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tempts, therefore, to harmonize their discordances, or explain their distinctions. He is the advocate of Scripture alone, and invariably respects the silence of the sacred volume. The Unity of God' is the subject of the first discourse; and the following passage is an instance of the caution to which we have adverted.

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Of the precise import of the term personality, as applied to a distinction in the Divine essence, or of the peculiar nature and mode of that distinction, I shall not attempt to convey to your minds any clear conception. I cannot impart to you what I do not possess myself:and convinced, as I am, that such conception cannot be attained by any, it had been well, I think, if such attempts at explanation by comparisons from nature, and otherwise, had never been made They have afforded to the enemies of the doctrine much unnecessary occasion for burlesque and blasphemy.-The Scriptures simply assure us of the fact ;-of the mode of the fact they offer no explanation. And where the Bible is silent, it becomes us to be silent also; for when in such cases we venture to speak, we can only "darken counsel by "words without knowledge." The fact, and not the manner of it, being that which is revealed, is the proper and only object of our faith. We believe that it is so; but how it is so, we are not ashamed to say, we do not presume even to conjecture!' p. 11.




The Unity of God' is one of those facts of which we could never have spoken with certainty, but for the clear and explicit assertions of Scripture. The evidence in its favour, derived from the harmony of the universe, and the apparent unity of design in the arrangements of the natural world, proves only, as Dr. Paley has judiciously observed, a unity of counsel." It was reserved for revelation to give undoubted assurances concerning this first principle of religion. But what idea do we attach to the term unity, when applied to the Divine Being? If the Bible contain all the information on this subject, that can be considered original and decisive, then every antecedent idea of the nature of that unity, should give place to its own declarations. What reason have we for imagining that the Unity of 'God' at all resembles the unity of any individual creature? If God reveal himself to mortals, it must be in the language of mortals; and it is a marvellous fact that the terms of such a revelation, on the subject of the Divine Unity, should directly convey the idea that that Unity is not like the unity of any of his creatures! In the earliest discoveries of sacred truth, terms are applied to the Supreme Being which directly convey the notion of plurality, while that plurality is at the same time associated with unity. The proofs of this fact offer themselves to us in various parts of the Old Testament; and no reasonings, founded on the pride and arrogance of eastern monarchs, in their royal proclamations, or on the supposition of angels being associated

with the Deity in his acts and decisions, can invalidate the plain import of scriptural language, without, at the same time, impeaching the veracity of God. It is acknowledged that the Jewish Scriptures were specially designed to counteract and prevent polytheistic ideas.

We might, therefore, naturally expect that the language of such writings would be carefully freed from the possibility of being perverted to the support of such ideas; much less would they directly sanction them. Why then are plural nouns and pronouns, in connexion with verbs of the singular number, so frequently employed? Why are the attributes of Divinity ascribed to a certain character, appearing in various forms, and on various occasions, to patriarchs and propbets? and why do prophetic writers ascribe to the Messiah these same attributes under a more permanent form of humanity? It is impossible to answer these inquiries on any principle of consistency with the harmony of revelation, if we reject the doctrine of what is called, for want of a better name, the Trinity?

Some of these arguments are amplified at considerable length in the first discourse; and, in addition to them, Mr. W. cites the language of Christ in the baptismal institution, and the apostolic benediction of St. Paul, in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. On this latter passage he has the following remarks.

