Imágenes de páginas

On the 5th January, at the Rev. R. M. Montgomery, the Unitarian Chapel, Bridgwater, Rev. Wm. Arthur Jones, M.A., by the Rev. R. L. Carpenter, of Northampton, to Margaret, B.A., Mr. Richard Stoneman, to second daughter of the late Rev. Miss Anna Moore.

William Blake, Crewkerne, On the 9th, at the Unitarian Somerset. Chapel, Bridport, by the Rev. On the 13th December, at the G. E. Squire, Mr. Wm. Matter- Unitarian Chapel, Shepton Malface, of Allington, to Miss let, Edmund, youngest son of Amelia Hodder, of Bridport. Mr. Cooper, to Anne Haidee,

On the 1st ult., at the Uni- eldest daughter of Mr. Bromtarian Chapel, Taunton, by the head.

OBITUARY. It is with feelings of sincere exertions in the cause of civil regret that we record the death and religious liberty. Dr. Rees of the Rev. Robert Aspland, stated that the reverend deceaseds

high character

had brought nearly forty years the minister him into intimate connexion of the Unitarian Congregation with many of the eminent statesassembling at the New Gravel men of his time, and that the Pit Chapel, Hackney. This Test and Corporation Act Repeal, eminently useful minister ended the passing of the Dissenting his mortal pilgrimage early on Marriage Act, and other liberal Tuesday morning, Dec. 30th, measures, were owing in no 1845, at his residence, the Grove, small degree to his exertions. Hackney. On Tuesday, Jan. At the close of the address, the 6th his remains were interred body, preceded by Dr. Rees and in a vault erected on a spot selec- the Rev. T. Madge and Dr. ted by himself, in the burial Hutton, was consigned to the ground of the New Gravel Pit earth. Upon no occasion since Chapel, Hackney, of which he the death of the venerable Archhad been Pastor forty years. A deacon Watson, have the inhabinumber of carriages and about tants of Hackney evinced so two hundred members of the much respect to deceased congregation followed the mourn- parishioner-many of the shops ing coaches, containing Mr. being closed, and a large conAspland's numerous family and course of persons of all religious some distinguished Dissenting and political views joining in the Ministers. The children con- mournful procession. On the nected with the school appeared following Sunday, funeral serin mourning armlets. The mons were preached at the New funeral service was conducted by Gravel Pit Chapel, Hackney, in Dr. Thomas Rees, who delivered the morning, by the Rev. T. an address, in which he drew a Madge, and in the evening, by strong portraiture of the de the Rev. Dr. Hutton ; both serceased's character, and descan- vices were attended by crowded ted with peculiar effect upon his congregations.

TO CORRESPONDENTS. We feel greatly obliged to our numerous correspondents for their good wishes

and communications, some of which we are compelled to keep back until next month. We are sorry to hear from a Correspondent, that our Orthodox Brethren in Ireland have commenced a litigation for the property of the Widows' Fund.

Communications for the Editor to be sent to 7, Farringdon Street, London.




No. 3.

March, 1846.

Vol. I.

UNITARIANISM versus TRINITARIANISM. To those who have investigated the grounds on which Unitarianism rests, and are already convinced of the truth and excellence of its doctrines, it cannot be supposed that the present essay will offer much, if anything, that is new: but we must beg such of our readers as come under this description, to remember that we do not write for them alone; that one main object of this periodical is, to spread a knowledge of the principles of Unitarian belief among inquiring spirits out of the pale of the denomination. With this end in view, in the present paper, we trust we shall be excused by our coreligionists if we repeat arguments and quotations with which they are already familiar, while we endeavour to set forth in as concise à manner as the subject will admit, what we consider to be errors and fallacies in the Trinitarian scheme, as well as the grounds of our preference of the Unitarian faith.

As Trinitarians differ somewhat among themselves, we begin by a short statement of these differences. The commonly-received, or orthodox opinion is, that the Supreme Being consists of three persons, to each of whom belong the essential attributes of Deity; and that these three persons constitute only one God. Of the advocates of this notion, some consider that the term Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are merely relative—that the persons in the Trinity did not exist under these characters from all eternity; that there is no precedence amongst them, either in time, order, or dignity. Others believe that the Father, designated as the first person in the Godhead, is alone the source or fountain of Deity; that the Son, who is the second person, was begotten of the Father; and that the Holy Ghost, the third person,



proceeded from the Father and the Son : and yet that these three persons are co-equal, co-essential, and coeternal. For proof of this, let the reader consult the Creed of St. Athanasius, the Articles of the Church of England, the Confession of Faith, and the writings of many Church of England Divines. These, then, who hold this view, may be denominated Athanasian Trinitarians. Some, again, have been of opinion, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are not three persons, but three modes, characters, or relations ; and that only one person is uniformly meant by the sacred writers, when treating of the Father, the Son, or the Spirit. Among those who have entertained this notion, and who come under the appellation of Sabellians, may be mentioned the names of Doctors Wallis and South. "A Divine Person,” says the former, in his Considerations on the Ecplications of the Doctrine of the Trinity, “is only a mode, or respect, or relation of God to his creatures. He beareth to his creatures these three relations, modes, or respects, that He is their Creator, their Redeemer, and their Sanctifier. This is what we mean, and all we mean, when we say God is three persons.

