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tinguished from them, must consist in something, which he only admits, and must admit in order to be a Christian. We add, that this something must also be that, which, besides being peculiar to Christianity, is common to all Christians. And this, we think, so far as respects what he is to believe, must consist in one single article, the divine mission and consequent authority of Jesus Christ. If you go beyond this, and introduce, with the author of the sermon, articles which are received by some, and rejected by others, you will give the description of a Catholic, a Protestant, a Calvinist, a Trinitarian, or a Unitarian, but not that of a Christian. What, we ask, constitutes a Jew? We mean not as respects the nation to which he belongs, but the religion which he prosesses. You would not answer this question by giving the description or the creed of a Pharisee, in the time of our Saviour, for this plain reason, that although every Pharisee is a Jew, every Jew is not a Pharisee. A Jew is one, who believes in the divine mission of Moses and the prophets. He acknowledges the authority of their writings, and receives them as his rule of faith and life. But he has his own interpretation of those writings; and whatever be the particular doctrines, which he finds in them, and whether they are such as to constitute him a Pharisee, a Sadducee, or an Essene, he is not the less a Jew.
What, again, distinguishes a Mahometan from all others ? Not the profession of faith in a particular set of doctrines; for those doctrines some of the followers of Mahomet may receive, and others may reject; but the simple acknowledgment of Mahomet as a divine teacher, and of the Koran as the rule of faith and practice to his followers. The particular articles of his faith will be those, which he believes to be taught by the Koran, whether they make a part of the popular creed or not; and whether he is a Somnite or a Schiite, a follower of Abu-Becr or of Ali, a believer in Fate or in Freewill, he is a Mahometan. He may be regarded as a heretic by those of a different sect; but we suppose that no disciple of the prophet would carry the spirit of sect so far, as to deny that he is a Mahometan.
In the same manner we come to a true definition of what constitutes a Christian, as distinguished from the professors of every other religion. He is one, who believes in the divine mission of Jesus Christ, and receives his instructions, as of
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divine authority. Those instructions are contained in the writings of the New Testament, and were delivered by Christ himself and his apostles. Whatever doctrines he finds clearly taught in those writings, he receives as divine truths. Now, whatever the particular system of doctrines may be, which he is thus led to embrace, it is to him Christianity; and so far as faith is concerned, he is a Christian. Nor will he be more or less entitled to the name of a disciple of Christ, on account of the agreement or the disagreement of his creed with any one, that has been drawn up by others, and is regarded as a standard of christian faith. Whether it be that of the Catholic or the Protestant church, that of the Lutheran or the Calvinian, that of the Trinitarian, or Unitarian, or one that differs from them all, who is authorized to pronounce, that it is not christian, and that he who holds it, is not a disciple of Christ?
We have been drawn with extreme reluctance into a course of remarks implying so much of censure; but it was what the circumstances of the case seemed to us to demand. We could not be willing, that sentiments so calculated to have an influence on the religious community unfavorable to charity and peace, by their tendency to a system of mutual exclusion and hostility, should pass unnoticed. We cannot see the mischief that is done, the uncharitable, censorious, and hostile spirit that is awakened in the christian community, the separations that are produced in our churches by the propagation of such sentiments, without feeliig it to be our duty to bear testimony against them, to endeavour to point out their tendency to hurt the christian causese and to expose the fallacy of the reasonings, by which they are supported. We deem it the more imperative duty to do it, when, as in the present case, such sentiments are expressed by one, whose reputation, and high standing, and office give him peculiar weight with the religious community. Nor are they the less dangerous, perhaps they are even the more so, for the dispassionate coolness, and gentleness of manner with which they are expressed, and abstinence from the coarse and offensive language, which we are too much accustomed to meet with. We cannot but regard those, as incurring a fearful responsibility, who employ the power they have of giving the direction to the spirit and measures of the christian community, in inculcating sentiments so certainly leading to disunion, and in fostering a spirit, that is calculated to destroy the peace of our churches, and to alienate those from each other, who ought to live together as brethen. We hold them justly answerable for the course pursued by the orthodox of the present day, which is producing such unhappy divisions in our churches. We believe that men of violence derive encouragement and countenance from such publications, without which they would not proceed to such extremities, as have sometimes been witnessed.
