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in the scriptures. They are not of a character to present any difficulty to an intelligent and unprejudiced reader, who has made himself familiar with this style; who has attended to its peculiarities; who is in the habit of comparing expressions used in one place with the same or similar expressions when they recur in another; and who, availing himself of the best means in his power of interpreting the Sacred Books, reads them in the same exercise of his judgment with which he reads all other writings.
VII. But in the last place, many of the arguments of Trinitarians are founded upon passages understood without any regard to the most obvious characteristics of language, or the most common rules respecting its interpretation. Thus, for instance, we find in such books as Jones' Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity, arguments which really go upon the assumption that the same word is always used in the same sense; and which, if this assumption be not granted, fall at once to the ground.
We have thus explained our opinions on the subject in controversy. If these opinions be true, we have no doubt that they will finally prevail. In our country especially, where truth has nothing but error to contend with, and is not borne down, as it has been almost every where else, by civil and ecclesiastical power, they must prevail. The great point is to impress those who hold correct opinions with a sense of their importance;-of the importance of presenting Christianity to men such as it really is. He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.* We regard with the highest satisfaction the exertions, which have been made, and are making in our more southern cities; and consider the disinterested and generous sacrifices of some individuals, with which we have become acquainted, as worthy of all praise. It is not an object of light value which they have in view, and they have given proof, that they feel it is not.
Before concluding, we wish to say a word or two respecting our general views of religion; those views, the great characteristics of which Mr. Channing has so ably and eloquently explained and defended in the Sermon, which has given occasion to Professor Stuart's Letters. We are charged with depriving Christianity of all its value; of rejecting every thing but its name. Christianity, WE BELIEVE, has taught the Unity
*Jeremiah xxiii. 28. These words were prefixed by the Confessor Emlyn to one of his publications.
of God, and revealed him as the Father of his creatures. It has made known his infinite perfections, his providence, and his moral government. It has directed us to look up to Him as the Being, on whom we and all things are entirely dependent, and to look up to Him with perfect confidence and love. It has made known to us that we are to live forever; it has brought life and immortality to light. Man was a creature of this earth, and it has raised him to a far nobler rank, and taught him to regard himself as an immortal being, and the child of God. It has opened to the sinner the path of penitence and hope. It has afforded to virtue the highest possible sanctions. It gives to sorrow its best and often its only consolation. It has presented us in the life of our great Master with an example of that moral perfection, which is to be the constant object of our exertions. It has established the truths, which it teaches, upon evidence the most satisfactory. It is a most glorious display of the benevolence of God, and of his care for his creatures of this earth. But all this, it seems, is NOTHING ;-unless it have also taught, that there are three persons who constitute the one God; or at least that there is some threefold distinction, we know not what, in the Divinity; and further, unless it also teach that one of these persons or distinctions was united in a most incomprehensible manner to the human nature of Christ, so that the sufferings of the latter were the sufferings of the former; it being well understood, at the same time, that the former could not suffer. The religion of joy and consolation, THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF THE BLESSED GOD, will, it is thought, lose more than half its value, unless it have announced to us, that we are created under the wrath and curse of God;* that it is impossible for us to perform his will unless our moral natures be created anew; and that this is a favour denied to far the greater part of men, who are required to perform, what he has made it morally impossible they should perform, with the most unrelenting rigour, and under penalty of the most terrible and everlasting torments. Such intelligible and comfortable doctrines as these are represented as the peculiar doctrines of Christianity; those from which it derives its value; and our opponents seem to think, that if nothing better was to be effected than to make God known to men, to reveal to them his paternal character, to bring life and immortality to light, and to furnish the highest motives to virtue, it was hardly worth while for the
* See the passages quoted from the Westminster Assembly's Larger Catechism in the present number of our work, p. 353.
Deity to interpose in a special manner to effect purposes so unimportant.
The doctrines which we believe to be doctrines of Christianity, are doctrines of inestimable value. The question of their truth is one in which we are interested most deeply. Our happiness and our virtue are at stake on the decision. If they are not true, we are miserable indeed. The brute, satisfied with the enjoyments of the present day, has a preferable tenure of existence to nian, if they are both to perish together. But if they are true, there is a prospect displayed before us inconceivably glorious and delightful. They are truths which it was worthy of God to teach. Look now at the doctrines which we are opposing. Are these doctrines considered in themselves of so very much importance or value? It may, for aught we know, be important to believe them, if they are true. That is a different question. What we ask is, whether it is very important or desirable that they should be true. Is it very important to our virtue and happiness, that there should be a threefold distinction in the divine nature; or that the mercy of God which is extended towards us, should have been PUrCHASED with the blood of his Son? Is it desirable for us to be satisfied that our natures are so depraved, that, till they are changed by the act of God, we can do nothing to please him? Examine the creeds of what is called Orthodoxy; and read the summary of obligations which these creeds teach us, that we lie under to God as our MAKER. What obligations would be due from his creatures to a being who had formed them under his "displeasure and curse," made them "bond slaves to Satan," and "JUSTLY LIABLE (the absurdity is as gross as the impiety) to all punishments in this world, and in that which is to come.' With what feelings might such creatures justly regard their Maker? What is the character which they would have a right to ascribe to him? It would be mockery to ask, if it were desirable that this doctrine should be true; or if Christianity would lose much of its value, if it should appear that it taught no such doctrine.
