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no better foundation, or rather no one would be simple enough to make it. Yet merely because Socinus held a similar opinion on this abstract question, he is said to have been accessory to the imprisonment of Francis David.


Postscript in Reply to the Rev. B. T. Stannus.April 26, 1833.

The preceding remarks were written immediately after the appearance of Mr. Kell's tract above cited. I delayed sending them for publication until I thought it too late, and in the expectation that some Unitarian would repeat the charge in the course of a year or two, I kept them to be used on some future occasion. Such an occasion is now furnished by my esteemed friend, the Rev. B. T. Stannus, whom I believe to be as averse as Mr. Edmund Kell to injustice or defamation in the abstract. Nevertheless, in his Discourse preached at Edinburgh, Dec. 9, 1832, and lately published, I find the following passage:

“ Socinus was a persecutor. He imprisoned Franciscus Davides for being a Unitarian. Unitarians will not call themselves after a persecutor, especially a persecutor of their own faith."

Mr. Stannus refers to no authority in support of bis assertion. I cannot help suspecting, that without investigation he has adopted it from the Unitarians of the sent day, who have never taken the trouble to inquire whether it is true or false; at the same time magnifying it, as is often done in such cases, by making Socinus the principal and not an accomplice in the transaction.

If, Sir, a Calvinist had advanced such a charge against any of the prominent advocates of Unitarianism, I think we should not have been very sparing in our expressions of indignation. What should we say, if the Trinitarians were to trump up a story, that Dr. Priestley poisoned Dr. Price, only because the former opposed the latter in a theological controversy? And how much keener would be our astonishment, if the followers of Priestiey eagerly adopted and propagated the accusation? Yet this is pretty much the course pursued by us in regard to one of the most meritorious labourers and sufferers on account of Unitarianism, and one of the most learned, enlightened, and virtuous of all the Reformers; except that, by some capricious fashion, the charge is reiterated among us without rousing any of those feelings which might justly be indulged against such a groundless and careless calumny.

One of our authors bas indeed investigated the subject with the most meritorious industry and impartiality, and, I have no doubt, with all the learning and accuracy, of which it is capable. I allude to my friend Dr. Thomas Rees, whose paper in the Monthly Repository for 1818 (vol. XIII. p. 382_385), examines the question in all its details, showing that the charge is utterly destitute of foundation, and that it is in the highest degree improbable thạt Socinus could, by any means," have brought Blandrata to temper and mildness."

I am sure the candour of my friends will render it unnecessary for me to apologise for this correction of the mistake into which they have evidently fallen, and I remain, Sir, yours respectfully,

James Yates.

On the Moral Constitution and History of Man.


We have endeavoured to explain three causes which impeded the proper influence of Christianity in the world, and which corrupted its doctrines, viz. 1. The superstitious fears of mankind, which induced them constantly to seek for atonements to propitiate the favour of God, 2. The imaginative philosophy of the Orientals and the Greeks. 3. The dialectics of Aristotle. We now proceed to the consideration of a fourth cause; and that was, the alleged power and patronage of certain men over the destinies of others in a future state.

Christianity was the first religion in the world which carried its views forward distinctly to a future state, and which enjoined men to receive its doctrines, and to obey its precepts under the penalty of a terrible punishment in that state. The sentiments of the Jews were obscure and controverted upon this grand point, and could not be urged authoritatively upon them. As for the religion of the Greeks and Romans, it had no practical regard to the sanction of futurity, although their poets indulged in some fables on the subject. Their religion was essentially of a temporal character, regulating their national festivities, customs and laws; and frequently their military enterprises also. They feared the displeasure, or hoped the favour of their gods in the affairs of this world; but they thought nothing of the next. In Plutarch's account of their su

perstitions, there is some allusion, indeed, to the fears of futurity, but they did not rest upon any authority. They seem to have been the impressions of individuals, and as he wrote after the commencement of the Christian era, such impressions may have been received indirectly from the Christians.

The tenets of the Oriental Philosophy bad been nearly as obscure and uninfluential in this respect, at least so far as they had reached over Europe and Western Asia. As for the mythology of distant India, that country is beyond the sphere of our remarks. Mahomet, indeed, availed himself of the powerful stimulus which a belief in futurity gives to human actions, but he only borrowed that principle, with other things, from Christianity.

