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Hife. He makes the first stage of human nature a standard of the dispositions required in his disciples : the rule and model of conversion : the state to which we must be brought, not that from which we must be recovered. “Except ye be converted, and “ become as little children, ye shall not enter into “ the kingdom of heaven.” Mat. xviii. 3. “It is “ a principle apparently leading to all manner of “ iniquity, to believe sin is natural to us, that it is. “interwoven and ingrafted into our very constitu“tion, from our conception, and formation in the “ womb #.” On the whole, to use the words and the testimony of a judicious writer of the church of Scotland; “ Nothing could be more simple, plain, and unaf“fected, with respect to doctrine, discipline, or “worship, than primitive christianity. How few “ and perspicuous the articles of faith prescribed by “ Christ and his apostles | The belief of one God, “ and of the divine mission of his Son, Jesus Christ, “ comprehended the whole of the primitive, chris“tian creed. Level to every capacity, and evinced “ to every impartial understanding, the celestial “ doctrine was not obscured and perplexed with “ subtle questions from the school of Plato or Aris“ totle, nor with over curious investigations of the

[* Dr. Taylor's “Scriptural Doctrine of Original Sin.” 3rd edit. P, 139.] “ divine

“‘divine decrees, or discussions on subjects exceed“ing human capacity”.” But it is time to advert to another reflection from. Mr. Fuller's pen. “The plain language of my per“ formance,” he says, “is, there are no examples to “ be found, of any considerable moral influence, “which the Unitarian doctrine has had on the hearts “ and lives of men of late ages, and therefore I have “ recourse to the preaching of the apostles, and “ have endeavoured to prove, that they were Unit“ arianst.”—Whatever may be Mr. Fuller's judgment, concerning the difficulty of finding examples of the moral influence of the Unitarian doctrine in men of late ages, I have, by my appeal to memoirs of the dead, shown, that it was not my opinion : and I have known, within the experience of my life, and do know, many, within the limited circle of my acquaintance many, highly estimable for probity, benevolence, and piety. “But,” as it has been truly observed, “the extreme difficulty of making a just “ and full comparison of the characters of two nu“ merous bodies of men, dispersed through various “ countries, must render any conclusion, from the “ partial and cursory survey of any individual, very “ uncertain. Unless, indeed, the sect was so noto“rious for its knavery, licentiousness, and impiety,

[* Dr. Brown on Scepticism and Dogmatising. P. 135, &c.]

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“ as to lie under an universal stigma of infamy . . “ which we have never heard to be the case with re“spect to the Socinians”.” There was a propriety, therefore, in having recourse to the examples, which it is apprehended, the acts of the apostles afford. Here the appeal rests upon facts precisely ascertained and authenticated beyond a doubt. Here the effects, produced by the doctrine, stand in direct and immediate connection with the doctrine preached, and with that doctrine exclusively. For, though any degree of the influence felt might be ascribed, as Mr. Fuller suggests, to other principles; such as the belief of a God, the excellence and purity of his moral government, and the divine origin of the Old Testament, yet these principles are not explicity introduced into the discourses and sermons, that were alleged : and the influence of them must have arisen from prepating and disposing the mind for the reception of other truths, and not from their being exhibited and urged at that time +. It was on hearing the specific facts, of Christ's miracles, sufferings and resurrection, that the impressions made by the preaching of the apostles discovered themselves. What truths soever the hearers had before embraced ; what principles soever the apostles had taken for granted, the effects, produced, are imputed

[* Analytical Review for August, 1797, p. 148.]

[t Page 44.] to,

LETTER II.
DEAR SIR,

IT appeared to me, when I first took up my pen, on the point discussed by Mr. Fuller, that a review of the preaching of the apostles was sufficient, to show. what principles were essential to the production of faith and repentance: for they appeared under the character of “holy men of God, who taught the way “of salvation: they were ambassadors for Christ, stew“ards of the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven.” I, therefore, reviewed their preaching, and rose from the search, satisfied that they had not taught the principles, which Mr. Fuller represents as essentially efficacious for the conversion of the world: satisfied that they did not preach in the strain he has so strongly recommended, though they taught in the name of that Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Mr. Fuller has impugned the propriety and force of my argument. In my preceding letter, I have offeredsome considerations to elucidate the force, and justify the application of it. I cheerfully-leave it to the candid reader, to determine between us.

I would not, however, stop with a defence of my own argument. I wish to offer to you, and through you to other readers, some remarks on Mr. Fuller's method of reasoning: viz. to judge of doctrines by their effects.

H - This

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This, he says, is a practice warranted by scripture. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. vii. 16 *. He supposes that the passage relates to doctrines, and points out a criterion, by which to try their truth. But this is not the case. It is a rule given, to judge not concerning principles, but men ; not concerning the sentiments promulgated by them, but concerning their own characters and pretensions. The

whole passage stands thus. “Beware of false pro

phets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but “ inwardly are ravening wolves. Ye shall know “ them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of “ thorns, or figs of thistles " Fruits mean actions. Matt. iii. 8. xxi. 43. John xv. 2, 5. Col. i. 6. Men may assume fair appearances of humility and piety,

but the works of iniquity, into which their sinful,

avaricious, or ambitious views will betray them, will, in time, discover their real characters. The persons here pointed.at, are hypocrites, and false prophets; such as would falsely pretend a commission from God. Their pretensions might be blended with a true doctrine, but their claims were founded in dissimulation. They would be discovered by their covetousness, love of gain, and lasciviousness. Such persons were soon to make their appearance. “Our Lord doth not ex“hort his disciples to reject whatever such men, “ taught, but only to be upon their guard against them, that they might not credit any thing merely

* Page 4. [* Page 4.] ** On

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