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Widows; and to those who have cordially co-operated with us in promoting these objects, whether by their talents or their zeal, our warmest thanks are due. At the same time, without claiming for the Baptist Magazine a disputed rank among the periodicals of the day, we cannot resist the conviction, that, if it be allowed to excite the interest to which, on various accounts, it is justly entitled, the sale of its numbers will be considerably increased.
In conclusion, we refer to the Prospectus of a New Series, for information as to improvements which are contemplated; and while we respectfully and earnestly invite the influence and assistance of the gifted and the pious, we continue to rely for success on that divine agency, whose concurring operation is indispensable to the accomplishment of every good work.
ON THE CONNECTION OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY, WITH OTHER SCRIPTURAL TRUTHS.
THE Doctrine of the Trinity, taken a finite price redeem us from an by itself, as detached from other doctrines of scripture, might seem an unprofitable speculation; but, viewed in connection with the whole plan of human redemption, it appears to be of very great import
"We cannot understand this scheme, unless we know who the Saviour is. Nor can we rationally, and with comfort and satisfaction, believe and trust in Him, unless we know his sufficiency as a Saviour; his sufficiency in power, to subdue our corrupt inclinations, to sanctify our souls, to conquer Satan and all our spiritual foes, and to uphold us to the end; his sufficiency in wisdom, to disappoint the devices of our grand adversary, and of all men who are employed in his service, and to make us wise unto salvation; his sufficiency in goodness and grace, to forgive our sins, to watch over us continually for our preservation, to intercede for us with the Father, and to dispense to us grace to help in time of need; and the sufficiency of his merit and the price of his redemption, or his propitiatory sacrifice, to atone for all our sins, and to procure our acceptance with the Father. Now, if he be a divine person, his sufficiency in these and in all other respects appears at once. But if he were not a divine person, might we not doubt, yea positively deny his sufficiency? How should
endless or infinite penalty? how should a finite atonement satisfy for crimes deserving a punishment without end? If Christ were a mere creature, we might well disbelieve, either the scriptural doctrine of endless punishment, or the sufficiency of the Redeemer. No wonder, therefore, that those who disbelieve the Divinity of Christ, do generally, if not universally, disbelieve the endless misery of those who die impenitent."*
They who reject the Doctrine of the Trinity must, and naturally do, reject the Divinity of Christ, the need and efficacy of his atonement, and all that constitutes the gospel, or glad tidings of salvation to the lost and guilty. They must, indeed, in full contradiction to the whole tenor of scripture, deny that men are lost and guilty, deserving to be made the objects of the divine displeasure. They must also lose sight of the extent and spirituality of the divine law, and entertain very different ideas of the moral government and moral attributes of God, from those which are evidently taught in the scriptures.
The fact is, that the law and the gospel stand or fall together. we lower the dignity of the Saviour, we must proportionably lower the
nation of Mr. Bradley, entitled, All Divine Truth profitable. P. 7, 8.
* Dr. Edwards's Sermon at the Ordi
dignity of the Lawgiver also. If we are sensible of the perfection of the law, we must admit, and admire the grace and the wisdom of the gospel; and be sensible that God, in the exercise of his grace, hath abounded in all wisdom and prudence.
"No man can entertain right ideas of God and his moral perfections, without acknowledging his infinite amiableness; none can discern the absolute perfection and infinite loveliness of the Deity, without admitting that our obligations to supreme love of his moral character, and universal obedience to his will, are infinitely binding; none can allow that our obligations to perfect love and obedience are infinite, without owning that the violation of such obligations is infinitely criminal; no one that looks upon sin as infinitely evil, can hope for pardon without an atonement of infinite worth; no one can believe the atonement to be of infiniteworth, who denies the infinite dignity of the Saviour. He, then, that denies the proper divinity of Christ and his infinite dignity, denies the infinite worth of the atonement, the infinite evil of sin, our infinite obligations to obedience, and the infinite loveliness and absolute perfection of God: and, consequently, though he may profess to believe the existence of a Being wearing the name, he strips him, in his ideas, of that which really constitutes his Deity. He that is without Christ, is, therefore, without God. Eph. ii. 12. Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9."*
The same apostle declares, Who
See J. Ryland's Sermon, entitled, Christ manifested, and Satan frustrated. P. 1, 2.
soever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son, hath the Father also. 1 John ii. 23. Our translators have put the latter part of this verse in italics, because it is wanting in most copies of the Greek Testament: yet it is found in several manuscripts: so that Beza, and several other able critics, look on it as genuine; and Griesbach terms it, lectio probabilis. However, the former clause evidently implies the truth of the latter.
Accordingly, when Jesus had affirmed, that it is the Father's will, "that all should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father," he adds, "He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father who hath sent him.”
(1.) He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father's VERACITY, who hath borne testimony concerning his Son as a divine Saviour.
