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Heaven can give. And, happily, numerous will be the congregations, where a gentle and silent transition, like that from night to day, will be made from error to truth. The people, as the Panoplist allowed unawares, will know nothing of the old doctrines, if the old doctrines are not perpetually dragged into notice. With the exception of comparatively a few rapid, violent, and resisted changes, the probable process of universal Unitarianization will be this. In every denomination under the sun, the great leading truths, doctrines, and spirit, of unadulterated Christianity will alone be dwelt upon, and all that is unimportant, all that is merely sectarian, all that is solemnly metaphysical, all that even the refined and able spirits of Milton's Pandemonium in vain attempted to penetrate, will be quietly dropped out of view, and be as little heard of as the once agitated question now is, whether Lois, the mother of Mary, was the grandmother of the Deity, or only the mother of his mother.
In this desirable and gradual transmutation, the very name of Unitarian will, in all probability, disappear, along with those of many existing sects, which are at this moment far more busily engaged in digging lines of circumvallation about their own separate enclosures, than in promoting the general interests of Christianity. When the idea, or the phantasm, of Trinitarianism goes out of the world, the name will go with it, and of course the correlative term Unitarian will be abolished too. Yet no genuine Christian of that denomination can lament this circumstance, since we ought to rise infinitely higher than the poor and paltry spirit of sectarian triumph, and expend our sole endeavours in behalf of those things and principles, which revelation has delivered to us, and consecrated to the honour of God, and the everlasting good of man.
After having reviewed the past, and examined the spirit of the age, we were next to inquire what encouragements we may hope for from the concurring tendencies of sects, and from the character of our doctrine
One important fact, which has been never enough attended to, will, at a single glance, convince the reader, that we have solid ground-work for the above sanguine speculations. The fact alluded to is, that substantial Unitarianism at this moment exists, in a greater or less degree of development, in the faith of every denomination of Christians. There is a Unity of God for which they all as strenuously contend as for his Trinity; there is a certain inferiority of Christ to the Father, which mingles among all their instructions, as frequently as does his equality to the Father; nay, even his independent human nature is as often presented by orthodox preachers to the contemplation of their hearers, as is his divinity. The force of motives, and the authority of all the sanctions of revelation, which are the grand and sacred moral instruments of Unitarian exhortation, continue, in spite of the marvellous inconsistency, to be urged by many Trinitarian advocates of absolute election and vicarious atonement. And so of every other doctrine which contributes to form the substance of our faith. The perfect statue, we maintain, exists beneath every block, however uncouth, disfigured, and repulsive, or however overloaded, beautified, and disguised, which the differing imaginations of Christians have caught hold of and worshipped as the form of truth. We hint this, by the
way, as one justification of our alleged want of sectarian zeal. We insist that simple Unitarianism is every where preached, except when a few lovers of mystery, metaphysics, abstraction, and barren system, succeed either in exciting the public mind, or in harrowing their religious teachers into what has been so sadly miscalled doctrinal preaching. Unitarian incense involuntarily ascends from every altar where sincere Christianity ministers, and it is not ours to assert, that it may not be almost as acceptable to the Deity as if it pure
and unmixed. But thus, then, at least, the foundation is already laid for us; the seed is sown; or rather let us say, the complete edifice, the entire tree is standing, waiting for the scaffolding to be torn away, for the excrescencies to be lopped off. It is this which gives us the unmatched advantage over all opposing sects. Unitarianism certainly lies at the heart of their creeds; Trinitarianism has no sort of connection with ours. Why should they not therefore exhibit more zeal than we, since it is so much easier for us to pry an error off from their minds, than for them to nail it on ours? Their exertions for sectarian success must be incessant and unwearied, ours for the spread of truth may almost be quiescent. It is up-hill work with them; we are moving onward by an instinctive impetus. Where they count one convert from us, we number a church brought over from them; for this is now about the true and settled ratio of the matter. They feel and know that every word said against our belief, is uttered against something which exists somewhere in the gospel, and is so much played into the hands of infidels; and this is the conscious secret of much of that fear, clamour, mystery, bustle, personality, jealousy, and despair, which, treading argument under foot, unite in producing on their side a convulsive and often not contemptible opposition. The very worst that can be said of us, on the supposition that we are wrong, is that we come short of the whole truth; but if they are wrong, it is manifest that their error is positive, and infinitely monstrous. Such are our overwhelming advantages, intrinsic in the very nature of the question, on which the two leading divisions of Christians are at issue.
Therefore, the fences and fortifications of orthodox principles, which, as if under an apprehension of the process we have been anticipating, it is now so much the fashion to erect, do not in the least appal us. Time has as little respect for creeds and subscriptions, as for the edifices in which they are recited. With regard to the Church of England, her orthodoxy depends pretty much on the will of the king, and of parliament assembled. The power is in his hand of calling together a convocation, which might by one decree change the whole colour and texture of that church. In our own country, the same convention which left the Episcopal church here at liberty to introduce or not into its liturgy the "descent of Christ into hell," have still the power to exclude from it the dogma of his deification. We have much hope hereafter in that same general convention. The General Assembly of Presbyterians is at peace and harmony in itself,-a decided symptom of Unitarian tendencies; the two great connexions of Presbyterianism are effecting a reunion, which so far also indirectly argues well for our cause. Let but the spirit of bigotry in any shape go down, and the path is so much cleared for the advance of liberality. Neither does the subscription at Andover, every five years renewed, appal us. If the wealth and resources of that institution are so locked up, that they cannot be applied to the revolving exigencies of truth, religion, and free inquiry, the new demands of society will bye and bye easily create their own supplies.
Amid the reasonable visions which we thus love to indulge, respecting the prevalence of right theological views, we are by no means so sanguine as to expect a general uniformity in exteriour modes of worship. Should the world be ever completely Unitarianized, there may still prevail different sects, of subordinate opinions, as various as the colours of the rainbow. We hope even in our own day, to see Unitarian Methodists, arranging themselves into classes, and watching over each other's moral and spiritual welfare with a profitable zeal. Is not this possible without those lamentable peculiarities which almost seem to reduce the religion of the followers of Wesley into an animal and muscular concern? In England, there is already an abundance of Unitarian Baptists, in the most flourishing state, who perpetuate among themselves the innocent custom of what some think to be the exact mode in which the Saviour was baptized. They find, too, that they can easily enjoy the satisfaction of existing as a separate sect, without setting up that last inner sanctuary of bigotry, denominated close communion. The Washington Columbian College has adopted Campbell's Gospels and Dissertations as a text book in their theological department. What a wedge for liberality! The German Lutheran Churches have only to continue employing the Liturgy of their Evangelical Synod of