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the how, for which there is none. The secrets of attraction and gravitation cannot be classed amongst matters of faith, because there is no proof what those secrets are. The facts are all that can come within the bounds of credence. Nobody else, any more than the Unitarian, believes in irrational doctrines, that is, doctrines irrational to the believer. It cannot be done. The doctrines must move over from the ground of no reason to the ground of reason, before they can be believed. Evidence of many kinds there is, but evidence of some kind there must be, or belief is dead. The most absurd things in the world have been believed, not as they were absurd, but as they had some basis of reason, however narrow or shallow. To speak of faith without reason, would be to say that there were rivers without fountains, and effects without causes. In exercising his Reason in Matters of Faith, the Unitarian does no more than, nor differently from, all other Christian believers.
Next, turn to the interpretation of the Scriptures : Unitarians are accused of setting their reason up as a standard above the Bible. But they do no such thing. They but do what all do. If they err, then all err, in using their minds to understand the word of God. The Bible is our standard. What it teaches respecting truth and duty, we receive, we believe in, with implicit love and trust. But the grand, dividing question, is, what does it teach? It is not the same thing, the same sense to all. The Bible is nothing more nor less than the meaning of the Bible, and that meaning varies with every mind. It teaches one set of doctrines to the Baptist, another to the Quaker, another to the Methodist. Men labor,' as Cecil acutely remarked, “to make the Bible their Bible.' In fact every sect has its own Bible, inasmuch as each has its own sense of the book. The Scriptures, then, are the standard, but it is a different standard to different men. Religious controversy is the struggle which each denomination makes to render the Bible their Bible. Reformation in the Christian Church is but the constant bringing of man's sense of sacred Writ nearer to its absolute sense, the one God gave it; the advancement of the imperfect human idea up to the glorious clear significance of the divine mind.
Nor is this difficulty of arriving at the absolute truth of the sacred volume, escaped by the instrumentality of creeds. For, if not at first, which is generally the case,
yet afterwards, the creed, like the Bible, conveys different senses to different minds, and so what was de. signed for an explanation, soon needs itself to be explained. Hence arise ambiguities and discussions; the sectarian banner becomes itself the signal of war; and old churches and assemblies fall to pieces to be re-organized into new ones.
Since, then, the Bible, though the directory of Faith and Practice, is one thing to one-man and another to another, according to what each understands it to teach; since there is variance of belief even touching fundamental points,—what is done by all, but to fall back on their own minds, enlightened by Revelation, as the last cri. terion. Each one claims and allows the Supremacy of the Scriptures, but he must rely on his own mind to tell him what they teach. Probably no two persons, who have read the Bible understandingly, and reflected earnestly on religious subjects, think exactly alike. The more men reflect, the more they differ, and the smaller their differences become, because they approximate continually nearer to absolute truth. Modern civilization and free thought multiply sects in profusion, but their influence is to make the crooked straight, and the rough ways smooth, and to unite all upon the essentials of Christianity.
From these remarks, it will be clear to every candid mind, that in regard to the interpretation of the Scriptures, as well as in matters of Faith, Unitarians proceed upon no novel and dangerous principle of using their reason, which is not equally adopted by others as their rule. Precisely like other denominations, they refer to the Bible as their standard, and to their minds to inform them what that standard requires. They would not only read, but understand the word with the faculties God has bestowed for that purpose. They hold that He intended his Revelation should be understood, as indeed with what propriety could it be called a Revelation, if it was not intelligible. Where were the value of Faith if it were placed at random ? where the merit of conduct, if action were indiscriminate ?
In pursuance, then, of what has been intimated, it is proper to repeat, that Unitarians differ from other Christians not in their using Reason, or exalting it above Revelation, but in their coming to different conclusions by the exercise of that faculty. This is the front and forehead of their offending.'
TRINITARIANS AGAINST THE TRINITY. We extract the following from the report of a Discussion, held in Castlebar, in January, 1837, between the Rev. W. B. Stoney, Protestant Rector, and the Rev. James Hughes, Roman Catholic Priest, of Newport Pratt, County Mayo. The subject under discussion is, “to prove from scripture, interpreted by private judgement, the doctrine of the Trinity;" and from the following remarks, it will be seen how effectually the advocate of infallibility-the Rev. Mr. Hughes, from whose speech we make the extract disproves the doctrine of the Established Church by its own rule of faith, the right of private judgement; and at the same time how forcibly he testifies to the great truth, the simple Unity of God, when he allows the Scripture, and his own good sense to guide him.
