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no other ground than this, we should cheerfully allow it to them. But when we know, that they receive the Gospel of Christ, and consider him as commissioned from heaven, to publish a revelation to the world; when we know, that they interpret his language as their understanding and judgment direct, and profess to make his precepts the rule of their lives, and his promises the strength of their hopes, we have other good reasons for calling thein christians.
Now we ask nothing more than this of trinitarians. We glory in Christ, as the founder of a religion, through which we hope to attain salvation and eternal life. We receive him most implicitly, as our Master and our Saviour, study his word with humility, prayer, and devotedness, and then receive it in such a sense, as our understanding and our conscience will warrant; and we also endeavour to conform our lives to the precepts and spirit of the Gospel. We know not what more we can do, or what more others have done, to merit the name of christians. We may be mistaken, and so may they, but our motives and endeavours are the same, and whence these exclusive asserters of the christian name derive the right of bringing us to a judgment, from which they modestly imagine themselves exempt, we have not been able to learn.
Trinitarians acknowledge our sincerity, and of course must allow, that we desire to learn the truth. Professor Lindsly has, also, informed us, that unitarians are abundantly qualified for this task. "Many of the teachers of this heresy," says he, "are thoroughly skilled in scholastic theology, logic, and metaphysics; in history, antiquity, philosophy, and modern sciences; and well versed in the ancient languages." One would suppose that these qualifications, combined with right motives, Zeal, and an ardent love of truth, would be as likely to lead to accurate results, as any others that can be imagined. But no; although they conduct every body else right, most unfortunately for unitarians, they conduct them wrong; others they allure to light, truth, and heaYen, but unitarians they drive into the disinal abyss of error, and hurry them onward in the road to ruin.
The reluctance, which some persons express in allowing any one to have the name of christians but themselves and their favourites, is no new fancy springing out of modern orthodoxy. It is as ancient as the Council of Nice. Even the great Constantine decreed, that the discomfited Arians should no longer be honoured with the title of christians, but should be called, xari ečo xuv, by way of eminence, Porphyrians. Three years afterwards, however, the emperor revoked his decree, recalled the exiled Arians, and professed to consider them the only true christians in his empire.
Theodosius the younger could not suffer so good an example to escape without imitation. He made a decree, that all his subjects should be of the faith of Damasus, bishop of Rome, and believe in the “consubstantiality and eternal divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or be regarded as heretics and madınen, and be delivered over to the secular arm.” Such as would not comply, were deprived by a royal mandate of the name of christians, and the unfortunate disciples of Nestorius were distinguished by the title of Simonians.*
* Villers' Essay on the Reformation, p. 434. This matter is discussed with much gravity by the learned Dr. Knowles, Prebendary of Ely, in his Primitive Christianity, p. 116, where he reasons very profoundly in defence of these decrees of Constantine and Theodosius. With him the point turns on the articles necessary for salvation, and he says, “The doctrine of the trinity in unity, and unity in
Whether they, who manifest so much zeal in misnaming unitarians, and in determining who alone are true christians, have been animated by these imperial examples, we are not concerned to inquire.
As to what Professor Lindsly says respecting its being "admitted, that the controversy about the name depends on the real nature and character of the Saviour,” we reply, that no such thing has ever been admitted. This would be to suppose, that the nature and character of Christ must in all respects be known, before any one can be called a christian. If such were the condition, who would have the confidence to take
himself the name? Who will have the presumption to declare himself possessed of a perfect knowledge of a subject, which has divided the opinions of the wise, the pious, and the learned of all ages! What do the Scriptures say? “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” This is the rule of the Christian faith, and here is nothing about the precise nature, offices, or character of the Saviour. We are to study the Scriptures, and learn what we can on these subjects, and although we may not all come to the same conclusions, we do not thereby forfeit our title to the christian name; or if we do, it is a forfeiture, which bears equally upon every sect of chris
trinity, which is the substance of the Athanasian Creed, is the baptismal faith, and that certainly is necessary for salvation, if any faith be.” Hence he infers, that it was a thing most worthy of the royal attention of the emperors of antiquity to decree, that Arians and Nestorians should no longer be designated by the christian appellations of Arians and Nestorians, but should be called Porphyrians ana Simontans.
tians, unless some one can provę by something more than pretence to infallibility, that it has the true faith.
We hope the time will come when our opponents will argue with us under a consciousness of their own fallibility, as well as a most confident assurance of ours; when they will recollect, that they are men, as well as we; that the same Being, who has given them understanding, has given it to us; that we feel ourselves responsible to the same God; that we have the same word of divine truth to guide us, and an interest equally strong in its instructions, commands, promises, and consolations, and are, therefore, bound by every thing that is endearing in life, and solemn in the prospects of fue turity, to examine with as much earnestness, humility, and anxious solicitude. When they have meditated on these facts, and taken this glance at human nature, we believe they will have more forbearance and less asperity, more charity and less confidence.
Life and Sermons of the late Rev. Dr. Lathrop.
This eminent and venerable divine died in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on the thirty-first day of December, 1820, at the good old age of eighty-nine years. During the whole of this long period, he had held a high place in the respect, attachment, and confidence of all who knew him; was one of those in whose judgment and integrity, the churches throughout his part of the country placed the strongest reliance, and to whose counsel they resorted in all cases of perplexity and doubt; was every where known as an agreeable and powerful preacher, and published at different times five volumes of ser
mons, besides many single and occasional discourses, and was equally distinguished for the simplicity, affection, and godly sincerity of his deportment as a christian and a minister. It happens to few men to be the object of so universal and unqualified respect and trust. We believe there has been but one sentiment toward him-a feeling that he was an upright, candid, consistent disciple of his meek and lowly Master. For with all his eminence, he never ceased to be hum. ble, or forgot that others had their rights, and were accountable to another than himself. He was an example of the truest liberality, hating and despising all bigotry, a stedfast advocate and defender of christian liberty, a strenuous opposer of every unholy attempt to "lord it over God's heritage.” In losing him, the cause of toleration has lost one of its best friends. May his example not die with him, nor be lost to us or the church.
In his religious belief, he was a calvinist; but he suffered nothing of that belief to affect his character, but what was common to the broad ground of christian truth. It never contracted his heart, or soured his feelings. His spirit could not receive the impression of its harsh and
repulsive features; he smoothed them all away, and . presented them to us so altered and humanized by their
connexion with his own excellent dispositions, that in him Calvinism seemed something almost lovely, and scarcely different from that holy and beautiful system, which we see in the Bible. Indeed, the Bible had been his model; and though he never relinquished the form of sound words, which had been taught him as an essential thing in his youth, and which was associated with all the warmth and happiness of his first impressions; yet he never was a slave to it, and his study to form