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THE

MONTHLY REPOSITORY

OF

THEOLOGY

AND

GENERAL LITERATURE.

POPULUMQUE FALSIS
DEDOCET UTI
VOCIBUS.

Hor.

To do something to instruct, but more to undeceive, the timid and admiring student ; to excite him to place more confidence in his own strength, and less iu the infallibility of great names ;-to belp himn to emancipate his judgment from the shackles of anthority ;-to teach him to distinguish between shewy language and sound sense ; to warn him not to pay bimself with words; to shew him, that what may tickle the ear or dazzle the imagination, will not always inform the judgment; to dispose him rather to fast on ignorance than to feed kijaseli sitb esror."

Fragment on Government.

JANUARY TO DECEMBER INCLUSIVE.

1817.

VOLUME XII.

HACKNEY:

Printed for the Editor, by George Smallfield.

PUBLISHED BY SHERWOOD, NEELY AND JONES,

PATERNOSTER ROW.

1817.

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PREFACE.

ALTHOUGH the Monthly Repository bears a general title, and is devoted to the great interests of Truth and Liberty which belong equally to all Christians and all mankind, it is well known that it is in reality The Unitarian Magazine. No other periodical publication would register the proceedings of the Unitarians, nor, whatever be the disposition of individuals in all sects, would any denomination of Christians, besides the Unitarians, encourage or endure that free discussion of theological questions which characterizes this work. And the experience of Twelve Years, during which the Monthly Repository has been carried on, has, it is presumed, shewn the importance of such a publication to the Unitarian body, and, indeed, its necessity to enable them to co-operate in their various Institutions and Associations for common good.

The Editor will therefore be pardoned, he trusts, for appealing to his brethren, and especially his brethren in the ministry, throughout the kingdom for their 'support. The sale of the Monthly Repository, though not inconsiderable in itself, is not adequate to the expense, much less to the labour, required to conduct it reputably; still less is it answerable to the number of the British Unitarians, especially when it is considered how large a proportion of them are brought up in ‘literary habits, and are able without inconvenience to indulge their taste for books. The Editor humbly conceives, that the sale of the work might even be doubled, without any extraordinary exertion on the part of the Unitarians; it would be sufficiently increased to silence all apprehensions with regard to its permanent success if only one additional copy were taken in every Unitarian congregation. He makes this statement with the more confidence, from knowing that of the present sale a great number of copies are taken by individuals in other denominations,

However gratifying the success of the Monthly Repository would be to the Editor personally, he is conscious of higher feelings in this appeal ; for he can say, with perfect truth, that whatever loss would be sustained by the Unitarian body in the cessation of the work, he himself would be a gainer by such an event in most of those points that are of importance to one who has numerous drafts upon his time and labour and health.

If the Unitarians generally entertain a fellow-feeling with the Editor, he has said enough ; if they do not, he has said too much. He, therefore, commends his readers and his work to the Divine blessing; willing, in humble dependence upon the Power which has the keys of futurity, to try the event of another year.

December 30th, 1817.

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Religious History and Character of the specting the Trinity or the person of

late Rev. William Vidler. Christ. He was at that time a Trini[In a Letter from the Rev. R. Wright to tarian, but so completely liberal, and the Editor.)

so candid in conversation, that I soon Sir,

discovered that any difference of senTH HOUGH the state of Mr. Vidler's timent that existed between us, would

health, for many months, led not prevent a pleasing and edifying inme to fear that his dissolution was timacy. We were both of us Univer. nigh, I was much affected when the salists. The doctrine of the final hap news of that event reached me. We piness of all men, the Divine character had been long and intimately ac- and perfections, providence and goquainted ; our acquaintance and friend- vernment, and dispensations of grace, ship commenced in peculiar circum- as well as the whole work and minisstances, which united us the more trations of Jesus Christ, as connected firmly, and rendered our mutual at- with this great subject, which seemed tachment the stronger and more last- to us to involve all the best interests of ing. Many subjects in theology did the universe, then occupied our chief we investigate together ; our ininds thought and attention; and to its prowere opened to each other without motion, and the making known its reserve; we took sweet counsel toge- important uses in vindicating the chather; our plans and projects for pro. racter and ways of God, establishing moting the cause of truth and righte. the truth of Divine revelation, and the ousness, were communicated to each moral good of the world, almost the other; and, as much as the distance whole of our labours and exertions were of our places of residence would ad- directed. This became a solid ground mit, for several years we acted in and strong bond of union between us. concert, and our labours and exertions In the year 1797, Mr. Vidler began were much connected. I shall ever to publish a periodical work, called esteem my intimacy with this good the Universalists' Miscellany. In the man, as one, and not the least, of the latter part of this year, I sent him a manifold blessings which the Al- communication, which was the first mighty, in his bountiful providence, of the Ten Letters on Election, since hath bestowed upon me. Now, alas! published separately by my friends in my beloved friend is no more, his la- Scotland. I was then totally unbours are finished, he rests in the tomb, known to him. I sent three or four but his works will follow him, his re- letters, in succession, before he discoward is sure. We shall meet again in yered who or what I was. At length brighter scenes and happier circum- learning that I was a minister, and restances, where friendship will be re-sided in Wisbeach, he wrote to me, newed and perfected, and usefulness reqnesting I would visit him, and and happiness no more be interrupted. spend a few weeks with his congre

My acquaintance with Mr. Vidler gation, while he went on a journey commenced in the year 1798. I was among his old friends in Sussex. then a very low Sabellian, or more With this invitation I complied. properly an Unitarian ; but still re I arrived at his house on a Saturday taining a few modes of expression morning, and Mr. Vidler set out for which were inconsistent, and in be- Sussex the following Monday morning. coming clearly and avowedly an Unita- The two days we spent together, so rian, I had only to change a few far as the public services on the Sunphrases, not a single idea either re- day left us at leisure, were employed

VOL. XII.

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