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By the convictions thus obtained, the mind becomes still further opened and enlarged. We rest not satisfied with one source of information and instruction, but delight to seek in its counterpart a confirmation of its precepts. We do not feel ourselves confined to the written record, but go forth in freedom and confidence to read the volume of the universe spread out before us.

This is no mean advantage. The mind thus becomes enriched and fertilised ; new views and new lights open to it; and hence a salutary growth in religious knowledge and feeling is experienced. What is the tendency, in this respect, of the orthodox system? Is it not to shut up the mind in what is written, to damp its inquiries in the book of nature, and thus circumscribe, within comparatively narrow limits, its sphere of vision ? It must, doubtless, be admitted that this condition naturally flows from its peculiar teachings

It, in fact, excludes from the mind those improving aids afforded by contemplations on the outward universe, of which we have been speaking. It concentrates its attention, as it were, upon one object-one source of instruction. And even the religious impressions hence derived, being for the most part of a gloomy and desponding cast, naturally impart a dark and sombre aspect to those views of nature and society which the un. derstanding is induced to take in moments, it may be, of involuntary reflection. “ It is then tempted,” observes Channing, to aggravate the miseries of life, and to see in them only the marks of Divine displeasure and punishing justice; and overlooks their obvious fitness and design to awaken our powers, exercise our virtues, and strengthen our social ties. In like manner, it exaggerates the sins of men, that the need of an Infinite atone· ment may be maintained. Some of the most affecting tokens of God's love within and around us are obscured by this gloomy theology. The glorious faculties of the soul, its high aspirations, its sensibility to the great and good in character, its sympathy with disinterested and suffering virtue, its benevolent and religious instincts, its thirst for a happiness not found on earth—these are overlooked or thrown into the shade, that they may not disturb the persuasion of man's natural corruption. Ingenuity is employed to disparage what is interesting in the human character. Whilst the bursts of passion in the new-born child are gravely urged as indications of a native rooted corruption, its bursts of affection, its sweet smile, its innocent and irrepressible joy, its loveliness and beauty, are not listened to, though they plead more eloquently its alliance with higher natures. The sacred and tender affections of home; the unwearied watchings and cheerful sacrifices of parents ; the reverential, grateful assiduity of children, smoothing an aged father's or mother's descent to the grave; woman's love, stronger than death; the friendship of brothers and sisters; the anxious affection which tends around the bed of sickness; the subdued voice, which breathes comfort into the mourner's heart; all the endearing offices, which shed a serene light through our dwellings; these are explained away by the thorough advocates of this system, so as to include no real virtue, so as to consist with a natural aversion to goodness. Even the higher efforts of disinterested benevolence, and the most unaffected expressions of piety, if not connected with what is called the true faith, are, by the most rigid disciples of the doctrine which I oppose, resolved into the passion for distinction, or some other working of 'unsanctified nature. Thus, Trinitarianism and its kindred doctrines have a tendency to veil God's goodness, to sully His fairest works, to dim the lustre of those innocent and pure affections which a Divine breath kindles in the soul, to blight the beauty and freshness of creation, and in this way to consume the very nutriment of piety. We know, and rejoice to know, that in multitudes this tendency is counteracted by a cheerful temperament, a benevolent nature, and a strength of gratitude, which bursts the shackles of a melancholy system. But from the nature of the doctrine, the tendency exists and is strong; and an impartial observer will often discern it resulting in gloomy, depressing views of life and the universe.”

Without doubt, the Trinitarian system does not properly suit (for it is far behind) the present state of knowsedge and general enlightenment. It is a barren, technical, and artificial system without warmth, without vitality. It is the product of the dark, unrefined ages, foreign in its spirit to the intellect and feeling of enlightened and progressive minds.

“ With few exceptions,” pursues the excellent author above quoted, “the Trinitarian theology of the present day is greatly deficient in freshness of thought, and in power to awaken the interest, and to meet the intellectual and spiritual wants of thinking men. I see, indeed, superior minds and great minds among the adherents of the prevalent system ; but they seem to me to move in chains, and to fulfil poorly their high function of adding to the wealth of the human intellect. Now, a system which has a tendency to confine the mind, and to impair its sensibility to the manifestations of God in the universe, is so far unfriendly to piety, to a bright, joyous, hopeful, ever-growing love of the Creator. It tends to generate and nourish a religion of a melancholy tone; such, I apprehend, as now predominates in the Christian world.”

