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Jesus Christ is certainly but one. to this momentous concern, is It is not various, as different by consulting the word of God, men, to serve their own favourite by attending to the descriptions schemes and purposes, have rep- given of Jesus Christ, and the resented it. It is but one with representations made concerning respect to his person, to his un- him in the sacred scriptures
. dertaking, as the Redeemer of He is there called IMMANUEL, mankind; and as to what he God with us. He is declared suffered, and accomplished in to be the Mediator between God that capacity. If this report and man. “ There is one God, then is made in a manner suf- and one Mediator between God ficiently clear and intelligible, and man, the man Christ Jesus." (and who will say it is not ?) are Under these names and characnot men consequently under in- ters, he is represented, as asdispensable obligations to receive suming our nature, and subject. it? To receive it, as by the di- ing himself to the divine law in vine word, in its natural, obvious our behalf, to fulfil its requiremeaning, it is addressed to them. ments, and as suffering its penal
Farther, let it be considered, ties for the purpose of our rethat believing in Jesus Christ is demption. He was made of a enjoined upon men by express woman, made under the law, to command.
66 This is his com- redeem them, that were under mandment,” says the apostle the law. “He, who was in the John, “ that ye believe on the form of God, and thought it dot name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” robbery to be equal with God, This, from numerous passages, took upon him the form of a ser. and from the whole currentof the vant, and was made in the likesacred writings, appears to be the ness of men ; and being found in great requisition of the gospel. fashion, as a man, he humbled Men, therefore, who are made ac- himself, and became obedient quainted with the gospel, most unto death, even the death of the assuredly are accountable for cross." 'In his mediatorial ca. their believing, or not believing pacity “he fulfilled all righteouson the name of Jesus Christ. ness, and suffered for sin, the And, as the fullest evidence on just for the unjust, that he might this point, let it be observed, this bring us to God. He bore our requisition has annexed to it the sins in his own body on the most solemn sanctions. “ He, tree. He was made sin for us," that believeth on the Son of God, a sacrifice of atonement for sin, hath everlasting life ; and he, “ that we might be made the that believeth not the Son, shall righteousness of God in him. not see life ; but the wrath of He made peace by the blood of God abideth on him."
his cross.” So that“ in him we Should not then every one be have redemption through his solicitous to know, what this be- blood, the forgiveness of sins :" lieving is ? What is its true and “ in bim God is reconciling meaning and import? The best the world unto himself, not imand only sure way of obtaining puting their trespasses unto the proper information, relative them ;” and sinners are "justi
fied freely by the grace of God; vealed truths of his word ; for through the redemption, that is believing or not believing on the in Christ.”
'name of his Son Jesus Christ. If with simplicity of mind, and Under this impression, let him a real desire to know and un- read and study the divine word ; derstand the truth, men would and let his sincere endeavours to attend to these descriptions of know the truth be accompanied Jesus Christ, and the plain rep- with humble supplications for the resentations of the word of God teaching and the enlightening concerning him ; they might, it influences of the Holy Spirit. should seem, fairly satisfy them- None teacheth like bin. Let selves as to what is meant by be- him especially, and above all lieving on his name. That it things, be concerned to know, can intend no other, than believ- what is implied in believing in ing him to be the Son of God in Jesus Christ, and that there may a sense, in which no creature is, be in his heart a full compliance or can be ; as partaking of the with this requirement. same divine nature with the
CHRISTIANUS. Father ; and in the genuine meaning of the term, as the Saviour of sinners, through whose mediation, humiliation, obedi
ON THE GENERAL ASSOCIATION. ence, sufferings, and death in his human nature, full atonement When any proposal is made was made for sin ; pardon and for public consideration, it evicomplete salvation were procur- dently concerns those, to whom ed; and also that believing in Je- the proposal is made, to undersus Christ, in its full import, stand the measures contemplatmust intend a receiving, regard- ed, and the probable result. ing, and trusting in him in the It is well known, that many, characters he sustains, as he is in respectable ministers of the gosthose characters an object worthy pel, in Massachusetts, have, for of esteem, affection, and confi- some time, been earnestly engag. dence. “ As many as received ed to form a General Associahim, to them gave he power to tion; the object of which is to become the sons of God; even produce union of sentiment and to them, that believe on his of procedure. “In many inname." If this be the true im- stances,” it is said," those Chrisport of believing in Jesus Christ; tian teachers, who are united in if this be that believing on him, the love of divine truth, and which involves a compliance fervently engaged in the cause with the requisitions of the gos- of the Redeemer, are estranged pel; this then is the faith for from each other in affection, and vhich men are accountable, and filled with mutual prejudices." by which their destiny in anoth- Though there is supposed to er world is to be determined. exist a general sameness of be
Let every one inquire for him- lief, and a general union as to the self; and under the impression great object of pursuit, there are of his accountability to God for points of less moment, in theolobelieving or not believing the re, gy, in which they differ.
