Imatges de pàgina
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tinued to be the centre of the circle of their speculative theology, and the sandy foundation of a structure as impious as Babel, and as perishable. How soon the heaven-directed blow that shall fling it in ruins may descend, is known only to Him whose councils are secret. Whether it is to remain till the coming of the “ Just One,” and, hand-in-hand with reviving Papacy, to “vex the saints of the Most High," and wage a final warfare with the militant Church of Christ, is yet to be seen. This, to my mind, is the probable view of the matter."

* Every thing that is not of Christ, is necessarily part of Antichrist—" the man of sin;" and will be allowed to exalt itself against God and his Christ, and the Church militant, to the end, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. There is a primary spirit of infidelity in the natural heart of man: there is a secondary spirit of infidelity engendered in the corruptions of the church of Rome; and these will ever be ready to coalesce, and form the man of sin to be revealed in the last times. Can Socinianism be less than a member of the man of sin ?-In Faber's Chronology of the Sacred Calendar of Prophecy (a production evincing great accuracy of observation) the author thus ventures to class the fulfilment of prophecy between the years 1815 and 1864. 1815. Political slaughter of Francic emperorship, or seventh

bead; consequent political death of the Roman beast. (Rev. xvii. 8.)-Sixth Vial. The downfal of the Ottoman empire probably began with the great insurrection in 1821; the kings of the East, perhaps the Jews. Revival of the Francic emperorship will be subsequent to the fall of the Ottoman empire. (Rev. xvii. 8.)-Going forth of the three unclean spirits; the kings of the earth wrought up to fury by the politico-theological agents of the Dragon, the beast and the false prophet; the gathering together of an unseemly mixture of blaspheming infidels and

bigoted Romanists. 1864. Expiration of the seven prophetic times, or 2520 years,

and of the times of the four great Gentile empires. Viewing unfulfilled prophecy, and human calculations of times and seasons, which are in God's hand, with all necessary and

We of this generation shall, in all probability, be laid with our fathers in the dust, before the vast development of God's final purposes will be made ; but we can gather much from steadily watching the signs of the times,-much, with the inspired Word for our guide, tending to lead us to sober conclusions. But we have not so much to do with this question, as we have with the present effects of Socinianism. While persuaded in our hearts and consciences of the reality of “the faith once delivered to the saints,” our business and our duty, as members of the Church “built upon the apostles and the prophets,” and having a glorious “chief corner-stone,” should be to furnish the present and the rising generation with armour wherewith to stand against the shocks of error, and the insidious devices of heresy.

The Socinian heresy has been grappled with in the most successful manner by writers of various degrees of eminence, both in and out of the communion of the Church of England; but I do not imagine that their labours have been instrumental to the bringing out of many to a plain and honest confession and rejection of error, and to a reception of the true faith: nor do I suppose that the highlygifted author of the following Letters looked so much to the reclaiming of Socinians, as to the

becoming caution, we cannot but be struck with the present state of the world, as preparing for such a result as Faber alludes to as immediately preceding the year 1864. May God in his great mercy grant, that our highly privileged country be not found with the mark of the beast on her, at the coming of the Lord Jesus !

establishing in the truth the minds of those who, from the present state of society, and the rapid circulation of opinions, may be exposed to the dangers of unsound doctrine.

As this little volume may fall into the hands of many who have been accustomed to hear Socinianisin spoken of by the mild designation of an allowable difference of opinion in the religious world, I trust I shall not be exceeding the bounds of an editor's duty, if, by way of introduction to the great topic so mildly, learnedly, and piously discussed in the following pages, I invite the inquiring reader to see, that it is not merely a difference of opinion as to the bearing of admitted and received truths, but such a total opposition of opinion as must exist between those who take positive truth and positive error for their respective grounds, and as the premises of their argumentations.

To treat this subject as it deserves, were to go far, very far beyond the slender limits which are assigned to me. I shall, therefore, confine myself to a few leading particulars, sufficient to bring the reader into a view of the dangerous tendency of the heresy in question, and lead him to the subject of the following Letters, impressed with a sense of its vast importance in general, and of its overwhelming importance to the peace and safety of his own soul.

I. The true Church of Christ has ever received the inspired Word of God as its sole rule of faith.

To screen itself from the charge of pure and absolute infidelity, the Socinian heresy also pro

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fesses to take its stand upon the authority of the Holy Scriptures; and until its real principles are made apparent, it seems to occupy the same ground in that respect that the Church of Christ does. But as the figments of Socinianism and the doctrines held by the Church of Christ are as wide asunder as the poles, it must be evident that the same ground cannot be common to both; but that they are viewing the same object at points of sight so different and so irreconcilable, as to account at once for their difference of perception. The Socinian professes to take his stand upon the authority of the Scriptures ;—so does the Church of Christ. But she goes one step further. She takes her stand upon the divine inspiration of those records, and upon that principle, and for that reason alone, admits their authority, and subscribes to their authenticity. The Socinian denies the divine inspiration, which ought to be his only ground for admitting the authority and authenticity of the Scriptures, and thus yields to an authority which, upon his own principles, he might consistently deny, and submits to an authenticity which, on the same principles, he might reasonably question. But he knows, that were he thus fully to deny, or thus to question, he must forego all the claim he now makes to stand on Scripture ground, and lay himself open to the broad charge of infidelity.-We shall find that the Socinian denial of inspiration is of a very peculiar complexion. That I may not be guilty of misrepresentation, I shall quote the published opinion, on this subject, of the celebrated English Socinian

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leader, Dr. Priestley, who, if Socinianism has not again changed its hue, will be admitted as of good authority in matters of Socinian opinion. In his “ Letters to the Philosophers and Politicians of France,” p. 18, he thus writes: “ That the books of Scripture were written by particular inspiration, is a thing to which the writers themselves make no pretensions. It is a notion destitute of all proof, and that has done great injury to the evidence of Christianity.” Upon this statement I make one passing remark, before I add any thing further from Dr. Priestley. If the fact of particular inspiration (using the term in contradistinction to general inspiration) be destitute of proof, as is asserted, then the proof of general inspiration fails with it, for in this case general inspiration is but the aggregate of particular. The Scriptures being thus stripped of their claim to particular inspiration, and their general inspiration sharing, by consequence, the same fate, it becomes an absurdity in the Socinian to take them as an authentic and authoritative rule of faith, in regard to the deep things “ that pertain unto God.” If they are not of divine, particular, and general inspiration, what are they? Why receive-why listen to them for a moment? But hear Dr. Priestley: * “ If you wish to know what, in my opinion, a Christian is bound to believe with respect to the Scriptures, I answer, that the books which are universally received as authentic, are to be considered as faith

* Letters to a Phil. Unb. part ii. pref. p. xiii.; also Lett. V.

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