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the question,-the able Preacher of jections against Unitarianism, some the year, and my present highly, allusion was made, in the Report of respected Colleague, (both of whom the Committee, to a diminution of had been among the earliest sup- numbers caused by the establishment porters of the Society, and to the of the Devon and Cornwall Associalatter of whom it was under constant tion; and it was stated in reply, that obligations for bis judicious and zeal- for every one that was lost, several ous attention to its concerns,)- I found were gained to the open avowal of it met, so decidedly and unhesita- the great principles of Unitarianism, tiogly, with their disapprobation, that and active exertions for the dissemithe question was not publicly agitated: nation of them. The conversation at and there the matter dropped. that time, respecting the basis of the

Near the close of the year 1813, Association, led Mr. Fox to say (to my friend Mr. Worsley, of Plymouth, the best of my rerollection) that he communicated to me his conviction, was not aware he had been preaching that as the seat of the W. U. S. was before a Society which made the doc. so remote from the western part of trine of Simple Humanity an essential Devon, and from Cornwall, it would point of Unitarianism; and that he promote the local interests of Unita. could not be a member of any Society rianism, if an Association for Devon which made it an exclusive bond of and Cornwall was formed, upon a

union. plan similar to that of the W.U. S., I do not recollect any thing more and which might be open to those connected with the subject, till the who were not disposed to contribute spring of 1818, when Mr. Rowe reso much as the subscription of the ceived information from Mr. Fawcett, parent Society. I agreed with him on of Yeovil, that it was wished by some the desirableness of the plan, provided to propose at the ensuing meeting of we adopted as the basis, that “ God, the W. U. S. at Ilminster, an alteeven the Father, is the Only True God, ration in the Preamble of the Society, the Primary Source of all the blessings in order to open the door for the we enjoy through Christ Jesus, and the admission of those Unitarians who Only Proper Object of Religious Wor- were now excluded. We could neiship.This was agreed to. The ther of us conveniently attend the first meeting of the Devon and Corn. meeting; but seeing in Exeter a friend wall Unitarian Association, was held who proposed going, I requested bim at Plymouth, in 1814, when 134 to suggest to the meeting, that, as the joined us, chiefly from those who had subject was an important one, and not before been connected with any few comparatively would be present, other Unitarian Society;* and our if it were moved at all, it should venerable and pious advocate, Dr. merely be to resolve that the question Toulmin, preached before the new

should be discussed at the next anAssociation, the sermon which he nual meeting. This suggestion was afterwards delivered before the W.U. adopted. At the Ilminster meeting S. at Yeovil. The two Societies had Mr. Yates of Birmingham was prea common and most harmonious meet- sent; and the Members urged him to ing at Exeter, in the year 1817, when undertake the office of Preacher for, Mr. John Kenrick delivered that mas. the ensuing ycar: but he declined; terly discourse, entitled Unitarianism and he was understood to state, that the Essence of Vital Christianity, with he could not be the Preacher of a which most of your readers must be Society which, from the then somewell acquainted.-At a previous meet. what unsettled state of his mind on ing of the W. U. S. at Bristol, 1815, when Mr. Fox delivered his eloquent

* I trust that Mr. Fox and another of and interesting Reply to Popular Ob

our ablest advocates, whom I shall soon have to mention, will excuse my adverting

to their opinions. These assisted in de* It was explicitly laid down as a prin- ciding my mind, as to the course I should ciple, that “union with this Association pursue on the question. They may have shall in no way imply approbation of all seen good reason to change them; and I the books which may be admitted into the am sure they ought to change them, if Catalogue."

they have seen such reason.

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the subject of the Pre-existence, he Proper Unity of God,) provided we could not join as a Member.

