« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
(employing all the light afforded | ger, or at least perples, the advothem by others, but submitting cate for Unitarianism, and lead their understanding to the autho- him to pause, and reconsider berity of nothing but revealed truth,) fore he takes another step in the and who, after many a painful service to which he believell Chrisstruggle with early impressions, tian duty had called him. attachments and interests, have But Dr. Stock was not one of formed a serious conviction that these. I want no other proof of Unitarianism is the doctrine of the my assertion than his own letter. gospel, -when it happens that I do not refer to its total deficiency such men again return to their in argument; because though its former opinions, then may it stag- admirers think otherwise, its in
look for him will he appear again without a sin offering to their salvation." Heb. ix. 27, 28. Believing in the divine dignity of his person as "the Word made flesh,” John i. 14. “ Immanuel-God with us," Matt. 23. “God manifest in flesh,” | Tim. jii. 16. “God's own, or proper Son, by whom the worlds were made," Heb. i. 2. they are at no loss to understand how the sufferings and death of such an exalted and glorious personage should make expiation for sin—for if, as the scriptures de. clare, “He gave himself for them, an offering and a sacrifice unto God for a sweet smelling savour," Eph, v. 2. and if God, as the God of peace, brought him again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant," Heb. xiii, 20. then they have the highest possible evidence which the nature of the thing admits of, that God is fully and for ever well pleased in him for his righteousness sake.—Thus they find the gospel ground of hope, divinely calculated to relieve their minds from a sense of guilt and support their sinking spirits even in the most deplorable circumstances in which they can be in this world; for they now see how “ God is just in justifying them, ungodly as they stand, -or in extending mercy to their uprighteousness and in remembering their sins and iniquities no more.” Rom. iv.5. Heb. viii. 12. Nay, believing what the gospel testifies of Christ and his finished redemption they not only have a good hope through grace,” but they even “joy in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom they have received the atonement,” or reconciliation. Rom. v. 11.
2. Let us now briefly examine Socinianism by this touchstone, and enquire what it sets before its votaries as the ground of hope towards God. Having discarded the doctrine of the proper and essential Deity of the Son of God, that of atonement for sin by his death upon the cross, follows of necessary consequence! And thus are they at once shut up to the vain imaginations of their own dark understandings respecting the way of access to God and of acceptance with him. Dr. Carpenter, indeed, speaks of the “ essential unpurchased mercy of God in Christ Jesus;" but what he means by this strange jumble of terms, it is beyond our skill to divine. That there is mercy with God is a delightful truth- but he is as just as he is merciful--and to suppose that his mercy is ever exercised at the expence of his justice is at once grossly to impeach his glorious character and to op pose the whole current of divine revelation, which uniformly represents him as “just in justifying the ungodly." The truth is, that by the obedience uoto death of the Son of God, the claims of justice no less than those of mercy are eminently secured; and that attribute which seemed to stand in connection with the law, as an insuperable bar to the salvation of sinners, is more eminently glorified in their forgiveness, which is bestowed upon them for Christ's sake, 1 John ii, 12. than it could possibly have been in their eternal condemnation. And herein is displayed the infinite wisdom of God, in devising a method of freeing the sinner from the obligation to punishment, not by dispensing with it, as the Socinians would teach us, but by transferring it from the person of the sinner to the person of God's own Son, and so punishing him for the sins of the guilty. 'Twas thus he made bim to be sin for us, 2 Cor. v. 21.- condemned sin in the flesh, Rom. viii, 3.
