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eminent piety. To mention the living might be invidious and awkward. But I appeal to the memoirs of the dead; of Faustus Socinus himself, of the Polish Brethren, of Biddle, of Emlyn, of Hopkins, of Lardner, of Jebb, and of Price. If the number of excellent characters should not be so great, as among other denominations; you are sensible that a cause of this is easily to be assigned ; the number of Socinians hath always, in the later ages of the church, born a small proportion to the number of trinitarians and Calvinists; and the number of sincere, conscientious persons attentive to the cultivation of pious affections, hath born a small proportion to those, who have been nominal Socinians or Calvinists. I need not remind you, that the operation and force of the human mind are limited, and if there have been, or be now, a defect in devotion amon g Socinians, compared with Calvinists, it is to be accounted for in a manner not at all disparaging to the principles of the former, with respect to their influence on the pious feelings. They, deeply engaged in the investigation of truth, absorbed in gaining just ideas, may have been necessarily betrayed into a neglect of the culture of the heart and affections o Hall, they attended . . . " equally
-- [* “Dr. Priestley and Mr. Beisham have taught wo indiffer“ence to religion, is friendly to the aquisition ostruth: and Dr. Toul“min completes the scheme, by teaching us that the acquisition of “truth, is friendly to indifference to religion; or, which is the same “thing, that it leads to the neglect of cultivating holy affections.” “So
* “cinianism o
equally to this as to that, they would have felt an energy in the principles, which they held in common with their fellow christians, to raise, and feed, and maintain the devotional fervor of the mind. [“It can not, and need not be denied,” to adopt the remarks, in an excellent discourse,” “that those “studies and speculations, in which the reasoning “power is chiefly exercised, do tend, in many cases, “ to take something from the ardor of feeling, and “by consequence reduce to a lower tone, those emo“tions of hope and joy, of which persons of warmer “imagination and stronger passions are more sus
“cinianism Indefensible,” p. 19. Mr. Fuller is mistaken: This is not my assertion, nor my language. I speak not of the acquisition, but of the investigation of truth. This calls not so much the affections as the understanding into exercise. And while truth, even religious truth, is an object of pursuit only, it may not operate: though it may do so, after it is acquired. what is there more in saying this, than that before a principle of knowledge becomes subject of rational belief, of persuasion and conviction, it may not produce its full, if any, effect P Mr. Fuller adds, “The knowledge “ of Christ’s doctrine was formerly promoted by doing his will; and “being known, it invariably wrought in a way of righteousness.” This is too hasty and unguarded an assertion. How did the knowledge of Christ's doctrine invariably produce righteousness, when the apostles found it needful severely to reprehend many of the first christians? when many were the enemies of the cross of Christ P Phil. iii. 18, when the apostle Paul speaks of holding the truth in unrighteousness * and, in modern times, doth Calvinism invariably work in a way of righteousness, among those who embrace it *]
“ceptible. But surely neither the strength nor value “ of faith ought to be estimated merely by consti“tutional or accidental sensibility. The calm devo“tion, the composed tranquillity, the rational, but “steady hope of a sober and collected mind, are per“haps more dignified, certainly not less beautiful “ and pleasing, than the raptures of a more animated “ and exulting faith. Each is good in its kind, when “connected with just views, and founded upon just “grounds; and nothing but ignorance or bigotry “will undervalue either.”] . The perfections and providence of God, the awful realities of a future state, the resurrection, the hope of eternal life, the grace of God in Christ Jesus, independently of Calvinistic phraseology or systematical explanations, are the fuel by which the fire of devotion is kindled and supplied. The apostle, speaking of Jesus Christ, saith: “Who is of God made “to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, “ and redemption.” To this account of things every christian, of every denomination, the Unitarian christian not less than others, giveth a most ready and cordial assent. Here he findeth food for pious. gratitude, for humble hope, for elevated faith, while - he believeth, that GoD, even the FATHER, is the author of the gospel dispensation; that it was communicated by Jesus Christ, as the minister of reconciliation, and the author of salvation; and that HE conveyeth to us, through him, knowledge, pardon,
holiness, and eternal life. While the christian, even the Unitarian, feels these to be blessings of unspeakable importance, blessings which render the gospel a pearl of invaluable price, his high, grateful and devout admiration of the value and excellence of the gospel, and of the grace and goodness displayed in it, is drawn forth, and shows itself in a religious temper and acts of piety.
- I am, Sir,
- Your's respectfully.
IN your second letter”, you call upon “your “ christian brethren to examine matters to the bot“tom, and judge for themselves, whether they “might not as well expect grapes of thorns, or figs “ of thistles, as repentance towards God, or faith “ towards our Lord Jesus Christ, proceeding from “Socinian principles.” I cordially go along with you in recommending a thorough examination, and I have, in my turn, endeavoured to assist our readers in this inquiry. The conclusion, in my opinion, comes out quite the reverse of what you represent it. My appeal hath been to facts: and those facts, in a series and succession of them, exhibit thousands of cases, where repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus Christ, arose from the principles, and those principles only, to which the modern Unitarian subscribes. This leaves on my mind a deep impression of the great impropriety of your publication, both of its general design, and of the insinuation and reflections with which it abounds. In vindication of those principles which you attack and depreciate, in vindication of their moral tendency
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