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an humble spirit." For this purpose he does not consider it necessary to inquire into the actual temper of their minds, but only into the result of their investigations. If the conclusions to which they come perfectly accord with his own opinions, then they possess every characteristic of sincere inquirers. But if a man will believe only upon evidence, if he will not receive every pulpit dictum with profound submission, if he venture to offer any objection to the notions of his ghostly friends, then he is in effect told
Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us"-us the favourites of Heaven, the chosen of the Lord, the ministers of his word, and the messengers of his grace?
Since the above was written, Mr. A. has heard two other Discourses delivered by the same gentlemen in the same place of worship. The morning preacher was even more outrageously violent than on the former occasion. With an unblushing hardihood in which, it is to be hoped, he will find few admirers and still fewer imitators, he did not hesitate to declare that if Jesus Christ was not God, then the apostle
Paul was a fool, and the Bible a bundle of lies. And yet this is one of the men who are accus. tomed to accuse Unitarians of be. ing deficientin reverence for the Sacred Scriptures and for Apos. tolic authority, and of torturing both into a conformity with their creed. Unless Mr. Mundy seek to rival his Holiness at Rome, he will at least admit that he may be mistaken in his interpretation of the Scriptures; and if it should at last appear that he is mistaken, then how serious the predicament in which he has placed himself, by thus presumptuously pledging his own fallible opinion against the inspiration of Paul and the truth of the Bible.
The evening preacher delivered a very excellent Discourse on the free grace of God; a doctrine which all Unitarians most cordially embrace, but in which Mr. La Croix very inconsistently believes. considering as he does that mankind can be justified from their sins only by the merits of Christ, and that by his sufferings and death the salvation of sinners was purchased, and an equavalent paid to God for receiving them into his favour.
Mr. Pitt's Letter on Superstition : addressed to the People of England.
(Printed in the year 1733, in the London Journal.) GENTLEMEN,
Whoever takes a view of to sing and sigh by turns : but it the world will find, that what has not yet been found sufficient the greatest part of mankind to induce them to break off an have agreed to call religion has amour, to make restitution of illbeen only some outward exer- gotten wealth, or to bring the cises, esteemed sufficient to work passions and appetites under a a reconciliation with God. It reasonable subjection. Differ has moved them to build tem- as much as they may in opinion ples, slay victims, offer up sacri- concerning what they ought to fices; to fast and feast; to petiti- believe, or after what manner on and thank; to laugh and cry; they are to serve God, as they
call it, yet they all agree in gratifying their appetites. The same passions reign eternally in all countries and in all ages : Jew and Mahometan, the Christian and the Pagan, the Tartar and the Indian, all kinds of men, who differ in
almost every thing else, universally agree with regard to their passions: if there be any difference among them it is this, that the more superstitious they are, always the more vicious; and the more they believe, the less they practise. This is a melancholy consideration to a good mind : it is a most terrible truth ; and certainly, above all things, worth our while to inquire into. We will therefore probe the wound and search it to the bottom; we will lay the axe to the root of the tree; and shew you the true reason why men go on in sinning and repenting, repenting and sinning again, through the whole course of their lives: and the reason is, because they have been taught, most wickedly taught, that religion and virtue are two things absolutely distinct; that the deficiency of the one might be supplied by the sufficiency of the other; and that what you want in virtue yon must make up in religion. But this religion, so dishonourable to God and so pernicions to men, is worse than athe. ism, for atheism, though it takes away one great motive to support virtue in distress, yet it furnishes no man with arguments to be vi. cious ; but superstition, or what the world means by religion, is the greatest possible encouragement to vice, by setting up something as religion, which shall atone and commute for the want of virtue. This is establishing iniquity hy a law, the bighest
by authority, the highest authority ; that of God himself. We complain of the vices of the world and of the wickedness of men without searching into the true cause. It is not because they are wicked by nature, for that is both false and impious; but because, to serve the pur. poses of their pretended soulsavers, they have been carefully taught that they are wicked by nature, and cannot help continuing so. It would have been impossible for men to have been both religious and vicious, had religion been made to consist, wherein alone it does consist, and had men been always taught that true religion is the practice of virtue in obedience to the will of God, who presides over all things, and will finally make it every man's happiness to do his duty.