Thus Jesus suffered the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God, I Pet, iii. 18.bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, ch. ii. 24. Hence believers have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of the divine grace, Eph. i. 7.-and are made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. and hence, God, in setting forth his beloved Son to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, hath declared, not his mercy only, but also his righteousness in the rennission of sins, so that he appears in all the justice of his character, yet at the same time, the justifier of him that is of the faith of Jesus. Rom. iii. 25, 26. This doctrine is written as with a sun-beam in the oracles of God, and is the glory of all the gospel; but it makes no part of the system of modern Unitarianism !
telligent author well knows that it , of strongly excited feeling; and neither contains, nor was designed that, in the course of a very few to contain, any. It is the history weeks, while in a state of mind of a peculiar mental process, which utterly unsuited to the calm exer. is chiefly extraordinary, because cise of the understanding, he came the subject of it is a man of in. to an unhesitating conviction, that tellectual attainments and culture. instead of the essential, unpurAnd that history clearly developes chased mercy of God in Christ two facts. The one is, that Dr. Jesus, he was henceforth to rest Stock had never calmly and fully his hopes of acceptance on the examined for himself the argu- death of Christ, as the procuring ments against Unitarianism, nor cause of salvation; that instead of fairly appreciated their weight, in regarding the Father as the only opposition to the innumerable pas true. God, he was to consider Jesus sages by which its grand principles Cbrist, whom he has sent, as himare supported. The other is, that self truly and properly God; that when doubts were produced by instead of paying religious worship the affectionate perseverance of to the Father only, and yielding Mr. Vernon, he dwelt upon them Him alone the tribute of Supreme with restless earnestness; that he love, he was henceforward to have pursued the subject with intense Three Supreme Objects of adoraeagerness, and under the influence tion, thanksgiving and prayer.(d)
Note (d) Three supreme objects of adoration, thanksgiving, and prayer.) We have in this paragraph a notable specimen of Unitarian candour and liberalily, the virtue of all others on which the sect are habitually pluming themselves. It is a fixed principle with their opponents, as Dr. Carpenter well knows, that there is one only living and true God, Neh. ix. 6. Isa, xliii. 10, 11, consequently only one
supreme object of worship.” Yet they think it perfectly consistent with this first principle to “ consider Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, to be truly and properly God," and for the following important reasons.
1. Every divine name is given to him in scripture, except that of the Father and Holy Spirit. He is repeatedly and expressly called God. See Isa. xl.3, 9. compared with Matt. jii. 3. He is termed the mighty God, Is. ix, 6.--the great God, Titus ii. 13.-over all, God blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 5.-the only Lord God, Jude ver. 4. If one of the Evangelists inform us that “in the beginning was the Word-he immediately adds, “and the Word was God," John i. 1. The apostle Paul corroborates the doctrine when he affirms that “ God was manifest in the flesh." 1 Tim. iii. 16. Even the incommunicable name JEHOVAH is applied to Jesus; compare Is. xl. 3. with Like i. 76. ch. iii. 4. and Is. xlv. 22-25. with I Cor. i. 30. Phil. ii. 10.
2. Every divine attribute or perfection essential to the true God is ascribed to Jesus Christ, his Son. For instauce, Elernity, Is. xliv. 6. compared with Rev. i. 8, 17. and ch, xxi. 13. Micah v.2.-Unchangeableness, Heb. i. 12. and ch, xiii, 8. Omnipotence, Rev. i. 8.--- Omniscience, John xvi. 30. ch, xxi. 17. Rev. ii. 23.-Omnipresence, Matt. xviii, 20. John xiv. 21, 23. Matt. xxviii. 20.
3. Every work peculiar to the true God is ascribed to him. Creation is ascribed to him, John i. 3. Col. i. 16. He is also said to uphold all things, Col. i. 17. Heb. i. 3. Raising the dead is his work, John v. 22. Judging the world is ascribed to him, 2 Tiin. iv, 1. Acts x. 42.
4. Divine honour and religious worship, belong to Jesus Christ. John v. 23. Christians are denominated " them that call upon the name of Jesus Christ,” Acts ix. 14, 21. I Cor. i. 2. See also 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17. Luke xxiii. 42. Acts vii. 49. And if modern Unitarians are not among the number of those who ascribe divine honours to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, it only proves that they are not Christians! All the angels of God are commanded to worship him, Ps. xcvii. 7, Heb. i. 6. Why then should mortals refuse ?
