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the leaft intention to deprive them of this freedom: nay, rather feem to extol that clemency, which ceafes to push on a rigorous execution of the fevere ftatutes made against them in the days of our fathers, faying, if we had lived in thofe days, we would not have carried matters with fo high a hand: yet, alas! › do not even we fometimes betray an inclination to keep fuch inhuman laws ftill hanging over their heads, and thereby hold the unhappy fubjects of them always at our mercy?-This may appear to fome a more decent and refined piece of political wifdom, which anfwers all ends more effectually, than either countenancing or complying with any attempt to enforce fuch ftatutes by a too odious and invidious profecution. Whereas, in truth, thefe fame penal laws, while they fubfift, give fo great encouragement to informers, that it is often out of our power to prevent the execution of them, were we never fo well difpofed to do it: and it may at length perhaps merit our confideration, whether an abfolute denial of relief to these our Protestant brethren, on their repeated fupplications (who best know their own fore, and their cwn grief) must not prove an ill return for all the labours which many of them have fuccefsfully be- . ftowed upon the common caufe of Christianity and Proteftantifm; labours, which if we were as ready to reward, as we are to adopt, would have procured them a different treatment from that of being exposed to confifcations, and imprisonment.
We are told indeed, that it is fometimes better and fafer to let a law drop by difufe, than to abolish it by a formal repeal. But no example of this is given; and it is fo far from being the general fenfe of our Legislature, that hardly a feffion is fuffered to pass without expunging from the ftatute books fome or other of thefe antiquated ordinances.
With respect to an entire, complete Toleration, the mat ter of fact feems to be no other than this: In countries where moft liberty is allowed, we find the most knowledge of Chriftianity; and by confequence, moft room to expect the pureft profeffion of it. To what elfe can be afcribed the manifeft fuperiority, which we justly boaft over our Popish neighbours? And should not we, on any other occafion in the world, think of extending an expedient, which, fo far as it has hitherto been tried, ever has fucceeded fo well and happily? We are fometimes indeed terrified with the mischievous confequences that might arife, if people were fuffered to declare their own religions, without fubfcribing to what we please to call the Fundamentals of Christianity: and yet what mifchiefs have arifen from permitting the Jews to exercife their religion, without any fuch fubfcription *?
⚫ I remember, indeed, a fhort theological difpute was once attempted to be raised against naturalizing them, from that ingenious
REV. Feb. 1774.
• But how agreeable foever fuch a Toleration may appear to all found policy, as well as to the first principles of our benevolent religion; it is much to be doubted, whether a confiderable majority amongst us do not ftill continue tenacious of quite different maxims; nor is it lefs doubtful, to what causes this may be moft juftly attributed: whether to any fuch apprehenfion, as that above-mentioned; or to fome fecret love of fpiritual domination, which ftill holds poffeffion of their hearts; and which is ever prefenting itself, under a variety of fpecious titles and appearances: though it be hardly now admitted as A POWER TO RULE THE CONSCIENCES OF MEN; in which very form this favourite doctrine was long tacked, and aukwardly enough, to the Bible itself, and keeps its place there in feveral editions: yet it comes in for its claim of fubmiffion, as including some kind of coercive jurifdiction, fome branch of a certain power of the keys 3-as an authority of order, &c. &c. whatever may be comprehended under fuch more plaufible terms. But how fond foever fome Clergymen may be of Clerical Authority, the beft of their predeceffors, the Apoftles, appeared to have small concern about it. When a warm controverfy arofe in the church of Rome, concerning a distinction of days, and meats, and drinks; of equal importance with many, that have fubfifted fince; we do not find St. Paul, with the officioufnefs of later church governors, proceeding to frame an Article upon this queftion; but on the contrary, leaving. each perfon to the perfuafion of his own mind; and neither decreeing nor recommending any other practice or profeffion relative to it, befide that of charity and mutual forbearance ‡.
