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reason is silent , feeling is a dubious authority . And reason finds no connexion between guilt and punishment but what is founded upon individual or public advantage . As for the feeling in question , the case seems to be this . The ideas of guilt and punishment are associated in our minds by various means from our earliest years . Hence arises the notion of demerit , which , in consequence of this association , is familiar to every man ; but
perhaps not one man in a thousand has considered whence this notion is obtained , or what is implied in it . And all that a man , whether properly or improperly , can be said to feel , is a persuasion that the appointment by which punishment follows guilt is just and proper . But in what the justice and propriety of this appointment consist , reason must inform him if he is
informed at all . And he who says that guilt merits punishment for its own sake , says a great deal more than his feelings have ever taught him . He has proceeded to argue upon what he feels , and has drawn a conclusion which I conceive to be erroneous . In a word , the only intelligible view of the connexion between vice and suffering is , that vice is a disease , and that suffering is intended to effect its cure or to check its contagion .
I think it sufficiently appears that punishment , as far as we are able to judge , has for its object utility alone ; and I conceive that I cannot conclude better than by presenting to the English reader the meaning of my motto : " God does not inflict vindictive punishment , for this is the returning evil for evil ; he chastises , however , for utility , both publicly and individually , those * &p m he chastises . " E . COG AN .
A wide range for activity has ever been open to the professors of Unitarian Christianity ( as to the professors of all truth ) in the explanation of their opinions and the enforcement of the principles on which those opinions are founded . This range is widening every day . Though we are no longer hemmed in on every side by bigoted enmity , there is still enough of ignorance and prejudice around us to make it necessary , for the millionth time ,
to declare what our opinions are , and in self-defence to " intreat" because we are " defamed . " This least agreeable duty is imposed upon us by the portion of society which calls itself the most religious . Next comes the delightful employment of developing to those who are with us in opinion the consequences of the principles to which they assent . There is much for us to do in displaying , in proportion as they are revealed to ourselves , the
power , the beauty , and the perfect blessedness , which are the eternal attributes of truth . Lastly , it becomes our animating duty ( and the privilege is conspicuously conferred on Unitarian Christians ) to make known to philosophical unbelievers what Christianity is when divested of superstition , and to help those among them who are prepared—the serious' and candid—to a sympathy with our hope , and a participation in our joy . If the choice of our duty were left to ourselves , all would probably prefer having to deal
* The Religious Belief of Unitarian Christians truly Stated , and Vindicated from Popular Misrepresentation . A Sermon , ' preached at the Opening of the New Unitarian Chapel , Wareham , Dorsetshire . By Robert Applaud . Hunter , 18 , 30 .
£ 0 A&pldnd ' s Sermon .
ASPLANDS SERMON . *
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1831, page 20, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2593/page/20/