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accordance with reason as an honour and a distinction of no common worth. Under all circumstances we esteem it as an honour, if it can be said with truth, that our conduct or our opinions are agreeable to reason. But how stands the case, according to the views of those who call themselves the orthodox ? According to them, reason is, and has been since the fall, not only blind but corrupt; not only incapable of guiding to the truth, but actually so constituted that it must always and of necessity lead astray. And yet it seems they consider it as an inju. rious aspersion upon their system of doctrine to be told that we assert ours to be more agreeable to reason than theirs ! They think their creed is maligned if it be called irrational ! They are desirous of claiming for their own way of thinking the merit of being in accordance with reason; and are prepared to meet us upon the question, whether their system or ours be entitled to the designation of a rational faith. Now I rejoice to hear of such a claim being put in ; for it shows that one of our doctrines, at least, has been firmly established in the minds of men, and one of the points of old orthodoxy has been abandoned ; for, unless the old orthodox doctrine of the blindness and corruption of human reason be given up, no man could regard a conformity to reason as any honour to himself or to his creed. I rejoice therefore, to hear of the claim which has been put in ; and I shall not fail to advert to it hereafter, as one of the many proofs of the silent spread of some of our leading opinions beyond the pale of our own denomination.”—p. 102.
In the Lecture on “ Unitarianism,-a devotional Faith," we are reminded at every page that Channing has exhausted the illustrations “ of the tendency of Unitarianism to form an elevated religious character.” It is no reproach to any one that in treating of this subject they must occupy his ground, for he has left no ground untouched. Still Mr. Porter writes from himself even when advancing the very arguments that forcibly recal to us that unrivalled Discourse of Dr. Channing. In the following passage, the argument is exceedingly well put :
“ They tell us, as we have already seen, that in their formulas they speak, it is true, of three persons, each of whom is God; but then, they add, they do not use the word person in its common signification, nor is it exactly fitted to express the relation which the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bear to each other. They use it, therefore, only for want of a better term; and they profess themselves unable to give any definition whatsoever of the meaning of the word in this application. Thus it appears that the Three Persons are not Three Persons. Some have proposed to call them three Subsistences ; three Subsistences in One God: some would have us say, three Distinctions in the One God; some call them three Somewhats. Now what can be the influence and power of the devotional feelings in the soul of man, when he bows down in adoration before three Distinctions? One can hardly frame a prayer in which the epithet of Somewhat should be introduced, without appearing to cast ridicule on the whole subject; but if any one will substitute the phrase Three Somewhats for that of Three Persons, in that formula, 'O Holy, Blessed, and Glorious Trinity, Three Persons and One God,' he will speedily perceive that the words are calculated to give rise to any feelings except those of devotion. Now all such notions, however expressed, however explained, are calculated to perplex, confuse, and mystify. They darken counsel by words without knowledge. They leave the mind without any precise or definite idea on which it can fix; and to them the bewildered worshipper might apply the language of Mary Magdalene in the garden,- They have taken away our Lord, and we know not where they have laid him.' Most certainly the Unitarian is justified in addressing to those who entertain these perplexed and mysterious notions of the Godhead,— Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship.' It surely can require no argument to show which of these two systems is better calculated to inspire a deep-seated, rational, and serious piety.”—p. 121.
