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tation of unitarianism. Gross misstatements are kept in circulation by the intelligent and influential; and even by ministers of the gospel, who have no right to be thus ignorant on such a question. Ask what unitarians believe and disbelieve, and you will bear some one of the following answers. They believe in one God, but they deny the Saviour; they deny the Scriptures; they deny future punishment; they have a new Bible; they require nothing but a moral life; they expect to save themselves by their works. Such are a specimen of the untruths in circulation among the orthodox concerning the religious sentiments of unitarians.
Now, Sir, I wish to ask one or two questions. Do those who circulate such misrepresentations really believe them to be very truths ? If so, I pity their ignorance ; if not, I tremble for their wickedness. I must say, that some instances have come to my knowledge which indicate a want of moral principle. I would not be uncharitable. But I cannot resist conclusive evidence. And what is gained to your party by such a course ? Nothing ; but very much will be eventually lost. The progress of unitarian views may be retarded for a limited period; but retarded only that their future spread may be more rapid. For when that large class of professing Christians, who have taken the Bible as the standard of their faith, shall discover that their present sentiments are essentially unitarian, and that a great deception has been practiced in relation to our real opinions, you may be assured that a powerful and extensive reaction will take place. This has already been the case in repeated instances. Were this the proper place, I could relate many interesting circumstances of this character which occurred under my own observation in the western country. If unitarians are only faithful to themselves and their cause, if they will proclaim their peculiar opinions with plainness and freedom, they will inevitably secure an abundant increase of their denomination. The community simply need information concerning our real belief, and they are already on unitarian ground.
And, fourthly, look at the misrepresentations of the tendency of the unitarian faith. Many orthodox individuals have attempted to make the less informed portion of the community believe that unitarianism is an unsafe system. Their statement is frequently worded in this manner. If orthodoxy should prove falsc, we shall all be still safe on unitarian ground; but if unitarianism should prove false, none but the orthodox are on a sure foundation. Orthodoxy therefore whether true or false is an infinitely safer system than unitarianism. In this way an attempt is made to increase the orthodox numbers.
Now, Sir, does an individual of good understanding believe this statement ? I cannot conceive it possible. It appears to me that the very opposite of this assertion must strike even a child as the literal truth. Just bring to mind one or two articles of your creed. If orthodoxy should prove true, are we not all perfectly safe for this world ? Most assuredly. For here is the Calvinistic belief on this point. “That by Adam's fall his posterity lost their free will, being put to an unavoidable necessity to do, or not to do, whatsoever they do or do not, whether il be good or evil; being thereunto predestinated by the eternal and effectual secret decree of God.” This is plain and explicit. We are under an unavoidable necessity to do or not to do, what we actually perform or omit, whether good or bad. We have no power then to do anything different. And if we cannot alter any thing, why should we trouble ourselves about our opinions or actions ? Can we be any safer for this world? And is not the same thing true in relation to eternity ? Certainly. For here is the Calvinistic belief on this question. “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained unto everlasting death. Those angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.” This is equally plain and explicit. The number of those who are to be saved or damned is unalterably fixed. So that if we are of the elect, we shall be saved, do what we may ; but if we are of the reprobate, we must be damned, do what we can. No exertions on our part can therefore alter our destiny. Is it not then as clear as daylight, that if orthodoxy prove true, every soul of the human family is as safe for time and eternity as he can possibly be; and that no one can possibly do any thing but what is foreordained, or be damned if he has been elected to salvation ?
But perhaps you will aver, that unitarians are not of the number of the elect. Very well. This thing is unalterably fixed by the Almighty, and why should we trouble ourselves about what we cannot alter or amend? But on your own ground, I know not but we are as sure of being the elect as the orthodox. For some of your writers have declared that the Lord selects the vilest sinners for heaven ; and you have long been endeavouring to make the public believe that unitarians were among the most vile. But admitting that we are of the number of the non-elect, who has commissioned you to torment us before our time ? And if every thing is to take place in your heaven according to the representations of some of your preachers, I am not sure but ours will be the preferable condition. The great New England divine, the late Rev. Dr. Edwards assures us, that the elect are to have their joys increased by witnessing the torments of the damned. But let us have his own words. “ The sight of hell torments will eralt the happiness of the saints for ever. It will not only make them more sensible of the greatness and freeness of the grace of God in their happiness, but it will really make their happiness the greater, as it will make them more sensible of their own happiness. It will give them a more lively relish of it ; it will make them prize it the more, when they see others who were of the same nature, and born under the same circumstances, plunged into such misery, and they so distinguished. Oh it will make them sensible how happy they are! A sense of the opposite misery, in all cases, greatly increases the relish of any joy or pleasure.” This is likewise sufficiently clear and intelligible. Now, Sir, I am so constituted, that seeing the pains (ven of an animal gives me very unpleasant feelings. I cannot witness the wretched condition of a drunken beggar at my door without experiencing considerable suffering. I cannot stand beside the bed of a diseased and distressed friend without much agitation and great misery. And if I must become so completely hardened, as to take delight in observing the distress even of the vilest sinners ; if I must become so thoroughly brutalized, as to exult in witnessing the excruciating torments of my acquaintances; if I must become so perfectly demonized, as to have my joys eternally increased by beholding the agonizing writhings of my friends, in the ever enduring, and unmitigated torments of hell, I can truly say,-Good Lord, deliver me from such a heaven.
