Page images
PDF
EPUB

unbelievers, the Inquirer says, (p. 14,) may be considered of suficient prac"Were we fully impressed with these tical consequence to make it worth considerations we should feel too soli our while to spend our time in bringing citous about advancing our own work others into the same faith with ourto desire to assume the task of con- selves. In my own opinion, they are verting others. We should cease from few and simple; but such as they are, the vain inquiry of What shall this they appear to me of the greatest man do?' 'in anxious solicitude to importance, and, therefore, I totally obey the imperative injunction, 'What dissent from the principle laid down is that to thee? Follow thou me.in the sentence I have quoted. In

I cannot, I will not, believe that the another passage, quoted by your Remost obvious sense of this passage, viewer, there is the same idea, and it standing as it does in immediate is beautifully illustrated; yet a moconnexion with one recommending, on ment's consideration will surely suffice apostolic authority, separation from to shew, that the full application of unbelievers, can be that in which the “ The Inquirer's” metaphor cannot be author designed it to be taken. He made without danger to our own usecannot mean that the conversion of fulness. True it is, that the dwellers unbelievers is not to be the object of in the mountains, to whose eyes the our endeavours, of our anxious solici- morning sun has shewn his first beams, tude. He cannot mean that the inter- who enjoy their moinents of brightness ference of power, and of power ALONE, before the inhabitants of the valley is to be employed to silence their have obtained theirs, may exult in scruples. He cannot so far pervert their favoured lot, and proceed on their the apostle's language as to make his way rejoicing :but are they endowed words at utter variance with his deeds. with the power of illuminating their He could not, surely, advocate the brethren of the valley? Has the Deity foreible suppression of infidel produc- enabled them to communicate the tions, yet coldly doubt the propriety radiance of that enlightening orb whose of winning over the infidel by the power splendour they are enjoying ? No, of earnest argument ;-in short, by lie has not. But the same cannot conrersion. No, I will not believe that properly be said with regard to the

in his heart.” But then diffusion of light and knowledge. We the passage I have quoted is so com- allow that the Power whose energy pletely irrelevant to the matter in alone renders the energy of his creadebaté, that I am obliged to consider tures available, is in fact the source of it as one of those by-blows of which I all those blessings whereof we consider complain. It is not to the purpose. ourselves the dispensers. But, in the It is a reflection upon the conduct of mean time, we are the agents of his Christians to each other, not as op- bounty,

“When thou art converted, posed to unbelievers. In either sense, strengthen thy brethren,”however, unless the matter of con and teach all nations”-these injunctroversy really be of no practical tions surely pre-suppose a power to consequence, it is objectionable. It obey them, and it is not for us to supposes that an ardent interest in dispute, but to follow them. the concerns of others will necessarily

Q IN THE CORNER. beget indifference to our own. This, I am convinced from long acquaintance Sir, with persons who habitually take the I the outline of a sermon recently most active part in propagating the knowledge of religion, is not the case. delivered at Canterbury, on a singular It has repeatedly fallen to my lot to occasion; and I consider this notice of observe upon the scrupulousness, the it the more proper, as the venerable rigid self-examination practised by preacher has long been regarded as the persons whose habits were mostly of father of the Unitarian General Baptist the most active kind, whose hearts Churches in Kent. If it should meet were most zealously bent upon the your approbation, the insertion of it conversion of others.

in your next Number will oblige, It is not to my purpose, any more amongst many others, than to that of “ The Inquirer,” to

B. M. determine what those points are which On December 1, 1820, Mr. Sampson

this was

"_“ Go ye

Kingsford, Pastor of the Unitarian At that time, Mr. K. observed, the Society meeting in the Blackfriars, church had in it a band of young men Canterbury, having completed the fif- of serious and inquiring minds, huntieth year of his public ministry in that gering and thirsting after righteplace, delivered an impressive and ousness; these were his associates. appropriate sermon before the mem In their society he felt the force of bers and friends of the congregation. Solomon's words-As iron sharpeneth The sermon was introduced by the iron, &c. At this period also religious following short address :