The following passage is of a much higher order both of thought and feeling. It contains deep truth in its fitting garb of beauty. It is the right sort of proof that Unitarianism is a devotional faith,—for it excites devotion in the reader's breast, --and it could only have sprung from a devotional spirit. The true illustrations of power are those that make us conscious of its presence while we thrill beneath it. This is the highest praise of these illustrations. They make us devotional, benevolent, holy in aspiration and desire, rejoicing in faith, whilst we are reading these manifestations of the spirit and practical efficacy of our Christianity :
“ There is still a third point, in which I discern the superiority of Unitarianism, as a devotional system. It accords with the teachings of nature. It brings the world of creation, and that of redemption, into complete harmony. It views them both as bearing a united and perfectly accordant testimony regarding the Great Being who is the common author of both. Nor is this of trifling importance. In our frail and imperfect state we have need of every help to awaken and keep alive our devout feelings. Often do such sentiments arise within the soul, from the contemplation of some of the external works of the Most High God. A glance at the starry heavens will, to the soul inspired by contemplation, suggest more themes of adoration and of awe for the Omnipotent Creator and Ruler, than could be called forth by a thousand sermons. A plant, a flower, an insect, may suggest ideas which speak more truly and forcibly to tbe heart than any words from the lips of man. Indeed, as every mind has its own peculiar method of observation and of reasoning, the diversities of form in which these pious considerations may present themselves are absolutely endless. It is of the utmost consequence to beings such as we are, and situated as we are, that these precious hints should be seized, detained, dwelt upon,
and treasured up. It is of great importance that the most should be made of them-that none of them should be permitted to pass us by until it has paid to us its tribute of instruction and delight. Thus will the habit be formed of looking to God, and living in God,-seeing God in all things, and all things in God :-nor can any habit be more conducive to the formation of deep, and tranquil, and affectionate senti. ments of piety and devotion. But the Unitarian alone can possess this advantage in its proper measure; because he alone entertains those ideas, both of the works and word of God, by which they are caused to blend their voices in concert, and mutually aid each other's power. For, whatever has been argued with respect to the Book of Revelation, it has never been denied that the Book of Nature is Unitarian. If the heavens declare the glory of God, they declare the glory of but One God-if the firmament showeth his handiwork, it showeth the handiwork of none but one. It says nothing of a Trinity in Unity, or Unity in Trinity. It affords no basis for devotion directed to such an object. The votary of nature may be a devout Trinitarian; but his devotion is not of nature's teaching, forming, on strengthening ;—from that source it can derive no aid. To him Nature and Revelation speak in different languages, if they do not directly contradict each other; and it requires the utmost exertion of theologic skill to bring their declarations into accordance. Here then the Unitarian derives increase and confirmation of his devotional feelings from that which always must, to men of other creeds, tend more or less to draw away their minds and hearts from what are to them the only principles of true and real piety. It is not in this instance alone that Unitarianism and Nature are in agreement, where, between nature and religion, on other systems, there is war. Thus, there are creeds which tell us, that all the virtues and graces which can be displayed before the eyes of men,-the warm love of the parent to the child, and the child to the parent, the noble spirit of the patriot, the self devotion of the philanthropist, the enduring affection which can watch and tend its object, and wear the frame away in the anxious endeavour to mitigate pain,--the purity that can spurn the most tempting object of worldly desire, when incompatible with virtue and honour, and can submit to loss and shame and degradation, rather than forfeit self-esteem, or wound the conscience,—there are creeds which tell us, that all these are perfectly compatible with hearts unrenewed, and with a character and condition in which the Almighty can find nothing to approve and nothing to love; a character which is only a mass of corruption, and which can give rise to nothing but evil. This is contrary to the teachings of nature. The soul instinctively repels and banishes the idea. It is the creed of the book, sometimes the conviction of the head, but it never is the persuasion of the heart. But I confine the observation of the harmony between nature and Unitarian Christianity to their tendency to promote and strengthen a devotional spirit ; because, in this respect, their agreement is most conspicuous, and the superiority possessed by Unitarianism over every other form of the Christian religion is, in this point of view, not only the most striking, but the most important."-p. 123.
