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contributed to swell the amount of charities and exertions, for which they have had no share of the credit.

To this course of conduct they have been induced in part by the love of peace, a desire to escape odium, and to avoid disturbing the public tranquillity and order. But neither the purity of their motives, nor the peaceful and silent course they have pursued, was sufficient to shield them from reproach. This very quiet and silence were brought against them, as an evidence of lukewarmness, and heartlessness, and indifference to the cause of religion ; and their alleged inactivity was attributed to an opinion, that Christianity was of little value, and that men might do well without it.

They have accordingly found, that the reasons for their former course no longer continued ; and they

; have changed that course. They have been convinced, that the state of things called upon them to use those exertions in the maintenance, defence, explanation and propagation of their opinions, from which only a regard for peace had hitherto restrained them; since the same

; peaceful and silent course could no longer shield them from reproach, nor prevent the mischiefs that they wished to avert. And now what is the consequence of this change of measures ? They are reproached with that very activity and zeal, with those very exertions, which but a short time since, it was their reproach not to make.

These exertions are accompanied with the happiest effects. They have awakened a spirit of inquiry, which will go on and increase. They appear not yet, and

it

may be long before it will be proper that they should appear, in some of those particular things, in which they are reproached with being deficient. They have much to do at home, before it will be in their power advantageously to the Christian cause to extend their exertions abroad. They have to awaken a livelier interest in the cause of Christianity and the progress of rational and just views of its doctrines in their own body; to excite a deeper tone of religious feeling in that part of the Christian community, to which they have access, whether from the press or the pulpit; to engage the wealthy to cooperate with them, by bringing home to their feelings, the great good they have it in their power to do, and to their consciences the solemn responsibility connect, ed with every talent, and every opportunity and power of doing good. They have to excite literary men to give more of their studies and labours, and more of their zeal to the promotion of so great and desirable a purpose. They have to induce enlightened and liberal men, who by their professions or public stations have an opportunity of exciting a salutary influence in the community, to a more open and manly avowal of their opinions, and to unite with them in all fair, and moderate, and temperate measures, with the Christian spirit, yet with ardour and lively interest, to promote and extend them.

It is not doubted that throughout our country, a very large proportion of those men, who for their talents, and learning, and virtues have the most influence

in the community, and have it in their power to do thie most toward giving a right direction to the public feeling or public sentiment, are dissatisfied with the Calvinistic and Trinitarian form, in which they have had religion presented to them; and if they have been led by circumstances to free inquiry on the subject, are Unitarians. But various causes prevent them from making a public avowal of their opinions. Among these, not the least is, usually, an unwillingness to encounter opposition and obloquy, and the loss of confidence, and of the power of being useful. It is among the encouraging prospects of the present time, that the reasons for reserve are ceasing to operate with all the force they have done in times past, and that the reluctance to an undisguised avowal of Unitarian sentiments is in a great degree overcome.

It is asked, by what motives Unitarians are influenced in their endeavours to disseminate their peculiar opinions. The answer is easy, and I think such as to justify at least all the zeal and earnestness they have yet discovered in the defence or the publication of their views of Christianity. They are earnest and active then, because they have a firm faith in the truth and the importance of their opinions, and that it is their duty to bear their testimony to the truth, and to leave no proper means untried, to cause it to be attended to, and understood, and respected. And they are fully persuaded, that the course they are pursuing in this respect, is in fact attended with very salutary effects. One, to which they attach no small importance, is the well known fact, that wherever the Unitarian doctrine prevails, and the rational views with which it is accompanied, a very important portion of society, the most elevated, intelligent and enlightened, become serious and practical Christians, who, in catholic countries, or where Calvinism prevails, are oftener unbelievers, and sceptics, and treat Christianity with neglect at least, if not with disrespect.

The reason of this is obvious. Men of cultivated. minds and enlarged views are often so engaged in the business, and engrossed by the interests and cares of the world, as to depend for their views of Christianity wholly on what they hear from the pulpit, and what they find in the popular creeds and catechisms, which, they take for granted, exhibit fairly to them the Christian doctrine. Finding the system as it thus presented to them, such as their understanding and moral feelings will not admit of their receiving, they reject Christianity without further examination; not thinking themselves bound to inquire into the evidence of a system of faith, which carries in itself, in their view, intrinsic marks of incredibility. When to persons of this character and in such circumstances unitarian views of the christian doctrine are afterward presented, their attention is arrested by their reasonableness, and their consistency with what the light of nature teaches of the character and government of God. They are induced to examine the claims of a religion to their faith, which is presented to them in a form, so agreeable to the reason God has given them, and to the nat

ural notions that arise from what they see of his character and dispositions in the government of the world ; and the effect of examination is a firm conviction, that the new views in which Christianity has been presented to them, are the result of a fair and just interpretation of the scriptures in which it is contained; and that the religion itself is as well supported by evidence, as it is worthy of the faith, and approbation, and affection of a wise and enlightened mind.

The time has been, within the memory of men now living, when in that class of society now alluded to, the most elevated, enlightened, and influential, in giving the tone to the public sentiment, and the direction to the manners and practice of society, infidelity and contempt for religion were far more prevalent, in this vicinity, than they are at the present day; and at that time the religion which issued from the pulpit, and which was the only faith that reached them, was Trinitarian and Calvinistic. I hazard nothing in asserting, that in proportion as those views of religion, which are generally adopted by Unitarians, have become prevalent, infidelity and contempt of religion have become less and less frequent; and our most enlightened men, with scarcely any exception, are among its most efficient friends and serious and practical professors.

I have now said all that I meant to say upon the doctrine of Christianity, as held by Unitarians, its comparison with the Trinitarian and Calvinistic faith, and its tendency and moral influence. I have

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