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ecclesiastical power. It assails men with menaces of eternal wo, unless they submit, and gradually awes the most stubborn and strongest minds into subjection. I mean not to ascribe the intention of introducing ecclesiastical tyranny to any class of Christians among us; but I believe, that many, in the fervor of a zeal which may be essentially virtuous, are about to touch with unhallowed hands the ark of God, to support Christianity by measures which its mild and charitable spirit abhors. I believe, that many, overlooking the principles of human nature, and the history of the church, are about to set in motion a spring of which they know not the force, and cannot calculate the effects. I believe, that the seed of spiritual tyranny is sown, and although to a careless spectator it may seem the smallest of all seeds, it has yet, within itself, a fatal principle of increase, and may yet darken this region of our country with its deadly branches.

The time is come, when the friends of christian liberty and christian charity are called to awake, and to remember their duties to themselves, to posterity, and to the church of Christ. The time is come, when the rights of conscience and the freedom of our churches must be defended with zeal. The time is come, when menace and denunciation must be met with a spirit, which will show that we dread not the frowns, and lean not on the favor of man. The time is come, when every expression of superiority on the part of our brethren should be repelled as criminal usurpation. But in doing this, let the friends of liberal and genuine Christianity remember the spirit of their religion. Let no passion or bitterness dishonor their sacred cause. In contending for the gospel, let them not lose its virtues or forfeit its promises.—We are indeed called to pass through one of the severest trials of human virtue, the trial of controversy. We should carry with us a sense of its danger. Religion, when made a subject of debate, seems often to lose its empire over the heart and life. The mild and affectionate spirit of Christianity gives place to angry recriminations and cruel surmiscs. Fair dealing, uprightness, and truth, are exchanged for the arts of sophistry. The devotional feelings, too, decline in warmth and tenderness. Let us then watch and pray. Let us take heed that the weapons of our warfare be not carnal.

Whilst we repel usurpation, let us be just to the general rectitude of many by whom our christian rights are invaded. Whilst we repel the uncharitable censures of men, let us not forget that deep humility and sense of unworthiness with which we should ever appear before God. In our zeal to maintain the great truth, that our Father in Heaven is alone the Supreme God, let us not neglect that intercourse with him, without which the purest conceptions will avail little to enthrone him in our hearts. In our zeal to hold fast the word of Christ' in opposition to human creeds and formularies, let us not forget, that our Lord demands another and a still more unsuspicious confession of him, even the exhibition of his spirit and religion in our lives.

The controversy in which we are engaged is indeed painful; but it was not chosen, but forced upon us, and we ought to regard it as a part of the discipline to which a wise Providence has seen fit to subject us. Like all other trials, it is designed to promote our moral perfection. I trust, too, that it is designed to promote the cause of truth. Whilst I would speak diffidently of the future, I still hope, that a brighter day is rising on the christian church, than it has yet enjoyed. The gospel is to shine forth in its native glory. The violent excitement, by which some of the corruptions of this divine system are now supported, cannot be permanent; and the uncharitableness with which they are enforced, will react, like the persecutions of the church of Rome, in favor of truth. Already we have the comfort of seeing many disposed to inquire, and to inquire without that terror, which has bound as with a spell so many minds. We doubt not, that this inquiry will result in a deep conviction that Christianity is yet disfigured by errors which have been transmitted from ages of darkness. Of this, at least, we are sure, that inquiry, by discovering to men the difficulties and obscurities which attend the present topics of controversy, will terminate in what is infinitely more desirable than doctrinal concord, in the diffusion of a mild, candid, and charitable temper. I pray God, that this most happy consummation may be in no degree obstructed by any unchristian feelings, which, notwithstanding my sincere efforts, have escaped me in the present controversy.


It is due to truth, and a just deference to our fellow Christians, to take notice of objections which are currently made to our particular views of religion; nor ought we to dismiss such objections, as unworthy of attention, on account of their supposed lightness; because what is light to us, may weigh much with our neighbour, and truth may suffer from obstructions which a few explanations might remove. It is to be feared that those Christians, who are called Unitarian, have been wanting in this duty. Whilst they have met the labored arguments of their opponents fully and fairly, they have overlooked the loose, vague, indefinite objections, which float through the community, and operate more on common minds than formal reasoning. On some of these objections, remarks will now be offered; and it is hoped that our plainness of speech will not be construed into severity, nor our strictures on different systems be ascribed to a desire of retaliation. It cannot be expected, that we shall repel with indifference, what seem to us reproaches on some of the most important and consoling views of Christianity. Believing that the truths, which through God's good providence we are called to maintain, are necessary to the vindication of the divine character, and to the prevalence of a more enlightened and exalted piety, we are bound to assert them earnestly, and to speak freely of the opposite errors which now disfigure Christianity.What then are the principal objections to Unitarian Christianity?

