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to make me a heretic than to deepen the roots of my orthodoxy. There were occasional rumours of heresy, and, now and then, a heretic would timidly air his heresy in the class. I was one of the heretics. The college was founded to counteract the tendencies of Arianism. It has done much for Unitarianism. I found that the currents of the new thought were gradually undermining the foundations of my faith. The realisation was disconcerting and terrifying.

The time came when I had to quit my Alma Mater. There was a final ordeal to pass through. We had to satisfy the College Committee of our theological soundness before they would give us our credentials. We had to read our “ credos” and answer questions. I knew I was not sound. I

credo was not sound, though I made it look as sound as I could. I resolved the doctrine of the Trinity into an insoluble mystery-a familiar way out of the difficulty. But on the question of Eternal Punishment I was bolder. 'I was beginning to hate the thought of it as unspeakably horrible. I thought nobody need be any the worse for believing in the Trinity ; but I could not see how anyone could believe in the orthodox Hell,without rebellion against the God who made it. So I ventured to intimate, that I preferred the Gospel of Eternal Hope for all to the theory of everlasting torment for the majority of mankind. This was pronounced to be heresy by some of the wise ones ; but they let me off and gave me my certificate, with grave apprehensions for my future.

I now come to the fourth, and last, stage in my journey. My first pastorate was in North Devon. I had more time for thinking and reading. Among other books, I read Channing and Theodore Parker. I was almost afraid to read them when at college, but the British and Foreign Unitarian Association renders good service to the cause of pure religion, by giving these books to students in orthodox colleges. Channing gave me the highest conceptions of God and Christ, and Man and Life, and the Hereafter; while Parker did much to complete the demolition of miraculous Christianity. I gradually came to see that the Bible was a human production, and was, therefore, not the master, but the servant of the rational and moral consciousness. I reduced the story of

the Fall to fable, and when this, the foundation of orthodox Christianity, gave way, the entire "scheme of salvation” fell to pieces. I nowhere discovered in the Bible the doctrine of the Trinity ; I found everywhere the unity of God. I found also the righteousness and love of God, with which the theories of Substitutionary Atonement and Eternal Torment could not be reconciled. As regards the personality of Christ, the more I read the New Testament, the more convinced I was that the Christ of the Gospels could not be God ; but it seemed to me that the Christ of the Gospels was something more than man. So I sought refuge in Arianism, which makes Christ a sort of demi-god. But this could not be final. I wrote to Dr. Martineau, and asked him, if he thought there was room in the Unitarian ministry for one holding Arian views of Christ. In his reply, he said, he thought that Arianism was practically extinct in English Unitarian Churches at that time. He showed me, that Arianism was the most illogical of all the theories about Christ, because, while it did not admit him to be God, it ascribed to him the attributes which belong properly to the Deity only. I read the Gospels again, and saw the different portraits contradicting each other. I put all these together, making due allowance for myth and legend, and evolved out of them a picture of a simple human Christ. I now saw Christ divine, with a divinity possible, in varying degrees, to every son of God.

All through this last period, I was the minister of an Orthodox Church. I had to learn how to put the new wine into the old bottles. The new wine burst the old bottles, as it always does. I preached the love of God for sinners, in this world and the next, for ever and for ever. I preached also salvation by character, rather than by the merits of Christ's blood. My position became intolerable, yet it was not easy to leave the Church of a life-time. If I joined the Unitarians, I knew how it would grieve my college professors and chums, my father and mother, and, most of all, my brother, who was still in the Congregational ministry. The claims of liberty and truth outweighed all personal and sentimental considerations. The nobler principles and conceptions of Unitarianism more than compensated for all that had to be sacrificed and endured.

I left the Trinitarian Church, therefore, because I believed its creed to be, on the whole, unscriptural, untrue, unchristian. I became a Unitarian, because the Church of that name opened wide the door for freedom of thought and freedom of speech, and represented conceptions of religion which were most in harmony with my deepest convictions, and all summed up in the principles of Divine Fatherhood and Human Brotherhood, of which Jesus was, not the sole, but a conspicuously illustrious interpreter.

I applied for admission into the Unitarian ministry, and was asked by Rev. Robert Spears, to take temporary charge at Stepney, in the East of London. After short ministries at Southampton and Great Yarmouth, I settled at Rotherham in 1894, on the retirement of Rev. William Blazeby, B.A. During my ministry in Rotherham, a new organ has been placed in the Church at a cost of £430, and the old chapel has been repaired and renovated at a cost of £300. And now the congregation are about to celebrate their Bi-centenary, by restoring the Church fabric and furniture, and beautifying the interior, at a further expenditure of £200.

In the Minister's Address to the congregation, at the opening of the year 1906, Mr. Stephens alluded to the Bi-centenary Celebration, as follows:

“We have special reason for looking backward this year, for this year our Bicentenary is due. In 1706 the first Nonconformist chapel in Rotherham was built. We, here, are associated in fellowship with the oldest Nonconformist society in this town. We are the inheritors of the free spirit which provoked our religious ancestors to separate from the church of authority, and to worship according to their convictions. In October next, we are hoping to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of our birth as a Free Church. It ought to be an event of interest to all sections of the religious community ; but it ought, of course, to be of exceptional interest to the descendants of the first Dissenting Congregation within this ancient borough. It should quicken our historic imagination, as we recall the noble past, and stimulate us to a renewed devotion to the cause entrusted to us. There is real inspiration in the story of our religious

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