It cannot be denied, that this ly inconsistent with the design, is the true state of things, nor which is to produce a coalition can any thing be more desirable, among such as retain evangelical than that greater union should principles. As all, who profess exist among those, who highly their belief in revealed religion, value the peculiar doctrines of consider their own sentiments as Christianity ; and, that in conse- evangelical, by what standard quence of this union, they should shall the discrimination be made? be able more effectually to dis. This question admits a ready countenance that lax theology, answer. They, who laid the which leaves nothing be: Ween foundation of the proposed union, the gospel and ethnic morality, have voted, “ that the doctrines but a line extremely indistinct of Christianity, as they are genand ill defined.
erally expressed in the AsAn object may be highly val. sembly's Shorter Catechism, be uable, but the meaus be ill adapt- admitted as articles of faith, and ed to its accomplishment. That as the basis of union.” It is not this is the case in the present in- supposed, that all, who subscribe stance, the writer would not be to this Catechism, think alike on too positive ; he only wishes all subjects of theology. Perfect fairly to propose such objections union of sentiment is not the as occur to his mind.
sine qua non of this coalition. Let it be inquired, whom the As this is not required in order contemplated Association is to to subscription, so neither is it embrace.
required of those, who have subIs it to be confined to men, scribed. It must then be clear who, on subjects of divinity, perly understood, that though we fectly coincide in judgment ? No, subscribe to the same catechism, it is to comprehend gospel min. we are not bound to explain this isters, who do not perfectly agree catechism in the same manner, in sentiment. It is to consist of nor to understand it in the same those, who, though they may be sense. The doctrines of Chrisearnest to defend their own pecu- tianity, as generally expressed in liar sentiments by fair reasoning, the catechisin, are to be the bado yel prefer the wbole of Chris- sis of union. tianity before a part, and are care- What may be comprehended ful not to hinder the common under this term, generally, it will cause :-peace makers, who re- be difficulty to define ; and while gret and abhor that conceit of this remains undetermined, the unquiet spirits, tbat the interest language of subscription cannot of religion depends wholly on be understood, i. e. it cannot be those opinions, which distinguish fully understood, what a man's them from others.
sentiments are, from the circumPerhaps there is not a minister stance of his subscribing to the in this state, who would not pro- catechism. fess to be charmed with this If those gentlemen who are language. But is the General most engaged to promote the Association to comprehend all General Association could them. the Massachusetts clergy? By selves subscribe to the literal and no means. That would be utter- obvious meaning of the cate
chism, yet, as the avowed objecter with all actual transgressions, is to bring together in one which proceed from it." harmonious body, persons funda- The corruption of man's namentally right, though some of ture, is, indeed, acknowledged by them may be partially incorrect, the gentlemen, of whom we are it would still be a matter of ex- speaking; but they do not believe treme difficulty to determine how that the sinfulness of man's fallen great a latitude might be allowa- estate consists in the guilt of Able :-how different a person's dam's sin ; of course, when they opinion might be from the literal subscribe to this article, it must import of the language, and yet be with very great latitude. subscribe that language, with a Again ; it is the opinion of good conscience. But nothing many, who advocate the meascan be more certain than that ure proposed, that the divine efmany gentlemen, who mostficiency is as necessary to prowarmly aivocate the measure, duce evil as good ; that Adam must subscribe to the catechism,
sinned by his own if they subscribe at all, in a sense strength, than the sinner repents very different from what the and turns to God by his own language imports.
