« PreviousContinue »
proving these things from the Scriptures, has always appeared to me as an idle undertaking. We are willing to admit, that people who dare to attempt this, are by no means deficient in courage. It is very necessary that they should be highly accomplished in critical learning; and that they should possess the art of evasion to a great degree.
In reviewing the subject, I think we may rest satisfied that Anti-Trinitarian doctrines are unscriptural -not adapted to the case of mankind—not of a very animating moral tendency-and can never commend themselves to the consciences of men, nor to the approbation of God. They will never satisfy the mind that has a proper sense of the Divine character-of the infinite evil of sin, and man's desert of eternal punishment.
An inspired writer says, “ Salvation is not of works; lest any man should boast;” Eph. 2. 9; but in direct opposition to this, an Anti-Trinitarian writer says, “ All hopes founded on any thing else than a good moral life, are merea ly imaginary, and contrary to the whole tenor of the
gospel. The absolute manner in which they contradict the decided testimony of the Holy Scriptures, is truly surprising. But sufficient specimens of this have been exhibited, in the preceding sermons on this interesting controversy.
2. From what has been said on this subject, we may see, that the radical errors, held by our opponents, are wholly inconsistent with the Christian name.
This point has been fully established by the Rev. R. Wordlaw, and Dr. Fuller. The views of the Anti-Trinitarians, of Christ and the Scriptures, differ but very little from the conceptions of the Deists and Mahomedans.* But as Christ is
* In the war against Christianity, the French infidels considered the Socinians as their worthy allies. They knew that Socinianism led directly to Deism; and that, in fact, many of those persons who called themselves Sncinians, were ready Deists. Hence, Voltaire says to the King of Prussia, OR
really the Supreme God, He can never acknowledge that class of men to be His disciples, whose system reduces Him to the humble level of a mere man.
Neither can we, while we retain our belief of His proper Divinity, acknowledge that people to be our brethren in the Lord, who openly deny the doctrine-deny that, which forms the very glory of his character. We hold it to be utterly impossible, for any real Christian to maintain such princiciples. It is taking away the very foundation stone on which Zion is erected. I am not afraid to say, that there is not one in a thousand, of the Orthodox, who would differ with me in this opinion. Wherefore then, should I be thought peculiarly rigid, in this plain, but honest declaration? I am no more censorious in this case, than all the ministers and members of our churches are, who fully believe in the Trinitarian doctrines. Anti-Trinitarianism has been considered as a grand heresy, by the Orthodox, in every age. I have been informed, that Dr. Mason of New-York, in his plea for open communion, among the different Christian denominations, has entirely excluded them.
Notwithstanding the errors, into which, we believe the Catholic Church to have fallen, she has not so completely departed from the faith, as those, who glory in calling themselves Unitarians. She admits the Trinity in Unitythe Deity of Christ-His Atonement, and the sanctifying operations of the Holy Ghost. As she has has not entirely overturned the foundation of the Christian hope, no doubt, many of her members, in all ages, have been the
the 8th Nov. 1773, “ What vexes me, is, that you do not establish a Socinian church, after having appointed several for the Jes cits. There are Socinians still to be met with in Poland ; they swarm in England ; and we have some of them in Switzerland. Julian would certainly have favored them. They hate that which he hated; they despise that which he despised ; and they, like him, are worthv men." See Auninian and Methodist Magazine, page 534.- (Commuicated by a friend.)
sons of God. I have read of some in that church, whose piety has appeared to be pure and eminent. Some stars have always shone in that horizon, notwithstanding the clouds, with which it has been obscured.
Names might be mentioned, if it were necessary, which have reflected honor on the Christian cause.
It is not my desire to be considered as an apologist for the church of Rome; but merely to show, that it is possible for real Christians to subsist in that communion ; while, I can see no ground, on which, to form such an opinion in favor of the Anti-Trinitarians. This is my judgment expressed without the least unkind feelings, to the Anti-Trinitarian denomination. Nothing is further from my heart, than a wish, wantonly to wound the feelings of any of
my fellow-creatures. If I could be kind to them, and faithful to the cause of Christ, without expressing an opinion on the subject, that method would be readily adopted. This frank and solemn declaration will, in all probability, not be believed by them; and therefore, the matter must be submitted to the day of judgment. Every unkind expression of their's, I hope cheerfully to forgive ; and I desire, if I know my own heart, their best interest in time and eternity. Their feelings and mine, are known to God, at whose bar, an account must be given of all our ways.
In relation to the Universalists, whose case has been mentioned, they stand on the same footing with the Anti-Trinitarians, as to piety. That class of them who are on the plan of a limited future punishment, differ but very little from the Anti-Trinitarians, except in the name which they have assumed. The other class of Universalians, differ from them both, as to the Person and Atonement of Christ; but they manifest great opposition of heart to the execution of divine justice, in respect to those who appear to die in sin Their case, as to true religion, is something doubtful, to
say the least of it. We have no right to consider any of these denominations, as the Churches of Christ : nor any of their members, as born of the Spirit. No other sect of professing Christians, that I know of, have so completely departed froin the faith.
3. From what has been said on this subject, we see the importance of guarding against doctrines, which subvert the Christian system. Every possible step should be taken, that appears to be adapted to preserve our families and fellow-men, from such contagious principles; and we should also strive to reclaim those who are ensnared by them, in the spirit of meekness. As to this matter, St. Paul says,
6. The servant of the Lord must not strive ; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” 2 Tim. 2. 24, 25. “ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” certainly includes them, on whose sentiments these animadversions have been made. A faithful exhibition of divine truth, is the best token of real friendship. To say, that no sentiments are dangerous, if sincerely believed, is contrary to these inspired words, “ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4. 1. Our Lord * saith of them, “ If it were possible they would deceive the very elect.” Matth. 24. 24. The only ground of hope is, the preserving care of God—that he can.“ recover those out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Tim. 2. 26. He hath a mighty arm; and his grace is rich and free.
In closing the subject, I would just remark, that I have pursued it, more from a conviction of duty, than a desire of controversy ; for the very foundation of our hope is in
volved in the doctrines which have been contested. The debate commenced on the authenticity of a single passage : but it is the doctrine contained in it, that engaged the opposition of the gentleman on the other side, and called from me the discourses which you have heard. The whole is now submitted to your candid judgment, and the divine blessing
“ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good ;" so "an abundant entrance shall be administered unto you, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” AMEN.