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“ of Nazareth was a MAN, approved of God, by mira“cles, signs and wonders which GoD did by him; “that being by the right-hand of GoD exalted, and “having received of the FATHER the promise of the “holy spirit, he had shed forth that gift which they “ then saw and heard; and that GoD had made that “same Jesus, whom they had crucified, both Lord and “Christ.” When the hearers of this discourse were pricked in their hearts, and said, “What shall we “do?” Peter replied, “repent and be baptised every . “one, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission “ of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the holy “spirit.” i.e. such gifts as they were then witnesses to. Here is nothing but the plain Unitarian doctrine. Here are none of those topics which you suppose to have been the great topics on which the reformers insisted: and which, in later times, you conceive, rendered so illustriously successful the preaching of the FRANKs, the EDw ARDs, the TENNANTs, and others *. Not a word came from the lips of Peter, here, concerning the depravity of human nature, the deity and atonement of Christ, and justification by the imputation of Christ's righteousness. Not a word like that of the Moravians, who preached to the Greenlanders concerning “ the Creator taking upon “him human nature and dying for our sins”.” Peter doth not in this manner preach Christ, and yet his preaching was effectual to the conversion of multitudes. He insists upon a few plain facts only, illustrative of the unity and supremacy of God the Father, the humanity and divine mission of Jesus of Nazareth ; such facts as form the creed of the Unitarian: and yet his preaching, I repeat it, was effectual to awaken and convert multitudes. I have. been, often, much affected and impressed with the simplicity of this discourse. I see none of the leading peculiar sentiments of Calvinism in it; I see no doctrine of the Trinity; I see no doctrine of a satisfaction to the divine justice in it. But the prominent features of this discourse are the fundamental articles of the Unitarian creed. I look next into the third chapter of the Acts, and I hear the same Peter preaching, in the temple, to the people, who were filled with wonder and amaze* ment, at the cure which the lame man had received. His sermon is to the same purpose as the former, namely, that “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of “Jacob, the God of their fathers, had glorified his “son Jesus: that those things which God had “shewed by the mouth of all his prophets that Christ “should suffer he had fulfilled: that their duty was “to repent and be converted, that their sins might be “blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall
sidered not only what sense the words may bear, or what sense they do sometimes bear ; but what sers: is agreeable to the connection and occasion; and what sense is consistent with the nature of the subject to which they applied, and correspondent to received and
eneral truths ) g * Page 26. - - “ him * Page 47.
“ come from the presence of the Lord ; that the “ heavens must receive Jesus, until the times of the “ restitution of all things, which God had spoken “ by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world, “began : that Moses had truly said, ‘a prophet “shall the LoRD your GoD raise up unto you of “ your BRETHREN, like unto me: him shall ye “hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto “ you;’ and therefore, addressing himself to the “ people, he adds, “Unto you, first, GoD having “ raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you in “ turning away every one of you from his iniquity.” Here God is uniformly spoken of as one being, and Jesus as ranking with the prophets, as one of the human race, of Jewish extract, raised from the dead and invested with authority to require the obedience of men to his commandments. [He is, indeed, characterised by a term not applicable to any prophet of former ages; by a term appropriate to himself, as “the way, the truth, and the life;” John xiv. 6. He is styled “the Prince of life, whom the Jews “ had killed :” oxyo, owns, i. e. the guide, the leader to everlasting life”.] But, as to the doctrines, which
[* So is the title explained by Beza, du Veil, and Doddridge, as well as by Bp. Pearce. “The word in the original,” says the last learned writer, “signifies one who leads the van or front of an “army.” Christ conducts his followers to life and glory. Barabbas, the murderer, whom the Jews had desired to be granted to them, v. 14, was the destroyer of life, and led his adherents into practices f that
you, Sir, conceive to be the only effectual principles by which repentance towards God, and faith in Christ Jesus are to be produced, I meet with none of them here. Yet though none of those principles are insisted upon, or even mentioned, though here is nothing but a pure Unitarian discourse, I find, and you, Sir, methinks, must observe it with astonishment, as an effect very contrary to your apprehension, “Many believed, and the number of men were about “five thousand.” Ch. iv. 4.
that ended in death. “The contrast,” as observes Dr. Doddridge, “ between killing such a person as Jesus and interceding for Ba“rabbas, has a peculiar energy.” But this interpretation of the word does not come up to Mr. Fuller's ideas. He, p. 46, understands the apostle as declaring by the term Prince of life, “that the “ person whom the Jews had slain was no other than the Creator “ of the world in human nature.” But, if the reader will examine all the texts, where the power of “quickening whom he will,” or of giving life, is claimed by Christ or ascribed to him, he will find that it uniformly means raising the dead, not imparting life at first : he will also perceive, on referring to the passages in which the original word, at Ynyo;, variously translated prince, captain, and author, is ascribed to Jesus, it is limited to his influence and energy in our spiritual, moral, and eternal life. As Acts v. 31, “A Prince,” a leader or captain, “and a Saviour to give repentance unto Israel “ and forgiveness of sin.” Heb. ii. 10, “The Captain of our Sal“vation.” Ch. xii. 2, “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and “Finisher of Faith.” It is, therefore, contrary to the analogy of the scripture language, in the application of this term, to assign to it the meaning, which Mr. Fuller does in the passage before us. When, as in Acts xvii. 27, this present existence is ascribed to its Author, it is represented as derived not from Jesus but from God, who ordained him to be the judge of the world. v. 31. The New Testament is not the history of the first creation of this material world and of man, but of his new and moral creation by Jesus Christ. Nor is the Gospel the doctrine concerning the origin and author of human existence; but concerning the resurrection and
future life, and concerning Jesus, as the preacher and giver of it.]
I then accompany Peter before the tribunal of the
high-priest, and I again listen, to hear his doctrine : not disgusted with the simplicity of his former discourses, but impressed with their simplicity and the energy with which they acted. Such was that energy, that I see no occasion that there was for him to introduce, in a future discourse, any other, new principles to aid its operation on the human mind. I wait, however, to hear what he will say , and how far he will pursue the same strain of address or de
viate from it. The same strain is adopted, and the
same principles as before, alone are urged. “Be it
known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom GoD raised from the dead, even by him doth this man (i.e. the lame man of whom we read in the former chapter) stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the head of the corner: neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby