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ing of apostles, -and we have it brought down to us without one of those distinctions with which it has been since surrounded by theological ingenuity. We are zealous in the assertion of it, not for its mere metaphysical correctness, but for its moral power and its moral consistency. It does not
It divide our hearts, and it does not confuse our heads. leads our minds up to one spirit, infinite in power, infinite in wisdom, and infinite in goodness. Without confusion or perplexity we can trace God in all and all in God: in the atom that trembles in a sunbeam, as in the planet that moves in boundless light, from the blush of a flower to the glory of the heavens—from the throb of an insect to the life of an immortal. The Unitarian faith in the universal father is clear, simple, and defined; inflicting no violence on our understandings, and raising no conflicts in our affections. One, and one in the strictest sense, is our parent, one is our sovereign, one is our highest benefactor, one is our protector and our guide, one is our deliverer and sanctifier; one has bestowed all we possess, one alone can give all we hope for : one is holy who demands our obedience; one is merciful who pities our repentance ; one is eternal in whose presence we are to live, and therefore whether we present our adorations in dependence, or bow down in submission, or send forth our praises in gratitude, there is one, and but one, to whom our aspirations can ascend, and to whom our hearts can be devoted. Thus impressed, we must feel united to one Father in filial obedience, and to all men in a common and fraternal relationship; we cannot look upon some as selected, and upon others as outcasts;
we cannot look upon some purchased, and upon others as reprobate ; we cannot look upon some as sealed with the spirit of grace for ever unto glory everlasting, and upon others as abandoned, unpitied, and unprotected, the victims of an everlasting malediction. We regard men as bound in a community of good, consequently as bound in a community of praise; we regard them
as struggling in like trials, and therefore indebted to each other for mutual sympathy; we regard them as heirs of the same glory, and on the level of their heavenly hopes, standing on a basis of sacred and eternal equality. If these sentiments are false, they are at least generous, and it is not often that generosity is found in company with falsehood. Alas, how many heart-burning enmities, how many deadly persecutions have been caused by different apprehension of God's nature or God's worship ; how often have these differences broken all the fraternal bonds of humanity, made man the greatest enemy to man,-more savage and cruel than the beast, yea, and cruel in proportion to the zeal he pretended for his God. But never could this have been, had men believed in God, had men believed in Christ—had they believed in God as an impartial and universal Father, had they believed in Christ as an equal and universal brother.—Then we could have all sent our mingled prayers to the skies, and with a Christianity as broad as our earth, and as ample as our race, and generous as the soul of Jesus, we could have taken all mankind to our heart. We maintain it not in mere abstract speculation, but because we consider it a positive and a vital truth. Were the point metaphysical and not moral, we conceive it would be little worthy of dispute—and in that sense I for one would have small anxiety, whether God existed in three persons or in three thousand. In like manner we hold the simple and absolute unity of Christ; a unity of nature, a unity of person, and a unity of character. But as this topic is to occupy so large a space in the present lecture, I shall here forbear from further comments.
The statement of our subject in a text, was alluded to by the Christ Church Lecturer, in a tone that at least approached to censure. But we consider it amongst our privileges, that we can express our main principles in the simple and obvious language of Scripture; and if in this case deep scholarship and acute criticism be needed to give it to common minds a meaning different from that in which we understand it, the fault certainly is not ours.—Neither, indeed, is ours the blame, if a similar phraseology pervades the whole Christian Scriptures ; that in every page we read of God and Christ, and never of God in three persons, or of Christ in two natures. To find out such distinctions, we leave to Scholastic ingenuity; to give them definition and perpetuity, we consign to the framers of creeds and articles—and to receive and reverence them we turn over to the admirers of Athanasian perspicuity. We take the New Testament as the best formulary; We are satisfied with a religion direct and simple in its principles, and we long not for a religion of deducibles. We have been accused of tortuous criticism; and although we desire not to retort the accusation on our opponents, so far, I mean, as it implies moral delinquency, we cannot forbear observing that the intellectual sinuosities by which some of these deductions have been drawn from the New Testament is to us, certainly, a subject of not a little admiration, Our motive in selecting this text was the best of all which governs men in the use of language, simply that with greatest brevity and greatest perspicuity, it enunciates our opinions. Our opponents, however, have no right to complain ; the advantage of being first in the field was on their side, and the struggle was not provoked on our part but on theirs : they of course selected their own subjects, and they suggested ours. They could, therefore, have had no uncertainty either as to our views or interpretation of the text. I would not allude to a matter so small, were it not for the contradictory delinquencies with which Unitarians are accused
one time they are charged with dreading an appeal to Scripture, and when by the very title of their subject, they tacitly appeal to Scripture, there is wanting still no occasion to blame.
