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Art . IV . —A Discourse preached at the Dedication of the Second Congregational Unitarian Churchy Mew York , Dec . 7 , 1826 . By W . E . Channin ^ New York , 1826 . 8 vo . pp . 57 . — -Reprinted in England under the following" title : The superior
Tendency of Unitarianism to form an elevated Religious Character . A Discourse , fyc . Reprinted from the New York Edition . Liverpool , F . B . Wright : London , Teulon and Fox , R . Hunter , and D . Eaton . 1827 . 12 irno . pp . 41 .
This is a very remarkable Sermon , and has caused , as we are informed , a considerable sensation in America . Its object is to shew the superiority of Uui * tarianism to all other forms of Christianity as a means of promoting " true , deep and living piety . ' Not content with repelling an accusation constantly brought against the opinions which we receive as scriptural and true , Dr . Channing boldly carries the war into the territories of our
opponents , exposes the evil tendency of their most favourite doctrines , and establishes by comparison the superior in * terest and value of our sentiments . The subject is well chosen in reference to the occasion on which the discourse was
delivered , and , in his mode of treating it , the atrthrtr has displayed the intellectual power , the depth of feeling , the energy of expression , and at the same time the gentleness of spirit , which have secured for his fc / rmer writings such deserved popularity , Taking as Ms text Mark xii . 29 , 30 , Dr . Changing first observes , that
the building is dedicated " to the worship of the only living aud true God , and to the teaching of the religion of his Son Jesus Christ . " His remarks on the dedication service , to which some have made objections , are excellent and of very extensive application . They are worth the attention of those who object to services at the settlement of Christian ministers .
" We are not among those who consider the written word as a statute book , by the letter of which every htep in life mast be governed . We believe , on the other hand , that one of the great excel-
lencies of Christianity is , that it does riot deal in minute regulation , but that , having given broad views of duty and en * joined a pure and disinterested spirit ^ it leaves us to apply these rules and express this spirit according to the promptings of the divine monitor within us , and
according to the claims arid exigencies of the ever-varying conditions in which we are placed . We believe , too , that revelation is not intended to supersede God ' s other modes of instruction ; that it is not intended to drown , but to render more audible the voice of nature . Now
nature dictates the propriety of such an act as we are this day assembled to perform . " Having observed that the building is dedicated to the Unitarian doctrine , " and to Christianity interpreted in consistency with it , " he gives the conviction , that this system " is peculiarly
the friend of inward , living , practical religion , " as the great motive for zeal in its propagation , and thus introduces the proper subject of his discourse . We cannot withhold from our readers his expla nation of what he claims for Unitarian .
ism : " la speaking of Unitarian Christ tianity as promoting piety , I ought to observe , that I use this word in its pro ' - per and highest sense . I mean not every thing which bears the name of piety , for under this title superstition , fanaticism and formality , are walking abroad and claiming respect . I mean not an anxious
frame of mind , not abject and slavish fear , not a dread of hell , uot a repetition of forms , not church £ ohi £ , not loud profession , not severe censures of others ' irreligion ; biit filial love and ^ reverence towards God , habitual gratitude , cheerful trust , ready obedience , and , though last not least , an imitatkm' of the ever active and unbounded benevolence of the
Creator / ' The remarks © h the various influences which modify the evil effects of ' erroneous creeds , are in their principle truly philosophical , in their spirit delightful , and in their expression beautiful . We hardly know how to abridge , yet we must not give Che whole passage . 4 * I mean not , " he says , " in commending or condemning systems , to pass sentence on their pr . ofessors . I know the power of the mind to select from a mul-
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1827, page 283, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1795/page/51/