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sense, as divisions of that church which consists of every believer who receives the New Testament as the word of God, the Greek, the Roman, the Lutheran, the English, the Presbyterian, with the various subdivisions, occasioned by dissenters from each. All established churches are such only regarding the country by whose laws they are upheld; regarding Christianity at large they are not so, and may then with propriety be designated sects.' — p. 123.
Miss Baillie, as might be expected, is perfectly open in stating the doctrine which she herself has derived from the study of the English Bible. It is that which is usually denominated the Arian, which supposes Christ 'to be a most highly exalted being, who was with God before the creation of the world, and by whose agency it probably was created, by power derived from Almighty God. With regard to the form of belief which she denominates the Socinian, she says, * It seems at variance with so many plain passages of Scripture, that it cannot, I should think, by those who view the subject in the simple way here recommended, be considered as standing upon any solid foundation.'
Here we differ considerably from Miss Baillie. In the simplest way possible of reading the Scriptures, there are so many places in which our Saviour is expressly called a man, and so few in which he seems to be called any thing else, that it appears to us rather a hasty saying, to assert that the doctrine of his humanity is destitute of any solid foundation.' And the knowledge of a little criticism, admitted on all hands to be correct and fair, would inform that lady, or any one else, that the creation of the world which is ascribed to Christ in the Scriptures, is not so decidedly the creation of the material and natural world, as she has assumed it to be. Neither do we agree with her in thinking that the Arian and Humanitarian forms of belief are · far, far apart.' We really cannot see, and never have been able to see, the very important difference between believing Jesus Christ to be an angel, even the greatest of angels, and believing him to have been of that race which God made a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor. The great difference lies between the strict Trinitarian and any form of Unitarian belief. If Christ is God, he is infinitely above any created being. If he is a created being, of whatever rank, he is, in nature, at an infinite distance from the One Supreme. We
mean not to enter on this question. We care not to shake the faith of Arians in their peculiar doctrines. But we think it time that both Arians and Humanitarians should
that the real difference between them is slight; and that Arians should cease to look
Humanitarianism as a low and cold belief, and Humanitarians should cease to speak of Arianism as mystical and absurd, and akin to the doctrine of the Trinity. For the simple truth is, that in all essential particulars, one form of Unitarianism is as distant from Trinitarianism as another. We look on both forms of the great doctrine which maintains the strict divine unity, with respect. We believe that both are consistent with the deepest reverence of God, and with the most affectionate and grateful regards toward his son Jesus Christ.
We do not intend, however, to impute to Miss Baillie any harshness or unfairness toward the believers in any system of religious faith. The charity which breathes throughout her volume is worthy of praise and imitation. It is to advance the interests of the same charity, that we have said what we have said.
One more extract from her concluding remarks will furnish a good specimen of the temper and reasoning of her work.
* Lastly, let us consider the doctrine of faith which has set Christians at variance more than any other, particularly in the present day. That faith alone effects our salvation without works, but must still have its sincerity proved by works, or that faith producing good works, or in conjunction with good works procures the same blessed result, is a subtle distinction, works being necessary and faith also necessary to him who embraces either opinion. And would the preachers of faith not put works out of sight by forbearing to mention them at all, or mentioning them slightly, and were the preachers of works more zealous in inculcating that gratitude and piety by which the highest and purest morality is produced and cherished, it would be of little consequence on which side of the question any one might range himself.
There seems to be a kind of humility in supposing that we can do nothing for ourselves, and this has often won converts to the first mentioned notion of faith. But what is pride and what is humility in relation to man with his Maker ? Every thing we possess we derive from him ; and he who bows down his reason and calls himself a worm of the earth, has not a stronger sense of the infinite perfection of Almighty God, or of
the immeasurable distance between the Creator and the created, than he who gratefully prizes his own powers of mind, which enable him in some degree to perceive the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Deity in his varied works, - prizes them the more as being the generous gift of the beneficent Lord of all. Humility and pride are terms which properly relate to man as connected with fellow men. It is that disposition which makes a man willing to allow the merits of others, and to think himself inferior to them, and ready to condescend to those who are his inferiors, that is properly humility ; it is that disposition which assumes superiority over others, and disregards the wrong and distress occasioned by it, which is properly called pride. Do we honor God by depreciating the noblest of his works with which we have any means of being acquainted, a rational soul ? Such an idea monks and fanatics may entertain, but does it become those who have had the sacred Scripture spread freely before them? Who have therein contemplated the most exalted, beautiful, and generous of all characters our blessed Saviour ? Who have considered the main tenor of his pure and excellent precepts, the promises and hopes vouchsafed for our encouragement, and his perfect, animating, and noble example?'— pp. 138 – 140.
