Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

mockery of first placing us on the brink of hell and lifting up the veil, and then bidding us stand there, with cool and unembarrassed judgment to inquire. Over converts won by such means, you would surely have as little reason to rejoice as had the priests of Rome to exult on the recantation of Galileo. Our fellow worshippers have learned, we trust, a nobler faith ; and will listen to your arguments with more open and tranquil mind than your invitation, had it attained its end of fear, would have allowed. They will hold fast, till they see reason to abandon it, their filial faith in a Divine Father, of whom Jesus, the merciful and just, is indeed the image; and who, therefore, can have neither curse nor condemnation for “unwitting" error, no delight in self-confident pretensions, no wrath and scorn for any “honest and good heart," which “ brings forth its fruit with patience.”

To this God of truth and love, commending our high controversy, and all whose welfare it concerns, we remain your fellow-labourers in the Gospel,

JAMES MARTINEAU,

Minister of Paradise-street Chapel.
John Hamilton Thom,

Minister of Renshaw-street Chapel.
HENRY GILES,

Minister of the Ancient Chapel, Toxteth Park. Liverpool, Jan. 26, 1839.

To the Reverend James Martineau, J. H. Thom, and Henry Giles. Gentlemen,-As Christian courtesy seems to require a reply to your address, published in the Albion of this day, I hasten to furnish it, though unwilling, for many reasons, to enter into a newspaper discussion with you on the important subjects which just now engage our attention. I shall, therefore, (without intending any disrespect,) pass by unnoticed your critical remarks on certain portions of my recently published invitation to the members of your body to attend and give a patient hearing to the lectures about to be delivered at Christ Church, and confine myself altogether to those points of inquiry to which it is but reasonable that you shonld receive an answer. And,

1. You ask, whether I will recommend my congregation to attend (I presume, in your respective chapels) to hear the replies which you intend making to our proposed lectures. To this I am compelled to reply in the negative. Were I to consent to this proposal, I should thereby admit that we stood on the terms of a religious equality, which is, in limine, denied. As men, citizens, and subjects, we are doubtless equal, and will also stand on a footing of equality before the bar of final judgment; I therefore use the term “ religious equality,in order to convey to you the distinction between our relative position as members of the community and as religionists. Being unable (you will excuse my necessary plainness of speech) to recognize you as Christians, I cannot consent to meet you in a way which would imply that we occupy the same religious level. To you, there will be no sacrifice of principle or

[graphic]

compromise of feeling, in entering our churches ; to us, there would be

surrender of both in entering yours, as would peremptorily pro

hibit any such engagement.

men

u next inquire how early an appearance of our printed lectures may be expected. In answer to this I have only to say, that arrange

have been made for publishing each lecture as soon after its deliresy as may be practicable. Within what time this practicability may be

coincide, it is of course impossible precisely to determine. It Blous, that I cannot answer for my brethren upon this point ; only observe for myself, that I should hope a week or ten days fcient for the necessary revisal of proofs, arrangement of lies, and other business connected with a careful and correct publi

will be sufficient for

cation.

lecture, and its reply, pul viously selected newspa)

think it would be unt

third inquiry respects a proposal to have an epitome of each

its reply, published weekly in the columns of some pre

eted newspaper. Not having as yet had the opportunity of collecting th

che sentiments of my reverend brethren, I can only, as before, et which suggests itself to my own mind. I am inclined to

uld be unfair to the respectable bookseller, who has under"publish the course at his own risk, to expect him to concur in a which could not but materially injure his sale. As it is our in

publish each lecture separately, as well as the whole collec the close of their delivery, and that in the cheapest possible

a view to the most extensive circulation, I cannot but hope

pe that our united object will be equally, if not better, answered. curtaileresorting to a process which should necessarily so condense apa

matter as to present a very meagre and insufficient exhibition uments, reasonings, references, and authorities, on which sa the value of the lectures will depend.

to finally, as to your proposal of making some public journs de of a discussion independent of the lectures, I regret that

obliged to decline pledging myself to concur in it. While Ire D yself the right of noticing and replying to any communicatio Quappear, in a duly authenticated form, in any of the publi

