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that you should have found it necessary to sit down to write, while breathing an atmosphere to which you were not accustomed;" while perturbed with the feelings which, in spite of all your efforts to restrain them, are so copiously infused into the entire body of your Letter. But all reasonable allowance should be made for the urgency of the case. Had you waited till the excitement had subsided, your opportunity for preventing or counteracting the impressions which the Red view was likely to make, might have been lost. I frankly confess, that a similar reason has induced me to avail myself of the earliest remission of other pressing calls of duty, for bestowing some attention on your subject. Could you, bowever, have waited till the cool of the day, though probably your Letter would have been less animated, and less adapted to a particular purpose, it would not, I am persuaded, have, displayed less of the meekness of wisdom, or been less correct in its representations,
You bring, dear Sir, against the Reviewer an accusation of "falsehood." an accusation, certainly of no trivial kind, and never to be lightly preferred against any one, «The Re“view," you say, "asserts, 1. That the ministers of this town “[Boston] and its vicinity and the great body of liberal christians are Unitarians, in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word, 2. That these ministers and liberal christians are "guilty of hypocritical concealment of their sentiments, and behave in a base, cowardly and hypocritical manner.". In these two assertions, especially in the first of them, it should seem, lies the alleged falsehood of the Reviewer. These also make the first two heads of your Letter. The 81 is this: “Christians are called to come out and separate themselves sifrom these ministers and the liberal body of christians, and sto withhold from them christian communion." Under these three heads, in their order, the remarks, which I have to submit to your consideration, will chiefly be arranged.
1. Does the Reviewer then assert, “That the ministers of Boston and the vicinity, and the great body of liberal christians, are Unitarians, in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word?” This you aflirm; and to support the affirmation, you quote from the Review, the following passages, P. 267,
6 We feel entirely warranted to say, that the predominant
sreligion of the liberal party is decidedly Unitarian, in Mr. 46 Belsham's sense of the word," P. 254, "We shall feel our ** «selves warranted hereafter, to speak of the fact as certain,
that Unitarianism," meaning Mr. Belsham's, is the pre
dominant religion among the ministers and churches of 4 «Boston. p. 271, **The ļiberal party mutilate the New «Testament, rejeet nearly all the fundamental doctrines of " "the gospel, and degrade the Saviour to the condition of a # «fallible, peccable, and ignorant man." These passages 1 shall briefly consider; but not in the order in which you have chosen to arrange them: for I am not satisfied that it was quite right, to place the passage, quoted from the 267th. page, in which there is no mention of Boston, before the one, quoted from the 254th page, and which refers to Boston directlya By this arrangement, with the help of a clause which you have thought proper to insert in the second pas. gage, you have given to the three passages an aspect which, I believe you will readily perceive does not belong to them. I think it more fair to consider the passages in the order in which they stand in the Review, and to refer them scverally to their proper connexions.
The first passage then is this; “We shall feel ourselves varranted hereafter, to speak of the fact as certain, that Unitarianism is the predominant religion among the ministers and churches in Boston." Is this, Sir, an assertion, «That the ministers of Boston and the vicinity, and the great body of liberal christians, are Unitarians, in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word?” You will please to observe, that no mention is here made of the vicinity," or of the great body of liberal christians.” The remark is limited to Boston. Further, it is not said that the ministers," i. e. all the ministers, even of Boston, are Unitarians. The word spredominant” is evidently restrictivy, and implies, that they were not all intended to be included. Further still, it is not said that any of the ministers of Boston are Unitari. ans, in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word.”
Does the connexion, then, warrant the broad construction, which you have given to the passage? The Reviower pre
sents a letter, written by Dr. Freeman of Boston to Mr. Lindsey of London, in which, after mentioning the “avidity" with which the “Unitarian Tracts," received by him from Mr. Lindsey, were extensively read, and the impression which they could not fail to make upon the minds of many," Dr. Freeman says, “From these and other causes the Unitarian doctrine appears to be still upon the increase.” It «flourishes chiefly in New England; but not much in Con"necticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or the western “counties of Massachusetts. A few seeds have been sown in *Vermont, and an abundant harvest has been produced in “the vicinity of Boston, and in the counties directly south of "it.” Immediately in this connexion, the Reviewer says, «How far the sentiments in question bave spread in Boston, has been often a subject of inquiry, and not unfrequently of debate. Mr. Belsham will inform us. If, says he, I am is not greatly misinformed, divine worship, in many of the “ principul churches in Boston, is carried on upon principles * strictly, if not avowedly Unitarian.?" The Reviewer
“ *count, it is supplied in a letter to him, by William Wells, *Esq. of Boston, a gentleman who, from his extensive ac“quaintance with books and men, and his distinguished zeal «in the cause of Unitarianism, may well be supposed to give was exact a picture as any man living could draw.” In this letter, which the Reviewer gives at large, Mr. Wells says, “Most of our Boston clergy and respectable laymen (of whom "we have many enlightened theologians) are Unitarians.”-“ "may safely say, the general habit of thinking and speaking “upon this question, in Boston, is Unitarian." Upon this the Reviewer remarks, “Such is the testimony in the case “under consideration;" (viz. “How far the sentiments in "question liave spread in Boston;) and we presume that no siman in lsis senses will hesitate for a moment to give implicit "credit to such witnesses." Here comes the passage in question: “We shall feel ourselves warranted hereafter to speak ssof the fact as certain, that Unitarianism is the predominant sreligion ainong the ministers and churches of Boston."
