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veals? Is man to place unhesitating reason to deny as you to affirm. If confidence in the decisions of his own you say the properties of the soul are reason, and that in a case of absolute not the soul, I ask again, what is the ignorance, when the omniscient God soul? If you say it is that something decides against him ?-Certainly not, to which the above attributes belong, says the Uuitarian, but you are sup- I ask again, what is that something? posing a case which cannot possibly No man can answer. Of the truth exist. There are things which God or falsehood of many things that might cannot declare to be false. He can be affirmed of the soul, you have no not declare it to be false that a part means of deciding. is less than the whole, nor that differ Here, then, we come to the applience of properties, &c. does not im- cation of a principle too undeniable to ply difference of beings.-We readily be questioned, viz.: that the decisions admit that God cannot declare things of reason, when we are confessedto be false which are true. But the ly in utter ignorance, are entitled question is, whether it be invariably to no authority in determining our true, that difference of properties con faith. Suppose one should declare of stitutes different beings. If the Uni- three separate portions of matter, or tarian affirms this, as he must, in or of three distinct minds, that, io their der to preserve plausibility to his ar- essence, or in their mode of existence, gument, he must affirm it, either on the three were in a sense one ; could the ground of intuition, or on that of any man, from the treasures of his igreasoning. That he has no intuitive norance, derive arguments to prove knowledge on the subject, we have the thing to be impossible, and the already shown. That he can prove assertion to be false? Were the asthe assertion to be true is impossible, sertion to come from God, could we because he has no materials for an ar- allege the least reason for doubting its gument respecting the mode in which truth for a moment? Could we reany thing exists. Take a portion of ject the revelation, with the reply matter-what is it? You say it is we are at a loss" on the subject? something to which pertains exten- We adduce these examples simply to sion, solidity, &c. I ask, are these show that, concerning the mode of properties the whole thing? If you existence, either of matter or mind, say they are, you affirm what you do Unitarians, and all other men, are tonot know, and what I am at liberty tally in the dark, and, by reasoning, to disbelieve. If you say they are not cannot advance a single step. Mr. C. the whole thing, I ask what is there and the Reviewer have virtually conbeside its properties? If you say the fessed it, by assigning limits to their substratum, substance or essence of own knowledge. Now here we plant the thing, meaning that in which the our feet, and say that no man can properties of the thing subsist,-still, prove the doctrine of the Trinity to be of the nature of this substratum or es absurd. lle can derive no materials sence, you have not, nor can you form for an analogical argument from the the remotest conception, except that mode of created existence, and he is it is something in which certain prop- shut out absolutely from all acquainterties inhere. Of the truth or false ance with the mode of God's existhood, therefore, of many propositions ence. According to the concessions which might be made concerning it, of both Mr. C. and the Reviewer, we you have no means of judging. know nothing of any being beside his
Agaio : I ask, what is the soul of attributes; all beyond is a region of man? You say it is something which darkness; and is God is pleased to thinks, wills and acts. But are the shed light upon it, shall we, on the auproperties of the soul, the soul itself? thority of our previous ignorance, deIf you affirm this, you affirm what you ny the discoveries made by such a do not know, and what I have as good revelation ? Are the doubtful glim
merings of human reason adequate to thority of reason in such a case, a extinguish the beam imparted from case in which man is in the profound the throne of omniscience? Surely est ignorance of the nature of the subit is a strange principle of reasoning, ject whereof he affirms, and, simply if God instructs us in a matter, in on that authority, to set aside the which we are confessedly in the pro- otherwise acknowledged import of the foundest ignorance, that this igno- inspired volume, is a most presumpsance proves the obvious meaning of tuous reliance on human reason. This the declarations of God to be ab- is to exalt reason above revelation; surd.
