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Isa. 9. 6. All the statements of Scripture, relating to the complete Person of Christ, run in a similar strain of exultation, St. John says of Him, “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.-All things were made by Him.-In Him was life ; and the life was the light of men.—That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory.” John 1. 1, 3, 9, 14. Under divine authority, St. Paul asserts, that “ He is over all, God blessed forever.” Rom. 9. 5.-" That by Him all things were created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they he thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Gal. 1. 16,17. That He hath "a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth.” Phil. 2. 9, 10. The Father himself, , saith unto the Son, “ Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.–And thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” Heb. 1. 8, 10. This is but a mere specimen, however, of what the Scriptures say, in relation to the Person and dignity of Christ. We meet with no such sayings, in the works of Anti-Trinitarian authors. Such language would be to them an abomination.
The Holy Scriptures are equally express, as to the degree of love which we owe to the glorious Redeemer. In them, Christ says to us, “ He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.” Matth. 10. 37. In Luke, it is said, “ Yea ; his own life also." Chap. 14. 26. A supreme love to Jesus Christ, is
the most prominent feature in the character of his disciples. To that class of men, St. Peter says. of Christ, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” 1 Pet. 1. 8. In relation to this, St. Paul says, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha.” 1 Cor. 16. 22. Again, he says,
“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus . Christ in sincerity.” Eph. 6. 24. But to such views of the Redeemer's Person, and such love to his name, the Anti-Trinitarians appear to be utter strangers. In fact, Dr. Priestley says, “ In no sense whatever, not even in the lowest of all, is Christ so much as called God in all the New Testament.” He is not, therefore, in the Dr.'s esteem, so highly honored as some men, of whom the Lord saith, “Ye are gods.” Such a low opinion of Christ's Person, never can lead those who have it, to render any great degree of love to his name. Seeing the whole body of Anti-Trinitarians appear to admire Dr. Priestley, it must follow, that they agree with him in respect to Christ's Person, and the degree of love to which he is entitled.
But let their views and feelings be compared with the following ascription of praise which is offered to Christ in heaven; namely, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Rev. 4. 12. The dread of the Anti-Trinitarians of becoming guilty of idolatry, must forever prevent them from saying, Amen.
Thus, my hearers, a system, whose tendency is to chill our love to Christ, must be considered as having a baneful effect on true piety. Real christians, therefore, must view every degree of approximation to it, with a holy fear. But,
6. It is necessary to show how the theory in question, leads its deluded votaries to treat the Orthodox. In some of the preceding sermons, we have seen the sanguinary manner in which they were dealt with, in the Arian ages.
I have been informed, however, that the gentleman in opposition, has availed himself of the death of Servetus, by the concurrence of the deservedly esteemed John Cala vin, as an offset to what I have said in relation to the
persecution that the Orthodox suffered from the Arians. But that solitary instance of impropriety, on the part of that great reformer, is a light balance indeed, against the murder of thousands and tens of thousands, who fell under the hands of Anti-Trinitarians, in the fourth and fifth centuries. He is welcome to all the consolation which he can derive from that circumstance, and to all the evidence it affords in his favor. If the Rey. John Calvin is as guilty as he insinuates, we wholly disapprove of his conduct; bụt much might said in his defence, if it were not a departure from the main subject.
It is, however, well understood, that our opponents lay an almost exclusive claim to candor, benevolence, liberality, and every other moral excellence; while we freely acknowledge our imperfections to be great, in every thing that is excellent. But Dr. Fuller very justly remarks, "that the candor of which the Anti-Trinitarians so largely boast, is pretty much confined to their own party, or to those who are near akin to them. Socinians can be kind to Arians, and Arians to Socinians, and each of them to Deists; but if Calvinists expect to come in for a share, let them not greatly wonder if they be disappointed.” The hatred they feel to our system, leads them to say many things not very congenial with that charity to which they lay so high a claim. Let us hear Mr. Lindsey in relation to this. He says, “ The doctrine of Christ being possessed of two natures, is the fiction of ingenious men, determined
at all events to believe Christ to be a different being from what he really was, and uniformly declared himself to be ; by which fiction of theirs, they elude the plainest declarations of Scripture concerning him, and will prove him to be the most High God, in spite of his own most express and constant language to the contrary. And as there is no reasoning with such persons, they are to be pitied, and considered as being under a debility of mind in this respect.”
In speaking of the celebrated Augustine, one of their writers calls him “a pretended saint, but an illiterate hypocrite, of wicked dispositions.” Alas! all his humble confessions could not wipe away, in the view of this writer, the crime of his Trinitarianism. By another of these candid gentlemen, the Orthodox ministers are called “a set of fools and enthusiasts ; staring, stamping, and damning in nonsense ; whining out the tidings of salvation, telling their auditors that grace is cheap, and works are all an empty bubble."
But all this is far exceeded by another of these liberal authors. He says, “ I challenge the whole body and being of moral evil itself, to invent, or inspire, or whisper any thing blacker or more wicked; yea, if sin itself had all the wit, the tongues and pens of all men and angels to all eternity, I defy it to say any thing worse of God than this. O sin! thou hast spent and emptied thyself in the doctrine of John Calvin. I renounce the doctrine as the rancor of devils ; a doctrine, the preaching of which is babbling and mocking, its prayers blasphemy, and whose praises are the horrible yellings of sin and hell!” This is an awful specimen of candor, liberality, and Christian charity! No doubt, their hatred of the doctrines of grace is great ; neither do we suppose that their feelings are very pleasant in relation to those who inculcate them. This is human nature" enmity against God;" and, therefore, all our resentment should be prayers and tears. It is important, however, that we should guard against a system which leads to such feelings and expressions. We know who hath told us, “ Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.” Let us, therefore, say like Him, “ Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” In relation to such a virulent spirit, we should remember that inspired saying, “And such were some of you.” The brightest of the saints have once been “ children of wrath, even as others.” This is a humbling consideration, and calculated to produce in our hearts the law of kindness, even towards enemies. The voice of God to us is, “ Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be
with all malice; and be ye
kind one to another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Eph. 4. 31, 32. For 6 the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Gal. 5. 22, 23. The religion of Christ teaches us, “Not to be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another.”
We have our doubts, whether the system of our opponents leads to such a spirit; but if it does, it will appear, notwithstanding all that we can say. To the judgment of candid observers, therefore, the systems must be submitted which we profess to believe, in relation to their moral tendency. In faithfulness, we must deny the truth of their scheme, and the possibility of being Christians with such principles; and these things will, of course, subject us in their view, to the charge of bigotry and superstition. But nothing which they can either say or do, will justify us in bringing against them, “a railing accusation.” It behoves us to show, by the meekness of our temper, and the propriety of all our sayings, the purifying tendency of the doctrines we profess. We may, however,