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Mary, cap. 18, and 53 George III. cap. 160, can be les gally held by Unitarian Christians.
If this case be considered as having received a judicial determination to the extent of the question which I have just stated, it follows, that no endowment made after the statute ) William and Mary, cap. 18, and prior to the statute 53 George III. cap. 160, can be legally held by Uni. tarians. The consequence of the doctrine that Unitari. anism is still an indictable crime at common law, would be, that to this day no endowment can be legally made of held for public worship upon Unitarian principles.
It is to be regretted that these questions were not more fally discussed, and that many important considerations bearing upon them were not urged. Such, however, being declared to be the law, it is higbly expedient, either that the determination in question should undergo revision, or that application should be made to the justice of the Legis lature for relief : that it would be granted, if needful, I cannot allow myself to doubt. · I have thus endeavoured to shew, that no legal penalties apply to Unitarian Dissenters in particular, and that there is a broad line of distinction between their case and that of persons who have been punished for reviling Christianity.
I would guard myself from misconstruction, however, by adding, that I have adverted to the distioction only as matter of history. Prosecutions, either for writing against Christianity, or for the manner of doing it, appear to me to be contrary to the spirit of our religion, and injurious to its interests; and I think, with that eminent and excellent man Dr. Lardner, that “if the governors of the Church and civil magistrates had all along acted up to this principle, the Christian religion had been, before now, well nigha universal."
SAGACITY OF FOOLS. The following strange sagacity of fools, in some particulars, is related by Dr. Willis, in his treatise De Animis Brutorum, Part I. cap. 16 :-“ Fools have sometimes such natural assistances, that they can perform things scarcely attainable by the quickest parts or most solid understandings. I recollect a remarkable instance in a fool, who have ing been long accustomed to repeat the strokes of a clock
near which he lived, with a loud voice, retained such strong impression of it, that in coming afterwards to live where there was none, he could exactly distinguish the borary distances, and would personate so many strokes of a clock with a loud voice, as often as an hour passed successively, increasing the number of each hour, according as the time required. From this he could pot be diverted by any kind of business they could set him about, having become in a manner a natural living clock, so strongly bad custom wrought upon him in this particular respect. These:im. pressions, as the learned Doctor imagines, were chiefly made upon his animal spirits, which having been accustomed to be excited at such stated times, were brought at length, by long imitation, to distinguish these periods of their own accord, by the same means as most people paturally know, the usual times of dinner and supper, and of sleeping and waking in the morning about the same tiine they have usually done, without the help of a clock. But there was a natural fool, by.name Richard Morse, whose strange sagacity in distinguishing times much exceeded this instance, and cannot be solved by any such customary motions of the animal spirits, for he would not only tell the changes of the moon, the times of eclipses, and at what time Easter and Whitsuntide fell, or any other moveable feast whatever, but at what time any of them had, og should fall at any distance of years past or to comnę. It is scarcely possible to resolve, by what natural means this could be performed; as it did not depend on the force of custom, these feasts beiog moveable, whence there is a ne? cessity of referring it to some other more remote, unknown impressions (unless he had been taught some rule for it), intimately and purely seated in the soul itself."
OCCASIONAL LECTURE TO SUNDAY-SCHOLARS AT THE CLOSE
OF AN ASSIZE WEEK.
LECTURE IV. DEAR CHILDREN, The proper subject of this day's lecture, if we were ta follow the course of your Catechism, would be the general question, What is your duty to God? But I am teinpted to depart from the order which it prescribes, and to give you some of my thoughts on the advantages which you enjoy, and on the use which I trust you will make of them,
You know we have lately had an assize in this town, which is a solemn court of justice, held once a year, for the parpose of inflicting proper punishments upon all those who have been guilty, during the year past, of disturbing the peace of their neighbours, by cheating, theft, house. breaking, robbery, or murder. On this occasion, several persons have been convicted for one or other of these crimes, and have been sentenced to receive those punishments which are the natural consequence and just reward of their actions. Some are ordered to be privately, others publicly and shamefully, whipped ; others are dooined to a much severer portion of that labour, to a smaller degree of which, if they had before submitted as they ought, in a course of honest industry, they would never have been tempted to lay violent hands on other people's property, but would have had enough of their own to maintain themselves comfortably, and something to spare as a provision for their families; others, dreadful thought! have been deemed unworthy to be suffered to remain any longer in society, which, conceiving itself unable to reclaim them by any punishments it can inflict, has thought proper to send them to appear before a higher tribunal, and to answer for their crimes before that righteous God whose eyes behold not iniquity and cannot look upon sin : in other words, by a public and shameful death, they are to be held out to all mankind as a solemn warning of the dreadful consequences of vice and folly; after which they have the awful prospect still before them of punishments more terrible and lasting in a future eternal world. But what, my dear children, will you feel, when I tell you that one of these wretches was a child like one of you, who had so early advanced to such a pitch of wickedness as to disturb the defenceless hours of sleep, and in the dead of the night to break into the house of one of his peaceable neighbours, with a view of plundering him of his property? And what do you think would be my feelings when I saw this early disciple of iniquity stand up to receive the awful sentence of death pronounced upon him ; wbich, though the lenity of the judge saw right to change to another punishment, yet that can scarcely be said to be less severe, for he is still deemed unfit to live in society, but is to be sent to a wild and barbarous country, to live in want among naked savages, and perhaps in the end to be destroyed by wild beasts? If you wish to know what I felt, I will tell you.
