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God is an invisible, omnipresent spirit. (1 Tim. vi. 16. Ps. cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10.) When be exhibits himself to men, it is by means of some symbol, or representation to the senses; and this, whatever it be, through which he appears or speaks, is called in scripture, the angel or messenger of God. Prophets and priests are called so, (Hag. i. 13. Mal. ii. 7.;) and some understand the winds to have this epithet applied to them (Ps. civ 4.) Now it is obvious, tbat no shape, angelic, buman, or inanimale, through which it may please God to communicate with men, can comprehend the illimitable divinity. When His will is declared through a prophet, whose authority is acknowledged, it seems most datural ibat the prophet should deliver the message in his own name, declaring it to have been received from God. But when any other instrument is used, either a supernatural appearance, or some familiar form of material nature, it seems equally to be expected that God should speak in his own person. In this latter case, the phraseology does not strike us as peculiar,—wby sbould it in the former? We are told,—to give a few of many instances of the same sort,-of God's calling to Moses out of the mountain (Exod. xix. 3.) of bis coming to Elijah by a voice (1 Kings xix. 13.) where a form of words remarkably similar is employed; of bis answering Job out of the wbirlwind (xxxviii. 1. xl. 6.) and of his attesting the mission of his son from heaven (Matt. iii. 17.) We find no difficulty in the form of language in which God is said to speak from a mountain or a whirlwind. We apprehend that in which he is said to speak by an angel to be precisely parallel. He is with equal propriety represented as himself speaking, in one as in the other.
We are not aware of any difficulty remaining. If bowever there be one, we do not see bow in any degree it is diminished by the supposition of the angel of the Lord being identical with a second person in the Godhead; far less, how it can be employed to prove tbat sveh a person exists. If the Son be “very God of very God," "equal in power and glory with the Father, we do not see how the title angel of the Lord, could be applied to him with propriety in any sense in which it might not equally be applied io the Father. Of course we do not see how the use of the phrase can be supposed to imply any thing in support of the dogma of a distinction of persons. Nor do we apprehend that the angel of the Lord, by whom he spoke, can be affirmed to be a person in the Godhead by any argument, which might not with equal colour of truth be employed to shew the same thing concerning the mountain, the voice, the whirlwind, and the cloud, in the
.-3yes referred to in the last paragraph.
We feel the more confidence in our opinion that these passages have no bearing on the trinitarian doctrine, from its coinciding with that of two great reformers. “If,” says Luther, “there were no other proof of the trinity than this, I should not believe it.” “As to the argument of some ancient writers,' says Calvin, “that Abraham discerned by faith tbree persons in the Godhead, because be worshipped one of the three whom he had seen, it is better not to use it, as it is frivolous, and liable to cavil and ridicule.” (See also 1 Kings v. 2, 3, 8. Luke vii. 6.)
BISHOP WATSON'S ACCOUNT OF HIS METHOD OF STUDYING
“ I REDUCED the study of divinity into as narrow a compass as I could, for I determined to study nothing but my bible, being much unconcerned about the opinions of councils, fathers, churches, bishops, and other men, as little inspired as myself. This mode of proceeding being opposite to the general one, and especially to that of the Master of Peterhouse, who was a great reader, he used to call me the se!f-taught divine. It had been thought to be a duty to demolish every opinion, which militated against what is called the orthodoxy of the Church of England. Now my mind was wholly unbiassed : I had no prejudice against, no predilection for the Church of England; but a sincere regard for the Church of Christ, and an insuperable objection to every degree of dogmatical intolerance. I never troubled myself with answering any arguments, which tbe opponents in the divinity schools brought against the articles of the Church, nor ever admitted their authority as decisive of a difficulty: but I used to say to them, holding the New Testament in my hand, Behold the sacred book. Here is the fountain of truih; why do you follow the streams derived from it by the sophistry, or polluted by the passions of men ? If you can bring proofs against any thing delivered in this book, I shall think it iny duty to reply to you; articles of churches are not of divine authority ; have done with them : they may be true, Ibey may be false ; and appeal to the sacred volume itself. Tbis mode of dispoting gained me no credit with the hierarchy,
* Bishop Watson's Life, p. 37, American edition.
but I thought it an honest one, and it produced a liberal spirit in the University."
“ Religion seems to be as necessary to mankind as water ; the purest of both is the most salutary-yet in that state neither please the vulgar palate. In all ages inankind have been fond of adulterating bolh with foreign ingredients; those ingredients are often of an intoxicating quality, which perverts their beneficial nature, heats the brain, renders unen quarrelsome, sometimes furious, and makes what was intended as a blessing, operate as a curse.
