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But I must say, that I can by no means comply with it. My lecture is on Wednesday, to which I justly attach a great importance; and the arrangement you mention would occasion my absence two Wednesdays, which I would not incur for any ordination whatever. Ordination services, as they are now conducted, I consider as of more shew than use. The presence of one or two ministers, along with the church, accompanied with prayer and laying on of hands, and a few serious exhortations, would be a genuine scriptural ordination. Nothing can be more distant from this, than the manner in which these things are at present conducted. Suffice it to say, that I can by no means consent to be absent two lectures for such a purpose. You may, therefore, expect to see me on Friday at Birmingham. I beg to be most affectionately remembered to dear Mrs. Birt, and to dear Mrs. Tucker and her husband. I am your affectionate Brother,
ON THE DEATH OF HIS DAUGHTER.
I am much concerned to hear of the heavy bereavement with which it has pleased God to afflict you and dear Mrs. Langdon, by the unexpected removal of your most amiable daughter. I never saw a young female whose character impressed me with higher esteem. I cannot wonder for a moment that your tears flow freely on her account. It is, indeed, a most severe and afflictive stroke, which none but a parent, and the parent of such a child, can duly appreciate. I feel myself highly honoured and gratified in the recollection of having possessed any share in her esteem.
Still, my dear friend, there is much mercy mingled with the severity of the dispensation. It is an unspeakable mercy to be able to reflect on the decided piety of the dear deceased, which so eminently prepared her for the event you so deeply deplore. Nor is it a small alleviation of the anguish resulting from such a stroke, to reflect that the time is short, and the end of all things at hand. Painful as is the thought to all your friends, to you, my dear friend, it must be familiar, that, in all probability, her separation from you will be but of short duration ; and that she has entered, a little while before you, into that blessed eternity for which you have long been waiting.
* * * *
Leicester, March 4, 1823. I must beg your pardon for not sooner replying to your favour, in which you condescend
to inquire my opinion on the subject of Hutchinsonianism. The reason of my delay was my conscious inability to give an opinion entitled to any degree of weight. I have been in the habit of considering Hutchinsonianism as a tissue of fancies, unsupported by reason or scripture; and all that has occurred to me to read on that system, has confirmed that impression. I have attentively perused Parkhurst's Dissertation on the Cherubic Figures in the Temple: it appears to me a most confused and unsatisfactory disquisition; nor is he able to answer, in any tolerable degree, the objection arising from their being represented in the attitude of worshippers. He attempts to get over this by observing, that though the divine persons whom they represent could not without absurdity be represented in the character of worshippers, their symbols might: but this is to me utterly unintelligible. He is evidently much embarrassed with the four faces; a most unlikely symbol of a Trinity. I am equally dissatisfied with his notion of the three elements of air, light, and fire, being intended as natural types and symbols of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For this there appears to me not a shadow of proof. The metaphors of scripture afford none whatever; as is evident from this one consideration, that the figurative language of scripture is interpreted as naturally and as easily, without the aid of the Hutchinsonian hypothesis, as with it. What is that sort of typical instruction which never instructed ? And where is the people to be found, where the individual, who learned the doctrine of the Trinity from the works of nature ? I cannot suppose it would ever have suggested itself to a single mind, had it not been communicated, probably among the earliest revelations of God.
My utter despair of deriving any solid benefit from these speculations, must plead my excuse for not occupying my attention in any attempt to investigate the merits of the system more closely; and I am truly concerned to hear that Mr. B. designs to write upon the subject. I am afraid it will have no other effect than to strengthen existing prejudices against evangelical doctrine. I am, dear Sir, with much esteem, Yours most respectfully,
TO THE REV.
My dear Friend,
Leicester, Nov. 16, 1823. You have put me on a most irksome task; and were the request to come from almost any other quarter, I should refuse to comply, without a moment's hesitation. I find it difficult to deny you any thing; but, really, you could scarcely have proposed any thing to me more disagreeable. I think very highly of your son's publication ; so that my objections arise, in no degree, from that quarter. But, in the first place, I am far from being satisfied of the propriety of suffering the sentiments of private friendship to prevail in a review. A reviewer professes to be a literary judge ; and his sentence ought to be as unbiassed as that of any magistrate whatever. But what should we think of a judge, who permitted himself to be tampered with by either party concerned, with a view to procure a favourable decision? In the exercise of his censorial office, a reviewer ought to have neither friends nor enemies. It is an adherence to this maxim which can alone secure the dignified impartiality of criticism, or entitle it to the smallest degree of credit. A work like your son's does not need artificial support; and one of an opposite description does not deserve it. Your son should rest calmly on his own merits, with a becoming confidence that an enlightened public will not fail to do him justice. There was never a period in my life when I would have stooped to solicit a review. I speak on the supposition of the application originating with him.
In the next place, when it is known I have complied in this instance, I shall be harassed with innumerable applications. , in particular, will have the justest reason to complain: for he has, at different times, most vehemently importuned me to review particular works, which I have steadily refused; and the only method I have found, to shield myself from his importunities, has