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but I am aware also, that the distinction between actual divinity and perfect inspiration, is no such broad distinction as to be utterly inexcusable; and as you say, in page 370, "We should examine circumspectly on all sides, and abide by that opinion which, on carefully balancing all considerations, appears fairly entitled to our preference." The advantage of our creed is or should be this, that, "in proportion to the strength of our conviction of the real and essential divinity (Godhead) of the Christ, will naturally be the earnestness of our obedience to his precepts, and attention to his doctrine; and, in like manner, proportionably as we believe in the reality and perfectness of the incarnation of that Godhead, that as Jesus he was actually, bona fide, man like ourselves, (original sin only excepted); so will the efficacy of his example, and our confidence in, and sensible comprehension of the possibility of the necessary obedience to those precepts, and imitation of that example, be raised, and strengthened within us!" But notwithstanding, he who believes Jesus to have been merely "that prophet," "Him who should come," in short, the promised Messiah, giving a different interpretation to the term "Son of God" cannot with propriety be denied the name
1 Mithra in the Central World.
The advantage you allude to as being possessed by Unitarians in particular, I confess I cannot understand. The faith of the whole Christian world must be founded upon Scripture, and the very fact of so large a majority having determined, that the Scriptures assert the divinity of Christ, of itself proves to my mind, (taking into consideration that it is a point of acknowledged importance, and has been minutely canvassed), that the weight of evidence to be produced from Scripture leans, apparently at all events, to the interpretation put upon it by the majority.
We come next to those you term "half unbelievers," (p. 371), a term which, like "nominal Christians," you would appear to think applicable to all who study and reason for themselves upon religion, unless they should just have the luck not only to adopt your opinions, but to express themselves to a tittle, according to your formula; which, I apprehend, it is at least a thousand to one they will not. Did we all study as you would have us, this class would increase a hundred fold! I am heartily glad to find, in page 373, that you have at last discovered that the darkness of this age is not quite so thick as you before seemed to imagine. I presume I may take it as an admission, that our clergy have not been remiss in literary labours at least, or do you allude merely to the
Tract Society when you extol the cheapness as well as the plainness of the productions?
Section 4, p. 375.-We are now, Sir, arrived at your last section, which you commence by an appeal to those "who really deserve the name of true Christians," whom you remind of their political importance, which you tell them " was never more critically exigent than at present." Now, Sir, upon the two little words-" Really" and "True," depends the truth or falsehood of this paragraph. If we are to understand these terms as they should be meant, to imply perfect Christians, or sincere Christians; those who both unfeignedly believe and zealously obey, without reference to peculiar opinions, I grant every word you say. But I fear we shall find these words of yours bearing a very different sense; and I am not without my fears that the double entendre is not wholly undesigned. When you talk of the admissions of experienced politicians, we are bound to understand you as relating to real Christians in the ordinary received sense. But when we turn to page 376, we learn a different lesson. We are there told of those who I really deserve the appellation of true Christians," that "their system is that of the national Church," and" as their system prevails, in that very proportion the Church itself is strengthened." These true Christians are limited, then, as regards opinion,
not only to one Church, but to one particular sect or portion of the Church of England. "The charge of singularity must be incurred." They are, then, a small minority of the Church of England; and this single sect, and no others, "can feel zeal for religion, or can be expected to shew devotedness and uniformity in conduct, or perseverance in exertion." Therefore, this sect, i. e. that portion of the Church alone, who hold these opinions, whatever they may be, that are alluded to, "really deserves the appellation of true Christians." Well, Sir, this must be an excellent sect who have thus taken out a patent and secured the monopoly of such valuable titles, it behoves us to consider whom they may be. It has for some time been sufficiently evident, that some one set of people has been alluded to; but you have not until now sufficiently drawn aside the veil, to enable us to decide upon whom these may be. Now, however, by narrowing the field, you have enabled me to hazard a conjecture. By the fruits we may guess at the trees: let us see, then, who they may be supposed to be, who are so complacently, and as regards other Christians, so charitably alluded to. Are they those who are not of your opinion in your grand distinction? Certainly not. Who are they, then? What set of people is it that lays claim to representing exclusively the real Church of England, although at
present a minority in that Church? Which talks in high-flown rhapsodies, of faith, grace, original sin, preaching the cross and Christ crucified, washing of regeneration, love, the Lamb, &c. cum multis aliis? And which, almost denouncing Christian morality itself under title of works of the law, contends, with a strange sort of consistency, for a Pharisaical observance of sabbaths, and other outward ceremonials? And, moreover, which holds all religious subjects desecrated, if not expressed in language taken by whole sentences from the Bible? Who are these, I ask? Why the self-styled Evangelicals 1! These, originally the Genevan party, beguiled into conformity by their own ambition, and the equivocal wording of our articles, half-deceived, half-hoping to deceive; now, where not still designing puritans, a sort of Creole production from the ultra-superstition of both parties, like lamp-black half fetid, half odorous, from the mingled smoke of tallow and wax,-
1 It is a common mistake that there is no such thing as a High Church Evangelical. The hybrid not unfrequently exhibits traits of the female parent. The difference is observable in the character of its superstition, which, in this case, receives its colouring a trifle more from Popish mythology; in the other, a trifle more from Judaism. But a strong dash of Calvinism is a never-failing characteristic. And this is supported chiefly by a
childish misinterpretation of St. Paul's meaning.