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doctrine of the Trinity rests for its belief on Scriptural authorities or on early religious impressions.
The Editor mentionis ironically (in Page 3) tha my success in scriptural studies was such “as to prove that the most learned and pious in every age of the church have been so completely mistaken as to transform the pure religion of Jes'is into the most horrible idolatry.” In answer to this, I only beg to ask the Revd. Edi. tor to let me kuow first what a Protestant in the fifteenth century could have answered, if he had been thus questioned by a Roman Catholic • Is your success in examining the truths of scripture such as to prove that the mostlearned and pious in every age of the church have been so completely mistaken as to transform: the pure religion of Jesus into the most horrible idolatry by introducing the worship of Mary the mother of God, and institutingimages in churches, as well as by acknowledging the Pope as the head of the chureh vested with the power of forgiving sins?" Would not his answer be this “ My success is indeed so as to prove these doctrines to be anscriptural. As to your inferences they are no more divine than mine and though I do not doubt the piety and learning of many Christians of your church in every
age, I am persuaded that many corruptions, in troduced into the Christian religion by the Roman heathens converted in the fourth and fifth centuries, have been handed down through sliccessive generations by impressions made in the early part of life, and have taken such root in the minds of men that piety and learning bave fallen short of eradicating prejudices nourished by church and state, as well as by the vulgar superstition and enthusiasm.” Were this reply justifiable, I also might be allowed to offer the following answer: “ loud not the doctrine of the Trinity in the scriptures; I cannot receive any human creed for divine truth; but without charging the supporters of this doctrine with impiety or frand humbly attribute their misinterpretation of the scriptures to “ early religious impressions.”
The Editor assigns as a reason for his omission of several arguments adduced in the Second Appeal that " we have before us a work of a hundred and seventy-three pages, to an examination of which we can scarcely devote half that number: and while to leave a single page unnoticed, might by some be deemed equivalent to leaving it unanswered, the mere transcription of the passages to be answered, were it done in every instance, would
occupy nearly all the room we can give the reply itself. Weshall therefore adduce such evidence for these doctrines, as if sound, will render every thing urged against them nugatory though not particularly noticed.” To enable the public to compare the extent of the second appeal with that of the review, I beg to observe that the fornier contains 173 widely printed and the latter 128 closely printed pages, and that if any one will take the trouble of comparing the number of words per page in the two Essays he will soon satisfy himself that the one is as long as the other. I will afterwards notice in the course of the present reply whe. ther or not " the evidence of these doctrines” adduced by the Editor in the Review has still lert a great many arguments in the Appeal quite unanswered.
In his attempt to prove the is:fficiency of the precepis of Jesus to procure men peace and hapuiness, the Revil. Eriitor advanced the toliowin; position “ that the most excellent precepts, the most perfect law can never lead to happiness and peace unless by causing men. to take refuge in the doctrine of the cross" (No. 1 Qvarterly Series of the Friend of India page 111), without adducing any arguments having reference to the position. I thereiore
bronght to his recollection (in my First and Se. cond Appeais) such authorities of the gracious author of Christianity as I conceived estab. lished the sufficiency of these precepts for leading to comfort, and so icited the Editor “to point out in order to establish his po. sition, even a single passage pronounced by Jesus, enjoining refuge in the doctrine of the cross as all-sufficient or indis elisable for sale vation.” (page 9 of the Second Appeal) The Editor instead of endeavouriig to demonstrate the truth of his assertion as to the in, enfficiency of the precepts to conduct men to happiness, or shewiov a single passage of the nature applied for, introduces a great number of other passages or scripure which he thinks well calculated to prove that the death of Jesus was an atonement for the sins of mankind. I regret that the Editor should have adopted such an irregular mode of arguing in solemn religious discussion; and I still more regret to find that some readers should over. look the want of connection between the po. sition advanced and the authorities adduced by the Editor. Were we both to adopt such a mode of coutroversy as to cite passages apparently favourable to our respective opinions without adhering to the main ground, the number of his Reviews and of my Appeals
would increase at least in proportion to the number of the years of our lives; for verses and quotations of scripture, if unconnected with their context and interpreted without regard to the idiom of the languages in which they were written, may, as experience has shewn, be adduced to support any doctrine whatever : and the Editor may always find a majority of readers of the same religious sentiments with himself, satisfied with any thing that he may offer either in behalf of the Trinity or in support of the atonement.
Whether Jesus died actually as a sacrifice for the sins of men, or merely in the fulälment of the duties of his office as the Messiah, as it was predicted, is merely a matter of opinion, the truth of which can only be ascertained from a diligent examination of the terms used and doctrines set forth in the evangelical writings. This however has no relation to a proof or disproof of the sufficiency of his precepts for salvation. In order to come to a conclusion as to the value of the precepts of Jesus being either really effectual or merely nominal, I deem it necessary to repeat a few passages already quoted in my Appeals, to ask the Editor whether they demand explicit belief or are unworthy of credit, and in case he