We would not by these remarks be understood as asserting or intimating, that all the schisms in our churches for the last twenty years, or since this course of measures has been adopted, are to be charged to the exclusive spirit of orthodoxy, and to the system it has pursued. We know that other causes have operated, as they will occasionally operate, to produce the same deplorable effects; causes which have no immediate connexion with particular opinions, or sectarian interests. But we do mean to express the entire conviction, that so far as these divisions have arisen and are daily arising from the practice, which finds encouragement and support in such publications as the sermon before us, namely, that of denying the christian name, refusing christian communion, and, as far as they have the power, depriving those of their christian rights, whose articles of saith differ from their own ; we do mean to assert, that the orthodox are exclusively answerable for them. We hesitate not to assert this, because it is well known, that those, who style themselves the orthodox, and those only, do expressly advocate the necessity and the duty of a separation from others, and vindicate their conduct in doing it on the ground, that those who do not receive the peculiarities of their faith are not Christians, that they worship another God, deny the Saviour, and that therefore those who hold the true faith can have no christian communion with them. We know of no instance in which these sentiments have been either avowed or practised upon by any others. And we cannot doubt, that by far the greater part of the unhappy divisions, by which our churches have been rent for a few years past, have had their origin in this single cause.
Will the author of the sermon complain, that in our interpretation of it we have done him injustice, and not represented faithfully its meaning? We ask then, what is its meaning ? What did he intend, that the hearers and readers of his dis
course should understand him to recommend as to the course they should pursue in respect to Unitarian Christians? He very well knew, that within a short distance of the house in which he was speaking, and probably at that moment within its walls, were many who professed to be Christians, who yet believed neither of the doctrines to have been taught in the gospel, which he declared to be essential to constitute a Christian. Was it his meaning, that those to whom his discourse was addressed, and for whom it was designed, should recognize such as Christians, and be ready to hold communion with them as such? Or was it the purpose of his sermon to justify them in withholding from all such the christian name, and all purely christian offices, and in regarding them as having no other claims upon them, than Jews, Mahometans, 'or Naturalists, with whom they are virtually, if not expressly classed by the preacher ? The future course pursued by the church established in that building will probably furnish a fair commentary on the sermon, and manifest in what sense it was understood by those, to whom it was addressed.
We have a few remarks to make on the singular form of consecration, and invocation of the object of worship at the close of the discourse, because it is addressed separately and distinctly to God, to the Father, to the Lamb of God, and to the Eternal Spirit. But why should this form of address, though it differs so entirely from any direction given in the Scriptures, and from any act of devotion, of which we have there an example ; and particularly appears in strong contrast with that of Solomon on a similar occasion ; yet why should it be so unusual as to strike us by its singularity? If the doctrine of the trinity be a christian doctrine, it ought certainly to be recognized in the usual form and structure of prayer; and we do not perceive how Trinitarians can justify theroselves in addressing prayer, as they usually do, exclusively to the Father, utterly neglecting, except in the concluding sentence, the notice of two other persons believed by them to be equally entitled to supreme worship. We have attended worship conducted by Trinitarian ministers on a great variety of occasions; and we have never before, but in one instance, heard an address to the Deity, which we thought perfectly proper for a Trinitarian to offer.
We accordingly give to the preacher the credit of consistency and propriety almost unexampled, in the form of address which he has adopted, if he believes the object of worship to consist of three distinct persons, in the proper sense of the word person. But we can allow him this claim to consistency and propriety only on the ground, that there are three persons in the most strict and proper sense, and that the distinction in the Deity, which is thus expressed by the word person, is of such a nature as not to be distinguished in our conceptions, or by any language we can use, from Tritheism. Truth also requires us to add, that this consistency as a Trinitarian, seems to us to be purchased at the expense of consistency as a Christian. We are not more struck with the consistency of the act of homage of which we are speaking, with the Trinitarian creed, than we are with its utter and irreconcilable inconsistency with the instructions of our Saviour to his disciples on the subject, and with all the examples he gave them, as well as with the instructions and examples, which they also have left for other Christians.
The almost entire neglect of the second and third persons of the trinity by professed Trinitarians, and the practice of addressing themselves exclusively to the Father, is a fact, which it belongs to intelligent Trinitarians to account for and explain. For, if it is ever proper to address the three persons separately and distinctly, as in the common sense of the word, distinct persons, or intelligent agents; it seems to us, till we are better informed, that it must always be improper not to do it, except in those cases, where the subject of the address is one, in which the other persons of the trinity have no concern. Whether there are any such subjects, we are ready to be informed by those, who are better acquainted than we profess to be, with the separate interests and distinct offices of the divine persons.
We abstain from entering into any discussion of the question respecting the duty of religious homage to the Saviour. We could do but very imperfect justice to the subject within any limits, that could be allowed us. There is a religious homage, which we believe to be due to Jesus Christ from all who are his disciples. It is that religious homage, which is expressed by some of the texts, by which the author endeavours to support his position. And we are ready to say with him, that the