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unscriptural and irrational. We say that the Son cannot be the same being with his own Father, that he, who was sent into the world to save it, cannot be the living God who sent him. The language of Jesus is explicit and unqualified. “I came not to do mine own will." "I came not from myself." "I came from God." Now we affirm, and this is our chief heresy, that Jesus was not and could not be the God from whom he came, but was another being; and it amazes us, that any can resist this simple truth. The doctrine, that Jesus, who was born at Bethlehem; who ate and drank and slept; who suffered and was crucified; who came from God; who prayed to God; who did God's will; and who said, on leaving the world, "I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God;" the doctrine, that this Jesus was the supreme God himself, and the same being with his Father, this seems to us a contradiction to reason and scripture so flagrant, that the simple statement of it is a sufficient refutation. We are often charged with degrading Christ; but if this reproach belong to any christians, it falls, we fear, on those who accuse him of teaching a doctrine so contradictory, and so subversive of the supremacy of our Heavenly Father. Certainly our humble and devout Master has given no ground for this accusation. He always expressed towards God the reverence of a son. He habitually distinguished himself from God. He referred to God all his powers. He said, without limitation or reserve, "The Father is greater than I." "Of myself I can do nothing." If to represent Christ as a being distinct from God, and as inferior to him, be to degrade him, then let our opponents lay the guilt, where it belongs, not on us, but on our master, whose language we borrow, in whose very words we express our sentiments, whose words we dare not trifle with and force from their plain sense. Our limits will not allow us to say more; but we ask common christians, who have taken their opinions from the Bible rather than from human systems, to look honestly into their own minds, and to answer frankly, whether they have not understood and believed Christ's divinity, in the sense maintained by us, rather than in that for which Trinitarians contend.
2. I proceed to another objection, and one which probably weighs more with multitudes than any other. It is this, that our doctrine respecting Christ takes from the sinner the only ground of hope. It is said continually by our opponents, "We and all men are sinners by our very nature, and infinitely guilty before God. The sword of divine justice hangs over us, and hell opens beneath us; and where shall we
find a refuge, but in an infinite Saviour? We want an infinite atonement; and in depriving us of this, you rob us of our hope, you tear from the scriptures the only doctrine which meets our wants. We may burn our bibles, if your interpretation be true, for our case is desperate; we are lost forever." In such warm and wild language, altogether unwarranted by scripture, yet exceedingly fitted to work on common and terror-stricken minds, our doctrine is constantly assailed.
Now to this declamation, for such we esteem it, we oppose one plain request. Show us, we say, a single passage in the Bible in which we are told, that the sin of man is infinite, and needs an infinite atonement. We find not one. Not even a whisper of this doctrine comes to us from the sacred writers. Let us stop a moment and weigh this doctrine. It teaches us, that man, although created by God a frail, erring, and imperfect being, and even created with an irresistible propensity to sin, is yet regarded by his Creator as an infinite offender, meriting infinite punishment for his earliest transgressions; and that he is doomed to endless torment, unless an infinite Saviour appear for his rescue. And what man, we ask, has the courage to charge on our benevolent and righteous Parent, this merciless and iniquitous government of his creatures. Tell us not that Unitarianism cuts off the sinner's hope; for if God be what this system teaches, we see no hope for saint or sinner, for men or angels. Under such a sovereign every one's prospects grow black; every heart may well shudder.-We maintain, that man is not created in a condition which makes an infinite atonement necessary; nor do we believe that any creature can fall into a condition, from which God may not deliver him without this rigid expedient. Surely, if an infinite satisfaction to justice were indispensible to our salvation, if God took on him human nature for the very purpose of offering it, and if this fact constitute the peculiar glory, the life and essence, and the saving efficacy of the gospel, we must find it expressed clearly, definitely, in at least one passage in the Bible. But not one, we repeat it, can be found there.-We maintain farther, that this doctrine of God becoming, a victim and sacrifice for his own rebellious subjects, is as irrational as it is unscriptural. We have always supposed that atonement, if necessary, was to be made to, not by, the sovereign, who has been offended; and we cannot conceive a more unlikely method of vindicating bis authority, than that he himself should bear the punishment which is due to transgressors of his laws. We have another objection. If an infinite atonement be necessary, and if, consequently, none but God can make it, we see not but that God
must become a sufferer, must take upon himself our pain and wo; a thought from which a pious mind shrinks with horror. To escape this difficulty, we are told, that Christ suffered as man, not as God; but if man only suffered, if only a human and finite mind suffered, if Christ, as God, was perfectly happy on the cross, and bore only a short and limited pain in bis human nature, where, we ask, was the infinite atonement? Where is the boasted hope, which this doctrine is said to give to the sinner?
