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Robinson, Robert, 1735-1790. 

Miscellaneous works of 

Robert Robinson, late 
















lekseury; m. jones, paternoster-row; m. GURNty, 












Sermon VII. 
The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures - - 3 

2 Timothy iii. 15. 
The Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise 
unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ 

Sermon VIII. 
A Discourse addressed to the congregation 
at Alaze-Pond, Southxvark, on their pub- 
lic declaration of having chosen Mr. 
James Dore their Pastor, March 25, 

1784 - - - - 25 

Sermon IX. 
A Discourse preached at the Ordination of 
Mr. George Birley, at St. Ives, Hun- 
tingdonshire, Oct. 18. 1786 - - - - 39 
PROVERBS xxvii. 10. 
Thine ozvn friend, and thy father's friend forsake 


Sermon X. 

Slavery inconsistent zoith the spirit of Chris- 
tianity -.-------- oO 

LUKE i. 18. 

The Lord hath sent me— to preach deliverance to 
the captives. 


Sermon XI. 
On sacramental tests - 104? 

MATTHEW XX. 25,26. 

Jesm said, yt know that the princes of the Gen- 
tiles exercise dominion over them, and they that 
are great, exercise authority upon them : but 


Sermon XII. 
A Discourse delivered at the Meeting-house 
in Fenstatiton, Huntingdonshire ; Jan. 23, 
1782, at the interment of Airs. Susanna 
Birley, of St. Ives ; and also at that of 
their only child, aged ten weeks - - - 131 
Sekmun XIII. 
The advantages of an early religious edu- 
cation --- 142 

PSALM cxvi. 12. 

IVhat shalll render unto the Lord for all his bene- 
fits tozoards me ? 

A DisscussioN OF The Question — Is it 
lawful and right for a man to mar- 
ry the sister of his deceased wife? 155 

Memorial addressed to the two con- 
gregations OF Protestant Dissen- 
ters, IN Cambridge 179 

The Circular Letter of the Eastern 
Association, held at Hemel Hemp- 
stead, Herts; May 14th. and 15th. 
mdcclxxvi --- 189 

An Essay on Liberality of Sentiment 207 

Letters 215 




[first separately printed.] 



Preached at Saltei-'n Half, London, September l"l, 178Q. In behalf 

of the Bible Society. 

2 Timothy iii. 15. 
The Holy Scriptures are able to make thee wise 
unto saltation, through faith, which is in 
Christ Jesus. 

IF ever there were a public charity, to the sup- 
port of which persuasion was unnecessary, this, 
which I have the honour to propose to you to-day, 
in the name of the bible society, is one. It 
coimnencls itself to every mans conscience in the 
sight of God. My design, therefore, is more to 
confirm such as do support this benevolent in- 
stitution, than to convert those who do not. If, 
indeed, we were infidels, and denied the truth of 
the proposition contained in the text ; or if we 
were immoral persons, insensible of the worth of 
virtue, and its companion, fehcity ; ifweM'ereun- 
animated with the manly passion of diffusing hap- 
piness among all our species by means of virtue, 
and of producing virtue by communicating know- 
ledge; then should Ave remain dead to all the holy 
emotions inspired by the text; butaswe believe what 
our apostle affirms for truth, believe it as he, who 
affirmed it, did, our faith, like his, must work by 
love to all mankind. Let us hear him. 

The haly scriptures ar£ able to make thee wise 
A 2 

4 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ 
Jesus. By the holy scriptures the apostle means, 
as he informs us in the next verse, all writings 
given by inspiration of God. In these the apostle 
suggests in the text, agreeably to his express de- 
clarations in many other passages, Jesus Christ is 
the chief subject, and makes the principal figure, 
every where projecting to meet the eye of the rea- 
der. ]\Ioses writes of him ; of him bear all the 
prophets witness; and with evangelists and apos- 
tles he is all in all. The holy scriptures, which 
thus hold forth to public view the Lord Jesus 
Christ, are able to make men wise, that is, to teach 
them to judge rightly of God, a wisdom which is 
unto salvation, for it begins by saving us from er- 
ror, vice, and misery, and it ends in the salvation, 
that is, the resurrection of the body, and the per- 
fection of the soul. These benefits, the aposde 
adds, are communicated to us through faith, in 
other words, the holy scriptures exhibit a prophet, 
whose doctrine must be understood, a priest 
whose merit must be trusted, a prince, whose laws 
must be obeyed ; or, in words yet more plain, ig- 
norant and vicious men become wise, and good, 
and happy, by reading, hearing, examining, un- 
derstanding, and believing the truths taught in the 
holy scriptures. 

If we thus enter into the sentiments of the in- 
spired writer of our text, we shall be confirmed 
in the pious resolution of continuing to support 
this institution, a charity extracted from the very 
spirit of the text. The objects of your benevolence 

The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 5 

are the lower orders of military men, the soldiers 
in the army, and the sailors in the navy ; a hrave, I 
wish I could add a pious set of men ; for skill and 
courage the glory, but for profligacy the shame of 
Britain. This useful order of men, however, de- 
serve respect, and you have wisely expressed your 
esteem for them by presenting them with the bible; 
for all the qualities of good mihtary men are in- 
culcated there ; and there they are so inculcated 
as to render additional instruction not absolutely 
necessary to salvation ; so that your society do ho- 
nour to their understandings by presenting the bible 
ONLY, for the holy scriptures, the holy scrip- 
tures ALONE, are able to make us wise unto sal- 
tation, through faith, zvhich is in Chjist Jesus. 

What the apostle affirms of the inspired writings 
in general, that they [make the good man perfect, 
and thoroughly furnish him unto all good zvorks, 
may with the strictest propriety be applied to this 
particular class of men. Let us, first, examine 
what are the necessary qualities of a mihtary man; 
and let us inquire whether the holy scriptures in- 
culcate such dispositions. 

We begin with piety, or the worship of God. 
To be pious is to entertain just notions of God, to 
exercise proper affections towards him, and to per- 
form such public actions as express our depen- 
dence on him, and our reverence for him. Even 
pagans thought this so necessary, that they neither 
begun nor ended a war without public sacrifices 
expressive of their attention to the supreme power, 
that gQ\erned the universe. INfen who live among 

6 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

fires and flames, sieges and battles, storms and tem- 
pests, and shipwrecks and instruments of death, 
how can such men dispense with the obhgationsof 
piety? If all men ought to fear and worship God 
for their own sakes, how much more this class of 
men, who are exposed to more deaths than others, 
and who have fewer hopes than others have of the 
cool, deliberate moments of conversion, in their 
last agonies ? A principle of religion is necessary, 
too, for our sakes, for we arm and empower these 
men to guard our lives, liberties, and properties, 
and we are only so far happy under their protec- 
tion as they appear to possess such qualities as 
render them proper objects of our confidence. A 
man who fears God may be trusted; but he, who, 
doth not fear him, seldom pays a proper regard to 
his fellow citizens; his conscience is not bound by 
the religion of an oath. 

Aware of the necessity of piety, we present a 
bible to military men, as the book of all others in 
the world, the best constructed to form in the mind 
just notions of God, and so to excite pious emo- 
tions in the beart, and to regulate the actions of 
life. Here the first cause of all things visible and 
invisible displays his true and real character, as 
the creator, the preserver, the redeemer, the judge 
of mankind, diffusing his perfections through all 
his works. In one doctrine he is an object of fear, 
in another of love ; in one event he displays his 
power, in another his pity, in all his infinite ten- 
derness for the noblest of all his creatures, man. 
So far hath God carried his condescension to 

The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 7 

us, that he hath given us his own express image 
in the person of Jesus Christ, God manifest in 
the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, 
preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the 
world, received up into glory. 

That display of the character of God, which 
the holy scriptures exhibit in the person of Christ, 
most powerfully impels men to piety. His advent 
was foretold by prophets, and prophecy is a grand 
display of the omniscience of God. His presence 
was announced by miracles, and miracles wrote on 
the winds and the waves, the diseased and the dead, 
are noble exhibitions of omnipotence. His doc- 
trine is an emanation of the purest and most per- 
fect wisdom. His holy example exhibits moral ex- 
cellence in a manner impellent and irresistible. In 
one word, God in Christ is God reconciling the 
world unto the purity of his nature, and the per- 
fection of his government. As, then, piety be- 
comes a military man, because he is under all the 
obligations that bind other men, and some others 
peculiar to himself, so the bible is calculated to ex- 
cite him to discharge these duties, by exhibiting to 
him a supreme being, who places his glory in 
guarding the liberties, and preserving the lives of 

Secondly : we call magnanimity a military vir- 
tue, and we affirm, the bible is calculated to in- 
spire men with it. j\Iagnanimity is elevation of 
soul, a great and noble way of thinking. It is 
owing to the poverty of language, that we apply the 
terms great and little to the soul ; however, there 

B The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

is a truth in the fact of which we speak ; for whe- 
tlier it be owing to a particular construction of 
the body, or to modes of education, or to condi- 
tions of life, or to any other cause, certain it is, 
some men have diminutive ideas of every thing, 
and others an enlarged sublime habit of think- 
ing. Gentlemen in a military line of life have 
more opportunities than others of obtaining great 
and manly ideas, for they are familiar with men 
and manners in wide extremes, with winds and 
waves, and heights and depths, and dangers and 
pleasures, of which inexperience has no idea. 
They are often in conditions, which require sud- 
den and singular exertions, and such circumstan- 
ces draw out the latent powers of the soul. It is 
not the acquisition of an acre, it is the protection 
of a kingdom ; it is not the decline of an indivi- 
dual, it is the subversion of an empire ; it is not a 
journey of a day, it is a voyage round the globe, 
that occupy the minds of such men. A mean, sel- 
fish soul, enslaved by vulgar prejudices, and bound 
by sordid interest to one patron, or one party, is 
not fit to inhabit the body of a Briton in arms ; he 
could neither enter into the views of his constitu- 
ents, nor discharge the duties of his office, nor en- 
counter the difficulties of his condition. Such a 
man's mind should be the residence of all those 
just and generous ideas, which make the universe 
happy, and which go to make up the genuine Bri- 
tish constitution. 

The holy scriptures are adnfirably adapted to 
enlarge the minds of men. The historical part car- 

The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 9 

ries them back to the most remote antiquity, and 
the prophecies of the New Testament set them a 
thinking of long periods yet to come. The doc^ 
trine of God gives them an object to contemplate, 
infinite and unsearchable. The doctrine of provi^ 
dence gives them the whole universe to study, in 
wide extremes, from the properties of angels to the 
instincts of reptiles, the whole hitermediate sj)aces 
occupied by various orders of beings, heavens co- 
vered with his glory, earth full of his praise. 
The doctrine of a future state of rewards and pun- 
ishments, the resurrection of the dead, the judg- 
ment of the world, the highest happiness in hea- 
ven, the utmost misery in hell, all these train up 
the disciples of revelation in a habit of thinking 
truly sublime. 

To men conversant with eternity, how short 
doth human life appear ! To a mind surveying the 
•world, comparing being with being, and rational- 
ly giving the superiority to intelligence, how natu- 
ral is the exclamation, what shall it projit a man 
to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ! 
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? 

As the doctrines of the holy scriptures expand 
and elevate the mind ; as objects of pleasure and 
pain exhibited there excite noble emotions in the 
heart, so the duties of religion imply noble exer- 
tions every way worthy of a great and good man. 
To rule our oxen spirits — to deny ourselves — to cut 
off a right hand — to forgive our enemies — to bless 
them that curse us — never Xo forget to do_ good 
and to communicate- to flee from urath to come 

10 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

—to lay hold on eternal life — to live, yet not to 
live, but to have Christ live in us — all these duties 
demand great exertions, and all imply supeiior ha- 
bits of thinking, in a word, christian magnanimity. 
If magnanimity be a virtue, christian magnani- 
mity is that virtue in its most refined state ; and 
what is it in a military man, but an imitation of 
that friend of mankind, who exposed his life to in- 
conveniences and hardships, and who expired in 
the prime of his days on a cross for the public good? 

We call love of his country a third qualification 
of a military man ; and if there be a country which 
demands the warmest affection of men bearing arms 
it is this, of which we have the happiness to be na- 
tives. I do not mean an attachment to soil and 
seasons, nor a fondness for the language, the dress, 
the customs, the amusements of our native spot : a 
high regard for all these would be, perhaps, com- 
mendable, at least, excusable in us ; nor do I in- 
tend a preference to the learning, politeness, and 
refinements of our native district ; but I mean love 
to that in our country, which only renders a coun- 
try desirable A FREE CONSTITUTION. 

In countries wliere despotism debases human 
nature, tlie people are held in slavery by fear, and 
on this principle the military is a distinct order, 
bred to the profession of arms. There a standing 
army is necessary to the splendour, perhaps to the 
being of a tyrant, who, divested of this engine of 
government, would become the ridicule or the ex- 
ecration of mankind. In such a state, tlie accom- 

The siifficiejicy of the holy scriptures. 1 1 

plishment of a soldier is not love of his country ; 
but servile submission to sovereign caprice. 

In our free constitution, the direct end of which 
is civil libert}', our laws know no such state as that 
of a perpetual standing soldier. With us military 
men are fellow citizens, who for a while, when the 
representatives of the people require it, take up 
arms to defend a country, both theirs and ours. 
The safety and happiness of the whole state is the 
grand principle, on which we allow force neces- 
sary to a free people ; and on this principle we 
employ military men, not to inspire us with fear, 
nor to restrain us from any lawful pursuit, nor 
even to enforce our laws; but to guard our liber- 
ties, lives, and properties from all invaders. 

Some have pretended to accuse the gospel of 
our Lord Jesus Christ for not inculcating patriot- 
ism. Benevolence, say they, universal love, citi- 
zenship of the world, is the doctrine of your gos- 
pel ; your gospel therefore is not divine. We grant 
revealed religion does inculcate universal love; but 
if we be taught to love the whole, we are necessa- 
rily taught to love each component part, and con- 
sequently we are taught to love that part which 
gave us birth. We allow, the gospel doth not in- 
spire us with enthusiasm for local circumstances ; 
it teacheth us to despise the magick of names, so 
fatal to Greeks, Romans, and Jews, and it bids 
us take him for a Jew, who is one imcardlij, whose 
circumcision is that of the hearty in ike spirit, 
and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, 
but of God ; it directs us to unite with all wise 

12 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures, 

and good men for all the social purposes, for which 
Jesos Christ came into the world. Christianity, 
we allow, is a religion, and not a system of civil 
government : but this religion, destructive of all 
sin, spends much of its force in eradicating those 
sinful principles, which support despotism, and 
in cherishing such virtuous dispositions as uphold 
a free constitution of civil government. 

How easy it would be to enlarge on this subjectl 
how easy to place in public view the dispositions 
of a tyrant and a slave, and the spirit of Christian- 
ity, in direct opposition to both ! How easy tojus- 
tify, on the principles of the gospel, all the noble 
exertions of the citizens of free states for obtaining 
and perpetuating civil liberty ! Let it suffice, at 
present to observe in brief, that the whole of Chris- 
tianity was not proposed in the form of a code of 
laws, by ambassadors from heaven, to earthly prin- 
ces, to be incorporated into systems of civil go- 
vernment ; but, on the contrary, it was in its mi- 
racles an address to the senses, and it continues to 
be in its doctrines an appeal to the reason of all 
mankind. In the former supposition religion would 
have been enforced by authority, and submission 
to orders would have been instead of faith and obe- 
dience; and this would have made Christianity con- 
genial to arbitrary government. In the latter case, 
which is ours, a British citizen may give a Bible 
to a British soldier in j)erfect consistency with 
all the principles that constitute a new testament 
church, and a free state. A soldier, by reading, 
will soon discover, that the principal interposition 

The sufficiency of the holi/ scriptures. 1 3 

of God in the old Testament, was to bring a nation 
out of that house of bondage, Egypt, into the li- 
berty of being governed by laws of their own ; and 
that the principal event in the NewTestament was 
the appearance of a special messenger from hea- 
ven to announce redemption to all mankind. With 
the strictest propriety, then, we conclude, that, 
as love of a free country is a military virtue, so the 
Bible is calculated to inspire it. 

It would be inexcusable to omit, in the next 
place, courage, as a necessary accomplishment of 
a military man ; and it would be unjust to the Bible 
to say, it inculcated timidity. Fortitude includes 
strength of body, and firmness of mind; the holy 
scriptures inculcate the first by teaching us temper- 
ance, and they inculcate the last by directing all 
men to ' act on principle, on good principle, on 
principle of their own. 

A religion, that chases away ignorance, and lays 
down fixed truths, to be examined, believed, and 
placed as grounds of action ; a religion that takes 
away guilt, and publishes pardon of sin ; a reli- 
gion, that opens immediate happiness even in this 
life to every one of its disciples ; a religion that 
weighs the world in a scale, and all that men call 
glory in a balance, and estimates every particle 
according: to its true value ; a religion that disarms 
death, closes hell, and opens a heaven of inetfable 
bliss ; a religion, that proposes so many eminent 
examples of fortitude to our imitation; a religion, 
that declares all things shall work together for 
s^ood to them that love God, neither death, nor 

14 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor height h, 
nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able 
to separate us from the love of God, which is in 
Christ Jesus our Lord , such a religion may well 
inspire its disciples with fortitude, it may well 
make them face all dangers in the path of duty, it 
may well make the feeble like Davids, and Davids 
like angels of God, it may well embolden each to 
exclaim, with an eminent hero of old, Should such 
a man as Tflee ? 

Lastly : to omit many, w-e consider humanity as 
an accomplishment necessary to soldiers and sai- 
lors. Kind and gentle affections are not incom- 
patible with that stern heroism, which some offices 
of life require, yea, history affords us numerous 
examples of humane and generous actions, perform- 
ed by men of the most resolute and daring abilities ; 
nor have great warriors ever confounded war and 
cruelty together ; the first is often necessary, the 
last never. The lives of military men are spent 
among objects of distress; abroad, straits and dif- 
ficulties innumerable, wants, diseases, and deaths 
in a thousand shapes preying upon themselves and 
their companions, fading and destroying the flower 
of mankind; at home, greyheaded merit overlook- 
ed and unrewarded, or, if rewarded, sacrificing the 
last days of a life spared by miracle, in temples of 
debauchery and excess. What occasions for the 
exercise of humane dispositions ? Even among 
enemies, when a man is sent as an instrument to 
execute the just resentment of a whole injured na- 

The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 15 

tion against foreign invaders of their rights, how 
necessary is humanity, especially toward the inno- 
cent, who are not unfrequently involved in the ca- 
lamities of the guilty ! 

Let such a man take up the holy scriptures, and 
read, and let him not start at those parts of Jewish 
history, in which humanity in war seems to have 
no place. The same book that relates these ex- 
ploits, informs us, that he, who never acts with- 
out the most consummate reason, gave extraordi- 
nary commands to those heroes to suspend in these 
pa^'ticular cases the exercise of humanity. Dread- 
ful commission ! Thou shalt consume all the peo- 
ple, thine eye shall Jiave no pity upon them. At 
present we have no extraordinary commissions ; 
but we have a general law of justice and humanity; 
zvhatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, 
do ye also to them, for this is the laxv and the pro- 

In fine, the holy scriptures are able thoroughly 
to furnish all military men to every good zvork ; 
they are able to do more, they are able to make 
them zvise unto salvation through faith, which is 
in Christ Jesus ; and on this principle we praise 
this society for giving our soldiers and sailors bi- 
bles only. 

Far be it from us to depreciate the labours of 
learned,- or pious men. Their publications have 
their worth, because they have their use. Far be 
It from us to insinuate, that human expositions of 
tlivine truths are useless; they do good both heard 
and read. We only affirm, that uninspired wri- 

t6 TJie sufficiency of the holy scriptures, 

tings are not necessary to salvation, and that to 
men, in such circumstances as the military are^ 
the bible alone is sufficient to answer every de- 
sirable purpose, and more would be an inconve- 

When we affirm, the holy scriptures alone are 
able to make us wise unto salvation, we do not 
mean to exclude divine influence. Much is daily 
said concerning the work of the holy spirit ; but 
the truth is, we have no dispute concerning the 
work of the holy spirit, for divine influence is al- 
lowed on all hands ; but our difference is concern- 
ing the mode of the work in question. Doth the 
holy spirit convert the soul by a positive act of 
power, or doth he inform the mind, and change 
the heart by means of scripture truths? A posi^ 
tive act of power would produce an occult quality^ 
for which we have no name, and of which we know 
no use. A scripture truth, demonstrating itself to 
•the understanding, produces a just idea in the mind, 
a picture of itself, and then the doctrine stands true 
in tlie mind, or becomes our faith. The belief of 
this truth produces proper emotions in the heart. 
If it be the truth of divine forgiveness, so admirably 
adapted to excite pleasure, we hope and rejoice : if 
it be the truth of divine displeasure, so well calcu- 
lated to inspire fear, we tremble and flee from 
wrath to come. This plain and artless process 
wants nothing to recommend it to many christians 
except perplexity and mystery, too long habituated, 
alas ! to consider obscurity as a character of piety ! 

According to our best divines, tlie work of the 

The suffidency of the holy scriptures. 17 

holy spirit consists of two parts, the first they call 
externa], this is the proposing of the trutlis of re- 
velation either by speaking or writing : the other 
they call internal, and this is the disposing of the 
mind and heart to receive truths of revelation. As 
I may avoid fire without feeling its effects, so T 
may avoid the truths of Christianity; but I cannot 
admit them without admitting at the same time the 
effects, which the belief of these truths never fails 
to produce. On these principles the apostle in 
the text connects salvation with faith alone, be- 
cause faith is not alone, but is inseparably con- 
nected with repentance, and love, and zeal, and 
good works, and every other christian excellence : 
and on these principles we praise the understand- 
ings of those, who give sailors bibles only, because 
the gift implies several just and honourable princi- 
ples ; principles, I mean, which do honour to the 
understandings and hearts of those, who admit them. 
First : this donation implies, that in the opinion 
of the donors, the bible is du plain, easy book ; ei- 
ther that all the truths of revelation are simple, 
plain, and clear, or that such truths as are essen- 
tial to salvation are so. This is a very just notion 
of revelation; for a revelation intended, as this is 
by its divine author, to be universally read, exa- 
mined and understood by all orders of men, if it 
wanted perspicuity, would not answer the end 
of the writer. Perspicuity is a character of all 
good writing, and the holy scriptures bear this 
mark in the most conspicuous manner. The sub- 

1 8 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

jects are clear, the language is plain, the ima- 
gery is just and striking. The nature and per- 
fections of God, the superintendance of provi- 
dence, the folly, the guilt, the misery of sin, the 
purity and perfection of the law, the depravity of 
human nature, the imperfection of unassisted know- 
ledge and obedience, the nature and offices of 
Christ, the place and use of scripture, the in- 
fluence of the holy spirit, the nature and necessity 
of faith and obedience, the promise of eternal life 
to the righteous, the threatening of endless punish- 
ments to the wicked, the resurrection of the dead, 
and the final judgment, how clear and explicit are 
the oracles of God on all these important subjects ! 
Strictly speaking, there are no mysteries in revela- 
tion to be believed, for where nothing is affirmed, 
there is nothing to be believed or denied. That 
the dead shall rise is affirmed, the resurrection of 
the dead is therefore an article of the christian 
faith; but with what body the dead shall come is 
not declared, and therefore the mode of the resur- 
rection is not a mystery to be believed, but a sub- 
ject to be left, where revelation leaves it, to be un- 
folded by the event itself at the last day. The 
same may be said of many other articles, which 
custom hath taught us to call mysteries. Some 
pretended mysteries are not scripture propositions 
at all, but mere creatures of the schools. Others 
called mysteries are contained in scripture, but are 
not mysteries ; the Lord's supper never was ac- 
counted a mystery till transubstantiatiou made it 
so. Other articles, again are revealed in the truth of 

The sufficiency of the holy scrlptwes. 19 

the fact, but not in the mode of effecting it. One 
doctor of learned leisure. may start points, and 
raise difficulties, another of the same class may in- 
vestigate them, a third may defend, and a fourth 
may deny, and all in the eagerness of disputing 
particulars may miss the general design of revela- 
tion : while the plain, blunt sailor, happily unac- 
quainted with their insurmountables, by the mere 
exercise of his own good sense, will take in the ge- 
neral design of the book, and firmly believe,^ that 
without evangelical holiness no man shall see the 

Secondly : the donation of a bible only, implies, 
that each reader hath a right of private judgment. 
This is another just notion, truly scriptural, and 
entirely protestant. To give a man a book to read, 
and to deny him the right of judging of its meaning, 
seems the summit of absurdity. What pity that 
such absurdity should not be universally explo- 
ded ! A right founded in nature, attached inalien- 
ably by the God of nature to the very existence of 
mankind, openly avowed and confirmed by scrip- 
ture, constantly exercised by all, even by such as 
deny it (for who does not think for himself?) this 
right, I say, cannot be evaded without the greatest 
inconsistency. It is not a favour conceded by one 
man to another, it is a right inherent, held imme- 
diately of the God of nature, the property and 
the dignity of all mankind. The utmost exercise 
of this right cannot endanger either any of the great 
principles of morality, or any of the essential doc- 
B 2 

20 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

trines of Christianity, or any of the noble princi- 
ples, that constitute the happiness of civil society. 
I will not affirm the same of scholastic theses, and 
human inventions ; but of what vast importance 
are they ! Suppose a sailor should not think of 
them ? what then ? 

To close: the donation of a bible only, argues « 
freedom from party zeal. Here the great design 
of God in giving a revelation of his mind and will 
is kept in view. No little selfish ends are propo- 
sed. The inspired writers are not retained, and 
disguised, to serve secular views. They are left 
to make their own way, to tell their own tale, to 
su[)port their own credit, or to speak more pro- 
perly, to maintain the honour of that God, who 
gave them such credentials as his infinite wisdom 
and his tenderest compassion thought best fitted 
to effect the purpose of their mission. That chris- 
tian seems to me to enter thoroughly into the spirit 
of revelation, who dare trust the holy scriptures 
alone to convince and convert a sinner from the 
error of his way. 

Christians, we have been considering the suf- 
ficiency of the holy scriptures, with a particular 
view to our soldiers and sailors, and 1 flatter my- 
self, I have not wandered very far from the design 
of this society, who, in the papers put into your 
hands to day, give it as their opinion, that " the 
bible is the infallible word of God, which when at- 
tended with a divine blessing, will be the means of 
making the army and the navy better members of 
societ}', and inspire them with real courage to de- 
fend their country, especially in times of danger." 

The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 21 

With this view the society, which was only insti- 
tuted ill 1780, have distributed, at the charge of 
upwards of fifteen hundred pounds, more than 
eleven thousand bibles amons; our resiiments and 
ships crews. ]\Iay God crown their efforts with 
success, and may an hundred fold be returned in- 
to their bosoms ! 

How pleasing, at least how alleviating and 
moUifving are the reflections, which rise out of the 
doctrine of the sufficiency of the holy scriptures, 
under the misfortunes to which we often hear our 
brave countrymen are exposed. I sometimes fancy 
I see an old British sailor, having spent his days in 
the service of his country, sink under the weight 
of age and infirmities, and, during a voyage, sick- 
ening, and hastening to die. Alone in his ham- 
mock he reviews his life, and conscience condemns 
it as exil^ only evil continually. God, who till 
now had not been in all his thoughts, seems to 
summon him to an impartial judgment. He feels 
he cannot live, and he knovvs he is not fit to die. 
Great is his misery upon him. The pains of dis- 
solving nature are aggravated by the agonies of his 
mind, oppressed with an intolerable load of guilt. 
Recollections of blasphemies, debaucheries, and 
cruelties cleave his soul asunder. In this moment 
an honest messmate comes, pity in his heart, and 
frankness in his eye, bringing in his hand the holy 
scriptures, the message of Almighty God to the 
wretched, communicated by your charitv to the 
ship, and reads him these words. As I live, sailh 
the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of 

Q^ The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

the wicked. When I say unto the wicked, thou 
shalt surely die, if he turn from his sin, he shall 
not die, none of his sins, that he hath committed, 
shall be mentioned unto him. God so loved the 
xmrld, that he gave his only begotten son, that 
xvhosoever believeth in him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life. For God sent not his son 
into the zvorld to condemn the world, but that the 
world through him might be saved. Come now, 
let us reason together, though your sins be as scar- 
let, they shall be xvhite as snozo ; though they be 
red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Instant- 
ly a new world opens to his view. God is no lon- 
ger the inexorable judge ; he speaks the language 
of a compassionate parent, vehemently concerned 
for the welfare of his child. This rebellious son 
melts at his voice, repents and believes the gospel, 
throws himself into the arms of divine clemency, 
and with his last breath mixes his adorations of God 
with blessings on you his benefactors, by whose 
means the scriptures made him wise unto salvation. 
All this is possible. I ask no more. The possi- 
bility of administering such relief to a fellow crea- 
ture in such distress is enough for me. 

I sometimes fancy I see a shipwreck, all the 
crew except one lost, and he thrown upon a deso- 
late island, the waters casting up along with him 
one of your bibles upon the beach. What can the 
bible do for this poor man ? Let us pause. Af- 
ter his first excesses have subsided ; after he hath 
found what at first he could not comprehend, that 
lie could live on the fruits, and sleep in the shade. 

The siifficiency of the holy scrlptmxs. 23 

which the island affords, let us suppose him sitting 
under a bush, and reading ; The most high doeth 
according to his rvill in the army of heaven, and 
among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can 
stay his hand, or say unto him, xvhat doest thou ? 
The Lord is righteous in all hiszvays, .and holy in 
all his works. TJie eyes of all wait upon thee, and 
thou givest them their meat in due season. The 
Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all 
those that be bowed dozvn. The Lord is nigh unto 
all them that call upon him, to all that call upon 
him in truth. Call upon me in the day of trouble, 
and I xvill deliver thee. Would not such infor- 
mation as this put into his heart, if not a joy un- 
speakable and full of glory, yet a calm resignation 
to the will of providence, which in his condition 
would be of more value than the whole world. 
Were such a man to enter into the spirit of the 
holy scriptures, when he saw the carcases of his 
late companions floating on the waves, he would 
hear one voice saying to him. Be still, and 
know that I am God ; and another subjoining. Be- 
hold the goodness aiid severity of God, on them 
severity, but toxvards thee goodness. I repeat it 
again, all this is possible, and possibility is ground 
of action here. 

Brethren, was it a prospect of possible good, or 
was it a foresight of the late unhappy fate of the 
Royal George, that induced you to act as you did? 
That was the first ship, to which you gave bibles. 
When she sunk, there weie four hundred bibles 
aboard. Wiiether the men made a proper use of 

24 The sufficiency of the holy scriptures. 

them or not, you have done your part. I am 
happy to be able to say, that, by letters from some 
on board that ship, written before the sad event, 
and which I have been reading again this morn- 
ing, there is sufficient ground to believe that the 
holy scriptures had made some of that crew wi?c 
unto salvation. Ulien the sea shall give up ntr 
dead., perhaps you may have the honour of say- «' 
to the judge, Behold us, and the children^ r^'h, . 
thou hast given us I Had you read the boolv 
fate, and foreseen this melancholy event, you to*; - 
not have acted a more friendly part than i'l >• 
pare the sufferers for death by means of the i 
scriptures. If such men must sink to rise no.! 
if the sea must devour, if that great grave mix : 
never say, it is enough, the least we can do is to 
prepare men, who for our sakes live suspended by 
a thread over it, to die daily. And you widows 
and orphans of this lost family, left, many of you, 
to public charity, flee to the holy scriptures as to 
the only refuge of the distressed. We will not 
irritate your griefs by examining your wounr's. 
There is, they say, something sacred in misery. 
We, like Job's friends, will sit doxvn zvith you, none 
will speak a word to you : but each will rend his 
7?iantle, and sprinkle dust upon his head toward 
heaven. Hard is the heart that does not feel for 
you, and harder still is that heart which feels no- 
tiiing for thousands, who may be next month in 
the condition of your departed relations, sunk in 
the merciless ocean beyond recovery, sunk to rise 
no more i 



Addressed to the congregation at Maze-Pond, Southwark, on tlieir 
public declaration of having chosen Mr. James Dore their Pas- 
tor, March 25, 1784. 

A HE fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, which was 
just now read to you, contains a prophecy of a 
great event expressed in figures the most just and 

The event foretold is the conversion of the pa- 
gan world to the knowledge and worship of one 
living and true God, the Holy One of Israel^ and 
tJie God of the xvhole earlh. This event, of the 
greatest importance to us, we see accomplished in 
tliis assembly to day. The figures under which 
this subject is described and illustrated, are just, 
fine, and expressive. Can we imagine a person 
more pitiable than a lone female, oppressed with 
afflictions, grievedin spirit, and exposed at once 
to the displeasure of God, and injustice of men; 
or, as the prophet speaks, tossed with tempests and 
not comforted? This wretched person is not only 
relieved, but elevated to rank, and placed by the 
Creator, (who, with great condescension, calls 
himself her liusband, to describe protection on his 
part aud obligation on hers,) in a palace well built, 
highly ornamented, and inhabited by a family all 

q6 a discourse addressed to the congregation 

taught of the Lord. Of such a society, establish- 
ed in righteousness, dinA far from oppression, the 
prophet exclaims, Great shall he the peace ! 

The glory of the whole, however, is, that, as 
the prophet declares, this state of religion among 
the Gentiles should not resemble that among the 
Jews : for the Jewish oeconomy was local and tem- 
porary, fixed to a place and limited to a time; but 
the christian oeconomy should not be succeeded by 
a more perfect dispensation, but should stand in 
finished perfection for ever. This is as the waters 
of Noah unto me ; for as I have sworn that thewa^ 
ters of Noah shall no more go over the earth ; so 
have I sworn that I would not be xvroth with thee, 
nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall 
not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant 
of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath 
mercy on thee. 

Who that sees the ancient prophecies accom- 
plished, the descendants of Japheth dwelling in 
the tents of Shem, Gentiles formerly carried away 
unto dumb idols, as our ancestors in this island 
were, now saying that Jesus is the Lord, former- 
ly aliens from tlie common wealth of Israel, stran- 
gers from the covenant of promise, having no 
hope and without God in the world, now built upon 
the foundation of the ancient apostles of Christ, 
and prophets of the Jews, and incorporated with 
them into one religious society devoted to the wor- 
ship of one God, and directed by one divine reve- 
lation J who, I say, can sec this, as we do to day, 

At Maze, Pond, Southwark, 27 

and resist the enthusiasm of the prophet, break 
forth into singing and cry aloud, thy seed shall 
inherit the Gentiles, the Holy One of Israel shall 
be called the God of the xvhole earth ! 

While we congratulate you, as we sincerely do, 
on the accomplishment of this prophecy in gene- 
ral, I flatter myself, I need not inform you^ that 
we rejoice with this church in particular, as par- 
takers of the common benefit. We are not come 
to transact the business of this society ; but to en- 
joy the pleasure of hearing how you yourselves 
have transacted it. We knew and respected your 
late teacher, who finished his edifying life two 
years ago; and we know, you have now chosen ano ; 
ther to succeed him ; and as you wish to hold chris- 
tian communion with the churches, to which we 
have the honour to belong, you have invited us to 
behold your faith and order. For this purpose we 
are come : but before we enter immediately on the 
subject, I shall comply with your request, and 
state the general reasons of our practice. 

The whole practice of our religion is founded on 
the one great principle of self government,, 
and as we afiEirm that every individual hath a right 
to judge for himself in matters of religion and con- 
science, so we affirm that every religious society 
hath a right to judge for itself in all matters of faith; 
and discipline without the controul of any man or 
set of men whatever. In order to explain and il- 
lustrate this subject, I will state four facts, or ra- 
rather one fact in four ditFercnt degrees of succes- 

28 A discourse addressed to the con^res:ation 


sion, and establish this fact by shewing you the in- 
justice of all efforts to alter it. 

First: It is a fact, that the revelation, which 
contains the whole of our religion, was taught in 
public by prophets, apostles, and Jesus Christ, 
and written and published to the world with many 
exhortations to all men to read and examine it. 
Every person therefore may read the bible, the 
whole bible. This is the first fact. 

The second is, every reader may judge of what 
he reads, and it is the glory of revelation that it 
contains plain truth, easy to be understood, and 
free from all mystery. Strictly speaking, the old 
testament is an introduction to the gospel, and 
the acts, the epistles, and the book of revelation 
are an exposition of the gospel : the gospel itself 
is contained in the writings of the four evangelists, 
one history of glad tidings reported by four credible 
witnesses. We do not say, there is no mystery 
connected with thegospel,for every thing in the uni- 
verse hath something mysterious belonging to it : 
but we do affirm that there are no incomprehensible 
mysteries in the gospel itself, and that where there 
are mysteries, it is no part of our religion to de- 
termine concerning them. Put the gospel into 
llie hand of any man of plain common sense, and 
he will instantly perceive, that there is one just 
and good God, that J.esus Christ is the Saviour of 
the world, that salvation is attainable only in a 
course of moral obedience, and that moral obe- 
dience rises out of a belief of the doctrines taught 
by Jesus Christ, such as a state of future rewards 

At Maze Pond, Southzvark. 29 

tind punishments, and so on. Of all these subjects 
every reader may and ought to think and judge for 
himself. This is a second fact. 

We affirm, thirdly, that every man, who hath 
formed his own judgment of the truths of Chris- 
tianity, may reduce his knowledge to practice. 
He hath a right to perform every duty of piety to- 
wards God, every act of justice and mercy to his 
fellow creatures, and every duty of temperance, 
chastity, and propriety towards himself. Pie may 
read the scriptures; he may pray to God, and 
praise him ; he may copy the whole imitable part 
of the life of Christ, and no man hath a right to 
controul him. This is a third fact. 

The fourth is, that two such christians, or ten, 
or twenty, or an hundred, or any number may by 
joint consent meet and associate together for pub- 
lic worship, and may sing, pray, teach and be 
taught, baptize and be baptised, administer and 
receive the Lord's supper, give alms and receive 
them, and appoint whom they please to arrange 
and transact all their religious affairs without the 
interference of any persons not of their society. 
This freedom is the birthright of all mankind, and 
the full exercise of it is an honour to every chris- 
tian, who hath the spirit to claim and defend it. 

IMany efforts under various goodly pretences 
have been made to deprive the disciples of Christ 
of this liberty : but as they are the last to resign, 
so they are the first to justify the claim of civil and 
religious liberty both for themselves and for all 
mankind. There are many ways of reducing all 

so A discourse addressed to the congregation 

the pleas of intolerance to annihilation; at present 
we will consider the subject of tyranny in its prin- 
ciples, and will endeavour to show you the futi- 
lity of each. Tyranny over conscience proceeds 
from six pretended sources of dominion, of which 
the following is a brief detail. 

The first is power. From the days of Nimrod 
to the present time mankind have been possessed 
with the rage of subduing one another. The his- 
tory of every country is a history of oppression, 
and when a successful tyrant argues from conquest 
to conscience, the greater his dignity, the more 
contemptible his logic appears. Thus he reasons : 
1 have destroyed a navy, routed an army, burnt 
an hundred cities, ravaged a fine country, com- 
mitted a thousand murders, and therefore Jesus 
Christ is God : or on the contrary, 1 have per- 
formed all these exploits, and therefore Jesus 
Christ is not God. Ridiculous as this may appear, 
it is too true, and, what will appear more ridicu- 
lous still, there have been found many learned 
hirelings, who have acted the part of grave apo- 
logists for this kind of despotism in the name and 
for the honour of Almighty God. If christians 
could be silent in this case, even pagans, vvho un- 
derstand the civil and political rights of mankind, 
would cry out, of injustice, oppression and wrong, 
and would make a distinction between power and 
right. If the strongest have a right to give law to 
the weakest, then murder is an established law as 
old as the days of Cain : but we have not so learn- 
ed Christ. His dominion is founded in power ; 

yit Maze Pond, Southwark. 31 

but it is the power of conviction produced by the 
irresistible strength of argument and demonstra- 

A second source of tyranny over conscience is 
loxv. It is a maxim of sound civil government, 
that collective bodies of men ought to be regula- 
ted only by laws of their own making, either in 
person or by their representatives, and no rules of 
action called laws ought to be imposed on any peo- 
ple without their consent. When, therefore, law 
is urged against liberty of conscience, we object 
in regard to modern laws that they are against the 
consent of a free people, who never do, or ever 
can cooly and deliberately agree to the destruc- 
tion of their own understanding and conscience ; 
and in regard to ancient and obsolete law, we ask 
what possible right our ancestors could have to 
dispose of our understandings and consciences? 
Two hundred years ago the powers that were, be- 
lieved original sin and predestination. Very pro- 
per, they followed their own convictions. But 
when they departed this life, they left orders that 
we, and all posterity should believe as they did, 
whether w^e followed our own convictions or not. 
Such orders may be sanctified with the name of 
laws, but they subvert the great law of nature, 
for all things zvhatsoeverye would that men should 
do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the 

What renders this human legislation more un- 
reasonable is, that the men, who assumed autho- 
rity to give laws of belief to posterity, had them- 

32 A discourse addressed to the congregation 

selves exemplified the direct contrary by freeing 
themselves from pagan and popish laws made for 
them by their ancestors. Whether it were want 
of understanding, or want of courage, we leave to 
the historian to determine ; and for our parts we 
content ourselves with affirming, that we were 
born as free as they, and have as much right to 
follow our own convictions in rehgion as Adam in 
paradise had. One is your master, even Christ, 
and all ye, in all ages, are brethren. 

A third source of dominion is patronage. Our 
ancestors were conquerors, ^yho subdued and di- 
vided the land, and established the feudal system, 
the system of all Europe. The great lords consi- 
dered their vassals as property, and conveyed 
them to one another along with the cattle and the 
soil. When religion was thought necessary to the 
civihzation of the people, the lords of manors built 
churches for the convenience of their dependents, 
endowed them with lands and tithes, presented in- 
cumbents, and became patrons of the livings. Thus 
the lord of the soil throucfh all venerations is the 
sole judge of religion, and the inhabitants are ne- 
ver supposed to have any knowledge or choice. 
Acquiescence and submission are the only virtues of 
the people, virtues not distinguishable from vices, 
and vices that never prevail except in people des- 
titute of every idea of religious liberty. Christian 
worship is plain, simple, and cheap, always within 
the reach of the poor; endowments therefore are 
unnecessary, and it should seem always vicious in 
their effects. As there is a patronage by law in 

At Maze-Pond, Southwark. S3 

some churches, so there is a patronage by influence 
in other churches, and ours, which are in no dan- 
ger from the first, are always exposed to the last; 
and without great care men of fortune will unwari- 
ly slide into power, and reduce the religion of a 
community to the will of one member, or perhaps 
to the caprice of others of his family who are not 
members. If we love religious freedom, let us be 
content with a plain worship as our own industry 
can furnish, and then having no occasion for emo- 
luments we shall be independent and free. Were 
we obliged to resign either the choice of a physi- 
cian, or that of a teacher, we would by no means 
give up the latter; for the worst an unskilful phy- 
sician could do would be to destroy the body, while 
an ignorant teacher might mislead us and our fa- 
milies, palliate error, introduce immorality, and 
so ruin us in a future state. In our churches the 
free choice of our own teachers hath always been 
accounted one of our chief privileges; but even 
this may be productive of evil, as we shall observe 
in the next article. 

Office is a fourth source of dominion over 
conscience. The distinction of christians into cler- 
gy and laity is groundless, and there is no men- 
tion of any such thing in the gospel; but, on the 
contrary, all christians are put on a level in all 
matters of religion. The word clergy is taken from 
Jewish history; and the word laity is a greek word 
signifying people, and both these words in pro- 
priety of speech ought to be banished from chris- 

3^1 A dhcGurse addressed to the co)igregation 

tian churches; for if the one stands for dominion, 
divine right of officiating, sacredness of character, 
or any thing of this kind, we allow of no such 
things; and if the other signifies a state of submis- 
sion, vveequally disclaim it. In the christian church 
every one who can teach may teach ; and if the 
brethren appoint one of their number to teach 
them, they convey no indelible character; the af- 
fair is merely human, and like all other offices 
originates and terminates in the choice of the peo- 
ple. What a pity it is that a few plain christians 
cannot appoint a man to read and expound the 
scriptures, and to administer the ordinances of re- 
ligion in their assembly, but he shall instantly ima- 
gine himself transformed into a being of a superior 
order, affect wisdom, keep state, consider himself as 
having a divine right to do so, call his brethren lay- 
men, and become the dictator and the tyrant of 
all who dispute his oracles ! No church hath a pow- 
er to create an universal officer, and it would be 
as just for a single society to appoint an universal 
deacon as it is to create an universal teacher. 
These odious distinctions of clergy and laity are 
pretences for dominion over conscience ; but un- 
less we choose to have it so they are nothing more. 
A christian minister is in the pulpit a teacher, at 
a church meeting the chairman, when he adminis- 
ters ordinances a servant, when he visits he is a 
friend, and 1 know of nothing more. 

A fifth pretence to domineer in religion is taken 
from learning. We respect literature, and wish 
they who boast of it had as much as they think 

At Maze Pond, Sonthwark, S5 

they have. Languages, mathematics, knowledge 
of the belles lettres, and ail parts of a learned and 
polite education render a man great and respect- 
able in all cases except in that of inferring that 
these acquirements give him a right to dictate in 
matters of conscience. It is a question with some 
of great name whether the christian religion have 
received most good or most harm from learned 
men, and they incline to the latter, and urge in 
proof the vexatious disputes, which hard words, 
pretended mysteries, metaphysical distinctions and 
scholastical definitions, in the name of orthodoxy, 
have introduced among good men. We will not 
investigate this subject; but we do affirm that pe- 
dantry and tyranny are generally connected toge- 
ther, and that even literature with all its charms 
(and too much cannot be said in commendation of 
it) is no title to dominion. 

The last pretence to tyrannize is taken from 
piety, and often from pretended piety. A man 
who only pretends to religion, and who is really a 
hypocrite hath the assurance to build one pretence 
on another, and to direct a practice, of which he 
knows nothing but the name, and to which he is 
a perpetual disgrace. There are others, who in the 
judgment of charity may be good men ( I do not 
say wise men) and who make their own religion a 
continual source of sorrow to their fellow chris- 
tians. Little souls ! they think themselves privy 
counsellors of the King of kings, and in his name 
start difficulties, make childish distinctions, place 
c 2 

o6 A discourse addressed to the congregation 

religion in trifles, and turn the whole practice of 
piety into a strife ofxvords to no profit but to the 
subverting of the hearers. No men more zealous 
than these for their own sentiments; but no men 
so inimical to the liberty of others. Could such 
people reason, they would perceive that the same 
arguments which vindicate their own liberty esta- 
blish that of all mankind; but they either cannot 
or will not reason, and always mistake zeal for 
justice, heat for right. It is remarkable that Je- 
sus Christ, the most eminent for piety, discovered 
nothing of this bitterness, but was the most gentle 
and liberal of mankind, the express image of his 
heavenly Father. How unaccountable ! but there 
is no accounting for some people ! that a man 
should presume to exercise that spirit of persecu- 
tion after he becomes a good man, to which be- 
fore he durst not have discovered the least dispo- 
sition; for the whole christian world would have 
resisted him; yea God would have said unto the 
wicked man, what hast thou to do to declare my 
statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant 
in thy juouth ? Is piety then a patent for perse- 
cution, and eminence of faith a ground of domi- 
nion? Faj' from us be a thought so absurd ! 

These are the sources, from which proceeds the 
claim of dominion over conscience, and we sup- 
pose this society to their honour have rejected them 
all, and are happy strangers to every kind of in- 
tolerance. We wish, however, to hear from your 
own mouths that you have been directed by liberal 


At Maze Pond, Southrcarh. 37 

principles, and we wait now to hear how you have 

[Ilenrj/ Keene Esq. one of the Deacons of the 
church, then gave an account of the steps taken in 
the choice of their pastor. The church attested 
their choice, Air. Dore acknowledged his accep- 
tance of the i?ivitation, and delivered his confes- 
sion of Faith ; on which Air. Robinson subjoined:] 

I rejoice in the Hbcrty which this church enjoys. 
Nobody has presented you a creed to subscribe. 
You have freely spoken your own sentiments, and 
you are not possessed with the rage of persecuting 
such as do not say after you. Remember your 
Confession of Faith is not the Gospel, but your 
opinion of the Gospel, and I dare say you will ne- 
ver mistake your Creed for the New Testament 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What I 
enjoy is, not that you have spoken my faith, but 
your own ; for in doing so christian liberty con- 
sists. Whether w^e approve or disapprove of your 
sentiments we would object, were you to attempt 
to impose them upon us. 

I mention these things freely to you, not because 
I disapprove of what you said, but only to exem- 
plify the difficulty of imposing a creed ; and more- 
over I know you are a man of liberal sentiments, 
who enter entirely into the views of such as love 
christian liberty, and who have discovered at once 
in your confession of faith, two dispositions that do 
you honour; th? one, firmness in principles of your 

3S A discourse addressed to the congregation S^c. 

own, the other justice ( I will not say candour, 
for we ask no favour,) to the claims of other belie- 
vers. Long may you live the peaceable and suc- 
cessful teacher of this upright and respectable con- 
gregation ; and after this life may you all be admit- 
ted to the immediate presence of God, to enjoy 
him for ever and ever ! 

I cannot conclude without observing, how very 
much it is in the power of every christian to free 
himself from all shackles in religion, to enter on 
the immediate enjoyment of full liberty of con- 
science in our churches, provided he submit to 
take up that cross, which always did, and always 
will accompany such a frank,ingenuous conformity 
to the dictates of an unbiassed conscience, the con- 
victions of a mind that estimates truth above all 
the advantages of the world. God give us all grace 
to do so ! To him be honour and glory for ever ! 
Amen ! 



preached at the Ordination of Mr. George Birley, at St. Ives, 
Huntingdonshirr, Oct. 18. 178t5. 

PROVERBS xxvii. 10. 

Thine oxvn friend, and thy father's friend 

forsake not. 

1* RIENDSHIP is the state, from which we de- 
rive the discipline of the primitive church: a dis- 
cipline so essential to the safety of every christian 
congregation, that, if it be neglected, we scruple 
not to affirm, the discourse just now addressed to 
your minister*would open to you a dangerous gulf: 
for should your minister be all that the servant of 
God hath required him to be, and should you in 
confidence of that, neglect the practice of personal 
religion, and expect him to discharge the obliga- 
tions of the whole society, you would sink first in- 
to immorality, then into ignorance, and lastly in- 
to perdition. 

You have forseen this danger, and you have re- 
quested one of us, who from neighbouring churches 
have come hither to behold your faith and order, 
in the name of the rest to speak to you on this sub- 
ject, and for this purpose I have chosen the text, 
for friendship is a state of hearts become one by 

* The Charge, dtlivcrcd by Mr. Dan Ta_vlor, Of London. 

40 A discourse preached at the orditiation 

mutual esteem, and, to say all in one word, the 
spirit of it is the fulfilment of the whole law. One 
benefit of this view of the subject is brevity, for 
where love abounds few precepts are necessary. 
From this general principle, then, we will attend 
to one particular exercise of it in christian fellow- 
ship; and we will first explain the subject as it re- 
garded the primitive church, and then accommo- 
date it to the condition of this society. 

Much hath been written on the discipline of the 
primitive church; but it is highly credible, it ori- 
ginated in some very plain fact, some very simple 
cause suited to the character of Jesus, and the con- 
dition of his disciples. If a cause adequate to all 
the effects be assigned, more would be redundant 
and ostentatious. Consider what I shall say on 
the subject, not as an investigation of it, nor as a 
reflection on others, nor as an oracle to you, but 
merely as a sketch of the first principles of a sub- 
ject, which would fill many volumes ; principles, 
not now to be disputed, but merely stated ; prin- 
ciples, however, of real action, and tending to no- 
thing but peace and virtue. 

The discipline of the primitive churches was not 
taken from the oeconomy of Moses. That oeconomy 
was fastened to a place, confined within a given 
period of time, and exhibited sensible objects to 
the worshippers. The late learned prelate. Bishop 
Warburton, in his life of the emperor Julian, hath 
clearly proved that the total subversion of the Mo- 
saical dispensation was essential to the very being 
of the christian oeconomy. As a theory this is 

Of Mr. George Birley. 4i 

granted by all. In practice the case differs. Some 
christians in early times lost sight of this sound 
original maxim, and, unhappily, incorporated the 
discipline of the temple into the religion of Jesus, 
and on this mistake the Roman church is built. 
Hence the return of christians back into the bon- 
dage of infancy regulated by meats, and days, and 
first elements of erudition. Hence a ritual, a pon- 
tiff, and a priesthood. Hence holy wars, and the 
defence of the faith by the sword of civil govern- 
ment. Hence a thousand institutes all alien from 
the spirit of him, who said, Behold, I create nexo 
heavens, and a nexo earth. They shall not hurt 
7ior destroy in all my holy mountain. 

The primitive discipline was not taken from the 
synagogue. Synagogues were a sort of oratories 
resembling our meeting-houses, chapels or parish- 
churches, erected not for sacrifice, which was con- 
fined to the temple, but merely for purposes of 
devotion, and its appendage, instruction. It should 
seem, for reasons not now necessary to be men- 
tioned, these houses were first erected at the re- 
turn of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, 
when the condition of the people made such places 
necessary. In Babylon they had lost the language 
in which their Scriptures were written, and it was 
necessary to remedy this inconvenience by glossing 
the text vviien it was read to the people, that they 
might not lose the sense in a confusion of terms. 
■ — Here on Sabbath days the people assembled 
to pray, and to give and receive instruction by 
I'eading the holy Scriptures and expounding the 

42 A discourse preached at the ordination 

sense. Order rendered rules necessary, and rules 
ripened into laws. In time these laws formed a 
system of parochial government : so I think I may 
venture to call the jurisprudence of the synagogue. 
Many learned men have supposed that primitive 
christians adopted this discipline, and regulated 
their social worship by it. Probably some did so; 
but it should seem they were Jews influenced by 
prejudices of education, and who, having only a 
slight knowledge of Christianity, incorporated with 
it maxims of a polity not adapted to the views of 
their divine master ; for it would be easy to prove 
that the discipline of the synagogue was penal, 
practicable only in an assembly of rulers and sub- 
jects, and of course not fitted to a society of equals, 
which was the condition of the primitive church, 
as will be observed presently. — Some have sup- 
posed, the Lord Jesus intended to recommend this 
discipline by his advice in case of trespass, recor- 
ded in the eighteenth of Matthew ; but that learn- 
ed foreign lawyer, Professor Boehmer, (let it not 
offend if we add the best modern writer on this 
subject,) hath elucidated the text, and proved be- 
yond contradiction, that the religion of Jesus did 
not in its primitive institution admit of any civil 
coercion, and consequently that its discipline was 
not that of the synagogue, which did. 

Tlie primitive discipline was not formally insti- 
tuted by Jesus Christ. In vain we search for it 
in any of his public discourses, or private conver- 
sations. The Jews differed in speculations, but 
their rites were uniform, because their legislator 

Of Mr. George Birley. 43 

bad with precision adjusted every thing : but what 
chapter of the life of Jesus can any church pro-^ 
duce, and say, here is our ritual ; this is our order; 
these are the institutes of our discipline ; this verse 
tells us how to admit a member ; that how to elect 
an elder, a deacon, or a teacher ; here we are told 
how to form a society ; there how to preserve it ; 
and in case of dissolution, this instructs us how to 
separate, or how to re-assemble. On these sub- 
jects the wise master of our assemblies said no- 

Finally, the discipline of the christian church 
was not expressly appointed by the apostles. In 
the present view, the apostolical writings may be 
conveniently classed under four heads. Some are 
prophetical, as the revelation of John; some para- 
graphs in the writings of Paul, and some detached 
verses of others. A second class are historical, as 
the Acts of the Apostles, and in the epistles many 
incidental names, dates, places, persons and events. 
Prophecy affords no rules of discipline ; history 
furnishes precedents : but precedents, however, 
which are law only to such as are in circumstances 
similar to those of the persons mentioned by the 
historians. The third class may be called exposi- 
tory of the christian doctrine, as the episde to the 
Hebrews written for the Jews, and the epistles to 
the Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, and others, 
written for the Gentiles, or, to speak more pro- 
perly, for societies composed of both Jews and 
Gentiles. Discipline here is an occasional sub- 
ject, and it is chiefly applicable to the then state of 

44 A discom^se preached at the ordination 

the societies. In a similar state christians may 
adopt these prudential maxims, the end of all 
which is peace, peace. The last class consists of 
moral precepts adapted to the conditions of indi- 
viduals. Is Timothy an overseer.? He must be 
blameless. Is Paul aged ? His advice ought to be 
respected. Are you an husband? Be kind. Are 
you a master? Be just and humane. Are you a 
servant? Be content with providence, diligent in 
business, and reverence your master. Are you a 
member of the christian body of believers ? Imi- 
tate Jesus your pattern, and love your brethren. — • 
Nothing of all this can be called a christian ritual, 
and advice to a church, like advice to a wife, pre- 
supposes a state regulated by rules not mentioned 
by the adviser; and indeed the apostles no more 
drew up a discipline than they did a ritual for the 
hiring of servants, or the celebration of marriage. 

What then ! Did Jesus leave this important ar- 
ticle unsettled ? No. On the contrary, he finished 
it by an effort of wisdom truly divine. Here, 
christians, forgive me if I wish this were a long 
summer-day, not that we might have time to adduce 
proof, for a word tells all, but that we might enjoy 
the felicity of admiring the sublimity and simplicity 
of the mind of the Son of , God. How pleasing to 
stand by, and see him create the new world of men 
and things ; to see him dissolve the old ties of na- 
ture, and form the rock on which the sacred edifice 
is to be built ! 

The Christian discipline rose of itself out of that 
condition of equality, into which Jesus put his dis- 

Of Mr. George Birky. 45 

ciples. He took twelve men of even rank, and per- 
haps with httle dissimilitude of age and ability, and 
constituted them a family of love, or, if you will, a 
circle of friends. They were his whole church. 
Here was no master, no servant ; no priest, no 
people ; no prince, no subject ; no father, no son. 
It was not the union of a literal family like that of 
the temple ; or of a district like that of the synago- 
gue ; or of a vague multitude like that which at- 
tended the preaching of Christ; or of an universal 
body under the direction of universal itinerants, 
immediately inspired as the churches were after 
his decease in the times of the apostles : but it was 
a state of the perfect equality of minds united by 
mutual benevolence. 

What is discipline ? Order. What was primitive 
discipline ? Order without government, and above 
the want of it. In this exuberant soil of peace 
and freedom the human understanding unfolds it- 
self in free inquiry, free from the frost of nipping 
penalties ; the heart mellows into ripeness; fear of 
God and love of his creatures, reverence for the 
first great cause and attachment to his image, meek- 
ness, gentleness, goodness, and devotion, form a 
fragrant compound of delicious taste ; or, to use 
the language of Solomon just before the text, it is 
the*re?ee//ze,y6-of friendsiiip, which like ointment and 
perfume rejoice the heart. It is not the fabric, 
however ornamented, it is this moral excellence, 
that excites the exclamations of christians ; and 
this in many a mean place hath impelled them to 
look upward and sing: Lord, I loce the habita- 

46 A discourse pleached at the ordination 

tion of thine house, the place where thine honor 
dwelleth ! 

Jesus left civil society untouched, and there rank 
and government are necessary : but it is a true fact 
that primitive christian societies were small inde- 
pendent bodies of equals. Many ecclesiastical 
historians have observed this, and have remarked 
that the first christians never elected officers be- 
cause they had no right to teach or to baptize, but 
because they had not all either ability or opportu- 
nity to officiate. Even women taught and baptized, 
but order required them to officiate only to their 
own sex, and therefore the first churches appointed 
them deaconesses. In large churches they were 
numerous; they sat in public in a seat by themselves, 
and they were distinguished in the middle age by 
a small grave ornament on the neck. The form of 
ordainmg these female officers may be seen in the 
menologies of the Greek church. In the primitive 
church, order required a society of friends to visit 
and relieve each other, and, expedition being ne- 
cessary in many cases, it was found adviseable to 
elect a few to receive and distribute relief, to com- 
fort the sick, to inspect the condition of prisoners, 
to try to procure their enlargement, and in brief 
to manage their secular affairs, as well as to wait on 
the rest at the administration of the Lord's Supper 
and Baptism. In our small societies deacons exe- 
cute these friendly offices without neglect of their 
worldly employments ; but in large primitive 
churches, as the office took up the whole time of a 
deacon, justice required an indemnity, not to say 

Of Mr. George Birley. 47 

a reward, and the church wholly supported their 

deacons. Hence in time, in declining churches, 

when the teachers had risen into a priesthood they 
associated deacons into their order. In the mid- 
dle of the third century, it should seem, by com- 
paring a letter of Cyprian with another of Corne- 
lius of Rome, and a passage in Optatus, there were 
in Rome at that time forty-four christian congre- 
gations in the Catholic connection; and in these 
churches there were on the list no less than fifteen 
hundred widows, sick, poor, and other objects of 
charity, wholly dependant on the liberality of the 
church. To the honor of the church they were 
all supported ; and deacons who had so much em- 
ployment were honorably maintained as justice re- 
quired. Such equity ought to prevail in all our 
modern offices; and a church that requires the 
whole time of an officer, deacon or teacher, ought 
to support him ; and an election to such an office 
not including an election to a maintenance is not 
just. How essential is friendship to the execution 
of these offices ! An hireling may walk his round, 
and pace the circle in godly guise ; but the unpur- 
chaseable feelings of friendship never warmed the 
breast of an hireling. 

