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was the more agreeable to him, because of the vicinity of Mr. Whitbread, M. P., who was a relation by the father's side.
In his retirements at Brokenhurst and Cardington, but especially at the latter place, it was his perpetual study to make his neighbours happy. His neat but humble mansion, says Mr. Palmer, in his funeral sermon, was ever hospitable to a few select friends, but was never the seat of riot or luxurious banquetting. Though polite to all, he neither sought nor admitted the company of the profligate, however distinguished by rank or fortune. His charity had no bounds, except those of prudences and was not more commendable for the extent of it, than for the manner in which it was exercised. He gave not his bounty to ercourage vice and idleness, but to countenance virtue and industry. He was singularly useful in furnishing employment for the labouring poor of both sexes, at those seasons when a scarcity of work rendered their situation most compassionable. And at other times, though never inattentive to the tale of woe, he was not easily imposed upon by it, but made himself acquainted with the case. He had, indeed, a general acquaintance with the cases and characters of the poor around him, and made it his business to visit the abodes of afHiction.
In circumstances of bodily disorder he often acted the part of a physician as well as friend. But his kindness was not confined to the bodies of his fellow creatures, it extended to their spiritual and immortal part. He carefully watched over the inorals of the poor, and used bis advice, his admonitions, and his influence, to discountenance immorality of all kinds, and to proidote the knowledge and practice of religion. As a most effectual inean to this great end, he provided for the instruction of poor children, by erecting and supporting schools, which he carefully superiotended. lo short, he was an universal blessing to the village where he resided. The cottages which he built for the poor were many, and which still remain as proofs both of his liberality and taste,
His bounty extended also to adjacent places, in which there are many who still call him blessed. Nor was it confined to persons of his own religious. perzuasion, but comprehended the necessitous and deserving of all parsies; while he was particularly useful in serving the interests of the Christian society to which he belonged. The only condition which he ever imposed upon such as were the subjects of his benevolence was, that they should attend every Lord's day at some place of public worship, according to the religion which they professed. This he always religiously performed himself; and while he lived at Cardington, he uniformly went to Bedford every Lord's day morning, that he might attend one or other of the dissenting meetings there, and returned again at night, almost always on foot.
Was it possible that such a man could have enemies? Yet some he had. One, an idle and dissolute wretch, having been often reproved by him for his vices, formed the desperate resolution to murder him as he was going to public worship. But Providence remarkably interposed to prelerve so valuable a life, by inclining him to go on horseback, and by A different road.
TO BE CONTINUED.
MR. WINCHESTER'S WRITINGS PUBLISHED IN HOLLAND.
Extract of a Letter from Amsterdam. .. .
.. FEB. 11. 1800. « T INFORMED you last year that I had published the first five letters of
Mr. Winchester in answer to Mr. Pain's Age of Reason, in Dutch ; the whole ten are now translated, as also his two admirable discourses upon the Woe Trumpets, and are published in that language. They are greatly commended by several learned societies, who have conveyed the knowledge of them through the several provinces of the republic, by publishing their highest approbation of them in their reviews and magazines, for several months successively T hey seem as though they never could write enough in commendation of works so deeply enlightened in the vast importance of prophecy, and in the prophecies themselves. Mr. Winchester's name is mentioned by them with the greatest respect; they so much admire his writings, and the measure of his illumination in God's word in this dark age, that they can but thank heaven for saising up such a light in it. When they consider this, they are greatly encouraged to hope that God has not left the people of this age to their own vain imaginations. . ;
• The society that has far some years written a monthly publication eninled Extracis of the LEARNED WORLD, has made one of the most affecting prefaces to their work of the year 1800, that I ever read; complaining of the infidelity of the present age, and of the fallen state of the church, in a stile like the lamentations of Jeremiah. They recommend to their readers the works of those virtuous men whose writings were foremost in their Extracts, and they begin with Mr. Winchester, expressly declaring that his contain the greatest fund of deep and useful knowledge, made intelligible to the meanest capacity.'