What an engine for other purpofes has the commiffion, which Chrift is fuppofed to have given St. Peter, been in other hands! And yet Peter himself never once appealed to it, nor claimed any kind of pre-eminence from it. Nay, it is fomewhat remarkable that Mark, who is faid to have written under Peter's own infpection, has omitted the very mention of this commiffion, though he has preserved the history which led to it fo little anxious was the Apoftle, to difplay any fuch token of fuperiority! And how much greater reafon have we
topic the great danger of defeating prophecies. It was first started in a fmall performance, faid to be done by one of the Common Council of London; which probably gave the original cue to fome perfons, of greater eminence, for founding an alarm. This piece was wrote with much appearance of fimplicity, and had a fuitable text fet before it: Thefe men being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city?
Vid. Contents of the latter part of Pfalm cxlix. Ed Bill, 4to. 1702. Basket, 4to. 1733. Do. fol. 1739. Though I must do both our Universities the justice to remark, that in their late editions, this is tolerably qualified.'
* Matth. xvi. 18.'
K Mark viii. 29.'
‡' Rom. xiv.’
at this day, to abandon all fuch claims under every denomina tion? Since we have feen the effects of them early and late, abroad and at home: each period of church hiftory yielding most abundant evidence, that all fuch Fortifications, as they are ufually tiled, when once mounted with a proper train of artillery, and that properly played off, inftead of ferving to annoy the enemy, are but too apt to hurt our friends.
• Such doctrinal Formularies exclude none, but conscientious men, from any particular communion; they create no difficulty to others, who fubfcribe them as things of courfe; and in the like circumstances, will fubfcribe any thing.
Neither can thefe Tefts hinder the moft cautious and inoffenfive perfons from delivering their real fentiments on any fubject, which they judge to be of importance; and where they muft think themselves obliged to bear their teftimony, notwithftanding that the oppofite fide happens to have been decreed with all folemnity. Nor in fact, does there now appear a less variety of opinions, though a lefs fafe one, among thinking perfons, where any competent degree of liberty remains, than in all probability there would have been, if no fuch decrees ever had exifted. Nay, how could any thing, do we imagine, but enjoining the belief, and annexing emoluments to the profeffion of fundry opinions, have ever given importance to them, or caused contefts, and created animofities about them?'
There are many of his Lordship's obfervations, which it would give us pleafure to place before our Readers; but we muft content ourselves with adding the following paffage:
It is this fatal fcheme, fays he, of making curs the meafure of every other man's Faith, and obtruding it upon him, inftead of having it to ourselves before God; which above all things tendeth, and will always tend, to increase the growing infidelity amongft us;-To create a carelefs difregard, or a fa ftidious contempt of all religion in fome perfons; with a fevere cenfure of, and a ftrong renitency against this abhorred practice of enforcing whatever shall be taken for it, in others; who feem determined thoroughly to fift our Conftitution: and it is evident, that by the increase of general knowledge, and a no lefs general tafte for liberty, numbers become equally qualified and difpofed to do fo; while others yet appear not to be duly fenfible, under what difficulties we of the Establishment muf lie, in fuch a confufed ftate of things, as is neceffarily produced by the want of thofe timely revifals, and gradual reformations, which might enable it to keep pace with each improvement in every branch of science.
Were fome perfons fenfible of this, they would not furely be fo forward to fufpećt us of hypocrify and prevarication, while we esteem ourselves bound to keep up all these forms, till H 2 relieved
relieved by proper authority: nor impute it wholly to our prévate intereft, when we minifterially comply with what we are not able to remove; and patiently remain in pofts, however invidiously misrepresented, where it is conceived that we may do more good, and perform a more acceptable service to our common Master; by continuing to labour on in his wafte vineyard, and wait his own good time for opportunities of ufing our little influence [hereby prevented from growing ftill less] towards pruning a few wild branches in it, and rooting out fome of the rankeft weeds; rather than defpond immediately on every juft caufe of offence, that must occur to us; or peevishly revolt at each injurious reproach, that will be caft upon us. If our first Reformers had quitted their ftations in the Church, inftead of using all their endeavours to amend it; should we have had reafon either to admire their fpirit, or applaud their conduct at this day?'