Oh no! these are not doctrines of the gospel; and it is because we have some feeling of the inestimable value of our religion, and some desire to promote its influence, that we wish men to believe that these are not doctrines of the gospel. It is because we feel that God ought to be the object of our most perfect veneration and love, that we revolt at doctrines which confound and darken our ideas of his nature, which represent one person in the Divinity as exacting, and another as submitting to the punishment of our offences; and at other
doctrines far worse than these, which, if it were possible for them to have their full influence upon the mind, would make Gód an object of utter horror and detestation. We believe that the great truths of religion, which are taught by Christianity, are the foundation of public and private happiness, of the good order of well regulated society, of purity of morals, of domestic comfort, of all that is most generous and most disinterested in the human character, of all those qualities which endear man to man; that they make life tolerable and reconcile us to death; and that it is on these, that the character must be formed, which will fit us for heaven;-and it is, THEREFORE, that we wish them to be presented to men such as they really are, free from all the gross errors which human folly and perversity have connected with them,-errors, which have prevented their reception, and essentially counteracted their influence.
DIED, at Groton, Massachusetts, September 10, on returning from a journey for his health, the Rev. JOSHUA HUNTINGTON, Pastor of the Old South Church in Boston; in the thirty-fourth year of his age, and the twelfth of his ministry
Notwithstanding the interval, which has elapsed, we are unwilling to omit the first opportunity the publication of our work has offered, to notice an event so interesting and instructive as the early death of an useful minister, and to pay some tribute to one, who held strong claims on our affection and regard. Mr. Huntington was the son of an highly respected citizen of New London, Connectient; and having graduated at Yale College in 1804, and completed his preparatory studies for the ministry, was ordained in 1808 as colleague Pastor with the Rev. Dr. J. Eckley. Upon the death of that excellent man, on the memory of whose mild and candid spirit we repose with pleasing recollections, be suceeeded to the sole charge, and continued in the fulfilment of its duties, not however without repeated interruptions from feeble health, till within a few weeks of his decease.
Mr. Huntington was, we believe, a faithful and devoted minister of Jesus Christ. His piety seemed to be a strong pervading principle; and his naturally affectionate temper, under the influence of religion, was expressed in a lively regard for the good of souls. His zeal was chastened by prudence, that essential ministerial grace; and those, who knew him intimately, saw that it was free from that alloy of selfishness, and especially the passion for pre-eminence, with which it is too often mingled. Those of his brethren, who found themselves compelled to differ from him in his theological views, can bear their affectionate testimony to his mild candid spirit, to his freedom from asperity in his judgments, to his honourable frankness, and his disposition to friendly intercourse. And we express our sense of this excellence in our departed brother with the more pleasure, because we deem these virtues so essential to the Christian character; and are confident, that now in the light of heaven he perceives to his joy, that they are among the fairest of those fruits of the spirit, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
His people have testified their affectionate regard for his virtues and services, by a most liberal provision for his bereaved family; so early deprived of an husband, father, and friend. With the continuance of the whole salary, and the use of the Parish-house for one year from his decease, they have voted to the widow and children an annual grant of $1000 for six years; making in the whole a gift of more than 8000 dollars. We are bappy in recording this as a laudable expression of Christian sympathy, well worthy, as far as there may be ability, of imitation; and in that richly endowed society, a most judicious as well as liberal appropriation of their funds.
October 21st. Died, at Charlestown, Miss SARAH RUSSELL, aged 68 years. The character of this lady was no ordinary character. The soundness of her understanding, and the clearness and accuracy of her judgment, were the admiration of all that knew her. Reason she knew to be the only immediate guide, which God has given to man, to point out the way of duty and happiness. But she felt the necessity of instructing and informing this guide. She therefore sent it abroad among the works of God, to inquire of them what they could tell of their maker; and she made it sit at the feet of Jesus to learn of him his divine communications. But whatever opinions or principles she might in this way imbibe, she was aware that their importance was to be measured solely by their practical influence on the conduct and life. Her morals were strict, and of the highest order. She thought much more, than some do, of the plain precepts of duty considered as a part of religion.
Benevolence formed one of the distinguishing traits of her disposition. Hers was liberal and extensive; but, at the same time, rational and discriminating. It was in Religion, that she found her distinction and glory. To bear the cross of a patient and merciful Saviour she justly deemed the highest exaltation, to which human nature can aspire. And she exhibited in herself a noble illustration of the influence which Christianity, as we understand it, is calculated to exert on the human character. Her religion was grounded on a deep sense of piety to God; and on this foundation she built a faith that was rational, consistent, and sincere,--a religion, deep, and pure, and self-denying.
Oct. 7. In Exeter, (N. H.) Rev. JOHN EMERY ABBOT, Pastor of the North Church in Salem, aged 26. His disorder was lingering, and had been protracted for two years under various alternations of hope and fear. He bore them all, as he had ever borne health and prosperity, with perfect equanimity, and the most cheerful resignation. Those, who saw him then, felt what they had always felt when they saw him in health, that his mind and heart were wholly under the control of his religion, and that nothing could shake the spirit of composure, trust, and piety, of cheerfulness and benevolence, which characterized him in life. He died, as he lived, an eminent Christian--admired and beloved by all who knew him for the great simplicity, purity, and loveliness of his character. He deserves a fuller notice than this, and we hope to have an opportunity of giving it.
Nov. 7. At Northampton, Hon. CALEB STRONG, late Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged 75. A man highly honoured and trusted by his fellow citizens; greatly respected and beloved by those who knew him; a decided and sincere friend of religion, whose institutions be reverenced and whose spirit he uniformly exemplified in his life. He was one of the righteous, who shall be had in everlasting remembrance. His death was sudden, in a good old age and a ripe hope of glory.