LOCKE AND NEWTON.
“ By these same simple truths, martyrs and confessors, our persecuted saints, and our blessed reformers, were saved. By these few simple truths, Locke, and Boyle, and Newton, were saved; not because they saw their religion through the glass of their philosophy, but because theirs was not a philosophy, falsely so called ;' nor their science, la science of opposition;' but a science and a philosophy which were made subservient to Christianity, and because their deep humility sanctified their astonishing powers of mind. These wonderful men, at whose feet the learned world is still satisfied 10 sit, sat themselves at the feet of Jesus.”
Locke and Newton are here set by the side of the martyrs, sainis, and reformers, and declared to have been saved by the same simple truths. Yet Mrs. More could not have been ignorant that they were Unitarians. It is exceedingly comfurling to read passages like this,--and not a few such are to be found in the writings of the orthodox--for they confirm us in the truth of the sentiment on which we love to dwell, ibat after all the division and intolerance of the cbristian world, there are a FEW SIMPLE TRUTH, in wbich all unite as essential, and which all, when the spirit of sect is not upon them, regard as alone essential, sufficient for the most beretical philosopher, as well as the inost orthodox reformer. It is comforting also to find, that heresy will not keep good men forever out of the pale of the church, but when the generation has passed away in which they lived, and the controversies of the age are forgot
ten, they will be acknowledged by all and honoured by all ; eren those, who persecute the men who tread in their steps, and denounce their opinions as another gospel,' will speak of them with reverence as lights of the world. Those tbat have Do language too vile for Priestley, are continually loud in the praise of Newton, who beld bis most obnoxious tenet; and they that think a short creed to be little better than infidelity in disguise, place Locke, wbo wrote in defence of that same short creed, among ibe most eminent of believers. When Christiunily is to be urged upon the sceptical, or the authority of great names is for any reason important, the appeal is always made at once, by Christians of every name, to Locke and Newton. This is as it should be ; it is a joyful circumstance that it is so. It is the tacit consent of Christendom to our favourite maxim, that the gospel is a simple thing; it sbows the folly and inconsistency of vehement outcries against beretice; for it assures us, that time will bring differing good men into fellowship, and that present distinctions shall be no wall of partition in heaven.
(The following “Lines suggested by a visit to the tomb of the late
Rev Samuel Cary in the Burial-ground belonging to the Unitarian Church at Hackney," are from the Monthly Repository, a British Unitarian publication. To those of our patrons in whose minds they revive the image of the respected pastor or friend, they will probably have a value independent of any poetical merit.]
Cary! to bid thy native shores adieu,
J. T. R.
A Vindication of certain Passages in the common English
version of the New Testament, addressed to Granville Sharp, Esq. author of the “Remarks on the uses of the Definitive article in the Greek New Testament." By the Rev. Calvin WINSTANLEY, A. M. Cambridge, Hilliard
& Metcalf, 1819. 8vo. pp. 55. This able little work, which we are glad to see republished amongst us, is designed to vindicate ihe correctness of the translation of a few verses in the New Testament, from a proposed amendment of Granville Sharp, who insists that they should be so rendered as to declare Jesus to be God. This gentleman, in the year 1798, published what he thought he had discovered to be rules in the use of the Greek article, according to which he asserted, that, in the texts in question, the writers designed, instead of a distinction between God and Christ, to intimate that they are the same being. By the establishment of these rules it was thought that an upanswerable argument was obtained in favour of the doctrine of the trinity; and the exultation with which they were bailed, may not unfairly be supposed to indicate a conscious weakness in the old arguments.
And it must be acknowledged in truth, that if the rules and their application were unquestionable, a strength is gained to the other presumptive proofs by which that doctrine is supported; and therefore, however it might seem, at first thought, rather astonishing and incredible that a fundamental doctrine of divine revelation should depend for one of its most plausible supports on a grammatical nicety, which lay almost unregarded and unapplied till the close of the eighteenth century-and that the aposiles, natives of Judea, who are known and acknowledged to have written by no means in classical Greek, should be perfect adepts in the use of a particle, which in all languages is a matter of great delicacy-notwithstanding this, we say, yet, since the assertion bas been confidenily made and pertinaciously persisted in,—so that many trinitarians even in their sermons and other publications for the mass of the people, have not hesitated to say, that the