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“ In the first place, those, whose enquiries on the subject of the Unitarian Controversy may have been confined within a narrow compass, should be made most fully aware, that the question on which we are at issue with the Unitarians, is by no means a new question in any of its parts or bearings. When, indeed, it is observed, with what confidence of expression, and in how imposing a tone, arguments are framed, and interpretations of Scriptural texts proposed, at the present day, against the doctrines of the Trinity and the Atonement, it might reasonably be supposed, that something was advanced which had never been advanced. before; that some reasonings were submitted to the judgment of the Christian world, on which that judgment had never before been taken. The real state of the question, however, very ill accords with any such supposition. Exactly the same arguments, which the Unitarian writers of the present day are producing, have been produced by the advocates of the same cause years and years ago. These arguments, at the time when they severally made their appearance, were fairly met, and regularly examined; and received that full confutation which set them completely at rest. At several subsequent periods, the discussions have been renewed; the old objections, again produced, have again sunk under confutation; and the foundations on which the received doctrines rest, have remained unshaken and unimpaired. Now, it is by no means matter of slight importance, that persons who are inexperienced in these matters,
should completely understand, that such is the advanced state of the controversy between the Orthodox Christian Church and the Unitarian Dissenters. They will then learn to be properly on their guard against the confident tone and imposing terms with which the Unitarian arguments are proposed; and by understanding the probability of their having been already produced and confuted in many former discussions of the subject, will, antecedently to all particular examination of their weight and value, at least divest them of that delusive importance, in which a false opinion of their novelty might be too apt to clothe them a.
"A second observation, eminently useful for those who en. counter Unitarian arguments, is, that the great doctrines, against which they are directed, are not isolated, unconnected doctrines, or resting merely on single texts; but that they are intimately connected each with the other, receive and give mutual support, are established by various proofs more and less direct, and are interwoven with the whole body of Scriptural language. The important truth, that our Saviour is very and eternal God, does not rest merely on the single texts, in which he is eminently and distinctly styled Godb: it is spoken in the history of his birth', in the descriptions of his attributes and character, of his eternal existence of his
We Let the reader turn, for example, to Leslie's Dialogues with a Socinian, published in confutation of some Unitarian productions of about the year 1690; he will there find a full, detailed, and specific answer to every main and important argument on which the Unitarians are resting with so much confidence at the present day; he will there find them met at every point, and pursued through all their windings; he will find the unsoundness of all their proposed interpretations fully exposed, and those which confirm the received doctrines, established by conclusive reasonings. He will there see, in fact, a complete confutation of every thing that can be called important in the late •Improved Version,' composed more than a century before this version made its appearance. Some few discoveries, indeed, there are of modern Unitarians, to the credit of which their predecessors of less recent times are not entitled ; and amongst these must eminently be reckoned the objections on which they now insist, with no small perseverance, to the authenticity of the narratives of the miraculous conception in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke; objections which, though resting on positions obviously weak and inconclusive, are framed and proposed in a spirit of hazardous adventure, to which it is only of late that the advocates of the Unitarian cause have had the hardihood to advance." ob John i. 1.; Acts xx. 28.; 1 John iii. 16, and v. 20.; Rev. i. 8. xix. 16, &c." "e Matt. i.; Luke i.” o & John iii. 13.; Matt. xviii. 20. xxviii. 17. 20.; Col. ij. 3.; John xx. 28, &c.* ore John i. 1.; Phil. ii, 6.; Col. i. 17, &c."
agency in the creation, it pervades, in fact, the whole tenor of Scripture; it is conveyed in the tone and spirit on which all Scriptural statements and reasonings proceed. So the doctrine of the atonement is not only declared directly by those passages which speak of Christ as the propitiation for our sins 8,' as delivered up for us all",' as one by whom we have received the atonementi;' but is deduced, by indirect inference, from various passages implying its truth, and proceeding on the supposition of it. And these two doctrines are so connected, that they must stand or fall together. If our Saviour was really God, he must have died to atone for human sins. If he died to atone for human sins, he must have been a being at least far superior to man. Let it then be always remembered, that not only is the force of particular texts to be examined singly, but the general tone of Scripture is to be sifted, and various texts are to be considered collectively as they afford mutual explanation. The opponent of our faith is always disposed to take single, isolated passages, and of these to fritter away the meaning, by viewing them unconnected with others. Now, little as we have reason to shrink from any mode of interpreting Scripture, provided the received meaning of the words be preserved, and an adherence to the rules of fair criticism be maintained: still we do not consent that, by such a method, the question is placed on its just ground, and that the surest mode of obtaining right conclusions is adopted. It is by catching the spirit of the sacred writings, by viewing the texts in their several bearings, by discovering their general scope, that scriptural truth is to be placed on its true basis, is to be developed in its full and unclouded brightness.”
