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every Unitarian congregation, which all admit to be of the first importance. But it will do more than this; it would not surprise me, were these means attended to, if the Unitarian Association might be able, in a very few years, to send out a missionary into every county in the kingdom. I shall add no more, but shall feel highly gratified if some abler pen than mine be induced to come forward to advocate so interesting a subject.
FALSE ACCUSERS OF UNITARIANS.
Dr. Hutton has just published his Sermon before the Unitarian Association at the last anniversary, which we cordially recommend to our readers.* His text is I Cor. iv. 1-5, and from this fine remonstrance and exhortation of the apostle's he takes, occasion to expose the sin of attempting to search the heart and to sit in judgment upon our fellow-creatures. He quotes a very extraordinary passage from a book of Mr. Taylor's, of Ongar,—the ne plus ultra of bigotry,—and animadverts upon it with great power of expostulation. We give the passage from the Sermon which contains and refers to this quotation, and also a Note which Dr. Hutton subjoins as an Appendix. It is only by publicity that bigotry can be brought to shame and contempt; and it is of great benefit to the world that such able writers as Dr. Hutton sometimes condescend to shew the “ False Accusers of the Brethren" in their true colours.
“ The fact, however, is certain-ascribe it to what cause we may, whether to the misinterpretation of particular passages of scripture, a superstitious view of the importance of sectarian peculiarities, or a base and unprincipled policy—that it has been much too common a practice among the followers of Christ, for the professors of different opinions, in their treatment of each other, to invade the province of the Searcher of hearts, and to set at nought the precept of their common Master, ' Judge not, that ye be not judged.' Where, alas ! is the sect whose members
* “ The False Accusers of the Brethren Reproved, and the Accused instructed how to Reply: a Sermon, preached before the Supporters of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, at their Annual Meeting, May 28th, 1828. By Joseph Hutton, LL.D.” 8vo. pp. 48. London: Hunter and Eaton.
have not at one time or other degraded their own character, by vilifying the conduct of their opponents, and groundlessly imputing criminality, where the very most that they could attempt to prove was error?
presume not to say, my brethren, that the conduct of Unitarians has always been blameless in this respect, or that we could safely venture to throw the first stone against those who have thus offended. There may have been occasions on which members of our body, in the warmth of their opposition to sentiments which they deem erroneous, have failed to manifest the due degree of candour and charity towards the holders of them,—when they have unjustly visited upon the creed the personal conduct of its professors, or upon the professors the disavowed practical consequences of the creed,—when they have invidiously availed themselves of the private conduct of particular opponents to excite odium against their religious system, or represented that system, without proof, as depraving the characters of those who maintain it. I pretend not to affirm that Unitarians have always been guiltless on this head, or that they have never condescended to calumniate those whom it should have been their object to confute, and if possible convince. Within, as well as without, our little beleaguered fort, the laws of Christian warfare have doubtless too often been transgressed, and carnal weapons have sometimes, I fear, disgraced the hands of our warriors, when they have contended for the truth : yet am I willing and happy to believe that in this respect we have been more sinned against than sinning.
“Whatever may bare been occasionally thrown out by individuals amongst us, in the heat of controversy, which those who differ from us might justly deem personally hostile, I rejoice to think that we have not as yet been chargeable, so far as my knowledge extends, with any elaborate attempts to traduce the characters of our fellowchristians of other denominations. I rejoice that we have not as yet instituted a formal comparison between their private conduct and our own, with a view of proving that our system must be superior to theirs on the groundwhich though a Pharisee might choose, a Christian, in my opinion, should fear to occupy--that we, in our own estimation, are better and holier than they. I rejoice that we have not yet professed to weigh their errors of judgment, in the balance of criminality,' with those sins which are
common to us all; and I rejoice yet more in the certainty that, if we had so weighed them, those errors, serious and important as we conscientiously deem them, would have seemed to us light as vanity in the comparison, and in a single instant would have appeared to kick the beam.
“But were it otherwise, -could it be proved that Unitarians had been, and still continued, in the constant habit of maligning those who differ from them, of representing them as wilful perverters of scripture, despisers of God, and haters of Christ, of applying to them, in short, all the calumnious and abusive epithets that the vocabulary of theological odium supplies in such disgraceful abundance, I hope and trust, my brethren, that I should not have been less anxious-yea rather, that I should have felt a still deeper anxiety—to hold up before you the bright example, and to urge upon you the admirable counsel, of the Apostle, in our text, who returned not railing for railing, and calumny for calumny, but, while he modestly defended himself, calmly recommended his Corinthian traducers thenceforth to sospend their larshi and basty decisions upon his character and copduct, and those of other men, aud 'to judge nothing before the time.' Should we now or hereafter be justly chargeable with this, or with any other sin, may some faithful and beloved brother be always at hand, to withstand us, if need be, to the face, and to bring home to our consciences those errors and transgressions of which he can produce evidence that we have been actually guilty ; but let us not, in the mean time, be regarded as devoid of gratitude, because we venture to doubt the sweetness' of that charity wbich does not scruple to calumniate, while it professes itself anxious to convert us, -or deficient in hun mility, because we condemn the conduct of those who bring forward accusations against us, of which they not merely do not, but cannot, produce proofs.
