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who secretly entertained erroneous views on the subject of the Trinity. In 1768, Dr. Hopkins published a sermon from Hebrews iii. 1, entitled: "The importance and necessity of Christians considering Jesus Christ, in the extent of his high and glorious character." It was preached in Boston, and "was composed," says the author, "with a design to preach it there, under a conviction that the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ was much neglected, if not disbelieved, by a number of the ministers in Boston."
In a letter from the first President Adams to Dr. Morse, dated May 15, 1815, the writer observes: "Sixty-five years ago, my own minister, Rev. Lemuel Bryant, Dr. Jonathan Mayhew of the West church in Boston, Rev. Mr. Shute of Hingham, Rev. John Brown of Cohasset, and perhaps equal to all, if not above all, Rev. Mr. Gay of Hingham, were Unitarians. Among the laity, how many could I name, lawyers, physicians, tradesmen, and farmers. I could fill a sheet, but at present will name only one, Richard Cranch, a man who has studied divinity, and Jewish and Christian antiquities, more than any clergyman now existing in New England."*
Dr. Howard, the successor of Dr. Mayhew, in the West church, Boston, was a Unitarian. He is said in the Christian Register to be "the first clergyman who publicly defended Unitarian sentiments in New England;" and he, we presume, not very publicly. He may have defended them in conversation, but never, so far as we can learn, from the pulpit or the press. Of the next generation of Boston ministers, Mr. Everett of the Summer Street church, Dr. Lathrop of the old North, Dr. John Eliot of the New North, and Dr. West of the Hollis Street churches, were probably, though very secretly, Unitarians. In addition to these, there were quite a number among the laity, who speculated with them on the subject of the Trinity. President Adams was, probably, mistaken in supposing that he could fill a sheet with names; but it is certain that there were several; and some who, like himself, were persons of distinction. It should be observed, however, that the Unitarians of that day were all high Arians,
* Richard Cranch was a mechanic, a watch-maker, and had never received a collegiate education. Whether he was as learned in divinity as Mr. Adams represents, may perhaps be doubted.
who retained in their systems many of the evangelical doctrines. Socinianism was of later growth, and belonged to a more advanced stage of corruption.
It was necessary for the early Unitarian ministers of Boston and the vicinity, in order to retain their places and promote their cause, to proceed with the utmost caution. In general, they never preached their peculiar sentiments, and endeavored, so far as possible, to conceal them from public view. The better to accomplish this, the original Pilgrim practice of strictly examining candidates for the gospel ministry began, many years ago, to be opposed, and in some instances to be laid aside. The biographer of President Edwards, speaking on this subject, says: "He [Edwards] thought it of importance that ministers should be very critical in examining candidates for the ministry, with respect to their principles, as well as their religious disposition and morals. And on this account, he in some places met with considerable difficulty and opposition." A difficulty of this sort occurred at the ordination of Rev. Mr. Everett over the Summer Street church in Boston, in consequence of which a part of the ordaining council withdrew. Confessions of faith, too, began at this period to be opposed, and in many instances were disused. The object of all this was, to prevent discussion and disclosure, and cover up the secretly spreading error.
· But to keep the subject entirely concealed, for any considerable length of time, was manifestly impossible. In personal intercourse and conversation, if in no other way, it must at length come out; and to meet disclosures of this sort, there must be preparation and provision. But in making this provision, the ancient doctrines of the New England churches must not be openly attacked; for this would shock the minds of the people, and might defeat the whole design. A safer way would be, to inculcate an almost total indifference in regard to religious doctrine. The impression must be made, that diversity of opinion on points of Christian doctrine is of no importance. The outward character is all with which we are concerned.
"For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."
The quiet of parishes must in no case be disturbed; and he is the best minister, who so manages as to live in the greatest peace.
An impression of this sort began to be made in the easterly part of Massachusetts, before the war of the revolution; and after the war, it became more general and confirmed. The consequence was, that orthodox ministers were slow to withdraw from their heretical brethren, or to take any decisive measures to defeat their plans. The customary ministerial intercourse and exchanges were continued; and the impression was made all around, that one system of doctrine was about as good as another, and that every man was entitled to embrace that which best suited his convenience and his inclinations. This state of things was not unforeseen. Cotton Mather, in his "Prognostications upon the future state of New England," tells us of a town, called Amycle, which was ruined by silence. Because there had been some false alarms, the rulers forbade the people, under penalty of death, to speak of the approach of an enemy. So when the enemy came, no one durst speak of it, and the town was lost. Corruptions will grow," says Mather, "upon this land, and they will gain by silence. It will be so invidious to speak of them, that no one will dare do it, and the fate of Amycle will be ours." How far this "Prognostication" has been fulfilled, the reader need not be informed.
