Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

YoUR having given a place in your valuable Repository to the paper of X. Y. Z. on the Love of Christ, is not only a mark of respect and distinction bestowed on that piece, but seems to carry with it an approbation of the hint with which the author closes, and to express your disposition to receive a candid and pertinent illustration of the point, which he wishes to see discussed. * “I should be very happy, says he, to see, in one “ connected view, all that is said in the New “Testament respecting this duty (the Love of F 4. “Christ “ Christ) and the explanation of those texts on the “ supposition that Jesus Christ was a mere man, “ incapable, of and from himself, of acting as he “ did while on earth, if the divine spirit had not con“stantly animated, directed and assisted him.” The difficulty stated by X, Y, Z appears to me, as it does to him, to be serious and important; and it is certainly of a popular nature, and will be a bar to the reception of strict Unitarian sentiments, particularly, with those who exercise their warmer affections more than their cool judgment in matters of religion. It calls therefore for a full discussion. But, besides this, it is a pleasure to read, it is a pleasure to consider and weigh the positions advanced by so candid and liberal a writer. May I be permitted therefore, through the channel of your miscellany, to submit the following remarks to his consideration. I would begin with that mode of treating the question, which he proposes in the conclusion of his piece. For this method is at once to come to the source, and fountain head, of all our obligations to the duty on which he has his difficulties. The real question with us should be, not what motives to the love of Christ doth any particular scheme of sentiments concerning his person supply; but, on what grounds do the scriptures recommend and enforce it: and what doth the New Testament appear to mean by this affection? It is therefore very -- * - proper proper, and even a most direct way, of coming to some clear and authoritative conclusion, to bring into a connected view, as X. Y. Z. wishes to be done, all the terts that speak of this duty. The review of these texts will also suggest some remarks on what this writer hath offered on the subject. On collecting them together, it is obvious, that the texts, in which mention is made of the love of Christ, divide themselves into two classes; as the phrase may mean either his love to us, or our affection to him. It is proposed therefore to follow this arrangement, as being both just and natural in itself; and as the passages, under the first, will throw light upon those, which we shall bring forward under the second class. To begin with those passages, which speak of the bove of Christ to mankind. The first texts which offer here are the declarations of Christ concerning his love of his disciples, and his exhortations to them to love one another, as John xiii. 34. with ch. xv. 9, 12, 13. “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. This is my com“mandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” Here Christ only asserts in general terms, the affection which he bore to his disciples, and exhibits it as a ground and model of that, which they should culF 5 tivate

'tivate to one another. He characteriseth it as common to his Father, himself, and his disciples; which was, as to its nature, the same in each. The affection itself, and not the particular grounds or effects of it, is the point here represented and enforced. In the last of these verses our Lord does indeed point at one great proof of his affection, that of laying down his life for his friend, in which way the Father's love to himself could not be expressed, but theirs to one another might be shown. This passage only proves, that the same disposition may exist in different minds on different principles, and be exercised in different ways. Here is nothing, that leads us to conceive of a prior existence in glory and dignity, as essential either to express Christ's love to mankind; or as the ground of our gratitude and love to him. Nay, it is remarkable, when Christ evidently intends here to refer to the highest proof of his love, he speaks of it only as exerting itself in the same way as one man can shew his love to another: He speaks of his own death, as the death of a man, not as the humiliation of a being more than human, or superangelical. As far as the language of Christ here is particular and precise, it doth not correspond to the Arian notion. Nothing can be drawn particularly in favour of that sentiment from the descriptive manner, in which the apostle speaks of the love of Christ, Rom. viii.

37. We are more than conquerors through him - that

« PreviousContinue »