1 must at the same time express my conviction, that a new Rot the most desirable medium for disquisition on the deep a ojects which must pass under review in a controversy like that c are about to engage. The ordinary class of newspaper reade Š too frequently the ignorant scoffer, the sceptical, and the D

o t precisely that whose attention we desire to solicit to our hi laws to the

to the laws of Scriptural Exegesis, and our application of this le elucidation of the profound mysteries of the Book of Rev

feel no doubt that all who feel interested on the subject, w o hear or read what we shall preach and publish ; and will this ked with more solid and suitable materials for forming a correr went than could be afforded by the casual study of the ephemera

tention to publish ea tively, at the close u form, with a view to and believe that our un than by resorting to curtail the matter of the argumen much of the value

4. And, finally the rebicle of a disc feel again obliged serve to m yself in which nav appear,

awful subjects whi which we are abo including too fre fane, is not precis

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

lation. I feel no doub contrive to hear or read

us

pages of the public press.

Having thus distin which you may

ng thus distinctly replied to the several points of your letter,
you may have reasonably expected to hear from me; and trusting

that you will not attribute to any want of respect to you the omission of all notice of the remainder; and congratulating you with all sincerity on your avowed intention of coming, with your respective congregations, to hear the exposition which we are about to give of what we believe to be fatally false in your system, as contrasted with what we think savingly true in our own; and praying with all fervency, to the great Head of the Church, to bless and prosper the effort about to be made for the promotion of his glory, through the instruction of those who are “ignorant and out of the way,”

I remain, Gentlemen,
Yours for the Lord's sake,

FIELDING OULD.
January 28, 1839.

To the Rev. James Martineau, J. H. Thom, and Henry Giles. Gentlemen,- I owe it to you and to myself to state, that no offence was intended, either by me, or, as I conscientiously believe, by my clerical brethren, in the title of the subject to which my name stands affixed in the Syllabus of the Lectures on the Unitarian Controversy. I am also bound to acknowledge, that your letter, on the subject of the lecture, is written in a style of calmness and courtesy, of which, I trust, you will have no reason to complain of the absence in the statements which I shall have to submit to your attention. Of course, this is not the time for the vindication of the view which I adopt on the great question ; I content myself, therefore, with this public disclaimer of any desire to substitute irritating language for sound argument.

I remain, Gentlemen,
Yours, with all due respect,

Thos. BYRTH.

To the Reverend Fielding Ould. Rev. Sir,—We beg to offer you our thanks for your prompt and distinct reply, in the Liverpool Courier of yesterday, to the proposals submitted to you in our letter of Monday. We are as little anxious as yourself for the prolongation of this preliminary newspaper correspondence ; and however much we may regret the negative character of your answers to our questions, we should have reserved all comment upon them for notice elsewhere, if you did not appear to us to have left still open to consideration the proposed discussion (independent of the lectures) through the press. That the pulpit controversy should be on unequal terms, is, we perceive, a matter of conscience with you; but your objections to a newspaper controversy seem to arise, not from any desire to withhold your readers from our writings, as you would your hearers from our preaching, but from the unfitness of a political journal to be the vehicle of religious argument. Permit us, then, to say, that we have no preference for this particular medium of discussion ; that we are wholly indifferent as to its form, provided the substantial end be gained of bringing your arguments and ours before the attention of the same pars, and that any plan which you may suggest, affording promise of the

[graphic]

vent of this end, whether it be the joint publication of the lectures

church and those in our chapels, or the appearance in the pages Egious journal (either already established, or called into existence

ccasion, and limited to this single object), will receive our wel.

come acceptance.

perse

acknowledged principles trust, incur the reproac changing it into an indic

so trifle, in things most
that your case shall be n

any desire to see a theological opponent in the wrong, we

the case between us in its present position, and should not

is in opening the way towards a fair adjudication of it; but

ence for the religion of which you are a representative and and we should

te the world, transcends all paltry controversial feelings, promised by the

see, with grave sorrow, the honour of Christianity comthe rejection, on the part of its authorized ministers, of the 4. Principles of argumentative justice. You will not, we the reproach of inviting a discussion with us, and then

to an indictment against us. You have originated the apSeat tribunal of public opinion in this Christian commu. dre plaintiff in this controversy ; you will not, we feel assured, things most sacred, with the rules of evidence, as to insist te shall be heard in one court, and before one jury, while nt's case is banished to another, and the verdict pronoun

balancing the attestation and comparing the pleadings. a disenes moreover, succeed in convincing your readers, that this is

not (as we submit) between church and church, but (as you tween Christianity and No-Christianity, the effect will be be deplored, for, in such case, Christianity will appear to is votaries the advantage of an exclusive hearing for itself, Nallenging, by the very act of controversy, the appeal to ar.

