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sition which it would be vain to deny. But on the supposition that on this peculiar point they have been misunderstood, it is not easy to account for the silence in which one, at least, of their number suffered an opinion to pass which originated under his immediate observation, and drew strength and confirmation from his language', both in the introduction of his Gospel, and in the conclusion of his first Epistle, in which he maintains the same doctrine, that the Word was God, even the true God. Neither can a sufficient reason be assigned, why the prophetic spirit which resided in the Apostles hath not made the slightest allusion to this error, which from the beginning has been admitted into the creeds of the Christian Church, and which the whole Scriptures have been made to authorize. It is certain that no apostasy can be compared with this alleged erroneous doctrine, in duration, in extent, or in enormity, and that it cannot be more offensive to the refine
i John i. 1. 1 John v. 20.
ments of modern philosophy, than it must have been to the Jews, and to the descendants of Jews, unless it had been familiarized to them in their traditions, and recommended in the authentic Scriptures from which those traditions were derived.
Whether the Jewish Church was or was not Unitarian in the sense in which the term is now ordinarily but disingenuously applied, is a question which it is not intended to discuss. An end would readily be put to the controversy, and it should be conceded without hesitation or reserve, that every Christian and every Jew is an Unitarian, if that denomination was simply defined, “ a person who believes in and worships “ one God onlyk.” This is a truth which Israel heard from Sinai, and which hath been repeated and enforced on the attention of the disciples of Christ. But this definition is perplexed and embarrassed with restrictions and additions, as is that which relates to the humanity of Christ; and we are challenged to collect the sentiments of our adversaries, and to consult the standard of the Scriptures, whether the Father be the object of exclusive worship; what is the nature, and what the office of Jesus of Nazareth ; and of what nature, and extent are the Holy Spirit and his gifts and operations. Subordinate questions, which may be decided by a more cursory argument, will arise concerning the nature and condition of man, the eternity of punishment, the nature of angels, and the inspiration of the sacred Scriptures.
k A Unitarian Christian's Statement and Defence of his Principles : by John Prior Estlin, LL. D. p. 26.
I. It is the “ solemn, deliberate, and firm
conviction” of the Unitarian, “ that the “ God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ " is the only God";” and “ that there is 6 one God in one person only, ..the sole os object of all religious worship, the only o invisible Being with whom reasonable “ creatures can have any intercourse, or “ upon whom they can have any depend
Unitarianism the Doctrine of the Gospel : by Lant Carpenter, LL. D. p. 350. 73.
66 ancem.” - Unitarians do not pray to “ Christ, because they think this would be - a violation of the first commandment, " and that it is the source of most of the “ corruptions of Christianityn.” “ Unita“ rians, properly so called, disclaim the « doctrine of a subordinate Creator and “ Governor of the universe : .. they acknow“ ledge no delegated Creator, no inferior “ God." They “feel themselves bound " to reject, and under an imperative sense “ of duty to enter their solemn protest a" gainst the commonly received doctrine “ of the Trinity, as an ancient and gross “ corruption of the Christian revelation P,” “..manifestly repugnant to the fundamental “ principles both of the Jewish and Chrisos tian revelations, and to the clearest and “ most explicit language, both of the Old “ Testament and the New 9.”
m Letters addressed to the Bishop of London, in Vindication of the Unitarians : by Thomas Belsham, p. 5.
n Estlin, p. 31. • Belsham's Letters to the Bishop of London, p. 9. p Ibid. p. 8. 9 Ibid. p. 35. See Carpenter, p. 79, 80.
In vindication of these gross corruptions as they are called, and of our belief of their scriptural origin and authenticity, we appeal to the clear and explicit language of our Saviour, when he commanded the converted nations to be baptized, not in the 'names, but “ in the name of the Fa“ ther, and of the Son, and of the Holy “ Ghost",” thus perpetuating the doctrine by the ordinances of his Church. We appeal also to that of his Apostle, whose solemn benediction of the Corinthians was, that “ the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, " and the love of God, and the fellowship “ of the Holy Ghosts" might be with them; and who felt the most earnest zeal for the Colossians, Laodiceans, and other disciples, “ that their hearts might be com“ forted, being knit together in love, and “ unto all riches of the full assurance of “ understanding, to the acknowledgment “ of the mystery of God, and of the Fa“ ther, and of Christ, in whom are hid all " the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,”
r Matt. xxviii. 19.
s 2 Cor. xiii. 14.