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medium of vulgarity, or the sport of passion. Our feelings, we trust, will never become so obtuse, nor our respect for the holy religion we profess so weakened, as to allow us to witness such language as the above in a religious publication, without pain and deep regret. If there is dignity in any thing, it is in religion; if we are ever to speak in chastened and respectful language, it should be when we approach the subject, which carries our thoughts to our Maker, and presents before us all the solemn and affecting considerations of our responsibility to him as accountable and immortal beings. And especially does it become those, who are fond of asserting and publishing the purity of their own faith, to show that they do not entirely lose sight of its temper and substance, in their trembling anxiety to preserve its form. How can we better judge of faith, than by its fruits? And what shall we say of a faith, which sanctions a violation of the plainest precepts of the gospel?
We beg permission to repeat here, from our March number, the paragraph to which the Postscript alludes.
“Mr. Hawley begins by asserting, that unitarians 'deny the fall of man, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the influences of the Holy
Spirit upon the heart.' This assertion is radically untrue. They 1 deny neither. They believe in the fall of man as much as any trinita
rian. They believe in the divinity of Christ, not that he was God, but that he was a divine person, clothed with divine honours, invested with divine powers, and sent to perform divine works, which none but God, or a being actuated by the wisdom and the special influence of God, could perform. They hold to the influence of the Holy Spirit on the Saviour, the apostles, and all sincere and faithful christians: We repeat, then, that the above sweeping assertion is untrue.” Now we still maintain the
word and sentiment in this paragraph. He must be ignorant, indeed, of the principles we have supported from the
beginning of our work, who will call them in question; and yet, with characteristic decorum and civility, we are told of being "condemned out of our own mouths." It may be, that these gentlemen know better than ourselves, what we believe. We hope, however, that they will take no offence, if we presume to distrust their infallibility and miraculous knowledge, till we have some better evidence. Should they be shocked at this license, we desire they may consider, that it is no habit of ours to look through other men's glasses, or to walk through dark places in other men's steps. We read the Bible with our own eyes, and verily think, that we are conscious of our own convictions, however incredible this may appear to the worthy gentlemen, whose keen penetration has detected such anomalies in our faith.
As to the fall of man, we always did suppose, that we believed in the doctrine. We have received it as a prominent truth of scripture, that man came from his Maker a holy, sinless being, but that he fell from this state by wilfully transgressing the known laws of God. This transgression we call the fall of man, and as far as we know, it is a doctrine which makes a part of the faith of all unitarians, though we do not feel bound to answer for any but ourselves.
Our poor acquaintance with school divinity, however, we humbly confess, has never revealed to us the fact stated in the above Postscript, that the “fall of man" is the same thing as his "natural depravity.” We believe all men have fallen as well as Adam, because all have sinned. God creates them free, they abuse this freedom to evil ends; and hence their wickedness, or fall. We do not believe in natural, or, as it is more commonly expressed, total depravity, because we can discover
no such doctrine in the Scriptures, nor find it sanctioned in the character of the Deity and the nature of man. Or, that we may if possible be more explicit, we believe every human being to be born with the liberty and power of obeying the laws of God in all respects in which disobedience would be criminal. Or, in other words, God does not create beings with a nature, which subjects them to punishment before they have done a single act, and which compels them to act in violation of his laws. This we hope is plain. We do not pretend here to trace out the influence of Adam's sin on his posterity, nor is it necessary in the present connexion. Whatever this may have been, it can have no effect in making any man subject to punishment, till he has been guilty of voluntary, personal transgression. To suppose otherwise, would be to deny the justice and distrust the goodness of God. No man is tempted to sin till he has power to resist temptation. His crime consists in not exerting this power. Hence we believe in the fall of man, but not in his natural depravity.*
On the second point, very little needs be said, for in the paragraph just quoted we have told, in the plainest possible manner, what we understand by the divinity of Christ. The Postscript charges the Miscellany with denying, that unitarians reject “the divinity of the Saviour, that is, his equality with the Father.” To test the veracity of this statement, look back to the paragraph itself, where it is expressly said, that they do not believe him to be God. Did these writers really suppose, that they could prove us to have lost our wits by asserting our denial of the doctrine, which makes the chief charac. teristic of our faith, and which is enforced in almost every page of our work? They must either have an extraordinary opinion of their own powers and influence, or a marvellous confidence in the credulity and simplicity of their readers, or perhaps both; let others decide.
* Our views of this subject may be seen at large in the first volume of the Miscellany, p. 153, 359.
We have only to add, that we do believe in the "influence of the Holy Spirit on the heart,” notwithstanding the charge of deliberate falsehood in presuming to declare this article of our faith. We believe the Holy Spirit to be the Spirit of God—not a distinct being equal with God, because then there would be two equal Gods, which is impossible-but the operation, the active influence of the Deity on the mind and heart, enlightening the understanding, purifying the affections, turning men from evil, and fitting them for the service of their Maker.*
If we have been so unfortunate on the present occasion, as not to make ourselves understood, we humbly trust that the charity of every reader will attribute our failure rather to a want of skill in the use of language, than to any love of “contradicting ourselves,” any "unwillingness to have our sentiments known," any“regardlessness of truth and common honesty," any disposition to "prevaricate,” any hope of “bolstering up a bad cause," or any other of the heinous crimes so bountifully charged upon us in the article, which we have claimed the patience of our readers to examine.
* Our sentiments concerning the Holy Spirit may be seen in the Miscellany, Vol. I. p. 17, 108, 116, 211, 359.-Vol. II. 288.
There is not, perhaps, in the whole range of school divinity, a more fruitful source of error, than the opinion, so generally entertained, of the opposing and contradictory qualities, influences, and requisitions of God's justice and mercy. To read the common schemes, as they are called, of theologians, one would imagine, that the divine mind was never at peace, that a perpetual conflict was kept up between its lenient inclinations, and the stern demands of what might not irreverently be termed a sense of duty, were it not more like the unbending fate, which was thought by the ancients to govern the determinations of their supreme divinity; for though not stated to be so, it certainly gives the impression of an external and independent power, which interposes itself to forbid the intentions of love.
This idea is not confined to written systems, and voluminous bodies of divinity; would that it were, for then its injurious effects might not be so extensive; but your children
are taught to repeat it in their catechisms, yourselves repeat it in your church creeds, it