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his crime, and their right to punish it; and as we learn from the title page of his little publication, compelled him to withdraw from their communion. In what manner we are not told; but we suppose with the usual expressions of mingled reproach, commiseration, and contempt, which the confident in goodness think a little better than the erring deserve, but becoming their moderation to give. Thus denounced by his brethren, and called on for a vindication of his consistency, he gave these pages to the public, who may find in them evidence, that a man can be an Unitarian without being ignorant or thoughtless, and a controversialist without being angry.
This pamphlet is not to be considered as a set defence of the Unitarian doctrine. It has a local reference, and is rather the writer's justification of himself in professing that belief, and protest against the right of others to molest him in it. It is composed of the papers which he read to his inquisitors at the two interviews we have named. The first, except a few words of caution to them not to persist in their design of censuring him, consists of a sketch of the author's views of the nature and some of the attributes of God, and of the nature, origin, dignity, qualifications, office, and exaltation of the Saviour. It is drawn up in scripture language, and as such, none we should think need fear to read it, for what it expresses has the authority which the sanction of the sacred writers gives. The second is a more elaborate development of his views. After giving, in the passage which we have extracted, an account of the progress of his opinions, he proceeds to examine the question, whether, by the laws of Jesus Christ, or the principles on which the church to which he was held accountable was founded, his opinions rendered him a subject of church discipline, and, arguing from the want in the New Testament of any precept or example which will meet the case; from the positive example of our Lord and his apostles in not retiring from the communion of the Jews; from the entire impossibility, considering the different capacities, love of investi gation and opportunities of private Christians, that a real and thorough uniformity of opinion should exist; from the truly catholic practice of the Baptist churches in better times; and from the express authority of scripture, decides it in the negative. He proceeds then to shew, (the conclusion we must be allowed to think too modest) "that however unscriptural his opinions may be, in the view of the church, they are such as an honest man may entertain without the charge of ignorance or irreligion." He states (and let who can refute him) that the Jews, selected and qualified for depositaries of the doctrine
of the divine unity, knew nothing of one God in three persons; and that neither Christ, his forerunner, nor his apostles, spake of such an one. What remains is a brief and close statement of the grounds of the author's "belief, that there is but one only self-existent and true God, and that Jesus Christ is not that being;" in which the testimony of our Lord concerning himself, and that of his apostles concerning him, are separately considered. He states his rule in the investigation of the subject to have been, "to construe passages of doubtful import by those which are plain and unequivocal, and to consider Christ's declarations of himself to be of primary regard;" and he appears to have adhered to it faithfully, and has certainly used it with success.
It will be seen from our account of Mr. Eddy's conduct of the argument, that it is plain, brief, and popular. It has no great peculiarity, except as far as on the tritest subjects a man of independent discriminating mind will give an individuality to what he writes. There is one particular, however, which somewhat distinguishes it. The distinct personality of the Holy Spirit is the part of the trinitarian scheme, which they who have advocated it have found to labour most, and accordingly they have had the address to keep it most out of sight. It may safely be said, that, with all the art which can be employed in wresting scripture by false explanations to prove what it never would have suggested, in favour of this part of the received doctrine there can scarcely be made to appear a decent pretence of evidence, and, but for the three principles of the Platonists, it is most improbable that the framers of the system of Christian metaphysics would ever have thought of more than two persons in the Godhead. The orthodox doctrine is, there are three distinct equal persons in one God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and it falls to the ground whenever the distinct personality and equality of either of the three persons is disproved. It is overthrown when the Son is proved not to be equal with the Father; or if it be shown, that the Holy Ghost is not a distinct existence from the Father yet equal with him, it is overthrown as well. But the argument has generally been so managed, as if to prove the equality of the Father and Son was to prove the doctrine of the trinity. Here its advocates have had the advantage of engaging on their own chosen ground, and have been careful to keep it. By the false methods of interpreting scripture which now prevail, texts may be brought together, which will give some speciousness to the argument in favour of the equality of the Father and Son, when addressed to some minds; but the worst
methods of interpretation, bad as they are, and all the ingenuity of controversy, dexterous as it is, cannot give a plausibility to the alleged scriptural proof of the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit. Here the trinitarian doctrine is most accessible, and here it ought to be assailed. All its advocates have been pressed with this difficulty. We know not what solution the rest have given of it. That of Epiphanius is this, and perhaps on his ground it would not be easy to find one more satisfactory; "the apostles writing by the inspiration of the Spirit, he did not choose to introduce much commendation of himself, lest it should give us an example of commending ourselves."
We repeat this, because we think it deserves more attention than it has received. There are three propositions essential to the received doctrine; they are these:
There is a separate existence, God the Father.
There is a second, God the Son, equal with the Father. There is a third, God the Holy Ghost, equal with the Father and the Son.
If either of these propositions is disproved, the doctrine which they go to compose is disproved with it. The first all Christians agree in. The second and third some deny. The third is the most clearly without support, yet has been the seldomest assailed.* Mr. Eddy has spoken of the utter deficiency of evidence for it, but he has not followed his remarks to the consequences which they manifestly admit.