These surely are very suficient reasons why we should “ consider Jesus Christ te be truly and properly God.” Dr. Carpenter may demand of us the solution of various difficulties that may be started upon this high subject, but we are not obliged to gratify him in that respect. 'Tis quite sufficient for us to know that the scriptures teach these things in the most explicit manner-and we therefore thankfully and submissively receive them on divine testimony, happy to find that our immortal interests are not only deeply involved but effectually secured by the reception of them.
And it is to be observed, that I should have taught him to suspend this momentous decision was form- bis decision, till it had stood the ed without his once conversing test of a calmer and more judiciwith those with whom he had been ous investigation, after his feelings accustomed to converse freely, bad become tranquilized, and his and who, he must know, would powers of discrimination had acuse no means but argument to pre-quired their usual vigour. vent his change: it was formed in Should I be asked, if I expect circumstances, in wbich, as a that Dr. Stock will ever return to medical man, he would have re- his former sentiments, I answer, commended another, if possible, not if he places religion in exciteto suspend his judgment: it was ment, rather than in steady affecformed with extreme rapidity, and tion and principle; not if he makes it was communicated to the world feeling the test of truth, rather with a precipitancy which seemed than argument; not, in short, to say, that the desperate step while he believes himself under must be made at once, or he should the special guidance of Divine relapse.
illumination. If that belief con. Nor can I forbear to express my tinue, and as long as it continues, surprise, thatone who, in the search he has but one course to pursue ; after Christian truth, perused the and while so many contribute all imposing assertions and eloquent they can, to keep him steady to declamation of Wardlaw, should his new doctrines, and to feed the have neglected the close and solid fames of enthusiasm, he will not arguments of Yates in reply. Some be likely to follow that resplendent, of Mr. Wardlaw's friends, I have but less glaring light, by which heard, have advised him to relin- he would discern, that the spirit quish the contest; and I am of of truth cannot contradict itself, opinion that they are his wisest. and that this has plainly taught,
If Dr. Stock's recollection told that besides Jehovah there is no him that fuctuation marked his God, and that the Father is the religious history, experience and only true God.(e) his knowledge of human nature I do not presume to set bounds
Dr. Carpenter, in the pride of his heart, may reject them-he is certainly at full liberty to do so: but then, we think it behoves him to consider that he thereby excludes himself from every ground of hope towards God, that can avail him in a dying hour. He may amuse himself and his unitarian friends by displaying his ingenuity in setting one part of revealed truth in opposition to another, and in endea. vouring to make the distinction in Deity appear absurd ; but, for our parts, we caunot conceive a higher pitch of presumption in any worm of the earth. There is a glorious harmony in every part of revelation, and woe be to that man who employs his talents in corrupting or perverting it. We could dress a wise man in a fool's coat, and make him the laughing stock of all the cits of London; but his wisdom would not be at all affected by our making sport of him. Did Dr. Carpenter ever hear or read of men“ wresting the scriptures to their own destruction ?" 2 Pet. iii, 16. It would appear that the thing is at least possible, and consequently the bint must be always seasonable. It is one feature in the character of a real Christian, that he is of a humble and contrite spirit, and that he trembles at the word of the Lord. Is. lxvi. 2, 5.
