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Public Character of the late Rev. Joshua Toulmin, D.D. 195 violent fermentation was excited in yet a larger portion of the community many parts of this kingdom, which who wish only to remain quiet, and partook of the character both of a poli- peaceably pursue the line they have tical and of a religious persecution. marked out for themselves, in which And it is not a little remarkable that, they may exist and breathe out, with although our religious views are en- out commotion, the few years which tirely detached from all political con- are allotted to them upon earth. I siderations, yet it pleased some persons scarcely feel myself authorised to give in this country to identify Unitarian- to any one of these the honourable deism with a freedom of thinking which nomination of the righteous man. If is inconsistent with the safety of the to do the duty of an enlightened memstate. There is only one way in which ber of society be to be righteous and I can conceive such a mistake to have what can be right but to do our duty originated. It is this :—The grounds in its fullest extent ? --neither he who upon which we form our religious is afraid of saying what he believes to opinions are the inductions of reason be right, nor those who crouch before. and the plain dictates of common sense. the great and powerful, nor those who By these we interpret the word of God. sacrifice the sliglitest duty for the sake And it is probable that by these also of reward, nor those who will spend we interpret the word of man ; and their lives like moles or like bars, in that we are not previously disposed, as an ignoble, in a despicable privacy, all time-serving men around us are, to can possibly merit the title of the righsubmit our wills to the will of those teous man. He only can be rightcous, in power, anul to believe that only to whether we consider the question in an be politically true and right which men economical, in a political, or in a rein power have imperiously announced ligions point of view, who says and for the public approbation and support. does all that he believes to be right, There cannot be a doubt that, when after that he has taken pains to inform a man dares to think freely and honest- his mind, and to imbibe the principles ly upon subjects of the very first impor- of truth and of the general welfare. tance, upon those grand questions of I believe that, not the great body of duty which connect him with his God; serious thoughtful Christians alone, and to act up to his thoughts and his but also the great body of thinking principles on these; he will not for a people in this country, indulged, at moment hesitate to examine with free- the period to which I have alluded, an dom, and, if there is occasion for it, excessive joy upon the occasion of the to expose without ceremony, the un. French Revolution ;t in which they just pretensions of men in power. And saw the promise of a nighty people, therefore it may with the greater rea- shaking off the yoke ci ignorance, of son be admitted, that, amongst the superstition, and of slothfulness, about class of English dissenters who have to form a constitution in which the been generally known by the denomi- rights of man, but more especially, in nation of Rational Christians, there have been found very few who have interests of society, I cannot conceive what been inclined to Aatter the vices of
men do so. All human duties are marked great men, and avow themselves the upon a scale, which distinctly points out approvers and the patrons of plans of their relative importance. Soine are of government which would trench upon greater influence than others ; and those of the liberties of the people, and lessen the greatest influence demand the greatest that influence which every good sub- care anu the steadiest fulfilment. And who ject has a right to enjoy in a well-or- will say that the duties of religion are of the dered society. There are some mem- least importance? They are indeed placed bers of society who are naturally timid; by some men very low in the scale ; and, there are others who are fawning and the duties of religion and the support of
while other duties are deemed imperious, mean; there are many who are anxious to obtain the profits of civil go- laid altogether aside. Precept is neglected
truth may be tampered with at pleasure, or vernment, or afraid of losing what they by them, and their exa:nple is huriiul:already hold,* and there is, perhaps, as though the world otigit to be diligently
taught the commandments of men, but it is
no matter whether úr so they are informed * If these men who cloak their senti. “'what the Lord their God has said urto ments, and barter their religious principles theru."!! för a maintenance, do not betray the best + Which took place in 1789.
