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apprehensions. But as these persons are thus debarred from hearing, let it be your strenuous endeavour to induce them To READ what has been written in defence of the UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE. If they will only examine our works attentively, the result must be beneficial. Our library, which contains upwards of six hundred books and pamphlets, affords ample scope for all your exertions. Our best thanks are due to those friends who have nobly persevered in pushing the works into circulation; and I am solicitous that every individual among us should perceive the importance of his situation, and put forth all his energies in the promotion of our cause.
You have often seen quoted that maxim by the great Lord Bacon, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER;' but there is another not less important-UNION IS STRENGTH.' Let us bear these in mind, and always act accordingly.
Why has Unitarianism increased so rapidly during the last tiventy years, but from the increased activity of its friends? And it is chiefly by union and activity, under the Divine blessing, that it will become universal. What would be the present state of things had it not pleased Almighty God, in the course of his providence, to raise up that great and good man Dr. PRIESTLEY, whose eminent genius, indefatigable industry, and welldirected zeal, shed a lustre over the world? To him we owe far more than many Unitarians are now willing to acknowledge, who perhaps cannot fully divest themselves of those ill-founded prejudices which they imbibed against him in the days of their orthodoxy. And what would be the present state of things had there been a hundred such characters in the last century? I never hear the name of this venerable man mentioned without mingled emotions of admiration and gratitude. We may be assured that posterity will duly appreciate his superlative talents and virtues.
"It afforded me particular pleasure to see in the Christian Reformer for last March, that the Rev. Edward Burn, of Birmingham, one of the Doctor's most illiberal and virulent opponents about the time of the disgraceful riots in 1791, has at length publicly regretted the asperity of feelings and expressions which he used in his controversies with that respectable and highly talented individual. This is honourable to Mr. Burn's present state of mind. It will afford him consolation in the hour of death; and I am sure he will have Dr. Priestley's forgiveness when they meet in heaven.
In addition to the increasing liberality of our opponents, one of the best signs of the times is the recent formation of THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION. Those gentlemen who have taken the lead in this important business, are entitled to the gratitude of the whole Unitarian body. May all who have it in their power afford every assistance, and cordially
co-operate with them in all their laudable and benevolent undertakings. If the Association be properly supported, the benefits resulting from it will be incalculable.
"But above all, let us, my friends, manifest our love of truth and attachment to the Gospel, by a regular and serious attendance on the ordinance of PUBLIC WORSHIP, and by conducting ourselves in the various duties of life as the disciples of him who was a perfect model of virtue and piety.
"This is the best way to ensure both the celebrity and stability of our cause; and it will prove the most effectual method of silencing the opposition of our enemies. Convinced that the present transitory state is introductory to another and a better, which is eternal in the heavens, may we so live and so act as to be enabled to meet the messenger of death without indulging superstitious terror or alarm, and enjoy in our final moments a happy foretaste of those blissful scenes that will be hereafter realized by all the faithful followers of the Saviour.
"I beg to thank the Subscribers generally, and the Committee in particular, for their affectionate liberality, and for the trouble they have taken in this affair. Be assured, my friends, that having proceeded thus far in my labours among you, I shall, through the favour of the Almighty, persevere as long as the very delicate state of my health will permit, and you may consider my exertions useful and expedient.
It would afford me the purest pleasure to see a neat chapel erected in Devonport, and an able minister settled here; but as this may not be the case for some years, we must do all in our power to supply the deficiency, until that happy event be realized. In the mean time let us cheerfully anticipate brighter days; knowing that TRUTH, which is mighty, will ultimately prevail over all opposition, and that the knowledge of the ONE UNDIVIDED and ETERNAL JEHOVAH shall be extended from pole to pole."
Within the cover of each volume are printed in gold letters these words:
"Presented to Mr. Silvanus Gibbs, by the Unitarian Christian Church, Devonport, as a testimony of their gratitude for his highly valued and gratuitous services."
Bigotry of New Baptist Magazine. Honiton, July 15, 1826. BELIEVING it to be a duty incumbent on every one, and particularly the young, to examine the various opinions on the Christian faith, I am frequently induced to peruse some of the most popular Calvinistic publications. An article in the New Baptist Magazine for June, has
recently attracted my notice, and the same motive that impels me to elucidate truth, urges the exposure of what I think to be error. We have lately seen too many lamentable instances of bigotry and intolerance to be surprised at any angry ebullition of feeling from a class of Christians who often forget what manner of spirit they are of; many of their attempts have met with the disapprobation they deserved, while others have been treated with silent contempt.
