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Christ's, let him, of himself, think this again, that as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ’s.” A vindication of ourselves, by shewing that we have some solid arguments for our creed, both from reason and from the Scriptures. And here I would observe, that no pretension will be made to any novelty in the arguments. Nor shall I consider the lectures as at all addressed to those who have access to the best works upon the subjects and leisure for their perusal. They are intended merely to exhibit a concise view of the principal arguments, to such as have not better means, or suitable opportunities of obtaining superior information. By this means we hope a 2nd object may be answered, The difjusion of truth. It is a poor principle which leads men to conceal their sentiments for fear of giving offence. It was not the principle upon which our Saviour and his Apostles acted ; and he that is influenced by it has to learn this lesson, that even from the world, whatever he may gain on the side of eacternal civility, he loses on the part of real respect. Let those who think differently from us remember, that if their sentiments are truth to them, ours are equally truth to us; that truth with us is as important as truth with them ; and that we have an equal right to endeavour to disseminate it. But if we can only excite inquiry, we are promoting the spread of truth. I should not hesitate to say, that the man who has formed his opinions from diligent inquiry and accurate investigation, (whether in the eye of God his opinions prove to be right or wrong,) is a more true man, more a man of integrity, and will meet with greater approbation from his God than he who takes his faith upon trust, upon the word of his minister or the persuasion of his friends, though his opinions should happen to be right. A 3rd object, is to increase the practice of virtue. I do not think that it can be said of any theological doctrine that it is absolutely speculative, and has no sort of influence upon the conduct, either of itself or in its tendencies. It must more or less bear upon other subjects which have practical effects. Consistency of conduct
will, in all probability, be the consequence of consistency of opinions. By endeavouring, therefore, to produce this consistency we serve the interests of virtue; we teach men to act from principle ; and as all virtue depends upon the motive, no action can be virtuous that is not performed from principle.
Having thus stated the reasons for undertaking these lectures, I shall proceed to the subjects of them. They are intended to excite your inquiry upon the following subjects:
The Unity of God.
The Existence of a Devil.
The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
The Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The Rise and Progress of the Trinity in Unity from Ecclesiastical History.
The Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures.
The Eternity of Hell Torments.
* Some of these subjects will occupy two or three Lectures. Possibly, the subject of the Miraculous Conception may also be considered.
As it is probable that the audience I shall have to address in an evening may not be entirely, if principally, the same that I am in the habit of meeting every Lord's day, I shall, generally, throughout these lectures address myself to those who differ from me in opinion.
To you, my Trinitarian hearers, I shall frequently appeal. May the appeal, if it be not attended with conviction, make you and myself men of greater integrity, better Christians, Christians from principle, not merely from habit, and more candid towards all who differ from ourselves |
The subject of the present lecture is the Unity of God. Upon this subject we shall perhaps all agree in words. You contend for the unity of God: you will not hear it arraigned. “It admits not of a question,” you exclaim. It will, therefore, be only in the inferences that we shall disagree. But when I tell you that I mean to draw these two inferences, That the existence of an independent being, called the Devil, and the division of God into three Persons, are violations of this
Unity, you will perhaps be startled, and bestow greater attention on the premises. I must take it for granted, that all who now hear me believe in the existence of a God, of an uncaused, self-existent, intelligent Being. There is great difficulty in adopting language to convey ideas suitable to the grandeur and majesty of such a being. Shall we designate him the uncontrouled and all-controuling mind In this we shall probably all accord ; and the question immediately arises, can there be more than One such being * Although this may be considered as a branch of natural religion, yet is it also a most important doctrine of the Christian revelation, and therefore requires that we pay some attention to the arguments usually adduced on the question. 1st. Admitting the existence of one such being, it is the duty of those who assert the existence of more than one to produce positive proofs of the fact. Ours is a negative proposition. Having evidence sufficient to demonstrate the existence of One superintending mind, we ©