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will excite the attention, which the sacredness of the subject, and the ability and earnestness with which it is exhibited, may justly demand.
Religious Tracts. At a late meeting of the Society for conducting the Christian Disciple, it was determined to commence immediately the publication of religious Tracts, in a cheap form, for distribution. The preliminary arrangements have been made, and the publication of some tracts effected ; more will soon follow, and we respectfully solicit the aid and co-operation of our friends and the public in the promotion of this object.
The Tracts intended to be published will be both doctrinal and practical, original and selected; and in their general character, will correspond with that of the Christian Disciple and Theological Review. The necessity and utility of such a design must be obvious. Many persons accustomed to distribute Tracts have complained of the difficulty of procuring precisely such as they were willing to circulate.' They could find abundance, but not all unexceptionable ; some inculcate the very errors in doctrine they wish to discourage, and some a spirit of practical religion which they cannot altogether approve. It is designed by the present plan to give such persons the opportunity of obtaining what they can conscientiously recommend, and may circulate in the hope of promoting true religion. In order to accomplish this however, in the degree which is desirable, considerable funds will be necessary. We trust that those who are sensible of the importance of ihe object will be forward in lending it a generous aid. The cause of what they regard liberal and uncorrupt Christianity demands it; and their reward shall be, not only the hearty thanks of those whom they assist, but, what is vastly more, the satisfaction of seeing that they have helped to carry forward the progress of truth and holiness.
Every subscriber will be entitled to receive Tracts, to the full amount of his subscription, at the shop of our publishers; of whom any information on the subject may be obtained.
Already published, Mr. Channing's Sermon at Baltimore; and Henry Goodwin, or, the Contented Man' In a few days will be ready also, the Essay on the Holy Spirit,' which appears in this number of the Disciple.
On Wednesday the 25th of July, the Rev. Wm. FROTHINGHAM was installed pastor of the Congregational Society in Belfast, Maine. Rev. Mr Lowell, of Boston, made the introductory prayer, and read the result of Council. Rev. Dr. Ripley, of Concord, preached. Rev. Mr. Mason, of Castine, prayed after Sermon. Rev. Dr. Allyn, of Duxbury, gave the charge, and read a select portion of Scripture. Rev. Dr. Packard, of Wiscasset, made an address to the people. Rev. Mr. Warren, of Jackson, presented the right hand of fellowship, and Dr. Ripley offered the concluding prayer:
The circumstances connected with the call of Mr. Frothingham, by the people of Belfast, are interesting, and deserve to be recorded.
They had been for several years destitute of a regular ministry, had become divided in their sentiments and feelings, and, in general, indifferent in respect to the means of religious improvement for themselves, and of instruction for their children. As sheep without a sbepherd, they were scattered abroad, were exposed to becoine a prey to imposters and enthusiasts, and had no prospect of a reunion in the participation of religious ordinances.
Belfast, in 1810, contained nearly 1300 inhabitants, and yet not a sufficient number could be found to unite in defraying the expence of a candidate for a limited time.
In this state of things, application was made to the Evangelical Missionary Society, and was not disregarded. Mr. Frothingham was sent to them as a religious instructor, and the teacher of their children and youth. The result was, an entire unanimity, with only one exception, in a call of the Missionary to be their stated pastor, the erection of a large and handsome meeting-house, and the settlement of Mr. Frothingham with the promise of a liberal support, and the prospect of great and increasing usefulness.
Thus, the walls of Zion which were broken down, have been rebuilt, and the flock which had been scattered, and had followed the voice of strangers, has been again gathered into the fold, having its own shepherd,
On this occasion, the house was crowded, and they whose privilege it was to witness the solemnities of installation, can never forget the chris tian joy that was manifested; por they who aided in the re-establishment of the ministry here, the feelings of gratitude that were expressed for the enjoyment of so great a blessing.
We shall be happy if the recital of these circumstances, which exbibit in so fair a point of view the judicious and useful exertions of the Evangelical Missionary Society, shall excite a deeper interest in that society; which, notwithstanding its limited means, has already been instrumental of much good, and if aided by the alms and the prayers of Christians, might be productive of far greater and more extended benefits.
The communication which came through the Post-Office was received too late for insertion in this number, and remains to be examined. As, however, an article on the same subject had already been prepared, we know not whether we shall be able to use it; at least at present
Correspondents are requested to observe, that communications, not noticed in the number after they are received, will not be published.
07 Our readers will perceive, that we have again given them eight pages extra ; which will in part account for and excuse the delay of a few days in the time of publication.
NEW SERIES-No. 5.
For September and October, 1819. .
FOR THE CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.
