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n set of rival and discordant expositions ? Or hour would this be avoided by changing the plan of treating the subject from Mr . B . 's to Dr . Smith ' s , or to any other that may be suggested ? A theological lecturer is certainly not bound to suppress the expression of his own opinions in his class ; and provided that his pupils are prepared not to be the passive recipients of his sentiments , bui to reflect on all that is laid before them , and draw
conclusions for themselves , it is reasonable and natural that they should have the benefit of his thoughts on the subject before them , as well as those of others : but whilst he faithfully executes the duty of opening to them the existing sources of information , his own opinion cannot be essential , and there may be circumstances in which it is much better for him not to bring it forward at all . If Mr . Belsham had added doctrinal comments of his own , we may be sure that he would now be accused of having attempted unduly to bias the minds of his pupils . If the fair statement of whatever has been said
most important on each side of a disputed question , be not " a method well calculated to lead into the path of convincing evidence and well-ascertained truth , " we must presume that the plan preferred is making known only what has been said on one side ; or , if they cannot be concealed , accompanying the arguments on the other side with such depreciating comments as may effectually prevent their receiving any real attention . Why the demand for profound and impartial thought on the most important topics of human inquiry , that which might be supposed to have , of all possible
employments , most tendency to sober the mind and impress it with a feeling of solemn responsibility , should be judged likely to excite " party feeling , wordy disputation , unholy levity , and rash decision , " is what we cannot understand , nor can we conceive how the prerequisites for the successful study of the Scriptures demanded by Dr . Smith in the passage immediately following that which we have quoted , should appear to him to be opposed to the views of his rival , or to be any thing different from what every theological instructor , whatever might be his peculiar opinions , must desire to find amongst those whose studies he is called upon to direct .
Guided by the arrangement of Dr . Smith's work , we shall now apply ourselves to notice such portions of it as the limits within which this article mu « t necessarily be confined , will allow us to select for animadversion ; and we must begin by exposing the sophistry of the first chapter , entitled , " On the Evidence proper to this Inquiry : " " We cannot , " says Dr . S ., ** reasonably doubt of the Unit y of God , in
every sense in which unity is a perfection : but to the exact determination of that sense we are not competent . A manifest unity of intelligence , design , and active power , does not warrant the inference that unity in all respects , without modification , is to be attributed to the Deity . For any thing that we know , or are entitled to presume , there way be a sense of the term unity which implies restriction , and would be incompatible with the possession of all possible perfection . "—P . 10 .
We ascribe unity to the Deity . Unity is a word—a significant sounda sound significant ( like all words ) only from the power of association , and having no sense inherent in itself which may remain unknown to those acquainted with its ordinary usage . It is not like many words , the notions corresponding to which in different minds are very different : on the contrary , the meaning it conveys , on all other subjects besides the one now under consideration , is definite , clear , and universally agreed upon . Why then do we employ it upon this subject ? Either our meaning is the same as when we apply the same term to other subjects , or we use the word in a
Dr . J . P . Smith ' s Scripture Ttetiinvny to the Messiah . ?
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1831, page 3, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2593/page/3/