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worlds, are said in Scripture, to be the proper works of God. David says, "God is judge himself." Ps. 50, 6, In St. Paul's defence before king Agrippa, he said, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" Acts 26. 8. If these things are the proper works of God, and yet are performed by Jesus Christ, it must follow, that he is the Supreme God. When we take into view the very few things which our opponents will admit as the truths of the Bible, it must be greatly altered to have it accord with their sentiments. If they are correct, that book must have been so interpolated and altered by the Trinitarians, that no confidence can be reposed now, in any part of it. Every one may take the liberty of setting aside what he pleases of its contents; and, if some should be disposed to deny the whole, they could not, on their principles, be deemed very guilty.
3. It is necessary to consider the light in which the Anti-Trinitarian system leads its advocates to view the character of God. In denying his decrees, as they relate to all events in the natural and moral world, divine wisdom is impeached, and God is, in a great degree, dependent on his own creatures.
As I understand their plan, it is a very material part of it, to believe that the supreme end of Jehovah in his works, is the happiness of his intelligent creatures, instead of the glory of his own name. This is an impeachment of his power, for many of them, contrary to the original intention of God, will have to be eternally annihilated.
Dr. Priestley says, "Those who assume to themselves the distinguishing title of Orthodox, consider the Supreme Being as having created all things for his own glory, and by no means for the general happiness of all his creatures.” This sentence shows, very fully, that his opinion accords with what I have said of the Anti-Trinitarian system G G
There are two grand difficulties, however, attending the idea, that God makes "the general happiness of all his creatures," his supreme end. The first is, that the thing would be the preference of a less to a greater good; and the second is, that if this is God's supreme end, it is never like to be accomplished. This would be charging the Creator of all things with folly in his plan, and imbecility in its execution. Their views of the divine character are, therefore, unreasonable, and contrary to the Holy Scriptures. The Bible positively says, that "God hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." Prov. 16. 4. The Lord also saith--" Every one that is called by my name, I have created him for my glory." Isa. 43. 7.
But the reason of their believing that God makes "the happiness of all his creatures" his supreme end, is probably this, that they cannot love him on any other consideration. This, however, is the very state of the human heart by nature-it "is enmity against God." Rom. 8. 7. False systems of theology eclipse the moral character of the Deity; and it is for this purpose, undoubtedly, that such schemes are invented and promulgated.
No plan can be better calculated to give wrong impressions on this subject, than Anti-Trinitarianism; for none that professes any belief in the Scriptures, can be more repugnant to them. That Book leads us to consider it as high evidence of God's glory, that "Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne" and that he "will by no means clear the guilty." The human heart is violently opposed to this representation of the Divine character. In relation to this view of vindictive justice, Dr. Priestley says, that in holding it, we "represent God in such a light, that no earthly parent could imitate him, without sustaining a character shocking to mankind." It
is evident, however, that the Scriptures do represent him as an absolute sovereign in the government of the universe, and as an "avenger of iniquity," in relation to finally impenitent sinners; punishing them "with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." As our opponents consider these things to be unamiable traits in the character of Jehovah, we must believe that they stand opposed to that which is moral beauty in unlimited perfection. This is " striving with their Maker," and saying, "Why hast thou made me thus ?" The whole scheme, therefore, is calculated to excite rebellious feelings in the human breast, against the moral character of the Almighty. Their teachers expressly say, that it is not consistent with infinite goodness, to make an intelligent creature, whose misery shall be such, that his existence shall be worse than to have no being.
They all appear, therefore, to be settled in the opinion, that either there will be. a universal restoration, or that the wicked will be eternally annihilated. A universal restoration, is the avowed belief of Dr. Priestley. He says, no one of his sentiments "supposes that any of the human race will be eternally miserable;" and that "God has created us all for happiness-ultimate, unlimited happiness." But notwithstanding the Dr.'s opinion on the subject, many of his brethren profess to believe in the doctrine of annihilation. In this, however, they are pretty much agreed, not to exhibit any terror to sinners, either from the press or the pulpit. They must, of course, believe that these passages, "Wo unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him ;" and, "It had been good for that man, if he had not been born;" with many others of similar import, must be interpolations, or greatly altered by the Orthodox, in making the translations in which they appear. But in
their system, we find much of the same spirit that is re probated in the 50th Psalm: "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." Any scheme of religion which serves to overthrow the doctrine of vindictive justice, is pleasing to the unreconciled heart; but that is a certain evidence of its fallacy. When criminals argue in their own favor, their reasonings may be very different from the judgment that an enlightened and impartial court will pass upon pass upon their case. The Anti-Trinitarian plan is, unhappily, at variance with every essential doctrine contained in the Oracles of God; and it gives us a view of his moral character, which is the very reverse of that which is given there. It is, therefore, false; and ought to be rejected by all men, now and forever. But,
4. We may take a concise view of Anti-Trinitarianism, as it relates to the character of man. Here, my hearers, a cloud of moral darkness appears, that is thick and awful as the darkness of midnight, and which nothing but omnipotence can dispel! An eye than cannot see the glory of God, must be, in an equal degree, blind to the moral deformity of man. In the Scriptures, the whole human race are represented as being totally sinful-depraved from the very commencement of life, and under condemnation, until they are renewed and pardoned.
This doctrine very fully appears from the following expressive passages; namely, "The carnal mind is enmity against God." Rom. 8. 7. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." John 3. 6. "There is none that doeth good, no not one." Rom. 3. 12. "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Verse 18. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2. 14. "The wicked go astray as soon as they be born." Ps. 58. -3.
"Behold I was shapen in iniquity." Ps. 51. 5. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." Gal. 3. 10. "If any one offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2. 10. "The wicked shall be turned into hell." Ps. 9. 17.
"These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Math. 25. 46. "He that believeth not, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3. 36.
With these declarations of God in our mind, let us now proceed to examine the Anti-Trinitarian theory. How soon the sound is changed! By that system we are taught, that man is born in a state of perfect innocence, and through his whole life, more inclined to virtue than to vice. In relation to the first opinion, namely, that we are born in a state of innocency, I shall not adduce any thing from their writings to prove it, being fully assured that there is not one, of that fraternity, who would wish to assert the contrary. Even in regard to the sins of adults, the most soft and extenuating expressions are used by their writers, when they speak on the subject. Mr. Belsham calls sin "human frailty," and those who commit it, "the frail and erring children of men." This is very gentle language when speaking of that, which God saith, "My soul hateth." A certain writer, in that liberal school, says, "The Supreme law-giver determined from the beginning to mitigate the rigor of the law, to make allowances for human error and imperfection." Is not this, my hearers, lessening sin at a wonderful rate? yes; it is pleading the sinner's cause at the expense of divine honor.
But in relation to human virtue, that class of men consider it as having no cause extrinsic of men, but the empire of motives. Dr. Priestley says of man, that "his own disposition and actions are the necessary and sole means of his present and future happiness; so that in the proper