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tribute to the establishment of that general dispensation, by which he had purposed, from all eternity, to gather together in one all things in Christ. Of course, the infliction of evil, 'under the preceding dispensations, was not to ascertain the moral characters of the persons under them, but 19 secure immediate obedience. This latler was a matter absolutely necessary, when the preparatory and leading circumstances of this final dispensation were to depend on human will, and to be accomplished by human agency. Hence the miraculous defence of Abraham against Pharaoh, Gen. xii. and against Abimelech, Gen. xx. and hence a similar mode of providence under the theocracy. For, had not pupishinent immediately followed disobedience, the great purpose of the Jewish dispensation, the keeping them distinct from all other nations, could not have been attained; by which means the prophecies respecting the genealogy of the Messias would have been rendered utterly uncertain, and the primary object of the Christian dispensation, the restoration of all such to the favour of God, as were desirous to accept it, entirely defeated.
Future rewards and punishments, as promised and *threatened in the gospel, are a trial of mens' moral character, and will determine their situation hereafter; but sad experience may convince us, how little they secure present obedience.
A PROPOSAL RESPECTING THE ATHANASIAN
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S
IN the year 1794, I published, in the form of a small I pamphlet, a copy of which I believe was sent to every English bishop then on the bench, a“ Proposal 'respecting the Athanasian Creed ;” which, though noticed with approbation by some persons, has not obtained all the attention I could wish. With the view of giving it a further chance of obtaining that attention, I
Pol. IX. Churchn. Mag. July 1805. F request request the favour of you to republish it in your miscele lany; and I the rather do this, because subsequent and oft-resumed consideration, which has confirmed me in my opinion respecting the substance of my Proposal, has induced me to make a little alteration in the mode of it.
I am, Sir, Rempstone,
Your's, &c. July 1, 1805.
E. PEARSON. A PROPOSAL, &c. It must be matter of great concern to every friend of the Church of England to reflect, that this excellert summary of the Christian faith, by the adoption of it into her service, has been the occasion of so much calumny against her ; but it ought to be of infinitely more concern to him to find, that she is in danger, by the growing disuse of it, of losing a support of her doctrines, for which she has so dearly paid. It is a well-known fact, that, though the RUBRIC requires the recital of the Athanasian Creed thirteen times in the year, yet in many (I might, I believe, say the majority) of our congregations, it is never recited at all. I am persuaded that, generally speaking, this does not arise from any objection in the minister either to the doctrines of the creed (those of the Trinity and Incarnation) or to the mode, in which they are set forth there; but from the apprehension that the recital of the damnatory clauses, as they are sometimes called, may excite wrong sentiments in the minds of the hearers. Who will say, that this apprehension is altogether groundless ? The church, indeed, in asserting the “ necessity of holding the catholic faith,” does not mean to determine, in every particular case, and under all imaginable circumstances, the fate of those, who either do not believe the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation, or do not believe them as set forth in the Athanasian Creed. This may fairly be concluded from the Rubric, which was prepared by the Commissioners appointed, in 1689, to review and correct the liturgy; “ a set of men,” as archbishop Wake described them in the House of Lords, “ than whom this church was never, at any one time, blessed with either wiser or better, since it was a church.” For though, owing to the peculiar circumstances of the times, that Rubric, any more than the other measures suggested by the commissioners, was not sanctioned by public authority, it obtained then, and it
still possesses, the approbation of the most éminent members of the church*. As there is not, however, in every one this knowledge, and as the words of the creed, taken in their usual acceptation, undeniably convey the apprehended meaning, I cannot think him, who on this account refrains from putting them into the mouth of his congregation, deserving of very severe censure.
But, whatever apology may be made for the neglect of the clergy in this case, it is greatly to be feared, that the neglect itself is attended with pernicious effects. It is liable to be considered as an evidence, and is, I doubt pot, by many so considered, that the clergy do not believe the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation, or at least, do not believe them as set forth in the Athanasian Creed. What I have to propose therefore is, that these damnatory passages be so retrenched and softened down, as to remove all reasonable objections to the recital of them; that, while they declare the great importance of a right faith, which is all that they can be defended in meaning, they may not seem to express uncharitable denunciations against those, who have unhappily embraced a wrong one.
