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Sir , Clapham . QUOTATION from Mr . Bel-A sham , in a late Number of the Repository , attracted my attention by
these words : " I defy any one to say what my friend ' s Bible-Christianity is " ( p . 336 ) . Now I wish so far to accept this challenge , as to endeavour a sketch of what Bible-Christianity , or philography , as it may be called , at least may be . Its distinguishing feature is ,
that it adheres to the language as well as to the presumed sense of Scripture , and does not , in any part of its church discipline , require any narrower definition of a man ' faith , than that it is that of the Bible : for the rest , leaving the Scripture to fig ht its own battle on au open -field . Endeavouring to remove
the causes which prevent men ' s minds from receiving faithfully the impression of scriptural truth , which , in fact , are nothing else but some unscriptural Religious language passing current in the world , it believes that this is the way for the real truth of God , as it is written
in his word , to have free course and be glorified . It believes also that this way becomes us most , as fallible men , as Christian brethren , and as stewards of the mysteries of God . But it is objected , that this will put a stop to all intelligent discussion of religious
topics , and make us little better than hypocrites , agreeing in words while we entirely differ in thought . But this objection lies only against those who would push the plan to an extravagant extent , as it is by no means intended to interdict such variations of
expression as are necessary in order to being understood , on any occasion ; neither such as are requisite for an agreeable freedom of speech . These are widely different from creeds and subscriptions , and all the other modes of catechizing
and dogmatizing which the spirit of party and the love of contention have begotten . But to exhibit the idea of phiiography somewhat more precisely , I subjoin what I have fancied might serve as the principles of a philographian society .
The Bible , the ivhole Bible , and nothing but the Bible . Regarding the Scripture as a true and perfect rule of religion , and the only one which is of more than human authority , we are bound strictly and faithfully to abide by this rule , abandoning every other .
Agreeably to this pr inciple , we deem it unlawful to require assent to any form of words except the Bible , in order to admission to Christian communion or to any place of service or authority in the church . Moreover ,
in professing our own faith or instructing others , concerning disputed doctrines , we deem it proper , as far as may well be done , to avoid the use of any form of words which is not found in the Scripture .
Rejecting thus the traditions and commandments of men , we receive the Scripture as our guide on all points to which its instructions extend ; of faith and practice , of worship and church order . We receive it also very strictly
aimmg you f > y miracles , and wonders , and signs , which God did by him in the midst of you . " Acts x . 38 : " God anointed Jesus
of Nazareth with the Hol y Ghost ( Spirit ) and with power ; who went about healing those that were oppressed of the devil ; for God was with him . Paul preached Unitarianism . Acts
xvii . 24 : " God that made the world , hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men , in that he hath raised him from the dead . "
The faith of the unlearned of the first centuries was Unitarian ; as Tertullian and Origen indirectly admit : if then the manners of the primitive churches were exemplary for sanctity , as the Heathen testimonies prove , those manners were produced by Unitarian preaching and doctrine ; and if those of modern Unitarians
betray comparative coldness or levity , their faith is not accountable for this , but it must arise from some extrinsic cause . As Mr . Harwood has eulogized Mr . Fuller ' s attack on the Unitarians , I would recommend the perusal of the tract of Dr . Toulmin in answer to it ;
I would also request his serious attention to the " Letter on the Logos , " by Dr . Lardner , a man , who to zeal of faith and extent of learning united the graces of charity , humility and candour . EBION .
Philographus on Bible-Christianity . 521 9
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Sept. 2, 1820, page 521, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2492/page/21/