Page images
PDF
EPUB

only shows that he who dies for it does himself believe it.” The Socinian doctrine affords no comfort or assurance to us: for if we considered Christ as a teacher and example, we have not followed his precepts nor example; here is nothing but matter of condemnation to us."

Now the Unitarians do not consider Christ as man, but as a man come forth from God-commissioned by him to proclaim the remission of sins on repentance--the first-born from the dead" declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection;" which, according to this writer, is nothing new, nor any confirmation of doctrine! As to Satisfaction, it is no more to be found in Scripture than Transubstantiation. He who denies that the Unitarian doctrine contains in it comfort or assurance, proclaims his infidelity in the word of God; which declares that “he blots out our transgressions for his own saké, and will not remenber our sins."

It is a common assertion with Trinitarians, that a man cannot die a Unitarian; and a minister, who left the primitive worship of the Father for the popular theology, affirmed that a fit of illness had shown him the necessity of a Saviour. Of such converts it is sufficient to say, that they do not understand Unitarianism. It is the common infirmity of the human mind, to lean on other assistance than that of God. It is the origin of most of the old heathen errors, of human sacrifices, of the popish worship of human souls; yet it is perpetually appealed to as an infallible evidence of the truth of the perverted notions respecting the office and death of Christ. The Bible declares · I am God, and besides me there is no Saviour.” To those who reproach us with having no Saviour or Comforter, we reply, that God is our Saviour and Coinforter; and Trinitarians and Satisfactionists shall not be able to pluck us out of his hand. Becanse Unitarians rely on their God himself as their Saviour and Redeemer, and believe the redemption from sin and death to be conveyed to them, not procured for them, by Christ Jesus, they are vulgarly accused of an opinion of their own righteousness; as

66

if, because they contend for the unpurchased merey of God, a mercy-the riches of which they acknowledge in a greater degree than their calumniators, as both unbought and undeserved,-they, therefore, do not feel the need of mercy at all. This popular notion has been strengthened by the representations of Apostate Unitarians, who had taken up their profession of the Unitarian faith with very imperfect views of it, and again left it, in ignorance of its grounds and genuine spirit. Mr. Scott, in his “ Force of Truth," a work in which the frames of feeling and experiences and convictions of the writer's own mind are brought forward and insisted upon in the manner peculiar to certain Christians as proofs of the truth of opinions, follows a similar train of reasoning : “Brought, up in the proud notion of the dignity of human nature, I had lost sight of the evil of sin, and thought little of my own sinfulness. I was filled with a selfimportant opinion of my own worth and the depth of my understanding, and I had adopted a system of religion (Socinianism) adapted to that foolish pride." He speaks also of “perceiving that his Socinian principles were very disreputable, and therefore concealing them; and of being “ conscious, from his own experience, that they were unfavourable to morality.”

Mr. Scott may have read, perhaps, in holy writ, of a sect that was every-where spoken against," and he may have also seen that they did not on that account conceal their principles. He will probably be cautious how he brings forward the fact of the unpopularity of that sect, as impeaching their doctrines or morals. That his own experience had taught him the im moral tendency of Unitarianism cannot excite wonder, when it is said that he had “lost sight of sin ;” but this he was not taught by Unitarianism; of whose principles and spirit he was and is totally ignorant. Neither did he learn from Unitarianism that want of charity for his Christian brethren, and that contempt and dislike for differing religious professions, which he at that time experienced towards the Methodists, and which he now cherishes towards the Unitarians. In answer to this sort of objection, which imputes the defects of

we

nor

character or understanding in the individual to the sect whose principles he may have chanced to select for his profession, it may be observed that Unitarian's own no morality but that of the Gospel ; where they read that "every one who nameth the lord Jesus Christ must depart from iniquity;" that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" “ that no man hath wherewith to glory before God;” and that when “ have done all, we are unprofitable serrants.” If the Unitarians, therefore, receive the Gospel as their standard of morals, and endeavour at reducing to practice the precepts which it enjoins, the assertion of Mr. Scott cannot be true. They can neither “lose sight of the evil of sin " think 'little of their own sinfulness," nor be “filled with an important opinion of their own worth and understanding;” and with those, if any there be, who, like Mr. Scott, may have conceived that to think and feel thus was to be a Unitarian, they hold no communion of profession; they have not so learned Christ.

Mr. Scott asserts that “the natural progress of unhumbled reason is from Arianism to Socinianism; from Socinianism to Deism, and from that to Atheism," But we acknowledge no infallible Rabbi in Mr. Scott, whose dicta are to be received as oracles; and we question, in this instance, both his experience and his discernment. Will he dare to say that the venerable Lindsey, who abandoned all of earthly advantage to embrace the simple faith as it is in Jesus, ended his inquiries by settling down in Deism or Atheism ? If the larger proportion of belief, which some will call the excess of superstitious credulity, secure a man against the dangers of Atheism, then the Popish faith is that by which he may best be secured; and they, according to Mr. Scott's method of induction, are the most truly Christian, who not only elevate Jesus of Nazareth into the godhead, but the Virgin also.

* Can Mr. Scott tell us of no converts to Deisin or Atheism, who have become so through the disgust induced in strong thinking minds by an education amidst the systems of creed-makers and the absurdities and horrors of Calvinistic redemption systems which

have propagated infidelity on the one hand, and on the other have peopled our lunatic asylums with the victims of despair ? Such reasonings are what might have been expected from a man who alleges that in his prosecution of religious inquiry, “ he found the study of Locke's writings a disservice.".

As to the insinuated immoral tendency of Unitarian principles, we may reply to Mr. Scott in his own words, respecting the judgments passed on his own sect: “To adopt every childish cavil, every vague report, EVERY SCANDALOUS FALSEHOOD, and industri. ously to propagate them, as if these afforded refutation of all the ARGUMENTS, AUTHORITIES, and SCRIPTURAL TESTIMONIES with which we support our sentiments, is no evidence of a candid liberal mind, or of a sincere desire to know the truth.

NOTE 12, p. 175.

" The

cry of the doctors is, for the most part, discard reason, and prostrate your understanding before the adorable mysteries. Instead of a Supreme Independent First Cause of all things to believe in and worship, they give Three true Gods in number, Three infinite independent Beings to be called One, as agreeing in one common abstract essence or species ; as all mankind are one, in one common rational nature, or abstract idea of humanity. Instead of founding salvation on moral rectitude, and our preferring the will of God, as delineated in the words of the Gospel, before all other considerations, we are told of an innocent, meritorious, propitiating blood, spilt by wicked hands, and so made an acceptable sacrifice to a Being who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. This, we are assured, satisfies all the demands of the law. Here is infinite satisfaction ; and most certainly, I add, a cool indifference as to personal rectitude. When such a faith or credulity

becomes the principal pillar of trust and dependance, then mere reliance on such satisfaction to divine justice may be a stupefying opiate, and make many remiss in the labours of a penitential piety, and that exact rectitude of mind and life which even 'reason requires, to render us acceptable to the Deity. Many an appetite and passion are indulged under this subterfuge; and, with little fervency in zeal for good works, men expect to partake of the heavenly joys by trusting to the merits of their Saviour in their last will and testament. Deplorable case! Alas! how has Christianity suffered by its Rabbins! The infidel laughs at it as thus preached. It becomes a by-word, and a hissing to those that pass hy."-Amory.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »