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• I rejoice to hear of the increasing and flourishing estate of the churches of New England, whicb are very dear to me. And I can assure you that I sympathized with you most tenderly when I received your last leiter, for I was under the same exercise in my own congregation, on the account of the new tunes of psalms, that vexed and ruffled some of your churches. And many other congregations have been very near to fatal rupture, by the devil's subtiliy, even by so minute a circumstance.
• I am glad that the seeds of Arianism or Socinianism have not yet been sown in your soil, and pray that the Lord of the harvest may ever prevent so mischievous an evil, which has never failed to deluge those churches where it has been received and encouraged.
• The prime Arian of the Dissenters in England,* happens to have his seat in the west of this kingdom; who, since he found he could not propagate his heresy by controversial writings, now endeavours to insinuate his leaven by paraphrases and commentaries on books of scriptures; and having published a dangerous comment on the Epistle to the Colossians, the last year, has now spawned another, worse than that, on the Epistle to the Philippians; and in bis notes on the second chapter, has declared sentiments concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, that he was the angel of Judea, which was his province, as another angel presided over Persia, and others over other countries, grounding this wild notion on Daniel's King of the North and of the South; that the other angels opposed his kingdom as not knowing his particular favor with God; but after his death and resurrection, he was rewarded for his sufferings, by being made an archangel, and so had power over the other angels, whom he triumphed over, and led them captive into heaven; applying that of the Psalmist, He ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, &c. to the good, and not the evil, angels whom he went with into heaven as his train, having conquered them in the opposition they had made to himself as angel of Judea, through ignorance, with more of this wild stuff; and what he will publish next of this kind, time will show.
* And both these comments are dedicated to the present Lord Chancellor. In which dedication he expresses his great adıniration, and imitation of that great man Mr Locke, who was the head of the Socinians and Deists in England.
• Much infidelity abounds over all our realm amongst the great men, and diffuses itself through all parties, ranks, and professions among us, which makes sad the hearts of Christ's disciples.
*"The prime Arian of the Dissenters,' was the learned James Peirce, of Exeter; and the Lord Chancellor, to whom his Paraphrases were dedicated, was the celebrated Sir Peter King, nephew of Mr Locke, who left him half his library.
And as a fruit of this, a loose and libertine spirit appears everywhere more and more, though it be boldly opposed by all the faithful.
· But Mr Bradbury now writes me that in London they are under a new alarm from Mr Watts' book on the Trinity, which seems to open a Socinian scheme upon us, before we had well got out of the hands of the Arians. Two pens are at work against him. So that as he represents it, the luxuriant fancy of that man will do the church more hurt by his divinity, than it has done it service by his psalmody and poetry.
And I have another complaint to make to you, for I vent my grief into your tender and sympathizing bosom, that many of our young men seem much inclined to Pelagianisın, which evil they have very much contracted by Dr Whitby's Comments and Limborch's Theology, which are put into their hands by some of their Heterodox and unwary tutors. O tempora ! O mores !
And, which is as bad, if not worse than all, real, vital, spiritual religion dies away among us in a spirit of indifferency and lukewarmness, and under the prevailing love of gain and pleasure in a long day of outward peace and prosperity. So that we seem to need very severe rebukes from Heaven to humble and awaken us.
* And will debauching masquerades and lewd plays, so much delighted in, and countenanced by persons of the highest station, make us better? I fear whither we are running, both in principle and practice; so that perhaps if we are not severely scourged, we are undone.
• Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure. The Lord knoweth those that are his. There is a remnant that believe his truth and fear his name; and in London and many other towns,
; there is a most laudable spirit of charity, and a zeal in the societies for reformation to suppress outward crimes and immoralities. • I pray God to continue
valuable life and labors in his church, till he shall raise up others fit to succeed you, and till you have done your work and are rendered every way meet for your everlasting rest.
Please to convey the enclosed to my worthy relation, and be so good as to bring the author of this into remembrance in your prayers, that he may be found faithful, who desires to be reputed, Reverend Sir, •Your most affectionate and obliged brother, and humble servant,
* As to the writer, Walrond, we have not been able to obtain any information. He speaks of his most valuable namesake,” as living in this country. But the
Mr Ball, who is now past seventy, but yet most highly useful in his ministry and example, his learning and piety, sends you his most affectionate service.
