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degree of depravity corrupts every thing with which it comes in contact. As Dr. Wardlaw in his treatise on Ethics (the first of the series) subverts in toto the grounds of moral obligation, by denying the very existence of moral power, so does this author take away the capacity of judging concerning the evidence of Christian, or assumed Christian, doctrines from all but his own narrow pale. And consistently with this miserably contracted view he says, (p. 18) that the actual adaptation of the gospel is to a few.'

Whatever error in judgment men commit is uniformly ascribed by this writer to the depravity of human nature. It should seem that our Saviour had forgotten this essential truth? when he said, “Why of yourselves judge ye not what is right?' As soon however as human nature is attracted within the narrow circle of Calvinism, all is essentially right. Supernatural conversion is the only way of being introduced into it. Man himself does not in the least contribute to produce this effect: it is the exclusive creation of the Almighty. And yet, it should seem, that this supernatural influence does not change the "features of individual character, no, nor inspiration itself.—p. 49.

The extent of the corruption of Christianity is represented to be alarmingly great. It is said to be .so vitiated as to become little else than another form of heathenism'; and for this tremendous guilt, too, poor human nature, though having no power to do good, is accountable.—p. 6.

This writer has discovered, that the primitive Christian fathers were very ignorant of the true evangelical doctrinethose who first reared the Christian edifice in the world, and cemented the indestructible structure with their blood; and that the discovery of the true Christian system was reserved for the enlightened theologians of the fourth and fifth century, The avowal, with one or two exceptions, for the sake of decency, is unreserved and ingenuous : we insert it verbatim.

• It was reserved to the improved literature of the Church in the fourth and fifth centuries, and to the Arian and Pelagian controversies, to restore, in a great measure, those views of the Trinity, of the fallen state of man, and of the doctrines of grace, which had been so far obscured and impaired by the dogmas of an Antichristian philosophy. The statements adopted on these points in synods and general councils after the date of the third century, may not have been in all respects such as inspired men would have put forth ; but they were in much nearer unison with the faith once delivered to the saints than would have been published by any such assembly before that time. Hence we regard Justin Martyr as a sorry guide on questions of theology if compared with Augustine.

Even in the of the a postles, we find that the ordinary expositors of Christian truth were in the greatest danger of being turned aside from the simplicity in Christ,' &c.-p. 321.

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So, Justin Martyr and all the Greek fathers, until the time of Constantine, knew very little, poor men! about true orthodox evangelical Christianity. How many thanks do we owe to Athanasuis, Jerome and Augustine, et id genus omne, for the revelation of the true gospel! Such a sweeping confession we did not expect. Justin Martyr a sorry guide compared with Augustine! Sorry guide, indeed! But surely he was a much better witness of the state of opinions in his own time than the professed dealers in pious frauds ;' and though he was the originator of the great error of the subordinate deity of Christ, we can clearly ascertain from him, that neither Athanasianism nor Calvinism were known in his

age. This writer also explicitly allows, that the most primitive fathers were not aware of the mysteriousness in which the assumed leading doctrines have been since enveloped. Hence,' he “the primitive fathers rarely make any reference to the divine nature, or to the great facts of our redemption, as the incarnation, the atonement, and the work of the Holy Spirit, as involving any thing really inexplicable.'—p. 277.

In the following passage we are informed for what, and how much, we are indebted to the creeds and councils, those pure sources, whence emanated the doctrine of the Trinity and its congeners : Certain scholastic decisions in regard to the laws and truths of Christianity, put forth by synods and councils, became the one authority, in place of the scriptures, with the great Christian community.'-p. 269.

The following remark is made in regard to the opinions of the early Jewish Christians: The kind of Unitarianism, which, from these causes, was so generally maintained by the Jews subsequent to the age of Adrian, could not but operate in favour of every similar creed among avowed Christians.'—p. 147.

