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spirit. Nothing could have drawn them from us, but the fact that a very common method of opposing our sentiments is to decry the piety of those who adopt them. After all, we mean not to deny our great deficiencies. We have nothing to boast before God, although the cause of truth forbids us to submit to the censoriousness of our brethren.
6. Another objection to our views, is, that they lead to a rejection of revelation. Unitarianism has been called 'a half-way house to infidelity.'-Now to this objection we need not oppose general reasonings. We will state a plain fact. It is this.-A large proportion of the most able and illustrious defenders of the truth of Christianity have been Unitarians; and our religion has received from them, to say the least, as important service in its conflicts with infidelity, as from any class of Christians whatever. From the long catalogue of advocates of Christianity among Unitarians, we can select now but a few; but these few are a host. The name of John Locke is familiar to every scholar. He rendered distinguished service to the philosophy of the human mind; nor is this his highest praise. His writings on government and toleration contributed more than those of any other individual, to the diffusion of free and generous sentiments through Europe and America; and perhaps Bishop Watson was not guilty of great exaggeration, when he said, “This great man has done more for the establishment of pure Christianity than any author I am acquainted with.' He was a laborious and successful student of the scriptures. His works on the ' Epistles of Paul,' and on the ‘ Reasonableness of Christianity,' formed an era in sacred literature; and he has the honor of having shed a new and bright light on the darkest parts of the New Testament, and in general on the Christian system. Now Locke, be it remembered, was a Unitarian.We pass to another intellectual prodigy-to Newton, a name which every man of learning pronounces with reverence; for it reminds him of faculties so exalted above those of ordinary men, that they seem designed to help our conceptions of superior orders of being. This great man, who gained by intuition what others reap from laborious research, after exploring the laws of the universe, turned for light and hope to the bible; and although his theological works cannot be compared with Locke's, yet in his illustrations of the prophecies, and of scripture chronology, and in his criticisms on two doubtful passages,* which are among the chief supports of the doctrine of the trinity, he is considered as having rendered valua
*1 Jolin v. 7.-1 Tim. iii. 16.
ble service to the christian cause. Newton, too, was a Unitarian. -We are not accustomed to boast of men, or to prop our faith by great names; for Christ, and He only, is our Master;—but it is with pleasure, that we find in our ranks the most gifted, sagacious, and exalted minds; and we cannot but smile, when we sometimes hear from men and women of very limited culture, and with no advantages for enlarged inquiry, reproachful and contemptuous remarks on a doctrine which the vast intelligence of Locke and Newton, after much study of the scriptures, and in opposition to a prejudiced and intolerant age, received as the truth of God. It is proper to state that doubts have lately been raised as to the religious opinions of Locke and Newton, and for a very obvious reason. In these times of growing light, their names have been found too useful to the Unitarian cause. But the long and general belief of the Unitarianism of these illustrious men, can hardly be accounted for, but by admitting the fact; and we know of no serious attempts to set aside the proofs on which this belief is founded.
We pass to another writer, who was one of the brightest ornaments of the Church of England and of the age in which he lived, Dr. Samuel Clarke. In classical literature and in metaphysical speculation, Dr. Clarke has a reputation which needs no tribute at our hands. His sermons are an invaluable repository of scriptural criticism; and his work on the evidences of natural and revealed religion, has ever been considered as one of the ablest vindications of our common faith. This great man was a Unitarian. He believed firmly that Jesus was a distinct being from his Father; and a derived and dependent being; and he desired to bring the liturgy of his church into a correspondence with these doctrines.
To those who are acquainted with the memorable infidel controversy in the early part of the last century, excited by the writings of Bolingbroke, Tindal, Morgan, Collins, and Chubb, it will be unnecessary to speak of the zeal and power with which the christian cause was maintained by learned Unitarians. But we must pass over these to recall a man, whose memory is precious to enlightened believers; we mean Lardner, that most patient and successful advocate of Christianity; who has written, we believe, more largely
other author on the evidences of the gospel; from whose works later authors have drawn as from a treasurehouse; and whose purity and mildness have disarmed the severity and conciliated the respect of men of very different views from his own. Lardner was a Unitarian.—Next to Lardner, the most laborious advocate of Christianity against the attacks of infidels, in our own
day, was Priestley; and whatever we may think of some of his opinions, we believe that none of his opposers ever questioned the importance of his vindications of our common faith. We certainly do not say too much, when we affirm that Unitarians have not been surpassed by any denomination in zealous, substantial service to the christian cause. Yet we are told that Unitarianism leads to infidelity. We are reproached with defection from that religion, round which we have gathered in the day of its danger, and from which, we trust, persecution and death cannot divorce us.