196 Putsblic Character of the late Rev. Joshua Toulmin, D.D. which the rights of conscience would published, just before by Dr. Priestleyt be respected and honoured, and under on The Importance of Free Inquiry, the influence of which they would rise accompanied with some Reflections on from the state of degradation in which the present State of Free Inquiry in they had been long held by a race of this Country. His object in that serprinces, whose favourite maxim had mon, and in his reflections, was to been that the people were made for shew the imperious duty, and the pro. them, to the enjoyment of the rights bable consequences of, a fair and canand liberties of intelligent moral agents, did investigation of religious truth. Nor and to a distinct view of the require- do I see how any one can at the prements and duties of revealed religion. sent time read what he wrote near
It happened also, that about the same thirty years ago, without acknowledg: time some of those conspicuous events ing, that he appears to have been altook place which have been, under the most endowed with a spirit of propheblessing of God, the occasion of giving, cy, and without feeling a high gratifin later years, a more extended spread cation in the prospect which is held to Unitarian principles. I refer par- out in his just and irresistible reasonticularly to the bold and fearless wri- ing, of the continued progress of relitings of Dr. PRIESTLEY ;-to the es- gious scriptural truth, and the acceletablishment of the Unitarian Tract So- rated advance it will make, till it has ciety in London ;--to the publication overcome all the opposition of igno. of various books and pamphlets upon rance and of interest. Unitarian principles;-—to the applica- You will recollect that the riots at tion which was made to parliainent by Birmingham were the ininediate efa numerous and enlightened associa- fect of this fermentation : 1 persons of tion of clergymen for an enlargement distinguished character took the lead in of the grounds of admission into the them, who hoped 10 put down the acEstablished Church, -and to the de- cused party by noise, persecution and parture, in consequence of a disap- cruelty. The cause of religious truth pointment, of several highly respecta- was assuredly paralysed by these incable, learned, and popular men, from For, although the same cruelthe pale of the church, and an open ties were not extended beyond the town avowal, on their parts, of the princi- of Birmingham, yet the terror of them ples of their dissent from a church spread throughout England; and many whose foundation does not, as they who were immediately connected with conceived, rest upon the prophets
, the the church or the state seem to have apostles, and their great Master. " thought it writ down in their duty'
A considerable aların was raised in to mark out, to stigmatize, and to siconsequence of these circumstances lence all who avowed the religious amongst all the orders of society in this privciples which Dr. Priestley had pubkingdom.* It originated with the licly maintained. clergy, the motives of whose anxiety It is not surprising, that a town of we scarcely need describe. The neces- so grcat public importance as this, in sary connection of church and state which I have now the happiness, with each other was then loudly voci- openly and without fear, to preach ferated throughout our island, and it the doctrines of the gospel to a nuinewas most industriously rumoured that rous and highly respectable society, 'a conspiracy was formed against the should have felt this political and reli
church and state, and that the most gious shock; nor that a neighbouring active in this rebellion were the Uni- town, still more of a public character, tarian Dissenters.. A pretext for this and more under the influence of goassertion was readily obtained from an vernment, should have sustained the admirable sermon, which had been entire loss of an institution which the
ignorance and the bigotry of that day Dr. Priestley's “ Letter to Mr. Pitt" deemed a profanation of Christianity and various controversies he had with niem- and an eneiny to the government of the bers of the establishment, and, perhaps country.|| inost of all his admirable “ Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham,” in reply to Mr. Madan, contributed not a little to aların + Preached at the end of the year 1785. and to mose the partizans of the Establish- The riots took place 1791. ment.
|| In no part of his present Majesty's
Public Character of the late Rev. Joshua Toulmin, D.D. 197 On perusing the history of man. usual course of events. Persecution, kind, we find that such has been the of whatever kind, has chilled the ener
gies of the friends of truth, and withreign has there openly appeared, in those held many from uniting to promote it. who immediately surround his person, a
But, in a little tiine, the storm has disposition to persecute on account of reli- passed over, and has left behind it the gious differences; which may fairly be as. fertilizing means of vigour, of animam cribed to the antipathy of his mind to every tion and of incre. se. thing like religious persecution. But it has Amongst the
who suffered in not been uncommon for those who served consequence of the violence of party, under him at a distance, and who were not spirit at that period, was the friend themselves aware of the purity of his mind, whose memory we are now willing to to misconceive his wishes
, and to imagine consecrate, Residing at Taunton, in that they should render a service to the
Somersetshire, he was at this time evil. state by vilifying and by injuring those who follow a religion different from the religion
intreated, reviled and persecuted ; and, of the state. It has been thought, also, that
together with a highly esteemed media they were secretly instigated by men high cal friend,* a man as upright and as in power. Hence arose, in some parts of righteous as himself, he could seldom England, subsequent to the riots of Bir- pass through the streets without inmingham, a disposition to exclude from all sult :t-while to keep company with public works those Dissenters whom hotbeaded Churchmen have marked as obnoxious. Commissioners and other state-agents the adze in the dock-yard of and have been known, who have actually refused it is not a little amusing to think, that the to admit to the public works any person clergyman received copies of registers from who ayowed dissenting principles ; certainly dissenting chapels and made them his own. through a most unaccountably mistaken And so much has this circumstance weighed idea, that, because they were not of the on their minds since that period, that Dis. Established Church, they were not the senters generally, and avowed Unitarians friends of government. In the Dock-yards amongst the number, have formed a sort of it is usual for the shipwrights and other habit of taking their children to receive workmen to have apprentices under them, baptism by the hand of a clergyman of the who are bronght up to their work within the Establishment. If these latter have any seyard. These apprentices must be approved rious views of Unitarian principles, it may by the cominissioner, and must produce be questioned how they can, consistently certificates of their baptism, in order that with the principles of conscience, thus iltheir age may be ascertained. In one of troduce their children into life by making a our dock-yards, in a subsequent year, all solemn mockery of a religious rite. If, to the youths were refused admittance into the them, baptism be a rite of no essential imyard who could not bring a certificate of portance, and if they think it should be disbaptism from the Established Church. This continued, it were better to use no baptism occasioned great alarm in a town, a consi. at all, and to avow themselves Anti-baptists, derable portion of whose population are But if it be with them a duty, or if they Dissenters
