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it.” The history of Unitarian martyrs would be an interesting subject. Many have suffered in this country, under laws which no longer exist, but some of which have only recently been torn from the statute book which they digraced. Heavily prest the yoke of persecution on the necks of our forefathers, and its burden crushed them to the earth. They fell beneath its overwhelming weight; and it formed their only monument. Never yet have they received that welldeserved tribute of posthumous applause, which has been the portion of so many others, whose names a recording finger has indelibly traced on the pillar of immortality. They have passed away without their fame, for our adversaries have told our tale, and by idolatrous Christians has been written the history of Christianity. But their names and worth are preserved in those imperishable records treasured up in the courts of heaven, were traced by the hand of Omniscience, and shall one day be unfolded to an admiring world : then shall they “shine as the stars, for ever and ever.” (m)
The revived progress of Unitarianism claims affinity with the original diffusion of the gospel, as it has advanced in opposition to power, and in defiance of persecution: and of late years, since it has been fairly and plainly preached, has spread with great rapidity amongst the poor.
So far as its present state and prospects belong to the
general design of this Course, they will be considered in the next Lecture. The text is a prediction of its final, universal prevalence, which must be realized. Its progress is first to destroy error and quell dissension in the Church; and. then to flow around the globe, bearing to every land the unity and love of God, and universal brotherhood of man. Then " shall the Lord be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be One Lord, and his name One;" and every voice shall echo the song, till it resound from shore to shore, of “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; good will towards men.”
But between us and that happy period there is yet a long interval of arduous conflict. By strict consistency to rebut the shafts of calumny; by mild benevolence to conciliate affection, without swerving from the integrity that disdains the slightest sacrifice of truth; with unwearied patience to encounter opposition, ignorance, and prejudice; and by firm, united, zealous exertion, to restore the purity of Christian truth on the ruins of antichristian error : these are the high duties of its advocates; these are the toilsome, but honourable task to which they are called by God and Providence. Uniting in this noble work, you become the coadjutor's of the excellent of the earth, who in any age have interposed, at their own peril, to arrest human evils or multiply blessings; who, like Aaron, have stood between
the dead and the living to stay the plague; who,
as Abraham, have renounced all for God. You ortit join the illustrious band of Reformers, kindred spi
rits in all climes and generations, from him, the best and greatest, who, "for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame,”
down to your own Priestleys and Lindseys, who rdi heard his animating voice, “Be thou faithful
unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life;" and who calls you, with them, on those plains of holy warfare, to sustain the cause of truth, righteousness, and benevolence, and reap the deathless laurels of celestial glory.
ON CREEDS, CONTROVERSY, AND THE IN
FLUENCE OF RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS ON
DANIEL xii. 4.
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall
In the preceding Lectures we have attempted to exhibit that great apostacy in the Church, designated by the term Antichrist, in its nature and extent, as consisting in unscriptural faith and worship, superstitious practices and spiritual tyranny, and affecting, in various degrees, not only the Church of Rome and the Eastern Church, but also the different Protestant sects, and in this country both the Establishment and Dissenters. To this has been opposed what I consider the unadulterated gospel, sacred and eternal truth, approved by reason and declared in Scripture, a system fostered by inquiry, almost identified with religious liberty, and eminently favourable to piety, benevolence, and happiness. I have now to shew the advance which this
system has made, and the means by which that progress has been effected, and will be continued till Unitarianism become again co-extensive with Christianity; which occupies the present Lectures and prepares us for contemplating afterwards, the strength of regenerated Christianity, to restrain and ultimately abolish that greatest of evils, war; and thus conduct mankind towards perfection. For this purpose, the terms of the subject of this Lecture were selected. The influence of religious systems on society, is that which makes their discussion of importance; creeds, and their accompaniments, are commonly the intrenchments which error throws up for her defence; and controversy is the chief agency by which those bar
riers are demolished; truth elicited and diffused; 1 and, consequently, the church purified and the
world improved. These topics will be kept in view, and involved in most of the remarks I shall make this evening, though without aiming, for reasons before assigned, at giving them either a distinct or a complete discussion.
He must be a very careless reader of either ancient or modern history, who does not at once see that religion has, in all times and countries, operated with great force on the condition of man. Not only does it affect the moral character, by supposing, or creating a standard of duty, and exciting fears of punishment, or hopes of recompence, in futurity; but it is also one of the