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of years.

gion itself.

But a worse consequence than this follows.

It was a hearty spontaneous faith which the first Reformers placed in their symbols. They satisfied fully the want of their minds. But no human work, nor any human words, can feed and nourish successive generations. Each generation looks with different feelings and through a different culture at the great truths of Heaven and Earth. They need a new language to express their faith. The old words do not satisfy them. It is a proof of the divinity that resides in the Bible, that this book does continue to satisfy successive generations for thousands

But so can no human composition. In consequence, when men are compelled, by fear of denunciation, to speak their grandfathers' language instead of their own, their words seem empty to themselves. They do not really express the inmost belief of their hearts. So they become false, faithless, hypocritical, professing in words what nothing in their heart corresponds to. Secret unbelief couched under a hypocritical profession is the second great evil resulting from the authority of creeds.

And the last, is open unbelief-not merely of the church creed, but of that which it conceals; the great truths of reli

When the time has arrived, in which the church formulas and standards are no longer suited to the intellect and culture of the age; the intellect, in breaking away from them, breaks away from Christianity itself. “These are the representatives of Christianity, and these are evidently absurd, contradictory and illogical, we will have none of them.” So they reason, confounding God's religion with man's theology, the everlasting truths of Christianity with human systems and doctrines, and rejecting the whole together.

In view of these evils, resulting from the imposition of human systems upon the mind, the Unitarians have been led to oppose all such imposition. They say—“Let us read the Bible for ourselves, and form our own system, if any system be necessary.

Jesus Christ taught no formal system--the Apostles laid down no fixed standard of opinions--they taught the truth in a free, living manner, without any scheme or plan of theology at all. Why cannot it be so now? It can be so. We will not go to John Calvin, or to the Westminster Assembly, to know what to believe; we will go at once to Jesus Christ, and his Apostles. This is our right. This right we claim. We reject the whole of your doctrines. We will not receive any part of your systems. We believe in Christ, and in the great truths he taught. We believe in repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. You have no right to add to this Christian confession. We will stand fast in the liberty where with Christ has made us free.”

The first great object then of the Unitarian Reform is Christian Liberty. We demand this, in its broadest sense. We do not ask for liberty to modify your creeds a little, to believe a little less about Predestination, or a little more about Ability, but we ask for liberty not to believe in your creeds at all. We wish to set them all aside, and read the Bible with our own eyes, and use our own language in speaking of it. We would be wholly free from these scholastic trammels. We demand to be acknowledged as Christians, so long as we believe in Jesus Christ, and show an earnest love for him in our lives ; whether we believe or not in vicarious atonement, the trinity, original sin, and other such unscriptural shibboleths.

It is evident then that Unitarians are in the advanced rank, the forlorn hope, of those who contend for christian liberty. "They place themselves on the original principles of the Reformation, and demand the full liberty which these principles guarantee. If Unitarians succeed in obtaining this liberty, we say not that Christian freedom is secure, but that the greatest step has been taken towards securing it, since the times of the first reformers. If Unitarians succeed in obtaining toleration, then the tyranny of human systems, at least, is at an end.

And then there will be some hope of CHRISTIAN UNION, that long desired, long prayed for, but almost despaired of blessing. The evils of the present state of disunion in the Christian church are so obvious that all see them and lament them—the difficulty is that very few perceive their true remedy. In every city of our land, in every small town there are Christians--but in what condition? Banded together, united as with one heart and soul, acting in united power to convert the world to God? Alas! no—but split into half a dozen parties, having little sympathy for each other, jealous of each others' success, and instead of carrying the war into the camp of sin, contending with each other about its origin, instead of laboring to bring back a sinful world to God; arguing about the theory of conversion. The evils of this state, all, in their cooler moments, lament. But the only remedy they propose is, that all other sects should come over and join their own. “Let all men agree to the primitive order of church government, and join the only authentic church," say the Episcopalians, “ and all will be well.” “ Let all obey God, and be immersed,” say the Baptists, " and there will be no division.” In other words-- Let others think as we do, and we shall be united.” Others again, wishing to unite the credit of orthodoxy with the advantages of liberality, exhaust their wits in constructing new creeds, which shall contain the essence of the old in a more modern and loose dress.

The Unitarians take a different way. They do, what few others have yet done; they go to the Scriptures for the test of Christian fellowship. They find it there written that to believe Jesus to be the Christ is the only fundamental faith, to confess him openly before men, the only essential act.* Standing on this broad platform they proclaim that we should unite in Christian communion and fellowship with all who acknowledge Jesus to be the Christ, and openly claim to be his disciples, if their lives are sober and decent. And a sound Christian Union can never come excepi from this acknowledgment of Christian Liberty. In laboring then for Christian Liberty, the Unitarians are laying the only true foundation for Christian Union.

Another object of the Unitarian Reform, by many. thought to be the chief object, but by us held to be secondary, regards religious opinions. Casting away the trammels of theological systems and reading the Scriptures by their own light, many things in the popular theology seem to them erroneous. These relate to the character of God, of Christ, that of man, and that of true religion.

