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the more active opposers were Drs Hemmenway of Wells, Cummings of Billerica, Lathrop of WestSpringfield, West of New-Bedford, and other distinguished divines. Some published, and others preached and privately disputed. I witnessed an instance of the preaching of a professed Calvinist against Hopkinsian tenets, at the reading of a result of Council, which unanimously disapproved the principles advocated by a disciple of Hopkins. Dr West of Stockbridge, Dr Emmons of Franklin, and some others of less importance, followed Hopkins, in support of his creed.
Some men have supposed that Hopkinsianism contributed largely to discredit Calvinism. It seemed to many too glaring an absurdity for belief, and too dangerous in tendency for practice. Every strenuous effort to defend the peculiar doctrines of Calvin seemed to lessen their credibility and influence, and to increase more liberal opinions.
But all this time, the spirit of exclusion was at least dormant. Ministers who speculated differently, cultivated fraternal dispositions, and held ministerial and Christian communion. The Anabaptists were the only exclusive sect of any consideration ; unless it may be thought, the Congregationalists excluded the Episcopalians, which, if so, was owing to very early prejudices and forms of worship, rather than to difference in opinion on points of doctrine.
UNITARIANISM IN REMOTE PARTS
OF OUR COUNTRY.
1. A Letter on the Unitarianism of the First Three Centuries of the Christian Era, by Oberlin. Meadville, Pennsylvania.
2. A Dialogue occasioned by a Pamphlet, entitled, “A Conversation on an important subject. Augusta, Georgia, 1830.
We are induced to notice these publications both on account of their intrinsic merit, and the remoteness of the places where they originated. It is gratifying to learn that something is doing for the cause of Unitarianism in distant parts of our land. These and similar pamphlets, which we occasionally receive, afford evidence that our views of Christianity are gradually diffusing themselves, and that Unitarianism is penetrating into regions, where, until recently, it was scarcely heard of except in the denunciations of its enemies. Such publications cannot fail to do good, especially in the vicinity of the places where they are issued. They will serve to dispel the gross ignorance and prejudices which exist on the subject of Unitarianism, and which are among the greatest obstacles to its general diffusion.
The Letter on the Unitarianism of the first three centuries comes to us from Meadville, Pensylvania. In allusion to the outcry raised against Unitarians, on account of the use they make of human reason, the the writer has, in his preface, the following remark.
Surely if there be one thing certain under the sun, it is, that the doctrine of the Trinity, whether true or false, rests entirely on human reasoning. That this dogma is not explicitly taught in the
Scriptures, is admitted by all, but we are told that there are cer. tain passages found there, from which the perfect equality of the Son and the Holy Spirit, with the Father may be inferred. The doctrine is therefore one of inference. To draw inferences is to reason, and thus we see, that this dogma, concerning which we are told that we must not reason, is entirely the offspring of human reasoning.'
The design of the author is to show in opposition to a writer, who calls himself. A Presbyterian,' that the Christian Church during the first three centuries was Unitarian. Beginning with the Apostle Peter, whose Unitarianism he briefly but satisfactorily proves, he traces the doctrine down through Justin Martyr, Origen, Lactantius, and others, to the time of the Council of Nice. He replies to the assertion of the Presbyterian, that all who, during the three first centuries, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Ghost, were constantly considered as heretics, and as such were expelled from the Church,'-an assertion which has not the least shadow of evidence in its favor, and the truth of which is disproved by the plainest historical testimony. Thus Justin Martyr expressly allows the Humanitarians of his day a title to the name of Christians, and distinctly recognises them as brethren.
Again, the Presbyterian had asserted that Christ was, during the first ages, the object of prayer among Christians ;' and the author adduces the testimony of Origen and Eusebius to show the contrary. The passages he quotes are the following.
If we know what prayer is,' says Origin,' we must not pray to any created Being, not to Christ himself, but only to God the Father of all, to whom our Saviour himself prayed. We are not to pray to a
brother, who has the same common Father with ourselves; Jesus himself saying, that we must pray to the Father through him. In this we are all agreed, and are not divided about the method of prayer; but should we not be divided, if some prayed to the Father, and some to the Son ? And Eusebius says, Christ the only begotten Son of God, and the first born of every creature, teaches us to call his Father the only true God, and commands us to worship him only.' p. 7.
The writer then proceeds to consider the creeds of the three first centuries as evidence of the Unitarianisin of the primitive church. He begins with the creed of the first Century, which is the simple one contained in the Scriptures, namely, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah or Christ of God. He then gives the creed of the Church in the second Century, as transmitted by Irenæus, and in the third, by Tertullian. The Nicene creed follows, and fifthly, and lastly, the Athanasian.
· Here then,' says the author, we have the Creeds of the Church during the first five Centuries. The first thing which will strike every one, who peruses them with attention, will be the great, the marked difference, which there is in their contents, showing that the belief of the Church was essentially different, at these different periods. He will also feel the gradual transition which there is from one sentiment to another; and as the first creed is avowedly the one held by Unitarians, and the last, the one held by Trinitarians, the inference is irresistible, that the Church, which was Unirian in the beginning, gradually became Trinitarian.' p. 10.
But we have not room for further extracts.
We have to thank the author, an intelligent layman, for the gratification he has afforded us, in a short pamphlet of fourteen pages, and again to express the satisfaction with which we witness the efforts of Unitarians in dıstant quarters to excite attention to the claims of A pure and Scriptural theology.
The other pamphlet is from Augusta, Georgia, and equally with the former, breathes the mild and charitable spirit of Christianity. It is in the form of a dialogue, and contains an examination, and as we should say, a refutation of a recent publication designed as an attack on the Unitarians. As a specimen of the style in which the pamphlet is written we give the following extract. It relates to one of the objections urged against Unitarianism. If,' says the objector, the divinity of Christ is to be rejected, then God has furnished us with an inspired book, which in proportion to its circulation, and the natural ascendency which it gains over the minds of men, must cherish and perpetuate a system of idolatry.—The great mass of Christians have always been worshippers of Christ, and
common, plain, and unlettered’ readers of the Bible must continually draw from it the doctrine in question. Now is it reasonable to suppose that God would furnish the world with a Book, (professedly plain and intelligible) which nevertheless, a majority of men must necessarily misunderstand?' The reply is,
· William. No, and from that very fact we draw a strong argument for the truth of our doctrine. Our author asserts that in a}} ages of the Church, the Bible has filled Christendom with the worshippers of Christ.' To me Ecclesiastical History tells a different tale. Surely our author forgets for how many centuries Arianism (a form of the doctrine we profess,) ruled throughout the Western part of Europe, and in Africa, wherever mind was free, while Orthodoxy rested safe under the shelter of the Emperor's throne, at Constantinople. He forgets that Tertullian, at a still earlier period complains that these very common, plain and unlettered' men, who he says always constitute the greater nuniber, were afraid of the doctrine of the Trinity. Unitarianism gradually pas. sed away; but it was because freedom and intelligence were ab