I could not help congratulating myself that I was engaged with others in training you up in such habits of order and regularity, and instilling into your minds such virtuous and good principles, such a sense of your duty to God and your fellow-creatures, and such an awful conviction of the certainty of a future world, as might be the happy means of preventing you, if you make a good use of your instructions, from ever coming into such a dreadful sitnation : for those poor creatures commonly tell us, either on their trial before the judge, or at the place of execution, that the principal cause of their bad conduct, next to the want of a sober and virtuous education, was the abuse which they made of the leisure afforded them on the Sunday, when, instead of going to church and being instructed in their duty, they spent their time, while very young, as many of you have probably done formerly, in wild frolic and riot, and from thence were easily seduced, as they grew up, to drink and gamble at the alehouse, where, having consumed the whole of their week's sayings, and having nothing left to support their families, they have cast about for means of making up what they have lost, and no honest ones being within their reach, they have had recourse to trick and knavery, to pilfering and stealing, and lastly to housebreaking and robbery, which would naturally lead, in case of resistance, to that most dreadful of all crimes, murder ; and after those things, you see the consequences in the case of those poor wretches who have occasioned my present address to you. Now this great source of vice and iniquity, you are happily put into the way of avoiding. Having been accustomed to honest industry in the weekdays, either in your parents' families or with your respective masters or neighbours, you come to us on the Sunday to be trained up in habits of order and regularity, and to be instructed in your duty to God and man. I hope and trust that you will make a good use of those advantages, that you will get those orderly habits and good sentiments which you have here been assisted to form for the ruling principles of your conduct when you grow up, and thus become useful members of society in those stations in which Providence shall place you; so that, after having lived happy and respected here upon earth, you may be admitted by your Almighty Maker to enjoy the happiness of heaven, and to be had in honour by all those who have obeyed hiin,
But consider seriously, if you should neglect these advantages, and follow the ways of vice and folly, how much greater and more aggravated will be
crime. You will not have to plead with these poor wretches, I was led into temptation and never taught my duty; no, having been led out of temptation and instructed in your duty, you will have run into the one and despised the other. These poor creatures were never acquainted but with wretches like themselves ; you have many of you decent and good parents, and you are all of you in some measure acquainted with all of us whom you see about you.
We all wish you every thing that is good, and are doing our best endeavours to secure it for you. You are therefore encouraged by the wishes and hopes of many and respectable people, whose good opinion and countenance will follow you as you grow up, if you act as becomes you, but will be entirely lost to you if
fall into sin. These miserable wretches were attended to the bar of justice by none but villains like themselves, who would support them in their distress and harden them in impudence ; whereas, to make the supposition but for a moment-God forbid that it should ever be realized !--if any of you should be brought, for greater or for lesser crimes, into this dreadful situation, besides the lamentations of your parents and friends, you would see many of us, your instructors, the mournful spectators of your disgrace ; some of us, perhaps, the judges, of your crime and the awarders of your puoishment : you will read reproach as well as grief in our countenances,
and will be doubly overwhelmed with shame on account of our presence. But when you come before the last and most awful tribunal, your advantages will then be most exactly remembered, and
deserts be estimated in proportion ; and you will then most assuredly receive the just reward of your deeds, whether they have been good or evil, whether
you have escaped the notice and censure of earthly courts or not. And remember, that this will be the rule by which the sentence of that court will be determined,He that bath ignorantly transgressed shall be beaten with few stripes ; but he that hath known bis Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.