Let this suffice at present for a rude sketcl^ of 
the primitive discipline, and let us close by accom- 
modating it to your present circumstances. In 
years past your society entered into the condition 
mentioned a little while ago. A few equals as- 
sociated themselves together by mutual esteem. 
!Money did nothing, power did nothing, attachment 

48 ^ discourse preached at the ordination 

of esteem was all in all. — Christian love is not 
blind, it hath an object, that object is moral excel- 
lence. The man who exhibits this creates the 
emotion of love in the heart of another. — This 
emotion clings to its object, and becomes a social 
bond. Reciprocal esteem is a two-'fold, four-fold, 
ten-fold cord that cannot be easily broken. New 
emanations of good actions produce new affec- 
tions, and as moral excellence forms the bond, so 
nothing but the loss of it can dissolve the tie. Hi- 
therto you have continued, lately you have elected 
a stationary teacher, and to-day you have in due 
order declared him to us. Long may you live happy 
in the connection ! This, however, will depend on 
a perpetual exercise of friendship ; to which, in 
the name of all our churches, I venture to ex- 
hort you. 

On supposition your minister should execute his 
office above censure, friendship to him will demand 
the sacrifice of the two mean passions of vanity 
and envy. — When we speak of ministers above 
censure, we do not mean that any man can so exe- 
cute an office in this world as to place himself out 
of the reach of censure ; but we affirm, some men 
execute the office of ministers so as to deserve 
none, and so as to be affected by none, because 
they perceive the injustice of it. Let enemies of 
revelation say what they will, thanks be to God, 
the christian ministry hath in all ages, and in all 
denominations that admit of the office,been adorned 
with men of superior talents. To them the evi- 
dences of Christianity have appeared demonstra- 

Of Mr. George Birley. 49 

live, the mission of Jesus divine, the Christian 
Church the purest society, the cultivation of in- 
telHgeut minds the noblest employment, and the 
hope of immortality an irresistible motive. With 
talents for any office they have chosen this, and 
they have executed it with all that easy magnani- 
mity, which superiority of genius never fails to 
produce. Equal to every duty of their office, they 
discharge it with gracefulness and ease, deaf to the 
din of infidels, above the trammels of a bigot, and 
happy strangers to the emc^tions of sordid ruffled 
minds. No caresses bewitch such men into self- 
admiration, no censures sink them into suUenness 
or wrath, they have little parts in the news, and 
none in the slanders of the tinges, and they know 
how to sit placed on the bank till the floods of the 
passions of weak brethren run by. Always on 
consecrated ground, because always in the pre- 
sence of their God, they contemplate his perfec- 
tions, and when they speak, devotion and virtue are 
cherished, and vice, abashed and confounded, re- 
tires. It was this dignity that supported the apos- 
tles : they taught what i\:zy knew to be true, and 
nothing could disconcert their plan : they attes- 
ted the resurrection of Jesus from the dead with a 
clearness of evidence in their own bosoms, which 
rendered them far superior to suspicion and timi- 
dity, and all their idle concomitants. In case your 
minister executes his office in this manner, like the 
disciples of John, rejoice in his light ; but neither 
on the one hand envy his attainments, nor on the 


50 A discoi()'se preached at the ordination 

other display any vanity on account of your acci- 
dental connection with them. Why should you 
envy? Would you employ his abilities if you had 
them in the cause of virtue ? This is what he does. 
Why should you be vain of such a minister ? To- 
day he fills and graces your pulpit; to-morrow he 
will lie all cold and breathless in the grave. Know 
this for certain; envy inhabits none but little minds: 
great men are strangers to it. They M'ish for no- 
thing : they have all and abound. Observe Moses : 
on a certain occasion, Joshua informed him of 
two prophets in the camp, and added, My Lord 
forbid them. Enviest thou for my sake, said the 
man of God : would God, all the Lord's people 
were prophets ! Remark John the Baptist : some 
told him, Jesus baptized, and all men went to him. 
John exclaimed, He must increase, but I must de- 
crease. What ! must you retire, and must Jesus 
come forward ? Must your name and your disci- 
ples be absorbed in his ? And on what ground do 
you patiently submit to this, which most men re- 
sent ; you do more, you rejoice in it. Yes, he 
must increase, and I mist decrease. I stand and 
hear his voice, and I rejoice greatly .,7ny joy is full; 
and the secret spring of all my feelings is friend- 
ship : I am the friend of the bridegroom ! 

In case your minister should execute his office 
with integrity mixed with great imperfection, friend- 
ship will demand the exercise of patience, prudence, 
and other such holy dispositions. There are some 
very upright ministers, who mix in the execution 
of their office great iniperfections with few and 

Of Mr. George B'lrley. 5 1 

slender gifts. Some have bodily imperfections, na- 
tural or acquired. Others have mental imperfec-. 
tions, a dullness of fancy, a slowness of apprehen- 
sion, a treacherous memory, an habit of jejune and 
inconsequential reasoning. Some have imperfec- 
tions of morality, a waspish temper, a habit of 
levity, or discontent, a turn for slander, a taste for 
litigation, a something that tarnishes the beauty, 
and takes off from the strength and worth of the 
mm. These imperfections go into the ministry 
along with us ; and if to these be added imperfec- 
tions of condition, such as rudeness, indocility, 
vanity of office and so on, they create a succession 
of trouble in the church. In such a case friend- 
ship dictates what to do. Not tiie passions but 
reason and religion must guide the conduct. What 
right have we, each imperfect in his sphere, per- 
haps each more imperfect than he imagines, what 
])0ssible right have we to demand perfection ? The 
man who requires it as a reason of esteem discovers 
his folly and injustice, equally inattentive to the 
condition of mankind, and his own imperfeqt state. 
In all such cases as have been supposed, let us 
consult the genuine emotions of a friendly heart. 
Observe the wise and mild father of a family : see 
how he rolls his eye along over all his little empire, 
an eye of penetration irradiated with pity and 
love : neither is he ignorant of the imperfections 
of his children, nor doth he nourish or applaud 
them, but he is not stung into madness, and his 
coolness is a preparation to improve them. The 
D 2 

52 A discourse preached at the ordinal ion 

prophet Isaiah observes this majesty of manner in 
the Messiah. IFho is blind as the Lord's servant ; 
or deaf as my messenger : Seeing many things but 
obsej'ving them not ? Consider how the patient 
Saviour surveyed his family: how deliberate his 
advice : how soft and suasive his arguments ; how 
gentle his hints and reproofs : how many impro- 
prieties common to humanity he overlooked : how 
he estimated integrity, his own work, in his disci- 
ples, though accompanied with inriumerable weak- 
nesses, the works of the world and sin ! Let us 
humbly imitate this bright example. Only the trial 
decorates the honest heart that makes it. 

Who can unfold the dark days of futurity! 
Your minister may execute his office with success, 
or he may spend his strength for nought : for 
either case friendship stands prepared. Doth he 
inform the ignorant, comfort the wretched, convert 
the wicked, prosper in all his labours? Happiest 
of human kind : he gives his God the glory ! And 
what says friendship ? A wise spectator observes 
his situation, views him as men view a man on a 
pinnacle, who however cautious may by accident 
fall. Such situations have hurt the virtue of many: 
they went up humble, they came down proud: 
they ascended modest, they descended mad. A 
spectator, as friendly as he is wise, will exert him- 
self to preserve his friend from danger by frequen- 
tly exhibiting to him the modesty of Jesus his ex- 
ample, and by rivetting on the tables of his heart 
the language of an apostle : God causeth us to 
triumph in Christ. 1 planted^ Jpollos watered, 

Of Mr. George Blrleij. 53 

hut God save the increase : I laboured more ahun- 
dantli) than they allj yet not I but the grace of 
God which teas zvith me. Doth he labour for 
nought? Doth he distress himself on this ac- 
count ? Friendship will heal his heart, by remind- 
ing him, that the cause is not his but God's : that 
no mortal is accountable for efforts beyond his 
power : that none can stem a torrent of untoward 
circumstances : that infinite wisdom doth not ac- 
quaint us with all its matters : that the good mas- 
ter in heaven will appraise his servants by their 
fidelity, and not by their success : that undoubted 
characters have made the same complaints : that 
zeal complains without a cause: that in the great 
struggle between truth and error, virtue and vice, 
the gospel of Jesus and the maxims of the world, 
it is natural to expect some defeats : that the defeat 
of an individual tells for nothing in the general 
history : in brief, that a prophet settled the matter 
when he said, though Israel be not gathered; yet 
shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord. Hence 
an apostle says. Glory, honour, afid peace, to- • ' • 
prophets ? yes, and to every other ?na?i that war' 
keth good. 

Suppose the worst- • • -1 know your minister so 
well, that he would think an apology ill-timed for 
what I am going to say. Suppose the worst, his 
fall into an habit of some enormous vice, which 
should render it necessary for you to degrade him 
from his office, and to separate him from your 
community. Even this sad case demands the aid 
of friendship, and friendship attends as at a funeral 

54 A discourse preached at the ordination 

wih aching heart, and eyes streaming with com- 
passion. Very pleasant Jtast thou been to me : I 
am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan ! 
Friendship doth not cry havock, raise the croud, 
and call the country in. In silent sadness genuine 
sorrow moves ; or, if it speaks, it utters sighs and 
prayers tohim,who seesand pities every human woe. 
About the middle of the third century, when the 
populous churches of Rome and Carthage had be- 
come extremely corrupt, the people called from 
their leaders Donatists and Novatians, dissented, 
and formed separate congregations. The Nova- 
tians called themselves Cathari or puritans, not 
out of ostentation, but to hold .up in one word the 
cause of their separation, and the end proposed by 
their union. They dissented because the churches 
were become immoral, and they associated on the 
original plan in order to secure purity of manners. 
The discipline of these puritans was severe, they ad- 
mitted any virtuous believer into communion ; but, 
said they, mark this ; our discipline is a mutual 
contract for virtue ; if you continue virtuous you 
will be happy with us through life, for we are bre- 
thren ; but if you violate the compact, and become 
wicked, we shall separate you from our society, and 
do what you will you can never be re-admitted till 
the day you die. Far be it from us tojudgeof your 
future state ; that we leave to the great Being : may 
you repent, and may your repentance be accepted ! 
but to fellowship with us you can never be re-ad- 
mitted. It is easy to imagine, this was a powerful 
preservation from sin. There, as it were, hung 

Of Mr. George Birley. 55 

the drawn two edged sword, an argument against 
vice glittering in the eyes of every beholder. In 
defence of this discipline it was said, the puritan 
churches used no force to put any person under it, 
each member chose to be in the condition : they 
had no support from civil government, and they 
exercised no civil coercion ; the separation of a de- 
linquent was only from church ordinances, and it 
effected no civil inconvenience. This discipline 
then was the whole support of the cause, and had 
this been relaxed, the cause would have crumbled 
away, and would have been lost in the world, that 
treacherous whirlpool which hath swallowed up so 
many societies of lax moralists. The discipline of 
our churches is not so severe. It admits of re-ad- 
mission, and consequently it opens a wide field 
for friendship ; for will not the friend endeavour to 
restore his brother ? Will he ever desert him while 
hope of recovery remains ? No, never will be re- 
linquish his claim till he be utterly incorrigible, or 
actually dead. 

Innocence is better than repentance. Let us 
see danger at a distance, and guard the pass. It 
is not possible for a good man to go instantly into 
the practice of great crimes ; but what slow de- 
grees may effect, who can tell ? Permit me to ab- 
breviate the short account of one sad case. In the 
very early part of my ministry, while I was yet a 
boy, I had been preaching at a town far distant 
from this place, where I was on a friendly visit. 
Most youths in office are caressed, more for the 
novelty than for their abilities. One morning a 

56 A discourse preached at the ordination 

very decent grey headed man inquired for me, and, 
wiien he was admitted, without ceremony he threw 
himself on a chair and sobbed and wept, but could 
rtot speak. I retired to give him an opportunity 
to vent his passion, for such swells of grief, what- 
ever be the cause, threaten to burst the heart and 
destroy the frame. On returning, the man had 
recovered his calmness, and, omitting his apolo- 
gies, the substance of what he said was this : — 
Compassion for your youth compels me to tell 
you my case. At your age I was as innocent and 
as happy as you. Like you, too, I was chosen by 
one of our churches to teach. I taught, the 
church caressed me, neighbouring churches gave 
me unequivocal marks of their esteem, each new 
day was winged with new delights, my time passed 
sweetly, every month vvas May. One day an old 
man said to me, young man guard against vanity. 
I felt myself hurt, for I saw no need of the cau- 
tion, and I did not conceal my dislike. Does that 
offend you ? added the old man ; take care you do 
not become a profligate; for, know this, a man 
unapprized of danger is at the brink of a fall; and 
as confidence is the parent of carelessness, so care- 
lessness is the high road to the commission of ac- 
tual sin; one sin leads to another, and by slow de- 
grees a plausible youth may become a profligate 
man. I paid very little regard to my admonisher, 
and a fevv years after, somehow or other, I first 
tasted, then submitted to entreaties, then repeated, 
and at length found myself a lover of strong li- 
quors ; connected with dissipated men like myself, 

Of Mr. George Birley. 57 

fond of my condition, deaf to the remonstrances 
of my friends; and in brief the church was obhged 
to cut me off, and I became a confirmed drunkard; 
I was never happy. My appetites on fire impelled 
me to intoxication ; but the stings of my conscience 
could never be blunted ; and between the two I 
was in a state of torment. How insensibly do ha- 
bits of vice form themselves ! How difficult is it 
to subdue them when they are become obstinate ! 
I am not come to you for advice : I know all about 
it ; I am not come to make you the depositary of 
my holy resolutions : I should try to keep them, if 
you were not in the world: I come in pure affec- 
tion to say to you ; watch over yourself: be afraid 
of the first emotions of sin ; and reverence the cau- 
tions of aged men, always older, and generally wi^ 
ser than ministers when they are first elected to of- 
fice." Let such advice come from what quarter it 
will, it demands attention and gratitude. 

Finally. Let friendship guide you, when your 
friend, your father s friend, the minister of your 
choice declines and dies. Such is the fate of man, 
and in all the glow of youth, and the glory of life, 
he should recollect the decree of Almighty God, 
Unto the dust thou shalt return. When men grow 
old in office, or, to adopt the style of an apostle, 
when they use office well, they purchase to them- 
selves a good degree, and great boldness in the 
faith, which is in Christ Jesus. They acquire 
honour and pleasure, the testimony of their con- 
sciences, and the benedictions of the church ; and 
these sweeten the last days of life. Then the good 

5S A discourse preached at the ordination 

man enjoys the well earned fruit of hislabour,and 
departs from a station of peace below, to the tem- 
ple of felicity in heaven. When that day comes, 
respect the remains of the man you love : console 
his widow : inspect and guide his children : and 
ail things, whatsoever ye would that he should do 
to you, do ye even so to him : for this is the law 
and the prophets. 

To conclude. We ask no favours for your minis- 
ter: he needs none. We affix no honours to vacfue, 
unmeaning names. We ground the obligations of 
a people to their minister on the benefits which 
they derive from the execution of the office. If 
lie be the real, as he is the official, friend of the 
whole society, he need not hunt after praise, or 
stoop to pick it up; it will follow him, and affix itself 
to his name, and his name alone will stand for a 
compound of excellencies, the bare sound of it ex- 
citing ideas that refresh the soul. Do any inquire 
of Titus ? He is 7ny partrier, my felloxv- helper ; 
such as he are messengers of the Churches, and 
the glory of Christ. 

Of what we have said, then, this is the sum. 
When the whole world was lying in wickedness, the 
love of God sent Jesus Christ to redeem us. His 
redemption extended over the lift that is, as well 
as over that which is to come, and he freed his 
church both from future punishment and present 
disorder. He left secular affiiirs to be refined by 
the mere operations of reason and experiment ; 
but he regulated his church, not by an ordinal in 
form, but by an effusion of the Holy Spirit, which 

Of Mr, George Birley. 59 

enlightened and converted a few men, and placed 
them in a condition, equal,and perfectly free. Out 
of this condition of equality, in all periods and at 
all places, the simple discipline of the christian 
church natu-'ally and necessarily rises, exactly as 
good works rise out of faith. Offices in such so- 
cieties do not destroy equality ; and the discipline 
is more properly order than government. Or- 
der requires the widest to teach the rest; and su- 
periority of wisdom and virtue are the only, or the 
only essential, qualifications of officers. In every 
societ}', when men of superior talents employ them 
for the benefit of the rest, justice demands a retri- 
bution ; and a wise esteem of real worth is that 
attachment which we call friendship; an attach- 
ment not to be withdrawn even when many im- 
perfections lower the worth of the man. This 
friendship is a domestic tutor, always at hand, and 
always prepared to suggest what to do. Where 
this love is, it suffereth longy and is kind, it envieth 
not, it vaunteth not itself, it doth not behave itself 
unseemly, it seeketh not its own, it is not easily 
provoked, it thinketli no evil, it is, in one word, 
the fulfilling of the law. Into the soft arms of this 
benign disposition, extended to receive him, we 
commit your minister to-day, sincerely praying, 
that the peace of God, which passeth all under- 
standing, may keep your hearts and minds through 
Clmst Jesus. To him be glory both nozv and for 
ever. Amen. 



Preached at Cambridge, Feb. 10, 1788, 

LUXE iv. 18. 

The Lord hath sent me — to preach deliverance to 
the captives. 

d EHOVAH hath sent me to proclaim liberty to 
captives. It is not necessary to be a captive to 
discover the worth of such a declaration as this : 
it is sufficient to be a spectator of captivity. 

The Jews suffered by the fate of war several 
captivities ; and in that which is called the Baby- 
lonian, a foreign victor reduced between twenty 
and thirty thousand free citizens to a condition of 
slavery. The king, only in the nineteenth year of 
his age, when faults deserve pity more than blame, 
was stripped of all the ensigns of his dignity, and 
put in chains. His mother hi the decline of life, 
and his wives in the bloom of it, all unadorned, 
distinguished only by depression of spirits, and de- 
jection of countenance, shared his cruel reverse of 
fortune. His officers civil and military, his crafts- 
men and artificers followed in train, and all at the 
will of the conqueror went into the hopeless con- 
dition of slaves, some to prison, some to unpro- 

Slavery inconsistent, c^'c. 61 

ductive servitude, and some to death. No hu- 
mane spectator of such a complicated calamity, 
can help feeling a just indignation at the tyrant; 
mixing with compassion for the slaves : for what 
had the king of Babylon to do with the sins of 
the Jews ? 

A proclamation of liberty to captives, then, 
meets the wishes of both sufferers and spectators, 
and grates only on the ears of a tyrant who makes 
slaves, and masters who hold them in servitude. 
Such is the declaration of the text, and only one 
circumstance obscures the glory of it. When a 
Cyrus publishes his resolution to liberate captives, 
the world instantly gives him credit for sincerity, 
and applause for his generosity ; but the text is the 
language of Jesus, a poor man. This, however, in 
the present case, is no objection; because if a poor 
man can discover a method by which the just maxims 
of a monarch, which are only local and temporary, 
may be rendered universal and perpetual, his birth 
and station are of no consequence, his wisdom is 
all in all, and his language is reputed, as it ought 
to be, the voice of nature, the reason of all man- 
kind. The fact is, Jesus was a man, and the friend 
of man; and the proposal in the text was not the in- 
efficient wish of an ordinary citizen, but the sober 
plan of one, who knew how to carry his design 
into effect. He did not, indeed, enlist armies, 
appoint generals, or even acquaint monarchs with 
his intention : he did not immediately remonstrate 
against the injustice of slave-holders, nor did he 
rouse the passions of their slaves : but he infor- 

€2 Slavery inconsistent 

med a iew disinterested lovers of mankind of a few 
facts, which he foresaw would make their way, 
and slowly but certainly subvert the whole system 
of slavery ; facts which, whenever the slave-holder 
should come to know them, would compel him by 
his own convictions to release his slaves; and facts, 
■which as soon as the slave should comprehend, 
■would prepare him to bear an advance from the 
servile condition of a beast, into the dignity of a 

Let us select from the gospel of Jesus three 
doctrines ; and let us address the first to a slave 
apart; the second to a slave-holder apart; and, 
the third to both masters and slaves : and, although 
it be in this stage of the business mere theory, yet 
let us examine what practice, if there be no un- 
foreseen obstacles, the theory must naturq,lly pro- 

The Lord Jesus taught the dignity of ma7i as 
an intelligent and immortal being: a true fact, 
but till then wholly unknown to slaves, and very 
imperfectly, if at all, to their masters. He ad- 
dressed men as capable of knowing and enjoying 
intellectual pleasures, and he reported facts natu- 
rally adapted to excite and exercise the latent 
powers of the mind. He shewed that man must 
live in a future state to reap the reward of his vir- 
tues, or to suffer the punishment of his crimes. 
He spoke of him as a creature of worth, and ac- 
cording" to his estimate a sincrle soul is of more 
value than a whole world of unintelligent matter. 
It is natural to suppose that a slave informed of 

JVilh the spirit of Christianity. 63 

the dignity of his nature must rise in value in his 
own account, become in his own eyes a man of 
natural consequence equal with his lord, and feel 
himself inspired with that noble pride of nature 
which distinguishes and dignifies the free. From 
under the depression of slavery, having heretofore 
known no more of himself than of his master's 
camel, that he had sensual appetites, the slave 
should seem to struggle into new existence, aspire 
to the distinctions of a man, the pleasures of an 
intelligent being, the joy of knowing God, the 
practice of virtue, and the prospect of immortality. 
In absolute servitude a man hath every thing to 
fear and nothing to hope, and his spirits sink, till, 
having no prospect, and no use for hope, his sen- 
sual appetites at the same time continuing to em- 
ploy him, he forgets his dignity, and ceases to rea- 
son like a man: but by admitting the fact taught 
by Jesus Christ, the soul of this sunken slave takes 
a contrary direction, rises ennobled into its proper 
state, and enters first on the felicity of speculating 
moral excellence, then proceeds to the pleasure of 
doing good, and next advances to the delij^ht of 
prospect, where no bounds are set to the eye, and 
where bliss extends beyond all he can ask, or 

Jesus taught the true character of God : that 
there was a God ; tliat there was but one ; that he 
was a father, and the universe his family ; that his 
care extended over all his works, the most incon- 
siderable creatures not excepted; that he com- 
passionated the most wretched, and was ready to 

64> Sla'oery inconsistent. 

forgive the most wicked; that a return to duty was a 
return to mercy ; and that eternal glory was the re- 
ward of as many as copied his wise and just admi- 
nistration, iox he wdi?,2i Father in heaven, tvhomade 
his sun to me on the evil and the good, and sent 
his rain on the just and on the unjust : that in a 
future state he would call all men to account, and 
admit of no distinctions except those of just and 
unjust; that justice he would eternally protect, 
and injustice for ever punish. The system of a 
slave-holder is a contrast to all this : his government 
is not founded injustice; his maxims of obtaining 
and employing, rewarding and punishing his fel- 
low creatures, far from tending to equalize, intro- 
duce, and support the most horrible of all distinc- 
tions, and of three equal men make one an abso- 
lute slave, a second an inhuman task master, and 
the third a lawless tyrant above controul. Bring 
this stately slave-holder acquainted with the Su- 
preme Being, more matser of him than he of his 
slave; enlighten his mind with the knowledge of 
God, and it should seem the moment he approves 
of the divine perfections he must abhor his own 
depravity, blush at his dissimilitude to the original 
beauty, and cast about in his mind how to restore 
his slaves to their just and natural rights. 

Jesus taught the nature and the indispensible 
necessity of holiness. In his gospel, holiness is in 
general conformity to God, to God and not to rites 
and ceremonies; be ye the children, the resem- 
blances of your Father : and in particular it is the 
possession of such dispositions as constitute order, 

With the spirit of christianifij. 65 

and are neccessarily productive of happiness. Hap- 
py ore thexich, the powerful; No; Happy are the 
pure in heart ; happy are the humble, happy are 
the mild, happy are th*? merciful, for those shall see 
God, and these shall obtain mercy. The doctrine of 
Jesus is; that such a similarity to God is absolutely 
necessary to the hope of pleasing and enjoying him : 
that it is impossible to substitute any thing in its 
stead ; that without this conformity all pretensions 
to the character of christian are delusive and vain, 
frauds which may be a-while concealed, but which 
impartial justice must in the end expose to the eter- 
nal glory of the rectitude of God, and to the ever- 
lasting disgrace of wicked men. Such doctrine, 
addressed to a company of slaves and slaveholders 
it should seem, must convince the master that the 
connection between shewing mercy, and obtaining 
mercy is just and natural; that if he shewed no 
mercy he ought not to hope for any; and the slave 
that to be good is the noblest end of being free. 

Theory says ; tidings such as these, committed 
by Jesus to his disciples to be published to every 
creatiire'indiW nations, ought, assuredly, to produce 
effects when they reach the ears of slaves. They 
actually did so, and slaves became members of the 
first christian churches. 

Let us follow this doctrine into a land of slavery 
in order to discover the operation of it in the minds 
and manners of the inhabitants. In Attica aloi:c, 
it is said, there were only twenty or thirty thou- 
sand freemen, and they held in servitude four liun- 


6& Slavery inconsistent 

dred thousand slaves. Ever}' christian teach&r 
went to proclaim liberty to these captives ; but this 
in such a country was a most difficult and delicate 
fnterprize. It originated in justice, and was re- 
plete with mercy; but where human depravity hath 
arrived at a certain pitch, to introduce justice and 
mercy is the most hard and hopeless of all under- 
takings. Slaves are the wealth of their masters, 
and to emancipate them is to transfer their pro- 
perty. Slaves keep up the rank of their masters, 
and to elevate the one is to degrade the other class. 
The execution, therefore, of the Saviour's plan, 
required the prudent aj^plication of wise and well 
judged measures so as not to injure private pro- 
perty, not to disturb civil order, not to expose 
Christianity to the scandal of sedition, not to ob- 
scure the glory of a kingdom not of this world, 
and yet so as to procure effectual deliverance to 
captives, ample indemnity to their masters, and 
superior advantages to states. If a given number 
of slaves be an equal number of enemies, the state 
gains by the emancipation of them; and if the 
conscious rectitude of the action be an ample in- 
demnity to him who makes restitution of unjust 
gain, the master is indemnified when he makes tiie 
slave free. 

It is granted, the case was difficult, but it is af- 
firmed, the apostles were equal to the task, and 
the primitive christians under their prudent di- 
rection conducted the business so as to adorn the 
doctrine of their Saviour, and to demonstrate the 
excellence of the christian religion. Three posi- 

JVith the spirit of christianitij. 67 

tions seem to contain the system of the primitive 
churches in regard to slaves. 

First. The primitive christian slaveholders did 
not foire their slaves to profess the christian reli- 
gion. That some primitive christians were slave- 
holders is clear from this passage : Let as many 
servants as are under the yoke (these were slaves) 
count their own masters worthy of all honour : 
and they that have beliemng masters, let them not 
despise them because they are brethren, but ra- 
ther do them service because they dixe faithful and 
beloved, partakers of the benefit. Pliilemon of 
Colosse was a master of this kind. He had a slave 
named Onesimus. This man defrauded his mas- 
ter, quitted his service, and fled to Rome. There 
by some means he became acquainted with Paul, 
who instructed him, and either baptized him, or 
caused him to be baptized into the profession of a 
christian. Then he returned him to his master 
with a letter, of which these words are a part; I 
beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have 
begotten in my bonds. The power of Philemon 
over his slave had always been absolute, but it was 
Paul, not Philemon, who initiated Onesimus ; for 
conversion was then considered an effect of argu- 
ment, and not of dominion. On this account the 
apostle called Onesimus his son, for by baptism 
he had brought him into the christian world. 

Even pagan masters did not force their slaves 
to profess paganism : on the contrary, they thought 
their presence polluted the worship. It w^as for 

6s Sla'very inconsistent 

very different reasons that pagans and christians 
did not force slaves to profess religion ; and when 
the apostles exhorted christian slaves to count 
their pagan masters xvorthy of all ho?wur, perhaps 
this might be one reason; they left their slaves to 
their own reflections in matters of religion, and 
they might be proselytes of Moses, or disciples of 
Christ without incurring the displeasure of their 
owners. Primitive christians entertained just no- 
tions of religion, and they wisely avoided to adorn 
it M ith the vain glory of popularity by forcing 
slaves to profess what they did not understand. 
To say the truth, the forcing of conscience was 
alike unknown in those times to pagans and chris- 
tians, and it was an invention of later ages : whe- 
ther an honourable one I shall not now inquire, 
but leave to the consideration of such as admire it. 
Secondly. A profession of Christianity was not 
a title to freedom in the first churches. A slave 
might hear, examine and believe the christian doc- 
trine ; he might be baptized, receive the Lord's 
supper, and enjoy the benefit of all christian in- 
stitutes ; but he might not claim manumission on 
this ground. An apostle speaks decidedly on the 
subject. Let every man abide in the same calling 
wherein he was called. Art thou called being a 
servant? Care not for it. Brethren, let every 
man wherein he is called, therein abide with God. 
This explains the language of the same apostle to 
Philemon concerning Onesimus. Perhaps he there- 
fore departed for a season, that thou shouldest re- 
ceive him /or e-ver ; an expression taken from the 

IVith the spirit of Christianity. 69 

Jewish law of se/vitude. I-f the servant say, I will 
not go out free, then his master shall bore his ear, 
and he shall serve him for ever, that is for life. 
The primitive christians then did not aftix manu- 
mission to profession of Christianity, and they acted 
wisely, for it would have degraded religion from 
its dignity, temporal reward being only a more 
pleasing kind of force. In these pure churches 
tliere were neither punishments nor bribes. 

Yet, thirdly, Christianity is, as an apostle calls 
it, a perfect lazv of libertij, and its natural and 
genuine produce is universal justice, or, which is 
the same thing, universal freedom. In proof of 
this let us step into those primitive assemblies, and 
hear what the apostles said to their converts. 

Paul exhorted slaves to become free, if they 
could. Art thou called being a servant? Care 
not for it; but if thou may est he made free use it 
rather. A hint was all that prudence could al- 
low on a subject so delicate, and it was equal to 
saying, set a just value upon freedom, and obtain 
it as soon as by any lawful means you can. 

To such slaves as were under rigorous masters, 
and had no prospect of manumission, Peter gave 
this advice: Servants, be subject to your masters 
with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but 
also to the fro ward. For this is thank -worthy, if 
a man for conscience toward God endure arief, 
suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if 
when ye be buffeted for your faults ye shall take 
it patiendv ? but if when ye do well and suffer for 
it, ye take i \ atiently, this is acceptable with God. 

70 Sla"cery inconsistent 

These were slaves subject to buffetting, or corpo- 
ral punishment; but this is not an approbation of 
slavery, for the apostle complains of wrongs and 
his advice to the slave to be patient is applicable 
to this only as to one of many cases of affliction 
and oppression. Hence we reason, that the apos- 
tles disapproved of slavery, and that their advice 
to christian slaves amounted to this: get free if 
you can ; but if you cannot, reflect on the wisdom 
of providence, and bear the oppression of your ty- 
rants with patience. 

Let us imagine a primitive assembly of chris- 
tian slaveholders and slaves, not nozv, in this in- 
stance, as slaves, but above slaves, brethren be- 
loved in the Lord, all sitting at the same table, 
eating the same bread, drinking the same cup, in 
remembrance of their common benefactor, who 
had said, the Lord sent me to preach deliverance 
to captives. Let us hear Paul commending cha- 
rity, or universal benevolence. He describes it 
literally, and prizes it above the faith of miracles, 
above the gift of tongues, above the distribution of 
alms, above the glory of martyrdom. Earnestly 
covet the best gifts; and yet I shew unto you a 
more excellent way. The greatest of all gifts is 
charity. He describes it figuratively; the same 
subject in colours. All the members of Christ 
are one body. By one spirit we were all baptized 
into one body, whether we be bond or free. God 
hath set the members every one of them in the 
body as it hath pleased him, but tfie head cannot 
say to the feet, I have no need of you ; for if one 

With the spirit of Christianity. 71 

member suffer all the members suffer with it, or 
if one member be honoured, all the members re- 
joice Avith it. Could the bond, or could the free, 
hear, believe, and feel such discourses delivered 
by a Paul, and not regulate their actions by them? 
How must a slave-holder feel, when in the assem- 
bly a charitable deacon proclaimed; remember 
them that are in bonds, as bound zvith them? 
The doctrines and the ceremonies of Christianity 
attack injustice and cruelty in their strong holds, 
depraved passions; and consequently if a slave 
trade be the effect of such passions our religion 
goes to subvert the whole system of slavery. Feel 
its influence, and the work is done. 

Let us go a step further. After the decease of 
the apostles, christians understood that the libe- 
rating of slaves was a part of Christianity, not in- 
deed expressed in the direct words of a statute, 
but naturally and necessarily contained in the doc- 
trines and precepts of it : in the precepts w hich 
equalized all, and in the first principle of all doc- 
trines, the equal love of God to all mankind. In 
the centuries before the establishment of a profes- 
sion of Christianity, the christians who denomina- 
ted themselves catholics, and who afterwards co- 
alesced with the state, were the least enlightened, 
and the most depravfitl of all the disciples of Je- 
sus, and the Africans were the lowest order of 
these catholics: yet even the Africans .thought it 
a christian duty to liberate slaves. There is a let- 
ter of Cyprian cf Carthage yet extant on this sub- 
ject. Some Xumidian bishops wrote him an ac- 

72 Slavery inconsistent 

count of the captivity of some christians. The 
letter fetched tears from his eyes. He represented 
the case to tlie church, and he collected a consi- 
derable sum of money for the redemption of the 
slaves. Along with the sum he sent the letter just 
mentioned, containing several christian reasons for 
redeeming captives, of which this is one : if Jesus 
at the last day will reward some, saying, I was sich 
and ye visited me, surely he will more abundantly 
reward others, to whom he may justly say, / was a 
captive, and you set me free. 

Perhaps I may be allowed to hazard a conjec- 
ture, for this is not the place for critical investiga- 
tion. It seems to me, that the Africans, who first 
invented infant-baptism, intended by it only to 
save children from sacrifice or slavery. Before 
the time of Cyprian, that is, before the middle of 
the third century, if there were any debate concern- 
ing the baptism of infants, it was the baptism of in- 
fants in lazv, minors, not natural infants. Primi- 
tive christians made conscience of closely copying 
the life of Christ. He was baptized when he be- 
gan to be about thirty years of age, and it was a 
question of great consequence to the credit of 
Christianity, whether a youth ought to be sufiered 
to enter by baptism into a christian church, and 
to lay himself under obligations for life, before he 
arrived at years of legal dis(^i=etion, or was allowed 
by law to dispose of himself; but in Africa, in the 
time of Cyprian, the baptism of an infant meant 
the baptism of a new-born babe. Every body 
knows that the Carthaginians were a colony from 

IVith the spirit ofchristiamty. 7S 

Tyre : that the Moloch of Tyre was the Saturn of 
Carthaije: that the barbarous worshippers of this 
demon sacrificed children to him in flames of fire : 
that they purchased infants as the Jews did turtle 
doves for sacrifice : that to supply the markets with 
sacrifices and slaves parents sold their children, 
thieves stole them, and fighting parties subdued 
and carried off whole families; and that it was not 
in the power of the Roman emperors themselves 
for several centuries, if at all, to put an end to 
this horrible practice of sacrificing human beings. 
Amon^ such monsters one Fid us tauo;ht what 
little he knew of Christianity ; and it is highly pro- 
bable, for reasons not admissible here, that he hit 
on the method of saving the lives and liberties of 
the lambs of his flock, by prevailing on their pa- 
rents to let him dedicate them to the one living 
and true God by baptism, as the Jews had dedi- 
cated theirs by circumcision, and by putting them 
under the protection of some reputable sponsors. 
The Africans did not then believe original sin, 
and Cyprian and his colleagues in council ap- 
proved of the baptism of infants by Fid us, because 
they thought the son of man came not to destroy 
mens' lives but to save them. The Africans then, 
and long after, called baptism salus, and they bap- 
tized children pro salute, to which words no Pa- 
gan Roman, or Roman provincial had ever affixed 
the christian idea of salvation. If this were the 
case; if Fidus, pitying the smiling tawny or jetty 
babes at their mother's breasts, baptized them for 
the safety of their lives and liberties, lest their ill- 

5^4! Slavery inconsistent 

informed parents, long accustomed to do evil, 
should sell them, Fidus ought to be honoured as 
a benefactor to mankind, and the blame of diver- 
ting a christian institute from its original design 
goes over from him to others, who in other coun- 
tries imitated his conduct without any imaginable 
worthy motive for doing so. The earliest council 
in Spain discovered a somewhat similar humanity 
to slaves by enjoining a penance of seven years for 
killing a slave by design, and five for causing the 
death of one by accident. The most depraved 
christians, therefore, in the primitive ages, were 
not so depraved as to imagine that barbarity and 
slavery, inseparable twins, could be consistent with 
the spirit of Christianity. 

To proceed. In later times, in those which are 
called the middle ages, it is clear, the emancipa- 
tion of slaves was considered as the natural effect 
of christian principles. This is a voluminous sub- 
ject full of various information, all tending to prove 
to the honour of Christianity that it contributed 
more than any thing else in the world to emanci- 
pate slaves, to improve society, and to refine the 
manners of mankind : but a hint must sufiice here. 

We have heard much of the decline of the Ro- 
man empire, and we have been told Christianity 
was the principal cause of the disaster. We re- 
spect the Roman empire. It was a fabrick of mag- 
nificence, one of the noblest etibrts of the human 
mind. The Romans would be masters, but they 
were the best absolute masters in the world : how- 
ever, let not splendour strike reason blind; the ge- 

With the spirit of christiauitij. '75 

niiis of Rome was love of dominion, the means of- 
ten of obtaining it were factions in the senate, stan- 
ding armies in the field, the depopulation of one 
province, the captivity of another, the reduction of 
millions to an unconditional dependence on the 
will of one. True it is, barbarous nations, as they 
are called, rushed into the empire, broke up the 
mighty mass of ancient despotism, and crumbled 
one into many independent states: but who will 
pretend to deny that, on the whole, order pro- 
ceeded out of this confusion, and the western world 
in general became more, and more, rationally free. 
This was the declaration of several at the time, 
and it is very credible for many reasons both of 
theory and experiment. The revolution was a 
loss to Rome, but a gain to the world, a diminution 
of imperial dignity, but an increase of huinan li- 
berty. However it were, this is certain; the new 
states allowed a liberty of conscience to freemen, 
which too many christian emperors had denied, 
and one of their first king's, for christian reasons, 
paid large sum.s for the redemption of captives. 
The Vandals in Africa, the Wisigoths, or Western 
Goths, in Spain, the Ostrogoths in Italy, the 
Franks in Gaul, and other nations of the same 
stock had just notions of civil and religious liber- 
ty, and kept men in bondage only till it became 
safe to set them free, ahvays holding it consistent 
with the spirit of Christianity to emancipate slaves. 
Even after their coalition with papal Rome, mo- 
narchs graced the birth of a prince with a manu- 
mission of slaves. Monks purchased children to 

7^ Slavery inconsistent 

educate, and by associating them in their order 
made them free. The church freed many by or- 
daining them to office. Founders transferred their 
slaves with their lands to ecclesiastical bodies, which 
improved their condition, although it did not abso- 
lutely set them free. Dying persons ordered by will 
the emancipation of their slaves; and all charters 
and deeds of manumission, though mixed with su- 
perstitious notions, assigned christian reasons, and 
every body understood that the liberating of a 
slave was a good work, in the true spirit of Chris- 
tianity, and highly acceptable to Almighty God. 

Let us come liome to our own country. Our 
first known ancestors, the Britons, were Avild and 
free, but dupes to the barbarous usages of druidi- 
cal superstition. They fought, they made captives, 
they burnt them in baskets to the honour of their 
gods. The Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, and 
the Normans by various revolutions reduced many 
to slavery, and none of them attempted to distri- 
bute universal freedom. Slavery in a state is a 
deep-rooted obstinate evil, and love of dominion 
is a disposition that thrives too well in the hearts 
of depraved men. Conquerors will be masters, 
captives must be slaves. So lately as the first year 
of Edward VI. a statute degraded vagabonds into 
slaves. The act says, " if any person shall bring 
to txvo justices of peace any runagate servant, or 
any other which liveth idly and loiteringly by the 
space of three days, the said justices shall cause 
the said idle and loitering servant or vagabond to 
be marked with an hot iron on the breast with the 

Ulth the spWit of christlamfy. 77 

mark V. and adjudge him to be slave to the same 
person that brought or presented him, to have to 
him, his executors or assigns, for txvo years after, 
who shall take the said slave, and give him bread, 
water, or small drink, and refuse meat, and cause 
him to work by beating, chaining, or otherzvise, in 
such work and labour as he shall put him unto, be 
it never so vile : and if such slave absent himself 
from his said master, within the said term of two 
years, by the space oi fourteen days, then he shall 
be adjudged by two justices of peace to be marked 
on the forehead, or the ball of the cheek, with an 
hot iron, with the sign of an S. and further shall be 
adjudged to be slave to his said masterybr et^er ; 
and if the said slave shall run away the second time, 
he shall be adjudged o. felon. It shall be lawful to 
every person to whom any shall be adjudged a 
slave, to put a ring of iron about his neck, arm or 
leg/' This act was repealed two years afterwards, 
but there was slavery in England before and after 
this period. In our publick records, there is a 
charter of Henry VIII. enfranchising two slaves 
belonging to one of his manors ; and there is a 
commission from Queen Elizabeth with respect to 
the manumission of certain bondmen belonoin<T to 
her. There is in France a general law for the ma- 
numission of slaves, and though there is no such 
law in our statute book, yet the genius of our con- 
stitution was ever abhorrent of slavery ; and now 
pure and proper slavery is so etfectually done away 
that a slave or negro, the instant he lands in En- 
gland, becomes afreeman^ and the law will protect 

78 Slaijery inconsistent 

him in the enjoyment of his person and projDerty, 
Baptism is not necessary : to breathe British air is 
sufficient. Perhaps the vulgar errour of Hberating 
a slave by baptizing him came from Africa along 
with other African doctrines into the western world. 

Happv should I be, if 1 could add, there is no 
slavery in our plantations ; but, although it is un- 
pleasant to blame one's nation, yet we must say, 
and we say it with sincere sorrow, while we boast 
of freedom at home, and zealously oppose every 
attempt to diminish it, we annually reduce a peo- 
ple, who never injured us, to a servitude unmeri- 
ted, unjust, and to an enormous degree barbarous 
as well as disgraceful to our country. We give 
the world lessons of cruelty, and, as we are called 
christians, innocent Christianity, guiltless of oppres- 
sion and blood, bears the scandal. The sins of 
individuals are not punished here, for this to them 
is only a state of trial; but collective bodies sub- 
sist here in a state of rewards and punishments, 
and if there be such a thing as national sin, that is 
it, assuredly, which the legislature makes its own. 
I fear, I fear, the African slave trade is of this 

Many plausible arguments have been used to 
defend this traffic, but, to say the truth, they are 
all reducible to one, that is the gain of it. What 
then becomes of justice, justice the base of the 
throne of God, if ideas of gain and loss be allowed 
to supply the place of notions of right and wrong ? 
Gain is the reason of every wretch alive for every 
crime that he can commit. Why does the avari- 

With the spirit of Christianity. 79 

cious render himself deaf to the cries of all the af- 
flicted? He saves by it. Why does he rob the 
fatherless, and oppress the widow ? He gains by 
doing so. Whence the false weight, and the de- 
ceitftd balance, the perpetual frauds of some, and 
the violent dealings of others? They are produc- 
tive of money. The base assassin, why doth he 
plunge his execrable dagger into the heart of his 
benefactor? He hopes to profit by it. Let us 
never quit the ground of eternal, immutable jus- 
tice, never imagine any thing right that allows the 
propriety of something unjust and wTong. 

I recollect an incident in the life of David. In 
the hearing of three of his military officers, he one 
day wished for a little water of a certain spring ; 
ThePhihstine troops were then in garrison defend- 
ing the fortification where the spring was. The of- 
ficers of David broke through the host of the Phi- 
listines, probably by killing some of the soldiers, 
and certainly at the hazard of their own valuable- 
lives, took water of the spring, and returned with 
it to David. What did he ? he took the water, 
but recollecting what they had hazarded to procure 
it, and very likely observing they had stained them- 
selves with human blood, the water had lost its 
chrystal in his eye, it seemed blood in the cup, he- 
could not drink it, he poured it out with horror, 
t'xclaiming as he looked up to the Parent of life. 
My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing : 
shall I drink the blood of these men, that have 
put their lives in jeopardy ! 

80 Slavery inconsistent 

I apply this to the present case. If more than 
four hundred thousand men be held in perpetual 
slavery in the plantations ; if near one hundred 
thousand innocent persons be annually reduced to 
servitude to supply the waste ; if corporal punish- 
ment, little less than flaying alive, be necessary to 
iheir degradation : if raw salting be necessary to 
their preservation ; if disgustful diet, if iron collars 
and brands in the flesh, if hanging, beheading, 
strangling, burning alive, setting heads and limbs 
on poles along the highway, if only a thousandth 
part of the horrors attributed to this trade be ne- 
cessary to it, who doth not see that commodities 
coming through such hands are soaked in tears 
and stained with blood ? Who doth not say with 
an apostle, who is offended and I burn not ? or 
with David, Mij God forbid that I should drink 

Let us leave our negro brethren to the care of 
their heavenly Father, who will, without all doubt 
some day make inquisition for their blood : let us 
speak of ourselves. The slave merchant protests 
he abhors injustice, and cruelty hath no place in 
his soul. Be it so. He is a Briton, we give him 
credit. A fact it is, intended or unintended, cruel- 
ty comes to, pass of course in this traffic, and it is 
impossible to conduct a slave trade without it. As 
far as some of you, my hearers, born free, and re- 
fined to perfection by rank, education, and com- 
merce with the world, as far as you are superior 
to negroes, so much better are you prepared to 
meet and sustain with prudence an unavoidable ill. 

fVkh the spirit of Christianity. 81 

Suppose a foreign banditti of sable ruffians in the 
nii^ht should attack your house, handcuff your ser- 
vants, plunder your property, seize your person, strip 
your wife and children, and attempt to put you all 
in chains. Would you make no resistance ? But if 
you resist, behold a plea for violence, wounds and 
death. If you should fall a victim to superior 
force, and tind yourself and family on board a 
ship, beneath the hatches, deprived of liberty 
and light, food, friend and hope, are you sure you 
should have firmness enough to resist the temp- 
tation of laying violent hands on your children, 
your wife, an, I yourself.^ If you could surmount 
this, and if you should hereafter meet with a fa- 
vourable opportunity to destroy your oppressor, 
could you help cleaving the barbarian asunder, 
although your doing so would make you appear 
a savage to yourself? Would you avoid this, 
and try to regain your liberty by exciting mu- 
tiny in hope of bringing the hard heart of the ty- 
rant to relent ; could you prevent the effect of this 
desperate rage, if he should set fire to the powder 
on board, and involve his world and all its inhabi- 
tants in one common destruction ? Even a beast 
resists, when you would tame him to your hand, and 
will man resign his mastery over himself without a 
stru^de ? But if he strufiiile, a conflict commences 
which never ends without transgressing; the bounds 
of humanity and justice. 

Sorry, very sorr}^, I am to be obliged to sa}', 
human nature hath been affronted with the most 


S2 Slavery inconsistent 

brutal indignities in the persons of negro slaves. 
They have been won and lost by their wanton mas- 
ters at games of chance. When they have esca- 
ped, rewards have been offered for their heads, 
though he, who offers a price for blood, is guilty 
of felony. " I will give," says an advertising 
planter, " a reward of twenty pounds currency to 
whoever will apprehend the said negro. I will 
give the same reward for his head.""* I blush to 
tell, that even in London, so lately as the year 
seventy two, an advertisement appeared in the Ga- 
zetteer of the first of June, for apprehending "An 
East India black boy about fourteen years of age, 
named" (I blush to relate this) " Pompey, having 
round his neck a brass collar, with a direction to 
a certain house."! Such well attested facts (and 
they are nothing compared with what remain to 
be told) preclude the necessity of reflections in 
form ; and I finish by addressing a few words to 
an assembly that hath notlost the use of its reason. 
Let us put our entire love of liberty out of all 
doubt to ourselves by immediately entering into 
that freedom, which reason and revelation unite 
to recommend. Let our understandings put off 
prejudice, and lay themselves open to rational 
conviction. Let our passions discard those of- 

* Law of Retribution. By Granvilie Sharp Esq. London, 
1776, page 238. Carolina Gazette by Robert Wells, Dec. 30, 1774. 

t Mr. Sharp, in his Limituiion of Slavery, London, 1776, page 
.'35, says, — This " remarkable instance of tyranny came within my 
own knowledge. — I inquired after the author, and found that he was 
a merchant — who shall be nameless." The advertisement says, the 
bpy '• was named [Bob orj Pompey." 

With the spirit of Christianity. 83 

ficioiis pretended friends, which if admitted will 
be masters; pride, avarice, envy, revenge, love of 
ease, and passion for power. Let us assort our 
companions, and if we have no vices of our own, 
let us refuse to be enslaved by the vices of our ac- 
quaintance. Let our actions be just, open, man- 
ly, conformable to our own convictions, such as 
become free, intelligent and immortal men. Let 
us reduce our wants within the limits of our own 
efforts. Above all, let us copy the life of Jesus, 
for if the Son make us free, we shall be free in- 

Have we children ? Let us call them to our 
knee, and early inspire them with the love of vir- 
tuous freedom. Let us teach them the natural 
connection between civil and religious liberty, and 
the indispensible obligation of fostering both. Let 
us shew them where encroachments on natural 
rights begin, and whither they tend. Let us set 
before their eyes the sad but instructive histories 
of consciences oppressed, property plundered, fa- 
milies divided, and flourishing states ruined by 
exercises of arbitrary power. Let us thoroughly 
tincture them with the doctrine of Jesus, that God 
sent his Son not to destroy mens"" lives hut to save 

Let us, if we have domestics, banish rigour, ad- 
minister an (Economy of wisdom and goodness, 
and always remember we have a master, a master 
not a tyrant, in heaven, a guide to us,^ and a guar- 
dian to our servants. 
F 2 

84 Slavery inconsistent, ^c. 

Finally. In all civil and political debates let 
us be always on the side of liberty, not of licen- 
tiousness under the name, but of just, equal, and 
universal freedom. May we and our posterity 
enjoy it under the sanction of law ! May other na- 
tions quickly recover or obtain it ! May slaves re- 
ceive it as soon as possible from their masters, lest 
the world should applaud them in future for taking 
it by force ! jMay all the earth become in due 
time, as from what hath been done we hope and 
believe it will, a temple of God, and all the inha- 
bitants his wise and unconstrained worshippers ! 
]\lay we pass, when we die, into that state where 
the slave is free from his master, where there is 
no sin, no sorrow, no pain, no death, where 
God is all in all, and where glory, honour, and 
immortality will be to all, who, after the exam- 
ple of their divine master have had both the power 
and the will to comfort those that mourn, to bind 
up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to cap- 
tives, and to open the prison to them that arc 

^ P P E jY ID I X, 

X HIS discourse, which attempts to shew that 
slavery is inconsistent with the genius of the chris- 
tian rehgion, was composed less for the purpose 
of exposing the iniquity of the African slave trade 
than for that of vindicating the character of the 
primitive christians, or rather the credit of Chris- 
tianity itself, which is grossly misrepresented when 
it is described as compatible with slavery. Slavery 
in every form is unjust and inhuman ; but a chris- 
tian religion in coalition with slavery is a mere 
creature of fancy : in vain apologists quote the 
institutes of Moses, and the practice of new testa- 
ment churches, for it is not credible that a slave 
trade is founded either on respect for Judaism, 
or faith in Christ, or that reasons for enslaving 
mankind are recommended by a book in praise of 
redemption. The most glorious part of the his- 
tory of the Jews is that of their asserting their 
liberty against the tyranny of Pharoah ; and the 
uniform spirit of the new testament is. Ye are 
bought zvith a price, be not ye the servants of 

War is the parent of slavery, and captivity is as 
ancient as Ximrod. This hero built a city, and 
called it Babel, which is a contraction oi Babbath- 
al, QV Bab-ai-ain, the apple of God's eye. Bab, 
all over the east, literally means the court of a 

86 Appendix. 

prince, and it was perfectly consistent with the ge- 
nius of the Easterns to assimilate such a court to 
the ain or pupil of a beautiful eye. To this they 
affixed al, the name of God, which signified no 
more than that it was the most excellent of its kind. 
It was a divine pupil, the beauty of the excellen- 
cy of the Chaldees. In this name the inhabitants 
and their kings boasted. The same Nimrod built 
other cities, and one at least with turrets on the 
walls, probably for the confinement of captives. 
This was named Ballel, which literally signifies 
a confusion, ant! figuratively a confusion of *?o|"///f^, 
owing to what is called a blood-shot, or a blemish 
in the eye ; and this apt figure was intended to ex- 
press what the early inhabitants of the east thought 
of restraint and cajDtivity. From that day to this, 
successive Ninnods have held all the east in bon- 
dage, and their tyranny is a deformity that hath 
ever tarnished the beauty of Oriental nature, and 
marred the elegance of Asiatick art. 

The Greeks boasted of liberty: but what was 
Spartan liberty more than aristocratical licentious- 
ness ? It becomes a Briton to think, that the ce- 
lebrated Spartan government was a discipline foun- 
ded on injustice, supported by cruelty, inimical to 
population and national wealth, incompatible with 
commerce, arts and sciences, utterly destructive 
of freedom and virtue, and productive of the very 
worst of all forms of despotism, an obstinate aristo- 
cracy. Spartan freemen were all idle gentlemen, 
who were forbidden to till the ground, or practise 
any mechanical employment, and who spent all 

Appe7idlv. 87 

their time in hunting, dancing, festivals, amuse- 
ments or war. They conquered a people called 
Helots, and converted them all into slaves. They 
made an equal partition of lands among themselves, 
and compelled the Helots to farm them for the 
owners. They called themselves the state, and 
they ohliged the degraded Helots to perform the 
whole manual labour of the republic, and with un- 
pardonable ingratitude and cruelty they assassina- 
ted them at their pleasure. They compelled them 
to intoxicate themselves, and play mad pranks, in 
order to teach their young masters by contrast so- 
briety and genteel behaviour, and this brutal prac- 
tice is quoted without any marks of indignation by 
some moralists. The barbarous practice of put- 
ting weakly children to death prevailed among 
themselves. Their system of education was a string 
of absurdities, and the whole tended to sink the man 
in the soldier, and to annihilate domestic virtue 
under pretence of public good. In return for all the 
advantages, which the pretended state derived from 
the services of the Helots, the army guarded the 
miserable beings from foreign invaders, and pro- 
tected them in the enjoyment of the blessings of 
absolute slavery ! 

In some parts of Greece slaves were, to masters, 
as ten to one, and in others as twenty to one. By 
an account taken at Athens at one time, it appear- 
ed that there were ten thousand strangers, twenty 
thousand citizens, and four hundred thousand 
slaves, and it was a similar disproportion that obli- 
ged masters every where to render the condition 

8S Appendix. 

of slaves most deplorable. They were bought, 
sold, tanned, employed, beaten, mutilated, or de- 
stroyed exactly as beast were: and, worse than 
beasts, they Avere put to torture, and deprived of 
the means of defence lest they should endeavour to 
make themselves free. The Greek slave-holders 
reduced the whole system into one short proverb, 
which passed from them to the Romans, Tot hoa- 
tes, quot sej^vi, and their history exemplified the 
adage, for slaves often mutinied, and the slaugh- 
ter of a million hath been called the salvation of a 

The Romans maintained the same absolute do- 
minion over their slaves, and for the same rea- 
son. Hence it was, that, when it was proposed 
in the senate to distinguish slaves from freemen 
by a certain dress, a senator opposed the motion, 
because he thought slaves always too much inclined 
to destroy their masters, would discover their own 
superiority of number, and be tempted by it to re- 
sist their lords, and subvert the state. The wisest 
of jiagans never imagined univ^ersal freedom, and 
the most just were so far from modern manners 
that they would be reputed barbarians now. When 
the slaves of the celebrated Cato had spent their 
lives in his service, and became through age un- 
able to work, Cato, that exact pattern of punc- 
tual pagan justice, would not be at the charge of 
supporting them, but either turned them oft' to 
shift for themselves, or suffered them to starve to 
death in his own family. Yet Cato was not liable 
to be called to account by government j on the 

Appendlv. S9 

contraiy, government protected him, and every 
other slaveholder, in the glorious right of starving 
an old slave, or stabbing a young one ! 

Into this disordered world, at a proper j^eriod, 
God sent forth his Son to proclaim liberty to cap- 
tives: the TOTAL but not the immediate aboli- 
tion of the slave trade. Here two questions rise 
to view : a question of right, and a question of 
fact. The question of right is affirmed in the fore- 
going sermon, and an attempt is made to prove 
that the enfranchisement of slaves is one act of 
justice naturally proceeding out of evangelical 
doctrine. The question of fact, whether the chris- 
tian slave-holders mentioned in the new testament 
did actually emancipate their slaves is rather sup- 
posed than proved. There are, however, some 
substantial evidences that the first christians did 
not traffic in slaves, and that they emancipated 
such as they had at their conversion as soon as the 
condition of their affairs would permit. When 
slaves were so numerous, that one master had four 
hundred, another five thousand, a third twenty 
thousand, a fourth a multitude innumerable re- 
sembling an army, it became wealthy christians, 
v/ho probably were not of very high rank, and 
had not any considerable number of slaves, to act 
with all possible caution, and to unite prudence 
with benevolence. Had they annexed manumis- 
sion to baptism, undoubtedly slaves would have 
accepted the condition, and two great evils would 
have followed: the church would have been a 
crowd of unprincipled men, who would have dis- 

90 Appendm 

graced the holy profession by ignorance and prof' 
ligacy; and the state would have been justly alarm- 
ed, lest christians should arm slaves, subvert go- 
vernment, and set up a secular kingdom. It is a 
character to the gospel that it was embraced by 
freemen, that in the history of its progress slaves 
seldom ap])ear ; that when they do it is without 
compulsion ; that on embracing Christianity they 
were admitted to full religious liberty ; and that 
the manumission of them was left to the discretion 
of the master, to be effected as soon as possible 
without damage to religion, or giving umbrage to 
the state. No other state of the case accords with 
all the circumstances of it. 

Let any man examine the Greek and Roman 
maxims of managing slaves, and which, brutal as 
they are, are absolutely necessary to render servi- 
tude safe. Then let him inquire whether a primi- 
tive disciple of Jesus could observe these maxims. 
Could the mild and merciful christian assume the 
haughty air necessary to a slave-holder to keep his 
slave at proper distance, lest he should once sus- 
pect himself of a species equal to his lord ? Could 
a christian, who had been taught not to be angry 
with his brother without cause, not to resist evil, 
to let his communication be yea, yea, nay, nay ; 
could he rate, revile, beat and torture his slave ? 
yet slaves could not be managed to profit without 
all this ! Could he, who was bound on peril of 
his destruction to feed the hungry, to clothe the 
naked, to harbour strangers, to visit the sick and 
imprisoned ; could he consult his own worldly in- 

Appendhv. 91 

terest so as to neglect all these ? yet on condition 
oi performing all these kind offices slaves were not 
M'OiU. keeping. How then was it possible for pri- 
mitive christians to buy slaves, or to hold them in 
hand ? 

To these general observations, one in particular 
may be added in proof that christian masters ac- 
tually got rid of slavery as fast as by any prudent 
means tiiey could. The first disciples of Jesus, 
drinking of the pure water of life at the spring- 
head, took no oaths, bore no arms, slied no human 
blood. A disapprobation of war includes a de- 
testation of captivity, the first fruit of war. They 
thought, wars and fightings originated in depra- 
ved passions. Their wisdom Mas pure, peaceable, 
gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good 
fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy, 
in perfect agreement with the second great com- 
mandment, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 

The truth is, there were almost from the begin- 
ning two sorts of christians : the first, genuine dis- 
ciples of Jesus, aimed only to form a church ; the 
other meant to form a state. Unhappily for the 
credit of religion the last succeeded, and introdu- 
ced all the maxims of secular empires, rank and 
subordination, licentious inactivity and horrible 
slavery, oaths and arms, and the shedding of hu- 
man blood, and so forced monachism upon reluc- 
tant nations under the name and in the place of 
Christianity. Even these mistaken christians 
have acknowledged tiiat it is a part of Christianity 

52 Appendlv. 

to liberate slaves : but the other class, though they 
fell into disgrace, and were distinguislied in diffe- 
rent countries by many odious names agreeing only 
in this, that they were non-catholics, retained the 
primitive faith and manners, and while they prac- 
tically asserted their own freedom, taught the rights 
of all mankind. 

