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Unitarians. They were SO. Upon the point under consideration, however, Trinitarian writers of eminence have been equally explicit. • St Peter's creed' says Jeremy Taylor, was no more than this simple enunciation, We believe, and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God; and to this, salvation is particularly promised, as in the case of Martha's creed, John xi. 27.' 'The believing this article,' he observes, is the end of writing the four Gospels,' and proceeds to show that the scriptures pronounce this sufficient. Again, he quotes St Paul; This is the word of faith we preach, that if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thy heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; and adds, this is the great and entire complexion of a Christian's faith.' And a little after, he says, 'Now all that Christ, when he preached, taught us to believe, and all that the apostles in their sermons propound, all aim at this, that we should acknowledge Christ for our Lawgiver and our Saviour.' *
The learned Grotius, also a Trinitarian, commends the liberality of the ancient church, which commencing with the precepts, promises, and example of Jesus, as of first importance, fitted to nourish a spirit of piety and virtue, proceeded to teach those great doctrines, which were calculated to inspire a proper deference for his authority, as the promise of him made to the
not already familiar with the book, we recommend its careful perusal. * Liberty of Prophesying.
fathers, his miraculous birth, the office he sustains as the future judge of quick and dead, the pardon of sins obtained through him, and the perpetuity of his church. With these, he says, the ancient church was content; but he adds, there are other questions, relating to the distinction and unity of the Father, Word and holy spirit, and the two natures of Christ and their properties, an exact knowledge of which is not necessary to constitute a Christian. On these subjects,' he continues, 'there not only exists in the writings of the ancients a diversity in modes of expression, but a certain latitude of sentiment is observable; yet they did not cease, whether private men, or doctors and bishops, to hold intercourse, and cultivate a spirit of fraternal love and union.' *
The name of Doddridge, we suppose, is considered by Trinitarians as entitled to some respect, though the exclusive spirit common at the present day, derives no countenance from his example. Once I remember,' says his biographer, Dr Kippis, some narrow minded people of his congregation gave him no small trouble on account of a gentleman, who was a professed Arian, and who otherwise departed from the common standard of orthodoxy. This gentleman they wished either to be excluded from the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, or to have his attendance on it prevented. But the Doctor declared, that he would sacrifice his place, and even his life, rather than fix any such mark of dis* De Dogmatis, Ritibus, et Gub. Eccles. Christ.
couragement upon one, who, whatever his doctrinal sentiments were, appeared to be a real Christian.'
But to come nearer our own times, take the following observations of the late bishop of Landaff. There are, you will say, doubtless, some fundamental doctrines in Christianity. Paul, the apostle, has laid down one foundation, and he tells us, that other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus -The Christ.-But this proposition—Jesus is the Messiah includes, you will reply, several others, which are equally true. I acknowledge that it does so; and it is every man's duty to search the scriptures, that he may know what those truths are; but I do not conceive it to be any man's duty, to anathematize those who cannot subscribe to his catalogue of fundamental verities. That man is not to be esteemed an Atheist, who acknowledges the existence of a God, the Creator of the universe, though he cannot assent to all the truths of natural religion, which other men may undertake to deduce from that principle; nor is he to be esteemed a Deist, who acknowledges that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world, though he cannot assent to all the truths of revealed religion, which other men may think themselves warranted in deducing from thence. Still, you will probably rejoin, there must be many truths in the Christian religion, concerning which no one ought to hesitate, inasmuch as, without a belief in them, he cannot be reputed a Christian.-Reputed! by whom?
By Christ, or by you?-Rash expositors of points of doubtful disputation! intolerant fabricators of metaphysical creeds, and incongruous systems of Theology! do you undertake to measure the extent of any man's understanding except your own; to estimate the strength and origin of his habits of thinking; to appreciate his merit or demerit in the use of the talent which God has given him, so as unerringly to pronounce that the belief of this or that doctrine is necessary to his salvation? It is undoubtedly necessary to you, if you are persuaded that it comes from God; but you take too much upon you when you erect yourself into an infallible judge of truth and falsehood.' *
Again, in a Charge delivered to the Clergy of his diocese, in 1788, he observes, 'The day, we trust is not far distant, when a profession of belief in the divine mission of Jesus Christ, as related in the authentic Records of the Bible, will be considered as a comprehensive bond of charity fitted to unite, (which is the main thing) in mutual forbearance and good will at least, if not in community of worship, all denominations of Christians.'
'I hold,' says Dr Parr,' without professing any partiality for Unitarians, I hold that they who acknowledge Jesus Christ to be the promised Messiah, to have had a divine and special commission from the Almighty, to have been endowed supernaturally with the Holy Spirit, to have worked miracles, to have suffered on
* Preface to Theological Tracts, and Charge delivered in 1784,
the cross, and on the third day to have risen from the dead, I hold that men thus believing, have a sacred claim to be called Christians."*
We have quoted these passages, not for the purpose of making a display of great names, for in matters of faith, we are not accustomed to defer to human authority, and have no dread of dissent, but we thought it might be gratifying to our readers to observe the contrast between the language of distinguished Trinitarians, who have gone to their rest, and that assumed at the present day. We suppose that few will be hardy enough to contend, that the individuals, whose opinions we have given above, were at all inferior, to say the least, in piety, in learning, and strength of intellect, to the advocates of the modern exclusive system. But, unless we misjudge, they were men of another spirit.
No reasoning would seem necessary to expose the hollow pretence under which the name of Christian is withholden from Unitarians of the present day. They hold all the faith, which has been pronounced necessary to constitute a believer by Trinitarian writers of the greatest worth and eminence, all that was deemed necessary by the ancient church, and preached as such by our Saviour himself, and his apostles. And why are they now denied the name of Christians? Under pretext, that they reject the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel. Now to what does this charge
* See Christian Examiner, vol. v, p. 474.