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portionate insignificance of those nice terfuges, such a perversion of common and minor points on which they sepa- sense, derogatory alike to reason and to rate, and actually or seemingly differ. revelation and it is in this light that I
Your readers should be informed, view the reply to thine, which, however that C. E.'s letter and the reply to it plausible it may appear to superficial were reviewed in the Monthly Repo- minds, is as deficieni in sound argument sitory, XVI. 46; but that I have rea. mandatory advice.
as it is in scriptural authority for its son to believe few of either have got That the grand and simple doctrines into circulation, such Friends as are of genuine Christianity will ultimately booksellers in London having, I am triumph over the distorted, inferential informed, thought fit to decline selling and unscriptural creed of Trinitarianism, both the one and the other.
is my firm belief, and I entirely acquiesce Should you
insert this communica- with thee in the opinion that truth must tion, I hope Mr. Alexander of Yar- finally conquer. mouth, the printer of the first letter,
In conclusion, I request thy acceptwill soon send some copies to Hun- ance of my sincere acknowledgments for ter's or Eaton's for sale, in order to ceive to be) the true interests of our
thy endeavour to promote (what I concounteract almost as effectual a mode Society, by thy attempt “ to rouse the of suppressing inquiry within the pale spirit of inquiry where it is dorinant, of a small Society, as was ever adopt- and to counteract the support wbich the ed by the Church of Rome in the sanction of a grave assembly might give plenitude of her power, and in the to error." darkest period of her priestly domination. It was with great pleasure I
With sentiments of sincere esteem, heard Wm. Allen, a minister amongst
4 Mo. 1822.
June 25, 1822.
in reply to a letter in your last Having lately had an opportunity of Repository, [p. 271,] intended to perperusing thy " Letter to the Young Men suade your readers that the publicaand Women of the Society of Friends, on tion of Penn's Sandy Foundation Shathe Yearly Meeting Epistle for 1820," I ken by Unitarians, without taking the conceive that I could not better discharge least notice of his Vindication," as if my duty as a junior member of the So- such were the fact, “is at once disinciety of Friends, than by thus addressing genuous and unjust.” The writer thee. And though personally unac- also with equal truth asserts, that quainted with thee, a coincidence of opi- « there are in the Unitarian Prenion will, I trust, be deemed a sufficient apology for this intrusion upon thy atten- of an entire want of candour in the
face" to that work, “two instances tion. The perusal of thy dispassionate, firm and intelligent address, has been author.” These severe charges, conthe source of the most pleasurable anti- fidently as they are advanced, may be cipations. It has convinced me that the easily refuted. The first is, that the spirit of inquiry is diffusing its genial in- author does not notice Penn's letter fluence, and dispelling the crude, un- to Lord Arlington; by whose warrant scriptural and unconstitutional doctrines he was imprisoned, and of which letof modern orthodoxy, as adopted by ter the Editor certainly cannot say he many of the active members of our So- was "ignorant.” And he might have ciety.
conclusively proved from it, that Penn To discourage investigation, to insist upon the limited uature of our faculties,
was as indisposed to recant, and to and to hold up implicit faith and blind when he wrote that letter, though at
avow doctrines “totally opposite" obedience, as “honourable prudence," is only what might be expected from the that time a close prisoner in the Tower advocate of a weak cause. And weak of London, for publishing the Sandy indeed must that cause be, that for its Foundation Shaken, as when he sent defence has recourse to such futilc sub. word about the same time to his ac. cuser, the Bishop of London, that he rate persons in the unity of essence," never would recant, “ though his pri- or of some other plurality of persons son should be his grave.”
in the Deity, neither of which can I The other alleged instance of "an find that Penn, since he became a Disentire want of candour,” is a charge senter, ever acknowledged. Sabellius not only unfounded, but it also com- and his followers, in the third century, pletely disproves the 'writer's other ascribed “ eternal Deity" to Christ, accusation, of " disingenuous and un- as expressly as William Penn ever did, just" conduct, by testifying to your and yet they were always justly deemed readers, that the said Apology is ex- Unitarians. pressly noticed in that preface. The In the page preceding that from editor has even described it, p. vii., as which the extract supposed to be so obviously favourable “10 the Sabela “unequivocal” was selected, Penn lian hypothesis ;” which constitutes challenges his Trinitarian opponent to its nearest approach to reputedly or- adduce "one scripture that has dithodox doctrines. He has also noticed rected him to such a phrase as disPenn's eulogy on Socinus, in reply to tinct person, or that says, I and my a charge of " being a Socinian.” 'l'his Father are two, instead of 'I and my could not be designed for “a recan- Father are one.' 2ndly. If he will tation;" and five years after this, Penn but bring me one piece of antiquity declared that Thomas Firmin, who for the first two hundred years, that said he had retracted, was “shame- used any such expression. 3rdly. fully mistaken.” See the Sequel to And if he can deny that the Popish my Appeal, pp. 47-52 ; or Penn's schoolmen-were the grandfathers and Works, II. 453. Whence, then, these promoters of such like monstrous groundless, injurious and contradic- terms and uncouth phrases, I will be tory accusations ? It cannot be amiss contented to take the shame upon me for the “intelligent” writer calmly of denying proper, apt and significant to inquire.
