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character, at the head of the government. He took his measures accordingly. A newspaper was established at Northumberland, under the patronage of Dr. Priestley and the friend on whose behalf he had made application. Many circumstances relative to this establishment and its editor were not very honourable to the doctor and his friend. In this paper Dr. Priestley published several addresses to the people of Northumberland,* and in relation to the political state of the country. These addresses and numerous other articles from his pen, and that of Mr. Cooper, were published, not only in Northumberland, but circulated, by other papers, over the whole state, and produced very great effect on the election of an opposition governor in Pennsylvania; by which the whole weiglit of Pennsylvania was thrown into the scale in favour of Mr. Jefferson. He supplanted Mr. Adams. Though there were various other causes operating to produce this great political change, yet without the aid of Dr. Priestley and that of his friends' agency in Pennsylvania it is probable chy would all have been ineffectual. Thus that Redeemer who governs the rations, made the very man, whom Mr. Adams had countenanced in his opposition to Messiah's divinity, one of the principal instruments of degrading him from the high station to which he had been elevated.” p. 14.7--150.
Our readers have in the foregoing extracts a fair sample of the work under review; and abundant evidence that the author has not become acquainted with a mul. titude of facts to no purpose. He is ingenious in connecting them together, by showing their relation to each other as causes and effects; and if he is sometimes fanciful, he is more generally just, and always plausible.
He is rather fanciful in considering President Adams as having prodigiously accelerated the growth of heresy,” in Harvard University of which he was a Trustee, and in the capital of his native state. We think it true, that all the officers in the government of that literary institution are Unitarian, unless it be the Rev. Professor M.Kean; and with the exception of the Rev. Messrs. Huntington and Dwight, every congregational minister (not of the Baptist order) in Boston, denies that Jesus Christ is a divine person, constituted by the union of a human and divine nature: still we think, that Pre
sident Adams and the books Dr. Priestley may have given him, had very little influence in making the churches in Boston and its vicinity Unitarian. Priestley's works were known and read there long before the President personally knew the author, at least in America. Indeed it is questionable, even now, whether Mr. Adams is any thing worse than a pliable Arminian, who thought the Chief Magistrate of a Republican Nation ought to treat so great a philosopher as Dr. Priestley was, with attention.
Should we assign reasons for the introduction of So. cinianism into Boston, and for its prevalence there, they would be such as the following. The churches of Boston have been from their first organization absolutely independent: their councils for ordination have always been selected at the will of the congregation and the pastor elect; and hence if any one was elected, it was not difficult to procure his ordination and instalment. A council could be picked, in any country of independents, that would ordain almost any decent man, how. ever erroneous he might be; especially if it was a fundamental article of their liberal creed, that no creed should be exacted from the candidate. There was a church of this description in West Boston, whose first pastor was the Rev. Mr. Mayhew. He was not deemed sound in the faith by the other churches and clergymen of his own time; and they wisely declined intercourse with him, in ministerial labours. His successor was the Rev. Dr. Howard, whom the writer personally knew. He was a grave, learned, dignified Unitarian. During the greater part of his life, the pastors of the churches declined any exchange of pulpirs with him; but he was a mem. ber of their clerical association, and by the charter of Harvard University, one of its Trustees. In the latter part of his life, he used to say, in the society of his brethren, “ Gentlemen, you have all come around to me, and my opinions: mine remain what they were: once no man would exchange with me; but now you all do." His intercourse with them, and his learning, especially with the younger divines, had great influence. VOL. I.
Dr. Chauncey was one of his cotemporaries, and he was not slothful in the propagation of his doctrine of the final restitution and salvation of all men. Two errorists would naturally unite in self-defence against the orthodox; and according to the scheme of the independents, Doctors Howard and Chauncey could form a voluntary association for the licensure of a candidate; or with a Deacon from each of their churches, a council for the organization of churches and the ordination of Pastors. What course of education and study rendered Mayhew, Howard and Chauncey heretical, we are not able to say; but this we know, that man is prone to evil, and ever ready to be misguided by the pride of reasoning and love of popularity. The facts we have already stated are corroborated by another, that when the council convened to install the Rev. Charles Lowell in the place of Dr. Howard deceased, the church which had elected him were unwilling that he should be examined as to his doctrines, or submit any creed for inspection.
