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under the law, the law writ on stone, under the gospel, the law writ in the heart. And that this was the general evangelical rule. When I am better informed I shall believe and write better; till then I must do as I can; and I see nothing in that paper to induce me to any alteration of my creed. For what I understand by light I need only say, that not one of my arguments is so much as attempted, at least as laid down by me: and, in a manner, all is granted me, beside what thou mistakest me in. I am chid for not distinguishing upon the term light. Truly I deserved it, had not my adversary taken the term for granted, as I understood it; and what need there was I should turn critic upon the term agreed upon, thy reprehension hath not afforded me light enough to see. I all along shew I meant not the sun in the outward firmament, the mere knowledge of man, or capacity to receive knowledge as constitutive of a rational creature, but the internal sun of righteousness, by which the soul receives divine understanding. And my man I had to do with gives his suffrage to this thing; for he was a Socinian, one that believes in the outward sun, and but too largely of man's mere natural faculties, and but too meanly of a divine and supernatural light, as necessary to man's eternal felicity, which I conceive to transcend the light of birds, fishes, &c., by thee, in my apprehension, frivolously objected. Thy fling at my attempt to prove man enlightened from John i. 4, 9, hits me not in the least; for I affirm from those words, that it is not any light, as thou wouldst make me only to intend and extend my argument to, that is constitutive of beasts or men as such, in an abstractive sense, but something transcending and supernatural, as some speak, for man is man before that illumination, as Drusius well observeth. Again, thou art by much too severe in straining these words,-The light must give true sight; as if I
To whom W. Penn here refers, does not appear. It could scarcely be Faldo, for his book, Quakerism no Christianity, asserts strongly the proper deity of Christ.
meant that every man to whom God offered this light had truc knowledge, whether he would or no. For to that stretch thou bringest it. The like about its sufficiency, as if it were sufficient to that end without man's regard of it. No such matter, it is so in itself, but not in men without their assent, and so thou confessest. I see nothing offered in this paper that I could not with as much reason produce against the Holy Scripture itself. It lies most upon the question, if you mean so, I deny it; if so, I grant it. When, alas, I mostly intend what thou grantest, and can see no cause given by that discourse for any such objection, unless that a noted Presbyterian, as men call him, had got my book, and I was to be lessened by any artifice where I had any interest, especially if it was thought to prevail.
"I shall conclude with this assurance, that if the civility and kindness of our late meeting had not been with some more than ordinary satisfaction remembered by me, I had made more use of thy name than I have done, both in my late Answer to the Epistle before mentioned and in this paper: but, methinks, it is so desirable for men to confer with reason and modesty, that I rather choose to beseech people into that commendable disposition, than to raise their passions by an early aggravation of their miscarriages. I am, in very much love,
"Thy assured Friend,
"The answer was writ about three weeks since, but other occasions prevented its being sent.
"For Richard Baxter, at his House in Southhampton Buildings, London."
John Goldie, of Kilmarnock. Na former volume of the Mon. Repos. VIII. p. 24, there is an extract from Maty's Review for the year 1785, (Vol. VIII. p. 282,) relating to JOHN GOLDIE, a peasant's son of Kilmarnock, in Scotland, of an extraordinary genius, and the author of a volume of Essays, 8vo., and of a work entitled "The Gospel Recovered," in 5 vols. 8vo., designed to overthrow the reputed orthodox doctrines. Attached to the extract is an inquiry
after this singular person; but we have not been able to learn any thing of him beyond a few particulars which we find in "The Christian Reflector and Theological Inquirer," (a monthly publication, at Liverpool,) for February of the present year. In this work, a writer, signing himself Glasguensis, after quoting the extract, before referred to, from Maty, proceeds to give the following information:
"Several years ago, I was induced, in consequence of reading this account, to make some inquiries after this extraordinary man, but I soon found that the place which had known him, knew him no longer;' and was forcibly reminded by my fruitless researches of the lines of the poet :
"Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear,
Fall many a flower is born to blush
unseen, And waste its sweetness in the desert air.'