Note (e) The Spirit of Truth cannot contradict itself, &c.] To this assertion we subscribe in the most unqualified terms (See Note (d) ad finem ) and it is upon that vers principle we contend for the true and proper Deity of the Son of God. It is the doctrine clearly, expressly and uniformly taught in the holy Scriptures; and if Dr. Carpenter be unable to reconcile it with the unity of the Godhead, it must be owing solely to the darkness of his own mind-arising from ignorance, prejudice and error; and not to any thing in the doctrine itself. “God is light and in him is no darkness at all," I John i. 5. and the Spirit of truth cannot contradict itself. “ But then,” rejoins Dr. C. “ this Spirit of truth has plainly taught, that besides Jehovah there is no God, and that the Father is the only true God.” It would have
to the agency or influence of God. / that spirit is not of God, which I believe that the Father of our contradicts the plainest principles spirits does afford aid to his frail of common sense, and the plainest children, in ways which philosophy declarations of Scripture. What cannot yet explain, to strengthen, internal feelings can be allowed as to console and to guide : but I a just ground for conviction that know no proof that he at present Jesus Christ is God Supreme, communicates truth by any super-when his own words are, “ The natural means. I am sure, at any Father is greater than I,” and when rate, that we have a right, and that he exclusively speaks of him, in it is our duty, to "try the spirits;" the solemn act of prayer, as “The and I feel a firm conviction that only true God ?”(f)
been satisfactory had Dr. Carpenter referred us to the texts of Scripture which he had iminediately in his eye when he wrote the words we have just quoted. It would have removed all uncertainty from our minds about the identical portion of scripture he had in view. That there is no (true) God besides JEROVAH, is a doctrine most unequivocally admitted by the Trinitarians, and for very obvious reasons. In the prophecy of Isaiah, for instance, ch. xlv. “ the Spirit of truth thus expressly teacbes" I JEHOVAH speak righteousness, I declare things that are right--there is no God else besides me-I am God and there is none else-ver. 19, 21, 22. This we suppose to be the text on which Dr. C. had his eye, when he affirms that “there is no God besides Jehovah," and it is full to his purpose only, most unfortunately for his argument, it contains one of the strongest proofs that can be adduced for “ the true and proper Deity of Jesus Christ”-it proves that JESUS IS JEHOVAH! Thus the argument stands. Having declared all the idols of the earth to be vanity, ver. 30, Jehovah asserts his own glorious character, as the Just God and the Saviour, and thus he addresses the children of men. “ Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return; That unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear,” ver. 22, 23. Does the reader ask, Who it is that says. Unto me every knee shall bow ? he hath only to turn to Rom. xiv. 10, 11. and he will find “the Spirit of Truth, who cannot contradict himself,” expressly applying that sublime passage to Jesus Christ, who both died and rose and revived that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. Paul's words are-" We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; for it is written (namely, in Is. xlv. 23. the very text that Dr. C. appears to have in view) “ As I live, saith Jehovah, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." Dr. C. “ too well understands the rules of evidence," to make it necessary for us to draw the inference—that in the opinion of the apostle Paul, Jesus Christ is Jehovah incarnate, and consequently “ the only true God." He may demur to this if he chuse, but then the controversy must rest between him and “ the Spirit of truth," in which dispute we beg leave to be no party! And even though it were possible for him to escape from the horns of this dilemma, on which we leave him, it would only be to fix himself on another wbich he will find in Pbil. ii. 10, 11. wbere “the Spirit of Truth, who cannot contradict himself,” expressly teaches the same doctrine and evidently makes the same use of the passage in Isaiah.
Note (f) Christ's own words are, “ The Father is greater than 1.”] The difficulty of which Dr. C. complains in this paragraph does not arise from the subject, as taught by the Spirit of Truth, but from his own mind which is beclouded with prejudices and prepossessed by erroneous notions that prevent him from receiving the plain doctrine of the scriptures. Though both reason and revelation unite in teaching us that there is only one living and true God; yet in the economy of redemption there is a distinction in Deity plainly held forth by three personal names and relative characters, as well as by every mode of speech whereby we distinguish persons among men. They are not distinguished to us by any essential property of the divine nature, for that they possess in common; but by relative names and characters, and by a certain order of working peculiar to each, both in creation and redemption. In creation the Father is represented as first in order of operation. All things are said to be (s) of or from God the Father, as the first mover or original source ; and they are also said to be (sa) by or through Jesus Christ as the immediate agent, bringing the Father's designs into actual effect, I Cor. viii. 6. Thus God is said to have “ created all things by Jesus Christ,” Eph. iii. 9. and to have made the worlds by his Son, Heb. i. 2. Col. i, 16. John i. 3. But notwithstanding this order of . VOL. III.
