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We see God in three ways—but after all, there is but one God. So I might say—I can know my absent parent in three ways-I live in the house which he built and arranged, and know his character by the skill and order which is there displayed I received a letter from him, by which I know more of his character—and I hope by and bye, by personal intercourse to become yet more closely acquainted with him-yet I have but one Father.
Of course the Trinity is not eternal, and this Schleiermacher declares.
This doctrine has been known as Sabellianism, and has been always condemned as heresy. I think it stands so condemned in the Andover creed. It is, as any one can see who will look through the veil of words, purely Unitarianism-inasmuch as it makes the threefold distinction in the Godhead, real only as far as man is concerned. At present, we can make no further remarks on this subject, but hope shortly to resume it.
Professor Stuart does not give his full assent to the views of S. He is well aware that to many they must appear heretical. He does say, however, this, that they are the only intelligible views which he has met with among Trinitarians. This is granting a good deal. Unitarians have always objected to the representations of the Trinity, that they were either unintelligible or contradictory—that they had no meaning at all, or that they meant that three were one. We were told in answer, that it was an awful mystery, a depth of darkness which no intellect could fathom, and then we were accused of pride, presumption, and arrogance, for wishing to understand anything about it. We were obliged to sit down contented with this reply, for no other could we get. We said, to be sure, with all possible meekness and deference, “that though we admitted cheerfully that a subject might be obscure, and difficult to understand—we saw no reason why a proposition, a statement, should be unintelligible or contradictory." We might as well have been silent-we got no further answer but the old argumentum ad hominem, accusations of presumption, pride of reason &c.
Having thus summarily disposed of our Unitarian objections, it appears that these learned orthodox Doctors have þrought them forward again themselves. They told us that we ought to be satisfied with answers, which it seems did not satisfy their own minds. Being on the inside of the citadel of Orthodoxy, they can direct their attacks against its fortifications with more success than we, who are unfortunately
excluded. And truly, very skilfully do they carry on the attack. In the first place, they profess that it is their reverence for the divinity of Christ which induces them to this work. They then quote the half dozen standard proof-texts, to show that they are perfectly sound on that point. They declare that their view of the subject alone, makes him “God over all, blessed for ever more.” Here they have already enlisted many Orthodox prejudices on their behalf. The work goes on swimmingly. The notion of "eternal generation” it seems, supposes a dependence and subordination in the second person of the Trinity, which interferes with the pious feelings of all evangelical christians. This notion then must be done away. Farewell to this ancient landmark! The Son is not derived the Holy Spirit does not proceed-each is very, supreme God. In short it is the same God who reveals himself by different prosopa, or persons, if you choose to call them so. If you do choose this word, however, you must not use it in the common sense, as expressing a being having a distinct consciousness, will and identity, bụt only as expressing a mode of manifestation.
Here then we rest at last in Unitarianism. The wall which could not be battered down from without, has been undermined from within. That which those calling themselves Unitarians could never effect, those calling themselves Trinitarians can easily accomplish. By words and names the world is governed.
It is evidently a part of the plan of God's providence when about to produce any great change in the hearts and faith of men, to "prepare the way," by partial communications—as they can bear them. There are many rugged and rocky mountain tops to be brought low, (dogmatizing systems and rough traditions ?) and many valleys to be filled up, (low and shallow views of religion?)—and many a John the Baptist with doctrine suited to the popular prejudices, must go before the majestically simple form of Jesus of Nazareth. The sun of Truth never rushes headlong from below the horizon, into the realm of night-soft twilight precedes him, extinguishing the stars one after another, painting the heavens with successive tints of gray, pale white, golden yellow, and burning crimson; so that when the great orb slowly raises its upper disk above the far forest line, his light is received with gratitude and not terror. Thus is it with communications of Truth. Dr. Worcester's “Bible News," would never have made so many converts as it did, from the Trinity, had he at that time held the views to which he has since arrived. We presume that professor Stuart, by dethroning the Nicene symbols, and despoiling of their authority, the Athanasian representations of the Divine Being, will do vastly more to promote the sublime doctrine of God's unity, than if he gave up the use of the word Trinity
We may be asked in fine, “Why then do you yet find fault? If these Sabellian views are satisfactory to your mind, why not adopt them, and slip quietly into the Orthodox ranks? Why keep up a controversy about the name, when the thing is already yielded to you? Many worthy friends of other churches have asked us this question. They say, “We agree with you Unitarians in many important particulars, but we think it unwise to compromise our influence by uniting with a party against which such a prejudice exists. It would have been better if you had not come forward as a party, but had continued united with Trinitarians, and so modified their views gradually to your own.”