“ It is notorious, and cannot, I think, be denied by any impartial observer, that, in their controversies with us, our opponents have repeatedly invaded the peculiar province and prerogative of the Searcher of hearts, and, not contented with charging us with aberrations from the truth, have been in the habit of asserting that our aberrations are wilful; that we intentionally mutilate, corrupt, and pervert, what we know to be the revealed will of God; that we have neither the fear nor the love of our Heavenly Father ruling in our hearts; and that, though we assume
the name of Christ, and call him Lord, and outwardly profess submission to his authority, we only do so to veil our inward and rooted hostility both to him and to his gospel.
«. It is not the simple neglect of the Saviour,' says a popular writer, in a little work lately given to the world, intended, as he would represeut, to communicate to young minds just ideas of the nature, tendency, and practical influence of our sentiments, but which in fact contains a series of the grossest misrepresentations,-wilful I call them not, for I hope better things of the author, and even if I had no positive ground of hope, I should pot dare to speak, without proof, of him as he has spoken of thousands of whom he could have no personal knowledge• It is not,' says he, simple neglect of the Saviour we now perceive, but direct hostility. The mere worldling neglects the Redeemer completely, yet he talks, if put to it, respectfully of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Unitarian can scarcely stoop even to such customary politeness towards a personage whom in his heart be bates, whose claims he resists, whose honours he prides himself in denying. His aim now is to dethrone the Carpenter's son; by sly in sinuation to lower his influence, or by open opposition to disgrace his determined followers. As to disgracing the Saviour himself, it is happily out of their power, for “He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh at them, Jehovah shall have them in derision. Is it possible,' he continues, 'to suppose that a miod thus acting can be innocent in its motives, its conclusions, its determinations? If our thoughts are known to God, all their operations are known, with every cause of effects so per
If he searches the heart, there will be see not only real opposition, but rancorous ill-will against the Lord, and against his Anointed.'
“ Doubtless, if the feelings which he imputes are there, we need pot this writer to tell us that the Lord will search, nay, more, that He has searched them out. But who has told him that they are there? Who has made him of council with the Omniscient? Who has revealed to him the hatred which we bear in our hearts towards one, whom every genuine Unitarian Christian (I say it with full assurance of faith, with a convinced upderstanding, and a heart that responds to its convictions) believes to have been utterly incapable of any thought, word, or deed, by which Latred could possibly have been engendered in a rational
and virtuous mind;-whose character and conduct every such Christian regards as altogether lovely,-in whom he beholds, with admiring eyes, the only faultless model of humanity that it has pleased the Great Father of us all to exhibit to our race, from the creation of the world up to the present day,--in whom he recognizes, with deep feelings of personal gratitude, the Saviour thạt lived, and suffered, and died, for him and for all men; the good shepherd that refused not to lay down his life for his sheep; the friend who, by the most costly sacrifice that Friendship has it in her power to offer, proved that his was indeed that love, than which no man could shew greater,'-—in whom, finally, he venerates the best-beloved Son of God, the first-born brother from the grave, whom, for his perfect obedience unto death, the Father hath ' highly exalted, and given him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father'? Who, I repeat the question, has revealed to this writer the hatred which Unitarian Christians bear to the Lord and Master whom they profess to honour, love, and serve? And if God himself has not revealed it to him, upon what inferior authority could he venture to impute it?
“ Beloved brethren, let us learn from the full and decisive refutation which the heart of every genuine member of our body must give to the uncharitable judgments of this well-intentioned, perhaps, but ill-informed and most intemperate writer, the miserable folly of erecting ourselves into searchers of hearts, and pretending to judge our brethren as God only—by whom, let us bear in mind, we also must be judged—can judge them. Whatever others do, let us resolve to abide by the advice of the Apostle, ' Judge pothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart, and then shall every man have his praise of God.''
“ APPENDIX. “I trust that few such passages as that which I have quoted are to be found in the pages of modern controversy. I add, with pleasure, that my memory does not enable me to refer to one in which the province of the Searcher of