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charges by various quotations from Mr. Robinson's writings, all expressive of the plainness and the importance of revealed truth; from which it is evident that Mr. Booth did not himself understand the subject, and that the gross mistake he made arose from his not perceiving the very wide difference between roluntary and involuntary error, although it was most clearly explained in the very pamphlet before him. The sentiments advanced by Mr. Robinson respecting the innocency of mere mental error, after all the abuse cast on its author, is nothing more than had been previously advanced by the first fate orthodox divines. One example from a great man may suffice. Saurin, treating of the nature of evidence, justly observes as follows: “ The blessed God, who is less in“clined to punish than to pardon, will never "mpute to his creatures, the errors of an invincible ignorance. Without this consideration I "own, although I am confirmed in believing my “ religion by the clearest evidence, yet my con" science would be racked with continual fears, "and the innumerable experiences I have had of “the imperfection of my knowledge would fill me “ with horror and terror, even while in the sin“ cerest manner I should apply my utmost atten“tion to my salvation."*

* Sermons. Vol. II. Or the Suficiency of Revelation. There are likewise some very fine remarks illustrative of this subject, interspersed in those admirable discourses in Vol. VII. On the delay of Conversion.

There is one view of the subject of mixed communion, which to me has always been conclusive in favour of the practice. Our baptist brethren allow many who differ from them to be excellent christians: they hear pædobaptist ministers with pleasure, and their pastors make them welcome to their pulpits: they rejoice in the prospect of associating with them in eternity. Is it not therefore the height of absurdity to refuse them the right hand of fellowship in an imperfect church on earth, when they are firmly persuaded their great Lord and Master will admit these rejected brethren, members of the perfect church of the new Jerųsalem above?* Mr. Booth is now a member of . * In the metropolis the evils resulting from the practice of strict communion, although they sometimes occur, may not be frequent, but in the country it is otherwise. I recollect two instances, one at Cambridge, the other in the village where I now reside ; where the persons applied for a dismissal from Mr. Booth's church: they were refused for no other reason, than that the churches which proposed to receive them, although baptist churches, admitted of mixed communion! That the evil does occur sometimes in London, I myself am an instance. I once applied for admission into a 'baptist church, when I was informed I could not be admitted unless I was baptised by immersion—that is, unless I, before God and the world, renounced that baptism, which after seriCous and I hope impartial examination, I judged to be valid. Many of the country churches are on this point growing wiser. That church in the metropolis will set a noble example, which shall be the first to “ burst their bonds asunder,” and throw, down that “ partition wall" which divides them from their Srethren.

that-church, where I doubt not he has joined the society of the man whose sentiments he so strangely misunderstood, whose sphere of usefulness he narrowed, and who by his means, principally, had his days embittered by being driven from the society, and excluded from the pulpits of many of the brethren of his own denomination, with whom he had long been in the habits of social and christian friendship.*

* After having noticed the most respectable of Mr. Robinson's revilers, the reader will scarcely pardon me for introducing the most contemptible of them ; but whose popularity in his denomination, and whose recent repetition of the calumnies cast on Mr. Robinson, must be my apology. In a Memoir of Mr. Booth, incorporated in an address delivered at his interment by the Rev. John RIPPON, D. D. (yes reader, Doctor of Divinity) the doctor amidst a mass of bombastic. flattery, and which the deceased would have been the first most heartily to abominate, thus expresses himself :-" It “ seems of consequence to mention how faithfully and per“severingly he [Mr. Booth] contended for those doctrines, “ some years since, at a time, when the idea of the innocency of mental error was fast gaining ground; when candour and " liberality were terms employed in favour of none but those “ who discovered a total indifference, or a radical enmity to " the grand truths of the gospel, when all catechisms and “ creeds and systems were execrated, except such as boldly “ or covertly were in the interests either of the Sabellian, the " Arian, or the Socinian heresy. Yea, he nobly maintained “ his ground when for a while he was by the general appear. " ance, induced to fear, that he should have stood almost “ alone in support of the cause of God and truth. Yes, then . “ we remember him, at our monthly meeting of ministers, on " that texty-Buy the truth and sell it not > stating with an

In 1782, Mr. Robinson published-A Political Catechism : intended to convey in a familiar manner just ideas of good civil government, and the British constitution. This tract was written at

66 energy of mind, and a force of argument never to be for“ forgotten, TIIAT IF. ERROR IS HARMLESS TRUTH MUST “BE WORTHLess: and with a voice for him unusually ele“vated, declaring that every partisan of the innocency of “ mental error is a criminal of no common atrocity, but ." guilty of high treason against the majesty of eternal truth.”

Passing over the compliment the doctor pays himself and his Rev. brethren, that they were all in danger,(except Mr. Booth) of “ deserting the cause of God and truth," I will affirm, that the assertions;—"That candour and liberality were employed in “favour of none but those who discovered an indifference or " radical enmity to the truths of the gospel,” and that “ all “ catechisms &e. were execrated except such as boldly or co“ vertly were in the interests” of the sects he mentions, are falsehoods ! All Mr. Robinson's writings, and particularly the preface to the 3d. Vol. of Saurin, and the Doctrine of Toleration, in which what I will call the grand truth of reason and revelation, TIE INNOCENCY OF MERE MENTAL ERROR, is maintained, are so clear, that it must be ignorance, or something worse, which prevents the reader from plainly perceiving that Mr. Robinson's design was to promote union, candour, and forbearance, amongst christians of different doctrinal sentiments: the very first page of the preface alluded to will shew the vileness of Dr. Rippon's slander! The system Mr.R. was, at that period at least, most attached to, was moderato Calvinism. His friendships were {hen chiefly with Calvinists, Notwithstanding the beat which in the pulpit so transported Mr. Booth, it requires no great sagacity to discover, that ers ROR in certain cases,--when remaining in those whose hearts are termed by our Saviour honest and GOOD, may be harmless, which was all that Mr.Robinson had maintainedá to whicle

the time the North administration was discarded from the councils of their sovereign for that of the Marquis of Rockingham. “To support the sys"tem” professed by “the latter, to dissemmi


we may add, that TRUTH when held in unrighteousness must be worthless. The nonsense therefore already noticed, about “ atrocious high treason against the majesty of eternal truth,” falls to the ground. How justly did Mr. Robinson sometime afterwards complain of Mr. Booth and of those whose minds he had poisoned on this subject, in a letter to a moderately orthodox dissenting brother." I have been seven weeks in “ London; my own party treated me with neglect, and even « preached against me in my presence, about mental error, " which ita Dii me ament,' not a soul of them understands !

It is not undeserving notice, that Dr. Rippon himself for a considerable period after Mr. Robinson had published the obnoxious sentiment, ranked amongst his warmest admirers, boasted of his friendship, and opened his pulpit to him on all occasions: but as soon as Mr. Robinson became unpopular with his brethren, the doctor very readily turned with the tide. His conduct as a christian minister in this instance was similar to his recent conduct as a politician. It is notorious to his acquaintance and his congregation, that during the last war, he distinguished himself by such strong language of reprobation of the measures of administration, that some of his friends were alarmed on his account: but no sooner had he an opportunity of preaching before Mr. Pitt's volunteers at the Drum-head, than he veered about to the opposite point of the compass, congratulated the British empire on its “ BEATI"FIED state,”during the present reign, and expressed his hope that Mr. Pitt, as he had already proved a blessing to one half the world, might by being again called to the councils of his sovereign, prove a blessing to the other half! So much for the consistency and the integrity of this champion of ortho-. doxy and loyalty, this calumniator of Mr, Robinson !

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