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them with books for their instruction in these arts, and with testaments, catecbisms and bibles. One Poulton bad opened a school in these parts, and given public notice that he would teach the children of the poor gratis. To counteract his designs, and to afford the poor an easy opportunity of having their children educated in protestant principles, three worthy gentlemen, Mr. Artbur Sballet, Mr. Samuel Warburton, and Mr. Ferdinando Holland, members of Mr. Nathaniel Vincent's church, instituted this seminary, which has continued ever since, maintained by voluntary subscriptions, annual collections, and legacies. The number of scholars at first was 40; afterwards it increased to 50; then to 140; and has since been 200. It was the first institution of the kind, wherein the protestant dissenters were conceroed ; and into it objects are received without distinction of party. Such an institution has the merit of being a rational, fair, and benevolent mode of
opposing superstition and bigotry, abridging no one's securi. ty and rights, and leaving the event to the operation of knowledge and understanding; and it reflects honor on the spirit and resolution of its first founders, who set it on foot in the reign of the tyrannical and bigoted prince, James II, when the dissenters had scarcely emerged out of a state of persecution.
It will not, it is presumed, be thought beneath the importance and dignity of general history, to mention here two small publications which the press produced at this period; especially as the history, through which the reader has been led, records the virtuous and manly struggles made to secure the liberty of writing and publishing on the subject of religion, according to the views any might entertain, and exhibits memoirs of the progress of theological enquiries. The importance of publications is also to be estimated, not by the number of pages, but by the nature of the subject, the ability with whicb they are executed, and the effect they produced, or the impression they were Calculated to leave on the public mind.
One of the pieces, both anonymous, to which we reser, was entitled, “ A brief History of the Unitarians, called also Socinians : in four Letters to a friend.” The publisber, to whom they were written, having left them some
time with a gentleman, a person of excellent learning and worth, they were returned to him with a letter, expressing great approbation of them, which was printed with each edition. The first of these letters represented the Unitarian doctrine concerning the unity of God, the humanity of Cbrist, and the Holy Spirit, as the power and inspiration of God; aimed to confirm and prove it by a series of scriptural arguments, and closed with a concise history of it. The design of the three following letters, was to reply to the arguments of the orthodox; and, that the answer might be full and satisfactory, they were occupied in the illustration of all the texts usually alledged as proofs of the Trinitarian doctrine. The passages out of the Old Testament are first explained, then those out of the Gospels and Acts, and lastly those out of the Epistles and the Revelations. This mode of discussing a question, which depends purely on divine revelation, will be admitted to be proper and fair. It shewed that the author was not afraid to lodge his appeal with the scriptures, and it was adapted to lead the reader into an investigation of their meaning according to the rules of sober criticism and just explanation. It went, particularly, to obviate a reflection cast upon the Unitari. ans, as exalting their reasonings above the plain and express revelation of the scriptures. The first edition of this Tract was in 12mo, in 1687. It was afterwards reprinted in a Collection of Unitarian Tracts, in quarto, 1691.
The other Tract published at this period, which I have mentioned as worthy of particular notice, was entitled " A Rational Catechism." It was distinguished, not only by the good sense, and the vein of close, but familiar, reason. ing which ran through it, but by the peculiar method in which it was drawn up, Catechisms, in general, have consisted principally, if not solely, of speculative points, drawn from the theological systems of the day, and of the country where they are published. These are conveyed in an authoritative manner, as absolutely necessary to salvation; and are to be committed to memory, without any attempt to prove them by reasoning level to the capacity of the learner. The author of this Tract, conceiving that neg. lecting to examine into the bottom of things, was the cause ef that variety of opinions from whence arose rash judg.
ments, animosities, hatreds, and persecution, began his piece with the first principles discernable in human nature ; and, avoiding all sentiments controverted amougst Christians, coufined himself to those truths only as all agree in, and which lead directly unto practice, professing not to advance every thing that he might think useful, but only what he judged most useful. The dialogue, into which form the work is thrown, divides itself into three parts; the principles of natural religion; those of christianity, or the great advantages derived from the gospel; and the rules of conduct which it supplies. The instructions and conclusions which the catechumen is led, in a great degree, to draw for himself, and by his own reflections, arise in a chain of reasoning from this principle, “that every man seeks happiness;" which happiness must be, principally, mental and spiritual. The means of attaining to it in the knowledge of God and the practice of his will are, hence, gradually developed. This piece is ascribed to Mr. Popple. It was first printed by license, in 1688; another edition of it appeared 1690, 12mo. And it was reprinted at Amsterdam in 1712*
* Preface to the work. Hollis's Memoirs, p. 263; and a eritical Review of it in the Bibliotheque Universelle et Historique, tom. ix. p. 95, &c.
AN ADDITION TO VOL. IV. p. 333.
December 11, 1729. WAITING on Arthur Onslow, Esq. speaker of the Honorable house of commons, he was pleased to suffer me to peruse and afterwards to transcribe a marginal note, which he had written with his own hand to page 152, 153, and 154, of the first volume of my Abridgment of Mr. Baxter's Life, where the subject of which I was treating, was King Charles's celebrated declaration for ecclesiastical affairs, which bore date October 25, 1660.
I had said, that the concessions there made were so highly pleasing, that an address of thanks was drawn up and signed by many of the dissenting ministers in and about London, &c.
The marginal note before-mentioned, was in the words following:
“ Both houses of parliament did also severally present to the king an address of thanks for this declaration : and in the house of commons, November 6, 1660, a committee was appointed to bring in a bill to make the declaration effectual, and the person first named of the committee was serjeant Hales, who was therefore very probably the first mover of this bill. And as he was the next day (I think it was so soon) made chief lord baron, it is not unlikely that he was desirous to leave the house of commons with this mark of his moderation, as to the religious differences of that time, and what he thought would be the proper means to heal them. But bis endeavors did not succeed; for on the 28th of November following, the bill being read the first time, and a question put that the bill be read a second time, it passed in the negative: the yeas 157, the noes 183.
The tellers for the yeas were Sir Anthony Joby, and Sir George Booth; for the noes, Sir Solomon Swale, and Mr. Palmer."
Nore. “ Sir Solomon Swale was afterwards discharged being a member of the house of commons, for being a po. pish recusant convict." I here insert this for the use of posterity.
. Dr. Calamy's History of his own Life.
A Declaration of certain principal Articles of Religion, set out by order
of both archbishops, metropolitans, and the rest of the bishops, for the Unity of Doctrine to be taught and holden of all parsons, vicars, and curates; as well in testification of their common consent in the said doctrine, to the stopping of the mouths of them that go about to slander the ministers of the church for diversity of judgment, and as necessary for the instruction of their people ; to be read by the said parsons, vicars, and curates, at their possession taking, or first entry into their cures: and also, after that yearly, at two several times ; that is to say, the Sunday next following Easter-day, and St. Michael the archangel, or on some other Sunday within one month after those feasts, immediately after the gospel.
“ FORASMUCH as it appertaineth to all christian men, but especially to the ministers and pastors of the church, being teachers and instructors of others, to be ready to give a reason of their faith when they shall be thereunto required; 1, for my part, now appointed your parson, vicar, or curate, having before mine eyes the fear of God, and the testimony of my conscience, do acknowledge for myself, and require you to assent to the same ;
1. “That there is but one living and true God, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness ; the maker and preserver of all things; and that in unity of this Godhead, there be three persons of one substance, of equal power and eternity, the Father, the Sou, and the Holy Ghost.
2. “ I believe also whatsoever is contained in the holy canonical scriptures; in the which scriptures are contained all things necessa ry to salvation ; by the which, also, all errors and heresies may sufficiently be reproved and convicted ; and all doctrines and articles necessary to salvation are established. I do also most firmly believe and confess all the articles contained in the three creeds; the Nicene creed, Athan. esius's creed, and our common creed, called the Apostles' creed ; for these do briefly contain the principal articles of our faith, which are at large set forth in the holy seriptures. Vol. V.