would cease to lay down the arował As the subject was publicly brought of the Simple Humanity as an essenbefore the Society, I was solicitous tial requisite for membership, we that it should be fully discussed and ought not to keep him aloof from us. laid to rest one way or other; and -Firmly and unhesitatingly believe I more than once expressed, in our ing the doctrine of Simple Humanity, Committee meetings, my intention of advocating it on all occasions where delivering my sentiments at the an- a regard to still more important prionual meeting. I conceived that how. ciples permits me, and satisfied that ever expedient it might have been, the current of conviction will even. when the Society was first instituted tually lead every Unitarian to the to make the avowal of the Simple reception of it, I vevertheless beHumanity an essential feature, (since, lieved, that in the present state of the at that time, the Arians, however Unitarian controversy, the interests of near iu sentiment, were almost as pure Christianity would be more efmuch opposed to the believers of the "fectually served, by generally relinSimple Humanity, and as much afraid quishing this as an exclusive separating of them, as the Trinitarians them- principle; and that even with respect selves were, and generally speaking to this doctrine itself, the doubters, were in no way disposed to unite or disbelievers, would be more likely with them in public efforts to oppose to come to us, if they fought with us even the great errors of moderu or- under common banners. With these thodoxy,) yet that the time is come, views, which as yet I have seen no when the middle wall of separation, in reason to change, I wished, as the spirit and mutual co-operation, ought measure had been brought forwards, to be broken down: that the great that it should be subjected to a fair and distinction pow is, between the Tri. ample discussion. When I reached nitarian and the avowed Unitarian : Bath the evening before the meeting, that there is at least one doctrine, on I found that some of those who supwhich the believers of the Simple ported the alteration at the preceding Humanity differ, which is vastly more meeting would not be present, and I momentous than that on which they could not learn that any arrangements agree, and in which most of the be- had been made for bringing the matlievers in the Simple Pre-existence, ter regularly forwards. I believe those unite with the bulk of those who who wished the change, bad done as reject the Pre-existence,--the doc. I had myself, Jeft the matter to its trine of Final Restoration : and that own course. I had myself had no if the believer in the Pre-existence, communication with any of them with adhering strictly and openly to the a view to it.-In these circumstances, great principles of Unitarianism, (the I drew up the following resolutions, Unrivalled ' Supremacy, Exclusive which, at the wish of Mr. Fawcett, Worship, and Essential Mercy, of God whom alone I conversed with before even the Father,) joiving with us in the service commenced, I undertook our Unitarian Fellowship Funds, unit. to submit to the meeting. ing with us exclusively in our Worship, and sitting down with us at the the Absolute Unity, Unrivalled Supremacy,

“ That with a view to those belierers ja Lord's Supper --were disposed to Exclusive Worship, and Essential Unpor. associate with us, (without expecting chased Love and Mercy, of God, even the that we should alter our practice in Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who bold the introduction of books into the the doctrine of the Simple Pre-existence Catalogue, or in other means for the of our Lord,—and to those who, though dissemination of the Simple Humanity they cordially unite in these fundamental . of Christ in connexion with the principles of Unitarianism, do not possess

that decided conviction in the doctrine of

the Simple Humanity, which would enable * I have somewhat recently heard, with them to avow belief in it, -and also to great satisfaction, that he has publicly those believers in the Simple Humanity, stated that his mind is no longer unsettled, who, however important they estimate this but rests in the simple truth, that the Me- doctrine, object to it as an exclusive test diator between God and men was the MAN among persons who are united by the open Christ Jesus.

arowal of doctrines which exclude all who


consistently profess them from the fellow. from being ascertainable,-viz, that ship and even the worship of other deno. if the alteration was made, several (I minations of Christians, -that part of the think) of the oldest Menbers of the Preamble of this Society wbich respects Society would withdraw from it. It its fundamental principles, do stand as is my earnest hope, that when any follows:

discussion “ 'That there is but One God, the Maker

on questions connected and Preserver of Heaven and of Earth and with the interests of Christian truth, of all things therein, Jehovah, the God and occur among Unitarians, this mode of Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our biassing a meeting may not be reGod and Father;—that Jehovah is One, garded as a precedent. If those Memin substance undivided, in glory unrivalled, bers were resolved to pursue such a supremely great, iufinitely powerful, wise, measure, in case the disposition of the and good, the Only Proper Object of Re- meeting favoured the alteration, perligious Worship, the Sole Original Source haps (in the present case) it was de. of every blessing both temporal and spiri- sirable that their resolution should be tnal;—and that Jesus Christ was the most made known before the final decision, distinguished of the Messengers of His but not at the beginning of a diswisdom and mercy to the buman race, authorized and empowered by Him to

cussion. declare and execute the Gospel-scbeme of

When my

resolutions were read, it salvation, or deliverance of inankind from seemed doubtful whether they would siu and misery; but in every respect, aod be seconded : but this was done by a at every period, now and for ever, subor- Member from Bristol, with whom I dinate to and dependant upon Him, so that had had no communication on the God may be all in all.. “ That by the proposed alteration in the recollect) was the case with respect

subject; and this (as far as I can Preamble, it is not intended to make any to all the other Members present, ex. change whatever in the practice of the Society respecting its chief object, the cept those in the Committee, at the distribution of books, -agreeably to which, meetings of which the subject had the selectiou of book's is regulated by what been brought forwards more than are regarded as the sentiments of the great bulk of its Members, while each individual In the course of my remarks to the is left to choose for himself what he pleases general meeting, I adverted to the for his own employment, and is not re- opinion, (which for the reasons algarded as responsible for the sentiments ready given I believe to be wellad vocated or avowed in others.”

