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made, simply with a view to confirm my arguments; and in one or two places to modify opinions, concerning the sentiments of those from whom we differ so widely, which I seemed, on advice and re-consideration, to have perhaps stated somewhat too strongly. The argument, however, remains almost, if not entirely, unaltered.
In common with my Reverend Brethren in this undertaking, I am anxious that the knowledge of divine truth-of that truth which is embodied in the Oracles of God, and, therefore, is able to make men wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus, should be extended by the proceeding. But we have a solicitude, at least as deep and abiding, that this truth should be received in the love of it; otherwise all growth in intellectual stature will be to little purpose. A man may stand higher by the shoulders in knowledge than all his brethren around him, and yet be only Saul at last. "If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them."* It will avail us nothing to learn, by whatever force of testimony, or cogency of argument, that the Eternal Son of God, in our nature, hath made an atonement for sin, if, through our unbelief, the wrath of God is still abiding on us. It will minister nothing to our true happiness to be theoretically persuaded, that He who came to be the Son of Man was the Everlasting Word and Son of God, if we, in turn, will not come unto Him, in the almightiness of his salvation, that we may have life.
I must claim the privilege of saying a few words, applicable to such as may feel a disposition to speculate upon those deep things of God, which come indeed, and of necessity, within the province of a simple faith, but lie immeasurably beyond the grasp of human reason, in this state of our being. This tendency of our minds has led the way to those errors concerning the most solemn truths of Scripture, and the most essential articles of religious belief, with which the Church of Christ has been distracted. The remark holds especially good, in reference to the Unitarian heresy, And perhaps no proof more decisive,-I may add, more awful, can well be given, than the confession of Dr. Priestley him
* John xiii. 17.
self, the father of modern Unitarianism :—"I was once a Calvinist, and that of the straitest sect. Afterwards, became a high Arian, next a low Arian, and then a Socinian: and in a little time a Socinian of the lowest kind, in which Christ is considered as a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary; and naturally as fallible and peccable as Moses, or any other prophet." He also informs, us that "he does not know when his creed will be fixed."* It is very seductive to wade, as a man may purpose, into the apparently calm and glassy stream of mere human inquiries concerning the mysteries of religion; but if he surrender himself to its guidance, and lose sight of that prostration of soul before the wisdom of God, which the Holy Spirit commands, as our best and safest guide, he may pass through those shallows wherein the lamb may wade and be refreshed, only to be engulfed in those depths wherein the elephant may be lost.
Facilis descensus Averno;
Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis:
Against this seductive and fatal tendency, I know not any defence so mighty as the diligent, humble, prayerful study of the Holy Scriptures, not partially, or with the view to discover a system; but to understand the whole counsel of God, so far as it is intelligible; crying with Job, "What I know not that teach thou me;"t or with the Psalmist, "Open mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law." To be mighty in the Scriptures is the only mode of being established in the faith of God-of convincing gainsayers and, through that faith, working by love, of obtaining the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
May the God of truth bring all from error into the light and liberty of his true and spiritual church! May that God establish our hearts in the eternal truths of the Gospel, if we have received them; and enable us to hold that fast which we have, that no man take our crown!
* Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, part II. pp. 33-35. Defence of Unitarianism, for 1787, p. 111, quoted from Fuller and Dwight.
+ Job xxxiv. 32.
Ps. exix. 18.
THE ATONEMENT INDISPENSABLE TO THE NECESSITIES OF GUILTY MAN; AND SHOWN TO STAND OR FALL WITH THE DEITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Robert Pedder
BY THE REV. R. P. BUDDICOM, M. A. F.A.S.
"FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD; BEING JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE, THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS: WHOM GOD HATH SET FORTH TO BE A PROPITIATION THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, TO DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, THROUGH THE FORBEARANCE OF GOD; TO DECLARE, I SAY, AT THIS TIME HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: THAT HE MIGHT BE JUST, AND THE JUSTIFIER OF HIM THAT BELIEVETH IN JESUS." -Romans iii. 23-26.
THE question has been frequently asked, in the spirit of a spurious and latitudinarian charity, which would cry, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace," except by the sacrifice of truth and loyalty towards God, "Why should the otherwise smooth and even surface of society be disturbed by the agitations of religious controversy? Why should not the dark and impure admixtures of jarring sects and sentiments be allowed to subside; and the current of relative life, thus cleared and purified, to roll onward in its beauty, until it expanded into an overflow of universal benevolence?"
If in very deed such mutual forbearance would fulfil the all-gracious import of that blessed Gospel, which proclaims "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will towards men,"* it would be a most imperative duty. Or, if the points in dispute between those who profess a common Christianity were merely questions of words and names, and indifferent or speculative intricacies, such as Gallio deemed the subject brought before him for adjudication, we might most fittingly drive the temptations to plunge among them from our minds, as he drave the turbulent and insurrectionary Jews from the judgment-seat.
But if we, by whom this by whom this course of Lectures is conducted, believe that the controverted subjects involve the honour of the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,-which so-named rational Unitarianism impugns; if, in our conscientious and deep persuasion, they embrace the Person, Work, and Office of the Eternal Word, the Son of God, reconciling the world to Himself, by the atoning sacrifice of the cross; if we are not more fully assured that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,"+ than we are certain that salvation is by the faith of Christ crucified,—not merely or mainly as a martyr for the truth, but as a vicarious atonement unto God, in order to avert his wrath from guilty man; then, in reference to these Sermons, we ask with David, meeting the objection of Eliab against his visit to the camp, "Is there not a cause?" So far from suffering reproach, as busy-bodies in other men's matters, we should have credit, not for a spurious, but for a Scriptural charity, in warning and in pleading with those whom we deem to be so fearfully endangered.
Our Lord Jesus Christ hath solemnly and emphatically said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."‡ Unitarians assert that they fulfil the requirement, and, therefore, are
*Luke ii. 14.
+ Heb. ix. 27.
Mark xvi. 16.
safe from the penalty. We, on the other hand, are assured, that, as it would be treason against the sovereign of these realms, to acknowledge her claim only to a part of her dominions, while her royalty over the remainder was utterly denied; so, the Unitarian scheme, which would give unto the Saviour the honours of a Prophet, and a Witness, while it would unsphere Him from that fullorbed glory, wherein He shines through the revelation of his grace, is treason against Him, and against the Majesty of God, who willeth "that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father."* Thus convinced, we deem the professors of that system to be under the sentence of a spiritual outlawry, which, if it be not reversed, will end in the terrors of the second death.
Here, then, is our apology for the exercise of that love towards souls thus perilled, which the Saviour hath impressed upon us by the whole tenor of his precepts, by the whole course of his example, and by the agony of his Our heart's desire and prayer to God for them is, that they might be saved. But that alleged desire might well be called the mockery of a name—that prayer might be reasonably suspected of hollow-heartedness, which was unaccompanied by any immediate effort for the objects of our professed solicitude.
It were a forbearance, anything but hallowed-it were a courtesy, anything but Christian, to pass by on the other side, without endeavouring to arrest the hand which a man raises against his own life, and especially against the life of his soul. Let the effort be accompanied with all tenderness: but, in the name of God, let it be made indeed. For if there be "joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth,"+-if "he who converteth a sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from
John v. 23.
† Luke xv. 10.