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boldly, and debate
tarians, both domestic and foreign, you will excuse me if I positively w the allegation, as being totally without foundation, and I refer in prior to the notorious lucubrations of the above-named doctors of Uni
van divinity, as well as to the severe exposures of their semi-infidel tampering with the Bible which they have called forth.
Du while you do not“ deny the genuineness or alter the translation of any part, perhaps you question the inspiration of certain portions of the
u volume. You will remember that this was one of the branches fidence that we proposed to discuss with you, and that not the least
ortance. Why are you silent on this head? Is it not of any formentthink ye, to admit the genuineness and confess the authenticit WOKOT a chapter or a verse of scripture, if you withhold your con
its inspiration? Is it not a fact that you might hold the ss of the two first chapters of St. Matthew and St. Luke, and Usposition to alter the translation of a word, and, at the same soudly deny that they were “ given by inspiration of God ?” te
iken here too, I pray to be set right. If not, then the public we upon the candour and fairness of your profession to remove because of
sity of any controversy with you on the score of EVIDENCE of your admission of the genuineness, and your satisfaction wist racy of the authorized version, while by an expressive but mo. silence, you acknowledge that the greatest of testimonial question u disputed, and you at the same time refuse to come forward ind debate it fairly before the church.
“Unitarians have neither canon nor version of their own from those recognised by,” &c. You anticipate here a referenc Improved version,” and tell us that “it contains only the pe Cism of one or two individuals—that it has never been used in Trches, and is utterly devoid of all authority with you.” W se me for expressing my doubts of the accuracy of this state E these reasons :-1. That work was the joint production
the ablest men and best scholars that the Unitarian sect b Johhn able to boast of; and that the shades of Belsham, Lindseas
lestley, Wakefield, &c.,* might well be astonished to hear th.
twenty years. How many it may have passed through sin odered as yet unable to ascertain. 3. That so far from its bene,
O f all authority,” it professes, in the title page, to have be
the practice of virtue by the distribution of Books.” Tha H e r have been used in your churches” I can well believe, as able that the feelings of your people would have revolted to as ainst its introduction, to make the experiment advisable: th ch it furnishes may have proved too coarse even for the digestiv
different from those re to “ the improved vate criticism of one your churches, and is
"published by the Un ledge and the practice
* See “ Improved Version," note on 1 John, i. 1.
organs of popular Unitarianism itself. It is also possible that the modern professors of your theology may be somewhat ashamed of this awful specimen of “ rational and liberal criticism,” and may secretly wish that it had never seen the light. But the existence of it, at least, cannot be denied ; and there it stands, a painful memorial and a living witness, Of what is “ in the heart" of a system that exalts reason into a dominion over revelation, and that, unwarned by the solemn admonitions containea in the book itself against the presumptuous additions or detractions of human pride or folly, has dared sacrilegiously to lay its unhallowed hands on the sacred ark, and to attempt the mutilation and misrepresentation of the great magna charta of the spiritual liberties of man.
