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ans have laboured under an odium for understanding the word, God, in an inferior sense to the supreme Jehovah. I maintain, in the first place, that in order to make the verse consistent with the numerous expressions above cited, we are compelled to understand it in such an inferior sense. In the second place, this view of the passage is confirmed by the very next verse, where it is said, "therefore, God, even Thy God, hath anointed thee," fitc. Thus evidently making Jesus inferior to some other being. In the third place, our Saviour tells us that, according to Hebrew phraseology, those were called gods to whom the word of God came. See John x. 35. Thus he furnishes Unitarians with an irresistible argument out of his own mouth. But, in the fourth place, in order to see a reason, if possible, still more unanswerable, look back and see the 45th psalm, from which this very verse, Thy throne, O God, &c. is extracted. You will find the verse, not an address to Jehovah, but an address to the king of Israel. The Psalm begins thus; "My heart is inditing a good matter; I speak of the things which I have made touching the king." And then the Psalmist proceeds throughout, in exact accordance with this design. In conformity with oriental hyperbole, he addresses the king by the title of O God ;* because' the authority, power, and prerogative of eastern kings, rendered them, as it were, gods upon earth. Here is no straining of passages—no forced interpretations. All is as plain as a child's first lesson to any one who will look at the psalm. The Jews of aftertimes regarded the whole composition as not only originally applicable to King Solomon; (see Rosenmuller's Commentary on this Psalm;) but as prophetic also of their Messiah. In just this light it was, that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews most forcibly applied it. Unitarians acknowledge the felicity and correctness of the application. They receive Jesus as the true Messiah; they are willing, along with St. Paul, to pay him more regard, worship, or reverence, than to all the prophets, messengers or angels of God; they cannot conceive where the danger or the error of their principles lies, while they thus exalt the official character of Jesus as highly as their opponents do; and especially, they cannot comprehend how, in cherishing these sentiments, and favouring these views, and worship
* ' The passage might very properly be translated, " God is thy throne," instead of" Thy throne, O God," &c. This would at once close the argument as to this verse. But I wish not to take advantage of it. Unitarianiim is unaffected by either interpretation.'
ping the Father alone,* as the supreme and all-originating Spirit, they "shut themselves out of heaven." Is there not quite as much danger of such a fate to be apprehended for those, who, without any just or well considered cause, take up a hasty prejudice against what they incompletely understand, and consign some of the fairest characters in the community, and some of the best men who have ever lived, on account of a difference in the explication of ancient Jewish words and phrases, not only to an exclusion from the precincts of Christianity, but to the regions of eternal wo 1* pp. 8—10.
The examination of the article goes on with the same even and firm step, and is concluded thus.
'The article closes with a confused quotation from several separate passages of Scripture, all of which the writer applies to Christ, although in the Bible some are applied to the Father only, and others to his Son only as the image of the Father, or head over all things to his church. The following collocation is entirely unwarranted by Scripture. "He that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, saith, I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Lord God Almighty. Rev. i. 5. 8. 17." Now he who " was dead" never said, that he was the Lord God Almighty. The 8th verse of Rev. ch. first, I maintain, is spoken in the person of God the Father only, and is as follows; "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Still farther, when Christ speaks in the book of Revelation, he never applies to himself the phrase from Isaiah, "who art, and who wast, and who art to come." That, as well as the title Lord God Almighty, is only applied to the Supreme Father. They both are always found together, and you will never find either of them in company with the expression, he who was dead. Thus see Rev. xi. 17; "saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned." Here the context contains no allusion whatever to the Son. See also Rev. xvi. 5. This distinction, so constantly observed by the author of the book in question, is too marked and too important to be dismissed without regard, and is a manifest proof, that the being, who was dead, was not, in John's opin
* The hour comcth, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship—whom ? The Trinity? No! But the Father, in spirit and in truth. John iv. 23.
ion, the Lord God Almighty, nor the being whom Isaiah represents as who is, and who was, and who is to come. One objection more, however, is obvious in this connexion, and remains to be answered. Why are the titles Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, First and Last, ascribed, sometimes to Jehovah, and sometimes to his Christ 1 The fact itself I will cheerfully allow; and I answer, because, in the same manner as God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end over his whole created universe, so Christ, " the image of the Father," "the head over all things to his Church," " the faithful witness, the first-begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth," (see Rev. i. 5.) was, in these interesting and most sacred respects, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, with regard to his church, or to the great gospel dispensation, introduced and established by him. These views of the different relations, which God and Christ bear to each other and to the world, and of the titles ascribed to them in the New Testament, present to my own mind, whatever they may do to others, a harmony and consistency, which, on any other supposition, would be exchanged for doubt, confusion, perplexity, and contradiction. They are as dear to me, as more literal doctrines and explanations are to others. These views cherish no sin within me, they repress no religious emotion, they lower not the gospel scheme, they still represent God alone as the original basis, designer, and support of the whole; they provide for the indefinite exaltation and regard of his Son, the Prince of the moral universe, and they have, 1 hope, too much of heaven in them to exclude me from that blessed place merely for embracing them. Should I be denied a reward at last, it will be, I deeply and fearfully feel, on far other grounds than an attempt to make Scripture consistent with itself.' pp. 12, 13.