Those who were licensed to preach, as many were, upon the recommendation of a single Pastor, and the exhibition of a single sermon, without any doctrinal examination, often proved to be, what some denominate “ Moderate Calvinists,” or “ Old fashioned Arminians;" and by the inconsistencies of their plan, as we have è above hinted, exposed the truth unintentionally, to the guccessful attacks of the Antitrinitarians with whom they familiarly associated.
A secret of the art of making Socinians of common hearers ought to be published, for the benefit all concerned. We had it some years ago from the Rev. Dr. Kirkland, now president of Harvard University. He said that he had never preached in favour of the doc. trines of the Trinity, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the Atonement, nor against them; and he was determined that he never would; because should he oppose them, it would alarm some of the pious old women of Kis charge; and should he let them alone, the natural propensity of men to liberal doctrines would soon introduce a generation that would discard those Calvinistic tenets. He was right in his calculation, and sound in his policy; for the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. In the Presidential chair of the University, we should suppose, however, that the Doctor would think it expedient to oppose plainly these old errors of the reformation, as he must certainly deem them; and to inculcate lucidly his liberal notions; and if we verily thought his scheme consistent with the word of God, we would imitate, if not excel his zeal in making Socinians.
Mr. Willson is more correct in his exhibition of the present state of the different sections of the visible church in America, and in his estimate of the probable effects of the different Theological Schools that at present subsist, than in accounting for the heresy of Boston. He considers the Rev. John Codman, of Dorchester, as the only thorough Calvinist in Massachusetts, because he alone is known to receive the doctrine of a definite atonement, exclusively for the elect. p. 160. But to follow our author, and consider his remarks upon the character and influence of almost every President and Doctor of Divinity in the United States, whose name has ever reached our ears, is impracticable. We will just remark, that we were pleased to find in his pages, an extract from the Minutes of the General Assembly, relative to their condemnation of a book entitled “ The Gospel Plan," by the Rev. William C. Davis; and that we hope this highest Judicatory of the Presbyterian church will not in future swerve from its own example of orthodoxy. Mr. Willson concludes his sketch with the observation, that "a very large majority of the professors of religion in the United States, are either Hopkinsians, or entire Arminians, and as such opposed to the doctrine of a defi. nite atonement. The wealth of the nation is in the hands of error; and the learning is pretty equally divided. Piety is on the side of Calvinism, in all cases, though many pious men are erroneous in some of their opinions.” Mr. W. is an honest man; he writes as he thinks; and with such plainness that every reader must fully comprehend his meaning, in every sentence.
His Sketch is followed by translations from Francis Turrettin on the necessity, the truth, the perfection, the substance, and the extent of the atonement. On the last article Turrettin is most copious; and the whole is a rich gift to the English reader. We prize it the more because the extent of the atonement is the most important subject of controversy, next to that of Christ's divinity, which is agitated at the present day; and because Magee in his late work on the atonement, wholly omits the inquiry, whether it was made only for the elect.
In studying the Bible, we should aim at obtaining correct views, first of ourselves; secondly, of the person of the Son of God; and thirdly, of the nature of his mediatorial work. Now many will contend earnestly, as they should, for the divinity of Jesus Christ; who are quite offended that we should make a noise,” as they say, about the extent of the atonement; that is, about the nature of Christ's work. We ask, why should Jesus be a divine person, of a human and divine nature, unless the nature of his mediatorial work required it? And why should we be solicitous about inculcating right notions of Christ's person, if the nature of his work is not of primary importanct? Let Dr. Morse, the Rev. Moses Stuart, Dr. Samuel Worcester, and others, attempt to teach the Rev. Messrs. Channing, Lowell, Thatcher, and the most acute Socinian living, President Kirkland, who and what Jesus Christ is, in person and nature: we wish them good speed: and as for ourselves, since we have no Socinians south of Massachusetts that seem to require much argument, unless it be the pompous gentleman just gone to Kentucky, we shall address ourselves to the work of showing from the scriptures what the Lord Jesus Christ performed as the Saviour of sinners; for he was made perfect, as a Mediator, that he might become the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. Heb. v. 9. If we could think it of little importance to inquire, whether