.” On the other hand, some have employed language concerning the three persons in the Godhead, unequivocally expressing the notion of three distinct Gods. These may be termed Tritheistic Trinitarians. The following is the language of the celebrated Dr. Sherlock : “It is plain the persons are perfectly distinct, for they are three distinct and infinite minds, and therefore three distinct persons; for a person is an intelligent being, and to say they are three Divine persons, and not three distinct infinite minds, is both heresy and nonsense : the Scripture, I'm sure, represents Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as three intelligent Beings, not as three Powers or Faculties of the same Being, which is downright Sabellianism ; for Faculties are not persons, no more than memory, will, and understanding, are three persons in one man : when we prove the Holy Ghost to be a person, against the Socinians, who make Him only a Divine Power, we prove that all the properties of a person belong to Him, such as understanding, will, affections, and actions; which shows what our notion of a person is, such a Being as has understanding, and will, and power of action; and it would be very strange, that we should own three persons, each of which persons is truly and properly God and not own infinite minds ; as if anything could be a God but an infinite mind."

The precise import of the term person, as used by Trinitarians, it is difficult, indeed, to ascertain ; some of them defining it one way, some another. On this point, however, the more modern advocates of the Trinity are comparatively silent; making use of the word person without professing to employ it as the representative of any definite idea.

Having thus pointed out the discrepancies which exist in the notion entertained of the Trinity by one class of Christians, it may not be amiss for the right understanding of the subject to refer to the distinctions which also prevail in Unitarianism. And first, as regards those Unitarian Christians denominated Arians : these profess to believe that God is one person only; that His Son Jesus Christ is distinct from and inferior to him; and that the Holy Spirit is merely an attribute or gift of God. With respect to Christ, some hold that as a subordinate Deity, but superior to all other intelligences, he created the Universe, and supports and governs it: others, that he was a super-angelic being, employed by the Almighty in forming the solar system, or in reducing our globe to its present habitable form. Among the eminent advocates of these views, we may mention the names of Milton, and Dr. Price. Others deny that the Son had any concern in the formation of any world, but affirm that he was a pre-existent spirit. All Arians, however, concur in opinion that he came down from Heaven, assumed our human nature, and lived and died as a man, to accomplish the important ends for which he was sent into the world. Socinians, so called from being the followers of Socinus, a Polish reformer, while they admitted the strict unity of God, and the simple humanity of Christ, held that the latter was entitled to religious homage, on account of his exaltation to the right hand of the Father. Unitarians Proper, sometimes styled Humanitarians, believe that God is one, in the strict sense of the word, and, unlike the Socinians, hold that he alone is entitled to religious worship; and that His Son Jesus Christ, was only a human being, but superior to all other divinely-com

- Uni

missioned Teachers, inasmuch as his mission was of a much higher character. The Holy Spirit is considered by both sects to signify either the Father himself, or His power, wisdom, inspiration, &c.

Now, it will be obvious, from the distinction above indicated, that to class Unitarians with Socinians—that is, with those who pay divine homage to the Saviour-seems to argue either great ignorance of the respective tenets of the two sects, or a determination to misapply a name, which is well known to be universally disclaimed by the “true worshippers of the Father. The designation Unitarian may, however, be very properly employed to signify all who maintain God to be one person only, including Arians, Socinians, and Humanitarians. tarian,” says Mr. Aspland, “is not opposed to Tritheist or Polytheist; it does not denote a believer in one God as contradistinguished from a believer in three Gods, or more Gods than one: it is opposed to Trinitarian—TriUnitarian-only, and signifies a believer in, and a worshipper of one God in one person, as contradistinguished from a believer in, and a worshipper of one God in three persons.

Unitarians believe, that the · Lord their God is one Lord,' and that the possession and observance of this great truth is the first of all the commandments.'”—(Mark xii. 29.)

The maintenance of this doctrine of God's unity is regarded by those who are convinced of its reasonableness and truth, as of the utmost importance, not only, because, like all other truths, it is important in itself, but because its results, they conceive, are of vast moment to the moral as well as religious welfare of man both here and hereafter.

Unitarians are astonished that any one can read the New Testament, and avoid being convinced that the Father alone is God; especially too, when our Saviour himself was continually appropriating this character to Him. “ God sent his Son,” “God anointed Jesus,” &c. If this title belongs equally to Jesus, much of the phraseology of the New Testament is perfectly inexplicable. Indeed, they may well challenge their opponents to adduce a single passage in that book, where the word God means three persons, and where, unless turned from its usual sense by the connexion, it does not mean the Father.



« AnteriorContinuar »