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sion, that, as Jesus never performed a miracle without prayer, consequently, all his miracles were so many incontrovertible proofs that he was not God, but the chosen servant of God, whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world. And this brings us directly back to our
asserts that “ These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Having thus expounded the text, I shall endeavor to state, as briefly as the importance of the subjects will admit, what we do believe; what we do not believe; and why we do not believe more.
THE CHRISTIAN AND TRINITARIAN DOCTRINES
“We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth : And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. We believe in the FIoly Spirit; the Holy Church; the Communion of Saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen."*
We believe all which the Scriptures assert of God, of Christ, and of the Spirit. There is not a name or a title given to Christ in the Bible which we do not cordially apply to him. Nothing is said of his person, nature, character, power, wisdom, knowledge, greatness, glory, or pre-existence, which we do not firmly believe and constantly preach. We believe in ALL the Word of God. Is not this enough? By what right, or by what authority, can more be required ? More than this we cannot believe, and dare not preach. We define all important doctrines not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” By this means, though we “transgress the tradition of the elders,” yet we run no risk of teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
* This is what is commonly called the Apostles' Creed. I have cited it as corrected by Dr. Barrow, who wrote more than a thousand pages in expounding it. He thinks the word Catholic, and the phrase, he descended nto hell, were interpolated. Hence I have omitted them.
"The fundamental principle of Protestantism is, the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice." - Professor Stewart. " To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”—Isaiah. " If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings."-St. Paul.
In regard to difficult passages, we admit such comments as best comport with the scriptures generally. All expositions which contradict plain unequivocal scripture testimony, we unhesitatingly reject. If we find any passages which we cannot understand, we leave them unembarrassed by a false or doubtful interpretation. These cannot materially affect the terms of our acceptance with God, or the rules of our duty to ourselves or others. The road to heaven is a HIGHWAY, so well defined that the way-faring man, though illiterate, need not err. We are taught, in plain words, easy to be understood, both what we are to believe, and what we are to do, to be saved. He that comes to the Bible with no other view but to learn his duty, and to practice it, will find no invincible difficulty with doubtful or obscure passages. A plain but pious man, who had, for several years, pursued this course with great comfort and safety, at length met with a book which pretended to explain a great many difficulties and mysteries in religion, which, hitherto, he had not observed. He presently fell in with another book which gave quite a different account of the matter. As they seemed contradictory, and he understood neither so well as the bible, he took down a long list of their hard words and learned phrases in order to examine what the scriptures said of them. But, to his astonishment, he could find no such
expressions in the bible; nor did he find such obscurity or difficulty in the doctrines as in the pretended explanations. “The fools,” said he, “are fighting about their own fictions; and the water that was pure is soiled by their footsteps. I will leave their polluted streams to them. selves, and return again to the fountain."
How plain and well defined are the terms of salvation in the Bible, may be seen by the following quotations.
What must I do to be saved ?......Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”-Acts xyi. 30, 31.
“ But who say ye that I am ? And Simon Peter answer. ed and said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed art thou Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.' Matt. xvi. 15–17. " Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?''
-I John v. 5. “ But these things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
So plain and easy of comprehension are the terms of salvation as defined by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
If Trinitarians were as well satisfied as we are with the terms of salvation, as defined by our great Master, there would be no cause of complaint — there would be no difference between their preaching and ours.
We are so well satisfied, that we neither desire
others. We teach that Jehovah is one.
They assert that God is three.”'t We teach that “there is one God, and there is none other but He There is one God, the Father."* They contradict us by asserting that, besides the Father, there is w God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.”+ We teach that there is “one JEHOVAH, and his
Creed or Discipline.
They assert that “Jehovah's name is
Father, Son and Spirit.”+ We teach that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God.". They assert that he is
God the Son.”'t We teach that Jesus Christ is "the Mediator between God and men. They assert that he is very God and
very man.”+ We teach that the real sufferer on the cross was “the Son of God;" and that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." They assert that "the very and eternal God suffered, was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us.”+
These contrasts exhibit a wide difference between the doctrine we preach, and that of Trinitarians. But who is responsible for this difference ? It does not arise from our withholding any part of the word of God. And here I solemnly aver, that I know of no difference between doctrine which we preach, in reference to the person and nature of Christ, and that of Trinitarians, but what necessarily arises from THEIR UNSCRIPTURAL PHRASEOLOGY, When, according to apostolic injunction, they publish the gospel, “not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” we are with them in every thing. But when they leave the Scripture, we leave them — or, to speak more properly, they leave us.“ When men are shy of the words the Holy Ghost teacheth,' we are always afraid," says Mr. Jay, "they are beginning to be ashamed of the things."
Are we to believe that phrases, construed by uninspired men, have a better meaning, or convey a more important truth, than the words of him who spake as never man spake? In this human method of defining the terms of salvation there appears to be something analogous to the conduct of the ancient Jews, who were required to offer in sacrifice, lambs, and other clean beasts. They preferred
+ Creed or Discipline. Jay's Works. Lectures, p. 15.