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the lust of power Mr. Fuller knows the history of the ancient councils. Mr. Fuller knows the proceedings of the Synod of Dort: “a Synod,” says the historian, “called only to please angry divines:” and from which a respectable person went away, exclaiming: “O Dort | Dort | would to God I had never seen thee * !” What will Mr. Fuller say on the invariable certainty of his mode of reasoning, when he himself reflects, that his test can not apply to all times and places He asserts, with an apparent air of triumph, that the congregations, where the Socinian sentiments are taught, unless kept up by the accidental popularity of a preacher, or some other circumstances distinct from the doctrine delivered, generally fall into decay t.” Hath not Mr. Fuller heard; I doth not Mr. Fuller know, that this has been often the case with congregations, where the Trinitarian and Calvinistic schemes have been 'preached; and preached too by men of abilities, learning, and true worth Is he to be told of the declensions of such societies; and of the necessity there has been of uniting two such congregations, especially in the metropolis, into one Hath he not heard complaints of unsuccessful labours from his brethren, whose zeal and ardor in the duties of their office have scarcely exhibited any signs of a decline I have,

[* Brandt's History of the Reformation abridged, v. 2. p. 505, 5303

[+ Systems compared. p. 54.] now,

soever they led their lives. The doctrine of pre-
destination led some into great impiety of life.
Calvin himself seems to have been sensible of the
licentious tendency of his doctrine of God's decrees;
for, instead of clearly showing that the consequences
drawn from it did not justly follow from his
opinion, he warned the people not to think much
on it *. -
Calvinism is the system, which represents the
Divine Being as placing the eternal interests of the
whole human race upon the hazard of the first man's
obedience to a single injunction. It clothes the
Deity with power and justice, but it allows not the
display of mercy, till an infinite satisfaction has an-
swered the demands of justice. Here the most
rigorous human severity in punishing finds a coun-
terpart in the divine. Here implacable resentment
sanctions its anger by the example of heaven. Here
vice meets with its best apology, and is taught to
plead, in its excuse, that it is naturally woven into
the constitution, even from our conception in the
womb. Here the sinner is under a Strong temptation
to consider personal righteousness as superseded by
the imputation of Christ's righteousness. Here vir-
tuous desires, holy efforts, are enervated by an ap-
Prehension, that the fall of Adam has introduced into
our frame a total impotence, and inability to what
is good. Here the fear of offending God, by our

[* BP, Burnet, as quoted by Dr. Jortin. Dissertations, p. 96, 7.] H 6 trans

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transgressions, may well be considered as precluded by the awful sentence of eternal death, hanging over us from our birth, through the sin of our primogenitor. The obvious tendency of this system, unless counteracted by other principles, is to deprive penitence of its hope, virtue of its worth, and righteousness of its obligations. Its natural cffects are gloomy thoughts of the dispensations of God towards the children of men—sternness of temper, in imitation of the strict justice and the arbitrary sovereignty that are ever in the contemplation of the mind possessed by the principles of this system—and the arrogance of spiritual pride, in the presumption of being selected by a partial decree, and separated by irresistible grace, from the corrupt mass of mankind. The influence of the Trinitarian scheme also appears to us, to be very hurtful. It introduceth confusion into our ideas of God by mystical distinctions. In the solemn duty of prayer, when it is most desirable that the mind should be composed and the heart united, the soul is divided by different objects, and feels perplexed and distracted by an uncertainty to which principally to direct its attention and addresses. This I assert on the experience of those who have acknowledged, that it hath been their own case, and that it took much from the pleasure and satisfaction of their devotional exercises. The great doctrine of the divine Unity, which it was the end of the jewish, and christian revelations to revive and preserve in the world, is, by the notion of a Trinity of persons, equal - 1I]

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Mr. W. thinks these doctrines the less true, because they were professed by men of immoral characters. Let him not then be surprised, if se“rious Unitarians do not think the worse of their

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“ principles, because they are maintained by some “ who are not of a serious spirit. And let him ac“ knowledge the fallacy of judging of the truth of “ principles by the characters of those who profess “ them *.” It may be urged, as bearing with a serious weight, on the certainty of Mr. Fuller's test; that, at the grand period of separation from the church of Rome, the progress of morality was obstructed, among the Lutherans and the reformed. “Few were employ“ed,” saith the historian, “in cultivating or pro& 4 moting that noblest of all sciences, which has “ virtue, life, and manners for its object. Calvin, “ and his associates, in particular, left this Inaster“science in a rude and imperfect state +.” This imputation does not appear to lie against the Polish Socinians. Witness Socinus’ Commentary on the 5th and 6th of Matthew's Gospel, and the Ethics of Crellius. The moral principles of Socinus were: pure and elevated. And the Polish brethren were men eminent for purity of character, humility, and

[* Belsham's Review of Mr. Wilberforce's treatise. P. 211, 8vo edit.]

[t Mosheim's Eccles. History, translated by Maclaine. vol. 4t P. 120, 21, 1768.] * H 5 Ser] Jus

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seriousness of spirit, and assiduous study of the scriptures”. If we judge by such instances, Mr. Fuller's argument will turn against him ; and he “ will be left in the situation of the Philistines, com“ plaining of the unfairness of the weapon by which “Goliah lost his headt.” And he may learn to sympathize with me under the complaints, to which, he presumes, he has brought me. - Mr. Fuller considers himself as adopting a mode of arguing, before employed by my brethren against the Calvinists. Here he is mistaken. The falsehood of Calvinistic doctrines has been inferred, not from the lives of Calvinists, but from the nature of the tenets themselves. These have been attacked as gloomy, of an immoral tendency, as subverting, indeed, the foundations of virtue, and precluding the necessity of righteousness of life. With great reason, in my opinion, have they been, on these grounds, censured and arraigned. In an early period of their promulgation, they left on the minds of men impressions very unfavourable to virtue. A set of people, called gospellers, thought, if they magnified Christ much, and depended on his merits and intercession, they could not perish, which way

[* Memoirs of the Life of Faustus Socinus. P. i. 6,7. 237, and Appendix II.]

[+ Socinianism Indefens. P. 31.]

* If Id. and page 12.] - Soever

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