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cies the shortest and best. Let him put his thoughts on the stretch to discover what there is absolutely preposterous or absurd in the supposition, that God may view with equal complacency those who admit, and those who reject certain airy speculations, which men in different ages have woven into their uncertain and fluctuating creeds. Let him consider which is the greater evil, that men be allowed the privilege of thinking for themselves in matters of religion, so long as they do not divulge sentiments subversive of morality and good order, or that he should violate the précepts of charity in the attempt to obtain their consent that he shall think for them.
I can conclude my somewhat desultory remarks on the subject of candor and bigotry with nothing more appropriate than the following observations of one, who was for many years the ornament, and should have been the pride, of English Episcopacy. I refer to the late Bishop Watson, a man who is always to be named with respect, and to whose labors, it should be remembered, the christian world is indebted for the best popular defences of Christianity and of the Bible, against the coarse ribaldry of Paine, and the insidious eloquence of Gibbon.
•What !' he exclaims, shall the church of Christ never be freed from the narrow-minded contentions of bigots ; from the insults of men who know not what spirit they are of, when they would stint the Omnipotent in the exercise of his mercy, and bar the doors of heaven against every sect but their own? Shall we
never learn to think more humbly of ourselves, and less despicably of others ? to believe that the Father of the universe accommodates not his judgements to the wretched wranglings of pedantic Theologues; but that every one, who, with an honest intention, and to the best of his ability seeketh the truth, whether he findeth it or not, and worketh righteousness, will be accepted of him? I have no regard for latitudinarian principles, nor for any principles, but the principles of truth; and truth every man must endeavor to investigate for himself; and, ordinarily speaking, he will be most successful in his endeavors, who examines, with candor and care, what can be urged on each side of a greatly controverted question. This sort of examination may, in some instances, produce a doubt, an hesitation, a diffident suspension of judgement; but it will at the same time produce mutual forbearance and good temper towards those who differ from us ; our charity will be enlarged, as our understanding is improved. Partial examination is the parent of pertinacity of opinion; and a froward propensity to be angry with those who question the validity of our principles, or deny the justness of our conclusions, in any matter respecting philosophy, policy, or religion, is ar. infallible mark of prejudice ; of our having grounded our opinions on fashion, fancy, interest; on the unexamined tenets of our family, sect, or party ; on any thing rather than on the solid foundation of cool and dispassionate reasoning.'
• If different men,' he afterwards adds, in carefully
and conscientiously examining the scriptures, should arrive at different conclusions, even on points of the last importance, we trust that God, who alone knows what every man is capable of, will be merciful to him that is in error. We trust that he will pardon the Unitarian, if he be in an error, because he has fallen into it from the dread of becoming an Idolater, of giving that glory to another which he conceives to be due to God alone. If the worshipper of Jesus Christ be in an error, we trust that God will pardon his mistake, because he has fallen into it from a dread of disobeying what he conceives to be revealed concerning the nature of the Son, or commanded concerning the honor to be given him. Both are actuated by the same principle-THE FEAR OF GOD; and, though that principle impels them into different roads, it is our hope and belief, that, if they add to their faith charity, they will meet in heaven.'*
Such sentiments are worthy a man and a Christian, and whether he who holds them and acts conformably to their spirit, be Trinitarian, or Unitarian, I can never cease to regard him as a brother.
D. N. C.
• Preface to Theological Tracts.
PERSONAL INTEREST IN RELIGION.
• One said unto Jesus, Lord, are there few that be saved ? and he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate.' As if he had replied,-Be careful to secure your own salvation, this is
chief concern; leave the fate of others to a merciful God, but remember that your own safety depends on individual effort; and not only remember, but regard this truth in your daily life.
Adopt the principles of religion as your own, apply its rules to your practice, see that you are partakers of the spirit of holiness. This should be your aim, labor, employment. The nature of a personal interest in Religion, will be the subject of remark.
Let us be understood. We wish to enforce the duty of making religion the property of each one ; which indeed no individual and no class of men can monopolize, but of which every one may, and should, appropriate to himself as much as will answer all his wants as a moral being—a moral being, possessing capacities of excellence, placed in a state of discipline, and destined to an impartial retribution. Every member of the community should behold himself in the midst of relations through which he is connected with God and eternity ; should view his connexion with them as intimate and direct, not as the mere result of the fact, that he is a part of the universe.
An error opposed to this judgement of our condition, and one which is not uncommon, grows out of the habit of generalizing that belongs to the age. General principles, general truths, are objects of search; and this is well. But to stop here is as foolish as it would be to collect water into a reservoir, from which it should never be distributed. General principles are of no use excepting as they furnish a guide for individual conduct. Of what importance is it to know the most comprehensive formulas in mathematics, if we never apply them to examples? Suppose we find a few primary truths, or even one central doctrine, around which all others revolve as satellites, what benefit shall we derive from the discovery, unless we can make it touch our own characters? Simplify, generalize in theory as far as reason and scripture will permit; but if you would render theory useful, you must individualize its application. Its value must be seen by its influence on yourself.
A kindred error is committed by them who are mainly anxious to ascertain the nature or weight of Christian doctrines, who evince a stronger desire to know than to obey the truth. They have a sort of intellectual curiosity about religion, very different from that thirst after righteousness, which our Lord included among the beatitudes. They are believers, staunch believers perhaps, and so far they are to be approved; or they are ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth,' and then they are to be pitied. But in either case their religion is speculative, their faith rests in the letter, their souls are not warmed