sical comparisons, intended to elucidate the mode of union between the Persons in the Godhead; a point, not only above human comprehension, but equally unnecessary and unimportant for us to know in our present state.

2. Questions have in like manner been raised concerning the Incarnation of our blessed Saviour, incidental, not essential, to the doctrine itself. The plain doctrine deducible from holy writ, is, that our Lord was

perfect God and perfect man,” or, in other words, that “God and man was one Christ.” But continually has it been disputed, even by those who never meant to deny the doctrine itself, how and in what manner these two natures cooperated, or were conjoined, so as not to destroy the distinct identity of either. Hence arose endless controversies respecting the communication of the Divine attributes to the human nature; the participation of the Godhead in the sufferings of the manhood; the propriety of conferring upon the blessed Virgin the appellation of the “Mother of God;" with other questions of a similar kind; all, in a greater or less degree, unnecessary and unprofitable subjects of debate. And were it even admitted that they may be harmless in themselves, and not altogether uninstructive, when discussed in the spirit of Christian peace and amity, yet might they, without any detriment to the truth, have been altogether spared, had the respective parties been content to acquiesce in a simple acknowledgment of the entire union and perfection of the two natures in the person of our Lord, without confusion of both or separation of either ; this being in substance the whole of that “great mystery of godliness, God mani6 fest in the flesh.”

3. Closely and inseparably connected with the doctrine of our Lord's Incarnation, is that of the Satisfaction, or Atonement, made by him for the sins of mankind. This also has been a subject fruitful of speculation to the disputatious inquirer; a subject too, on which, (if we may judge from some differences concerning it, even among divines of high and deserved reputation) some latitude of interpretation may be allowed, without surrendering or weakening the doctrine itself. It is hardly to be expected, that we should be able to clear up every difficulty respecting the necessity or the efficacy of vicarious suffering.

it be possible for us to affix so clear and definite a meaning to the word satisfaction, when applied to the propitiation of the Father by our Lord's death and sacrifice,

Neither may

as may preclude cavils and disputes. We know only that it has produced the effect which the word satisfaction implies, in that it has been accepted by the Almighty as a sufficient expiation for sin. But when

But when questions are started, why such a sacrifice was necessary, or how it was rendered efficacious; when it is asked, how infinite justice and infinite mercy can be brought to concur, without some abatement of the one or the other in the Being by whom they are exercised; or, when arguments are required to prove that the Divine attributes could not possibly in any other

way have met the exigency of the case; more seems to be called for than it is either necessary or becoming to require. So long as it is maintained, on the authority of holy writ, that “ Christ died, the just for the unjust;" and that, “ when we were enemies,

we were reconciled to God by the death of “ his Son;" these inquiries concerning the grounds and reasons of the proceeding may surely well be spared. Admitting that they may laudably and beneficially exercise the faculties of pious and sober-minded men, with a view either to their own higher veneration for the mystery revealed, or to the removal of sceptical objections in others; yet ought they never to be regarded as matters


upon which our faith in the doctrine itself depends.

4. Again; many controversies have been raised respecting the real presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist. Between the doctrine of Transubstantiation maintained by the Church of Rome, and that held by Protestant Churches in general, there is a manifest and irreconcileable opposition. · Between the Lutheran tenet of Consubstantiation and the tenets of other Protestant Churches there is also a broad line of distinction not easily to be mistaken. But most of the Reformed Churches, while they declare the elements of bread and wine to remain unchanged, and deny the body and blood of Christ to be corporally present, acknowledge them nevertheless to be mystically and sacramentally present; that is, they acknowledge, that, by virtue of the spiritual grace which accompanies the elements, they convey to the penitent and faithful communicant the full and actual benefits of our Lord's death upon the cross. This, it might be supposed, would suffice to unite all parties in this great act of faith and worship. But when subtle disputants began to dilate upon this general and simple view of the subject, endeavouring to describe the mode of our Lord's presence in more specific

terms, embarrassments soon arose, and differences, sometimes scarcely perceptible, occasioned almost inextinguishable feuds. Divisions, moreover, took place respecting the true characteristic properties of the sacrament. Between the Romish doctrine of the mass, which considers the eucharist as an actual propitiatory sacrifice, and the Socinian notion, which reduces it to a bare commemorative service, unaccompanied with any spiritual grace, there is a wide field of disquisition. Whether it



any admissible sense be called a sacrifice, has been keenly debated, some contending for the application of that term to it in a qualified acceptation ; others altogether rejecting it, as giving countenance to the error of the Romish mass. Different names and titles have also been given to this ordinance, according to these respective views of it; among which, however, there is probably much less substantial difference than the controversialists themselves have imagined : and however desirable it may be to form the most clear and distinct notions upon every point relating to so important a subject, we cannot but deprecate such a pertinacity respecting slight varieties of opinion as tends to multiply divisions, where agree

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