These two do not always go together, and, to 
omit other countries, France affords an example 
of the most pointed abhorrence of personal slavery 
at home,along with a code of colonial law establish- 
ing on barbarous principles absolute and perpe- 
tual slavery in her plantations. It was in the year 
1315 that Lewis X. issued an ordinance, which 
declared : — That all mankind were by nature free- 
born : that many of the common people were held 
in servitude for the faults of their ancestors : that 
the kingdom was called the kingdom of Franks : 
that the king, by the advice of his grand council, 
determined the fact should accord with the name: 
and that therefore all slaves should be enfranchised 
upon just and reasonable conditions. The French 
lawyers do consider this ordinance as putting a final 
period to slavery in France, but they do not allow 
that freedom originated in it : on the contrary, they 
affirm on the testimony of ancient and authentic 
writers that, although they know not the source of 
the privilege, which effaced the idea of pure slavery 
in France, yet they have full proof that the Franks 
were originally free: tiiat they were none of them 
slaves : and that if any foreign slave entered the 
country crying France and liberty, the state pro- 

Jppcndlv. 93 

tected him in the enjoyment of freedom, so that 
his master could neitlier recover his original cost, 
nor his future service without his own consent. 
They, therefore, regarded this ordinance as the re- 
stitution of an ancient allowed right, which later 
customs had violated. In 1571 a merchant of Nor- 
mandy offered to sale at Bourdeaux several ]\loors, 
but the parliament of Guienne by a solemn decree 
set them all at liberty, because France, the parent 
of liberty, did not allow any slavery in the king- 
dom. In the reign of Henry III. a Spanish man of 
war ran ashore by distress of weather near Calais. 
The governor understanding there were aboard 
two or three hundred Turks, Moors, and Barba- 
rians, whom Spain had enslaved by the fate of war, 
seized the slaves, and sent them to the kingatChar- 
tres. There, as they had been instructed, they 
placed themselves kneeling, and naked as they had 
been abroad, on the steps of the church to which 
the king was going to hear mass. On his majesty's 
arrival, in a tone which only distress can utter, 
they cried misericorde, onisericorde. The king ob- 
served them, and after dinner assembled his coun- 
cil to deliberate ; and neither the credit of the duke 
of Guise, who used all his interest, nor the memo- 
rial of the Spanish ambassador, who claimed the 
slaves for his court, and who urged the good un- 
derstandino; then subsisting between the two crowns, 
and further, that accident, not design, had brought 
them to Calais ; nor any other reasons could pre- 
vail against the doctrine that no slavery could be 
endured for a moment in France, and the slaves 

94 Appetidlv. 

were declared free. Soon after, they were shipped 
at Marseilles for Constantinople, and every man 
was complimented with a crown-piece. 

The black code, as it is called, or the royal edict 
for the government of negro slaves in the planta- 
tions, is dated Versailles, 1685. It consists of 
eixty articles, of a few of which this is the substance. 
No negro slaves shall many without the consent 
of their masters : the children of slaves belong to 
their masters : no slave shall be suffered to carry 
any walking sticks or offensive arms, nor shall slaves 
of different masters gather together in companies, 
night or day, under any pretence whatever, on 
pain of corporal punishment, in some cases of im- 
prisonment, in others of death : Avhatever a slave 
acquires by his own industry, or by the liberality 
of others, or by any other means, shall belong 
wholly to his master ; and no person, slave or free- 
man, child or relation, shall be allowed to claim 
any share, all promises and obligations of slaves 
being null and void, they having no power to dis- 
pose of any thing : no slave shall be suffered to 
execute any public office or commission, or to ne- 
gotiate any business, except for his master : he 
shall not be allowed to give evidence in any cause 
civil or criminal, and in case he be heard in evi- 
dence, his deposition shall not afford any presump- 
tion, conjecture, or shadow of proof, but shall be 
used only to direct the judges where evidence may 
be elsewhere found : no slave shall be a party in 
any civil or criminal process for the reparation of 
outrages and excesses committed against slaves: 

Appendix, 95 

If a slave shall strike his master, or his master's 
wife, his mistress, or their children, so as to fetch 
blood, or on the face, he shall be punished with 
death ; and all offences against freemen shall be 
severely punished ; in some cases with death : a fu- 
gitive slave shall, for the first time, have his ears 
cut off, and shall be marked on the shoulder with a 
flower de luce ; for the second he shall be ham- 
strung, and marked with a flower de luce on the 
other shoulder, and for the third he shall be put to 
death : masters shall not be allowed to torture or 
mutilate their slaves, but they may chain them, or 
beat them with rods or cords whenever they think 
their slaves deserve correction : in general, slaves 
shall be accounted moveables, and shall be subject 
to the same laws as all the other chattels of their 
masters. The lawyers of France observe that this 
% a code of slavery in form, and that the servitude 
of negroes in their colonies is nearly equal to that 
of Roman slaves. 

Pains have been taken by many gentlemen to 
prove that there is no necessary connection be- 
tween slavery and cruelty, and this may be true of 
a few domestic slaves: but whence, except ^rorr 
the necessity of the case, have all the law? anl 
maxims of ancient and modern slave-govertmeit 
proceeded? Whence this uniform barbarity? Tie 
nerveless Orientals, too idle to kill any thing el.e, 
behead and butcher slaves. The Greeks, ;Wh 
never famed for sincerity, were always reptitedi- 
beral and polite; yet the Greeks tortured slav^. 
The high spirited republicans at Rome, who stsb- 

96 Appendlv. 

bed a Caesar for attempting to make himself theiF 
master, were themselves the most despotical of 
mankind to their slaves. The French, who were 
never reputed cruel, while they paid an enthusias- 
tical homage to liberty at home, governed their 
plantations with a rod of iron. Even Britain, just 
in her laws, and gentle in her manners, equal in 
her zeal for liberty, and more successful in obtain- 
ing it than France, hath been alike inhuman in her 
colonial government of slaves. M'hence then could 
cruelty proceed but from a conviction that many 
slaves could not possibly be kept in order without 
it ? It was extorted, as it always must be, by ne- 
cessity. What except corporal punishment can be 
inflicted on a slave ? Would you imprison him ? 
He is in confinement. Would you banish him ? 
He is banished. W^ould you fine him ? He hath 
no property, his rags are not his own. Would you 
separate him from his wife and children ? They 
are his master's, not his. What remains? Only one 
thing : corporal punishment, which must be increa- 
sed in proportion to his offences : cut off his ears 
"ov the first ; cut the tendons of his hams and lame 
limin both legs for the second; for the third kill 
Km, and, if there be a God and a future state, let 
hm complain to him, and get redress if he can : 
bit perhaps there will be no future state, perhaps 
a legiD hath no soul, perhaps, too,there is no God ! 
the African slave-trade hath long been a dis- 
tres to individuals; and now, if a judgment may 
bcfon.ied by the numerous petitions which have 

Appendix. 97 

been presented to parliament, the general voice is 
for the TOTAL abolition of it. 

There is no difficulty m determining the nature 
of this trade : it is confessedly unjust ; and the dan- 
ger to the state from the quantum of slavery in a 
plantation is not hard to guess. There is in Ja- 
maica a tax or fine laid upon such as keep fewer 
than three white to one hundred black servants, 
and it is said there are in the island about thirty 
thousand, perhaps, more whites, and one hundred 
and seventy thousand negroes. Hence follows the 
necessity of severity. In Barbadoes the dispro- 
portion is less, if, as it is said, the whites be twenty- 
two thousand, and the negroes only seventy-two 
thousand. At St. Kitt's, the inhabitants are about 
forty thousand, of whom thirty thousand are 
blacks ; and at Nevis the whites are reputed 
about two or three thousand, and the negroes six 

Nor is there any difficulty in answering the ar- 
gument taken from the supposed natural inferiority 
of the negroes. Perhaps this may not be true ; 
and if it be, the clear conclusion is, that the wise 
ought to protect and not oppress the weak. 

It hath been affirmed, that the condition of the 
Africans on the slave coast is so wretched, that it 
is an act of mercy to transport them to the European 
plantations. Do the negroes think so ? And have 
the planters any Omiah to send bacjt with this good 
news to their countrymen ? 

gS Appendlv. 

The real difficulty lies in the immediate depen- 
dence of the plantations on the slave-trade, for in 
those sultry climates the clearing of woods, the 
cultivation of sugar, rice, and tobacco, require la- 
bours which, the planters affirm, none but negroes 
can perform : for this purpose an annual cargo 
of Africans is necessary; and in the year 1771, 
forty-seven thousand, one hundred and forty-six 
were exported, and of these the Liverpool mer- 
chants carried more than twenty-nine thousand. 
The direct produce of these, on a moderate com- 
putation, amounts to one million and a half ster- 
ling, and the indirect advantages which Britain de- 
rives from their labours in the plantations are be- 
yond computation. 

Gradually to emancipate the present slaves and 
to convert them into a yeomanry, and to supply 
future labourers without violence, are two desira- 
bles of infinite consequence; but the difficulty of 
effiscting these ends is far beyond the comprehen- 
sion of those who have only private and partial in- 
formation : however, it may be believed they are 
both within the reach of legislature, with ample in- 
demnity to the planters, and without diminution to 
the state ; but by what means must be left, as it 
ought to be, to parliamentary wisdom. ]\lean 
time several considerations encourage people to 
hope that this great evil will in due course be re- 

The total abolition of proper and absolute sla- 
very hath been effected in feudal states, as England 

Appendiv. gg 

and France, without any inconvenience, and witli 
innumerable advantages. Why should not the same 
effects proceed from the same cause in the planta- 
tions ? Would not free negroes, properly treated, 
propagate tlieir species in the plantations as well as 
on the coast of Guinea ? A growth of negroes would 
render importation unnecessary. 

The Spaniards have made trial of a gradual en- 
franchisement of their slaves, and no ill conse- 
quences have followed. At the Havannah the pur- 
chaser of a slave is obliged by law to enter the 
name and the price of the slave in a public regis- 
ter, to allow him one day in every week to work 
for himself, beside Sundays. The earnings of this 
day, if he choose to work, are secured to him by 
law, and as soon as he is able to purchase another 
day the master is obliged to sell it to him at the 
price of one fifth of his original cost, and so like- 
wise the remaining four days at the same rate as 
soon as the slave is able to redeem them, after 
which he is absolutely free. 

Some gentlemen have made trials similar to this, 
in the main, in the British plantations with great 
success, and the Americans are daily experiencing 
the good effects of their efforts to the same pur- 
pose. What should hinder others from imitating 
examples good in themselves, and successful in 
the issue ? 

Some of the best informed commercidl writers 
in Europe affirm that the slave trade obstructs 

100 Appendiv. 

another trade better than itself: that Africa is the 
best situated for commerce of any quarter of the 
world ; that from Port-Sallee to the Cape of Good 
Hope is an extent of about three thousand leagues 
of coast ; that its rivers are of the first magnitude, 
as the Nile and Nubia on the north shore, which 
fall into the Mediterranean, the Niger which emp- 
ties itself into the Atlantic on the west, the Con- 
go, the Zairi, and the Loango, south of the line, 
which fall into the Ethiopic ocean on the west 
side, beyond the gold coast, the Natal, the Prio 
St. Esprit, the Melinda, and the Mozambo, Avhich 
empty themselves into the Indian ocean on the east 
side of Africa ; that the country is populous be- 
yond credibility, and that if proper measures were 
pursued a gi'eater quantity of European produce 
and manufactures might be exported thither than 
to any other country in the whole world ; that there 
are rich mines of gold and silver, and the finest 
copper in the world; that many parts, and par- 
ticularly the banks of the rivers near the gold coast, 
and the slave coast, are capable of the best culti- 
vation ; a temperate, fertile, healthy and manage- 
able soil ; that cinnamon, tea, coftee, spices, gin- 
ger, cotton, rice, pepper, fustic and indigo, have 
some of them thriven to admiration, and all might 
do so by proper management; that wheat and 
barley are in plenty and perfection; that the woods 
abound with valuable timber, rich fruits, and pre- 
cious gums; that there are camels, horses, ele 
phants, and almost all sorts of beasts; that ivory, 
hides, wax, ebonvj feathers, sulphur, civet, salt petre, 

Appendlv. J 1 

emeralds, aloes, and a thousand other articles of 
traffic, abound in the immense kingdoms of Afri- 
ca ; and that at the entrance of the rivers into the 
sea there are excellent harbours, deep, safe, calm, 
covered from the wind, and capable of being made 
secure by fortiti cations. These are not reveries 
of landlopers, but true facts reported by seamen 
and merchants from actual observation of the 
coast, and the African islands, JNIadagascar, St. 
Helens, Cape Verd, the Canary and the rest ; and 
they add, that the numerous emoluments of Afri- 
can commerce are capable of amazing augmenta- 
tion ; that such augmentation is very practicable ; 
that the treasures of Africa are inexhaustible; 
that nothing which could be cultivated there could 
possibly interfere with the produce of Britain; 
that the amount of African trade must be esteem- 
ed so much clear profit to the nation ; and that 
nothing but the slave-trade obstructs all this. 

The Dutch have humanized the savages of the 
spice islands, who were as barbarous as the Afri- 
can negroes ; and it was a maxim with them to at- 
tach the natives to themselves by proffered advan 
tages of traffic more than by force of arms, which 
they never used but to preserve the dominion they 
had acquired by commerce. The mighty power 
of the Dutch in the East Indies originally spranop 
from a very small beginning. Nine merchants of 
Amsterdam subscribed 70,000 guilders, fitted out 
four ships, which sailed from the Texel 1595, and 
founded th3 Dutch East India company, whose ex- 

1 03 Appendlv. 

tent of territory and immense riches are known 
only to themselves. It is the slave trade that pre- 
vents the Europeans from forming similar settle- 
ments in Africa ; for it is impossible to concihate 
the Africans while we stir up wars among the negro 
princes for the sake of making captives of each 
other for sale. 

The history of the South Sea company, and the 
Assiento exhibit a contrast to the Dutch prospe- 
rity in the east. The Spaniards, having in a man- 
ner destroyed the natives of Spanish America, and 
having no settlements on the coast of Africa, are 
obliged to contract with foreigners for an annual 
supply of negro slaves to work their gold and silver 
mines. The contract hath passed through several 
hands. The Genoese first engaged in it, but they 
made nothing of it. The French succeeded them, 
and seemed to flourish a while, but in the end they 
were sufferers. Then the English South sea com- 
pany obtained the contract, and undertook to fur- 
nish 4,800 negroes a year, for thirty years; but the 
company, like the former Assientists, gained no ad- 
vantages; worse than former contractors they could 
not fullil their engagements, and the contract has- 
tened their ruin. That freemen may be engaged 
to work in mines; that free negroes may be induced 
to labour under the line; and that Europeans, if 
not wrought too hard, may be prevailed on to work 
in the plantations, arc positions incontestible with 
many; and if they be granted, it follows that the 
slave trade is a gratification of the ambition and 

Appendlv, 103 

avarice of a few at the expence of the general 
4)rosperity of commercial kingdoms, and the na- 
tural rights of millions of the human species. Do 
the millions of negroes in bondage ever kneel down, 
clasp their hands, and with dripping eyes look up- 
ward ? Great Being ! with what eyes dost thou 
behold them ! 



Delivered at Cambridge, October 30, 1788, at a general meeting of 
deputies of tiic congregations of protestant dissenters in the 
county of Cambridge. 

MATTHEW XX. 25, 9^6. 

Jesus said; ye know that the princes of the Gen-. 
tiles e.vercise dominion over them, and they, that 
are great, e.vercise authority upon them: but 


X HE most violent prejudice, tliat ever was for- 
med against the christian religion, is that which is 
taken from the means employed to support it. 
People say, and they say truly; a divine revelation,, 
suppose such a thing, must have in itself motives 
of credibility; and, if it have, force must be in all 
cases unnecessary, and in most extremely dange- 
rous. The profession of the christian religion, 
they add, is supported, not by argument, but by 
secular authority. Christianity therefore is not 

We call this, however, a prejudice, and by a 
very plain distinction we more than dissolve the 
prejudice; we convert this objection against Chris- 
tianity into an argument in defence of it. Chris- 
tianity is to be considered in two different views : 
the one as it is represented in the doctrine and 

On sacrametital tests. 105 

precepts of Christ, and the other as it is described 
in the doctrine and precepts of some of his follow-^ 
ers. That these are very dit!erent, and that the 
one is subversive of the other, a comparison of the 
text with the institutes of some christians most 
clearly proves. The princes of the gentiles exer- 
cise dominion over them; but it shall not be so 
among you • this is pure scripture. Tiie princes 
of the gentiles exercise dominion over them; and 
it sJiall be so among you : this is Christianity cor- 
rupted. The first is credible because it is just: 
the last appears incredible, because Almighty God 
cannot be the author of a rational religion, so de- 
fective in motives of credibility, as to need the aid 
of secular power to support its credit in the world. 
That our Lord speaks here of human authority 
over religion, I take for granted. If proof be ne- 
cessary, let us observe the words. The jnincesof 
the gentiles exercise dominion. It was not civil 
government, then, common to both Jews and Gen- 
tiles, which Jesus forbad; but it was such domi- 
nion as heathen monarchs exercised, but which 
the kings of the Jews did not. The written law of 
]\Ioses was the religion of the Jews, and the legis- 
lator had said, ye shall not add, neither shall you 
diminish aught. Observe all the words of this 
law, it is your life. The Jewish kings were required 
to write a copy of the law, but they had no autho- 
rity to alter a word. It was not so with the gen- 
tiles; and the lesson that was read to-day immedi- 
ately before prayer, the third chapter of Daniel, 
was intended to inform us what dominion the Lord 

10(5 On sacramental tests. 

prohibited in the text. A christian prince must 
not govern like a pagan ; he must not either invent 
a false religion, or support a true one by force. 

By what mistaken management, then, hath it 
come to pass, that the disciples contradict their 
master: that in a case of which he expressly says, 
it shall not he, they presume to affirm, it shall be. 
This is the question which we are going to answer, 
not by quoting texts, but by reporting a few facts, 
which account for the intrusion of dominion into 
the church. The narration may serve to shew the 
injustice of human authority over conscience, and 
to exculpate modern governors who certainly had 
no concern in the introduction of it, and of course 
have no blame for finding it there. Whether they 
will acquire the praise, as it is in their power, of 
casting this demon out, must be left to themselves 
to determine. 

Parents and guardians were the first Avho exer- 
cised this dominion. Christianity was first taught 
in a province of the Roman empire. From thence 
it diffused itself into all the provinces, where the 
patria potestas, the absolute power of parents over 
their children was an ancient right. There the 
condition of minors formed a difficult case. Might 
a christian guardian of rich pagan minors initiate 
his wards into the christian church? Could a pa- 
gan guardian prevent a christian minor "s initiating 
himself? Was a christian master of a charity 
school of pagan orphans to be justified by law for 
incorporating his pupils under age into the chris- 
tian church ? Could a minor dispose of himself? 

Oil sacramental tests. 107 

At Alexandria in Egypt, and at Carthage in Af- 
rica the question was agitated. At Alexandria 
they did receive youths under age into the church. 
At Carthage a celebrated christian lawyer advised 
the church to defer the admission of them. In 
time, however, the interested turned the scale, and 
the admission of minors, and even of babes almost 
universally prevailed. 

Some apology may be made for the Alexandri- 
ans. They had some extraordinary youths in their 
school. Origen was a young man of forward and 
uncommon parts, and the church appointed him 
catechist at the age of eighteen, when seven years 
were wanting to complete his majority. Seven of 
his young disciples had the courage to suffer mar- 
tyrdom, of whom five had been initiated into the 
church by baptism, for which the other two were 
preparing. After the time of Origen, the celebra- 
ted Didymus was of this school. This child lost 
his sight when he was about five years of age. He 
had pleased himself with the hope of becoming a 
scholar, and had enjoyed his siglit long enough to 
learn the magnitude of his loss. When his heart 
was ready to burst with grief, he heard somebody 
read the nineteenth of Matthew, where the Lord 
speaks of the difficulty of the salvation of a rich 
man, and makes use of these words, with men this 
is impossible, hut ivith God all things are possible. 
His troubled heart laid hold of the last words, with 
God all things are possible, and he became a pe- 
titioner to God to repair his loss by enlightening 
his mind. A friend said, be not uneasy, Didymus, 

108 On sacramental tests. 

for though it hath pleased Providence to deprive 
you of natural sight, such as flies and other little 
animals enjoy, yet he hath given you such powers 
as those, with which angels behold the majesty of 
God. In brief, Didymus by indefatigable atten- 
tion became a scholar, eminent in several sciences, 
so that he was appointed to preside in the school, 
where he educated many, m4io w^ere afterwards 
great men. He dictated and published many books, 
and in very advanced age, some say his ninety-third 
year, he departed this life adorned with reputation 
by his survivors. 

In peculiar cases, no doubt, persons may under- 
stand and believe the christian religion in early life, 
and in them it is an act of discretion to dispose of 
themselves by embracing the christian profession 
without waiting for forms of human law, which 
the wisdom of legislators hath regulated, not by 
peculiar cases, but by the general condition of 
mankind. The argument for minority doth not 
apply to infancy, and as a profession of any thing 
ought not to be imposed upon a child, much less 
ought the profession of a religion to be imposed 
upon a natural infant, who in tliis respect is an 
irrational animal, that doth not know, and cannot 
consent at all. 

We suppose, our Saviour in the text forbad the 
exercise of this parental dominion in his favour. 
It was to his honour that he did so, for had he 
directed, — impose my name upon all your descen- 
dants without their knowledge or consent; intro- 
duce the unjust and capricious patria potestas of 

On sacramental tests. 109 

the Romans into my kingdom, and let the chris- 
tian church be the wise and the ignorant, the pro- 
fligate and the pure; he would have rendered his 
gospel suspected. It would have seemed what it 
ought not to seem, as if it shrunk from a fair in- 

This dominion, which hath been exercised for 
many ages, continues to be so. When children 
first begin to think, Christianity is not proposed to 
their examination, but they are informed they are 
christians already disposed of by a contract made 
for them by proxies, whom they are taught to call 
godfathers, and godmothers, who promised and 
vowed three things in their name, that they should 
renounce Satan and the pomps of the world, that 
they should, believe all the articles of the christian 
faith, and that they should keep God's holy com- 
mandments all the days of their lives ; and when 
they are asked whether they hold themselves bound 
to perform these engagements of their proxies, 
each is taught to answer, yes verily, and by God's 
help so I will. 

I hope, such of you, my brethren, as practise the 
baptism of infants, will not imagine I am censur- 
ing you. You baptize infants because you sin- 
cerely believe infant baptism is agreeable to scrip- 
ture, but you do not incorporate them into your 
churches. You defer this till they arrive at years 
of discretion ; and then, laying aside all compul- 
sion, you admit them because they desire to be 
admitted, upon proof that they have thought for 
themselves^, and are christians on their own con- 

1 10 On sacramental tests. 

viction of the truth of Christianity. This is a case 
different from that of infant church membership, 
and extremely so from that of youth in some coun- 
tries, who would renounce their infant initiation 
at the hazard of their lives. There parental do- 
minion reigns in all its horrour. Parents are 
compelled to exercise it, and their children are 
doomed to suffer all its consequences. 

Imperial dominion is a second kind of autho- 
rity, vvhich christian princes have introduced into 
the christian church. The title and the power of 
Pontifex nuLvwiiis, high priest, had been assumed 
by pagan emperors long before any of them pro- 
fessed the christian religion, and Julius Ceesar 
was high priest, as well as Constantine. It was 
an office of great dignity, extensive patronage, and 
absolute power in the state. When Constantine 
entered into the christian church he brought along 
with him all his imperial titles, and his absolute 
dominion. Like a true politician he joined him- 
self to the most numerous and the most powerful 
party of christians, and they, being at the same 
time the least enlightened, and the most depraved 
of all other parties of christians, taught him to ex- 
ercise his pagan authority over all his subjects both 
pagan and christian. They flattered him, that he 
was ajudge of their speculations, which they called 
articles of faith ; that it was his duty to regulate a 
ceremonial, and to support both by the omnipo- 
tence of his imperial power. They persuaded him, 
this was the christian religion ; and they interpreted 
his dream iato divine visions, in order to convince 

On sacramental tests. 1 1 1 

him, and to bear down the populace, that Almicrhty 
God had miraculously raised him up to support a 
faction, and to oppress the rest of mankind for his 

When this first christian emperor issued edicts 
to destroy pagan temples and sacrifices; when he 
arranged a priesthood, erected christian temples, 
and endowed churches, he acted constitutionally; 
for the pagan Pontife.v ma.vimus had always been 
considered as the judge and arbitrator of divine 
and human affairs. The institution was nearly 
coeval with Rome, and it was a law of the twelve 
tables, that no person should worship any new or 
foreign god, unless authorised by public authority. 
If the pagan Romans tolerated all religions, it was 
not owing to a necessity of law, but to a wise 
though unwritten policy, which usually regulated 
the atfairs of that brave and generous people. Un- 
happily, Constantine rejected this sound policy, 
and by becoming a partizan, and taking a side, 
threw all the empire into a confusion, which issued 
in the dismemberment and destruction of it. 

Imperial power over the religion of the people 
fell with the empire into the hands of various civil 
governors, and in this country it resides in ours. 
The legislative power have adopted a plan of faith 
and practice prepared by the clergy of one party, 
and the executive })ower hath the prerogative of 
supporting it. The princes of the gentiles exercise 
authority over them, and it shall be so among you ! 
A third kind of dominion I call, for distinction 
sake, feudal. In former times a set of adventu- 

1 12 On sacramental tests ^^ 

rers issued out of their forests, subdued a country 
thinly inhabited, destro3-ed or enslaved the na- 
tives, divided the lands among themselves, peo- 
pled their wastes with captives and slaves, deno- 
minated themselves lords, and ruled without con- 
troul. Men, women, children, cattle, utensils, 
the natural and artificial produce, all were the pro- 
perty of the lord, and his will their only law. 
When vast districts had been so peopled, and when 
these feudal lords began to think of civilizing their 
slaves, they parcelled out their lands, and erected 
manses, which in time became villages, in each 
of which they set up a building for the service of 
God, placed a priest to preside over the religi- 
on of the tenants, endowed the service with house 
and lands, and ordered the payment of what are 
now called tithes. On the demise, or the remo- 
val of the incumbent, the lord, not the tenants, 
appointed his successor. The tenants were not 
supposed capable of judging, and they were never 
consulted. Hence no affection in the people, and 
no emulation in the priest. This dominion of pa- 
tronage remains, although the reason of it hath 
long since vanished. In barbarous times, pagans 
and slaves, incapable to judge because deprived 
of the means, apt to mutiny because galled with 
a yoke of bondage, and in a country where the su- 
preme governor was only the strongest feudal lord, 
and when there was no law, no civil order, no 
safe and regular succession, it might be prudent 
to suspend the right of election; but how can this 
argument be urged against an enlightened, peace- 

On sacramental tests. 113 

able, and well governed nation of freemen ? They 
select their friends, choose their professions, em- 
ployments and diversions, prefer their wives, ap- 
point their physicians, nominate their representa- 
tives in the state, free in all when they do not in- 
terrupt civil order; and why the same men so 
capable in other cases, may not elect their minis- 
ters, who can assign a satisfactory reason? As- 
suredly, this text cannot be quoted : — among the 
Gentiles they that are great exercise authority 
over them, but it sliall not he so among you. 

To mention only one article more. Hierarchi- 
cal power is a sort of dominion, wdiich the text 
forbids. It is, I think, a popular error, but it is 
not, I presume, an error of this assembly, that the 
hierarchy of Rome originated with such plain men 
as you, the mere teachers of primitive christians, 
then denominated, as the inspectors of a road, and 
the overseers of any company were, bishops. Your 
societies have no idea of establishing Christianity; 
they have not even the scheme of popery in con- 
templation. Your congregations have order, but 
no authority. One member claims no authority 
over another member witliin your churches ; and 
one of your congregations does not pretend to 
exercise authority over any other congregation. 
Had Christ our master and Lord delegated his 
authority to any individual, or to any collective 
body, he would have sown the seed of a spiritual 
monarchy, which to have supported itself must 
have become a secular dominion ; and the head of 


1 14 On sacramental tests. 

it a worldly power able t6 contend with and sub- 
due emperors and kings; but he did not institute 
such an authority at all, and no man can shew his 
warrant for the exercise of it. Fraternal order he 
did institute, but dominion he expressly forbad; 
and Jesus is guiltless of all the oppression that hath 
been exercised, and all tiie blood that hath been 
shed by his ill-informed followers in his name. 

Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, 
ages before Jesus was born, was the man, who 
framed for purposes of government a pagan hier- 
archy, and monks were tlie men who introduced 
it with success into the catholic church. With ca- 
tholics it is a common saying, if St Benedict, the 
father of western monachism, had never preach- 
ed, St. Peter, the apostle of Jesus, might have 
gone a begging. There is, moreover, this diffe- 
rence between the pagan and the papal hierarchy, 
the first only regulated a ritual which left opinion 
free, but the last, beside a ceremonial, establish- 
ed' articles of faith. 

The Catholic church of Rome was of little ac- 
count, and made no figure before the council of 
Nice, and it owes its splendor and power chiefly 
to two events: the removal of the seat of empire 
from Rome to Constantinople by Constantino, and 
the innundation of the monks. When the people 
of Rome chose a monk for their bishop, since 
known by the nanie of Gregory the great, their 
state was very low. At the beginning of the sixth 
century, they had only one king in the world in 
their community, Clovis, King of the Salii, a na- 

On sacramental tests, 115 

tlon of Franks; (all the rest were pao;ans or ari- 
ans:)but Avhen Gregory became bishop of Rome, 
he employed monks to extend his empire every 
where. Into this country he sent one Augustine, 
accompanied by forty other monks, in his own 
style, to convert the nation to the christian faith ; 
that is, in our's, to impose upon a free people by 
the aid of the civil power, monachism in the name 
of Christianity. Austin desired a conference with 
the British christians, who, without interrupting 
government, had been long peaceably cultiv^ating 
their lands and adoring their God. The Britons 
sent a deputation to meet him, with directions to 
observe his deportment. If he should appear to 
resemble Jesus in meekness and lowliness, they 
were to give him the right hand of fellowship; but 
if he should behave with haughtiness, they were 
to return as they went. Austin received them 
with insolence, and took the tone of autliority. 
The Britons, open to reason but averse to force, 
returned. The barbarous monk, better acquainted 
with his missal than with the new testament, and 
more true to the secret orders of his master at 
Rome, than to the prohibition of Jesus in the text, 
pretended that the rejection oflumselfwds contempt 
of GOD, and prophesied the destruction of all the 
British christians. This was soon after effected by 
the sword, which, it is credible, was unsheathed 
only by the intrigues of the devout missionary. 

The land being thus converted, more than se- 
ven long centuries did a succession of monks con- 
H 2 

Il6 On sacramental tests. 

tinue to fascinate the wise, and to frighten the 
weak, into zeal for mysteries which none of them 
understood, into absolute obedience to a foreign- 
er, who was both a secular prince and a high-priest, 
and who governed by his will, or by a code of fo- 
reign law, and into the loss of all that their remote 
ancestors had held most dear. By a wise order of 
providence, in time the ill produced its own cure, 
and the oppression became so general and so in- 
tolerable, that an inquiry into the cause began, and 
by due process inquiry ended in the reformation. 
A noble design, but executed only in part. Had 
all dominion over conscience been banished, every 
thing else would have fallen into its own proper 
place ; but though monks were expelled, idols dis- 
mounted, ceremonies reformed, and foreign autho- 
rity disowned, yet that, vvhich had produced all 
abuses, remained, dominion over conscience,only 
it was vested in the king. 

By the way, it is not accurate to speak of a con- 
stitution in church and state, as if the church were 
half the state, or as if the British constitution con- 
sisted of two independent empires in alliance, be- 
cause the truth is, the executive power distributes 
the religion of the state by the clergy, exactly as 
the same executive power distributes the Mealth, 
the protection, and the law of the state, by other 
classes of state officers. We do not say, constitu- 
tion in law and state, or in army and state, or in 
exchequer and state, for all these are creatures of 
state, branches of civil government; and such is 
the church. 

On sacramental tests. 117 

To return. Under this authority, protestants, 
who had been in exile for resisting foreign domi- 
nion over conscience, returned home, and without 
a blush, exercised the same kind of dominion over 
their fellow subjects, some of them too their fellow 
sufferers. Ecclesiastical government was the fatal 
rock on which all reformers dashed. Once allow 
the principle, that conscience will admit of other 
than ^e//-government, and you introduce confu- 
sion and every evil work, to determine who shall 
govern, the Presbyter, the Prince, the Bishop, or 

the Pope. 

From the reformation to the revolution oppres- 
sion excited inquiry. Some examined the original 
records of Christianity, others studied the rise, the 
nature, and the extent of civil government, toge- 
ther with the ancient usages of our remote ances- 
tors, and the most concluded that tyranny in every 
form, and in every degree, was an interruption of 
social happiness ; and that of all countries in the 
world, Britain had the deepest interest in making 
her inhabitants perfectly free. 

Protestants of those times examined the aftair of 
dominion to the bottom. By reading the genuine 
scriptures, they found, Christ had not empowered 
any one christian to rule the conscience of another, 
or any one society of christians to impose laws of 
religion upon another. They observed, he had 
expressly forbidden the exercise of all dominion 
of this kind. By studying civil government, they 
understood that a good civil magistracy took cog- 
nizance of onK overt acts, which disturb the peace 

1 18 On sacramental tests. 

of societ3^ By reading our ancient records they 
concluded, that authority over conscience was as 
unconstitutional in this kingdom as it was unjust 
in itself. They objected, that Queen Elizabeth, 
on one day, by sound of trumpet, received the 
whole nation into her church, and then held all fast 
bound by arbitrary laws. They remarked, that 
subscription to thirty or forty speculations of the 
schools contributed nothing to the peace of society, 
but that the imposition of it tended only to divide, 
disturb, and distress; that it was unjust to oblige 
men to declare their unfeigned assent and consent 
to all things contained in a book, which compelled 
them often in every year to pronounce a sentence 
of inevitable destruction on all Arians and Socini- 
ans, and yet, when the same people died, to pro- 
nounce them dear brethren, and to pray that their 
own souls might rest with theirs in heaven. They 
added many other objections against the book. 
They rejected canonical obedience to an ordinary 
upon oath. In brief, they refused to conform; and 
for non-conformity they suffered fines and bonds, 
exile and death. I own, it is not in my power to 
censure this numerous host of christians. Would 
I, a freeborn native of this enlightened country, 
exchange my christian liberty for a state of such 
servility'^ 1 vvould not. To say nothing of the 
gospel, the Briton in my soul, (forgive the expres- 
sion) a laudable pride of birthright would forbid 

The justice of these remonstrances, and others 
proceeding from the same love of liberty, carried 

On sacramental tests. 119 

conviction into all mens' minds, and in due time 
produced the glorious revolution of sixteen hundred 
eighty eight; but, glorious as the revolution was, 
it was no", however, perfect; for although liberty 
was declared the unquestionable birthright of all 
Englishmen, yet liberty of conscience was oflered 
to a large part of the nation, only on condition of 
their resigning some of their most honourable 
])irthrights ; and taking the sacrament according to 
the usage of the church of England was made a 
test of competency to hold any civil or military of- 
fice. This was done much against the will of the 
king, and many members of parliament, and all 
the disinterested part of the nation. 

Some noble lords of the upper house left upon 
record a protest, which clearly discovers what they 
thought of this remnant of ancient tyranny. This 

is part of it. 

"We dissent. 1. Because it gives great part 
of the protestant freemen of England reason to 
complain of inequality and hard usage, when they 
are excluded from public employments by law; 
and also,because it deprives the king and kingdom 
of divers men fit and capable to serve the public 
in several stations, and that for a mere scruple of 
conscience, which can by no means render them 
suspected, much less disaffected to the government 

"2. Because his majesty, as the common and in- 
dulgent father of his people, having expressed an 
earnest desire of liberty for tender consciences to 
his protestant subjects; and my lords the bishops 
having divers of them, on several occasions pro- 

120 On sacramental tests. 

fessed an inclination to, and owned the reasonable- 
ness of such a temper; we apprehend it will raise 
suspicion in some mens' minds of something else 
than the care of religion, or the public, and dif- 
ferent from a design to heal our breaches, when 
they find that by confining secular employments 
to ecclesiastical conformity, those are shut out from 
civil affairs, whose doctrine and worship may be 
tolerated by authority of parliament; there being a 
bill before us by order of the house to that pur- 
pose ; especially when w ithout this exclusive rigour 
the church is secured in all her privileges and pre- 
ferments, nobody being hereby let into them who 
is not strictly conformable. 

" 3. Because to set marks of distinction and hu- 
miliation on any sort of men, who have not ren- 
dered themselves justly suspected to government, 
as it is at all times to be avoided by the makers 
of just and equitable laws, so may it be particularly 
of ill effect to the reformed interest both at home 
and abroad at this present conjuncture, which 
stands in need of the united hands and hearts of 
all protestants. 

" 4. Because it turns the edge of a law (we know 
not by what fate) upon protestants and friends to 
the government, which was intended against pa- 
pists, to exclude them from places of trust, as men 
avowedly dangerous to our government and reli- 
gion: and thus the taking the sacrament which 
was enjoined only as a means to discover papists, 
is now made a distinguishing duty amongst protes- 

On sacramental tests. 121 

tants, to weaken the whole by casting ofT a part of 

*' 5. Because mysteries of religion and divine wor- 
ship are of divine original, and of a nature so 
wholly distinct from the secular aftairs of politic 
society, that they cannot be applied to those ends ; 
and therefore the church by the law of the gospel, 
as well as common prudence, ought to take care 
neither to offend tender consciences within itself, 
nor give offence to those without, by mixing their 
sacred mysteries with secular interests. 

" 6. Because we cannot see how it can consist 
with the law of God, common equity, or the right 
of any free-born subject, that any one be punished 
without crime. If it be a crime not to take the sa- 
crament according to the usage of the church of 
England, every one ought to be punished for it, 
which nobody affirms : if it be no crime, those, 
who are capable and judged fit for employments 
by the king, ought not to be punished with a law 
of exclusion for not doing that which it is no crime 
to forbear." 

To reasons so substantial it should seem unne- 
cessary to add any thing; I will however take the 
liberty to subjoin a few other remarks. 

This iniquitous test affects the royal prerogative. 
In a mixed monarchy, like this, where the legisla- 
tive power commits the executive power to one 
person, who is obliged by the nature and necessity 
of the case, to discharge his high trust by employ- 
ing officers to represent himself, a sacramental is 
an improper test, because should the monarch ob- 

1 22 On sacramental tests. 

serve men ever so capable of serving the state, how 
much soever their talents and their integrity might 
recommend them, vet this unrio;hteous law, more 
suitable to a bigot than a prince, would forbid the 
sovereign to appoint them to office. 

Nor is this test less inconsistent with the wisdom 
that constituted parliament. If not receiving the 
sacrament according to the usage of the church of 
England do not disqualify a man for sitting in par- 
liament, why doth it disqualify him for the office 
of a tidewaiter ? Do we require less to qualify a 
man to hold our most sacred trusts, our proper- 
ties, our liberties, and our lives, than to fit him to 
watch the landing of goods at the custom-house? 

Some complain of a profanation of a sacred in- 
stitute. Whether we, sinful men, have any reli- 
gion, or not, surely there are some, who have gi- 
ven unsuspected proofs of piety; and they say, we 
always think of the Supreme Being with the most 
profound reverence : we consider the worship of 
him, with the deepest veneration, as the most seri- 
ous and important business of life : we adore the 
father of mankind for all his works, and chiefly for 
sending his Son to enlighten our minds, and to re- 
gulate our actions; and when we behold the holy 
institutes of a kingdom not of this world, now im- 
posed upon the wicked, and now refused to the 
good, diverted from the original end of their ap- 
pointment, and prostituted to secular purposes, we 
blush and tremble at the sight. 

Nor let it be once imagined that we, who detest 
impositions of this kind, are selfish for doing so. 

On sacramental tests, 123 

M e know no men, who have more reason to com- 
plain of the sacramental test, than the established 
clergy. By the rubric they are required to repel 
open evil livers Jrom the table of the Lord; but 
by the test law they are compelled to admit com- 
municants of no faith, and of profligate manners. 
Should a conscientious clergyman, after proper 
notice given, refuse to administer the sacrament 
to quahfy an atheist for holding an office under 
government, he would expose himself to a law suit, 
which might end in his ruin. 

Even bad men have an interest in the repeal of 
the test; for some, who are nominated to offices, 
know themselves unworthy communicants, and 
they think if they receive the bread and wine tifi- 
worthili/, they render themselves guilty of the 
body and blood of the Lord: should such men be 
compelled to add tiiis to all their other sins; and 
can such a crime be necessary to the safety of a 
state ? 

But it is not this sort of men, it is not atheists 
deists, and profligates, upon whom the test law is 
intended to spend its force, but another, a class of 
virtuous characters exposed to scorn for imaginary 
offences called schism and heresy. Yet what have 
states to do with heresy.? They create the crime, 
and then punish it; but could statesmen be per- 
suaded to let religion alone, there v,'ould remain no 
such crime to be punished. Among the brave 
and virtuous Goths, there was no such word in all 
their primitive codes of law ; and opinions the 
most preposterous do no injury to the state, as 

12-1 On sacramental tests. 

daily experience proves. Where mens' lives are 
inoffensive, their speculations ought to be free. 
To illustrate this, I beg leave to read a part of 
what an ancient heretic wrote to the parent of mo- 
dern orthodoxy, I mean Augustine of Afiica. The 
writer was a Manichean, and I choose one of this 
denomination, because of all heretics, ancient and 
modern, the Manicheans are treated, and by the 
orthodox (as catholics call themselves) ever have 
been treated as the most dangerous members of 
society, and the last to be suffered to live in any 
christian state. So very distant have their notions 
of Christianity always been from those of the ca- 
tholics, that the latter have never allowed them 
to be christians. 

Augustine had called a Manichean a pagan schis- 
matic, and this is a part of his ansvA-er. " You 
call me a pagan schismatic. The pagans think, 
they honour the Deity by erecting altars, temples 
and images, and by offering sacrifice and incense. 
I have quite other notions. I consider myself, if 
I be not unworthy, a living intelligent temple of 
the excellent majesty of God : I honour C'hrist his 
Son as his express image : a mind well-informed, 
I think, is an altar of the Deity, and pure and sim- 
ple adoration the service and the sacrifice. How 
then am I a pagan schismatic ? For your parts, 
you have converted pagan sacrifices into love feasts, 
idols into martyrs, and you worship them, as the 
pagans do their gods, by votive offerings : you ap- 
pease the manes of the dead by wine and festivals : 
with i)agans you celebrate pagan solemnities by 

On sacramental tests. 125 

observing their days : and of their morals you have 
altered notliing: it is you then, not we, who are 
pagan schismatics, and nothing distinguishes you 
from other heathens but your holding separate as- 

" You ask me whether I believe the gospel? Is 
that a question to put to a man, who observes all 
the precepts of it? I might with propriety put 
the question to you, because your life gives no 
proof of it. I have left father, mother, wife, chil- 
dren, and whatever else the gospel requires me to 
renounce; and you ask whether I believe the gos- 
pel ! I perceive, you do not understand the gos- 
pel, which is nothing but the doctrine and precepts 
of Jesus Christ. I have renounced silver and 
gold, and 1 carry none in my purse : I am content 
with daily bread, and I am free from anxiety about 
to-morrow, vvhat I shall eat, and wherewithal I 
shall be clothed; and you keep asking me, whether 
I believe the gospel ! You behold in me the beati- 
tudes of Christ, the very beatitudes which consti- 
tute the gospel; and you ask me whether I em- 
brace the gospel ! You see, I am poor in spirit, 
I am meek, pacific, and pure in heart; I mourn, I 
hunger, and thirst after righteousness; I suffer ha- 
tred and persecution for Christ's sake; and you 
doubt whether I believe the gospel ! We ought 
no longer to Avonder at John the baptist, who had 
seen Jesus, and had heard of his works, for sen- 
ding to inquire whether he were the Messiah. Je- 
sus, with the utmost propriety and dignity, did not 
condescend to return a direct answer, but referred 

126 On sacramental tests. 

him to his works: the blind receive their sight, the 
deaf hear, the dead rise, and so on. 

" You say, to receive the gospel is not only to 
obey the precepts of it, but to believe all things 
written in it, of which the first is, the nativity of 
God. This article, however, is not the whole 
gospel ; the precepts of it is the other essential part. 
Now, if you accuse me of not believing the gos- 
pel, because I do not admit the history of the birth 
of Christ, I may, and with much more reason, ac- 
cuse you of not believing the gospel, because you 
contemn the precepts of it. For the present, then, 
we are both ahke." Not to be tedious, the sub- 
stance of the rem^iinder on this article is this : " I 
the Manichean, do not believe the genealogies and 
the history of the birth of Christ, and 3^ou, Bishop 
of Hippo, do admit them. You do not practise the 
precepts of Christ, and I do practise them. Thus, 
on your own principles, neither of us admits the 
■whole gospel ; but, it must be granted, you have 
chosen the easy, and I the difficult part ; and Je- 
sus hath not affixed the promise of salvation to 
your part, but he hath to mine. He hath said, 
ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command 
you ; but he hath not said, ye are my friends, if 
ye believe 1 was born of a virgin." 

You see, brethren, I have quoted the worst re- 
probate I could find: a man who has the jn'esump- 
to contradict the oracle of the church, catholic and 
anti-catholic ; a man who taxed a saint, and a 
great saint, with holding a heterodox faith, and 
livincr a wicked life, differing in his morals nothing 

On sacramental tests. 127 

from a heathen ; a man, who criticised even the 
sacred scriptures, whose four gospels began with 
the baptism of Jesus, and who discarded the two 
first chapters of Matthew and Luke ; a man, how- 
ever, of undeniabe virtue : now I ask, not St. Au- 
gustine, who supported his answers by reminding 
his opponent that the emperor was his catholic bro- 
ther in Christ, but I ask you, who, though not 
saints, are, however, men of sense and piety, would 
any one of you charge himself with suppressing by 
force such aliereticas this, or shedding his blood? 
Undoubtedly, you would say of such a one, The 
Lord judge between thee andme, hut my hand shall 
not be upon thee. Perhaps, you would go fur- 
ther, and not only abstain from injuring such a man, 
but you would render him all the kind offices in 
your power, considering if he were not a christian, 
he was at least a neighbour, whom the Almighty 
had commanded you to love as yourself. 

In fine; various as christians are, there is an 
undisputed point, in which they all agree : all 
things whatsoever ye ivould that men should do 
to you, do ye even so to them ; for this is the 
law and the prophets. You are, more than forty 
congregations in this county worshipping God un- 
der the protection of the act of toleration : a hand- 
ful ; but were you ten thousand times as many, and 
liad you the law and the sword in your hands, 
could any man think it right for your majority (and 
you would have no other argument) to impose 
your faith and mode of worship on the rest of the 
inhabitants ? I know you reject the thought, on 

128 On sacramental tests. 

account of both its absurdity and injustice; for yoa 
distinguish between establishing yourselves and es- 
tablishing Christianity. To seat yourselves in all 
places of honour and profit, to the exclusion of all 
other natives, would be unjust; and to pretend to 
establish Christianity, which can no more be estab- 
lished than beauty or wit, would be absurd. Let 
us ask our neighbours, would they approve of our 
putting them in the condition into which they have 
put us? What would they say to us, if we should 
pretend, that unless all officers civil and military 
received the sacrament sitting, in our meeting 
houses, law would be violated, the treasury ex- 
hausted, the constitution subverted, and Great 
Britain and all her possessions fall into immediate 
ruin ! A midnight tale fit for the tenth century, 
but not to be repeated no^y ! A seditious tale fit 
for nothing but to summon men to arms and bar- 
barous deeds, to determine which party hath the 
majority ! What conceivable connection can there 
be between receiving the sacrament according to 
the usage of any church, and distributing justice, 
routing an army, or collecting the customs ? 

To conclude. Nonconformity is a noble cause, 
and we are engaged in it not by misfortune, but 
by choice, as many before me can attest. By 
contending for the sufficiency of scripture, we mean 
to acquire credibiUty to the gospel ; for the gospel 
itself is credible, and they are human additions 
and gainful appendages that bring it into contempt. 
By denying the dominion of parents over the reli- 
gion of their descendants, we plead the cause of 

On sacramental tests. 12^ 

posterity, the liberty of every individual to be, or 
not to be a professor of the christian religion, as 
his unbiassed reason and conscience shall direct 
him. By denying imperial authority over con- 
science, we declare our aversion to despotical 
government and pagan religion, which was nothing 
but show. By rejecting prelacy, we confirm the 
doctrine of the text; we provide for the improve- 
ment of the mind, by affirming the liberty of all 
christians to act agreeably to their own convictions • 
particularly we plead the cause of young men pre- 
paring for the ministry, that their minds may be 
unshackled, that they may not be obliged to allow 
a conclusion before they have examined the pre- 
mises, that they may have no temptation to preva- 
ricate for reward, and no fear of dismal conse- 
quences for thinking differently from Greeks and 
Africans, who lived in times iUiterate, and in 
places remote from us, who are a people as 
far superior to them as men civilized are to sava- 
ges, or, at best, to men in the first stages of civi- 
lization. Instead of the usual train of, first faith, 
then quotation of authorities, and lastly reason, 
we would first reason, then build faith upon evi- 
dence, and reject all authority to call us to ac- 
count, except that to which Jehovah hath said, 
every knee shall bozv. By disowning feudal au- 
thority, we only claim that for our consciences, 
which all other men in a country free from vassal- 
age have claimed for their persons and properties. 
We affirm the plainness of the gospel, the capa- 

130 On sacramental tests. 

bility of all men to judge of it, and the right of 
every one to be free, virtuous and happy. We 
put one God in the place of many Lords. When 
we represent the ancient springs of tyranny, and 
narrate the inundations of it, we are not insensible 
of the merit of our ancestors, who cut channels for 
it, and set bounds to the flood, saying, Hitherto 
shalt thou come, hut no further ; and here shall 
thy proud zvaves be stayed. When we ask those, 
who have it in their power, to dry up thehngering 
streams that remain, and to restore us our origi- 
nal paradise, where the voice of oppression shall 
not be heard, we ask no favour, we claim a birth- 
right, which we never forfeited by any crime, 
which it would be ignoble to despise, and abomi- 
nable to sell for a mess of pottage. 

May God in all things be glorified through 
Jesus Christ, to zvham be praise and dominion for 
ever and ever. Amen. 



delivered at the Meeting-house in Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire ; 
Jan. 23, 1782, at the interment of Mrs. Susanna Birley, aged 
29 years, late wife of the Rev. Mr. Birley, of St. Ives; and also 
at that of their only child, aged ten weeks. 

My Brethren, 

J^ HE most refined human pleasure in this world 
is social pleasure, or that, which arises from com- 
munion with others; and, of all social pleasures 
that, which arises from a wise and virtuous conju- 
gal union, is the highest. Delicious, however, as 
this enjoyment is, there comes a period in life, 
which reduces the happiest man to the wretched- 
ness of saying, concerning the lovely object of all 
his joy, buri/ my dead out of mij sight. 

At such sad seasons, at the graves of all we va- 
lue in this world, we are called to exercise the most 
noble, but the most difficult of all devotional acts : 
here we are to treat God as God, to resign to him 
his own gifts, to acknowledge him as Master and 
Lord of all, to confide in his wisdom and good- 
ness, and cordially to allow, admire and adore the 
rectitude of his government. May you, my bro- 
ther, * be enabled to exercise this act of devotion 
now ! And may we, who surround you, become 
I 2 

* Mr. Birley, 

1 32 A Funeral discourse. 

soft by sympathy, and yield to such impressions 
as tliese gloomy objects are fitted to imprint ! 
When the last deep sleep falleth upon our families, 
then God openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their 

How shall we comfort this afflicted family? * 
Or what shall we say to edify you, ye numerous 
spectators of their grief? For my part, I cannot 
look at this scene without recollecting a similar 
case in scripture history full of instruction and 
consolation. I will be<y leave to mention it, be- 
cause it may instruct us all, and because it may 
comfort our weeping friends; for it is some relief 
to mourners to have a partner in woe. 

Son of ma)i, said God formerly to the prophet 
Ezekiel, behold I take away from thee, the desire 
of thine eyes xvith a stroke, yet thou shalt not 
7?wurn. On this case we make the four following 

Fii'st. J social life is consistent with the high- 
est religious attainments. Ezekiel was an inspired 
prophet, yet, like his predecessors the patriarchs, 
and like his successors the apostles, he was a mar- 
ried man. There is, therefore, nothing in domes- 
tic life inconsistent with the duties of religion, no- 
thing incompatible with the noblest offices, and the 
liighest enjoyments in the church. Revealed re- 
licrion is rational and manly, and they, who teach 
it, are best taught themselves by such a train of 
events as exercise all their fellow creatures. It is 
not in a lonely cell, it is not in a legend, either 

* Mrs. Birley's family, the Aslitons of S^ Ivcs. 

A Funeral discourse, \^^ 

learned or devout, it is by our own fire-sides that 
we are domesticated: it is in a circle of parents, 
wives and children whom God graciously gives his 
servants ; it is in an intercourse with domestics, a 
personal concern in affairs of real life, that we feel 
we are men of like passions xvith you ; and tliere 
we are driven to the sweet necessity of tindinfr out 
the doctrines and the duties of a religion to be 
publicly recommended to your faitli and practice. 
There also we are forced to learn what will cool 
the passions, animate the spirits, and support the 
good man under the burdens, which Providence 
dooms him to carry. Hence public usefulness, 
hence instructions that come home to the business 
and bosoms of mankind. The church of Rome 
has thought fit to reverse all this natural order, 
by training up her stately church-officers in sullen 
gloomy recesses, by enjoining a single life on all 
her ministers, by exchanging the man of sentiment 
and sympathy for that solitary, unfeeling thing 
called a monk. The pretence is chastity; tlic true 
reason is secular policy. 

Secondly. Domestic blessings are subject to 
abuse. If you think proper to read, when you 
go home, the twenty-fourth of Ezekiel, you will 
observe, that what is called in one verse the desire 
of the eyes, is said in another to be that on which 
men set their ininds. This is a beautiful and em- 
phatical expression, full of meaning, and too de- 
scriptive, alas ! of what happens every day to us 
all. Providence gives us respectable parents, ami- 
able wives, lovely clhldrcn, and on these we set 

134 A Funeral discourse. 

our minds, pitching our hearts on them, as if they 
were infaUible grounds, on which we might erect 
spacious habitations of fehcity ; on them we place 
our hopes, on them we depend for happiness, with 
them we incorporate too often both our duty to 
God, and our dehght in his empire; in a word, 
them we not unfrequently eye as our supreme 
good. Fancy gets loose from reason and religion, 
and says, this son hath an undaunted courage; I 
see the gallant youth in future serve my country, 
and immortalize my name in the navy or the army : 
that other boy is active and acute; I see him in a 
future day accumulate riches, and do good to man- 
kind in a busy mercantile line of life : a third is 
studious and grave; I see, I hear him in the pulpit 
pleading the cause of truth and virtue, turning 
many to righteousness, and shining as a star in 
the christian firmament for e'oer and ever. This 
frugal industrious daus^hter I see in future the soul 
of a great family, conveying order, plenty and pie- 
ty through the whole ; and that gentle girl, soft and 
delicate in all her manners, adorn her own sex, 
polish the other, and render herself the paradise 
of all that know her : and all this my eyes, and 
the eyes of their good mother shall behold, and 
then, in hoary old age, surrounded with childrens 
children to the third and fourth generation, full 
of days, riches, and honours, and satiated with 
life, we will say. Lord nozv lettest thou thy ser- 
vants depart ifi peace My brethren, what if 

we should pass by, and see a friend in such a re- 
verie ? Should we not pity him for erecting such 

A Funeral discourse. 1 35 

miglity hopes on a bottom of human frailty ? Should 
we not tremble for his to-mmorow ? Should we 
not exclaim, this benevolent but unskilful man 
hath built his house upon the sand! This is spring- 
time; but when the fall of the year arrives, when 
the rains descend, when the floods come, when the 
winds blow, and beat upon his house, what, if he 
do not love God more than these, if he be not well 
versed in the character of the supreme governor of 
the world, what will become of this unhappy man ! 

Yet all these hopes are natural, all these de- 
sires are just, all these prospects are parental, and 
to a certain line they are rational and religious; 
and God sometimes gratifies them all. The evil 
lies in so setting our hearts on the accomplishing 
of our plans, as to take tlie liberty of rebelling 
against God, when he sees fit to blast all our open- 
ing prospects. I say when God sees Jit, for my 
weeping friends, you must forgive me, if in exe- 
cuting tliis office assigned me by her, whose spokes- 
man I have the painful honour to be, I venture to 
affirm, in spite of the turbulence of our passions, 
that God does always that, which, all things con- 
sidered, is most right and fit to be done. To ad- 
mit this truth will give you a momentary pain, be- 
cause it will discover, that excessive grief, and 
discontent with providence proceeds not from rea- 
son and religion, but from misguided passions : 
but you will receive ample amends by the long plea- 
sure, which the domirjion of religion will produce. 

We observe, then, Thirdly, that God is as zrise 
and good in sometimes dej'cating all our designs 

135 A Funeral discourse. 

as he is at other times in gratifying them. A hard 
lesson ; but sooner or later it innst be learnt ! God 
is an uniform being, always consistent with him- 
self. His supreme excellence is love of order, and 
all his government is a maintenance of it in all 
parts of his empire. Whether he save life or de- 
stroy it, he acts from the same invariable princi- 
ple. In all cases he is too wise to do any thing 
wrong, too good to do any thing unkind. This 
doctrine can never be too much inculcated, and in 
the case before us it is highly applicable and ef- 

To elucidate this let us observe two things. 
First, our earthly social pleasures are either the 
en(h\ for which we were created, or they are the 
wze^w^ of conducting us to some other end more 
great and noble. Is man, with all his godlike 
powers, created for the sole purpose of enjoying a 
conjugal or parental union? Imperfect enjoyments 
at the best ! Is he, who is capable of the highest 
' attainments of knowledge and virtue, and of the 
enjoyment of them for ever and ever ; is he, who 
is formed for the glorious purpose of knowing, imi- 
tating, and enjoying the first great cause in eter- 
nal worlds, undisgraced by vicissitude and death; 
is he sunk to the sad necessity of basking in the 
sunshine of one short day, and pleasing himself 
like a beast ( for beasts have pleasing sensations) 
with animal associations ! No, all these are means, 
and God and moral excellence are ends of our 
existence. Rise man, rise into your dignity. Con- 
sider the chain of causes and effects, and reason 

A Funeral discourse. 1 37 

thus, for to enable thee to reason thus, thy heavenly 
father committed thee to the tuition of these sa- 
ble masters : say, if the intelligence, the wisdom, 
the virtue, of one beloved companion gave me so 
much pleasure, what should I enjoy if I were inti- 
mately ^/c^'Wrt/w^e^ a^V/f God! If the loss of one 
such bosom friend give me so much pain, what 
nameless agony should I feel, were I ever to be 
so ignorant and wicked as to forfeit the enjoyment 
of God ! Parents, w ives, children, what are you 
iall but single drops! God is the fountain, from 
which you came ; God is the source of felicity to 
which you go, and thither my heart shall follow 

Let us observe, — Secondly, that Providence ne- 
ver removes our christian friends till they have 
finished their work, and then they go to receive 
their wages. A genuine disciple of Jesus Christ 
Joilows him here in the regenei^ation, works out his 
salvation with fear and trembling, se?^ves the Lord 
with all humility of mind, and with many tears 
struggles through much tribulation, and at length 
arrives at the gate of the kingdom of heaven; and 
shall I wish this good soul for my sake to be de- 
prived of his reward ? Shall I wish him detained 
from such a bliss, the object of all his prayers, and 
tears, and hopes, merely to accommodate me? 
Would that be fair? What! when I know too, 
the price he must pay for gratifying my humour? 
Shall I doom him to sleepless nights and solitary 
days? Shall I require of him to drag about a 
body of sin and death as I do? Shall I wish him 

JS8 A Funeral discourse. 

in a condition to say in the morning, would God 
it icere evening, and in the evening, would God it 
were morning ? Not I. No, rather let me be 
just to my own hurt; let me honour them that 
fear; and now that they have fought the good 
fight, let me agree they should go and receive the 
crown. Let me imitate him, who, though he fas- 
ted, and lay upon the earth, and wept and prayed, 
while his child was sick, yet, on receiving the news 
of his death, arose from the earth, zvashed and 
anointed himself, changed his apparel, and went 
into the house of the Lord, and justified his con- 
duct by saying, noxv Jie is dead, wherefore should I 
fast ? Can I bring him back again ? I shall go 
to him, but he shall not return to me. 

This leads me to the last observation on the case 
of the prophet Ezekiel. There are works of more 
iinportance for the living to do, thanthatof weep- 
ing for the dead. Far be it from us to censure 
the humane sighs and tears of families afflicted 
like this. It would argue a worse than brutal in- 
sensibility not to feel on this mournful occasion. 
Sorrow pent up in the heart would soon break it. 
It has a natural discharge, let it flow and disbur- 
den the soul. Weep, afflicted family ! and allow 
us to mingle our tears with yours; but let us all 
remember, that our business here is to do more 
than weep ; that weeping is a small part, and that 
to acquire knowledge now on the spot, and when 
we return home to reduce it to practice, are duties 
of far more importance than that of bedewing the 
dust with our tears. 

A Funeral discourse. 1 39 

The prophet Ezekiel was commanded not to la- 
ment his own trouble; but to attend to the greater 
troubles of his country and the church of God. 
Let us imitate this bright example. Let us exa- 
mine how we may most and best serve society. 
Let us address ourselves to the discharge of all the 
duties of life. We owe a duty to God: let us be 
submissive and obedient to his will. We owe a 
duty to our fellow creatures: let us be just and 
benevolent: let us pity the wicked, love the righ- 
teous, and do good to all mankind. We owe a 
duty to ourselves : let us not disable ourselves by 
grief, but let us hold body and soul sacred, and 
let both be employed in manly and christian ex- 
ercises; for these bodies are redeemed to rise again, 
and these souls are to be for ever with the Lord. 
Our obligations, far from being discharged by our 
losses, increase as the friends of virtue expire; and 
we should study to keep society from missing ab- 
sent benefactors, by performing such kind offices 
as they would have performed, had they continued 
to live in a world abounding with objects of bene- 
ficence. As these considerations should have weight 
with us all, so they ought to be most accurately 
and nicely balanced by those who sustain public 
offices in the church, for this is to embody the doc- 
trine of God our Saviour, and to render Christi- 
anity visible even to roving eyes. 

