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unprejudiced understanding, and enlighten every Christian heart with the clearness and the glory of spiritual truth.
But, although the prophetical parts of Scripture may, and too often have become a snare to the rash, the incautious, and the unwise, still let us not, on that account, undervalue their importance, or lightly regard the truths which they contain. Let us not forget the blessing which St. John pronounced on those who pay discreet attention to the prophecy contained in the book of Revelations, and which we may well consider as extending to all the prophetical parts of the sacred volume. “ Blessed"-are his words, “ is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Blessed are they, who, in the spirit of soberness and humility, and true wisdom, attend to the words of prophecy, and mark the growing signs of its accomplishment; who, while they are not rash and indiscreet in claiming on insufficient grounds the application of it to passing events, still are not slow and hard of belief in acknowledging the fulfilment of it when evinced by signs too clear to be mistaken; who thus derive from this source strength to their faith, and confirmation of their Christian hopes; and thereby learn to trust more fully in the ways of God's righteous providence, and in the truth of His holy word.
ON MODERN UNITARIANISM.
HEBREWS x. 23.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without
Amongst the various opinions and doctrines, by the different consideration of which the Christian church has been unhappily divided, many, it has often been said, are entirely matter of spe( culation, leading to no consequences, influencing no practice, and leaving the great duties of life towards God, our neighbour, and ourselves, to rest on the same authority, and to be enforced by the same sanctions, on whichsoever side the determination respecting them may take place.
The Unitarian * has contended that, when he denies the mysterious doctrine of the Holy Trinity; when he endeavours to degrade the Saviour of the world from his ránk as the Eternal Son of God to that of a mere human being, commissioned with Divine authority; and when he would rob mankind of their hope in Him, as their Intercessor, Mediator, and Redeemer ; he is merely advancing a controversy on points, which may be affirmed or denied with perfect indifference; which leave unaltered the claims of Christianity to the acceptance of mankind; which affect not the range of human duties, nor the obligations by which the performance of those duties is enforced.
* See Note U.
Now,—even if the concession could be made, that the doctrines in question have no visible influence on the practices of men-still it could never be allowed to be matter of indifference, where we rest our faith, and what we permit ourselves, respecting such important points, to receive as true, or to reject as false. It is for man humbly to accept, and seriously to believe, what God has been pleased to reveal. It is our business to enquire, in any instance, whether we have sufficient proof that a doctrine does really proceed from Him. Let us procure satisfaction on this head; and no room remains for the admission of the slightest doubt, founded on our utter inability to comprehend that which is revealed, or on our ignorance of the reason why the revelation has been made, and of the purpose which is thereby intended.
But, that the important doctrines of the proper Divinity of the Son of God, and of the Atonement effected by His death, are entirely speculative doctrines, can never be conceded. Is no difference, let it be asked, established in our ideas of the great Christian scheme, whether we consider it merely as a system of reltyious instruction, or as a comprehensive plan of general redemption? Is no splendid picture of immeasurable Divine benevolence pourtrayed in the conception and the execution of a design, formed in the eternal counsels, for the restoration, to happiness, of immortal, though fallen, beings; of a design presenting those exalted views of all the Divine perfections, which, while they strike us with admiration, must win us to gratitude and oblige us to obedience? Is no consolation held out to him who feels the utter insufficiency of his own merits, from the assurance that one has died upon the cross,whose all-sufficient meritswill plead in his behalf at the throne of grace; that he has a most powerful advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous ? Do not all the precepts of Christianity press upon us with a most commanding authority, when we receive them, not merely as from a human being invested with a Divine commission, but from the Eternal Son of God Himself; from one, who, while He came to instruct us in our duty, came also to redeem us from our sins, to die for our salvation ? Is not, in the knowledge of the same truths, that animating certainty afforded of the satisfaction made for sin, and of the efficacy of repentance, which, under the disbelief of these great doctrines, we never could attain; which must remove from fallen man the gloomy apprehensions of eternal displeasure; which must quicken and invigorate his every hope of final admission to an immortality of happiness? Does not, in fact, the denial of these doctrines entirely weaken Christianity as a practical system ; lower it in its principles and in its tone; and, while it renders its sanctions less efficacious, impair its claims to human respect ?
While therefore we refuse to partake in that feeling of cool indifference, which many would inculcate on us, in the support of Christian doctrines; a feeling, which those especially, who are concerned to destroy our faith in the established creed of our Church, are more particularly anxious to inculcate, as being a most useful auxiliary towards the promotion of their plans; while we are convinced of the deep importance of practising Christian duties on true Christian principles; of endeavouring rightly to apprehend the true faith, and having apprehended, to obey the Apostolic precept of holding fast“ the profession of it without wavering;" it becomes us to stand