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the Fathers and the most eminent Protestant Divines, from the Reformation to the Revolution, I shall merely state what my belief is concerning the true evidences of Christianity. 1. Its consistency with right reason, I consider as the outer court of the temple—the common area within which it stands. 2. The miracles, with and through which the Religion was first revealed and attested, I regard as the steps of the vestibule, and the portal of the temple. 3. The sense, the inward feeling, in the soul of each believer of its exceeding desireableness——the experience, that he needs something, joined with the strong foretokening, that the redemption and the graces propounded to us in Christ are what he needs—this I hold to be the true foundation of th spirit. ual Edifice. With the strong à priori probability that flows in from 1 and 3 on the correspondent historical evidence of 2, no man can refuse or neglect to make the experiment without guilt. But, 4, it is the experiencc derived from a practical conformity to the conditions of the Gospel-it is the opening eye; the dawning light; the terrors and the promises of spiritual growth; the blessedness of loving God as God, the nascent sense of sin hated as sin, and of the incapability of attaining to either without Christ; it is the sorrow that still rises up from beneath and the consolation that meets it from above; the bosom treacheries of the principal in the warfare and the exceeding faithfulness and long suffering of the uninterested ally ;-in a word it is the actual trial of the faith in Christ, with its accompaniments and results, that must form the arched roof, and the faith itself is the completing key-stone. In order to an efficient belief in Christianity, a man must have been a Christian, and this is the seeming argumentum in circulo, incident to all spiritual Truths, to every subject not presentable under the forms of Time and Space, as long as we attempt to master by the reflex acts of the Understanding, what we can only know by the act of becoming. Do the will of my Father, and ye shall know whether I am of God.12 These four evidences I believe to have been and still to be, for the world, for the whole church, all necessary, all equally necessary : but at present, and for the majority of Christians born in
12 (John vii., 17. S. C.]
Christian countries, I believe the third and the fourth evidences to be the most operative, not as superseding but as involving a glad undoubting faith in the two former. Credidi, ideoque intellexi, appears to me the dictate equally of Philosophy and Religion, even as I believe Redemption to be the antecedent of Sanctifica. tion, and not its consequent. All spiritual predicates may be construed indifferently as modes of action or as states of Being. Thus Holiness and Blessedness are the same idea, now seen in rela. tion to act and now to existence. The ready belief which has been yielded to the slander of my “potential infidelity,” I attribute in part to the openness with which I have avowed my doubts, whether the heavy interdict, under which the name of Benedict Spinoza lies, is merited on the whole or to the whole extent. Be this as it may, I wish, however, that I could find in the books of philosophy, theoretical or moral, which are alone recommended to the present students of theology in our established schools, a few passages as thoroughly Pauline, as completely accordant with the doctrines of the Established Church, as the following sentences in the concluding page of Spinoza's Ethics. Deinde quo mens hoc amore divino, seu beatitudine magis gaudet, eo plus intelligit, hoc est, eo majorem in affectus habet potentiam, et eo minus ab affectibus, qui mali sunt, patitur; atque adeo ex eo, quod mens hoc amore divino, seu beatitudine gaudet, potestatem habet libidines coërcendi ; et quia humana potentia ad coërcen. dos affectus in solo intellectu consistit ; ergo nemo beatitudine gaudet, quia affectus coërcuit, sed contra potestas libidines coër. cendi ex ipsa beatitudine oritur. 13
With regard to the Unitarians, it has been shamelessly asserted, that I have denied them to be Christians. God forbid! For how should I know, what the piety of the heart may be, or what quuntum of error in the understanding may consist with a saving faith in the intentions and actual dispositions of the whole moral being in any one individual ? Never will God reject a soul that sincerely loves him, be his speculative opinions what they may; and whether in any given instance certain opinions, be they un. belief, or misbelief, are compatible with a sincere love of God, God can only know. But this I have said, and shall continue to
13 [Ethices, Pars V. De Libertate humana. S. C.]
say : that if the doctrines, the sum of which I believe to constitute the truth in Christ, be Christianity, then Unitarianism is not, and vice versa : and that in speaking theologically and impersonally, i. e. of Psilanthropism and Theanthropism as schemes of belief, without reference to individuals, who prosess either the one or the other, it will be absurd to use a different language as long as it is the dictate of common sense, that two opposite scannot properly be called by the same name. I should feel no offence if a Unitarian applied the same to me, any more than if he were to say, that two and two being four, four and four must be eight.
εξ αγαθών έβαλαν
χειρός έλκων οπίσσω, θυμος άτολμος εών14 This has been my object, and this alone can be my defenceand O! that with this my personal as well as my LITERARY LIFE might conclude !—the unquenched desire I mean, not without the consciousness of having earnestly endeavored to kindle young minds, and to guard them against the temptations of scorners,
by showing that the scheme of Christianity, as taught in the liturgy and homilies of our Church, though not discoverable by human reason, is yet in accordance with it; that link follows link by necessary consequence; that Religion passes out of the ken of Reason only where the eye of reason has reached its own hori. zon; and that Faith is then but its continuation : even as the day softens away into the sweet twilight, and twilight, hushed and breathless, steals into the darkness. It is night, sacred night! the upraised eye views only the starry heaven, which manifests itself alone; and the outward beholding is fixed on the sparks twinkling in the awful depth, though suns of other worlds, only to preserve the soul steady and collected in its pure act of inward adoration the great I AM, and to the filial WORD that re-affirmeth it from eternity to eternity, whose choral echo is the universe.
ΘΕΩι ΜΟΝΩι ΔΟΞΑ
14 [Pindar, Nem. Carm. xi., 1. 37. S. C.)
TO THE BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA.
BY THE LATE H. N. COLERIDGE, RAQ., M.A.
(1772 to 1791.)
While here, thou fed'st upon ethereal beams,
SAMUEL 1 AYLOR COLERIDGE was the youngest child of the Reverend John. Coleridge, Chaplain-Priest and Vicar of the parish of Ottery St. Mary, in the county of Devon, and Master of the Free Grammar, of King's Schwol, as it is called, founded by Henry VIII. in that town. His mother's maiden name was Ann Bowdon. He was born at Ottery on the 21st of October, 1772, "about eleven o'clock in the forenoon," as his father, the Vicar, has, with rather unusual particularity, entered it in the register.
John Coleridge, who was born in 1719, and finished his education at Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge,” was a country clergyman and schoolmaster of no ordinary kind. He was a good Greek and Latin scholar, a profound Hebraist, and, according to the measure of his day,
[From a sonnet To Coleridge by Sir Egerton Brydges-written 16th Feb., 1837. S. C.]
. (He was matriculated at Sidney a sizar on the 19th of March, 1748. but does not appear to have taken any degree at the University. S. C.]