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tKus' significantly argues tliis gfeat iiibject : " What can be plainer , what more distinct , what more suitable to general
comp rehension and the ordinary forms of speech , in order that the people of God might uuderstand that there was numerically one God and one Spirit ,, in the common acceptation of numerical unity ?
" For it was fitting and highly agreeable to reason , that what was the first and consequently the greatest commandment , scrupulous obedience to which was required by God even from the lowest of all the people , should be delivered in so plain a manner , that nothing ambiguous or obscure in its terms could lead his
worshipers into error , or keep them in suspense or doubt . And thus the Israelites under the law and the prophets always understood it to mean , that God was numerically one God , that beside him there was none other , much less any equal . For those disputants of the schools
had not yet appeared , who depending on their own sagacity , or rather on arguments of a purely contradictory tendency , cast a doubt upon that very unity of God which they pretended to assert . But as with regard to the omnipotence of the Deity , it is universally allowed , as has
been stated before , that he can do nothing which involves a contradiction ; so must it also be remembered in this place , that nothing can be said of the one God , which is inconsistent with his unity , and which implies at the same time the unity and plurality of the Godhead , "—Pp . 25 , 26 . The next Chapter , " Of the Divine Decrees , " will require longer extracts than we can give in the present number , and therefore we must here pause .
— - ^^^ mmm mmmm Art . II . —A Sermon on Christian Charity . By the Rev . Sydney Smith . York , printed . Art . ill . —A Sermon preached at Appleby , August 12 , 1825 , be / ore Sir
John Bay ley and Sir John JH / ullock , his Majesty * ? Judges oj' Assize on the Northern Circuit . Bv the Rev . C Bird , A . JVL , Rector of High Hoyland , in the County of York , ^ enrith , printed .
WE are very desirous to bring * our readers acquainted with the substance of these discourses , because they do the highest honour to their author ^ nnd because , coming from tf ^ ymitt- vf tht-r Established Church ,
they cannot fail to do much local good ; though / being printed in the country , without any London bookseller ' s name , it is to be feared that they will not , by getting into extensive circulation ,., do
any thing like the good they irogiit have done , if more expensively published . We trust , therefore , that our readers will thunk us for prelty long
extracts . I . Our old friend and favburite Sydney Smith treats his subject in a general way ; though his application of it to the present times is sufficiently striking . No one can fail to perceive that he has in view the spirit with which Protestants should act towards
Roman Catholics an this period of eager excitement in both parties . He lays down the following rules for the observance of Christians that differ from each other in opinion , rules which are suggested by his text , Colos . iii . 12 , 13 ; first remarking , however , upon the inutility of intolerance :
In pressing upon you the great duty of religious charity , the inutility of the opposite defect of religious violence first presses itself upon my notice . The evil of difference in opinion must exist ; it admits of no cure : the wildest visionary does not now hope he can bring- his fellow-creatures to one standard of faith . If history has taught us any one thing , it is , that mankind , on such sort of
subjects , will form their own opinions : therefore , whatever be the other evils of wanting charity in matters of religion , it is at least useless ; it hardens error and provokes recrimination ; but it does not enlighten those whom we wish to reclaim , or extend doctrines which to us appear so clear and indisputable : but to do wrong and to gain nothing by it , is surely only to add folly to fault , and to proclaim an understanding not led by the rule of reason , as well as a disposition , unregulated by the rules of Christian faith /'
H \ s / ir&t rule is this : . u Religious charity requires that we should not judge any sect of Christians from the representations of their enemies alone , without hearing or reading what they have to say in their own defence . "
The preacher observes , with as much justness as smartness , ' * If you have not had leisure to inquire , you have no right to accuse , " and ' ngf&i }? * ' ^ rooted antipathy is eyer a bi ^ euclV p £ Christian rules , it is so irt those who ,
Review . — -Sydney Smith ' s and Bir < Pt Sermons . 613
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Oct. 2, 1825, page 613, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2541/page/37/