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Is it not a disgrace to the Dissenters that a minister who did them so much honour, and who, as T. justly remarks, “ gave so many valuable specimens of his eminent learning, should have his useful and pious labours overlooked, and indeed consigned to oblivion, merely on account of the want of a trifling subscription to defray the expense of introducing them to the world? The opulent among the modern Dissenters are chiefly engaged in commercial avocations, and as such, may have no great relish for literary knowledge or pursuits; but for the honour of the religious denomination to which they are pleased to attach theinselves, and for the accommodation of their brethren in humbler stations, they should encourage and patronize the useful iabours of their more eminent ministers, more especially as they would find upon trial, that the sums wanted for these most laudable purposes
would amount to a mere pittance, when compared to those heavy expenses to which many of them now u illingly subject themselves by conforining to the frivolous and unmanly fashions of the age.
P.S. Dr. Chandler is said to be the writer of more than fifty papers in that valuable periodical work, the Old Whig. Can any of your correspondents ascertain which were the Doctor's ?
A THEOLOGICAL CONVERSATION.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, It gives me great pleasure to hear of the increasing circulation of your very useful Magazine, as it is a very excellent medium for the diffusion of Unitarian sentiments, and affords an opportunity to many of our persuasion, to inform our neighbours of the rising progress of that important truth, from which unhappily the greatbody of Christians has so long run astray. No effort should, I think, be left untried, to bring back our wandering brethren from the maze of error, in which their teachers endeavour to keep them entangled, and if we can convince the teachers themselves, so much the better is it for the cause, that must, whether the present generation chooses or not, ultimateJy succeed. A circumstance that occurred to me the other day, led me to apprehend, that the difficulties are not so great, as we sometimes are apt to imagine. I overtook on the road a person with a bible in his hand, taking his walk in the morning from a small country town. I took him to be a mechanic of the place; and, in passing him, congratulated his early application to study, and expressed my satisfaction, that his time was so well employed. This led to a conversation, in which I learned that he was not a mechanic but a man of study, acquainted with the bible in its original languages, and minister of the methodist congregation in the town, in Lady Huntingdon's connexion.
We chatted together on the importance of religious meditation, and the great duty imposed on every Christian, to form à true conception of his relation to God, through our Saviour ; and I observed, how much indebted I was to the study of my Hebrew bible, by which I was at first led to understand clearly, what God had chosen to reveal of himself, and how to worship the God of Jesus Christ, who in earlier times was known by the names of Jehovah and the God of Israel. You do not then, he said, worship the plurality. No, Sir, I replied, God has said, “thou shalt worship no other gods but me:" if he had said to me, thou shalt worship the plurality, I should worship the plurality, I should undoubtedly worship it, but I can. not admit of any term in religious matters, which is unscriptural, and is the invention of human reason. He wishelthen to convince me, that a term might be used, which was not in the scripture; talked of essence and trinity; but I kept to the same point, that, as they were the invention of men, a true Chris. tian could have nothing to do with them; he had a master, namely, Jesus, the Christ; he was ordered by that master, to have no other master; and all persons who set up for masters, and all persons who believe in these masters, were fallen from the truth, as it is in Jesus.
After a little discussion on these points, he asked me, whether I thought Jesus to be a man merely, like myself. I replied, yes in every respect, except, that he was more highly favoured' by God, was the appointed saviour of mankind, and for his obedience, was raised to be the head of all mankind. Upon this my companion ran into the usual strain of gentlemen of this persuasion, assured me, that I could not be saved by this faith, and was necessarily doomed to perdition. To this I calmly replied, that such language was not very polite, and the mode of arguing was not good, for I might just as well say the same of him self; but I was taught not to judge any man ; to his own Ma. ker I leave him, and I did not doubt, that the Judge of all the earth would do right.