Then follows a caution to the editor and to the Methodists generally.
'I believe the Editor of the Wesleyan Journal to have been perfectly conscientious and well meaning in his endeavours to defend the Trinity. But I would amicably submit to him whether he had better not in future ascertain the arguments of Unitarians in favour of their interpretations of Scripture, before he pronounces on the latter so harsh and severe an accusation, as that they shut men out of heaven.* You ought to think
* See Matt. ch. 25, last 16 verses, where the conditions imposed by Jesus Christ of admission into, or exclusion from the kingdom of heaven, are very different from those in the Wesleyan Journal. Moreover, according to 1 Cor. vi. 10, Rcviltrs stand as poor a chance for heaven as Unitarians. long and seriously, tenderly, and learnedly, before you presume to excite the suspicion and jealousy of the common mind against men, who have studied the Scriptures as perfectly as yourselves, have consciences as pure, and souls as valuable as your own. Do you suppose, that we deliberately misinterpret the Bible 1 Do you suppose, that many of us have not been brought into what we esteem God's marvellous light through many unwilling struggles, alarms, and tears, until we were absolutely compelled at last either to avow our belief in the strict Unity of God, or remain hypocritical worshippers before him 1 Think of the difficulties of scripture language, and of the vast variety of interpretations that must necessarily arise in reading so ancient a book. I repeat that we must be tender and candid to each other on these subjects, which we can be without compromising in the least the paramount cause of piety and morality. Is not the Wesleyan Journalist aware how Calvinists might denounce the excellent man whose biography he lately recorded, and who interpreted the important word, sanclification, by what would to them appear a loose and dangerous meaning, viz. perfect love? Moreover, in No. 3, of the Journal, the writer of the Berrystreet Sermons, who is there quoted, after attempting to defend the doctrine of the Trinity, admits, that, to say that, " three are one, in the same sense, and in the very same respect, in which three are three, would no doubt be a contradiction in terms." What then becomes of the Athauasian Creed? When I apply the admission just laid down to the doctrine of the Trinity, as far as I comprehend it, that doctrine vanishes all away into empty air, and leaves Unitarianism as the only solid and unassailable basis of relief. In short, the admission itself is rank Sabcllianism. But no farther on this track at present.
'Let me conclude with seriously and affectionately cautioning the Methodists, now that their better days are coming, not to be lavish of the acrimony and persecuting language to which their own sect has formerly itself been but too much exposed. It is not the way to conciliate and increase converts; but it drives some away in disgust and sorrow, and it feeds the worst passions of those who remain behind. How childish, moreover, to be calling names, and dooming this one and that one to hell! Does it not at least reveal a woful poverty of argument 7 Unitarian churches have been filled rather than emptied by these bitter denunciations from abroad; for after all, men will venture to such places, with the curiosity that leads youth to creep to the brink of precipices, to see what is there. A glorious prospect on a safe footing often rewards both kinds of adventurers.'
There is one expression in the article from the Journal, the preeminent absurdity of which must have been perceived by the writer of the reply, though he suffered it to pass in silence. If our readers will turn back to the commencement of that article, they will see that it runs thus; 'Unitarian principles, if true, shut all men out of heaven.' Now let us attend to this a moment. If Unitarian principles are true, they must of course be approved by God, who is a God of truth; and they must furthermore be expressed in the bible, which is God's word;—and yet they 'shut all men out of heaven;' that is to say, the very same book which contains God's promises of heaven, is also full of principles, coming from the same God, which must necessarily and forever exclude men from it!
This reasoning puts us in mind of an anecdote told us by a friend, respecting a conversation which he once happened to have with a clergyman of the establishment, in a country town in England. After the discussion of several indifferent topics, the clergyman began to lament, in a most pathetic manner, the increase of Unitarians, not knowing that our friend was one of the number. He went over the common charges against them, grew angry at the bare recital of their doctrines and apostacies, and at last exclaimed,'Why Sir! if I thought that Unitarianism was taught in my bible, I would throw it into the fire!' In other words, his attachment to the articles of his church was stronger than his attachment to the bible; and he was attached to his bible, because he was persuaded that it included the articles of his church; and if by any means he should lose that persuasion, away went his bible!
We are aware that both this man, and the author of the article in the Wesleyan Journal, must be rather simple of their kind; and that the more sensible among the orthodox would indignantly disclaim such expressions as we have cited. But we are not aware that such men are scarce, or that they are destitute of influence with the many; and while they continue to dispense their strange declamations, and so long as they are able to affect the minds of the people by them, we see no possible harm, but on the contrary much probable good, that may result from a proper refutation of them. And if we are asked, what we call a proper refutation, we answer, exactly such a one as that which has just passed under our notice ^