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an 4 feelings , and religious character , for inquiry and argument . No man , we are persuaded , is more desirous than the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry of being just and candid to all around him . Upon reflection , he may perhaps be sensible , that what he would reprehend in the supposed conduct of a Catholic writer towards himself , Unitarian Christians must
discern , not without regret , in a few paragraphs of his Charge . Whether transubstantiation , or the received doctrines of the Trinity and atonement , be under consideration , there is , thus far , no difference in the cases . " Pride of reason , " he intimates , has prompted our rejection of the tenets of which he is the advocate . Bishop Ryder does not appear to censure or to withhold the exercise of reason upon subjects of religion ; for he animadverts , in this very Charge , on a class of " the Papal champions , " who , he tells us , " cast a veil over all that startles our reason and shocks
our prepossessions . " * Evidently , then , his own reason is startled—his own prepossessions are shocked , by some of the dogmas in the creed , and some of the pretensions in the Church of Rome . Probably he might even adopt the language of one of his predecessors in the see of Lichfield and Coventry , and exclaim that " reason stands aghast" at such offensive notions , " and " faith herself is half confounded . " - ] " Nevertheless , in so delivering his judgment , not , be it remarked , of the truths of revealed religion , but of human statements and human fancies , he is sure to encounter from Romanists the accusation of being influenced by " pride of reason . " May there not be danger , lest , in imputing to any of our fellow-christians and fellow-men " pride of reason , " we indulge an excess of selfpartiality ? Let us analyze the imputation and the phrase . May not our meaning be simply this , that what other men take to be " the light of evidence , " of sober reason , of " sound learning , " leads them to reject , not
the word of God , but our interpretations of the word of God ? How is it that we can even speak of reason being startled at certain things in the creed of Romanists , while it does not occur to us that other persons may be startled , and , possibly , on as good and firm ground , at articles in our own ? Is reason an excellent gift only when we find , or think we find , it on our side ? In this case exclusively , is it sober , and modest , and safe ; while in those who " follow not with us" it is a blind guide , and a proud and arrogant usurper ?
Unitanan Christians readily submit their judgment to what they consider as scriptural evidence . Can any around them say more , without laying claim to inspiration ? Bishop Ryder does not prostrate his understanding , does not surrender his reason , to what he views as being altogether the doctrines of men . Let him refrain from blaming us , if we continue to take the course which he himself pursues ; to act on the principle which , as a Protestant , he recognizes and approves .
We are sorry that such a man beholds us as guilty of pride , " of sel £ - righteousness , " and thinks that we have " a generally inadequate sense of the requirements of the divine law , of our own transgressions of that law , and of our moral inability to fulfil it . " Is there then no other and •* more excellent" way—none more consistent possibly with truth and candour , and the absence of all pretensions to ' * self-righteousness" —of explaining the fact that many individuals , of " minds fully accessible on other subjects to the light of evidence and sound learning , " do , nevertheless , reject certain opinions embraced by the Bishop , and by numbers beside , as most clear ,
* P . 9 . t Bishop Hurd ' s Sermons at Lincoln ' s Inn [ 1785 J ,
Bishop of Lichfield ' * Charge . " 9
Vol . II . p . 287 .
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1829, page 9, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2568/page/9/