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that ever was published amongst men. apostles had the gifts of miracles, more I am persuaded, that those who writ clearly than it can be proved that ever it were very well informed of all they there was a Roman Emperor called relate, and that they had not the least Trajan. intention to deceive us; insomuch that • The authority of the Holy Scripit was impossible they should fall into ture being thus settled, I will now any considerable error; as neither can shew you wherein it seems to me that we do, in believing what they have said. the generality of divines are deceived, And, that there may be no equivoca- and in what I am not of their opinion. tion, by a matter of importance I mean “ They affirm, that all that is in the all the commandments that the sacred sacred books, histories, prophecies, &c. historians assure us were given to the has been inmediately inspired, both as Jews by God; all the miracles that to the matter and the words : that all are found in the history of the Scrip- the books in the Jews' catalogue ought
all the principal events in that to be reckoned amongst the inspired history, and, generally, all the matters books: that when the apostles preached of fact on which our faith is grounded. the gospel, they were so inspired that
" In the third place, I believe, with they could not be deceived, not even in all Christians, that all the doctrines a thing of no consequence at all; and proposed by the authors of the Scrip- that they knew at the very first, withtures, to Jews and Christians to be out any exercise either of reason or of believed, are really and truly divine memory, what they were to say. doctrines, although it may be supposed “ On the contrary, my opinion is, that they did not immediately learn that it is only in prophecies and some them from heaven ; I am as much other places, as in the sermons of Jesus persuaded as any man, that there is no Christ, and where God himself is introsort of reasoning made use of in the duced as speaking, that the matter or dogmatical places of the Holy Scrip- things have been immediately revealed ture, (where the prophets and apostles to those who spoke them : that the instruct us concerning the promises or style, for the most part, was left to the will of God,) that can lead us into the liberty of those who spoke or writ: error, or into the belief of any thing that there are some books that are not that is false, or contrary to piety. inspired, neither as to the matter nor
"I believe, in the fourth place, that the words, as Job, Ecclesiastes, &c. : Jesus Christ was absolutely infallible that there are some passages which as well as free from all sin, because of passion dictated to those that writ the Godhead that was always united them, as many curses in the Psalms : to him, and which perpetually inspired that the sacred historians might comhim: insomuch, that all that he taught mit, as they have actually committed, is as certain as if God himself had some light faults, which are of no pronounced it.
moment : that the apostles, in preach"In the last place, I believe that ing their gospel or in writing their God has often dictated to the prophets works, were not ordinarily inspired, and to the apostles the very words neither as to the matter nor the words; which they should use. Of this I have but that they had recourse to their also given some examples.
memory or their judgment, in declaring " In these things I agree with all what Jesus Christ had taught them, or Christian divines; and I believe, far- framing arguments, or drawing consether, as well as they, that these five quences from thence: that the apostles, heads of our belief may be undeniably while they lived, were only looked upon proved against libertines and atheists, as faithful witnesses of what they had by the authority of Jesus Christ and seen and heard, and as persons well his apostles ; to whom God has borne instructed in the Christian religion, testimony by an infinite number of whereof no part was unknown to them, miracles, which are more clearly de- or concealed by them froin their discimonstrable to have been really done, ples; but not as men that preached ihan any fact whatsoever of all ancient and tanght by perpetual inspiration. history. For example, it may be I believe, indeed, that they were not proved, by positive testimonies of mat- deceived in any point of doctrine, and ters of fact, that Jesus Christ did really that it was very unlikely they should rise again from the dead, and that the be so; because the Christian religion is
easy, and comprised in a few articles : as set forth in the Scriptures, with a that they pretended not to enter into sincere view to discover the truth; and deep argumentations, and to draw con- I am persuaded, that whatever differsequences remote from their princi- ence of opinion may ultimately remain ples; and, that they never undertook amongst Christians, there will be no to treat of nice and controversial mat- bitterness of feeling one towards anoters, as is plain by reading of their ther on that account; but a readiness writings. Or, if it happened soinetimes mutually to acknowledge, that in they were mistaken in any thing, as it "every nation he that feareth God and seeins to have happened to St. Peter worketh righteousness is accepted with and St. Barnabas, it has been in things him : this is a broad, apostolic, Chrisof small consequence, and they soon tian principle, and grants no exception perceived their error, as did these two to thie members of any particular sect apostles. This sort of infallibility is or party; "there is neither Greek nor easy to be conceived, if it be consi- Jew, circumcision por uncircumcidered that a inan of sense and integrity, sion,” Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, who is well instructed in his religion, Calvinist, Quaker, Methodist or Uniand who does not much enter into tarian, “but Christ is all and in all. argumentations and drawing of infe- Put on, ther re, as the elect of God, rences, can hardly err, so long as he holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, continues in that temper and observes kindness, humbleness of inind, meekthat conduct.
