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Saviour in it may be very beautiful , very philosophical , very moral ; but still it wants the grand essential to make it suitable to a Christian audience . In fact , he said , that the mind of the preacher might be known from his discourse , and that he could not be duly impressed with the grand truths of Christianity , unless he made them appear in str iking colours in every address delivered from the pulpit . I cannot , by any means , approve of the reasons alleged by Mr- Belsham , for retaining the term " idolatrous" in the articles of the Unitarian Book
Society ; for the obstinate adherence to that term appears to me to swerve very far from what is recommended to us by our Saviour , the wisdom of the serpent and the innocence of the dove . What a striking contrast may be perceived in the conduct of the framers of the articles of the Unitarian Book
Society , and that of the apostle Paul at Athens , whose admirable speech before the Areiopagus is so strangely travestied in the Bible now in general use . The apostle ' s spirit was roused in that city , wholly given to idolatry ; but he does not use the term
idolatrous , nor does he utter an expression which would convey contempt of his audience . His speech is a masterpiece of eloquence , and points out to us most forcibly the mode of conduct to be used towards those who are of a different opinion from ourselves . The framers of the articles of the Unitarian Book Society appear to me
to have imbibed a portion of that spirit which dictated the articles of the sect established by law in the southern part of this island . I can easily conceive , that both parties were convinced in
their own mind , that what they drew up was founded on the Scriptures , and , therefore , essential to the faith of every Christian . But the hand of man appears in both , and in the vain endeavour to clothe their sentiments in -a formulary that every Christian might safely subscribe , they have met
with the success which such an attempt deserves . We must leave the Scriptures to speak for themselves , aud when we travel out of the record , we shall certainly fall into error .
I might now proceed to discuss the formulary given to us by Dr . Lant Carpenter , out as I have , trespassed so lonjj on your patience , \ will beg leave
to reserve my observations upon it till another opportunity . W . FREND .
Sir , London , Dec . 6 , 1819 . FTER the audacious attempt of AMr . Carlile to bring the Christian religion into discredit , it was to be expected that its ministers would reprobate such conduct , and bear their most decided testimony against Infidelity . The sermon of Mr . Fox , entitled , The Duties of Christians towards Deists , [ Mon . Repos . XIV . 701 , ] forms an exception , for he palliates Unbelief ,
and dwells on the imperfections as well as certain vices of professed Christians , with an unmitigated severity . Mr . Fox begins with assuring us , " I am no sceptic as to the essentials of Christianity . " But why should scepticism , in any form or degree , attach to the professors of
Christianity ? Essentials and non-essentials differ not in their truth , but in their importance . To be a sceptic , therefore , as to non-essentials , is to be in a measure an Unbeliever , and surely this ought not to be the case with the faithful minister of the New
Testament . To say the best , it has an odd appearance , and will probably account for many positions by which the performance is characterised . The author , however , adds , " Its truth is my trust ; its evidences are to my mind most convincing ; its moral loveliness charms my heart ; to its holy precepts I would yield unreserved submission ;
in the removal of its corruptions and the extension of its influence I would exert all my powers and spend all my days , and its promises I regard as a sure foundation for the immortal hopes of man / ' After this admirable
declaration , Mr . Fox , in the next page , dwelling on the moral evidence of Christianity , reminds the reader that it is not mathematical or demonstrative ; therefore , the Deist may be right and the Christian wrong ; and upon this representation he seems to
expatiate with ill-timed amplification . Where is the necessity ( of throwing out the idea that * the prophecies " may be no more than lucky guesses ,
that Chjust may have entertained " the fancy" of being the Messiah , that the apostles might turn out * a clan of ignorant deceivers , " and that their system , " so framed and so pro-
3 ( V On Mr . Fox ' s Sermon on the Duties of Christians towards Deists .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1820, page 30, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2484/page/30/