« ZurückWeiter »
speculations on that of politics. In man Jesus Christ from the dead.” common- justice you ought to liave On the subject of juspiration Uniadded these ; for, in that case, the tarians differ. They also entertain " affirniative articles of our faith” various opinions respecting the extent would have formed a much longer of the additions made in the gospels ; catalogue.
but that some additions have been In the second place, supposing a made to Scripture you will not venture belief in necessity io be justly imputed to deny, until you think fit to take up to Unitarians as part of their faith, it the defence of the exploded passage is utterly false that they draw from it respecting the “ Three which bear the absurd deductions which yon de- record in heaven.". clare them to affirm. When and The fourth "article" contains as where, Sir, did Mr. Belsham or any strange a clustre of misrepresentations other Unitarian maintain that “ the as was ever found in the same numChristian religion precludes all re- ber of lines. It stands as follows: morse for our sins?". When indeed “ On the historic credibility of this was it asserted that necessity was a event (the resurrection of Jesus) they part of the Christian religion at all, believe the resurrection of the body, except by the late eloqueni Bishop of which, in their opinion is the whole St. Asaph, who was no intentional man, at the last day: and differ froin supporter of Dr. Priestley's cause? other churches in this only, that Above all, where is the necessarian, while other Christians believe that or the writer understanding English, all inen 'will arise in the body; they who ever maintained that sins were hold that all the bodies that had beeủ not guilt? Perhaps he also asserted men will arise." that guilt was not sin, and that sin Now first it is not on the “ bistoric was not sinful. But to pass by the credibility of Christ's resurrection" absurdity of the expression, it is not only that Unitarians believe in the true that the advocates of the doctrine resorrection of man. It is impossible of necessity affirm that it destroys all that thic mere fact, though ever so moral distinctions between good and clearly established, could prove even evil. Had you merely asserted that that another individual would be resuch a deduction would follow from animated by a similar miracle. They the admission of their premises, it believe the resurrection of all "inen would have been a matter of argument, because it was taught by Christ and not of denial. But you have taken a his apostles; and they believe Christ different course : you have declared and his apostles, because the fact of that they maintain the conclusions in his being raised set the seal of divinity their niost absurd, and obnoxious upon his mission and proved the form ; nay, that they derive them, veracity of his character. They regard not from the doctrine of necessity, it also as a visible symbol, as a marbut from their view of the Christian rellous and a prophetic sign, of the religion. This is a most important redemption of all from the power of charge on a point of fact, and you death and the grave. In this sense have not the shadow of evidence to they agree with St. Paul that all who support it. You first unjustly repre- have fallen asleep have perished if sent necessity as a doctrine of Uni- Christ be not risen ; and that faith tarianism; and then put into the and hope would in this case be mere mouth of. Unitarians at large, supposed delusions. But it has never been deductions from it that even those of asserted that taken alone, the rethen who received it never made, surrection of one demonstrated the cloathed in language which no man reanimation of all. The censure, of common sense could condescend to therefore, implied in this statement is utter !
utterly without foundation. The third “ article" is thus ex- Secondly, It is not true that Unipressed : “ They believe the gospels, tarians as such believe the body to be though not written by inspiration, to “ the whole njan at the last day." be authentic histories on ihe whole, Taking this proposition in its literal though with additions and interpola- sense, it is too absurd to have met tions. And on the authority of ihese with any sensible advocate. That writings, confirmed by other evidence, these our 'mortal frames which, in they believe in the resurrection of the this life," are perpetually changing, 270 On Coleridge's Attack on the Unitarians contained in his Second Lay Scrmon. should be raised from the corruptions lect that, in the plainest language, it of the grave with all their human asserts the doctrine against which infirmities about them, is no less con- your indignation is directed ? Are trary to Scripture than to the evidence you so little acquainted with the which our senses, afford us. Suine, formularies of the church you revere, indeed, have supposed that there are as not to know that all her inembers, . certain stamina of the mulerial frame on almost every occasion of divine which are preserved amidst the decay service, solemnly assert that they be.' of the rest, and forin the link which lieve in " THE RESURRECTION OF connects the present mortal with the THE BODY?" And yet it is, in the fuvire incorruptible man. But, ge- supposed belief of this absurdity, that nerally speaking, materialists them- 'you represent us as differing from selves are contented with believing other churches !" that we shall hereafter be to all The frih “article" of our faith moral purposes the same, by retaining relates to the future coudition of man. the consciousness of our past in the To the substance of this statement I new attire of our inmorial being. have no inaterial objection to offer. They, as well as other Christians, True it is that sonié Unitarians bebelieve we shall rise again in a new lieve in the destruction of the wicked, and a glorious life, and are willing and that others hope for the restora. to trust the Divine goodness and wis- tion of all men to the blessings of dom respecting its node, of which holiness and peace, while all admit we can here form no adequate con- the peculiar rewards of the righteous. ceptions.