'I bless God he is still lively and vigorous in his work, and has been honored as an happy instrument to oppose our Arian errors. [The above letter is interesting and valuable from the view it gives of the
opinion entertained at the time it was written of the religious sentiments of Locke, Watts, and Whithy, those brilliant ornaments of the Unitarian faith, and the two last of whom became converts to it at a late period in life, after a patient and prayerful examination of the subject, and in opposition to their preconceived and recorded opinions. The statements in this letter are the more important, because they are incidental, private, and from one who was à cotemporary and an opposer. From his account it appears that Locke was regarded in 1725 as the head of the Socinians and Deists in England, Dr Watts' book on the Trinity was thought to open a Socinian scheme,' and the commentary of Whitby 'inclined the young men to Pelagianism.' These declarations corroborate, what no man who has carefully examined the evidence can doubt, that these three distinguished men were Anti-trinitarians and Heterodox. By their Orthodox cotemporaries they are stigmatized as heretics, and excluded from their pale. It is a vain attempt, on the part of their successors at the present day, to draw the exiles back again within their narrow inclosure.]
[We have obtained from the same source another letter written by the
same individual to Samuel Mather, the son of Cotton. Although not so interesting as the preceding, we shall insert it, on account of the view which it gives of the state of religion in England in 1731. It is worth noticing that the middle or moderate party among the Dissenters, was the most numerous.]
* Eron.* July 28th, 1731. DEAR SIR,
* The sight of a letter from the son of such a father, my excellent friend and correspondent for about twenty years, was very affecting to me, and revived in me a delightful thought of that reverend and heavenly person, now with God.
'I rejoice to see that he has left such a valuable relict and successor in the ministry as yourself, who I hope will be his image
name of Walrond is not to be found in any of our historical books. It is not in the Index of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. It is possible that it is the same with Waldron, a name i high esteem in New England at the time this letter was written. There was a William Waldron, minister of the New Brick in this town from 1722 to 1727; and this may possibly have been his worthy relation.' Mr Baldwin, who has lately made a copious and complete index to Cotton Mather's Magnalia, an Herculean task, writes to us– I can say with safety that the name of Walrond is not in the Magnalia of my old favorite, Cotton Mather. I have nearly completed an index (uberrimus) to Hutchinson's Massachusetts, and it is believed that it does not appear there. He subscribes his name very legibly.'
The Latin name of Exeter.
as well as his son, and inherit the graces and virtues as well as the prayers and blessings of his pious ancestors.
I thank you very kindly for your most acceptable present of your sermon and the Life of your dear father, whose death was a deplorable loss to New England, and much surprised me, who had put it far off upon the foolish reason of his father's long life. I am sorry you can give me no better account of the state of religion with you, and I wish I could give you any better of Old England. But certainly, as bad as it is with you, it is worse with us, who do not hold the truth or righteousness, but are much corrupted both in faith and manners. However, I bless God that there is a good remnant among us, that have kept Christ's truth, and not denied his name. With us that are called Disse ters, are three sorts, such as are fallen from the faith into Arian or Arminian errors, such as are very sound, and a middle sort, the most numerous, that profess the same faith, but are so indifferent about it, and indulgent to the erroneous, that they seem to be with us in principle, but with them in interest, loving them better with their errors, than others with the truth as it is in Jesus.
And as to the life and practice of religion, there we all fail, and may be ashamed.
I should be glad to hear how the Church of England Missionaries behave amongst you, and in other parts of America; for very honest well meaning men contribute zealously to them in these parts as well as in London. How does your University flourish, and what does it produce? Who succeeds your most valuable father in Boston? These, with whatever other intimations you shall please to give me, will be very acceptable to
* I am glad to see so good first fruits of your labors. May you go on with the divine assistance and blessing to be a burning and shining light in America. Accept a small present from me.
The Texts of Scripture Compared was drawn up by your unworthy servant.'
RECOLLECTIONS OF A SERMON.
«We shall all be changed.'
The voice comes faintly from yon insect throng,