Page images
PDF
EPUB

choose not to be denominated by a name, which may imply that they receive tenets they do not hold. It doth not convey a true idea, or an idea that we can by any means allow, concerning the origin of our religious sentiments; for, while it intimates that the doctrines of the unity of person in the godhead and the humanity of Jesus can not be traced to any higher antiquity than the times of Socinus, it is known that we consider these doctrines as the primitive truth ; and the passages, which I have brought forward, prove, that they were the leading principles of the apostolical sermons. It doth not give a just view of the grounds of their faith; for, so far are they from taking their opinions from Socinus, the majority of them, it may be presumed, are not acquainted with a page of his works; nor do any of them acknowledge his authority in matters of faith. ONE is our master, even CHRIST. And it is not a candid description of them. For, though Socinus was a truly excellent man, distinguished by many eminent virtues; one who studied the scriptures diligently, sacrificed much and endured much in the cause of religion; yet, through ignorance of his. character and through prejudice, an odium is connected with his name ; and the application of it to any persons now carries that odium and obloquy

along with it. You assure us, indeed, that you do

not use it “for the mean purpose of reproach *;” but I am apt to think, such is the power of habit and

* Preface, page 7. aSSO

association, this declaration will be insufficient to wipe off the reproach, that hath long and uniformly been connected with it. The name by which we choose to be called is, you are sensible, that of UNIT ARIANs. We approve of this, because, while it precisely describes our distinguishing tenet, it doth not imply the admitting of any human authority in matters of religion. But you will not allow the exclusive use of this name. The term, as constantly expressed by ourselves, you say, “signifies those professors of christianity, who “ worship but one God; but this is not that, where“ in they can be allowed to be distinguished from “ others; for what professors of christianity are “ there who profess to worship a plurality of Gods? “Trinitarians profess also to be Unitarians; they, “ as well as their opponents, believe there is but “ one God *.” - * This appears to me a strange, and contradictory assertion. It is to say, that they who admit a threefold division or distinction in the divine nature, hold the same tenet with those who contend for its simple unity; that they who ascribe to each division separately all divine perfections and prerogatives, embrace the same doctrine with those who appropriate them to one only ; or that plurality and unity of person is the same. The trinitarian doctrine, according to the articles of the church of England, is, that “ in * - # Preface, page 7., * E 6 “ the

“ the unity of the godhead there be three persons “ of one substance, power and eternity ; the Father, “ the Son and the Holy Ghost.” According to the catechism of the reverend assembly of divines, “ there are three persons in the godhead, the Father, “ the Son and the Holy Ghost; and these three are “one; the same in substance, equal in power and “glory.” In opposition to this doctrine of “three “ persons making one God,” the Unitarians maintain “that the essence of the Deity is simple and “undivided; that God the Father only (and not the “Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is the true “ and living God, and the fountain of all power and “ perfection in the universe ; and that to elevate any “ other beings to an equality with him is idolatry “ and impiety o.” The difference between these two creeds is, in my opinion, most material ; so great and marked, as to entitle the latter, if we would use terms with truth and propriety, to the exclusive , title of UNITARIAN. In that creed only is, really, unequivocally and explicitly maintained the doctrine of the divine unity; a strict and undivided unity. But Trinitarianism is a multiplication of Deity; it implies and asserts an union of two other persons, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, with the supreme Father, and it calls them, these three persons, one God. Though it seems to allow, that there is but one God; yet, it holds a language inconsistent with these

* Dr. Price's Sermons on the Christian Doctrine, p. 73. SČil

* ,

sentiments, and is a foundation for the worship of three. Pardon me then, Sir, if I assert, at least if I give it as my opinion, that they who hold and preserve the doctrine of the unity of God, whole and uncorrupt, in all its simplicity, have even an exclusive title to the name of UNITARIANs. The ground of their faith, and the ground on which they claim this name, is this ; that the scriptures lead them “to “ consider God as one person, as we, each of us,

“ consider ourselves as one person; and they give g

[ocr errors]

us not the least ground to suppose God to consist “ of two, or three, or more persons. This simple “ idea of God, that he is one single person, literally “ pervades cvery passage of the sacred volumes”.”

The

* Lindsey's Examination of Robinson’s Plea, p. 174, “How * can we form any notion of the unity of the supreme Being, but “ from that unity of which we ourselves are conscious * Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. Gray, p. 266.

[“. It might have answered a better purpose, if, instead of this “ general assertion, either of these gentlemen (i. e. Mr. Lindsey and “ Dr. Toulmin) would have pointed us to one single instance, in, “which the unity of God is literally declared to be personal.” “Socinianism Indefensible,” p. 25. The appeal, one would, think, might be made to Mr. Fuller's own good sense, What can be more decisive instances of this, than the many passages in which the

singular personal pronouns and their correlates are used concerning the supreme Being 2 I, me, my, and mine, when God speaks of himself: thou, thee, thy, and thine, when he is addressed : he, him, himself, and his, when he is spoken of. Besides the multitudes of texts, in which these singular personal pronouns are applied, so clearly expressing a personal unity, there are other texts that im

pliedly 14, 13.]

The title of one of your letters is, I observe, Oli “the resemblance of Socinianism to Deism, and the “ ten

piirdly or expressly deny God to be more than one person; e.g., “ Thou shalt have no other God but or besides me: “ There is “ no other God besides me:” “I, even I am he, and there is “no God with me:” “I am God, and there is none else:” “I am “ God and there is none like me.” Exod. xx. 3. Isai. xlv. 5, 22. xliii. 11, 25. “Can human understanding possibly form any other “ notion from these words, than that God, who best knows himself, “expressly declares himself to be one person ; and that no other “ person besides his person is God (1)?” The word, Gop, occurs twelve hundred and eighty times in the New Testament only: yet there is not one of these texts, whercin it necessarily signifies more. than one person: there is not one where we are obliged to understand it of three persons. Nay, there are several hundreds, where. it is expressly limited to the Father only. “If God is more than

“ one person, the sacred scriptures are one continued grammatical

“ impropriety, almost from the beginning to the end; which would be strange and ridiculous, if not impious, to suppose. Besides,” it is an absurdity in itself, and a gross perversion of language too

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

affirm, that one God can ever mean more than one person. A. man might as well as say, that one man meant several men, one angel several angels, as assert that one God includes several divine persons. For what is a divine person, but (as has been frequently observed by Trinitarians) a periphrasis or circumlocution, or in plain English a round-about way of speaking, to denote one “God (2).” These points have been repeatedly illustrated and proved, at full length, by Unitarian writers. It has been done in those very treatises, from which Mr. Fuller has, to create an odium

[ocr errors]

4.

4.

[(1) Haines' “Scripture Account of the Attributes and worship “ of God,” parti, ch. vi.] of . -

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

against

« PreviousContinue »