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This is the reconciliation, which he sent his Son to attain. We are told he sent him to appease divine wrath, and satisfy divine justice. But neither of these things are possible. God is not, cannot be, a wrathfül Being; and instead of justice, it would be the most flagrant injustice to demand the sufferings of the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Christ came to turn men from their iniquities, and to save them from the fatal consequences of their sins. He came to produce a change in them, and not in God. He came to open the way of eternal life, and to reveal doctrines, which should induce men to pursue it. The whole scheme of his religion points to this end. Repentance and holiness are the perpetual theme of every command, and every exhortation. But the notion, that he came to make a full satisfaction for the sins of the world, destroys all the moral and positive parts of his religion. There is no occasion for repentance, holiness, or any other moral quality, if the only object to which they can lead has already been attained. Some have said, that this satisfaction was intended only to repair the breach of the law, which was made by the lapse of our first parents, and that after all every individual is answerable for his own sins. But this device has much the appearance of having been contrived only as an escape from the immoral and dangerous consequences of the scheme, when admitted in its fullest latitude. But it is unsound and inconsistent. The satisfaction was made by an infinite Being. It must, therefore, have an infinite extent; and if it have power to remove one sin, it must have the same power to remove all that ever have been, or ever can be committed. To say, that although an infinite satisfaction is made, God might accept it only in part, would
be to impeach his justice. If full payment be made, justice requires a perfect release.
The doctrine of satisfaction, or substitution, is also at variance with the freedom of divine
grace. “If sin is a debt, and Christ paid it all, upon what ground is it said to be forgiven? Let any of the advocates of this system show, how the full payment of a debt can be reconciled with the glori. ous truth, that God forgives us freely.-lf, as is asserted, Jesus was delivered up, that he might pay the debt, and pacify God's wrath, what was there that God could freely give, when Christ had paid for all!~But if, according to scripture, the love of God was such, that he gave his Son to publish the Gospel, to exemplity it in his life, to confirm it by his death, and to assure us of eternal life by his resurrection from the dead, all is clear, all is consistent.”-p. 24.
All that is said of grace or pardon in the scriptures, if men are accepted of God on the grounds of a satisfaction made for their sins by another being, would be unintelligible. Where is any room for pardon? Our acceptance is secured, and there is nothing to pardon. But we do not learn the scriptures thus. As we read them, our only hope of acceptance is in the free grace, and unmerited pardon of God. Is it said we are pardoned through the merits of Christ? This is only giving wrong names to things, and removing the difficulty one step higher. If a pardon is already purchased, it is granted not as an act of grace or mercy, but of justice.
And yet every sinner must feel, that there is a necessity for the pardoning mercies of God. When the wicked repent, and turn from their sins, and reform their lives, and not before, God in his gracious goodness will forgive and accept them. When we have done all, which our imperfect natures will suffer us to do, we shall still be deficient, and unworthy in the sight of a holy God. But he has promised his loving kindness, his mercy, and his pardoning grace, to remove
the dross which remains. The Son of God has made known the conditions, upon which we may expect the mercy and forgiveness of God will be exercised towards
He has taught us the part we have to act. He has given us rules, and supplied us with motives. He has revealed the will and the laws of his Father in heaven. If we are in carnest, and persevere to the end in faith, obedience, and righteousness, we shall not lose the reward of our well doing. If we neglect these things, our hopes will prove shadowy and illusive.
We trust Mr. Campbell's book is calculated to do good where it shall circulate. His views appear to us scriptural, and his language is temperate and plain. There is more looseness of style, than we can approve, and the errors of the press are numerous. sume the author's duties and avocations might justly be urged as some apology. Mr. Campbell preaches, we understand, to a congregation of unitarians in Pittsburgh, in addition to the arduous labours of a school.
Fifth Letter to the Rev. Dr. Miller. On the Moral
Tendency of Unitarian Preaching.
My last letter was chiefly devoted to a consideration of the doctrines of Depravity and Regeneration, and their comparative moral tendency, as they are understood by unitarians and calvinists. I come now to the other particulars, by which you characterize unitarian preaching.
You say it teaches, that the various exercises of mind, supposed by some to be essential to piety, are mere
dreams of enthusiasm. This is so vague a charge, that it hardly admits of a formal reply. You have made no attempt either to explain your meaning, or prove the fact. What you would have your readers understand by "the various exercises of mind,” which you mention, they are left to conjecture. To meet such a statement, it were irrelevant and useless to produce argument.
Unitarians believe piety to be a rational and operative principle, founded on a knowledge of God, of his will, and of his requirements. The piety, which they preach and strive to cultivate, is various in its character and objects. It is a devout and impressive sense of the majesty, goodness, mercy, and holiness of God. It fills the mind with serious meditations on the divine perfections, and the divine laws, and not only rules in the understanding, but penetrates the heart and kindles the affections. The pious mind will feel grateful for the blessings it receives, and find its liveliest joy in pouring out thanksgivings and praises to the author of all good. Especially will it glorify his name for the way of salvation, which he has granted through his Son Jesus Christ. It will always have an impressive conviction of the unceasing presence of God, and be humbled with a sense of its own dependence and weakness. Unitarians think it also an essential part of piety, that they should strive to imitate the example of the Saviour in all things. While they love God, they desire to love his rational creatures, to treat them as brethren, respect their sincere professions, refrain from judging them harshly, or denying them the rights and hopes of christians. They believe charity a very important branch of piety. The man, who is ready to listen to the whispers of malevolence, raise the voice of detraction, or hurl the weapons of denunciation, gives no convincing testimony in their view, that the pride of his own heart is subdued, or that he has the temper of the Gospel. In few words, unitarians preach a piety, which is intended to engage the heart, soul, and strength in a sincere love and service of God, which shall restrain all the uphallowed desires and wayward inclinations, which shall make men acquainted with the deceitfulness and vanity of their own hearts, and clothe them with a deep humility, sorrow for their sins, and unfeigned repentance -which shall open the channels of benevolence, and kind feelings towards their fellow men, direct their steps in the ways of Christ, raise their minds and conversation to heaven, and prepare them for the future good pleasure and holy service of God.
It is an evil report to say, that unitarians are averse to any "exercises of the mind,” which embrace these objects. Whatever ministers to true holiness in others, they joyfully commend, and would desire to imitate; and I deny that they are ever accustomed to attribute any thing to enthusiasm, which is obviously connected with a pure intention and a holy life. When we see persons fond of trumpeting to the world the extraordinary merits of their own piety, eager to scatter in the ears of the multitude the raptures of their indescribable exercises, loud in proclaiming themselves the peculiar favourites of heaven, clamorous in revealing the ecstacies with which their hearts are daily and hourly visited, and busy in drawing lines of distinction between themselves and others, whom, in the excess of their christian charity, they assign to lower ranks in religious faith, attainments, and purity, however sincere and ardent they may be in their endeavours,whenever we see such persons, experience has taught us, that we ought to be prepared for more of spiritual pride and self com.