** If these two small works are so highly esteemed by these pious Dutch gentlemen, what would the whole of Mr. Winchester's be? If translated into Dutch, they would no doubt be cordially and gratefully received: and especially if the Universal Doctrine was preached by an able minister in that language. I was determined to let Mr. Vidler see what I had begun towards propagating this doctrine in Holland, that he may use such measures as he may judge fit for its encouragement at any future time.
“ The freedom of inquiry is now enjoyed more than formerly in this country. I think that though the dragon has cast a flood out of his mouth to destroy the church, yet the earth helpeth the woman." .. :
DEAR SIR, Leit 1
and W HEN I first wrote on oaths my intention was to awaken enquiry.
and excire others to the investigation of the subject. My judgment then was, that it was unlawful for Christians, to swear in any case whatever; yet some difficulties had occurred to my mind as to the possibility of avoiding oaths in some particular cases, without violating our duty to our fellow.creatures ; and, being fully satisfied from experience, as well as from reason and Scripture, that what I supposed to be wrong might be perfectly right, I wrote, my thoughts and submitted thenr to the consideration of the readers of your Miscellany, expecting that what I communicated would lead to a friendly controversy or the subject : not doubting but that truth, on which ever side it was, would bear away the victory: my wish was either to convince others that they were inistaken, or to be. convinced by others that I was mistakes. I was not disappointed; my communication called for two able opponents. Their letters were well written, and contained much solid argument; but did not fully satisfy me. I wrote again, and addressed my letter to Ms. Cue, because he was the first who replied to lay former communication on the subject, and because his reply contained ideas and arguments which were new to me : had I succeeded in refuting his arguments, I should then have replied to Mr. Thompson, my other opponent; but being inclined to think the ground I have taken is not perfectly tenable, and always wishing to bow to the authority of truth I will now end the contraversy by briefly noticing such of the arguinents of my antagonists as appear to me too weighty to be overturned, and by inforıning the reader of the effect they have had upon my mind.
Mr. Cue, in his first reply, (see Universalist's Miscellany, vol. ii. 380,), Shows that ainong real Christians, such a foundation of inutual confidence is laid, as renders a bare'affirmation sufficient to put an end to sfrife between the members of a truly Christian society. Their unionimplies that they have full confidence in each other's integrity. consequently, the prohibition of oaths in a church of Christ is quite rational: seeing: 10, admit the use of them there would imply the want of that, mutual confidence, which is essential to the Christian brotherhood. This think, the spirit of Mr. Cue's argument, and it appears to be so consistent, with both Scripture and reason, that I fully aesent to it. i Again, he argued, that, as the saine ground of mutual confidence does not exist among men, inerely as members of civil society. which exists in a Christian society, as in general in a worldly community meir have not that opinion of each other's integrity which would render. a bare affirmation sufficient to put an end to legal disputes, it is reasonable to suppose that gaths of confirmation, to put an end to strife, are still lawful in merecivil society. Here again I must acknowledge that what Her Gue centends for appears to me quite reasonable.........
In reflecting on the above, it has occurred to my mind that, if what God himself once recognized as a legitimate mode of ending all strife, in civil society, be altogether as necessary now as ever it was if the reasons for oaths of confirmation, in litigated matters, be as strong now as they were when God recognized them as a remedy for strife-then it is not likely the application of that remedy should be prohibited, where it is not superceded by mutual confidence, such as is produced among the sincere disciples of Christ, by a persuasion of each other's faith and holiness.
Again, it occurred to me, that, as oaths were allowed in the Jewish church, and are prohibited in the Christian church, there must be some rational ground for this distinction, and Mr. Cue's reasoning led me to discover what that ground is. 'The law did not lay that foundation for entire confidence in each other among the disciples of Moses, which the gospel does lay for entire confidence in each other among the real disciples of Christ, therefore the former were allowed to swear to each other, but the latter are prohibited that practice.
