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boldly avow their disbelief of eternal misery and their firm persuasion of the restoration of mankind to holiness and happiness. So obvious is this fact that there is no publication of any Unitarian of respectability, but what discloses these views, and it is one of the charges of unsoundness of faith which is brought against them by their Orthodox opponents. It is, however, an acknowledged fact that Unitarians have not felt themselves called upon to say much on this subject, but when called upon they have not shunned to declare this part of the counsel of God. In England it is otherwise, for as there are but few, if any Universalist societies, in contradistinction to Unitarians, the ministers of the latter both in their preaching and writings boldly and fearlessly declare their belief in the doctrine of universal restoration. That there is a difference of opinion between Unitarians and some Universalists as to the time when it will take place, I freely confess ; but that they agree in the ultimate destination of man to virtue and happines, all must allow. As this then is an admitted fact, I cannot possibly conceive that this difference of opinion should any longer operate to keep them from acting in concert in the common cause of liberal Christianity.”
Comment is unnecessary. Is it to express a fearfully important truth, or is it merely “ to serve a turn,” that the Orthodox call the Unitarians, Universalists? Hereafter, be it remembered, this is “an admitted fact,” admitted by the New York Unitarians, admitted by the Rev. Mr. Ware in the first number of the “Unitarian.” Will the Unitarian Advocate, or Christian Examiner, or Cirristian Register favor the Rev. Mr. Kneeland with the precise reason why he and his Universalist brethren are refused "an interchange of gifts” with their Unitarian fellow labourers ? Why, (we repeat this question and wish it deeply pondered,) why do the Unitarian Clergy of Massachusetts seek to exchange pulpits with the Orthodox, who, in their view “ are guilty of denying the Lord Jesus," while they close their own pulpits against the Universalists, with whom they are essentially agreed; and who desire to "reciprocate an exchange of gifts” with them?
ARE UNITARIANS CHRISTIANS ? Unitarians complain that the Orthodox deny them the name • Christian.' If the term properly belong to them, the Orthodox have no right to withhold it, and the Unitarian complaint is not without
In what sense,
then, is the term withheld ? Not in its geographical sense. Those that live within certain lines and colours on the map, are Christian, or Mahometan, or Pagan. Unitarians and the Orthodox and Deists are all, in this sense, Christian. If the term Christian, mean merely reputable, honest, kindhearted, intelligent men, in this sense it is cheerfully conceded to a great majority of Unitarian professors. But if the term be understood as indicative of a saving faith and holy character; indicative of those, who will at the last day be acknowledged as the real followers of Christ, it is as generally withheld in this sense, as it is conceded in that immediately preceding. That there may be real Christians in Unitarian churches and, of course, that such deserve the name Christian, in the sense last explained, the Orthodox do not deny. They do not pretend, they do not feel themselves called upon, or competent to decide, how much error may be innocently connected with a saving knowledge of the truth ; nor how small a portion of divine truth may be made instrumental to the saving of the soul. But that those, who, under, standing at the time what they say, deny the original entire corruption of the human heart, the divinity and atonement of Christ, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, gratuitous pardon through the merits of the Redeemer, and the everlasting punishment of the im. penitent, are Christians, they cannot concede without renouncing all their main principles, without giving up the whole subject in debate. To insist upon the Orthodox yielding to Unitarians the name Christian, in this sense, is to insist upon the Orthodox renouncing their principles and becoming Unitarians. A very modest request, surely; or, at least, a very liberal one! It seems to be a favorite argument, with some “ rational ” preachers, addressed to the prejudices of their hearers and personal friends, who know them to be estimable men in their civil and social relations, the Orthodox deny that we are Christians, therefore we certainly are ; and they are bigoted Calvinists, disposed to imitate their master, who burnt Servetus. If it were necessary, passages might be adduced, the logic of which fully equals this.
But, not to dwell on this, do the Unitarians of Boston worship Christ? No. They refuse to worship him. Was Socinus a bigot? No. He is held in high estimation by the Unitarians of Boston, as an enlightened, liberal, rational Christian. Toulmin informs us, in his Life of Socinus, page 467, that “ Socinus denied that those who refuse to worship Christ are to be called Christians.” Let Socinus speak for himself. Speaking of Paleologus, he says, “ he was one, and, if I mistake not, the chief standard-bearer among those, who at this day affirm that Christ is not to be adored and invoked in prayer,
and yet in the mean while have the effrontery to call themselves Christians.” Lindsey's Historical View of Unitarian Doctrine, p. 263. In the judgment of Socinus, the hierophant of Unitarian mysteries, the Humanitarians of Boston, refusing to worship Christ, do not deserve to be called Christians. Is it a clear proof of fire-andfaggot, Calvinistic bigotry, to coincide with the first great leader of their sect ? Dr. Priestley, at once the Briareus and Corypheus of his party, frankly said, “ the truth is, there neither can, nor ought to be any compromise between us. If you are right, we are not Christians at all; and if we are right, you are gross idolaters." He considers it “ridiculous that Unitarians should be allowed to think Trinitarians idolaters, without being permitted to call them so ;” and adds, “I have no idea of being offended with any man in things of this kind, for speaking what he believes to be the truth.” Dr. Priestley here speaks like a man in earnest, believing what he said to be truth. Why should the admirers of the Doctor wish for a compromise, when the fact is just as stated by him, either Trinitarians are idolaters, or Unitarians are not Christians ? Why should not the Orthodox say what they believe? Or why should they be compelled to say what they do not believe? The gentleman, who writes with such flippant ambiguity about the “ exclusive sect " and system, might take a profitable lesson from the frank and unjustly persecuted philosopher of Birmingham.
