Page images

against those who “give heed to seducing spirits:" against the “perverse disputings of men of corrupt

’ against “profane and vain babblings and

“minds :’ “opposition of science, falsely so called, which some “professing have erred concerning the faith.”. He exhorts him to “hold faith and a good conscience, “ and to exercise himself, unto godliness:” to turn away from such vicious characters as had “the form “ of godliness, but denied the power of it:” and to watch against the influence of the maxims and examples of those, who would “not endure sound doc“ trine.” In similar strains doth he warn and admonish Titus ; guarding him against those, who, while they “profess to know God, in works deny “ him, being abominable, disobedient, unto every “good work reprobate:” and recommends it to him, to show himself a “pattern of good works, sound “ speech that could not be condemned,” and to “ affirm constantly the importance and excellence of “good works as good in themselves and profitable “ to men.” * - o 'o, . . . . Agreeably to these general admonisions he suggests to these young preachers of the gospel, principles and rules of a conduct, wholly of a practical and moral nature, which they should apply to the different circumstances of those whom they were to adress, and to the social and domestic relations they filled ; whether young or aged men, rich men or SCI Wants, young women or widows, or aged women. D 5 These These practical, moral rules of a holy life, even to recommending marriage and the use of meats, are the doctrines, the fundamental doctrines, which he calls on Timothy and Titus diligently to explain and earnestly to impress on their hearers: as the particulars of that sound doctrine, which they were to inculcate. This will obviously appear from reading these epistles. But there is not a word about the doctrine of the trinity, hereditary depravity, and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The former topics are insisted on and brought into repeated review : but the latter are passed over in silence. The general representations, which the apostle gives concerning the nature and genius of christianity, in these epistles, are also of a practical nature, without incorporating with his representations of it those doctrines which you, Sir, deem so essential to the efficacy of preaching. “The end of the com“mandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a “good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. God “ hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, “ and of love, and of a sound mind.” He describes what he styles “the glorious gospel of the blessed “God” to be “the truth, which is after godliness, “ in hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie “ promised before the world began;” or in other words, the true revelation of God's will and grace to mankind, enforcing on them the practice of universal - - goodness,

[ocr errors]

goodness, in hope of immortal life, assured to them by the faithful promise of God. And above all worthy of notice is that comprehensive passage: “The “grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared “unto all men, teaching them, that denying ungodli“ness and worldly lusts they should live soberly, righ“teously and godly in this present world, looking

“for the blessed hope and glorious appearance of the

“great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave “himself for us, that he might reedeem us from all “iniquity and purify us unto himself, a peculiar “people, zealous of good works.” I find certain doctrinal principles interspersed through these epistles, namely, That “it is a faith“ful saying, that Jesus Christ came into the world,

“ to save sinners:” that “there is one God, and one

“Mediatorbetween God and man, the MAN CHRIST “JESUs ; who gave himself a ransom for all to be

- - - - w “testified in due time:” That “great is the mystery

“ of godliness, God manifest in the flesh :'' &c. That “our Saviour, Jesus Christ, hath abolished death, “ and brought life and immortality to light by his “gospel:” That, Jesus Christ of the seed of David “was raised from the dead, having given himself for “us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of “good works; that we “ look for a blessed hope, and “ the glorious appearance of the great God, and of

“our Saviour Jesus Christ:” that we “are saved ** D 6 “ and

“ and called with a holy calling, not according to “our works, not by works of righteousness which “we have done ; but according to the mercy of * God, by the washing of regeneration and renewing “ of the Holy Ghost, which was shed abundantly “through Jesus Christ.” Any Unitarian will admit, with devout gladness and gratitude, these declarations, without recognising in them those ideas, which you, Sir, probably affix to some of the terms here used; without deducing from them those tenets which you conceive ought to be the great topics of preaching. Yes : the Unitarian rejoiceth, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners, to deliver them from all iniquity, and that through Him mercy and peace flow to mankind. The Unitarian rejoiceth, that when, for many ages before our Saviour appeared, and when he did appear, the whole world, with some few exceptions, were sunk in ignorance, corruption and depravity of manners; that, when mankind could not be saved by their own works, the love and kindness of God displayed itself in renovating them. The Unitarian rejoiceth, that by Christ, God was manifested in the flesh; when, anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, he went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him, and manifested by him, in the miracles, doctrine and ministry of Christ, his power, wisdom and grace. The Unitarian rejoiceth in Christ Jesus, as having given - himself himself a ransom for all, when he died to redeem us from this present evil world, to redeem us from “all “iniquity, to bring us to God,” and by this act of obedience and philanthropy the foundation was laid for the kingdom of grace, under which we are absolved from guilt ". . "These are truths welcome to the minds of Unitarians: though they can not discern in the language of the apostle, the doctrines of the trinity or of Calvinism : the doctrines of inherent corruption derived from Adam, of the Deity or of the atonement of Christ. They can not discover these principles in any other passages in this epistle, where they would naturally offer, if they were the doctrines, which Timothy and Titus were to preach on the mission they were to execute. They find, indeed, the transgression of Adam referred to 1 Tim. ii. 14. but not as that of a foederal head, not as that of a parent conveying a depraved nature to his posterity; but merely, on account of a circumstance in the transgression rather extenuating than aggravating, it is applied by the apostle to enforce the subjection of the woman to the man. So far from the Calvinistic doctrine of atonement appearing in these epistles, the particular

[* The terms, ransoming and redeeming, are seldom used in scripture, but in the metaphorical sense; without implying the actual, real paying a price; hence Israel were redeemed out of Egypt, and Moses was the redeemer; Avgash;, ransomer, though he paid no Price. Deut. vii. 8. Acts, vii. 35. Emlyn's Works, vol 2, p. 71, a J


« PreviousContinue »