conference-meetings were much encouMy Christian friends, having been raged, which tended to excite a spirit long spared, and for fifty years a of inquiry and holy emulation ; and preacher in this society, I could not after exercising bis gifts for the minislet the opportunity pass without ad- try, he was called out, by the unanimous dressing you on the occasion. Looking voice of the people, Dec. 2, 1770. at the general estimate of a man's life. The remembrance of these passing my existence in a few years may close; scenes of his early life, even now and, to use the words of Peter, I must produced in his mind the most grateful put off this tabernacle. But while reflections. I continue with you, I am sure you Since the commencement of his will suffer a word of exhortation. We public labours, Mr. K. could not but are all the children of the dust; even remark on the ravages which death the lives of the young are not insured; had made in the congregation.* After nature every day is pouring vast tides many other things he went on to of mortals into eternity, and it becomes observe, that he could not but bear in survivors to consider, that life hangs thankful remembrance, that the society upon a thread delicately fine and slen- meeting in that place had not departed der: let us live prepared for the solemn from the worship of the one living change.

and true God. “ Other societies," The portion of Scripture on which said he, “ what is their worship? Is I propose to address you, is Phil. i. 3: it not that of many gods ? which I I thank my God upon every remem- fear is still the case in every other brance of you."

Christian society in this city. Solemn After speaking on the apostle's and positive as was the command given design, Mr. K. went on to accomino to the Israelites, Thou shalt have no date the words to the singular occasion other gods but me, (not us,) yet they on which they were then met. Having were always prone to idolatry and expatiated on the beneficial influence fond of their own inventions. Our of a pious education, in connexion Master has also told us, that God his with which he paid a just tribute of Father is the only good, the only true affectionate esteem to the memory of God; yet many contend that there are his revered parents, who, though dead, other Gods, co-equal and co-eternal were still living in the recollection of with this God, and worship him as a considerable part of the congregation; such ; these persons are not content he gave a brief narrative of some of with scripture language, but have a the interesting events which led to his barbarous language of their own.

As first union with them, and the subse- Jesus Christ said, We know whoin ice quent commencement of his public worship: but it appears to me," said ministry amongst them.

Mr. K.,“ such is the confusion of their At an early period of his life, (1766,) language, that they know not what Mr. K. observed, he felt the obligation they worship: To us, to use the words of engaging by solemn covenant in the of the apostle, there is but one God, service of God by baptism. He was the Father : his supremacy (thanks convinced that baptism was a duty; be to him) has been maintained in and although an external rite, it was this place, and I trust never will be enforced both by the command and departed from.” example of Jesus. He well remem The worthy preacher then proceeded bered being asked, why he requested nearly in the following words: baptism? His answer was, that he was convinced it was his duty; and * Only three persons were present at that without it, he was left to the the delivery of this discourse who heard uncovenanted mercies of God.

his first sermon !

“ My Christian friends, another God from those degrading descriptions ground of thankful remembrance is, which are too often given of him. that in this society we have never had “He is neither unjust nor cruel nor the commotions and divisions which partial; but, on the contrary, infinitely some other bodies have experienced ; amiable. Make him a tyrant, and individual differences, undoubtedly, though we may fear and dread him, have occurred, but during my fifty yet we cannot rationally love him. Fears' connexion with you, both as a God is love. Reverse this character, and minister and pastor, I cannot bring to he ceases to be that Being supremely mind that the slightest difference has just and good, and whose inoral excelever happened between myself and the lencies are depicted throughout the church. Thanks be to the God of Holy Scriptures. My aim,” continued peace, the demon of discord has never Mr. K., "has always been, to justify driven us from each other ; harmony the ways of God to man,' and 'wisdom has been the order of the day, through will'eventually be justified,' at least the revolving days and years of half a 'of all her children.” century! May we still live as the In a word, this was a most interestdisciples of the Prince of Peace, that ing discourse, which, while it breathed we may reign with him for ever and a spirit of sincere piety, contained an ever."

open and candid avowal of those UniMr. K., after expressing his gratitude tarian principles which have ever disto God for baving placed him in eligible tinguished the Old General Baptists circumstances in life, modestly ob- in this country; and while the worthy served, that while he, like the apostle, preacher evinced his affection for the had coveted no man's silver or gold, people of his charge, he equally disnor had received, because he needed played his gratitude to the Great ao pecuniary remuneration, yet he had Source of all his mercies, whose kind from them what was infinitely more providence had hitherto accompanied valuable to himself, their prayers, their him through a long and prosperous esteen, and their gratitude ! +

life. Another thing, Mr. K. said, had The discourse was delivered before always given him comfort on reflection, a large, sympathizing and respectful and would be to him a source of joy congregation, who, to their credit it in his last moments, viz. that he had may be added, voted their esteemed not only endeavoured to preach the pastor a valuable piece of plate with truth as it is in Jesus, but that it had the following appropriate inscription always been a point with him to vindi- engraven on it : cate the character of the ever-blessed