phrases. “In this very Apology,” adds the “But till then I will tell him, that if writer,“ are to be found these une- the Son of God did purchase our salquivocal expressions." They follow ration distinctly from the Father, the p. 272, but are taken not from that Father was not concerned in our salroork, but from "an Apology," pub- vation, but Christ only. And if he lished several years after, "for the did so purchase it as God the Son, Principles and Practices of the Qua. (distinct from the Father,) then God kers," yet not quite correctly. And the Son (by his principles) cannot be though the Editor truly declared in the same with God the Father ; and his preface, that he was “not ac- all the earth, with all their idle soquainted with a more manly and able phisms and metaphysical quiddities, vindication in that peculiarly fanatical shall never be able to withstand the age, of the pure Unitarian doctrine, conclusion to be two Gods ; otherwise, than the Sandy Foundation Shaken," if the purchase was by God the Son, the writer is much mistaken in con- then God the Father was concerned cluding, that “then it necessarily fol- as well as God the Son, because the lows that the Apology is a recanta- same God. If not, then either Christ's tion ;” or that it is “ in direct opposi- Godhead was not concerned in the tion to the principles which constitute purchase, or there must be two Gods ; Unitarianism.” To prove these posi- so that which he calls a personality tions it is necessary to shew, which distinct from the essence, could not the writer has not even attempted, do it, and if the divine essence did that Penn's Apology for his former it, then the Father and Spirit did it work contains a “disavowal of his as well as the Son, because the same former sentiments," and that this very individual, eternal essence.” Penn's Apology asserts principles which are Works, II. 65. “in direct opposition” to the doc- About two years after this “ Apotrine of one only true and living God, logy for the Principles of the Quawho is described in the Scriptures as kers” was published, Penn addressed "* the God and Father of our Lord a letter to Dr. Collenges, a clergyman Jesus Christ ;" such as the doctrine who had attempted " to shew, what of "the Trinity of distinct and sepa. ignorance puts man under the state of damnation, and what knowledge is ne. Lord? It is manifest, then, that though cessary to life eternal.” A solitary I may deny the Trinity of separate passage from this letter is laid before Persons in une Godhead, yet I do not your readers in the samne page as the consequentially deny the deity of Jeone I have above endeavoured to elu. sus Christ." Penn's Works, I. 165. cidate, by adducing its context. I The part of this letter selected for must do the same in this case, in order your readers, (p. 272,)
directly follows that Penn's letter may more fairly the above passage. From the whole and fully “ speak for itself” the real of the letter it appears, that Penn resentiments of the writer. “The mat- jected the doctrine of the Trinity, and ter insisted upon, relating chiefly to that he held that of the divinity of us on this occasion,” says Penn, was, Christ in the same sense as he con“that we, in common with Socinians, ceived that Sabellius did; the accudo not believe Christ to be the eter- sation against whose followers, previnal Son of God, and I am brought ous to the Council of Nice, according in proof of the charge. The Sandy to Novatius, was, that they, “ the SaFoundation Shaken touched not upon bellians, make too much of the divinity this, but Trinity, separate personal- of the Son, when they say it is that ity, &c. I have two things to do; of the Father, extending his honour first, to shew I expressed nothing that beyond bounds. They dare to make divested Christ of his divinity ; next, him not the Son, but God the Father declare my true meaning and faith in himself.” And again, "They acknowthe matter.
ledge the divinity of Christ in too “I am to suppose that when any boundless and unrestrained a manner.” adversary goes about to prove his Ch. xxiii. The same writer also says, charge against me out of my own “The Son, to whom divinity is combook, he takes that which is most to municated, is, indeed, God; but God his purpose.