founded,) that, if they were otherwise At the meeting for business, much disposed to join us, our Preamble time had been occupied, with consi- would keep from us two distinguished dering various alterations proposed by advocates for Unitarian Christianity; the Committee in the Rules; and we and I conceived that this might be came to the main poiut respecting the regarded as a specimen of its natural Preamble, too late to allow of that effect: I knew that it had had such species of discussion which I had an effect in other cases. It was stated hoped for. Before the opportunity in reply, that those individuals had was afforded me of proposing the for some time been Members of the above resolutions, &c., the respected London Unitarian Society; and this, individual to whom, I presume, Mr. the Parent Society, lays down, in Belsham alludes, (as having, by his more explicit yet more scriptural “ good sense and solid arguments terms, the doctrine of the Simple made a deep impression on all who Humanity as its exclusive basis. The heard him,"') in the commencement of principle on which mainly I advocated his address, made a pointed declara. the change remained the same; but tion, which I conceive must have the practical desirableness of it was made a deeper impression than even greatly lessened. his arguments, and which at least When as much had been said, on prevented the simple effect of these both sides, as the circumstances of the

case allowed, understanding that the

disposition of the meeting was against I perceive it would be easy to im. the change, and that it would be pain. prove this declaration, but I have not felt ful to some of those present to press a myself at liberty to make any alteration division, with the consent of the friend in it.

who had seconded my proposed reso


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Jutions, I withdrew them. As far as of the proceedings; or I would have the present prosperity of the Society requested him simply to state, that the is concerned, and the satisfaction of opinion of the Meeting was against some of its most effective Members, I the proposed alteration. see no cause to regret the failure of (2) Though principle should never the proposal.

be sacrificed, yet what is unnecessarily And now I must offer a few remarks offensive to others should be avoided. on some parts of Mr. Belsham's com. The term idolatrous in the Preamble munication. I will take them as they of the L. U. S., which was also occur. The letter itself bas, withont adopted in that of the W.U. S., is to a doubt, been perused by all your me extremely objectionable: if taken readers, with ile ailention which in the common acceptation it conveys every thing which comes from his pen a wrong idea; if not, it is at least receives among us; and I need 'not useless. And it is my conviction, therefore quote at large.