If it be objected, that express reforms of this nature are attended with hazard, and that it is better, in most cases, to wait for tacit ones, by fuffering words gradually to change their meaning; I admit the general truth, but contend, that, in a case like this, where the words are likely ever lo excite sentiments, which were not meant to be excited, and to be understood as supporting opinions, which were not meant to be supported; it is better at once to remove the occasion of mistake.
In making this Proposal, and in hoping for its success, I am, I think, encouraged by the church of England herself. “ It hath been the wisdom of the church of England, ever since the first compiling of her public liturgy, to keep the mean between the two extremes, of loo much
* The Rubric was this :-“ Upon these feasts, Christmas-day, Easterday, Ascension-day, Whit-sunday, Trinity-sunday, and upon All-saints, shall be said as morning prayer, by the minister and people standing, instead of the creed commonly called the Apostles' Creed, this confession of our Christian faith, commonly called the Creed of St. Athanasius : the articles of which ought to be received and believed as being agreeable to the Holy Scriptures; and the condemnning clauses are to be understood as relating only to those, who obstinately deny the substance of the Chrisa
stiffness in refusing, and of too much easiness in admite ing, any variation froin it. The particular form of divine worship, and the rites and ceremonies appointed to be used therein, being things in their own nature indifferent and alterable, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable, that, upon weighty and important considerations, according to the various exigencies of times and occasions, such changes and alterations should be made therein, as to those, that are in place of authority, should, from time to time, seem either necessary or expedient.”-Pref. to the Book of Common Prayer. The church too, as appears by the 20th article, claims, and jastly claims, “ authority, in controversies of faith.” The alteration, however, which I propose, far froin being an infringement on the doctrines of the church, is, as I conceive, the only effectual method by which she can be preserved from a seeming dereliction of them. The Creed of St. Athanasius, as proposed to be received by
the Church of England*. 1. Whosoever will be saved : let him before all things hold the catholic faith.
2. “ For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. x. 10.
3. And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
4. Neither confounding the Persons, &c.
27. So that in all things, as is aforesaid : the Unity in 'Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.
28. Furthermore, let him, who will be saved: believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
29. - For with the heart man believeth unto righteous. ness; and will the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. x. 10.
30. And the right faith is, &c.
41. And they, that have done good, shall go into life everlasting; and they, that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
Glory be to the Father, &c.
* No more of the Creed is here printed, than is necessary to give the Teader an idea of the intended alteration. The rest may easily be supplied from the book of cominon prayer.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S ..."
MAGAZINE. SIR, I AGREE with your correspondent Philalethes in thinkTing, that some expressions in the “ New Whole Duty of Man," and many other publications of the like kind, are : “ rather more eloquent, than philosophically correct.” If those who use thein were content to consider them, and to have them considered by others as mere effusions of: eloquence, and as designed rather to rouse the affections than to inform the understanding, I should be more reconciled to their use than I sometimes am. Enthusiasm, when it appears in the poetry of a Milton, a Young, or a Cowper, may not only be tolerated, but rapturously admired. When the business is to acquire just notions of religion, and to arrive at a knowledge of truth, the case is different. We must then guard against all the seductions of fancy, and take the plain path which judgment " points out to us. ,
With regard to the position, that “ every individual is deserving of everlasting damnation,” which seems to disturb your correspondent, he may perhaps come to more satisfactory ideas on the subject, by considering it in a less abstracted view; i. e. by considering the future situation of man, not merely as a retribution of deserts, but with reference to the particular circumstances, in which he is now placed. By the fall of Adam, man becaine mortal. By the intercession of Christ, he is raised from death, and becomes immortal ; capable of everlasting happiness, or everlasting misery, and of these in various degrees. See John xiv. 2. Whether he shall be happy or iniserable, and in what degree, is left to depend on his submission to the conditions on which salvation is offered to him. These conditions are faith and obedience ; and these necessarily imply repentance in those instances, in which obedience, as must often be the case, is defec. tive. These conditions are enjoined us for our sakes; for, without compliance with them, we should not be capa