1. It is objected to us, that we deny the Divinity or Jesus Christ. Now what does this objection mean? What are we to understand by the Divinity of Christ? In the sense in which many Christians, and perhaps a majority, interpret it, we do not deny it, but believe it as firmly as themselves. We believe firmly in the Divinity of Christ's mission and office, that he spoke with divine authority, and was a bright image of the divina perfections. We believe that God dwelt in him, manifested himself through him, taught men by him, and communicated to him his spirit without measure.

We believe that Jesus Christ was the most glorious display, expression, and representative of God to mankind, so that in seeing and knowing him, we see and know the invisible Father; so that when Christ came, God visited the world and dwelt with men more conspicuously than at any former period. In Christ's words, we hear God speaking; in his miracles, we behold God acting; in his character and

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life, we see an unsullied image of God's purity and love. We believe, then, in the Divinity of Christ, as this term is often and properly used.—How, then, it may be asked, do we differ from other Christians? We differ in this important respect. Whilst we honor Christ as the son, representative, and image of the Supreme God, we do not believe him to be the Supreme God himself. We maintain, that Christ and God are distinct beings, two beings, not one and the same being. On this point a little repetition may be pardoned, for many good Christians, after the controversies of ages, misunderstand the precise difference between us and themselves. Trinitarianism teaches, that Jesus Christ is the Supreme and Infinite God, and that he and his Father are not only one in affection, counsel, and will, but are strictly and literally one and the same being. Now to us this doctrine is most unscriptural and irrational. We say that the Son cannot be the same being with his own Father; that he, who was sent into the world to save it, cannot be the living God who sent him. The language of Jesus is explicit and unqualified. 'I came not to do mine own will.'-—' I came not from myself.'—'I came from God.' Now we affirm, and this is our chief heresy, that Jesus was not and could not be the God from whom

but was another being; and it amazes us that any can resist this simple truth. The doctrine, that Jesus, who was born at Bethlehem; who eat and drank and slept; who suffered and was crucified; who came from God; who prayed to God; who did God's will; and who said, on leaving the world, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God;' the doctrine that this Jesus was the Supreme God himself, and the same being with his Father, this seems to us a contradiction to reason and scripture so flagrant, that the simple statement of it is a sufficient refutation. We are often charged with degrading Christ; but if this reproach belong to any Christians, it falls, we fear, on those who accuse him of teaching a doctrine so contradictory, and so subversive of the supremacy of our Heavenly Father. Certainly our humble and devout Master has given no ground for this accusation. He always expressed towards God the reverence of a son. He habitually distinguished himself from God. He referred to God all his pow

He said without limitation or reserve, 'The Father is greater than I.'— Of myself I can do nothing.' If to represent Christ as a being distinct from God, and as inferior to him, be to degrade him, then let our opponents lay the guilt where it belongs, not on us, but on our Master, whose language we borrow, in whose very words we express our sentiments, whose words we dare not trifle


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with and force from their plain sense. Our limits will not allow us to say more; but we ask common Christians, who have taken their opinions from the bible rather than from human systems, to look honestly into their own minds, and to answer frankly, whether they have not understood and believed Christ's divinity, in the sense maintained by us, rather than in that for which the Trinitarians contend.

2. I proceed to another objection, and one which probably weighs more with multitudes than any other. It is this, that our doctrine respecting Christ takes from the sinner the only ground of hope. It is said by our opponents, “We and all men are sinners by our very nature, and infinitely guilty before God. The sword of divine justice hangs over us, and hell opens beneath us; and where shall we find a refuge but in an infinite Saviour ? We want an Infinite Atonement; and in depriving us of this, you rob us of our hope, you tear from the scriptures the only doctrine which meets our wants. We may burn our bibles, if your interpretation be true, for our case is desperate; we are lost forever.' In such warm and wild language, altogether unwarranted by scripture, yet exceedingly fitted to work on common and terror-stricken minds, our doctrine is constantly assailed.

Now to this declamation, for such we esteem it, we oppose one plain request. Show us, we say, a single passage in the bible in which we are told, that the sin of man is infinite, and needs an infinite atonement. We find not one. Not even a whisper of this doctrine comes to us from the sacred writers.

Let us stop a moment and weigh this doctrine. It teaches us that man, although created by God a frail, erring, and imperfect being, and even created with an irresistible propensity to sin, is yet regarded by his Creator as an infinite offender, meriting infinite punishment for his earliest transgressions; and that he is doomed to endless torment, unless an infinite Saviour appear for his rescue! How can any one, we ask, charge on our benevolent and righteous Parent such a government of his creatures.-We maintain, that man is not created in a condition which makes an infinite atonement necessary; nor do we believe that any creature can fall into a condition, from which God may not deliver him without this rigid expedient. Surely, if an infinite satisfaction to justice were indispensable to our salvation, if God took on him human nature for the very purpose of offering it, and if this fact constitute the peculiar glory, the life and essence, and the saving efficacy of the gospel, we must find it expressed clearly, definitely, in at least one passage

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