How just is this rebuke of the narrow spirit of Churches which forms the introduction of the Lecture on “ Unitarianism -a benevolent Faith :”—
“ By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another. This was the test of membership which the dying Saviour bequeathed to his church-the best undoubtedly that could be framed; and yet of all possible or conceivable tests, the only one which the bulk of his professing followers, at least in modern times, have never for one moment thought of employing. We have seen churches asserting that unless we submit our consciences to the yoke of their infal. libility, we cannot be disciples of Christ. We have seen churches asserting, that unless we agree with them in every dim mysterious point of disputed theology, we cannot be disciples of Christ. We have seen them declaring that unless we solemnly profess to accord even with the political principles laid down in their creeds, framed in times of ignorance, and turbulence, and civil confusion, we cannot be disciples of Christ; and maintaining that unless we can go with them, even to the length of dooming to everlasting perdition the persons who, in the exercise of their private judgment, arrive at different conclusions from those which they profess to have reached, we cannot be disciples of Christ. Many churches have practically said, “Unless ye anathematize, and excom. municate, and devote to condemnation your Christian brethren,-unless you exclude them, and denounce them and revile them,—ye cannot be disciples of your Saviour.' Such are the modern tests of Orthodoxy in too many of the churches of our Lord. Alas! how few are there in which the test that the Saviour himself has instituted is practically employed :- By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one towards another !' While many are regarded as Orthodox, on the ground of their sectarian zeal and party spirit, how few are willing to admit the Orthodoxy of love !
“I cannot but regard the test proposed by our Lord Jesus Christ, in these beautiful and comprehensive words, as the best that ever was invented. Would to God that men had been content to leave the ques. tion of discipleship on the footing on which the Saviour placed it! Would to God that they had been content to confine their definitions within the same limits to which our Lord restricted his! Would to God they had been willing to leave that unrestricted, which he never restrained, and to allow the liberty which he recognised. But thus it has not been ; and I fear we cannot speedily anticipate a time when thus it will be. A calm spectator of characters and events—some of them even of recent occurrence-might be induced to think that some of our Lord's professing followers read his words as here recorded, with the insertion of a negative ; and that they supposed him to have declared,—By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have NO love one towards another :—no love, no charity, no candour, no forbearance, even with their involuntary and unavoidable mistakes; no feelings but those of alienation, contempt, and hatred, and abhorrence.”—p. 130.
In the Lecture on “Unitarianism-a holy Faith," Mr. P. in his just horror of the doctrine of Salvation by Dogmas or Opinions, alone, has overlooked the truth and depth of the Scripture Doctrine of Salvation by Faith. He has conceded to the Orthodox their use of the word Faith as if it was the true one, and we know not how, in consistency with this concession, he could interpret St. Paul's “ Righteousness of God by Faith,” which the Apostle evidently considers to be the true fruit and working of the spirit of Christianity. Mr. Porter declares, somewhat rashly, that he “ rejoices in the conviction that there is not a single Unitarian Minister who countenances, nor a single Unitarian family who embraces, nor, so far as he ever could learn, a single Unitarian Christian who holds this pernicious tenet,” viz. “Salvation by Faith alone.” Now putting the word “ alone" for the present out of view, it is certain that “ Salvation by Faith” was to St. Paul the very soul of Christianity. And so it is. It is trust in God that saves the soul. It is faith in the divine light and voice within us that enables us to overcome the world of sight and sense. Works entitle no man to heaven, make no man worthy of heaven. It is the true heart behind our poorest deeds, aspiring, penitent, and self-condemning in moments of utmost feebleness, the clinging faith in heavenly love, surviving even our weakness, our despondency, and our faithless tears, the confidence that God will look upon the desires, and efforts, and affections of the soul, and apply no outward measurements to the poor child of clay,—this it is that lifts the trusting spirit into communion with the source of holiness, and saves the soul through hope. Salvation by works we consider to be a more immoral, unspiritual, presumptuous, and selfrighteous doctrine than salvation by Faith, accepting Faith in its only scriptural sense, of the souls surrender of itself to the monitions, and guidings, and promises of the Father of our spirits. We have no doubt that we should have no dispute with Mr. Porter on this subject, and that there is nothing really to object to except the accidental omission to reclaim to Unitarianism, the great scriptural and spiritual Doctrine of “the Righteousness of God by Faith,” a righteousness that must spring from the same affections in man as in God, and of which a loving Faith in the God of conscience supplies the nourishing influences.
The following emphatic protest against the false consolations, the impious assurances of forgiveness and glory which Orthodoxy can supply to the guiltiest malefactor after a few hours of spiritual treatment by a sacerdotal magician, the “healing the