« FöregåendeFortsätt »
But do you not perceive that the admission of the validity of your claims to being the Disciples of Christ, would be the forfeiture of our own?* Do you not perceive, moreover, that however charitable it might be to allow you to be Christians, it would be charity exercised at the expense of the surrender of the exercise of our intellect? Can they be the real professors of any system, moral or scientific, who not only refuse to receive, but directly contradict, the essential principles of that system? In this relation to Christianity, we contend that you stand. There is but one name by which men must be saved; and that name, in all its real meaning, you deny.
Listen, I affectionately beseech you, to the words of one (once a prophet of your own,) whose words I have
* In classing modern Unitarians with Deists, Evangelical believers are but acting in self-defence, and cannot be fairly charged with any breach of charity. Among those who have ranked as avowed Deists, rejecters of the Christian name, and deniers of Revelation, have been found many learned, ingenious, and amiable men. That there are Unitarians exemplary in all the relations of life,-upright, benevolent, and actively useful, cannot be denied. But we can no more allow this circumstance to entitle the individuals to be regarded as Christians, than in the case of the Deist, or the Mussulman, who are equally, in the assumed sense, Unitarians. A two-fold impropriety, however, attaches to this use of the term. First, it assumes, that those who believe in the Divinity of our Lord, are not to be considered as holding the unity of the Godhead. Secondly, it conveys the idea, that Unitarianism consists mainly in a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity (in which respects it agrees with Arianism in its various modifications), whereas it involves, in fact, a disbelief of all the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. It is singular that they should have escaped having fixed upon them the specifie and appropriate appellation of Priestleians. But, as the term Unitarian, has now acquired a specific meaning, it would answer no purpose to rob them of the appellation. "From Socinianism to Deism," say the French Encyclopædists, "there is but a very imperceptible shade." Unitarianism forms the chromatic interval in the descending scale.
Priestley, speaking of President Jefferson, writes:-"He is generally considered as an unbeliever: if so, however, he cannot be far from us."Conder's View of all Religions, p. 566.
already quoted, the profound and erudite COLEridge; perhaps, the "foremost man in all this age." "If Jesus Christ was merely a man-if he was not God, as well as man, he could not have been even a good man. There is no medium. The Saviour, in that case, was absolutely a deceiver."
Listen, again, to the words of one whom you must all admit to have been a profound reasoner, as well as a man of extraordinary genius,-ROBERT HALL. He thus writes: "With respect to the salvability of Socinians, for myself I feel no hesitation. Their state appears to be clearly decided by such Scriptures as these: He that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, shall have everlasting life.' He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life.' How can they be said to have the Son, who reject him in his distinguishing, his essential character, as the Saviour of the world?-and how can he be a propitiation for sin, to them who have no faith in his blood? When it is asserted that we are justified by faith I can understand it in no other sense than, that we are justified by a penitential reliance on his blood and righteousness. In rejecting the most fundamental doctine of the Gospel, the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, they appear to me to deny the very essence of Christianity; and, therefore, much as I esteem many individuals among them, I feel myself necessitated to look upon them in the same state, with respect to salvation, as professed infidels."*
You ought, we think, to perceive, that we are,-to use the felicitous expression of this great and truly liberal man, -"necessitated" to deny your pretensions to being true
Christians. It is the necessary result of our principles, and has nothing to do, in its origin, with our feelings. It is, indeed, a painful necessity, except so far as it is connected with another necessary consequence of the same principles: they bind us to exercise the true charity,—in boldly, but affectionately, pointing out your danger."Necessity is laid upon us; yea, woe is unto us if we preach not the Gospel."
END OF PART I. OF THE THIRD LECTURE.
[Through a mistake on the part of the Publisher, there is an interruption in the paging
here, space having been left for the Second Part of Lecture 3, which will appear as a separate publication.]
LORD JESUS CHRIST.