. That this form of blessing includes in it a prayer, it would be a waste of words to prove. To whom then is this prayer addressed ? Had it been simply said, “ The love of God be with you all, Amen!" no one, I suppose, would have hesitated to say, that when the Apostle thus expressed himself, he presented, in his heart, a petition to the Father of mercies, for the manifestation of his love to the believers at Corinth. On what principle of criticism, then, are we to interpret the expression “The grace, or favour of our Lord Jesus Christ," an expression so precisely the same in form, in a different sense ? in a sense that does not imply Jesus Christ's being the object of a similar inward aspiration? And the same question might be asked with regard to the remaining phrase, “ The communion of the Holy Spirit.It should be considered too, that the Corinthians would at once associate the phraseology employed, with the terms of the initiatory ordinance of baptism, to which they had submitted on their entrance into the Christian church. They would perceive the coincidence between the one and the other; and would understand the apostle as addressing himself, in their behalf, to the three persons, in whose name they had, upon his own instructions, been baptized. I would only asks, how can we suppose an inspired man, or even a man of common understanding, to recommend, in the solemn language of prayer, his converts and brethren to the love of God, and to the favour and communion of two of his creatures ; or to the love of God, the favour of a man, and the communion of an attribute, or influence, or energy? and that too not only in terms so exactly


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alike, but with a precedence given to the creature in the order of
address ? pp. 18-19. .

supreme divinity of Jesus Christ is the subject of the next four discourses; and it is discussed in a style of very superior ability

Vigorous thinking, eloquent reasoning, and solid, dispassionate, and masterly criticism, are happily combined in this part of the series. We should feel peculiar pleasure in analyzing Mr. Wardlaw's own abstract of the argument contained in the fifth discourse; but this would not be sufliciently compendious for our purpose ; and we shall, therefore, content ourselves with selecting a few of the principal reasonings on this interesting theme.

On its vast importance' he has the following excellent observations.

•Contemplate, in the first place, its own nature. There are some doctrines which we at once perceive, as soon as they are stated, I do not say to be of no value, (for nothing which God has been pleased to make known, is destitute of value,) but to be doctrines of comparatively minor consequence, while there are others, which we as immediately diseern to be of essential and vital importance. To the latter of these classes the doctrine before us will, without hesitation, be referred by every reflecting mind. If it be, indeed, a truth, that Jesus Christ is GOD OVER ALL, it is utterly impossible, that it can be a truth of subordinate magnitude. The simple statement of it is enough to shew that it must rank as a first principle ; an article of prime importance; a foundation stone in the temple of truth; a star of the very first magnitude in the hemisphere of Christian doctrine. For my own part, I believe it to be even more than this ; a kind of central sun, around which the whole system of Christianity, in all its glory, and in all its harmony, revolves.'

This view of its importance is confirmed, when we consider it, secondly, in ils connection with our most interesting and solemn duties. I mean the duties which we owe to the great object of supreme reverence, worship, and obedience. If Jesus Christ be not God, then we, who offer to him that homage of our hearts, which is due to God alone, are, without doubt, guilty of idolatry; as really guilty as the worshippers of the deified heroes of Greece or Rome. We are guilty, like shem, of " changing the glory of the incorruptible God, into an

image, made like to corruptible man; of thus alienating the honours of him, who hath declared, that he “will not give his glory to “another.” This, surely, is no trifle. But is it on the other handa trifle, is it fitted to excite no serious concern, no uneasy apprehension, to withhold Divine honour from one to whom it is due to divest of his supreme dignity, and to equalise with ourselves, puny worms of the dust, one whom angels and archangels adore as “God “over all, blessed for ever?” Consequences of such magnitude, on both sides, certainly stamp with immense importance the enquiry on which we are now entering.'

The same thing is manifest, thirdly, from the intimate relation which this doctrine bears to others. It is an integral part of a system of truths, which stand or fall along with it. It is connected, for example, in the closest manner, with the purpose of Christ's appearance upon earth, and the great design of his sufferings and death ; that is, with the vitally important doctrine of atonement :- this doctrine again is inseparably connected with the corruption of human nature, and the universal guilt of mankind :-this, in its turn, essentially affects the question respecting the true ground of a sinner's acceptance with God: the necessity of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit; the principle and motive of all acceptable obedience, and other points of similar consequence. It is very obvious, that two systems, of which the sentiments on subjects such as these are in direct opposition, cannot, with any propriety, be confounded together under one common name.

