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explanation of the influence and operation of the death of Christ, given Tit. ii, 14. turns solely on its moral influence and practical design. So far from the doctrine of the trinity or of the godhead of Jesus. Christ offering itself in these parts of the New Testament, the language of the apostle perfectly corresponds with the ideas entertained by Unitarians; but militates against the other doctrine. “There is on E “GoD, and one Mediator between GoD and MAN, “ the MAN CHR1st Jesus.” We ask what would any man understand by the expression, “There is “ one God,” but this, that there is but one Being, one Mind, one Person, who hath true godhead The
latter clause “one Mediator between God and Man, “the MAN Christ Jesus,” limits the character of Mediator to one person. The same manner of expression in the former clause, as evidently limits the ascription of Deity to one person: even to Him, with whom Christ mediates.
Instead of finding that the apostle instructs Timo
thy and Titus in a system, correspondent to that called the trinitarian and Calvinistic ; or in those principles with which modern missionaries have been furnished for the conversion of distant countries, and which you, Sir, deem essential and necessary to this purpose, we observe a perfect silence concerning such principles:—Or else declarations, that stand in contradiction to them.
I am further confirmed, by this means, in the conclusion,
clusion, that offered from an examination of the Acts of the Apostles. However your mind may be impressed, by the review of these apostolical epistles, a firm persuasion is left on mine, that faith and repentance may be produced, and holiness effectually advanced, independently of that scheme, for which, justly following your own convictions, you are a zealous advocate. I am, Sir, Your’s, &c.]
LETTER LETTER IV
REve REND SIR, • IT is to be hoped, that since you read the last letter, you and the reader have not trusted to my accuracy or fidelity: but have taken the New Testament into your hands, and examined “The Acts of “ the Apotles” for yourselves. I am very confident, that you must have found that silence, that entire silence there, concerning the doctrines of the trinitarian and Calvinistic systems, with a conviction of which my mind has been strongly impressed. This hath been owned, by those who would gladly have derived support to their own sentiments from the sermons of the apostles: and it hath been resolved into the caution and prudence of these holy men; fearful of alarming the Jews, who thought Christ was a mere man, with the doctrine of his godhead, before they were well grounded in the belief, that Jesus was the Christ. Athanasius does not pretend to find one place in “The Acts,” where this doctrine was clearly and distinctly taught, though he quotes four places, in which the humanity of Christ is plainly spoken of Chrysostom allows, that at Athens, Paul called Jesus simply a MAN and nothing further, and for a good reason: for, if they
often attempted to stone Christ himself, when he - spake
spake of his equality with the Father, and called him on that account a blasphemer, they would hardly have received this doctrine from fishermen, especially after speaking of him as crucified. According to other fathers, this caution and reserve were extended to the epistles, written to the churches *. Not the silence only of the apostles on those topics, which you deem so essentially necessary to bring men to faith and repentance, hath been admitted by orthodox writers: but the efficacy and sufficiency, by itself, of that Unitarian principle, “That Jesus was the Christ,” on which the apostolic preachers insist, hath also been granted, and even contended for. The pious Bishop Patrick's words are remarkable “To believe that Jesus is the “Christ, this ALONE is the faith which can regene“rate man, and put a divine spirit into him; that is, “make him a conqueror over the world as Jesus “ was t.” On this simple article was the eunuch baptized. And, even in the third century, the profession of faith, proposed to the catechumens previously to baptism, did not deviate from these Unitarian principles, on which the first christian church was founded. “The rule of faith,” saith Tertullian, “is only “one, admitting of no change or emendation, re“quiring us to believe in one God Almighty, the * maker of the world, and in his son Jesus Christ, “ born of the Virgin Mary, crucified under Pontius “Pilate, raised from the dead on the third day, “received up into Heaven, now sitting at the right “hand of the Father, and who will come again to “judge both the living and the dead, even by the “resurrection of the flesh. This law of faith re“maining, other things, being matters of discipline “ and conduct, admit of new corrections, the grace “ of God cooperating *.” This creed, Sir, contains. none of your articles. Nay, even to this day, after, as we conceive, the pure gospel hath been adulterated with a number and variety of the doctrines of men, and impure mixtures. of error and superstition; even now doth the church, of England admit to the profession of christianity. and to her communion, adults, on merely Unitarian principles; correspondent to those on which the first christian churches, we have seen, were formed. In the service for the baptism of those of riper years, the
* Priestley's History of the Early Opinions concerning Christ, vol. iii. p. 86–122, and Letters to Dr. Horsley, pt. i. p.37–54, and p. 129.
+ Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, P. 291. - - - “maker * “Regula fidei una omnino est, sola immobilis & irreformabilis, “credendi, scilicet, in unicum Deum omnipotentem, mundi con“ditorem, et filium ejus Jesum Christum, natum ex Virgine Maria “crucifixum sub Pontio Pilato, tertio die resuscitatum a mortuis, “receptum in coelis, sedentem nunc ad dextram Patris, venturum, “judicare vivos et mortuos, per carnis etiam resurrectionem.” Tertullian de Virginib. Veland. p. 385, in Lord King's Enquiry. into the Constitution of the Primitive Church, &c. p. 60, part ii. 1691. The translation above is taken from Dr. Priestley's Early