"I was happily more successful with respect to Goldie's publications. These were lent me by a friend, and I can truly say afforded me sincere pleasure in the perusal. The first work published by Goldie, was his Essays Moral and Divine,' intended to overthrow the dogma of original or birth sin, and to prove that heartwithering opinion to be utterly repugnant both to reason and scripture. A copy of these Essays' was presented by their author to the celebrated writer of The Sketches of Man,' Lord Kaimes. This distinguished individual's opinion of Goldie's talents and principles will be seen by the following letter, which is printed in the Preface to the second work that Goldie published, The Gospel Recovered,' &c. It cannot fail, I think, of being highly interesting to the friends of free inquiry and of scriptural Christianity.
"Edinburgh, August 2, 1779.
"I hold myself much obliged to you for distinguishing me, from your other readers, by a present of your book. I applaud your performance greatly, and still more the motive that induced you to write.
"The strange and absurd doctrines
that have been engrafted on the Chris-
"Your obedient humble servant,
"The poet of nature and of truth, ROBERT BURNS, was, it appears, the intimate friend of John Goldie, and a short time subsequently to the appearance of the Essays Moral and Divine,' addressed to his heretical brother the following lines. It is strange that these and similar effusions of Burns's muse, should have been excluded from most of the editions of the works of dear nature's artless child.' Though when it is remembered that those editions have been usually made for the gods of earth,' perhaps it is not strange. It is auld orthodoxy,' which alone can bedeck her advocates in the purple and the fine linen. A greater than Solomon has declared, that they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.' And observation will teach him who needs the instruction, that in the palaces of the mighty, the words of truth and soberness have no certain dwelling-place. The plain dictates of reason and common sense, usually find most favour with those, who resemble the man of God of old, who had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.' Nor need it excite much surprise that the
attacks which Burns undauntedly made, on poor gapin', glow'rin', superstition,' should have been prevented from appearing before the eyes of the polite, when the strong but honest language of virtuous indignation against those sons of mammon who first corrupted the poet, and then deserted him in the day of trouble, was not allowed a place in one of the most celebrated editions of the works of the
northern luminary. Can such things be, and overcome us like a summer cloud, without our special wonder? Aye, even so, for the age is evil and corrupt! But here are the lines:
"O Goudie! terror of the Whigs,* Dread of black coats and reverend wigs,
Soor bigotry on her last legs, Girnin' looks back, Wishin' the ten Egyptian plagues Wad seize you quick. [Poor gapin', glow'riu', superstition, Waes me! she's in a sad condition ; Fy, bring Black-Jock, her state physician, Alas! there's ground o' great suspicion She'll ne'er get better.
To see her;
'Auld orthodoxy lang did grapple,
Enthusiasm's past redemption,
Death soon will end her.
"For the information of the readers of the Reflector, I would observe, that
the Whigs' mentioned, are not those whom an admirable writer has well defined to be but the fag-end of a Tory; but those noble spirits who, in days gone by, dared to vindicate their rights as men, and made the mountains of Scotland the strong holds of liberty, those who contended for what they deemed the purity of God's worship, in opposition to the mummery of a state-religion, an Actof-Parliament Christianity, the Covenanters and Cameronians."
"Tis you and Taylor* are the chief · Wha are to blame for this mischief. But gin the LORD's ain fooks gat leave, A toom tar barrel
An' twa red peats wad send relief, An' end the quarrel.""