This single opinion in religion, that things are so well made by the Deity that virtue is its own reward, and that happiness will ever arise from acting according to the reason of things; or, that God, ever wise and good, will provide some extraordinary happiness for those who suffer for virtue's sake, is enough to support a man under all difficulties, to keep him steady to his duty, and to enable him to stand as firm as a rock, amidst all the charms of pleasure, profit, and honour. But this religion of reason, which all men are capa. ble of, has been neglected and condemned, and another set up, the natural consequences
of which have puzzled men's understandings and debauched their morals more than all the lewd poets and atheistical philosophers that ever infested the world; for, instead of being taught that
religion consists in action, or obedience to the eternal moral law of God, we have been most gravely and venerably told, that it consists in the belief of certain opinions, which we could form no ideas of, or which were contrary to the clear perceptions of our minds, or which had no tendency to make us either wiser or better, or, which is much worse, had a manifest tendency to make us wicked and immoral. And this belief, tais impious belief, arising from imposition on one side, and from want of examination on the other, has been called by the sacred name of religion ; whereas religion consists in knowledge and obedience.--We know there is a God, and we know his will, which is, that we should do all the good we
can; and we assured, from his perfections, that we shall find our own good in so doing. And what would we have more ? Are we, after so much inquiry, and in an age full of liberty, children still ? And cannot we be quiet, unless we have holy romances, sacred fables, and traditionary tales, to amuse us in an idle hour, and give rest to our souls, when our follies and vices will not suffer us to rest?
You have been tanght, indeed, that right belief, or orthodoxy, will, like charity, cover a multitude of sins; but be not deceiv. ed; belief of, or mere assent to, the truth of propositions upon evi nce is not a virtue, nor unbeliefa vice : faith is not a voluntary act; it does uot depend upon the will; every man must believe or disbelieve or doubt, whether he will or not, according as evidence appears to him: so that he who believes right is never the better, nor is he who
believes wrong ever the worse. Faith then being absolutely involuntary, can never become a duty. Divine faith is justly calla ed the gift of God, as being above all human abilities. If, therefore men, however dignified or distinguished, command us to believe, they are guilty of the highest folly and absurdity, be. cause it is out of our power; but, if they command us to be lieve, and annex rewards to belief and severe penalties to unbelief, then are they most wicked and immoral, because they annex rewards and punishments to what is involuntary, and therefore neither rewardable nor punishable. It appears then very plainly unreasonable and unjust to command us to believe any doctrine, good or bad, wise or unwise ; but when men command us to believe opinions which have not only no tendency to promote virtue, but shall be allowed to commute or atone for the want of it, then are they arrived at the utmost reach of impiety; then is their iniquity full: then have they finished the misery and completed the destruction of poor mortal men: by betraying the interest of virtue they have under. mined and sapped the foundation of all human happiness ; and how treacherously and dread. fully have they betrayed it? A gift well applied ; the chattering of some unintelligible sounds called creeds; an unfeigned assent and consent to whatever the church enjoins; religious worships and consecrated feasts; repenting on a death-bed; pardons rightly sued out; and absolutions authoritatively given; have done more toward making and continuing men vicious than all
their natural passions and infidelity put together; for infidelity can only take away the supernatural rewards of virtue, but these superstitious opinions and practices have not only turned the scene, and made men lose sight of the natural rewards of it, but have induced them to think, that, were there no here. after, vice would be preferable to virtue, and that they still increase in happiness as they increase in wickedness: and this they have been taught in several religious discourses and sermons delivered by men whose orthodoxy was never doubted; particularly by a late reverend prelate, I mean Bishop Atterbury, in his sermon on these words, . If in this life only be hope, then we are of all men most miserable;" where vice and faith ride most lovingly and triumphantly together. But these church doctrines, of the natural excellency of vice, the efficacy of a right belief, the dignity of atonements and propitiations, have besides
depriving as of the native beauty and charms of honesty, and thus cruelly stabbing virtue to the heart, raised and diffused among men a certain unnatural passion, which we shall call religious hatred ; a hatred, constant, deep-rooted, and immortal. All other passions rise and fall, die and revive again; but this of religious and pious hatred rises and grows every day stronger upon the mind as we grow more religious; because we hate for God's sake, for our soul's sake, and for the sake of those poor souls too, who have the misfortune not to believe as we do. And can we, in so good a cause, hate too much ? The more thoroughly we hate, the better we are; and the more mischief we do the bodies and estates of these infidels and here. tics, the more do'we shew our love to God. This is religious zeal, and this has been called divinity, but remember that the only true divinity is HUMANITY.