that such expressions have kept many (1) As far as I am concerned, (and more from Unitarianisnı, than they I presume it was the case with others) can possibly have brought to us. the question was not brought for. They needlessly arouse prejudice, wards “ inadvertently," nor “ynder more than they awaken inquiry a mistaken notion of liberality." Had Undoubtedly the noble band who I beeu a Member of the W. U. S. at “so strenuously insisted upon" " the its commencement, I should have retaining of this offensive expresbeen one of those who conceived (assion” pursued that course which they I still think) that the line of distinc. thought principle required; and far tion was then necessarv.-My opinion be it from me to throw suspicion on now is, that those who are excluded, their motives : but that it lost us the by certain principles, from the wor: public (though I apprehend inconsisship and communion of every other tent) avowal of Unitarian sentiments Christian Church, and are united in and co-operation in the dissemination worship and communion on those of them, by Jones, and Tyrwhitt, principles, and are alike strict in main- and “the whole body of Unitarians taining them, and alike desirous of then existing in the University of openly avowing and promoting them, Cambridge," must have operated should make those principles the bond greatly to produce the present blank of union. And my conviction is, that with respect to Unitarian prospects by such a system, not only the great in that University; and taken inore principles of Unitarianism would be generally, must have impeded the most effectually promoted, but even spread of our priuciples much more those which most Unitarians decid- than the retaining of this offensive edly believe to be scriptural truth expression can have done good. respecting the person of Christ. It is (3) In my judgment it is not a not in my mind (I may venture to trifiing logomachy" in what way assert) the result of "latitudinarian the term Unitarian shall be employed. principles," or concern for the personal Multitudes now glory in the name, feelings of those whom we exclude: with all its reproachful associations, however much I may be affected by and are getting nearer and nearer to these, I am not influenced by them: us, the believers in the Simple Huif I were, there are others to outweigh manity, who, had it continued to be them on the other side. -As to inad- restricted to ourselves, would still vertency, after what I have said, let have been at least on neutral ground, the reader judge. I know that in and unable to join with us (as they pursuing the course I did, I went on now do heart and hand) in the great merely because I could not otherwise and ennobling efforts which are maksatisfy my own mind. Few could be ing to disseminate our grand princiaware of the painful feelings with ples, and to participate in our cheering which the previous discussions had and encouraging prospects of their been attended : and my own wishes final triumph. were, that the subjects should have (4) The object of many of the books been dropped with the Annual Meet- in the W. V. S. Catalogue, is, to ing. I knew nothing of the Report promote the great principles of Uniwhich a bighly.valued friend sent you tarianism without entering into minor distinctions, (such, for instance, as of our best affections, are brought for. Mr. Gifford's Elucidation,) and those wards to deter or lead away from the important practical consequences re- steady consistent adherence to it, the specting the character and dealings of interests of duty, if not of truth, must God which are affected but little by suffer in proportion as they are effecthe doctrine of Simple Humanity. tua). From these, a believer in the Pre- (6) It is reasonable to suppose that existence joining our Society, might Mr. Belsham must be more acquainted make an ample selection for his own than I can be, with the constitution distribution.-Besides, many who held of the different Unitarian Societies ir that doctrine, cheerfully distributed this kingdom; but I have never heard books in which the doctrine of the of an instance in which the once Simple Humanity is advocated, if they adopted Preamble of any Society has thought them suited effectually to pro- been altered, in order to make it more mote the grand principles of Unitarian- comprehensive. Several have been ism: in like manner as many distribute formed upon the more comprehensive the Improved Version who believe in basis; and my opinion is, that as long the Miraculous Conception, and do not as there is the London Unitarian So. accord with some of the notes in other ciety as a central point of union for parts; and as many Unitarians distri- the believers in the Simple Humanity, bute books of practical piety, even if (and long, with the exception of the here and there occur an expression in word idolatrous, may it continue as it which they cannot unite; and as still is, and go on and prosper,) by uniting more distribute Bibles and Testaments with which, they may, in the most in the Authorized Version, though public manner such Associations enathey are convinced that Solomon's ble them to do, declare their convic. Song is not a religious book and has tions in this important doctrine,—the no pretensions to divine authority, various other Societies now bearing that the passage respecting the Three the name of Unitarian, would do well Heavenly Witnesses is a gross inter- to connect with the fundamental polation, and that in several other priuciples of Unitarianism, nothing parts it does not exhibit the best re- which should keep those from us, who presentation even of the Received in spirit, zeal, and co-operation, would Text, and that this, in several places, willingly prove that they are not departs from the original text. against us.

(5) If I understand the character of (7) Who, anjong the Ministers who that upright, conscientious, and able for the last twelve years have preached individual, to whom the W. U. S. before the W. U. S. at our annual was mainly indebted for its existence, meetings, have advocated the Simple and who contributed so effectually Humanity, more plainly and decidedly and extensively to the prosperity of than those who desired the proposed the Unitarian cause, especially in the change? And though several of our West of England, he would not have best sermons of late have not particu. considered the adoption of the pro. Jarly entered upon that doctrine, yet posed change, as conveying an ob- they have boldly and unequivocally fique and unkind reflection on his opposed popular errors, and shewn memory:" Mr. Kenrick valued too that Unitarianism is, in truth, “ the much, and understood too well, the doctrine according to godliness !" If right of private judgment. But if the proposed alteration in the Pres otherwise, there is, for every indivi. amble had been made, (and even any dual, a straight line which must not unexpected change taken place in the be warped to personal feelings': and practice of the Society,) the sermons when such motives, appealing to some of Mr. Fox, and Mr. John Kenrick,

and even that of Mr. Kentisk, for • It must have been upon the same have been delivered at our annual

instance, might, with equal propriety general principle, that the London Unita. rian Society, some years ago, introduced meetings. And for myself I plainly Archdeacon Blackburne's Works into their declare that had I afterwards been Catalogue.

to preach before the Society, while


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