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adverts to this fact, as a motive to his exertions in the work of Reformation. “Were it the meanest under-service, if God, by his secretary conscience, enjoin it, it were sad for me if I should draw back; for me especially, now when all men offer their aid to help, ease and lighten the difficult labours of the Church, to whose service, by the intentions of my parents and friends, I was destined of a child, and in mine own resolutions, till coming to some maturity of years, and perceiving what tyranny had invaded the Church, and that he who would take orders must subscribe slave, and take an oath withal; which, unless he took with a conscience that would retch, he must either strait perjure or split his faith; I thought it better to prefer a blameless silence, before the sacred office of speaking, bought and begun with servitude and forswearing. Howsoever, thus church-outed by the prelates, hence may appear the right I have to meddle with these matters."

This exclusive spirit is unwarranted, disgraceful, and pernicious. The rejection of a sincere Christian from Christian fellowship has no foundation in Scripture authority, or primitive example. It degrades a Christian Church into a club of bigots. Were it once destroyed, sectarianism would expire. The hostile names, derived from leaders, or peculiar doctrines, would be disused, or at least would no longer describe churches, which would be only Christian. Much would be

ore

lost to the cause of a party; but more would be gained for the cause of truth, peace, and charity.

In renouncing an intolerant system, let us not be uncharitable towards the many excellent persons, both Churchmen and Dissenters, by whom that system is honestly and piously supported, as a necessary protection for pure religion. We spend upon that all our hostility; and leave for them only the hearty affection of countrymen, Christians, and brethren. Especially let us render the well-merited tribute of praise to those illustrious Nonconformists, who, whatever may have been their failings, were the sincere friends and bold champions of religious liberty; for it must not be forgotten that the real principle of Nonconformity is that of the right of private judgment, of universal religious liberty; and the cause of the one has generally been that of the other also. From Nonconformity has sprung Unitarianism, with which religious liberty is essentially connected; which rapidly follows, or produces that liberty, and may therefore be called “the truth,” which “ shall make you free.” The secession of the two thousand was a glorious protest against spiritual domination. As religious liberty is our noblest heritage, those who have vindicated it are our best benefactors; and amongst these, the English Nonconformists hold a proud pre-eminence. Their minds were powerful and enlightened ; their devotion fervent; their sacrifices great

and severe; their triumphs splendid ; and be their memories blessed and immortal! Their principles, justly stated and consistently maintained, are our glory. They are deduced from our Bibles, and graven in our hearts. They shall be transmitted from generation to generation, a rich inheritance, and last, like hope, which ends only in fruition, till Conformity and Nonconformity alike expire in the universal brotherhood of Christianity,

LECTURE IV.

ON UNITARIANISM.

ZECHARIAH xiv. 9:

In that day shall there be One Lord, and his

name One.

THE doctrine of the Divine Unity is of immense importance. It is the soul of Judaism, the foundation of Christianity, the noblest discovery of reason, the glory of revelation, the centre of religious truth, the antidote of infidelity, the deathblow of idolatry, the spring of Reformation, the guiding star of free inquiry, the companion of liberty, the parent of piety, the source of light in the mind and goodness in the heart, and the inheritor of supreme dominion over faith, to which it is directed by prophecy, and will be conducted by Providence, in all nations.

There can be but one God. It is impossible to associate a correct notion of the attributes of Deity with a plurality of possessors. An absolute monarch can have no coadjutors. Omnipotence

infinity, and eternity, can neither be a divided portion, nor a common inheritance. The admission of one omnipotent excludes that of a second omnipotent; of one infinite that of a second infinite; of one eternal and uncaused being, that of another eternal and uncaused being : all addition or multiplication of divine persons is precluded by the very idea of God, who must be the sole possessor of absolute perfection.

The Divine Unity is not a barren speculation, or a solitary truth. This single proposition, standing as the representative of its kindred truths and genuine consequences, is the substance of Christianity. It is the sun in the firmament of religious knowledge; inferior doctrines are bound to it, as by the attractive power of nature; they shine in its light, and round it revolve in harmony. It would not be difficult, by fair argumentation, to trace this affinity ; but without entering on so wide a field, we would observe that Scripture has blended the Divine Unity with whatever it has declared of most importance in faith or practice :-with the fatherly character of God; “ to us there is one God, the Father ;' “ one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all:”—with his unrivalled goodness; “ Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one; that is God :"

with the limited and temporary dispensation of Judaism ; “ Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is

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