I repeat, therefore, that the bold assertion and clear evidence of a future state of existence and responsibility, was still peculiar to Christianity in the first ages; and in that respect, it introduced a principle of action which was altogether new to the world, and of the most powerful character. It verified in the moral world what Archimedes boasted he could do in the natural world, “ Give me a fulcrum (said he) for my machine, and I will move the earth.” The doctrine of a future state was that fulcrum, and it did change the face of the world. Since the diffusion of Christianity in Europe and Western Asia, the whole state of mankind, whether political, moral, or social, has been in a great measure modified and governed by this principle, and at one time was exclusively so.

This was far from being done, however, in the way intended by our Lord; that is to say, by its influence as a motive to obey bis moral precepts, and to cherish the sentiments of liberality and benevolence. On the contrary, it was quickly perceived by the selfish nature of man, how a title to the patronage, or an influence over the destinies of others in a future state, would give a most tremendous power to those wbo claimed it, over all the passions and interests of men even in this present world. At the same time, the gross ignorance and superstition of the multitude favoured the usurpation. Those who usurped this power, indeed, did it not professedly or even consciously to themselves in the first instance. It mingled itself as bad motives frequently do with good ones, so far as to bide itself even from the conscience of the actor, and still more effectually from the view of the public, to whom the good motive alone was ostentatiously professed. In process of time, however, the bad motive became more and more palpable, and was carried to such a length for worldly purposes, that it became suspected by the people, and could not, in many instances, deceive the actors. In whatever measure, however, or in whatever combination it existed, its effects were most disastrous.

The pretences upon which this power was usurped by one class of men over the rest, were twofold. First, it was supposed that those persons who held offices in the Church, were either endowed with some personal privilege of acting as intercessors with God, or that the ordinances over which they presided, and which they could alone dispense, were the only channels for obtaining the Divine favour and aid. Either way, they assumed an official power which did not belong to private Christians, and of which power the latter were the subjects. In the first age, while the Christians still remembered the doctrine of Christ, that “they should call no man master on earth”—that all were brethren, and had equal and direct access by prayer to their Heavenly Father,—none pretended, not even the Apostles, to assume the functions of priests; but in succeeding ages, as we bave already noticed, this idea was introduced, and with it the basis of that power to which we have alluded.

A second pretence to the same power, was personal, and not official. Those persons who were eminent for piety and virtue, or for singular gifts, were supposed to have influence with God in favour of their weaker breth

Now, the favourite idea of superiority in olden times, was attached to the practice of fasting, of penances and privations, by which the body (supposed the source of all moral evil) was mortified, and the soul purified and elevated to a sort of angelic condition. the multitude therefore paid a voluntary reverence; and they being fanatics themselves, were abundantly persuaded of their own superior holiness and influence. From such dispositions sprang that race of hermits, monks, and visionaries, who abounded in the middle ages, and shared with the official clergy the power of the spiritual empire, which both together erected on the ignorance and superstition of the people. In the earlier centuries the official and personal characters were frequently combined in the same persons; but in course of time they were often dis


To such persons

tinguished, and not unfrequently quarrelled with each other about their respective prerogatives, but they never failed to agree in fleecing and tyrannising over the people.

It would be going beyond our bounds, and is not necessary for our purpose, to sketch the progress of this spiritual usurpation up to the 16th century. It will be sufficient to contrast the precepts of the Gospel and the practice of the apostolic age on this subject, with the prevailing doctrines and practice of the Church, when the spiritual power had arrived at its height about the 13th century. By this means we shall see how much the original doctrine of Christianity bad been perverted from its true purpose.

Let us observe, first, what doctrine and practice our Lord expressly enjoined on his disciples. He taught them to cultivate humility, and to avoid all pretensions to power. “Ye know (said he) that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them; but it shall not be so with you; but whosoever would be great among you, let him be your seryant; even as the Son of Man came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” In the same spirit be commanded them “not to lay up treasures on earth, but to distribute them,"_and to remember “that his kingdom was not of this world.” The Apostles faithfully obeyed their Master in this respect, and in their turn enjoined the bishops and elders of the Church (who succeeded them in the ordinary offices of instruction and government), to beware of ambition and covetousness; for it was made known to the Apostles by the spirit of prophecy, that men should arise who would make a gain by their profession of godliness, and assume that kind of authority which they and their Master bad disclaimed.

In regard to riches, it has been ingeniously argued, indeed, that the example and rule of poverty given by the Apostles, had a reference to the mean and persecuted state of the Church in the first age; but that, if Providence afterwards enriched the faithful, it was befitting them to allow their pastors to share in their prosperity. Now, this may be admitted in so far as the people might choose to do so of their own accord, and in so far as the pastors employed such voluntary gifts only in those moderate and decent comforts, which the state of society made customary. But the clergy were far from being content with this. The monks, indeed, pretended literally to imitate the po

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