Penzance. OBSERVE in your Repository [XVII. pp. 666-669] some strictures from your correspondent Mr. Remission of Sins. After very attenActon, on my papers relating to the tively considering all that he advances, the views which many Unitarians I am still decidedly of opinion, that hold on this subject do not embrace the whole truth of Scripture. This, I think, the more to be regretted, on account of the prejudice which it excites against our name in the minds of other Christians. While they see us associating Jesus with our redemption in no other character than that of a prophet or martyr, they regard us as grossly ignorant of one of the leading features of the common salvation: and not, perhaps, without some apparent reason. Without all controversy it is the Scripture doctrine that Christ died for our sins, and that we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son. But are not many Unitarians very reserved on this subject? And is it not a proof of their having abandoned the true sense of these expressions, that they employ them so little either in their writings or their pulpits? I shall rejoice if I can, in any degree, contribute to promote amongst us a grateful and frequent acknowledgment of the mode of redemption which Divine Wisdom appointed, convinced, that if rightly understood, it cannot possibly detract from the freeness of that Divine mercy in which the first purpose of redemption had its birth, and which carried on the plan, through every succeeding step, to its glorious consummation. Nor can it justly be thought any deficiency in the grace and mercy of the Judge of the world, if he deem it necessary to conduct his acts of forgiveness according to methods which exhibit peculiar features,
"Dr. John Taylor, of Norwich, whose admirable work on Original Sin, was probably the cause of Goldie's renouncing orthodoxy."
such as are calculated to vindicate and secure his authority, or in any other way to fulfil purposes best known to his infinite wisdom. There may thus be occasion, in a dispensation of forgiveness, for something more than an invitation to repentance, a declaration of pardon, or a perfect rule and pattern of righteousness; something which shall reflect a light on the Divine government and character, and make impressions on the minds of the erring creatures, salutary and seasonable, according to the nature of their circumstances. I shall now endeavour to answer your correspondent's objections, nearly in the order in which they occur.
and proper connexion between the death of Christ and the remission of sins as is here asserted. They appear to recognize no other connexion between these things than that which may be traced in the natural course of events. Because the death of Christ appears, among other circumstances, to have been eminently conducive to the promotion of Christian faith and virtue, and these again lead to forgiveness, they imagine that this remote connexion is all that is intended in the words of Scripture. But is it not obvious that, according to this mode of interpretation, any thing to which, in the course of events, our repentance may be traced, and through that our pardon, a good book, an impressive sermon, a striking occurrence, may be said to have been for the remission of our sins, and a propitiation for them; and that Paul's preaching had the same relation to our redemption as Christ's death? But I must be allowed to say, that such explanations appear to me no better than trifling with the subject, and frittering away the import of sacred words. To justify the language of Scripture, soine much more close and proper connexion than this must be found; so must there also, before it can be said with propriety that the death of Christ was the way or method chosen by God for the remission of sins. Whether, therefore, there be or be not in my statement all that clearness which I might have given it, still it goes decidedly to affirm more than your correspondent admits, and is not, therefore, so nugatory as he represents it.
The first which I find is this; that while I disapprove several views of this subject which others have taken, I have not advanced any clear or intelligible doctrine myself. I readily allow, that on a subject somewhat difficult as this is, and entangled in so much controversy, I may, probably, have failed either to think or to speak so clearly as I might have done; but, at the same time, I am confident that there is contained in my papers, not only some doctrine, but an intelligible and important one. What I advanced was this: " that the mediation of Christ, and especially his death, was the way or method which Divine Wisdom chose for granting to mankind remission of sins; i. e. deliverance from their consequences." Now your correspondent thinks that this is saying nothing at all, and that such expressions convey only "an indefinite and indescribable doctrine." I must allow that my proposition may wear a somewhat questionable shape to those who wish immediately to recognize a friend or foe by the shibboleths of party; but this I deem no proof of its being destitute of real significancy. I think it gives a simple and intelligible account of the end or final cause of our Lord's death, considered as an event appointed by God, and of the relation in which this event stood to the forgiveness of sins and these particulars appear to me to be interesting and important knowledge. And I think that, without going any farther, I have herein advanced something more than your correspondent, and many other Unitarians, fairly admit; for they will hardly acknowledge any such close
But, after all, it does not appear to me any thing very obscure to say that the death of Christ was the method which Divine Wisdom adopted for the pardon of our sins. However, as I desire to do my best to be understood, I will endeavour to explain myself somewhat more presisely.