The life and writings of this acute theologist are, we fear, far less generally known than they deserve to be. We believe that our readers will gladly learn more of a man commonly spoken of as the glory of Protestants. William Chillingworth flourished in the reign of Charles I., a period in which, by the influence of his Queen, Henrietta, the Romish Churcb recovered in some measure its power in England, and filled the island with Jesuits. With that wily policy which has given them so much of their celebrity, they hovered around the seats of learning, insinuating themselves into the society of those students who were understood to be the most distinguished and promising; and the mind of Chillingworth was, even while at Oxford, successfully perverted by Fisher, one of the most subtle of these teachers. More effectually to secure his convert, he persuaded him to leave England, and reside for a season at the college of Doway. While here, the celebrated Laud entered into correspondence with him, and after an absence of not more than three months, he returned to England; in chagrin, if we believe some writers, at not receiving that honour from the Catholics which he expected, and which a new proselyte usually obtains; but much more probably in consequence of a second revolution of his faith, which the arguments of Laud are supposed to have produced. Chillingworth seems, at least, New Series.--vol. I.
to have been little mindful of his worldly advantage ; for by his departure from Oxford he sacrificed bis fellowship there, and if, as some Jesuits concluded, a year's probation at Doway would have more than compensated him for his loss, this he did not allow time to verify. These changes of opinion, hap. pily, produced those habits of mind, that did not permit him to adopt any faith of which he could not give a reason to all who might ask him ; and his patrons, all connected with the es. tablished church, and solicitous for his preferrent in it, sought in vain to bring Chillingworth to an acquiescence in its doctrines. His mind revolled against many of the articles as unscriptural, and against the imposition of articles altogether, as an act of little less than Romish tyranny over the conscience.* The reply of Dr. (afterwards Bishop) Sheldon, 10 the letter in which his scruples were stated, is not a little amusing ; " that he would by no means persuade any body to act against his conscience, but did not put the title of conscience upon an humour of contradiction, and that, to deal plainly with him, he was afraid it would ruin him here and not advantage bim at the last day.” He was at length, however, reconciled to subscription to the articles, regarding them as articles of peace and upion, and not of belief and assent. This mode of construction, which his biographer states to have originated with Chillingworth, many as this day will perhaps think not very justifiable; and will be disposed to cast on him some of the criminality of that large proportion, probably, of the established clergy, who have since followed, and, it may be, bave been influenced by his example.
This great man was treated with little real friendship or confidence in his own age by any class of believers; and Laud, who bad over-persuaded him to submit bis immortal work (" The religion of Protestants, a safe way to salvation,”) prior to its publication, to the revision of three eminent divines of the Church ; in a letter to one of them on this subject, says, “that he is very sorry the young man hath given cause why a more watchful eye should be kept over him and his writings."
* Chillingworth's most decided and strenuous opposition seems to have been to the Athanasian creed, especially to its damnatory clauses; that • creed, concerning which Tillotson expressed the “wish, that the church
were well rid of it;" and of which Clarke informed Whiston, that he had read it but once, and then by a mistake as to the directions of the rubric. Of this well-known composition it has been remarked, " that in its primary principles it consists of two parts, of doctrines and of curses; the first are not intelligible, the last are : if it were the reverse," says Jortin, “it would have been more for the credit of the writer."
Disney's Memoirs of Jortin.
The production to wbich we refer equally vexed and dissatisfied at its appearance, the Establishment, the Puritans, and the Catholics ; which no one will much wonder at, we suppose, when we say, that its writer, faithful to his professions, defended in it neither the communion of the church of England, nor of any other church, but the great and common principles of protestantism. Dr. Johp Prideaux, alluded to above as one of its censors, “would liken it only,” says Antony Wood, “10 an unwholesome Lamprey, by having a poisonous sting of Socinianisme throughout it, and tending in some places to plain infidelity and Atheisme.” Such was the first reception jo the world, by ignorance and prejudice, of a work, to which Protestants now with common accord appeal, and the principles of which they could not indeed abandon, without the utter surrender of their cause. of the incessant stigmas with wbich this book and its author were then loaded, we will give a curious specimen below.* It is from Cheynel, a inan of whom we are about to make some mention, and from another of whose tracts we shall give further extracts.
What Chillingworih's particular views of controverted doctrines were, it may not be easy at this distance of time to discover, especially when we remember, that regard to bis comfort and even safety must have necessarily made him very cautious and reserved on this subject. Various circumstances render probable what has been affirmed by respectable recent authorities, that after vacillating in his earlier life amid the distracting opinions of that time, he settled at its close in that simple form of Christianity, which is continually approving it. self more and more to the understanding and the heart. Some of the opprobrious names, as they were meant to be, which were heaped upon him, might have therefore had some shew of truth; but he liberally shared them, even at that time, with the great Locke, of whom he was nearly a cotemporary; and both their pames have come down to times, when almost all the enquiring and the eminent rejoice to claim kindred with them.
*“ Master Chillingworth, to speak modestly, hath been too patient, being so deeply charged by Knott for his inclining towards some Socinian tenets: no man in St. Jerome's opinion ought to be patient in such a case, and sure no innocent man would be patient. The Protestants due bot ova many of those principles which are scattered in Master Chillingworih's book, and Knott could observe that he proceeded in a destructive way just as the Socinians doe. The Reformed Churches abroad wonder that we could find no better champion among all our Worthies; they who travailed hither out of forrain parts, blessed themselves when they saw so much froath and grounds; so much Arminianisme and vanity in Master Chillingworth's admired piece. What doth it advantage the Protestant cause, if the Pope be deposed from his infallible chair, and Reasou enthroned, that Socinianisme may be advanced ?"