Hence, then, let us depart, penetrated with two 
just and seasonable reflections. Let each consi- 
der, lirst, how soon he may be brought into the 
condition of this distressed man, who survives his 

140 A Funeral discowse. 

chief earthly joy. We are all of us neighbours, 
many of us intimate friends of this family. Their 
condition affects us. They lament, and we mourn 
with them, and our sympathy is a little small re- 
lief to their woe : but, were it proper for them to 
break silence, would they not say to us, xveep also 
for yourselves ; behold in us the uncertainty of 
earthly enjoyments ; next week perhaps the scene 
may change, you may suffer as we do, and we like 
you may stand by and look on. Is there one of 
you, my fellow christians, in all this assembly, who 
can stand up and say, let the whole world die, I 
have not one object of my esteem, no not one, to 
whom my heart hath a peculiar attachment? If 
there were one such person, we should doom him 
to depart from the society of men, he would be 
too bad for even a brute, he should sink into mar- 
ble or brass. But you, my brethren, you have 
passions, and your passions have objects, and ob- 
jects so perfect in your eyes, that it would be a great 
misery only to suspect you should be deprived of 
them. Well ! suspect it not. Hope in God. En- 
joy your day. Enjoy to-morrow too. Let fancy, 
pleasant artist! magnify and multiply your sum. 
Yet, after all, the fatal time must come, and you 
like us must put on mourning too, and be left, (cold 
and comfortless word !) you must be left as a bea- 
con upon the top of a mountain, a signal to warn, 
and so to preserve society. 

Must such a day come ? I ought then to pre- 
pare for it. May to-morrow be the day ? I ought 
tlien to prepare im-iicdjately, this present moment. 

A Funeral discowse. 141 

But what will prepare me for such an event as 
this? This is our last reflection. True religion 
is the only preparation for affliction. The reli- 
gion of the afflicted is prudence, patience, submis- 
sion, content. These virtues were all exemplified 
in our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his example they 
are both recommended and enforced. Happy for 
us, if we exemplify the maxim of the w ise man, it 
is better to go to the house of moiiriiing, titan to 
go to the house of feasting : for that is the end of 
ail 7?ien, and the living will lay it to his heart. 

We never pray at a grave, lest we should mis- 
lead our little children, who know not yet their 
right hands from their left in their way to heaven. 
We would not ensnare their unwary steps, or tempt 
them to form one idea favourable to that exploded 
popish practice, praying for the dead. Let us de- 
part from this dreary receptacle of the dead in 
peace with God, and with all mankind ; and, all 
animated with social universal love, let each as he 
retires pray, that the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the 
Holy Ghost, may be with us all. 



Preached at Mr. Dan Taylor's Meeting-House, London, 
June?, 1789, in bdialf of a Charity School. 

X SHALL read you a passage, which you will 
instantly allow ought to be the language of us all ; 
that is — 

PSALM cxvi. 12. 

IF/mt shall I render imto the Lord for all his be- 
nefits towards me ? 

By putting this language into the lips of different 
people, which would be proper in the mouth of every 
one of us, I conceive that proper answers might be 
given, not only pointing to a duty, but to the de- 
gree in which that duty should be performed. 
What shall I render unto the Lord for all his be- 
nefits towards me ? Why, who are you ? Re- 
late to us your history, and say what it is that lies 
upon your mind. Can you speak of Jehovah's be- 
nefits to you } Probably you will say, we have 
nothing great in the eyes of the world to talk of; 
but we have received benefits from Almighty God, 
which appeared great in our eyes; they are really 
great, because they are for our good, for the good 
of our families, for the good of our neighbours, 

Advantages of an early religious education, 143 

for the good of those that are afflicted ; in a word,, 
for the good of society at large ? What is that ? 
Wh}-, say you, I can write, I can read, I can 
work, and I can never enough admire that God 
who put it into the hearts of my parents, my good 
parents, to bring me up to live in this present 
world ; by this means they have confirmed and 
established my health, which I should have lost in 
idleness ; by this means they have put it in my 
power to support the partner whom I esteem ; by 
this means they have enabled me to train up a 
small, some may say a large family, and to bless 
those with my industry whom I am bound b}^ every 
tie to support, and to teaclito support themselves ; 
by this means they have enabled me to do good to 
my neighbours : I have been enabled to say, through 
mine honest industry, my cup is full ; yea, my 
cup runs over ; hold my neighbour's cup to take 
the overplus, and let me bless those that have no- 
thing to comfort themselves with, the sick and the 
old, who cannot work, and who are dependent 
wholly upon charity; by this means, I thank God, 
I can consider myself, as all politicians who treat 
upon government do, an useful member of so- 
ciety. I, with these hands, circulate property 
and wealth ; these connect my country, in some 
sense, with the most distant parts of the world ; 
these give the industrious something to export, and 
these receive, and, blessed be God, through my 
industry, can pay for what they import ; and thus 
such as I, however we may look in the eyes of the 
splendid and unthinking, such as I are the pillars 

144 Advantages of an early religious education. 

of society, the glory, the wealth, and the safety 
of a nation. And do you, good honest, indus- 
trious man, say to-night, as you ought ; — What 
shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits 
tozvards me ? I answer — Pay your vows to him 
now in the presence of his people, and, by giving 
somethincf out of your honest earnings, enable these 
poor children to grow up into your joy ; teach them 
to read, teach them to write, teach them to work, 
teach them, in one word, to bless society, and to 
feel the good and the happiness of being industri- 
ous and diligent men like yourselves. 

Perhaps some others of us may say, God be 
adored for all his benefits towards me ; if I had 
been trained up to be ever such a conspicuous 
member of society, if God had not bestowed some- 
thing more on me, I had been undone ; I should 
have been a stupid, a wicked man, at best a curse 
to society. Why, what benefit has been bestow- 
ed upon you ? Why, say you, I have had, and 
it was provided by the invisible God, of whom 
I knew nothing, for I was a babe, but I had from 
my bountiful parents a christian education. As 
soon as I could speak, they taught me to sing, 
not profane and wicked songs to deprave the heart, 
but they taught me to sing the praises of God, 
whose name I uttered before I knew him ; they 
carried me to places of public devotion ; they en- 
deavoured by all possible means to stir up my at- 
tention ; they inquired whether 1 knew what I heard ; 
whether I remembered the passage of the word of 
God that had been spoken from ; whether any 

Advantages of an early religious education. 145 

thing that was said in the discourse affected me ; 
they did more, they used to lead me by my little 
hand to the throne of grace in the family; nay, 
sojiie of our parents did more, they took us into 
the closet; they led us there to be alone with them 
and God; and, because we did not know what to 
say, they said — Lord, bless the lad, open his un- 
derstanding, give him to flee from youthful sin, 
save him from the poisonous contagion of those fa- 
milies in which children are corrupted; in short, 
they did every thing, wc must be their witnesses, 
they did every thing in their power, and what we, 
in our infancy, could not but observe. Have not 
some of us wondered wliat made our wod mothers' 
tears to flow down their cheeks, when they taught 
us our lesson ? And when they said, Behold the 
lamb of God xvhich taketh aivay the sin of the 
world, we were affected, and we have learned since 
at what ; and to-night, when we say, JFhat shall 
xve render unto the Lord for all his benefits to- 
'wards us ? we mean, what shall I do to express 
the sense I have of the ijoodness of God, in jzivino- 
me an early religious education. Do you thus in- 
quire ? I say again, pay your vows in the pre- 
sence of all God's people this evening, and let your 
hands and your gifts express what you mean, by 
putting it into the power of the guardians of these 
children to give them a christian education ; for in 
this school, the guardians and governors do the 
part of parents; they adopt these infants, and they 
do the best that can possibly be done for childreai ; 

146 Advantages of an early religious education. 

they teach them the scriptures ; they teach them to 
sing the praises of God ; they habituate them early 
to attend worship ; they do every thing to make 
them wise and good, happy inhabitants of the 
world to come, as well as useful members of so- 
ciety now. For my part, I have but an occasion- 
al pleasure of seeing what this great city exhibits 
of good ; but I own to you, there is a sight, a very 
simple sight, that always stops me short, and fixes 
me, to feast on a kind of heavenly joy, and that is 
when I see a charity child, a poor charity child, 
with his little bible under his little arm. Do I 
•see an eastern prince in possession of a mine? — 
No : I see a mortal intelligent being, as far supe- 
rior to the greatest monarch in the east as a man 
is superior to an insect. That book, children, 
when YOU come to be old, will be your comfort, 
it will be meat, drink, and clothing to you ; that 
book, children, if you get it by heart, will be to 
you eyes, when you are blind and cannot see to 
read the scriptures; and when you are forgot, as 
old people frequently are, that book will be health, 
wealth, comfort; it will be substantial support to 
you in death, and it will be heaven to you after 
this present state. Oh give, good people — for 
compassions sake give --give these poor children 
some bibles ; give them some clothes ; open the 
gates of bliss, and let the little innocents enter in 
with you: do it by the generosity of your charity 
to night ! 

Perhaps a third class of people — -I will not teaze 
you with manvi, ^or I am sure your good sense will 

Advantages of an early religious education. 147 

make up for any thing I may omit; — but perhaps a 
third class will be uttering along with us such an 
exclamation as this, JFhat shall we render unto 
the Lord for all his benejits towards me ? — and we 
ask, who are you ? Come in, thou blessed of 
the Lord, and join in our songs. Who are you ? 
Why, say you, I am (and I have the honour and 
the happiness now not to blush at my character, 
though I am often in tears) a sincere and modest 
follower of Jesus Christ; but my early life was 
not christian ; I grew up in ignorance, my mind 
was full of prejudice, my heart was full of wicked- 
ness, I loved sin, I despised — I blush to say it 
— I despised, I hated God. And how did you 
feel in that " part of your life? Say you, I was a 
compound of vice and misery ; my actions were 
wicked, my heart depraved, and I was never hap- 
py. I tried many projects ; but there was a void 
which I could not fill ; and a voice cried out for 
justice, which I could never hear. At length, say 
you, there came into my mind reflection, like 
a king into his army, and it would have audience; 
it would be heard, and heard in the dead of night, 
when all the world were absent from me : it spoke 
thunder, it roused my attention, it cleft in sunder 
my hard and callous heart ; and I cried, Lord, be 
merciful to me, a sinner ! The pains of reflec- 
tion made me try to get rid of the conviction, but 
1 could not. No, you could not; mercy fixed it 
there as a nail in a sure place ; when you rose, it 
rose and went with you; when you went into com- 
K 2 

'14B Advantages of an early religious education. 

pany, it accompanied you; and every now and 
then spoke home to your conscience, and said; 
Remember^ for all these things God will bring 
thee into judgment. I could not eat, that is, I 
could, not enjoy my food ; I could not visit ; amuse- 
ments became a pain to me ; I could not rest, be* 
cause I was not at peace with my God. And what 
then ? Oh, say you, I shall never forget, to the 
day I die, the felicity I found in discovering the 
love of God in Jesus Christ to wretched sinners 
like me. I fell upon the earth. I said, is it pos- 
sible ? I thought again and again, God is love. 
JMy conscience recollected that passage of scrip- 
ture, which said. He zvill not break the bruised 
reed ; he will not quench the smoking flax. I 
took heart, I sighed, I prayed, in short but sin- 
cere ejaculations; I pleaded his holy promises; 
I said to him, master, is it nothing to thee that I 
perish? 1 received from the holy scriptures a full 
answer : the Lord taketh not pleasure in the death 
of a sinner-: have I any pleasure in the death of 
him that dieth ? He said to the man lying in the 
dust, shedding tears of repentance, as I live, I 
have no pleasure in your deatli. Oh ! comfort- 
able expression ! a voice from heaven that speaks 
life to the dead, and says to the self-condemned 
criminal— Come home again, thou child of man ! 
and I went home again, as it were, to my Father 
and my God : and now, having pursued this work 
a great many years, having tasted the pleasures of 
holiness, and being filled with an abhorrence of sin, 
I am come to night to sav, fVhat shall I render 

Advantages of an early religious education. 149 

to the Lord for all his benefits towards me ? My 
friend, my answer is this : look at those poor things 
that await your charity to-night; consider them in 
a body like your own ; do not call them saints yet, 
but let them grow up as you have done ; let them 
be surrounded as you were with the bewitchery of 
violent temptations ; let them do as you did — fall 
into those temptations, and then they will feel that 
misery which you felt; and if you can now enable 
them to avoid all this, by teaching them where to 
go for relief, as sick men in this city do for relief 
for their bodies, though it is not so in some places 
where they have people sick, and blind, and lame, 
and poor, and no hospitals, no funds to relieve 
them ; — but put these children into the condition of 
the poor in this city, and they will recollect, though 
they may take a large stride into the field of sin, 
they will recollect, through education prejudices, 
where God their Saviour is ; and when that comes, 
which will come, perhaps, with a violent head-ache, 
perhaps with a high fever, perhaps with a trem- 
bling ague, perhaps with something that will make 
them think they are upon the borders of the grave, 
and that is to a sinner the verge of hell, then edu- 
cation prejudice will make them recollect what 
their parents or their guardians have taught them. 
They taught me such a hymn, they taught me such 
a chapter, I got it by heart, and now I recollect 
it; now I remember that all they told me about 
sin was true ; and I am a wretch undone. And 
now I recollect the comfortable . passages in the 

150 Advantages of an early religious education. 

gospel that speak of the love of God to fallen sin-? 
ners. And now, for the first time, will I go back, 
and say, Father, I have sinned against heaven and 
in thy sight, and am not worthy to be a member 
of a christian church; I am not worthy to be the 
sheep of such a pastor; but make me as one of 
thy hired servants; let me return to the blessed 
house where I received the rudiments of the know- 
ledge of Christ: let me creep behind the door, let 
nie stand in the aisle, let me look to him while I 
mourn. This is what we want you to put in the 
power of these children, by giving them a religious 

I shall only lay before you at present one 
more class of people who put the question in the 
text, JVImt shall I render to the Lord for all 
his benejits towards me ? I will suppose, — but 
there are only a very few of this stamp, I will sup- 
pose^ — you were born of wealthy parents, nourish- 
ed up in a lap of down, received a goocj educa- 
tion, a learned and virtuous education ; entered 
into life, shall I say in full sail, with every advan- 
tage of fortune and friends that you could wish ; 
went through that dangerous ocean unhurt; kept 
your virtue, your integrity, and your piety to God, 
till now ; and I will suppose to-night, that you are 
in the happy condition of a kind of earthly alien, 
without a stain upon your life, without any guilt 
upon your conscience, in the enjoyment of the fa- 
vour and friendship of God; a chosen child, blest 
with the blessings of the upper and nether springs ; 

Advantages of an early religious education. 151 

or, to speak without a figure, blest with every 
thing in this life that you can wish for, or is good 
for you ; and blest with a prospect, a well ground- 
ed prospect, of a glorious immortality. Wiienwe 
surround you, do we not naturally say, what shall 
this man, this rich, this happy, this good, this dis- 
tinguished man, who has been freed from all that 
has troubled me every day of my life, what shall 
this man render to the Lord for all his benefits to- 
wards him ? Even the charity children could say, 
that man owes to God the homage of his body, he 
owes to God the use of his fortune, he owes to God 
the tribute of his lips, he owes to God his whole 
self; it is just and right that he should render to 
God every thing that he has, as expressive of his 
obligations for the benefits he has received. I 
leave the wealthy man to think within himself, in 
what manner he ought to conduct himself upon 
this occasion. Oh, barbarian ! can you pass these 
poor things, and leave envy to foster in their bo- 
soms while you excite them to complain, — he has 
it in his power to support forty of us, and has 
not the will to support one of us, even for a fort- 
night, so callous is his heart. God forbid we 
should make such reflections ! Brethren, let us 
one and all perform the work which Providence 
has laid before us: and let us do it by saying and 
feeling the language of our text, Jl'hat shall I 
render to the Lord for all his benefits towards us^ 
I will take the cup of salvation ; that is one 
thing : I will pay my vows in the [presence of all 

15Q Advantages of an early religious education. 

his people, that is another thing. It is an unjust 
man that takes all and pays nothing : he is the 
uniform christian, who first takes the gifts which 
his heavenly father bestows, and then returns them, 
with a generous and liberal hand, to the use of his 
fellow creatures, for whose sake he was entrusted 
with them. 

My brethren, allow me for once to say, what 
strikes me upon this subject : I sometimes carry 
my thoughts forward to the end of this world, to 
the end of all our meetings, to the end of all ci- 
ties, to the end of all mankind. I place all the 
universe before the great Judge. I behold on one 
side, those whom he calls the sheep, that is, a 
people instructed by his gospel, directed by his 
law, and founding their hopes upon his promises. 
Oh, what a family ! He overlooks them all, and 
can say of every one of them, this is a creation of 
life ; I made this ignorant man wise, I made this 
wicked man good, I saved this man from the mi- 
sery into which his own vices had plunged him ; 
and now I survey this new world, as the Creator 
did the old, and I pronounce it all very good ; it 
is a good one; it is a large one, it is wisely done, 
it is well done; I do not repent of it ; enter you, 
my disciples, into the joy of your Lord. Now I 
turn my eyes to his family, and I shall not strain 
the point if I say, that their hearts all burn with 
the language and sentiments of my text, JVhat 
shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to- 
wards me ?0\\ ! kind and blessed Saviour,didst thou 

Advantages of an earli/ religious education. 153 

come down into this our norld, and live among 
us? Oh, patient Master, didst thou bear with 
the school of which thou wert the instructor? 
Didst thou bear with them when they forgot their 
lessons, and didst thou teach it them again ? My 
brethren, let us enter into the feelings of the church 
at that day, and give Jesus Christ what we ought 
to give him — honour and glory for ever and ever. 
Amen ! 






Js it lazvful and right for a man to marry th^ 
Ulster of his deceased wife ? 






Barrister at Law. 

[ths second edition, printed 1T75.J 


The Author [of the Tract — " A Discussion of 
the Question," &c.] having been favoured iviih the 
sentiments of the Rev. Air. Robinson, on the 
subject of this Pamphlet, and permission to print 
them, takes the opportunity of enriching this se- 
cond Edition, by introducing into the Appendi.v, 
his very valuable Discussion of the Proposition 
laid before him, respecting the subject of the pre- 
ceding Letters. 



JL HIS proposition will bear three different mean- 
ings according to three ideas, which we affix to 
the term man. It may mean an inhabitant of 
Africa, a Jew or a Christian, or a native of 
Great Britain. We take it here in each sense, 
and comprise our meaning in three propositions. 

I. It is RIGHT for a wild African to marry 
the SISTER of his deceased wife; because it is 
agreeable to the laav of nature. 

II. It is RIGHT for a J EAV, Orfor aCHRISTIAN, 

to marry the sister of his deceased wife ; be- 
cause it is agreeable to the law of revelation. 

III. It is RIGHT for an englishman to marry 
the sister of his deceased wife; because it is 
agreeable to the law of his country. 

The first object of our contemplation, then, is 
man in a state of nature, unacquainted with 
the regulations of a civilized state, and uninfluen- 
ced by the directions of scripture. The word law 
signifies rule of action. Now the rule of action, 
to such a man, is the pursuit of his own hap- 
piness. When he pursues that, his conduct is 

158 Discussion of a proposition 

right, and the action, that procures it, is proper- 
ly called rectitude, or virtue. We affirm then, that 
it is a VIRTUE in such a man to marry the sister 
of his DECEASED WIFE, becausc the action pro- 
cures his own happiness, and because the procu- 
ring of happiness is the law of his actions. 

Three things are essential to the procuring the 
happiness of a man in a state of nature, in a con- 
jugal commerce. The first is a moderate gratifica- 
tion of his sensual appetites. The second is the 
peace of his conscience. And the third is the pro- 
bability of obtaining his end, that is, the procrea- 
tion of children. Were man a disembodied spirit, 
we must exclude the gratification of sense ; were 
he a beast, we must exclude the exercise of Con^ 
science; and, if a conjugal commerce were an 
end, we must exclude the pro-creation of children ; 
but as the procreation of his species is the end, 
and as a conjugal commerce is only a mean to ob- 
tain that end, we are obliged to include these three 
ideas in a marriage, which such a man consum- 
mates for the procuring of his happiness. Now 
these three ideas will all apply to the marrying the 
sister of a deceased wife, and therefore such a 
marriage is obedience to the law of nature, which 
obliges man to procure his own happiness. 

Man, in a state of nature, will feel sensual ap- 
petites, and he will soon find that it is equally un- 
productive of pleasure, not to indulge them at all, 
or to indulge them too much. Hence he will ob- 
tain the two ideas of gratification, and moderation ; 
the first will induce him to associate with one of 

Concerning marriage. I59 

his own species, and the last will prevent his asso- 
ciating with more; but neither the one idea, nor 
the other, nor the union of both, would prevent his 
marrying the sister of his deceased wife, and, it 
seems beyond a doubt, that no man in that state, 
considering such a marriage in a view merely sen- 
sual, could imagine one objection against it. For 
it would be one step towards happiness, as it would 
be a gratification of sensual appetites. 

But an intelligent being, cannot be happy in 
that which his intelligence doth not approve. His 
intelligence will produce in him a knovvledge of 
right and wrong, and the gratification of sense, 
however moderate, could not make him happy, if 
his conscience condemned it. But no man in a 
state of nature, will be able to find an incongruity 
in associating those ideas, which are essential to 
the marrying the sister of a deceased wife; but the 
objects will harmonize, and place his conscience m 
such tranquillity as moral sense approves. Whence 
could the idea of i??Justice arise? Not to the 
deceased ; for it \vo\i\d express his regard for her, to 
advance her nearest resemblance to her place, and 
publicly attest his respect for her famil3^ — Not to 
the children of the deceased; for they would meet 
with more tenderness in an aunt, than in a stranger, 
and, he might justly think, that could the deceased 
be consulted, she would advise him to commit their 
education to her oxen sister, rather than to ^stran^ 
ger. Nor could he conceive the marriage would 
injure either himself or his new wife. We c n- 
not imagine, therefore,, m hence an idea of wrono; 

U^O D'kscussion of a proposition 

should arise. If we imagine any recoilings of nay 
ture independent on previous intelligence, we fancy 
what does not exist. Suppose two sisters stolen in 
their infancy, carried to sea, shipwrecked on the 
coast of Africa; taken up and carried into different 
parts; and both grown up without knowing one 
another, a man should first marry the one, and, 
after her decease, the other; do we really think, 
that either of them would feel the recoilings in 
question? The exercise of intelligence is essential 
to moral sense; and we know of no object of intel- 
ligence, that could excite in a man unassisted by 
revelation, the idea of injustice in the marrying 
the sister oi^. deceased wife, and where the intelli- 
gence hath not that idea, the conscience is at peace. 

Were a man to ravish the sister of his deceased 
wife, he would deprive another oi liberty. Were 
he to commit adultery, he would evidently deprive 
another of his right : and from either act, an 
idea of injustice would arise; but nothing like this 
can be said of a man's marrying the sister of his 
deceased wife. This marriage then is a second 
step towards happiness; for it sits quite easy on his 

The third essential is the probability of its an- 
swering the END, that is, the procreation of 
CHILDREN. The marrying the sister of a deceased 
wife, is a probable mean of obtaining children, 
which is the end, and therefore the marriage is 
agreeable to the law of nature, which requires man 
to use every mean, that is likely to answer his end, 
which is the production of hap})iness. Such a mar- 

Co72cernmg marriage. 161 

riage, then, is agreeable to the laxo of nature ; for 
it procures his happiness; the pu-rsuit of which is 
his only rule. 

Thus then, a moderate gratification of the sen^ 
ses secures the happiness of the body. A moral 
sense of the rectitude of an action, that of the 
mind: and the probability of obtaining children, 
secures the happiness of the condition^ These will 
all apply to the marrying the sister of a deceased 
wife, which, therefore, is agreeable to the laxv of 
nature. But they will not apply to beastiality; 
nor to an unnatural commerce with the same sex; 
nor to marriages in the ascending and descending 
degrees of consanguinity, (which latter would de- 
stroy the veneration, so essential to parental au- 
thority, and filial obedience, the fitness of which, 
is obvious :) nor in general, to the marriage of own 
sisters, as modesty would be thereby annihilated, 
and the end could not be obtained; because incli- 
nation would be previous to ability, and a com- 
merce begun too soon, would defeat the end of 
commerce at all. Nor would they all apply to 
polygamy, for it is certain, the increase of the spe- 
cies bears no proportion, where polygamy is al- 
lowed, to that which is found in countries where it 
is prohibited. The marriage of own sisters does 
not appear to be absolutely unlaxvful, because the 
children of the first man were iiecessitatedlo marry 
so, and because the God of nature cannot, con- 
sistently with his perfections^ render the violation 

1 6"5 Discussion of a proposition 

of order necessary. However, such marriages ap- 
pear to be highly ine.vpedient. 

If we join iiistory to our speculations, they will 
become facts, and we shall find that many nati- 
ons have actually thought, and acted in this man- 
ner. The Egyptians, Persians, Macedonians, and 
Athenians, allowed the marriage of own sisters. 
The Romans allowed the marriage of sisters of 
deceased wives : Caecilius Metellus married the sis- 
ter of his deceased wife, and Brutus married his 
sister in law, Porcia. The heathens were so far 
from ideas of turpitude, in marriages of consan- 
guinity and affinity, that in this, as in all other ca- 
ses, they carried, for want of revelation, their ideas 
too far. It makes nothing against our argument 
to say, that the heathens did not argue exactly as 
we do; we only say, that many of them did, that all 
of them might have reasoned thus, and that when 
they did act agreeably to this reasoning, they acted 
with that rectitude and virtue, which their state 

II. It is right for a Jew, or for a christian, 
to MARRY the SISTER of his DECEASED WIFE; be- 
cause it is agreeable to the law of revelation. 
The God of nature being the author of religion, 
there can be no doubt, but that the laws of both 
are in perfect harmony. Indeed a conformity be- 
tween the dictates of nature, and the precepts of 
revelation, is the best proof of the divinity of the 
latter; for revelation can never be destroyed, if it 
appear to be written reason. Human reasonings 
on the laws of nature are only conjectures; but un- 

Concerning marriage^ 163 

der a state of revelation, the infallibility of the re- 
vealer removes all conjecture, and what might be 
doubtful before becomes certain then. The rec- 
titude, then, of the marriage of a Jew, or Christian, 
consists in a conformity to the express comtiiands 
or prohibitions of the lawgivers. When Jews and 
Christians practise the positive institutes of Moses 
and of Christ, their conduct is holy. 

The [jositive institutes of religion are of two sorts. 
The first consists of moral duties, more clearly 
stated, and more easily proved, than they could 
have been by the light of nature. The second 
sort consists of ceremonial usages, which rather 
direct the manner than the matter of a moral du- 
ty. The first are inviolable and eternal, and de- 
pend not on the will of the lawgiver ; but on the 
nature of things. The last depend wholly on the 
legislators will, and are changeable at his plea- 
sure. Some of the ^losaic, that relate to marri* 
age, are of the last sort; but all the institutions of 
Christ are of the first; for he proposed a religion, 
which should adapt itself to all mankind, and 
which should bring things back to their state at 
the "beginning," that is, to the state of man in in- 

We will divide this article into three parts ; laws 
— PRECEDENTS — and explications; with a spe- 
cial view to the question, whether a man may 


1. Revelation allows that marriage is bonour- 


1 64 Discussion of a proposition 

able in all, and every Jew and Christian may 

2. It allows EVERY MAN tO haVC HIS OWN WIFE, 

and each woman her own husband : the relation 
is considered as a kmd of property, and an inter- 
community is expressly forbidden. Moses allowed 
divorces, because there was no moral turpitude in 
them; but Jesus Christ forbad them, except in 
cases of adulter}^, only on account of civil incon- 

3. Polygamy is expressly forbidden. Thou 


4. Revelation allows after-marriages, and it 
extends the dominion of conjugal law, no farthef 
than NATURAL life. 

5. It forbids Jews and christians to marry 
HEATHENS. To the Jcws MosES Said, 3/e s/mll 
make no marriages with them. And to Christians 
St. Paul said, be ye not unequally yoked together 
with unbelievers. 

6. Revelation allows people to marry whom 


the case in the instance before us ; because, 

Lastly, there is an express command for a 

MAN to MARRY llis BROTHER'S WIDOW; which is 

of a ceremonial kind, and seems calculated to pre- 
serve estates in particular families, as well as to 
prevent the extinction of the families themselves: 
and this alone fully proves the moral excellence 
of such a marriage; for God never did, nor, con- 

Concerning marriage. IS.5 

sistently with his perfections, ever can appoint a 
ceremony, that violates moral rectitude. 

But we shall perceive the case still clearer, if 
we attend to precedents. 

Abraham married Sarah, his half-sister. — 
Isaac married Rebekah, his second, and Jacob 
married Rachel, his first cousin. The patriarch 
Judah caused his second son to marry the widow 
of his eldest son, and the history of it convinces 
us that, the marrying of a brother's widow, 
was a custom long before its institution by ]\loses. 
Amram, the father of Moses, married his aunt, 
the five daughters of Zclophehad, married their 
first cousins. And Tamar, the daughter of 
David, expressly declared to her ravisher, who 
washer brother, that, if he would speak unto the 
king," their Father, he would twt withhhold her 
from him. Now, from all these precedents, it 
may be fairly inferred, that it was the practice of 
the people of God, to marry their near relations ; 
that, in general, they acted conformably therein to 
their sense of the revealed will of God; and that, 
if any of these marriages were agreeable to the di- 
vine will, those of men with the sisters of their de- 
ceased wives, are the least exceptionable, and the 
most likely to be free from every idea of un holi- 

We now attend to explications. By which, 
I mean, such circumstances of the sacred history, 
which throw light on this affair. It is highly pro- 
bable, that a people, who allowed marriages in 
nearer degrees, married the sisters of their 

i66 Discus mon of a proposition 

DECEASED wives: and, it is absolutely cer- 
tain, that BROTHERS actually married the wi- 
dows of their deceased brethren. Now, if 
this practice were criminal, as it would have been, 
if it had been contrary to the known meaning of 
the positive precepts of the lawgiver, how comes it 
to pass, that the prophets, who reproved and re- 
corded the vices of their countrymen, never once 
mentioned this practice as a sin? Jesu-s Christ 
himself!, who was questioned on this article, does 
not in any hint insinuate the evil of the practice. 
The case before him was the marriage of sei-en 
brethren successively to otte xvoman. The enqui- 
rers, indeed, did not ask the legality or the illegal- 
ity of the practice: but it is not supposeable, that 
he would have waived so fair an opportunity of 
censuring it, had the connections been criminal. 
The silence of the inspired reformers, is a pre- 
sumptive explication of the law, in favour of the 

It is equally inconceivable that Jesus Christ, 
who, by himself, or by his apostles, created all 
things new, should give no laws on this article. 
The Jewish ceremonies he abrogated, the moral 
law HE inforced, and may it not be presumed, 
that in all doubtful cases, the general positive law 
of Moses being abolished, we are referred to na- 
tural law? Does not this silence also consent to 
tiie RIGHT, and explain the law of marrying 
the SISTER of a deceased wife? 

Is it not very unaccountable, that the patriarchs, 
Abraham and Isaac, should not only marry near 

Concerning 7narriage. \67 

relations theirselves, but that at the approach of 
death, they should take pains to procure wives of 
near kindred for their sons, without expressing any 
remorse for their own conduct, or giving any re- 
strictions to tlieir children on so delicate an aflkir? 
It was Isaac's command to his son, go to the 
house of Laban, thy mother's brother, and take a 
wife of his daughters; that is, one of his two daugh- 
ters. Jacob went and took both, which was con- 
trary to his father's command ; but had he taken 
Kachel first, and Leah after Rachel's death, who 
could have thought of a breach of his father's com- 
mand ? His father's words imply the contrary, in 
case he had taken one of the daughters, and she 
had died without children. Thou shalt not take 
a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Take a wife 
of the daughters of Laban. And God Almightij 
multiplij thee. If one of Laban's daughters die 
without issue, take the other. 

Farther, St. Paul asks, have we not power to lead 
about a sister, a wife, as well as other aposdes? 
Have we not the same natural and civil rights un- 
der the gospel, which the Jews had under the law? 
Have we not also near relations, who arc christi- 
ans, and whom we might marry, as other apostles 
have done ? This seems no unnatural interpreta- 
tion, nor very distant from the scope of the place. 

In the reformation of the Jewish church by Ez- 
ra, illegal marriages were dissolved; and it is highly 
probable tliat, in the general depravity, many iiad 
married sisters of deceased wives; yet, though we 
have a list of a hundred and fifteen marriages, 

168 Discussion of a proposition 

which were dissolved, there is no mention of one 
of this kind. All such marriages were deemed le- 
gal, as indeed they must have been, if they were 
tried according to the Levitical laws. So then the 
law of nature approves the marrying the sister of 
a deceased xvife. No positive law of revelation 
prohibits it. Various precedents give it the sanc- 
tion of immemorial custom; and divers circum- 
stances, which immediately relate to the subject, 
by not reproving the practice, leave it in all its 
efficiency and force. 

Whence then, it may be asked, came the popu- 
lar notion of the impropriety of such a marriage? 
We will not attribute it to sordid and mercenary 
motives in interested men; but supposing the au- 
thors and supporters of it upright, we will venture 
to guess that the opinion came, with hundreds 
more, from some of the following sources. 

1 . From the ^mgue, and indeterminate meaning 
of the words, which are rendered, ki7i — mfe, Sec. 
Closes saith, none of you shall approach to any 
that is near of kin to him. Does the word mean 
the whole nation? A man's own tribe? The 
general family? Or the immediate house of 
his own father? In all these senses is the word 
taken, and the meaning of the term can never be 
defined, except by the scope of the place. In one 
place, JMoses includes in it only father, mother, 
son, daughter, own brother and sister: and who 
can assure himself that he includes more in the 
term in the passage first recited ? The word wife 
is almost as comj)lex as the word kindred. Thou 

Concerning marriage. I69 

nhalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's 
WIFE. If the word mean a married xooman, the 
prohibition does not belong to this case, for we are 
not pleading for adultery : if it mean widow, as it 
sometimes doth, it would operate in this case; but 
if it mean both wije and widozv, it is a vague term 
to us, and consequently having no determinate 
meaning with us, is no fixed rule of action or law. 
While the language, in which Aloses wrote, was a 
living one, a different way of sounding it, might 
determine it to mean zvife or widow; and when it 
became a dead language, a different way of point- 
ing, or accenting it, might inform the Jews of its 
meaning: but to us the law is inefficient, where the 
terms cannot be defined. 

2. By the changing of the figurative idioms of 
the Hebrew, into literal expressions, and then, ta- 
king those expressions, in all the latitude of an 
English literal meaning. Thou shalt not approach 
— Thou shalt not uncover tlie nakedness, Sec. Do 
these phrases mean debauch a virgin? Commit 
foimication with a prostitute? Commit adultery 
with a wife? Or marry a widow? What is a 
man guilty of, when he is reproved for humbling 
his sister? On tJiese, and on such like phrases, 
rests many a goodly edifice. — Peace be to those 
who have the courage to inhabit them ! 

3. By the confounding of distinct objects of 
contemplation together. The laws of Moses are 
moral, ceremonial, political, ecclesiastical, &c. 
and these are so interwoven, that it is extremely 
difficult in many ca,ses to disentangle them. Some 

170 Discussion of a proposition 

were temporary, calculated for the wilderness on- 
ly. Some were oeconomical; so 1 call those which 
were to be in force during the whole dispensation: 
and some were eternal. Supposing then, that there 
were a law against the marrying of the sister of a 
deceased wife, the question would return, is it a 
moral, or positive law ? If the latter, it w as law 
to a JEW ; but to a christian it is not. 

III. It is right for an Englishman to marry the 
sister of his deceased wife ; because it is agreeable 
to the law of his country. 

The w^ord iaw stands for municipal lazv ; that is, 
for a rule of civil conduct, prescribed by the su- 
preme power in a state, commandmg what is 
RIGHT, and prohibiting what is wrong. * In this 
case, the proof of the two former propositions af- 
fords presumptive evidence, that it is right for ao 
Englishman to marry the sister of his deceased 
wife, because English lawyers define the municipal 
law of England to be a rule commanding what is 
right, and we have proved that such a marriage is 
right ; in the eye of natural and revealed law, to 
which the municipal law of England professes to 

Municipal law divides into common, civil, 
canon, and statute law; we will venture to affirm, 
that THE MARRIAGE in qucstioH is VALID and 
GOOD, DE JURE, in cvcry meaning of the term. 

Immemorial custom, from time to time, de- 
clared in the courts of justice, is common law. It 
seems right, according to the true spirit, and allowed 
regulations of common law, that a man should have 

''^ Blt'.cli&toiic. 

Concerning marriage. 171 

libert}^ to marry the sister of his deceased wife; be- 
cause, if the contrary custom do exist, it doth not 
so exist, however, as to constitute it common law. 

Ci'cil laiv is the municipal law of the Roman 
empire; and civil law leaves an Englishman in full 
possession of the right of marrying the sister of his 
deceased wife ; because, either it doth not prohibit 
such a marriage, or, if it do, such prohibition 
hath no force in England, till it receive a sanction 
from some other power beside itself; and, conse- 
quently, in such a case, it would rest on another 
ground, upon which ground it must be disputed. 
Civil law qua civil lazv is a non-entity here. 

If the word law be taken for canon law, that is, 
for Roman ecclesiastical law, and national con- 
stitutions, it will still be true that it is right for a 
man to marry the sister of his deceased wife ; be- 
cause acts of parliament have rendered it ineffici- 
ent, when it is repugnant to the law of the land. 
Such a marriage is considerable in two lights. 
The first is the holiness of it. — This entirely be- 
longs to canon law, and our temporal courts have 
no jurisdiction over it in this point of light. The 
other \s civil inconvenience. — Temporal courts take 
cognizance of this,- and treat it in the lightof a con 
tract. Now, if it can be made to appear to a tem- 
poral court, that the marriage of a deceased wife's 
sister hath all that the court requires, to make a 
good contract, and that no civil inconvenience fol- 
lows, the court ought to allow the right, or law, 
of the action; and where temporal courts allow a 
right, they ought to provide for the subjects en- 

172 Discussion of a proposition 

joyment of that right, and not to suffer any other 
court to expose a subject, to a civil inconveni- 
ence for doing that which is lawful and right. 
Moreover, if it can be proved, either that there 
was no moral turpitude in the marriage ; or that no 
canon existed as a law, not being confirmed by 
act of parliament, or rule of action, to the con- 
tracted parties ; or that, if it did exist, it ought to 
have no effect on account of its repugnance to the 
law of the land ; in either of these cases the mar- 
riage ought to be allowed valid and good. 

But the true ground of this question is statute 
law^, that is, acts of parliament. This written 
law of the land is called i^ectiun, or right; not 
because it constitutes, but because it disco- 
vers and declares what is right; and this is the 
meaning of magna chart a, when it says, we will 
not sell, deny, or ^e/«j/ justice and right. Now, 
if it be right, by the law of nature, and by the law 
of God, for a man to marry the sister of his de- 
ceased wife, an english subject may expect, agree- 
ably to the language o^ magna charta, that subse- 
quent statutes will allow and protect such a mar- 
riage, because magna charta will not deny right. 

Before the reformation, our ancestors consider- 
ed matrimony as a sacrament, and the regulation 
of it was left to men, who were guilty of the most 
intolerable abuses, by the absurdity of many, and 
by the uncertainty of all, canon laws. In the reign 
of Henry VIII. statute law pretended to reform 
these abuses ; but we beg leave to remark four 

Concei^nins: marrhi^e, 173 

things, relative to the five acts of parliament which 
relate to this affair. 

1. These acts all pretend to make only those 
marriages void, which are contrary to the law of 
nature, and of God. If the marrying the sister of 
a deceased wife, be agreeable to the law of nature, 
and of God, these acts, by their own consent, 
have no operation. 

2. Lawyers cannot agree about the validity of 
these acts, and the effect which they ought to pro- 
duce in a modern case; for that which one de- 
clares to be repealed, another declares to be in 
force. If the law be uncertain, the subject is left 
without a guide; and if he wander through the 
carelessness of his guide, he ought not to incur any 

3. These acts, are diametrically opposite to one 
another. The law in Henry's reign, declared that 
his marriage with his brother Arthur's widow, was 
contrary to the law of nature, of God, and to the 
law of the land; and agreeably to this, divorced 
the Queen, and bastardized her daughter; but 
in Queen Mary's reign, the law declared that the 
King's marriage, was agreeable to the law of na- 
ture, of God, and to the law of the land ; that the 
Queen ought not to have been divorced ; that the 
daughter was legitimate, and that the whole pro- 
cess in Henry's reign, was contrary to law, equity, 
and conscience. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 
it was enacted, that all marriages, which are not 
prohibited by God's law, are lawful. But the mar- 
riage in question, it seems, by former statutes, is 

174 Discussion of a proposition 

both right and wrong, lawful and unlawful. How 
is the subject to act in this case. 

4. It is uncertain to whom the cognizance of 
the law of marriage belongs. The last clause of 
the statute of 32 Hen. VHI. ch. 38, has been 
thought, by the whole bench of Judges, to take 
away the cognizance of it from the ecclesiastical, 
and to give it wholly and solely to the temporal 
courts. This opinion, is perfectly agreeable to 
the law and constitution of this realm ; the subjects 
of which are subject only to law, that is, to a rule 
of action, which hath received the sanction of the 
three estates, and canon law is not of this kind. 
If -the spiritual courts claim a. cognizance, it can 
relate to nothing but to the holiness of the mar- 
riage ; and should they adjudge it unholy, they 
ought not to be allowed to inflict penalties, and to 
expose the subject to civil inconveniences, on ac- 
count of that, which operates no civil inconve- 

If the validity of the marriage of a man with the 
sister of his deceased wife, do not appear plain 
from all that hath been said, it may, however, 
appear doubtful ; and if it appear doubtful, the 
necessity of a declaratory law will appear be- 
yond a doubt. At present, statutes leave us ex- 
posed to canons, canons refer us to the law of God; 
the law of God, being partly positive, and partly 
natural ; and l)eing expressed in a phraseology of 
doubtful meaning to us, leaves us in uncertainty : 
but all these inconveniences might be removed by 

Concerning marriage. 175 

one clear, explicit, declaratory law, and the peace 
and safety of the subject require it. 

This whole divides into a question oifact^ and 
oi right. That oi fact is, whether it be the gene- 
ral practice of Englishmen to marry the sisters of 
their deceased wives? That of right is, whether 
it be agreeable to their obligations to do so, ei- 
ther as men, or christians, or Englishmen ? The 
first we deny. The last we affirm ; and we rea- 
son thus. Fact is vicious, when it doth not ac- 
cord with right. The municipal laws of England, 
in regard to marriage, are so far right, as they 
agree with the positive institutes of our holy reli- 
gion. The positive institutes of religion, are so 
far binding, as they agree with right reason. Rea- 
son is so far right as it agrees with, and producetb 
happiness : 01;, to invert the order, the great Su- 
preme hath established an order in nature. Out 
of natural, ariseth moral order, or virtue. For the 
quicker production of moral order, or virtue, and 
for its better security, positive institutions are writ- 
ten. For the more easy distribution of ideas of 
moral virtue, and of positive obedience, municipal 
laws are constituted, either unwritten, as common, 
civil, and canon law, or written, as acts of parlia- 
ment. The reason and fitness of things is thefoun- 
tain, revelation is a channel, in which reason rolls, 
and municipal laws are pipes, which convey rea- 
son to separate citizens in a state. Now, as what 
comes pure from the fount may come polluted to 
the citizen, and as, in such a case, the design of 
legislation would not be answered, legislature 

176 Discussion of a proposition 

should allow the citizen to complain; and if he 
were able, to point out the causes; and, if they ap- 
peared substantial, they should apply a remedy : 
but though, a citizen may be allowed, modestly 
to investigate an imperfection in the government 
of the state, yet not to reduce his speculations to 
practice, till they have received the sanction of le- 
gislature; for till then, his remarks, must beconsi-* 
dered only as humble advice. 

To this agree the opinions of wise men, and 
Cicero may speak for all. Le.v est ratio summa 
♦ • • • Constituendum jus ab ilia summa lege, quae 
secuUs omnibus ante nata est, quam scripta lex 
ulla, aut quam omnino civitas constituta- • - -Si 
populorumjussis, si principum decretis, si senten- 
tiis judicum, jura constituerentur : jus esset la- 
trocinari; jus adulter are ; jus test anient a falsa 
supponere ; si hcec suffragiis, aut scitis multitudi- 
iiis probarentur.* Our Saviours expression con- 
veys the same ideas,y>o?7z the beginning it was not 
so ; and his apostles declare his design to be a 7xs- 
titution oj all things. 

We conclude then, that it is right for a man 

to MARRY the SISTER of his DECEASED WIFE, and 

that in England it is lawful to do so; because, 
whatever the legislators might intend, they have 

DED AGAINST IT. But, as the popular notion of- 
ten runs against the right, and as the courts of law 
miohtnot protect the subject in this legal claim, 
and as a man may not be entirely safe, who mar- 

* De lesibus. Lib. I. C. 16. 

Concerning marriage. 177 



the granting of which, it is humbly presumed, le- 
gislation will readily accede, for the production of 
such great good, to so many of the subjects of 
these realms. 


Chesterton, Cambridge, Juli/ 24th. 1775. 




TO TliE 











C'HRISTIANITYowes its institution to the love 
of God, and is admirably calculated to rectify the 
disorders, in which sin has evidently involved all 
mankind; and then only can it be said fully to 
answer the benevolent designs of its divine au- 
thor, when the wolf lies down with the lamb, and 
the leopard dwells with the kid, or, what is the 
same, when Barbarians, Scythians, bond and free, 
are one in Christ Jesus ; who ceasing to daub with 
the untempered mortar of party zeal, join toge 
ther in building a church, founded in faith, and 
cemented by love, at once glorious to God, and 
advantageous to men. 

It is not now necessary to inquire by what means 
so many divisions have been made in the church 
of Christ ; it is enough to observe, that they were 
neither authorised by Christ, nor encouraged by 
his apostles. The Lord, above all thinj^s, pressed 
the necessity of union and love ; and the apostle 
Paul ordered some of the first churches to mark 
that man who caused divisions, and to avoid such 
an one; doubtless because such a dividing spirit 
was as destructive of their peace as of Christ's com- 
mand; and wherever encouraged would dissolve the 
church into parties, till true religion evaporated, 

1 82 Me^norial addressed to the 

leaving the unhappy partisans only a name to live, 
while in fact they were dead. If the whole moral 
law is contained in one word, love ; if the whole 
gospel is a system of love ; if love is that badge 
whereby men are known to be Christ's disciples; 
if when all the graces of the spirit are reduced to 
three, the greatest of these three is love ; if that 
legislator, who has enjomed every duty, has, twice 
in the New Testament, assured us that he requires 
us, above all things, to have ferv^ent love among 
ourselves, surely he must be totally ignorant of 
God, the law, the gospel, human nature, and his 
own heart also, who can dispense with the absence 
of so necessary a christian temper for any circum- 
stantial in religion ; who thinks himself authorised 
to divide from a society, and cease to love the 
members of it, merely on account of some small 
difference in sentiment, or practice. This I will 
venture to say, that nothing has so much contri- 
buted to weaken the church of Christ, nothing 
has had so great an hand, in reducing her to her 
present feeble condition, as the unchristian and 
impolitic divisions of her members, who ought ne- 
ver to make two churches, where one would do : 
for while, by such means, they serve a party, they 
disserve real religion. Such (as a sensible writer 
says) are friends of the church, but enemies of 
God ; and from such a spirit the Lord deliver all 
honest hearted christians. If the above-mentioned 
christian, and pacitic tempers are needful any 
where, if the above reasons are weighty any where, 
they are at Cambridge ; and iso much the more 

Proiestcmt dissenters in Camhridi>:e. 183 


needful there, as the situation is more conspicuous 
in the eyes of a whole university, than in a small 
village, or a common market town. Whoever re- 
flects on the former and present state of affairs 
among the dissenters atCambridge, will conclude so. 

In ]\Ir. liussey's time, the church was the lar- 
gest and the most flourishing of any in the county. 
He left Cambridge in the year 1720: forty-six 
years are elapsed since, during which time, they 
have been broken into five or six parts : they are 
now collected into two, but no man has seen both 
flourish together : when one has increased, die 
other has visibly decreased. 

It is humbly conceived that there is a voice in 
this dispensation, and that he who bestows his in- 
fluences thus, designs to teach us a lesson of unity. 
The good Lord preserve us from refusing him that 
speaketh. Since, therefore, one of the congrega- 
tions is at present without a pastor, it is presumed 
to be both the duty, and interest of the two soci- 
eties to become one ; the lawfulness and expedi- 
ency of which may be justified from the following 

First. There does not subsist any difference 
between the two congregations in doctrine, or dis- 
cipline, except the single article of baptism; (which 
also subsists in one of the churches already :) and 
that difference (as both churches allow) is not suf- 
ficient to divide a people; for it is to be observed, 
that those reasons which will justify two churches 
continuing asunder, will also justify one church in 

] 84 Memorial addressed to the 

dividing into two; but where no such reasons are, 
it is plain, a junction is lawful. It is taken for 
granted, that if the two were one, no member would 
think there was a just cause of separation; and if 
there is no cause of making two, there can be no 
cause of keeping so. 

Secondly. — We have a precedent for the prac- 
tice in the first churches. Then circumcision, 
keeping of ancient Jewish, or gentile festivals, eating 
and abstaining from certain meats, were bones of 
contention among Jews and gentiles : yet it is said, 
to the honour of Christ, that he made of twain one 
new man, so making peace: and good reason there 
was for their being one: the kingdom of God is 
neither meats, nor drinks, but righteousness, peace 
and joy in the Holy Ghost : let us, therefore, follow 
after the things that make for peace, and things 
wherewith one may edify another. 

Thirdly.— We have also an express command 
for such a work: Rom. 15. 7. " Receive ye one 
another;" that is the duty exhorted to: "as Christ 
has received us ;" — that the rule, by which we are 
to do the duty : " to the glory of God;" that is the 
end to be answered by a compliance. If Christ 
therefore has received both churches, both are here 
exhorted to receive each other. If we have a di- 
vine command, an authentic evidence of precedents, 
and no difference subsisting to tempt us to act 
contrary, the lawfulness of an union is clear be- 
yond contradiction. 

The expedience of the step appears by obser- 
vinff : — First : — That it is the true interest of the 

Protestant dissenters in Camhriche. 185 


dissenters (as of all other associations engaged in 
one design) to be unanimous. If divisions have 
weakened the cause, as they evidently have, a 
junction must of necessity strengthen it: two are 
better than one, and a threefold cord is not easily 
broken. To think that this would weaken the cause 
in Cambridge by reducing two churches into one, 
is a mistake; for one society of one hundred mem- 
bers is stronger than three of fifty members each, 
as will easily appear to every considerate person. 

Secondly. An union would annihilate all those 
unbecoming bickerings, jealousies, and cavillings, 
which almost always attend the members of two 
societies so near neighbours. Some will always 
(through mistaken zeal) be guilty of such things, 
imagining that the weakening of one church is the 
strength of the other : but when one cause only is 
on foot, the weakest must perceive that the inte- 
rest of one is the interest of all ; and all the for- 
mer animosities, being but effects of a division, 
must needs die with the cause that produced them. 

Thirdly. It is absolutely expedient now, when 
one congregation is broken by an unhappy fac- 
tion issuing in the withdrawment of several mem- 
bers. This is the ready and, perhaps, only way 
of reclaimina; them; and when the other conore- 
gallon is conscientiously inquisitive how to act to- 
wards those members of the other place, who came 
amongst them, to carry it at a distance is to be- 
have uncivilly, and looks like want of love : and to 
enter into close connections, is to weaken and of- 
fend a sister church : therefore as they are obliged 

1 86 Memoiial addressed to the 

i6 have some, the same spirit enables them to em- 
brace all the church ; and to say all in one word, 
an union removes the difficulties on both sides. 

Fourthly. Such an union would be much to 
the credit and reputation of rehgion, seeing it 
would enable the dissenters in Cambridge to ac- 
quit themselves generously to their poor, and to 
other good works which now are not to be done 
without burdening subscribers too much. The 
maintenance of one minister, and expence of one 
meeting-house being saved one way, enables the 
people to do more another. — How pleasing the 
prospect ! A large church walking in love ; a re- 
spectable congregation ; a minister well provided 
for ; poor comfortably assisted ; every thing done 
with credit and honour: how preferable such a 
case to the narrow views of any partizan whatever ! 
and all this noble acquisition (grateful to all but 
bigots) the easy purchase of the spirit of love ! — 
Robinson begs leave to subjoin : that to all this it 
may be objected, that though the flourishmg state 
of the people, who make these proposals, must 
convince all the world that they are constrained to 
do it only by love, and not for any low sinister 
ends, yet this is to impose a minister on a whole 
congregation, whom, though they respect, yet 
they would not choose for their pastor. — Robinsons 
reply is this. 

That he is conscious of his incapacity; and 
wishes the Lord had bestowed on him gifts accept- 
able enough, to serve the people in this case ; and 

Protestant dissenters in Cambridge. 187 

since the Lord had not been pleased to do so, he 
nevertheless, earnestly wishes the prosperity of 
Sion, and hereby promises to cede his pastoral of- 
fice to any other minister, in whom the two con- 
gregations can unite, provided it can be done, and 
his removal agreed to by (as he does not see why 
it should not) his own people. 







MAY 14th. and 15th. MDCCLXXvr. 

M < CS ^ ^ I®^»«« 

[first printed, 1776.] 







At Cambridge ; § Hertford ; 

Cheneys, Bucks; | Hempstead, Herts; 

Chesham, Backs ; § Hitchin, Herts ; 

Colnbrook, Bucks; § New-Mill, Herts; 

Harlow, Essex ; § Woodrovv, Bucks : 

This CIRCULAR LETTER is with great 
respect addressed, 

By Robert Robinson, § William Nash ; 

Hugh Giles ; § 

James Sleep ; | 

William Walker; | 

Isaac Gould ; § 

Robert Baskerville; § 

xr T ^ C Nat. Saunders* 

Morgan Jones; | |w. Bedford; 

John Geard ; § AVilliam Thomas ; 

Henry Blaine ; § 

Richard Morris; § Gt>orge Long : 


representing the said churches in 



Honoured Brethren ; 

W' E cheerfully embrace this opportunity of pub- 
licly addressing you, and of expressing in this man- 
ner our approbation of the grand principle of all 
trust in your societies, the responsibility of officers 
to those who appoint them. In obedience to 
your own free nomination we have attended this 
association, and, agreeably to your own directions, 
we send you this account of it. 

It appears, by the several letters sent from the 
churches in this connection, and by the accounts 
given by the ministers and messengers present at 
this association, that the churches, on the whole, 
are in a prosperous state. All the congregations 
are supplied with ministers ; the ministers are zea- 
lously employed in the duties of their office ; the 
people respect and attend the public ordinances ; 
and although there are some just causes of humili- 
ation and complaint, yet there are far more causes 
of gratitude and praise. 

In order to preserve your present prosperit}^, and 
to promote your future edification, permit us to 
remind you of the importance of the principles, 
the practices, and even the peculiarities of your 


194 The circular letter 

churches, and to recommend each to your parti- 
cular attention. 

Religious principle is of the utmost impor- 
tance to our churches; the very being of them de- 
pends on it ; for as they are not supported by the 
state for any temporal purposes, they cannot long 
subsist without it ; or, if they do subsist awhile, 
they are unanimated carcases, they have a name 
that they live, and are dead. 

God is an infinite spirit, an object of contem- 
plation, but not of vision. The invisible excel- 
lence of God is displayed in all the works of na- 
ture, and in all the ways of Providence ; and just 
and proper twtions of his perfections, including 
the "virtues, that are necessarily connected with 
the relation of those perfections to us, form that 
system of natural religion, which St. Paul calls 
tlie truth of God, and which, for its utility as 
far as it goes, should be inculcated among chris* 

Christianity elucidates and confirms the truths 
of natural religion, and it also reveals other factSy 
which the highest human penetration could never 
have discovered. Of this kind are the introduc- 
tion, the extent, and the penalty of moral evil ; the 
plan of redemption ; the person of the redeemer ; 
and the present and future state and fehcity of the 
redeemed. Christianity collects the divine glories 
into a point in the person and offices of Christ, dis- 
playing a brightness so striking as to fix and affect 
every beholder ; and at the same time cooling and 
softening the object so as to render it at once the 

Of the Eastern association. 195 

most magnificent and the most condescending, the 
most formidable, and the most amiable object in all 
the compass of contemplative thought. Here God 
appears supremely terrible to sin, and supremely 
good to the sinner. In punishing our substitute 
he sits the inflexible judge surrounded with all the 
terrible pomp of Omnipotence ; and in pardoning 
the principals, he displays a love beyond the soft- 
est compassion of the tenderest parent. 

The knowledge and belief of these articles pro- 
duce in the heart a disposition to universal holi- 
ness, "vvhich expresseth itself in a pious conformity 
to natural obligations, and to the positive institutes 
of religion ; in a benevolent discharge of every so- 
cial duly to our fellow creatures ; and in a regular 
veneration for ourselves. The good man views 
his high and holy calling, and rises superior to the 
slavery of sin. 

Every idea, that operates in this manner, is a 
religions principle ; and miserable is the state of 
those who are destitute of it. An unprincipled 
mind is an easy prey to every vice. Some indi- 
viduals, void of the knowledge of the miserable 
moral state of man, are full of pride and presump- 
tion : others destitute of faith in the atonement are 
involved in distress and despair ; while others are 
rioting in the excesses of this life,and violating every 
divine command to gratify their senses and their 
passions, through their fatal ignorance of a bless- 
ed immortality . If whole societies retain the ce- 
remonies of religion, after they have lost their 

1^5 The circular letter 

faith and knowledge, they resemble a dead carcase 
placed in a living attitude, and wrapped in a gaudy 

If, therefore, brethren, you value your own 
happiness, or that of your children, and families, 
and friends, and, above all, that of the church, 
to which you belong, you must inculcate religious 
principle; you must point to the teacher sent from 
God, and say to those around you, this is God's 
beloved son, hear him. 

This leads us to the second article, the im- 
portance of performing the practices of your 
churches. Beside the general practice of every 
moral virtue, and of every christian grace, you 
will, we dare say, pay a particular attention to 
those practices, which seminate the principles of 
religion in a conOTegation. 

Make conscience of a regular attendance on 
public worship, as often as the church meets for 
this purpose. Attend diligently with your fami- 
lies, to the word preached by your pastors ; it is 
the power of God to salvation. Be present in 
your places before the worship begins ; avoid dissi- 
pation and indolence while it continues ; stay till the 
whole is finished, and then meditate on it in re- 
tirement, turn it into prayer, or converse with one 
another on what you have heard. The last part 
of divine service is a fine expressive significant part 
of it. The minister, who is the ambassador of 
Christ, spreads holy hands over you, and prays 
on "your part that the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the love of God, andthefellozvshipofthe 

Of the Eastern association. 1 97 

Holy Ghost J may be, and declares on God's part 
that his parental regard is zvith you all, to which 
you cannot but say, Amen. Public worship amonrr 
you receives no solemnity from architecture, in- 
strumental music, history paintings, and peculiar 
vestments; but its simplicity gives it a far superior 
solemnity, when it is performed with reverence 
and godly fear. John Baptist was a plain homely 
man ; but Herod feared him, knowing that hcivas 
a just man, and an holy. 

Keep up family religion, the reading of the 
holy scriptures, singing, and prayer, or the last at 
least. A little forecast will gain you time for this 
twice a day, and study to make it short and agree 
able, that it may not disgust, but edify your fa- 

Catechise your children and servants ; either 
by requiring them to repeat by heart four or five 
questions and answers in printed catechisms to you 
once a week, and by familiarly explaining them to 
them; or by requiring them to repeat to you by 
heart one verse of scripture every day, from which 
you may derive several familiar questions, and 
lead them by this mean into a liabit of thinking, 
reflecting, and reasoning on the great truths of re- 
ligion. How happy will you be to see the good 
seed bring forth in one child thirty, in another 
sixty, in another a hundred fold ! How happy 
in your dying agonies to be able to say to a pious 
son, I go the way of all the earth : but thou art 
a xvise man, and knozvest what thou ought est to 
do ! You should pay the greater attention to this 

198 The circular letter 

branch of family religion, in order to wipe off that 
foul scandal, wliich some zealots have cast on us 
for not sprinkling our infants, as if we were care- 
less about their salvation, because w» omitted a 
superstitious custom. 

Alainta'in private social meetings, for singing, 
prayer, and christian conference. Habituate 3-our- 
selves to weep with them that weep, to rejoice 
with them that rejoice, to bear one another's 
burdens, and so to fulfil the law of Christ. 

Endeavour to promote one another s temporal 
interest. Deal with one another; employ one 
another ; intermarry together ; give one another 
advice and assistance; consider your whole spe- 
cies as your brethren ; but regard your own com- 
munity as your family. 

Finally. J5e patient, prudent, and tender to 
one anothers infrmities. Conceal them from the 
world ; let the too common practice of whispering 
them among yourselves sink into disuse; pity and 
pray for the w^eak, e.vhort them by the meekness 
and gentleness of Christ, to take heed to their 
w^ays; but by no means exasperate them. Time 
and patience have done wonders in recovering 
backsliders, while contrary dispositions, produc- 
tive of violent measures, have been attended with 
scandalous eifects. Pay a particular attention in 
the choice of your officers, to men of a soft, heahng 
spirit; they are unspeakable blessings to a christian 
church ; and of them learn to exercise that meek-' 
ness of wisdom, which an aposde recommends. 

