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the subject . " The former instantly declared against the anti- Christian pretensions of the assembly to dictate in matters of faith ; but the latter , after assuring them that nothing was intended against those already irr the
ministry , it was proposed merely to guard against the introduction of" unsound preachers" as candidates , insisted on the necessity of removing the stain and stigma of heresy which attached to the West .
The day previous to the meeting of the assembly , a long discussion took place at a private house in Exeter ( where many ministers were collected ) , in which Mr . Peirce insisted that the them . I have a letter in Mr . Ball ' s handwriting , from which u the temper of his mind > J may be judged . The followingverbatim copy may elucidate the foregoing narration .
u Mr . Twogood , u I hear your Mr . Stogdon is to be ordained at your brother ' s meeting-house . Doth your brother know what confession of faith is carried about Exon as his , which all the ministers are ag * ainst ? Has any one consulted any of the elder ministers about Bristol ? I am not willing my name should
be mentioned , because Mr . Stogdon takes me as his enemy , which God is my witness I never was ; but must I hold my peace , and see the church overrun with Arianism , to dethrone Christ , and bring * in worship of a creature ? These things should be considered , or where will faith be , and what a stink will non-conformity end in ? " Yours , J . BALL . "
On one occasion , when Mr . Ball preached from Mr . Peirce ' s pulpit , he bad the good manners to indulge in animadversions which could not but be applied to Mr . P . He introduced a Trinitarian doxolog'y , which had been discarded , and publicly returned thanks to God for the liberty of so glorifying * him . After the list was published of the seven ministers who recommended
and procured the ejectment of Mr . Peirce and Mr . Hallett , he said he would have his name put in capitals in the list , and that had he been silent , he should not have died Jn peace . Mr . Walrond too , was so proud ° f the distinctionthat he says" he would
, , have the enemies of Christ ' s Godhead know that he counts it his truest glory , and desires that his name may stand on the list for ever . " There indeed it will stand , another monument of human C ° H v > another proof that * nere are " who glory in their shame . "
Afterhis exploits at Exeter , Mr . Walrond ¦ ucoeeded in inducing' the congregation at Budlei g-h to discharge theijr minister , Mr . fieadon ( a most exemplary and high-minded o » an ) , on a charge of "heresy .
right of private judgment is the great principle of dissent , and also contended for the " supremacy of the Father . " The liberal ministers proposed that the differences of opinion should be made the subject of friendly and free discussion ; but to this the majority
objected . To impose a creed is easier than to defend one . Mr . Withers ( who had anticipated this debate ) read a paper , arguing that the proposal of any test whatever is aii encroachment
on our common liberty , abhorrent to the spirit of dissent , and which ( if allowed ) must condemn the Puritans for refusing , and justify their adversaries in imposing the ex-officio oaths ; that it would be the introduction of a
system of encroachment and churchtyranny , which , though satisfied with one test to-day , would require another to-morrow . He then learnedly objected to the test itself . Though his address was candid , conciliatory and
convincing , he was several times most rudely interrupted ; and then ( even in the intercourse of social communion ) the friends of truth and free inquiry discovered the malignant spirit which was at work to bring about their overthrow .
The assembly ( impatient to manifest their ** zeal for the glory of God" ) met half an hour earlier than usualj and after prayer , Mr . Ball moved , that they should declare against those who denied the divinity of our Saviour . *
? Richard Baxter ' s words will hardly be misplaced here : — " Had not the devil turned orthodox , he had not made so many true Christians heretics , as Epiphaniusand Austin have enrolled in the black list . Had not the enemy of truth and peace g-ot into the chair , and made so
pathetic an oration as to inflame the minds of the lovers of truth to be over zealous for it and to do too much , we might hare had truth and peace to this day . Yea , still if he see any man of experience and moderation stand up to reduce men to the ancient simplicity , he presently seems the
most zealous for Christ , and tells the unexperienced leaders of the flocks , that it is in favour of some heresy that such a man speaks ; he is plotting-a carnal syncretism , and attempting" the reconcilement
of Christ with Belial $ be is tainted with Popery , or Socinianism , or Arminianiam , or Calvinism , or whatsoever may make him odious to those he speaks to . O , what the devil hath got by overdoing !" Thirty-two Directions for Peace , xxvu .
Trinitarian Controversy at Exeter . 581
vojl . xii . 4 f
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1817, page 581, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2469/page/9/