« PreviousContinue »
which apparently contravene the plainest declarations and the uniform drift of the Bible, we carefully examine, and endeavour to explain, without wresting them, to convey a rational and consistent meaning. If Christ was a man approved of God, he could not be the Eternal God. If the Father was greater than he, he could not be equal with the Father. If Christ died, he could not be the Immortal God. If Christ was tempted, he could not be God, for God cannot be tempted with evil. If, then, Thomas called Christ God, he must have used the word in the inferior sense in which it is sometimes employed in the Scriptures. See Christian Pioneer, vol. i. p. 328.
It appears to us, that there are two distinct exclamations, addressed to different persons. The incredulous Apostle's doubts in a moment vanish. The delightful but astonishing truth flashes across his mind. A crowd of thoughts rush into his head, and he exclaims, in the perturbation of the moment, My Lord! and My God! first addressing himself to Christ:—it is indeed a fact, thou art in reality my honoured Master, whom I saw expire on the cross; then, full of pious gratitude to that great Being, to whom alone the Jews ascribed all their blessings, his thoughts were immediately, from the force of habit, turned in grateful adoration to Him by whose Almighty power, Jesus was raised from the dead. We shall take the liberty of expressing our thoughts on this text, in the words of Mr. Fox, addressed to Dr. Blomfield, the present Bishop of Chester.*
"On receiving the palpable proof which he had required, of the resurrection of Christ, Thomas exclaimed, My Lord! and my God!' I agree with you, that the first exclamation, my Lord! refers to Christ. You say, we can hardly' (I think we may easily) separate the two' exclamations, as I shall term them; for that they are 'two members of a sentence,' is a gratuitous assumption on your part. Their division is perfectly natural, because they correspond with the emotions which would, in the most rapid succession, be excited towards different objects in the Apostle's mind. By the first, he recognises the identity of Christ; and in the second, he reverences the power
The Apostle John a Unitarian, a Letter to the Rev. C. J. Blomfield, D. D. occasioned by his five lectures on the Gospel of St. John.By W. J. Fox. We strongly recommend this pamphlet to our readers.
of God, who had raised him from the dead. Were you, Sir, visited by some friend whom you had seen committed to the tomb, your feelings would, I think, on receiving a similar proof of identity, flow in the same course, and with the same rapidity. In the first moment of astonished conviction, you would call him by his name; your immediately succeeding feeling would be, an adoring gratitude towards the Almighty Author of the change. The coupling together of two exclamations, addressed to different persons, without noticing that circumstance, the terms being supposed to explain themselves, is analogous to the quotation of expressions from different passages, united in a similar way. Thus, Acts i. 20, It is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein, and his bishopric let another take.' The first is from Psalm lxix. the latter from Psalm cix. There is as much plausibility in their being a continued sentiment, as in the speech of Thomas being a continued address to the same person."
(To be Continued.)
My spirit mingled with the wind,
I plung'd beneath the world of waves,
I sought the forest depths profound,
I sought beyond the farthest star
I sought within the lurid sheet
Vain spirit! didst thou idly dream,
Go search, and see
Go, in thy pride,
Go! read their wonders; then unfold
Their secret powers-construction rare!
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, November 1, 1827.
MR. DAVID LOGAN, whose death we noticed in our June No. p. 396, was, early in destined for the Christian ministry, in the Church of Scotland. For the accomplishment of this purpose, he entered the University of Glasgow. At the age of sixteen, however, his benevolent heart had revolted at the doctrine of never-ending-torments, and he appears to have imbibed the opinions advocated by the Rev. Niel Douglas, at that period the Universalist Minister of this city. In a letter to a friend, dated
25th Dec. 1817, he vindicates Mr. Douglas from the charge of being an impostor, and happily replies to the charge, that the doctrine of God's unbounded love was a disgrace to Scotland:
"All Impostors, in all ages and countries, have consulted public feeling, and have accommodated to popular prejudice. They never attempt to reform or emancipate from error. They ever augment the potion. Instead of attacking prejudice, they soothe it—instead of insulting preconception, they flatter it, and thus a Mahomet can have a whole continent of dupes, and a " Pretender Messiah," can have a whole army of deluded enthusiastics, with but a little crafty address and artful management, at pleasure. Mr. Douglas, however, must be allowed to be an exception to the general run of Impostors. He ridicules the prejudice of reputed orthodoxy, he wounds the feelings of the bigot, and he bites the crafty system-monger. The Arminian he pronounces inconsistent-the Calvinist, he calls cruel-and the Infidel he declares is inexcusable. The first, because his God is impotent; the second, because his God is implacable; and the third, because he will not embrace a system that reconciles these contradictions, that harmonizes the Scriptures, and that displays the genuine amiableness of the perfections of God. All parties thus combine against him, from the Atheist to that paragon of infallibility, the Covenanter; and if insincere and unconscientious, in a word, if an Impostor, why does he revolt from current prejudices, and incur popular obloquy and disadvantage-why?-To preserve a conscience void of offence, towards God and towards Man.'