Of the Easta^n association. 1^9 

Lastly. Brethren; allow us to recommend to 
you an attention to the peculiarities of your 
churches. You hold some truths, which moral 
philosophers teach; some, that the Greek church, 
and the church of Home hold ; some, which other 
Protestant churches maintain ; and others that are 
peculiar to yourselves. Do not neglect to incul- 
cate those truths, which others hold; limany teach- 
ers do virtuously, labour ye to excel them all. 
But particularly enforce the truths, that are pecu- 
liar to your own societies, and for the sake of 
which you have separated from your brethren. Sup- 
port the right of private judgment, and liberty of 
conscience in opposition to all human authority in 
matters of religion; the acknowledgment of Christ 
alone as the head of the church ; and the suffici- 
ency of the holy scriptures as the rule of faith and 
practice. These general truths include the frame 
and constitution of your churches; the nature and 
number of your offices; the mode of divine wor- 
ship ; the rites, ceremonies, or positive institutes 
of religion ; the terms of admission to the minis- 
try and to church-membership; the free choice 
of your ministers; and the nature of your disci- 
pline. AVith the knowledge of these truths provi- 
dence hath entrusted you ; may it be your holy am- 
bition to say, when you give up your accounts, 
Lord ! thou deliver edst unto us Jive talents, he- 
hold we have gained besides them Jive talents 
more ! 

The principles, that distinguish our churches, 
are but very little known to the bulk of our coua- 

200 TJie circular letter 

trymen ; some condemn them without examination ; 
others view them through false mediums ; and, 
what is worse than all, many, who act upon them 
do but half understand them, and cannot at all de- 
fend them. The Lord make you spiritual men^ 
judging all things ! and able to give a reason for 
the hope that is in you ! 

There is nothing in our principles destructive of 
the peace of civil society ; nothing hostile to go- 
vernment ; we have no dissertation in scripture on. 
the best form of government, whether it be mo- 
narchical or republican ; we hold nothing injurious 
to any religious association ; we distinguish be- 
tween the constitution of a church and the mem- 
berSy who compose it, and we venerate the last 
for acting up to their best knowledge, while we 
reprobate the first as unscriptural in its frame, un- 
sociable and violent in its temper, and unfriendly 
to the growth of religious knowledge, primitive 
morality, a chaste faith, and an universal love. If 
others, after all we have said, will not make these 
distinctions, we have only to say, He, that is un- 
just, let him be unjust still. Be you diligent, bre- 
thren ! to impart clear notions of these articles to 
your children, and not only labour to make them 
christians, but strive also to form them wise, con- 
scientious, and peaceable protestant dissenters, 
ornaments to our phurches, and comforts to your- 

Be not unmindful, brethren, of the support of 
your societies. Your pastors ask no emoluments ; 
your churches have none to bestow. Conscience 

Of the Eastern association. 201 

makes us your ministers ; and it is to your credit, 
as well as to our comfort, to enable us to provide 
things honest in the sight of all men. Your vo- 
luntary tithes are our support; and your free con- 
tributions the support of your places of worship, 
and the relief of your poor. To enable you to 
discharge these duties, you must avoid the fashion- 
able vices, and the expensive luxuries of the times; 
you must strive to excel in your several profes- 
sions ; you must be industrious in getting, and fru- 
gal in using the blessings of providence ; you must 
commend yourselves to your fellow citizens by in- 
genuity, integrity, punctuality, humanity, aftabi- 
lity, sympathy, hospitality; in a word, by uniting 
in your own persons the decency of the man with 
the dignity of the christian. 

Virtue will not fail of its reward in your churches. 
You may perhaps gain nothing of this w'orld by 
the practice of it; but you will acquire that affec- 
tion and esteem of your brethren, and that repu- 
tation in the house of God, which you will value 
beyond all riches; and you may ever contemplate 
that most transporting of all periods, in which the 
arbiter of all will say to you in the hearing of all, 
and with the consent of all, TVell done good and 
faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your 

And nozv, brethren ! xve commend you to God, 
and to the zvord of his grace. We bear you on 
our hearts before the Lord, and you will, we doubt 
not, pray for us. The Lord make every one, who 
pomes into your societies, like Rachel and like 

202 The circular letter 8^c. 

Leah ; may each build the house of Israel, do 
worthily in his country, and be famous in his 
church ! may each church be an habitation of God 
through the spirit ; like the house of Obed-edom^ 
may it be blessed for the ark's-sake ! 

Signed by order of the Assembly, 
By the Moderator, 



Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Mai/ 11, 1776. 

TUESDAY evening, 6 o'clock. Ministers, messengers, and mem- 
bers of the churches in this association, and members of other 
churclics, met at the meeting-house. Tne Rev. Mr. Blaine be- 
gan in prayer. The Rev. JNIr. Robinson was chosen Moderator. 
Mr. Nash was chosen secretary. The secretary read the let- 
ters from the churches. Memoranda were taken. A petition 
from the clmrch at Hertford for recommendation to collect for 
a meeting-house was read, approved by the assembly, and by 
their order signed by the Moderator. The general state of the 
churches was discussed. The Moderator was desired to draw 
up the circular letter. The Moderator concluded in prayer, at 
9 o'clock. 

Wednesday morning, 6 o'clock. The same assembly met again. 
The Rev. Mr. Jones prayed. Several resolutions passed rela- 
tive to the better government of this association, which arc to 
be transmitted to the churches. Several questions discussed re- 
lative to the best mode of catechizing children ; the scminating 
of religious principles; the discharging of the several offices of 
the churches, &c. &c. The moderator read his plan of the cir- 
cular letter, wluch being approved, he closed the assembly by 
prayer at 9 o'clock. 

Half past JO o'clock. The public meeting was opened by the Mo- 
derator, by singing the 1st, 2d, and 8th verses of the Ixxxtli 

The Rev. Mr. Sleap pi ayed. 

The Moderator gave out the two first verses of the cxxxiv 
hymn, first book. 

The Rev. Mr. Gould prayed, and preached from 1 Sam. iv. 13. 
Lof Eli sat upon a seat hi/ the way side, watching ; for his 
heart trembled fur the ark of God. 

The Moderator gave out five verses of the cxxxii psalm. 
The Rev. Mr. Geard prayed. 

The Moderator gave out the 3d and 4th verses of the xcv paslm. 
The Rev. Mr. Walker preached from i Thcss. v. 17. Fray 
without ceasing. 
The Moderator concluded in prayer, and dismissed the assembly. 

At 6 in the evening. The Moderator preached from 1 Tim. i. 15. 
Worthy of all acceptation. 
The Rev. Mr. Baskerville prayed. 

The Moderator dismissed the assembly with the usual bene- 
diction, and gave notice that the next association would be held 
at Cambridge, on the Tuesday and Wednesday in the week be- 
fore Whitsuntide, 1777. The Rev. Messrs. Morris, and Jones, 
are appointed to preach. The services to begin at 5 o'clock on 
Tuesday evening ; at 6 on Wednesday morning ; at half past 10 
jn the forenoozi; and at 6 in the evening. 










By the Rev. C. DECOETLOGON. A. M. 


^J¥ ESS^Y, &c, 

I3OOKS, like men, have a temper, and books 
of this kind should be good tempered; they then 
conciliate esteem, and like a well bred man give 
no offence ; perhaps always communicate pleasure. 
It was said of our bloody queen Mary, that she 
was a good tempered lady of an ill tempered reli- 
gion. Pity, any one should discover sour morose 
tempers, who profess a religion all founded and 
finished in love! I wish, for the sake of justice 
as well as general utility, this publication may al- 
ways exemplify liberality of semtiment. 

By sentiment I mean opinion, and particularly 
religious opinion ; the notion, idea, or judgment 
we form of the body of religion in the whole, or 
any of the parts that compose it. By liberality I 
mean generosity, which, strictly speaking, rather 
accompanies sentiment than goes into the nature 
and essence of it. It would be speaking more 
accurately to say, such a man is a person whose 
religious sentiments are accompanied with a liber- 
ality and generosity of heart towards others who 
do not adopt his sentiments, than to say in a vague 
manner, such a person is of liberal sentiments. 
This is too general, and I will explain myself. 

A man of liberal sentiments must be distinguish- 
ed from him who hath no reli^^ious sentiments at 

208 An Essay on liberality of sentiment. 

all. Nothing is more common than to meet with 
people, who have never turned their attention to 
religion. Whether it be owing to the natural lit- 
tleness of the mind, or to the neglect of education, 
or to the gratifying of our passions, to the company 
we keep, the occupations vre follow, or the vain 
prospects of future enjoyments in life, or to any 
other cause, the fact is too well established. The 
archbishop of Cambray somewhere resembles such 
a person to a man in distress for money, who 
would go into a room, receive, and reckon, and 
enjoy a large sum, without being able to tell, af- 
ter he came out, any thing about the dimensions 
or the decorations of the room. The money, the 
money, the object of all his hopes and fears, had 
filled all the capacity of his little soul. So many 
men enter into the world and quit it. Let them 
rather blush for not being able to tell whether 
there be a God, or whether he have spoken, or 
what he hath said to mankind. 

The man I mean to commend is the man of 
sentiment. He hath seriously and effectually in- 
vestigated, both in his Bible and on his knees, in 
public assemblies and in private conversations^ 
the important articles of religion. He hath laid 
down principles, he hath inferred consequences ; 
in a word, he hath adopted sentiments of his own. 
Nor let us confound the man of liberal sentiments 
with that tame, undiscerning domestic among good 
people, who, though he has sentiments of his own, 
yet has not judgment to estimate the worth and value 
of one sentiment beyond another. Two truths equally 

An essay on UheraUty of sentiment. 209 

clear may not be of equal dignity and importance. 
Can the posture in which I address God, suppose 
it scriptural, be as important as the temper in 
which I pray to him ? People of this class divide 
into two parts, the one have no essentials, and the 
other no circumstantials in religion. The man, 
who would conceal this ignorance and indifference 
under pretence of liberality of sentiment, resem- 
bles Solomon's ideot, and says, " one event hap- 
peneth to the clean and to the unclean : as is the 
good, so is the sinner ; and he that sweareth, as 
he that feareth an oath." 

Out of the hive of those, who have no circum- 
stantials, the objects of toleration in religion, come 
a third class, who indeed have sentiments, and 
just sentiments, but vvho hold them in the unrigh- 
teous dispositions of censure, slander, and perse- 
cution. Morose and fierce as a stormy winter day, 
their aspect lours, and all their efforts damage 
the humble traveller, whose rusty cloak seems to 
him a nobler gift of God than all the mighty pow- 
ers that endang;er his comfort and his life. A se- 
nerous soul will not only abstain from injuring the 
innocent, plundering the widow, and pillaging the 
orphan ; but, to use a fine expression of a prophet, 
he will despise the gain of oppression, sliake his 
hands from holding of bribes, stop his ears from 
hearing of blood, and shut his eyes from seeing 

What can a fierce believer reply to a modest 
christian uttering such a soliloquy as this ? You 

210 An essay on liberality of sentiment. 

have a fine genius ; but you persecute me ! You are 
found in the faith ; but your faith or your some- 
thing works hatred to me ! You are an eloquent 
orator ; but you slander me ! You sing with har- 
mon}'^, and pray with energy ; but you increase 
your fehcity by crucifying me? Think seriously, 
would the King of kings, your Lord and mine, the 
pattern of ev^ry good work, would he treat me 
thus ? and would you wish he should conduct him- 
self to you, as you do tome ? The man of liberal 
sentiments is supposed to be of the sentiments of 
Jesus Christ; and in Jesus Christ there are two 
admirable perfections, the one extensive power, the 
other the kindest and most gentle use of it. 

We should extend this subject to an improper 
length, were we to describe the exercise of liberali- 
ty of sentiment, and to enforce it by arguments. A 
sketch, then, shall serve. 

A generous believer of the christian religion, in 
whole or in part, wdll never allow himself to try to 
propagate his sentiments by the commission of sin. 
No collusion, no bitterness, no wrath, no undue 
influence of any kind, will he apply to make his 
sentiments receiveable ; and no living tiling will be 
less happy for his being a christian. He will ex- 
ercise his liberality by allowing diose who differ 
from him as much virtue and integrity as he pos- 
sibly can. He will say, have I read the scriptures ? 
so have they. Have I set God always before me ? 
so have they. Do I act up to my best light? so do 
they. Are they fallible? so am I. Have they pre- 
judices and passions ? so have 1. Have we both one 

An essay on UberaUty of sentiment. 211 

master, and are we fellow-servants ; and must we 
all give an account to the Judge of the world, of 
the deeds done in the body? the wisest and the 
best way then is, to render the present life happy 
by agreeing where we can, and, where we cannot, 
by agreeing to differ. 

There are, among a multitude of arguments to 
enforce such a disposition, the following worth our 

First: We should exercise liberality in union wilh 
sentiment, because of the different capacities, ad- 
'vantages, and tasks of mankind. Religion em- 
ploys the capacities of mankind, just as the air 
employs their lungs and their organs of speech. 
The fancy of one is lively, of another dull. The 
judgment of one is elastic, of another, feeble, a 
damaged spring. The memory of one is retentive, 
that of another is treacherous as the wind. The 
passions of this man are lofty, vigorous, rapid; 
those of that man crawl, and hum and buz, and 
when on wing, sail only round the circumference 
of a tulip. Is it conceivable that capability so dif- 
ferent in every thing else should be all alike in re- 
ligion? — The advantages of mankind differ. How 
should he, who hath no parents, no books, no tu- 
tor, no companions, equal him whom providence 
hath gratified with them all ; who, when he looks 
over the treasures of his own knowledge, can say, 
this I had of a Greek, that I learned of a Roman ; 
this information I acquired of my tutor, that was 
a present of my father ; a friend gave me this 

212 An essay on UberalUy of sentiment. 

branch of knowledge, an acquaintance bequeathed 
me that ?— The tasks of mankind differ, so I call 
the employments and exercises of life. In my opi- 
nion, circumstances make great men; and if we 
have not Caesars in the state, and Pauls in the 
church, it is because neither church nor state are 
in the circumstances in which they were in the days 
of those great men. Push a dull man into a river, 
and endanger his life, and suddenly he will disco- 
ver invention, and make efforts beyond himself. 
The world is a fine school of instruction. Poverty, 
sickness, pain, loss of children, treachery of friends, 
malice of enemies, and a thousand other things, 
drive the man of sentiment to his bible, and, so to 
speak, bring him home to a repast with his bene- 
factor, God. Is it conceivable that he, whose 
young and tender heart is yet all unpractised in 
trials of this kind, can have ascertained and tasted 
so many religious truths as the sufferer has ? 

Secondly : we should exercise liberality along 
with our sentiments, because of the depi^a-vities as 
well as imperfections of mankind. The patrons 
of error and vice have known mankind too well to 
hazard the cause of sin undisguised and in its na- 
tive form. Is there a crime without an apologist, 
or one disgraceful action without a specious name.-^ 
Is immorality any thing more than fashion.? is not 
deism genius, and blasphemy spirit and courage } 
O the goodly pretences of error, the plausible 
pretexts of sin ! How should a youth born in the 
lap of error, nourished and cherished with her 
milk, surrounded with people all in error like 

A)i essay on Uberalitij of sentiment. 213 

himself, uhere every thing is in disguise, how 
should he, if his heart he depraved, how should 
he resist a magic so full of charms ! Depraved 
mankind ! instead of persecuting you for emhra- 
cincr only five out of five thousand truths of rcli- 
gion, I will pity and esteem you, and adore the 
grace that emboldens you to admit the five : " you 
may be saved, yet so as by fire." Had I, depra- 
ved like you, perhaps more than you, had I been 
so powerfully attacked by error, I might not have 
been saved at all. 

We should believe the christian religion with 
liberality, in the third place, because every part 
of the christian religion inculcates generosity. 
Christianity gives us a character of God, but, my 
God! what a character does it give! God is 
LOVE. Christianity teaches the doctrine of provi- 
dence; but what a providence ! Upon whom doth 
not its lio-ht arise ! Is there an animalcule so 
iitde, or a wretch so forlorn, as to be forsaken 
and forgotten of his God? Christianity teaches 
the doctrine of redemption ; but the redemption 
of whom ? Of all tongues, kindred, nations, and 
people ; of the infant of a span, and the sinner of 
a hundred years old : a redemption generous in 
its principle, generous in its price, generous in its 
effects, fixed sentiments of divine munificence, 
and revealed \\'ith a liberality, for which we have 
no name. In a word, the illiberal christian al- 
ways acts contrary to the spirit of his religion ; 
the liberal man alone thoroughly understands it. 

214 An essay on liberality of sentiment. 

Fourthly: We should be liberal, because no 
other spirit is exemplified in the infallible guides, 
whom we profess to follow. I set one Paul against 
a whole army of uninspired men : " Some preach 
Christ of good will, and some of envy and strife. 
What then ? Christ is preached, and I therein do 
rejoice, yea and will rejoice. One eateth all 
things, another eateth herbs ; but why dost thou 
judge thy brother? We shall all stand before the 
judgment-seat of Christ." V/e often inquire, what 
was the doctrine of Christ, and what was the prac- 
tice of Christ: suppose we were to institute a third 
question, of what temper was Christ? 

Once more: W^e should be liberal as well as 
orthodox, because truth, especially the truths of 
Christianity, do not umnt any support from our il- 
liberality. Let the little bee guard its little honey 
with its little sting; perhaps its little hfe may de- 
pend a little while on that little nourishment. Let 
the fierce bull shake his head, and nod his horn, 
and threaten his enemy, who seeks to eat his flesh, 
and wear his coat, and live by his death : poor 
fellow ! his life is in danger; I forgive his bellow- 
ing and his rage. But the christian religion, is 
that in danger? and what human efforts can rea- 
der that true which is false, that odious Avhich is 
lovely ? Christianity is in no danger, and there- 
fore it gives its professor life, and breath, and all 
things, except a power of injuring others. They, 
who have such powers, and have incorporated 
them with Christianity, have derived them from 
some other cause, for the xvisdom that is from 

Ati essay on liberality of sejitimenf. 215 

above is pure, peaceable, gentle, firm as a rock, 
and, so to speak, defies the unavailing rage of sur- 
rounding waves. 

In fine: Liberality in the profession of religion 
is a xvise and innocent policy. The bigot lives at 
home; a reptile he crawled into existence, and 
there in his hole he lurks a reptile still. A gene- 
rous christian goes out of his own party, associ- 
ates with others, and gains improvement by all. 
The pride of some christians is so great, that they 
cannot conceive there should be any thing true, 
which they do not understand, or any thing excel- 
lent which they do not possess. They cannot bear 
contradiction, and, conceiving themselves as mo- 
dels of religion, they judge of the perfection of 
others by the proportion they bear to themselves. 
So near me, so near orthodoxy: so much like me, 
so much like what a man ought to be : so many 
features of me, so much the resemblance of Jesus 
Christ. O heart of man ! deceitful above all 
things and desperately wicked! who can knoxa 
thee ? It is a Persian proverb, A liberal hand is 
better than a strong arm. Tlie dignity of Christi- 
anity is better supported by acts of liberality, than 
by accuracy of reasoning : but when both go to- 
gether, when a man of sentiment can clearly state, 
and ably defend his religious principles, and ^vhen 
his heart is as generous as his principles are in- 
flexible, he possesses strength and beauty in an 
eminent degree. May God of his infinite mercy 
diffuse a rich abundance of his spirit among all 
good men. 











To the Rev. Mr. Lindsey. 

[With a Copy of, " A Pica for ihe Divinity of our Lord 
Jesus Christ."] 


pORGIVE a stranger to your person but an ad- 
mirer of your virtue, for intruding into your pre- 
sence. Your liberal sentiments on religious li- 
berty, and your voluntary resignation of emolu- 
ments for conscience sake, have obtained you, sir, 
and will continue to obtain you, the esteem of all 
good men, who are not blinded by prejudice and 
party. If instances so rare be treated with con- 
tempt by a degenerate age, present peace, and fu- 
ture prospects, will more than compensate the suf- 
ferers. The same conscientious regard to truth, 
which has induced you to object to the divinity of 
our Lord Jesus Christ in print, has induced me to 
attempt a defence of it, however unequal to the 
service. Your virtue, sir, has given your argu- 
ments consideration, and it seemed to me imprac- 
ticable to consider the arguments without naming 
the person. For this reason, I beg your accep- 
tance of a pamphlet, which the bookseller has or- 
ders to deliver ; and let me bespeak your forgive- 
ness, sir, if any word unfriendly to your person, 
character, or integrity, has fallen from the author. 
May he who seeth not as man seeth, pity our frailty, 

220 Letters, 

accept our services ; and what we know not, may 
he teach us ! With the most ardent wishes for vour 
present, and future felicity, I beg leave to sub- 
scribe myself, reverend sir, 

Your Affectionate 

R. Robinson.* 

To the Ren. Mr. Jebb. 

[With a Copy of, '' A Plea for the Divinitj', of our Lord 
Jesus Christ.] 

February, 5, 1776. 

Give me leave to thank you for the present of 
your late publication. The generous principles of 
the author will increase the esteem of all good 
men for him. On the coming out of that piece, 
which attacked a doctrine that many of the au- 
thor's admirers conscientiously held, I found some 
retaining the doctrine, and condemning its oppo- 
nent, and others questioning the truth of the doc- 

* To this letter Mr. Lindsey returned the following answer, 


1 take an early opportunity of acknowledging a very obli- 
ging letter received yesterday, which was followed to-day by a 
present of your book, for which I thank you; and, before I 
read it, throughout, will venture to pronounce, that one whose 
heart could dictate the letter you have favoured me with, can 
never say any thing in the defence of his own sentiments, that 
I, or any one, ought to be displeased with. That inquisitive 
and ingenious men should continue to differ so widely on such 
a subject, is a continual call, sir, to that candour and modera- 
tion towards each other, of which you are so studious to set 
the example. I am, sir, with very sincere respect, 

Your Affectionate Humble Servant, 

T. Lindsey. 

Letters. 2^21 

trine in compliance to the acknowledged merit of 
its opponent. I thought both sides wrong; and 
supposed it my duty to shew both parties reasons 
for retaining the doctrine, and venerating the man 
who denied it. The pamplilet that accompanies 
this, and which begs your acceptance, contains 
these reasons. How forcible, each must judge. 
As the argument obliged me to mention you by 
name, I brought the manuscript to town before it 
went to press, to shew you, in order to your stri- 
king out any thing relating to yourself, which 
might appear unfrienrlly; unhappily, you were 
gone that morning to London. If any thing in the 
piece should appear unkind, believe me, sir, it has 
slidden in unawares. I had, I still have, the highest 
opinion of the learning, candour and virtue of Mr. 
Jebb ; and 1 am sure he understands the nature of 
religious liberty, and the rights of conscience so 
perfectly, that he expects no apology for a candid 
opposition to his sentiments. You will allow me 
to say, what many would startle at, it is not im- 
possible, that our sentiments, much as they seem 
to differ, may after all differ less than they appear 
to do. I look forward to that day when in a better 
world we shall see eye to eye ; and with the most 
profound veneration, I remain, 

Reverend Sir, 
Yours most respectfully, 

R. Robinson.* 

To this letter Mr. Jebb returned the following answer. 
DEAR SIR, Cambridge, Feb. 7, 1776. 

I return you my hearty acknowledgements for your para- 

222 Letters. 

To a Young Minister, wJw applied to Mr. R.for 
advice relative to his settlement. 


WELL, my dear sir, and what must I say in 
answer to the question you do me the honor to lay 
before me? Should I consult my judgment, I 
should say nothing; because I know the difficulty 
and danger of giving advice on a whole subject at 
a distance, without hearing both sides of it : but 
should I consult my heart, full of the purest esteem 
for you, I should never be silent, when you desired 
me to speak. 

I have the honor of knowing the church at- • • • 
• • • -and every thing I know of them is to their 
honor. I could be ditfusive on this subject; but 
I forbear, and I mention this only as a fact, from 
which I shall infer something toward the close of 
this letter. 

phlet, and the friendly letter with which it was accompanied. 
Althoui^h I must confess, that my opinion regarding the main 
point of doctrine, which is the subject of our consideration, re- 
mains the same, I yet can say with truth, that I read your 
essay with pleasure, and received, in many particulars, infor- 
mation and improvement from the perusal. Your truly chris- 
tian temper in the discussion of so interesting a question, to- 
gether with your generous sentiments respecting religious li- 
berty, 1 cannot sufficiently admire ; and I thank you very 
sincerely for the obliging manner in which you speak of my- 
self. 1 am, with great esteem and every good wish, 

Affectionately Yours, 
John Jebb. 

Letters. 223 

I own freely, unanimity of votes in a christian 
church; especially in the choice of a minister, is an 
object of the constant wish of my heart ; and in 
general, I think, it is necessary to the comfort both 
of the church and the candidate : perhaps it is al- 
ways so in country towns, where the minority can 
have only the choice of sitting under a minister they 
do not approve, living without public worship at 
all, or forming a new society to their own satisfac- 
tion. Besides, there is something very flattering 
to a young minister in a unanimous call to a pasto- 
ral settlement ; for it is generally supposed to stamp 
his character for his ability and acceptance; though 
it is certain, a congregation may be unanimous in 
the choice of an erroneous or incompetent man. 
Mere unanimity, therefore, proves no more in a 
christian church, than it does in any other society. 

Hence I infer, that, desirable as unanimity is, it 
is notahoaijs to be e.vpected in such a case as yours. 
The opinions, the experiences, the connections, the 
tempers, and, if you will allow the term, the sym- 
pathies,of good men, are so surprisingly diversified, 
that, from causes both guilty and innocent, there 
may, and will arise, in our present imperfect state, 
a great dissimilitude of opinion, and this will be the 
greatest in the largest churches. 

Happy church! to have so many members present 
in these days of degeneracy at a church-meeting ; 
happier still, that all these members agree in the 
great and principal articles of religion : there is no 
difference of opinion concerning the God they 
adore, the worship they should otier to him, the 

224 Letters. 

truth that should be taught, the ordinances that 
should be administered ; but they differ only con- 
cerning a temporary officer, whose days are as an 
hand breadth, and whose duration is as nothing 
before God ! 

Were I a member of this church, and might I be 
allowed the liberty of addressing them, I would say, 
" Brethren, is it likely, should we dismiss the pre- 
" sent candidate, that we should be unanimous in 
" another ? Can any one present propose one 
" likely to render himself acceptable to all ? Are 
" you all disinterested, and do you think it will 
" promote the public good to discharge the pre- 
" sent teacher ? Have you duly weighed the doc- 
" trine oi growth in gj^ace, and have you conclu- 
" ded that this youth will be every day improving, 
" and consequently approaching nearer to your 
" views of the gospel ? Have you recollected, 
" that a pastor in our churches is not settled in 
" fee-simple for life at his ordination, but always 
" remains removable by vote? Can you promise 
" yourselves unanimity always in future in ««j/ 
" other church ; and is it worth while dit your time 
" of life to try ? Is it not at least worth trying 
" by your continuance with us, whether timCj 
" which is every day altering men and things, may 
" not so operate as to bring us nearer in opinion ? 
" What would you in our case, having so large a 
" majority, do ? Propose a plan in which we can 
" all agree, or, if you cannot do that, exercise a 
" momentary patience and compassion towards 
" us, your mistaken brethren," 

Letters. 225 

I must suppose, from the well-known wisdom 
and temper of the church, that more and better 
things have been said to conciliate the brethren. 
I am sorry that after all there is not an unanimity. 

But, say you, what would you do in my case? 
To say I do not know, would be absurd ; for were 
I in your case, J should be obliged to do something ; 
either to stay and accept the call, or to refuse it 
and depart. 

In this case, being necessitated to do something 
in an affair, on which providence had not thought 
fit to give me demonstration, I would do the next 
best thing; that is, I would regulate my conduct by 
probabiUty ; and I would first of all enquire vvhe- 
ther the church was constituted on a priaciple of 
government by an imanimous vote, and then I would 
refuse the call, because it would not be constitu- 
tional ; but if the church were governed by a ma- 
jority of votes, I should think there was nothing un- 
constitutional and singular in my being invited by 
a majority only. 

Secondly : I would examine the proportio7i ot 
the majority in regard to the minority. If the num- 
bers be as you say, 13 against 58, the probabihty 
lies in favour of what the 58 vote for. 

To this I would add, Tldrdly: As close and criti- 
cal an examination as I could make, without being 
rude and officious, into the nature and lvalue of 
the votes : for it is not impossible that the majority 
may act from improper motives, and in that case, 
though the majority would have the weight in ap- 

SSdi Letters. 

pearance and numbers, yet in the sight of God, 
who weighs the actions of men in a just balance, 
along with the motives from which they proceed, 
the weight of wisdom and virtue would be on the 
side of the minority. On the other hand, should 
the minority be found to act from wrong motives, 
which by the way should not even be supposed 
without the fullest demonstration, I should not 
hesitate a moment to accept the call. 

Fourthly : If it should appear, that both sides 
act sincerely, but one side from mistake, I should 
not think myself obliged to regulate my conduct 
by the errors of any numberof my brethren, how- 
ever sincere they might be in professing them. 

Finally : I would endeavour, as you say you do, 
" to follow the leadings of divine providence, and 
" to use every prudent means to know what they 
" are." Now, how are you to know this ? Not 
by miracle, certainly. In my opinion the shortest 
rule of knowing the mind of God in any step in 
providence, is, that which is taken from the great 
leading principle, the end of all our appointments 
here. To that station, most certainly, God may 
be said to call every man, in which it is probable 
he will do most good ; that is, (witness the mer- 
chant who freights a ship, and the minister, who 
preaches a sermon, both on probability of success, 
but not on demonstration ;) then I would act as, all 
things considered, it appeared to me probable that 
I should succeed in doing most good: that is, in 
your case, I think I would accept the invitation of 

Letters. 227 

the church : however I would do so with several 

First : I would examine as disinterestedly as I 
could, ail the objections made against my ministry 
by the minority. It is not impossible; for however 
able and willing you may be, you are a youth in the 
world, and an infant of short standing in reliction. 
I say it is not impossible that some of their objec- 
tions against you may be well-founded — objections 
of good sense and true piety, though not of pa- 
tience and charity; I do not say of impoliteness 
for complaisance in cases of conscience is a crime • 
and I commend the minority for not sacrificincp 
their religious principles to good humour. Our 
opponents are oftentimes our best friends ; for they 
tell us of faults, which others see, but are too civil 
to mention. Now, if I found their objections well 
grounded, and I would rigidly try myself, I would 
act ingenuously like a man and a christian, and 
remove those objections. Perhaps they may not 
lie against your principles, which you cannot alter 
but against your ma/mer ; as, your language, your 
voice, your action, your want of action, your dress 
and a thousand things beside, none of which are of 
any consequence, except they contribute to the 
public edification. 1 would not therefore hold any 
of these sacred ; but alter them to answer the oreat 
end of the christian ministry, public edification. 

Secondly: If, as I suspect, the minority complain 
of the want of savour, and experience in your man- 
ner of treating of the doctrines oi grace, I would 
p 2 

228 Letters. 

use proper caution in this case also. I do not 
%vonder that christians are jealous of the experi- 
mental part of religion ; for doctrine without ex- 
perience is a body without a soul. I do not think, 
however, that it is in your pow-er, and what is 
more, I should not think it in the power of an apos- 
tle, to speak satisfactorily on this subject without 
a long course of regular trial of his own. Have 
you been driven to your wits-end by strciitness in 
all your gates ; by disappointments, perplexities, 
injuries, and the various difficulties of life ? Have 
you had the wife of your bosom, the desire of your 
eyes taken away zvith a stroke ? Have you been 
driven with a heart all broken and shattered with 
grief, to flee out of company to the chambers of 
the gate, weeping and saying, O my son Absa- 
lom, Absalom, my son, my son I Have you had 
fightings xvithout, and fears xvithin ; terrors 
on every side, while all around you frowned and 
said. There is no help for you in God? Have 
the sorrows of death and the pains of hell gat hold 
upon you ? Have you been wearied with g7^oan- 
ing, made your couch all day, and your bed all 
night sivim with tears ? Has the Lord sent from 
above, taken you, and drazvn you out of many 
ivaters, made your feet like hinds\feet, and taught 
your hands to war, so that a bozv of steel zvas 
broken by your arms? Alas ! These good peo- 
ple have perhaps gone through all these things ; 
and you will go through them, as others have be- 
fore you, and then you will feel the supports of 
religion ; that is, you will have a fund of expe- 

Letters. 229 

Hence, and weep with those that weep. The preach- 
ing of this kind of experience is not in your pow- 
er; and it is not fair to expect it from you. If a 
church require this of a youth, they may have it 
dry, and in theory; but if they desire to have it in 
all its savour and weight, they should choose an 
old, broken spirited, distressed man. 

However, I would in your case do all I could 
to obtain a heart-felt sense of religion. I would 
acquaint myself well with the poor and afflicted 
part of Christ's flock, and my benevolence towards 
them should supply my want of experience. 

Finally: I would avoid every thing towards the 
minority that looked like suspicion or censure. I 
would treat them with all possible esteem, and do 
them every kind oflice in my power. Remember, 
it is no sin in them not to admire you. They are 
the people of God, and have a full ridit to iudge 
for themselves ; and, who can tell ? Perhaps pro- 
vidence may have merciful designs to them, to 

you, to the church at , perhaps to other 

churches, where they may be more wanted than 
with you. The Lord hath his ivay in the xvhirl- 
witid, and in the storm. His way is in the sea, 
his path in the great waters, and his footsteps 
are not knoxvn. 

After all, perhaps your danger may lie lurking 
where you least suspect it; I mean among the ma- 
jority. Should their approbation make you vain ; 
should their humility and deference for you make 
you aspire to play the priest, and domineer ;siiould 
their hospitality make you a gDssip, running from 

230 Letters. 

house to house with eagerness to retail news, non- 
sense, and slander ; should their liberality make 
you haughty, and pompous ; should their serious- 
ness make you play the hypocrite, a dealer in gri- 
mace ; should their frailties make you peevish and 
ill-tempered ; should their virtues make you cen- 
sorious and cruel ; should you take it into your 
head, from the often ill-timed applause of some, 
that you are a great man ; and in the faith of 
this, should leave off the study of the scriptures, 
private prayer, and personal religion; whatever 
you might think of yourself, I should think you a 
mere Jack-a-dandy, and no longer the unsophis- 

How I wish to see you here ! Here, if you could 
spend a month or two, it might not hurt you. The 
Jewish Rabbi visited me the other day,and told me 
he had only four pupils in the university; and he 
should teach you here every morning hebrew, and 
every evening you should preach in some stable 
or barn. 

1 am really ashamed of this letter. I have not 
written such a one these twenty years, except in 
cases of law. Farewell. It is time to conclude : 

" Night's candles are burnt out; and jocund day 
'f Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.*' 

I am, 

Dear Sir, 

Yours ever, 

Letters, 231 

To Henry Keener Esq.'JVakvorth. 

Chesterton^ May 26, 1784. 
Old Friend, 

You love I should write folios : that depends 
upon circumstances,and if the thunder storm lasts, 
it will be so : but what a sad thing it is to be forced 
to write, when one has nothing to say ? Well, you 
shall have an apology for not writing, — that is, a 
diary of one day. 

Rose at three o'clock — crawled into the library — 
and met one who said, " Yet a litde while is the light 
with you : walk while ye have the light — the night 
cometh, when no man can work — my father work- 
eth hitherto, and I work." — Rang the great bell, 
and roused the girls to milking — went up to the 
farm, roused the horse-keeper — fed the horses 
while he was getting up — called the boy to suckle 
the calves, and clean out the cow-house — lighted 
the pipe, walked round the gardens to see what 
was wanting there — went up the paddock to see if 
the weanling calves were well — went down to the 
ferry, to see whether the boy had scooped and clean- 
ed the boats — returned to the farm — examined the 
shoulders, heels, traces, chaff, and corn of eight 
horses going to plough — mended the acre staff — • 
cut some thongs, whip-corded the boys' plough 
whips — pumped the troughs full — saw the hogs 
fed — examined the swill-tubs, and then the cellar 
— ordered a quarter of malt, for the hogs want 

S52 Letters. 

grains, and the men want beer — filled the pipe 
a^ain, returned to the river, and bought a lighter 
of turf for dairy-fires, and another of sedge for 
ovens — hunted up the wheelbarrows, and set them 
a trundling — returned to the farm, called the men 
to breakfast, and cut the boys bread and cheese, 
and saw the wooden bottles filled — sent one plough 
to the three-roods, another to the three-half-acres, 
and so on — shut the gates, and the clock struck 
five — breakfasted — set two men to ditch the five 
roods — two more to chop sads, and spread about 
the land — two more to throw up muck in the yard 
— and three men and six women to weed wheat — 
set on the carpenter to repair cow-cribs, and set 
them up till winter — the wheeler to mend up the 
old carts, cart-ladders, rakes, &c. preparatory to 
hay- time and harvest — walked to the six-acres, 
found hogs in the grass — went back, and sent a 
man to hedge and thorn — sold the butcher a fat 
calf, and the suckler a lean one — the clock strikes 
nine — walked into barley-field — barleys fine, 
picked ofi'a few tiles and stones, and cut a few 
thistles- -the peas fine, but foul; the charlock must 
be topped — the tares doubtful; the fly seems to 
have taken them — prayed for rain, but could not 
see a cloud — came round to the wheat-field — 
wheats rather thin, but the finest colour in the 
Avorld— sent four women on to the shortest wheats 
— ordered one man to weed the ridge of the long 
wheats — and two women to keep rank and file 
with him in the furrows — thistles many-— blue-bot- 
tles no end — traversed all the wheat-field — came 

Letters. 233 

to the fallow-field — the ditches have run croocked 
— set tliem straight — the flag-sads cut too much, 
rush-sads too little, strength wasted, shew the men 
how to three-corner them — laid out more work 
for the ditchers — went to the ploughs — set the foot 
a little higher, cut a wedge, set the coulter deeper, 
must go and get a new mould-board against to- 
morrow — went to the other plough — picked up 
some wool, and tyed over the traces — mended a 
horse-tree, tyed a thong to the plough-hammer — • 
went to see which lands wanted ploughing first — 
sat down under a bush — wondered how any man 
could be so silly as to call me reverend — read two 
verses, and thought of his loving kindness in tlie 
midst of his temple — gave out, " Come all har- 
monious tongues," and set mount Ephraim tune — 
rose up — whistled — the dogs wagged their tails, 
and on we went — got home — dinner ready — filled 
the pipe — drank some milk — and fell asleep — 
woke by the carpenter for some slats, which the 
sawyer must cut — the Reverend Messrs. A. in a 
coat, B. in a gown of black, and C. in one of pur- 
ple, came to drink tea, and to settle, whether 
Gomer was the father of the Celts and Gauls and 
Britons, or only the uncle — proof sheet from Mr. 
Archdeacon — corrected it — wastied — dressed — 
went to meeting, and preached from, the end of 
all things is at hand, be ye sober and ivatch umo 
player — found a dear brother reverence there, who 
went home with me, and edified us all out of So- 
lomon's song, with a dish of tripe out of Leviticus, 
and a golden candlestick out of Exodus. — Really 

254 Letters. 

and truly we look for you and Mrs Keene and Mr. 
Dore at harvest; and if you do not come, I know 
what you all are. — Let Mr. Winch go where he 
can better himself. Is not this a folio ? And like 
many other folios } 

R. Robinson. 

To the Rev. Daniel Turner, Abingdon, 

Chesterton, June 22, 1784. 

What a short-lived thing is reverie ! There 
gat I, in my own hall, in more than Indian regal 
rapture — over against me, my wife, making tea — 
on my right hand, the honourable Speaker of the 
American house of Congress — on my left, the great 
general Read, second to Washington, in the Ame- 
rican army — next to him, an envoy from the states; 
and along with us a circle of friends, listening to 
the honied accents of their tongues, distilling with 
all the richest and most fragrant sounds of hber- 
ty, property, law, commerce, religion, and a fu- 
ture state of perfect and everlasting felicity; — 
when in came a well-known, grave, and lovely fi- 
gure, and addressed me with, " My dear naughty 
boy !" Full of ideas of dignity, I said with Mun- 
go in the Padlock, " Naughty boy! naughty your- 
self : old massa little tink how great I be !" Did I 
ever forget you ? does a day ever pass without my 
remembering you ? could not 1 sit at your feet to 
receive instruction ? 

Letters. 235 

Seriously, my American guests came 

on Saturday evening,— spent the Lord's day with 
us, — departed on ^londay afternoon, and left me 
the choice of the cabin of the Washington, and as 
much land in the states as I would wish to accept. 
Happiest of countries ! Peace and prosperity at- 
tend you ! I shall never see you ; but if I forget 
the ability and virtue, that struggled to obtain, and 
actually did obtain, all that mankind hold dear; 
let my right hand forget her cunning. 

Pardon this. I return to your letter. 

My literary matters are at present in the field. I 
have twenty acres of grass to mow, — an hundred 
acres of corn to get in at harvest,— fifty acres of 
fallows ploughing,— ditching,— manuring, and pre- 
paring for the next wheat-crop, — beside cattle fat 
and lean to inspect. Guess, therefore, whether I 
can either journey or study, with any degree of 
prudence, till the fall of the year. 

To the same. 

Chestertojr, Sep. 28, 1786. 

Honoured Sir, 

For once I shall have the pleasure of answering 
your favour directly. We deliver in all our books 
at every quarter-day*. I do not choose to send 
niy large lot in the crowd, so mine went yesterday, 

♦ Viz. To the public Library, Cambridge. 

&36 Letters. 

and your letter came back. To morrow my doc- 
kets are to be returned, and on Saturday I set off 
again with new ones. Meantime I strike out my 
next draft, which is Italy, and prepare for my win- 
ter campaign. I find, there are ample materials 
in the two sets of Muratori : the first is his Rerum 
Italicasum Scriptores 'carii in iinum collecti cor- 
pus, contained in 28 volumes folio. The second 
is his Aiiiiquitates Italicce Medii JEvi, 6 volumes 
folio. I have made great use of these in my pre- 
liminary essays, and I saw then what they would 
do in my history. His Thesaurus Inscriptmium, 
4 vols, folio, is useful, and so is his Anecdota 
Ecclesiastica, and his Anecdota GrcBca. lie is 
an invaluable collector of authentic monuments. 
I have two ordinations to attend in October, one 
of a general baptist in St. Ives, Huntingdon; the 
other of a particular baptist at Biggleswade, Bed- 
ford. Then I go to supply one Lord's day a desti- 
tute neighbouring church, and I fear I must run 
up to town for a day or two with my youngest son, 
who is going in a trading vessel to Smyrna, just 
to see him aboard. I foresee no more winter in- 

The Russian church comes up three times in my 
plan. Once in the preliminaries, to authenticate 
they^c^ of their dipping, for trine immersion is, 
and ever was their practice. This is established 
from the old greek menologies collected by Izan- 
phurnaris, Goar, Ilabert, and others : as also 
from their councils, comments, &c. Modern tra- 
vellers ascertain the fact now, as CJordon, Dr. 

Letters. 227 

King, and many more. The present empress is an 
anabaptist, or, to speak more properl}', she was 
sprinkled in her infancy, when she was princess of 
Anhalt Zerbst, and dipt when she married the 
Czar Peter, and took the name of Catherine 

Russia comes up a second time in the history 
of Greece. I have divided this into three periods. 
The first is from the beginning to the removal of 
the seat of empire to Byzantium, during which, 
the church was not establislied, and the earlier 
Greek fathers flourished. Here is no shadow of 
infant-baptism. The second reaches from the erec- 
tion of the eastern empire to its* destruction by the 
Turks. This is properly the Byzantine history. 
The Byzantine history consists of 36 folios of the 
princess Anna Comnena, Zonaras, Glycas, Du- 
cas, Acropolita, Cantacuzen, Arocopius, Bryen- 
nius, Caesar, and others. There is in this library 
a magnificent set of these writers, and I have ta- 
ken the history from them. Here the history of 
baptism divides itself. In the establishment there 
is dipping and infants; among the dissenters sin- 
gle and trine immersion, but no infants. I think I 
have proved contrary to the opinion of Dr. Priest- 
ley, that the Eunomians dipped, and dipped only 
adults. I think an anecdote in the AvexJoI* of Pro- 
copius puts it out of doubt. It is the history of a 
young officer, the son of an Eunomian, who con- 
formed to the Greek church, in the reign of Jus- 
tinian. The last period reaches from the conquest 
of Constantinople to the present time. Here* un 

258 Letters. 

der the patriarchates, comes up Russia. Here is 
dipping (trine immersion) and infants. 

Russia appears a third time in the history of 
Lithuania in Poland. This was a species of greeks 
called Rutheni, who coalesced with the catholics. 
Prince Ostrog, palatine of Kiow, who was of this 
kind of Greeks, patronised the unitarian baptists 
on his estates at Lubastow, Ostropolis, and other 
places, and actually built them a place of worship 
at Constantow ; and in all these parts, and through 
Red Russia they tiourished ; and governor Gabriel 
Hoy ski, lord Lieniuta, the sons of judge Czapliski, 
and many others, were of their churches, both 
patrons and members. Jerom of Prague, the Ta- 
borites and Calixtines of Bohemia, the disciples of 
Huss, from whom came the Moravian baptists, 
and the Transylvanian churches, who were the 
offspring of the Poles, had all some connections 
near or remote with the Greek church. Dipping 
was common to both parties, though the Bohemian 
baptists poured. My account of Poland, Tran- 
sylvania, and Bohemia are all written. They must 
be revised, and they fall into the second volume. 
My sketch of Greece consists of about eighty pa- 
ges of such paper as this letter. Perhaps I may 
throw in a few more ; and perhaps I may scratch 
out, when I sit down seriously to revise for the 

In regard to Signor Valdesso, I have seen his 
considerations in English. I do not think them 
of any great consequence, and I hope you will not 
give yourself much trouble about the original. 

Letters* ^^^ 

Hitherto I have made it a law to trust nothing but 
original authentic monuments, for I have observed 
some foul play in translations and quotations. I 
have Bayle. 1 have tucked Valdcsso into Na- 
varre, and if I find anything in Italian monuments, 
as probably I may, ( and indeed I think I have 
met with him either in Muratori or Montfaucon) 
I shall put him in his proper place, Naples. 

On overlooking the above, I fear I wrote it be- 
fore I was well awake. The clock struck three, 
when I dipped the first pen. While my kettle boil- 
ed I wrote. Now that I have breakfasted, and 
have tasted " the nutritive aid of the beloved pipe," 
my brains are brightened, and I return to the 
charge, perceiving I had forgotten two things. 
First, Regenvolscius, I thank you for the informa- 
tion. He was of the Uiiitas Fratrum. His book 
is a small quarto, full of authentic information. I 
have made great use of him in Poland, to which, 
and to the greek-catholics of Lublin, his accounts 
chiefly belong. He was also of great use to me 
in Bohemia. He gives authentic lists of Taborite 
and Calixtine ministers, and throws great light on 
the disputes between archbishop Rokyzan, and 
Nicholas Peldrimouski. Thence came the JNIora- 
vian baptists. Poplinerius, Stranski, Dubrauski, 
iEneas Sylvius, Toppeltinus, the acts of prince 
Racokski, Esterhazi, Isthuansi, and many more 
fall in well with Regenvolscius; but he contains 
more original information of that spot, in Lithu- 
ania, than they all. A more valuable book, and 
a far more scarce, is a small piece written by Lu- 

240 Letters. 

bienieski. I had despaired of finding him, when, 
lo, a gentleman of Trinity-college found him in a 
blind corner of that library. I fear 1 shortened 
my lecture the night I got hold of him, through 
impatience to read him. Dubrouski 1 procured 
from Queen's- college library. 

My next omission regards Italy. I spoke of 
Muratori. I ought to have said, that I had finish- 
ed the first period, and that, instead of authentic 
history, I had been forced to prove that the Latin 
church had no authentic historians of their first 
period ; but had filled up the chasm with legends 
of the ninth and tenth centuries. What parcels 
of martyrologies, menologies, metaphrastai or life 
writers, have I been forced to turn over ! It pleases 
me to find, that even this generation of liars had 
not the courage to put infant-baptism into their . 
histories of St. Agathas, St. Felicitates, and other 
such trash. On the contrary, baptisteries, adults, 
confessions of faith, and so on, appear every where. 
Nine volumes of Ughellis Italia Sacra, three of 
Rocchi Pirri's Sicilia Sacra, four of Ripamonti's 
JMilan, one of Bernard de Rube'Cs de Ecclesia 
Aquileiejisl, and others of this sort, have been of 
great use to me. Adults and baptisteries without 
end. My best book liere has been a modern work 
of Paciaudi, and his description of the cabinet of 
the late pope Benedict (XIV. I think ) who was 
a mild, learned, curious antiquary. They laugh 
at such as pretend that baptism was administered 
by sprinkling for the first eight or ten centuries. 
Paul Maria Paciaudi published his Christian an- 

Letters. 241 

tiqu'ities at Rome under the auspices of Benedict 
XIV. in 17^9- Tiie pope assisted and inspected 
the work. Pie was a great lover of antiquities, 
and Paciaudi had access to seals, rings, coins, 
cups, vases, habits, monumental inscriptions, ma- 
nuscripts, &c. all of the pope's private cabinet. 
Speaking of an antique mosaic work in the bap- 
tistery of Ravenna, in which the artist hath repre- 
sented John pouring water on Jesus, he exclaims 
thus — " PrcBcursor vascido aqiiam in caput Christi 
effundit. At qiice monstra nuntiant ejusmodi 
emblemata! Niimqidd Christus Dominus adsper- 
sione haptizatus ? Tantum abest a 'vero, lit nUiil 
magis vero possit esse contrarium : sed errori et 
inscienticB pictorum tribuendum, qui quum histo- 
riarum scepe sint ignari, vel quia quidlibet auden- 
di potestatem sibifactam credunt^ res, quas effin- 
gimt, mirijice aliquando depiYivant."' By a va- 
riety of ancient Etruscan monuments, taken from 
the Museum Florentinum, and other such works 
of Gorius, Kircher, Bonanni, Salvinii, and others, 
I think, I have demonstrated that infant-sprink- 
ling is not christian baptism but pagan lustration, 
and was in use long before either Jesus or Mo- 
ses, so that if they aspire at antiquity, here they 
have it: — an antiquity which we dippers do not 
boast of, or envy. I trouble you with all this for 
the sake of your advice on the propriety of my 
plan, the worth of my materials, and the names 
of authors, which may have escaped my notice, 
and fallen under yours. I sit before you as b»- 

242 Letters* 

fore my father, and I have not opened my mat- 
ters to any but yourself in this ample manner. 

You may guess my reason 

Muratori, then, belongs to the middle ages, 
during the kingdom of Italy, first under the Lom- 
bards, then under Charlemagne and his succes- 
sors: including also the Exarchate of Ravenna. 
I know already that there was no sprinkling in 
Italy during this period. Baptisteries there were, 
and some yet remain. This is the inscription on 
one : 


Moreover, the Lombard laws prove that Infans 
stood for a minor, an infant in laxv, not a natii' 
ral infant, and so it did among all, Greeks, Ro- 
mans, Goths, Franks, &c. The cause of infant 
baptism diminishes in proof every day in my 
eyes, and I am ever finding something, which 
seems as if it were written on purpose to produce 
this effect. I pitch foot with father jMabillon, and 
affirm it did not appear in the West till the fifth 
century ; and that impudent debauchee, St. Augus- 
tine, who was baptised along with his bastard 
Alypius, by Ambrose at INlilan, himself a middle 
aged man, and the boy about sixteen : — that Aus- 
tin, who kept a mistress while he was preparing 
for baptism, and writing books to defend Chris- 
tianity, — that was the man, who invented original 
sin, and baptism to wash it away, and told a lie 
to support it by calling it an apostolical tradition, 

Letters. 243 

tvhen he, who was the son of a christian woman, 
had not been baptised in infanc}^ himself. I look 
upon him to have been a true Carthaginian, and 
one of the best examples of Punic faith that ever 

To the Rev. Mr. Thomas, Leominster. 

Reverend Sir, 

About tAvo or three years ago, a committee of 
bur denomination in London desired me to collect 
materials for an history of the baptists. Mr. 
Thompson lent his papers, which I got transcri- 
bed ; but when all put together, they are confined 
and unsatisfactory. I thought an history of the 
baptists might be traced through all the dark ages 
of popery ; and last winter I addressed myself to 
the study, and made some progress in the history 
of foreign baptists ; but, I confess freely to you, 
the greatness of the work discourages me, for I feel 
my incompetence. There is only one thing that 
induces me to persevere. I have access to the uni- 
versity-library, and I am tlie only one of our bre- 
thren who can come at one of the national repo- 
sitories, where books on all subjects, and of every 
price, are to be inspected. I have had loads, and 
loads more I must have, if I finish the plan I have 
laid out. I find the Bohemian and Moravian bap- 
tists were many of them Arians, and some a sort of 
Quakers. The Polish baptists were Socinians, — 
G 2 

244 Letters. 

the Transylvania ns something worse, — the English 
baptists, at the reformation, were Arminians, — but 
all of them, ancient and modern, were zealous de- 
fenders of the perfection of scripture, tlie rights of 
conscience against tyranny, both civil and sacred, 
and the absolute necessity of evangelical purity, 
according to their own ideas of it. I am strongly 
inclined to believe that the ancient Britons, who 
resisted Austin the monk, were baptists ; but of 
what kind, in regard to doctrine, I do not know. I 
hope to come to this part of the history, and, in- 
deed, finish the whole this winter. I think, if I 
publish it, it will be only under the title of an Essay 
toward an History of the Baptists ; and I think it 
will be comprised, with authorities for all we ad- 
vance, in notes, in one volume, quarto. 

I have been obliged to let your valuable pa- 
pers lie till I arrive at that part of the history ; and 
then I will return them with many thanks. I wish 
most heartily, before I conclude any thing about 
printing, that I could have the advantage of con- 
sulting you, concerning the plan itself, and the 
manner in which it is executed. Your wise hand 
would strike out foreign matter, and insert both ar- 
guments and ornaments, of which I am incapable. 
Providence denies me that advantage; and I hope, 
if ever I live to publish this work, that you will 
treat it, as you do every thing else, w ith the polite- 
ness of a gentleman and the candour of a Chris- 

It Robin soN^. 

Letters. 245 

To the same. 

Reverend Sir, 

I perceive baptists are of all ages, and all coun- 
tries, and connected with a variety of subjects, of 
which I had no notion, till I vvent heartily into the 
business. Absolutely we have no history, and we 
have suffered enemies to tell our tale. My collec- 
tion will make about four thin quartoes. The first 
is an history of baptism ; the last three contain an 
history of baptists. The first is divided into essays, 
and they again into sections. The whole is inten- 
ded to contain an account of the rise, progress, 
connections, corruptions appendages, and refor- 
mation of baptism, and so on. The historical part 
begins with apostolical churches, goes through 
the several countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe, 
and ends with America. Our friends have said, 
" Print." I will not 'till I have taken the opinion 
of a few wise and good men, on the propriety of 
such a work. For this purpose, I have dipped 
promiscuously into the middle of the first volume, 
taken out two sheets, and struck off twenty or 
thirty copies, one of which begs your acceptance. 
The only question I take the liberty to ask, is, whe- 
ther, as may be judged by such a specimen, a work 
of this kind is likely to serve the cause ? If not, 
1 have done. Happy should I be, if I could con- 
sult you, who have turned your attention so mucli 
that way. 

11. Robinson. 

^46 Letters. 

To the Rev. T. Dunsco7Jibe, BamptoUy Oxon^^ 

Chesterton, Nov. ]4^ 17S5. 
Dear Sir, 

I own it gives me a great deal of pleasure to 
see any of the ministers of our churches address 
themselves to honest employments in life ; there 
are many reasons to induce us to do so. Idleness 
is abominable, and the pretence of study is a joke, 
where a man hath not more books than he can read 
over in a month. Besides, what is there to find 
out ? A catholic had need be a subtle dog, and 
furnished vvith all the lore of the schools, to make 
the new Testament speak in favour of his church ; 
but a baptist, whose whole religion lies in believing 
a few plain facts, and in imitating that very plain 
example, Jesus Christ, — what hath he to do to rack 
his invention, and to assemble all apologies, an- 
cient and modern, to justify him for doing so ? Oh! 
but there are some beautiful readings, and fine 
criticisms, and strokes of oratory, which deserve 
the study of a minister of Christ ! Well, God for- 
give me, poor sinner that I am ! I feel three 
pounds, gained honestly by the sale of a fat bul- 
lock, produce more fire in my spirit, than all those 
pretty, but poor tassels and spangles, can give me. 
With three pounds 1 can set fire to ten cold hearts 
frozen with infirmity and widowhood, povert^and 
fear. Half a guinea will purchase thife native elo- 
quence of a grateful old woman ; and she, if I set 

Letters. 247 

her to read, will give me a criticism of the heart, 
and the tiuest reading in the world. Oh ! bless 
the old soul ! what honied accents she pours into 
my ear ! If I can honestly get, and afford to give 
away three pounds, it will always be my own fault, 
if I be not very happy. Now then set me to preach. 
How is it possible I should be dull 1 The luxury 
of living to the glory of God, and the good of so 
ciety ; the joy of having saved a forlorn and for- 
gotten cripple from hanging herself in despair ; the 
felicity of setting fire to incense that burns to the 
glory of God ; these are preparations of the pulpit, 
which the cold consumer of midnight oil never de- 
rives from his accents and quantities. I was the 
other night in our vestry with several gownsmen 
just before the lecture. In comes one of my sister 
Abigails. '' How do you do, Sarah? I am glad to 
see you returned safe from visiting your family at 
Soham."— " Bless the Lord, Sir, I am. We heard 
I\Ir. Watts on the Lord's day, and ^vere very much 
edified indeed ! But the day after we were com- 
ing out of town, my husband saw him— and poov- 
creature, he was so shocked.— O Sir"!— Thunder- 
struck at all this, I trembled, expecting to hear 
before the gown, that my poor brother Watts was 
seen drunk, or some such thing. Lord, thouglit I, 
happy is that man who hath not a foolish, babbling 
good woman in his congregation. 1 looked pale- 
Sarah went on, " O Sir, there was the poor man on 
the top of a ladder a thatching a rick," I laughed, 
but stamped, and said, " Have I bestowed so much 
instruction uj)on you and your husband for nothing 

b ■ 

248 Letters. 

Are you yet in a state of infancy ? I honour the 
man, and must be acquainted with him."^ — " Dear 
Sir, he works five days, and has only Saturday to 
study." — " Well, Sarah, I shall try to convince 
him, that he ought to work six days; for one day 
\vill never make him a scholar, and his people are 
only a set of turf-diggers : and fourteen pence miore 
in his pocket every Lord's day, will make him 
preach with more vigour, and rattle the gospel 
with more power into the turf-men s souls. I ap- 
peal to these learned gentlemen." After all, the 
prejudices of the common people are very great 
against the secular employments of ministers; and 
while we pursue them, we should take care, and 
not give any unnecessary offence. This last seed- 
time I w^as in the field along with a young gentle- 
man who looks after my farm, and he was digging 
a water-furrow across a land. It was a strong 
clayey soil, and he groaned, so that in pity I took 
the spade and v*ent into the ditch, which was very 
dauby, and presently groaned too, at which he fell 
a laughing. — What do you laugh at? "Pardon 
me, Sir : 1 recollected that a minister lately said in 
his sermon, that preaching was the hardest work 
that was done under the sun." 1 w-ish the fool was 
in this ditch : he w ould soon learn that some of his 
authors had taught him to tell fibs. larewell, my 
most affectionate friend ; industry, plenty, frugality, 
prosperity, generosity, and piety be with you. 

Letters. 249 

To the same. 

IT is really deplorable to see the condition of 
some of our churches ; some sapling of a minis- 
ter collects and embodies weaklings, like himself; 
a sort of insipid chit-chat is made the test of a 
christian : and as men of sense will not disgrace 
their understandings by chaunting such stuff, they 
are left. Not one of these church babies foresees that 
in human societies, human frailties must produce 
disagreeables ; not one, therefore, is prepared to 
meet such things, but in the moment of a ditference 
void of all prudence, moderation, or decency, out 
they set a crying, scaring themselves, and bellow- 
ing up the multitude, as if the world were at an 
end; when nothing is the matter, only Billy the 
baby has broken Billy the baby's doll. It is im- 
possible in the nature of things, that in our churches 
any thing can happen of consequence enough to 
justify such violent dealings as are often seen. 
Nobody's life is endangered here ; nobody's pro- 
perty is disposed of without his consent; nobody 
is compelled to attend. In short, they are our unruly 
passions, that give church disputes all their conse- 
quence; and if they were bridled, no harm could 
happen. If a dispute is too much for contending 
parties, why do they not submit it to the arbitra- 
tion of men cooler than themselves? 1 think no- 
thing can excuse such monstrous conduct as post- 
ing up papers about church disputes, ujjon mar- 
ket crosses. Zeal, frantic zeal, w hat infinite mis- 
chief it does ! 

