« PreviousContinue »
PR E F A C E.
THE close of the year calls upon us for our annual Address to our Readers.
We rejoice with them in the exertions of Christians of various denominations in behalf of our common religion during the present year, and implore the blessing of the great Head of the Church upon them, as well as upon our feeble endeavours to subserve his cause, and to promote his glory.
Great efforts are now making by the enemies of Christianity, by means of scurrilous and blasphemous publications, to gain proselytes to their impious opinions. But it is a foolish, as well as wicked, attempt. It is a vain thing for them to reproach and blaspheme the Holy One of Israel: His cause must and will prevail. Some persons, who are already the servants of sin, may be deceived by their writings; but the righteous shall go on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
At such a time as this we feel ourselves particularly called upon, not merely to cherish sentiments of sincere love and brotherly affection to our fellow-christians, (for in this we trust we have never failed,) but to declare our high regard for all who love Zion, and who are fellow-citizens with ourselves of that happy city. Although it is our province to pay more immediate attention to that part of its wall which is
over against our own house," we are anxious, according to our ability, to promote the prosperity at large of the city of which we form a part.
We request our Correspondents to accept our thanks for their numerous and valuable communications, and hope to be favoured with a continuance of them; but the limited extent of our pages renders it necessary for us to reject many papers, which we should otherwise take pleasure in inserting, as well as to abridge others which we do insert. The same cause also occasions the delay of papers which we hope to be able to insert at some future period. We lament these things, but we cannot prevent them.
We formerly hoped to be able to give a monthly Portrait; but it was attended with difficulties, which we did not sufficiently contemplate. We have added, however, to the number of our pages; and we will give an Engraving as often as it shall be in our power.
Our readers will have perceived that an addition has this year been made to the sum which had been usually granted for the Widows of our Ministers. It will afford us real pleasure should the increased sale enable us to add to their comforts the ensuing year.
We have been informed that some of our Ministers, feeling for the necessities of the Widows, have exerted themselves in their respective circles in recommending the Magazine. Were all our Ministers to follow their example, we persuaded that a much larger number might yet be sold.
HISTORY OF THE CONFERENCE
AT SALTERS HALL, ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY, IN 1719.
As the present year is the first the west country. The flame of centenary of an event of great angry contention first broke out importance in the annals of Non- at Exeter, in 1718-19, among the conformity, it may not be im- Presbyterian body in that city. proper to present our readers There were three united congrewith a succinct account of a con- gations, and four ministers, viz. ference, which has been render the Rev. Messrs. Withers, ed memorable by the baneful Joseph Hallet, James Pierce, and influence it has produced in the John Lavington. The labours of denomination, the most distin. these ministers, says Mr. Pierce, guished at that time among Pro- were well accepted, until the testant Dissenters;—the ENG-controversy arose about the exLISH PRESBYTERIANS,
plication of the doctrine of the Salters’-hall Meeting-house, be- Trinity.* For the sake of imparlonging to the Presbyterians, is tiality, the account shall be given situated in Salters’-hall-court, in his words. “The gentlemen,” Cannon-street, London. At the says he,“ who used to manage the period above referred to, the temporal affairs of the congregaRev. W. Tong, an eminent mi- tion, were pleased, some time nister, was the pastor of the ago, to send for seven minis. church. The present ministers ters in the country, and desire are the Rev. W. B. Collyer, D.D. their advice. These were the and the Rev. Henry Lacey. They reverend persons following:are both of the Independent de Messrs. Ball of Honiton, Horsham nomination; the former being of Topsham, Hall and Moore of pastor of a church at Peckham, Tiverton, Waldrond of Ottery, and the other of a church at Eveleigh of Crediton, and ManPlaistow.
ston of Lympstone. None of the The cause of the conference ejected ministers' side were adalluded to, was the revival of the vised with, or knew any thing of Arian heresy in England, at the their being sent for, till they beginning of the eighteenth cen- came, being men picked out as fit tury, by the writings of Emlyn, for the purpose. Had an equal Clark, and Whiston. These number been chosen principles were very zealously and successfully propagated in * Case of the Ministers ejected, p. 6.
sides, some good might have I urged them not to be hasty, been expected.-But these mi- telling them, there were heads of nisters, who were really parties advice under the consideration in the controversy, pursued no of the whole body of the London designs for peace. The paper ministers, which were shortly exof advice they drew up, was not pected, and might be the means drawn up, after a hearing of us of healing us. They answered, [Mr. Pierce and Mr. Hallet), nor they had nothing to do with was it communicated by them to them; nor would they wait for us, but accidentally fell into our them; those advices not being hands while they were scattering the advices of the Presbyterian it about the country in a circular ministers; but the addition of letter. Nay, though I ipsisted the Anabaptists to one side made upon it to three of them, that a majority: though I am since they should give no advice re- informed they were divided, as lating to me, without first hearing well as the other denominations, what I had to say; yet did they ten on the one side and nine on never give us a hearing.
the other. "We thought they had no “I desired that we might have more right to draw up tests for us time to give our answer; but was than we had for them; and leave told we must do it presently. it for God and the world to judge, Mr. H. told them, be heard there whether they have acted a chris- was in the press a book written tian and brotherly part in what by four eminent ministers in Lon. they have done against us.
don, and desired that we might “Wednesday, March 4, they see whether that which was came hither the second time; and shortly expected would satisfy the next day the four ministers us.* Nothing of this nature availwere desired to meet the gentle- eth.There was no attempt made men; which accordingly they to charge us with denying the did. Then the paper the seven true and proper Divinity of the had drawn up and subscribed Son of God, even in the true was read to us, which shall here- sense of the article; so that we after be published at large. It had not fair dealing in that reconsisted of three articles, the spect. For here was nothing second of which was what we laid to our charge, supported by were urged with, and was this: witnesses: but an inquisition That the denying the true and was as truly set up, to rack our proper Divinity of the Son of consciences, and search out the God, viz. that he is one God with secret sense of our minds, as the Father, is an error of that ever there was in Spain or Pornature, (that is, an error which tugal. I challenged them thus: is a sufficient foundation for the Gentlemen, is there any single people to withdraw from the expression you can any of you communion of their ministers charge me with using, either in holding it,] contrary to the doc- praying or preaching, that has trine of the holy scriptures, and been disagreeable to the scripthe common faith of the reformed churches.
* This was afterwards published, en. “ Then was it put to us, whe- titled “The Doctrine of the ever-blessed ther we owned that the Son of Rev. Messrs. Tong, Robinson, Smith,
Trinity stated and defended,” by the God was one God with the Father. and Reynolds.