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THE ATTRIBUTE OF THE
BY REV. JOSEPH HUTTON.
PRINTED FOR THE
American Unitarian Association.
BOWLES AND DEARBORN, 72 WASHINGTON STREET.
Price 5 Cents.
MARK XIII. 32.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
AMONGST the many accusations which, to the great disgrace of their common profession, Christians of differing sects have been in the habit of heaping upon each other, none, I hope and believe, is more entirely groundless and unjust than that which ascribes to the maintainers of the strict personal unity of the Deity, a wish to degrade the character of the Son of God, and to depreciate the value of that salvation which he was sent into the world to bestow upon our frail and sinful race. There is not a single assignable motive which could possibly induce such a wish. What that character is in which the messenger of the Most High has really appeared, and what the true import of his message, it is equally the interest of all to ascertain; and to pay him honour due is a duty, which all owe alike to him that sent him.
Wilfully to offer the slightest indignity to the person of the ambassador, every one must know, is to offend the
king. Wilfully to degrade the Son is to offer a direct insult to the Father. Where is the sect or society, I will not say of Christians, but of reasonable beings, that could be guilty of such gratuitous wickedness and folly; of rebellion against heaven, without even the chance of a miserable recompense on earth? That such an accusation should be merited is impossible. That it should have been preferred is a lamentable proof of the force of prejudice and passion, even when opposed to the clearest dictates of the understanding and the best feelings of the heart. No, whatever our opinions are, or whatever may be thought of them, our object, I trust, is good; our intentions, at least, are holy and pure; they are the same which we gladly ascribe to our fellow Christians, and believe to actuate every serious and conscientious member of every opposing sect. We follow after truth. The desire of our hearts is to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; to seek the Lord, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, if haply we may feel after him and find him; and to honour the Son in like manner, though, we honestly think, we dare not, in the same degree, as we honour the Father.
To detract from the dignity of him whom we call Lord and Master; to lessen him in the eyes of the world, who loved us with perfect love, and laid down his life for us, a spotless and a willing sacrifice; to undervalue the great salvation that brings light, and life, and immortality to the remotest and darkest corners of the earth; to trample under foot the Son of God, and to count the blood of Jesus, which sealed the covenant, an unholy thing; far be such guilt and such ingratitude from our hearts. Firmly, yet temperately, we deny the imputa
tion, and are ready, I trust, every one of us, to appeal, with humble confidence, for the sincerity and truth of that denial, to the God whom we adore, and to the Saviour whom, though we do not worship as God, we revere and love as the Son of God, and for the wealth of worlds would not wrong. If we deny any honour to our great Redeemer, it is only that which we humbly conceive he would himself have rejected as unfit for his acceptance; nay, more, which we are persuaded that he did directly and explicitly reject. Far from designing to dishonour and degrade our Master, we believe that we best comply with his wishes, and obey his will, when we distinguish between him and the Father who sent him; when through him we pay to God the profoundest homage of the prostrate soul, and refuse, even in thought, to elevate to equal honours any other being.
Jesus himself, we feel convinced, would thus have acted, and would have shrunk, with undissembled horror, from the thought of assuming the place of Deity, or accepting even the semblance of that homage which he always paid himself, and taught his followers to pay to his Father and our Father, to his God and our God.
Why callest thou me good? were his own words to the lawyer that addressed him by the title of good master, "none is good but one, that is God."* "If ye loved me," ," said he, on another occasion, "ye would rejoice because I said I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I."† And, again, speaking of his departure from this world, he says, "In that day ye shall ask me nothing; verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye
Mark x. 17, 18.
John xiv. 28.