It should be observed here, in addition to all other considerations, that for a long course of years, the special influences of the Holy Spirit were almost entirely withdrawn. What discourses were preached of a character to awaken and impress the minds of people, were neutralized by others of a different character; and the wise and the foolish slumbered together. There was no revival of religion in Boston, at least in the Congregational churches, from 1743, till we come down almost to our own times. No wonder, then, that iniquity abounded, and the love of many waxed cold. No wonder that the lamp of spiritual life was well nigh extinguished, and that innovations and errors came in like a flood. In view of all that has been said, it is much more lamentable than strange, that Unitarianism should make its appearance in New England, and that it should gain its principal footing in Boston and the surrounding country. Such was the course of events in that which had been the very strongest hold of primitive Puritan orthodoxy. Long since was it said: "What need hath Reformation itself to be frequently reformed, seeing corruptions will so quickly creep thereinto."
ENGLISH GRAMMAR ILLUSTRATED BY EXERCISES IN ANALYZING, PARSING AND COMPOSITION. By ALLEN H. WELD, A. M. Author of Latin Lessons and Reader. Second Edition.* Portland: Sanborn and Carter. 1847.
THE first edition of this book was published about a year and a half since. The second, which we propose to notice, was issued about a year ago. A copy of it reached us shortly after its issue, from the author through a mutual friend, and followed by another from the publisher, has lain upon our shelves, like many other books from authors and publishers, which we have not considered of sufficient value to merit a special examination. Seeing it announced however, a few weeks since, that the Boston School Committee had adopted the work for use in the schools of this enlightened city, it occurred to us that we might have erred in our first judgment, and we hunted up the book, and have given it a careful examination. Our first judgment has been more than confirmed, and thinking a simple statement of the demerits of the work may come quite as near the truth, as the many flattering notices it has received, we venture to lay before the public the results of this examination. Intending to express opinions of our own very sparingly, we shall confine ourselves in the main to citations from its pages, by which we expect to prove that the book is characterized by numerous repetitions, inaccurate statements, loose definitions, barbarous phraseology, important omissions, and faulty arrangement. Either of these charges, if sustained, ought to condemn the book we expect to sustain them all.
We begin with its repetitions. On page 18, the author states, in the first place, that "every name is a noun;" and second,
Since preparing this article we have been favored with a copy said on the cover to be the fourth edition, but on the title page the third! No intimation is contained in the preface, that any changes have been made from previous editions, but we find, on comparison, a few alterations, bɔth for the better and the worse. We shall give credit for every improvement we find, and also, for the sake of fairness, shall expose some of the deteriorations we have noticed, so that this article may be considered a a review both of the second edition, and of the following stereotype editions.
that "the name of every person, object, or thing, which can be thought of, or spoken of, is a noun." These statements are both contained in the second, and the first is utterly unnecessary. Instead of being satisfied even with this double definition, the author, on page 20, says: "1. A noun is the name by which any person or thing is called;" and "2. The names, then, of all persons, places, qualities and substances, are nouns." Thus, within two pages, the noun is four times defined! One good definition, like one good excuse, ought to have sufficed; but the author is not yet satisfied, and, on page 50, gives the definition for the fifth time! The above is one subject out of six, which we have noted as encumbered by needless repetition. For example, it is stated three times in about eight pages, that a noun and a verb must be used to express a thought or make a sentence; and the predicate is defined twice in two pages, in almost the same language.
We proceed to the inaccuracies. On page 15, CH is said to have the sound of k in words derived from the Greek, except in chart, charter, and charity. It so happens that Webster and Worcester derive these words from the Latin together with chapel, cherry, chaste, etc. and not from the Greek. There are two words from the Greek in which CH has not the sound of k, but they have escaped Mr. Weld's notice. They are church, and the prefix arch, as in arch-deacon. It has also escaped Mr. Weld's notice, that, in a large class of words from the French, ICH has the sound of SH. It is difficult to see how the word machine, which is used as an example on the preceding page, should have failed to suggest the remark. A few lines below, the author violates a rule of his own Syntax, by saying that "ti, ce, and ci has the sound" etc. A few paragraphs afterwards, he says that pronouns referring to the Supreme Being should begin with a capital. This is not good usage, is not the practice of the translators of the Bible, and the rule is uniformly violated in this book, in quotations from Scripture, and from other sources. On page 132, may be found a glaring inconsis tency in relation to the agreement of the verb with its subject. In one line we read, "Two and three are the simple subject;" in the next, "Horse and chaise is the simple subject." This inconsistency is stereotyped in edition third. It seems as though uncertain which course to take, Mr. Weld determined to try