This language seemed to make some impression, and he un, dertook to convince me of my error, by running over a great quantity of texts of scripture, which, I observed, was a thing very easily done, and however it might take with a congregation, could not weigh at all with real lovers of truth. We went then more deliberately to the work, taking one at a time: he beginning with the first, namely; There are three that bear record in beaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. You know Sir, he said, that these are The words of scripture. Indeed Sir, I do not. Not know it! you surprise me; it is a verse in St. John's third epistle. I know, I replied, that such a verse is said to be in John's third cpistle, but I do not believe that John ever wrote it. Then, said he, you might as well say that John did not write the other verses, and we shall, by going on this way, have no scriptures at all. Not so, I replied, because you have a bad guinea, it does not follow that there are no good guineas; but, if there are bad guincas abroad, you will take care to know the good from the bad. St. John, I repeat it, never wrote that verse. But how came it in the bible then? he said. Many learned men believe John to have written that verse, and I never saw a Testament, whether Greek or English, without that verse in it. That may be, I replied, but I have seen many Testaments, without it, and I have a Greek Testament iny elf, in which it is not. In the British Museum is a famous manuscript without it, and in fact there is not one Greek manuścrist which has it, unless the manuscript was written lately. The newspapers also inform us of a strong fact, to corroborate the truth of what I assert. Mr. Buchanan, a Trinitarian clergyınan, has lately visited the Hindoo Christians, on the coast of Malabar, who have manuscripts of the New Testament in the Syriac language of a very old date, and in none of these manuscripts is this pretended verse to be found. He did not know how ikis might be, said my companion, but he could not believe, that the men who translated the bible into English, would have suffered it to be in, unless they were cer, tain, that it ought to be printed, for they were men of great, learning, and we had no one of greater learning in these times, I did not assent to the latter proposition, and was asked, whát. man alive had so much learning, I replied, Professor Porson, the Greek professor of Cambridge, has more learning than alí the translators put together. He has investigated the authority of this verse, he declares it to be spurious. So did Sir Isaac Newton. So did Mr. Emlyn. Griesbach has struck it out of
his Testament: the present bishop of Lincoln declares it to be spurious, and I could mention many others of the same opinion.
My companion was not inclined to acquiesce in any of these authorities, and observed, that, if the verse ought not to be there, the opinion contained in it was maintained in other parts of scripture, and was upheld by all the fathers of the Church. To this I replied, that the Greek fathers certainly did believe in the trinity, though they did not quote this verse to support it, which was an additional proof, that they had it not in their Testaments : and I added, that, if he was not satisfied in his mind, that the verse was originally written by John, he ought never to quote it'; and I did not see, how he could do his duty to God, and to his congregation, if he used words as scripture, which were not in scripture. It became him to exaroine the arguments on both sides, and to judge impartially upon a fair view of the subject.
My companion, I observed, was a little struck with what I said, for he had kept company with men only of his own persuasion, and had never been accustomed to have an" of his noLions called in question. He had been taught a certain routine of opinions in his college, just as most dissenting ministers, particularly those of the Calvinistic persuasion, who do not stua dy the bible to learn what God teaches, but to confirm by texts of scripture, from all quarters, what has been laid down by preceding teachers. This is a lamentable thing for the Christian world. The people are kept in ignorance, nearly as bad as that of popery, and the false arguments repeatedly used by their preachers, they do not dare to call in question, for fear of being stigmatised as heretics. My companion brought me, among others, that text, in which Jesus himself is by these teachers accused of that blasphemy, which, if he had uttered it would have deservedly brought him either to the fatal tree, or given sufficient grounds for confining him in a madhouse.
“ Before Abraham was, I am,” said Jesus ; that is, said my companion, Jesus savs, that he is God. How is that, I replied ? Why, said he, the term “ I am,” is the Hebrew name for God. If it is, I replied, then Jesus said only, “ before Abraham was God;" and this was so well-known a truth, that it required no prophet : from heaven to tell us it: but I added, you know very well, that the Hebrew language has no terms to express the words “ I am,” for in that language there is no present tense.
The coach coming up that was to take me on my journev, I was obliged to leave my companion, with whom I left matter to
ruminate upon, and it struck me afterwards, that, if you would give a place to this letter in your magazine, it might excite some of our Unitarian missionáries, to converse, wherever they have an opportunity, with the methodist teachers, and, hearing calmly all their denunciations, to set before theni gradually those points, which may lead them to investigate the true meaning of the scriptures. The methodist has zeal, which only requires proper direction, and many methodist teachers have been eminently useful in bringing men from their false notions of religion, and to worship the only true God, the God and Father of Jesus Christ.
I remain, Sir,
MR, STURCH ON MR. BENNETT'S SERMON.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, The rule which you have adopted and announced to your correspondents at the end of your last number but one, « to insert nothing relating to matters of fact, which comes under the unauthentic shape of an anonymous letter," is so evidently right, and so highly important, that I will venture to say it must give pleasure to every one of your readers, and though I might otherwise feel some reluctance to publish my name, yet, as I mean to speak to matter of fact as well as matter of opinion, I shall conform to it without hesitation.
I have read the letter of your correspondent B. Marten, in your last number, with no little regret, because it contains evidence, that there is one individual, if not more, amongst a class of Christians, which I have always respected, who though professedly“ a friend to free inquiry," is so much under the influence of system, as to be capable of misrepresenting facts in order to fix a stigma upon a worthy man who happens to differ from him. This, I confess, is a serious charge ; but, I am sorry to say, not difficult to make out.
Mr. Bennett, in the Address to the Ministers and Representatives of the General Baptist Churches, prefixed to his discourse, expresses his thanks for the patient attention with which most of them heard him. But, says your correspondent, “ I believe that in this he is very incorrect." What Mr. Marten would