“ But after all (it will be said) | to Unitarianism, in this city at. you regret the loss of him." Cer- least. To the welfare of the containly we do; but not because we gregation as a body, various indi. cannot do without him. His steady viduals who have not his claims to attendance on the duties of public the public notice, have contributed worship, and the still more uniting much more than he: and as to his ordinance of Christian profession, importance to the cause of Unita. -his ardour of feeling, contribut- rianism, I do not learn that he ing to cherish zeal in others,-his took any active share in the mea. devout and amiable character, assures designed specifically to prowell as his distinguished attain-mote it. His change will prove ments, --- made him a valuable more beneficial to Unitarianism member of the congregation with than his previous services. It will which he had been for many years | lead, as it has led inany, to inquire connected. But his importance and to think: and all we ask is, to its prosperity has been vastly that the serious inquirer will give over-rated; not by himself, for he our cause a fair hearing. Among would not do it; but by those the many who are afraid to hear, who wildly imagined that his to read or to think, we do not exchange would be the death-blow | pect success.(g)
operation, as creation is a work peculiar to God so it must demonstrate the eternal power and Godhead of the Son as well as of the Father. Now the same mode of speech is used to express their order of acting in the work of redemption. “ All things are (ex) of God, namely, the Father, who hath reconciled us unto himself (8.c) by Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. v. 18. In the economy of redemption, the person of the Father sustains the Majesty of the Godhead, and acts his part in the character of the great Supreme, in relation to both his creatures and his Son. Hence he is termed “ the God and Father," not only of angels and men, but also of “our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph. i. 3, 17. Though the Son is possessed of the same divine nature with the Father, yet as a Son, partaking of human nature, and vested with the office of mediator between God and man, he sustains and acts in a subordinate character to that of the Father. The Father is represented as the original source of all that authority. dominion and fullness, which the Son possesses as mediator. It was the Father who sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world, I John iv, 14. The Spirit which dwelt in him without measure was given him by the Father, John iii. 34. He neither did nor spake any thing of himself, but as commissioned and instructed of his Father, John v. 19. cb. viii, 28. He sought not his own glory, nor did his own will, but that of the Father who sent him. John viii, 50, ch, vi. 38. It was the Father that gave him power to lay down his life for the sheep, and to take it again, John x. 17, 18. The Father raised him from the dead, Rom. iv. 24. ch. x. 9. and exalted him to the highest glory and dominion at his own right hand, as the reward of his sufferings, and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, Eph, i, 19, 23. And as he holds the mediatorial kingdom of the Father, till the ends of it are answered, so when the end cometh, he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, and be also himself subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all, I Cor. xv. 24, 28. And as "ibe Fatber hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father,” John v. 22, 23. so when we worship the Lamb that was slain, and bow the knee to the exalted Redeemer, confessing that he is Lord over all, we do it to the glory of God the Father, who hath exalted him, put all things under hiin, and commanded all the angels of God to worship him. Phil, ii. 9–12. Heb. i. 6. These sentiments are founded on “ the plainest declarations of scripture" -and what is there in them, (we demand 10 know) that " contradicts the plainest principles of common sense ?”
NOTE (8) All we ask is, that the serious enquirer will give our cause a fair hearing.] All this is very fair; and we ask nothing more from Dr. Carpenter and his Unitarian friends in behalf of the Trinitarian hypothesis. The cause of truth has nothing to fear from the fullest investigation that can take place, and God forbid that we should shrink from meeting the minister of Lewin's Mead, or any of his brethren in the fair field of legitimate controversy. We trust we shall always be ready to do this with only one simple provision, namely, that they shall say nothing to us about ME IMPROVED VERSION! Because, to avail ourselves of the new light reflected on the moral hemisphere by that strange performance, we find we should need a new