And the great 'simplicity of the ancient faith is thus distinctly admitted: * Nothing was demanded of either Jew or Gentile preparatory to baptism, and the Christian fellowship, beyond an open profession of faith in Christ as the promised Saviour of men, and an avowed willingness to be governed in all things by his holy commandments.'--p. 128.

How prone the author is to give a preference to the doctrines of synods and councils may be discovered from his representation of the ordinances of the Lord's supper and baptism.

• Now,' he says, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper were outward signs, intended to denote the gracious influence of the Gospel on the nature of those to whom they were administered. It was the avowed object of these services, to set forth the transition of humanity from the danger and helplessness of its natural condition, to the state of security and renewed life introduced by Christianity.'-p. 300.

Though this mystical operation is said to be the, avowed object of the ordinances in question, no reference is given to where the avowal may be found.

That Christianity has in fact been much corrupted, admits of no doubt, because it is differently understood by different men, and different churches have different creeds and practices. These differences have been greatly aggravated by secular interests, and a spirit of partizanship—itself not free from the taint of filthy lucre.' If it be not essential to the most favourable operation of the Gospel on the hearts and lives of men, that all should arrive at an actual agreement of opinion and practice—a thing perhaps scarcely practicable in this state of ignorance and frailty-it is we think desirable, that the number and magnitude of the existing differences should be lessened ; and more especially that the benevolent and beneficent spirit of the Gospel be not overwhelmed and destroyed in the conflict of violent passions and opposite interests. We would therefore exhort all men to a more conscientious practice of its moral duties, as well as a more diligent investigation of the records of Divine revelation. Violent prejudices will subside by degrees, and the true principles of sound criticism and interpretation be established. The great corruptions of Christianity, were the offspring of the supererogotary wisdom of those, who were desirous of elevating the Gospel to the splendour of the ancient superstitions, in accordance, no doubt, with their own prejudices ;) and of adorning the solid, but simple building of Christianity, with the miserable additions of ‘hay and stubble;' disguising the form and beauty of that system of truth and simplicity, by the perverted philosophy and metaphysical theology of the Augustine and subsequent schools, which shed a murky glare on the visible darkness of the dark ages. A departure from the plain letter of the Scriptures is the great ground and cause of offence, in all the corruptors of the Christian religion.

W. J.

ON THE ATONEMENT.

To the Editor of the Christiun Teucher. Sir, -The doctrine of the Atonement, according to the views of the self-styled Orthodox, is not, as it appears to me, the doctrine of Scripture. Although the persons who hold this doctrine cannot deny that the word atonement occurs but once in the New Testament; and although they cannot deny that in that passage the just sense of the term is that of the reconciliation of man to God, and not of God to man; yet, I appeal to all who are, or have been, accustomed to hear and read the discourses and works of Trinitarians, whether it is not insisted on, to say the least, that something was to be done, and suffered by Christ, before the Almighty Father could, consistently with his strict justice, pardon the sins and save the souls of men? Now, Sir, as the subject strikes my mind, this is a tacit denial of the unconditional freeness of Divine mercy and love. It is a principle which Jesus Christ himself has not taught, in one single lesson ; and it appears to bring into the simplicity of the Gospel, a train of confused ideas and unwarrantable conclusions.

We rejoice in the mediation of Christ, but we see not that mystery in it, which it presents to the minds of our Calvinistic brethren. Why should there be thought to be so much more mystery in the mediation of Christ, than in that of Moses ? To the Jews it was mysterious, not, indeed, so much as to the nature of that mediation, as to the extent of it. For they wondered how the God of their fathers, whose love had chosen and cherished them above all other nations, could extend his paternal favour to all the kindreds of mankind.*

Once I thought, as does your correspondent, 'A Layman ;' + but am now, after careful and impartial investigation of the subject, powerfully convinced, that the death of Christ had no influence on the mind of God, in disposing him to bless his rational offspring, or to receive their prayers or their praises, their services or their repentance. That the benefits of his death are great and precious, in many respects, none but unbelievers can deny. We rejoice in the great event, as a glorious display of the great love of God, and of the devotion of Christ to the glory of his God and our God, his Father and our Father,' in connexion with the restoration of the human family from the degradations of ignorance and crime, misery and mortality. We rejoice in the event, as such a display of Divine benevolence, when rightly understood, attracts the most distant sons of earth into blissful communion with heaven, and breaks down the stoutest enmity of the human mind, which stands as a wall of separation between God and the soul.