250 Letters. 

I have disposed of this summer, in repairing 
9,nd painting my house, in receiving company, and 
in a month's retirement; and I have made one ob- 
servation ; I never had so much company succes- 
sively, in so short a tune in my life, and 1 have 
remarked only a few of the many ministers, who 
are sincerely studying the New Testament, the 
four gospels, I mean. I want a man who vindi- 
cates the book, and ascertains the fact, that the 
history of the incarnation is not an addition, and 
this by sober, just criticism. I do not want autho- 
rities of great names. I want reasons to convince 
my understanding. I want one who gives me the 
genuine doctrine of the four gospels, before the 
epistles were written; a man as familiar with Pales- 
tine, as his own country ; with Herod, John, and 
others of that day, as with George III. and Pitt, 
and Fox. I do not want a quoter of texts, and a 
packer of ecclesiastical news. I want a good 
sound logician, who knows how to reason, and who 

is no novice, a cool, deliberate, honest 

disciple of Jesus, who pauses, and weighs, and ad- 
mits the refining fire of inquiry to burn freely. 
Ah ! my friend, what a falling off is here ! Instead 
of possessing treasures of wisdom and knowledge, 
alas ! we are asked one question, and we gape like 
dying rooks : and yet we are set for the defence of 
the gospel, and the Lord, even Jehovah himself, is 
wonderfully with us ! — As for mere squirrels, that 
jump, and frisk, and crack nuts, they divert me, 
for in my eye their idiotism is the seal of their sal- 
vation. But I hate your Cat-o'-mountains that 

Letters. 251 

hiss and scratch out harmless peoples' eyes. Bro- 
ther, let us not be mischievous by our tempers ; let 
us not be Jack-no-bodies by our idleness, and in- 
activity. Let us begin to study at the feet of our 
quiet and mild master, and in patience let us, as he 
hath taught us, possess our souls. Peace be with 
you. Love to all, except Miss Dunscombe : here 
is not room enough to hold my expressions of 
esteem for her. 

Yours ever, 


To the Rev. Dr. Toulmin. 


The last question in your favour of July 1 8th, 
" How your family is ?" requires an answer which 
you will accept as an apology for my silence. Alas! 
my heart is too full. I can only tell you we are 
now recovered, and returned to our usual labours. 
Three years the loveliest of all girls, the pride and 
the beauty of my family, was declining. In October 
she fell asleep, saying, as she reclined her head, 
Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Seven- 
teen years of age — five feet ten inches high — 
straight as a palm-tree, a fund of wit, an mnocence 
of manners, and a piety and virtue regulated by 
wise and just sentiments of the great Supreme : 
all, all are lied, and here am I, — here, 

As on a lonely building's top, 

The sparrow tells her moan, 
F-ar from the tents of joy and hope, 

[ iret and srieve nlone. 

252 Letters, 

My dear sir, say nothing to me ; I try to ac- 
quiesce. I comfort my wife, and the rest of my 
family, and in collecting for them, soothe myself; 
but this hath been a great wound ; for all were 
most affectionately attached to the lovely Julia. — 
I have done. — I am a parent. — Forgive me. 

To Air. ]\Iarsom of London, acknowledging the 
receipt of txco Pamphlets, the one Sykes on the 
Tnnocency of Error, and the other — On the 
Impersonality of the Holy Ghost, written by 
Mr. Marsom. 

Chesterton, May 7, 1788. 

I accept with gratitude both the pamphlets you 
were so complaisant as to send me, and I thank 
Mr. Taylor for this additional proof of his esteem. 

Eleven years ago, I published a Preface to the 
third volume of a Translation of Saurin s Sermons 
on the Doctrine of Christian Liberty ; and in page 
7. 1 said, " Mere mental errors, if they be noten- 
" tirely innocent in the account of the Supreme 
*' Governor of mankind, cannot be, however, 
*' objects of blame and punishment among men." 
Error is mistake ; mental error is mistake of the 
mind ; 7nere mental error is such a mistake of the 
mind as doth not affect the heart and life. This 
harmless position exposed me to many censures, 
and by a certain class of men my name hath been 
cast out as evil ever since ; they have thought it a 
duty to preach and print against me, and to treat 

Letters. 253 

me with personal insults. About a year ago, I heard 
by a gentleman of Queen's college, that Sykes had 
published the same sentiment, and since that, I 
saw, in Dr. Disney's Life of Sykes, an account of 
it Ever since I have endeavoured to procure the 
book, but never could till the week yours arrived. 
Three days before, I had seen it in a Lynn cata- 
logue, and I instantly wrote and procured it, but it 
was the first edition. Next day, a fellow of Trinity 
college found a second edition, in the college-li- 
brary, and lent it me. Then came yours, the last and 
best edition, for which I most sincerely thank you. 
People are so thoughtless as to exclaim — " If this 
" be allowed, the doors of our churches will be 
" thrown wide open to all erroneous persons." I 
deny the fact ; for I can easier find professors of a 
speculative system, than men of a holy life ; and 
unholy professors are the most grievous here- 
tics. Who is to judge of error, you or I; you 
for me, or I for vou, or each for himself? There 
is no safe ground of action, except the leaving of 
every individual to judge for himself, and account 
to his master. My thanks are due most sincerely 
for your own performance. I have read it with the 
most slowino; affection for the author. I love a 
man vvho thinks for himself, think what he will. I 
honour the virtue of every one who dares to be 
free, and to shake off tlie petty tyranny of eccle- 
siastics, who bind the grievous burdens of tyranni- 
cal systems upon the consciences of another man "s 
discijjles — disciples whom they neither created, 

^54> Letters. 

nor redeemed, nor are appointed to judge. My 
soul come not thou into their intolerant assembly ! 

As to personality in God, a trinity of persons, 
I think it the most absurd of all absurdities : and 
in my opinion, a man who hath brought himself 
to believe the popular doctrine of the trinity, hath 
done all his work ; for, after that, there can be 
nothing hard, nothing inevident, the more unintel- 
ligible, the more credible ; and, as this serves the 
purpose of producing implicit faith in pretended 
guides, priests will always try to keep it in credits 
The bible reads easy, if we consider God oiie ; Je- 
sus the Son of God ; and the Holy Ghost, the in- 
Jluence of God. But this would spoil trade, the 
'Scriptures would become plain and easy, and a 
learned priesthood would be unnecessary to make 
out and unfold that hard science Christianity, to 
us poor blind creatures. Verily, my friend, priest- 
craft is at the bottom of all this burlesque upon 
religion ; for such 1 account the grimace of one 
man's pretending to take care of another man's 
soul. The direct end of all their schemes is to 
cheat people into a disuse of their own understan- 
dings, and to pitch their eyes, and place their af- 
fections, upon a frail, and often a wicked proxy. 

I am sorry I had not the pleasure of knowing 
you when I was in London ; at present I have no 
immediate business there, and if I had, my stay 
would be short; not because I have not innume- 
rable friends there whom I esteem, but because my 
present avocation is here. Here I am far from the 
din of unprofitable disputes about words and phra- 

Letters. 255 

ses. Here I enjoy a daily intercourse with men of 
the first literature, and the most amiable disposi- 
tions, sincere disciples of Jesus, who, thanks to 
Divine goodness, are in this university, studying 
the holy scriptures, and devoting their fine talents 
to the service of truth. Here too is a church of 
divers sentiments, but of uniform goodness, who 
enjoy christian liberty, without assuming authority 
over one another. Here I weed my garden, plough 
the silver stream with my two-oar boat, read, scrib- 
ble, contemplate, and fill my soul with ideas 
of the Great Supreme, and vvith the joyful prospect 
of a blessed immortality. Here the blossoms of my 
flowers and fruits regale my scent ; the lark com- 
pliments me when I rise ; the cuckow attunes the 
morning breeze; the owl sings me to sleep ; and if 
I wake in the night, the nightingale, beneath my 
window, lulls me to rest again : — 

" Tliese arc thy works, Parent of Good." 

Here also my distant friends visit me. — The 
last fortnight, my house has been filled with com- 
pany from Oxford, Abingdon, London, &c. and, 
in their absence, I converse vvith the dead, in the 
vast libraries of this university. Oh ! how good is 
God to me, and I, with all these advantages, how 
unprofitable to him ! Best of beings — my Fathep 
and my God ! Thy perfections are the base of uiy 
hopes ; in Thee I live, in Thee I move, in Thee 
I have my being ! to Thee, to Thee alone^ be all 
the glory ! 

25(5 Letters. 

Believe me, my fiiend, your introduction ele 
vates my soul. It lifts religion off the sand of au- 
thority, and places it on the rock of revelation. 
It makes the understanding free as the eye. Go 
on and prosper. Bring received opinions to the 
crucible. Take off the dross of human authority, 
antiquity, universality, and the rest; and reserve 
for public use the pure gold of revealed truth. 
Truth can never suffer by trial, and doctrines that 
shrink from examination and severe criticism, be- 
tray their origin. 

If ever it lies in your way, I should be happy 
to see you at Chesterton ; and when you see my 
friend Taylor, do me the favour to assure him of 
my most undisguised esteem. 

When yours came, I was just reading the prose 
works of the divine Milton — one of the first of 
men. I am never tired of him. Are you acquain- 
ted with his Areopagitica, for the liberty of unli- 
censed printing? — 

" This is true liberty, when free-born men, 
" Having to advise the public, may speak free." 

Pardon the length of this. I do not often of- 
fend in this way. Without ceremony, farewell. 

Ever yours, 


Letters. * Q57 

To a Dissenting Minister in TVales. 

London, June 1, 1789- 


As I have not the pleasure of being known to 
you, I think it necessary to inform you that I am 
minister of a Baptist congregation at Cambridge, 
and I trust you will allow me without apology to 
address a few lines to you on a business commoa 
to all christians, and particularly necessary at this 
time to us baptists. The church at Cambridge 
admits members on professing to believe — Jesus 
to be the Son of God. Consequently we hold 
the perfection and sufficiency of the holy Scrip- 
tures, and of course we have a variety of human 
opinions. Sometime ago, one of our members, 
an ancient man, who had been pastor of a church 
at some distance near forty years, applied to the 
particular baptist fund for a share of the money, 
which they annually distribute among extra minis- 
ters. The fundees wished to have served him, but 
they informed him that their rules required a con- 
fession of faith first. He, being a Calvinist Trini- 
tarian, wrote his creed, and sent it. That would 
not do : they sent him a copy of a confession ta- 
ken from a little pamphlet, entitled " Rules and 
Orders &c." He transcribed this with great re- 

* The letters which follow are printed from the original M. S. 

258 Letters. 

luctance, for he thought it implied an acknow- 
ledgment of their right to impose a human creed, 
and a tacit denial of the perfection of scripture ; . 
however he did transcribe their words, returned 
the letter, and received five guineas. 

After I had silently observed all this, I thought 
it my duty to shew the secretary of the fund 
the injustice and impropriety of the fundees pre- 
suming to insult their country brethren with hu- 
man creeds. I observed that the fund was foun- 
ded by Mr. Hollis in 1715, for the relief of the 
Particular Baptists ; that the present creed was 
drawn up in 1775 without any authority from the 
Trust deed. That many particular baptists could 
not conscientiously subscribe to the doctrine of 
three divine persons in the Godhead, for they did 
not believe personality in the sense of the creed, 
nor did they know what divine persons meant, es- 
pecially as the same fundees sing in public wor- 
ship — ■ 

Great was the clay, the joy was great 
When the divine disciples met. 

However, not to dispute the truth or falsehood 
of their creed, the question was — whether they in 
London had any right to offer human opinions to 
their brethren in the country, who were as compe- 
tent to judge of the meaning of scripture as them- 
selves? If they chose to add by their own dona- 
tions to HoUis's capital they could have no right 
to confine his part to their new conditions, but 
ought to give that by his rule to particular baptists 

Letters. -259 

undescribed in regard to their notion of the na- 
ture of Christ and the Spirit, We observed if this 
liberty of adding to the words of a donor were 
allowed, perhaps future trustees might affirm that 
there were four or six divine persons, and that no 
one should receive of the-fund unless he believed 
their affirmation. What security have we that it 
will not be so? What of their own money they 
have given since 177^ they have certainly affixed 
to their own conditions; but this cannot operate 
on the old fund. They say, they have a right : — - 
what? a right to do wrong? No, they can have 
no right to corrupt the gospel even with their own 
money. If subscription to human articles of faith 
be wrong in itself, how can a man make it right 
by giving money to decoy good men into the prac- 
tice? The secretary felt these remonstrances and 
others which accompanied them, and moved the 
affair at the board, but he and his few friends 
were out-voted. 

Now I am informed they are proceeding to 
catechize Wales; and I am told, if Wales does 
not give a good account of its faith, their dona- 
tions will cease. My friend David of Frome tells 
me you have written to Mr. Smith, and he David, 
insisted on my writing to you. Alas ! dear Sir, what 
can 1 say, except that I abhor all dominion over 
conscience, and that while these very men are peti- 
tioning parliament to free themselves from sub- 
scribing to the civil magistrate, it is with a very ill 
grace indeed that they presume to doftiineer over 
R 2 

36o Letters. 

their brethren. I have confidence in our good bre- 
thren in Wales, that they will resist such tyranny, by 
either refusing fund money, or by accepting it free 
from all conditions of believing this or that. You, 
the original inhabitants of this country celebrated 
in all ages even by your oppressors for the love of 
liberty, will you resign the noblest branch of li- 
berty, liberty of conscience, not to prelates and 
princes, — they do not ask you, — but to a kw plain 
men like yourselves, having no more learning, no 
more virtue, no more knowledge and piety than 
yourselves, and no possible pretence for depriving 
you of this freedom except what the donation of 
two or three poor guineas a year afford ? Sir, was 
not our Saviour the finisher as well as the author 
of faith ? Is not his gospel perfect, able tho- 
roughly to furnish a man of God without human 
additions? Hath he condescended to take the 
tuition of his disciples, and is he not equal to the 
execution of the undertaking? Have we more 
than one master? and is not Jesus that one? 
How is it then that our brethren give their com- 
ments as of equal authority with his text ? Can 
they read, so can we. Can they think of what 
they read, so can we. Are they free, so are we. 
Are they accountable to their master and not to 
us ? We also are accountable to him not to them. 
We do not ask whether their creed be true or 
false, but whether they have any right to impose 
it upon us. If it be true, it will stand safe with- 
out our subsc^i^Dtion. If false will our subscription 
make it true? Sir, our ancestors resisted the *"- 

Letters. i 261 

ranny of Rome in spite of all her pomp and pow- 
er. We have trod in their steps and dissented from 
a wealthy established church, because, like the pa- 
pal hierarchy, she also oppressed us with human 
creeds, and now shall we suffer four or five poor 
baptist brethren to put a yoke upon our necks? 
Oh God forbid ! they are self employed. Neither 
government, magistrates or prelates, set them about 
this work, nor did we ever send to them a peti- 
tion humbly to pray them to make a creed for us. 
Who then elected and commissioned these men.f^ 
Are they apostles, and have they any e.vtraordina- 
ry call? Blessed be God, the ages of fraud and 
credulity are over, and, having got by the provi- 
dence of God, possession of the oracles of God, 
we are now to judge for ourselves, and not to re- 
turn to infancy to be carried about with every 
"wind of doctrine according to the caprice of un- 
foreseen fundees ! We have a sure word in scrip- 
ture, but how can we expect successive fundees 
to ascertain the same creed ? If then every word 
were true and our own faith, we would not sub- 
scribe this creed, nor own the authority of fun- 
dees to make one, lest hereafter they should frame 
another opposite. But what if it should be nei- 
ther truth nor sense ? Tliey say, you shall not 
receive any benefit from fund monies unless you 
profess to believe. What ? The doctrine of Origi- 
nal Sin. Why, there are twenty accounts of ori- 
ginal evil : which do the fundees mean ? That 
of St. Augustine? Or that of Soame Jenyns? 
Neither, but both ! The origin of evil. Ah! why 

9,62 Letter's. 

burden christians with the necessity of deciding a 
question in metaph}isicks ; or if they must be meta- 
physicians why not state their positions clearly? 
These things tend only to divide, distress and in- 
iure christians. Instead of encragin^ us to love as 
brethren, they part us into opposite factions, they 
inspire us with wicked passions, they teach us to 
neglect and even to persecute one another, and 
of all such practices what will our sovereign the 
sole Lord of conscience say when he comes? 

Forgive dear Sir, this irregular effusion of my 
heart, dictated by a sincere love of liberty, but 
written in great haste, in an inconvenient place 
■with a bad pen ; and allow me to wish you may 
resist this attack upon your christian liberty. I 
have said and written all I can, ever since I heard 
of their writing to know what your faith in Wales, 
is. If you take courage and resist their tyranny, 
you will find many here to commend you, and 
join in opposing this oppression. Sir, I have no 
time to add more than that I am with, I trust, es- 
teem for yourself, and ardent wishes for the free- 
dom and happiness of the brethren of Wales, 

Your most affectionate, 

Robert Robinson. 

I am now on a visit in London, but am usually 
at home at Chesterton near Cambridge, where I 
shall be glad to see or hear of you. 

Letters. 265 

To Mrs. T. 
Chesterton, July 12, 1779- 


This billet only begs leave to thank you, for 
your hospitality to the writer, and to inform you, 
that the nursling you was pleased to present me 
with arrived in perfect health at Chesterton, the 
third day after I left A . Its fate since is not un- 
fortunate. J\Iy family nurse one root, MissC 's 

gardener another ; and I am chaplain to both, 
and moralize on everlasting bloom and verdure. 
He, who said, consider the Ully, authorised his fol- 
lowers to subjoin, consider every other flower. In- 
deed these are books well written on the divine at- 
tributes, and to read them is reason and religion 
too. Mrs. C— — at my return expressed great 
pleasure, in hearing of the welfare of your mother 
and yourself, and desired her respects. Since that 
she has been very ill. X heard yesterday she was 
something better. My wife joins in respects to all 
your house. 

I am Madam, 

Your obliged humble servant,. 


254 Letters, 

To the same. 

Chesterton, Oct.S, 1787. 


Providence, alwajs better to us than our fears, 
enabled Mrs. Hobinson to perform her journey 
much beyond expectation, and indulged us with 
the pleasure of finding the child better. 

We quitted your house as Adam and Eve did pa- 
radise. Much we knew, and more we dreaded. 
We proceeded to Thame, Aylesbury, and Tring, 
where we arrived at seven ; it was dark, and Mrs. 
Robinson found herself too weary and oppressed 
to proceed further that night. There is but one 
chaise at Tring, and that was out, and had been 
hired for the next morning. The road to Dunsta- 
ble, too, was pronounced the worst in England, 
and absolutely dangerous. At length, we prevail- 
ed on the innkeeper, to send us in the morning to 
Berkhamstead. Thither at six we went, and thence 
by a good road to Dunstable, where we break- 
fasted. We arrived at home about half past three, 
dreading, you may suppose, to look up at the win- 
dows. Taking courage, we observed one window 
of the child's room curtained, the other clear, but 
no sash up, and .while we Avere hoping, the boat 
came over, and the messenger proclaimed, Julia is 
better. She has been sitting up in a chair, and 
netting a purse. Since then, she continues much 
the same. The issue only God knows. [Silence is 
the law, and nobody forbids her parents to hope. 

Letters. ^65 

We have no words to express our sentiments of 

A , and of your tender friendship. May our 

future conduct testify ! 

I ought to have written last night, but the truth 
is, the iUness of the child and the labours of the 
day, put it out of my power. Whether it were a 
compliment on my return, or a sympathy with my 
sorrow, 1 know not, but the audience ye'sterday 
was uncommonly large and crowded, 1 was very 
warm, and going home innnediately to see the 
child, I caught cold, and was forced to omit wri- 
ting, for I was blinded by the head-ach. As soon 

as I can procure franks, I will send Mr. T 

the memorandums relative to the trust. To him, 
to all your house, relations and visitors, and to all 
friends we beg our most cordial respects. 

I am, Madam, 

With all possible esteem, 

Your most oblicred 



To the same. 
C/iesterto}i, Oct.29, 17S7' 


You will not be surprized when I inform you, 
that all our hopes and {ears concerning Julia, ended 
in her departure on the evening of the 9th instant. 
You, I know, foresaw it. For my part I wilfully 
blinded myself ; I could not, 1 would not beheve it 

ft66 Letters. 

could be, but it was and I have felt it, and ever 
shall feel it. Saturday she seemed better, sat up, 
gave me a drawing of a moss-rose-bud for my 
watch, and ate two slices of the breast of a goose 
and some green pease. Lord's-day worse. Monday 
worse still. Tuesday up into an easy chair, and put 
again to bed more than twenty times in the day, 
yet she ate a bitof hare for dinner. At seven I gave 
her a night draught, which she took with eagerness, 
and said, she would not take any thing more to 
night, but go to sleep. Presently, she said, Nancy 
kiss me. Nancy kissed her, and Patty. Reclining 
her head on the pillow she added. Lord into thy 
hands I commend my spirit, and without a struggle, 
a sigh, a groan, or any unpleasant appearance, fell 

asleep. Oh ! Mvs. T , the picture is in my 

mind. I shall never lose it ! 

Turn hopeless thouglit, turn from her, 

Thought repelled, resenting rallies, and wakes all my woe. 

Julia was the beauty and the pride of my family. 
She was straight as an arrow, five feet ten inches 
high. A dark eye like fire, and an oval visage full 
of sensibility, and sweetness. A comf)lexion like 
the lilly tinged with the blush of the rose. She had 
a fund of sterling wit, and a wise, grave reason that 
directed the use of it. Nothing escaped her ob- 
servation, and whether she roved in the regions of 
fancy, or plodded in the facts of creation and pro- 
vidence, her fine reasoning powers reduced all to, 
truth, arranged all in order, and directed all to 
make her circle happy. She had the most just and 
sublime notions of God, and a perpetual venera- 

Letters. tG7 

tion for him. No suspicions invaded her serene 
bosom, during a gradual decline of three years: 
on the contrary, often would she exclaim, his ten- 
dei mercies are over all his works ! Shall not the 
judge of the whole earth do right ! She had feli- 
city enough to enjoy, and to communicate, and her 
sisters who always waited on her, said, father, 
Jule is an angel! My heart, my aching heart ! 
She was an angel. Ah ! too true ! She had wings, 

and flew away. Do dear Mrs. T , forgive 

me. It eases me to write to you, for you, I know, 
share my grief. 

As on some lonely building's top, 
The sparrow tells her moan, 
So far from tents of joy and hope, 
I set and grieve alone. 

I am not offended with the good father in hea- 
ven. I have no fears about the lovely spirit of the 
departed. But will the great being be angry with 
me for perceiving, when my family assemble, tliat 
" David's place is empty ?" 

How wonderful are God's ways ! My mother 
at ninety, with a complexion and a vivacity proper 
to seventeen, goes into mourning for seventeen, 
decrepid, departed, decayed ! Mrs. Robinson and 
the family have borne the shock better than could 
have been imagined. The lot has fallen upon me, 
and they in eagerness to comfort me console them- 

Pardon me madam, that I can think and write 
of nothing else. I deferred this till I could pro- 
cure franks, to send the inclosed papers to Mr. 

£68 Letters. 

T . To him and yourself we feel the utmost 

gratitude and esteem, not merely for the polite 
performance of both the bounties and the graces of 
hospitality, but for qualities of piety and goodness 
of far superior worth. 

To Mr. J , to Miss E , and to Miss 

W (if with you,) we beg our compliments, 

as also to the other families of T s, W s, 

T r, and the rest. 

I am, Madam, 

In which Mrs. Robinson and house join, 

Your most obliged, 

R. Robinson. 

To a Friend in London, 

Chesterton, July 12, 1788. 


So it happened, I went into Norfolk in a hurry, 
through some cross accidents in repairing my 
house, which detained me beyond my appoint- 
ment, and left your packet at home. I had de- 
termined to write to you from Norfolk, but was 
obliged to defer it. I do not call this a proper 
apology for apparent neglect, but it is the truth, 
and with this I cast myself into the arms of your 

. The letters of your friend S , charm me with 

^€\x naivete. Free, open, ingenuous as the day, 

Letters. 26<) 

and full of friendship and manly sense, they seem 
to come from the heart, and to challenge esteem 
and confidence. I think, were the young lady mine, 
I should wish no better oj3portunity to accomplish 
her manners, or to liberate her mind from that 
boorish bigotry, which to the disgrace of protestan- 
tism, imprisons so many understandings in preju- 
dice, and prevents improvement in knowledge, and 
refinement in moral excellence. Not that I think 

Miss B in danger of this at home, but I do 

think it is the infirmity of many dissenters in Lon- 
don, with whom it is possible she may associate, so 
that, if danger be in France, danger is in England 
also. What we most dread in the catholic reli- 
gion is a spirit of intolerance. It is more absurd 
and more wicked, than those superstitious cere- 
monies, which we protestants, pronounce most ab- 
surd in that church. The extreme opposite to 
intolerance is indifference. If in avoiding one we 
do not slip into the other, I think we hit the narrow 

path of a wise moderation. If Miss 13 

attend the protestant church, if Mrs. S en- 
courage her to perform all the duties of protestan- 
tism, if the family be virtuous, I see no danger. 

Yet after all, say your ingenious friend what he 
pleases, there is no eye like the eye of a parent, to 
w-atch over the health, the habits, and the happi- 
ness of a child. In case of sickness or accident 

Cognac is a long way from C : but sickness 

may not happen, and it may. Habits of living, 
too, may be formed incompatible with future con- 
nections, nor doth happiness necessarily attend 

^70 Letters. 

politesse. What if the lady should return highly 

finished, and, aware of her superiority, excruciated 
at the sight of British bluntness ! In such a case, 
her supercilious airs would alienate the affections, 
of her circle of English friends, as their plain man- 
ners would give her perpetual pain. There is, it 
must be owned, a certain levity in the manners of 
the French incongruous with some grave and so- 
lemn duties of life; nor can a single family, how- 
ever disposed to do so, counteract a general in- 
fluence. Hence dissipation of manners, indiffe- 
rence in religion, submission to oppression, intoxi- 
cation with pleasure, and all the ills, under which 
with all their gaiete that bewitching nation groan. 
To be polite in France, is to resemble the court : 
but whoever reads the lives of those courtiers, nmst 
confess they are not models fit for us. Justamond's 
life of Levvis XV. Mrs. Thicknesse's, lives of the 
ladies of France ; Brantome, and all others of the 
same kind convince me, that Versailles is the Eu- 
ropean school of dissipation, and that the business 
of life is sensual gratification, and scavior vivre 
the art of gilding it with epigrams, points, and 
pretty sayings. The English think with Young : 

" Wit widow'd of good sense, is worse than nought, 
" And hoists more sail to dash against a rock." 

I wish, my friend you had not asked my opinion 
on a subject so delicate, and of which I am so ill- 
informed : but your request is a law to me, even in 
a case of vvhicii I have no opmion to give. 

I asked myself to sit down under an oak in my 
sister's grove, to hold the balance, and form an 

Letters. 271 

opinion. I obeyed. I said — Here, I put the bene- 
fits of being at home, and there the advantages of 
Cognac. Here is a father. There a friend. What 
accomphshment hath this friend, which this fa- 
ther hath not ? What qualification hath this father, 
which his friend hath not? In brief, I weighed 
B against S ; one lady against ano- 
ther lady ; C against C ; A protestant 

church in France, against christian churches 
in London ; a British, like a Roman matroa 
against itiaclame ; a.nd I asked, which is the state 
most advantageous to a young female, on whose 
felicity that of her parent turns ? I thought the 
scale turned much in favour of home, especially as 
there is no poverty, no discontent, nothing to 
corrupt, either the manners or the virtue of tlig 
innocent lady. 

If I say too much blame yourself. I am not 
competent to speak on such a subject, for I do not 
know every thing in the premises you do, and you 
alone are equal to the task, as you alone will be ac- 
countable for the action. I pray God to guide you. 
I have no doubt of your acting uprightly. I wish 
you may proceed successfully. I return the letters 
as you desired, with thanks for this token of your 

My wife is better for her native air. She does 
not return till September : my eldest son is at 

Chesterton. i\Ir. W dismissed him with the 

most flattering character. He says, he can pledge 
himself for his ability and integrity. Our plan is, 
without loss of time, to procure him some tiling to 

272 ^ Letters. 

do in town. I do not ask you to assist him, for I 
know if any thing falls in your way, you will not 
fail to advise us of it. I say nothing of him, for 
parents must be suspected of partiality, and I am 
not a judge of his counting-house qualifications. 
All present compliments to yourself, lady and 

I am, dear Sir, 

Your most obliged, 

R. Robinson. 

To the same. 

Chesterton^ July 17, 1788. 
Dear Sir, 

WITH thanks for your friendly letter, I beg 
leave to inform you, (I am sorry 1 omitted it be- 
fore) the fans came safe, and with them new obli- 
gations to you, your friend F , and the donor. 

I am convinced by your summing up the case, 
that the scale turns in favour of the young lady's 
going to Cognac. I pray God every benediction 
may accompany all concerned it. 

Mr. W . said of my son all 1 could wish. 

He desired me only to write a note, if he could 
render him any service, and he added, I can re- 
commend him for two things, ability and integrity. 

I shall say nothing because he is mine. Mr. W ■ 

has been a father to him, and left upon my mind 
impressions which time can never efface. 

Letters. 273 

You arc a man of business, and 1 shall intrude 
no longer than to say, all this family join with 
me in presenting best respects to yourself and lad}-. 

I am, Dear Sir, 

Your obliged friend, 

R. Robinson. 

To the same. 

Chesterton, March 13, 1789. 

There are about three persons, there may be 
four, in the circle of my London acquaintance, 
whose merits weigh so heavy in one scale, that 
their Pitt ism in the other is a mere feather. Be- 
lieve me, you are one of the small number, and I 
shall not attempt to convert you, and should you 
attempt, you shall not succeed in converting me. 
No, no, your intercourse and mine shall be free 
as the day, chearful as the spring, and perfectly 
innocent as tliat of two smiling school boys. 

" Bring a cup of sack boy, there is no virtue extant ?" 

" The University did not address." O Sir 
Solomon Silver-toe ! Yes, Sir, I knew Solomon 
Silver-toe before he was knighted ! Well, Sir, 
this I sav of Sir Solomon, craving his favour, that 
nobody knows which corner the wind is in better 
than he. Why, Sir Solomon hath gone through 

S74 Letters. 

a course of academical education, and education 
is worth nothing unless it learns a man two ways 
of doing every thing. The vulgar know only one, 
and that is the right on way; but, to have one end, 
and that self-interest, and to have the direct and 
the retrograde road to attain it, yes, to understand 
the zig-zag well is the glory of a scholar 1 

Soberly, I hope soon to have the pleasure of 
seeing you, and then, come of politicks what will, 
I doubt not we shall make out an agreeable inter- 
view. A bad cold has hurt my eyes, and I use an 
amanuensis, because I think it my duty to thank 
you for your most acceptable favour. 

I am, dear Sir, with compliments 

in which all this family join, 

Your most obliged humble servant, 

R. Robinson. 

To the same. 

Chesterton^ July 18, 1 789. 

Two days ago Master H called, and in- 
formed us of your welfare. Yesterday Mr. 

M favoured us with five minutes, and told 

me you had heard I was ill. I thank God you 
have been misinformed. I consider your solici- 
tude for my welfare as a new obligation, and I 
most sincerely thank you for it. 

Letters. 9,75 

Assure yourself I pay all manner of respect to 
your opinion about an answer to Dr. Cusdale. 
I am thinking it over and over, for you would not 
wish me to do any thing rashly. I have been even 
trying to bring my mind to yours. If I succeed, 
you shall hear of it. At present the cause is pen- 
ding, B versus Robinson. Thanks to Mr. 

B and you for the inclosed letters. Mr. 

Turner [of Abingdon] is a father, as you say, and 
his whole de[)ortment is_ that of a patriarch. Mr. 

is rich, a batchelor, and a reputed miser, 

and yet he is the only man, except yourself, who 
ever gave me the least pecuniary assistance to- 
ward the book I am about. He once brought me, 
an entire stranger to him, ten guineas toward the 
ex pence of collecting materials. I, therefore, ne- 
ver allow the popular name of him, a miser, for 
such he was not to me. 

We expect Mrs. B next week, with whom 

I wish it were possible to see any or all of your 
family at Chesterton. I enjoy over again by re- 
collection, my late vision of angels in town. Wliat 
a number of tutelar gods and guardian angels did 
you shew me ? Their faces like suns and stars 
emit rays of felicity. I only opened my eye, and 
their pictures were painted on the retina, and there 

remain unsullied. Was it you, or Dr. H , 

or the shining countenance of the blossom at 

C , or the matured sweetness of face of 

good Mr. Y , or who was it that made me a 

physiognomist? My love to the chattering little 
s 2 

276 Letters^ 

charmer. Would she were here with her little 

basket ! 

In answer to Mr. Knott's favour, I think he 

need not send any more letters to country minis- 
ters at present. Whenever the work goes to 
press, an advertisement will sufficiently make it 
known. 1 had rather let the work make its own 
way, than extend the sale of it by puffing. There 
is a fraud and a meanness in puffing advertise- 
ments, which disgrace the authors of them, and 
they are more fitted to nauseate men of sense, 
than to conciliate their esteem. 

My wife is well as usual, and desires me to 
transmit her grateful thanks to you for your great 
civility to her while in London. We have here a 
series of bad weather, cold, foggy, rainy, so that 
very little hay is well got in, and the corn, though 
great and heavy, does not ripen kindly, and it is 
doubtful whether we shall ever be able to get it in 
dry and marketable. We, and all we have, are 
in hands wiser than our own, and that is our hap- 

Believe me to be, 
Dear Sir, 

Your most obliged servant, 
R. Robinson. 

Letters. 277 

To the scwic. 

Chesterton, Feb. 5, 1790. 
Dear Sir, 

I am exceedingly sorry to be obliged to inform 
you, after the most dilligcnt search for Mr. Far- 
mers book on the Demoniacks, I only find that 
I lent it to A. who ventured to shew it to B. who 
was so civil as to oblige C. with a sight of it, who 
took the liberty to lend it to his friend D. who 
voM^s upon his honour that either E, or F. took it 
only for three days, and in that time lost it out of 
sight, and to all this what can I say except that — 

Alas ! my partridge is flown to the fields again. 

1 am sure Dr. Price, Dr. Rees, and that kind 
of ministers have the book, and hold it very much 
at your service, and were I in town, I would bunt 
it up, for I doubt whether it be to be purchased, 
at least I have not heard of a new edition. 

I cannot at present recollect whether my an- 
swer to your last favour was sent. I shall search, 
and if 1 find it was not, I shall endeavour to dis- 
charge that obligation. I hope the family at 
C , is all well, to whom I beg my compli- 
ments, as also to the house at P j and all 

your friends in town. 

I am, 
Dear Sir, 
Your's most affectionately, 


278 ' Letters, 

To a Friend in London. 

Chesterton, Feb. 23, 1788. 

Dear Sir, 

True enough, I did receive a basket, carriase 
paid, of the finest Portugal onions I ever saw, 
and a box of plumbs; but most piteously was I 
perplexed to guess which of my friends had found 
out the secret of my fondness of Portugal onions. 
I love them to excess, and so do several of my 
family. We rioted however in sumptuous living, 
but were not able to fix on our benefactor till your 
favour arrived. And now what am I to say? Why 
briefly this. I value the present at nothing com- 
pared with the esteem of which it is a token. 
What price I set on the friendship of yourself, 
and your good brother, I am not able to say. To 
be valued by the wise and good is a high flattery 
to me, and I set it against the snarls of ill-will, 
just as I set the moon walking in brightness against 
the yelling of my yard-dog. But it seems this fa- 
vour is to be crowned with a greater, and I am 
to have the pleasure of seeing you at Chesterton 
soon. It must be soon indeed if you get the scent 
of an onion, for yesterday they appeared so beau- 
tiful in the eyes of two of your friends that each 
took in his pocket one of gigantick size. How 
onions rise in value when you condescend to touch 
them! B and friendship glisten on the sil- 
very skin, and the onion rises a pine-apple to 
the taste. 


Letters. 875 

Now give me leave to say one word on a liber- 
ty 1 have ventured to take, and if it be licentious- 
ness, preach repentance and I will perform pen- 
nance. You must know, my youngest son has 

been a voyage to Smyrna with a captain B . 

What the captain has done to him I know not, 
but suppose he has treated him with so much ci- 
vility that his leisure moments are usually spent 
in reporting the perfection of his nautical know- 
ledge, the wisdom and prudence of his manage- 
ment, the politeness of his manners, and in brief 
he considers him as the sum of all that the captain 
of a trading vessel ought to be. If the captain 
goes to the West-Indies, he would give his ears, 
as we say, to go with him. He says, he never sees 
him but he learns something. I think it my duty 
by letter to thank this gentleman, and as I must 
not pay tiie postage, and ought not to put him to 
expence, I have ventured to inclose it to you, 
hoping if you see him on 'change you will give 
it him, and if not, you will seal and send it by the 
penny post. I leave it unsealed that you may 
the better understand what the youth is about, 
as, you must know, if he does not sail with Cap- 
tain B , I intend to apply either to Mr. S , 

or to Mr. T B to help him to a birth if 

they can. Had IVIr. M been here I should 

have availed myself of his complaisance, for he 
would have franked to captain B — ,and I should 
not have troubled you. 

In hopes of the pleasure of seeing you soon, I 
conclude, but not without my wife and family, 

.280 Letters. 

who roast your onions, drink your tea, smack 
your wine, and present their most respectful com- 
phments to self and brother, 

Along with dear Sir 

Your obhged 

Robert Robinson. 

To the same. 
Chesterton, March 10, 1789. 

Once for all, my dear Sir, accept my thanks 
for your short notes, they are the only letters we 
expect from you. I protest, in the sincerity of my 
soul, that were you to write me long, frequent 
epistles, in established form, I should be frighted, 
for I should suspect either that you had very litile 
business, or that you did not pay proper attention 
to it, or that you thought but meanly of both on*- 
understandings and our hearts. Now any one of 
these would be a daily source of sorrow to me. 
You have much at stake; what a deplorable thing 
would it be, if you had httle or no business? If 
you had much business, and no heart to give your- 
self up to it, if you let slip golden opj)ortunities, 
for the sake of writing complimentary letters, I 
should inwardly execrate you for a fool, and though 
1 might compliment your copper-plate hand, and 
your courtly phrases of point and wit, yet 1 could 

Letters. 281 

not lov e you as I do now, as one of the pillars of 
society. When a real friend visits me, I dine him 
with my partner and my family, in domestic guise, 
in the daily dining parlour, but when a hollow 
dear friend excessively happy to see me comes to 
make his leg under infinite professions of esteem, 
J durst not trust the rascal with the interior of my 
house; I order a great fire in the hall, a great deal 
of form, and as much attention to be paid him as 
would be due to a thief, who came to pocket a pair 
of salts or spoons. Form in friendship resembles 
ceremony in religion. One of our former great 
officers of state, used to date his self-enjoyment 
from that moment, every day in which he had ac- 
customed himself to throw off his gown on to a 
sopha, and exclaim, — lie there Lord treasurer ! 
Perhaps you'll say I use my friends, as Justice 
Shallow used his friend Falstaff and his train. 

" I will use him well. . . , Use his men well, Davy ; 
" For they are arrant knaves, and will backbite." 

Well, say so, and say what you please beside. You 

useAI well, and make her happy, and so g 

on to say and do what you like to me. 

Robert Robixson. 

282 Letters. 

To the same. 

Chesterton, July 3, 1789- 

*' Is not this a wondrous thing, see now ?" That 
I should imagine I conferred a favour on my 
most dear Mr. B , by shortening my epis- 
tles in consideration of his most important letters, 
and yet that he should complain of this very ar- 
ticle, shortness of letters ? Know, Sir, if I wrote 
letters ever so long, I should not be able to say 
how high I value your personal merit, how much 
and how sincerely I esteem you, every day I 
spent in your house affording me fresh evidence of 
your skill and industry in business, your tender- 
ness to my dearest M , in brief, of your pro- 
priety in every point of view, in which one man 
can stand before another. For other men I say, 
God be merciful to you sinners! but for you I 
say, God reward you according to the cleanness 
of your hands ! Good man ! In my eye, best of 
men ! IVIay the benedictions of heaven in the 
richest profusion rest upon you, and crown your 
efforts with lasting prosperity, and the ardent love 
of all that have the happiness to know you ! These 
are not hasty effusions extorted by your warm 
friendship, and your hospitable table : but 
these are, witness ye shades of all the dead 
that are enshrined in these shelves, these are the 
cool effusions of a heart animated only by the es- 
sence of the white cow's innocent beverage. Upon 
these subjects I could write long letters, extracted 

Lethrs. 283 

from an inexhaustible fund of affection within : 
but what? Shall I offend your modesty? Shall 
I even tempt you to think I flatter ? Suffer me to 
avoid these, for I am ambitious to be esteemed by 
you, and could you think me false you could not 
love me as I wish to be esteemed by you. 

I could also write long letters upon other sub- 
jects. I could say, Postlethwayte is master of 
Trinity, Jesus lies between Dr. Edwards, Mr. 
Masters, and the deputy professor of divinity: the 
latter has the best chance. No oratorio this year. 
Kipling preached the annual sermon for the hos- 
pital, returned his fee of ten guineas, and the cha- 
rity cleared eighty-four pounds. Next Tuesday 
is the commencement, and such and such take 
degrees* • • -And pray what would all this be to 
you } A merchant listening among bills and books 
to a string of university news, what a novel phe 
nomenon ! How ominous too ! Were he a 
debtor to me, I should draw, and disconcert his 
reveries to beg he would accept my bill. 

Here is another "wondrous thing, see now." 
Arrived thus far, in compliance with your wish, 
in the road towards a long letter about nothing, 
or improprieties worse than nothing, up spring 
twenty thousand bees, threatning if they be not 
instantly waited on, they will be served by another 
house : out runs the girl with the bell, and about 
the garden scouts one for fennel, and another for 
wormwood, and what did I? Why I went out, 
and said to myself — Atheist ! would you were here ! 
Philosopher ! come hither, leave your books and 

284 Letters. 

instruments, bring only your understanding and 
reason ; at least five minutes reason on the works 
of God. Hither, too, let christian content repair. 
What a numerous family, what stores of wealth 
all around, in thousands and tens of thousands of 
flowers. This is a present from heaven, now 
worth half a guinea, at Michaelmas one guinea, 
perhaps next year two guineas. What interest 
for a six-penny stool, an eightpenny hive, and a 
tenpenny pan ! Come hither children to your 
tutors, learn to live by labour, by frugality, by 
setting a just value on small things ; mark the lit- 
tle swarm, each bee loaded with two little pellets 
of wax ; see what unity does ; thousands of these 
tiny pellets will make millions of cakes of wax, 
more than a strong team can draw. But where 
is my long letter? Lost and forgotten in attention 
to the longer and louder voice of nature. So, 
nature and art, the hive and the counting-house 
both say, mind your business, and leave long let- 
ters to such as have nothing else to do. I am 
come back however to finish. 

No, 1 do not forget either wife or bairns, but 
I hope you will inform that gossip, that the bairns 
at home think, and I think, she is very cruel to 
forget us, and we judge she ought, in spite of all 

the charms of , and they are many, to 

*' speed her way home to her nown gude mon." 

Now, Sir, in form : with chearful congratulati- 
ons on INIrs. B 's recovery, with joint ado- 
rations to the physician of mankind, with thanks 
for your hospitality, both to me and my dame, 

Letters. 285 

with earnest invitations to self and co. to spare a 
few hours to Chesterton, and with strict command 
to madam to come home, as she will answer for 
contempt of our authority; 1 am, in which all here 
join, and in which we include all your family and 

JMost devotedly yours, 


To the same. 
Chesterton, August 26, 17^9^ 


I am to tliank you for two notes and parcels, 
which I do most sincerely. You may not come 
to glean, unless you swear before a magistrate, to 
your settlement, and prove yourself a Chesterton 
pauper, but you may come to harvest-home, if the 
weather holds dry, Saturday or Monday next. 
Plumb-puddings and rustick songs, roast beef, old 
beer, and old Robin Gray will be our fare, highly"' 
finished off before break of day, with a deep 
toned, " largess ! my leige !" the effect of a con- 
junction of the two constellations, liberality, and 
love, the very essence of malt. There, each out- 
speaks another, and without either malice or head- 
ach, drinks,smokes, sings, quarrels,dances, and parts 
with a hearty God bless us all. Harvest comes but 
once a year ! What there is in a belly-full of beer, to 

28(S Letters. 

make such clod-pates so very happy, none but a 
clod-hopper knows, but surely it must be some- 
thing very charming ! I believe the joy originates 
in the conscious merit of having obtained, with 
some skill and much labour, a good crop of corn, 
and the beer liquidates the gum of which their 
heads are formed, and capacitates the machine to 
play off the tune. With them, 

Their corn ami cattle, are their only care, 
And their supreme delight, a country fair. 

Tell friend W— our speculators are buying 

whole crops of barley, to be delivered any time 
between now and lady day, at a guinea a quarter. 
I think they buy too dear. Surely malting must be 
a fine trade ! 

R. Robinson. 

To the same. 

Chesterton, May 17, 1790. 


I must beg leave through you to inform Mr. 
Knott, that if possible, a deal of copy ought to 
come to me within the succeeding fortnight, other- 
wise, 1 intend to be from home, and more time and 
some difficulty will be necessary to the correction 
of them. Monday, May 31, I mean to set out 
from home for Fenstanton, in the county of Hun- 
tingdon ; Saturday following, June 5, I hope to 

Lttters. 287 

arrive at Dr. Priestley's, Birmingham. If it should 
be necessaiy, that a proof-sheet should meet me 
there, it must be addressed, Mr. Robinson, at the 
Rev. Dr. Priestley's, Birmingham. Thence on the 
9th I proceed forward, and till the 15 th my address 
will be, ]\Ir. Robinson, at the Rev. Mr. Gentle- 
man's, Kidderminster, VCorcester. Saturday June 
19th I hope to be at home.* 

Yesterday we heard of you by Mr. Frend, who 
is returned in health, and sends compliments; I 
intend to return the bit of copy by Mr. Curtis, 
next Saturday. He is, I understand, going to 
town, and I will beg him to take an opportunity 
someday to leave it either with you, or Mr. Knott. 

Love to all. 

Dear Sir, Yours, 


* Mr. Robinson died on the 9th at Birmingham. 

To the Rev. S. Lucas, Shrewsbury. 

Chesterton, Sept. 10, 1789. 
Dear Sir, 

This day I received your favour of the 9th. 
instant, and as I intend about ten days hence to go 
into Berkshire by London, I write this to take 
with me, and send you under cover. Know, my 

288 Letters, 

friend, that though I could justly and truly say 
much to you on the subject of personal esteem, 
yet I omit all, assuring you that what I value in 
you not being of the perishable kind, as far as I 
see, will not diminish but increase in years, and of 
course as the object magnifies, the esteem attach- 
ed to it will increase. So much for compliment. 
Now to the business of yours. 

True it is, I have spent three years in attention 
to a history of the baptists. I found it necessary 
to divide my plan into four parts, the first I made 
a History of Wa-^tism. The second a History of 
Vidi^tists in the primitive ages. The third, a His- 
tory of l^2i\)tists in the middle ages. The last a 
history of the same people from the reformation to 
the present time. I have written three quarto vo- 
lumes. The work being great, I lately resolved to 
qublish the first volume only, being independent 
of the rest, and byway of trial whether a work of 
the kind would pay for printing. — The publica- 
tion of the other three will depend wholly on cir- 
cumstances, but whether I print them or not, the 
first volume is intended for a complete history of 
baptism. Some time ago I printed one sheet by 
way of specimen, but having no conveyance I 
could not send you one. These first principles, I 
trust will enable you to unravel all the mysterious 
accounts you mention. 

How shall I enter upon speculative questions, 
now that I am correcting a proof sheet, and pre- 
paring more copy to send by post to my printer in 
London ? 

Letters. 289 

Believe me, I am neither a vSocinian, nor an 
Arian ; I do not know among what class oihere- 
tics to place myself: sometimes I think I am a 
Paulianist, or Samosetanian ; for I think Jesus a 
man in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells ; 
and I give him more dignity than they do, who as- 
cribe to him only a third part of Deity. Years 
ago reverence for great names misled me. I said 
after Clarke, there was a scripture Trinity ; and I 
would say so still if I could tell what I meant; but as 
I cannot, I cast that phrase also to the bats and 
moles. There is, there can be only one first 
cause; Jesus is his son, his representative, and, if 
you please, your God, the vicegerent of the su- 
preme, whom you honour, by honouring him. I 
do not think God ever proposed the question of 
the nature of Jesus to us to determine ; it is a 
child of the schools, born in litigation, and sub- 
sisting by it to this day, to the utter ruin of ge- 
nuine piety and christian benevolence. I have 
done answering vague scholastical questions, for 
they lead into intricate and endless labyrinths; 
the sense of any passage of scripture I am willing to 
discuss ; by this distinction 1 save myself a deal of 
trouble. "Pray," says one, " do you believe Jesus 

Christ is God ?" " I do and I do not."- • 

" Pray do you believe the atonement?"- • • •" Not 
your gross description of it ; yet, I cannot think 
all the passages that speak of the death of Christ 
are to be taken figuratively." In brief, I believe 
the scriptures, the record that God hath given of his. 


ago Letters. 

son; but as for the rash questions which the 
schools, in their great wisdom, have started, be so 
good as to settle them among yourselves, and allow 
one disciple of Christ to sit at his feet, and be con- 
tent with hearing his word, and no more. Dispu- 
tants here want me to take a side ; and because I 
refuse to do so, they represent me as a man void of 
all principle, to whom truth and error are alike in- 
different : what I say of scholastic theology, that 
they apply to the gospel of our Lord ; as if a man 
who held their brangles indifferent, held the sa- 
cred truths of revelation so ; but these knights er- 
rant of orthodoxy are a fierce, calumniating gene- 
ration, and this I extremely dislike in them; if 
orthodoxy alone vvere in them, one would pity and 
pardon their nonsense; but when it is accompa- 
nied, as it mostly is, with a spirit of persecution, 
say what they will about faithfulness, and zeal, it 
is, and must be offensive to God and good men. I 
adore God for so lovinii the world as to send his 
son; I embrace him as an unspeakable gift; I be- 
lieve his doctrines, trust his promises, copy his life, 
imbibe his disposition, and live in hope of the 
glory he has promised all his disciples. I have no 
doubts, and I want none of the reputation which this 
host of men lavish upon one another. The diffe- 
rence between them and us, is, they represent us 
as enemies of Christ, and treat us accordingly ; 
but we take them to be babies in Christ's family, 
patiently hear their babblings, and only will not suf- 
fer them to govern the family. What they are, about 
you, I know not ; but here they are the greatest 

Letters. 291 

gossips, the busiest censors, the most zealous ca-' 
lumniators in the county. I had rather believe 
all the heresies stirring, than rob one man of his 
character, or injure in any degiee my fellow crea- 
ture. By faith Calvin, barbarous Calvin, burnt 
Servetus, and by faith, that false, drunken debau- 
chee, St.Augustin, obtained a gf)od report : and their 
followers make nothing of a holy life, but like their 
masters, cry up faith, in their nostrums, to hea- 
ven. In a free country what occasion have we to 
be gulled so; let us return to the purest ages, before 
such troublers of the world had uttered their ora- 
cles, and let the oracles of God be our faith, and 
the life of Jesus our model of living. On the dar- 
ling topics of pulpit scolds, I have nothing to say, 
except, take care in the croud, you do no mis- 
chief to your friends. Beivare how you distribute 
sentences of damnation. Oh ! that you would al- 
together hold your peace, it should be your wis- 
dom. Such are my wishes for the biggest fools 
among my orthodox neighbours ; 1 hope you have 
none like them. 

I wish you were here, I would burn this scratch, 
and sit down at your feet, and you should cate- 
chize me. I perceive I have not replied, as I 
ought, to your letter ; in truth, the papers before 
me have irritated me to haste, insomuch that I 
have not allowed myself time to mend my pen, 
and I only allow this to pass, in order to prove 
my inclinationto obey you ; for assure yourself that 
I am. Dear Sir, 

Most entirely yours, 
T 2 R. RoBiN^or, 

252 Letters. 

To a Dissenting Alinister. 

Hauxton, Dec. 5, 1766. 
My dear brother, 

I am far from thinking myself able to advise 
vou, on so important a subject, as a removal, 
which in my opinion, should never be thought on 
but on just and solid grounds, Avhich will bear the 
test before God, and commend themselves to the 
consciences of sober impartial christians ; but 
without ceremony, I will embrace the liberty you 
give me, and in obedience to your request, shew 
also my opinion, which I the rather do, as 1 have 
passed through something of the like kind. 

They say,three things authorize a pastor's remo- 
val; want of health, want of maintenance, and want 
of success, and that wherever it can be fairly proved 
that any one of these is the case, a minister may 
without scruple remove. I confess, to me, these 
three want a particular explication : it is not a 
slit^ht illness which is meant, but such a want of 
health, as disables a man from filling up the duties 
of his ofBce, and which a dilTereiit air will remedy; 
nor bv want of maintenance, can I understand, a 
want of many accomodations, which to the flesh 
are pleasing enough, but rather a want of the ne- 
cessaries, and many conveniencies too, of life, which 
areabsolutely necessary to enable a man to provide 
things honest, in the sight of all men. The want 
Gf success is of all the hardest to determine; for, 

Letters. 293 

are we good judges of our success; may we pre- 
scribe to God, or demand of him all the converts 
we chuser Different gifts are for different services; 
to convince is one man's work ; to convert, ano- 
ther, to plant one, and to water another, God 
giving increase to all. To speak directly to your 
case, I really think, (as far as 1 can judge b}' your 
account) that your removal is lawful : your health 
is prejudiced, your maintenance deficient, and 
your success small. You ask, " what will become 
of the people ?" I answer, 30/. livings, are in my 
opinion, like college fellowships, for single men, 
and such an one they may procure ; for why should 
the minister be the only one in the congregation, 
whose duty it is to waste his own property ; and 
who, when he dies, leaves a widow in circumstan- 
ces more necessitous, than any of his society. 

I am sorry for the bigotry of my Baptist bre- 
thren : blessed be God, our church here is of ano- 
ther stamp,and admits open communion; and mixed 
congregations flourish mosthereabouts,while strict 
ones nurse one another to death. Pardon me, I 
speak to an independant, — no, to a friend, I mean. 
I firmly believe, the Baptist cause to be the best 
cause in the kingdom, but worst managed : how-^ 
ever, I admire your spirit, in that you would be 
willing to give your flock up to a Baptist church. 
I find hereby, you are no bigot. The Lord shed 
abroad his love in your heart, and then you will 
ever feel that temper, that complacent, that benign, 
and evangelic temper, of loving us as brethren. 

2.94 Letters. 

Who could tell you, I was an author : my works 
consist of two hymns, which Mr. Whitefield prin- 
ted; besides these I have printed nothing. Do me the 
favour of undeceiving such as say I am an author, 
for 1 am not ambitious of being numbered amongst 
that sort of gentry, some of whom I am acquainted 
with, and ^ho teaze me perpetually to sell their 
paltry productions, which are more the fruits of 
pride than grace. I am ready to ask pardon on 
my knee for your last cool reception ; let me see 
you some where this way, for 1 have much to tell 
you. I was once with a people at Norwich, who 
raised me 12/. a year. I thought it my duty to re- 
move vvhen I married, though I had staid till I was- 
ted a sood deal of mv own : when 1 came to Cam- 
bridge, the first half \ ear's j^ay was 3/. 12*. for we 
had but bare walls, and they fit to tumble about 
our cars. Well, if it was not for expence of postage, 
1 should write, I know not how many sheets to you; 
but we had better meet, and save charges: six- 
penny worth is soon talked : I shall wait impatien- 
tly for a line from you, tell me in it when you will 

My mother, (who is here at present,) wife and 
friends, join in uue respects, to your whole self. 

I am, 

Yours cordially, 


Letters. 295 

To the same. 
Cambridge, April G, I767. 

Well Sir, it seems I am at length to see you, and 

that at S , and O \ marvellous ; contrary to the 

decree of the elders, scribes, doctors, &c. ofour 
London sanhedrim. 1 said nothing to you onthat 
head, not being willing to say one word, till I saw how 
you would act yourself; but seriously, when I see a 
man of God, wholly immoveable in the country, 
but as the wire is drawn by a London Rabbi, 
which communicates motion to him, methinks I 
see, not a church of Christ, acting on their own 
principles, but a kind of machine, (I will not say 
puppet show,) absolutely walking in the light of 
other people, and moving as man moves, not the 
Spirit. Methinks I see another Samson, bound 
with withs by Philistine Lords, and I despair of 
seeing him do much for God, till like his predeces- 
sor he shakes himself, and bursts the bondage from 
him. That word has done me good ; %vhy trim- 
mest thou thy waif to seek love. Brother, let us 
turn from all views of interest, character, in- 
fluence, and a multitude of et ceteras, and let us see 
duty in God's word, and then in spite of doctors 
and devils, let us travel on : the breaker is gone 
tip before us. O ! glorious, like the kine, nature 
makes us low, but like them, supernatural power 
carries us forward. 

^96 Letters. 

Tell me, for goodness sake, what is there in 
London air that thus metamorphoses mankind ? 
How is it, that, as soon as a poor brother gets or- 
dained in Lonrion, he becomes a London minister; 
that is, he buys us with other people's money, — the 
funds: he ceasesto advise, and commences dictator: 
he gravely sits in judgment on us, our wiv^es, little 
ones, and substance ; and perhaps when we have 
travelled to oblige these great men, I know not 
how far; we come back laden with a good coat, or 
sreat wis ; too little and bald for the clerical cof- 
fee-house, and hugging our chains, we admire the 
gifts as grapes of Eshcol! Well, the carnality of the 
whole disgusts me, and blessed be God, Robinson 
can ramble with impunity, though in their esteem, 
a kind of out-law, a wild savage. If possible I 

will be at S on the 27th in the evening, but I 

shall write to IMr. C . I have no time to write 

more ; blessed be God, I have upwards of twenty 
to baptize this week, and to receive next Lord's 
day. Dr. Gilford will be here. 


I bear you on my heart, 

Yours unalterably, 

R. Robinson. 

Letters. Q97 

To the same. 
Cambridge^ May 23, I768. 

Dear Sir, 

Your present I prize more than a larger volume, 
and pray that I may be enabled to make a proper 
use of the directions. I presume they are your 
own composing; the Lord succeed your labours. 
I distributed some yesterday to the Cantabs who 
were at meeting : they say you ought to have sent 
an hundred ; truly you are more amiable to me in 
such a little sensible, spiritual piece, than if you 
had appeared a fool in folio : tell me is it your 
writing? Go on, we have several short psalms in the 
word : brief mementos put into the hands of the 
people of God. I wish you would employ your- 
self this way: forgive my babbling. 

You wonder I have not wrote, visited, exchan- 
ged, &c. Ah! could I but spend an hour or two 
with you, I would, as Herbert says, say to you — 

" Dear friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad." 

You know the opinions and cast of no doubt 

a libertine : such he was at , till liis meeting 

was an habitation of dragons, &c. For my part, I 
think if Diabolus was incarnate, he would be a 
Hussite in judgment, a libertine in practice, and 
with an orthodox head, wouh! dispute for Christi- 
anity, only to disgrace it. God knows I am a 
poor sinful creature, but libertinism 1 abhor. O 1 
niy God, art thou the author, protector, minister 

298 Letters. 

of sin? No, sure!}' ! If any man say I hiozv him, 
and keep not his cuimnandments, he is a liar. 
Against this old leaven I have ever endeavoured 
to work, lior has much opposition appeared till 
lately. Scorclied as it were like dogs at the fire, 
they have growled, got up, and laid down again, 
and again, but at last have barked at the fire it- 
self. One lately questioned, declared, that it was 
difficult to say whether the bible, or Hussey's 
great book was most eligible. Give me the former, 
and if the devil took the latter it would not trouble 
me. The Bundle of Myrrli, I am in earnest, has 
more in it than that huge book, wrote one would 
think to puzzle plain things, and to set the whole 
world togedier by the ears. In scarcity of all 
things, not a bit of bread for their hungry souls, 
these seven or eight watch to play some dividing 
game amongst us. Is this a time to go out a visi- 
ting. The people utterly refuse their consent, nor 
have I so much as been to Wickham-brook since 
I saw you last. The few say I deny all the doctrines 
of grace. They watch every minister that comes, 
audi play off his sermon against mine as much 
more orthodox. Blessed be God they are poor and 
of no account ! Ah ! were they like Diotrephes 

at W , in purse and power; but the Lord 

knows what 1 can bear, and proportions my day 
to my strength; now I feel, once I saw, and be- 
lieved a little of your former troubles : ah ! did 
my all come through the hands of these clear 
headed, cold-hearted gentry, I should have it 
hissing hot sometimes: — but enough ! 

Letters. 299 

After all, their outcries have done good, brought 
more hearers, opened peoples' eyes, and struck the 
hearts of all with a knowledge and hatred of li- 
bertinism; the church grows, but secretly: we who 
know most of the aifair fear a spread of the spi- 
rit, therefore judge it best to keep at home at 
present; indeed they said they would agree to 
my absence, if you would come to Cambridge; 
but pray come if possible, and provide a supply 

for S elsewhere, that I may be at home 

when you visit us. All this is inter nos : make the 

best excuse you can for me to Mr. W , tell 

him as soon as it is in my power, I will endea- 
vour to come over, but when it will be I know 

I am charged to present respects to you and 

Mrs. L , by several, you know who : mine to 

all friends: let me hear from you: I wish you joy 
of the girl. The man waits to carry the letter. 


Yours in unalterable respect, 

R. Robinson. 

To the same. 

HauTton, May I9, 1770. 

