« PreviousContinue »
are tried at the bar of those three unrighteous judges, superstition, prejudice and bigotry? Has truth a fair hearing? We may with greater reason wonder that it has made the progress it has that so many, in the face of the great evils that have threatened them, have had courage to come out and make a stand for their faith. We may look upon it as no slight proof of the truth of these doctrines, of the deep foundation they have in the word of God and in the affections of those who once embrace them, that they have been able, notwithstanding the formidable array of power and prejudice against them, so to overleap the barriers, and run so far and wide over the land.
We have, in the foregoing pages, presented some of the grounds, upon which rest the claims of Unitarian Christianity to a high antiquity. Could it be traced back no farther than the time of Arius and Sabellius, still it could not with propriety be denominated a new opinion. Whether it be true, is another question, and to be determined by inquiries of an entirely different character. It is a sad error to suppose a doctrine true because it is old. The truth of Unitarianism can be ascertained only by an appeal to the fountain of all true religion, the words of Jesus Christ as recorded by the Evangelists. We believe Unitarian Christianity to be the only true Christianity, and for that reason, the oldest. And we are not more confident, that it is the oldest, and the truest, than that it will ere long triumph over all the various forms of error, which now prevail in the church. It has now, we trust, in the providence of God, come forth from obscurity for the last time, never to` disappear again, till it shall expire with the Gospel itself.
As it began its career under the ministry of Christ and his Apostles, it will never close it, till the religion which they taught shall have answered all the designs contemplated by its almighty Author. May the time soon come, in this happy land, when Christians will dare to think and believe for themselves on this great subject. May the time come, when man shall no more dare to overawe, by threats or other means, his neighbor's mind in the formation or expression of his religious opinions, than he will to oppress or abridge his civil and political freedom. Then, - when Christians shall look at the subject with free and unbiassed minds, acting without fear of man or bodies of men, and it shall be esteemed honorable, and not reproachful, for a man to form his own opinions, - then may we look with certainty to the universal spread of the great truths, which we now labor to extend -then will the fabric of corrupt Christianity crumble and fall, as a thing that cannot stand in the light of free inquiry, enlightened reason, and sound scriptural interpretation.
SEVENTH SEMIANNUAL REPORT
OF HIS SERVICE AS A
MINISTER AT LARGE IN BOSTON.
PRINTED FOR THE
American Unitarian Association.
GRAY AND BOWEN, 141 WASHINGTON STREET.
Price 5 Cents.
'The most effectual way to check the growth of great offences, is, to check the growth of little ones.'-London Quarterly Review, January, 1831.
'The experiment made of the Institution for the reformation of Juvenile Offenders, under the admirable system of discipline and education adopted by the highly gifted and benevolent Principal of the House, is most encouraging; and leaves nothing to regret, but the want of means to extend its usefulness. To provide these, and thus to rescue from crime and ruin the unfortunate objects who might there find an asylum, would be an occupation at all times worthy of the persevering attention of the city government'.Address of the Mayor to the City Council of Boston, on the 3d of January, 1831.
'The best penitentiary institution which was ever devised by the art, and established by the beneficence of man, is, in all probability, the House for the reformation of Juvenile Delinquents.'-Governor Clinton's Message to the New York Legislature.
'It is a rare occurrence indeed to find persons of cultivated minds in an Alms-House.'-Report of the Commissioners of the New York Alms-House, September, 1830.
To the Executive Committee of the
AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.
GENTLEMEN,-There is no single topic belonging to the great subjects of poverty and crime, which is in itself so important, and has so strong a claim upon public interest, as the condition of the morally neglected and vicious children, a large part of whom, if they shall be left to the influences under which they are now living, will inevitably become early proficients in depravity, lost to all that is truly good and happy, and the bane of society; and, if they shall not be brought to our prisons, and even fall the victims of violated law, will almost certainly live in a state of abject want, and die in the debasement of unrepented sin. I referred to this topic in the close of my last Report, and I beg leave here to resume it. Would that I could speak of it in a manner in any degree commensurate with the greatness of its claims, whether we regard the individuals immediately concerned in it, or those without whose instrumentality they cannot be rescued from the ruin which threatens them; or, whether we look to the immediate, or the final conse