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FROM CALVINISM TO UNITARIANISM.

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FROM CALVINISM TO UNITARIANISM. An interesting article appears in the Uni- tarian for July, in which the writer relates his conversion from Welsh Methodism to Unitarianism. Brought up among the Welsh Calvin- istic Methodists," he writes, I began to preach at sixteen, and showing, as it was believed among my friends, a strong pen- chant for the ministry, it was hoped that, after completing my term of apprenticeship, I would be induced to enter Bala College for what was deemed the necessary training. I declined, however, the generous offer of the Connexion to equip me for the ministry on professional lines, believing that a rough- and-tumble knowledge of the actual world was more necessary to a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth than a mere academic training. Therefore, as already stated, I determined to go to London in order to gain proficiency and experience in my calling. The notion, however, still lingered in my mind that I should ultimately enter the theological seminary at Bala, and with that object in view I diligently pursued my studies, poring night and morning over voluminous tomes of subtle philosophy and diving into the profoundest theological dis- quisitions the metaphysics of Immanuel, Kant, and John Calvin, and the ingeniously bewildering orthodoxy of the old school of Welsh divines receiving my special attention. The only effect of all this reading upon me was to make me feel very sad. I seemed to live in another world-a world of dreams and unrealities. The world of work and toil and drudgery, in which I actually lived and moved and struggled, was only an unsatisfac- tory and miserable concern doomed to ever- lasting perdition. But the Bible was my salvation. Turning in despair from the disquisitions of the divines to the old Book itself, endeav- ouring to ignore, for a time at least, all preconceived ideas, and banishing from my thoughts the subtleties of John Calvin and the whole crew of commentators and theo- logical jugglers, whose assumptions and puzzling logic and illogic had almost turned what brain I possessed into a chaos I determined to make a strenuous effort to understand the Book of books for myself. I knew nothing of the Higher Criticism or of the discoveries of science I had never heard of such a thing as a rational theology, nor had it ever dawned upon me that religion might be rendered compatible with common sense. I therefore once more-I say once more, because I had already been through it once or twice-read the whole Bible carefully through both in Welsh and English, and by the aid of a Greek lexicon attempted after a fashion to compare many familiar passages in the New Testament with the original language. This process occupied my spare time for a year or two and when I had finished, my faith in the old 'orthodoxy' in which I had been so carefully and so tenderly nurtured from my cradle up was considerably shaken if not entirely undermined. What appeared to me particularly strange and un- accountable was the fact that I could nowhere in the Bible find any clue to the mystery of the Trinity-a belief in which I had always learned to regard as necessary for my salva- tion. But the word never occurs once from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. I drifted lik a ship without a rudder from place to place, from chapel to chapel, from the Roman Catholics to the Spiritualists and the Swedenborgians, in search of something like a reasonable and rational religious faith in accord with science and yet not antagon- istic to the Bible as I understood it. My friends pitied me, exhorted me, and tried for all they were worth to prevail upon me to return to the faith of my fathers." Then they one by one began to shun me, and spoke of me as a "backslider," an "infidel," an "atheist," and so forth. This had no effect upon me; for indeed I had long since come to regard myself as an infidel," if not an atheist" and was not ashamed of openly avowing myself as such. Yet, strange to relate, the spirit of prayer never left me, doubt as to the existence of God never troubled me, and faith in His eternal wisdom and unbounded love never for once forsook me. One day, in 1894, a book was sent to me from Messrs. Williams and Norgate for review in a Welsh newspaper. I have that priceless volume before me as I write. It is entitled Via, Veritas, Vita." The reading of that book simply fascinated me. Though the line of thought was not entirely new to me, the spirit of the whole book appealed to me with a force that was simply irresistible, and left an indelible impression on my mind. I prepared a lengthy, but very careful and cautious review, and sent it to the Welsh Banner," edited by the late Rev. Thomas Gee, the Parnell of Welsh nationalism. In the course of two or three days the MS. was returned. I was nonplussed. My copy to the "Banner" had never before been treated in that way. A note was enclosed —it was in Thomas Gee's own handwriting. It is before me at this moment. He was surprised and pained that a contributor to his paper should have written so enthus- iastically a favourable review of a work by a Unitarian!"

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The Welsh Club.

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Y DYFODOL.

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