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anthem of praise, which heaven can welcome as a new song
before the throne.”
Under the seventh division of this discourse, unitarianism is said,
to promote piety, by the high place which it assigns to piety in the character and work of Jesus Christ. What is it which the unitarian regards as the chief glory of the character of Christ? I answer, his filial devotion.”—“All our sympathies with him, all our love and veneration towards him, are so many forms of delight in a pious character,” &c. pp. 28, 29.
We cannot understand these and similar statements, if they are not an avowal, that an exhibition of a perfect example of motive and conduct, which men may imitate, is considered the chief end, use, and effect of the coming of Christ. Certainly, it is true, that the example of Christ is perfect; and only by following Christ in the regeneration, can the lost mind be brought back to the knowledge, love, and likeness of its Creator.” But in what is unitarianism better than orthodoxy in this? Do not christians of all names agree in the belief that the example of Christ is to be imitated? We suppose Dr. Channing would reply, if we understand the scope of his argument, that the attributing to Christ another nature than ours, prevents our seeing in his conduct the operation of motives which we may appreciate and feel; and, in his most internal feelings, as in his actions, a character which we may emulate, and love with sympathy as well as veneration. Perhaps it might be sufficient for the orthodox to reply to this, that unitarians cannot give themselves the full advantage of this argument, unless they claim to believe that Christ was altogether and exclusively such as we are; endowed with the same nature, and possessing nothing worse, and nothing better. This we believe to be essential unitarianism; but, at the same time, we doubt if unitarians generally would acknowledge this belief.
Dr. Channing apparently goes on the supposition, that there is no other way of believing the divinity of our Saviour, but by holding that trinity of persons which he regards with unmingled abhorrence; and he decides in favour of unitarianism, as it enables the christian to escape a tenet which “teaches that the highest purpose of his (Christ's) mission was to reconcile God to man, not man to God. It teaches that the most formidable obstacle to human happiness lies in the claims and threatenings of divine justice. Hence it leads man to prize Christ more, for satisfying this justice, and appeasing God's anger, than for awakening in the human soul sentiments of love towards its Father in heaven. Accordingly, multitudes seem to prize pardon more than piety; and think it a greater boon, to escape through Christ's sufferings the fire of hell, than to receive through his influence the spirit of heaven,
the spirit of devotion. Is such a system propitious to a generous and ever growing piety?" p. 30.
If there be a doctrine of which such fatal delusions are the legitimate consequences, it is certainly wise and well to escape from it. But we would ask him, and others who with him deny this trinity, if, while they thus escape a creed which contradicts and bafflés, they succeed in acquiring a belief which satisfies rea
We are told of “the distinct character of Christ;"_“according to unitarianism, he is a being who may be understood; for he is one mind, one conscious nature.” He “is first and preeminent in the sphere in which he acts; and is thus the object of a distinct attachment, which he shares with no equals or rivals. To us, he is first of the sons of God, the son by peculiar nearness and likeness to the Father. He is first of all the ministers of God's mercy and beneficence, and through him the largest stream of bounty flows to the creation. He is first in God's favour and love, the most accepted of worshippers, the most prevalent of intercessors.” p.
31. It may be that these words, and those other remarks upon “pure intelligence,” to which we have before adverted, express a distinct and satisfactory conception of Christ. But we cannot so understand them. Who is he, whom we may emulate as one who goes before us on the path we must tread, from the same beginning to the same goal; who, being no ways divine, is the first of his own rank, without equals.or rivals; the first of the sons and ministers of God; like man, standing to God as the created to the Creator, yet able, by his prevalent intercession in man's favour, to enlighten or invigorate omniscient and perfect Love! If any one seeks Christ, and seeks to be a christian, and feels that his mind demands a doctrine respecting his Saviour which does not oppose the Word of God to the reason of man,- -we would tell him to cast far from him the persuasion, that, if Christ be more than man, there must be three gods; and then search the scriptures." They will tell him, there is no other god whom man may worship and serve, but that “God” who was
WITH us,”—Immanuel Jehovah.
