My new old book: William Vidler

I got a book (or rather a bound volume of magazines) in the mail today from England that I won on eBay. It is the oldest Universalist work in my collection. Here’s the text of the title page, as it is informative and rather charming.

The Univeralist’s Miscellany; or Philanthropist’s Museum. Intended chiefly as an antidote against the antichristian doctrine of endless misery.

Vol. III.

London: Printed for the Editor, W.[iliam] Vidler by W. Burton, No. 82, Fetter Lane, Holborn, and sold by
[John] Teulon, 100, Houndsditch
Parsons, Paternoster Row, Belcher, In the Bull-ring,
Birmingham, Blundell, Battle, Sussex,
and may be had of all the booksellers in England.

Unlike American Universalist magazines from two and three generations later — filled with dispute and evangelistic reports — the tone is more literary and scientific. The first article, for intance, was one in a continuing series on the origin of volcanoes.

I love this little passage from “On Other Worlds” which ties human selfishness and the prospect of living beings on other planets:

“It is not to be wondered at, when we find a man making all to centre and terminate in himself, that he should be surprised when the philosophers talk of the inhabitants of other worlds; and though we might expect better things from the more intelligent part of mankind, yet we find the Luciferian principle is so deeply rooted in the human mind, few are disposed to give up the privilege of superiority, which they fondly imagine belongs to them, and their habitation, this earth.”

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