ness, long-suffering ;-and, above all “ This is the sum of what I have these things, put on charity, which is said in my writings concerning the in- the bond of perfectness.” spiration of the sacred penmen ; and I have been led to these reflections by it is herein precisely that I differ from the following circumstance: a junior the common opinion of divines.” member of the society of Friends (with
whose friendship and correspondence Sir,
London, 1821. I am favoured, and of whose liberal
stronger tendency to keep reli- some pains to convince me, that he gious people of different denominations does not bold Unitarian principles, and alwof from each other, than the want of with that view forwarded me a suma thorough and mutual knowledge of mary of his religious belief or creed, their respective fundamental principles. and, in a subsequent letter, adduced We are most of us too apt to form no less than fourteen quotations, as a our judgment of the religious opinions “scriptural illustration” of his opiof others on hearsay evidence, and if nions. In a parenthesis in this creed that conveys any thing opposed in rea- he has expressed his opinion, though lity, or even in appearance, to our own rather doubtingly, that Jesus Christ is religious views, to treat such opinions subordinate to God. From this expresand the professors of them with aspe- sion, and the texts chosen as illustrarity, coldness, or neglect—and thus tions, I was convinced that he held the deprive ourselves and them of that fundamental principles of Unitarians, pleasing and profitable intercourse, without being aware of it, and objected which as professing Christians we might to them, because on hearsay evidence and ought to have with each other. he had concluded them to be contrary " Have we not all one Father ? Hath to the letter and spirit of the Scripnot one God created us?” And bath tures. not he, whose followers we profess It is a matter of importance that ourselves, declared that it is by our young persons should be so directed in love one towards another, we shall be their first religious inquiries, as to lead best known as his disciples? Then them early to form right notions relet Christians of every denomination specting the fundamental principles of act like his disciples ; let us lay aside the Christian religion, and I apprehend all little party prejudices; let us freely these are, that there is one Godand candidly communicate our own “ Hear, Ó Israel, the Lord our God is religious opinions, and candidly exa one Lord,” Deut. vi. 4. “I am the mine those of others ; above all, let Lord, and there is none else ; there is us compare them with the pure, un no God besides me,” Isa. xlv. 5. "To adulterated religion of Jesus Christ, us there is but one God, the Father,"
1 Cor. viii. 5, the sole Creator, Sup- and I admit the fact, this view of the porter and Governor of the universe: subject may be dismissed by observing, * In the beginning God created the that if God created "all things,” he heaven and the earth,” Gen. i. l. “I necessarily created Jesus Christ--and am the Lord that maketh all things; as every created being is inferior to its that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, Creator, so Jesus Christ must be infethat spreadeth abroad the earth by rior to God. myself,” Isa. xliv. 24.
Illustration 2nd. Acts xvii. 28 : That this God, this great Creator of “ In him we live, and move, and have all things, is the only proper object of our being." religious worship : "l'hou shalt wor In whoin do we live and move? In ship the Lord thy God, and him only “ God that made the world and all shalt thou serve,” Matt. iv. 10. • The things therein,” and will judge it by true worshipers shall worship the Fa- that man whom he hath appointed and ther in spirit and in truth; for the raised from the dead, and not in any Father seeketh such to worship him," inferior or subordinate agent. John iv. 23.
Illustration 3rd. Mal. üi. 6: “I That it pleased God, in his great am the Lord, and change not.” mercy and loving-kindness, to send Here God, the creator of all things, Jesus Christ into the world to instruct is evidently the person spoken of by us in our duty, in the most extensive the prophet, who, nearly all through sense of the word, and to reveal the his book, speaks of the wickedness of doctrine of a future life. That for his his countrymen the Jews, and in the (Jesus Christ's) obedience unto death, preceding chapter, ver. 10, appeals to God raised him from the dead, made them thu3—" Have we not all one him Lord over all, and hath appointed Father? Hath not one God created aim to be our final Judge, as is ex us ?” This gives us another opportupressly declared in various parts of the nity, of illustrating the superiority of New Testament.
