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NOTICES OF BOOKS.
“We Persuade Men :" a Sermon preached in Belfast, on Sunday, the 30th
of November, 1845, by the Rev. H. MONTGOMERY, LL.D. at the Annual Meeting of the “ Belfast Unitarian Society for the Diffusion of Christian
Knowledge." Published by request of the Society. 8vo. pp. 51. Belfast. We should apologise for having delayed so long the notice of this admirable discourse. We were aware, however, that our readersthanks to the liberal and judicious arrangement of the Unitarian Society—had been supplied with copies of Dr. Montgomery's sermon, and had thus an opportunity of appreciating its merits and profiting by its instructions. We rejoice to know that this discourse has been so widely circulated, for we look upon it as one of the author's ablest and most useful publications. We have here the same clear, fresh, Scriptural delineations of Christian truth which characterise all his writings. We are happy to find that it has been so generally read among our brethren in England. We take the following paragraph from a notice of this sermon, which appeared in the Christian Reformer, for March, viz. :-" This is one of Dr. Montgomery's most spirited and successful sermons, and will be read with great interest by his friends, from the numerous illustrations it incidentally affords of the long series of brilliant services rendered to the cause of religious liberty in Ireland by this its bravest champion. There is not a true man amongst us who does not honour Dr. Montgomery for his years, his labour, and his character.” We sincerely hope that the practical suggestions thrown out in this discourse may be attentively and impartially weighed by those to whom they are addressed.
The Doctrine of the Trinity not comprised in “ the Faith once delivered unto the Saints :” a Discourse, preached at Moneyrea, on Sunday, January 11, 1846, by the Rev. F. BLAKELY, A.M. Published by particular request.
Pp. 31. Belfast. We have great pleasure in directing the attention of our readers to this useful and well-timed discourse. The occasion on which it was written is highly characteristic of the author's courageous, we had almost said chivalric, love of truth. We learn from the preface that " the author, having understood that a discourse in support of the doctrine of the Trinity would be delivered in a neighbouring meetinghouse, on Sunday evening, the 28th of December, 1845, attended at the time and place specified, and heard it ; and, in compliance with the desire of a few members of his own congregation who were also present on the occasion, he consented to discuss the same subject.” This sermon was the result of his visit to the orthodox camp; and we thank the author for having taken the trouble of once more listening to and refuting the leading arguments brought forward by the abettors of error. Few Christian ministers are so cordially zealous in their support of truth as our friend Mr. Blakely. We believe his guiding motto in reference to polemical matters is, " Better to preach plainly and fearlessly what you do believe, than wait till your opponents tell what you do not believe.” The prosperous circumstances of Mr. Blakely's congregation prove the wisdom and truth of this advice, and we trust our preachers will, for the future, be more inclined to give it a serious consideration. Instead of giving extracts, we prefer recommending our readers to procure the discourse.
WISBEACH UNITARIAN CONGREGATION. eloquence of Mr. Cochrane, the best
We take the following paragraph results may be anticipated. Those from the London Inquirer :-* The persons who came only to gratify their following lectures are now in course curiosity, must be made both wiser of delivery, in the Unitarian Chapel, and better by his clear expositions by the Rev. Wm. Cochrane :-Inspi- and practical remarks.” ration of Scripture-Interpretation of Scripture-First Principle of Christ's NORTHERN SUNDAY-SCHOOL ASSOCIAReligion–Tests of truth applied to popular religious opinions—Presump- The Seventh Annual Meeting of the tive arguments against reputed Or- NORTHERN SUNDAY-SCHOOL Assothodoxy-Causes of the popularity of CIATION will be held on Thursday the so-called Orthodox system-The evening, May 7th, in the School-room simplicity and practical superiority of of the First Presbyterian CongregaUnitarian Christianity-General Dif- tion, Fountain-street, Belfast, when fusion of Knowledge. "The attendance the report for the past year will be at a recent course of lectures, although read, and several ministers and others not large, was above the average at will address the meeting on the subother times. The deep-rooted preju- ject of Sunday-school instruction. All dice which the friends here have long interested in the Association and in had to struggle against cannot be ex- the cause of Sunday-school education pected to give way at once, but from are requested attend. The chair the truly Christian spirit and earnest will be taken at half-past seven o'clock.
