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Sir , •• IT appears to me desirable that you should record any notable instances of bigotry or immorality in the
contemporary journals , and therefore I beg leave to present you with two specimens of criticism from the Gentleman ' s Magazine for July last . Ths first is the entire Review ( p .
47 ) of " Benson ' s Chronology of our Saviour ' s Life , " and is as follows : " The Unitarians having coolly pronounced the whole of the narrative contained in the preliminary chapters of Matthew and Luke to be false , Mr .
Benson , with great temper , merit and learning , has elaborately and successfully confuted them . " It is a severe trial to the temper of Christians , even to hear of such effrontery as gave occasion to this work ; but our opinion is , that the authors are mere jesters , and jack-puddings , in a clerical costume /*
Of the logic of the first paragraph , I say nothing , but let me inform Mr . Urban , who it appears does not consider urbanity essential to his character , that all Unitarians have not discarded the preliminary chapters , and that the Unitarians to whom he refers do not
pronounce the chapters m question to be false but onl suspicious . Christians or Mr . Urban ' s stamp have their tempers severely tried by the cool effrontery of these Unitarians ; they can scarcely refrain from laying hands upon them - , but though their
hands are tied , their tongues are not , and therefore they give way to their temper in vulgar revilings . " Jesters" 1 and " Jack-puddings" ! No , no it is the grave argument of Unitarians which gravels such writers as this , and makes them kick and flounce . — What is
nieant by " clerical costume" ? Are Unitarian ministers to be allowed "the benefit of clergy , " that they may be more easily abused ? And does not this sage critic know that the introductory chapters have been dealt with as unsparingly by laymen as by divines ?
Unitarians may welcome the reproaches which they share in common with all the friends of peace , humanity and pure morality ., What " jester , " what " jack-pudding" "in a clerical " or other " costume , " could have imposed the following detestable sentences upon the siroplieity of " Syivanus Urban , Gent . " ? They are copied
from the Review of * Sheppard ' a Inq uiiy on the Duty of Christians -with respect to War , " p . 49 . " we find all sorts of cowards incorporating themselves under the name of Peace Societies . For our parts , we think that the extinction of the warlike character of a nation is the introduction
of every kind of mean villainies ; if yon lose a dissipated soldier , you gain a rogue , rebel , or fanatic in his place : one who lives by duping others instead of squandering his own property . " " Religion , as the basis of moral and
benevolent character , we believe the best human means of personal perfection , but as an instrument of public policy or worldly ( object , we think it to be of pernicious result . There are two evils
inevitably attendant on civilization , beggars and pleasurable vices . These alarm various old women in breeches ; but wherever there is man , there will be vice , and wherever there is wealth there will be pleasure ; and military and gentlemanly
habits support a chivalrous , honourable and upright mode of behaviour between equals , and a spirit of patronage towards inferiors , which can never proceed from the conventicle system , that implies both mind and action in an enslaved state ;
where morality is without charity , where innocence is tutored to connive at design , and purity is without holiness , and roguery is without censure . "
" The reply of Christ to the soldiers ( Luke iii . 14 ) is generally understood by orthodox commentators to imply no reprobation of the military profession as such : and the ingenious Miss Porter has shewn that such an institution is a real
blessing . " This moralist can see nothing in the love of peace but cowardice , and no alternative to a warlike character but mean villainies . He looks with complacency on a dissipated soldier , who squanders his own property , because he is the reverse of a fanatic . He
ridicules the alarm of various poltroons ( his offensive description of whom we shall not repeat ) at pleasurable vices ; that is to say , debauchery and adultery . These are in his view gentlemanly habits . In the conventicle , " mind and tion " in laved state /
ac * ' are " an ens * that is r as the fanatical apostle has expressed it , the thoughts are brought into captivity and the body into subjection to Christ . What rigour , what duping , what roguery I—After this , Mr . Urban ' s scribe should not have appealed to the New Testament . The
Specimens of Criticism in the Gentleman ' s Magazine . 523
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Sept. 2, 1820, page 523, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2492/page/23/