God to Jesus Christ ; for we are asIt cannot be denied, that the fore- sured above, that God changeth notgoing are fundamental doctrines of the but Jesus Christ changeth! He was Christian religion ; neither can it be subject to the common changes and denied, that they are the fundamental vicissitudes of human life; he was a doctrines of Christian Unitarians ; from child, a man, he hungered, he thirsted; which it necessarily follows, Ist, that be underwent many tribulations in this Unitarianism is (só far as it goes) the life, and died a peculiarly painful and doctrine of the gospel; and, 2nd, that ignominious death; he was afterwards every person holding these doctrines is raised from the dead, and ordained to (80 far) an Unitarian ; and of this class judge the world in righteousness. Can iş my correspondent, as I will further Jesus then say, "I am the Lord, and shew by a few observations on the change not” ? texts he has selected, as “ scriptural Illustration 4th. Rom. xv. 4: illustrations” of his opinions, which, “ Whatsoever things were written though not intended to illustrate these aforetime were written for our learning, doctrines, for the most part really sup- that we through patience and comfort port them. They are numbered in the of the Scriptures might have hope.”. order in which he sent them; and if This scripture appears inapplicable this communication be thought worthy to the subject under discussion; but a place in the Monthly Repository, I the verses immediately following it hope my young friend will also be in- strongly illustrate the doctrine that Jedulged with a corner in a subsequent zus Christ is not God. Vers. 5 and 6: Number, wherein he may not only “ Now the God of patience and consoanimadvert on these observations, but lation grant you to be like-minded one may shew us more at large on what par- toward another, according to Christ ticular points his own religious society Jesus; that ye may with one mind and differs from Unitarians.
one mouth glorify God, even the FaIllustration Ist. Rev. iv. II: “Thou ther of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And hast created all things, and for thy again, ver. 30: “Now I beseech you, pleasure they are and were created.” brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's
As this text is intended to prove sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that God is the creator of all things, that ye strive together with ine in your
prayers to God for me.” Here again it was either printed in small types or we find God and Jesus Christ spoken included in brackets, to denote its beof as two distinct beings, in terms as ing of doubtful authority, and was not clear and full as language can furnish. printed as it now stands in the gene
Illustration 5th. Gen. iii. 15: “The rally-received version, till some time seed of the woman shall bruise the about the years 1570 or 1580: there. serpent's head.” This scripture I also fore, with such a weight of evidence think inapplicable to our subject. against it, and seeing also that the
Illustration 6th. 2 Cor. v. 19: “God doctrine it inculcates stands opposed was in Christ reconciling the world to to the greater part of the Old and New himself.”
Testaments, surely its divine origin Here Christ appears in his mediato- ought not to be insisted on, neither rial office, reconciling us to the Father. ought it to be quoted as a standard of Ver. 18: “All things are of God, who faith, or as a test to determine controhath reconciled us to himself by Jesus versies. Christ, and hath given to us the minis Illustration 8th. John xvi. 28: “I try of reconciliation ;" from which it came forth from the Father and am appears, that God was in St. Paul and come into the world; again, I leave other men reconciling the world to the world and go to the Father.” himself, in the same manner that he This text requires very little comwas in Jesus, though not in the same ment; for if Jesus came forth from degree; for in the following verses he the Father, then is he not the Father, says, “ God was in Christ reconciling and consequently not God, but a being the world unto himself, not imputing as distinct from God, as any one being their trespasses unto them, and hath can be distinct from another. committed unto us the word of recon Illustration 9th. 1 John ü. 6:"And ciliation. Now then we are ambassa- he is the propitiation for our sins, and dors for Christ; as though God did not for ours only, but for the sins of beseech you by us, we pray you, in the whole world." Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto By taking this in connexion with the God.” From all which it evidently preceding verse, we find that Jesus appears that Christ was the minister Christ is described as our “ advocate of God to us, and not God himself. with the Father :" here again we bare
Illustration 7th. 1John v. 7: “There two distinct and separate beings; one are three that bear record in heaven, of whom is our advocate ; be pleads the Father, the Word, and the Holy our cause with the Father; he was Ghost; and these three are one.” made the minister of the new covenant
This text has been admitted to be unto us; by his holy life, and by his an interpolation, not by reputed here- obedience, even unto death, he became tics only, but by many learned men a perfect example to us; by him who were deemed orthodox divines. we were instructed in all our essential The Eclectic Review, that grand repo- duties to God and man; by the revesitory of reputed orthodox divinity, lation of his gospel, and by the operahas given it up as untenable. The tion of the spirit of truth on the heart very learned Dr. Adam Clarke, and or mind of man, communicated through the late Dr. Doddridge, have both ex- him, we are brought to repentance pressed their doubts of its authenticity; and amendment of life, and to a knowand the present Bishop Tomline has ledge of that “only true God," whom declared it as his opinion that it is to know is life eternal. Therefore, as spurious.
