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general knowledge of theological subjects. And ought not Christians generally to seek to make every possible progress in knowledge? Is it not of the highest importance and utility ?
A third qualification is arrangement; the dependence and connexion of ideas ; what constitutes a proof of point, and what are its proper 'uses ; so as to be able to form a judicious plan of a profitable and edifying discourse. And if Christians in general were to inake this the subject of their study, they would find it profitable in their private meditations, and in reading and hearing - it would assist their comprehension and strengthen their memories. That which we understand the best, we retain the longest. • A fourth qualification for a local preacher is utterance, an ability to communicate the ideas which he has on his mind to the hearers, in such a manner as to enable them to understand, and to entertain and edify them. The habit of free extemporaneous speaking is much easier to be attained than is generally supposed. From our infancy we are in the daily babit of it, so that whatever ideas we have on our mind we can readily communicate to others. Clear and distinct ideas properly arranged are the foundation of free extemporary speaking, and public speaking becomes easy by practice, if a suitable preparation be first made. Meetings for free religious conversation and conferences are calculated to promote an ability for local preaching
A fifth qualification is persevering zeal and activity, arising from a sense of the importance of religion, and from the holy principle of love to God, to Christ and to mankind. These, with a competent knowledge of the English Grammar, are the leading qualifications for a local preacher.
Let us suppose, then, that Unitarians were generally improving their privileges to the utmost of their power,
in attaining these valuable acquirements, and we might then apply to them the declaration of Paul to the primitive Christians, “But ye, brethren, are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
Happy should I be to see this plan carried into full effect, and I hope that all our educated ministers will give it that support and encouragement which you
have given it. I remain, dear Sir, yours respectfully,
On Lay Preaching:
September 17, 1826. With but little leisure at present for polemical disquisition, it is not my intention to examine the pros and cons of what is commonly called lny preaching ; but, happening to open the Reformer for August last, (pp. 296—303,) I read with some interest Mr. Worsley's account of the presentation of Belsham's valuable work on the Epistles of St. Paul, to Mr. Sylvanus Gibbs, az a tribute of respect for his services in that noiseless apd, perhaps, too little honoured way, considering that the Founder of the Chris. tian system and his coadjutors and followers were not priesls, but laymen. With Mr. Worsley's preliminary observations I perfectly agree; and although Mr. Gibbs, as a lay preacher, modestly observes, " that it lias always been his opinion that an academical educațion is most essential to the Christian ministry," }iis own example, and the sense which seems to be entertained of his success and useful. Less by those who have had the immediate opportunity of appreciating his talents, indicate, at least, that the absence of an academical education does not disqualify a man from enforcing those truths of Christianity and revealed religion, with fruits, at least two-fold, if not ten-fold, in the belief and practice of which, pare and undefiled religion before God the Father consists. My object, however, as I have already said, is not to discuss the merits or demerits of · lay preaching; this I leave to others and to time, which, as is observed by a good political, if not theological, writer, in some cases inakes inore converts than reason ; but in the same ratio that men think for themselves, discarding creeds and valuing the Scriptures, the only pure fountain of religious truth, I feel persuaded that lay preaching will rise in the estimation of mankind.To come, however, to the object of this hastily written paper: I have observed in most essays on lay preaching, that what appears to me of no little importance is overlooked, namely, the advantage, which is derived from the practice to the preacher biinself. It is observed by one of my favourite authors, that “teaching, we learn ;” and if so, which is indisputable, the practice of lay teaching or preaching is highly beneficial to the teacher himself. Simply to hear sermons and lectures, or even to read thepi, does not require that close attention and examination which he who engages in
the active employment of teaching finds to be indispensable. He who would teach others must first learn hinself; and, whatever be the cause, unless men are driven, almost, into close study and application, there seems to be a listlessness about thein generally which produces a kind of mental apathy; and this, to beings framed as we are with inteHectual capacities, designed, no doubs, by the Giver for constant and perpetual improvement and expansion, at least in this variable state, is inuch to be regretted. Hence, in religious knowledge, I infer, as well as in als other branches of inquiry, the greatest progress will be made by him who teaches because teaching requires study and application, and study and application are the only means by which we can become truly learned or skilful on any, subject. As with the body, so it is with the mind. To give tension to the nerves and vigour to the muscles, we must use exercise, and not content ourselves with listening to lectures on riding and walking and leaping, &c. One race will be of more physical service than a thousand treatises, in bracing the arms, setting the joints, and strengthening the sinews. And so with respect to the wind; lie who merely attends to the instructions of others, however good and excellent those instructions may be, will never attain that mental vigour and command of intellect which are possessed by hian who both teaches and hears. Academical tuition is no doubt of vast service to those who possess its advantages ; but it must not be forgotten, that these, abstractedly, are chiefly valuable as they enable the future stodent to study with more profit than he who is without them; and that many of our brightest characters, who have adorned the republic of general literature with the fruits of genius, had no academic compass to guide them on the ocean of knowledge ; but thrown on their own resources, and depending on their own energies, have achieved a reputation and obtained a celebrity, which the acadeinic pretender has frequently panted for in vain. It will not be understood from these remarks that I am inimi. cal to the plan of a regular education for young men, whether designed for one profession or another; all that I conceive is, that Christianity, (properly so called,) at least in the present day, is as independent of academical learn. ing, as it is of sin-offerings and cloud-topped churches, and that it can do as well without the one as the other.
