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the peculiar doctrines of Unitarianism, as well as their general duties as Christians and moral agents. The meeting was concluded with singing and prayer; all expressing the gratification they had derived from the rational enjoyment of the evening. Upwards of seventy persons were present.
W In Chambers's Book of Scotland, lately published, there are some curious statements as to the progress and prevalence of Unitarianism, in this portion of Great Britain. The account is evidently that of an enemy to our principles, though unlike the usual failing of the spy, he sees not the nakedness but the abundance of the land. His fears bave magnified our numbers. They have made him as erroneous in his calculations, as his bigotry has rendered him in his classification. He puts down the Friends, but whether in Edinburgh only, or Scotland, it is hard to tell, as having one congregation, the Swedenborgians one, the Jews one—but when he comes to the Unitarians, he gets on bis magnifying glasses, and by a strange combination of heterogeneous personages, he thus points out the strength of our denomination to the world:
" UNITARIANS, those holding Socinian opinions, pure disbelievers, and those who attend no place of Public Worship of any description, either from want of seats or want of will, though generally baptized Christians, and of Presbyterian lineage-509, 100."
It has long ago been said, that misfortune brings a man acquainted with strange companions; but surely for the future, for misfortune, we must read prosperity. We doubt the correctness of the enumeration, even allowing him the motley groupe he has collected, and by which he has given us more than a quarter of the whole population of Scotland. . The object for which such a classification was made, is evident. The trade of calumny is an old one, and we would fain hope, in religion, is getting more and more disreputable. We would advise the author to try another occupation. The author enters more at large, as to the progress
of Unitarianism, in another part of his book. He affirms, “The sect which is making the most perceptible progress, after the Roman Catholic, is the Unitarians. The chief rallying place of the party, is in the West of Scotland, where the Socinian doctrine meets with a ready support from the operative manufacturers. We are however of opinion, that the number of professing Unitarians gives a very imperfect idea of the actual amount of this species of belief, wbich it is to be feared is now spreading its inAuence among all classes of Presbyterians. It is a fact, too remarkable not to be generally known, that this thinlyveiled theo-philanthropism has succeeded always best in countries once imbued with the most rigid Calvinistic doctrines. It has at least well-nigh finished Christianity in most of the German States and New-England, and has now to work out its ends in this portion of Great Britain."
In this paragraph there is mingled some truth and much bigotry. We know, and we rejoice in the knowledge, that Christian Unitarianism is making “perceptible progress" in the West of Scotland. We are satisfied, that all rightly conducted discussion will accelerate that progress. Its direst enemies are, not the ignorance or the bigotry of its opponents, but the apathy of misnamed friends, and the heartless indifference of professed liberalists. We are persuaded, there is a moving of the stagnant waters of unholy conformity, the angel of inquiry is troubling them, and the people are coming to the enjoyment of healthful intellect and expansive feeling. It gives us sincere pleasure to find, that that progress is not only perceptible to ourselves but to others. Dr. Chalmers will not now repeat the taunt, that Unitarianism is a sect nearly dwindled away from public observation. Another reverend divine will not be able to repeat his pious ejaculation, that the Socinian beresy is at its last gasp in this City. Our enemies themselves being judges, Unitarianism is making " perceptible progress."
To God be the glory! The author declares more. He avers that our opinions are spreading “among all classes of Presbyterians." It may be so; we have no means of judging. We do not covet much this kind of spread. Unless the doctrines which we believe to be of Christ are embraced in sincerity and truth-unless a change of opinion be accompanied by the moral honesty which leads to open and fearless profession -unless Unitarianism be believed in the love of its holy and purifying principles, we value such a seeming spread of liberality as of little worth. Such a change is of little importance either to the individual or the world. We indeed deprecate its existence, for it issues in time-servingness in parents, and in indifferentism in children. “He who is not for us, is against us,” said the Saviour of the world; and all history bears testimony to the correctness of the sentiment.
