« AnteriorContinuar »
Commoner, been recently abolished*. May it prove a pledge of the annihilation of any remaining statute of a similar complexion, both as to Catholics and Protestant Dissenters! Great Britain, renowned for her civil polity among the nations of the earth, ought not to retain upon the emblazoned mirror of her fame, a single speck of intolerance to tarnish the lustre of its glory. The progressive march of religious freedom, is hailed by the liberal of every description. Gospel Charity, by her own native energies, banishes from amongst us strife and bitterness, the never-failing topics of triumph to the sons of infidelity. Looking up to the Supreme Being, and around upon a conscientiously-differing fellow disciple, an ejaculation breaks forth—
Thy grace our hope, thy love our only boast,
I beg leave, My Lord, to invite your attention to the Appendix of this little
* William Smith, Esq. M. P. Norwich.
Work. It contains "Some Account" of a poor persecuted Cambro-Briton, who, upwards of a century ago, indulged the expansive views of Complete Religious Libertv! His indeed was a soul of no ordinary dimensions. Though his name hath never found its way into the columns of a Biographical Dictionary, his memory must not be suffered to sink into the raven-plumed abyss of oblivion. His sentiments respecting the limits of Christian Freedom, are the sentiments of an enlightened posterity!
Adverting, My Lord, to the sacred Triadsof The Ancient Britons, for which my deceased friend entertained no small predilection—it is time that good sense, good temper, and good manners, should characterize the professors of Christianity. May truth become the pole-star, and love the resplendent ornament of every individual of every denomination of the Christian world!
Wishing you, My Lord, every success in your luminous career of Christian philanthrophy, and, trusting, that at some very distant period, you will have to yield up your present high distinctions—only to share in the transcendent and imperishable honours of a Blessed immortality—
I beg leave to subscribe myself,
Pullin's Row. Islington,
The Author feels much obliged to his numerous Subscribers, and hopes that the work having extended itself upwards of one hundred pages beyond the bulk originally assigned it, they will excuse a trifling addition to the Subscription. He also entreats the exercise of their candour towards this his first attempt in biography. His materials were heterogeneous and discordant, but he has strove to make the best use of them. It is a full length portrait, and he is ambitious only of the humble praise of fidelity. The chief blemishes in the venerable original arose from an exuberance of feeling, or that warmth of temper which is the common, but not dishonourable trait attaching to the natives of the Principality. Of these defects his friends were by no means insensible. The Author, however, declares that he hath felt in the composition of every page the force of the maxim—" When we lose a friend by death, we lose part of ourselves, and the best part—God keep those that are left!"
As the Memoir touches upon controverted topics of theology, he hopes that no expressions have escaped him which are not in unison with his other religious publications; the object of which hath been to soothe, not to irritate—to close, not widen the breaches of the Christian world. Truth is of heavenly descent. In her train walk Peace and Charity. The Indwelling Scheme, which his DeCeased Friend seems to have adopted relative to the Person of Christ, characterized the religious creed of Watts, of Doddridge, and of the late Rev. Samuel Palmer, of Hackney. He was nevertheless the decided as well as strenuous assertor of the Divine Unity.
With respect to the lamented Subject of this Memoir, his Welsh Nonconformist Memorial, or Cambro-British Biography, (as far as the work hath been executed, and every individual sketch is entire in itself), with a valuable introductory Essay on Druidism, the original religion of the inhabitants of the Island of Great Britain—found among his papers—will be put to press the ensuing winter. The labourer, (who, as the subsequent Memoir testifies, laboured more abundantly), obeying the summons of his gracious Master, hath quitted the vineyard, and is gone to the possession of his reward.
As to the other work, which the deceased, during his last illness, lamented that he had not executed, the Life of Roger Williams, an Appendix of some length hath been devoted to supply that deficiency. Should it induce either Dr. William Rogers, of Philadelphia, who is a native of Rhode Island, or Dr. Asa Messer, President of Rhode Island College, to favour the public with a larger account of this great and good man, the present writer will look back with pleasure upon having most unexpectedly sustained the humble office of pioneer in this labour of love and charity. With him it was quite sufficient, that Roger Williams was a persecuted fellow-christian and a brother countryman, who did honour to the ancient Principality. It is denominated " Some Account," and may prove better than nothing.
As friend and executor, the author of this MeMoir hath, amidst numerous professional engagements, done his duty to the best of his ability, and consigns, (though not unapprized of its many imperfections), the whole to the blessing of the Father of Spirits, which alone can render it effectually conducive to the present and eternal welfare of mankind. Islington, May 21,1819.