leave, for those who are stigmatized as unbelievers, the hoWanding that open field which, usually, truth is found to seek,

od to avoid. We trust that you will not thus inflict a wound geon which, in all its forms, we deeply venerate.

our religious equality with you. Is it as a matter of opinion, ter of certainty, that such equality is denied ? If it is onlv on, then this will not absolve you from fair and equal discus

S rounds of such opinion. If it is with you not an opinion Tey, then, Sir, this is Popery. Popery we can understand

at least, what it is,—but Protestantism erecting itself into Libility, yet still claiming to be Protestantism, is to us a sad

ng spectacle, showing what deep roots Roman Catholicisma

Saker parts of our common nature. tween s ourselves at a loss to comprehend your distinction be.

quality and religious equality. We claim equally as fellow

akers of a common nature ; of that nature the religious ele. ments in CO us incomparably dearer and more elevating than the ele

make us merely citizens; and the equality that is conceded

to all our lower attributes, but denied in regard to those that the heal and immortal, is such an equality as you might concede to

D the ground of their animal nature, without injury to the

ced without balancing Should you, m oreover a discussion not (as we contend) between Chris fet more to be deplored claim from its votarie and, while challenging. gument, to leave, for those

and falsehood to avoid. on a religion which, You deny Ourre

or as a matt

sion on the g round but a certain ty," -We know, at leas Romish infa I bility, y and humiliating spec has in the weaker

We confess ourselves tween civil e q uality an men, as partakers of a ments are to us incompare

in regard to all our lower

the brutes, on the ground

maintenance of your religious superiority. What is meant by our equality at the bar of final judgment, as citizens, but not as religionists, we do not know; or, if we can detect a meaning in it, it is one which we should have supposed belonged to our faith rather than to yours.

In reference to your repugnance to enter our chapels we say no more, reserving our right of future appeal in this matter to those members of your church who may be unable to see the force of your distinction between religious and social equality. But we are surprised that you should conceive it so easy a thing for us to enter your churches : and should suppose it “ no sacrifice of principle and compromise of feeling" in us to unite in a worship which you assure us, must constitute in our eyes“ the most heinous of all sins-Idolatry.” Either you must have known that we did not consider your worship to be idolatry, or have regarded our resort to it as a most guilty“ compromise of feeling :” to which nevertheless, you gave us a solemn invitation ; adding now, on our compliance, a congratulation no less singular.

We thought you had been aware, that, while our services must be, in a religious view, painfully deficient to you, those of your church are positively revolting to us. Still as our presence, on such passing occasions as the present, does not, in our opinion, involve any “sacrifice of principle, we shall set the example to our friends of attending ; not making our desire that they should be just dependant on the willingness of others to be so too. And we shall have this satisfaction, that, whether you “ win” them, or whether we retain them, the result will be a faith held, not on the precarious tenure of ignorance or submission, but in the security of intelligent conviction, and the peace of a just and enlightened conscience.

We remain, reverend Sir,
Yours, with Christian regard,

JAMES MARTINEAU.
John Hamilton Thom.

HENRY GILES.
Liverpool, January 31st 1839.

To the Trinitarians of this Town and Neighbourhood who may feel interested

in the approaching Unitarian Controversy. Christian Brethren,- A letter of public invitation has been addressed to the Unitarians of this town and neighbourhood, by the Rev. nes Ould, on behalf of himself and twelve other clergymen associated with him, urging us, with the earnestness of Christian anxiety, to end 1. minds to their expositions of our errors and our dangers. We are interpreted this to be an invitation to discuss the most momentous " tions as equal with equal. We thought, indeed, that we saw an assumption of superiority, if not of infallibility, perhaps inseparable from minds so trained : still we supposed, that this superiority was to be by argument and fair discussion : and this was all that we desired. It never occurred to us, that the reverend gentleman might possibly expect us to

as a divinely appointed judge of truth, whose teachings

« EdellinenJatka »