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make. Not that it recommends itself by any appearance of truth to a sound inind. This it certainly does not. The understanding, fairly exercised upon it, rejects it with as decided a dissent as it would any other of the most express contradictions that words can form. But in matters of religion it is the universal tendency to give excessive exercise to the imagination and feelings. Men love mystery; and so great a mystery relating to the object of worship, is what, above all things, they would enjoy. They delight in the unintelligible ; for it carries to them a show of magnificence. They imagine they do religion the best possible service by multiplying its peculiarities ; and they are sensible that, in making it a completely unreasonable thing, they distinguish it at a stroke, most surely and widely, from every other subject with which their thoughts are conversant.
The advocates of the doctrine of a triple division of the divine nature represent the opposition which has been made to it as founded in the natural inclinations of the mind; to us it appears exactly the reverse, and our view is justified by bistory. Immediate divine interposition had no sooner ceased, than the doctrine of the strict and proper Unity of God, familiarly known in the early ages, was forgotten, and a monstrous polytheism spread itself over the world. It became necessary that a single people, peculiarly privileged and governed, should be made the trustees, so to speak, of a truth which in better times, but not then, men might be brought to receive. Guarded as it was among this people by a most precise and unequivocal revelation, and perhaps still more by their national pride, indulged in calling the only God, the God of their fathers, it remained uncorrupted so long as it was confined to them. But when it was handed over again to the world at large, again it underwent a fortune similar to the first. Experience had taught men not to avoid their error, but only to disguise it. They had learned but to cover up irreconcileable ideas with dark words; to call the self-contradictory, mysterious; and this method made their faith in scripture and their love of their own imaginations friends at once.
We do not mean to say that the persons, who between the first century and the sixth were engaged in framing the received doctrine, were influenced only by the natural love for the incomprehensible. They had more immediate objects; to reconcile Christianity with the prevailing systems of philosophy, and to remove the reproach of the cross. But the common illiterate people had no such views; and it was only by feeding their taste for the marvellous, that they could be drawn away from the true sense of scripture.
These are the recommendations which the Trinitarian doctrine carries with itself to the mass of men ; which aided in causing it to be received at first, and are a wall of fire about it vow that it is received. But it leans still more securely, if possible, on foreign supports. Every age that has passed since its reception, has placed it on higher ground. A large proportion of the wise and good men, who have lived in the interval, have lent it the authority of names, wbich would never bave appeared on that side, if they had fallen on better times. It has been infused, with an anxious diligence, into the springs where men go to refresh their faith and piety; and many must drink there, or thirst. It is found in almost all the great establishments of religion and learning, in a close association with what is really venerable and inspiring i sheltering itself under their patronage, and demanding bonour with their lips. It commands a great share of the influence of the writers and writings of the day. Many defend it, for it is a ready way to popularity and gain; and few assail it, for to assail it hazards both.
The contrast between the condition of this triumphant doctrine, and that of the scripture doctrine of the Unity of God, is so decided (we were about to say so discouraging, but we have not so studied the divine dispensations, as to despair of the final victory of religious truth) so decided that we cannot but feel backward to state it. Not an established church in the world receives it. Not a national institution of learning in the world defends it. It has no great instruments of proselytism in the form of religious charities. It appears on the title page of no tracts, printed in editions such as might supply a great portion of all who read one language. It is no where a recommendation to office or influence ; so far from it, that to call a man, a Unitarian, is with many to inpeach his piety, and with some, we fear, to question his honesty. It is the plain simple truth of God, and that is all there is to recommend it.
This then is the statement. The received doctrine has a firm support in the natural partialities of the mass of men, and in all the foreign aids which can confirm the authority of an opinion in the public sentiment. Yet so it has happened, (and let those who deny that it is the study of God's word which has produced it, account for the fact) that from the date of the Reformation the doctrine of the divine unity has been continually gaining ground, and is still advancing, conquering and to conquer. If we were inclined to urge its prevalence as an argument for its truth, we might assert without fear of contradiction, that taking from the body of trinitarian Christians only those who have some definiteness in their ideas, who have con
sidered the subject and know whereof they affirm, and dividing them into their separate classes according to their various explanations of it, that is separating from each other those who really hold different sentiments, each class would number fewer adherents than the number of those who reject it. But our object is not so much to urge this, as to state the impossibility of accounting for the fact of the Unitarian doctrine being received by such persons and in such a manner, as it has been received, on any other ground than that of its being the sense of scripture.