What, in Unitarian views, is Christ the Man, and what is Christ the Mediator, shall make the subject of the present
1.–First, I beg your attention to the enquiry as to what we believe of Christ as man. To this we answer, that in his nature we think him simply and undividedly human ; that in his character we regard him morally perfect. We cannot recognize in Christ a mixture of natures, and we wonder that any who read the gospel's records can. That he was simply and merely human, is a conclusion which meditation on these Records but fixes more profoundly on our understandings, and makes more precious to our faith. We derive the conclusion from Christ's own language—“Ye seek to kill me," he says, a man—which hath told you the truth, which I heard of God.”—Again, when a worldly and ambitious individual, mistaking the true nature of this kingdom, desired to become his disciple: “The foxes, said Jesus, have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not whereon to lay his head.” Instances, too many to repeat, might be enumerated; but the only other I shall adduce is that in which Christ's human nature speaks from its deepest sorrows, and its strongest love: when Jesus, as he hung upon the Cross, saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by, he saith unto his mother, “Woman, behold thy son.” It is vain to tell us of an infinite God veiled behind this suffering and sweetness, the mind repels it, despite of all the efforts of theology.*
The impression of a simple humanity was that which he left on the mind of his countrymen. What other impression could they have of one whom they daily saw amongst them as of themselves? who came weary to rest in their habitations; who came hungry to sit at their boards ; whom they met in their streets sinking with fatigue ; whom they might see upon their wayside asking drink from a well; one whom they saw weep over their troubles and rejoice in their gladness. Nay, the very intenseness of his humanity became
See Note on John xii.
a matter of accusation. To many it seemed subversive of religion. That spirit which sympathized with human beings, in their joys and woes, which not only loved the best, but would not cast out the worst, was what those of strait and narrow hearts could not understand. He came eating and drinking, and they called him a man gluttonous and a wine-bibber. Had he said long prayers at the corners of their streets, and been zealous for the traditions of the fathers, they would have revered him as a saint. Those who were panoplied in their own spiritual sufficiency knew not how he could be the friend of sinners; how he could associate with the deserted and the excommunicated; how he could take to his compassion the weary and the heavy-laden. The pharisee who proudly asked him to his house, but gave him no salute, no oil for his stiffened joints, and no water for his parched feet, had nothing within him whereby to interpret the feeling of Jesus towards her who anointed his head with ointment, washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Yes, it was this truth and fulness of humanity which made Jesus hateful to the pharisees, but loved and blessed by the poor; it was this that made the common people hear him gladly, and gave his voice a power which they never felt in the teachings of the scribes; which drew crowds around him, in wilderness and mountain, that hung raptured on the glad tidings which he preached. The flatterers of Herod on a particular occasion cried out, “ It is the voice of a god and not of a man;" but no one ever thought of insulting Jesus with such an exclamation.
The guilt of the Jews in crucifying Christ has been alluded to in the present controversy. But this is only an additional proof that Jesus left no other conviction on the minds of his countrymen than that he was simply a man.
That our views diminish this guilt has been urged as a powerful objection against us ; but, with reverence I say it, the objection turns more against Christ himself. Either then he was simply man,