Now, dear Sir, you will permit me to ask again, and to
ask very seriously, does the connexion' warrant the broad construction which you have given to this passage? A construction which the terms of the passage, by themselves, certainly do not warrant; but upon which you have grounded the heavy accusation of falsehood. Is not the inquiry, in this connexion, limited expressly to Boston, to the exclusion most clearly of its vicinity,” and of the great body of liberal “christians" elsewhere? Does not the Reviewer come to the conclusion, expressed in the debated passage, explicitly upon the ground of the adduced testimony of Mr. Belsham and Mr. Wells, in addition to that of Dr. Freeman? And does he not use the name Unitarian as unrestrictedly, as it is used by Mr. Wells himself, who must very well have known how Mr. Belsham would be likely to understand him? Upon what principles, then, of fairness or of truth, could we be justified in alleging, that the Review here asserts, that the minis“ters of Boston and its vicinity, and the great body of lib“eral christians, are Unitarians, in Mr. Belsham's sense of (the word.”
Before I dismiss this point, I must be permitted to ask further—Is not the Reviewer fairly borne out, in the declaration which he does make, respecting Boston, by the testimony upon which the declaration is made? Had he not a right to consider Dr. Freeman, Mr. Belsham and Mr. Wells, good authority in the case? Does he say more than what their testimony, particularly that of Mr. Wells, evidently warrants? Why then the heated indignation against him, while none is expressed against them? Why the strenuous endeavour to inflame and direct the resentments of the ministers and people of Boston against him, while they are treated with such exemplary forbearance?- Nay, rather, what occasion for any indignation, or resentment, either against him or them? Do you not, Sir, yourself mean to concede as much respecting Boston, as he asserts,—when you say, “The word Unitarianism, as denoting opposition to Trinitarianism, undoubtedly expresses the character of a considerable part of the ministers of this town and its vicinity?" I dare not, indeed, affirm that you do; especially since you think it proper to add in the same sentence, and the common
wealth." I have great satisfaction in the confidence, that Unitarianism is not the predominant religion" among the ministers and churches of this commonwealth, and in the hope in God that it never will be. I do suppose, however, that you have great satisfaction also in the confidence, that it sis the predominant religion among the ministers and churches of Boston." But if so, what can be the reason that the true statement of the fact should produce such an unusual intensity of heat in your mind?
The next passage to be considered is this: “We feel enstirely warranted to say, that the predominant religion of “the liberal party is decidedly Unitarian, in Mr. Belsham's «sense of the word.” Does this “assert that the ministers sof Boston and its vicinity, and the great body of liberal "christians, are” of this character? Certainly, Sir, you will not hesitate to admit that, by itself, it does not. Does it then, when taken in connexion with the former passage? The former passage instead of helping to extend the sense of this, evidently serves to restrict it: for that passage plainly imports, that the ministers and churches of Boston are not all Unitarian, even in the general sense of the word. In each of these passages the restrictive word "predominant," is used; and in the latter passage, to give it the greater force of restriction, it is printed in Italicks. The utmost then, that can be fairly made out from the two passages together, of assertion in regard to the ministers and churches of Boston, is, that the majority of them are Unitarian, and that the greater part of the Unitarian majority hold with Mr. Belsham. All this might be true, and yet not half of those ministers and churches be Unitarians of this character. Yet you, my dear Sir, have emphatically, represented that, in these passages, the Review asserts, that the ministers of Boston, with the ministers of the vicinity, and the great body of liberal christians, are Unitarians, in Mr. Belsham's sense of the word;"> and, under cover of this representation, have, in your haste, most earnestly accused the Reviewer of falsehood.
I have stated the utmost that can fairly be made out towards what you allege. But the passage under consideration admits of an interpretation, still less favourable to your allegation.