ePub 版


You cannot imagine, for one moment, that the question, “whether Christ by his death purchased temporal benefits or not for all mankind ?" is like the question“ whether or not he bought his people unto God by his blood, in making a true, proper, meritorious sacrifice for their sin, when

through the ETERNAL SPIRIT he offered up himself ?"" Nor that the dispute, “whether the covenant of Redemption be different from the covenant of Grace ?" or what are so called, be in reality but one and the same covenant viewed under different aspects ? is to be classed with the dispute “ whether Jesus, the Lord our righteousness, is a mere man like ourselves, or the true God, and, therefore, eternal life ?? ^_In deciding on the relative importance of such points there is no room for hesitation. Whatever degree of mistake may be reconciled with union to Christ, and an interest in his salvation, it is not, it cannot be a matter of doubt among those who have tasted his grace, that blaspheming his divinity-rejecting his propitiatory sacrifice ; and the justification of a sinner by faith only, in his mediatorial merits—denying the personality, divinity, renewing and sanctifying virtue of his holy Spirit, and similar heresies; invalidate every claim to the character of his disciples. They who disown or explain away such truths as these, pretend what they may, are no more servants of Christ, nor partakers of his benefits, than Jews, Mahometans,* or Pagans.

* There is a very curious, though almost forgotten paper, in which the Unitarians, as they call themselves, in opposition to those who hold the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, expressly claim kindred with the Mahometans. It is an address from two English Socinians or Arians, (it matters little wbich) “ in their own names, and in that of a multitude of their persuasion,” whom they style

a wise and religious sort of people," to the Morocco embassador at the court of CHARLES the II. and is entitled, “ An Epistle Dedicatory, to his illustrious EXCELLENCY, AMETH BEN AMETA, ennbassador of the mighty Emperor of Fez and Morocco, to CHARLES II. King of Great Bria tain."

In this “ epistle dedicatory," they tell his Mahometan Excellency that the faith of his countrymen and sect is much purer in the article

• touching the belief of an only sovereign God," and " many other wholesome doctrines," than the faith of either Papal or Protestant, Christendom: seeing that about these doctrines in which they, the Mahometans,“ persevere," “ this, our western part of the world,” the British isles and European continent, “are declined into several errours from the integrity of their predecessors." And they “ heartily salute and congratulate his Excellency and all who were with him, as votaries and FELLOW-worshippers of that sole Supreme Deity of the Almighty Father and Creator.Giserve, they are not“ fellow-worshippers" with Christians in this matter (God be praised !) but with Ma.. hometans. And they “greatly rejoice and thank his Divine bounty that hath preserved the Emperour of Morocco and his people," being Mahometans, “in the excellent knowledge of that truth,” already mentioned, which the Christian world, it seems, had lost; and they assure his Excellency, which is a certain verity, that" in those important points,” viz. the Unitarian doctrines concerning God, they “ draw nigher to the Mahometans, than all other Protestant or Papal Christians”-And they furthermore state to his Excellency, that they are their, the Mahometans', “nearest fellow-champions for those

In the language of one whose scriptural artillery has often battered and shaken the “gates of hell,” “they neither know him, nor love him, nor

truths:” and, moreover, “that God had raised up their Mahomet to defend the same truth ;” viz. the faith of one Supreme God with the SWORD, as & scourge on those idolizing Christians,” even as “they, with their Cnitarian brethren,” had been accustomed to “ defend it with their pens." Behold a “ defender of the faith,” far goodlier than Henry the VIII; and much dearer to the Unitarians than any of his successors, not excepting EDWARD the VI, or William of Orange! Behold an ancient and avowed alliance; “ The SWORD of MA AOMET and the UNITARIAn pen!" All this and more, in a style of fawning compliment, from a sect of professed Christians to an embassador of the GREAT IMPOSTURE : who probably honoured their two representatives, the instant their backs were turned, with the ordinary loving appellation of “ Christian dogs.??

The whole of this precious "epistle,” is prefixed to LESLIE'S “Socinian controversy discussed.Theol. Works, Vol. I. 207. 211.

Such an acknowledged coincidence between Unitarianism and Mahometanism, goes far to justify the assertion, that there is no very wide difference between Unitarians and Deists. But we are not left to construction or inference on this head. The affinity is distinctly avowed by no less a personage than the Colossal English Socinian--the late Dr. JOSEPH PRIESTLEY. In a letter to his friend, Mr. BELSHAM, dated “ Northumberland, April 23, 1813," speaking of Mr. JEFFERson, former President of the United States, the Doctor observes, that “he,(Mr. Jefferson,)“ is generally considered as an unbeliever," i. e. an infidel. If so, however, he cannot be far from us." Here is a fair and fullconfession, that infidelity and Socinianism are near neighbours; or else, a person allowed to be an infidel, would be “far off” from a Socinian, which Dr. PRIESTLEY says is not the fact. We say so too ; and that they had much better shake hands at once, than keep up an unmeaning warfare: especially, as Wm. WELLS, Esq. of Boston, a gentleman of talent and a scholar, “ whose zeal,” to quote Mr. BELSHAM,“whose zealfor truth," i. e. Socinianism,“ is beyond all praise,” has told us, in a letter to Mr. B. March 31, 1812, "that Unitarianism

[ocr errors]

believe in him, nor do any wise belong unto him."* With such men there can be neither communion nor compromise. They are to be regarded as enemies of both the cross and the crown of our Lord Jesus Christ--as that spiritual Anialek with whom he and his are sworn to have war, only war, and war continually, “from generation to generation.” Not that any whom his love "constrains,” are to cherish hostile or uncourteous, or untender feeling toward their

persons; or to think themselves released, in their case, from the obligations of social kindness. God forbid ! Neither fidelity to the truth, nor intense affection to the children of truth, involves such a consequence.

He,” to repeat the words of Dr. OWEN," he who professeth love unto the saints, that peculiar love which is required toward them; and doth not exercise love in general towards all men: much more if he make the pretence of brotherly love the ground of alienating his affection from


[ocr errors]

consists rather in not believing !!"(a) Now if faith

to the character of true Christians, that the word of their God denominates them from that very thing, believers ; then, the Unitarians, themselves being judges, are far enough from being Christians !

* Dr. John OWEN.

(a) See for these facts, and certain other curious matter, a pamphlet, just re-published in Boston, entitled American Unitarianism, or, The progress and present state of the Unie tarian churches in America,” 6 c. by the Rev. Thomas Belstam, Essexstreet, London.

the rest of mankind, can have no assurance that the love he so professeth is sincere, incorrupt, genuine, and without dissimulation.”* Even the most determined enemies of the truth are not to be debarred from this Christian philanthropy. While we hate, oppose, and would utterly destroy their "abominations,” we would do good to themselves, as we have opportunity, both for this life, and for that which is to come. Our “hearts desire and prayer for them is,”and ought to be,“ that they may be saved”-that Jesus of Nazareth, the “Prince and Saviour" whom, not knowing, they “ persecute,” would appear unto them in the visions of his word—would " open their blind eyes that the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in his person and work “may shine into their hearts;" so that obtaining mercy, like the illustrious convert of Tarsus, because they act “ignorantly and in unbelief;" they may,

like him, learn to extolthe“ exceeding abundant grace

Lord Jesus ;" and, like him too, “preach," or promote “ the faith” which they are labouring to “destroy.” And the church shall “glorify God in them." AMEN!

But while they remain in their unbelief”denying in fact, though acknowledging in words,

of our

* Ovex on Ileb. VI. 9. Expos. Vol. III. 89. Fol.

« 上一頁繼續 »