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THE writer of the following Letter never intended or expected that its circulation should extend beyond a very small circle. At the desire of a friend to whom he felt himself so deeply indebted, he transcribed it for his use; but, at the same time, accompanied it with a request that no second copy should be taken; a request with which his friend rigidly complied. Nor was it till he found that the scope of it had been much misunderstood or misrepresented, and that some detached passages had found their way in various directions, that, in justice to himself and to the truths which he had embraced, he permitted the circulation of it to be at all extended. In the mean time he has been frequently solicited for copies of it, which his other avocations would by no means permit him to furnish; and as some pious and valuable friends, for whose judgment he feels much deference, have expressed an opinion that it might be of service to others, he has ordered a few to be privately printed, in order to comply with their wishes, and to save himself the trouble of transcribing.



CLIFTON; Nov. 6, 1816.

I scarcely know in what terms to begin this letter, or how to communicate to you the object of it. Yet I am anxious to be the first to convey to you the intelligence, because I am unwilling that it should reach you unattended by those expressions of personal regard and

respect by which I could wish that it should be accompanied. It will surprise you to be told, that it is become with me a matter of absolute duty to withdraw myself henceforth from the Lewin's Mead Society.

Yes! my dear Sir, such is the fact. In the month of July last, my professional attendance was required for the Rev. John Vernon, the Baptist Minister of Downend, who was then on a visit to a friend in Bristol. I found him very ill; so much so, that his other medical attendant and myself have since judged it necessary that he should suspend all his public labours. After attending him here, for two or three days, he removed to Downend; where I have since continued to see him once a week. He felt it a duty to endeavour to lead me to reconsider my religious opinions; and at length, with much delicacy and timidity, led to the subject. I felt fully confident of their truth, and did not on my part shun the investigation. For some weeks his efforts did not produce the smallest effect; and it required all the affectionate patience of his character to induce me to look upon the arguments on his side as even worth examining. The spirit of levity, however, was at length subdued and restrained by the affectionate earnestness of his manner. Now and then he produced a passage of Scripture, which puzzled me exceedingly; but, as I was always distrustful,

I scarcely ever allowed any weight to it, till after I had coolly examined it at home. I began, however, sometimes to consider whether it was not possible that his observations might contain some truth; and of course was led to examine them with more care and impartiality. It is necessary here to state, that my letter to Dr. Carpenter, though drawn up some little time before, was despatched about this period. I advert to this circumstance, because it marks a curious, though, I fear, not an uncommon feature in the human mind. I must, however, make the avowal, that it was precisely about the interval that occurred between the preparation and the despatch of the letter alluded to, and of that to you, and the second to Dr. Estlin, that the doubts above stated, now and then at rare intervals, would force themselves upon my mind. Such, however, was my hostility to the sentiments to which these doubts pointed, that I resisted every suspicion of this kind. I treated it as a mere delusion of the imagination; I felt ashamed even to have yielded to such suggestions for a moment; and when Mr. Bright pointed out to me a strong passage in the address to Dr. Carpenter, as if he thought that it might be softened a little, I persisted in retaining it. In fact, I seemed to seek, in the strength of the terms that I made use of, to deepen my own convictions of my previous opinions.

The letters were sent, and the respective answers were received. Still my weekly visits to Mr. Vernon were continued; I still investigated the subject, with constantly increasing earnestness. Yet I was unaltered; and even when Mr. Bright read the history of the proceedings to the congregation, I felt no regret at my share in them, but, on the contrary, rejoiced in anticipating the future triumphs of Unitarianism. Here, however, my triumphs ceased.

Almost immediately afterwards, my doubts returned with tenfold force. I read; I was perplexed. Often, very often, I wished that I had not begun the inquiry. I prayed for illumination; but I found my mind daily becoming more and more unsettled. I have now lying before me a sheet of paper, on which I wrote down some of the thoughts of this period, while under their more immediate pressure, as if to relieve my mind by thus divulging them; for they were disclosed to no human ear. I copy from them this passage: "If the attainment of truth be not the result, I am sure that the state of mind in which I have been for some time past is not to be envied."

I think that it was about this time that you returned home. When I advanced to shake hands with you after the close of the service, you may remember that you said to me, "Why, Doctor, you look pale." Pale I was, I have no

doubt; for my mind was full of thoughts that chafed each other like a troubled sea, and your return, and the vivid recollection of the letters which it excited, had not tended to calm the agitation. In addition to this, I had been in the habit of pursuing the inquiry, night after night, to a very late hour.

Such continued to be the state of my mind during the latter end of September and the whole of October. Towards the latter end of this month, the evidence for the doctrines which I had hitherto so strenuously opposed, seemed progressively to increase. But it was not until this very week that conviction came; and that my mind, unhesitatingly and thankfully, accepted the doctrines of the supreme divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; of atonement, or reconciliation, by his precious blood; and of the divinity and personality of the Holy Spirit.

I do not, my dear Sir, say it by way of commending my earnestness in the inquiry, but I say it in justice to the opinions that I have embraced, that, since this investigation began, I have regularly gone through the New Testament as far as the Epistle to the Hebrews (the Gospel of John I have read through twice); that not only every text, which has been differently interpreted, occurring in this large portion of the New Testament, but also all those referred to in the controversial volumes mentioned below, were

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