My Dear Sir, 

I cannot find the direction for Mr. F in 

London, nor can I see any way of sending now 
but this; forgive it tor once. What good ena will 

300 Letters. 

an exchange answer; I would not give a pin to 

be at S without you : and I have a sincere 

desire to come. I'll tell you how let it be. Come 
over and spend one Lord's-day at Cambridge, and 
as many more days as you chuse. What if you 
should take a circuit round the villages here with 
me? I should have your company and that I 
want. In return I will try to spend five or six 
days with you before the summer's gone, one of 
which shall be a Lord's day if I can get a supply. 
In regard to Saurin, I cannot make out what 
you mean about the preface: is it this expression; 
*' such a man does not die :" if it be, an ellipsis 
explains it ; " he does not so properly cease to 
exist, as commence a better existence." In short, 
I cannot answer till you tell me what you mean. 
The French 7ious literally translated, redeems 
Mr. S. from the charge of egotism, of all faults 
one of the greatest. A certain divine between thee 
and me, was sometime ago so afraid of egotisms, 
that he carefully avoided the use of all words 
that had the little letter i in them : whereas i in 
the middle of a Avord, is a most harmless animal, 
sometimes a very harmonious one ; it is never dis- 
agreeable but when it stands alone, disdains its 
native size, and assuming an air of corpulence be- 
comes of the greatest importance, /shall shew 
you. / will explain. / will unfold. / will con- 

As who should say I am Sir Oracle, 

And when / ope my lips let no dog bark, &c, 


Letters. 301 

I agree with you that " a shallow and superfi- 
" cial way of preaching prevails;" but pray intro- 
duce another and a better way at S : people 

here do not seem to know their own religion. 
You know these Hudibrastics. 

'Tis well known preachers can s^e^k greek 

As naturally as pigs squeak ; 

And latin is no more difficile 

Than to a blackbird 'tis to whistle: 

And hebrew roots also are found 

To flourish most in barren ground ; 

For rhetoric they cannot ope, 

Their mouths, but out there flies a trope; 

In mathematics they are greater 

Than Tycho Brahe, or Erra Pater. 

Beside each is a shrewd philosopher, 

And has read ev'ry text and gloss over ; 

Each is in Logic a great critic 

Profoundly skill'd in Analytic: 

They know what's what, and that's as high 

As metaphysic wit can fly. 

They can raise scruples, dark and nice, 

And after solve them in a trice ; 

As if divinity had catch'd. 

The itch, on purpose to be scratch'd. &c. 

Forgive my dear friend, my scribbling Butler's 
doggrel to a grave divine, — but seriously let us 
try to be other men than such fantastic apes as 

I believe Mr. Claude is in the press : the prin- 
ter has promised me the revisal of the first sheet 
several weeks. I have none of Saurins printed 
sermons, they may be had at Dilly's, a second will 

302 Letters. 

come out soon. Write shortly, and fix to come any 
V eek but that in which is the longest day. 


Yours ever, 

R. RoBTNso^^ 

HaiLiton, Maij 2cl. 1771. 

My dear sir, 

If my letters " puzzle your pate," you are even 
with me, for yours pain my heart. If I am sin- 
cere in any thing in the world, to be sure I am in 
my professions of friendship for you : but I have 
not been at S— — . 1 wish I could revenge that 
reproach on you. I would come and stay a month, 
and be as cross as a bear all the while : be assured 
I will come this summer if the Lord spares me. 
I have had one fit of the ague, and a M^eek's fever 
this spring, but am recovered. As to Dr. Moore, 
I paid all the respect to your recommendation in 
my power. O ! had I held the purse strings of 
some people but for one hour, I would have 
made a sound that should have rung as far as 
Nova Scotia. I went witii him to the Presbyte- 
rians, who had no minister: there about eight 
pounds ; Mr. S — — eleven pounds; at ours twenty 
six pounds. I also went with him to Walden, 
where he got fourteen pounds : he is a man of fine 

Letters. S03 

sense, the cause is a good one, but do you know 
his sentiments? 

I must explain what I mean by " Scorn's atten- 
dance on a quiet mind." I mean that a fierce dis- 
putant for any doctrines, or any forms, will be 
caressed by carnal people embracing tliose forms; 
but that a man who enters into the spirit of the 
gospel, and grows like his leader, less attentive to 
words than things, will favour all parties, conse- 
quently be the champion of none. Loxe without 
dissimulation is rare, especially in the cloth ; each 
looks for his gain from his quarter. As to Mr. 
Claude, a London printer has had it a year and 
an half: I am at a loss to know his drift; he neither 
prints it, nor returns it; he says it M'ill always be 
saleable, as Mr. Claudes reputation is established; 
but the expence Avill be one hundred pounds or 
more. I intend to a\ rite for it again, and insist 
on the copy. Pentycross has been a long time in 
London, his father was ill, and now is dead; he 
returns to college this week. I w ill see after the 
book when he comes ; he has got his testimonial 
with great difficulty; however, he has got it, and 
will be ordained in a fortnight; he goes then to be 
curate to Mr. Still ingfleet, near Leeds in York- 
shire. As to his piety and zeal, it is like other 
christians; first warm, then wise. Mr. De-Coet- 
logon is settled in Kent, near Maidstone, and is 
faithful, if not so useful as could be desired. 

In regard to some odd words in Saurin, in my 
opinion they are pretty generally understood: 
hoM'ever, should I translate any more, I shall pro- 

304 Letters. 

fit by your kind hint. I earnestly wish to see you 
at Cambridge. You may be sure your friends 
will be glad to see you : with all the fidelity of 
my heart, 1 protest it would give me much plea- 

Have you ever read any of Jonathan Edwards's 
works of New England : his piece on The Free- 
dom of the Will, and that chiefly on Religious 
Affections, are most masterly pieces indeed. If 
an old rotten hearted professor was as high as the 
monument, it would tumble him down. Abun- 
dance of enthusiasm is detected, and heaps of the 
tables of them that sell doves, turned topsy-turvy. 
Mr. Gordon, (once of Ipswich,) has abridged that 
piece on Keligious Affections ; and I wish if you 
have not read, you would read it, and send me 
your thoughts, or rather bring them. 

Pray tell me what time of year a man must 
make a pilgrimage through your county, to see 
most of the country devotions. I should be glad 
to be present at some of your associations if pos- 
sible. I hope this is a Laconic epistle, as you 
style the rest. My love to all friends, concludes 

Dear Sir, 

Yours as formerly, 
R. Robinson. 

Letters. . 305 

To the same. 

HaiLVton, April \ 1, 1772. 


Your skill in arithmetical calculations, fully 
convinces me of the propriety of my application to 
you for advice: the cogency of your reiisoning, as 

well as the coincidence of it with Mr. H 's 

advice turns my mind. 

I share your pleasure of Dr. Nowell's disgrace, 
^lay every Goliali be so slain f Suppose I send 
you Claude, in the original? Perhaps I can pre- 
vail with my friend to lend it you ? for after all I 
am afraid of sending papers, which should they be 
ever printed, must, (if torn, or soiled, or any way 
blemished,) be wrote over again. Suppose you 
spend a week with us in summer, cannot we read 
them over together here ? The last proposal I vote 
for. I forgive all you say about adulation ; tiie ra- 
ther because my conscience does not reproach me 
with exaggerating. 

Since 1 had your last, I have seen Bellamy s 
letters to Hervey. I was transported at seeing my 
notions of loving God put intoAVords, and ideas of 
law and faith disentangled from error. Bellamy 
and Edwards are uj)on the same plan, but Edwards 
seems to me the greatest man : though both are 
beyond criticism, do not they (after all,) overstrain 
ihc^ bow ? Without doubt, if it were possible for 

305 Letters. 

a creature to exist independent on God, that crea- 
ture must admire the grandeur and beauty of his 
nature, andlove him for himself: but since no crea- 
ture does so exist, it is hard to say when love is 
disinterested; the very pleasure we feel in the act 
of admiration is interest ; and to abstract love from 
pleasure, that is, love from interest, must be ex- 
tremely difficult, if not impossible. I should sup- 
pose true love of two sorts^ or rather t\To degrees 
of the same love, the first interested, almost, if not 
altogether so ; the latter (considered comparative- 
li) with the former, not ahmlutelif in itself,) dis- 
interested. I should think the religion of most 
people begins with the first, and rises by degrees 
into the last, most of all refined and sublimated in 
heaven. I should be afraid to condemn all that 
love God for interest, yet would exhort all to aspire 
at the last. I must abridge. 

1 have been lately reading, and re-reading, 
studying, and re-studying, Broxviis Essays on 
Shajtsbmys CJtaracteristics. The Characteristics 
have some fine sensible things in them, and they 
struck me, though I own the burlesque which that 
noble writer treated religion with, rather vexed 
than stunned me ; but Browns is a most complete 
answer indeed. His first essay proves that ridicule 
is no test of truth, but a species of eloquence, and 
may make the best things contemptible unjustly. 
The second treats of man's obligations to virtue, 
and the necessity of religious principle : here the 
nature of virtue is canvassed : though this charming 
reasoner docs not convince me; for I adhere to Dr. 

Letters. %)7 

Clarke's account of moral virtue. How strange ! 
that Ave should ever boast of knowledge, and cannot 
define the moral sense ! — The third part defends 
revealed religion and Christianity. — Perhaps I am 
talking to you of a book you have seen; if notl 
wish you had. If sound reasoning, plain yet lovely 
eloquence be desirable, this book is to be desired. 
— -to make one wise, you will say : well, I under- 
stand you. I'll leave off. 

As to the sermons, indeed I shall not send you a 
dozen. I have been plagued too much with authors 
myself, to be guilty of that to one whom I love : take 
one for yourself and be thankful : if any body else 
wants them, they will see where ; let them send. 

Our family is all well : — Love to Mrs. and 

.everybody yours. 

R. RoBiNso>r. 

To the same. 

[No date.] 


Instead of writing much, I must only tell you, 
that I am the te?it/i time in waiting for my wife's 
lying in. She reckons yet three weeks longer, 
but has been this last week so poorly as to keep 
her room: three nights I have sat up, and what 
with the fatigue of overseeing so great a family, 
where one is old, another sick, and all (as it were) 
past help, or not arrived at it; what with public 
labours, and a variety of et ceteras, I am now fit 
u 2 

508 Letters. 

to sleep on the floor : you will not omit praying 
for us. 

I thank you for Bellamii : I have read, but not, 
(I fear) mastered the reasoning yet. In the main 
I admire. 

You ask accounts of mv readinjj. I had writ- 
ten, but missed Mr. R — last time : I hope to 
see him to-morrow, and write this to tell you I 
have lost the other letter. 

Of late I have been rummai^incr a criticism on 
Mark ix, 49, which, could I have reached you, I 
should have consulted you upon, having been re- 
peatedly urged by Mr. Gurney, to give him some- 
thing for his Gospel Magazine, and having been 
asked for this critique by three friends who saw 
it, while it was doing: I thought it the shortest 
way to give it ]\Ir. Gurney. I wish then, you 
would spare my idleness, and take the Gospel Ma- 
gazine for September, (it comes out you know the 
1st. of October,) the signature h, Driisus : send 
me word when you write what you think ; let you 
and I indulge a noble freedom, and criticise each 
other. I ask this the rather, because I have by 
me sketches of several of the kind, on various pas- 
sages: and shall send the magazine more, or none, 
according as they are accepted or disgraced. I 
protest to you I love praise : assure yourself I am 
irreconcileablc (on those articles) to public cen- 
sure. I have been a few days in London, some 
weeks ago. I took great pains to find your friend 
the printer, who wrote to me about Saurin, but do 
you think I could llnd hnn r Depend on my at- 

Lctfera. 309 

tention to whatever you recommend. Out of one 
thing into another, 1 fell in witli a Dutch mer- 
chant, a good man in London, who had heard Sau- 
rin, and who told me every thing about voice, 
gesture, &c. — Think how I was delighted with a 
long Dutch pipe, a mess of rich rumbo, and a tale 
about Saurin. It seems Saurin was soft as a gen- 
tle dew, not motionless, but not terribly agitated. 
Do you remember Dr. Somebody, I have forgot 
who. Some of our preachers, says he, heave their 
shoulders, raise their arms, spread them a kimbo, 
rise to tiptoe, heave their breath, and come bang 
on the cushion, as they would on the head of a 
bull ! — Forgive all this : what am I to do to-mor- 
row ? Lord's supper day, &c. &c. O ! my good 
God, equal my strength to my day ! Tenderest 
love to the dear partner of your sweets and sours. 
We kiss the dear children. Heaven preserve 
them for your comfort. When will you come? 

V'ours ever, 


To the same. 

. Hau.vton, Sep. 19, 1772. 


As you intended dining at the Dr's. on Monday, 
when you left us, I took it for granted that you 
would spend the afternoon at Mr. R's. Thither 
(you know) I was not invited : to have intruded 
would have been impertinence; to have loitered 

316 ' Letters. 

elsewhere when you was there, would hd;v6' looked 
like disrespect: to me the prudentest measure ap- 
peared — absence, though it was with much regret: 
the spirits of some bigots, as well as that of the 
nrrean tool of their tempers, renders it next to im- 
possible for any body to maintain a brotherly in- 
tercourse with both; the price of the favour of 
that side, is affronting this : blessed be God, 1 have 
not so learned Christ ; nor ever design it. 

Ai^ to my wife, she has been so bad that Wo were 
obliged to fetch a physician from Cambridge at 
midnight; he came, prescribed, and through mercy, 
removed a complaint, which had it remained, must 
have terminated her days. , She is better, the com- 
plaint removed, and we hope in a fair way of 
recovery. I have had a fine week you must think : 
nurses, helps, &c. to the number of 17 or 19 in a 
day with my own family : and I, poor I, all day 
forced to find eyes and feet, and thought for all. 
Farewell. I have no thoughts of coming at present. 
Love to the dear woman and bairns. 

Yours &c. 

R Robinson. 

To his daughters, written on a Journey. 

Tidswell, Aug. 2d, 1780. 

O Patty! could a wish have transported yon 
all hither, we certainly should have fetched you, 
and you would have thought yourselves sometimes 
in paradise, and sometimes at that part of the 

Letters. %\ 1 

world, where the curse fell heaviest at the fall 
of Adain. However, to proceed regularly. We left 
Derbv on Saturday, July 29 — took a transient view 
of Lord Scarsdale's beautiful house and park at 
Kedlestone — diuerl at Brailsford — and lodged at 
Ashl)orne — 17 miles from Dei by this way. This 
is a pretty market town in a valley surrounded by 
steep hills, all intersected with hedges, and laid 
out in pasture, corn, &c. The descent into the 
town is romantick, for you round a steep hill in a 
deep hollow road, each side rising in enormous 
piles of stone, the tops covered with trees, the 
sides spouting out springs from between the layers 
of stone, at bottom a pretty river, which you cross 
by a stone bridge to the town. A\^e were exceed- 
ingly well accommodated at the Black Moor's 
Head, the master the finest person we ever saw, 

the mistress the size of ]\Irs. . Here we staid 

the Lord's day, and heard a grave old gentleman 
preach at tlie meeting, to about forty well-dressed 
people, a rational sermon about the gospel's be- 
ing a provision for virtuous, honest hearted per- 
sons : but what comes of poor abandoned sinners 
\sx this plan ? There was no meeting in the after- 
noon. I did not make myself known, for I found 
at Oxford I could not get through my journey if 
I did. I preached to such multitudes, and so 
often, and heated myself so much, that I got 
violent colds, and was very ill two or three days : 
so I rather disguised myself — my light clothes-- 
"white stockings — scratcli wig — and a round bea- 
ver hat bound, and a band and buckle, pretty wqll 

312 Letters. 

serve my purpose. Monday, July 30th. we sat 
forward about live miles to see tlie gardens of 
— Porte, Esq. at Ham, Staffordshire. — Ham is 
the most beautiful little spot that ever eyes 
beheld. Imagine a small vale surrounded by 
steep hills, covered with timber from the bottom 
to the top, a fine perpendicular wood, rising tree 
over tree to an immense height, so tliat nothing 
but trees can be seen, hares lopeing about the 
bottom, and squirrels cracking nuts on the boughs. 
On one side at the bottom rolls a broad, shallow, 
fine river, on the other is a pleasant sliady walk, 
the middle is a fine flat meadow. There is one 
walk which vvinds up among the trees in the rocky 
cliff; at some places you see the river roll at a pro- 
digious depth below, at others, you only hear it 
roar as it tumbles over the rocks. Under the rock 
in the garden two rivers rise, which boil up liere, 
having run under ground, the one five miles, the 
other eight. The whole is an inimitable scene. 
The rest of the garden is laid out in shrubs, 
flowers, &c. and ornamented as usual. From 
hence we proceeded to Dove^dale in Derbyshire 
again, about a mile from Ham. Here the river 
Dove runs in a deep narrow winding glen, for 
about two miles; on each side rise excecdmg high 
hills and rocks, at places naked like old steeples, 
and at places covered with shrubs and woods, 
cows and sheep climbing and grazing. Some of us 
walked below by the river side, some clunbed the 
rocks. Our guide led us to a pit of red ochre, 
where we scraped for Derbyshire diamonds. At 

Letters. 313 

places fragments of rocks, having tumbled into 
tlie liver, form a sort of little islands, on which 
grass and bushes grow in a manner truly pic- 
turesque. We returned to Ashborne to dinner, 
and in the evening went forward to Matlock bath, 
eleven miles. From Ashborne to INIatlock is an 
incomparable fine ride ; the road lies over steep 
hills, and runs through deep vallies; consequently 
the eye surveys astonishing sweeps of prospects, 
dotted, spangled, and studded as it were, widi 
here a brown rock, there a deep green grove, 
yonder a silver stream, purling in tiie valley, or 
foaming over the rocks. Houses of stone, green 
hedges, fine pastures, rich corn fields, and good 
roads go to make up this delicious scene; all 
round the black hills of the peak skirting the view, 
and rising in dreadful grandeur up to the clouds, 
a sulkv cloud here and there hangins on their 
tops. Tlie houses here are all stone, the cottages 
stone and thin thatch, many of them without mor- 
tar, the cattle fat and fine. You see but few peo- 
ple, but they are plump, content and civil. I ex- 
pect Mr. A — who has established a manufactory 
for carding and spinning cotton by engines, work- 
ed by a water M'lieel. This man has almost built 
a town at Cromford, but the surly bear, lest we 
should steal his trade, would not let us see the ma- 
nufactory. Cromford is one mile before you come 
to Madock bath. There are two large spacious 
inns at the bath, filled with company all the sum- 
mer, who come for the sake of drinking and ba- 
thing in the warm water. Thev eat and drink all 

5 14 Letters. 

at one table, and mix together in a jovial manner. 
It was a great favour and contrary to the rules of 
the house, that we had rooms and beds to ourselves. 
These public water-places are too frequently oeli- 
0U& assemblies, of the sick and the dissipated, tlie 
gay and the miserable, who contrive to murtber 
time and waste life and money, in rounds of 
vice, covered with a handsome pretence of drink- 
ing and bathing to preserve health. At JMatlock* 
Buxton and Bristol-hot-wells, a second sort of 
gentry imitate the nobility at Bath. I shall begin 
the next letter present!}', and ^end them wheo 
I can. 

Tideswelly Aug. 3d. 1780. 
Dear Hetty, 

I am afraid to attempt to describe Matlock, the 
whole is so different from all we have seen and so 
inexpressibly elegant, that I doubt whether I can 
give you any just idea of it. The road descending 
from a steep hill at Cromford, runs along a nar- 
row vallev, on one side perpendicular rocks, like 
streets of lofty ragged church steeples, the other 
side high hills, gently sloping down to the road, all 
covered with grass. The Bath-inn, at which we 
lodge, stands on a hill on the grassy side, behind 
it garden rises over garden, one shrubbery over 
another, woods and pastures over all ; before it is 
the road, and a grass flat, about as wide as from 
our house to the river ; at the end of the flat you 
look down a precipice covered with small ash 

Letters. 315 

ti«ees, thick and dark, shelving down to the river 
Derwent, cross which, on the opposite side, huge 
perpendicular rocks rise, all covered with wood, 
the ragged rock-points peeping from hetween the 
trees ; at the top are rich pastures, and here ami 
there you see a cow browzing on the herbage, or 
lying as easy as she would in Barnwell grove,, At 
some places waters fall in gentle cascades; at 
others they tumble from ridge to ridge, and come 
roaring down the rocks, flouncing into the river. 
The rocks at some places are one hundred and fifty 
feet high, at others four hundred, at one i^wQ 
hundred. Some of them are bare, some crowned 
with wood, some just covered with herbage, or 
moss, or a single shrub. The shades of green are 
innumerable, from the brightest tint to the darkest 
gloom, the water at places like silver sparkling 
through the boughs. This magnificent scene winds 
through a valley, three miles long. It is allowed 
to be the most finished natural beauty in the king- 
dom. We left it after breakfast, after having 
bought a stone-horn for my grandmother to drink 
out of, a spar inkstand for ^h. Curtis, and a hens 
egg, without either yolk or white, for we do not 
know who. Here we went a little way into a lead 
mine. Remind me when I return of the marble* 
mason's shop. Now for the wonders of the Peak. 
From Matlock we went eleven miles to Chats- 
worth, and saw the magnificent seat of his Grace 
the Duke of Devonshire. This noble palace 
stands in a fine park, ornamented with rivers, cas- 
cades, fountains, clump hills, woods and all that 

315 ^ Letters. 

you can conceive grand and august, and the xvon-' 
der is, that all this superb scene should be found 
in the black mountains of the Peak, for they say, 
you may ride seventeen miles farther without see- 
ing hedge, house, or tree. 1 must tell you par- 
ticulars at my return, for the whole would fill a 
volume. Here, at more than one hundred and 
fifty miles from London, my father found a man 
named Pleasance, a servant of the Duke who 
lived formerly at Lord Godolphin's, and sends his 
love to Dr. Dennis. Here we dined and drank 
tea, and proceederl to 7'i(les7vell on Tuesday, Aug. 
1st. where we lodged. Tiie second wonder of 
the Peak was here formerly ; it was a small well 
that ebbed and flowed like the sea, but it is now 
destroyed. This is a small market town, houses, 
fences, roads, every thing stone. Part of the road 
from Chatsworth hither, runs through a narrow 
valley between prodigious rocks of lime stone, 
among which are many kilns burning lime. Yes- 
terday morning we set forward for Castleton, 
seven miles, to see the cavern there usually called 
the Devil" s A — , and a wonderful A — it is ! It 
is a large opening in the steep side of a mountain, 
thirty feet high and sixty broad at bottou), in the 
form of an arch. There are some cottages in the 
mouth of the cavern, the people were spinning 
hemp, and the smoak of their chimuies has pretty 
well blacked Sir Boggys bottom. We stooped at 
places, and at places walked upright, till we came 
at a water wijich crosses the cave, but the ladies 
not daring to enter the boat, we returned having 

Letters. 317 

first heard a line song, with which a choir of jolly 
fellows make the cavern resound. From hence we 
proceeded to Mam Tor, about a mile further. 
This is the highest mountain in this country. The 
inhabitants call it ;he shivering mountain, because 
after rains and frosts, one side of it being cruni- 
blinu- loose earth, tumbles into the plain. John and 
I went with the guide up to the top, where Omiah 
went mad at looking down the precipice; and dread- 
ful it is indeed. On a sloping side of this enormous 
mountain, we set down on the grass, and dined on 
a fine piece of cold roast beef and a bottle of good 
red port, mixing some with the water of a cold 
crystal spring just by. Tlie day was fine, the 
breeze was cool and pleasant, the cows lay about 
on the tops of the rocks, the sheep climbing and 
grazing, looked like little moving pebble stones, 
the busy world seemed dead to us and we to it. 
Hence we proceeded two miles further to Elden 
Hole, a frightful chasm of twenty feet one w-ay, 
and sixty feet the other, going down perpendicu- 
lar into the earth. They have let down nearly a 
mile's length of line, but could never fathom it. 
About two miles from this place we stopped ten 
minutes to taste some village beer, where the mi- 
ners were jovially holding a wake. Tliey took my 
father for a Scotch Lord: however, supposing him 
a patriotic peer, related to their patron the Duke 
of Devonshire, they drank his health by the title 
of Lord Lothian, carried beer to the ladies, and 
sung a jovial song about " Scotch lords on En- 
glish ground fighting a battle for seven good thou- 

31 S Letter Si 

sand pounds." He could not convince these brutes, 
though he was forced to treat them ; they swoi^e 
his face was right honourable, for one of their wor 
men declared so. From ihenae we proceeded five 
miles to Bu.vton, Avhere we saw abundance of fine 
folks, drank of the hot wells, viewed the baths, 
went into Poole s hole, and returned over high 
hills and frightful precipices, sometimes on foot, 
and sometimes in the carriages to our good hos^ 
tess at Tideswell, whereafter supper we retired 
to bed most heartily weary. This morning we 
are all well, but stitf and tired. We have seen 
this wonderful country, and shall now proceed 
with all e;cpedition through Yorkshire to the 
North. We have travelled three hundred and 
sixty six miles. 

R. R. 

Aug. 18th. 1780. 

Now, my Kit, it is your turn to have a letter ; 
and, as 1 cannot reach you to kiss you, as I used 
to do all your sisters when they were little, I must 
een write to you, for I cannot make you hear me 
if I speak. What a charming art is that ofzvrifmg : 
pray learn to write as soon as you can. Some- 
body had written upon the window of my room at 
Newcastle — " ^iiss Kitty is charming and pretty." 
What do you think made this Northumberland 
Kitty charming ? Why her charming beJiaviouv 
to be sure. Pray do you practice good manners. 

Letters. 319 

BiU beside learning to write and behave pretty, 
learn also to spell, and to write good sense. Soine- 
hody bad written under the above line, " Miss 
" Peggee Cradock is dilio."'' The writer, you see, 
£ould iK)t spell Ve^gi/, and had he been a gentle- 
man he would not have written dilto, for that >s 
the language of a shopkeeper. Let me tell you 
-two or three little tales, which you may tell otiiers. 
Tell your mother to bless herself that she was not 
in my bed the other night at Whitb\', for in the 
room under me, about twelve at night, some 
drunken soldiers set out all on a sudden a sincrins 
and dancing with a drum and a hurdy-gurdy; my 
door flew open, my chinmey-board tumbled, and 
knocked down my candlestick, put out the candle, 
broke the wash-hand-bason, and made me jump 
out of bed. I rung mv bell, and the landlord sent 
them all to bed directly : but is not drunkenness a 
troublesome thing? Tell your grandmother, as 
I was comino; out of the inn at Durham, an old 
bej^ar intreated me to relieve her because she was 
an old woman. I told her, that was no argument 
to me; but if she would go to the young lady get- 
ting into the coach, she would become an old wo- 
man herself in time, and the plea might move her. 
Miss C felt this, and gave her something. As- 
sure your grandmother that you will behave well 
to all old women, particularly to Ousden and 
Crab, because you will be an old woman your- 
self by and by. Tell Mr. Knott, that the peo- 
ple in the North have not cut all their grass 
yet, and their corn is very fine, but quite green. 

520 Letters. 

Tell Mr. Curtis, that the fellow who shewed us 
Durham Cathedral was so drunk, that when I 
asked him who the little stone images round a 
tomb were, the heads of which Oliver Cromwell 
had knocked all off, he replied, they were the 
monk's children. lie had forgot that monks were 
never married. Tell Elly, that the same genius 
pointed to a crack in the spire on the top, and as- 
sured Miss C , that a dun cow got her foot in, 

and could not get it out till the bishop said the 
Lord's prayer backward. Is not he a fool who 
pretends to describe m hat he does not understand? 
Tell Nanny, that we travelled six hundred and 
eight miles, and have seen abundance of things, 
but then we have spent about one hundred and ten 
pounds, so that every body cannot travel, if they 
would. Content at home, is a frugal virtue. Tell 
Patty, that a little dog in a wheel, like your ring- 
ing cage, roasted my dinner yesterday at Mor- 
peth. That little dog deserved the bones. Tell 
Het, that the Derbyshire folks say " ye toir and 
*' fateeg ye," instead of you tire and fatigue your- 
self. The Yorkshire folks say " chirch yaard is 
" note but mook," for the church yard is nothing 
but muck. Tell her the Northumbrians say 
" hoot of thee," for root of tree, for they cannot 
pronounce the r. Tell Pol, that little fat boys and 
girls divert themselves by climbing up steep hills 
and elites, and rolling and sliding down lump, 
lump, from cliif to cliff; but then they have neither 
shoes nor stockings, they graze their bottoms, and 
feometimes break their necks. Tell Julia, that the 

Letters. 32 1 

foads al'e so dusty, and the weather so hot, that 
some days in inclosed places, we have not all 
pleasure in travelling ; some of the dust is black, 
Some red, some buff, and some white. I think 
the road between Stockton and Gisborough, is 
mended with rub-stones ; with the stone rubs are 
made of ; and these ground to powder are smo- 
thering. Now I have told you a deal of little prat- 
tle, perhaps I may hereafter tell you something 
more considerable. Give my love to all, and tell 
them I long to be at home, and will do all I can 
to get at rest. Good bye Miss Kit, good bye. 

R. Robinson. 

Glasgow, Aug. 2ist. 1780. 

Dear H. 

We staid at Edinburgh from Monday till Thurs- 
day, and should have staid longer could we have 
reconciled ourselves to nastiness. The country, 
ho>vever, is improving in every thing, but it is at 
present in a stale of childhood. Indeed thestench 
of some of the streets and lanes, which they call 
wyncls, is intolerable. Edinburgh is naturally di- 
vided into two parts, the old town and the new. 
The high street of the old town, for length, width, 
and height of houses, is said to be tlie finest in 
Europe. Here we saw houses from ten to four- 
teen stories high. No house is occupied by any 
one family, but each floor, which is called a land. 

3^2 Letters. 

is equivalent to a house in our country, and lets 
and sells independently on the rest. You ascend 
to all these by one common stone staircase, which 
winds round like the steps of a steeple. It is called 
here a turnpike. The houses were built so high 
at first, for the sake of piling the inhabitants un- 
der the protection of the castle ; and, though this 
reason has ceased, yet it would ruin proprietors 
to lower them, for it would annihilate their estates. 
To the height of the houses, the nastiness is owing, 
for as upper floors have no right to cut through 
lower ones, all dirt must come down by staircase 
or M^ndows, and both are dirty. The new town con- 
sists of handsome streets and squares, laid out in 
the English fashion, and will be very noble when 
finished; but there is in all a certain dirtiness dis- 
agreeable to us; add to which, the streets are filled 
with a multitude of loose clad, dirty people, with- 
out shoes, stockings, stays, or hats. We had not 
the pleasure of seeing my good old uncle; he drop- 
ped down as he was walking from his house in the 
country to town, and expired suddenly. His son 
was in transports to see us, and did every thing 
in his power to make our stay long and pleasant, 
lie has been a widower four years, he has no chil- 
dren, and his family consists of himself, Miss 
Ely the, his wifes sister, and one maid servant. 
He was, for sometime. Comptroller of the excise 
office, with a salary of six hundred pounds a year, 
for himself and clerks, but Lord North lately re- 
moved him, to make way for the son of a noble 
family, whose political influence he wanted. He 

Letters. 323 

is, however, in the office, and has an easy hicome. 
"VVe saw Holyrood house, which is all going to de- 
cay, the grass grows in the courts, the pictures are 
torn and defaced, the rooms are, many of them, 
dirty and unfurnished, the chapel is tumbled in, and 
we crept into some of the vaults to handle the 
bones of Darnley, James V. and others of their 
rank. The Duke of Hamilton occupies a few rooms 
of this old palace. We breakfasted one morning 
with professor Robertson, who shew us every thing 
in the university worth seeing. We handled the thin 
skull of Buchanan, and the thick skull of an idiot. 
We saw the original protest of the Bohemian Lords, 
against the council of Constance, for burning 
John Huss, with all their names and seals appen- 
ding. The professor shew us a curious bracelet 
with a small seal, on which were engraved the 
hundred eastern names of God, and also the whole 
Koran, which usually makes a quarto book of near 
six hundred pages, written on a vellum ribbon so 
small that the whole was rolled up and drawn 
through our cousin s rincr. The botanical garden, 
the medical collection of Dr. Monro, the noble 
port of Leith, and twenty more curious things, 
must make a Christmas tale at home. We hurried 
away on Thursday noon, twelve miles to Midcal- 
der, where we found an excellent inn, with good 
accommodations, surrounded with pleasant gar* 
dens, hanging woods, rocks, hills, valleys, corn, 
cattle, rivers, and every thing that could render a 
place delicious. We highly enjoyed this, yet 
even this was a little tainted with Scotch sluttery; 

324 Letters. 

but we did not mind a little, for we came from 
Edinburgh. Tfie old reprobate, who kept this 
house, was a man of great wit and humour, and 
having got pretty drunk with a Scotch Earl, 
would spend an hour with us, in which he amused 
us prodigiously. He was very fond too, of the 
young squire, and gathered me fruit, and brought 
cakes and syllabub in abundance. He lamen- 
ted that he had 7ia cheeld, and made me kiss 
the little son of one of his postillions, of whom he 
was very fond. Gee um, said he, tzvaw baiibee 
to bee um a buskit ; that is, give him a penny to 
buy him a biscuit. The old man's head had been 
terribly hacked in fighting for Charley, against 
king George. He deserved it, for he killed in one 
day twelve of the king's men ; yet this old rebel, 
who owed his life wholly to the king's mercy, exe- 
crates the Americans for rising up against their 
sovereign lord the king ! After breakfast, on Fri- 
day morning, we proceeded to Holytown, twenty 
miles, where we dined. We alighted at the kirk 
of Shots, so famous in church history for the plen- 
tiful effusion of the spirit, which we read of in the 
history written by ]Mr. Gillies. In the evening we 
arrived at Glasgow, and are lodged in a private 
house, adjoining the inn, the inn itself being full. 
We have a whole land, that is, up three pair of 
stairs, a dining room, three bed rooms, and a 
kitchin, with Nelly Drummond, a bare-footed 
Highland lass, to wait on us. 


R. R. 

;. . Letters. 325 

Sanquhar, Aug. 22d. 1780. 

Dear Nancy, 

Glasgow is called the second city in Scotland, 
but in our opinion it is the first. It is a noble 
city, spreading over a plain in stately well built 
houses of stone, covered with blue slate. The 
principal streets are four, which cross one another 
at right angles, and are broad, strait, well paved, 
and very populous. The first story, in many 
parts, projects over the flat pavennent, and rests 
on vast square pillars, so that you walk along 
under piazzas, into which the shops open. The 
river Clyde runs on the western side of the town, 
and is navigable by small vessels ; there is a hand- 
some stone bridge over it, with seven arches. The 
college, or university, consists of several courts, 
not unlike our Pembroke college; the library is 
far superior to that at Edinburgh. The old cathe- 
dral is converted, as that at Edinburgh is, into 
three preaching places, called Kirks, but the di- 
vision walls are so thick, that the people's singing 
is no interruption to one another. We went on 
the Lord's day morning and heard a sermon on 
death, in the new church, which is a very noble 
building, and was pretty well filled, for the 
Scotch have far more of the face of religion than 
the English, and their Kirks are full on the Lord's 
day. In the afternoon we went to the college 
Kirk, hoping tj hear the famous old Mr. Gillies, 

S26 Letters. 

but he was gone a journey. Tlils is a large, old, 
circular building, with deep galleries, and it was 
so crouded with an innumerable multitude of 
people, that it was a favour to get a seat. It was 
very hot, but we did not see one fan in the place. 
Every one had a bible and psalm book, and all 
seemed deeply affected with the sermon. The 
preacher was a Mr. Finlay, it was only his third 
public sermon. Indeed it was heaven to be there. 
We should have gone on Saturday to see the ma- 
nufactory of threads, lawns, silk, gauzes, and rib- 
bands, at Paisley, eight miles from Glasgow, but 
we could not get chaises. Tobacco is the great 
mercantile article at Glasgow. They have impor- 
ted before the present war, above fifty thousand 
hogsheads a year. Here we hoped to have got 
some good tobacco, but we were disappointed. 
The Scotch smoak very little; in large towns we 
are sometimes troubled to get a pipe ; seldom get 
any tobacco but coarse stalks, and sometimes 
only the leaf We quitted Glasgow at seven yes- 
terday morning, and passed through a most de- 
lightful country, in high cultivation, full of coal- 
pits and stone quarries, through Cathcart in Ren- 
frewshire, and Kingswell in Airshire, to Kilmar- 
nock, where, at an exceeding good inn, we dined. 
Airshire is in general, the most pleasent county in 
Scotland. The soil is a light red earth, pretty 
deep, of which they uiake a large brick for build- 
ing. Underneath are vast quarries of red and 
grey stone, with which alsO; they build and make 

Letters. 327 

fences, roads, bridges, and so on. The lands lie 
in fine hills and valleys, divided, inclosed, planted 
with hedges and trees, cropped with potatoes, cab- 
bages, or something of the kind. These pendant 
slopes look very pretty. Rivers and rivulets run 
in deep dells: cottages and houses scattered about, 
compleat the beautiful scenery. Kilmarnock is a 
pretty sized town, situated in a romantic manner. 
It has a manufactory of carpets, blankets, and 
stockings. The Seceders or Scotch ]^[onconformists, 
have a Kirk here, and had we been a little sooner, 
we should have heard a sermon abroad, for they 
had come from many parts to have a sacrament 
here the day before, and were just departing from 
a thanksgiving sermon, always preached on the 
Monday after. ]\Iy father paid his respects to the 
heads of them, and wislied them God-speed, and 
they blessed him in return. The town and the 
road was filled with them ; they made a very de- 
cent appearance, hut some things appeared very 
odd to us. JNIost of the men wore the blue Scotch 
bonnet, and the plaid cloak, greens, reds, and 
various stripes thrown over the shoulder. The 
good women took off their shoes and stockings, 
when they came out of the assembly, and pulling 
up their petticoats, tied them in a sort of pucker or 
gather, just under the knee, and so trudged bare- 
footed home. We had a fine ride to Cumnock, 
sixteen miles, where we intended to lodge, but the 
inn being full, we were forced to go on to Sanquhar, 
eighteen miles. We anived at ten, very tired, but 
were very well accommodated. It is now noon. 

328 Letters. 

and we are going to Drumlanrig. We have not 
seen a drop of rain since we left London, till last 
Lord's day at Glasgow. Good bye, we are just 

Dumfries, Aug. 23d. 1780. 

Dear Nancy, 

Before we left Sanquhar, which is a neat little 
town, we looked at a stocking manufactory. Here 
we saw a load of coals, about half a ton weit?ht, 
laid in for ten-pence. We set forward about one. 
No day ever afforded a greater variety of enter- 
tainment. The first six miles, the road runs through 
a country, so fine that Italy itself cannot exceed it. 
It would be rash to attempt to describe it, for, the 
scene varying every stone's cast would balHe the 
skill of the finest pencil. On the left hand of the 
road, rise suddenly, prodigious hills, clothed up 
to the top with oak, ash, birch, and shrubs of va- 
rious kinds. On the right hand side, a gentle 
slope, covered also with trees, descends into a 
deep dell, at the bottom of which runs a broad, 
shallow stream, at places sleeping, as it were, 
upon beds of sand, at others playing, loitering, 
and curling about the loose rocky stones, at other 
places again hurrying away, and presently foam- 
ing and frothing down a cascade as if in a passion. 
Seen through the trees, when the sun shines, the 
whole looks like green needle-work, on a silver 

Letters. 329 

ground. From the bottom of the stream, hills 
rise, covered with trees to a great height, and over 
them other hills again covered with sheep and 
black cattle, which seemed to us like beds of 
mushrooms and bulfists. Thus we rode in j)ara- 
dise, for several miles. We proceeded to Drum- 
lanrig, an old seat of his Grace the Duke of 
Queensbury. You turn out of the road over a 
stone bridge, and drive along a winding road, sha- 
ded with beech trees, which are planted in rows on 
€ach side, the frisky squirrels sitting on the branch- 
es, cracking the beech mast. This noble old palace 
afforded us a higher entertainment than any we 
have seen, and yet, it lies, upon the whole, sadly 
neglected, the grass grows between the stones in 
the courts, and gates, fences, garden, statues, 
water-falls, all proclaim that his Grace, their ma- 
ster, lives in London. I will try to give you one 
view of the place. From a window, in the pic- 
ture gallery, the eye surveys an immense track of 
land, the nearer parts laid out in lawns, slopes, 
terraces, clumps of trees, walks, groves, and wa- 
ters; the more remote, woods, heaths, arable and 
grass grounds, the whole bounded by huge, frown- 
ing hills, night-capped with great, dark, sulky 
black clouds. What a pity this fine spot is not 
improved, for, it has every thing to render it a 
perfect beauty ! The soil is a fine earth as red as 
brick-dust, the hills are immense piles of red and 
grey stone, some of them of coals ; waters run in 
rich abundance, and woods rise over woods, in 
grand luxuriance, yet, here is not a house aC 

^30 Letters^ 

Drumlanrig that can give you a dinner. We rode 
forward to Thornhill, a pretty little town, tiiree 
miles further. Here, a great concourse of people 
were keeping a fair. The inn, (there is but one) 
was so full, that we could not get a room ; how- 
ever, we got the use of a neighbouring cottage, 
and there the inn-keeper sent us a quarter of roast 
lamb, a couple of broiled fowls, currant tarts, Che- 
shire cheese, ale, porter, port wine, good bread, 
and Scotch bannock, that is oat cakes, as thin, and 
as broad, and as round, as a woman's straw hat. 
We dined delicioiisly. This fair was made up of 
plain, decent people, mostly free from drinking, 
rioting, and such like disgraces of English fairs. 
We saw in the woman's cottage, the form and the 
furniture of a poor Scotch house. The walls are 
of stone, the roof of thatch, very thin, and laced 
en tight and neat : there are a few spars of square 
stuff, and boughs and rough poles serve cross-ways 
instead of lath, the chamber is boarded, and you 
ascend it by a ladder. There is no floor but the 
earth, a peat fire was upon the hearth, and the 
chimney was no higher than the roof of the house. 
There are two rooms below, each the size of our 
pompting-housc, there was a bed in one, in a sort 
of press, with shutters in the front, that run in a 

trroove. In the other room, which was let to a 
i& ... 

man-lodger, there was a bed of turf, that is, thin 

grassy flags of earth, dry, lying one upon another, 

about three feet high, covered with a blanket and 

coverlid. Before the door was a stack of peati 

^ring, and just by it an open well, to which joU 

Letters. 331 

descend by a dozen or fifteen steep stone steps. 
Each low room has a little window of four small 
sash squares. The whole lets for thirty shillings. 
In the evening we proceeded eighteen miles to 
Dumfries, a large good town, situated on the 
river Nith, about six miles from the Irish sea. 

Mrs. C is so fatigued that we are obliged to 

fie still to day, so I shall finish my letter elsewhere. 


Dumfries, Aug. 24th. 1780. 

Airs. C — is better, so we hope to go for- 
ward to-day. Yesterday was market day here ; 
there are tM'o in a week. The finest fresh salmon 
a penny a pound, fresh herrings from five to 
twelve a penny. We supped on some, which are 
called Manks, because tliey are brought in little 
ships from tlie isle of Man. They throw into the 
ship a layer of fish and a layer of salt, to preserve 
them, yet they come fresh to market. A side of 
lamb sold for one shilling and sixpence. Beef 
was about four-pence, all other things in propor- 
tion. This is a prodigious market for black cat- 
tle. The Shire of Galloway alone, sells here seven 
or eight thousand annually. They and the sheep, 
live upon the mountains. The people here almost 
all wear long cloaks, which they call plaids; even 
the drovers sell catde in them, and the brick- 
layers' labourers return from work in them. The 
bricklayers here are as red as ours are white, for 

332 Letters. 

they work most in this country red stone : houses, 
steps, stairs, hearths, chimney-pieces, are all made 
with it. The river here is so shallow, when the 
tide is out, that boys run in, and with a sort of 
three tined folk, kill salmon and trout of eight or 
ten pound weight. When the tide comes in it 
brings up ships of fifty or sixty tons. Rivers here 
are not like ours, muddy, but all stones at the 
bottom, for in wet seasons the great cataracts 
that come down from the mountains, carry away 
every thing portable. There are no rings of bells 
in Scotland ; steeples they have none, their town- 
halls have spires upon some of them, the kirks 
Iiave only one bell, which is sufficient to call the 
people together. The dress of the Highland sol- 
diers is odd. Their stockings are of broad, red 
and white stripes, twisted in a sort of serpentine 
fashion. They come up a little higher than the calf; 
from thence to a good handful above the knee they 
are naked. They wear no breeches, but instead of 
them, a short petticoat of broad striped green 
and blue plaid, gathered full ; over this right be- 
fore, hangs a bag, ornamented with white tassels. 
The waistcoat is buff colour, over which they 
wear a scarlet jacket, and over all, a plaid cloak, 
like their petticoat, which in fine weather, is roll- 
ed up, and hangs from the top of their right shoul- 
der, cross to the left hip, in the fashion of a sash. 
We shall get into England to-day or to-morrow, 
^nd then we shall send you word where to writ^ 
to us. 

' R. R. 

Letters 335 

To Mrs. Robinson. 

Penrith, Aug. 28th. 1780. 

My Dear, 

Though we have troubled you with so many 
letters, and many of them extra, yet I cannot 
omit congratulating you, as well as ourselves, on 
our safe arrival in Old England again, and con- 
sequently our nearer prospect of home. We left 
Dumfries on Thursday, the 24th. inst. and tra- 
velled eighteen miles through a flat country, with 
little cultivation, and little business, except peat- 
digging and lime-burning, to Annan. This is a 
pretty little town, the chief of Annandale. It has 
a small trade in corn and wine, and is pleasant 
enough. Here is a singularity we never saw be- 
fore. The great building, at the upper end of the 
street, is divided into two parts, the one is the parish 
kirk, the other the jail : an odd association ! In 
the evening we supped pardy upon some delicious 
salmon fry, which Robert caught in tlie river after 
dinner. Next day, we proceeded to Grctna-green, 
eight miles, the last town in Scodand this way. 
We rode along side the Solway firth, over which 
lay Galloway in full view. Galloway aftbrds us 
small horses in plenty, and seven or eight thou- 
sand head of black cattle. The town is mostlv 
composed of miserable little huts, the worst we 
saw in Scotland, they are made of red clay, with- 
out windows; the smoak gets out either at the door 
or at a hole under the roof, and in some at a hole 
in the roof, called a chimney. Tiie roof is a few 

534 Letters. 

rough spars covered with turf. We peeped into 
the school house, where a master v/as teaching 
twenty or thirty children : but it is not to be de- 
scribed, no hogstye in Chesterton is so wretched. 
The kirk, like others, into which we peeped, is a 
vile hole, worse than a barn. It is, indeed, built 
of stone, and covered with slate; but the roof is 
not ceiled, nor is any thing done to the inside of 
it. There is no floor but the earth, and in this 
lay some straw to keep the people's feet warm 
I suppose. There is little light, and much dirt, a 
pulpit, a seat for the clerk, a round pew at the 
foot of the pew for the elders, and benches with 
backs for the people, with a sort of gallery for thei 
squire. At the side of the pulpit, where our scon- 
ces are, is a swinging iron, in which the bason is 
put at what they call baptisms. This is the famous 
town where so many marriages have been celebra- 
ted. We stopped only half an hour, and then 
proceeded to Carlisle, twelve miles further. We 
entered England, by passing a little rivulet, 
about half past tAvo on Friday, about eleven 
miles from Carlisle. This is a pretty little city, 
situated in a fine plain, well watered by three ri- 
vers. The castle is in ruins. The cathedral seems 
to be only one end of the original building, and 
one end of this serves for a parish church, and a 
very ordinary one it is. The scenes have painted 
on them in several pannels, the legendary tales of 
St. Anthony and St. Augusiin. There stands the 
devil tempting St. Austin, in the shape of a man, 
with a huge bull's head, and a long, long tail. Un- 

Letters. 355 

der each pannel is an old monkish rhyme, partly 
Scotch, partly English. Anthony and his devils 
arc fitter for a bawdy house than a cathedral, 
though some say a cathedral is the house of a 
w e. We had the pleasure on Saturday mor- 
ning, of seeing Carlisle fair, a large crowded fair 
it is, yet all tlie black cattle folks, and all the clean 
good women selling their home-spun pieces of 
linen and woollen cloth, and all the fish — flesh — 
fruit — green — toy — folks, &c. did not make so 
much noise as one fellow upon a cart, who had 
a calf wath two heads to shew. The cattle fair is 
kept without the Scotch gate, the rest of the fair 
within the gates of the city. The pigs are all 
brought alive in carts, covered with cloths, and ta- 
ken out one by one, as they are wanted for sale. 
We left Carlisle about noon, and proceeded to 
High Heskelh, where we eat an egg, and drank 
some rum and water, in a shady close behind the 
church, and in full sight of a Cumberland lake, 
from which we proceeded to Penrith, where we 
dined, and staid the Lord's day. We went to 
meeting, and heard that cold, killing preaching 
which they call rationed dissenting, yet, as thflf 
scriptures were read, and the true God worship- 
ed without superstitious rites, we would not go 
nigh old Bah, otherwise she has a pretty church 
here of red stone, and large windows, &c. 
We proceed to day for Keswick, and so on, I 
know not where, but I am happy to think every 
step homeward. I hope to be at home by Lord's 
day se'nnight. the 10th of September^ but I doubt 

33^ Letters. 

it for certain ; if nothing unforeseen prevents, I 
shall get home the 13th. or 14th. of September, 
but I wish you would only say you expect me to 
preach at Cambridge, on the 17 th. or 24th. at 
farthest, the 17th. most likely. I wish nobody 
might know of my return for the tM'o or three first 
days of my being at home, for I am so full of ri- 
ding, and staring, that rest would be a kingdom to 
me. Bob does not want to come home be says. 
He likes his life and enjoys himself wonderfully. I 
fancy, if you write without delay, the next post 
after this reaches you, you may direct to Mr. 
Robinson, of Chesterton, to lie till called for at 
the post house, Worcester: a letter may reach me. 

Farewell — love to all 


To his daii (filters. 

Kendal, Aug. 31. 1780. 
Dl'.AR Hettv, 

^ My last left off at Penrith, and there I begin. I 
and Robert walked out in the evening of thb 
Lord's day for a little air, and by degrees, mount- 
ed the huge red stone hill, from which the town 
takes its name. Penrith in the old British is 7'ed 
rock or 7^ed Jiill. On the top of this steep hill 
stands a beacon house, which commands a pros- 
pect of one hundred miles in circumference, every 
where bounded by rocks and mountains of stu- 

Letters, 337 

pendous size. At our return Miss C had 

been not well, and Mrs. C , running to get 

somethinjr for her, had fallen down five or six 
stairs and bruised herself; however next morning 
both were better and we proceeded on our jour- 
ney. The road was exceeding good, but it lay 
all among hills and mountains, the chaises, craw- 
ling up one side of a hill and trickling down the 
other brought us to Penruddock, six miles, where 
we stopped a little while, and then proceeded, 
winding in among the grey mountains, till we were 
wholly surrounded by them, and arrived at Kes- 
wick, twelve miles from Penruddock. At this lit- 
tle homely village we dined, and, after dinner 
took boat with four rowers, and so viewed the fa- 
mous lake of Derwentwater. This fine piece of 
water lies at the foot of several lofty perpendicu- 
lar mountains, the broken crags and pendent rocks 
of which wholly surround it. Some of these are 
naked, and look like thousands of church steeples, 
rudely jumbled together; others are covered with 
moss, others again with bushes, shrubs, and tim- 
bers up to the very top ; the bottoms of several 
are cultivated; and the variegated stripes of ripe 
corn, green meadows, here gently falling to the 
water, and there overshadowing horrible cliffs, 
precipices and caverns, form a landscape, that 
cannot be described. The water, clear as crystal, 
is above three miles long and one over. There 
are in this lake, five islands, one of about six 
acres is called the Vicars island, and here men 
were digging and cutting out blue slate. The 


538 Letters. 

next is called the Lord's island, and consists of 
about five acres all covered with a grove. Here 
we landed, and saw the ruins of a house once be- 
longing to the earl of Derwentwater. Our guide 
pointing to JFallozti crag^ on the opposite side 
of the lake, shew us a narrow steep parting between 
the rock called Ladys rake; for up this horrid 
precipice Lady Derwentwater climbed, and es- 
caped with her jewels, when her Lord was taken 
in rebellion. From hence we went to St Herbert's 
Island, about five acres all covered with trees. 
This saint flourished al)Out the year 600, and the 
ruins of his stone-hermitage yet remain. Here I 
cut up a walking stick to bring you for a curiosity, 
but unluckily forgot it at one of the inns. Our 
boat men fired otF their little brass cannon. How 
tremendous was the sound ! peals of thunder seem- 
ed to rend the rocks all around, the crags re-echoed 
the roar, silence ensued, and the sounding re- 
turned like distant thunder claps, which died away 
upon the ear. We seemed encircled with ever- 
lasting mountains, rising one above another from 
one to three thousand five hundred feet above the 
lake. From Keswick on Tuesday morning we went 
forward to Ambleside in Westmoreland. The 
road is exceeding good, and the ride said to be 
one of the finest in the north of England. No- 
thing surely can exceed, no pencil can describe the 
incomparable beauty of this place. The tremen- 
dous rocks and mountains rise above the clouds 
on either side. W^e had the pleasure of seeing a 
great white cloud clasp, and hang, and play about 

Letters. S^9 

the neck of one. Innumerable cascades come 
purling or gushing from the sides of the mountains, 
and run gurgling down the rocks in to a river, far, 
far, beneath our feet. The slopes of the hills are 
laid out in ten thousand various forms ; here a 
meadow with cattle grazing, there a piece of yel- 
low corn waving its luxuriant head, yonder a 
grove, beyond it a cottage, picturesque all, and 
all romantic and enchanting. We stopped a lit- 
tle while at Wyburn, and got some refreshment, 
and there the clean old hostess made me write a 
Cumberland rhyme. 

Helvellan, and Catchettycam, 
Cawsey pike, and Skiddow mam, 
Are the four highest mountains, 
Tiiat ever man dam. 

That is, that ever man climbed. Helvellan, on 
which we saw the cloud, is eleven yards higher 
than Skiddow. Hence we went on to Ambleside, 
feasting our eyes all the way. The whole ride is 
eighteen miles. After dinner at this little town, 
we went about a mile, in a narrow winding path, 
up a woody hill, along the side of a river, which 
seemed at once to roll over our heads and tumble 
beneath our feet. At Icngtli we arrived at a cliff, 
where we saw, about an hundred yards above us 
the river come roaring out of the rocks, and tum- 
bling into a gulph about sixty yards beneath us, 
wheiice it rolled through a deep and dreary dell, 
from crag to crag, through thickets of oak, beech, 
birch, holly and hazel with a tremendous sounds 


340 Letters. 

through the town of Ambleside, fretting and foam- 
ing all tlie way over the black rock stones. I was 
so enchanted with this scene, that we could not 
get away till the next day. 

R. R. 

Warrington, Sept. 3d. 1780. 

Dear Polly, 

We quitted the industrious town of Kendal on 
Friday, and dined at Burton, tlie last toM^n in 
Westmoreland, this "uay, whence we proceeded to 
Lancaster, where we drank tea, and should have 
staid all night, had not the house been under the 
management of a slut. This journey has taught 
us the inexpressible value of cleanly women, for 
how much they contribute to the comfort of tra- 
vellers, none but travellers can tell. This country 
town has much commerce in corn, candles, sail- 
cloth, and cabinet goods. The river I.une brings 
up ships of two hundred and fifty tons to the quays. 
We went from hence toGarstang, tiiirty live miles 
from Kendal, where we lodged at a very clean 
house. Saturday morning we proceeded to the line 
and populous town of Preston, usually cdWeA Proud 
Preston, and mostly inhabited by gentlemen, at- 
torneys, proctors, notaries, and manufacterers. It 
was fair day; we walked about and saw plenty of 
every thing, particularly fustians, linen and wool- 
len cloths, and coals. Hence we went to Chorley, 
a pretty little market town, where we dined. We 

Letters. 34 1 

proceeded to Wigan, famous for cheques, cotton, 
iron, and pit coal, particularly cannel coal, which 
are as black as the deepest jet, and polished like 

alabaster, Miss C bought a few cannel coal 

snuff-boxes here. From hence we went to War- 
rington, a very large and populous manufacturing 
town, full of linen and lace weavers, glass houses, 
copper-works, sugar houses, makings, pin manu- 
factories, slitting mills, gun powder mills, and 
paper mills. Here is a large charity school, foun- 
ded by a ]\lr. Waterson, with money which he ac- 
quired by shewing a dancing horse for a penny a 
piece. We travelled yesterday forty two miles, 
and were very tired, for the roads here, both foot- 
paths and coach roads, are paved with pebbles, 
and are very rough and unpleasant to travel. We 
have travelled upwards of a thousand miles, and 
wish to be at home. We have crossed all Lanca- 
shire, often in sight of the western ocean. It is 
really a very fine county, and the soil is rich, the 
lands inclosed, the pastures fruitful and pleasant, 
corn plentiful and fine, most of it abroad, and 
some of it green. Rain, I believe, is more frequent 
on this coast, than in other parts of England. The 
cows here are of a very fine size, and their horns 
particularly wide, large, and spreading. Here are 
twelve daily coaches from hence to Liverpool. That 
famous town, and Manchester, and some others are 
in this neighbourhood, but we are glutted with see- 
ing and hearing, and therefore shall not visit them. 


R. R. 

342 Letters. 

Per shore, Sep. 9th. 1780. 

We left Warrington on Monday, the 4th inst. 
after dinner, and proceeded by a bad road, to 
Frodsham, a small market town in Cheshire, 
where vve drank tea. In this little ride, we passed 
under the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, and over 
the river Weaver, by a stone bridge. After tea, 
we went to Chester, ten miles, and lodged at the 
Yacht, a large and commodious inn. This beauti- 
ful old city is built on a hill, walled in. There is 
a charming walk on the wall, near two miles right 
round the city, from which you have an elegant 
prospect of all the surrounding country. The city 
is said to contain about twenty thousand inhabi- 
tants. Before all the houses, in many streets, there 
are long galleries up one pair of stairs, where you 
walk dry in all weathers. Many shops are below 
these galleries, and many in them. The cathedral 
is an old building; the greatest oddity in it, is the 
carving in the choir; in the same stall you see 
plump archangels, old patriarchs, prophets, and 
apostles, nuns with tlieir veils, and a sow with her 
pigs. Tlie bishop's throne is surrounded with the 
images of kings, queens, saints, and so on. Oliver 
Cromwell, it seems, knocked off their heads, and 
so they stood about one hundred years, but lately 
one of the bishops had them repaired and gilt, 
but by a sad mistake, the artist put a king's head 
with a long beard, upon a queen's shoulders with 
peiticoats, and a queen's head uj)on a king's shoul- 
ders, and so they stand now. It iiappened to be the 

Letters. 343 

race time, and the Rhodee, that is the flat large 
meadow on the banks of the river Dee, where the 
horses run, was.iCOvered with, company as usual. 
On TuesdajTivV Avent to Holywelf/.ei^hteen miles, 
in Flintshire, in Wales; the ride is lovely, in sight 
of Flint, the broad river Mersey, Liverpool, and 
the coast on the right, and on the left, mountains, 
valleys, woods, and cottages. The inn is large, 
and a Welchman is kept in the house to amuse the 
company M'ith a large Welch harp, whicli stands 
in the stair-case, and on which he plays admi- 
rably. The town is situated on the side of a lofty 
hill, at the foot of M'hich rises St. Winefrede's well, 
which boils up and throws off, one hundred and 
twenty tons of water every minute. You descend 
to the well by a flight of stone steps; over it is a 
large, covered stone arch, under which are dres- 
sing-rooms, for those who bath, and round it hang 
crutches in abundance, left by persons whose limbs 
were restored by the waters. The water falls in a 
broad cascade into a rich, woody valley, and 
witiiintwo stone's cast works, first a flour mill, then 
a paper mill, and then a mill for carding and spin- 
ning cotton. We were chiefly delighted with the 
last. We brought away two or three stones from 
the well, and a little of the green moss, called St. 
Winefrede's hair, which smells and tastes like 
violets. On Wednesday we went forward to Pin- 
calondigry, dined at Mould, and lodged at Wrex- 
ham, twentv four miles. This is a lari<;e market 
town, in Denbighshire. It was market day, and 
we saw the poor Welch people selling their linens 

344 Letters. 

and flannels to the factors. Thursday morning we 
went forward sixteen miles, a most delightful ride 
to Oswestry in Shropshire, a mean dirty little 
town, with a wall, and three old stone gateways. 
After dinner we went sixteen miles to Shrewsbury, 
where we lodged. The river Severn is the glory of 
this town. The situation is very fine, the town is 
rich, and populous, and the traffick is very large 
iu Welch cloth, cattle, cheese, linen, and lamb's 
wool. We did not visit the Royal Oak, for the 
town was full of people electioneering, so we 
hastened on Friday morning to Wenlock, fourteen 
miles, from thence nine miles to Bridgnorth, where 
we dined. This pretty town consists of two parts, 
separated by the river Severn. It's manufacturies 
are chiefly guns and stockings. The great red rock 
rises here perpendicularly, and several houses are 
hewn out of it. We walked as it were, upon the 
tops of the chimneys. Remind me when I return 
of the leaning castle, the bowling-green, the cyder, 
the steep hill cut through the huge rock, the nuts, 
the lace-makers, and so on. In the evening we 
went fourteen miles to Kidderminster, in Wor- 
cestershire, where we lodged. This is a large po- 
pulous town, situated on the river Stour, once the 
habitation of the famous Richard Baxter. I was 
so wrapped up in thought about that favourite ser- 
vant of God, that I wept freely over the remem- 
brance of him, and became dead to their carpets, 
and linsey-woolseys, in which the people are all 
employed, and I saw none of them. Saturday mor- 
ning we went forward fourteen miles, to the clean 

Letters, 345 

and beautiful city of Worcester, and all the way 
the hedcre-rows are full of fruit. We visited the 
china manufactory, with which we were extremely 
dehghted. It was market day, and hops were sold 
in abundance. We came forward in the evening 
to this place, ten miles. 



