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Christ, according to covenant, having paid the infinite rar, som, it might be concluded that the salvation of all men would be secured. But this, as we are told by the disciples of Calvin, would be an egregious mistake, for though the uttermost farthing has been paid, a large majority of mankind are predestinated to hell-fire, by an omnipotent decree which not every the bloody sacrifice of the Etemal Son of God could avert or annul! So that, after all, the benefits of Christ's death are extended to only a chosen few the elect_a The rest of mankind, as as the Westminster Confession of Faith charitably informs us, (c. iii. 7.) “God was pleased to pass by and ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice."
Now it is evident from this scheme, that God the Father and God the Son entertained totally contradietory views of man's first offence. Though consubstantial they are dissentient, for if they are one in mind, why did not the Son join in the curse, and demand an infinite ransom as well as the Father? Again, by whom was the ransom paid? By God the Son, or by the man Jesus? If by the former, then one person of the Godhead suffered and died to make atonement to another person, and yet both persons are the same God !—This is truly marvellous. On the other hand, if only the human nature of Christ suffered, how was the infinite debt discharged ? Moreover-why is God the Holy Ghost passive or neutral in this transaction? Why did not the Third person of the Trinity demand satisfaction as well as the First? Were his ideas of justice less rigorous, hie majesty less offended, or his spirit less vindietive ?
These, no doubt, are audacious questions, but those who advocate the free use of Scripture, and the right of private
attributes of justice, mercy, forgiveness. It represents him as surpassing in eruelty the legislator whose laws were written in blood. If the natural sentiments of right and wrong in the breast of a heathen poet, rose indignant at the dogmas of the Stoics, that all faults are equal, and should be punished with equal rigour, how would he have shrunk with horror from this monstrous Calvinistic heresy !
FRANCIS. This is the language of nature, and it is confirmed by revelation, which tells us that God is an equitable judge; that he is merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Exod. xxxiv. 6.
“ Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon."-Isaiah, lv. 7.
judgment, will excuse them. The only mode of preventing their repetition, as Mr. Maguire will candidly admit, is quiet submission to the authority of an Infallible Church.
The Doctrine of the Trinity not taught in the Scriptures.
Revelation was given to man, by the mercy of an ever blessed God, to lead to virtue, bappiness, and immortality; not to perplex and confound with such questions as that under discussion. Being intended for universal benefit, for the Barbarian as well as the Greek, for the Gentile as well as the Jew, it teaches all that is necessary to be known as instrumental to salvation, in perspicuous language, and leaves no doctrine of vital importance in obscurity. It has been well observed that “ the gospel is full in telling us what is to be done, sparing of what we are to believe." Its articles of belief are few, and these few intelligible to the rude and ignorant. Its radical truth is, that God is oneThis truth which is so simple, and so easily comprehended, it repeats again and again, and fences it round with such barriers as exclude - every imagination that would vitiate its simplicity. It utters not a syllable of three persons, one in substance, equal in power and glory. “God the Son,” and “God the Holy Ghost," are phrases no where to be found in the sacred writings—nor the Incarnate God-nor the Tri-une God- nor the God-man. Such epithets and barbarous compounds, applied to the Deity, are redolent of heathen superstition. They have no affinity to the pure and simple language of Inspiration. They were never used by the Apostles in all their preaching, either to Jew or Gentile, though now so frequently resounded from many a popular pulpit, falsely reputed orthodox. Had such a doctrine as the Trinity constituted any part of the Christian Religion, we must believe, on every principle of reason and common sense, that it would have been revealed as clearly, and as much to the satisfaction of every inquirer, as the being of God himself. Nay, it required stronger evidence, and more ample illustration. We can acquire some knowledge of God by the light of nature, and therefore it was less necessary to insist on that subject ; but we derive from nature no intimation whatever of a Trinity, and therefore it must be presumed that a revelation from God would have dwelt with force, and at considerable length, in inculcating and explaining a doctrine so novel : and we are justified in holding this opinion by our certainty that the gospel does insist, with copiousness and perspicuity, on every necessary topic of belief, and most of all on such doctrines as are of most utility. For instance, as nature affords but a glimpse of a future state, and as a belief in this doctrine, has an almost unbounded
influence on the conduct and bappiness of man, the gospel, in
If Christ were really Almighty God, it is inconceivable why he did not avow it distinctly; and that it was not as distinctly taught by the Apostles. Strange, that his own family and disciples never once suspected him to be the God of Israel! So far from admitting a thought that would have paralysed them, and falsified what they were taught in their law, “ that no man could see the face of God and live.”—Exod. xxxiii. 20,—they Jived with him on terms of the most friendly and familiar inter
On one occasion, Peter rebuked him.--Mat. xvi. 22.