The remarks I refer to, are contained in a review of Professor Stuart's Letters to the Rev. Dr. Channing, in reply to his Sermon on the Evidences of Christianity. Alluding to the Unitarians, it is stated, "that they have never felt the need of an atoning Saviour, and are rather desirous of finding they do not need one, and that Christ is not equal to such an undertaking." We greatly fear that the opponents of the Deity of Christ are not remarkable for their humility or their piety; they seem to be distinguished from others by disbelieving rather than by their faith, and are found to assimilate more to the Deist than to the man whose humble dependence for salvation is placed on what he conceives to be the foundation which Jehovah has laid in Zion." "Within the last few years there has been a very striking alteration in the conduct of the Socinians, or, as they would term themselves, Unitarians we cannot say that they have increased in piety, or in a regard to the great truths of Revelation, but we do give them great credit for their increasing honesty; we do not of course mean in their giving up the chapels they so improperly and dishonourably hold, but we mean that they declare their sentiments more boldly than formerly. They do not, as they formerly did, mince the matter; they no longer mutter,' but they speak out, and we thank them for it; men now know what they mean, and if they have any regard to the word of God, if they have the least sense of what the religion needs to conduct them to heaven, they cannot be deceived by the pretensions of Unitarianism.'
I need not fill up your columns with a refutation of the above; every one who reads it must, however, be convinced what are the pretensions of Calvinism, and candidly acknowledge the "humility and piety" that actuates the followers of that system, which hurls into eternal anguish all who dare to exercise the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. Does this pious and honourable reviewer regard the great truths of Revelation," when he asserts
that," he who rejects the atonement of Christ secures his own ruin"? The language of scripture is, "In every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Does he bear in mind the declaration of the Apostle, that charity is the most exalted virtue, that ́ it is even superior to faith? And while denying the Christian name to his brethren, does he remember the words of our Saviour, "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you"? In drawing the attention of your readers to the above extracts, my object is not so much to expose the groundless calumnies they contain, for the sting which the detracter meant to inflict will recoil with redoubled force on his own bosom; but I would rather urge it as a stimulus to the friends of truth to redouble their exertions in maintaining the superiority of their faith over such gloomy and illiberal tenets as these. Unitarianism is built t upon too strong a foundation to be shaken by such mean and unworthy artifices. The "deluded Socinian" may perhaps for a little while be dispirited by opposition, obloquy, and misrepresentation, but he will not suffer his disappointed feelings to get the better of an ardent desire to promote the best interests of mankind. He remembers with joy and gratitude the animating promise, "that Jehovah shall be one, and his name one," and hails the coming of that glorious period when the prophetic declarations of the Most High shall be fulfilled. Sincerely hoping that our friends will no longer mutter about these glorious and important truths, but boldly proclaim them to the world, I remain, &c. 1. J. M.
Christian Superstition rebuked by Indians.
(From Humboldt's Travels in South America, Vol. V, p. 273.), "THE Indians of the forest, when they visit occasionally the missions, conceive with difficulty the idea of a temple or an image. These good people,' said the missionary, like only processions in the open air. When I last cele brated the patron-festival of my village, that of San Antonio, the Indians of Inirida were present at mass. Your God, said they to me, keeps himself shut up in a house, as if he were old and infirm; ours is in the forest, in the fields, and on the mountains of Sipapu, whence the rains come.'
Books for Children: a Letter to the Secretary of Unitarian Association.
Dover, July 27, 1826. By inserting the following letter in the Christian Reformer, you will much oblige the
TEACHERS OF THE UNITARIAN BAPTIST SUNDAY-
To the Secretary of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association.
At the anniversary of the Dover and Canterbury Sundayschool Union, it was resolved, that a letter should be addressed to the Secretary of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, submitting to him the propriety of turning his attention to the adoption of some efficient plan for providing our Sunday-schools with suitable books, particularly something of a periodical nature.
Agreeably to this resolution, I have undertaken to address you on the subject.
Several communications have, at different times, appeared in the pages of the Reformer, complaining of the want of books suitable to the children of our schools; but nothing effective has yet been accomplished. This is certainly to be lamented, because whilst the children of the schools of other denominations are plentifully supplied with books, inculcating their peculiar sentiments, whilst there are many arduous and successful attempts to spread the cause of Unitarianism in other ways, the children of our schools are, with such books, left unprovided; and if they obtain periodical works of a religious nature at all, must imbibe sen-. timents which, to say the least, we consider are not in the highest degree honou able to God or beneficial to man.
In the nineteenth century, Sir, in an age like this too, the evil calls aloud for remedy; and whether a corrupt or a pure Christianity shall influence thousands of the next generation, must, it should seem, depend on the attention which is paid to this subject.
With your talents, Sir, or with your zeal and influence, we conceive that a little exertion would put in motion those springs which would diffuse the most invaluable blessings to the rising generation; being the means of their receiving, in its purest state, the rich inheritance of the gospel of the grace of God.