The Unitarians in Ireland

Asenath Nicholson
Chapter VIII (16) | Start of Chapter

The Unitarians in Ireland are not numerous, but generally wealthy, intelligent, and benevolent. They did much in the famine to ameliorate the state of suffering, and to their honor they were many of them teetotalers. Their doctrine to the Catholic is more incomprehensible than any of the "heresies" which they meet; for beside rejecting the Mother, they say they reject the Son likewise, and have neither Intercessor nor Savior; and if they were disposed to proselyte, the Catholic chapels would not be the "shops" in which to set up their "stirabout boilers." The Roman Catholics are peculiarly distinct in one noble practice, from all other professed Christians we meet. They will not in the least gape after, nor succumb to any man's religion, because he is great and honorable, though they will crouch and call him "yer honor" in matters of this world; but where their religious faith is concerned, they call no man master. The Unitarians, therefore, collect into their ranks such as, being whole, need no physician, and the lamentation or confession seldom goes up of being "miserable sinners" and going "astray like lost sheep." They are certainly a people in their influence over others, especially the lower classes, less to be dreaded than those who "hold the truth in unrighteousness." The heresy of needing no atonement by an infinite God, is more shunned than sought after, by all such as have been led to believe that man is in a lost state; for if he is lost, and finds himself so, he seeks to be found; but if no one is in the way sufficient to lead him, how is he bettered by the inquiry? On the other side, those who hold the truth in unrighteousness, in other words, who bear no fruit, have not the power of it, and when the letter only is understood, he who professes Christ and knows him not in a fellowship of his sufferings, and a resurrection of life, is a more dangerous lure to the inquirer; for, in the first case, if there is no Savior all powerful, there is nothing to embrace; but if there is one in word and not in deed, he is more to be dreaded than none at all, a false God is worse than none.