Imatges de pàgina
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participation of the blessings of the gospel, and of spiritual gifts? If you make the Holy Spirit a person, what idea can you attach to the apostle's language? How could the Corinthians join in the participation of a person? We may commune or participate with, but not of a person, and it is to be kept in mind, that there is no such expression in scripture, as communion with the Holy Spirit. The language of the text itself, therefore, renders it certain, that by the Holy Spirit in this place, cannot be understood a person, or being, much less the supreme God. T'he words of the apostle imply nothing more, than a benevolent wish, that to the Corinthians might abound the blessings conferred by the gospel of Christ, the love or favour of God, and the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit.All other texts of this description will be found to require a similar explanation.

I have thus examined some of the principal passages of scripture, which are usually quoted in support of the trinity. Others may have been omitted, wbich are thought important, but my limits have allowed me to select only the most prominent. I cannot refrain from repeating a fact, at which I have before hinted, that every text, which I have examined, has been interpreted, by some one or more of the ablest trinitarian critics, in a manner perfectly consistent with the unitarian exposition. This fact should teach some persons to urge with more gentleness the charge, which is often brought against unitarians, of attempting to put a forced construction on sucb texts of scripture, as do not seem at first to harmonize with their sentiments. The meaning of some of the most difficult passages is to be settled by fair and patient criticism, in which learning, judgment, and candour, are the only guides that can be trusted. These may be exercised by persons of one religious denomination, as well as of another; and we show but little regard for the cause of truth, when we suffer our prejudices, and zeal for a party, to blind our eyes to the light, which the judicious inquiries of learned men, whatever may have been their private opinions, have thrown upon the scriptures. By neglecting to be informed, and refusing to inquire, we not only manifest a love of ignorance, but å fear, that our faith is of too flimsy a texture to bear a close examination.

If we place any value in religious attainments, in a knowledge of God and of our duty, we shall eagerly seize upon every means in our power, to come at the revealed truths of scripture. Truth in religion, as in every thing else, is known by its simplicity; error involves in us perplexities, fills us with doubt, and leaves us in despair. Truth is luminous; it sends forth a steady light. Error is dark, and spreads darkness around it. T'ruth is the guide to virtue; it is attended with harmony and peace. Error opens a broad way to vice, and draws the heedless and unsuspecting into its snares. We should remember, nevertheless, that opinions are important, as far as they influence the conduct, and no farther. A correct faith will make no amends for a bad life. Faith is not religion, any more than opinions are actions. To be religious we must have faith; to act rightly, we must think rightly; and yet, we may bave faith and no religion, as we may think and never act.

This truth is of great practical importance. It will cause as to exercise forbearance and a good temper to

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wards those with whom we do not agree in religious opinions. While there is such a variety of characteristic features in the minds, constitutional temperaments, dispositions, associated impressions, and early habits of men; while there are such various degrees of knowledge, mental light, and strength of understanding, it is not possible, that all men should think alike. Nor is it necessary they should. It is not required of us, that we never be in error, but that we use our best endeavours to avoid it. Our duty is discharged when we have done this, and it is our misfortune, and not our fault, if we still remain in the dark. All this may be granted, without affording any possible excuse for not keeping up the temper, the dispositions, the feelings, and practice of christians. There is no occasion for difference here, but our own perverseness, cher. ished ill nature, and evil passions. If we have any regard for the example of our Saviour, and the noble virtue of charity, which he enjoined, we shall soon learn to subdue these, to lay aside our narrow prejudices, to disdain the invidious distinctions of names and sects, to brush away the films through which we can see the errors and faults, but not the virtues of our fellowmen; we shall learn, that all men are in the bands of God, that in the concerns of religion, all have equal privileges and freedom, and are entitled to equal claims on our candour, affection, tenderness, and chris. tian love.

THE END.

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For “conclusive',” page 10, line 6, read “exclusive"--for either," p. 57, 1. 27, read “other”-p. 76, 1. 10, before “sacrifice” insert “last”-line at bottom, for “adopt,” read “adapt”-for "possess,” p. 95, I. 25, read “profess”--for "seventh," p. 135, 1. 6, read “seventeenth"-p. 150, 1. 12, omit, "and essential”for "in,” p. 158, 1. 25, read “into”-for "sæculi,” p. 247, line at bottom, read sbseculi."

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