“ I believe the doctrine of the Trinity on the authority of the Church; and though he (Mr. Stoney) rejects church authority, he would be glad to base his creed on a splice of it. My belief in the Trinity is based on the authority of the church. No other authority is sufficient. I will now show from reason, that the Athan. asian creed and Scripture are opposed to one another. The doctrine of the Trinity is this :—there is one God in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. Mind, the Father is one person, the Son is another person, and the Holy Ghost is another person.Now, according to every principle of mathematics, arithmetic, human wisdom, and policy, there must be three Gods : for no one could say that there are three persons and three Gods, and yet only one God. No human comprehension can fathon this. Can you conceive by any rational rule that these three books, (Mr. Hughes here took up three books to illustrate his argument,) are one book. Each has its own personality-I cannot comprehend how three can be one. Am I singular in my interpretation of the Scriptures ? No. This is the construction Arius put upon it, and that is private opinion. I will go down to the North of Ireland, to the Presbyterians—men of great learning—to such men as Mr. Montgomery, and they are most of them Arians. They deny the Divinity (Deity) of Christ. Why so ? Because they conceive it impossible that there could be three Gods, and still only one God. The Socinian says
that this Bible was given us to be our guide ; and that God gave nothing which could not be comprehended by
But to say that three are one is absurd, and therefore he says that this is not the meaning of it. Therefore I will not believe the Holy Ghost to be God, nor the Son to be God. The Socinian will say that is the way to interpret the Scriptures by reason, and we have as good a right to interpret them from reason as any other man.
“ The Athanasian creed gives the universal opinion of the church, that the Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, aud the Holy Ghost uncreated--that they existed from all eternity. Now, the Son was born of the Father: and if born, must have been created. The Holy Ghost must also have been created, as he came from the Father and the Son. And if so, there must have been a time when they did not exist. If they did not exist, they must have been created; and therefore to assert that they are eternal is absurd, and bangs nonsense. Each has his distinct personality; each has his
How then can they be one Eternal ?-How can they be all God? Absurd. The Athanasian creed says that they are three persons, and still only one God! Absurd; extravagant! This is rejected by Arians, Socinians, Presbyterians, and every man following human reason. The creed further says, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and of man, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.' Now, I ask you, did the Divinity absorb the manhood ? He could not be at the same time one person and two persons. I have now proved the Trinity opposed to human reason.
I now come to the Scriptures. Christ says in the fourteenth chapter of St. John, - My Father is greater than I Could any one be greater than he, if he were God? Therefore he is not God. He says in another place-John, v. 31., ' I can do nothing of myself. If he were God, he could do every thing; therefore, by his own declaration, he is not God. In the seventeenth chapter of St. John, third verse, Christ says, “ This is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Christ here talks of the Father as the only true God. If Christ were God, he could not have been sent by the Father, because he could not send the Father, as well as the Fa.
ther send him. Christ and the Holy Ghost must be false Gods, and the Father the only true God. And this conclusion is forced upon us by his own showing, in language adapted to every capacity. In Matt., 19. 17., he
says, • One is good, that is God. If Christ were God, he would be good; but he says, “ There is none good but one, that is God. Therefore Christ cannot be God. The mother of Zebedee's children asked a request of Christ, that they might be permitted to sit on his right hand, and on his left, in his kingdom. But he said, . These are not mine to give, but they shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.' Not mine to give! If Christ were as great as the Fa. ther, he could give it. Wherefore Christ was not God. Tbis is the fruit of Mr. Stoney's Bible, and my private opinion. I do not claim to be infallible ; nor does he. What is his private opinion more than mine? If Scriptare contradict itself, what authority has he? I have more,- I have the authority of the Church.”
In another speech, Mr. Hughes says,-" I refer you to Luke, 2. 37., · Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace
with God apd man. If God and man, could he be increased in wisdon ? God is the centre and fountain and author of grace; therefore he is not God. Again, Mark., 13. 37., Of that day and hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father. He was talking of the day of judgment. If God, he must have the same knowledge as the Father. John, 14., 'As the Father hath given me commandment, so I do. If God, he could not be commanded; therefore he is not God. Matt., 27. 46., My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
If he were God, he could not be forsaken. The God that created the world, and keeps all things in the most harmonious order, to be forsaken! yet he complains of God's having abandoned him.'
We thank Mr. Hughes for his excellent defence of the Unitarian doctrine. But we would suggest one question for the serious consideration of himself and his Roman Catholic brethren. If the authority of Scripture flutly contradict the authority of the church, which should we obey ? Should we believe man in preference to God ? Should we hold by the Church, and reject the inspired declaration of the Scripture ? Should we take the pretended successors of St. Peter