salvation, yet they are of a Christian mini-ter; but were essentially recessary, that Chris. you designed for any other pro. tianity may display its excellence fission, I should sull be inclined with purity, and aci ou mankind to urge them upon you, for religi. with full energy. They are es. ous truih is the concern of every sential to the improving illumina.
It is reported concerning tion of the world, and to its ad. Sir John Pringle, that “ he was vancement to that perfection of too great a lover of truth not to knowledge and practice, to which make religion the object of his prophecy instructs to look serious enquiry." It must be forward with expectation and felt to be a just object of great hope. It is, on these principles, attention, on the least calm re- the duty of all, it is the duty of flection, by every one who believes each person for himself ani ac: the truth of the Gospel. If God cording to his ability and oppora have revealed his will to mankind, iunities, to enquire into the will it must be our duty to study it of God, as revealed in the scripand to conform to it; and the tures: examination of controverted ques. It is a' material consideration tions, on aecoant of the long and here, that such enquiry can wide prevalence of particular sea cely be pursued with the syurem, becomes necessary for temper now recommended, withthe establishment of scriprural out improving the moral charac. truth, Therogh it be actmitted, ter: without forming and strengththal “ nothing is very important ening babits of canduur, libě. exerpt an honest mind; pothug rality and love of truth, which fonamental ('Xcopt righteous being exercised, at first, in the pracuce, and a sincere desire to investigations of religious princiknow and do the will of God;'*. ples will extend and spread their you the profession of religion must influence through the whole life, le considered as subjict to the and characterize the man as well laws of integrity, as are the inter. as the controversalist. Especially courses of civil and social lite : will this be the effect, when all and the knowledge of God com- enquiries after divine truth are prehends an acquaintance with accompanied as they ought to be, the principles which he has re. and as every good undertaking vealed for our instruction, and ought to be, with humble, daily the ceremonial which he has re. and fervent prayers to the great quired, as well as with the pre. Source of illumination and truth; crpts of relative and personal to "the only wise God, who giv. virtue, that have the sanction of eth wisdom liberally and upbraid. Tévelation. That' desire to know eth not."
I am, &c. # Dr. Price, VOL. VII.
Dr. Priestley's Dying Senti. state of punishment, but that his ments,
punishment will not be so severe Sir, Aug. 3, 1812. or so lasting as that of greater sinHaving seen an advertisement Ders! See the writer's own words, on the covers of your Repository, page 11. “Is there no difference of " Scrutator's Letter on the con- in the DEGREE of punishment soling Influence of Unitarianism in which in all probability will await a lying Huur," I have been led to the Doctor, and that which shall peruse ibat tract, but find myself be inflicted on the veriest wretch disappointed by it. Though ibe au- that died unpardoned ?" What is thor has given Messrs. Bogue and this but representing Dr. P. as Bennet à deserved chastisement holding the popish doctine of pur. for their biguiry, I cannot think gatory? it is done in a manner adapted to
Though it is true be believed answer any goud end, either to that those who live and die wicked them or their
admirers; nor do I will be purified and reformed by apprehend iliat the frierds of Dr. the sufferings of a future state, Priestley will be much gratified and that even the most abandoned with the writer's zealous defence of mankind will all be happy at of that distinguished character. last, (which I deem an error, I have always thought it a strange though I do not think they will and unfortunate mode of expresa live in eternal torments,) I ask siun, which the Dr. used in his whether there is a passage in all last hours, with respect to Simp. the Dri's works, which counte. son's piece on the duration of fu. nances the idea, that the virtuous ture punishment, and am inclined and pious will need any punish. to question whether it be correct ment in a future world to fit them ly or fully reported : viz. that the for the heavenly felicity? I never belief of its temporary nature met with any thing like it in his, “ had been a great support to or indeed any other Unitarian him : that we shall meet finally,
Nor can I see any only we require different degrees thing in the above expressions of of discipline,” &c. The the Dr. on his death bed, which which Bogue and Bennet have any candid writer could interpret made of these expressions, (though as implying his apprehension that natural enough to persons of he was going into a state of suffertheir caste) is highly unwar. ing. The utmost that I think rantable and infamous, having can fairly. be made of the unhapinferred from hence, that the Dr. py expression respecting the com. was sensible that he was going fort he had in believing a final to hell, and all the comfort he had restoration, was, as it affected was, that his suffering there would those who live and die in sin. not be eternal.
As to himself, though I mateBut how does Scrutator answer rially differ from him in some -, this injurious interpretation of the points of doctrine, I have a better Dr.'s language? Strange to tell! opinion of him than to think that by admitting the fact, that the he needed the “discipline of Dr. thought himself going, (yea, a future world, and that what he that he is actually gone) into a suffered in this was abundantly