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very substance of the Gospel, and, consequently, is essential to it. The doctrine of the cross is represented in the New Testament as the grand peculiarity and the principal glory of Christianity. It is described as being, not merely an important branch of the Gospel, but as the Gospel itself, "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."* The doctrine of the cross is the central point in which all the lines of evangelical truth meet, and are united. What the sun is to the system of nature, that the doctrine of the cross is to the system of the Gospel: it is the Life of it! If such, then, be its importance, a denial of it, as the ground of hope, is a virtual denial of Christianity.
Further if we believe in the absolute necessity of regeneration, or that unless a sinner be renewed in the spirit of his mind, he can never see or enter into the Kingdom of God, in what light must we consider those who plead only for a reformation of manners, and altogether repudiate the doctrine of a supernatural, divine influence, by which "A new heart is given us, and a new spirit is put within us."+ How can we believe men to be the subjects of this great change, who are continually ridiculing the very idea of it?
Enough, I trust, has now been said to justify our refusal to acknowledge Unitarians as Christians, and to show that we do not in justice deserve the charges brought against us in consequence of that refusal. I shall conclude this preliminary reference to the subject with a sentiment of Dr. Priestley's, in which I heartily concur:-"The man,” says he, "whose sole spring of action is a concern for lost souls, and a care to preserve the purity of that Gospel,
1 Cor. i. 22. 23. 24.
† Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
which alone teaches the only effectual method of their recovery from the power of sin and Satan unto God,' will feel an ardour of mind that will prompt him strenuously to oppose all those whom he considers as obstructing his benevolent designs. I could overlook everything in a man who, I thought, meant nothing but my everlasting welfare." (4.) This, and nothing else than this, is the temper of mind I desire to cultivate, and am endeavouring to defend; and earnestly do I pray my God, through the merits of His blessed Son, that I may be exclusively animated and wholly absorbed by the desire, while engaged in this or any other controversy, to benefit lost souls, and turn the erring feet of those whom I believe to be walking in the broad road that leadeth to destruction, into the only narrow way that leadeth unto everlasting life!
Unitarians are fond of appealing to Reason and Common Sense as a sort of judicial guide to a knowledge of truth. (5.) Here, at the very outset, we are at issue with them. We maintain that the Bible is alone safely interpreted by its Author and Inspirer, the Holy Ghost; and while we value, as it deserves, the blessing of common sense, and are willing to give to reason, fallen and imperfect as we believe it to be, its legitimate place in our enquiries, we never dream of constituting either the one or the other the judges of what God should reveal, or has revealed, in refusing to believe, as essential truth, what has not already received their authoritative recognition. But Unitarians are Rational Christians! The Corinthian Sophists referred to in the text were the rational religionists of their age. In the context of the passage we have presented to us the manner in which the Apostle preached the Gospel: "Christ sent me not to baptise but to preach the Gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." It was not to be preached with the flourish
of oratory, or the accuracies of philosophical language, upon which the Greeks so much prided themselves; lest the success should have been ascribed to the force of art, and not of truth; not to the plain doctrine of a crucified Jesus, but to the powerful oratory of those who spread it.
Then we have the different effects of this preaching. To some it was a stumblingblock, as in the case of the Jews; to others foolishness, as in the case of the Grecian Sophists; but to those who were called and saved, it was Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Then we have the triumphs of the cross over the pride of human reason, "For it is written,* I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" The truths the Apostle preached seemed foolishness in the eyes of worldly-wise men, because they could not rationally understand them. To have life through one who died—to be blessed by one who was made a curse—to be justified by one who was himself condemned—this was all folly and inconsistency in men blinded by self-conceit, and wedded to their own prejudices, and the boasted discoveries of reason and philosophy. But still all their vaunted reason and pride of learning were confounded, baffled, and eclipsed by the revelation of the Gospel, and the glorious triumphs of the cross. We "thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."+
The subject which I have selected for the commencement of this controversy is "The practical Importance of the Controversy with Unitarians," and in handling it I propose to show, that as the practical tendency or efficiency of
See Is. xxix. 14.
† Matt. xi. 25.
any system is the proper criterion of its truth, Unitarianism is indefensible on the ground of its moral, that is, its practical tendency. And being solemnly convinced that the very essence of true religion is concerned in this controversy, and being above all things anxious that the glory of my Lord and Saviour may be promoted through its instrumentality, and that the knowledge and love of the adorable Jesus may be brought home through it to many hearts ; and utterly regardless of all the accusations, calumnies, and false imputations wherewith we, who are engaged in it, are assailed from without, I beseech you, beloved, to unite with me in solemn prayer to our heavenly Father, that He would give us much of the "mind that was in Christ Jesus," and empty us altogether of self, that we may be filled out of his fulness, and that out of that fulness you may receive a blessing from on high.
I propose, then, in dependence on the divine blessing, to take up and prove these four points:—
I. THAT UNITARIANISM TENDS TO DEPRECIATE AND LOWER THE AUTHORITY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE, SO AS TO MAKE IT DOUBTFUL WHAT IS, AND WHAT IS NOT, INSPIRED.
II. THAT UNITARIANISM TENDS то DIMINISH AND LESSEN, RATHER THAN TO PROMOTE, LOVE TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHICH IS THE DISTINGUISHING GRACE OF CHRISTIANITY.
III. THAT UNITARIANISM TENDS ΤΟ FOSTER AND
CHERISH PRIDE THE PRIDE OF HUMAN REASONAT THE EXPENSE OF EVANGELICAL HUMILITY.
IV. THAT UNITARIANISM TENDS TO PROMOTE INFIDELITY.
These four subjects will embrace the scope of this dis
I. UNITARIANISM TENDS TO DEPRECIATE AND LOWER THE AUTHORITY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE, SO AS TO MAKE IT DOUBTFUL WHAT IS, AND WHAT IS NOT, INSPIRED.
In order properly to venerate the authority of Scripture, it will be admitted that we must receive it as being what it professes to be, and for all the purposes for which it professes to be written. If the Scriptures profess to be divinely inspired, and assume to be the infallible standard of faith and practice, we must either receive them as such, or be consistent, and disown the sacred writers as so many impostors.
Let us now inquire into the professions of the sacred writers themselves, concerning what they wrote, and then compare these with the avowed sentiments of Unitarians. By this means we shall be in a condition to judge, whether the spirit which animates the whole body of Unitarian divinity does not breathe a language unfriendly to the sacred writings, and whether it does not carry in it something hostile to the notion of "Every thought being subdued unto the obedience of Christ."
1. The professions of the sacred writers are as follow: "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me."* "Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel." † "Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." The New Testament writers also assert their own inspiration, in language equally strong. "All Scripture is given by
+ Isaiah xliii. 1.
2 Chron. xx. 20.
* 2 Saml. xxiii. 2. 3.