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The Essential Faith of the Universal Church Deduced from the Sacred Records   By: (1802-1876)

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'Nulli præclusa religio est; omnibus patet, omnes admittit, omnes invitat; non elegit domum nec censum; nudo homine contenta est.'


Minot Pratt, Printer.


In March 1830 the Committee of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association offered 'a premium for three tracts, to be approved by them, the object of which should be the introduction and promotion of Christian Unitarianism among the Roman Catholics, the Jews, and the Mahommedans respectively.' Each of the Essays was to be sent to the Committee with the name of the writer in a sealed note, which would be opened only after the decision in favor of the successful candidate. Miss Martineau obtained the three prizes. The celebrity which she has acquired in this country by those of her works which have been reprinted here has induced the belief that these Essays would be read with interest, although if they had come from an unknown author the nature of the subjects might prevent their general circulation. The ability, the tact, and the fine spirit which they display must increase the admiration of Miss Martineau's talents which already prevails among us. For grasp and vigor of thought, for a rich and felicitous style of expression, and for general power of argument, without the slightest mixture of asperity or unfairness, they will bear comparison with almost any writings of the same class. The author has judiciously adopted a different method of treating each subject, and may therefore expect that opinions will be various about the comparative merits of the three Essays, according to the intellectual habits or tastes of readers. But no one can fail to pronounce them all remarkable productions.

The Essay addressed to the Catholics was first published. It is therefore now first reprinted, and will be followed immediately by those written for the Jews and the Mahommedans.

E. S. G.

BOSTON, May 1st, 1833.


As Christians addressing Christians, we, whose faith is called Unitarianism, invite you, our Roman Catholic brethren, to join with us in investigating the origin and true nature of that Gospel which we agree in believing worthy of the deepest study, the most unremitting interest, and the highest regard. We agree in believing every Christian to be bound to promote the welfare of his race to the utmost of his ability; and that that welfare is best promoted by the extensive spread and firm establishment of Divine truth. We agree in believing that all other gifts which the Father of men has showered on human kind are insignificant in comparison with the dispensation of grace: or rather, that their value is unrecognised till interpreted by it. We alike feel that the material frame of the universe, fair as it is, is but as a silent picture till a living beauty is breathed into it, and a divine harmony evolved from it by its being made the exponent of God's purposes of grace. We alike feel that the round of life is dull and tame, and its vicissitudes wearisome and irritating, till it becomes clear that they are preparative to a higher state. We alike feel that worldly pursuits, and even intellectual employments, are objectless and uninteresting, till they can be referred to purposes whose complete fulfilment must take place beyond the grave. We alike feel how pervading, how perpetual is the influence of Gospel principles in ennobling every incident, in hallowing every vicissitude of life; in equalizing human emotions; in animating the sympathies, in vivifying the enjoyments, and blunting the sorrows, of all who adopt those principles in full conviction of the understanding, and in perfect sincerity of heart. We agree in feeling how the whole aspect of existence changes, as the power and beauty of the Gospel become more influential; as we learn where to deposit our cares, where to fix our hope, what to prize as a real possession, and what to regard as but loss in comparison of our inestimable gain... Continue reading book >>

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