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tween the will and the understanding, as between good and truth : the nature of this latter marriage was, in a measure, shewn in the preceding article, to which it may be expedient to add, that as good is the very esse of a thing, and truth is the existence thence derived, so the will with man is the very esse of his life, and the understanding is the existence of life thence derived ; for good, which is of the will, forms itself in the understanding, and in a certain manner renders itself visible.' Dic quibus in terris

et eris mihi magnus Apollo.

The Importance and Extent of Free Inquiry in Matters, of Re

ligion: a Sermon preached before the Congregations of the old and New Meeting of Protestant Dilsenters at Birmingham. By · Joseph Priestley, LL. D. F.R.S. 8vo. Is. 62. Johnson. THIS is a miscellaneous work; but it has one object, the

great design of Dr. Priestly's theological writings, viz. to inculcate and defend his own particular opinions. We do not mean, by this expreffion, to cast any imputation on his labours : we believe that he confiders it as the cause of truth, and that it may assist the progress of Christianity, by making its doors wider, and the altar more accessible to those who are yet without its pale.

The Sermon on Free Enquiry is a candid and dispassionate defence of speculative examinations. We meet with many passages that we highly approve, for they are rational and liberal : there are others where we hesitate ; and, in some, we think him mistaken. The substance of the following paragraph we have before employed as an argument; but, in our opinion, Dr. Priestley carries it too far.

• If, indeed, we confine ourselves to things that are necesfary to salvation, we may stop whenever we please, and may even save ourselves the trouble of any inquiry, or investigation at all. Because nothing is absolutely necessary to acceptance with God, and future happiness, in some degree, besides the conscientious practice of the moral duties of life. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? but, certainly, we may mislead ourselves if we restrict our enquiries by this rule, as, according to it, Christianity itself may be said to be unnecessary. For do any of us think that a virtuous heathen will not be saved ? Paul says, that they who are without the law of Moses Thall be judged without that law. They have the law of nature, and of conscience, and will be judged by that. But, notwithstanding this, he thought it a great privia lege to be a Jew, and a greater till, as it certainly is, to be a


Christian; and there were questions relating to Chriftianity to which he thought it proper to give his own closest attention, and to invite the attention of others.'

We may allow, that a virtuous heathen who had never heard of Christ, might be saved as well as one who, after every examination that he could employ, should remain unconvinced of his divine mission. But a virtuous heathen, who shuts his ears to the voice of the Gospel, who will neither attend to the words of the prophets, the signs and wonders which our Sa. viour wrought, constantly remaining in wilful unbelief, we should confider in a very different light. While we allow then, with Dr. Priestley, that these speculative questions are not ne. cessary to salvation, we cannot conclude in the same manner of Christianity itself, but only with the restrictions mentioned, Dr. Priestley too considers, in the whole of this fermon, the improvements which free enquiry have introduced in too iin. portant a light. The great changes introduced by the reformers were not of so much service in improving the speculative doctrines, as in reforming the practice of religion, teaching us to look on ceremonies and ornaments in their proper light, to expect pardon of our fins only from a sincere repentance, and a future amendment of our lives, with many fimilar alterations which will be sufficiently obvious. We do not think that the improvements, either in the form or the practice of religion, which may be deduced from the speculations of the last fifty years; can in any respect be compared with the res formation. The intolerant fpirit, and the gloomy severity of the old Calvinists, have been gradually refining in the milder sects of Arians, rational diffenters (for they have no proper name) and Socinians; but these are the effects of the alteration of manners in general, increafing knowledge, and of course incrcasing liberality.

It is properly urged, in favour of free enquiry, that no one can profess himself of any fect on principle, but after a careful examination, and a consequent conviction. The many who is blindly a diffenter, would, in different circumstances, have been with equal confidence a Papist or a Mahometan.

• It will be said, is it not poffible for the spirit of enquiry and innovation to be carried too far? does liberty never degenerate into licentiousness? Admitting this, who is the proper judge in the case, when all are equally parties? the Papist will say that the Protestant has gone too far, the Calvinilts will say that the Arminians are to blame, Arminians will condemn the Arians, and the Arians the Unitarians, and even some Unitasians may condemn those of their body, who, differing from them in some respects, have not as yet got, but may hereafter, get some other name.'

• In fact, there is no reason to be alarmed at all in the cafea Truth will always have an infinite advantage over error, if free scope be given to inquiry. It is very little advantage that any fuperiority of ability can give to the cause of error, and can not be of long continuance; not to say that the probability, must always be, that a man of superior ability will discover the truth sooner than one of inferior talents, industry, and all other qualities being equal between them.'

The subject is embarrassed by joining enquiry with innovation, and rendered more doubtful by giving unlimited scope to examination. Innovation should not, except in urgent cases, follow temporary changes of opinion. Let us suppose, that Dr. Priestley had remained in the same congregation, and had made innovations as often as he has told us his religious opinons have changed: the less informed of his congregation might have considered truth as a fitting shadow rather than a substance ; they might have thought the last opinion as un{table as the former ones, and having no resting place, might have funk into a listless scepticism. Inquiry may be indulged, bat innovation, except in things esential to salvation, or affecting the practical duties of religion, carefully avoided. Besides, we have before said, that it may be dangerous to allow of enquiries by people in general, or to enforce them : in some in. ftances they lead to enthusiasm ; in minds of a different terdency to irreligion.

