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have the right of selecting the objects who receive the benefit t > f this foundation ; and I have understood that no serious obstacle is in the way of establishing a theological professorship at Glasgow , from whence these students might derive the benefit . What particular objections might be alleged
against this scheme , I am not aware , but it appears that the principal desideratum would be an adequate salary to the professor . Surely this would be attended with infinitely less burden to the Unitarian public than the establishment of au entire College , with
the requisite masters and appendages . I much wish ' jsome of your correspondents , better informed on the subject than myself , would give their opinion as to the practicability of the plan I am proposing . What is the present state of the Unitarian interest , and
particularly the Chapel , at Glasgow , I scarcely know ; but the establishment of the congregation there was thought by many to be favourable to the scheme which I have suggested ; for why might they not be rendered mutually serviceable , particularly in pecuniary affairs ?
Sir , January 11 , 1821 . fTTTHE anti-liberal spirit of the Soei-JL ety of Friends , as it stands displayed in their last Yearly Epistle , ( XV . 561 , ) wherein they deprecate the
perusal of Unitarian publications , has not , I think , yet met with that degree of public animadversion to which it is so eminently entitled . When we consider the indefinite , generalizing nature of these annual manifestoes , it cannot fail to excite
strong suspicion as to the motives which could impel so cautious a body as the Quakers , to step forth and display their zeal , by casting a stone at * ' the sect every where spoken against . " There is , however , reason to believe , that this overt act has not escaped
censure among the members of the Society , and that it ought to be considered as the unauthorized proceeding of a few Officious persons who , attentive to the watch-words of party-politics , thought the present an opportunity not to be neglected , of paying court to " the powers that be . " However unexpected this sally may have been , its effects will rather be to betray the weakness of the assailants , than to
prove injurious to the friends of free inquiry . From conversations which I have had upon the subject with a member of this Society , who is himself an advocate for religious discussions , I think there is reason to believe , that amongf
no class of professing Christians , in this country , do there exist , at the present day , such vague notions , of Christian doctrine , and such ignorance upon the points of theological controversy , as among the Society of Friends . With respect to " birth-sin , " for instance , he informed me , that it was
no uncommon circumstance to hear , in the same meeting-house , one preacher descant upon that doctrine as the foundation of the Christian dispensation , and in a few weeks afterwards , to hear another declare that by nature the heart of man is pure and disposed to
all righteousness . Such discrepances of opinion lead it seer ^ s to no schisms or controversy : foiji provided the preachers are energetic and can infuse a warmth into the feelings of their auditors , they are both equally acceptable , and the clashing of their creeds excites no remark . If there were
grounds for the belief that this latitudinarian spirit had for its foundation a sense of the infinite value of practical over speculative Christianity , it might admit of defence , if not of admiration ; but as it is upon record , that bigotry and persecution pervade the public
proceedings of that body , and that free inquiry on matters of religion is denounced , it savours more of credulity than of candour , to hold them in estimation as a religious sect . With regard to " Penn ' s Sandy Foundation Shaken , " my friend informs me , that some of the members do not like to
hear that book mentioned ; and they set up some such quibble as this , that although William Penn was the writer of it , he was not the author . How this distinction is maintained I cannot learn . It is , however , doubtful whether in some of the editions of his works which
circulate in the Society , that tract is not wholly omitted . Among the Quakers there are numerous individuals distinguished for their active support of the principles of civil and religious liberty . Let us hope that they will bestir themselves to redeem their Society from the reproach which their public proceedings
22 Theological Spirit of Quakers .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1821, page 22, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2496/page/22/