We shall limit our remarks to its progress among ourselves, because, though the course has been similar in the parent country, the facts which we might state would not be so familiar to our readers. It has grown up here under every circumstance of discouragement. The soil was parched and the sky inclement, and nothing but the strongest principle of growth could have urged it upward. Our early settlers answered exactly to the description of the venerated Robinson. “They have come to a period in religion, and will go at present no further than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of his will our good God has revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it. And the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by tbat great man of God, who yet saw not all things.” Thus it remained till the habits of the country were formed, till its institutions were well established, and bad begun to operate with their mighty machinery on the forming mind, as if it had been the design of Providence to accumulate obstacles, and show how scripture truth can bear them all away. A century ago there was not an avowed Unitarian of any note in the country. Now the doctrine has many advocates; men too of intelligence, learning, and piety; men who read their Bibles, and pray that they may read them profitably. And it has not been forced on them by others, who have received it and then busied themselves in making proselytes. It has made its way with nothing to aid it, but the careful study of the sacred writings, and with every thing else against it. The reception of it has been the result of the solitary inquiries of solitary individuals; of individuals too who have trembled as they learned it, for they knew that in becoming wiser than their neighbours, they must either lose their honesty and self-respect by concealing their convictions, or by publishing them incur the forfeiture of reputation, friends, and often of the means of living. It bas reared
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its head in the strong holds of the popular doctrine. In Boston, once the very Vatican of Calvinism, it is professed by many and serious Christians.
Along our sea-coast it has almost ceased to be dreadful, and it is not a thing quite upbeard of in our western counties. In Connecticut it is stilled as fast as it appears; but they will learn, by and by, it is only cutting off limbs, which the body can reproduce and multiply. In 1805, an ecclesiastical council dismissed Mr. Sherman, for the crime of embracing it, from his charge in Mansfield in that state, contrary to the wishes of both church and society. In 1811, after a quiet ministry of fifteen years, Mr. Abbot of Coventry followed his example in bonesty and suffering; and, nothing deterred by this, Mr. Wilson of Brookline pursued the same course something more than a year ago. Nor is the doctrine confined to one section of the country. In Charleston, SouthCarolina, there is a flourishing church, the pastor and associates of which embraced it without communication from abroad. la Philadelphia there is a temple to the only God. In Baltimore, a large and growing Unitarian society have lately chosen for their pastor a gentleman, who, without any thing of the zeal of prosely tism, has spirit and ability to defend their belief. Nor is it confined to one order of Christians. Many of the communion of Baptists have received it, and some, we are told, of high literary name among them. In this town there is a society of professed Unitarian Baptists; and if we are not misioformed, some who repeat the Litany would be well pleased with the omission of ihe three addresses following the first. Religious knowledge in its universal progress is diligently sowing the grain of mustard-seed, and our children, if not we, will be shaded by its magnificent branches.
Mr. Eddy is one of those whom diligent study of scripture has led reluctantly to the rejection of the received belief. We copy his account of the course of his inquiries, because it is an account of the course of inquiry of almost all who come to the game result. Few, perhaps none, start in it with their minds fairly opened to the evidence against the Trinitarian doctrine ; and as they proceed, every feeble argument in its favour which the examination wrests from them, is relinquished with a pain and disappointment, such as one might feel in detecting a flaw in the finished demonstration of the most beautiful system of the world. On one account it is happy that it is thus. Conviction once produced, there is less ground to doubt that it is just, when all the feeliugs and prepossessions were combined to oppose it.
“The common doctrine of the trinity was received by mne, as it is by most others, without examination. I had, as you probably have, taken it for granted, without investigation, to be the truth of revelation; and for a time, that faith in it was necessary to constitute the character of a Christian. (I am happy however in saying, that this was but a short time.) And so strong was my prejudice on this subject, that votwithstanding the contrary faith was frequently a subject of conversation, I never once gave that side of the question any attention. As far as I can recollect, false arguments, seriously adduced in proof of the underived power and proper deity of Christ, first turned my mind to a consideration of this subject. As I read the scriptures, passages presented themselves in a light in which I had never before viewed them, and my doubts increased. As I had read nothing against the received doctrine, I was determined to satisfy my mind from the only correct source of information. Whatever the true doctrine might be, I was persoaded tbat it must appear in the New Testament. To that I therefore had reconirse. And that I might have the whole evidence on the subject before me at once, as far as possible, I transcribed every word, from the beginning of Matthew to the end of Revelations, which appeared to me to bear on the question. The result was a full conviction, that the Father was the only true God, and that Christ was not the Father, or that being whoin Cbrist asserts to be the only true God."
The author of these pages is a man of high standing and unimpeached character. He bas filled, and now fills, important public offices; and we risk nothing in saying, that there is do man among us who can found on weight of character, on conscientious love of truth as a thing to be earnestly sought and frankly professed, and, to judge from his work, on bumble piety and a Christian temper, a better title to be heard. He was for many years a prominent member of the first Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, and, as we have been told, was always regarded by his brethren as an Israelite indeed, till in an evil hour, he became a suspicious character, by forbearing to join in the service of a doxology to the triune God, and immediately became an object of reprehension with those who make themselves busy with other people's errors, and a cause of painful solicitude to the church. The first expressed their regret and pity in the customary way, and the church summoned him before them, to learn from himself whether it were true, that he worshipped the God of his fathers in the way which they called heresy. He offered them an account of his scheme of belief expressed in scripture language, and protested against their right “either by the laws of Jesus Christ, or the principles on which their church was founded," to discipline him for any supposed error in sentiments which he had avowed. This was not satisfactory; and at a subsequent meeting of the church he opened to them his views more fully. Still they remained inflexibly convinced of