Dr. Channing commences the eighth head of his discourse thus,
“VIII. I now proceed to a great topic. Unitarianism promotes piety, by meeting the wants of man as a sinner. The wants of the sinner may be expressed almost in one word. He wants assurances of mercy in his Creator. He wants pledges that God is love in its purest form; that is, that he has a goodness so disinterested, free, full, strong, and immutable, that the ingratitude and disobedience of his creatures cannot overcome it.” Doubtless the adaptation of a religion to the needs of man, is an
argument in favour of its divine origin. But, to estimate rightly the force of the argument, it must be duly considered, what these needs are taken to be. Dr. Channing goes on to explain what he considers the wants of man. These are, with him, but one; to wit, the certainty of mercy. We forbear, at present, all remark upon this exceedingly narrow limitation of human want;-we meet our author upon the ground he has chosen. What is there in unitarianism which even asserts that God has a “ goodness so free, full, strong, and immutable, that the ingratitude and disobedience of his creatures cannot overcome it.” We say, even asserts; for, if unitarianism does assert it, this will not support the claim we are considering, unless unitarianism also gives a reason for the faith, and makes this pure love peculiarly clear and manifest. But unitarianism admits, we believe, and with no peculiar qualification or explanation, hell, an eternal hell of punishment. There are those who connect with the various denials and negations which constitute unitarianism, a further denial of eternal punishment, and indeed of all future punishment. There are also those, who, holding the calvinistic atonement, extend the benefit of the purchase to all who live; and these also deny any future punishment. But we do not know that unitarianism, as such, cleanses the pure love of God, which wickedness “cannot overcome,” from so much stain as an eternal destiny of wo may bring upon it.' Again, unitarianism certainly does not deny, and we do not know that it is peculiarly energetic or successful in explaining the miseries of this life,-especially those which seem to spring from causes remote from human influence, as the earthquake, storm and plague, and seasons which withhold their increase. It is true that unitarianism joins with every other religion in calling these occurrences divine dispensations. But does unitarianism assert with peculiar force, or show with peculiar clearness, that all these things “ are but the varied God”? Let it be remembered how much and what unitarianism has in common with every system of faith; and then let the question be answered, how much it, of itself, facilitates the distinct understanding of the ways of God with man. Let it be considered, whether the unitarian construction of that gospel which brought immortality to light, does in fact make that clear which was before obscure; that certain which was before but probable; that easy, satisfactory, and rational, which it was before hard and toilsome for human reason to approach and hold. There may be those who are satisfied with unitarianism on this score; who think and feel that it sufficiently explains the mighty problem presented by the mingled good and evil of created existence. But there may be those who cannot be thus satisfied; and we would say to them, the time has come when they need“ hunger no more, neither thirst any more,"_" for the Lord God giveth them light." We not only believe, as having heard of them of old time, that His mercy
endureth for ever, but we believe it as they who see; for the very clouds about his throne are now filled with his glory.
Dr. Channing then goes on:
" IX. I proceed to the last consideration which the limits of this discourse will permit me to urge.
It has been more than once suggested, but deserves to be distinctly stated. I observe, then, that unitarianism promotes piety, because it is a rational religion.” p. 40. The topics suggested by this remark, would lead us to consider the nature, offices, and relations of reason and faith; a subject which we cannot now touch. We would now only remark, that we apprehend nothing more is meant by this observation than hat there are modes of construing the revelations of God which involve absurdities; that there are doctrines supposed to rest upon these revelations which make them impeach, oppose, defy reason; that there is a faith which cannot come until reason be subdued; and that unitarianism is not like one of these, but requires nothing, and makes the Word require nothing, which reason cannot measure and search out. Perhaps there would be but little difficulty in showing that unitarianism claims, in this respect, more than can be granted; but a higher claim than this, in regard to the rationality of unitarianism, we do not apprehend that unitarians ever in fact advance. They take it for granted, that a christian must be a calvinist or a unitarian; and seeing that orthodoxy requires of faith what reason distinctly opposes, and that unitarianism does not, they honour the system they choose, for its exceeding rationality. But at what great expense are these honours purchased for unitarianism! Is the wisdom and the love of God forgotten, that men should value and glorify a revelation from him because it does not cover reason with a thicker darkness? Is this all that we can say, as we look upon that light which hath come into the world? Do they know it, who know only that it is not darkness? We well know, that on this supposed rationality rest the strong claims of unitarianism. To those who would be christians, and who are asking what is unitarianism, we would earnestly recommend an examination of these claims. What has this system of faith done; what can it do; what offers it to do, in the way of assisting, strengthening, and elevating human reason? In other words, if the unitarian construction of the gospel be true, where is the aid, the comfort that gospel can afford, when
By pain of mind—now checked, and now impelled
Goes sounding on, its dim and perilous way. We do not say that the scriptures, even as the unitarian construes them, give no help, no light, to the mind of man; but we ask, do
they give enough to satisfy their own pretentions—to justify their high claim to be a revelation of “The Light,” and “ The TRUTH.”
(To be continued.)
NATURE AND EFFICACY OF TRUE PRAYER.
Extract from a Letter in reply to some queries concerning the
views of the New Church with regard to the Nature and Efficacy of True Prayer.
“A sincere desire to have the kingdom of the Lord established in our minds, seems to us to constitute the essential ingredient of prayer; and this desire appears to be peculiarly consistent with much feeling and few words, with deep humility and little display, with the devout aspiration, Lord teach us to pray, and a complete abasement of our own thoughts and our own words.
Many of the long prayers which we hear, commence with a history of the dealings of Divine Providence with the human race from Adam unto the present day. Sometimes there is a review of what passed long before the creation. It is not obvious that these historical facts, repeated from day to day, and from week to week, can have any effect in preparing the soul to hear the still, small voice, which saith, this is the way, walk
ye in it.
“A description of the present condition of the human family, and a statement of what needs to be done for their improvement, usually constitute the middle of a prayer. How far these are consistent in an address to Him who . knoweth what things we have need of before we ask him,' I shall not say. All that can be necessary, at any time, in order that we should receive what we need, is, that we should be prepared to receive it,—that we should remove all ose obstacles which our errors nd vices interpose, -that we should open the door. Many of the descriptions and statements to which I have alluded, seem to imply an uncertainty in the mind, whether the Lord is fully acquainted with the wants of his children, and a doubt whether he is willing to supply them.
“The peroration of a prayer frequently consists in supplication for divine assistance in performing the duties of life. We are far from objecting to this, so far as the worshipper feels a consciousness of his own guilt and weakness, and a hearty desire that the Lord should work in him, of his own good pleasure, both to will and to do.' But we have frequent occasion to object to the numerous petitions for special blessings. Upon this subject, I am desirous of stating my views more fully.
“Whoever attends to our Lord's instructions in the sixth chap