and with this offence, we charge Mr. Such, as we suppose, is the ground Channing and the Reviewer. They on which that doctrine is presented to may not predicate absurdity of what our faith in the Scripture, which is they believe God has revealed. This pronounced, by Unitarians, to be would imply a hardihood of which we intrinsically incapable of any proof do not think them capable. But whatever;" and which, as they say, they do predicate absurdity of that can make no part of a revelation from import of divine revelation which they God, because a revelation from God neither know nor can prove to be abcannot teach absurdities. We readily surd; and which, aside from the supgrant, were this doctrine known to be posed absurdity, must be acknowlabsurd, or could it be proved to be ab- edged to be the true import. In other surd, that it could be no part of revela- words, they discard what God has action. In that case, did any portion tually revealed, solely on the authority of the Scriptures clearly teach the of their own reason. That they do doctrine, we might rely on our supe- this ignorantly, is not denied, but rior mastership in logic, and reject such ignorance admits of no vindi. the inspiration of the writer, or, if the cation. They may persuade themevidence of inspiration should be selves that they perceive real absurdfound too unyielding, we might drown ity in this doctrine; but such a perour scruples by an impeachment of suasion, on a subject which, as they the divine perfection. But how stands know, involves so much that lies the case, when the matter of fact is, beyond their comprehension, must that the doctrine is not known to be be presumptuous, and cannot be asabsurd, and cannot be proved to be sociated with candour and honesty in absurd? What authority is due to the investigation of truth.
Are we the decisions of reason, in a case in too severe in our allegations ? Is not which reason knows nothing, and can the highest human intellect baffled in decide nothing and what are we to every inquiry into the mode of unisay of those who rely on such decis- versal existence? is man qualified to ions of reason, as having a measure go abroad, with an exploring eye, of infallibility which precludes con even into the material creation, and tradiction from the omniscieot God ? to uncover its mysteries ? And is Yet such is the course adopted by there no irreverence in the thought, Unitarians. Solely on the authority that the infinite God must so bring of buman reason, in a case in which himself within the grasp of our comreason knows nothing and can prove prehension, that the truth or falsehood nothing, they pronounce the doctrine of his declarations concerning himof the Trinity to be absurd, and reject self may be tested by the independent it as an impossible part of a divine rev. scrutiny of reason, c’er we will beelation. Nay more, they reject it, lieve those declarations ? Is reason when, aside from the fact that igno- competent to denounce, as absurd, rance sees fit to charge it with absurd. and as essentially incredible, the obity. it must be acknowledged to be a vious import of God's declarations, part of the revelation of God. Now on a subject, concerning which reason we maintain, that, to yield to the au- knows nothing and can prove nothing?
and is the doctrine of the Trinity to be bouring with the utmost comprehenrejected on such authority ?
thought of which we are capa
ble, instead of grasping the mysteri“ In pride, in reasoning pride, the error
ous and ineffable idea, we know that lies."
we have formed but a faint and sha“Canst thou by searching find out ded image of him, whom no man can God ? canst thou find out the Al- see and live. It is the thought of what mighty unto perfection? It is as eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor high as heaven, what canst thou do? hath entered the heart of man to condeeper than hell, what canst thou ceive that enthrones the object of our know? The measure thereof is longer adoration in the grandeur and glories than the earth, and broader than the of divinity. Reduce him to the limits
Can such a God reveal noth- of human comprehension, bring him ing concerning himself to human ig- down to that insignificance which shall norance, and be worthy of the conti- enable man to fathom and unfold his dence of man?
