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prars to me so obviously unscriptnral that [ am pretty sure, from my own experience and that of others, that no one possessed of merely common sense will fail to find its unscripturality after a methodical studv of the Old and New Testaments, unless previously impressed in the early part of his life with creeds and forms of speech preparing the way to that doctrine. No pride therefore can be supposed for a moment to have arisen from commonly attainable success. The Editor mi^ht be fully convinced of this fact, were he to engage a few independent and diligent natives to study attentively both the Old and New Testaments in their original languages, and then to offer their sentiments as to the doctrine of the Trinity being scriptural or a mere human invention.
To hold up to ridicule my suirgestions in the second appeal to study firt»t the books of the Old Testament unbiassed by ecclesiastic opinions imbibed in early life, and then to study the New Testament, the Ilevd. Editor states that "could it be relied on isdeed" my compendious method " would deserve notice with a view to Christian education ; as" on my plan, " the most certain way of enabling any one,to discover in a superior manner the truths and doctrines of Christianity is to leave him till the age of thirty or forty without any religious impression.' (Page 503) 1 do not in the least wonder at his disapprobation of my suggestion; as the Editor, in common with other professors of traditional opinions, is sure of supporters of his favorite doctine so long as it is inculcated on the minds of youths and even infants • who, beinj once thoroughly impressed with the name of the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, long before they can think for themselves, must be alwajs inclined, even after their reason his become matured, to interpret the scared book*, even those texts which aje evidently inconsistent with this doctrine, in a manner favourable to their prepossessed opinion, whether their study he continued for three, or thirty, or twice thirty years. Could Hindooism continue after the present generation, or bpar the studious examination of a single year, if the belief of their idols being endued with animation were not carefully impressed on the young before they come to years of understanding/
Let me here suggest that in my humble opinion no truly liberal and wise parent can ever take advantage of the unsuspecting and confiding creduli'.y of his children to impress them with an implicit belief iu any set of abstruse doctrines, and intolerance of all other opinion*, the truth or reasonableness of which they are incapable of estimating. Still less would he urge by threats the danger of present and eternal punishment for withholding a blind assent to opinions-they are unable to comprehend. Parents are bound by every moral tie to give their children such an education as m iy be sufficient to render them capable of exercising their reason as rational and social beings, and or forming their opinion on re'igious points without illwill towards others, fom a thorough investigation of the Scriptures and of the evidence and arguments adduced by teachers of different persuasion-. Judgments thus formed have a real claim to respect from those who have not the rnems of judging for themselves, but of what consequence is it, in a question of truth or error, to know how the matter at issue has been considered, even for a hundred generations, by those who have biindly adop'ed the creed of their fathers? Surely the unbiassed judgment of a person who has proceeded to the study of the Sacred Scriptures with an anxious desire to discover the truth they contain, even if hit researches were to be continued but for a single twelvemonth, ought as fur as authority goes »
in such matters, to outweigh the om'nnns of any nurnber who have either not thought at all for themselves or have studied after prejudice had laid hold of thri minds. What fair enquiry respecting the doc rine of the Trinity can ne expected from one who has been on the bosom of his mother constantly t nrsrhi to ask the blessing of God the Fatiier, God t ie Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and to hear the very name of Unit man with hor o.? Have tlie doctrines of the Vedant ever succeeded in suppressing polytheism amongst the generality of Hindoos brougnt up with the notion of tne Godhead of the sun, of fire, and of water, an i of the separate and independent existence of the allegorical representations of the attributes of God? Were the sublime works written by the learneo among theGreekseverablet'i shaks the early acquired superstitions notions and polytheistical faith of the generality of their countrymen? Nay even when Christian converts became numerous, did not those who were brought up in the ancient superstition introduce some vestiges of their idolatry into ttieir new persuasion? In fact nothing can mo e surely impede the progress of truth than prejudice instilled into minds blank to receive impressions, and the more unreasonable are the doctrines of a religion, the greater pains are taken by the supoorters of them to plant them ill the readily susceptible minds of youth.
The Editor has filled a complete page in proving that besides early impressed prejudices there are also other causes of error in judgment—an attemot which mi?ht have been despetise i wiih: for, I never limited the sources of mistake in examining religious matters to early impression alone. I attributed only the prevailing errors in Christianity to traditional instructions inculcated in childhood as the language of my second appeal will shew. "Having derived my own opinions on this subje. t entirely from the scriptures themselves, I may perhaps be excused for the confidence with which 1 maintain them against those of so great a majority, who appeal to the same authoiity for their's; in as much as I attribute their different views, not to any inferiority of judgment compared with my own limited ability, but to the powerful effects of early religious impressions ; for when these are deep, reason is seldom allowed its natural scone in examining them to the bottom" (Page 160J If the Editor doubt the accuracy of this remark,he mightsoon satisfy himself of its justire, were he to listen to the suggestion offered in the preceding paragraph with a view to ascertain whether the