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MR. BLAIR'S LETTER, ETC.
CONSISTENTLY with the plan of this Publication ; which is, where practicable, to give some account, however brief, of the Authors of the several pieces introduced into it; the Compiler prefixes to the following production a very few particulars illustrative of the character and attainments of the writer. These may be pretty correctly appreciated by reference to a statement, made at a public meeting held at Bath on the 1st of January 1836, for the election of a mayor under the (then) new Municipal Corporation Act, and at which WILLIAM THOMAS BLAIR, Esquire, was unanimously elected to fill the office. In support of the proposition, an individual present adverted to Mr. Blair's peculiar qualifications for the post. The speaker described him as "a gentleman, in every sense of the word-in talents, acquirements, and habits;" as "preeminently a Christian;" exemplary in "private life," and not less estimable in his "pub. lic character." "He filled," continued the speaker, an important office in India-that of High Sheriff for the Presidency of Madras; the duties of which he discharged with so much ability and zeal, and consequently with so much credit to himself and service to the Government, that he was, for the first time on record, nominated to the same situation a second year; and in so high estimation were his services held by the Government of Madras, that the opinion of not only the usual legal advisers of the Government authorities,
but also that of the Judges of the Presidency themselves, were taken as to the legality of his doing so ; and he was only prevented being High Sheriff a second year by the provisions of the statute taking the power of his appointment out of the hands of the authorities there, without the sanction of the Home Government." The honourable distinction thus shewn to Mr. Blair in India finds a remarkable coincidence at home in the fact of his having been chosen mayor of Bath in two consecutive years, and that by the concurrent voice of the whole elective Body.—It were easy to extend this notice, by expatiating on the generous and unremitting labours of Mr. Blair to procure the abolition of Slavery wherever it is found to exist; by recapitulating the countenance and aid which he uniformly gives to every institution, alike general and local, having for its object the glory of God and the good of man; by dilating on his usefulness as a magistrate and a citizen; and by tracing that private benevolence by which he is ever seeking to solace the wretched and to relieve the destitute. But, as the Compiler is not writing a biography, he forbears.
The following Letter was published, as a tract, at the date which it bears. The motive of the writer needs no eulogy—it is sufficiently apparent. In compliance with the Compiler's request, the Author has kindly permitted his production to be included in the present volume-a permission of which the Compiler gladly avails himself, in the hope that the pious object of the writer may be subserved by the increased publicity which may thus be given to his valuable summary of the Scripture doctrine of the Atonement.
THE substance of the following Letter was addressed a few months ago to a Lady professing Unitarian sentiments. It has been since suggested to the writer, that it might be desirable to print it in the same form as a cheap tract, for the use of a class of readers who have no leisure for the perusal of a more extended treatise, and but little inclination for the serious and systematic study of the Bible. Though the writer is very doubtful whether it will be found deserving of the slightest regard, yet in the hope that it may, through the Divine blessing, prove a sort of index pointing the attention of some anxious inquirer to the sacred Scriptures, which testify as with a sunbeam to the expiatory nature of Christ's sufferings and death, he is induced to add it to the number of those ephemeral publications that float for an instant on the stream of time, and are seen no more. The chief object was, by the collection of a number of suitable texts, to make the Scriptures speak
for themselves. Any direct proofs of the Divinity of the Redeemer were purposely omitted, in the hope that a more ready access might be gained for the one great truth sought to be established, and because it was thought that if the doctrine of the Atonement was once admitted, the Godhead of Him who made it would follow almost as a matter of course. This appears moreover to be the way in which the proper Deity of Jesus Christ is most frequently presented to our notice in the Sacred Volume. This great doctrine is doubtless propounded formally and directly in many striking passages; but it is rather in the life and actions of the Redeemer, especially in the work of Atonement, that His preeminent glory and dignity appear.
MY DEAR MADAM,
Though our personal acquaintance is slight and of recent date, your frankness and candour assure me that no apology is necessary for addressing you in this familiar and friendly way, respecting some of those Scriptural truths that are regarded by the great body of professing Christians as of fundamental importance in the scheme of salvation, and on which I believe we differ widely. I allude particularly to the doctrine of the Atonement, and the vicarious nature of Christ's sacrifice. I make no doubt that your intelligent and inquiring mind has carefully weighed what human learning has advanced on the subject, and also that you search the Scriptures prayerfully on these points; but it is just possible that you may not have so compared Scripture with Scripture, and arranged the different texts as to bring their scattered rays to a focus, in order to contemplate their united and concentrated bearing on this great doctrine. I