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them is, that they may be saved."* It seems necessary further to remark, that while in our judgment sound principles are essential to the formation of a correct moral deportment here, as well as to the attainment of final salvation hereafter, we at the same time freely acknowledge, that sound principles may be held and professed without any favourable influence being exerted, either on the temporal or eternal condition of those who make such profession. There is such a thing as "holding the truth in unrighteousness,"† as believing with the head instead of the heart,‡ as saying, "Lord, Lord; and doing not the things which he says." We have no desire to defend such a faith as this.
Rom. x. 1.
We contend for a faith in Jesus, as the atoning Saviour, which is "the gift of God" § originally lodged in the heart, and sustained in actual exercise through the life, by the power of the Holy Ghost. This faith we hold to be necessarily influential upon conduct; it affects the temper, the spirit, and conversation of all the subjects of it, and invariably and exclusively produces that moral conformity with the image of Christ, which, if it do not constitute the Christian's title to heaven, is at least the surest evidence of his meetness, and the final end of his holy ambition. Amongst the partakers of this "precious faith," and among them alone, is to be found that true moral unity, which indeed deserves the name. It is this which we labour to attain for ourselves, and for all others who come within the sphere of our influence; and while we are told that we do not gather but lecture, we reply, that we lecture in order that we may gather -gather all who make a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice;¶ and the harmony which we desire to see prevailing, is not a harmony of metaphysics, any more than a harmony of cold and deadly scepticism, but a harmony of living principles, and heavenly graces derived from the pure word, and wrought by the mighty Spirit, of God. This is the Spirit which will prevail in the universal church when our Saviour shall come again with power and great glory: until when we shall have neither universal
church nor universal harmony. Till then the Church of England, as well as other orthodox churches, will be engaged in doing their appointed work, of taking out of mankind "a people prepared for the Lord," who may differ from each other, perhaps, in various points of non-essential moment, but who will all agree in the great fundamental doctrines of a plenarily inspired Bible. It is only when the trumpet of the second Advent shall have sounded, that the world will see the "manifestation of the sons of God," † and shall, in consequence, be "filled with the knowledge of His glory, as the waters cover the sea."‡
It has been said that Trinitarianism, during its long day of power, has not produced the effects which Christ attributed to his system, and, therefore, it must have preached "another Gospel." We reply that the Gospel, as we preach it, does still produce not only the very effects which its Divine Author predicted of it, but the very same which it produced when preached by his own lips and those of his Apostles. And what are these? Offence on the part of many, faith on the part of some. || Thus it always has been, and thus will it continue to be till the Saviour shall again appear. Whether that system which professes to offend none, and to be pleased with all, embracing in its capacious arms every possible variety of heresy down to the very verge of infidelity tself; whether, I say, that system produces the effects which have been predicted of the Gospel dispensation, or whether it be" another Gospel," let all candid men decide.
The argument which concludes the movement of Trinitarianism towards Popery, because of certain extreme opinions which have been unhappily promulgated by the Oxford Tract divines, is, to say the least, neither very candid nor very conclusive. That the recent and ephemeral movement of a few mistaken and unauthorised individuals should be appealed to against the experience and authority of centuries, that the exception should be quoted rather than the rule, that the argumentum a particulari ad universale should be so hastily resorted to in this instance, demon
Luke i. 17; Acts xv. 14. † Rom. viii. 19.
+ Hab. ii. 14.
stratively proves how hard pushed our opponents are for the materiel of their case against Trinitarianism. Would that their theology was as harmless as their logic; then indeed might the swords of our spiritual warfare against them be beat into ploughshares, and the spears of our defence into pruning-hooks, nor need we learn any more the tactics of holy war.
In conclusion, let it be observed, that while as Protestants we recognise the right of private judgment, as Christians we solemnly warn men against its abuse. It is said, that whilst we tell men they must be saved by a creed, we provide them with no guide to find it; we give them the Bible, and send them to themselves for an interpreter. We do not say that men must be saved by a creed, but by the truth, wherever found, whether originally in the Bible, or derived from the Bible into any faithful "form of sound words." The BIBLE ALONE is our rule of faith, and we believe that
"God is his own Interpreter,
Instead of directing men to their own interpretations, we place them reverently on their knees, before the volume of inspiration; and, directing their attention to the Saviour's precious promise, "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth,—he will show you things to come,”* we believe that He will do as he hath said. Does this savour of the bondage of Egypt, demanding the full tale of bricks, but giving no straw? But it is a priestly spirit which says, "You must believe." Such, however, was the spirit of Christ, Mark xvi. 16. Such was the spirit of the Apostles: of Peter, Acts x. 43,-of Paul, Acts xvi. 31. And such is ours. We say, with the Bible, that faith in its doctrines is necessary to salvation; we pray, according to the direction of the Bible, that it may be "given" unto men to believe accordingly. That the Lord may accompany with his blessing this feeble effort to vindicate his Sacred Word from misapprehension, is the Author's earnest prayer, and for its usefulness, his only hope.
John xvi. 13.
INTRODUCTORY. THE PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE CONTROVERSY WITH UNITARIANS.
BY THE REV. FIELDING OULD.
"FOR THE JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, AND THE GREEKS SEEK AFTER WISDOM: BUT 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.”—1 Cor. i. 22. 23. 24.
NEVER have I ascended this pulpit, brethren, to address you on the great themes connected with your everlasting peace, with feelings of deeper solemnity or more reverential awe, than at present. It is always under a weighty impression of the responsibility of my office that I apply myself to deliver to you the message of eternal life; how greatly is that impression increased under our present circumstances, when I am called, in the discharge of painful but necessary duty, not merely to propound to you the truths of the everlasting Gospel, but further to contrast those truths with certain perversions which pass current among many of our countrymen for Gospel, but which are, in effect, "another Gospel, and yet not another."*
And who, it may be asked, has imposed this duty? And whence has arisen this necessity? The DUTY has been im
* Gal. i. 6, 7.