Marriage of Dissenters. Married on Friday, the 23d grounds:"1st. Because, whilst inst., at Westham church, by Mr. obeying the civil institutions of
Rector of Stratford, the country, they deny the scripand one of the Chaplains of tural authority of the Church of the Bishop of London, Mr. England' to decree rites and ce. John Dobell, of Cranbrook, remonies, much less to impose Kent, to Miss Julietta Thomp- such on those who dissent from son, fourth daughter of Samuel its community. 2d. Because, Thompson, Esq., of Plaistow, whilst not disputing the civil, Essex. The parties being Pro- they do not admit the scriptural, testant Dissenters, commonly authority of the minister by known by the name of Freethink- whom the marriage ceremony is ing Christians, presented to the performed, believing the Jewish minister a written protest against priesthood to have been superthe marriage ceremony, in which seded by Christianity, and none, they expressed their reasons after to have been instituted of opposition on the following by Christ. 3d. Because they
do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity, in the name of which the marriage ceremony is solemnized; this doctrine appearing to them, and being by the Christian church of which they are members publicly represented to be, as but one among the many lamentable corruptions of Christianity, alike repugnant to reason, and con
trary to Scripture."
Married also, on the same day, at St. James's Clerkenwell, by Mr. Burder, Mr. Richard Nelms, of Angel-place, Pentonville, to Miss Sophia Ranger, of Marden, Kent, who also delivered into the hands of the officiating minister a similar protest to the above. Times, May 30, 1823.
Dissenters' Marriage Bill. This Bill, bronght into Parlia- rians at least will obtain relief ment by the Unitarian Associa- next session. Their claims on tion, and originally called The the score of conscience
were al Unitarian Marriage Bill, is lost for lowed by the opposers of the the session. It was read a second Bill; and it is pleasing to record, time on Thursday the 12th inst., that the Unitarians were spoken (June, 1823) and thrown out by a of by their Lordships without any majority of 6 (Proxies). But illiberality, and as an acknowthe debate was very encouraging, ledged Christian denomination, as it is now clear that the Unita- -Christian Reformer.
New Unitarian Chapels. New Chapel, Stamford Street. Opening of the Unitarian Meet;
The Trustees, of the late Cha. ing-House, Great Cross pel in Princes Street, which was Street, Liverpool.-On Sunday: sold under the Act of Parliament 8th June, (1823,) the meeting for the improvement of West- house, lately occupied by a minster, have nearly completed society of Calvinist Baptists, an elegant chapel on the south was opened for the public worside of Stamford Street, Black- ship of the One and only God, friars' Road. Having failed to by the society of Unitarian obtain a suitable piece of ground Christians formerly meeting in for the re-erection of the Chapel Sir Thomas's Buildings. The in Westminster, they were induc- Rev. George Harris, of Bolton, ed to build on the present spot, in the morning, delivered a very in consequence of an application eloquent and impressive disfrom the congregation late of St. course, to a very attentive and Thomas's, whose lease the Gover- exceedingly crowded audience. nors of St. Thomas's Hospital In the evening the Rev. Ro. had refused to renew, and who bert Cree, of Preston, deliverwill now unite themselves to the ed a very interesting, argumenPrinces Street congregation. tative discourse on the Doctrine The new Chapel, it is expected, of Mystery the mark of Antiwill be opened for divine worship christ; the place was well filled. on Sunday, the 17th of this month The Rev. George Harris (August, 1823).
preached also on the Thursday