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recombined, and, (without interfering with the everlasting Trinity, and the individuality of the spiritual and seraphic orders) the Son, at the consummation of all things, deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, and God, in some peculiar, and infinitely sublime sense, become All in All! God love you,
S. T. Coleridge."*
In a former page, Mr. Coleridge has been represented as entertaining sentiments in early life, approaching to, though not identified with, those of Socinians : on his return to Bristol, in the year 1807, a complete reverse had taken place in his theological tenets, as stated, Vol. 2. p. 76.) “ Reflection and reading, particularly the Bible, had taught him," as he said, “the unstable foundation on which Socinians grounded their faith ;” and in proportion as orthodox sentiments acquired an ascendency in his mind, a love of truth compelled him to oppose his former errors, and stimulated him, by an explicit declaration of his religious views, to counteract those former impressions, which his cruder opinions had led him once so strenuously to enforce on all around.
* It was a favourite citation with Mr. Coleridge, “ I in them, and thou in me, that they all may be one in us,"
The editor of Mr. Coleridge's “ Table Talk,” has conferred an important benefit on the public, by preserving so many of Mr. C.'s familiar conversations, particularly those on this important subject of Socinianism. Few men ever poured forth torrents of more happily-expressed language, the result of more matured reflection, in his social intercourse, than Mr. Coleridge ; and at this time, the recollection is accompanied with serious regret, that I allowed to pass unnoticed, so many of Mr. C.'s splendid colloquies, which, could they be recalled, would exhibit his talents in a light equally favourable with his most deliberately-written productions.
I did indeed take notes of one of Mr. Coleridge's conversations, on his departure from a supper party, and which I shall subjoin, because the confirmed general views, and individual opinions of so enlarged a mind as that of Mr. C. must command attention ; especially when exercised on subjects, intrinsically important. I however observe, that my sketch of the conversation, must be understood as being exceedingly far from doing justice to the original. Some preliminary remarks will favourably introduce the sequel.
In this year I was invited to meet Mr. Coleridge, in company with a zealous Socinian minister. It was natural to conclude, that such uncongenial, and, at the same time, such inflammable materials, would soon ignite. The subject of Socinianism having been introduced soon after dinner, the minister avowed his sentiments, in language that was construed into a challenge, when Mr. Coleridge advanced at once to the charge, by saying, “Sir, you give up so much, that the little you retain of christianity is not worth keeping.” We looked in vain for a reply. After a manifest internal conflict, the Socinian minister very prudently allowed the gauntlet to remain undisturbed.
Shortly after this occurrence, Mr. Coleridge supped with the writer, when his well-known conversational talents were eminently displayed; so that what Pope affirmed of Bolingbroke, that “his usual conversation, taken down verbatim, from its coherence and accuracy, would have borne printing, without correction,” was fully, and perhaps, more justly applicable to Mr. C.
Some of the theological observations of Mr. C., are here detailed. Mr. C. said, he had recently had a long con.
versation with Mr. –, (a Socinian minister) who declared, that, “He could discover nothing in the New Testament which in the least favoured the Divinity of Christ.” Mr. C. replied, that “ It appeared to him impossible for any man to read the New Testament, with the common exercise of an unbiased understanding, without being convinced of the Divinity of Christ, from the testimony almost of every page.”
He said, “it was evident that different persons might look at the same object with very opposite feelings. For instance,” he remarked, “ if Sir Isaac Newton looked at the planet Jupiter, he would view him, with his revolving moons, and would be led to the contemplation of his being inhabited, which thought would open a boundless field to his imagination: whilst another person, standing perhaps at the side of the great philosopher, would look at Jupiter, with the same set of feelings that he would at a silver sixpence. “So," he said, “ some persons were wilfully blind, and did not seek for that change, that preparation of the heart and understanding, which would enable them to see clearly the gospel truth.”
He said that “Socinians believed no more than St. Paul did before his conversion : for the Pharisees believed in a Supreme Being, and a future state of rewards and punishments.” “St. Paul,” he said, “ thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The saints he shut up in prison, having received authority from the High Priest, and when they were put to death, he gave his voice against them. But after his conversion, writing to the Romans, he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation unto every man that believeth : to the Jew first, and also to the Gentiles.”
Mr. C. also said, that “he had always found SOCINIANS to be an intolerant, bigoted people ; more so than any other sect; and at the same time they were ludicrously supercilious." He said, “they did not fairly weigh and investigate the opinions of others, but they sneered, and thought that argument sufficient ; modestly considering all reason and intellect confined to them.” He mentioned also the unfair books they put into the hands of their children, as the evidences of christianity, which taught no more religion than the Koran.
He then referred to the dreadful state of the literati in London, as it respects religion, and of