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nothing alluring or satisfactory in Protestantism, as it is professed in France. Some of these have lately turned their attention to Unitarianism, with which they have become acquainted through the medium of English and American publications, and are disposed to try the experiment of translations and abridgements of some of these in their own language. Others meditate further schemes,and contemplate the establishment of a sect of Catholic Unitarians. It is a fact, at once curious and encouraging, that many individuals and several knots of persons have indulged these designs and hopes without concert, and even without a suspicion of each other's wishes. The schemes referred to may in some cases have been suggested, and in others may have been strengthened, by political feelings and speculations; but it will appear, as the writer believes, whenever the attempt of religious reformation shall be seriously made in France, that many of the best minds of that country are swayed in their desire of a rational religion by a pure regard to truth, and to the moral welfare of their fellow-creatures. It may be added, that the larger portion of the press is favorable to a new and further religious reformation, and that the Charter is interpreted as providing toleration for any form of Christian faith and worship. The Revue Protestante, which ably and spiritedly disputed the dogmas of Calvin, is dropped, though not from any failure of subscribers. A report is abroad that this work is speedily to be revived under a new and bolder title, and to be devoted to the illustration and defence of Unitarianism.'
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Heb. xiii, 8.
The name of Jesus Christ is often used in scripture to signify his doctrine. He is, therefore, said to be and to do many things, which are not true of him personally, but only of his doctrine.
This is not a peculiar or unusual mode of speaking. The name of Moses is often used by the sacred writers in the same manner, signifying not the man himself, but his doctrine. Thus, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.' Again, in the speech of James before the council at Jerusalem; For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day.' Paul also
says; 'But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.' Again, his enemies are
VOL. I.NO. IV.
said in another place to have charged him with teaching the Jews 'to forsake Moses. It will not be denied, that in these and similar passages, what is asserted of Moses is not true of him personally, but only of his doctrine, or his writings, or the religion generally, of which he was the acknowledged founder and lawgiver.
Applying the same principle of interpretation we find no difficulty in understanding such passages as the following, in which the name of our Saviour is introduced. It is said of the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles; and daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ;' that is, the christian doctrine. Paul also writes to the Romans; 'And if Christ, that is, the christian doctrine or the christian spirit, be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.' Again, he writes to the Corinthians ; • Now he which stablishes us with you in Christ,' that is, in the christian doctrine, and hath anointed us, is God.' Once more, he writes to the Ephesians; ‘But ye have not so learned Christ,' that is, the christian doctrine. Respectable commentators of all denominations agree, that in these and similar passages the name of our Lord does not stand for his
but his doctrine; that the assertions are not true of Christ himself, but of the christian doctrine, the christian religion.
We see, then, that it is consistent with the usage of the sacred writers to represent our Saviour as being and doing many things, which are not true of him personally, but only of his doctrine, of the christian religion. Wherever the name of Christ occurs in the New Testament, therefore, the question fairly rises whether the passage will not bear this construction ; and the question can only be determined by the connexion, and by what we know of the subject from other sources. As a general rule, however, I am convinced that we are too much inclined to adopt the literal interpretation in such cases; and that by doing so we sometimes depart from the sense really intended, and fall into serious errors.
It will be proper for me to illustrate what I mean by a few examples.
Mystics and enthusiasts in all ages have laid hold of a few passages in the New Testament as countenancing the idea of a supposed personal union with Christ; but when properly understood, these passages will be found to bear a different and more probable construction. Paul says to the Galatians; Nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;' that is, I am wholly actuated by christian principles. And again; “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you ; ' that is, until you become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and principles of Christ. The same apostle says to the Ephesians; • That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ;' that is, that you may become sincere, firm, and practical believers in the christian doctrine. Once more, in his second letter to the Corinthians ; “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ;' that is, on embracing the christian doctrine, his principles are so entirely changed, that he may be considered another man.
Other texts are sometimes adduced as implying that Christ occasionally enlightens and assists his followers by an immediate and personal agency; but it is probable that these texts refer to the influence of his doctrine. Thus Paul writes to the Ephesians; Wherefore he saith, awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ,' that is, the Gospel, 'shall give thee light.' He is comparing the darkness and death of the gentile state with the light and life enjoyed under the christian dispensation. Again, he writes to the Philippians; 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;' that is, I can do all things through the energy which christian principles inspire. Much is also said about knowing Christ, and preaching Christ, and him crucified, and these expressions have been thought by some to relate to his person only, and particularly to his last sufferings; but they probably relate to his doctrines generally. Paul writes to the Corinthians; 'But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;' that is, we are not ashamed to preach the doctrines of one who suffered an ignominious death, though we are aware that this circumstance will offend the prejudices of some, and provoke the contempt of others. In the language of scripture, preaching Christ is neither more nor less than giving a full and faithful exposition of his doctrines.
Further, Christ, it is said, will raise the dead; but it