It is indeed said, that instances have occurred of persons, who, having given up the Trinitarian doctrine, have not stopped there, but have resigned one part of Christianity after another, until they have become thorough infidels. To this we answer, that such instances we have never known; but that such should occur is not improbable, and is what we should even expect; for it is natural that when the mind has detected one error in its creed, it should distrust every other article, and should exchange its blind and hereditary assent for a sweeping skepticism. We have examples of this truth at the present moment, both in France and Spain, where multitudes have proceeded from rejecting Popery to absolute Athe ism. Now who of us will argue that the Catholic faith is true, because multitudes who relinquished it, have also cast away every religious principle and restraint; and if the argument be not sound on the side of Popery, how can it be pressed into the service of Trinitarianism? The fact is, that false and absurd doctrines, when exposed, have a natural tendency to beget skepticism in those who received them without reflection. None are so likely to believe too little as those who have begun with believing too much; and hence we charge upon Trinitarianism whatever tendency may exist in those who forsake it, to sink gradually into infidelity.
Unitarianism does not lead to infidelity. On the contrary, its excellence is, that it fortifies faith. Unitarianism is Christianity stripped of those corrupt additions, which shock reason and our moral feelings. It is a rational and amiable system, against which no man's understanding, or conscience, or charity, or picty revolts. Can the same be said of that system, which teaches the doctrines of three equal persons in one God, of natural and total depravity, of infinite atonement, of special and electing grace, and of the everlasting misery of the non-elected part of mankind ? We believe that unless Christianity be purified from these corruptions, it will not be able to bear the unsparing scrutiny to which the progress of society is exposing it. We believe that it must be reformed, or
intelligent men will abandon it. As the friends of Christianity, and the foes of infidelity, we are therefore solicitous to diffuse what seem to us nobler and juster views of this divine system.
7. It was our purpose to consider one more objection to our views; viz. that they give no consolation in sickness and death. But we have only time to express amazement at such a charge. What! a system which insists with a peculiar energy on the pardoning mercy of God, on his universal and parental love, and on the doctrine of a resurrection and immortality-such a system unable to give comfort ? It unlocks infinite springs of consolation and joy, and gives to him who practically receives it, a living, overflowing, and unspeakable hope. Its power to sustain the soul in death has been often tried; and did we believe dying men to be inspired, or that peace and hope in the last hours were God's seal to the truth of doctrines, we should be able to settle at once the controversy about Unitarianism. A striking example of the power of this system in disarming death, was lately given by a young minister in a neighbouring town,* known to many of our readers, and singularly endeared to his friends by eminent christian virtue. He was smitten by sickness in the midst of a useful and happy life, and sunk slowly to the grave. His religion, and it was that which has now been defended, gave
habitual peace to his mind, and spread a sweet smile over his pale countenance. He retained his faculties to his last hour; and when death came, having left pious counsel to the younger members of his family, and expressions of gratitude to his parents, he breathed out life in the language of Jesus— Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.' Such was the end of one who held, with an unwavering faith, the great principles which we have here advanced; and yet our doctrine has no consolation, we are told, for sickness and death !
We have thus endeavoured to meet objections commonly urged against our views of religion ; and we have done this, not to build up a party, but to promote views of Christianity, which seem to us particularly suited to strengthen men's faith in it, and to make it fruitful of good works and holy lives. Christian virtue, christian holiness, love to God and man, these are all which we think worth contending for; and these we believe to be intimately connected with the system now maintained. If in this we err, may God dis cover our error and disappoint our efforts. We ask no success, but what He may approve-no proselytes but such as will be made better, purer, happier by the adoption of our views.
* Rev. John E. Abbot of Salem. This tract was first published in 1819, in the Chris tian Disciple.
EXTRACTS FROM SERMONS PREACHED ON DAYS OF HUMILIATION AND PRAYER
APPOINTED IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN, A. D. 1812.
In all circumstances, at all times, war is to be deprecated. The evil passions which it excites, its ravages, its bloody conflicts, the distress and terror which it carries into domestic life, the tears which it draws from the widow and the fatherless, all render war a tremendous scourge.
There are indeed conditions, in which war is justifiable, is necessary. It may be the last and only method of repelling lawless ambition, of defending invaded liberty and essential rights. It may be the method which God's providence points out by furnishing the means of success. In these cases we must not shrink from war; though even in these we should deeply lament the necessity of shedding human blood. In such wars our country claims and deserves our prayers, our cheerful services, the sacrifice of wealth and even of life. In such wars we have one consolation, when our friends fall on the field of battle; we know that they have fallen in a just cause. Such conflicts, which our hearts and consciences approve, are suited to call forth generous sentiments, to breathe patriotism and fortitude through a community. Could I view the war in which we are engaged in this light, with what different feelings, my friends, should I address you! We might then look up to God and commit to him our country with a holy confidence. But, in our present state, what can I say to you? I would, but I cannot address you in the language of encouragement. We are precipitated into a war, which, I think, cannot be justified, and a war, which promises not a benefit, that I can discover, to this country or to the world.
A solemn question now offers itself. What conduct belongs to a good citizen in our present trying condition? To this subject I call your
serious attention. Our condition induces me to begin with urging on you the important duty of cherishing respect for civil government, and a spirit of obedience to the laws. I am sensible, that many whom I address, consider themselves as called to oppose the measures of our present rulers. Let this opposition breathe nothing of insubordination, impatience of authority, or love of change. It becomes you to remember, that government is a divine institution, essential to