Page images

by the detaching and separately discussing of particular passages, of which a treatise like the present must necessarily consist. It requires to be studied by the most attentive and devoạt perusal of complete portions of the New Testament, taken in continuity. It is the inseparable spirit which breathes in every part. Like the azure of the sky, it cannot be presented alone ; but it is diffused through the whole, as one of the most striking and engaging characteristics.

I now request the judicious inquirer to compare this statement of results, with that which we obtained from the analysis of the Prophetic Testimonies to the Messiah.* He will find that the issues of the two lines of investigation perfectly agree. But I can honestly say, that I have not studied to make them agree.

If, in any thing I can have a conscious assurance of sincerity and impartiality, I possess it here. My faithful endeavour has been to examine every part of the case, by the fair methods of sober criticism and rational interpretation ; and to conduct the whole process with tardy circumspection and conscientious scrupulosity. I have not knowingly, in a single instance, misrepresented the arguments of the opponents, or attempted to exhibit them in diminished strength: I have even, more than once, given them gratuitous aid.

* Vol. I. p. 382-385,

TO COMBINE the results of this analysis we ought not to attempt without the deepest reverence, humility, and modesty. May these, and all other devout feelings, govern the writer's and the reader's heart while they draw near to gaze upon the UNUTTERABLE GLORY!

To the closest attention and judgment that I am able to exercise, it appears that both the old Socinianism and the modern Unitarianism are irreconcileable with the general tenor of the Christian revelation, and with particular passages, most numerous and emphatical, which are shewn, by rigid and impartial scrutiny, to attribute to Christ the unquestionable characters of Deity.

The same reason prevents acquiescence in the Arian scheme, under any of its modifications: for, though it admits the pre-existence and high original glory of Christ, it stops infinitely short of what the scriptures seem to me decidedly to ascribe to him.

The Sabellian and the Indwelling hypotheses, either alone or with the appendage of the preexistence of the human soul of Jesus,* have, besides other objections, the obvious one of being at variance with the distinct mention which the scriptures constantly make of “ God the Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”

* The unscriptural character of this opinion, which was held by Dr. Goodwin and Dr. Watts, and which some are now attempting to revive, is shewn by President Edwards in his posthumous Remarks on Important Theol. Subjects, vol. i. Works, vol. viii. p. 325.

But the conclusion which, to my most serious conviction, flows from the WHOLE of the Prophetic and Apostolic Testimony concerning Christ, received in simplicity and sincerity, without hiding, rejecting, or evading any part of that testimony, is that thE PERSON OF JESUS THE CHRIST, THE LORD, REDEEMER, AND SAVIOUR of mankind, comprizes the unique and mysterious UNION of humanity and Deity; the human nature with all its

proper qualities, and the DIVINE NATURE with all its essential PERFECTIONS. This I embrace, as the dictate of the scriptures, the primitive and apostolic faith, and the immoveable TRUTH OF GOD.

In what this union itself essentially and primarily consists, and how it involves neither a confusion of the natures nor a division of the person, are points which I feel it no dishonour to say that I know not, nor to believe that they are infinitely above the powers of human knowledge. Equally presumptuous and absurd would it be to pronounce, as our opponents do, that such union is impossible. Our sole concern is with the evidence of the FACT.*

This conclusion involves a belief in the doctrine, usually called that of the Trinity: a doctrine which, though the name be only a compendious term of human invention, appears to me to afford the most satisfactory ground of con

[ocr errors]

* I respectfully beg that the reader would here turn to Vol. I. page 389–392.

sistent belief in the Deity of the Saviour ; but which is not a necessary part of that topic, and which, therefore, the limits of this work, already carried much beyond the author's expectation, forbid to treat in any other way than by a brief supplementary notice.*

Extended as this inquiry has been, I am far from supposing that it has exhausted the subject. Some valid arguments in favour of the truth have, I doubt not, been overlooked : and I have intentionally omitted many which others have urged, from the motive of not being myself convinced of their cogency. Perhaps, also, some objections and difficulties have escaped my notice or my recollection. Yet if so, I flatter myself that they are of a kind which possess such affinity to those which have been discussed, that the solution will readily occur to an attentive mind.

That difficulties attach to the conclusion which I have drawn, I am far indeed from denying. I have felt them in their full weight, and have not failed frankly to state them in the preceding pages. To my own apprehension,

apprehension, however, they are inconsiderable in comparison with those which lie on the opposite hypothesis, and infinitely less than would be the rejection of the


I cannot conclude without expressing the conviction, that much consideration is due, both of

See Appendix, No. III.

respect and of affectionate concern, to those who hold the sentiments which in these pages have been opposed. To the great talents and labours of

many of them, the Christian world is under eminent obligations, for some of the most valuable works on the Evidences of Revealed Religion ; and for their services to the cause of religious liberty and the rights of conscience, a cause which ought to be dear to every man, since, unless it prosper, truth can never attain to its legitimate honour, nor exercise its genuine influence in the world. And even their errors are those into which an ardent mind is not unlikely to rush, by the strength of its revulsion from the grasp of usurped and antichristian authority. Those errors, likewise, wear upon their front much that is alluring, to persons who have a high opinion of their own understanding, and strong confidence in their own powers; but who have but a faint perception of the evil of sin, and no experience of a broken and contrite heart. Independently of the sources of prejudice to which we are all liable, it is, I fear, in the predispositions of moral infirmity that their system finds its main advantage. The tendency and general effect of their sentiments are to flatter and to fascinate ; but not to “cast down imaginations (Roy.ouol, opinions,) and all loftiness that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” On the contrary, those who are educated among them are nursed up in

« PreviousContinue »