he is so eminently useful to us in a It has been omitted as spurious in variety of ways, he may truly be said, several editions of the New Testament; in figurative language, to be propitious viz. by Luther, in his German Version; to us, or the propitiation for our sins. by Erasmus, in two editions ; by Al Illustration 10th. Matt. xxviii. 18: dus, Griesbach and Newcome; it does "All power is given unto me in heaven not appear in the most ancient ver- and on earth.” sions ; it is not in any Latin MS. ear This scripture also illustrates the lier than the 9th century, nor in any superiority of God over Jesus Christ; Greek MS. earlier than the fifteenth. for, if all power was given unto him, in the old English Bibles of Henry it proves that all power was not inhe VIIIth, Edward Vith, and Elizabeth, rent in him, or possessed by him in his
own right; and it also proves that he and it necessarily followed that Jesus did not possess all power from eternity; pre-existed to minister that grace unto for as it was given unto him, it neces- us, then by the same metbod of reasarily follows, that there must have soning we must conclude that we prebeen a time when he did not possess existed to receive it. But this will not it: and as that being who possesses all he believed, neither is such a belief power in his own right, is superior to necessary for the explanation of the any other being to whom he may dele- text, which appears to me only to gate any part of his power ; so in this mean that God purposed before the sense also God is greatly superior to world began, to save us by his own Jesus Christ. Again, God possessed grace or favour, through Jesus Christ; all power from eternity, but Jesus did and that this purpose was manifested not, as is shewn above, neither will be by Christ's appearance amongst men, to all eternity, for it is expressly de- his teachings, sufferings, death and reclared, that when all things shall be surrection. This appears to be a rasubdued unto him, then shall the Son tional interpretation of the text, which also himself be subject unto Him that says, Be thou partaker of the afflicput all things under him, that God tions of the gospel according to the may be all in all.” I Cor. xv. 28. power of God; who hath saved us and Hence we find, that as the power so called us with an holy calling, not given to Jesus had a beginning, so it according to our works, but according will have an end, and consequently to his own purpose and grace (or fathat he is inferior to the Father, of vour) which was given us in Christ whom it was emphatically declared, Jesus before the world began, but is " from everlasting to everlasting, thou now made manifest by the appearing art God.”
of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath Illustration 11th. John xiv. 6: “I abolished death, and hath brought life am the way, and the truth, and the and immortality to light through the life; no man cometh unto the Father gospel.” but by me."
Illustration 14th. Job xxxii. 8: True-he is the way, the medium “ There is a spirit in man, and the through whom, as his disciples, we inspiration of the Almighty giveth him have access to the Father by prayer. understanding." On that point, I suppose, we agree;
This is the last of my friend's scripand also on this, that if Jesus is the tural illustrations, and as I do not way to the Father, he is not himself question its truth, and this paper has the Father.
extended beyond the limits at first proIllustration 12th. 1 Cor. xü. 7: posed, I shall summarily observe, “ The manifestation of the Spirit is Ist. That the texts selected by my given to every man to profit withal.” correspondent contain generally the
On this we are also agreed, provided primary and fundamental doctrines of it is allowed, as the preceding verses Unitarianism, as the above plain redeclare, that although there are “ di- marks upon them, are designed to versities of gifts, and differences of shew. administrations, and diversities of ope 2nd. That they are in strict unison rations, it is the same God which work with the greater part of the Scriptures, eth all in all.”
and more especially with the declaraIllustration 13th. 2 Tim. i. 9: “His tions of Jesus Christ himself, as regrace was given us in Christ Jesus corded in the New Testament; and, before the world began.”
3rd. That they are very much in This passage is incorrectly quoted accordance with the sentiments of that and pointed, and by thus bringing it to respectable Society of which my friend a close in the middle of a sentence, its is a member, may fairly be inferred meaning is very materially altered; for, from his making the selection. as thus quoted, it appears to favour
To conclude: I believe that many the idea of the pre-existence of Christ, in the Society of Friends, as well as which, I apprehend, it was intended to in other societies of Christians, are acprove; but it no more proves his pre- tually believing the primary doctrines existence than it proves ours ; for if of Unitarianism, without being aware
grace was given us, in (or by) of it, and that it only requires a little Christ Jesus before the world began, more attention to their own principles,