3.-At the close of your letter, you say, “ Surely you invited discussion, with the class of persons called Unitarians.” I again repeat 1 did not. I determined to have a course of lectures delivered in my church on the points at issue between us and the professors of what we call your “heresy.” And I invited the persons whom I was and am sincerely anxious to benefit, to come and hear our well-considered convictions of their errors and their consequent danger, as well as our faithful exhibitions of what we think “ a more excellent way.” It will not be denied that a clergyman of any denomination, in a free country, and more especially a clergyman of the national church, has a right to preach, or authorize others to preach, in his pulpit, according to his own discretion, and invite whom he pleases to come and hear, without its being understood that he challenges either the parties so invited, or their representatives, to enter with him the lists of controversial discussion. I absolutely protest against any such understanding. I did not seek to compel the attendance of any of your body, nor yet to deny to you or them, in reply, the use of the same weapons that I had emploved in the attack. I did mean that those who pleased should come and hear us “tell them a gospel which they were not told by those upon whom we looked as “ blind leaders of the blind ;” and that they should be prepared to “learn” whatever should commend itself to their consciences, under our teaching, as the truth of God. We did not, and do not, expect to be able to bring demonstration home to the hearts of any by the strength of our arguments, or by the force of our appeals ; but we anticipated that, in answer to our earnest pravers, the power of the Holy Ghost would accompany our teaching of His truth, and make it effectual to the conversion of 'souls “ from darkness to light. We propose to stand before the congregations that might assemble, neither as “superiors to instruct with superhuman authority,” nor as “ equals to discuss (if you mean by that dispute) with human and fallible reasonings:” but simply as “ ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech them by us, that we might pray them in Christ's stead-be ye reconciled to God.”* This is the middle position in which we stand, the mean between your two extremes ; and by God's blessing, we will continue to occupy it, until we shall have delivered our consciences, and discharged our duty to a numerous, respectable, but, in our judgment, blinded and deluded class of our fellow.countrymen.
• 2 Cor. v. 20.
And now, gentlemen, having taken such notice of certain allegations in your letter as it seemed impossible to pass by, and with the full purpose of continuing in the course on which I have entered, until, through
essing of God, the grand object which I have proposed to myself
shall have been accomplished,
I remain, yours, for the truth's sake,
February 11, 1839.
Gentlemen, You proposal of discussion
o the Revs. J. Martineau, J. H. Thom, and H. Giles.
1,-You state, in your letter of the 7th ult., that “ your
ceived no answer." It was thought by ourselves and our
was afforded you of replying to them through the same
every facility was channel, and that the public.
In addition to this decline the proposal.
Anxiously desirou gnity, so as to PT
o this, we have offered to meet you in oral discussion ; you
esirous to bring the whole matter before this great com
to prove that we not only entertain no apprehensions as
m, but are corvinced that, by such an exposition, great good WW effected, we, the undersigned, on our own responsibility, ACCEPT
bys of discussing the momentous question between us, in the form of a correspondence in some public journal or periodical, altogether independent of the lectures.
We remain, gentlemen,
that, by the this corres
re, and ask, in
To the Rev. Fielding Ould. Rev. Sir,—The tone of your last letter makes us rejoice that, bu acceptance on your parts of discussion through the press, this o pondence may now be brought to a close.
Let us, Rev. Sir, place before you your own language, and a solemn sadness, are the feelings it betrays worthy of the occa deserved by us, or edifying to the public mind? These avion, or words_“I cannot but hope that a secret consciousness of th nece of your cause has prompted your determination, and am of what schile a discerning public will approve the discretion of you
n not be slow to appreciate its motive, or the precise f your zeal for a candid anu impartial h
la Christian Minister expressing his ho tle mournful to Dind a Christian Minister exnrecs her men are hypocrites,—that they are secre Es of the cause which they publicly defend
These are your ces of the weak
dam of opinion, on of your resolve, precise measure Sir, it is not a
conscious of the weakTo hope that we secretly
know our errors, whilst publicly preaching them as truths, is, indeed, strange preference of faith before works. Let us assure you, bir, that if we could think of you as this language shows you think of us, we should decline all discussion with you, we should regard you as an opponent too discreditable to be identified with a great question, or to be considered as an honourable representative of your own party.
We apprehend, Rev. Sir, that nobody but yourself would think attributing to conscious weakness our preference of the most perc and searching method of discussion, to the most flimsy, insumcien! and unscholarlike that could by possibility be selected. Had we wisnu to catch the ear of a popular assembly, or to turn away attention from weak points by oratorical artifices, we should have proposed to platform controversy, instead of, as we did. carefully and purpose? wording our invitation and our enumeration of the modes in the controversy might be conducted, so as to exclude the idea onde discussion.