. It became necessary, therefore, wish to have their children registered in a to make application to government to reme- place to which they may at any time apply dy this cruel grievance; and Mr. William for a copy of it, it ought not to be altogether Smith very kindly undertook to do so. Upon indifferent whether it is done in a manner a statement of the facts being made by him consistent with their Christian principles, to Lord Melville, (1801) his lordship as or in a manner which to them must appear sured Mr. Smith that Government would ridiculous and absurd, if not impious. sanction no such partiality, and that the Dissenters are not perhaps generally commissioner should be immediately written aware, that the registers of a chapel are to. He was forth with directed to allow, in legal documents : and that there is a place every respect, the same advantages to Dis- in London (Dr. Williams's Library in Red senters of every denomination as to the cross-street) where registers of the birth of professed members of the Establishment, Dissenters' children are kept. A copy of and charged to make no distinction amongst the register from this deposit, although it is his Majesty's subjects on account of religious not regarded as a legal instrument, yet is opinions. But interest naturally sways in always received in our courts of law, and the minds of parents who are desirous of taken as valid evidence, putting their children forward in the world. * Dr. Cox. Befure the decision of the ministers could + “During this fiery period of persecuhe known, crowds of boys of all ages under tion he experienced unremitted insult and fourteen flocked to the church at
misrepresentation. At one time Paine was in order, by receiving Christian baptism, to burnt in effigy before his door, and but for be qualified for handling the hammer and the interference and remonstrance of pastiVOL. XI.
A Roman Catholic's complaint of Mon. Repos. him was deemed contagious and im- He lived to see things take a very possible. Deserving none of the ca- different turn: nor did he quit the lumny with which he was loaded, in place in which he had been thus ill truth the best friend of his king and of used and persecuted, till there was his country, his conscious integrity scarcely one within it who did not bore him up. He knew that, sate respect the independent principles upon under the Almighty's eye, the rage of which he had acted, and revere the his enemies would soon be spent, that man who could, under such trying tbe motives of his conduct would be circumstances, support and justify fairly appreciated, and that a far differ- then, and triumph with them in the ent opinion would ere long be formed end. In him was seen, and consessed both of him and of his conduct, that to be, THE RIGHTEOUS MAN ; and his enemies would be covered with he enjoyed the high delight of knowshame, while he would rise superior ing that he was recognized as such, to them all.
and of receiving the respectful atten
tions, the friendly offices of many, The nian resolv'd and steady to his trust,
who would once have been pleased to Inflexible to ill and obstinately just,
blot his name from the annals of the May the rude rabble's insolence despise,
children of men. Their senseless clamours and tumultuous Where could a man be found more cries.
worthy to succeed the upright, the une The tyrant's fierceness he beguiles, disguised Priestley, in the honourable And the stern brow and the harsh voice and envied office of teacher to the condefies,
gregation assembling in the New MeetAnd with superior greatness smiles.*
ing, at Birmingham ? MISCELLANEOUS COMMUNICATIONS.
Exeter, March 12, 1816. tion to your last number ; but I solicit SIR,
for it a place in the next. I am sure HE following letter I received hy that if it had been addressed to you, post, too late for a communica- (as it should have been,) it would have
been readily admitted into the Reposicular friends, he would have undergone a similar fate. The house of an interested tory: I trust it will never be said with neighbour was so closely connected with justice, that the Monthly Repository his, that, to save himself, he employed all
refused adinittance to a correction of his influence to save the doctor's premises
its errors. from the devouring flames. But, although
I regard your work as of high value the persecuting spirit was in this instance to the cause of free inquiry and relirepelled, it anlappily succeeded afterwards gious liberty. It has undoubtedly conin breaking the windows of his house in every tributed, in an important degree, to direction in which they could be assailed: the spread of Unitarianism, and to the and after he had been obliged, for the sake union of those professing it: and we of peace, to quit his then abode, and to re
are ready to acknowledge our great oblinquish a concern in which Mrs. T. had ligations to you for the perseverance, been long engaged, he was still insecure, exertion and ability with which you and was poisoned by the bitterest rancour. have so long conducted it. But the One evening a large stone was aimed at his head through his study window, where he opponents of our religious views are was sitting, with an evident intention to widely mistaken when they consider strike a mortal blow. His agitation of spi- the Unitarian body, or any individual rits on this occasion was excessive; because among them, (except yourself and the the act manifested such determined malice. writer of the particular article,) as His będ-room windows were nightly beset ; answerable for the contents of the nor can one say what fatal event would Monthly Repository. have ensued if a professional friend had not When I looked at the article [p. 33] taken up his catise; and, collecting a few which led to the letter of my anonymous more to assist him, watched these midnight correspondent, I regretted the expresJoes, who finding they were thus watched, sion * Popish Renderings.” The eu. at length, through fear desisted.” LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM.
