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that in this happy, free country ; free, from the gem neral spirit and temper of the times, though not yet from the laws, in religious matters and disquisitions ; there are not wanting, my friend, precedents and ex, amples, to guide and encourage in situations like your's.
I may only point out, at a distance, an excellent person, of fine parts, cultivated, from the first and through life, with knowledge and science of every kind, particularly of God, his works, and his revealed will; who, many years since, wearied with, and unable any longer to endure the Athanasian worship of the church, two or three friends joining with him from the first, instituted a church in his own house : a practice truly apostolical. Here, he being the minister for a short space, made Dr. Clarke's reformed Liturgy the devotional part of the service every Sunday. Fortunately, soon after, before he had looked out for a proper place, and a person to officiate re. gularly, he prevailed to have this reformed service of the church adopted by a considerable, and very liberal congregation of Dissenters in the place; now become á flourishing, professed society of Unitarian Christians. Happy, in seeing successful efforts to promote the pure worship of the God and Father of all, crown the serene evening of a long life, spent in pursuit of truth, and in doing good. So may it still be prolonged!
Mention might be made of other most valuable and virtuous characters, persons likewise of no in
considerable note, bred up in the church of England, who have entirely withdrawn from it themselves and their families, to be at liberty to worship no other God, but the Father : attentive at the same time to keep up his public worship in their own houses; that their children, and also their men-servants, and their maid-servants, if so disposed, might have it in their power to know and to worship the only living and true God, as well as themselves.
Many very respectable individuals also, and others in the more private as well as in the lower walks of life, have had their minds enlightened to see this plainest truth of all others, that the God who made them is one single person, whom alone they are to bow down to and worship ; and have gradually been seceding from the church, though not in such numbers yet as to be much discerned, or missed in the great mass: who were not able to reconcile themselves to the thought of continuing to worship three Gods: for no other way could they fairly and honestly interpret ; no other construction could they possibiy put upon the Litany; upon (a) gloria patri,
(a) Viz. 56
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost : as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
“ Doubtless this is said by many very frequently, and with gicat devotion. But can it be said truly ? Does not that deserve consideration ? Is there any such doxology in the New Testament? If not, how can it be said to have been in the beginning ? Are not
80 often repeated; and many other passages of the church service.
And such instances must go on to multiply, and the light of the divine Unity to spread, till no place he found for error in this incst important point. For there is a spirit of enquiry gone forth among many, to learn for themselves, wbat is to be known, concerning the great author of their existence, upon whom alone they have the most immediate and intimate dependance every moment, and must depend for ever. The times of darkness and ignorance are past. No longer will the.Christian world suffer itself to be imposed upon by abstruse metaphysical definitions of a Deity, consisting of three Persons ; a thing so strange and unaccountable to the rational mind, that no one who reflects at all, will receive it without bringing it to the severest test of examination. And then it must immediately vanish, and come to nothing. For his works of nature, to those who can read him there, bespeak its great author to be one wise, all-powerful, benevolent artist, and parent of his rational offspring. And they who go to the fountain-head of all extraordinary divine communications, now accessible to all, and open the Bible for themselves, will find there in every page, as you, 'Volusian, have so recently experienced, from the testimony of Moses and all the
the books of the New Testament the most ancient, and the most authentic Christian writings in the world ? &c. &c.”
LARDNEK, vol. i. p, 178.
prophets, of Jesus and his apostles, that Jehovah, God, the Maker of all things, and kind Father of the universe, is one single Person, and all-perfect Being, to the exclusion of all other beings and persons what
In the mean time, the supineness of not a few is most surprizing, in taking upon trust what others have decided before they were born, upon a subject of such infinite moment. A conduct of this kind is well reproved, with great force and seriousness, in a little piece, which I have noted, Marcellinus, in your collection. And with your good leave, and that of our friends, I shall read it to you. And this I ihe rather propose, as it will very
well close our conversations upon the present subject, which there seems to be no call for pursuing any farther ; since Volusian, after satisfying himself, that the worship of the established church is such, as he cannot with a good conscience any longer attend, does now, I flatter myself, see his way plain before him, how to act,
The author is a gentleman of learning and abilities above my praise, who was educated a member of the church of England, but retired from his connections with it, because, in his estimation, it held forth three Gods as objects of divine wo: s'hip.
“I do not indeed see,” says he, (a),“ how a Christian of any persuasion can justify to God and
(a) Preface to Objections to the Doctrine of the Trinity, &c. p. 4, 5, 6. Manchester. 1788.
his conscience, a wilful neglect of such means of religious enquiry as his situation will afford, or a continuance in the public profession of those doctrines, which his understanding shall ultimately reject. If truth in opinion, and sincerity in profession, be in any case desirable, religious truth, and religious sincerity, is peculiarly so. We are required to worship God in understanding, and in truth; and we are forbidden to offer up at the divine altar the sacrifice of fools. If the precepts of the Bible, then, are to be esteemed as of any weight among those who profess the religion of the Bible, it is a duty incumbent upon them, before all other religious duties, to have some well-grounded opinion concerning that Being whom they profess to adore. A correspondence between our sentiments and professions, all men expect from us ; but we seem to regard the God of Truth as being far less nice in his notions of morality : and that, in the solemn offices of devotion, he will readily excuse the highest degree of wilful ignorance, and wink at the habitual commission of wilful hypocrisy.
is Christian reader! this is no matter of barren speculation ; it strikes directly at our conduct through life on a point of serious importance. The public worship of God we all consider as a duty of indispensable obligation : and whether we shall perform this worship in the way most acceptable to him, and most conformable to the precepts of the sacred writings; or in that way which best suits our indolence, or coincides with our interest; whether we shall pay