Facts relating to the Unitarian Controversy; and Serious Questions to all Lovers of Christian Truth.
Part 1. 1. TRINITARIANs cannot produce a single passage of the Bible, in which the doctrine of the Trinity is stated, although it is very plainly defined in the Thirty-nine Articles, the Athanasian Creed, and the Westminster Con. fession of Faith.
2. Griesbach, the learned and impartial Editor of-tbe Greek Testament, who completed his invaluable work A. D. 1806, rejects, from the 1st Epistle of St. John, (ch. v. 7, 8,) the words, “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth." The critical evidence upon which this passage is maintained to be spu, rious, is held to be satisfactory by the generality of com. petent judges of all churches. Many of the theological writers of the present day, though avowed Trinitarians, have expressed their belief in its spuriousness among whom are Dr. Marsh, Bishop of Peterborough ;* Dn Tomline, Bishop of Winchester ; t Dr. Adam Clarke, the Wesleyan Methodist ;t Mr. Charles Butler, the Roman Catholic ; & the Electic Reviewer, a Calvinist :// Dr. Wardlow, of Glasgow, avoids this and the other supposed Tri nitarian passages that are affected by Griesbach's emendat tions in his controversy with Mr. Yates; and the Quarterly Reviewer has twice written expressly against the text.
3. Griesbach's reading in Acts xx. 28, instead of church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood,” is, “church of the Lord,” &c., which is a common appellation for Jesus Christ.
4. Griesbach's reading, 1 Tim, jj. 16, instead of;“ God manifest in the flesh," is,“ He who was : manifest in the flesh.”
5. Griesbach's reading, Rev. i. 8, iş, I am Alpha and Omega, saith the Lord God, &c.,, and i, ll, the words I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and, are omitted by him.
Translation of Michaëlis, Notes'; and very lately in his Theo, logical Lectures, Part VI. t Elements of Christian Theology, Vol. II. p. 90.
Commentary on the Passage. $ Horæ Biblicæ.
11 January, 1809,
6. The words printed in italics in our Common Version denote that there is nothing corresponding to them in the original, e. g. the word God, Acts vïi. 59, and of God, 1 Johin iii. 16.
7. Neither the word Trinity, nor any equivalent word, nor the pharses, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, Eternal Son, or Two Natures in Christ, occur in the Bible.
8. The Holy Spirit is never in the Bible proposed as a distinct object of religious worship. . God is himself a spirit; and the true worshipers must worship the Father in spirit and in truth. John iv. 23, 24.
9. The powers of Christ are never, in the Bible, referred to God the Son, but invariably to the Father, or his Spirit.
10. Our blessed Saviour, in his solemo prayer, recorded in the 17th chapter of St. John's Gospel, declares the Father, to whom he is praying, (vers. 1, 5, &c.) to be the only true God, and (ver. 3) with the same breath claims for himself the character of him whom the Father (the only true God) had. sent.
11. Luther, the celebrated Reformer, seriously objected to the use of the word Trinity.
He observes, word Trinity sounds oddly, and is a human invention ; it is better to call Almighty God, God, than Trinity." Calvin, in reference to a prayer of the Romish Missal, which has been copied into the Liturgy of the English Church, exclaims, “I like not this prayer, Oboly, blessed, and glorious Trinity; it savours of barbarity : the word Trinity is barbarous, insipid, profane, a human invention, grounded in no testimony of God's word; the Popish God, uuknown to Prophets and Apostles.”
12. Catholie writers, of great celebrity, who have believed in the Trinity themselves, have yet confessed that, without having recourse to tradition, they could not prove their doctrine.
PART II. 1. If I bad never seen any religious book besides the Bible, and bad no other opportunity of gaining religious information, should I have known any thing of the threefold nature of God, called the Trinity ?
2. If so, from what text in the Bible should I bave derived my information ?