If it'be a crime to regard the Almighty But, thirdly, supposing there were as a Universal Father, in all times and any class of men who beliered in the to all beings, we plead guilty to the resurrection of the bodies of all, in a charge. We are perfectly willing you literal sense, it is utterly unjust lo should be left to the full exultation confound them with Unitarians. In- in your own brighter and happier deed, the systein of materialisin, in creed which this concession may afford any form, has no connexion with a
you. single distinguishing doctrine of the The sixth "article" is utterly false. Unitarian creed. It does not affect It assumes that we “ hold only an the oneness of God or even the mere intellectual and physical, and not a humanity of Christ. It may, indeed, moral difference in the actions of men, be“ verified from the writings of Mr. they not being free agents, and thereBelsham" -- though, even there, you fore, they not being more responsible will search in vain for the absuruin beings than the brute beasts. This ties you have imputed to us. But, is little more than the repetition of a highly as we esteem Mr. B. we do charge I have already refuted. For nos acknowledge all his sentiments as the benefit, however, of “ the un.
lie is our instructor, but warv," it inay be proper to repeat two not our oracle. We look higher for facts which sufficiently prove it to be our leader than any living writer how- a groundless slander.' ist, the docever excellent, or even any dignitary trine of necessity is not an article in however invested with spiritial powers the Unitarian creed; 2dly, not only or adomed with external grandeur. has no Unitarian writer who has. We subscribe to no creed but the incidentally received it denied the Scriptures; we acknowledge no master moral difference of human actions but Christ.
and the proper responsibility of man, Fourihly, Supposing that the Uni- but it has been contended by all tarians at large held that “all the Christians who have embraced it, that bodies that had been men will arise,” it is on the supposition of necessity, it would be untrue that “ in this alone that men become accountable ther differ from other churches." In to God, that the distinctions of virtue faci the very reverse of the proposition and vice can be inaintained, or that is true. They do not hold the resur- rewards and punishments can be apsection of the body as a part of their plied to effect any beneficial purposes. religious creed ; but the Church of This is a matter of fact not of reasonEngland thus inculcates it. What, ing. Dr. Priestley and those who Sir, have you forgotten “THE Apos- think with hin may have drawn false TLES' CREED?" "Do you not recol- conclusions from ihe premises they
hare maintained; but they have ever consists not in speculation but in fact. asserted the contrary to those which It depends on no metaphysical systein. you impute to them. Of course, the It is proved by his actual and present long chain of consequences you have greatness, by his glorious energies, built on these false fassertions cannot his never-dying, loves, his generous now deinand our scrutiny.
virtues, his nniversal conscience, his Here you close your catalogue," unbounded powers, and his high lebut not your censures. You attack the sires and reachings forth of spirit far Unitarian scheme, still confounding beyond the limits of earıh or of time. it with those of materialism and nie. However this grand piece of Divine cessity, ou the ground that it degrades workman-hip is constituted, or rather the nature of man. You asseri that by whatever names its frame is dis“if man be no nobler creature essen- tinguished, whether it is termed mata tially that he is represented in their ter, or spirit, or a combination of botla, system, the meanest repule that maps its actual and inherent grandeur reout its path on the carih by lines of mains the same. There is breathed sliine, must be of equal worth and into it the breath of God. The image respectability, not only in the sight of the Divinity is stamped on it. Call of the Holy One, bui by a strange it by what appellation you please, it is contradiction even before man's own still the most glorious of God's visible reason." In order to support this as- works, the fit subject for the admiratonishing proposition, you first take tion of angels. After your deepest for granted thai without free-will, in researches, you must deduce the sua sense opposed to necessity, there is periority of man to the brutes from no ground for love and esteem; next ihat which he is, independently of you assume that man's intellect in- all systeins and theories, Here he dependently of the will is more than is with dominion over earth and afcounterbalanced by his vices; next finity with heaven — holding, com. speak of intellect as a more shewy munion with all ages and with all instinct ; and then conclude that worlds-joyous. in life splendid in "compared with the wiles and facto- ashes and pompous in the grave."* ries of the spider, or with the cun. If you do not know and feel this, ning of the fox, it would be but a whatever may be your theories of free. * inere efflorescent, and, for that very will, it is we who would elevate and cause, a less efficient salt to preserve you who would degrade our speciis. the hog from putrifying before its I gladly pass over all the rest of your destined hour." "Now, Sir, supposing incoherent declamation against us. this lamentable conclusion true; ad. While others accuse is of giving un. mitting your picture of man as faithful; due honour to the understanding, you taking him to be less distinguished speak of us as rendering it too little. from the beasts by intellect than You declaim against us as if we
