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Father, then it must have been in time; i. e. there was a period in which it did not exist, and a period in which it began to exist. This destroys the eternity of our blessed Lord, and robs him at once of his godhead.

“5. To say that he was bogotten from all eternity, is in my opinion, absurd; and the phrase eternal son is a positive self-contradiction. ETERNITY is that which has no beginning, nor stands in any reference to TIME. Son supposes time, generation, and father; and time also antecedent to such generation. Therefore, the conjunction of these two terms, son and eternity, is absolutely impossible, as they imply essentially different and opposite ideas.

“ The enemies of Christ's divinity have, in all ages, availed themselves of this incautious method of treating this subject, and on this ground, have ever had the advantage of the defenders of the godhead of Christ. The doctrine of the eternal Sonship destroys the deity of Christ. Now if his deity be taken away, the whole gospel-scheme of redemption is ruined. On this ground, the atonement of Christ cannot have been of infinite merit, and consequently could not purchase pardon for the offences of mankind; nor give any right to, or possession of, an eternal glory. The very use of this phrase is both absurd and dangerous; therefore, let all those who value Jesus and their salvation, abide by the Scriptures."

Without stopping to notice the attack which this last paragraph makes on the free grace of God in human salvation; we ask any candid reader to say, whether the Doctor's five reasons for rejecting the doctrine of the eternal Sonship of our blessed Lord, be not strictly UNITARIAN. Yet Dr. Adam Clarke professed to be a staunch believer in the antiscriptural dogma of the Trinity, and a stickler for the supposed double nature and deity of Christ. When will Christians learn consistency of thinking, speaking, and acting? when will they cast behind them what is “absurd,” and, to use the language of Adam Clarke, strictly “abide by the Scriptures?"

When? The Scriptures will be valued and treated as their sacred and enlightening contents merit, the moment the people practically embrace Dr. Adam Clarke's views of the use of reason in religion,

“ The Sacred Writings,” he observes, " are a system of pure unsophisticated reason, proceeding from the immaculate mind of God; in many places, it is true, vastly elevated beyond what the reason of man could have devised or found out, but in no case contrary to human reason. They are addressed not to the passions, but to the reason of man; every command is urged with reasons of obedience; and every promise and threatening, founded on the most evident reason and propriety. The whole, therefore, are to be rationally understood, and rationally interpreted. He who would discharge reason from this its noblest province, is a friend in his heart to the antichristian maxim,— Ignorance is the mother of devotion.' “Revelation and reason go hand in hand; faith is the servant of the former, and the friend of the latter.” “ The doctrine which cannot stand the test of rational investigation, cannot be true.” “We have gone too far when we have said such and such doctrines should not be subjected to rational investigation, being doctrines of pure revelation.' I know no such doctrine in the Bible. The doctrines of this book, are doctrines of eternal reason, and they are revealed because they are such.

Human reason could not have found them out; but when revealed, reason can both apprehend and comprehend them. It sees their perfect barmony among themselves—their agreement with the perfections of the Divine nature, and their sovereign suitableness to the nature and state of man; thus reason approves and applauds. Some men, it is true, cannot reason, and therefore they declaim against reason, and proscribe it in the examination of religious truth. Were all the nation of this mind, Mother Church might soon reassume her ascendancy, and feed us with Latin masses, and a wafer God’ Men may incorporate their doctrines in creeds or articles of faith, and sing them in hymns; and this

may be all useful and edifying, if the doctrine be true; but in every question which involves the eternal interests of

man, the Holy Scriptures must be appealed to, in union with reason, their great commentator. He who forms his creed or confession of faith without these, may believe any thing or nothing, as the cunning of others, or his own caprices may dictate. Human creeds and confessions bave been often put in the place of the Bible, to the disgrace both of revelation and reason. Let those go away, let these be retained, whatever be the consequence. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum.

These sentiments occasioned a great sensation among


the Methodist body, when first uttered. Pamphlets abounded, pointing out their pernicious consequences. But they have worked, and are still working their way.

Fatal indeed they are to the authority of Wesley, and Calvin, and Athanasius; but they are the precursors of the true reign and paramount influence of Christ, and that must endear them to the Christian.

S. T. B.

Remarks on Paine's Age of Reason, in a series of Letters addressed to the Readers of the Christian Pioneer.

LETTER V. MY FRIENDS AND BRETHREN,—Christianity is maintained in the world, not so much by the researches of the learned, nor the recommendation of the eloquent, as by its own moral worth; and the most prevailing evidence of the truth of the New Testament is, not the lengthened and profound treatises which are extant in behalf of its authenticity, but the stamp of excellence, not to say divinity, which it carries in almost every page.