As a tribute of respect,

Dec. 2, 1820,

The Congregation of General Baptists, • The writer of this article, who has

Black-friars, Canterbury, been intimately acquainted with the con

presented this piece of Plate to their gregation for 30 years, thinks it but jus

Pastor, tice to add, that the unanimity of which The Rev. SAMPSON KINGSFORD, Mr. K. speaks is by the society attributed

on the completion of the Fiftieth Year in a very great degree to ihat happy

of his Public Ministry disposition which he has uniformly mani

among them, fested amongst his people; ever alive to

I thank my God upon every remembrance their real welfare. Although his character

of you, Phil. i. 3. and circumstances have given him a conmanding intluence in his congregation, fet he has nerer betrayed a lordly,

Plymouth, dictatorial spirit; has not been the master

SIR,

February 16, 1821. of their faith, but the kind and tender TE have a new religious sect and constant helper of their joy. † The above observation was made whom, perhaps, your readers are as

sprung up among us, with with great propriety, as it is a well-known fact, that instead of receiving, Mr. K. yet but imperfectly acquainted : with has been in the constant habit of adminis- your permission I will present to them tering to the wants of his congregation, a view of the peculiar features of this and thus acting upon the spirit of his sect, though I am at a loss to know benevolent Master, who said, it is more by what name to designate them. I blessed to give than to receive.

am averse to giving a name, except

W Ꮃ

VOL. XVI.

Y

it be that by which a man chooses to This sect appears to have had its call himself; and yet it is necessary rise in the Rev. Mr. Baring, (brother in the actual state of things, that we of the great loan-contractor, Sir Francis should introduce our friend to our Baring,) who resigned a valuable living company by some designation by which in the Church, and betook himself to he may be known from the rest, and the Dissenters. It is said that one or by which other persons may address two other clergymen seceded from the him. Perhaps I may be pardoned if Church with Mr. Baring, and since I usher them into the society of your their secession, other men have sprung readers, by the naine which has been up who preach the sentiments held by applied to them by my very popular these gentlemen. The writer of these and respectable neighbour, Dr. Haw- lines had recently an opportunity of ker-Holy-Ghost-Deniers. They cer- hearing a frank and eloquent exposure tainly are not Trinitarians, nor are of their principles, from the mouth of they Unitarians; they are steering a a gentleman whose intention was made course in the exact midway, between known by placards which were posted these rival sects, that for so many up in the town of Plymouth. centuries have divided the Christian They hold the proper Unity of the world between them. There is a Divine Being, and on this subject prospect, however, of the former party, explain themselves as distinctly as the which is so much the larger, suffering most cautious Unitarians, maintaining a decrease, in order to admit of the that He who was called the Father is increase of this new division ; while I the one only true God. Of the Son confidently believe that, although they they say it is wrong to call him God may enlist numbers from the Trinita- the son, because if he is the Son he rian ranks, they will not change the cannot be the Divine Being, whose opinions of one who is well grounded Son he is; but he is the Son of God. in the principles of Unitarian Christi- The gentleman who preached appeared anity. “The signs of these times do to maintain the proper humanity of not seem to be to enlarge the borders the man Jesus, that in his body the of faith and add to the Aumber of its Divine Being took flesh, that no intelarticles ; they rather are, as they ligent principle inhabited that body should be, to throw off the numerous but the Deity who dwelt in him;

for shackles by which the human mind that the Scriptures distinctly declare has long been depressed, and bring the that he took nothing of humanity but Christian creed to its purest and sim a body and flesh-Å body hast thou plest state, that state in which it was prepared-he took flesh and dwelt held before philosophers and priests among us-not a human spirit or soul

. and emperors moulded it to their This is considered by them as an corrupt, their idolatrous habits.