D'Oyly's Discourse on Modern Unitarianism.
“ In our contest with the Unitarian, we might venture to leave out (without giving up,) the disputed texts on which he principally dwells, and defend our opinions upon the declarations made in the other parts of the sacred writings, as scarcely admitting any strainings that can give the least
! " Heb. i. 10; John i. 3. 10; COL i 16, &c."
* Rom. vii. 32."
" 1 John i. 2." *** Rom. v. 11."
must explain so much advan general rule
+ came to parts by thehe Scriptureb
shadow of support to our adversaries; of this ground of defence we have, perhaps, not availed ourselves so much as we might k. They attack, where they imagine there is at least some reason for dispute, to keep out of sight other matters which admit of no cavilling. It is a general rule, and can be no where applied with so much advantage as in the Scriptures, that we must explain the obscure parts by those which are more clear. That Christ came to make satisfaction for the sins of the world, is frequently stated, and under various forms; we are assured, that he was the propitiation for our sins; that he bare our sins in his own body on the tree; that we are bought with a price; that he came to give his life a ransom for many; that he redeemed us with his blood ; that if Christ be not raised, ye are yet in your sins. Now, however the meaning of the terms used in some of these expressions, may have been controverted, yet the last text involves no terms which can admit of dispute; a similar text is also found in Rom. iv. 25. These texts contain a declaration in plain language, of the doctrine of atonement. Again, our Saviour says, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friend.' This also is a declaration, unencumbered with any terms which can give occasion for controversy, that the death of Christ, hath, some how or other, operated to procure our salvation. In conformity with this, the Apostle says, for scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man, one would even dare to die: but God commendeth his love to us, in that whilst we were sinners, Christ died for us.' On this Macknight (Rom. v. 7, 8,) says, “ the dying step for a just man and for a good man is here evidently dying in their room or stead. And therefore Christ dying, inep fuor, for us, hath the same meaning.' And he further observes, that * Raphelius, in his note on this verse, from Xenophon, hath shewn, that the phrase died, imep, for us, signifies died in our stead.' Jesus Christ is expressly stated to be the Saviour of mankind; but by imposing further duties upon us, had he taught the necessity of repentance only, doing nothing to render it efficacious, he would not have been the Saviour of the world; on the contrary, he would have increased the difficulty of working out our salvation, and our last state would have been worse than the first. To whom much is given, of him much will be required. How the sufferings of Christ operated to procure man's redemption, we hazard no conjecture; we do undertake to shew the connection of cause and effect; but if Christ be not a divine person; if he did not die for our salvation; if he be not our advocate with the Father, we may venture to assert, that the greater part of the New Testament is not only unnecessary, but is all a delusion, and one of the greatest deceptions ever imposed on the world.
k« On this ground we may satisfactorily establish the doctrine of faith and works. Throughout the gospels, good works are represented as absolutely necessary to procure salvation; there is scarcely a page in which this is not taught and strongly enforced on our practice; it is one of the most prominent doctrines of our Saviour; it is what he more particularly insists upon, as without which no man can see the Lord.' That faith also is necessary, is agreed upon. Without, then, entering into any disputes about faith and good works, arising from certain texts in the epistles, we may pronounce them both to be necessary. Either we must admit this, or that the gospels are at variance with the other parts of Scripture.”
“ In our interpretation of particular texts, or when we venture to maintain any opinions, we must remember that we are answerable for all the consequences which may thence be deduced. Let us, then, before we promulgate our doctrines, seriously consider, what inferences can be drawn from them, and whether they may not be turned against ourselves. But our adversaries seem to look no further than the point which upon the occasion they want to establish, unmindful how far their principles may agree with other parts of Scripture, or even with their own opinions elsewhere delivered. Dr. Priestley admits the redemption by Jesus Christ, but says, it was brought about by the Gospel, as promoting repentance and reformation m Granting the plan of redemption here
1. Though we cannot say how they operate, it implies no contradiction to suppose they may so operate; and this, without solving the difficulty, is sufficient to do away its effect as an objection. In human judicature, a man is punished for the sake of deterring others from offending; and this is allowed to be a wise and necessary provision. This is strictly a vicarious punishment, and indeed similar to that of Christ suffering for the sins of the world, for Christ died to take away sin ; man dies to prevent its commission. In both cases, however, one person suffers for the benefit of another. And it may be observed, that it implies no contradiction, that in the union of the divine and human natures, the latter may suffer without the former." m" Dr. P. in his Notes on the Scriptures, says, "Nor did his (Christ's) sacrifice consist