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dency of Trinitarianism were unanswerably clear and forcible."* The Christian Examiner for November and December, 1826, says, p. 519, “ Of the sermon it is difficult to speak in measured terms of approbation. It has been pronounced the noblest production of the very pure and original mind which composed it, and was delivered with an effect which will never be forgotten by those who heard it.” And in a review of the discourse in the Examiner for January and February, 1827, it is said, “ To a mind not prejudiced by education and habits of life, not pledged to any system, nor bound to it by ties of interest, the force and clearness of reasoning with which the position of the sermon is maintained, must be irresistible. Of this fact we venture to say that there will be decisive proof. The sermon may be attacked, complained of, criticised, perhaps reviled; men may shut their eyes to it; they may refrain from reading it, regarding it as a matter of conscience to keep themselves in error, or, having read it, they may exclude it from their thoughts ; but it will not be answered. There will be, we think, no attempt to answer it, except, perhaps, by some one incapable of estimating, either his own powers, or the force of argument.” A discourse of which all this has been said, and which was composed and delivered and published in the circumstances that have been detailed, will be expected by the community to receive a careful examination.
It is not our purpose in this review to enter upon a discussion of the main question, which of the two systems, the Unitarian or the Orthodox, is of superior tendency to form an elevated religious character. The investigation of this topic, requiring an extended exposition of the principles of moral government and of free agency, will be reserved for a future publication. In this pamphlet we shall invite the attention of the christian public only to a few general remarks on the discourse of Dr. Channing.
* Christian Register of Dec. 16, 1826.
The text is Mark xii. 29, 30, “ And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel ; the Lord our God is one Lord ; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment.” The object proposed by the author is, “ to show the superior tendency of Unitarianism to form an elevated religious character,” and in this way, as “ the chief purpose of Christianity undoubtedly is to promote piety,” to “contribute no weak argument in support of the truth of” Unitarian “ views.” The subject was appropriate to the occasion. The discourse is evidently the result of much and anxious thought. And the style is animated throughout, and in some places beautiful. But here our commendation must end. Our subsequent remarks upon the discourse, a regard to truth, and the eternal interests of men, requires to be of a different character. And,
I. THE TEMPER MANIFESTED IN THE DISCOURSE IS EXCEEDINGLY TO BE REGRETTED, AS ONE WHICH BY
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR, AND IS ESPECIALLY TO BE DEPRECATED IN
There are some instances of a mode of speaking of the opinions and character of Orthodox professors of Christianity,
MINISTERS OF THE
now said, again and again, tends to produce dishonorable apprehensions of God, and gloomy views of life ; and to cramp and degrade the human mind, and must, from the nature of things, be inefficient in producing an elevated piety ; while Unitarianism, it was alleged, tends to produce exalted apprehensions of God, and cheerful views of life, and to enlarge and elevate the mind, and must produce, in those who sincerely embrace it, a fervent and active piety. This was the strain of much that appeared in the religious periodicals of the Unitarians, and, if we have not been misinformed, of much that was said in their ordinary discourses from the pulpit. In several occasional discourses, printed and published by Unitarian clergymen, this advantage was distinctly and confidently claimed for their system. In a sermon, * preached at the weekly Lecture in the First Church in Boston, May 20, 1824, and published in the Christian Examiner for May and June in that year, entitled, “On the Causes by which Unitarians have been withheld from exertions in the cause of Foreigu missions,” were the following remarks; “ There is, however, yet one other cause, to which the enemies of our distinctive religious sentiments ascribe, what they call, our indifference on the subject of the conversion of the Heathen. It is said, that the evil is to be sought in the very nature and character of our religious sentiments. But is there any justice in this accusation? Is there in our peculiar sentiments any thing to support the charge, that Unitarianism narrows our sympathies to the confines of those who bewhich are, in our view, utterly inconsistent even with that courtesy which should regulate civilized intercourse when there is no reserence to sacred subjects, and which is calculated to produce the same effect on many minds as was formerly produced by the sneers and scoffs of infidels. We are grieved to make these statements respecting any production of a clergyman of the standing of the author of this discourse, but justice requires us not to withhold them.
* This sermon was said to have been written by the gentleman who has since published “An appeal to Liberal Christians for the cause of Christianity in India.”
In the introduction to the discourse the author says,
“ This doctrine," Unitarianism, “is considered by some as the last and most perfect invention of Satan, the consummation of his blasphemies, the most cunning weapon ever forged in the fires of hell." “ To us this doctrine seems not to have steamed up from hell."
Of the sentiments of the Orthodox he has suffered himself to speak as follows:
“ This system,” Trinitarianism, “is a relapse into the error of the rudest and earliest ages, into the worship of a corporeal God. Its leading feature is....a doctrine which, in earthliness, reminds us of the mythology of the rudest pagans ; and which a pious Jew in the twilight of the Mosaic religion, would have shrunk from with horror." p. 17. “ Trinitarianism is a riddle." "One God consisting of three persons....is so misty, so incongruous, so contradictory.” “Such a being is certainly the most puzzling and distracting object ever presented to human thought. Trinitarianism....offers to the mind a monstrous compound of hostile attributes, bearing plain marks of those ages of darkness, when Christianity shed but a faint ray, and the diseased fancy teamed with prodigies and unnatural creations.” pp. 22, 23. of the universe,” such as he had alleged Trinitarianism involves and demands, "must be wild, and extravagant, and unworthy the perfect God.” p. 26. “For ourselves, we look with horror and grief on the views of God's government, which are naturally
- A system