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bishop Leighton, not by reasons and arguments but by an inexpressible kind of evidence, which they only know who have it.'
To this I would add, that even those who, like me I fear, have not attained it, may yet presume it. First, because reason itself, or rather mere human nature, in any dispassionate moment, feels the necessity of religion, but if this be not true there is no religion, no religation, or binding over again; nothing added to reason, and therefore Socinianism, (misnamed Unitarianism) is not only not Christianity, it is not even religion, it does not religate ; does not bind anew. The first outward and sensible result of prayer, is, a penitent resolution, joined with a consciousness of weakness in effecting it, yea even a dread, too well grounded, lest by breaking and falsifying it, the soul should add guilt to guilt ; by the very means it has taken to escape from guilt; so pitiable is the state of unregenerate man.
Are you familiar with Leighton's Works? He l'esigned his archbishoprick, and retired to voluntary poverty on account of the persecutions of the Presbyterians, saying, 'I should not dare to introduce christianity itself with such cruelties, how much less for a surplice, and the name of a bishop.'
If there could be an intermediate space between inspired, and uninspired writings, that space would be occupied by Leighton. No show of learning, no appearance, or ostentatious display of eloquence; and yet both may be shown in him, conspicuously and holily. There is in him something that must be felt, even as the scriptures must be felt.
You ask me my views of the Trinity. I accept the doctrine, not as deduced from human reason, in its grovelling capacity for comprehending spiritual things, but as the clear revelation of Scripture. But perhaps it may be said, the Socinians do not admit this doctrine as being taught in the bible. I know enough of their shifts and quibbles, with their dexterity at explaining away all they dislike, (and that is not a little) but though beguiled once by them, I happily, for my own peace of mind, escaped from their sophistries, and now, hesitate not to affirm, that Socinians would lose all character for honesty, if they were to explain their neighbour's will with the same latitude of interpretation, which they do the Scriptures.
I have in my head some floating ideas on the Logos, which I hope, hereafter, to mould into a consistent form; but it is a gross perversion of the truth, in Socinians, to declare that we believe
in Three Gods, and they know it to be false. They might, with equal justice affirm that we believe in three suns. The meanest peasant, who has acquired the first rudiments of christianity, would shrink back from a thought so monstrous. Still the Trinity has its difficulties. It would be strange if otherwise. A Revelation that revealed nothing, not within the grasp of human reason !
—no religation, no binding over again, as before said: but these difficulties are shadows, contrasted with the substantive, and insurmountable obstacles with which they contend who admit the Divine authority of Scripture, with the superlative excellence of Christ, and yet undertake to prove that these Scriptures teach, and that Christ taught, his own pure humanity!
If Jesus Christ was merely a Man,-if he was not God as well as Man, be it considered, he could not have been even a good man. There is no medium. The Saviour in that case was absolutely a deceiver ! one, transcendently unrighteous ! in advancing pretensions to miracles, by the “ Finger of God,” which he never performed ; and by asserting claims, (as a man) in the most aggravated sense, blasphemous! These consequences, Socinians, to be consistent, must allow, and which impious arrogation of Divinity in Christ, (according to their faith,) as well as his false assumption of a community of “glory” with the Father, “ before the world was,” even they will be necessitated to admit, completely exonerated the Jews, according to their law, in crucifying one, who “ being a man,” “made himself God!” But, in the Christian, rather than in the Socinian, or Pharisaic view, all these objections vanish, and harmony succeeds to inexplicable confusion. If Socinians hesitate in ascribing unrighteousness to Christ, the inevitable result of their principles, they tremble, as well they might, at their avowed creed, and virtually renounce what they profess to uphold.
The Trinity, as Bishop Leighton has well remarked, is, “ a doctrine of faith, not of demonstration,” except in a moral sense. If the New Testament declare it, not in an insulated passage, but through the whole breadth of its pages, rendering, with any other admission, the Book, which is the christian's anchor-hold of hope, dark and contradictory, then it is not to be rejected, but on a penalty that reduces to an atom, all the sufferings this earth can inflict. .
Let the grand question be determined; Is, or is not the Bible inspired? No one Book has ever beer subjected to so rigid an investigation as the Bible, by minds the most capacious, and, in the result, which has so triumphantly repelled all the assaults of Infidels. In the extensive intercourse which I have had with this class of men, I have seen their prejudices surpassed only by their ignorance. This I found conspicuously the case in Dr. D. (Vol. 1. p. 167) the prince of their fraternity. Without, therefore stopping to contend on what all dispassionate men must deem, undebatable ground, I may assume inspiration as admitted ; and, equally so, that it would be an insult to man's understanding, to suppose any other Revelation from God than the christian Scriptures. If these Scriptures, impregnable in their strength ; sustained in their pretensions by undeniable prophecies and-miracles; and by the experience of the inner man, in all ages, as well as by a concatenation of arguments, all bearing upon one point, and extending, with miraculous consistency, through a series of fifteen hundred years ; if all this combined proof does 'not establish their validity, nothing can be proved under the sun; but the world and man must be abandoned, with all its consequences to one universal scepticism !