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from erroneous views of the philosophy of the mind, It is, that ariterior to the exercise of faith, apart from it, and capable of distinct contemplation, and of course responsibility, there is a principle of faith implanted in regeneration. This is the counterpart of the doctrine of physical depravity; of a concreated principle of evil; and is what cannot be admitted as true.'-pp. 353, 354.
TRANSUBSTANTIATION AND THE TRINITY AND THE MODES OF DEFENDING THEM. SPIRIT OF THE
Messrs Editors—In the number of the Spirit of the Pilgrims' for July, I observe a few selected paragraphs relating to Transubstantiation and the Trinity, and the analogy they bear to each other, as it regards the evidence on which they rest. The subject appears to me an interesting one, and if you think the following cursory observations worthy a place in the Advocate, they are at your disposal. The paragraphs to which I allude, are introduced by a remark of the editor, that Unitarians often class the doctrine of the Trinity with Transubstantiation, and insist that those who admit the former, ought not to stumble at the latter. The one doctrine, say they, may be supported by the letter of scripture, not less than the other; and both are equally absurd.' This statement is not perfectly accurate. Unitarians have never admitted, that the doctrine of the Trinity derives any support whatever from the letter of scripture. They have uniformly maintained, that it is opposed alike to the letter and
spirit of the sacred writings; that it is no where directly asserted; that we search the Bible in vain for any thing like an express statement of it. In fact, the advocates of the doctrine admit this. They admit that it is no where in the scriptures explicitly stated or affirmed, but on the contrary, is wholly a doctrine of inference. Now the Roman Catholics allege, in favor of their notion of Transubstantiation, the express words of scripture. This,' says our Saviour, 'is my body.' This affirmation taken literally, certainly establishes the doctrine. In this respect, Transubstantiation, as regards the support it derives from the scriptures, is placed on a better footing than the Trinity. The New Testament explained according to the letter, asserts the one, but does not assert the other. It no where asserts, that the • Father is God, the Son is God, and the holy spirit is God, yet there are not three Gods, but one God.'
The other part of the remark above quoted from the Spirit of the Pilgrims,' is true. Unitarians do consider the two doctrines as belonging to the same class. They think them both alike unsupported by just views of the language of the Bible; they think that they are attended with the same or similar difficulties; that they are irrational and absurd, and can be defended only on principles, which would inspire a universal distrust of the human understanding, and, in fact, sweep away, at once, the whole mass of evidence on which Christianity rests.
I shall not attempt any labored comparison of the two doctrines. It is unnecessary. I wish simply to state one or two particulars, which, in my view, reduce the doctrines to the same level of absurdity.
The point chiefly urged by those who hold a belief of the Trinity, but reject Transubstantiation, is, that of the two doctrines, one relates to a subject wholly incomprehensible, the other to a subject with which we are all perfectly familiar ; that though we are justified in affirming that bread is not flesh, by our familiarity with the properties of each, yet our knowledge of the Divine Being is so exceedingly imperfect, that we are not authorized to deny, that with regard to him, three may be one, and one, three; that though we may safely deny this of bodies subjected to the examination of the senses, it would be rash to deny it of him, the
depths of whose nature' we cannot fathom. This is the sum of the whole argument.
Now to this reasoning of the Protestant Trinitarian, a Roman Catholic of ordinary acuteness might reply, as it has been often replied in substance; “The cases are not so dissimilar, sir, as you imagine. You object to the doctrine of Transubstantiation, that it is repugnant to reason. But beware, I beseech you, of pride of intellect; beware of carnal reasoning' in matters which do not fall within the reach of the human faculties. In these matters it is your duty, as you have been taught, no doubt, to submit the understanding to faith. There are mysteries in religion, as in nature, and in surrounding objects of sense. The doctrine of Transubstantiation is one of them; a holy mystery which human reason is to receive on the authority of revelation, and not attempt irreverently to pry into it, to discover how far its parts are consistent with each other, and with the understanding. You are a Trinitarian. You are accustomed, then, to overlook difficulties. You must find some method of satisfying yourself, that three beings may be one being; that an infinite and a finite nature may be inseparably united in one person, who thus becomes perfect God, and perfect man, omnipotent and weak, incapable of suffering, yet a sufferer; you must find some method, I say, of reconciling to your reason these and a multitude of other apparent contradictions and absurdities, or you must place the doctrine in the class of mysteries to be believed, not explored. The latter you will probably think the wiser course of the two. This part of the alternative I observe your most admired champions of the doctrine, as well as ours, have usually chosen. Did not Dr South long ago assert, that were the Trinity not to be adored as a mystery, it would be exploded as a contradiction ?' And has not Bishop Hurd spoken of it, or of some of its parts and applications, as something at which reason stands aghast, and faith herself is half confounded ?' And has not Soame Jenyns said, “That three Beings should be one Being, is aproposition which certainly contradicts reason, that is our reason ; but it does not thence follow, that it cannot be true? Or, to come down to the present time, did not Bishop Hobart of New York, in a Charge not long ago delivered to the clergy of his Diocese, undertake to defend the doctrine almost solely on the ground of its mysteriousness? Did he not say that the principal source of all the objections alleged against it, is a 'reprehensible desire to bring a subject "incapable of being comprehended down to the level of human reason !* You have then no objection to mysteries, as such, and are
accustomed, as I before observed, to overlook difficulties. You receive doctrines at which "unsanctified' reason 'stands aghast,' doctrines incumbered with apparent contradictions and absurdities. With what face, then, can you reject the doctrine of Transubstantiation so plainly revealed? You cannot allege a single objection against it, founded on its seeming repugnance to the understanding, which cannot with equal propriety, be alleged against the Trinity.
I see not, Messrs Editors, how the Protestant Trinitarian is to reply to this argument of the Catholic, nor why the cases, thus far, are not perfectly parallel.
But, the Trinitarian will add, your doctrine of Transubstantiation contradicts not only my understanding, but my senses. This cannot be said of the Trinity, the subject of which is forever removed from the observation of the senses.
• But, stop,' rejoins the Catholic, a little more caution, if you please. My senses, you say, inform me that the elements I make use of, during the reception of the Eucharist, have all the properties of bread and wine. Be it so. Are you not aware, however, that the senses are deceptive? With how many thousand occular illusions does philosophy make us acquainted ! Do not metaphysicians and philosophers teach us, that there is no necessary and essential connection between our sensations, and the objects which occasion them, and that, in fact, each of our senses frequently deceive us ? How unreasonable, then, is it, as well as impious, to oppose their fallible testimony to God's infallible word !"*
* Milner's End of Controversy, Let. xxxviii,