34(> Hymns. 


Praise to the Redeemer. 

MIGHTY God ! while Angels praise thee. 
May an infant lisp thy name ? 
Lord of men as vvell ab angels, 
Thou art every creature's theme. 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen f 


Lord of every land and nation, 
Ancient of eternal days ! 
Sounded through the wide creation 
Be thy just and lawful praise. 

Hallelujah, ^c. 
For the grandeur of thy name, 
Grand beyond a Seraph's thought, 
For created works of power, 
Works with skill and kindness wrought. 

Hallelujah, 8§c, 
For thy Providence that governs 
Through thine empire's wide domain; 
Wings an angel, guides a sparrow, 
Blessed be thy gentle reign. 

Hallelujah, S^c, 
But thy rich, thy free redemption. 
Dark through brightness all along ; 
Thought is poor, and poor expression. 
Who dare sing that awful song? 

Hallelujah, 8^;c. 

Hymns, 547 

Brightness of the Father's glory, 
Shall thy praise unutter'd lie ? 
Fly my tongue such guilty silence ! 
Sing the Lord who came to die. 

Hatlcliijahf S;c. 

Did Archangels sing thy coming ? 
Did the shepherds learn their lays? 
Shame would cover me ungrateful. 
Should tny tongue refuse to praise. 

Hallelujahj ^c. 

From the highest throne in glory. 
To the cross of deepest woe; 
All to ransom guilty captives ! 
Flow my praise, for ever flow. 

Hallelujah, 8^c, 

Go return, immortal Saviour, 

Leave thy footstool, take thy throne; 

Thence return, and reign for ever, 

Be the kingdom all thy own. 

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen ! 

o4^ Hymns. 

H Y M N II. 

Grateful Recollection. 

COME, thou fount of every blessing, 

Tune my heart to sing thy grace 1 
Streams of mercy never ceasing, 

Call for songs of loudest praise: 
Teach me some melodious sonnet, 

Sung by flaming tongues above : 
Praise the mount — O fix me on it, 

Mount of God's unchanging love. 
Here I raise my Ebenezer, 

Hither by thy help I'm come ; 
And I hope by thy good pleasure, 

Safely to arrive at home : 
^ Jesus sought me when a stranger 

Wandering from the fold of God ; 
He to save my soul from danger 

Interpos'd with precious blood. 
O ! to grace how great a debtor, 

Daily I'm constrain'd to be ! 
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter, 

Bind my wandering heart to thee ! 
Prone to wander. Lord, I feel it; 

Prone to leave the God I love — 
Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, 

Seal it from thy courts above. 



N B The numeral letlersi. ii.iii. iv, refer to the Volumes: wliere 
no volume is marked, the reference is to ihat last nienUtMU-vl 
The lelcrenceb to the Memoirs are in numerals, and to Uie 
Works in ligures. 


ABELARD, Peter, claimed as 
an unitarian, iii. 59 

Acres, ten millions of, in Eng- 
land unproductive, ii. 341 

Admmisirations, the nature of 
discussed, ii. 29i 

African trade described, iv. 78 

Africans, inventors of infant 
baptism, iv. 72. 

Aggrandisement, what meant 
by, ii. 339 

Anabaptists, the reason of the 
name, iii. 185 — suflered re- 
proach, ib. — persecuted by 
Cranmer and others, 186 — 
denied the right of christian 
burial, ib. 

Analogy, what meant by in re- 
ligion, i. 95 — not to be found 
in the cliristianity of the 
church of Rome, 97 
Ancestors, our, the wisdom and 
folly of, described, ii. 290 — 
half tyrants and half slaves, 
iii. 310, 
Antiquity, heroes of, how de- 
scribed, ii. 277 
Anstev, liis kindness to Mr. Ro- 

biubon, i. Ixxv 
Apology, Mr. Lindsey's, referred 
l;o, iii. 95-7 

A a 

Apostles, the, friends to the right 
of private judi;ment, ii. 4C — 
copy Christ in their preaching, 
i. 257 — their success, 558 — 
highly esteemed, 259 — at 
their death the christian 
system underwent a complete 
change, 202 — creed, not 
known by whom composed, 
ii.76 . ' 
Arbitrary power, nations subject 
to, have a right to emancipate 
themselves, ii. 338 
Arcana, some account of the, 5. 
xxvii — eight letters of the,- ii. 
1-139 — tiieir object, 9 — for 
whom written, ih. 
Arguments, learned, not neces- 
sary to support a scripture 
doctrine, iii- 9 
Aristocracy, how defined, ii. 236 
Arius, the councils held respect- 
ing him, iii. 99 
Arms, the profession of, unlaw- 
ful, ii. 335 
Army, the, a bad school, ii. 335 
— standimj;, how described, 
iv. 10 — wiiat an, stands for, 
ii. 333— the end and design 
of, (/,. — expence of, 334 — un- 
« friendly to political virtue, ib. 


Articles, forty-two, drawn up by 
Cranmer, ii, 35 — elevcn,made 
in Elizabeth's reign, 36 — tlie 
thirty-nine, how collected, 
ib. — subscription to, ib. — be- 
lieved in different senses, ib. 
• — who subscribe them con- 
scientiously, 10 — thirty-nine, 
history of, 1.54 

Assembly, christian, a survey of, 
iii. 247 

Association, eastern, circular 
letter to the, iv. 193 

Athanasian creed, just character 
of, i. cxliii 

Athanasius, not to be defended 
iii. 8. 

Atticus, patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, a bad preacher, i. 269 

Augustine, St. why sent to Bri- 
tain, iv. 114 — his conduct ob- 
served by the Britons, ib. — 
his infamous cruelty, ib. — 
answered by a pagan, 124 — 
his mode of preaching, i. 272 

Austin, St. denies the existence 
of any Antipodes, ii. 50 

Axiom, one of Aristotle's, refer- 
red to, ii. 6 — the application 
of, ib. 


Baptism, doubts concerning the 
validity of, iii. 141 — infant, 
declared against, ib. — history 
of, by Robinson, why and 
how undertaken, i. xcix — 
subject of, cv — in what time 
written, cvii — infant, why in- 
vented, iv. 72 

JBartholemew's day, the horrors 
of to the French protestants, 
i. 27 — the massacres of con- 
tinued seven days, ib. 

Bayle, M. his letter to Du 
Rondel, ii. 25 

Beaumont, Dr. his poem of 
Psyche, quoted, ii. 54-55 

Beggar, tlic blind, fine speech 
of, i. 255 — his just maxim con- 
«crniujj religion, civ 

Bekker,Dr. why condemned by 
a synod, i. 84 

Believer, who meant by a, iii. 11 

Believers, unbaptized, have spi- 
ritual abilities, iii. 174 — not 
incapacitated for want ot bap- 
tism, ib. — not prohibiieu the 
use of their talents, ib. — com- 
manded to use their spiritual 
gifts, 175 — equal to every duty 
of church fellowship, 178 

Benefices, church, how disposed 
of, i. 6 

Benevolence, an argument for 
Christianity, iii. 268 

Berridge, fellow of Clare Hall, 
his great zeal, i. xxiii 

Beza, a promoter of the refor- 
mation, i. 12 — protected by 
the Queen of Navarre, 22 

Bible, the contents of described, 
iv. 17 — donation of, what it 
implies, 17-19-20 — Society, a 
sermon preached before, 3 
— how much expended by 
them, 21 — French translation 
of, by whom made, i. 10 — 
printed, ib. 

Birley, Mr. discourse on the or- 
dination of, iv. 39 — Mrs. on 
her death, 130 

Biron, Marshal, his character 
i. 34 

Birth, meanness of, not to dis- 
courage from exertion, iii. 218 

Bishop, primitive, not a lord in 
lawn, i. 259 

Bishops, primitive, said to ha^^e 
preached in a gown, i. 970 

Blackburnc, Archdeacon, his 
testimony in favour of Robin- 
son's Plea, 1. Ixi 

Blackstone, commentaries of, 
referred to ii. 280-336 

Blind people, how consoled, iv. 

Body, human, one of the Crea- 
tor's noblest works, iii. 207 — ■ 
politic,compared to the natural 
body, ii. 16 

Bonaventure's, cardinal, dying 
words, iii. 31 


Books, a list of, on nonconfor- 
mity, recommended, ii. 236. 
Booth, Mr. Ab. his opinion of 

clerical titles, i. xlvi 
Bosuet, his character, i. 194 
Bougy, Marquis de, noble con- 
duct of, I. 45 
Bourbon, house of, declares for 
protestantism, i. 14 — King of 
Navarre and the Prince of 
Conde at the head of, il>. 
Bourdaloue, quoted, ii. 135 
Boy, tiie poorest, surpasses the 

sun, iii. 1214 
Brine Mr, quoted, i. cliii 
Bristol's, bishop of, dissertations 

referred to, iii. 62 
Bristol, education society of, a 

sermon to, iii. 337 
Britain, for what formed, ii. 351 
Burke, his attack on Robinson 
1. Ixix 

Calvin John, calls the word 
Trinity, barbarous and pro- 
fane, i. cli 

Cambridge dissenters, memorial 
concerning, iv. 181 

Campbell's political survey quo- 
ted, ii. 25P-62 

Capacities of man how employ- 
ed, iv. 211 

Capacitv, ought to be improved, 
iii. 216 

Carlisle, Bishop of, his method 
of interpreting scripture com- 
mended, iii. 92. 

Caroline's, Queen, attention to 
Mr. Saurin, i. 59-60 — Mr. 
Robinson's fine compliment 
of, ib. 

Catechism, political, the object 
of writing it, ii. 259 — for 
what intended, 260 

Catechising, duty of, iv. 197 

Catechumens,of whom they con- 
sist, ii. 192 

Catholics, theirargument against 
protestants, i. 73 

Ceremonies, church, carried by 

Aa 2 

a majority of one, ii. 154— 
of washing and changing gar- 
ments, origin of, iii. 250 — 
the cluistian doctrine ot, 312 
— Jewish, why to be respec- 
ted, 316-319-322-325 
Charity, school at IIorsleyDown, 
— first projectors of, iii. 284 
— success of, 285 — christian 
more deficient in than hea- 
thens, ii. 11 
Charles I. history of the times 

of, ii. 227 
Charles 11, his character, i. 186- 

242 — anecdote of, ii. ib. 
Charles VIII, a patron of learn- 
ing, i. 10 — his valet translates 
the psalms, ib. — protects and 
persecutes the reformation al- 
ternately, ib. — burns the first 
martyrs, ib. — sends for Me- 
lancthon ib. — makes an alli- 
ance with the protestant prin- 
ces of Germany, 11 
Charles IX, his infamous con- 
duct, i. 27 — his character, 
Chesterton, congregation of, in 
1475 condemned for heresy, 
i. 279 
Children, Mr. Robinson's taught 
to detest intolerance, i. 121 
Christ, for what he came into 
the world, i. 116 — kingdom 
of, not of this world, iii. 337 
— his mode of teaching finely 
described, i. 250-254 — the 
success attending it, ib. — 
taught no secrets, 256 — a 
friend to the right of private 
judgment, ii. 47 — the time of 
his biN;h and death not ascer- 
tained, 146 — 130 opinions 
concerning the year of his 
birth, 146 — in Mr. Robin- 
sou's opinion properly God, iii. 
7 — the proper idea of, in the 
New Testament, 12 — pas- 
sages of scripture cited to 
prove him God, 13-15 — the 
titles given to, 16 — perfec- 
tions ascribed to, 18-22 — 


works ascribed to, 22-26 — 
the worslii}) claimed for, 'J6 — 
Mr. Lindoey'sopiniwii of hiiii, 
ib. — passae,es in the old testa- 
ment applied to, 39 — con- 
versation concerning, between 
John and hrs disciples 43-53 
*— six pi'opositions concerning, 
77-82 — divinity of, wliy mis- 
takes made concerninif, 89, 
92 — liis divinity, not free from 
objections, 97 — a believer in 
the divinity of,liab!e to reproa- 
ches, J03-100 — in proofofthe 
divinity of, some things taken 
for granted, 109 — reasons for 
wntini!; a plea for the divinity 
of, 5 — by vvijoni pre-tigured, 

Christian, a primitive, his sup- 
posed answers respecting 
Christ's divinity, iii. 84—7— 
an obscure, fine speech of, 
100 — a peaceable, has two 
ways before hiin, 101 — mini- 
sters, their dress, i. xl 

Christians, two ways of acting 
among, iii/ 139 — their fierce 
disputes injurious to relioion, 
li. 26 — primitive, charj^ed 
with sedition, 168 — what they 
did and taught 169 

Christianity, by v. horn to be 
taught, 1. xxxvi — how sup- 
ported in the early as^cs, 3 
made worse than paganism, 5 
— how attacked by a Frcncii- 
man, 85 — founded on a few 
facts, lb. — ^contains analogy, 
proportion, and perfection, 95 
— principles of, religious, not 
examined but defended, 95 
— simplicity of, maintained, 
though decaying in the three 
first centuries, 264 — vviiat it 
inculcates, ii. 165 — the con- 
duct of the corrupters of, 166 
• — by whom best understood, 
175 — a system of Immanity, 
iii. 267 — no title to freedom 
for slaves, iv. 68 — vvhai. the 
glory of, i. civ 

Chrysostom, St. his prayer, iii. 
58 — altered by Mr. Lindsey, 

Chronology, point of, not an ob- 
ject of saving faith, ii. 147 

Church, what meant by, i. xxxvi 
— christian, injured by the 
conversion of Clovis, 4 — ele- 
vated into a temporal king- 
dom, 5 — when and how de- 
nominated the holy catholic 
&c. 8 — the true one, a his- 
tory of, an object for serious 
contemplation, 276-7 — go- 
verning described, ii. 167 — 
expence of, 169-73 — ti.e 
power claimed by it, 155 — 
absentees from, three sons of, 
189 — episcopal constitution 
of, 223 — officers of, 224 — 
worsliip of, i6.— ceremonies 
of, 225 — why the bulk of the 
people acquiesce in, 226 — mi- 
nisters of, flow chosen, 232 
— a general view ot Queen 
Elizabeth's, 215-19 — epis- 
copal discipline of, 232 — se- 
ven attempts to refor.n the, 
233 — fellowship in what the 
riulit Jie~\ iii. 179 — reformect 
in France, the most powerful- 
ly supported of any, i. 165 

Cicero quoted, ii. 11 — iv 170 

CUrendon, Lord, his character, 
i. 188 

Citizens of free states, exertions 
of, justified by the principles 
of the gospel, iv. 12 

Civil-list, the, described, ii. 299 

Clarke, Dr. his account of the 
deists, i. 69 

Claude, Mr. Isaac, publishes liis 
father's posthumous works, i. 

Claude, M. writes a defence of 
the reformation,!. 96 — his ac- 
coun': of the persecution in 
France, 48 

Claude, Rev. J. his character in 
early life, i. 164 — answers 
Dr. Nicol!s, 173 — persecuted, 
175 — chosen pastor of the 


cliurch at Charenton, 176 — 
ordained at La Trcyne, 165— 
succeeds in the church ot"St. 
Afriquc ill llovcrg,uc, ib. — 
marries, 166 — appointed pas- 
tor at Nismes,j,'/. — chosen mo- 
derator of the synod of Lower 
Langueduc, ITl — liis charac- 
ter, ./». — suspended from his 
office, 17o — essay on the com- 
position of a scrjnon, why 
written, 180 — conference with 
Eossuct, 182-19+ — taken in 
by an Englisli bishop, 189 — 
blantes the episcopal party m 
Enghuul, 190— laid for, 
1206 — invited to tlie professor- 
ship of Gronin<:t;n, 202 — his 
wise policy, 206-8 — 'banish- 
ed 308 — honours paid him, 
209 — his course of life at the 

Hague described, 210 

preaches his last sermon, 211 
— interesting account of hii 
death, 211 — 15 
Clayton, J. sen. his opinion of 
the nature of ordination, i. xl 
Clergy, Birmingham, their en- 
mity to Dr. Priestley, i. Ixxiii 
■ — their character in 1515, 6 
-r-thcir ignorance, ii. 80 — 
curious survey of, 81 
Clotilda, the conditions made by 
her, before she would marry 
Clovis, i. 4 
Clovis, [. bow coiivn-ted to 
chrisiianity, i. 4 — !iis charac- 
ter, ib. 
Cockin, liis curious description 

of a preacher, i. xlii 
Code black, what meant by, iv. 

Coetjogon, de, his friendship for 
Robinson, and future unwor- 
thy conduct, i. xxiii 
Columbus, his project referred 

to, ii. 49 
Communion, terms of, ii. 231— 
free, reflections on, i. Ixxxiii — 
history of liie controversy con- 
cerning, iii. 141 — Mr. Bunyan 
pleads for it, 143— Dr. Foster 

an advocate for, 145— dis- 
putes concerning, ib. — case 
stated, 116 — arguments in 
dt fence of, 156-161 — case 
of, by whom not to be deter- 
mined, 150-4 — arguments 
for, from the laws of church- 
foUowship, 162-174 
Compact, what meant by, ii. 272 
Congregation, how to be di- 
vided, ii. 191 
Conscience, how annihilated, ii. 

Constantine proposed to esta- 
blish universal peace, ii. 108 
Constitution, a free, what ren- 
ders a country desirable, iv. 
10 — how described, 11 — En- 
gli-Ji, knows not a perpetual 
standing soldier, ii. 3.'36 — Bri- 
tish., what meant, 280-90— 
Fw dcclartion of the rigiits of 
mankind, 284 
Consumption of provisions, cal- 
culation of the, in London, ii. 
. 350 

Controversy, candour in, ii. 
21-8 — not religious, unless re- 
ligiously managed, iii 7 — con- 
cerning free communion, 141 
— began in the reign ofCharles 
I. ib. — free religious, advan- 
tages of, 192 
Conversion,true what meant by, 

i. 4 
Copernicus, how trcatctl, ii. 50 
Country, un|)roduclivenosb of a, 
the c:mscs of, ii. 340 — ^love of, 
a qualification of a military 
man, iv. 10 
Courage, a military qualification 
encouraged by the bible, iv. 13 
Creeds, human of what they 
consist, i. 105 — subscription 
to, antiquity of examined, ii. 
Criticisms on 2 Cor. iv. 3, iii. 

Critics, their attention to the 

bible, i. 63 
Crown, influence of, on whau it 
depends, li. 300 



David, fine incident in the life 
of, iv, 79 

Demons, the nature of, accord- 
ing to tlie Gentiles, iii. 62 

Deism, remarks on, i. 67-86 
three observations with re- 
gard to, 75 — definition of, 78 

Deists, who fond of multiplying 
them, i. 76 — who are not, 
77-84 — their rise in France, 
68 — Dr. Clarke's account of 
the 69 — persecuted by Peter 
Veret, 71 — not numerous, 75 

Deity, passionate dispute about 
the, is not religious contro- 
versy, iii. 7 

Diet, frugal, advantages of, to 
the young, iii. 208 

Didymus, affecting account of, 
iv. 107 

Dignify, royal, what meant by, 
ii. 292 — of man, taught by 
Christ, iv.62 

Disciple, how one must con- 
vince another, i. 12 i 

Discipline, primitive, described, 
iv. 40-44 — christian from 
whence it rose, 44 — what it 
is, 45 

Disputes, religious, violent, pro- 
duces persecution, ii. 110 

Dissenters, have existed from 
the times of the aposilcs, i. 
278 — have been subjpcf to 
calumny and persecution, 279 
— ought not to dictate in mat- 
ters of faith, iii. 7 — at Gam- 
bridge, memorial presented 
to, iv. 181 

Dissenting ministers, their de- 
pendance, i. xxxii 

Doddridge Dr. referred to and 
quoted, i. cliii 

Dorset, Duke of, his motto 
well applied in law-making, 
ii. 32-33 

Dort, synod of, anecdote con- 
cerning, i. liii 

Dress, decent, and exhortation 
to, iii. 209 

Drowsy people, ought to be 
roused during a sermon, i. 

Du Bourge, burnt for heresy, 
i. 15 

Dunscombe, letter to iv. 246 — 
letter from, i. cxlviii 

Da Pin, liis work quoted ii. 75 

Dul'as, Madame, her scruples 
on account of religion, i. 181 

Duties, all, required by God, 
contained in the moral law, 
ii. 160 

Dyer, Mr. G. his account <jf 
J\'Ir. Robinson's pursuits, i. 
XXX — his remarks on Robin- 
son cenj-ured, xxv, Ixiii, xcii, 
cxxxiii — his fine character of 
Mr. Robinson, i. cxiv 

Easter, not mentioned till the 
second century, ii. 148 — 
when celebrated in Asia, &c, 
tb. — disputes about, 149-150 
— why celebrated on a Sunday, 
ib.- — ciic authority of, 153 — 
Lady, a Sidonian toast, 153 

Ecclesiastics, some, compared 
to Judas, i. 184 

Edward VI, tyrannical statute of 
referred to, iv. 76 

Elders, traditions of the, whence 
the attachment to, i. 148 

Election, expence of, ii. 306 

Elizabctli, Queen, protects the 
protestants, i. 15 — assists the 
protestants of Franco, 25 — 
prints the New Testament at 
Rochelie, 26 — her zeal, ib 

Emancipation of slaves, the ef- 
fect of christian principles, 
iv. 74 

Emigration, the subject of dis- 
cussed, ii. 343-3(52 — what 
meant by, 353 — inducement 
to, 355 — how to prevent, ib. 

Emperors, their cruelty, ii. 109 

Empiovment, the necessity of. 
ii. 173 


Employments secular, proper for 
christian pastors, i. xxxi 

Encyclopedia Britannica editors 
ofcliaractcrised and censured, 
i. cxxxTii 

England, clinrcU of, described, 
i. 187 — lier claims, ii. 13G 

Enlhu!^iaf.ts, their conduct in 
England, iii. 25 

Episcopacy, review of, ii. 210 — 
distinguished from the bishops, 

Exercise, necessary to health, 
iii. 209 

Expositors, how different classes 
of explain the scriptures, i. 

Ezekiel, his character, and ta- 
lents described, i. 239 

Ezra, a great reformer, i. 244) 
— revives and new models 
public preaching, ib. — iiis 
first preaching described, 245 
— effect of, 246 — compared 
to the great pagan orators, 
247 — from his time, to that of 
Christ — public preaching uni- 
versal, ib. — and Nehemiali, 
instrumental in bringing back 
the Jews from captivity, 243 

Facts, four, worth considering 

ii. 129 
Fair-sex, preachers among the, 

apology for, i. 266 
Faith, unity of, professed by 

christains, iii. 139 
Fasting, days of, their use, ii. 

Farmer, the Rev. Hugh, quoted, 

i. 250 
Father, the obligations of a, 

Fathers, the ancient how to be 

estimated, i. 262-3 — fond of 

allegory, 273 
Festivals, church, expence of 

ii. 169-72 — advantages of, 173 

— 200 in the ritual of our 

aHcestors, 174 

Feudal power, what it is, Iv. 

Firmin, Mr, principle of, with 
regard to the worship of God, 
iii. 60 
Force, why necessary to a free 

state, ii. 322 
Fox C. J. the warm friend of to- 
leration, i. Ixix 
Fox, John, quoted and com- 
mended, ii. 14 

Frailty, human, ought not to 
be "exposed to severe trials, 
li. 305 

France, Velly's history of, com- 
menced, ii. 12 — formerly a 
province of the Roman em- 
pire, i. 3 — wars civil in, cause 
of, 13 

Fraiicis I. state of religion when 
he carne to the throne, i. 9 

Francis II. his chiuacter, i. 13 
during his I'eign the protes- 
tants persecuted, 15 

Free couiinunion, a striking case 
of supposed, iii. 183-91 — the 
mode by which the church 
may collect its whole force, 

Frcnd Win. character of, i. cix 

Fulgentio, father, his sermon 
on the words " what is truth" 
ii. 53 

Furncaux, his letters on tolera- 
tion referred to, i, xxviii 


Galileo, persecution of, ii. 51 

Generalissimo, what rhcant by 
a, ii. 322 

Geneva, exilea at, their zeal, 
i. 31 

Genius, the necessity of study- 
ing it, iii. 215 

God, character of taught by 
Christ, iv. 63 — unity of, easily 
demonstated, i. 9i — the na- 
ture of not t9 be explained, 
iii. 8 — hisworks resemble him- 
self, 154 — the author of chris- 
tian itv, ib. 


Good Friday, summary of its 
liistory, iii. 151 — autlinrity of, 
162 — piety of, 1(30 — impiety 
of, 161 — the cost of, 162— hy 
whom regarded, ib. — policy 
of, 1(55 

Gospel, glory of llie, bein<^ nc- 
cessible to the poor, iii. 236 
— imt a huijiaii .science, y40 
— in what it difFeis from a 
human science, ib. 

Governing, the art of, requires 
a superior <;enius, i. '39 

Government, how many forms 
of, in the world, ii. 286 — the 
proper! ics of tiie three forms 
of, 287 — departments of, 
easily reduced to a fe.v first 
principles, 26? — what a good 
civil, 325 — ditferent, parts of, 
accouiitalile to one another, 
328 — civil, sul)missif)n to, iii. 
207 — three forms of adminis- 
ttrin£f, 293 — a good one, de- 
fined, 298 — insures personal 
liberty, 299 — protects proper- 
ty, and the rights of con- 
science, 299 — renders justice 
cheap to the poor, 300 — who 
ajudge of, 301 — where neces- 
sary, iv. 46 — church, con- 
founded with church doctrine, 
ii. 6. 

Governors, lenity in, produces 
great advantages, ii. 85 

Gownsmen, the behaviour of 
some in the church of God, 
iii. 25;) 

Grandeur, what the support of, 

Gratitude, the necessity of, iii. 

Great Britain, its advantages 
described, ii. 197-200— infi- 
delity of its inhabiiants, la- 
menird, 200 — iniidelity and 
profaness, from whence pro- 
ceeding, 201 — might be the 
most productive country for 
articles of universal traffic, ii. 

Greece, pre-eminence of, over 
Rome accounted for, ii. 51 

Greeks, their conduct towards 
slaves, iv. 88 

Gregory, the great, guilty of 
sophistry, ii. 124 

Guiars des Moulins, translated 
t!ie bible, i. 10 

Guise, Duke of, his manoeuvre 
and title, i. 16 — endeavours 
to establish the inquisition, 47 
— massacres the protestants 
at Vassi, 24 — assassinated, :b. 

Guises, house of, support the 
catholic religion, i. 14 


Hague, the, account of, i. 59 

Hall, Robert, no Trinitarian, 
yet well received by the ortho- 
dox, i. cxlvi 

Hearers, the primitive, how they 
expressed their sentiments, i. 

Henry, Mr. Matt, referred to, 
iii. 333 

Henry II. of France, his charac- 
ter, i. 11 — by whom governed, 

Henry HI. of France, his cha- 
racter, i. 29 — the league form- 
ed in his reign, 30 —three ci- 
vil wars in his reign, SO — 
incident that happened in his 
reign, iv. 93 

Henry IV. of France, tiie diffi- 
culties he had to contend with, 
i. 32 — his wretchedness, 33 — 
acquires the epithet of Great, 
33 — grants the edict of Nantz, 
3.5 — stabbed by Ravilliac, 37 

Henry VHI. his declaration, ii. 
14 — his inconsistency, lb. — 
his injunctions, 35 — his policy, 
44 — declared the clergy out of 
Ills protection, ib. — on what; 
conditions he pardoned them, 
ib. — enfranchises two slaves, 
iv. 77 

Heresies, damnable, what they 
are, i, clii 


Hierarchy, the supporters of, 
ii. 167 

Hierarchical power described, 
iv. 113 

Hill, Rowland, his friendship for 
Robinson, i. xxiii 

Ilohbes, JNlr. his maxim, jl. C9 

Homilies, their origin, i. 265 

Horsley, Rp. his opinion ot Pal- 
mer's catechism, i. Ixxiii 

Horsely-down, account of the 
charity school of, iii. 084 

L'Hospital, Michael de, his cha- 
racter, 1. 16 — a friend to re- 
ligious liberty, 17 

Howe, I\Ir. John, liis letter to 
Tillotson, ii. 28 

Hugonots,the origin of the name, 
i. 11 — two thousand murder- 
ed, 26 

Humanity a necessary qualifica- 
tion of soldiers, iv. 14 

Hussey of Cambridge, account 
of his church, iv. 183 — cove- 
nant drawn up by, iii. 253 

Hymns by Mr. Robinson, iv.346 

- I. J. 

James, H. character of, ii. 243 
Ideas, perplexed, the cause of, 

ii. 276 
Idolaters, 'less intolerant than 

some christian states, ii. 108 
Idolatry, in what it consists, iii. 

Jebb, J. his opinion respecting 

Christ, iii. 28 — letter to, ir. 

220— letter from, 221 
Jesuits, the, recalled, i. 38 — the 

society of, by whom formed, 

39 — their character, ih. 
Jews, their re-conversion to wliat 

attributed, i. 239 
Imperfection,its three characters 

i. 111-116 
Imposition, article of, given up 

there would be no cause of 

dispute, i. 131 — doctrine of, 

annihilated, is all that is re-, 

ijuired by dissenters, ii. 90* 

B b 

Index expurgatorius, a new 
one proposed by the editor, i. 

Industry, the principle of among 
the poor, ii. 343 

Infant baptism, Williams's de- 
fence of, referred to, i. Ixxx 

Innocence, its great importance, 
iv. 55 — a fine story concern- 
insr, ih. 

Innocent, Pope, III. his account 
of the cries of children, ii. 82 

Innovation, letter on, ii. 73-89 — 
people enemies to, 73 — Eng- 
land famous for it, 83 

Innovators, a list of illustrious, 

Inquiry, free, doctrine of ex- 
plained, ii. 209-11 

Intolerance, Mr. Robinson's ha- 
tred of, i. 121 — war to be de- 
clared against from generation 
to generation, 122 — the origi' 
nalsin of established churches 

Institutes, positive, what, ii. 160 

Instructmn religious, a plan of 
recoimnended, i. Ixviii 

John the Baptist, his character, 
i. 249-50 — conversation be- 
tween him and his two disci- 
ples concerning Christ, iii. 43 

Jortin, Dr. his works quoted, iii. 

Judgment, right of private, ii. 
43-55 — the foundation of the 
reformation, 45 — cannot b© 
disposed of, 49 

Junius, professor of Leyden, cu- 
rious anecdote of, ii. 87 

Jurisprudence, perfect, must fit 
the nature of man, ii. 9. 

Jusdivinum, test of orthodoxy, 
i. 40 

Justin Martyr's account of chris- 
tians, iii, 59 


Keene, I\Ir. curious letter to, if. 



Jving, a, lias no right over con- 
scipnce, ii. 69— the, supposed 
in ins political capacity per- 

„.^ect, 292 

Kings, iili, do nut reign, i. 171 

Knowledoe, every branch of, 
reterahJe to some power of the 
mind, ii, 270 


La Brossc, sent to Scotland to 

suppress protestantism, i. 15 
Latiiorp, Mr. fled to New Eng- 
land from the persecution of 
the bishops, iii. 141 — his 
church divided into three 
parts, ib. — cause of these divi- 
sions, ib. 
Latimer, his epithet of Edward 
VL ii. 82 — divides his sermon 
by a pack of cards, ib. 

Laud, Archbishop, his character, 
i. 44 

Law, a source of tyranny over 
conscience, iv. 31 

Law of Moses, severity of, with 
regard to disobedient ciiildren, 
full of wisdom, iii. tgg — in- 
tended to interest parents in 
the education of their chil- 
dren, 200 

League, preachers of, their cha- 
racter, i. 30-1 

Learning a source of tyranny 
over conscience, iv. 34" 

Lectures on Nonconformity plan 
of described, ii. 192-3 • 

Legislators, ought not to inno- 
vate without good cause, ii. 

Legislature, dignity of, when not 
prostituted, ii. 32 

Letter, circular, of the Baptist 
association, iv. 193 

Letters of Mr. Robinson. iv.219 
to the end 

Lewis X. glorious ordinance of, 
iv. 92 

Lewis XriL his character, i. 37 
—last words of, 44 

Lewis XIV. anecdote of, i. 173 
a tool of the Jesuits, 45 — re- 
vokes the edict of Nantz, 47 
— his speech respecting the 
protestants, 52 — when on the 
pinnacle of glory, 65 — by at- 
tempting to extirpate heresy, 
he worked his own fall, ib. 
Liberality as necessary as ortho- 
doxy, iv. 214 
Liberty the birthright of the En- 
glish, ii, 285 — what nations 
had good notions of, iv. 75 — ■ 
boasted of by the Greeks, 86 
— christian, reflections on, i. 
89-134— what in Italy, 93— 
definition of, ib. — the object 
of, 94 — understood by English 
nonconformists, iii. 140 — re- 
ligious, to what compared, i. 
178 — fine apostrophe to, i.l92 
Lindsey, Rev. Theophilus, his 
Examination of Robinson's 
Plea referred to, i. Ix — affirms 
that all christians were unita- 
rians the three first centuries, 
iii. 5 — his works referred to, 
69-73 — difficulties attending 
his theory, 73 — letter of, to 
Mr. Robinson, iv. 220 
Literature, restorers of, their 
complaints, i. 9 — human, not 
to be overrated, iii. 342, — 
opens ample fields of pleasure, 
343 — not essential to the 
preaching the gospel, 343-8 
Locke, Mr. quoted, ii, 331 
London the seat of benevolence, 

iii. 282 
Loyola, Ignatius, founder of the 

Jesuits, i. 39 
Luther, Martin, objects to the 
word Trinity, i. cli — Pope 
Leo X's. opinion of him, 284 
— his wish concerning feast 
days, ii. 162 


Magistracy, civil, its origin, ii. 
59 — has no claim over con- 


Science, 63-4 — the end of is 
liberty, 66 

Magistrates, absurdity of some 
in the reign of JNIary, ii. 32 

Ma};naCharta, what meant by, 
ii. 283. 

Marriage connections observa- 
tions on, i. xxxiv 

Marriage, question concerning 
discussed, iv.l57 — what neces- 
sary to happiness in, 158 — 
laws, precedents, and explica- 
tions concerning, 163 — words 
of Moses concerning explained 
168 — conclusions concerning 
the right, 17 6 

Man, the means to make him 
like God, i. Ill — tlie glory of, 
to follow nature, ii. 33 — an 
ignorant, unfit to govern a 
kingdom, 264 — contemplated 
in his uncultivated state, iii. 
269 — in a state of distress, 
273 — in a state of v/ickedness 
276 — miseries of, 274 

Mar.kind, deplorable condition 
of, in respect to good govern- 
ment, iii. 307 

Manufactory, description of a, 
iii. 294 

Manufactures, all our, may be 
exteiided, ii. 342 

Maximilip.n If. bis saying to 
Henry llf. of Franco, ii. 65 

Mazarine , Cardinal, minister of 
Lewis, xiv. i. 44 

Medicis, Catharine de, her cha- 
racter, i. 12 

Meeting houses, economy neces- 
sary in building, i. xxv. note 

Meianclhon, his character, i. 82 

Memoirs of distinguished charac- 
ters, the utility of, i. xi 

Men, not required to believe 
alike, i. 106 — great, acknow- 
ledge their errors, ii. 24-5 — 
all, what things are infinitely 
valuable to, HO — of political 
virtue, in all kingdoms, 265 
- — respect they owe to one ano- 

ther, foundel on tl.eir nature 
iii. 249 

Middleton, Dr. referred to, ii. 1 1 

Militia, dih'ercnce ol the, from 
a standing army, ii. 335 

Mind, tiie capability of, iii. 214 

Ministers, how to execute their 
office, iv, 48 — claim respect, 
50 — tht'ir imperfections, 51 

Ministry, excellent advice to 
students for the, iii. 350-60 

Mohammed, his account of chris- 
tians, iii. 5o — compared with 
the inspired writers, 65 — 
koran of, referred to, 38 — 
taught the unity ol God, 66 

Monarchy, how defined, ii, 286 

Money, circulation of, its im- 
portance, ii. 351 — public mis- 
application of, injurious to the 
country, 343 

Monks, w"hy they purchased chil- 
dren, iv. 76 

Montauban, bishop of, perse- 
cutes M.Claude, i. 174 

Montesquieu, Baron, his con- 
cession, ii. 234 

Morality, and religion, origin 
of, i." 137 — morality, conse- 
quence of, to a state, ii. 334 

Moses, his religion like twilight, 
i. 233 — before his time, reve- 
lation was short, i. 234 —doc- 
trines taught in his time, 236 
did nor appropriate preaching 
tn any order of men, iO. — 
what the law of, inflicts on a 
disobedient son, iii. 197 — did 
not appoint a ritual for the 
last ages of the world, 317 

Motive, what usoant by, i. 142 

Municipal, law, how divided, iv. 

Mutiny bill, inconsistent with 
a free constitution, ii. 336 

Mystery none in the ten com- 
mands, i, 255 — how defined, 
ii. 268 

Mysteriousness, what meant by, 

Bb 2 



Nature, vpliat meant by, i. 138 
— compared to a speechless 
beauty, 223 

Naiitz, edict of, what it contain- 
ed, i. 3.5 — revocation of the 
edict of, inhuman, impolitic, 
49-54 — beneficial to England, 

Navarre, king of, the infamy of 
his conduct, i. 21 — slain, 24 
— queen of, her courageous 
defence of the protestants, i. 
22 — lier famous speech, ib. — 
protects Beza, ib. — protects 
the reformers, 11 

Ncale, Mr, his mistake with 
regard to French presby terians 
i. 216 

Negro, advertisement concern- 
ing, iv. 81 

Nero, character of, iii. 304 

New-Forest, a scheme for re- 
peopling, ii. 356 

Nice, council of, summoned by 
Constantine, ii. 103 — absur- 
dity of their decrees, ib. 

Nonconformists, how described, 
ii. 189 — their opinions of civil 
government, 156 — deny Im- 
nian authority in religion, 157 
• — number of, 246 — learning 
.of, 247 — political sentiments 
of, 248 — property of, ib. — 
church polity of, 249 — En- 
glish, best understood and 
practised ciiristian liberty, iii. 

Nonconformity, a view of mo- 
dern, ii. 246 — plan of lectures 
on, ii. 189 — hovf to be used, 
253-6 — a nobie cause, iv. 128 

Notaries, primitive, our obliga- 
tion to, i. 268 — their method 
of taking down sermons, 269 

Numa Pompilius, author of the 
Pagan hierarchy, iv. 114 


Obligation, what meant by, i. 

139 — moral, on what founded, 
ii. 160 

Otfice, a source of tyranny over 
conscience, iv. 33— titles, and 
drcss uf ministers remarks on, 
i. xx.w, &c 

Opinions of Mr. Robinson in 
early life, i. 90-2 — diversity 
of, discovers truth, ii. 66 

Ordain, the meaning of the word, 
i. 267 

Ordination, curious opinions on, 
by Rev. J. Clayton sen. and, 
others, i. xl, *&c — mode ot, 
iv. 37 

Organist, an anecdote of an, ii. 

Organs, introduced in opposition 
to a churcii iiomily, ii. 155 

Origin, account of, iv. 107 

Orthodox, ministers their shame- 
ful neglect of the memory of 
Mr. Robinson, cxiii 

Orthodoxy, letter on, ii. 93-104 
— a vague term, 94 — and hete- 
rodoxy as defined by Bishop 
Warhurton, i. cliii 

Orton Mr. .Job, his opinion con- 
cerning marriages of ministers 
censured, i. xxxiv 

Pagans, notions and vices of, i. 
234 — protested against by the 
prophets, ib. 
Parents, tliepunislnncntof those 
who have been careless of their 
children, iii. 236 
Palmer Mr. S. assisted by Mr. 
Robinson in the Nonconfor- 
mist's memorial, i. ivi 
Parliament, properties of, ii.304 
Parliaments, of France, their 
power, i.23 — annual, the im- 
portance of, ii. 306 
Patriotism, descril)ed, iv. 11 
Patriot, the, wish of, iii. 310 
Patronage, a source of tyranny, 

iv. 32 
Paul ofSamosata, bishop of An- 
tioch, opinion of concerning 


Clirist, i. cxliv — liis conduct 
and character described, cxlv 
— liis conduct as a preaclicr 

Paul, St. his epistle to the Ro- 
mans when written, ii. 62 — 
the singular advice of, to 
Timothy, iii 241 — nicknamed 
by the Stoics, 241 — his senti- 
ments misconstrued by exposi- 
tors, 291 — not an enemy to 
civil and religious liberty, ib. 

Peace and union, exhortations 
to, reasons why Mr. Bunyan 
did not write it, iii. 141 

Peasant, difference between a. 
and a polished son of science, 
iii. 11 

Penance, the mode of doing it 
in the market places of Ely. 
i. 279 

Penn, Mr, compared with tlic 
Caesars and the Stuarts, ii. 

Pensylvania, constitutions of, 
referred to and highly commen- 
ded, ii. 67 

People, representation of the, 
described, ii. 301-11 

Perfection, a character of reve- 
lation, i. 110 

Persecution, the evils of in 
France, i. 36 — the folly of, i. 
71-5 — inconsistent with Chris- 
tianity, 99 — the snirit of con- 
demned, ii. 112 — not derived 
from the scriptures, 115 — 
letter on, 107-120 — a warrant 
for, iii. 106 

Persecutors, will be punished, ii. 

Petitioning, motives to, descri- 
bed, ii. 125 

Petitiuners against subscription, 
the different kinds, ii. 10-11 

Philosophers, contrast the reli- 
gion of nature, with that of 
revelation, i. 223 

Piety, a source of tyranny over 

conscience, iv. 34 
Plea, for tlie divinity of Christ, 
notes in defence of, iii. 109-136 

Pleasures social for what intcn* 
dcd, iv. 136 

Pliny, his account of the primi- 
tive christians, iii. 57 

Poisy, conference held at, I. 20 
— the edict of, favourable to 
proiestants, ib 

Policy, court, maxim of, i. 199 

Politeness, the characteristic of 
the rich, iii. 241 

Politicians, propose to banish 
tile family of the Guises, i. 28 

Pontifex maximus, a title, when 
assumed, iv. 110 

Poor, the importance of the, to 
a state, ii. 88 

Pope, the, his great power, how 
acquired and used, i. 6 — liis 
claims, 7 — how addressed, ib. 

Popery, distinguishes between 
religion and the civil polity 
incorporated with it, iii. 184 

Populace, the, accused of igno- 
rance of the law by the RaL- 
bies, i. 255 

Postlethway t's dictionary quoted 
and commended, ii. 357-9 

Poverty, its high privilege, i. 

Power, a source of tyranny over 
conscience, iv. 30 

Prnctice,unilbnnity of, professed 
by christians, iii 139 

Prayer, the necessity of, iii. 217 

Preaching public, compared to a 
concert of music, i. 257— not 
assigned to any order of men, 
266 — coinmuii to all in the 
priinitive churches, 267 — pri- 
mitive, how conducted, 268 
— writers upon, i. 286 — 
Preachers, great effects produ- 
ced by some, i. 233-6 — mo- 
dern and ancient compared, 
i. 290 — some, punished at the 
last day, ii. 207 
Preparation, what meant Ly, ii; 

Prerogative, royal, what meant 

by the, ii. 291-294 
Presbyterian, church government 
a view of, ii. 239-11 


Press, the liberty of, a great 
constitutional right, iii. 192-3 
Priest, parish, how Mr. Robin- 
sou would reason with, ii. 
176-186 — vvliat he should 
avoid, Ji. J?9 — what he should 
studv, ib. 
Priesthood, vices that degrade 
it, ii. 181 

Priestley Dr, bis serious charges 
against the clergy of Birming- 
ham, i. Ixiii — liis unfounded 
attack on Mr. Robinson's ve- 
racity, cvi — preaches a fune- 
ral sermon on Mr. Robinson, 

Principle religious, the impor- 
tance of, iv. 19-1 

Principleti, first, mankind agree 
in, ii. 4 —Christianity an ad- 
dress to, ib. 

Prophets, discourses of the, pro- 
bably only analyses of ser- 
mons, i. 236 — produced ama- 
zing effects, 237 — when made 
captives did not abandon their 
religion, 238 — false, a curse 
to the world, 240 — made reli- 
gion an engine of state, 241 
— to what thoir success attri- 
butable, ib. — their c,ualifica- 
tions mean and tiispositions 
wicked, 242 

Property, not every kind of, re- 
presented, ii. 30i 

Proportion, th« doctrine of, 
would banish subscription to 
creeds, i. 109 — m r£veJ?tion, 
what meant by, 103— treated 
of in the parable of the talents, 
104 — not to be found in human 
creeds, 105 ' 

Propositions, how described, ii. 
95 — scripture, always the 
same, 97 

Protestants, of France, agree 
that self defence is lawful, i. 
16 — intend to seize the Duke 
of Guise, ib. — their plan de- 
feated, and 1200 belieaded,j/?. 
— banished unless they would 
conform, IS — preach without 

the walls of Paris, 22 — de- 
fended by the military, ib. — 
massacred at Vassi, 24 — fifty- 
thousand slain, ib. — assisted 
by Queen Elizabeth, 25-26 

Proxy, in religion, the folly of, 
i. 100-2 

Psalms, David's, manner of sing- 
ing ihem by the protcsfantsni 
Gfrmany, &:c. i. 10 note — 
forbidden to be sung ny the 
papists, ib. 

Pulpit, the, became a stage for 
vulgar wit, i. 276 — how de- 
generated, 265 — history of, 
curious and entertaining, 226 
— what it has been in difFront 
hands, 1. 227 

Puriiaiiism, history of,duringlhe 
reign of James I. ii. 220-2 

Puritans, Neal's Hist, of, refer- 
red to, i. 188-217— a noble 
race of men, iii. 280 — stern 
assertors of the riglits of man- 
kind, ib. — not blamcable for 
fleeing from persecution, ii. 
355 — much to blame for per- 
secuting one another, 355 


Quakers, understand tl:c princi- 
ples of civil government, ii. 67 

Quintilla abused by Tertullian, 
ii. 22 

Quintin, Professor, an apostate, 
his curious harangue, i, 16r-8 


Recs, Dr. funeral sermon for 
Sir. Robinson, preached at 
Cambridge, subject of, i.cxiii 

Reformation, councils called for 
the purpose, i. 8 — how effect- 
ed, 9 — the prosperity of, 21- 
22 — causes of, 9 — bc2;an in 
Germany, 10 — the, offspring 
of preaching, 282 — language 
of, ii. 46 history of 212-14 


Reformers, their character, i. 9 

—in wliat thov all a'jircc, 67 — 
•= — French, \\ of ciilFerent 
sentin;cnt.s, 190 — Enolisli, 
ll'icir mode of [ircachin^ de- 
scribed, 2G5 — the fault ot', 46 
— the iuipor'ance of their la- 
bours, 143 — their faulr, ib. 

Refugees, French, closely con- 
nected with the history of the 
reformation,!. 3 — charge their 
banishment on the clergy of 
France, 54 ■ — received with 
open arms by protestant 
powers, 55 

Religion, state of, in 1515, i, 
5-17 — the rites of, how per- 
formed, ib. — the free exercise 
of, allowed to the protcstants, 
27 — christian, how it proposes 
to unite mankind, 117-119 — 
natural, what it requires, 98 
cannot be established without 
persecution, ib. — civil esta- 
blishments of, reflections on, 
89-134 — of nature what meant 
by, 96 — of any sort, better 
tiian debauchery, &c. 158 — 
that of Moses contained the 
law and the gospel, 232 — in 
Britain to what compared, ii. 
3 — uniformity in, 31-39 — llie 
good effects of a general coali- 
tion in, 4 — true, in what it 
consists, 5 — false, its charac- 
ter, ib. — Uniformity in, dis- 
owned by Christianity, 33 — 
consists of principles and prac- 
tices, 129 — practical, how 
divided, 145 — its origin, end, 
Osic. 107 — described as it is 
generally practised, 174 — 
State of, during the civil wars, 
935 — during the protectorate, 
237 — state of, from the resto- 
ration to the revolution, 242 
— from the revolution to the 
accession of George III, ii. 
250 — Jewish, how divided, 
iii. 348 — how to simplify, 331 
— practical, on what founded 

iv. 27 — and morality origin of, 
i. 137 

Religious asseml)lies, abeconiing 
behaviour in, iii, 240 — reasons 
for, 243 

Representation, of the people 
described, ii. 301-11 — par- 
liamentary, not of persons but 
property, ii. 301 — a scheme 
of, 308-11 — the end of not 
answered, 311 

Resistance, the right of, clearly 
ascertained, ii. 328 — expedi- 
ence ofquestionable, 329 

Responsibility, the subject of 
discussed, ii. 323-31 

Revelation, compared to a voice, 
i. 234 — its beneficial effects, 
ib. — why preferable to natural 
religion, ib. — christians rested 
in the simplicity of, iii. 87 

Revenue, modern, in lieu ofanci- 
cnl prerogative, ii, 297 

Reverend, vvho so styled, i. 198 

Richard, Sir, story of, ii. 316 

Riches, the pillars of popery, 
i. 8 

Richlieu's, Cardinal, new mode 
of attacking the reformed, i. 
169 — three sorts of persons 
engaged in the enterprise, 170 
— his cliaracter, 38 — advises 
the extirpation of the protcs- 
tants, 40 — attempts to make 
the king absolute, 41 — dies 
hated by every body, 44 

Rights, natural, what they are 
ii. 282 — mankind possess, ib. 
— are prior to all human ap- 
pointments, ii, 283 — declara- 
tion of, antiquity of the, 285 
— sometimes invaded, ib 

Rippon, quoted and censured i. 

Robinson Robert, when and 
where born, i, xii — his parents, 
ib. — where educated, xiii — his 
talents and attainments, xiv 
— to whom bound apprentice, 
ib. — his habits while appren- 
tice, XV — not ashamed of the 
employment of early life, ib, — 


the favourite preachers of, ib. 
joins the methodists, xvi — his 
first sermon, xviii — becomes 
a dissenter, ib. — maintains his 
principles in opposition to 
worldly interest, ib. — forms 
a church at Norwich, xix — 
becomes an AntipEcdobnptist, 
ib. — his own account of his 
• settlement at Cambridge, xx 
■ — removes to Hauxton, his 
labours there, xxii — iiis hatred 
to priestcraft, xxiii — removes 
to Cliestcrron, xxix — his afjjri- 
cultural labours, xxx — favour- 
ed by the clcrgVj h^' — his fre- 
quent preachint; in London, 
ci — injured his health by too 
intensive labour, cxi — dies at 
Birmingham, ib. — his private 
and public character, cxiii — 
his conduct in his family, ib. 
— his filial piety, cxv — his af- 
fection for children, ib, — his 
opinion on education, ib. — • 
not wholly free from vanity, 
cxvii — formed for friendship, 
cxviii— a fine letter of, on 
friendship, cxxix — a christian 
philanthropist, cxxii — a man 
of strict integrity, cxxiii — a 
steady friend to civil and reli- 
gious liberty, cxxiv — his great 
literary attainments, cxxv — 
declines accepting a diploma, 
cxxvii — a complete noncon- 
formist, ib. — highly esteemed 
by some of the clergy, cxxix — 
his reply to Dr, Ogden, ib. — 
an avowed enemy to intole- 
rance, ib. — his chief excel- 
lence, cxxxii — vindicated from 
the insinuations of Dyer and 
others, cxxxiii — his letter to 
Mr. Lucas, cxxxix — his views 
of tlie person of Christ and of 
the atonement, ib. — a change 
iu his sentiments respecting 
Christ, cxliii — his last senti- 
ments, cxliv — compared with 
Dr. Watts, cxlv-cxlvii — Duns- 
combe's character of, cxlviii — 

felt difficulties under evcrf 
system, cxlix — his wish res- 
pecting sects and parties, cl— • 
his general character, clvi.— - 
opinions in early life, 90-2— 
advice to a parish-priest, ii. 
176-186 — his conduct, when 
invited to become pastor of 
the congregation atCambridge, 
iii. 259 — his employment for 
a day described, iv. 221 — af- 
fecting letters from on the 
loss of a daughter, 251-265 — 
his letter to Mr. Marsom, 252 
—to Rev. S. Lucas, 287 — 
letters to a lady, 263-265 — 
to a friend, '268-275 — to ano- 
ther friend, 27y"285— to a 
dissenting minister, 292-303 
• — 'to his daughters, &c. 310- 

Rochelle, city of, declares for 
the protestants, i. 25 — new 
testament printer! at the, 26 

Roman empire, described, iv. 74 

Romans, their conduct towards 
slaves, iv. 88 — described, 74 

Rome, church of, 237 — took part 
in the massacre of the llugu- 
uots, i. 28 — controversies in 
the, 71 — when it began to 
make a figure, iv. 114 — to 
what its splendor is owing, 
ib. bishop of, who conspired 
to dethrone the, ii. 17 

Royal George, loss of, patheti- 
cally described, iv. 23 

Ryland, his strong expressioa 
on Mr. Booth's apology, &c, 
i. Ixxviii 

Salvation, doctrines essential to, 
not to be ascertained by mart, 
i. 129-31 

Sancroft, Archbp. his character, 
i. 188 

Srturin M. persecuted in France, 
i. 3 — his account of the per- 
secution in France, 47 — his 
character and sketch of his 


life and labours, 55-63 — a 
friend to establishments with 
toleration, 149 — too high 
ideas of niiiu'stcrs, ib. — liis 
sermons remarks on, J-17-159 
— highly couimendcrl, 148 — 
all on important subjects, 150 
— excels in moral discourses, 
152 — not a model ibr ail 
preachers, 157 

Schisms, more about words than 
things, ii. 86 

Scholar, a mere, an useless ani- 
'mal, iii. 212 

Schoolniastcrscountry,f.yranny of 
sotne, i. 131 

Scribes, uhoandhow originated, 
i. 243 — of tiie law, account 
of, 214 — in their ijiory, 247 

Scriptures, adapted to inspire 
men with great ideas, iv. 8 

Sects, their rise, i. 248 — in the 
Jewish church rose in weak- 
ness and ended in wicked- 
ness, lb. 

Secular employment, often ne- 
cessary for ministers, i. xxxiii 

Self-government, described, iv. 

4Seneca, an instance of his wis- 
dom, ii. 50 

Senignan, Countess of, favours 
the protestanis, i. 22 

Sentiment, the man of commen- 
ded, iv. 208 

Sermons, M. S. price o.Tcrcd to 
Mr. Robinson for, i. liv — 
sleepy ones for dog-days, tlie 
art of making, 249 — ancient 
in vulgar tongue, 272 — not 
limited by tbe clock, ib, — 
traffic in, M. S, condemned, 

Siiarpe Granville, referred to, 
iv. 82 

Shelly Mr. extempore lines of, 
i. cxxx 

Shipwreck described, iv. 22 

Slave-holders, primitive chris- 
tian, vviiat they did not, iv. 67 
pagan, their conduct, j6. — 
assembly of imagined, 70 

c e 

Slave-merchant, his profession, 
IV. 80 

Slaves emancipation of, iv. 74— 
how freed, 76 — maxims con- 
cerning, 90 

Slavery when practised in Eng- 
land, iv. 77 — finely described, 
96 — when stopped in Trance, 
92 — admirable discussions 
upon, 85-103 

Sleep, too much injurious to the 
body, iii. 210 

Society, civil, consists in a 
moral union, ii. 64 — a chris- 
tian, the noblest association 
in the world, iii. 232 

Socrates, his character, ii. 131 
— why respected, iii. 255 

Societies religious, have a right 
to judge for themselves in all 
matters of faith, iv. 27 

Soldiers, for what they fight, i. 
15 — have opportunities of ob- 
taining great ideas, iv. 8 — to 
what called, ib. 

Somcrviile Dr. his ridicule of 
professional dress, i. xlviii 

Spain, court of, joined in the 
massacre of the Hugunots, 
i. 28 

Steele, Sir Richard, dedication 
to the Pope, ii.43 

Stephen, the propriety of his 
conduct depends on his faith 
in the deity ot Christ, iii. 31 
— a conversation concerning 
his death, 32-9 

Stillingflcet, Bp. a sower of dis- 
cord, i. 216 — answered by 
Owen, Baxter and others, ik. 

Stuarts, none of the, understood 
the principles of the constitu- 
tion, ii. 328 

Students unbecoming behaviour 
of i. Ivi 

Sturges, his remarks on Robin- 
son's lectures, i. Ixx 

Subscriptions, ecclesiastical in- 
consistent with the principles 
of common honesty, i. Ixxii- 
cxxxiii — petitioners a^jainst, 
their object, ii. i 


Superstition, descrfbed, ii. 144 
Surplices, washing, expence of, 

Survey, political, of a country, 

the object of a, ii. 359 

Tacitus, quoted, ii. 3 

Tamerlane, tragedy of, calcu- 
lated to excite a true passion 
for liberty, i. 204 note 

Tapestry to what, use applied,by 
Queen Elizabeth, i. 26 

Taxation, the subject of, discuss- 
ed, ii. 312-22 — the influence 
of, a great object, 320 

Taxes, origin of, ii. 312 — quan- 
tity of, how to be rated, 313 
— nature of, 315 — the nietiiod 
of obtaining, 316 — the man- 
ner of laying and collecting 
of, 318 — the most odious, 319 
— the most pleasant, ih. — the 
influence of, 320 — the appli- 
cation and end of, 321 — di- 
rect, the annual quantity of, 

Taylor, Bishop, "objects to the 
definitions of the Trinity, i. cli 

Taylor, Henry, his Apology of 
Ben Mordecai quoted, i. cli 

Tellier, Father Le, gains the re- 
vocation of the edict of Nantz, 
i. 205 

TertuUian, quotation from, iii. 

Testament, the new, like Go- 
liah's sword, i. 12 — how it 
would be received by a Pagan 
sliips crew, i. 112-13 

Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, 
the first who made use of the 
word Trinity, i. cli 

Thomas, Mr. letter to, iv. 243- 

Thomasin, Father, his reflection 
on the gospel, ii. 93 

Thomson, Josiah, letter of, to 
Robinson, i. ciii 

Tillolson, his sermon before 

Charles, II. quoted, ii. 27— 
his great candour, 28 

Toleration, the general doctrine 
of, applied to free communion 
iii. 139-93 

Toulmin, Dr. preaches a funeral 
sermon for Mr. Robinson, i. 
cxiii — his character of Mr. 
Robinson's preaching, cxxxi — 
letter to, iv. 251 

Trade with Turkey, the advan- 
tages, described in a table, ii. 
S46-9 — the condition of the 
people without, ii. 350 

Trent, council of, of whom com- 
posed, i. 19 — protestants re- 
fuse to submit to, ib. 

Trinity, the rise of the doctrine 
of, i. cli — iii. 84 

Trust, public, the nature of a, 

Truth fears not examination, ii. 

Turenue, Marshal, quits the 
reformed religion, i. 172 

Turner, Mr. D. his high opinion 
of Robinson's Arcatia, i. xxviii 
— letters to, iv. 234 

Tyranny over conscience from 
what it proceeds, iv. 30 


Uniformity, absurdity of an act 
of, in husbandry, ii. 34 — in 
education, ib. — in other cases 
38-9 — act of, the greatest ex- 
travagance of the human mind, 
31 — could not be inforced, 33 

Union, the difficulty of, in resist- 
ing a common enemy, ii.3 note 
— the rage of, the soul of the 
17th. century, i. 183 — remedy 
for, ib. 

Unitarians, who they are that 
claim the denomination, iii. 10 


Variety, a characteristic of the 
Creator's works, ii. 39 


Victor, I. excommunicates chris- 
tians for keeping Easter ac an 
improper time, ii. 118 

Village, state of society and re- 
ligion in a, i. 158 

Virct,l'eter,persecutes the deists, 
i. 71 

Virtue, moral, what it is, iii. 221 
— saleable, not worth buying, 
i. 45— political, what meant 
by, ii. 266-7 

Voice, the first, that imparted 
religious ideas to man, i, 230 


War, civil, the first on account 
of religion, i. 24 

Watts, Dr. his last opinions con- 
cerning the Trinity, i. cxlv — ■ 
not arraigned for heresy by the 
orthodox, ib. — conversations 
ol, during his last illness, cxivii 

Whiston, Mr. applied a part of 
Revelations toPrincc Eugene's 
wars, iii. 69 

Whitfield, Rev. G. eulogium on, 
i. xvi-xyii — his answer to Mr. 
R. Erskine, ii. 137 

Wishart, Mr. referred to, ii. 14 

Witches, a curious argument in 
proofof their existence, ii. 123 

W^ords, pictures of ideas, ii, 261 

World, orthodoxy of the, de- 
pends on examination, ii. 97 
— duration of the, compared 
to the life of man, 290 — what 
it proposes, iii. 253— and re- 
velation, the work of one God, 
i. 109 

Worship, places of, described, 
i. 274-5 — the word, used in 
two senses, iii. 32 — irreverence 
in places of censured, 238 — 
attempts to reform it, ib. — 
primitive, compared with the 
glory of Rome, 329 — public 
and private recommended, iv. 

Writing the benefit of, i. 244 

Writers, sacred, compiled a his- 
tory of religion, i, 277 


Young persons, advice to, iii. 

Youth, a luxurious, finely de* 

scribed, iii. 211-12 


Zachary, Pope, his order with 
regard to ihc Antipodes, ii. 

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