On the other hand, Unitarianism, from its accordance with reason and the nature of things, is conducive to that sentiment of the heart and mind, which is denominated piety. There is no inconsistency in its doctrines. Its creed does not inculcate one thing, and the moral feelings another. Hence it enjoys a pleasing harmoniousness with the great and clear principles of revelation ; with the laws and powers of human nature; with the dictates of the moral sense; with the noblest instincts and highest aspirations of the soul; and with the lights which the universe throws on the character of its author.' In this there is no self-contradiction, all is agreement and harmony; no violence is done to the rational and instinctive faculties; the conscience and the reason coincide. A religion of this character is capable of infinite benefit ; it tends to raise the whole spiritual being, to exalt and purify its affections, and to give it an earnest of the consummation of the Divine precept—"Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."

We will not pursue this topic further. We think we have said enough to give to the calm, reflecting, and candid inquirer some useful and available suggestions as to the comparative merits and tendencies of the two systems in a moral, and intellectual, as well as religious point of view. It is not unlikely, it is true, that such inquirer may be disposed to ask in reply for further information on the theological bearing of the question, and as to how we explain several passages of Scriptures which, to him, may appear to prove, if not precisely the doctrine

of the Trinity, yet some kindred tenets which Trinitarians hold, but which Unitarians reject. To this part of our subject we intend to apply ourselves in a future number, and shall conclude the present article with a few remarks not irrelevant to that design.

It is very important that every investigator of the grounds of his religious opinions, should come to the task with a dispassionate, candid, and reasoning mind, in order that he may be the better prepared to weigh well the evidences of those doctrines which the Scriptures are admitted to contain and inculcate. Let such inquirer, in the first instance, bear well in his mind the advice of Lord Bacon, which we have chosen for our motto: “ Readnot to contradict or refute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse; but weigh and consider.” As it is to be supposed that every one capable of such an examination has been educated in some religious profession, it would be well for him to ask himself, “ Have I received my religious opinions from the Bible, or have I imbibed them from education, and, without examination, adopted the systems of fallible men ? Am I an accountable being--a moral agent? Is it to God, the Great Searcher of hearts and Judge of all, that I must give an account? Then, what is man that I should be influenced by his authority, and neglect the solemn commands of God ?"*

It will not, indeed, be disputed, we think, by any rational person, that there is a variety of opinions and practices prevalent in the religious world, justly claiming no other foundation than human authority. And an assiduous reader of ecclesiastical history will soon be convinced of the inadequacy of such foundation only to support a theological fallacy beyond the period of its doom. How

many such errors have sprung up, obtained notoriety and adoption for a time, and at length been exploded beyond the possibility of recal! If the doctrine of the Trinity still maintains its ground among professing

* This inquiry might be somewhat stimulated by the perusal of a small tract on this subject, entitled, “An Answer to the Question—Is the Doctrine of the Trinity contained in the Bible, or is it of Human Invention?" We recommend this little treatise to the notice of Tract Societies for distribution: it can be obtained from our Publisher.


Christians as a doctrine of the Scriptures, be it recollected that its propagation and maintenance have been effected by the stringency of human laws; by the infliction of pains, and penalties, and even death, by the various governments of Europe, on those who have brought its truth or importance, as a part of the Christian system, into question. A spirit, kindred to that which enacted those sanguinary edicts, still exists, though their execution is, in a great measure, stayed by the countervailing spirit of a general civilisation. Yet other influences prevail to keep down inquiry, and prolong the continuance of a doctrine, as an article of religious belief, which must eventually, we think, give way before the increase of knowledge and refinement, and the researches of a just and deep and enlightened criticism.

We are told by those who have taken the trouble to calculate, and thus ascertain the fact, that the Unity of God is either positively asserted or plainly implied, in about two thousand passages

in the Old Testament, and in a thousand of the New Testament; and in all the Bible there is but one text which contains anything like a formal statement of the doctrine of the Trinity (I. John, v. 7), generally termed the text of "the Three Heavenly Witnesses ;” and that text, which was some time ago esteemed the bulwark of this mysterious notion, is now given up as spurious,-nay, it was even demolished by Trinitarians themselves. In the present day, were persons of any religious denomination to contend for its genuineness, they would only expose themselves to the charge of fatuity or ignorance. Several learned Roman Catholic writers; the celebrated Michaelis, a German writer of great critical abilities, and a Trinitarian ; his English Translator, Dr. Marsh, Bishop of Peterborough, and many Dissenters of different denominations, none of whom have ever given to the world occasion to suspect their belief in the popular creed, have unreservedly admitted the spuriousness of this text. Moreover, we should think that no divine, having any regard for his own credit, will henceforth venture to support its genuineness against the irrefragable arguments of Professor Porson in his “ Letters to Archdeaco » Travis,” wherein he proves beyond the possibility of cavil, that the text in question is a forgery and an interpolation. Indeed, it is not to be found,

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