That both should be Christianity is impossible ; else Christianity is a term which distinguishes nothing. Viewing the matter abstractedly, and without affirming, for the present, what is truth, and what is error, this, I think, I may with confi. dence affirm, that to call schemes so opposite in all their great leading articles, by a common appellation, is more absurd, than it would be to confound altogether those two theories of astronomy, of which the one places the earth, and the other the sun, in the centre of the planetary system. They are, in truth, essentially different religions. For if opposite views as to the object of worship, the ground of hope for eternity, the rule of faith and duty, and the principles and motives of true obedience ;-- if these do not constitute different religions, we may, without much difficulty, discover some principle of union and identity amongst all religions whatever; we may realise the doctrine of Pope's universal prayer; and extend the right hand of fellowship to the worshippers at the Mosque, and to the votaries of Brama.'

Pp. 31-33.

And so would many of the advocates of modern Socinianism. The consequence does not oppose their principles; and at Constantinople, or Calcutta, it would not oppose their practice if they acted consistently with those principles. What is the amount of all that is advanced about the innocence of mental error, and the acceptableness of any and of every form of religious worship, whether Pagan, Mahometan, or professedly Christian, but the result of that indifference which on this subject is the characteristic of scepticism and of Socinianism? We are persuaded that among nominal Christians, the spirit of both systems is far more prevalent than some imagine, and is both the cause and the effect of their influence. It is on this account we rejoice in the solemn conviction of the importance of just views of Divine truth,—views which pervade all the reasonings and appeals of the volume before us. Mr. W. is not a mere disputant, supporting a point because he has subscribed an orthodox creed and belongs to a church that demands his professional vindication of it, but because he is a fully persuaded” of its accord

ance with the oracles of God, and is supremely anxious to impress on the minds of others the same convictions.

After these preliminary remarks, Mr. W. vindicates the text, 1 John v. 20. which he hasa ffixed to each of the four discourses, from the critical misconstruction of it in the Socinian controversy.

The whole verse runs thus:-" And we know that the Son of God is "come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him, that "is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ; "this (or he) is the true God, and eternal life." I am quite aware of the ambiguity arising here from the appearance of a double antecedent. By "him that is true," it is said, we are to understand the Father and to this appellation, which is the remote antecedent, the expression, "this is the true God" may refer, as well as to "his Son, Jesus Christ," which is the immediate antecedent.


'On this subject let me request your attention to the following brief remarks. It is the established general rule, that the personal, or the demonstrative, should be considered as referring to the immediate antecedent. To this general rule there are two cases of exception :1st. When obvious and indisputable necessity requires the contrary.* But in the instance, in our text, no such necessity can be pleaded, except on the previous assumption of the certainty that Jesus Christ is not the true God. Were this antecedently demonstrated, it might justify a deviation from ordinary practice. But to proceed on such an assumption is to beg the question in dispute. 2d. When the immediate antecedent holds no prominent place in the sentence, but is introduced only incidentally, the remote being obviously the chief subject, having the entire, or greatly preponderating emphasis in the



* Thus, when Peter, addressing the Jewish Council respecting the man that had been cured of his lameness, says, " Be it known unte you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus "Christ of Nazareth, even by him, doth this man stand before you "whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, "which is now become the head of the corner. Acts iv. 10, 11. No one ever imagines that because the lame man is the immediate antecedent, "This is the stone," must be interpreted as referring to him. The same impossibility of mistake exists, as to the reference of the demonstrative pronoun, in the following verse of the Second Epistle of John: "For many deceivers are entered into the world, "who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a “deceiver and an antichrist." In shewing that the pronoun in the words of our text should be understood as referring to the remote antecedent, Mr. Belsham introduces this latter passage, and he mentions no other as a "similar case!" Of the degree of parallelism, and of the candour evinced in such a reference, I may safely leave the reader to form his own judgement.-Belsham's Calm Inquiry into the Scriptural Doctrine concerning the Person of Christ. pp. 232, 233.

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