So speak some-so do many act. Very well. Let them, if their consciences acquiesce, act in this manner. But we have a call to speak out the truth, plain and clear. We find no warrant in the Bible for the doctrine commonly taught and received as the Trinity ;-we will say so, at any hazard. We do not think it a man's duty to say he believes what is either unintelligible or contradictory; we will say this also. The Bible, and no Symbol, is our master—this too we will loudly proclaim. Jesus Christ before St. Athanasius—the Apostle Paul before the whole Council of Nice. The noble words found in the preface to Dr. Channing's discourses ring in our ears, and should bring the blush to the cheek of the man who dares not avow an unpopular doctrine. “It is due to myself," says he, “to say, that the controversial character of this volume is to be ascribed, not to the love of disputation, but to the circumstances in which I was called to write. It grew perilous to search the scriptures for ourselves, and to speak freely according to the convictions of our own minds. I saw that penalties, as serious in this country as fine and imprisonment, were to be attached to the profession of liberal views of christianity, the penalties of general hatred and scorn; and that a degrading uniformity of opinion was to be imposed by the severest persecution the spirit of the age would allow. At such a period I dared not be silent. I felt myself called, not merely to plead in general for freedom of thought and speech, but, what was more important and trying, to assert this freedom by action. I should have felt myself disloyal to truth and freedom, had I confined myself to vague common
places about our rights, and forborne to bear my testimony expressly and specially to proscribed opinions.”
Thus we say also. We contend that truth should have free course. If we are Unitarians, we desire the right to say so. We do not like to be forced to wear a Sabellian cloak, lettered, Trinity-Trinity-to conceal our real form and stature. We wait impatiently for the second part of Professor Stuart's article.
That whispers in my ear;
That breathes in silence here.
It bids me cease to roam,
And the green fields of my home.
And that inclement sky?
But ask, and care not, why.
So round my native shore.
And I seek to know no more.
Then howl, ye thunder-tempests,
For ye lull my soul to sleep;
And the surges of the deep.
Sweep o'er the summer sky,
And the snow comes drifting by.
My fathers' bones, New England,
Sleep in thy hallowed ground:
In thy shady paths are found:
And my weary feet here roam,
In thee, my own loved home.
j. 11. P.
Art. VIII.-ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, AT LOUISVILLE.
As Mr. Campbell is a distinguished man, possessing great influence in the western states; claiming to be a reformer; and without doubt, an intelligent, bold and powerful preacher of rational and liberal views in religion: his character and doings belong to the religious history of the times, and should be interesting to all interested in that. I offer no further apology, either to him (his public character is public property) or our readers, for communicating the following account of my connection with him while in this city, last April.
Before his arrival, some of his friends had requested the use of our Unitarian church, on the morning of the Lord's day, April 5th, on which he was expected to be present. We willingly consented; not however wishing to give up our church entirely on that day, but rather that Mr. Campbell should come and preach to us, and his own friends, together. We thought it a more christian way, for us all to worship together on that morning, than to desert our church because other Christians were coming to it. We are not of the sort to fear contamination from those whose forms of worship may differ from our own. There are differences of operation, but the same Lord. One may worship like dying Jacob, leaning on the top of his staff; another, kneeling on a cushion; one may sing, making melody in his heart, while the swelling organ bears up his voice with its strong and sweet tones; another may prefer a less formal song: what matters it? Is it not well for them to come together sometimes, and see how entirely they agree in more vital matters?
So I thought; and going to see Mr. Campbell, on Saturday morning, told him so. I told him my friends would be interested and happy to hear him. “Perhaps I may say something that will not suit you,” said he with a smile. “It is a great maxim with us," I answered, “to prove all things, and hold fast only what is good. I am not afraid that you will do my people any harm. I do not teach them to receive every thing as gospel which comes from the pulpit, but to prove it all by God's word.” He said that he thought this right, and that those preachers who were afraid to let their people hear different opinions, were satirizing themselves, confessing that they had not been able fully to convince them of the truth of their own doctrines. We parted after a little more conversation.
The next morning a great multitude, many having come from a distance, out of Indiana and the neighboring counties