Now let us see what the Father of all is deservedly God of thou hast taken out of that book, so all, and the origin of his Son, whom evidently demonstrating the truth of he begat Lord." Ch. xxxi.; or, Histhy assertion. I find nothing more to tory, of early Opinions concerning thy purpose than this ; that I deny Christ, by Dr. Priestley, I. 47, 48. a Trinity of separate Persons in the In later times, since the doctrine of Godhead. Ergo, what? Ergo, Wil- the co-equality and co-eternity of the liam Penn denies Christ to be the three supposed persons in the Trinity only true God; or that Christ, the has been a professed article of faith Son of God, is from everlasting to in many Christian churches, those everlasting, God. Did ever_man yet who are known to reject the notion hear such argumentation ? Doth Dr. of any distinction of persons in the Collenges know logic no better? But Deity, and yet continue to use such (which is inore condemnable in a mi- seemingly orthodox language as the nister) hath he learnt charity so ill ? foregoing, are generally understood as Are not Trinity and Personality one asserting only the divinity of the Fathing, and Christ's being the eternal ther dwelling in Christ, and acting by Son of God another? Must I there- him, as Unitarian Christians also do. fore necessarily deny his Divinity, be- What else, indeed, can such persons cause I justly reject the Popish School mean? And what definite ideas can Personality? This savours of such they annex to the terins they use? weakness or disingenuity, as can never That such was in substance William stand with the credit of so great a Penn's meaning, when he used the scribe to be guilty of. Hast thou strongest expressions of that kind he never read of Paulus Samosatensis, ever adopted after quitting the Church that denied the divinity of Christ, and of England, I have no doubt; and Macedonius, that oppugned the deity especially when I consider how forciof the Holy Ghost ? And dost thou bly a man of such piety, sterling inin good earnest think they were one tegrity and good sense, must otherin judgment with Sabellius, that only wise have been impressed with the rejected the imaginary personality of sacred obligation of expressly recantthose times; who at the same instant ing the doctrines he had so clearly oroned and confessed to the eternity and definitely asserted as sound and and Godhead of Christ Jesus our scripturalis his Sandy Foundation
Shaken, one of the most able vindica- trines of one God, subsisting in three tions of genuine Unitarianism which distinct and separate persons, &c. &c., had ever appeared in the English lan- from the authority of Scripture testiguage.
monies and right reason.” Of its author, the letter you have In the Prefatory Advertisement of inserted says,
“ One characteristic the folio edition of Penn's Works, stamps both his life and writings, that 1761, we are informed, “ that it was of being led and guided by the spirit judged expedient, previously to another of Christ.” May I then ask, if this impression, to review the whole, and “stamps" all his writings,” how it to select for publication all such parts happened that he should ever have oc- of our author's writings as have an casion to give forth “a recantation,” immediate tendency to promote the as this writer imagines he did? And cause of religion in general, containif so, whether any “subsequent de- ing doctrines in which people of all claration of his principles" could re- nations, ranks and conditions are inmove “ from hiin every possible im- terested without dispute ; and such putation of holding Unitarian doc. likewise as, at the same time that they trines" before his supposed recanta- contribute to the same great end, the tion? The work so written, describes increase of primitive Christianity in Penn's "views and intentions” much life and doctrines, include an apology too clearly to be readily mistaken by for the religious principles and prac. any unprejudiced reader. In short, tice of the people to whom he was it asserts that doctrine as plainly as united in profession." In this edition, any work that ever was written. It and also in another, printed in 1782, is therefore no wonder that its atten- which has been sanctioned, reviewed tive perusal, by even a prejudiced and published by the Society of reader, should not shake " the foun- Friends, is inserted the Sandy Foundation of that truth for which William dation Shaken, and, if I mistake not, Penn was both an able and a faithful,” it is also contained in the edition of but not an infallible, “ advocate." Penn's Works now printing. If, then,
Reserving any thing more I may the Society disapproves of the dochave occasion to add in bis defence trines insisted upon and logically detill a future time, (should you insert duced in this work, for what reason this letter, already too long.)
have they “ selected” it for publica
tion in preference to others of a conWith best wishes, yours sincerely, troversial nature, which they have THOMAS FOSTER. omitted ?