According to the popular theories, the character of God is such, that he can never pardon the sinner till a full satisfaction is made to Him in the punishment of some victim. This simple statement, according to all human analogy, entirely excludes the attribute of mercy from the character of God. For what mercy is there in pardoning after the full punishment is inflicted—what clemency in remitting the debt after it is paid? But again, the popular theology declares that the Deity was satisfied by this punishments' falling on an innocent being. _This statement, again, excludes the attribute of justice. For where is the justice of punishing the innocent for the guilty. The Bible says "The soul that sinneth, it shall die—the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of ihe son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezek. xviii. 20.) But the popular theology undertakes to impute righteousness to the wicked, and wickedness to the righteous. All this clouds the character of God. Add to this the doctrines of Decrees and Election, as commonly set forth, and the darkness is complete. We have a being whose law is to do his own will, not because it is holy, just and good, but because it is his will, and because being sovereign, he can do it. And yet again, in order to excite fear, which always seems a more powerful principle than love to the heart not thoroughly Christianized—to excite fear, God is set forth as surrounded by the terrors of the Old Testament, instead of being regarded through his image in the New. He is represented as full of wrath against the sinner, while Christ every where teaches that he is full of love toward him. * Just as far as this theology is believed, just so far is the character of God perverted from the real evangelical view. Just so far, God is made a vindictive, self-willed, arbitrary, and passionate being. We tremble while we write these words, but they are drawn from us by the deepest and clearest conviction that the unneutralized influence of the common theology would thus degrade our ideas of the Almighty. Thank God, it always is neutralized-by the common sense and common reason of mankind, and by the perpetual influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While the New Testament remains in the hands of the people, no false theology can wholly obscure the face of our Heavenly Father. But so much of harm results from these opinions, that the Unitarians are well authorized to wage war against them.

* See, for instance, Rom. x, 9. illustrated by Acts viii. 37, 38. x vi, 31, 33.

The Unitarian Reform affects also, as is well known, the theory of God's metaphysical existence. The doctrine of the * Trinity, which seems sedulously to avoid all Scripture phraseology, which is expressed in dark metaphysical language, and shrouds itself in mystery, appears to Unitarians wholly unsupported by Scripture. No where in the Bible is it taught, or pretended to be taught, in plain terms.t A doctrine, professing to be among the most important and essential of Christian truths, yet left by Christ and his Apostles to be inferred from texts taken here and there--proved piecemeal, and then the pieces fastened together in the dark.

The surest way however of meeting the Trinitarian is simply to ask him what he believes. “Tell me what your doctrine is, and then I will tell you whether I believe it or not.” If he then says it is a mystery, and that he believes in a mysterious three-fold distinction in the divine nature, which he cannot comprehend, you may tell him that you too believe in a thousand mysteries relating to the Deity, and that when those mysteries are revealed some one of them will very probably turn out to be the same as his. But if he proceeds to explain his faith, he will inevitably fall either into Tritheism, and believe in three distinct Gods, having a unity of purpose and will, or into Sabellianism and believe in one God with a three-fold manifestation of himself as Father, Son and Spirit. To the first explanation you may oppose the whole Bible, to the last you need oppose nothing, for it is Unitarianism.

* See Matt. v. 44, 45. Luke xv. throughout. † The passage i. John v. 7, no intelligent scholar would now rely upon.

With respect to the person of Christ, we have published so much elsewhere, that we need say little here. T'he Unitarians take from him a physical glory to give him a moral glory. He is divine to them, not as possessing the physical attributes of Eternity and Infinity, but as being the chosen one to reflect to the universe, as from a mirror, God's moral character. He is the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his person-he who has seen him has seen the Father, for he is the representative of God in the world. We feel after God, if haply we may find him in creation, but it is a cold and distant power, wise, infinite, and benevolent, which we find there--commanding our reverence, but too remote for our love. But in Jesus Christ, God personally appears to us. He is the manifestation of the divine holiness, mercy, love. In his life of tender sympathy with man he images the divine long-suffering. In his death, that great symbol of reconciliation, he has not only taught, but shown, in a way that has stamped conviction on the hearts of thousands, the love of God to his sinful child. This is Christ's true divinity. We take away his metaphysical honors that we may heighten 'his spiritual glory.

The views of man, given by the creeds, Calvinistic or subCalvinistic, are equally one-sided and erroneous in the judgment of Unitarians. The object of the makers of these creeds was to produce a deep conviction of sinfulness in the human heart, to overthrow all pride of goodness, and bring the sinner to an humble confession of his guilt. This was a worthy and Christian object, but to attain this end they ran into exaggeration and extremes. They exaggerated human sinfulness when they made it total. When they declare that in man there is nothing good, they run into an extreme, equally unphilosophic and unchristian. It makes the word of God of no effect, for if there be nothing in man unperverted, if reason and conscience are blinded, then you might as well preach the gospel to a block or a stone, as to a man.

Until his mind is miraculously changed in all its faculties, he cannot inderstand or appreciate a word you say. It seems to us also that this doctrine of total depravity runs counter to one of the

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