The Jewish church was national, and included those of that nation who were not men of undeviating integrity, as well as those who were; hence the bare affirmation of a member of that church could not be always depended on in a controverted matter; but the Christian church is a brotherhood of saints, who are supposed to be all men of firm integrity, consequently, their yea or nay must be deemed sufficient evidence in any matter which is to be decided in the church by the testimony of individuals.
Mr. Thompson's letter, (see Universalist's Miscellany, vol. iii. p. 14.) contains much acute reasoning, and many ingenious arguments. I think he has fully proved, that there may be particular cases in which the taking an oath becomes a moral duty, especially when the refusing to do it would leave an innocent individual exposed to condemnation, perhaps to suffer an ignominious death, when, by a testimony upon oath, we could procure his acquital. I am constrained to admit that it is very unreasonable to suppose the New Testament to contain a precept which cannot be obeyed, in every case, without the breach of a moral duty; nor do I see any way of escaping this difficulty, but by admitting that the New Testament does not prohibit oaths in every case ; that the command not to swear at all, must have some limitation, to be gathered: from the context, or from other parts of the evangelical writings, so as not to appear unreasonable, or in any case to infringe the moral obligations which Christians are under in common with other men.
It had not struck my mind, previous to my reading Mr Cue's last letter, (see Miscellany for January 1800) that the clause, “for whatsoever is more than these (I* Tou hermex Isov) cometh of the evil one," at once restricts and explains our Lord's prohibition of oaths; but it has since appeared to me in that light. It could not be the design of Christ to intimate that all oaths originated with and that there never was any but what were from the evil one, as such a supposition would involve consequences the most absurd, and contradictory to the Scripturen,
seeing the oaths which Jehovah himself sware, and those which he authorized among his own people the Jews, could in, no sense be from the evil one. Nor could the saviour mean that all oaths after the introduction of the gospel dispensation were from the evil one: because the oath of allegiance, which every tongue is to swear to JEHOVAN, (Isa. xlv. 23) will be the effect of his own work and mediation. Noer does it appear reasonable to suppose that oaths of confirmation, in mere civil society, which God recognized as a remedy to put an end to strife, could be from the evil one; but if such oaths be not from the evil ongea it follows that they are not prohibited by our Lord: because what he prohibited (Mat. v. 34.) be declared to be from the evil one. Oaths never were authorized by Christ among his disciples ; they were never allowed by him in his church; the confidence which Christians are supposed to have in each other's veracity renders any thing more than, yea, yea; nay, nay , totally unnecessary among them: if any thing more be held necessary among real Christians, in order to their crediting each other's assertions, it must evidently appear to be from the evil one, as it is adding to the rules which Christ hath given to be observed by
05 his followers, for the preservation of their peace and union, it can only arise from a destitution of Christian confidence, which is a great evil in a Christian society; and proves that the influence of the evil.one so far prevails as to lead the servants of the Lord. to doubt each other's integrity, which is in fact to doubt each other's Christianity. If then we agree with Mr. Cue, that it was among his own disciples, in his church, that Christ prohibited the use of oaths, it will follow that what he prohibited is, as himself declared, of the evil one.ava na
Thus, Sir, I have, in the integrity of my heart, freely communicated the result of this controversy, so far as relates to its effect upon my own mind. Should any one charge me with tergiversation, because my ideas, of oaths are not precisely the same now as they were when I first wrote on the subject, to such an one I would say, The man who is determined not to change his ideas, whatever evidence may be brought before him, ought never to meddle with controversy: as not the discovery of truth, but victory, must be his object. For my owu part, I wish ever to remember that I am a weak fallible erring creature : my ardent desire is, to be always open to conviction, to let all the real evidence which is brought before me have its full weight, and at all times to embrace those views of subjects which appear to me to be the most correct without any regard to system or preconcepuria 16 5591 ifoot aidi to
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