After mature reflection, we beg respectfully to decline the publication of the paper signed T. P. “ On the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution." The author, however, has our sincere thanks for the trouble he has taken in laying his views before us on that interesting subject.
We are sorry that the paper in our last publication, entitled “ History of the Trinity," appeared without the author's name. It is an extract from “ Martyria ; a Legend, wherein are contained Homilies, Conversations, and Incidents of the reign of Edward the Sixth," by William Mountford, a Unitarian Minister in England. We hope this little volume will soon become more generally known, as it contains much useful information, and many passages that will repay the reader by their depth of feeling and purity of expression. We are sincerely obliged to the respected correspondent who called our attention to the oversight. The newspaper from which we extracted the article did not accompany it with the author's name, and the neglect, on our part, arose from this circumstance.
We are still in arrear in our Review department. We are compelled to put aside some valu. able matter for next month.
We have received Mr. Thom's “ Three Grand Exhibitions of Man's Enmity against God," — Nos. 1 and 3 of the “ Truth Seeker,"_“ Efforts at Christian Culture," by Matthias Green," Memoirs of Mrs. Jane Mawson, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, " -- " The Unitarian Press and Trinitarian Idolatry,"—Five parts of Dr. Beard's “ People's Dictionary of the Bible," &c.
It is requested that all communications intended for insertion in the Irish Unitarian Maga. zine will be forwarded not later than the 10th of the preceding month (if by post, prepaid), to 28, Rosemary-street, Belfast.
( To the Editor of the Irish Unitarian Magazine.) DEAR SIR-I am not aware whether the following exposition of the prirciples held by the liberal portion of the French Protestant Church have yet appeared in an English form. During a late visit of some months to France, I had the pleasure of finding that many intelligent laymen, and not a few of the more distinguished clergy of that Church, sympathized with the views of M. Coquerel ; May-an amiable and learned professor of the National University, and of the Roman Catholic persuasion, informed me that such views were not without an echo in the hearts of many of his own Church, who, equally repelling sceptism on the one hand, and mystery on the other, desired a faith without exclusiveness, and a worship without formalism. It will not, I think, be without gratification that your readers will peruse this document, which will meet with ready sympathy from the Irish Unitarian, to whose views the principles here maintained seem very closely to approximate, and gratify the English professor of the same name, as marking a state of transition from the popular theology to his simple and rational faith.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully, Jersey, March, 1846.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES.—The doctrines of the Christian religion, as professed by those who maintain the principles of modern orthodoxy, may be included under the following particulars :-1. We believe that the Holy Scriptures, the only inspired book, contain a direct and positive revelation of the Spirit of God-a revelation sufficient for all, and for each. We do not, however, believe that this revelation is in the words, but in the spirit of these writings ; consequently we believe that a literal interpretation of the language of Scripture frequently runs the risk of placing the Bible in opposition to reason, to conscience, to history, and to itself.
2. We believe in the miracles of the Old and the New Testaments, after having previously ascertained, according to the rules of a sound theological criticism, whether such and such facts should be placed in this class.
L'Orthodosie Moderne-par Athanase Coquerel, l'un des Pasteurs de l'Eglise Reformée de Paris. Paris. M. Aurel, ffrères. 1842.
3. We believe in the Prophecies, without admitting that the whole of the Old Testament is prophetical, or every event in the ancient dispensation a type of an event in the new.
4. We believe that man is unable to justify himself before God, and by himself to merit salvation.
5. We believe in the insufficiency and imperfection of man's efforts, not that he is inherently and absolutely incapable of discovering truth, obtaining the love of God, and persevering in a course of virtue.
