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determined by authority , and not by the sober appeal to men ' s understandings , exercised under a serious sense of responsibility , and a sincere desire to learn the truth as it is in Jesus . We think the contrary . If Dr . Stock had been followed by all whose feelings lead their judgment , it would not have affected tbe foundation on which
his former opinions rest ; it would not have weakened the conviction which had been formed by a calm and serious investigation of the scriptural evidence for and against them . When Dr . Stock ' s change was announced to the public , it was the language of many , " Dr . Stock become a Trinitarian I why this is decisive / 1
And the greatest triumph was manifested , as though the whole edifice of Unitarianism were shaken to its foundation ; and the most sanguine expectations were expressed , that numbers would follow his example . I should have felt no surprise , if others had followed his example , not , however , from that class who have formed their
opinions for themselves , upon scriptural evidence , but from those who received Unitarianism upon the authority of others , or merely because they thought it rational , from those whom fashion or wordly motives would influence in any question , or whose weak minds sunk under the
opprobrium so unjustly attached to the avowed Unitarian , and the denunciations of eternal perdition , which so often supply the place of argument . To many , I doubt not , the change was a theme of simple sacred joy and devout thanksgiving , that one soul had been rescued from sentiments which ,
througii ignorance , they dreaded more than sin itself . And others , who felt a strong confidence in the truth of their orthodoxy , and had witnessed , with deep sorrow , the number of instances in which the same confidence
had fallen before examination and evidence , would naturally have their feelings cheered , and their convictions invigorated , by perceiving the retrograde course run by a man of undoubted integrity and piety , and
emi-TO « t for talents and literature . But the very circumstance which so much raised , should have damped their exaltation . It was but one . Talents not i nferior to hn own , the love of truth ¦* pure * acquirements as varied , and
character as unsullied , are possessed by many whose convictions of the truth of Unitarianism have been strengthened by the repeated examination of opposing evidence : and from among those respected individuals , who , by the study of their English
Bible alone , and by comparing Scripture with Scripture , gradually arrived at the firm belief and steady avowal of the great principles of Unitarianism , ( and the number of such is considerable , increasing and encouraging , ) I know not a single instance of the change which Dr . Stock has made .
When it happens that men who have patiently examined the subject , on both sides , for themselves , ( employing all the light afforded them by others , but submitting their
understanding to the authority of nothing but revealed truth , ) and who , after many a painful struggle with early impressions , attachments and interests , have formed a serious conviction that
Unitariauism is the doctrine of the gospel , —when it happens that such men again return to their former opinions , then may it stagger , or at least perplex , the advocate for Unitariaaism , and lead him to pause , and reconsider before he takes another step in the service to which he believed Christian
duty had called him . But Dr , Stock was not one of these . I want no other proof of my assertion than his own letter . I do not refer to its total deficiency in argument ; because , though its admirers think
otherwise , its intelligent author well knows that it neither contains , nor was designed to contain , any . It is the histm ~ y of a peculiar mental process , which is chiefly extraordinary , because the subject of it is a man of intellectual attainments and culture .
And that history clearly developed two facts . The one is , that Dr . Stock had never calmly and fully examined for himself the arguments against Unitarianism , nor fairly appreciated their weight , in opposition to the innumerable passages by which its grand
principles are supported . The other is , that when doubts we : e produced by the affectionate perseverance of Mr . Vernon , he dwelt upon them with restless earnestness ; that he pursued the subject with intense eagerness , and under the influence of strongly excited feeling ; and that , m
&r . Carpenter ' s Remarks on Dr . Stock ' s Letter . 589
vol . xii . 4 a
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1817, page 589, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2469/page/17/