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levity, and rash decision : but, so far as either from the theory of the case or from experience I am able to form a judgment, I could not expect a better result, except in rare instances. Difficult, indeed, is the task to assist, in the personal and successful search after SACRED TRUTH, young minds whose judgment is immature, their experience nothing, their reading hitherto scanty, their conceptions eager, and their self-opinion often strong. If, in relation to this subject, I may presume to express my opinion and my wishes, they would be to demand, in the first place, certain PRE-REQUISITES for the study: good intellectual powers, the habit of deliberate and patient thought, a respectable acquaintance with the language, style, and idiomatical peculiarities of the inspired writers, a memory well stored with the contents of the Bible, some practice in theological reading, and, ABOVE ALL, and without which all the rest will be nugatory, a heart governed by genuine piety, humility, the spirit of prayer, and love to God as the God of perfect holiness. Iu minds thus prepared, and thus with conscientious and holy diligence exercised, the seed of heavenly truth would find a congenial soil, and a happy harvest might be expected, under His blessing who alone giveth the increase. But, without this discipline, “ the truth which is according to godliness” will be unwelcome and distasteful; plausible error will be agreeable, and will meet a ready reception; and the lofty boast of free inquiry will end in deep and confirmed self-delusion. *

But were not the Inquirer's pupils thus disciplined for the toils of theological controversy ? Were they not such as had their mental and mora]

perceptions exercised to the discrimination of both the good and the evil ?"|--The declaration avers that, of the many,who gave pain and mortification to their tutor, there were some of the best talents, the closest application, and the most serious dispositions, who had also been educated in all the habits and prepossessions of Trinitarian doctrine."

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That the author of this assertion made it with the consciousness of veracity, I entertain not a doubt: and if any should construe the observations, which I feel it my duty to make, into an impugning of that veracity, they would do me great injustice. But I do think that the impressions on the author's mind, which were the grounds of his belief, must have been erroneous. That any of the young men who from 1781 to 1789 entered as Divinity Students at Daventry, “ had been educated in all the habits and possessions of Trinitarian doctrine," appears to me exceedingly improbable; except the case


* See Note (C) at the end of this Chapter.
+ Τα αισθητήρια γεγυμνασμένα. Ηeb. ν. 14.

was that they, or their friends under whose direction they acted, had previously either renounced or become indifferent to that system of doctrine. My reason for this opinion I frankly give. It is that, during the Calm Inquirer's presidency, the Academy at Daventry was generally known and recognized by all parties as the FOUNTAIN of Arianism and Socinianism; so that when a Dissenting congregation, which had embraced or was inclined to those principles, became destitute of a minister, it usually and as a matter of course applied to Daventry for a successor; while a Trinitarian congregation so circumstanced as usually directed its inquiries and expectations to some other quarter. That this is a correct representation, I appeal to every person acquainted with the sentiments, feelings, and practice of the majority of the Dissenting churches. Now, to suppose that any young man, seriously and conscientiously a Trinitarian, would commence his studies for the Christian ministry in a seminary notoriously adverse to his principles, hopes, and purposes, is certainly to make a supposition falling little short of the incredible. The only conjectures which I can make, to give the colour of probability to the statement under consideration, are, that rarely an instance might occur of such a young man's being influenced to this step by over-ruling connections or injudicious advisers; or that the individuals referred to were the sons or friends of some ministers of an unclassified description (a small number of which

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then existed) whose indecision of sentiment led them to make professions of orthodoxy when in the society of the orthodox, while their more cordial associations lay with the latitudinarian party. It is evident, however, that the words must not be strictly construed, if said of the latter kind of young persons, that they “had been educated in all the habits and prepossessions of Trinitarian doctrine."

It is also asserted that the persons referred to possessed, nor only “ the best talents, and the closest application,” but “ the most serious dispositions.” Of this I can judge only from analogy and presumptive considerations; and I am sensible that I am advancing to tread on delicate, and to me painful, ground: but truth must be spoken. Thrcugh more than twice the number of years that the Calm Inquirer presided at Daventry, I have been exercised with the trials and duties of a similar situation: and I also have known the bitterness of disappointed hope and a wounded heart. Some of my friends and pupils have renounced the faith which they once professed to hold dearer than life, and have become Unitarians.--I lay my hand upon my heart, and in the most serious and impartial state of thought in my power to command, I endeavour to form my best estimation of the probable causes and occasions of their change of views: and I CANNOT WITH TRUTH SAY that Christian seriousness of disposition” had apparently the smallest part of a

share in producing that change. On the contrary, the amplest evidence has established to me that, the

precursors of the avowed change of sentiment were generally extreme levity, pride, rashness, self-conceit, indolence, scepticism, concealed improprieties of conduct, neglect of prayer, private scorning at serious piety, and fraudulent imposition by pretending orthodox sentiments at a time in which subsequent declaration boasted of having rejected them.

To make these animadversions on subjects so personal, I would gladly have declined: but the place which those subjects occupy, in the Preface to the Calm Inquiry, has not left me at liberty to refuse the ungracious task. Thankful, however, shall I be, if these extorted and reluctant observations should be the means of warning any against that rock of proud and unholy affections, on which others have made mournful shipwreck.*

*“ As for those who suppose that, in the study of the scriptures, all things come alike to all; to the clean and to the unclean; to the humble and the proud; to them that hate the garments spotted with the flesh, and those who both love sin and live in it; they seem to know nothing of the design, nature, power, use, or end of the gospel."--Owen' on Sp. Understanding, chap. v.

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