But this is not the worst feature in the orthodox creed. This same divine assures us, that the being we call Father will be the eternal enemy and tormentor of his own children without any fault of their own. Let us have bis own words. “The wicked in hell will not be able in that conflict to overcome their enemy, and to deliver themselves. God will then undertake to deal with them, will gird himself with might to execute wrath, will be their enemy, and will act the part of an enemy wilh a witness. After you have endured these torments millions of ages, you shall know that you are not one whit nearer the end of your torments; but that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend for ever and ever; and that your souls which have been agitated by the wrath of God all this while, yet will still exist to bear more wrath ; your bodies which will have been burning and roasting all this while in these glowing flames, yet shall not have been consumed, but will remain to roast through an eternity yet, which will not have been at all shortened by what has been past.” The Being who is thus to torment frail human beings for what was no fault of their own, you would have us call by the name of Father. Sir, I am a father. I find implanted in my breast feelings of unutterable tenderness and affection towards my children. I would no more do them an injury, than I would cut off my right hand. I would no more expose them to unnecessary suffering, than I would pluck out my right eye. I cannot see them endure the pains of sickness without great anxiety and affliction. I could not hold even the finger of my child in the flames until consumed, without experiencing the most exquisite agony. I could not hold his body on the glowing coals one hour, without losing the use of my reason. And with such a nature, can I love a Being who brought children into existence without their consent, and for no fault of their own plunged them into the scalding, suffocating fire of burning brimstone, and watched their agonizing torments, not for one hour, or year, or age; but for millions of ages, millions of eternities? Can I wish to imitate such a disposition ? No. If Calvinism be true, we are all as safe as we can be; and nothing can be lost by being excluded from such a Father and such a heaven. But if unitarianism be true, the case is entirely reversed. For then we have a Father indeed, who will permit us to enjoy just so much happiness as we have moral goodness, and to suffer just so much misery as we have wickedness. Are not such orthodox misrepresentations subversive of religious liberty, free inquiry, and the principles of congregationalism ?
I have room for no more facts in my first letter. I did intend to notice the measures of some of your Societies, and to give some account of the immense funds of your denomination, the means employed for their increase, and the sectarian character of many important proceedings. But I have already far exceeded the limits of my original intention. I have therefore only to ask you and the public, whether the six classes of facts which I have produced, do not perfectly demonstrate the following proposition. The measures, attempted and adopted by the leaders of the orthodox denomination in our country for the preservation and propagation of their peculiar views of religion, are subversive of free inquiry, religious liberty, and the principles of congregationalism. .
LET TER I I.
REVEREND SIR, I now proceed to notice some of the assertions, insinuations, and accusations contained in your Letter on Religious Liberty. As your friends have repeatedly advanced the same and similar opinions, I shall occasionally allude to their statements and publications. I think that the facts I shall now adduce, and the arguments I shall advance, will prove two propositions. First, THAT MANY OF YOUR REMARKS, DECLARATIONS, AND DENUNCIATIONS ARE UNFOUNDED, UNRIGHTEOUS, AND UNGENEROUS. And, secondly, THAT THE MEASURES ATTEMPTED AND ADOPTED BY THE LEADERS OF THE ORTHODOX DENOMINATION IN OUR COUNTRY, FOR THE PRESERVATION AND PROPAGATION OF THEIR PECULIAR VIEWS OF RELIGION, ARE SUBVERSIVE OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FREE INQUIRY, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF CONGREGATIONALISM. To this class of subjects I now solicit your attention.
I. PRINCIPLES AND DOCTRINES OF THE REFORMERS. Many individuals of your denomination have attempted to make the unlearned part of the community believe these three statements respecting the Reformation : First, that the Reformers were very generally agreed in certain grand doctrines of revealed religion. Secondly, that the orthodox of the present day substantially adhere to these fundamental articles of the Reformers. And, thirdly, that unitarians have departed widely and totally from the great principles of the Reformation. I perceive you have advanced similar sentiinents, and attempted to leave similar impressions on the minds of your readers. In support of this assertion, I will quote merely two passages from your Letter. In the first place, you make this strong declaration. “ In heart and soul we agree wilh the great doctrines of the Reformers, of Calvin and Luther.” Is not this remark calculated to make people believe that Calvin and Luther were agreed in certain great doctrines ? - that these were the doctrines of the Reformation ? — and that they are still firmly believed by the orthodox denomination ? In the second place, you aver that the orthodox “ choose to walk, and