we appealed by vice; does allowing him free- not at all to the reason but entirely to will, or a two-fold nature, turn the the affections. tYou accuse us of balance in his favour? On your own plucking away live-csunder as it principles, it only renders him inore were, from the divine organison of the oriminal, without making him more Bible textuary morsels and fragments," exalted. You assuine, as a point of and yourself actually apply to us some fact, that man, in action, is lower dreadful prophecies in Isaiah! To than the beasts that perish ; and then these charges reply is veedless. And you ask, unless he is distinguished by as to the accusation of paving Christiwill, how is he above them? What, anity “10 other compliment than Sir! is it then an alleviation of his that of calling by its name the prewretchedness that it is all of his own vious dictates and decisions of our voluntary choice? Is he less degraded own mother wit,” we are too accusbecause he has been his own de- tomed to such unsupported assertions grader? And what consolation do from the lowest order of Calvinistic you offer him by asserting that he is Lay-preachers, to regard them any ** essentially” above the brutes, if you, at the same time, argue that he is
• Sir Thomas Browne on “I'roe Buspractically below them?
rial." No, Sir, the real nobleness of man
See pp. 60, 61.
more than the barthen of an old song, her sons in the maturity of your inor even the damnatory clauses of the tellect and the plenitude of your knowAthanasian creed.
ledge, your youngest and brightest There was a time, Sir, when your hopes, your earliest aspirations, your portrait of Unitarianism would have first religious loves were entirely ours: been very different from that which. But, after all, it is not to us, but so you have recently drawn. If we now poetry that I should most cordially hait see you joining with a far inferior race your return. In the lower walks of to represent our principles as shocking controversy, political or religious, the or absurd, it affords us some cousolation light from heaven serves only to lead to remember that you were once their astray; You are bewildered by the advocate. You thought and felt with splendours of your own genius. Your us in the vernal freshness of your ge- mind is like the throne in Milton's nius. Of this remembrance no efforts heaven, “ dark with excessive bright." of your's can deprive us. You too must Why, I ask with food impatience, is recollect the “ Rcligious Musings," or pot this light carried into the pure reyou are the only one who could ever gions of the inagination, where it may forget them. They are a living-may shine unveiled for ever? Surely it will they be an immortal!-proof of what not pass away from the earth behind you felt and thought in some of the the clouds of inysticism and politics brightest moments of your carthly only leaving on ihem its golden ringe. being. I allude not to these evidences They must fade away, and the tempoof your former crced for the purpose of rary lustre lent their will sink when reproaching you with the change. He they disappear. But surely this can who upbraids another for an alteration ncver be the lot of one“ whose fame in his sentiments, inust suppose that should share in nature's immortality, a all knowledge is intuitive, and that, in venerable thing" —of one who can be the progress of human life, the same entangled only in the filmy nets which unvarying scenery is perpetually around his own fancy spreads of one whose us. But
at the close of these animad- proper sphere is above this world and versions I would fondly dwell on the not amidst its storms-of one who may memory of what you were, and console live in the hearts and imaginations of unyself for the present animosity you brighter ages, when the very names of bear to our creed with the thought, those whosc cause he now condescends that in estimating the whole man, if to gild over are utterly forgotten. ihe Church of England should be
S.N.D. found to have nuinbered you among
April 21, 1817. * This beautiful poem exbibits the UOMO (p: 152) will permit me most striking indications of a brilliant though youthful genius. It is full of be an undoubted error in his statebright visions, half uaveiled--of unbounded ment, that Christ and his apostles disand indistinct prospects of noble aspira- couraged marriage, and only sanctioned tions after all kinds of imaginary excel it as a prevention of immorality; The lence. As a system of religion or metaphysics, it is neither very intelligible nor
gospel opinions as to marriage have a very consistent; but it is decidedly opposed particular, not a general reference. They to most of those sentiments which the au- respect the peculiar circumstances of thor has since learned to admire. The the carly Christians, and especially following is the tribute paid to the great apostles or missionaries, living in á Reviver of Unitarianism in England : time of persecution and various trial, " Lo PRIESTLEY there, Patriot and and when celibacy, from the motive of
when marriage would be incxpedient, SAINT and Sage, llim full of years from his lov'd native land entire devotion to the gospel interests, Statesmen blood-stain'd, and priests ido- would be meritorious. Paul, however, latrous
expressly disclaims having any autho. By dark lies madd'ning the blind mul- rity for his injunctions on the subject: titude
“ Now as to virgins, I have no com. Drove with rain hate. Calm, pitying, he mandment from the Lord, yet I speak retir'd
according to iny judgmeni." And mus'd expectant on these promis'd remarkable that the forbidding to years."