The remarkable fact, of which the author admits the truth, that Unitarianism “bas succeeded always best in countries once imbued with the most rigid Calvinistic doc. trines," might have led to reflection rather than to calumny. It might have induced the inquiry, whether such being the case, there was not a presumption that Calvinism was the perversion, and Unitarianism the doctrine of the Gospel? Instead of learning from it a lesson of charity, be utters a libel. He cites the fact, but perverts it. Inserting Christianity in place of Calvinism, he declares it is “ well-nigh finished” in Germany and Massachusetts. Would that he could have said as much of his system in Scotland! He does indeed give us hopes that this Calvinistic land may ere long also be added to the ill-fated list. He declares Unitarianism “ has now to work out its ends in this portion of Great Britain." Yes, we believe it has. And its ends are, freedom of thought, human virtue and happiness, the exaltation of the Saviour, and the glory of “Our Father.” We shall not be deterred by any obstacle which either bigotry or indifference may raise. A long word will not frighten us. Opprobrious titles will share the fate of ghosts and apparitions. Our author's term, however, we do not object to. We only demur to its adjuncts. It is not a “ thinly-veiled theo-philanthropism” that we advocate and glory in. It is a faithful and unswerving love to God, manifested by a devoted and indefatigable benevolence to man, that we have embraced as the best evidence of gratitude to heaven, as the surest test of discipleship to that religion which not only teaches, that “God is Love," but gives its followers this command, " that he who loveth God, love his brother also.”
Historical Sketch of the Doctrine of Universal Restoration.
The doctrine, that all the human race will be eventually restored to purity and happiness, is so congenial to the best emotions of our nature, that even those who believe it not, can hardly fail to wish it true. That the doctrine is expressly revealed in the New Testament—that it formed any part of the system which Jesus and the Apostles bad it in charge to declare, is what, after some consideration, we ourselves have been led to doubt;* but, that it follows as a matter of inference, from the views which Christianity gives of the character of God, and of the nature of his dealings with men—that, though not expressly taught, it is repeatedly implied in the New Testament that it is there in clear implication, though not in express declaration; and that the Scriptures contain no principles, noallusion, nopbraseology of an opposite bearing, we are fully convinced. It is also clear to our minds, that no benevolent person can be devoid of occasions of painful apprehensions, if not for bimself, yet for others, who believes in the common doctrine of eternal torments; and that permanent peace of mind, peace without doubts respecting the Creator's character-peace without alarm respecting some of bis kindred's destiny-peace without dread respecting the fate of the great majority of his species—that this peace
permanently enjoyed by him only, who firmly holds, that the day will come, in which the God of love will be all in all, pervading the universe of intelligent creatures, with holiness, happiness, and bliss.
The history of the doctrine of Universal Restoration, is but little known in this country, even among Unitarian Christians, and we are mainly indebted to our American brethren, for the materials of the following Sketch.
It is perhaps unnecessary to remind our readers, that we are not responsible for the opinions of our various correspondents. The doctrine of the ultimate purity and happiness of every intelligent creature, we hold to be an express doctrine of Scripture, at once an illustration and exemplification of the boundless benevolence of that all-wise and allgracious “ Father, who sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
Nearly all the orthodox writers of the two first centuries of the Christian era, allude to, or expressly assert a future judgment, and a future state of punishment. Seven call it the everlasting, the eternal fire or torment; but, out of these, there are three, who certainly did not think it endless, as two of them--Justin Martyr, who died A. D. 162, and Irenæus, who died A. D. 190-beJieved the damned would be an hilated; and the other, Clement of Alexandria, A. D. 300, asserted their restoration to eternal bliss. What were the views of the other four, cannot be determined. Clement, then, is the first writer of eminence and respectability, who can be fairly claimed as a Universalist; while the celebrated Tertullian, who belongs to the second century, is understood to be the first Christian writer, who expressly asserted that the torments of the wicked will be of equal duration with the happiness of the good; and it is painful to notice the ferocious exultation with which bis imagination dwells on the gloomy prospect. The heretics of the primitive age, appear to have generally believed in a final restoration; but this notion does not seem to bave been reckoned among those articles of their belief, wbich met with condemnation. Universalism was first publicly condemned, as stated in the works of Origen, born 185, A. D. and that not until nearly a century and a-half after his death, nor till his name had become peculiarly odious on account of other imputed heresies and blasphemies. Down so low as the fourth century, the doctrine of Universal Restoration was held and avowed by many among the most eminent orthodox Fathers in the East among wbom we may name Titus, Bishop of Bostra-Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa. Among the Latins, Universalism had, for the most part
, long before the fourth century, shrunk up and disappeared in the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. Some among them, however, as Arnobius of Sicca, advocated the doctrine of annihilation; nor were there wanting those who beld, that all mankind, without exception, would be saved the wicked, after ages of torment in bell. No traces of the prevalence of the doctrine can be found, during the long night which gathered over the Christian world, after the Church of Rome had gained an entire and undisputed ascendancy. Universalism reappeared, however, at the first dawn of the Reformation. In England, A.D. 1368, Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury, convened a council, to condemn, among other