Hence the generality of those who reject the doctrine of our Lord's divinity, evidently set up depraved reason above Revelation: treating it as a thing incredible, even upon divine testimony, that there should be any such personal distinctions in the Deity, as they cannot comprehend. They would fain persuade themselves, that the scriptures contain no such testimony. But it is a fact, which many of them cannot wholly conceal from their own consciences, that the Bible favours our ideas, only they think its obvious sense so mysterious, that any violence should be offered to the language of the inspired writers, rather than that this doctrine should be admitted. And many of their coadjutors deny the inspiration of several parts of scripture, and the infallibility of scripture testimony. Oh! that they would consider 1 John v. 10. "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because
he believeth not the record which der at, that he, who sent all the
gave of his Son." (2.) He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father's GOVERNMENT, as secured by the Son's mediation.
If we deny the Divinity of Christ, and deny, or lessen the value of his atonement, we must deny, or proportionably lessen, the evil of sin, the importance of the law, and the authority, majesty, and infinite loveliness of the scriptural character of God. Thus we must detract from the dignity of the Lawgiver and moral Governor, in proportion as we do from the Saviour.
(3.) He honoureth not the Father's GRACE in the gift of his Son. If Christ be not truly divine, and yet made some atonement, as the Arians suppose, we have far more room to wonder, that he should make so great a purchase, as the salvation of the whole church; than that he should give so great a price for it, as his own blood. But, the scriptures always turn our surprise into the other channel; teaching us not to marvel that God so loved CHRIST, as to pardon innumerable sins, for his sufferings; or, as to give eternal life to millions, for his obedience; but, God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, &c. and, he that spared not his own Son, &c. how shall he not with Him freely give us all things? John iii. 16. Rom. viii. 32. Herein is the love, which is most to be admired, not that God loved his own Son, who always did the things that pleased him, and who was so worthy of his love, nor even that he granted us salvation for his sake, but that he gave his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John
But, if Christ be a mere man, and made no atonement, as theSocinians assert, how is the grace of God annihilated! What have we to won
other prophets, should send one more, called Jesus Christ? Especially, if all the use of his coming, were simply to tell us, that God was too merciful to do us an injury; or, that he would not punish those who ought to be pardoned? We have most reason to wonder, on this bypothesis, at his being called the light of the Gentiles, who, according to the Socinians, is become the greatest idol in the world! Strange indeed, that the greatest and plainest of all the prophets should be the worst understood !!!*
If Christ be no more than man, and have done no more toward our salvation than the Socinian scheme imports, how are we to account for the stress that seems to be laid upon faith in him? Consider, when he gave his apostles their commission, with what a promise, and with what a commination was it attended. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned. And how often are similar declarations repeated in the New Testament? Now, if he be God manifest in the flesh, who made atonement for sin by the sacrifice of himself; and if, without such a wonderful expedient, either we must have been the victims of God's righteous displeasure, or the law of God must have been disho noured by our escaping its curse, and justice, purity, and truth have been sacrificed to our safety; we wonder not at this edict. If faith be considered as importing the renunciation of self-righteousness; a justification of the claims and charges of the Lawgiver; a betaking of ourselves to sovereign mercy as our only refuge; a cordial acquiescence in that way of salvation which glorifies both the government
* See J. Ryland's Chard Sermon, 1794. P. 35, 36.
and the grace of God; and, in a word, uniting with the Redeemer in the great and important ends of his mediation; then it appears wise and reasonable, that this should be requisite to the participation of the benefits of his redemption. But, if faith be only admitting that Jesus is the Messiah, or he who was predicted under that name by the Jewish prophets, without determining the dignity of his person, or the object of his mission, then I can by no means account for the connection between faith and salvation: I could no more solve the difficulty in this case, than I could if salvation had been connected with believing that Jacob was called Israel, or that Simon was surnamed Peter. If faith in Christ may leave it undetermined, whether he be God or man, or both, or between both; whether he came to obtain the repeal of a law too bad to be enforced, or to magnify a law too good to be altered; whether he be truly a great High Priest, who hath put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; or only a prophet, who came to teach good morals, to assure us of a future state, and that God would be so gracious as to pardon those, who, on account of their own personal goodness or penitence, ought not to be condemned: if such points as these may be left undetermined, or if they may be determined in the way least to the honour of the Saviour; then, I own, its requirement must appear arbitrary altogether. I can no more account for so much stress being laid upon believing Jesus to be the Messiah, than if the like importance had been annexed to the belief of any other proposition; for instance, respecting the taking of Babylon by Cyrus, and his release of the Jews from captivity, or relative to Jonah's preaching at Nineveh.
I have read a Socinian sermon, in
which it is insinuated, that those
(To be continued.)
Blasphemy NOT cognizable by the
To the Editors of the Baptist Magazine.‡
An Article appeared in the
* Mr. Rowe's Sermon at Warminster.
J. Ryland's Letter to Mr. Rowe.
ference to either of the others which
This paper has been printed, in pre