Let us vary this subject. Who are Christians ? Are not those who worship one God and only one, and acknowledge Jesus to be a divinely appointed prophet, and believe in a future life, Christians ? I shall not take the trouble to verify this definition by reference to Unitarian writings. But if any one, entitled to notice, calls for verification, it can be given in abundance. Unitarians are Christians in the sense just defined, believing and doing all which that definition requires. But let me ask the Boston Unitarian, is the Mahometan a Christian ? Are the Turkish armies, engaged in butchering the Christian Greeks, Christians ? Certainly not. But the Turks worship one God, and only one ; acknowledge Jesus to be a divinely appointed prophet, and believe in a future life. The Turks, then, or Mahometans, are, according to the Unitarian definition of the term Christian, Christians, believing precisely what the Unitarians believe. But Mahometans, in the judgment of Boston Unitarians, are not Christians, wherefore Unitarians, according to their own reasoning, are not Christians. The logical force of this argument will be more clearly seen thus. If Unitarians, as such, are Christians, Mahometans, being Unitarians, are Christians; but
Mahometans are not Christians, wherefore Unitarians, as such, are not Christians.
Taking the English definition of Unitarianism, and allowing that a believer in Unitarianism is a Christian, this argument is irresistible to prove that he is not. If that, which constitutes men Unitarians, makes them also at the same time Christians, Mahometans believing precisely what constitutes men Unitarians, are of course Christians. There is no possible way for a Unitarian to avoid this conclusion. He must then admit Mahometans to the fellowship of Unitarians, as “good Christians,” or he must adopt some other definition of a Christian than that already given. But Monotheism is not Christianity nor Mahometanism. Unitarians, to deserve the name Christian, must adopt some other article into their creed than that quoted in the preceding note from the Monthly Repository, or those from the Christian Disciple.
Boston Unitarians, it appears then, in the opinion of the Orthodox, of Socinus, and (shall it be said ?) of themselves also, are not Christians. Must the Orthodox yield a name, which Dr. Priestley allows Unitarians do not deserve, if Orthodox views be correct ?
Here then we might rest our defence, exonerated, as we trust, from the charge of illiberality, bigotry, a disposition to persecute, &c. &c.; but we have other facts and reasons for our conduct, to which we ask the particular attention of candid, inquiring Unitarians. We believe the fact, that the Orthodox deny that Unitarians are Christians, from the manner in which this denial is represented by Unitarians themselves, forms in many minds a strong objection to Orthodoxy. This forms one of the most popular ad invidiam arguments of Unitarian writers. I shall not stop to inquire whether the same argument, in the same manner, was not advanced by the opponents of the early Christians; nor shall I adduce any quotations from Gibbon to show the “exclusive," “ intolerant " character of the gospel of Christ, compared with the elegant forms and liberal spirit of paganism. I choose to take another, and a somewhat unusual course.
I premise, that the Unitarians of Boston entertain, and have often expressed, a high opinion of the learning, the piety, the enlarged and genuine liberality of the Polish Socinians. They would have us understand that they have not done this ignorantly. Will they abide the decision of their Polish brethren on the question “ whether they are Christians ?” Let them recollect the character they have repeatedly, in their publications, given these Polish Unitarians, and they will, doubtless, be happy for an appeal from bigoted Calvinists to the learned, pious, and liberal-minded Polish Socinians.
The opinion of Socinus we have already seen, but in this he may have been singular. We will not again appeal to him. What we wish is the opinion of the whole body of Polish Socinians. Is it to be had ? Happily it is. The first Polish Socinian catechism was published in 1605, and in 1609 was printed at London. In it are this question and
“Question. What think you of those men who do not pray to Christ, nor allow that he is to be worshipped? Answer. I think they are by no means Christians; because in fact they do not own Jesus to be the Christ, and though in words they dare not deny it, yet they do it in their deeds."
More to the same purpose may be found in Lindsey's Historical View of Unitarian Doctrine, p. 252. This catechism was published after the death of Socinus, and is known to embody the deliberate opinions of that numerous, original class of Socinians, whose extensive learning, unshrinking piety, and unquestioned liberality, have been the theme of repeated commendation from American Unitarians. We ask for a passage in any
Orthodox catechism, wherein those, who refuse to worship Christ, are as explicitly denied to be Christians, as in this first Unitarian catechism published after the Reformation. We hope after this, either to hear no more commendations of the liberal Christians of Poland, or no more censure of the Orthodox for that in which they agree with them. Let not my object here be mistaken. I am not attempting to prove any thing because the Polish Socinians believed it. I am attempt ing to silence a Unitarian objection by an appeal to their own much applauded, much quoted, much credited witnesses.
Let us vary this subject once more, and view it in yet another light. Intelligent Unitarians in England and this country perceive and allow, that the scriptures confine prayer or invocation and adoration to that divine Being, who will not give his glory to another. To invoke or to worship Christ is said by them to be unscriptural, irrational, improper and idolatrous. No Unitarian minister in Boston is ever guilty of the impropriety, the idolatry, of invoking or calling upon Christ in prayer. The case of Stephen is thought to have been extraordinary and unique, he having had especial manifestation of Christ, which made it peculiarly proper for him thus “to call upon the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit.” The Unitarians of Boston agree with Lindsey, Carpenter, Davidies and Paleologus in withhold. ing adoration and supplication from Christ. Yet in the scriptures, the primitive Christians are described as “ those, who called upon the name of Christ.” How can this difficulty be got over ?
How can he contrariety between present Unitarian, and apparently primitive Christian practice be reconciled? The intelligent Unitarian, who