strength; that it was as much a The catechism asserts, that divine power, which produced “the covenant being made with an evil heart in Adam, as it is a Adam, not only for himself, but divine power, which produces a for his posterity, all mankind de- good heart in the regenerate. scending from him by ordinary Why should these persons be generacion, sinned in him, and required to subscribe such a fell with him in his first trans- sentence as this : “ Our first gression.” Now, it is the belief parents being left to the freedom of many persons engaged to pro- of their own will, fell from the mote the contemplated coalition, estate in which they were created not that the posterity of Adam by sin ning against God.” Sureeither “sinned in him, or fell ly, they would not think it corwith him," but are answerable for rect to say, “ that the sinner, betheir actual transgressions, and ing left to the freedom of his theirs only: though they suppose own will, turns from the state in that their actual transgressions which he was created by repentake place in consequence of his tance towards God.” If they sin.
think the latter an erroneous exA latitude allowable to one pression, or calculated to make man, is, doubtless, allowable to a wrong impression, they must another.
think the same of the former. The catechism assures Wliy should they be required to that “the sinfulness of that e. subscribe to an expression, which state, whereinto man fell, con- they believe calculated to prosists in the guilt of Adam's first duce error? sin, the want of original right- If one person subscribe with eousness, and the corruption of such latitude, why may not his whole nature, which is com- another? What union then monly called original sin, togeth- will subscription produce? It is
well known that subscription to lieve that it contains much more the Bible does not produce union truth than error; may a man of sentiment. The Bible is safely subscribe it on that acsubscribed by Trinitarians, Cal- count? Some, no doubt, would be vinists, Arminians and Unitari- of this opinion; and might subans; how does this happen ? scribe, though Unitarians : ottiThey understand the Bible dif- ers would think, that they ought ferently. One denomination not to subscribe, if, in their apsupposes, that it substantiates prehension, it contained the their sentiments; another, that least error. it upholds theirs. Will this The thirty nine articles of the not be the case with those, who English church are Calvinistic. subscribe the Shorter Cate- Is it so with the clergy? Are chism? It is answered in the they Calvinistic ? A great majorinegative, because the language ty of them are, and have been of the catechism is more deti- notoriously otherwise. The minite than that of scripture. Be nority subscribe and preach acit so; and suppose, further, that cording to the true spirit of the all, who shall associate on the articles : the other's subscribe proposed plan, understand the grnerally, or in substance, or catechism in the same sense, yet with mental reservation, or if they subscribe, not as they they subscribe to what they wish suppose
the authors meant, but the articles were. as they suppose the authors Again, the kirk of Scotought to have meant, I ask land make the doctrines of again, where is the union ? For Christianity, as generally exdoubtless, all persons would not plained in the Assembly's Catthink alike, as to what ought to echism, the basis of their union. have been the meaning of the But are they united in sentiWestminster Assembly. Is it ment? and none but Calvinists not clearly absurd to speak of an among them ? The contrary is union to be produced by sub- undeniable. Surely those, who scribing to a confession, if it be feel most interest in this coaliunderstood, in the outset, that tion do not design, like king we may subscribe in what sense James I. to prevent the discuswe please? But it may be re- sion of those points in theology, plied, that the supposition here which are most often disputed. made does not accord with truth. Let it be supposed then, that A It is by no means understood, that and B subscribe the catéchism. persons are to be admitted into The former holding the sentithis association unless they be- meits of Dr. Hopkins, the other lieve the catechism in substance. of Dr. Doddridge. They both, I reply, that the substance of the in each other's presence, preach catechism is a term extremely their respective sentiments. vague. Persons, who were strong. Will A feel at all more agreeably, ly opposed to many expressions in at hearing his own sentiments the catechism, might think it not controverted and condemned by inconsistent with uprightness, B, because they have made the to subscribe it generally, or in same confession of faith, than by substance. Almost all men be- another person? Will not the