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article we should modify materially in statement, and perhaps in meaning. If Miss Cobbe intends to say, that men are coming more and more to believe in the divine authority of the moral sense of mankind when opposed to the arbitrary ethics of a special people or epoch, or theory of religion, we assent most cordially to her position. The tendency is to place natural sentiments before artificial codes, and to apply the sound common sense of the healthy heart to all moral problems whatsover. But if Miss Cobbe intends to say, that the divine authority of the individual conscience is to be respected henceforth more than heretofore, we demur. It is an illustration of the universal basis on which truths are settling, that the verdicts of the individual conscience are yielding steadily to the convictions of the general conscience, and that these consult the constitutional laws by which society is regulated. Not the sentiment of justice in the individual heart, not the sentiment of justice in the heart of a particular community, but the law and fact of justice, by which the relations of men with one another are kept peaceful, orderly, secure, and sweet, will, we are persuaded, dictate what shall and what shall not be accepted against all codes, sacred and secular,- against all prejudices, institutions, and traditions. The private conscience is capricious; the general conscience of a period may be inconstant and treacherous: but the constitution of society, and the obligations to preserve it, remain unchanged; and social science reveals to us what this constitution demands. The tendency here, then, is, we should say, to substitute moral science for moral passion and prejudice.

The phrase," salvation of every human soul," may convey a just thought, if we are predicting the phase of eschatological belief which is to succeed the dogmas of Orthodoxy. But we doubt if it describes quite accurately the mode in which the future-destiny question will be held in the coming time. Instead of the words "salvation of the soul," men will use the words, " perfection of the individual man;" and, instead of arbitrary grace as the means by which that can be secured, they will substitute growth, progress, development,

VOL. LXXIX. 5TH S. VOL. XVII. NO. I.

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expansion, culture. The problem of immortality, and of blessedness after death, will be taken out of the "religious" sphere, and committed to the care of natural reason, which, on grounds suggested by knowledge, experience, hope, and aspiration, will assure the indestructibleness of personality, and the necessity of completion in spiritual attainment. The perpetuity of influence, the imperishableness of moral forces, the persistency of causes, will be the assurance of immortality; and the steady advance of mankind, individually and collectively, under the law of progression, will be a sufficient pledge that the immortality will be a noble boon, worthy of giver and receiver.

The tendency is already, and will be more and more, to abandon theological methods in the treatment of moral and spiritual, even of theological and Christological subjects; to dispense with theological phrases, and approach all topics from the scientific point. From the known, inferences will be drawn to the unknown. Literature will apply its laws to the Bible. Human nature will give the key to the character of Jesus. Creation will explain the Creator. The order, harmony, and beneficence of the physical and social world will be demonstrated in a way that none can dispute; and all controversy about the divine attributes will become obsolete.

The signs all point to grander beliefs than we have had hitherto, and to nobler foundations for belief. Orbs of the first magnitude are evolving themselves from the star-dust. The Drift period is, under some aspects, confusing and sad. We see the pulverizing of systems, the grinding-down of credences, the dispersion of communions, the overriding and crushing of precious landmarks. Individual influence seems to be of no avail. The rudder is without a steadying hand: the compass is broken. The human intellect drives on blindly, recklessly, with no purpose to go hither or thither, and in imminent danger of rushing on destruction. But there is always this comfort to cleave to. They that drift are borne on the broad providential currents which set towards the infinite sea. No meddlesome oarsman tries to pull against the stream. No self-sufficient steersman keeps perversely to

a zigzag course. No wilful commander attempts to set at defiance the laws of wind and wave. The movement is slow, without pride or pomp; the track is devious, but the freighted mind keeps by necessity to the deepest current; it avoids the rocks by the instinct which compels it to observe the tidal flow; and, wherever it may come to land, it is sure not to come to wreck by the way.

ART. II. — THE AMERICAN UNITARIAN PULPIT.

Annals of the American Unitarian Pulpit; or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished Clergymen of the Unitarian Denomination in the United States, from its Commencement to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five. With an Historical Introduction. By WILLIAM B. SPRAGUE, D.D. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 530, Broadway. pp. xxv., 578.

