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sacred writings the proper explications, and we must receive the truth as they dispense it to us.
What must we do, then, as TRUE CHRISTIANS? I think, for myself, that we ought to form our judgment, in matters of faith, upon a strict, serious, and impartial examination of the Holy Scriptures, without any regard to the judgment of others, or human authority whatever—that we ought to open the sacred records, without minding any systems, and from the revealed word of God learn, that CHRISTIANITY does not consist in a jingle of unintelligible sounds, and new fundamentals, hewn out by craft, enthusiasm, or bigotry, and maintained with an outrage of uncharitable zeal which delivers CHRISTIANS to the flames of an eternal hell; but that the heavenly religion of our Lord consists in looking on the promised MESSIAH as the most consummate blessing which GOD could bestow, or man receive, and that JESUS is that MESSIAH;—in acting according to the rules of the Gospel, and in studying to imitate God, who is the most perfect understanding nature, in all his moral perfections;-in becoming the children of God, by being, according to our capacity, perfect as he is perfect, and holy as he is holy, and merciful as he is merciful. THOMAS AMORY.
SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION..
DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.
As it is a rule in philosophy that we are not to
suppose more causes than are necessary to the production of a given effect, there can be no reason why One God should not have created all things, should not support all things, should not appoint both good and evil for the moral discipline of his creatures, and as instruments of equally beneficent designs.
There is no reason why the same One God should not have within himself both the will and the power to forgive those erring creatures who are "the work of his own hands," without the intervention of another.
There is no reason why the same One God should need the intervention of another being or intelligence like himself, in order to communicate his gracious favour or influence to the minds of men.
But the idea of God, a supreme Governor of the World, existing by a prior necessity, and therefore ONE, the only perfect nature, and the sole proper
object of religious worship, however it may approve itself to philosophic inquiry, has ever met with a slow and reluctant assent from the unassisted reason. The people in all parts of the earth, from the earliest recorded times, have made themselves gods with greediness; but it may be doubted whether even the philosophers of Greece, with all their wonder-working powers of intellect, ever approached to a clear and definite conception of one Deity. The purest system of ancient theism, if closely inspected, will be found to contain a mixture of intermediary intelligences, and of subordinate minds in the scale of divinity.This grand truth of ONE GOD would seem of itself to prove the necessity of a revelation; but though the light of revelation has been superadded to the light of nature, the history of ages displays the same process in the human mind, and the same tendency to multiply God by his attributes and agents, and to "give his glory to another." The Jews, until the Babylonish captivity, were continually relapsing into the idolatry of dead men, which was practised, under different celestial or animal emblems, in the neighbouring countries. The Gentile philosophies came early to be engrafted on the simplicity of the Gospel; and though the common people through the three first centuries held fast the apostolical traditions, the "offence of the cross" co-operated with the metaphysics of learned converts in exciting a disposition to magnify the person of Christ; and the growing apostacy from the sole worship of his "God and Father attained at length its maturity, in the great and general " departure from the faith" foretold by Paul the Apostle. Luther extirpated the grosser errors of anti-christianism, but spared a remnant. The restoration of the pure faith of the primitive ages was reserved for the reformers of the Polonian school. The persecution which overturned their
churches, and dispersed their disciples, scattered into distant countries the seed of the uncorrupted Gospel. "Many have run to and fro, and knowledge has been increased." The church of Geneva has abjured the dogmas of her founder; and the FATHER is worshipped within the very walls that witnessed the martyrdom of Servetus.
Men are swayed by sounds. The term Socinian is considered as in itself a term of reproach; but the name of Lælius Socinus (the proper author of the reform which Faustus promoted) "weighs as heavy" in the balance as that of Martin Luther. In learning he was his superior; in zeal for scriptural truth and holiness of life, at least his equal. The title is now used to stigmatize the proper Unitarians, though they are not strict Socinians; as Socinus admitted of worship to Jesus after his exaltation. Unitarians take not their faith from Socinus; for "one is their master, even Christ." They can hear therefore, with a smile, the reproach of defection from their imaginary patriarch; and they compassionate the ignorance or despise the hypocrisy of those, who affect to consider a scheme of doctrine, which, be it apostolical or not, was coeval with the apostolic age, as the heresy of modern speculation.
But though Socinus be falsely styled the founder of Unitarianism, he may at least claim an equality with those who are regarded as the fathers of Protestantism; until it can be shown that they, who are called, for the sake of eminence, the Reformers, were visited in what they did with an outpouring of the Spirit of God, Luther left untouched the fundamental error of the great apostacy, except in so far as respected the worship of the virgin, the host, and the sainted ghosts of the dead. To Catholic polytheism has succeeded what may be called the polytheism of Protestants, who worship the Son of God and the attribute of God's spirit
as equally perfect Gods; and who, overlooking the orientalism of the Judaical writings, add to their religious metaphysics the belief in a personal Evil Being, the almost omniscient, almost omnipotent, and omnipresent rival and adversary of God, and in a host of evil Angels, his agents and ministers.
There have not wanted erudite and thinking men, exclusive of the Unitarian writers on churchhistory and Jewish philosophy, who, disregarding the letter of their particular creed, have discussed with freedom points of popular orthodoxy; and there seems ground to believe that God is working by means of the "liberty of prophesying," to sift the systems of merely human theology, and bring back the churches, in his own good time, to the faith of the first ages. It is by measuring back their way to the times of the Apostles, and entering in at the simple porch of the primitive church, that men must enable themselves to unlearn the wisdom of systems, and be brought again to the true knowledge of the "ONE GOD and FATHER of all," the maker of heaven and earth; and of JESUS CHRIST, the SENT of GOD, and, under God, our spiritual creator.
It appears from Justin's dialogue with Trypho the Jew, that the Jews expected their Messiah to be a man "in all respects like his brethren:" Moses had said of him that "their Lord God should raise up to them a prophet like unto himself:" the divine titles applied to him by their prophets were by them understood in a titular and derivative sense, as applied to the prophets themselves, and to their anointed princes or judges. Miraculous agency, the being raised from the dead, and the ascension into heaven, carried with them no necessary proofs to the mind of a Jew, that his Messiah was in any other sense divine, than in that of being the agent of divinity. Elijah had worked miracles, and had been caught up to heaven in a whirlwind of