mode of existence, and we should feel We cannot tell how others may re- that the sanctuary of the Eternal, gard this part of the subject, but we were emptied of its glories and ourfrankly confess that we view it of high selves left without God and without practical importance and are shocked hope in the world. by that irrevereuce with which many
We shall now make some re. seem to approach it. The incompre- marks on what seems to us the unfairhensibility of the divine nature is insep ness and dishonesty, with which Mr. arable from what we regard as the just- C. and the Reviewer have conducted est conceptions of the Deity, and es- the controversy on their part. sential to the best feelings of devotion First, they constantly misrepresent with which man can approach bim. the doctrine of the Trinity. It has Never do we lift the adoring eye with been affirmed again and again by such intense emotion before his throne, Trinitarians, that they use the word never do we bow with such deep hu- person when applied to the Godhead, miliation in his presence, never do out of its ordinary acceptation. But we derive such a constraining power the fact has already appeared that neifrom his high authority and never do ther Mr. C. nor the Reviewer notices we cherish such a cheerful acqui- the Trinitarian explanations of the escence in his universal government, termin bis argument. They still affix as when baffled and lost in the height to it their own meaning, and regardless and depth of that mystery in which of our denials and explanations, they God hides himself. We should feel still hold themselves the only authoriit to be a degradation of the Being zed interpreters of our language, and whom we worship, the overthrow of boldly maintain that “a person is a all our accustomed conceptions of being.” This siugle position is the pilhim, to know that Mr. C. or the Re- Jar of all their reasoning. Without it viewer had so comprehended his na- they have not even a pretence to arguture as to be able to pronounce with ment, and throughout the review there infallibility the things concerning him is not a reason given for rejecting the which in their ignorance they have doctrine of the Trinity, which does not ventured to pronounce. The God derive all its force from the unauthori. whose existence in its very nature zed assumption that in the language of precludes all cause and all derivation, Trinitarians "a person is a being. Is whose duration retires into the im- it fair, is it honest ? Just as fair, just measurable depths of a past eternity, as honest, as it would be to affirm and the immensity of whose every at- that a triangle is a circle, and thence tribute mocks all created thought, is proceed to prove that the former is a the God, in whom we believe. In figure without angles. our contemplations of him, when la Secondly, Unitarians represent the
inferior nature of Christ, as proof that most, by telling us, that Almigbty God he is not God. Scarcely a text ad
was incarnate in this infant, and wrapt in duced by Trinitarians in proof of swaddling clothes ?—p. 388. the divinity of Christ is rejected by Here the assumption is, that TrinMr. C. or the Reviewer except on the itarians hold that the Lord Jesus was ground that the dividity of the Sa- merely God and that they predicate viour is inconsistent with his inferior that concerning the divine Being, nature. The arguments of the Re- which could be true only of a mere viewer professedly derived from the human being; in other words we are scriptures to prove that Christ is not made to say that the Almighty was a divine, are extended through several
mere human being. For if it be adpages, but in no one of them can we mitted that Christ was both God and discover the shadow of plausibility, man, what can there be so shocking to unless the apparent or real inconsis- Unitarian sensibilities, in stating on the tency of the humanity and divinity of one hand his divinity, and on the Christ be assumed. But it happens other those facts which respect his agaio that we have the Reviewer's con- humanity. Do we in such a statesession on the point which we wish ment affirm, that which implies that to substantiate. He says “if this be a the Almighty was a mere human befact, (that Christ was man) then the ing? Will the Reviewer say, that only question that need be examined this is our creed? If not what do we is, whether it be possible for Christ maintain that produces such a revolt to have been at once God and man, of feeling and of intellect? The plain &c.” It is the only question; and fact is that the Reviewer imputes to why does the Reviewer assume the us the monstrous and shocking impievery point in debate, as if there were ty of predicating that of divinity, no question concerning it? The which could be true only of mere huscriptures unequivocally teach that manity.* Taking our creed then, Christ was man ; but this is no proof as it is, we with no less propriety and that they do not also teach that he no less emotion than the Reviewer, was God, unless it be proved that his might ask will you shock our feelings humanity was inconsistent with his and our understandings to the utterdivinity. Nor even then; for in most by telling us that — but we rethat case the proof is furnished by fuse to repeat the language of the the inconsistency of the doctrines, and writer. The sentiment and the arnot by the Bible. Only concede that
gument might be expected from the it is as reasonable to believe on scrip. infidel. The “bad eminence" of betural authority that Christ was God ing willing to express them in terms manifest in the flesh, as to believe of such irreverent vulgarity and with that he was a mere man, and all this the implication intended we concede scriptural argumentation, of the Re- to the Reviewer and his compeers.t viewer comes to naught. If Unitarians are able, let them prove a prio- such an unrestricted charge that some few
* We can regard it as no vindication of ri that it is impossible that Christ Trinitarians have used unguarded lanshould be both God and man, but let guage on this subject. The devout Dr. them not attempt to palm the mere Watis has we think, sometimes fallen into assumption of the fact upon their this error.. It consists in not sufficientiy readers as a scriptural argument. erties which belong to one nature of Christ
distinguishing the circumstances and pron. This, Mr. C. and the Reviewer have from those which belong to the other; or done. Is it fair, is it honest ? in supposing that what may be predicated
But the reviewer is not satisfied of his complex person as mediator, may be without imputing to us the grossest nature indiscriminately.