The objection, that there is no hope for the sinner, unless Christ be the infinite God, amazes us. Surely if we have a Father in heaven, of infinite goodness and power, we need no other infinite person, to save us. The common doctrine disparages and dishonours the only true God, our Father, as if, without the help of a second and a third divinity, equal to himself, he could not restore his frail creature, man. We have not the courage of our brethren. With the scriptures in our hands, with the solemn attestations which they contain to the divine Unity, and to Christ's dependence, we dare not give to the God and Father of Jesus, any equal or rival in the glory of originating our redemption, or of accomplishing it by underived and infinite power.-Are we asked, as we sometimes are, what is our hope, if Christ be not the supreme God? We answer, it is the boundless and almighty goodness of his Father and our Father; a goodness, which cannot require an infinite atonement for the sins of a frail and limited creature. God's essential and unchangeable mercy, not Christ's infinity, is the scriptural foundation of a sinner's hope. In the scriptures, our Heavenly Father is always represented as the sole original, spring, and first cause of our salvation; and let no one presume to divide his glory with another. That Jesus came to save us, we owe entirely to the Father's benevolent appointment. That Jesus is perfectly adequate to the work of our salvation, is to be believed, not because he is himself the supreme God, but because the supreme and unerring God selected, commissioned, and empowered him for this office. That his death is an important means of our salvation, we gratefully acknowledge; but ascribe its efficacy to the merciful disposition of God towards the human race. To build the hope of pardon on the independent and infinite sufficiency of Jesus Christ, is to build on an unscriptural and false foundation; for Jesus teaches us, that of himself he can do nothing; that all power is given to him by his Father; and that he is a proper object of trust, because he came not of himself, or to do his own will, but because the Father sent him. We indeed lean on Christ, but it is because
he is "a corner-stone, chosen by God, and laid by God in Zion." God's forgiving love, declared to mankind by Jesus Christ, and exercised through him, is the foundation of hope to the penitent, on which we primarily rest, and a firmer the uni
verse cannot furnish us.
3. We now proceed to another objection. objection. We are charged with expecting to be saved by works and not by grace. This charge may easily be despatched, and a more groundless one cannot easily be imagined. We indeed attach great importance to Christian works, or Christian obedience, believing that a practice or life, conformed to the precepts and example of Jesus, is the great end for which faith in him is required, and is the great condition on which everlasting life is bestowed. We are accustomed to speak highly of the virtues and improvements of a true Christian, rejecting with abhorrence the idea, that they are no better than the outward Jewish righteousness, which the prophet called "filthy rags;" and maintaining with the apostle, that they are "in the sight of God, of great price." We believe that holiness or virtue is the very image of God in the human soul, a ray of his brightness, the best gift which he communicates to his creatures, the highest benefit which Christ came to confer, the only important and lasting distinction between man and man. Still we always and earnestly maintain, that no human virtue, no human obedience, can give a legal claim, a right by merit, to the life and immortality brought to light by Christ. We see and mourn over the deficiencies, broken resolutions, and mixed motives of the best men. We always affirm, that God's grace, benignity, free kindness, is needed by the most advanced Christian, and that to this alone we owe the promise in the gospel, of full remission and everlasting happiness to the penitent. None speak of mercy more constantly than we. One of our distinctions is, that we magnify this lovely attribute of the Deity. One of our strong objections to Calvinism is, that it subverts God's grace, annihilates his forgiving goodness, by teaching that an infinite substitute is provided for guilty men, in whom their sins, instead of being pardoned, are fully and infinitely punished. So accustomed are we to insist on the infinity of God's grace and mercy, that our adversaries often charge us with forgetting his justice; and yet it is objected to us, that, renouncing grace, we appeal to justice, and build our hope on the abundance of our merit!
4. We now proceed to another objection often urged against our views, or rather against those who preach them; and it is this, that we preach Morality. To meet this objecNew Series-vol. I.
tion, we beg to know what is intended by morality. Are we to understand by it, what it properly signifies, our whole duty, however made known to us, whether by nature or revelation? Does it mean the whole extent of those obligations which belong to us as moral beings? Does it mean that "sober, righteous, godly life," which our moral Governour has prescribed to us by his Son, as the great preparation for Heaven? If this be morality, we cheerfully plead guilty to the charge of preaching it, and of labouring chiefly and constantly to enforce it; and believing, as we do, that all the doctrines, precepts, threatenings, and promises, of the gospel, are revealed for no other end than to make meu moral, in this true and generous sense, we hope to continue to merit this reproach.
We fear, however, that this is not the meaning of the morality, which is said to be the burden of our preaching. Some, at least, who thus reproach us, mean, that we are accustomed to enjoin only a worldly and social morality, consisting in common honesty, common kindness, and freedom from gross vices; neglecting to inculcate inward purity, devotion, heavenly mindedness, and love to Jesus Christ. We hope that the persons, who thus accuse us, speak from rumour, and bave never heard our instructions for themselves; for the charge is false: and no one, who ever sat under our ministry, can urge it, without branding himself a slanderer. The first and great commandment, which is to love God supremely, is recognized and enforced babitually in our preaching; and our obligations to Jesus Christ, the friend who died for us, are urged, we hope, not wholly without tenderness and effect.
It is but justice, however, to observe of many, that when they reproach us with moral preaching, they do not mean that we teach only outward decencies, but that we do not inculcate certain favourite doctrines, which are to them the very marrow and richness of the gospel. When such persons hear a sermon, be the subject what it may, which is not seasoned with recognitions of the trinity, total depravity, and similar articles of faith, they call it moral. According to this strange and unwarrantable use of the term, we rejoice to say that we are "moral preachers;" and it comforts us that we have for our pattern, "Him, who spake as never man spake," and who, in his longest discourse, has dropt not a word about a Trinity or inborn corruption, and special and etecting grace; and still more, we seriously doubt, whether our preaching could with propriety be called moral, did we urge these doctrines, especially the two last; for, however hotly they may be defended by honest men, they seem to us to border on immorality; that is, to dishonour