"The disgrace of a covenanted nation!' Who made the covenant with you? Was it God? Alas! you are covenanted against Truth and Free Inquiry. Before God and Man you swear, that you will defend with your blood, the articles of your confession; and pray, who revealed to you, that these articles are infallible truths, or who authorised you to monopolise truth? Nothing short of a revelation from heaven, could suggest the marvellous supposition, that Truth when it found John Calvin, received its consummation; and that the Covenanters so totally finished the building of the 'edification of the body of Christ,' as to furnish no scope for subsequent augmentation, or subsequent improvement. But had John this communication from Heaven? Did he show the credentials of a divine mission? The man who persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, burned, a poor dissenter from orthodoxy, of the name of Servetus, seems the last man in the world to have had converse with a God of infinite love and infinite justice.""
David Logan, had, indeed, no fear of man before his eyes. Pursuing his inquiries with all the ardour which a love of truth can alone inspire, the scales of Orthodox prejudice gradually dropped from before his mind, and he embraced with fervour, the principles of Christian Unitarianism. The pleadings of nature, and the solicitations of worldly comfort, and the prospect of worldly respectability, stifled not in him the still small voice of conscience. Unmindful either of the world's smile, or the world's frown, he felt that One God is rather to be followed, than in
numerable worlds of men,-that, though the applause of the mul titude might not be his, and his most earnest efforts might prove unavailing to roll back the tide of error,—and though men of the world, might affect to pity his enthusiasm, and the indifferentist might sneer, and the bigot scowl, yet that there was an eye that would mark the humble labourer of righteousness; and, cheered by these thoughts, he openly professed what he believed, and put forth his hand to the plough of duty. Mr. Logan was ever ready to assist in the various services in the Chapel at Glasgow, or in the neighbouring places; and in January 1822, was settled as minister to the congregation at Port-Glasgow. The anticipations of success which had been formed, were unhappily not realized, and in 1823, he accepted an invitation to Dundee. Here he published the Address, delivered at the entrance of his ministry amongst them. We would gladly make several extracts from this admirable publication, but must content ourselves with the introductory paragraph of the preface.
"The author of the following discourse, and defence of Unitarianism, is not a hereditary Unitarian. He is a convert. The renouncement of the doctrine of the Trinity cost him many pangs. It was the faith of his fathers-the faith which he cherishedthe faith which men hoped he would defend-and glad would he have been, when he began to suspect its erroneousness, if he could have excused himself from an impartial inquiry into the evidences of the opposite doctrine. But this he could not do. A strong suspicion that all was not right in his creed, having been excited in his mind, by a cause from which one would not have anticipated such an effect-excited by an orthodox sermon-he could not stifle it as some can do, by calling it a temptation of Satan, or by some other convenient expedient. He felt himself bound to inquire. He did inquire, and the result was, what some call heresy, and what I call truth.
"But, besides the duty of inquiry, he felt that he had another duty to perform-that of avowing his belief. This duty also he performed; and though poverty was before him-though obloquy was before him-though it grieved him to thwart a father's wishes, who, having conducted him through eight sessions of education in the University of Glasgow, was now so near the close of the long preparation, to be so painfully disappointed, he nevertheless became a Unitarian preacher; and now, as a defender of Unitarianism, he calls upon his Trinitarian countrymen, as Christians, to search the Scriptures,''-as Protestants, to scorn subjection to human authority, to be manly in the exercise of their own understandings to be unprejudiced, that if his be the truth, they may embrace it, and that if theirs be the truth, they may with some reason reject his error.
The reviewer of this little work, in the Monthly Repository, vol. xviii. p. 663, fully joined in the anticipations which others entertained. "We wholly mistake it, if it does not mark out its author, as destined to great usefulness in the Christian Church." There were, however, some peculiarities about Mr. Logan, which