From this edition I extract the fol7 Month, 1822.
lowing paragraph, which I believe is Respected FRIEND,
not in the " Unitarian edition :" IN the Repository of 5 month last, “No one substance can have three
(pp. 271-273,) there was a letter distinct subsistences, and preserve its on Penn's Sandy Foundation Shaken, own unity : for, granting them the in which the writer says, “Whatever most favourable definition, every subconstructions individuals may have sistence will have its own substance ; put upon that parnphlet, entirely op- so that three distinct subsistences or posite to W. Penn's views and inten- manners of being, will require three tions, his subsequent declaration of distinct substances or beings, consehis principles, and his public vindica- quently three Gods. For if the infition of them in a work entitled, 'In- nite Godhead subsists in three sepanocency with her Open Face,' removes rate manners or forms, there is not from him every possible imputation of any one of them a perfect and comholding Unitarian doctrine.”
plete subsistence without the other I am at a loss to conceive how any two; so parts and something finite is impartial and candid inquirer after in God; or if infinite, then three distruth, could arrive at such a conclu- tinct infinite subsistences; and what sion, after carefully perusing the Sandy is this but to assert three Gods, since Foundation Shaken, in which Wm. none is infinite but God? And, on Penn so ably refutes “ those so ge- the contrary, there being an insepanerally believed and applauded doc- rability betwixt the substance and its
subsistence, the unity of substance ployed. I have seen, I have felt the will not admit a trinity of incommu- force of this reniark, when I have nicable or distinct subsistences."- observed my own children, when they (Vide p. 12.)
have been present at a Dissenting From this I infer that the “con- place of worship. Let it not be imastructions individuals may have put gined that I would prevent their atupon that pamphlet,” are not en- tending a Dissenting congregation. tirely opposite to W. Penn's views By no means. But the inquiry I am and intentions.” However “ his sub- pursuing is the best mode of promosequent declaration of his principles, ting pure and undefiled piety: I have and his public vindication of them” in seen much of the world. I have held another pamphlet, may have lessened a military station. It may cause a the estimation in which he was held smile on the countenance of some of as a consistent theologian, they cannot, your readers to find this confession in my opinion, “ remove from him from one who avows himself a zealous every possible imputation of holding" Unitarian. And it will, perhaps, surand teaching “ Unitarian doctrine." prise others to learn that mine is far
AMICUS. from a solitary instance. But if the
plan of many mess-rooms were known, Sir,
a different conclusion would be drawn
lated to elicit truth deserves the gested. When two or three inquiring attention of the friend of genuine piety. minds meet, theological, as well as I am glad, therefore, to see the subject other subjects are introduced; and, of Liturgies presented to your readers. besides the various connexions which Though your correspondent J. P. (pp. military men have, and their different 210, 211] has declined entering into ranks and education, they are often an inquiry of the respective advantages less burthened with prejudice, and of extemporary prayer, and of printed more open to fair investigation, than forms, I may be pardoned for men- many other classes of society. To tioning my own, and the experience these causes I attribute it, that Fery of many others who have been from many thinking men, both in the army infancy accustomed to attend the ser- and the navy, are decided Unitarians. vice of the Established Church. I But I have found very few that would admit we are incompetent judges, as join a society in which extemporary we cannot compare the benefits to be prayer was used. Their early habits
, derived by those who prefer public their wish not to appear hostile to the prayers in which the people take no Establishment, perhaps also their atpart, with the devotion that has been tachment to the forms, or even dress excited by using a liturgy, and being to which they have been accustomed, a party in the petitions offered at the indisposes them to join what are throne of grace. The power of habit termed regular Dissenters. But were must be granted. On this very ground a society like that in Essex Street a strong argument presents itself in formed, were the place not destitute favour of printed forms. During an of external grace, were the services extemporary prayer, children and conducted without the peculiarities atyoung persons are not, nay, cannot be tached to Dissenting congregations in interested. They contract an indif- general, many who now regularly atference, if not a habit of inconside- tend the Established Church, would ration, during that most solemn of rejoice in such a mode of addressing religious duties, the address to the the one living and true God. It may, Searcher of hearts. But if they had perhaps, be said, Let them come out such a composition before them as from among those who worship a Trimigat lead them to think on what they nity in Unity. Let a little candour be ought to be engaged in, some good shewn ; let mutual indulgence be impression might result, at least they granted ; let a fair trial be made of would not be called to utter an Amen adopting a scriptural mode of worship to what they had not understood, or that may suit those who do not wish might not have regarded, because to enter into the speculative discustheir thoughts were differently em. sions that sometimes are delivered