It may be alleged by Mr. Pope, that the disciples, apostles, and all who had the best opportanities of contemplating our Lord, entertained erroneous opinions of him, (yet Peter was in no error when he said, “ thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God,”) and that it was not till after his resurrection, ascension, and the effusion of the Holy Spirit, that their minds were enlarged to form a true conception of his character. Well, what was their opinion then? Did they suppose him to be the Eternal God? Never. When they were busily occupied in laying the foundation of the Christian Church among both Jews and Gentiles, they declared that Christ was the chief corner stone in the edifice; but that the Almighty was the supreme architect. In all their preaching, as recorded in their “ Acts,” they never made the Deity of Christ the theme of a single discourse. They spoke of him as he had spoken of himself—as deputed by the Father to rescue man from the bondage of sin and death. But they never spoke of the Son's consubstantiality with the Fathernor of three persons in one God. The Jews vanquished as their prejudices were, by arguments deduced from their own Scriptures, and corroborated by miracles, would not have endured such language. Nor can it be contended that the Apostles, from fear of the Jews,* suppressed any truth which it was their duty to reveal, much less a truth of such paramount importance. The Jews did not require to be instructed in the nature of the Neity—they had learned from the writings of Moses and the prophets, that he is one, all powerful, wise, and good ; and it was never so much as hinted to them by the Saviour, that their notions of God were
The points, therefore, on which the Apostles insisted to them, were the Messiah-ship of Christ, obedience to his precepts, faith in his doctrines, the resurrection and judgment. The Gentiles who were universally corrupted by Polytheism, did require to be taught a pure theology; and in Paul's discourse to the Athenians we have a most edifying specimen of the mode in which they were addressed. Having seen an altar dedicated to the unknown God, the Apostle takes occasion to expatiate on the being and character of the God who is made known by revelation —and his discourse throughout is most decidedly Unitarian. He speaks of the great Creator of the World, the Lord of Heaven and Earth—of his having made of one blood all nations of men, who, according to the saying of one of their own poets, are “his offspring ;" that he is not to be represented by images of gold, silver, or stone, for as he is a
• The author has somewhere read that Athanasius imputes it to the Apostles' fears of the Jews, that they did not preach the Deity of Christ. The true reason was, that they knew no such fiction. To allege that men, who were prepared at all times, to die for the truth, dared not to advocate any doctrine essential to salvation, even before their most infuriated enemies, is to slander their character,
spirit, he must be contemplated by the spiritual part of man; that being infinitely beneficient, he connived at their past ignorance, but now commanded them to repent, to depart from their idolatry, to worship and obey the great Jehovah alone. To give efficacy to his admonition, he then speaks of the great topics never neglected by the Apostles, resurrection, and judgmentdeclaring unto them that God had appointed a day in which he would "judge the world, in righteousness, by that Man whom he had ordained,” and that he had given the most incontestible proof of this truth, by having already raised him from the dead.* -Acts, xvii.
All this discourse was highly beautiful and instructive. It contained nothing but what “reason and common sense" could approve and adopt. The only circumstance about which his hearers felt distrust, was the resurrection. But what would have been their thoughts, had the Apostle, after having revealed to them the true God-brought them down from the elevation to which he had raised them, and alleged that the Almighty Creator, of whom he had just declared that “he dwelleth not in temples made with hands”--that he whom “the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain,” was cradled in a manger, and after a life of suffering, was put to death upon a cross? Would they
* It is argued by Burgh who wrote, against Lindsey's Apology, a book which he was pleased to entitle a “ Scriptural Confutation," that because Paul preached Jesus to the Athenians, they said, he seemed to be a setter. forth of strange Gods, Acts, xvii. 18. Here, upon a call to explain himself and answer the charge of setting forth strange Gods, in having preached Jesus, he avows that he whom he had preached was that God whom they knew not, (the unknown God) but worshipped ignorantly: but he had preached Jesus; therefore Jesus Christ was that God hitherto unknown to them, and one with the Father.”
Such is a specimen of the miserable and contemptible sophistry of a man who thought he could confute Lindsey! He makes strange Gods (or foreign demons) and unknown God, relate to the same person, ignorant or forgetful that the word rendered Gods is dan conwy which, in general, if not in every other instance, in the common version of the Scriptures, is ren, dered Devils. The Athenians were so much addicted to the fear and worship of these Devils or Demons, that Paul charged them with being devosdailloveotspus too superstitious-more literally, too fearful of Demons. The foreign De. mons of which “he seemed to be a setter-forth," were Jesus and Anastasis, i. e. Resurrection, and it would be as consistent to assert of Anastasis as of Jesus, that she was the unknown God. What analogy there is, either grammatical or physical, between “foreign Demons" plural, and the "unknown God” singular, such writers as Burgh may determine. This confuter of Lindsey says,
“ I thank God and my pious parents for it, that with my nurse's milk I did imbibe the doctrine (of the Trinity), which I now maintain; and at the same time, I imbibed a belief, that grass was green, that fire was hot, that snow was cold, and that two and two make four.” Prodigious! What pity that he did not add to these liberal scientific attainments, the belief that one is one, and that three are three !