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LECTURE III.

CHRISTIANITY NOT THE PROPERTY OF CRITICS AND SCHOLARS;

BUT THE GIFT OF GOD TO ALL MEN.

BY REV. JOHN HAMILTON THOM.

" FOR GOD WHO COMMAN

HATH SHINDED IN OUR LEDGE OF THE GLOR

COMMANDED THE LIGHT TO SHINE OUT OF DARKNESS, ED IN OUR HEARTS, TO GIVE THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWTHE GLORY OF GOD, IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST."

2 Cor. iv. 6.

No fact

can be mor

that " light" causing contu is revealed!

can be more extraordinary than that a Revelation . Od should give rise to endless disputes among men,

light" should produce the effects of “ darkness," Ang confusion and doubt. A Revelation in which nothing evealed! A Revelation that occasions the most bitter conversies upon every question and interest it embraces ! A

elation that perplexes mankind with the most uncertain peculations, and splits the body of believers into sects and

ons too numerous to be told! A Revelation in which bing is fixed, in which every point is debated and disputed the character of God to the character of sin! A Reve

Which is so little of a Revelation, that after nearly two usand years the world is wrangling about what it means : surely is a fact that demands an explanation, which

ake the Believer pause and ask whether he may not

by some dogmatism about what he calls essentials, of casting this discredit upon Revelation, making

+ upon Revelation, making the very word Acry to the Unbeliever, who inquires in simplicity

this surely is a la should make the Believer p be guilty, by some dogmatis

& mockery to the Unbel

56 what is revealed ? I find you disputing about everything and arguing about nothing;” and to whom the Believer is certainly bound to render an account of this strange state of things, before he condemns his infidelity. Can any two ideas be more opposed, more directly inconsistent, than Christianity considered as a Revelation, a gift of light from God, and Christianity as it exists in the world—the most dark and perplexed, the most vexed and agitated of all subjects, no two parties agreeing where the light is, or what the Light is, or who has it ? Surely if Christianity is a Revelation, the things it has revealed must constitute the essence of the Revelation, and not the things which it has left unrevealed. Surely the illumination from God must be in the clear Truths communicated, and not in the doubtful controversies excited. Surely it is a mockery of words to call that a Revelation upon which there is no agreement even among those who accept the Revelation. A Revelation is a certainty, and not an uncertainty : and therefore we must strike out of the class of revealed truths every doctrine that is disputed among Christians. Many of these doctrines, we may possess other and natural means of determining ; but it is clear that that which is so far unrevealed as to be constantly debated among believers themselves, cannot yet be revealed by God. Now the Unity of God is not one of these debated points. All Christians regard it as revealed; and therefore it remains as a part of the Revelation. But the doctrine of the Trinity, an addition to the Unity, and as some think a mode of the divine Unity, is a disputed point; it does not manifest itself to all believers ; it does not make a part of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ ; Christ's life would teach no man that there are three persons in the Godhead-neither would Christ's words; the doctrine is not anywhere stated in Scripture; it is deduced by a process of fallible reasonings from a number of unconnected texts, doubtful both in their

ciever is

CRITICS AND SC criticism and in their interpreta made by God, but an inference

"AND SCHOLARS.

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erpretation; it is not a declaration

rence drawn by man, and, as many think, incorrectly &f&."N; the doctrine of the Trinity there

ther true or not, cannot be regarded as a revealed Truth; what is still a subject of controversy

W a subject of controversy cannot be a portion of Revelation. If then, turning away from our

cowa ascertain the universal ideas which Christianity implants in all minds w hich receive it; the images of God,

Of Hope, which it deposits in all hearts; the im

Christ taken off by every spirit of man from the and Son of God;—these would be the essentials of elation, for since these are the only uniform impres

Christianity has actually made upon those who be-
we must suppose that these were the chief impressions
Toa intended it to make. This alone can be " the

Ch, coming into the world, lighteth every man.”
\ may be answered here, that Christianity itself is a

of debate, and that if doubtful things cannot be re-
C, then Christianity itself is not a Revelation. To this I
Py, that Christianity is a matter of debate chiefly because

brist himself is not offered to the hearts of men, because Controversialists thrust forward their own doctrinal concepAs as the essentials of Christianity, presenting themselves,

not Jesus to make his own impression on the heart. If not creeds, but Jesus the Christ was offered spiritually to the 118 of men, unbelief would be soon no more. No earnest

pure mind would reject from its love and faith the serene u perfect image of the living Jesus. Men can deny meta

octrines : but they could not deny the spiritual The spirit of God in every man would bear witness

was the fulness of that spirit, and would recognize enly leadership of the Son of God. If the essentials anity had not been made by Divines and Theologians

sputed doctrines, if it had been offered to faith the ground of its inherent excellence, its ample attractions

the Revelation, for sil
sions that Christianity ha
lieve it, we must suppos
which God intended
light which, coming into

But may be answe
matter of debate,

st strik

vealed, then ch

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physical doctrines : but they could
Christ. The spirit of
to him who was the fulness of th
the heavenly leadership
of Christianity had not

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