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which is due to God. We cannot both be right: What then is to be done? Inquire: take not your faith upon trust: act from conviction and God will approve your sincerity. We contend that we do not degrade the person of Jesus Christ, for that we believe him to have been what he represented himself to have been. If he had been God, he would have told us so. But if he did not tell us so, even if he were God he could not expect the religious adoration of reasonable beings. He was once called good, and he started back and rebuked the man that called him so. Was this the action of a Deity who laid claim to divine homage? With the character of a meek and modest man, it was perfectly consistent, but utterly inconsistent with the character of the great Jehovah, who never could have intended to deceive his creatures.
2d, Against our system you urge, that its tendency is to undermine the Christian religion. In almost every controversy your advocates make this very unfair and personal charge against us. • You are but little, if any, better than deists. We
cannot give you credit for having any other object in view, than that of entirely overthrowing the Christian religion.' In answer to this, it would perhaps be sufficient to say, that we utterly deny the charge. But, on the contrary, we main'tain, that we are the best and greatest friends to the Christian religion. We contend that the deification of a man, has been the grand stumbling block to the conversion of the Jews, the primary article in whose creed is, the worship of only one God. With respect to the generality of unbelievers, I dare venture to ask any one who has considered their arguments, Against what are their most weighty objections urged? Precisely against those points which we contend do not form a part of Christianity. Presuming Christianity to be what its general professors represent it to be, they attack these representations, expecting by these means 'to overthrow the whole. Thus, in France and other countries, where Christianity has been more mysteriously veiled than in Protestant countries, the number of infi
dels has been far greater, in proportion, than in this country, where reason has been more freely exercised. And even here if reason were more frequently consulted, if Unitarian Christianity were better known, and mystery were succeeded by common sense, I have no doubt but the number of unbelievers would be very greatly diminished. In our estimation then (and we have good grounds for the opinion) Trinitarians, (though intending to increase the Christian cause) by insisting upon so many abstruse points (at least) are the greatest foes to the progress of the gospel.
After all then, my brethren, will you still deny us the appellation of Christians? Will you still brand us as Deists, Infidels, Atheists? What is it which constitutes one person the disciple of another? Is it not receiving instructions from him, acknowledging him for a master, adopting his opinions, professing his creed? Jesus is our master and head. We attend to and imbibe his instructions. We take from him our creed. He is the chief cor
ner stone of our faith. Are we not Christians?
If you pass over his instructions, say that they are not sufficiently comprehensive and complete; give a preference to those of Paul, as more full and intelligible and satisfactory-what would you reply if we were to charge you with not being Christians, and to endeavour to stigmatize you with some such reproachful epithets as the followers of Paul? You do not allow the followers of Mahomet to be Christians, though Mahomet acknowledged Jesus to be a prophet sent by God; you call them Mahometans. But far be such conduct from us as to wish to stigmatize you. Only let us share the Christian appellation with you.
Another question I must ask. Who has the greatest right to the title evangelical? What does evangelical mean? Does it mean that a person forms his opinions from the evangelists, or from the epistles? If a person were to take his faith entirely from the epistles as the standard of truth, and make the evangelist's and our Savi
our's own assertions subordinate to these, surely his opinions, with much greater propriety, should be called epistolical than evangelical. We take our faith from the evangelists; from what they assert that Jesus himself taught. This we consider as the proper standard by which to measure and harmonize the rest. Say not then that you are exclusively evangelical.
And now, my Trinitarian hearers, you and I shall probably continue to differ in our opinions. You will go home and apply to your usual resource, 'How plausible soever the arguments against the Trinity may be, it is still a mystery and must be believed.' Well, time hastens on, and you and I are rapidly journeying to our long home. With the present year I commenced the present branch of these Lectures, the Person of Christ. In that little space of time eight of the regular attendants at this chapel, who had all arrived at years of maturity, have been launched into eternity.* If the propor
* Delivered on the 7th of February 1813.