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in his estimation, is of greater importance than the gain of the whole world, since the Incarnate Wisdom said: "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matth. xvi. 16.
The style of this work will be plain and concise, such as only suits lucrubrations like this, which are intended to present to the reader a concatenation of principles and logical inferences necessarily connected together. In a performance of this nature, the object is to set the truth in as clear a light as possible, to adapt it to every capacity, to show, at one glance, the stress of the argument, and the logical conclusiveness of the whole argumentation; with a view of attaining this object the writer thought it preferable rather to sacrifice beauty of diction than perspicuity, and the intuitive perception of the stress and force of the argument. It is no small satisfaction for the author to reflect, that, whilst he is vindicating the cause of the Catholic church, of which he glories to be a member, he is, at once, pleading the cause of Christianity at large, and asserting the grand interests of all religious societies.
The author, once for all, solemnly protests, that it is, by no means, his intention to have any thing to do with the personal character of the professors of Unitarianism: He attacks principles, not persons; those he considers as inconsistent with sound logic and divine revelation; these are entitled to his highest consideration for their superior talents and other most valuable qualifications. If, therefore, in the sequel of this work, the reader should happen to meet with any expression or epithet, which might appear to him too severe, or too harsh, let it fall upon Unitarianism-not upon the Unita
It is likewise far from the intention of the author, to elicit controversy by the present publication, being as averse to it by disposition as by his professional duties; if, however, contrary to his expectation, any one should deem it proper to attack any part of the present work, he is hereby politely requested, to step forward after the fashion of a fair and honest
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antagonist, and to follow the writer step by step, densusque viro vir." In a word, let him oppose position to position, reason to reason, logic to logic, authority to authority, and not set about empty and vague declamation, foreign to the question, and which is only calculated to divert the attention of the reader from the main controversy at issue. If any other mode of warfare were adopted, the writer of these sheets would not deem himself bound, by any rule whatever, to reply, as he would not consider himself to be attacked, "Hanc veniam petimusque, damusque vicissim." Every new position, argument, or objection, throughout the whole work, is marked with a marginal number, with a view of binding down any writer that should feel disposed to answer this work, to point out the number, which he means to attack.
PHILOSOPHICALLY AND THEOLOGICALLY EXAMINED.
On the first and fundamental principle on which Unitarianism is hinged: viz. "That man cannot reasonably believe, what is above the sphere of reason; and that, of course, all mysteries are to be expunged from the code of Christianity."
Preliminary Remarks on the whole Unitarian System.
1. The first and most essential thing in every discussion, is to fix the state of the question with accuracy, and to ascertain with precision the principles which we mean to discuss. This I consider to be indispensably necessary in the present controversy, lest, after having gone through much trouble, we be in the end piously told, that, in the heat of our investigation, we have mistaken the meaning of the system, and, of course, said nothing to the purpose. To preclude the very possibility of a charge like this, I thought, it would not be amiss to transcribe here, word for word, the chief views of the Unitarian system, such as I find them delineated by a zealous advocate of the sect, in a late periodical publication.
ABSTRACT OF UNITARIAN BELIEF.
1. "As Unitarians consider the Bible the only proper summary of religion, they do not profess to comprise their sentiments in any system of articles or forms of human invention. They consider the language of Scripture sufficiently plain their creed is the Bible."
See the Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor,No. I, pages 9-20, published in Baltimore, by J. Webster.
2. "Unitarians believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New-Testament, contain authentic records of the dispensations of God, and of his revelations to men: we think the evidence of the truth, and divine authority of these books, to be abundant and convincing."
3. "We believe that the revealed truths of the Scriptures are in conformity with the principles of right reason, and consistent with one another. We hold it to be impossible, in the nature of things, that any truth, which God has revealed, should be irrational or contradictory among themselves." Without proceeding on the principle, that the Scriptures have every where a consistent and intelligible meaning, it is no wonder, the inquirer is perplexed with mysteries, absurdities, and contradictions.
4. "Unitarians believe one of the great doctrines taught in the Scriptures to be the unity and supremacy of God. Our reason tells us, that there can be but one God: the Father.' 99*
5. "Unitarians believe, that Jesus Christ was a messenger commissioned from heaven to make a revelation, and communicate the will of God to men. They agree that he was not God, that he was a distinct being from the Father, and subordinate to him; and that he received from the Father all his power, wisdom, and knowledge. They believe Christ to have been authorized and empowered to make a divine revelation to the world. We believe in the divinity of his mission, but not of his person. We consider all, that he has taught, as coming from God; but we do not pay him religious homage, because we think, that this would be derogating from the honour of the Supreme Being."
6. "Unitarians believe that Christ was one Being, and that he possessed one mind, one will, one consciousness. We maintain that two natures, that of God, and that of man, must necessarily make two Beings. The notion, that two natures can constitute one person, we take to be unintelligible and absurd."
* The Unit. Miscellany and Christ. Monitor, No. 1, p. 2.
7. "We believe the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, was the spirit of God, and not a person, or being, or substance distinct from God."
8. "We have only room to state, that we do not believe the guilt of Adam's sin was imputed, and his corrupted nature conveyed, to all his posterity, or that there is in men any original corruption. This doctrine makes God the author of sin, and the punisher of crimes, in men, which he has rendered it impossible, they should not commit."
9. "We do not believe that Christ has once offered himself up a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; because this is making the innocent suffer for the guilty, and appeasing the wrath of a Being, who, in his very nature, is necessarily benevolent, merciful, and good."
10. "We believe men have, in themselves, the power of being good or bad, of meriting the rewards, or deserving the punishments, of a just God."
II. Such are the prominent features of Unitarianism. "We well know, says the above writer, that the more Unitarianism is examined, the more it will be approved. We wish to have it submitted to the understanding of every one; we wish to have it encountered by fair argument, and canvassed by open discussion: this is one of the best modes of proving its truths." A declaration like this does much honour to the professors of the system, as it betrays, on their part, a strong confidence in the truth of their principles, and a candid desire, that it be fully known to all mankind. From this unfeigned declaration I inferred, that it would prove as gratifying to the Unitarians, as to Christians at large, were any one to undertake the task, of "encountering it by fair argument, and of canvassing it by open discussion." It is under these impressions, that the present work has been undertaken, in which it is intended to pass in review, the said principles one after another, and to investigate, whether they are as consonant to sound reason, and to the Unitarian creed, "the Bible," as Unitarians seem to believe, and whether they can stand the test of good logic. The im partial reader will decide on the result of our undertaking.