6. We believe in the necessity of God's grace to aid our efforts ; but we repel every doctrine which directly or indirectly either denies, or in any way infringes upon, the moral liberty of man.
7. We believe that salvation--that is, the conversion and sanctification of man's heart, his reconciliation with God, and his eternal happiness—is a work in which every man must perform a part, and by obedience and faith attain the aid of God's grace.
8. We believe that salvation originates in God's compassionate love, and that the means of salvation are the mission of Christ in all its extent_his doctrine, his life, his sacrifice, his voluntary death, and his glorious resurrection.
9. We believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, as the only Son of God, the only mediator between God and man. We reject the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity, and we contend that faith on this point should stop at the limit Christ himself prescribed, when he said, “No man knoweth the Son but the Father” (Mat. xi. 27).
10. As to Church authority and union we declare ourselves the uncompromising opponents of all obligatory confessions of faith, assured as we are, that none can be imposed which will not do violence to some one's conscience, and thus lead directly to schism. Assured, moreover, that the only unity necessary in a Christian Church must rest where our Saviour placed it-upon the Gospel only. That we have no right to replace this unity by a conformity created by man; and, finally, that the duty of the Christian requires him to join in prayer and communion “ with all men, who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. üi. 22).
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
The foundation of modern orthodoxy is the Bible, the word of God, a book unrivalled and inspired, a positive and direct revelation of God's will, the teachings vouchsafed by infinite and supreme intelligence to finito intelligence, a divine explanation of the nature of life, and death, and immortality,-a summary of all that humanity in all ages requires to know of morals and of faith. The true foundation is here! Without the Bible, the cradle, the cross, and the tomb of Christ, had they ever existed, would be but ordinary mundane events. Without the Bible there would be no Christian church, no Christianity, and, therefore, no salvation. It is a fact which unbelievers themselves cannot deny, that Christianity claims to be a revelation, a revelation final and sufficient-predicted and provided for by another revelation which was not sufficient—Christ—the Saviour! Here we have the New Testament—the law-a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ-such was the Old Testament. A first covenant which, in accordance with its name, led to a second. A second covenant, declaring itself final and complete, both claiming to have emanated from Heaven, both putting themselves forward as one revelation, developed by successive steps, till we arrive at the words of St. John, after which nothing remains to be added “ Even so come Lord Jesus !” Here is the whole of religion. The Bible received with humble faith as a direct and positive revelation is the ground in which the anchor of salvation securely imbeds itself. To deny the inspiration of the Scriptures, is to give them the lie direct, because they claim to be inspired; it is to sap the foundations of Christianity, it is to level with the ground the cross of Christ, not a fragment of which remains ! The sacred authors make no pretension to rank as legislators, philosophers, or moralists; but they claim to be divine messengers and inspired writers. If they were not such, if their mission was not from Heaven, if the Spirit of God did not direct their spirit, then they were mere fanatics who deceived themselves, or impostors who deceived others. . In either case Christianity is essentially affected, it descends to the rank of a human invention, and the chain which attached earth to Heaven is broken. To deny inspiration is then to desert Christianity, or if we insist in retaining Christianity as a good thing in itself, and yet deny its divine origin, we admit and deny it at the same moment. We admit its truth to a certain point, as something useful to the world, while we virtually condemn it as an imposture, because it asserts itself to be divine.
Precision is so necessary on a subject so solemn and so holy, that we again repeat our declaration, that we find in the Bible a direct and positive revelation from God. “ The wind bloweth where it listeth,” said our Lord to Nicodemus, and who doubts but that the wind of Heaven which breathed amid the trees of Eden also exercises its heavenly influence and mysterious power in the moral world, when we see so many wise and good men among the Pagans before Christ, and among all nations since the advent of our Saviour, deliver precepts so full of wisdom, and furnish examples so pregnant with virtue. God, who holds in his hand the hearts of the kings and princes of the earth, holds also in the same almighty hand the heart of the man of genius and the man of virtue. He calls them into being and sends