Two circumstances combine with the late Convention to win attention to the Unitarian denominational history. The first of these is the fact, that we are now completing the first halfcentury since the denomination in America was known as Unitarian. The article in the "Panoplist" of June, 1815, reviewing the recent reprint of Belsham's "American Unitarianism," which had been published in London in 1812, made a great excitement in New England, especially in Massachusetts; and at once scandalized the liberal churches by the charges of infidelity made against them, and alarmed the Orthodox at the spread of deadly heresy among their neighbors and themselves. Dr. Channing's Letter to Rev. Samuel C. Thacher, dated June 20, 1815, was an indignant protest against the aspersions of the "Panoplist," and is regarded by no less an authority than Andrews Norton as virtually accepting the name "Unitarian," and founding the denomination as a distinct body. Whatever the exact time when the liberal clergy were called by this name, there can be no doubt that

the article in the "Panoplist" and the Letter of Channing to Thacher mark the origin of the Unitarian controversy proper, in this country, and the open drawing of the lines of separation between the Trinitarian and Unitarian churches. So it appears that we are now closing the first half-century of the denomination as avowedly Unitarian in this country.

This fact, however, is attended and illustrated by another of great significance, the ample testimony given by Dr. Sprague's "Annals" of the existence and influence of Unitarian views, for a century and a half, in New England. If we take the ministry of Rev. Ebenezer Gay, who was ordained at Hingham in 1717, as the starting-point, according to the authority of the "Annals," the Unitarian denomination is now closing the third half-century of its history in America. But, important as names are, they are not the main facts in the history of opinions. Dr. Sprague gives us ample proof that Unitarianism has virtually existed almost from the beginning of New-England colonies; and he finds it hard, in some cases, to fix the exact line of division between Unitarians and Trinitarians. We doubt very much whether Drs. Bezaleel Howard, Hezekiah Packard, and Jeremy Belknap, would be now excommunicated from any moderate Orthodox Church; and we do not know of any Unitarian Church, however extreme, that would be willing to listen to the doctrines of Joseph Priestley in its regular ministrations. The charm of Dr. Sprague's volume, however, lies not mainly in its controversial niceties or polemic details, but in its truthful narrative, impartial temper, and entirely kindly and candid spirit.

We know not where to find a book of ecclesiastical sketches so wholly unobjectionable, and withal so very interesting. The writer's aim evidently is to gather laboriously, arrange carefully, and state concisely the important facts in the life and labors of the eighty Unitarian clergymen under consideration, and to throw upon this narrative the various and interesting lights that are given by letters of their friends or relatives. Thus the several chapters have the rare combination of historical point and biographical attraction. We find all the data that we need in the narrative, and all the

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charm that personal affection can lend or ask in the supplementary illustrations. None but a Christian gentleman could achieve such a success. If the author's mind were not wholly truthful and charitable, it would be impossible for him, on grounds of mere policy, to resist the temptation to color events and opinions according to his own prejudices; and in all cases of doubt or difference, imply, if he did not state, his own convictions or preference. We are truly grateful to Dr. Sprague for the impartial and wholly Christian tone of this volume; and we thank him not only for ourselves, but in the name of the sainted dead whose worth he has so faithfully recorded in a form so substantial and enduring. He has given the elder Unitarian clergy a place in the record of the Church Universal such as partisan hands, however loving, could not secure for them.

Some of the sketches are almost full enough to rank as biographies. Among the most satisfactory, we place those of West, of New Bedford; Kirkland, Buckminster, and Channing. We could desire more fulness and point in the notices of Mayhew, the Wares, Norton, and Greenwood; but the limits of the book were of necessity fixed, and very generous measure is given on the whole: nor must we forget, that the very men who represent critical phases of thought are the most difficult to treat impartially. A full article on Andrews Norton, for instance, could not be made out merely of the facts of that recluse and devoted scholar's life; while to treat of his relation to American philosophy and religion might not add as much interest to the book as it would add perplexity to the writer. It might be equally embarrassing to present fully the precise character of the evangelical service of Henry Ware, jun., and his relation to the old Orthodoxy and the new latitude. Greenwood's ritual tendencies, and their bearing on the ancient Puritanism and the rising ecclesiasticism, might open difficult questions, and occupy space otherwise appropriated. The volume is true to its title, "Annals," and keeps its promise as the chronicle of the years as they pass, and of life in its obvious developments, without rising into that more ambitious study which binds years into

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