It is well observed, that the influence of any doctrine can be ascertained only by the lives and manners of the sea in general ; that speculative points, not influencing the moral conduct, should be mentioned with caution from the pulpit ; and that those who are not versed in speculative enquiries, should not haftily or rafhly judge those who are engaged in them. We differ a little from Dr. Priestley, with respect to the subjects which


be infifted on. He agrees in one point with a respectable member of the established church, that it is minister's duty to contend.'

We have considered this Sermon at greater length, because we are on the whole much pleased with it, and it probably would have been well adapted for an introductory discourse, on the first connection of a minister with a new congregation. We must pass over the rest of the pamphlet more cursorily.

The next part is on the state of free enquiry in this kingdom. Dr. Priestley thinks that many circumstances are unfa- . vourable to it; yet, that a revolution of opinions is now filently taking place, whioh may soon become obvious in its effects. He thinks the number of learned Unitarians increase. We have professed a different opinion ; but time, not reasoning, must decide between us.


The rest of this Sermon contains answers to some remarks on Socinianism, by Mr. White, in his Sermons at the Bampton Lecture; to Mr. Howe's discourse on the Abuse of the talent of Disputation in Religion ;' and to the anonymous author of a pamphlet entitled · Primitive Candor.' These gentlemen must defend themselyes, for the subjects are too miscellaneous to be discussed in the present article. Dr. Priestley's observations on the filence of the Arians we must preserve for its fhrewdness. We have endeavoured to account for it in a former article, by hinting, that we suspect them of • filently migrating into the enemy's camp.'

• I cannot conclude this preface without exprefling my furprize, that all my antagonists in this controversy should be trinitarians, and that no Arian has appeared in it. It is certainly an unfavourable symptom for them. Where is their learning or their zeal? Solomon says there is a time to speak ; but my Arian friends may think that that time is not yet come.'

And we muf not conclude this article without apologizing to Dr. Priestley for its delay, and assuring him that accident only has occasioned it. Inattention or disrespect had no influence on our conduct.

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The Duty of Contending for the Faith. 'A Sermon preached at the

Primary Visitation of the Most Reverend John Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Cathedral and Metropolitical-Church, July 1. 1786. By George Horne, D. D. Dean of Canterbury. 410. 15. 6d. Robinsons, HE dean agrees, in one point, with Dr. Priestley, that it

is the duty of each professor, not only to give an ac. count of the faith which is in him, but' to o contend for that faith. His text is from Jude, v. iii. • Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that

should contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.'-The arms, however, which he would use, are only reason and fair argument: he expresses his indignation with becoming fpirit, at the employment of pains and penalties. Yet, while he objects to the suminary arguments of an inquisition, there is sufficient dignity in his manner to call forth the atten, tion of our indefatigable polemic. We are convinced that this is not the last time that we Mall review the language, or the arguments of this Sermon. We have seen enough of theo.



logical controversy, to despair of ever finding the truth in the jarring conteft.' One may fay, with propriety, I am of Paul;' another, 'I am of Apollos ;' and each may fairly afsign his reasons for his belief. This, when any professor of religion is called on, or the urgency of the times requires, is not only fair and proper, it is manly and spirited; but to found the trumpet to battle, to engage in contests on every occasion, we cannot recommend. They who attend to such disputes are those who have already decided : others look on them with in. difference, and that indifference will increase with the increase of the controversy. We have already observed, that those tenets and that conduct effèntial to salvation are written in characters too legible to be mistaken, and too obvious to be overlooked.

The second Sermon is à discourse on the • Trinity in Unity.' The dean, in the manner we have just recommended, gives the summary of his faith on this subject, and folemnly professes his belief of what he has advanced. In this respect, his candor and good sense deserve the utmost respect. The are guments, he allows, are not his own; but we may add, that they are given with advantage in point of perfpicuity, and often urged with force.

• If the doctrine of our Lord's divinity be not the doétrine of the scriptures, and of the primitive church, it matters not how, when, or by whom, it was afterwards introduced. It fhould not have been received ; it ought not to be retained. On the other hand, if it really be the doctrine of the scriptures; and of the primitive church (as I declare before God, in the fincerity of my foul, upon the best judgment I can form, I am verily persuaded it is)-then-all that Dr. Priedley has written, in four large volumes, concerning the Jews, and the Gnoftics, and the Ebionites, and the Nazarenes; concerning Plato, and Philo, and Justin Martyr, and Tertullian ; concerning philosophers, fathers, and heretics many and diverse, but all Unitarians; concerning the supposed caution of the apoftles, and the metaphysical and injudicious arguments and difquifitions of writers, whether ancient or modern, upon any part of the subject'; all this, with the goodly edifice raised on such a foundation, falls directly to pieces, vanithes into air,

" And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,

Leaves not a wreck behind." As mankind are not satisfied with the former arguments on either side, we cannot expect that new ories will be followed by convi&tion. We shall only farther advise disputants, that, if they cannot be of one mind, in one house; at least to keep in view the important Christian doctrines of benevolence, chan rity, and good-will towards men.' Voi. LXIII. March, 1787


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