« ÖncekiDevam »
means of eternal life; he looks upon every sinner's case as hopeless, until he is interested by faith in that atoning sacrifice which the Bible alone reveals. Here then the secret comes out wherefore it is that Evangelical Christians place so much higher value upon the Scriptures than Unitarians; wherefore it is that the former are sending them, as if on the wings of the morning, all over the world, while the latter, for the most part, manifest little interest in any such enterprize. The truth is that both are acting in consistency with their own principles: both are treating the Bible according to their respective views of its importance. Could the British and Foreign Bible Society, or the American Bible Society, I had almost said, the two brightest glories of the age, be sustained, think you, by Unitarian zeal and charity? I venture to say, not for a single year. These institutions could never move on but under the all inspiring consideration that, in sending the Bible abroad, we are imparting a gift with which God himself has connected the soul's everlasting salvation.
3. Our subject shows us the intimate connexion between Unitarianism and one species of Universalism.
There are those, I know, who arrive at the conclusion that all men will finally be saved from a perverted view of Christ's atonement; maintaining that his death is the literal payment of the debt which the world owed to divine justice ;-a consideration upon which all men, irrespective of personal qualifications, have the glories of Heaven made secure to them. But the same general conclusion, to say the least, as legitimately results from the scheme of modern Unitarianism; and that, whether you view it in respect to the character of man, or the character of God. For if man be the subject of nothing worse than accidental infirmity and imperfection,--an
evil so slight that it may be passed by without any atonement, surely it was unreasonable to suppose that it should lead to any such fearful result as eternal misery. And then again, if God's character as a Lawgiver is to be merged in his character as a Father ; if his justice can give place to his mercy in the pardon of any sin, without some arrangement for securing the rights of his government, it is reasonable to conclude that there can be no degree of sin that is so odious to him as to constitute the ground of an eternal condemnation. The Unitarian then, upon his own principles, is fairly brought to the conclusion, either that there will be no punishment, or but a limited punishment, for the sinner, in a future world. And most Unitarians, so far as I know, not only admit this conclusion, but earnestly contend for it: in other words, they adopt one or the other of the systems of Universalism as part of their own creed.
If then Unitarianism has actually adopted Universalism, so that, in point of fact, the one has become incorporated with the other, I ask whether this new feature in the Unitarian's creed does not array it still more strongly against the word of God, as well as heighten its dangerous moral tendencies. I know that all the corrupt propensities of the heart plead for the doctrine of universal salvation; but God's word brands it as a lie; and conscience loudly seconds the testimony. That it is not possible for a good man to hold this doctrine in certain connexions I will not assert; but I assert without hesitation that there is no doctrine which more effectually licenses every corrupt principle of our nature; which more certainly throws open the floodgates of crime; or the reception of which more legitimately warrants the expectation of a thoroughly depraved character. Enter not into this path of the wicked. Turn from it,
and pass away, as you value your interests for eternity.
4. Finally: Who that communes with his own conscience, or takes counsel of death bed scenes, will hesitate in the choice between Evangelical Christianity and Unitarianism?
I am aware that Unitarianism may seem to do well enough, so long as the conscience is asleep, and the world smiles, and death is kept out of remembrance. But let the case change in either of these respects, and you will see that an exigency has occurred which the system was not designed to meet. What if conscience awake to its appropriate office, and accuse you of your rebellion against God, and force you to look towards the horrours of a coming world ;-you may have the best consolations that Unitarianism can furnish offered you, and
you will reject them as altogether inadequate, and pant for something which it belongs not to the system to yield. Or suppose again that the cup of pleasure is suddenly taken out of your hands, and a cup of gall substituted in its place ;-suppose especially that you are brought to realize that the scenes of your worldly joy are at an end, and that the king of terrours is approaching you on his mysterious and appalling agency ;-rely on it, you have made no adequate preparation for an occasion like this, unless you have looked beyond the system of Unitarianism. I do not say that there have not been cases in which individuals have evinced great tranquillity in death, who have openly rejected the atonement of Christ; and so too, I know, there have been those who have openly declared against the Religion of Christ in every form, who have breathed out their lives apparently without a chill of apprehension; but while some such instances occur both among Unitarians and Deists, how. numerous are the cases in which their
tem utterly fails them in the last hour, and they are left to grope through the dark valley without a ray of consolation! But not so with Evangelical Christianity.Whatever her votaries may have feared in respect to the genuineness of their own experience, I venture to say that the instance never occurred in which the soul that had believed in Christ's atonement, doubted in the last hour whether that were a sure foundation. It stands like the rock of ages; and the billows of death beat around it in vain.
Are you, my young friend, amidst your dreams of thoughtlessness, half inclined to adopt the Unitarian system as your creed? Before you do it, reflect that you have within your bosom a conscience, which, though it slumbers now, will ere long awake and shew itself a minister of wrath, and will refuse to be pacified by any thing short of that atoning blood which Unitarianism rejects. While the world turns from you its dark side, and the grave seems hid in a distant futurity, you may be ready to ask yourself “ What more consolation do Í need than Unitarianism furnishes ?" But forget not the evil days that are to come ;-days of disappointment, days of calamity, and especially the dark day of death, in which nothing but the grace of an Almighty Saviour will be sufficient to sustain you. Make provision for the future by embracing the system of Evangelical truth. Receive it cordially and practically, and I will have no apprehension either for your safety or your comfort, though I should see you walking in the midst of trouble, or even writhing in the monster's hands.
PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY CONTRASTED WITH
TITUS II. 11, 12, 13, 14. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men; teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world ; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
IN CONNEXION WITH
Ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.
The chapter which contains the former of these passages, the Apostle introduces by a series of directions, such as it became an elder minister to address to a younger, and especially to his own son in the faith, in reference to the manner in which he should discharge the ministerial office. He then proceeds in the words just recited to enforce what he had said by an argument