important part of their system ; for, The sect of which I am now writing that if it was not the Divine Being is a striking and a satisfactory proof, himself who animated the body of Jesus that the course of things is that which and died upon the cross, he could not I have stated, and it will ever be a have offered an infinite sacrifice for the pleasure to us to see these our brethren sins of the world, which it is their in the profession of the gospel, parting opinion that he did offer by his death. with at least one error ; while the In this point of view they cousider the spirit with which they are acting, and Saviour as God, who died for our sins the ardour with which they are con and rose again for our justification ; verting the evangelical professors form and who now intercedes for us in a the ground of a strong assurance that bodily form at the right hand of God. they will be useful labourers in the They hold, therefore, the doctrine overgrown vineyard of the church, and of the Pre-existence; but on this point that having lopped off one large and the preacher did not explain

whether luxuriant branch of parasitical growth, it was the Spirit of God which inhabithey will not long stop here, but will ted the body of Jesus, that pre-existed, discover many others, which the pride or whether in any way the body itself and the ignorance of man have led of the Saviour had a prior being ; but him to engraft on that true and living that this person in his capacity of vine of which the Father is the hus- Christ did live before time, and was bandman.

employed under the Almighty in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

creation of the world. Here was a place. They profess to believe that at confusion in his statement, and I could death man goes immediately either into Rot catch the preacher's clear idea, if a state of supreme happiness or of such he had.

dreadful misery: and they also believe The personality of the Holy Ghost in a general resurrection of the just they altogether deny. On this point and the unjust, and a judgment day in they hold language precisely the same which the righteous shall be literally as that which Ünitarians employ- placed at the right hand of the Judge, that by the Holy Ghost is meant in the and the wicked at his left hand. Í Scriptures, the power or the wisdom suppose, therefore, that with them the or the influence of the Almighty, which resurrection is a resurrection of the was shed upon the apostles and early budy, and that the soul which for ages Christians, to fit them for their great may have been in a state of wretchedwork of planting the gospel; and they ness or of felicity, will then be again

add, that it is still employed to con- united to the body. This, perhaps, is o rert the sinner and lead him into the the only alternative for the Immateri

way of salvation. It is obvious, there- alists who do not admit the sleep of fore, that they offer no divine homage the soul. On the subject of baptism, to the Spirit, nor ever call on him as they are Baptists. å separate being; they maintain that It appears to me that the avowed there is not a single passage in the opinions of this new sect on the persons Sacred Volume in which they are di- of the Trinity are precisely those which rected or even authorized to offer were held by Dr. Watts at the close of homage to the Spirit ; they, therefore, his life. These are found in the Doc

withhold that homage which others tor's “ Faithful Enquiry after the * pay. Their worship is for the most Ancient and Original Doctrine of the is part paid to the Supreme as God the Trinity,” published by David Eaton,

Father, but sometimes to the Son of 187, High Holborn. The language · God, who demands the same homage employed by Watts is as follows:

from man as he pays to the Father. " That God the Father is a true and They pray that the Holy Spirit may proper person, a distinct, intelligent be shed upon them, as well to bring Being, with a distinct understanding them into the divine life as to conduct and distinct will, as all proper persons them safely through it ; while at the have, and it is very plain that the full conclusion of their prayers they ascribe and complete Godhead is in this first praise and glory to Christ with the person, who is usually called God, and Father conjointly and equally.

sometimes the Father.” On what are called the points, it “ If we inquire concerning the Son will be supposed from what has already of God, who is usually called the second been stated, that they are Calvinists of person, we know abundantly from the highest order. The fall of man scripture, that he is the man Christ in the person of his primogenitor, and Jesus. The son among men is another all its dreadful consequences to the distinct person who is derived from whole race, forms a great feature in the father, and usually bears the nearest

their creed, and so completely dege- resemblance to the father ; so Jesus i derate and helpless do they consider Christ, the Son of God, is another

us, that they believe no man can of distinct person, who is derived from himself take a single step in the God, his Father, and bears his nearest, work of salvation; that unless he is resemblance; but the most obvious visited by the Holy Spirit, and by reason of his being called the Son of him led to the Saviour, his case is God is most evident from Luke i. 35 : hopeless and his end misery; and they “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon hold in all its horrors the doctrine of thee, and the power of the highest eternal torment. Of him that is visited shall overshadow thee,'" &c. by grace, they believe he can never fall Watts supposes that Jesus had a away, and that he is as incapable of human body with a rational soul ; doing any thing that will render his which, if I rightly understand it, is not salvation voil, as he was incapable of the opinion of these people. doing that which might promote it “ And although the body of Christ before bis calling and election took had no being then, yet it must be

« PreviousContinue »