We observe with sorrow, and with diminished hope of benent nou controversy, that you can so sink the interests of truth in pers championship, as to meet our solemn unwillingness to entruss gravest questions to extempore dexterity and accidental recone." with the reply that in this respect we should be at least equally ated. Doubtless, Sir, if a display of personal prowess was ou this would be conclusive ; but TRUTH is our obiect, and we dare not it such worthless advocacy
With respect to the instance alluded to by us, of a decision similar our own, our impression had been that reasons also similar to our were given at the time ; and we can only regret, since this im seems to be false, that we quoted the case.
With regard to the “ Improved Version,” we shall only say." that it has been raised to an importance in this discussion wbich is tirely factitious. The differences between us must be settled upon P!! ciples of interpretation and criticism recognized by all scholars; an these principles can be shown, in any respects, to condemn the proved Version,” in those respects we shall be the first to abandon 1, feeling ourselves to be in nothing bound by it. When we said that, Unitarians, we had no canon or version of our own, we meant tha." are quite willing to accept the text as fixed by scholars, most of the Trinitarians, on critical principles. We most cheerfully recognize the fundamental principles of Scriptural inquiry, so clearly and sound stated yesterday evening by Dr. Tattershall; and although agreeing with many of your ablest scholars, in thinking the received translation to re quire corrections, and not approving of the morality of taking up a posla tion in defence of truth unnecessarily unfavourable ; yet, were vur only object to display the ampler and superior Scriptural evidence for Unitarianism than for Trinitarianism, the received translation would be quite sufficient for our purpose.
Again reminding you that the word “ discussion ” was introduced into your original invitation, which contained also reference to the come
We are, Gender
the . , Martineau, J. H. Thom
ezut permit our correspoti. ale pour letter, as published in
State " tuke" vi my last addre of the can shollt unconscious of
kelnes of these who, I am free kan entengely, if not very candida ang sbited to the attention ci
sa any attempt to charge you Son heredis know as etters ALSO Salah satin werely to express i tamne for an impartial bearine
a proposal by which, as gli aleget might have been so may veti charity that "hopeth all thi:
troversial practice of primitive times, and set forth the advantages of
Feb. 14, 1839.
To the Revs. Thoma Gentlemen - Your controversy in the most and if we have seemed
us. Thomas Byrth, Fielding Ould, and Hugh M'Neile. controvement!, -Your willingness to discuss the Unitarian and Trinitarian
the most satisfactory mode, has given us sincere pleasure; seemed to press this matter upon your acceptance, we was with the single desire that the statements of both most accurate and perfect forms, might be presented to through an unbiassing medium; an object which could
her by the unequal distribution of separate lectures, nor
appy to arrange with you, at the earliest possible period,
once,-partly because attention to it might now be secured, V because in the seriousness and number of our mutual engagement controversy should not be allowed to interfere with our other duties, and responsibilities longer than is necessary.
We are, Gentlemen,
John HAMILTON Thom,
news, in their most a the same minds throu be obtained neither b by means so necessary 'Te shall be happy the manner and condi
We shall be ready to ", but we would >
Feb. 14, 1839.
To the Revs. J. Marlineau, J. H. Thom, and H. Giles. Gentlemen, — I cannot permit our correspondence to terminate with ut a few remarks on your letter, as published in the Mercury of Frida
d have given you
2. I regret that the “ tone” of my last address should have given any offence, while I am wholly unconscious of any intention unnece rile to wound the feelings of those who, I am free to admit, have hith written at least courteously, if not very candidly, upon the subjects have heen recently submitted to the attention of the public. Allo Listinctly to disclaim any attempt to charge you with hypocrisy, or
that you "secretly know as errors what you publicly prea
Ok occasion merely to express my surprise that p. ho seemed so anxious for an impartial hearing of
Jine” a proposal by which, as it appeared, and st
that “hopeth all things,” I sought to attrit
unnecessave hitherto lects which
Allow me crisy, or make icly preach as e that persons defence, should
and still apattained ; and
Itogether decline” a proposal by which rs to me, that object might have been de exercise of a charity that “hopeth all th