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to truth; urged, moreover, by my conscience, to declare my thoughts on the doctrines of Christianity, and the differences, which divide Christian societies; I proceed to do it, with that simplicity which becomes integrity, in the near view of death.'
After some remarks on the unity of God, which, he observes, is the foundation of the Gospel,' he proceeds: God, willing to draw men from their errors, and to purify them from their sins, filled Jesus Christ with his wisdom, invested him with his power, communicated to him his authority, and gave him his Spirit, not by measure, as to the prophets, but united himself so intimately with him, that Jesus Christ appeared in the form of God; that he was made Lord and Christ; Prince and Saviour; that he was filled with wisdom and with grace; that all the fulness of the Godhead resided corporeally in him; and that he received the glory, the honor, the virtue, the strength, and the blessing, of his Father; who, by the participation which he gave him of his power and authority, made him enter, at the same time, into a participation of his glory, in such a manner, that he who honors the Son, honors the Father who sent him. Thus God, referring always every thing to himself, and not terminating in Jesus Christ, who is no otherwise regarded than as the organ and the instrument of the mercy of his Father, is always God alone, who is the object of our adorations; and there is nothing that shocks us in conceiving, that he can communicate himself to a man as fully, and as intimately, as he judges it necessary for his own glory, and for the salvation of mankind.
This is the explication of that intimate union of di
vinity with humanity in Jesus Christ, which, perfectly simple as it is, has so much divided all Christendom. From a willingness to find, in this intimate union of divinity with humanity, in Jesus Christ, all that we experience in the union of the body and the soul, we have been thrown into embarrassments and contradictions, which it is impossible either to explain or to conciliate. We talk of hypostases, of personalities, of idioms, and of every thing that a dark philosophy could imagine, to render things credible, of which it was unable to give us any notion. Some have made a ridiculous mixture of the divinity with the humanity. Others, in discriminating too nicely the difference, have seemed to place Jesus Christ only in the rank of ordinary prophets. Hence, the Nestorianism, the Eutycheism, the Apollinarism, and the Monothelisme, which have excited such fatal schisms in the church, and which have, perhaps, as much favored the progress of Mahometanism in the East, as the ignorance of these nations, and the victorious arms of the Saracens.
To avoid these excesses, we must abide in the simplicity of the Gospel, and content ourselves with acknowledging, that God, to bring the world back to his knowledge, and to his worship, gave birth to Jesus Christ, in a miraculous manner, and united himself to him in a way the most close and intimate, so that it might be said, that Jesus Christ was in God, and God in him; that all that appertained to the Father was in the disposition of the Son, by the communication which the Father had given him of his power; that he had resigned all judgement to him; that, as the Father could raise the dead to life, the Son could do so also;
that the doctrine of Jesus Christ was not his own, but that of his Father who sent him; that he was only the same thing with him; that it was the Father who abode in him, and who did all his works; in one word, that he was the Son of God, because that God, on sending him into the world, had sanctified him to such a degree, that he who saw him, saw his Father, and that he who believed in him, believed also in God.
When one has once acknowledged the truth and the holiness of the Gospel, all this doctrine concerning the person of Jesus Christ, appears to me so simple, that I cannot conceive how it was possible to corrupt it by so many explications, which are good for nothing, but to make Christianity appear less reasonable, and full of contradictions. In consequence of a continual desire to find new mysteries, an infinitude of imaginations have been consecrated; and it is still more lamentable, that these imaginations are become a part of religion, by the authority of some, and by the acquiescence of others; so that a man passes for an unbeliever, or an irreligious person, if he does not subscribe to the predominant system; and if he happens to have too much understanding to submit to received prejudices, or too much fortitude to be overawed by violence.
It is not so much the person of Jesus Christ, as his doctrine, that is the object of the Christian religion; and though we ought to honor the Son as we honor the Father, because he had His mission, and was clothed with His authority, it is however, to God only, that Jesus Christ reclaims our attention; and he assumes no other consequence to recommend himself to the Jews, than as having been sanctified by his Father, to
come and announce his doctrine; and to instruct us in truths unknown to the Gentiles, and very much altered by the Jews.'
: THE BIBLE CHRISTIAN.'
This is the title of a new monthly publication which our Unitarian brethren in Ireland have lately been compelled to undertake, in consequence of the violent measures pursued against them by the exclusive Presbyterians of that country. We quote a brief passage from the 'Introductory Remarks,' of the first number of this spirited work, which shows that Orthodoxy is much the same there that it is here.
'Thank God! the horrible implements of bodily torture have been broken, and the flaming piles of martyrdom extinguished by the christian energies of the Civil Law; but the dark Spirit of persecution, that called them into existence, still lingers upon the earth. His voice sounds in the storm of controversy, and whispers in the breeze of affected moderation. He assumes a thousand varied shapes to accomplish his designs. With all the subtlety of the primeval serpent, he steals, in the guise of religion, into private families, and kindles the embers of strife. He glides into peaceful congregations, pours the deadly poison of falsehood into the ears of the people, and leaves "a waste and howling wilderness," where he found an Eden of peace and love. Sometimes he enters into the hearts of Synods and Presbyteries, in
flating them with vanity, ambition, and "all uncharitableness;" carrying Ministers of the Gospel forward, in a wild career, to disturb the peace and ruin the families of their conscientious brethren by arts and exertions that would dishonor the followers of Mahomet; and sometimes he over-runs the country in the form of irreligious Tracts, or Pamphlets, filled with groundless calumnies, or Preachers of discord, calling themselves Ministers of Peace! We have seen him in all these forms, and many others: we have traced him, in his odious progress, from district to distrist: we have entered the once happy homes which he has changed into abodes of sorrow: we have beheld enlightened, virtuous, venerable Ministers withering under his malignant grasp we have witnessed the severing of long-tried friendships, and the disjointing of the whole frame of society-we have looked upon all these, and entertained a doubt whether Persecution, in his ancient robes of flame and blood, was really more hateful, or destructive, than in his modern garb of saintly and hollow profession! Tell us not that in these there is no persecution, because the body is not bound to the stake, nor stretched upon the rack. takes my life who taketh that which doth support life;' and those who unjustly deprive a faithful minister of the affections of his people, by misrepresentations, take away what he values above life itself! There is a torture of the mind not less awful than that of the body.'