Imatges de pàgina
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ble, for their creed, if, laying aside all prepossessions, and influences of creeds and decrees, they can possibly, conscientiously, come to a different conclusion.

Now, some Trinitarians may say to me, You seem to disbelieve almost everything which we believe ; what do you believe? Do you believe anything ? Have you any faith at all? I am willing to state my belief fully and clearly, in words that have no ambiguity or uncertainty; and also to give the reasons for the faith that

I complain of Trinitarians, that they seem to select ambiguous words, words of doubtful, various, or uncertain meaning, words of Platonic philosophy, of the Gnostic schools, or of modern invention, and not words of the Bible, so much as they ought to do. I know, that Trinitarians often say, that their opponents “ do not believe enough.” I believe, in general terms, all that is written in the Holy Scriptures. Is not that enough? Where can I go for more ? Must I go to creeds, catechisms, or decrees of uninspired men, ancient or modern? No ; I will not go to them; they are not the book of God; they are human inventions. Again; I believe all that the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Son of God have directed that I should believe. Is not this enough? To whom can I go for further or better directions ? But it may be necessary to particularize. In the first place, then, I believe in one only God, the Father almighty, the Maker, Creator, Director, and Preserver of all things. And my reason for this faith is, that the Bible, and all nature, and reason clearly teach and direct me thus to believe.

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In the second place, I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the Father. This I believe of Christ, because the Almighty himself proclaimed the fact from heaven ; 66 beloved Son;" — Christ, while on earth, asserted it, and his Apostles all confirmed and taught it. I believe, that Christ was the constituted Mediator between God and men, to reconcile men to God, and not God to men; that the Son was appointed by the Father to be the Saviour of sinners, and that he freely and willingly accepted the appointment; that it was love only towards men, amazing love, that induced the Father to plan, and the Son willingly to execute, the great and glorious work of salvation, whereby Christ was to become incarnate, to teach and instruct men on earth, to set a perfect example of a pure and holy life, to work miracles, to suffer, and to seal his mission with his own blood, and to be raised to heaven, and seated at the right hand of the Father. All this I believe concerning the Son, because the Scriptures so clearly teach. But I do not, I cannot believe, that the Son of God is the supreme God; because the Bible does not so direct me, and because I should thereby renounce my first article of faith in the one only God, the Father, and should nullify the immutable laws of God, by making the Son his own Father! Neither can I believe, that the Son was a mere man, or no more than a man; for I believe that he was more and better than men or angels, even as much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more

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excellent name than they.” The Bible is my authority for this faith. I further believe, that Christ existed spiritually before men or angels; that he was “the first born of every creature.”

But I do not consider, that those, who sincerely disbelieve in the preëxistence of the Son, are necessarily guilty of a damnable heresy, or any heresy at all; but that they are only in an error ; an error that may be excusable, because the Bible is not perfectly clear upon this point; though I consider, that the whole weight of the testimony is decidedly and irresistibly in favor of his preëxistence. But this appears to me to be a matter, as among antitrinitarians, not of vital importance. It is more a question of time than of substance. Suppose one Christian believes, that Christ has existed only eighteen hundred and forty years, and another believes he has existed eighteen million years; one or the other must be in an error as to time; but suppose they both have exactly the same belief as to his merits, his mission, and his whole character in every respect, could the difference of opinion as to time only be of any consequence ? Let me state an easy case for illustration. I believe that Washington was born in A. D. 1732 ; my neighbor contends that he was not born till 1740. But as to his being a great and good man, and under God the political saviour of his country, and as to his whole true character, my neighbor and I are perfectly agreed. Now, must I condemn my good neighbor as a traitor to his country, and a reviler of Washington, because he is in an error as to the time of his birth, a matter of no consequence at all, to

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the merits of the case ? So, if a professed Christian has a correct and full faith concerning all the merits, and the whole perfect character of Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the Father, though

may be in an error, as to the time when he was begotten, or first caused to exist, I could not pronounce him a heretic to be condemned; the most I could say would be, that he is a brother, who is in an error, on an immaterial point, or in a matter that is not clearly revealed ; therefore Christian charity will not anathematize him, or withhold from him any brotherly love and communion.

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It therefore follows, of course, according to my views, that I cannot believe in the Trinitarian double nature of Christ. It appears to me, that the hypothesis, that the supreme, unchangeable God became man,“ emptied himself” (as they say) into a human body, and there veiled all his infinite, unbounded glories, for more than thirty years; that he became personally and visibly an instructor and teacher to his disciples and the multitude; that he suffered and died on the cross, rose again, and reascended to heaven! This hypothesis, I say, appears to be a thing more absurd, ridiculous, and impossible, than it would be to suppose that, two thousand years ago, the whole boundless ocean emptied itself into, and became a drop of water, which had fallen on the rock of Gibraltar, and there remained, in that drop, (still being the perfect ocean,) for more than thirty years, and then resumed its former station ! - or to suppose, that the sun, the great orb

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of light and heat, and the controller of the planets, some hundred years since, diffused itself wholly into, and became a fire-fly on earth, leaving the planets without an enlightener, animator, and controller, for thirty years, and then returned to its centre, and reassumed its established office; and further, to suppose, that this drop of water is the whole ocean, or equal to it, and distinct from it; and that this firefly is the very sun, the centre of our system, or equal with it, in every respect. And there is as much evidence in the natural world to prove these suppositions respecting the ocean and the sun, as there is in the Bible to prove the Trinitarian hypothesis of two natures (of God and man) in Christ. The unity of the Son is as clearly set forth in the Bible, as the unity of the Father; we find no kind of plurality respecting either of them. there is but one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ,” the only Son of God.

In the third place, I believe in the Holy Spirit, as the power, influence, or gift of God, made effectual for the conviction, conversion, and sanctification of sinners, and for the consolation and joy of the righteous ; I do not, I cannot believe, that the spirit of God is by itself independently God, or a person of Deity equal with the Father, or any person at all ; because the Scriptures do not so instruct me.

And in this view I consider the holy spirit of vital importance in the Christian's faith.

And I further believe, that repentance and reformation are as necessary to salvation, as faith in God

- To us

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