In the death of Jesus, we see a confirmation of prophecy, a glorious illustration of the faithfulness of the Almighty to his ancient promises. • The seed of the woman has bruised the head of the serpent,' even by the instrumentality of his sufferings, by the ignominy of his cross, the pains of death and the dishonours of the grave;-since these necessarily preceded the glorious reward of life and joy which had been set before him, the progress of his cause, the boundless triumph of his kingdom. For to him the king of terrors was made to yield, the bars of the tomb to give way, and the gates of immortality to unfold. Then, a spiritual dominion which he had not before, recompensed his faithful labours and his dying agonies. His blood proved the seal of the covenant of love, in its enlarged application to · Jew and Gentile, male and female, barbarian, Scythian, bond and free.' Thus the middle wall of partition,' between nation and nation, was undermined and levelled with the ground: thus the kingdom of God, as the Father of all, had its firm foundations laid, and his will was done on earth by those who were not before numbered among his people, even as it had been done before, only in the lieaven of his church.

With what other sentiments than those of admiration, love, and gratitude, can the Bible Christian view the obedient spirit, the pious faith, the calm patience, the holy courage, the profound resignation of the now exalted and glorified Son of the Most High? How can we believe his

See 1 Tim. ii. 4-8.

+ Christian Teacher, No. 8, p. 493.

object of the ordinances in question, no reference is given to where the avowal may be found.

That Christianity has in fact been much corrupted, admits of no doubt, because it is differently understood by different men, and different churches have different creeds and practices. These differences have been greatly aggravated by secular interests, and a spirit of partizanship_itself not free from the taint of• filthy lucre. If it be not essential to the most favourable operation of the Gospel on the hearts and lives of men, that all should arrive at an actual agreement of opinion and practice—a thing perhaps scarcely practicable in this state of ignorance and frailty-it is we think desirable, that the number and magnitude of the existing differences should be lessened; and more especially that the benevolent and beneficent spirit of the Gospel be not overwhelmed and destroyed in the conflict of violent passions and opposite interests. We would therefore exhort all men to a more conscientious practice of its moral duties, as well as a more diligent investigation of the records of Divine revelation. Violent prejudices will subside by degrees, and the true principles of sound criticism and interpretation be established. The great corruptions of Christianity, were the offspring of the supererogotary wisdom of those, who were desirous of elevating the Gospel to the splendour of the ancient superstitions, in accordance, no doubt, with their own prejudices ;) and of adorning the solid, but simple building of Christianity, with the miserable additions of “hay and stubble;' disguising the form and beauty of that system of truth and simplicity, by the perverted philosophy and metaphysical theology of the Augustine and subsequent schools, which shed a murky glare on the visible darkness of the dark ages. A departure from the plain letter of the Scriptures is the great ground and cause of offence, in all the corruptors of the Christian religion.

W. J.

ON TIE ATONEMENT.

To the Editor of the Christiun Teucher. Sir,—The doctrine of the Atonement, according to the views of the self-styled Orthodox, is not, as it appears to me, the doctrine of Scripture. Although the persons who hold this doctrine cannot deny that the word atonement occurs but once in the New Testament; and although they cannot deny that in that passage the just sense of the term is that of the reconciliation of man to God, and not of God to man ; yet, I appeal to all who are, or have been, accustomed to hear and read the discourses and works of Trinitarians, whether it is not insisted on, to say the least, that something was to be done, and suffered by Christ, before the Almighty Father could, consistently with his strict justice, pardon the sins and save the souls of men ? Now, Sir, as the subject

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