« AnteriorContinua »
their specious reasonings against Trinitarian principles. Their fine-spun criticisms on the Sacred Volume, only serve to fold their own hands in the slumbers of death. May the Lord preserve us from the contagious lethargy, and awaken them from their pleasing but fatal delusion. AMEN.
GALATIANS 4. 17.
They zealously affect you, but not well.
The evils into which the Anti-Trinitarian doctrines lead mankind, have been illustrated in eight particulars. It is necessary to recapitulate them, to proceed intelligibly with subsequent observations. It has been shown, that the theory in question leads those who receive it, to treat the Holy Scriptures with an unbecoming freedom ; to deny many of their doctrines, and to believe but few; to have wrong conceptions of the Divine character, and the character of men; to have low conceptions of Christ's character and work; to treat Him with great indifference; to disesteem the Orthodox, and oppose them in all their operations; to overlook the momentous concerns of their own souls; and to consider sin rather a misfortune than a crime. In proceeding with the subject, it may be observed,
9. That the system in question leads those who adopt it, to have little concern about the salvation of others. As to the wicked who are advanced in life, Dr. Priestley views their situation as being entirely hopeless. He says, “All late repentance, and especially after long and confirmed habits of vice, is altogether and necessarily ineffectual ; there not being sufficient time left to produce a change of disposition and character, which can only be done by a change of conduct, and of proportionally long continuance.” This unhappy class of sinners, on AntiTrinitarian principles, must, of course, be given up to eternal annihilation, or to the torments of hell, after death, for a limited duration. There are, therefore, no sufficient motives to labor for their conversion. It would only be giving them unnecessary trouble, to address them with divine threatenings, or to exhibit promises which can have no application to their ruined case. How far the AntiTrinitarians in general agree with their file-leader in this matter, I am not prepared to affirm. It appears, however, , with great clearness, that they are all very careful not to disturb the repose of the wicked. In beholding their slum- . bers, they neither weep nor pray.
The Anti-Trinitarian doctrine has been preached in this town for a series of years, and with a considerable degree of zeal and talents. If it is calculated to alarm and convert sinners, you must, no doubt, have seen these glorious fruits of it. But, alas! the teachers of that system are not in the habit of saying to their hearers, “ Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5. 20. You have never seen, my hearers, poor distressed sinners saying to the preachers, or professors of that denomination, “ Men and brethren, What shall we do to be saved?” It appears to be their grand object, to persuade men of the truth of the Anti-Trinitarian system, and guard them against Trinitarian idolatry, instead of alarming their fears with the infinite evil of sin, or the danger of eternal punishment. Under such instructions as these, sinners are not impressed with the sense of their total depravity; nor are they led to see the necessity of obtaining a new heart, to be obedient to God and prepared
for heaven. They find it difficult, however, to convince many
of the wicked, that their doctrines are Scriptural; but if they could only effect this, they would never see, in such people, any opposition of heart to Anti-Trinitarianism. If they can only change people's doctrinal views, they seem to be perfectly indifferent as to their present life, or future safety. In relation to this matter, Dr. Fuller says, “Were any of their hearers, by any means, to feel pricked in their hearts, and come to them with the question, "What shall we do?” would they not pity them as enthusiasts, and be ready to suspect that they had been among the Calvinists? If any counsel were given, would it not be such as should tend to impede their repentance rather than promote it? and instead of directing them to Jesus Christ, would they not endeavor to lead them into another course?" He adds, “ Socinian writers cannot so much as pretend, that their doctrine has been used to convert profligate sinners to the love of God and holiness."
Trying to remove these difficulties, they have felt themselves under the necessity of mentioning the effects of the Apostles' preaching; which is completely begging the point in controversy. In this miserable manner, Dr. Tolman has pretended to refute the powerful letters of Dr. Fuller on the moral tendency of the Anti-Trinitarian principles. In reasoning from analogy, we may conclude with the utmost safety, that there never will be a religious revival under Anti-Trinitarian preaching, down to the end of time. Such an event would disappoint the teachers themselves, and serve to convince them of the fallacy of their own system.
While Dr. Scott continued to preach on that plan, his own mind was at rest; and his hearers slept under the soothing sound of his eloquence; but when he became more evangelical, they came to him with the solemn
tion, " What shall we do to be saved ?" While he was an Anti-Trinitarian, he had no concern for the salvation of his people; but after changing his sentiments, be manifested great anxiety on that subject; and his preaching and writings became extensively useful. You may see the propriety of these remarks, by consulting his publication, called, “ The force of truth.'
The Anti-Trinitarians appear to be greatly engaged in spreading their doctrines where the gospel has been promulgated; but in respect to the heathen world, they seem to give themselves no trouble. Dr. Fuller says, “Let a single instance be produced, of a Socinian teacher having so much virtue or benevolence, as to venture among a race of barbarians, merely with the view to their conversion." In relation to this, one of that class says, “ Far better is the light of nature as communicated to them by their Creator, than any light our officiousness disposes us to carry to them.” This writer, undoubtedly, means, the light, or · rather darkness, of Trinitarianism; but as the light of nature is so highly prized by the Anti-Trinitarians, they will not, of course, subject themselves to any great self-denial, to afford the heathen the light of their own doctrines, Alas! their scheme does not lead them to weep, when they see their fellow-creatures living as the enemies of the cross of Christ. In vain shall we look among them for such feelings towards perishing sinners, as were displayed by the Prophets and Apostles. With their present principles, they will never be disposed to say, “ Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” 2 Cor. 5. 11. A belief of their system, and external morality, are all that they require as pre-requisites to salvation. Their extensive charity supercedes the necessity of warning sinners to "flee from the wrath to come.” They seem to have no great fears about the future state of any part of mankind. Their