marry" is pointed out as the mark of
the great Christian 'apostacy in the other. The one is not deduced from latter times, when many
should de- the other by a chain of consequences, part from the truth."
but is the meaning of the words; unA discussion of the theory of Mr. kiss indeed there be theological sense, Malthus wonld lead me too far: but for certainly there is not common seuse, I do not see how he can be said to in talking of the free and gracious gift a show human life with the most of endless misery. dreadful aspect," because he argues My friend has abandoned his foriner that the instincts which we share in restricted interpretation of Rom. viii. * comidon with the animal species, re- 19-23, and now admits its universal qnire the check of rational thought. reference. But there is still another
E. restriction which I hope he will break
through. He is content to believe Mr. Fo.r's Rejoinder tó R. L. on the that the deliverance of the wicked
Argument from Scripture for Univer- “ from the bondage of corruption into sal Restoration.
the glorious liberty of the children of Sir,
April 20, 1817. God," means no more than that they WILL trouble you with a few shall be raised from the grave to suffer. communication of iny friend R. L. as well as the other, is in his mind and [p. 157, &c.], and then take my leave not in the text. Purting his two inter: of a comtroversy which must, 1 fear, to pretations together, we may come to an most of your readers be very uninte- agreement. By the first, the “liberty *Testing
of the children of God" is a state of Whether R. L. or Simpson has given pure enjoyment, and by the second, the best account of the word kolasis ; this liberiy is promised to all man. whether Christ's universal spiritual au- kind.. thority have any thing to do, or not,
It is true that “ the word afterwards with the final purity and happiness of does not necessarily imply a distant its subjects ; whether bowing in the period," but it must at any rate indiname of Jesus, and confessing that he cate a sulsequent period. T'he enemies is Lord to the glory of God the Father, which R. L. supposes to be meant in be voluntary or constrained homage; i Cor. xv. 24, will be put down before, and whether God can command that and not after, the day of judgment. which he does not desire, or desire Sin and suffering are spiritual enemies that which he will not accomplish, of Christ; they will then be the only are questions which I shall leave to be enemies; and all his enemies shall be solved by what has been said already. put down. This appears 10 me to be If answered as I think they must be, plain fact and not dubious inference. the doctrine of Restoration will remain I shall conclude with a single rein quiet possession of several direct mark on the mode of interpreting the predictions.
vision of John, and other passages in It is admitted by R. L. [p. 158) which it is allowed that terms implying that the resurrection of all men is universality are employed. It seems announced as a glorious deliverance, to be taken for granted by R. L. and e blessing, and the gift of divine grace. Others, that because such terms are He infers from these expressions that sometimes used with obvious limitathe wicked will be sabsequently re- tions, they are not to be admitted in formed and finally happy, but does evidence on this subject. It is true not perceive that it is predicted. I that words must be interpreted, by would not quarrel about a word; but things, and as Simpson observes, “ In if a resurrection be no blessing inde- all languages there are several words, pendently of its results, if there be but which must be understood in different one event which can make it a blessing senses according to the subject to to the wicked, if their resurrection which they are applied.". But then, being a gift of grace and a glorious Sir, in the present case it should be deliverance depend altogether upon their shewn that there is in the subject subsequent restoration, then Paul's some necessary limitation of the uni. assertion of the blessedness, &c. of their versality of the expressions. Someresurrection is a prediction of their thing should be indicated in' the decla. restoration. The expressions are equi- rations of Scripture, in the character valent and may be substituted for each of God, or the nature of man, that VOL. XII.