We are pleased with Mr. Eddy's work, because it takes up the argument on purely scriptural ground. Here it is that we always wish to see it maintained. To us indeed the doctrine of the trinity plainly appears to be self-contradictory; and we might reason a priori, that it could not make a part of a revelation from God; for what is self-contradictory cannot be true, and what is not true cannot come from him, whom the works of nature declare to be a God of veracity, because of benevolence. But it is useless to reason on the impossible supposition, that such satisfactory evidence as we have for the divinity of the scriptures, and such intuitive evidence as we have against a contradiction,† should run counter to each other; and it is idle
* On this subject we wish to be entirely secure from misapprehension. The agency of the Spirit of God in affecting the hearts of men, and in various offices of divine benevolence, we admit most willingly and gratefully. It is its personality, as a separate subsistence from the Father, to which we say the scriptures give no countenance.
To acquit ourselves of the charge of having made any over-statement in calling this doctrine a contradiction, we give the following extract from a work of one who thought it very true and important. Let any plain
to prove what must be, when we can look and see what is. We receive the scriptures for the word of God. The question then as to any article of faith is, Is it written there? As to that of which we speak, we do not care to see it shown how shocking to the original principles of belief it is, but we would always identify the defence of its opposite with the defence of this proposition; the doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in holy scripture, but the reverse is most explicitly taught. Here let it be tried, and by this stand or fall. All that, as well wishers to the cause of pure and undefiled religion, all that we wish as to this disputed article of faith, is, that it may be examined fairly on its merits by the infallible test of revelation. With the Bible in their hands, it is not impossible that men may now err, for there are a thousand solicitations of early impression, of example, and of association of one part of the scheme of belief with another, to betray the judgment. But with a careful and serious study of it, and with continual effort and earnest prayer to be led to the true understanding of it, the mind will be extricated by degrees from the toils which' have been so long weaving to embarrass it, and may grasp at
Christian say, whether he can find in scripture support for such statements as some of these. They are laid down with all solemnity in Doolittle's body of divinity. There is a passage to much the same effect in one of South's Sermons.
"1. That the same person should be the Creator and yet a creature. Is not this wonderful?
"2. That the Father of eternity should be born in time. Is not this wonderful?
3. That the Mighty God should be a weak babe. Is not this won
"4. That the virgin's womb should contain him, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Is not this wonderful?
5. That he that had both father and mother, should have neither father nor mother. Is not this another thing in him very wonderful?
6. That his Father should be greater than he, and yet he be his Father's equal. Is not this also wonderful?
7. That he was before Abraham was born, and yet Abraham was born before him, about the space of two thousand years. Shall not this be accounted wonderful?
"8. That he was David's son, and yet David's Lord. Was not this such a wonder, that the great Rabbies among the Pharisees could not understand it?
9. That the wisdom and word was an infant, that could not speak a word. Who with words can declare how great this wonder was?
10. Who can reckon up the wonders in him? He was omnipotent, and yet weak; infinite, and yet finite; invisible, and yet was seen; immortal, and yet did die; he was a most spiritual being, and yet had flesh, and blood, and bones. That he was God, what more glorious? That he was flesh, what more inglorious? That he was God in flesh, what more marvellous?""
truth with something of its native vigour. Mr. Eddy's work is a guide for the scriptural inquirer. His faith he declares to have been "the result of diligent, prayerful, and laborious search after truth." He has the claim to be heard of one, who, when his earliest doubts occurred, "determined to satisfy his mind from the only correct source of information," and who was diligent and wary enough, before he suffered his judg ment to be decided, to transcribe "every word from the beginning of Matthew to the end of Revelations, which appeared to bear on the question." Let those who dispute his conclusion, look at his reasons, and they who think lightly of his faith, imitate his zeal and caution in inquiry.
We like Mr. Eddy's little work, further, because it shows him in the light of what we account the most noble, elevated thing on earth, a man who will act undeviatingly on his responsibility to God, let what will cross his way. He doubted whether what he had believed religious truth were indeed such; it became his duty to examine. He examined, and his sentiments were changed. It became his duty to do nothing inconsistent with his recently acquired views of divine truth, and he refused to do any thing inconsistent with them. Here is the consequence.
"My opinions are represented by many as indicating a state of mind, altogether indifferent as to my future welfare, and even as betokening doubts of a future state of rewards and punishments; a state rendered certain, in the opinion of some of the best and most learned men, from the very light of nature, independent of all revelation. Brethren, can you believe that life, eternal life, has all at once become of no value to me? And that for no other reason than to be exposed to hatred, calumny and reproach, I have voluntarily departed from him who is the way, and the truth, and the life? Do you think that my mind has become callous to the solemnities of judgment and the joys of salvation? Can you believe that I have willingly, and without a cause, incurred the loss, not only of Christian fellowship, but private friendship? That I have at once become insensible to all that is most dear to man, either in time or eternity? You must either believe this, or you must do me the justice to acknowledge, that my opinions are the result of careful investigation, and avowed under a serious sense of duty, and a full persuasion of future responsibility."
On the meekness of this expostulation we cannot stay to remark. The independent uprightness which was the occasion of the charges is worthy of all praise. The spirit which prompted them is one of the paradoxes of what is esteemed by some the religious character. Difference of religious views is the only thing which is regarded as releasing men from the otherwise universal duty of a charitable judgment of each other. On that ground only, which is most sacred, the cruel passions, it