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the friendly overtures which have been personally made; the pains which have been taken to disseminate your principles, whilst the attention of the town and neighbourhood has been considerably turned to theological subjects; the large and increasing number of Christians of your denomination in this vicinity; the stand which you have made against the doctrine of three Persons in one God.†
Hail! ye friends and promoters of the Sunday Schools! Hail! ye patrons of the systems for the daily education of the children of the poor; whether Lancasterian or Bellian; es. tablished or dissenting! Hail ye eloquent advocates for the Society for the distribution of the oracles of God! Macti virtute estote ! God speed ye! With your right hand you supply the sponge, which shall easily wash out characters, which, with your left, you may endeavour to trace. Every testament you distribute, nay, every line you enable these children to read, unlocks their understandings and enables them to explore the secrets of the prison-house, so that the thunder of your anethemas, like that of Salmoneus, is soon found to be only "sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.”
†The following quotations are made from a work of Swedenborg which has recently been extensively circulated.
"It is believed at this day in all Christian churches, that God the Creator of the Universe, begot a Son from eternity, and that this Son descended and assumed the humanity, for the purpose of redeeming and saving mankind. But this is a great error, and is overturned by its own absurdity, if it be
But the principal reason is, the pamphlet published by the worthy Rector of St. John's; as this pamphlet has been supposed by several amongst you to contain a refutation of what has been advanced in the Lectures, and as some of my own friends have requested my opinion upon several of the passages adduced from the Old Testament.
In this Essay, I therefore propose to myself the following objects:
I. To shew the points on which we jointly differ from other Christians, and agree with each other.
II. To mark the spot where we sepa
only considered that God is One, and that it is a more than fabulous imposition on reason to suppose, that one God should beget any Son from eternity; and further, that God the Fa ther, together with the Son and the Holy Ghost, each whereof singly and by himself is God, form but one God."
"Such men, however, as walk in the shadows of darkness, from a persuasion in their minds of the birth of another God from eternity, and of his descent, and of his redeeming labours; such, I say, close their eyes against the light of those divine expressions, and in that state consider how they may apply and pervert them to the confirmation of their own falses."
These are, I think, as strong expressions as will be found in almost any Unitarian work; and you will observe, that, in the first paragraph, the appeal is made to reason.
rate, and present you with some observations on the ground of that separation.
3. To offer some remarks upon the arguments in the pamphlet above referred to. And
4. To request your serious attention to a few questions upon the points at issue between us.
As I know not whether you admit all the articles of Emanuel Swedenborg into your creed, but understand, that you allow the recent publications of the Rev. Mr. Clowes, and the Rev. Mr. Hindmarsh to contain your sentiments, from these publications I shall select them.*
I. Let us then just view the points on which we jointly differ from other Christians, and mutually agree.
1st, We mutually pay religious adoration to one Being only.
"For who does not in an instant perceive," says Mr. Hindmarsh, (p. 5.) as if by a certain instinct of our nature, or rather a silent
* Mr. Clowes's Pamphlet is entitled, "The Divine Person and Character of Jesus Christ Defended, &c. in Letters to a Friend." Mr. Hindmarsh's," Reflections on the Unitarian and Trinitarian Doctrines, &c."
dictate from him, who is the subject of thought, when the very proposition is named, that there is and can be, only one God, the Creator and Preserver of the Universe? On this part of the subject, the Lecturer was successful."
2d, We mutually agree that this Great Being is not divided into three persons. And he well observed, "that these latter (Trinitarian Dissenters) had separated from the established church, more on account of some non-essential point of discipline, than from any conviction of the gross and fundamental errors, that vitiate all her forms and all her ceremonies, and which, like a deadly plague let loose in the church, characterize the whole system as a medley of tritheistical and consequently of idolatrous worship.”
Speaking of the Athanasian Creed, Mr. Hindmarsh adds, "Sooner or later it must die either a violent or a natural death. Candour and humanity pray, that it may be the latter rather than the former. In the mean time let it rest, until the age arrive, which is fast approaching, when in obedience to the voice of reason and
dels has been far greater, in proportion, than in this country, where reason has been more freely exercised. And even here if reason were more frequently consulted, if Unitarian Christianity were better known, and mystery were succeeded by common sense, I have no doubt but the number of unbelievers would be very greatly diminished. In our estimation then (and we have good grounds for the opinion) Trinitarians, (though intending to increase the Christian cause) by insisting upon so many abstruse points (at least) are the greatest foes to the progress of the gospel.
After all then, my brethren, will you still deny us the appellation of Christians? Will you still brand us as Deists, Infidels, Atheists? What is it which constitutes one person the disciple of another? Is it not receiving instructions from him, acknowledging him for a master, adopting his opinions, professing his creed? Jesus is our master and head. We attend to and imbibe his instructions. We take from him our creed. He is the chief cor