And first, on the very threshold of this discussion, I think it necessary to state clearly what I understand by the forgiveness of sins. Now I certainly do not understand by forgiveness, in this connexion, that merciful regard and favourable purpose with which the Father views every returning wanderer. No mediation is necessary for this: it is secured by peni
tence alone, ipso facto, and has been so in every age, and will be so to all eternity. It depends on nothing but the contrite heart of the suppliant, and the ever-flowing mercy of God. The forgiveness of the penitent, in this sense, was not one of the blessings derived to mankind through Christ, inasmuch as it was always most freely promised and enjoyed from the foundation of the world, and, therefore, it could not be one of those which he died to procure. In ascertaining the true sense of remission of sins, as here spoken of, I think we should consider only those advantages which the world has actually derived, or is about to derive, from the mediation or agency of Christ. Keeping this principle in mind, I should say that by forgiveness of sins, as here spoken of, I understand a declaration and assurance of the removal, on the part of God, of certain penalties inflicted or denounced on men for their transgressions, and that these penalties are chiefly the following: 1. The alienation of the world at large from the knowledge of the true God, and from the sense of his favour. 2. The subjection of the Jews to the law, which was burdensome to observe, and left them under condemnation. 3. The fear of death in this life, and the evils consequent on death, through sin, in the next. The careful reader of the New Testament will, I think, admit that our deliverance from these evils constitutes the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. It is certain that he does, in fact, deliver his faithful disciples from them. Submitting to death, and being raised again to a new life by the power of God, he has not only given us the knowledge of a future life, but is also become the destined agent by whom we are to attain to it. "God will raise up us also by Jesus." But not only shall we attain through him a new state of existence, but be by him delivered from the evils to which we should still, on account of our sins, be exposed. Hence the apostle speaks of him as "our deliverer from the wrath to come." Preparatory to these great final blessings, we know historically in what manner Jesus has reclaimed the Heathen world to the knowledge of the one true God and the enjoyment of his grace, and how he emancipated the
church from the irksome burden of a ceremonial worship. All these great mercies, intimately connected together, constitute in my judgment, the forgiveness of sins. We may observe, that this forgiveness cannot be fully carried into effect till the end is come, and the righteous are possessed of their mansions above; yet, considered as one entire dispensation, it is spoken of as complete from the very time of our Lord's death. Thus the writer to the Hebrews says, "When he had by himself cleansed our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
This, then, is what I think we are to understand by the forgiveness of sins; certain privileges and immunities granted to mankind through the agency of Christ. This forgiveness, the essential mercy of God determined him to impart of this determination, the mediation of Jesus, in all its' parts, was not the cause, but the consequence. But he that is determined to do an act of mercy, will next consider what may be the fittest mode of doing it. To the Almighty, then, thus considering (I speak humanly) the redemption of man, the mediation of Jesus, but especially his obedience unto death, appeared the fittest mode of effecting it. But in choosing a suitable mode of accomplishing any thing, we have often two points to consider, efficiency and propriety. A mode may be efficient, that is, equal to producing the intended effect, but upon more extended consideration it may not appear proper. Now, as the forgiveness of sins is more a sovereign act of God than a natural process, so the propriety of the mode in which it is to be accomplished is a point probably more to be considered than its efficiency. And here it is that I think many Unitarians err: they regard almost exclusively the natural efficiency of the Christian mode of redemption, paying little attention to its moral propriety. It is my object to recommend this latter to their consideration. It may be considered both in relation to God and man. And let us not forget, in respect to what end it was, that it had this moral propriety. That end was the forgiveness of sins; not the confirmation of the truth, nor the setting an example of righteousness.