lightened Catholics of our country at Justum et tenacem propositi virum, &c. lcast disclaiın the appellation Papists :
Нолса. and as among the illiberal, it is a kind in a Letter to Rev. Dr. Carpenter.
199 of abusive nickname, those who know system of the present tomahawk warthe wide difference between distinctive fare against us, to write down our reappellations and party names, and putation as critics and as men, in order especially those who protest against a to wound Unitarianism through its similar act of injustice towards them- advocates. Such is the nature of that selves, ought not to employ such terms ungenerous attack which Bishop Buras are made the vehicle of bigotry and gess has for some tine been making intolerant abuse. I believe that where against Mr. Belsham: and I may be the general progress of knowledge has permitted thus to express my congratuBeen shared by the Catholics, their lations with our veteran and respected religious system is greatly ameliorated. friend, on his recent masterly and Certainly as Protestants, prizing the honorable termination to his share in grand principles of the Reformation, that contest. We must all feel on what and rejoicing in the light which it dif- high ground he stands in this controfused where before there was more versy, and how successfully he has than Egyptian darkness, we should be maintained it. injurious towards those to whose la- · Where is the recent oppouent of bours we owe so much, if we en- Unitarianism who has taken up the deavoured to throw a veil over those grand question at issue, on the broad great corruptions from which they basis on which we rest it, and where cleared gospel truth; but we do à it must stand immoveable, because our much greater injury, if we charge upon foundation consists of the plain, unamthe enlightened Catholics of the pre- biguous, express, and often repeated sent day, those corruptions, and that declarations of the Scriptures, which, intolerance which, as far as they allow unless Revelation can contradict itself, their existence, they join us in repro- render the common interpretations of bating
a few dubious passages, utterly inadI doubt not that most readers of the missible? Repository, who knew of no other The letter which has caused my Catholic translation of the New Testa- present address to you, is as follows. ment into English, than the Rhemish, SIR, would, like myself, take for granted, No. 121, for January 1816, of the that the renderings which Middleton Monthly Repository, has accidentally cited are to be found in that Version. fallen into my hands. I should not The Gleaner must have done the same. address myself to you on this occasion, He has quoted Middleton accurately; but supposing you to be a friend to that but he would have done well to have work, and that possibly you may corexamined into the truth of his state- respond with its Editor. Do desire ment. The simple fact is, that as far him to be careful in what he pubas respects the Rhemish Version,* it is lishes, and remember that great comutterly unfounded. And it may fur- mandment, “Thou shalt not bear nish us with a useful warning, io con- false witness against thy neighbour.” sult all important references, as far as 1 allude to an article, p. 35, “Popish we have the power; especially if they Renderings.” The texts are stated wear a partý aspect. If we fall into wrong; I give you the exact words, as any error, however trifling and purely they are written in the English transunintentional, our opponents seize it lation (a modern tongue) out of the with avidity to disgrace our character Latin Vulgate, published by the Enand our cause. If they would place glish College at Rheims, 1582, pubthe case fairly before the public, it lished by Keating and Co., the only would signify but little; but it is the translation sanctioned by the Roman
Catholic clergy. St. James v. 11, This was made by the English Catholic “* Behold we account them blessed College at Rheims, in 1582. It retains who have endured,” &c. not a word many words which need translation ; and it about “beatify." Heb. xi. 30, “ By is merely a translation from the Vulgate : faith the walls of Jericho fell down, but it is worth consultation. The rendering of John xvii. 5, is important : “And by the going round them seven days, now glorify thou me, O Father, with thy- not “after a procession of seven days
i Tim. v. 10. says not a self, with the glory which I had before the around it." world was, with thee.” Iliis more readily word about lodging “Pilgrims.” 3 St, allows the Unitarian interpretation, than the John 5. “Dearly beloved, thou dost synupon rendering does,
faithfully whatsoever thou dost for the