predicated either of his human or divine irreverence and impiety.
t« The incarceration of the Creator of Will you, at the present day, shock our the world in the body of a helplesa, puling feeliogs and usderstandings in ihe utter. infart is &c"- Belsham
Thirdly, Unitarians decide the decide, but them to inquire. Be doctrines of the Trinity and of the this as it may, the fact which we have divinity of Christ to be false, inde stated seems undeniable; they must pendently of the authority of the come to the scriptures when the presScriptures. These doctrines are ent questions are agitated with the spoken of again and again, by Mr. C. whole case prejudged and decided, for and the Reviewer, as involving if they believe the bible to be the gross absurdity,"-as “essentially word of the God of truth, to make it incredible”-as “jotrinsically inca a question whether it teaches absurdipable of any proof whatever” -as ties and contradictions as matters of those " which could make no part of a faith, is beyond the limits of humag revelation from God”-and which folly. It is equally plain, that they “it is impossible from the nature of labour to bring the minds of their the human mind we should believe.*" readers to the subject, occupied with With such views it is plain that the the same conviction of absurdity as a question of the truth or falsehood of preparative to set aside the decisions the doctrines in debate, cannot in the of the scriptures. So far as they sucminds of Unitarians be at all affected ceed in this attempt the main quesby the testimony of holy writ. The tions will be decided in a manner that question is forestalled and settled in will save time and study and prayer, every such mind, by its own independ- but still in a manner which utterly ent decisions. Nor can doctrines precludes the testimony of the God thus absurd, if found in the Bible be of truth, from the least influence in matters of faith, for no man can be determining their faith. lieve what it is impossible from the It is true indeed, that both Mr. C. nature of the human mind he should and the Reviewer profess to argue believe. To inquire in such a case, against the divinity of Christ from the what saith the scripture, with a view scriptures. Such, however, is their to submit to its authority on the sup mode of argument that it only enhanposition that it teaches the doctrines ces in our estimatiou the evidence of in debate, is impossible, and to pro- their disrespect for the inspired volfess to do so, grossly hypocritical. ume. This method consists in citing The only object in recurring to the texts which speak of Christ's jnferiinspired volume must be either to in- ority, and in stating facts concerning vent some novel and violent method Christ as a man, and hence inferring of interpretation to preserve the char- that he was not God; io pointing out acter of the writers, or to reject their the manner in which they suppose declarations as corrections or interpo- the doctrine would have been taught lations, or to convict them of incon- if revealed, and in specifying certain
efclusive reasonings, or to impute to fects which as they suppose the doc. them an excessive fondness for high trine, if taught, must have produced, wrought figures of speech, or what and inserring that because their conseems to us more consistent either to jectures are not realized in matters of deny the inspiration of the writers, or fact, the doctrine is not taught. Such to impeach the veracity of Him who is the proof professedly adduced from inspired them. Whether any one or the Bible that Christ is not divine! more of these motives govern Mr. C. But we are constrained to ask, how and the Reviewer in the study of the
does the Unitariau notion of inconword of God, it becomes not us to sistency between the buman and di
vine natures of Christ, how does the *4 The doctrine of the Trinity, if it had opinion of Mr. C. and the Reviewer been found there in the word of God) it would have been impossible for any rea- ing the doctrine, or how do their con
respecting the proper method of teachsonable man to believe, as it implies a contradiction which no miracles can
jectures respecting the effects which prove."--Dr. Priestley
the teaching of the doctrine would