In regard to this paffage, we cannot help obferving, with the greatest deference to his Lordship's opinion, that a different conduct from what he mentions might conduce greatly to the advancement of virtue and true religion. Were but a few of the superior clergy, of refpectable characters and distinguished abilities, to unite in endeavouring to bring about a farther reformation, and exert their utmost endeavours for this purpofe, notwithstanding any oppofition they might meet with from minifters of ftate, or merely political men, and, failing, in the attempt, were they to quit their stations in the church, fuch a conduct could not fail to be attended with the most beneficial confequences. It would ftamp a real dignity on their characters, it would be the strongest proof that could poffibly be given of their fincerity, it would contribute not a little towards leffening that contempt for the clergy which many laymen are too apt to exprefs, it would place the neceffity of altering our ecclefiaftical constitution in the cleareft point of view, and would tend more towards awakening even the most thoughtless to a ferious fense of religion, than the moft judicious and elaborate productions from the prefs.
ART. V. Conclufion of the Account of Mr. Lindsey's Apology. See our laft Month's Review.
AVING already laid before our Readers the account that Mr. Lindsey has given, at the clofe of his Apology, of his conduct with regard to the refignation of his living, we now revert to the beginning of the work; the first chapter of which contains fome ftrictures on the origin of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the oppofition it met with, to the time of the reformation. In the course of these strictures, the learned Au
thor obferves, as others have done, that the word Trinity is an unfcriptural term, and that it was not known among Chriftians for near two hundred years after Chrift, being firft ufed by Theophilus, a Gentile convert, Bishop of Antioch; but in no great conformity to what it is made to fignify at prefent. It is acknowledged to be entirely of Heathen extraction, borrowed from Plato, and the Platonic philofophy: and this being its true origin, it should feem that a proper zeal for God's word, and regard for Chrift and his infpired apostles, fhould make us relax a little of our paffion against those who fcruple to use a language not fanctified by their authority, in fpeaking of and addreffing the great God. Mr. Lindsey farther fhews, that a difbelief of the Trinity is no blameable herefy, as Chriftians, for fome ages after our Lord's appearance, were wholly Antitrinitarians. In confirmation of his affertion, he confiders by what means the doctrine of the Trinity prevailed; and, in defcribing the rife and progrefs of this doctrine, he has gratified his readers with feveral hiftorical circumftances, relative to the fects or persons who embraced Unitarian principles. From his account, it is evident, that what is called the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, was first established, and hath been all along fupported, by violence and the fecular power; an argument in its behalf furely not to be boasted of, and concerning which the gospel of Jefus is wholly filent.
In the second chapter, our Author purfues the hiftory of Unitarianism, and defcribes, in a more efpecial manner, the ftate of it in our own country, from the æra of the reformation, to nearly the present times. This account includes in it many curious particulars, relative to those who profeffed and fupported the Unitarian doctrine. But we fhall only tranfcribe what Mr. Lindsey has recorded, from Fuller, of the zeal which King James the Firft fhewed to convert Bartholomew Legate; who, in 1611, was burnt to death in Smithfield, for Arianifm, or rather for Socinianifm. King James caufed this Legate often to be brought to him, and feriouly dealt with him to endeavour his converfion. One time the King had a mind to furprize him into a confeffion of Chrift's deity (as his Majesty afterwards declared to a right reverend Prelate, Archbishop Uther) by asking him, whether or no he did not daily pray to JeJus Chrift? which had he acknowledged, the King would infallibly have inferred, that Legate tacitly confented to Chrift's divinity, as a fearcher of the heart. But herein his Majefty failed of his expectation, Legate returning, that indeed he had prayed to Chrift in the days of his ignorance, but not for thefe jaft feven years. Hereupon the King in choler fpurned at him with his foot; away, bafe fellow (faith he) it fball never be faid H 35