Mrs. Toogood's work is of a much more critical and controversial character than Miss Baillie's, and yet it is not at all deficient, so far as we can perceive, in kindness and charity. The liveliness and discrimination which mark her pages, would, under any circumstances, be observable; but, after reading the first page of her Introduction, they appear wonderful.
The following observations were written at several intervals of comparative ease, afforded me during a time of otherwise intense pain and suffering, the effects of a long and dangerous illness ; in the course of which, I was brought, to all appearance, very near the close of my mortal career. The sentiments which I now entertain, and which I wish to publish for the benefit of others, were then the grand prop of my fainting spirits; and I can recur to them with joyful hope, that they will again be my support when flesh and heart are failing, and the will of my Heavenly Father shall be done in removing me hence. I feel it to be an imperious duty, which I owe to that Almighty Friend, who so wonderfully sustained me under the excruciating pains I endured, and who has given me the power of extolling and blessing his name, thus to show my gratitude, for this as well as innumerable other instances of his paternal care of me, during a long pilgrimage of eighty-one years 'on earth.'—p. iii.
The plan of this lady in her work, is to take up the most striking passages which refer, or are supposed to refer, to Christ, both in the Old and New Testaments, and make her comments upon them in their order. This plan is entirely different from that pursued by Miss Baillie, and both have their peculiar advantages. As a specimen of Mrs. Toogood's controversial ability, we take the following passage at random.
Much has been made by those who take their doctrine from the common translation, of that passage in the Philippians, where it is said that Christ thought it no robbery to be equal with God. But it must appear to every dispassionate mind that the object of the passage is to teach self-denial from the example of our blessed Master : to make himself equal with God could therefore be no instance of self-denial; and moreover it would be a contradiction of our Lord's own sayings when the Jews were about to stone him, under the false pretence that he had assumed this high honor. Archbishop Newcome has rendered it, “did not esteem it a prey to be like God.” The meaning of which is, that he did not make an ostentatious display of those supernatural and miraculous powers which made him appear like a God, though these might have represented him to the wondering multitude, who beheld his astonishing miracles, in the form (or likeness) of a God. The word equal is one, of which it seems tho original does not admit, and therefore the translators were not justified in using it. In the benevolent exercise of his miraculous powers afforded him by God, our Saviour acted as the representative of the Being who is the fountain of all goodness. Though thus high in favor and enjoying such authority under “the King eternal, immortal, and invisible,” yet he humbled himself to the condition of a servant, became obedient to death, even the death of the cross : and as a reward for this voluntary humiliation he was exalted, (not by his own power and authority,) but "God highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow,'
” and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” It will, I think, be discovered by every one who attentively reads this passage even in the common translation, that it could never be intended to inculcate any other doctrine than that Christ derived all his powers from his Father ; but it is surely worth the trouble for any person who considers the value of religion, to hear what other translators have said upon the subject.' - pp. 29, 30.
The same acquaintance with Scripture language and criticism which is shown in the above extract, is manifested throughout this vigorous pamphlet; the writer being upwards of fourscore years of age ! A touching simplicity distinguishes her farewell to her readers.
"I have now to take leave of my readers with the earnest hope, that under the divine blessing, what I have written may be useful in leading them to that course which has yielded me so much comfort and hope. Since the period of my conversion from Trinitarianism to Unitarianism, I have followed the example of the Bereans, in " searching the Scriptures daily," to see whether the opinions I have adopted, are according to the truth: and I can assure them that my convictions have been more and more confirmed therein, every time I have consulted the word of God. Under this impression I could not resist the strong impulse I felt, to impart the benefit I have enjoyed to others. The Bible is alike open to all; it is calculated to afford a similar blessing to all. Unconscious of any sectarian spirit, I hope such will not be attributed to me.
Truth is my only object, believing that, “ if we know the truth, it will make
Nevertheless I have no doubt that opinions so much misrepresented as those I have adopted, often are, will bring down severe reprehension from those whose prejudices are miscalled opinions; and whether I shall live to see or feel their contempt or not, I hereby assure them that I have “ so learned Christ, as freely to forgive them. I would wish also to excuse them by recurring to my own feelings, before I shook off the dominion of prejudice, though, blessed be God, I was incapable of malice or rancor. My prayer is, that the reading hereof may be succeeded with a divine blessing to them and to all others; and that all may be brought to think, that the Scriptures alone contain the words of eternal life, and whatever else is taught as doctrine, is the word of man, and not of God.' - pp. 56, 57.
The work of Miss Martineau, though particularly addressed to Roman Catholics, may be read with profit and pleasure by the members of any other communion. In beauty of writing it much surpasses the other two works. Once or twice we thought the style a little too artificial and ambitious, but, with these exceptions, it is, while eloquent and ornate, in excellent taste. The poetical feeling and imagination, and the gentle tone and spirit which pervade this book, together with
- N. S. VOL. VI.