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a few moderns. Even confining our views to Christian history, we have sufficiently shewn the fallacy of this representation, which is founded solely upon its comparatively later revival, Unitarianism “ appears modern only when referred to an age of spiritual domination and persecution. Catholics wish to refer Protestantism to a recent and impure origin in the reign of Henry VIII. Trinitarians confine their views of Unitarianism to this side of that deluge of barbarism and superstition which overwhelmed the moral world at the destruction of the Roman Empire, and extended to the era of the Reformation; and from which some sects arose sooner than others. The tops of rugged rocks and barren mountains first appeared; but the extensive plains and fertile valleys, destined for the abode of man, rose last to view. The gloomy raven was the first to quit the ark, and was not long in finding a restingplace; but the peaceful dove hovered over the scene of desolation, returned and lingered, till it brought the olive branch to give the assurance of safety to mankind. The sun itself could not, at first, penetrate the misty atmosphere, purify the air, and restore the unclouded face of the heavens.” (Perry's Letters to Kinghorn.)
The chief scene of reviving Unitarianism at the time of the Reformation, was in Poland. There was a constellation of illustrious characters, which shed around a blaze of religious light. Their writings yet remain, the rich repository of what is most valuable in Biblical knowledge and criticism. Of these the most conspicuous was Socinus. We lament the inconsistency which led him some steps in the road of persecution ; but we must do justice to his high worth. “He died,” says Robinson, “in perfect peace, reflecting on his sufferings with pleasure, and expressing his hopes that his labours would be rewarded by the just Judge at the last day.” The epitaph inscribed on his tomb' shews' what his friends thought of his doctrine. It alludes to Popery under the similitude of a building. Luther took off the roof of Babylon ; Calvin threw down the walls; but Socinus dug up the foundations. A furious persecution afterwards broke up the Unitarian Churches in Poland; but large bodies remain to this day in Transylvania. Indeed, at first they were hunted to death alike by Catholics and Protestants; witness the barbarous murder of Servetus, by the instigation of Calvin. Similar scenes took place in this country. That amiable young prince, Edward VI., was with great difficulty prevailed on by Cranmer to sign the death warrant of Joan Bocher, a pious, intelligent, and distinguished female, for denying the Trinity. He did it with tears in his eyes, and with the solemn appeal, “My Lord Archbishop, as in this case I resign myself to your judgment, you must be answerable to God for it.” The history of Unitarian martyrs would be an interesting subject. Many have suffered inthis country, under laws which no longer exist, but some of which have only recently been torn from the statute book which they digraced. Heavily prest the yoke of persecution on the necks of our forefathers, and its burden crushed them to the earth. They fell beneath its overwhelming weight; and it formed their only monument. Never yet have they received that welldeserved tribute of posthumous applause, which has been the portion of so many others, whose names a recording finger has indelibly traced on the pillar of immortality. They have passed away without their fame, for our adversaries have told our tale, and by idolatrous Christians has been written the history of Christianity. But their names and worth are preserved in those imperishable records treasured up in the courts of heaven, were traced by the hand of Omniscience, and shall one day be unfolded to an admiring world : then shall they “shine as the stars, for ever and ever.” (m)
The revived progress of Unitarianism claims affinity with the original diffusion of the gospel, as it has advanced in opposition to power, and in defiance of persecution : and of late years, since, it has been fairly and plainly preached, has spread with great rapidity amongst the poor. , So far as its present state and prospects belong to the
general design of this Course, they will be considered in the next Lecture. The text is a • prediction of its final, universal prevalence, which must be realized. Its progress is first to destroy error and quell dissension in the Church; and then to flow around the globe, bearing to every land the unity and love of God, and universal brotherhood of man. Then “ shall the Lord be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be One Lord, and his name One;" and every voice shall echo the song, till it resound from shore to shore, of "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; good will towards men.”
But between us and that happy period there is yet a long interval of arduous conflict. By strict consistency to rebut the shafts of calumny; by mild benevolence to conciliate affection, without swerving from the integrity that disdains the slightest sacrifice of truth; with unwearied patience to encounter opposition, ignorance, and prejudice; and by firm, united, zealous exertion, to restore the purity of Christian truth on the ruins of antichristian error: these are the high duties of its advocates; these are the toilsome, but honourable task to which they are called by God and Providence. Uniting in this noble work, you become the coadjutors of the excellent of the earth, who in any age have interposed, at their own peril, to arrest human evils or multiply blessings; who, like Aaron, have stood between
the dead and the living to stay the plague; who, as Abraham, have renounced all for God. You join the illustrious band of Reformers, kindred spirits in all climes and generations, from him, the best and greatest, who, “for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame," down to your own Priestleys and Lindseys, who heard his animating voice, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life;" and who calls you, with them, on those plains of holy warfare, to sustain the cause of truth, righteousness, and benevolence, and reap the deathless laurels of celestial glory.