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necessary to procure for us the forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, and eternal life. These are benefits, with which nothing that is done by any other finite being can bear any comparison; they are such as entitle him to affection, and gratitude, and trust ; such as we owe, and can owe to no other being, but to “his Father and our Father, his God and our God.”

Unitarians are unable indeed to express these sentiments in the language applied by Dr. Woods, p. 145. Such expressions of confidence and trust they can apply to God only. They have but one object of supreme trust and dependence. Were they to make Jesus Christ that object, they would fear to incur the rebuke, which the prophet received from the angel before whom he fell down to worship,“ See thou do it not, I am thy fellow-servant, worship God.” I am ready therefore to answer to the questions, with which Dr. Woods closes the paragraph which relates to faith in Christ, (p. 145) “Does the Unitarian system teach any thing like this ? Does such a faith spring from the principles which it inculcates?" to say no ! Most of what is there said, Unitarians would apply to God, but not to Christ. We find nothing in the Bible to justify us in transferring our supreme confidence and trust from God to Christ. It is accordingly the power and wisdom and goodness of God, which inspire us with humble and joyful hope; and which put our hearts at rest respecting the important concerns of the creation. It is to his care, that we cheerfully and entirely commit our interests, temporal and eternal. It is in him that

we trust for all that is necessary to purify our hearts, to guide and protect us during our pilgrimage, to comfort us in affliction, and to give us peace and triumph in the prospect of death. In these great interests and concerns, we cannot consent, and we do not find ourselves taught, to leave our heavenly Father wholly out of the account.

The tendency of any scheme of doctrine to produce the dread of sin, and a watchful care to obey the divine precepts, will depend essentially on the view it presents of the rewards and punishments prepared for men in another life, the heaven it provides, and the hell it reveals. Now it is not a little remarkable, that Dr. Woods should claim an advantage, in point of moral influence, to the orthodox faith, on the ground that it contemplates a state of higher perfection and purer and more elevated enjoyment, than the Unitarian describes.” (p. 146) And “that the contemplation of a future reward, to be obtained by virtuous efforts, must evidently tend to excite those efforts, very much in proportion to the greatness and excellency of that reward."

For, besides that the claim of higher perfection and greater purity is without any foundation to justify it; upon what ground can he speak of a future reward to be obtained “ by virtuous efforts ?" The reader has not forgotten, that the sinner has no encouragement to virtuous efforts : “ That no works of righteousness, and no accomplishments or disposition, must ever be named in the presence of God..... That the only righshould be executed by a just, and good, and merciful being, the Parent of the creation; you weaken its effects as a motive, you lose in probability, and the firmness of faith, more than you gain in the force of fear. You excite a vague and indistinct terror and dread; but so mingled with incredulity, arising from a natural and unconquerable sense of the essential kindness and benignity of the Author of nature, as to impair, if not destroy its practical effects.

The surest and highest, the purest and most permanent influence will be that, which arises from such views of the future punishment awaiting the wicked, as are consistent with the character of a Sovereign of the world, who has nothing vindictive in his nature, who adjusts punishment to the degree of demerit, who inflicts it solely for the purpose of promoting holiness, and accomplishing the purposes of his moral

government, and only to the degree which these purposes require, and so long as they require it.

From these considerations, I am persuaded that the moral influence of the views of future reward and punishment, maintained generally by Unitarians, is far more certain, and powerful, and salutary, and purifying, than that which is the result of the Orthodox views on this subject. And I am persuaded of this by another consideration still. It is this - The virtue that is produced by cheerful views, and by the contemplation of kindness, benevolence, and mercy in God, is of a more pure, generous, and elevated kind, than that which arises from cold, austere, and gloomy views, and the contemplation of severe, unrelenting, vindictive justice, and the execution of eternal wrath.

Unitarians believe that the representations in scripture of the future punishment of the impenitent wicked are, for the purpose of impression, highly figurative; but they believe that the figures, like all 'others used by the sacred writers, are intended to mean something, something of vast moment; that in degree and duration it will be such, as is calculated to produce the highest practical influence. In either respect we can have clear and distinct conceptions only to a certain degree. All beyond that, therefore, can add nothing to the effect.

Dr. Woods proceeds to a comparison of the different influences of the systems in question, as respects reverence for the word of God. To show that Unitarians have little reverence for the scriptures, and treat the sacred writings with little respect, he asserts, (p. 148.) That,“ the grand maxim of the Polish Socinians was, that reason is our ultimate rule and standard, and that whatever in religion is not conformed to this, is to be rejected. This maxim, as they understood it, gave them perfect liberty to alter or set aside the obvious sense of the bible, whenever it did not agree with the deductions of reason. Unitarians, in general, have, with more or less decision, adopted the same maxim.” The impression intended here to be made on the reader must be, That 6 Unitarians, generally think themselves at perfect liberty to alter or set aside the obvious sense of the bible, whenever it does not


agree with the deductions of reason." Dr. Woods has not seen fit to refer us to his authority for the assertion, as respects the Polish Socinians. This it was his duty to do, in laying against them a charge of so seririous a nature, that the reader might be able to judge of its justice. What authority he may be able to produce, I know not. But I presume it must have been derived from a passage, which I shall subjoin, which is found in the Racovian Catechism, which contains a summary of the Socinian doctrines, as drawn up by the celebrated Polish Divines. But if this passage be the only authority to which he will appeal, the charge is made with less care, than were to have been expected of one, so frequent and loud, as he is, in his complaints of the misrepresentations and unfairness of adversaries. The passage is this

“ By what means may the more obscure passages of scripture be understood ?

“ By carefully ascertaining in the first instance, the scope, and other circumstances, of those passages, in the way which ought to be pursued in the interpretation of the language of all other written compositions. Secondly, by an attentive comparison of them with similar phrases and sentences of less ambiguous meaning. Thirdly, by submitting our interpretation of the more obscure passages to the test of doctrines, which are most clearly inculcated in the scriptures, as to certain first principles; and admitting nothing that disagrees with these. And lastly, by rejecting every interpretation, which is repugnant to right reason, or involves a contradiction.”

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