It appears to me to be comparatively a matter of small consequence, whether or not we can prove, that the books of the New Testament were written by the persons to whom they are commonly ascribed. The evidence of their truth is independent of their genuineness. That the books are in existence, the hardiest sceptic cannot deny; and out of the books, taken as we find them, the truth of what they set forth can be satisfactorily deduced. One reason of this is, that they deal largely with those moral concerns that carry their own evidence with them. Utility and truth are convertible terms; that is useful which is true, and that is true which is useful. The New Testament is full of what is useful, and therefore full of truth; and this good is of so high, pure, and original a nature, as to repudiate a human and claim a divine origin. This moral evidence is indestructible. It is even less liable to perish than the conclusions of the mathematician or the discoveries of the man of science. The propositions with which they have to do, are separate from the train of evidence on which they rest, and only in connection with their evidence are they of value. Convulsions in society may, as they have done, destroy the evidence, and in that disunion would the good of the surviving truth all but perish; whereas a moral principle carries its evidence with

it, and meets with evidence wherever it meets with

reception. Thus the annunciation of a moral truth is a gift to the race. It goes into society, and though it may rise and fall, it can never perish. It works its way; to be received, it needs only to be known.

I would particularly instance the character of Christ. It is, it has been, and will be the light of the world. Men look upon it, and feel as they do when they look abroad on the light of day, or around on their family living in peace and comfort, and feel that it is good. Do you ask for evidence of the truth of Jesus? Look on him; study bis life. His object, his deeds, his words, are his testimonials. He is truth, because he was good. His doctrine is truth, because it is good; good for man in all ages, circumstances, and climes; for all ranks of society; for all degrees of excellence; in reference to our wants, our wishes, our hopes; in reference to our faculties, our ability; in reference to the constitution of external nature, and the workings of human society; it is universally good, and therefore true. I know of no better criterion of truth. Why are falsehood and theft and lust crimes, but because they bring misery? And why is the love of offspring and country a virtue, but because they create happiness? Is it not true, that we should do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God? and why, if not ultimately because it will be for our advantage? What then is good, durably and unchangeably good, is true; and therefore the Christianity of Christ is true.

I intend in this letter, to exhibit this argument as seen in the benevolence of Jesus. And you will take notice, that I am, in the references I shall make to the New Testament history, not taking the truth of the books for granted, but proving it. These are the writings, and out of them- apart from all historical details as to their originout of them, abundant evidence of their truth may tracted. The argument I now purpose to allege, is not without a sanction. An eminent living critic has said, in speaking of that much debated question, the authorship of the Homeric poems:-" It must be a matter of perfect indifference to us, how or by whom the supposed works of Horner were really composed. The decision of that question cannot, in the slightest degree, affect our estimate of their quality. The Iliad and the Odyssey exist; we have them in our hands, and we should not set them the

be ex

less in honour, though we were to doubt the impress of any Homer's hand, any more than we should cease to reverence the genius or the ruins of Rome, because shepherds or worse may have laid the first stone of her walls.”

The force of the argument now to be adduced, would be felt to be much more powerful than in the actual case, could it be presented to you, divested of the familiarity wbich attaches in men's minds to the chief features of the Christian religion. The eye may look on the sun so long as to cease to be dazzled by its beams; so the mind's eye loses its sense of what is morally grand and lovely, by the familiarity which use engenders. I believe there are few who could withhold their allegiance from Jesus, if they now learned, for the first time, that he existed in a country as illiberal and low as were the Jews of the first century, with all the excellences in full operation, with which he is invested in the Evangelical histories.' What is the fact touching his benevolence? Simply, that in an age when the narrowest selfishness in theory, as well as in practice, was of all but universal prevalence; and in a country notorious before all others in this illiberal period, for bigotry and exclusion-a man devoid of the opportunities of rank or education—a man of the meanest class, with no associates beyond his family, and no acquaintance with modes of life and thought beyond his own country—a poor uninstructed, labouring man appeared, teaching the most enlarged benevolence, practising the most enlarged benevolence, and aiming at the most benevolent of objects. In the simple words of the history, he went about doing good; and like the good shepherd of his own beautiful description, be laid down his life for his sheep.

Let us descend a little into detail. His object, the object of his life and death, was the good of the world. He came that the world might not perish, but have everlasting life; and the good of eternity, he so blended with the good of time, that the first could be enjoyed only as the fruit of the second. His law of love was co-extensive with the habitable globe, and cotemporaneous with all the ages of endless duration. Now, in this object there is evidence of its own truth. It must be true, for it is good. It is suited to man, and therefore worthy of man's acceptance. Look at the divisions there are in the world, and say if it does not meet our wants. Think of your own love of life, and say if it does not meet the cravings of your hearts.

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