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animadvert on it. You will pardon me, therefore, for giving you my opinion on paper. : We had, you remember, spoken of ---, who had adopted and violently maintained Socinian sentiments. You said, "All these mistakes seem to have arisen from a wrong fundamental principle, which is, - to make REASON the standard and evidence of truth, and to reject whatever is contrary to reason.” You added, in the course of conversation, that though you admitted the Deity and Atonement of Christ, yet you received them as matters of pure revelation : but as really opposite to reason. In this, I apprehend, you either mistook the exact meaning of the term as united in this proposia. tion, or, that you are mistaken in the principle itself. That we depend for our knowledge of these truths on revelation, I readily. grant; but, utterly deny that they are' contrary to reasøn.' .. : That principle, which you consider as a fundamental error: in the interpretation of Scripture, l`am bound to admit asfundamentally right. Nothing, in my opinion, can be more self-evident than that a religion from God must, as the off-' spring of eternal wisdom and truth, be perfectly reasonable. Nor can I conceive that God; who has imparted to man the noble faculty of reason, should deny its exercise, its full and most vigorous exercise, in that subject which, above all others, justifies and demands it. On the avowal of these sentiments, you will easily imagine, that, in my opinion, every part of religion, so far as it is known, must accord with reason, and that what is not yet known, must, in its own nature, bę equally reasonable. Many good men have uttered strong common-place and contracted condemnations of reason; which, however just, as they meant them, ought either to be fully explained, or, if incapable of a fair explanation · and defence, retracted; for it should be remembered, that whatever I do not receive, unavoidably, as an intuitive perception, I must admit on the ground, and through the inedium, of reasoning. The denial of this would lead to the grossest absurdities. These your good sense will readily suggest, and I may, of course, spare myself the trouble of an illustration.. · Suppose then, my dear Sir, that you grant them their fundamental principle. What does Socinianism gain by the concession ? According to your assertion, indeed, they would gain every thing; but the truth of that assertion I must beg leave to deny. Would it follow*, on the admis
* Did the Bible contain any thing really contrary to reason, I should consider that no trifling objection against its inspiration : nor is this at variance with any part of the above letter. That the Atoncnieat ię reasonable, sue Butler's Analogy.
sion of their principle, that we are allowed to reject whatever is incapable of solution ? The province of reason unquestionably is, ' to ascertain the truth and meaning of revelation. Having ascertained that Christianity is from God, - and that Christianity is contained in the New Testament, which was written by men divinely inspired, I am bound to receive implicitly whatever that book asserts. I should, after such an admission, deem it most unreasonable to torture any passage for the purpose of inaking it accord with my preconceiyed system; and equally or more unreasonable to expunge the difficult text altogether. Nothing could be inore reasonable than to receive as true, however new and incomprehensible, whatever God, who cannot lie, had revealed; and I really can call no Christians rational but those who, on admitting the truth of revelation, give up their judgments, in matters of doctrine, to its sole determination and guidance. My reason for believing many things in the New Testament is, because God has said it; and it should be remeinbered that our firm belief of many extraordinary things in common life, rests solely on the supposed or known integrity of the narrator.“ If we believe the testimony of man, the testiinony of God is greater."
The fact is, my friend, their fundamental error consists in rejecting, or pretending to reject, whatever they cannot account for; and this I consider the height of irrationality. What! must I reject, as opposed to reason, whatever baffles or transcends my reasoning powers ? On this principle, the Emperor of Japan acted perfectly rational in disbelieving the existence of ice, though it was asserted by many competent. witnesses, and witnesses who could have no motive for deceiving him. He could not comprehend how it was possible that water should become solid. ,I am, on this principle, bound to disbelieve any testimony to a thing which at the time is incomprehensible to me. My, child, who cannot conceive that the world can be globular, must suspend his belief, even in the presence of a circumnavigator, till he is able to comprehend it! My understanding must form the limits of my assent!
. No man can for a moment imagine, inuch less assert, that his comprehension of a thing determines its existence, or the reverse. My power to comprehend how à thing can be, bas nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of an assertion, to which my assent is claimed. It is, in itself, independently true or false; -- and, where my own senses do not determine for me, I must depend for my conviction on the credit due to the narrator. The attestation of one honest man to an extraordinary fact, whose truth he could and did ascertain, would be sufficient to secure my assent, while the testimony of two
villains or liars, even in an ordinary case, could not so effectually convince me. Let us then readily believe God.
You should remembe that things may, in their own nature, be incomprehensible to all but an inanite mind.' In admitting the Being of a God, I only chuse the less of two didiculties. The admission of his Being has insurmountable, inexplicable difficulties; but the denial of his Being is replete with strong absurdities. Yet there is no proposition to which I give a firmer assent than to this, “ There is a God!" - There are other things, in their own nature comprehensible, which, however, may to us be inexplicable; either because there is nothing within the compass of our knowledge analogous, and capable of affording an illustration; or, because all the reasons of the thing may not be known. You may apply the former to the Deity of Christ; and the latter, if you are not satisfied with the luminous reasoning of Butler, to the Atonement; and the whole will at length be resolved into this, that “ all their objections are really owing to the weakness of their understandings, and are founded on their inability to comprehend.”
To assert and take for granted, as Socinians' do, that our doctrines are contradictory to reason, is completely begging the question. We may assert, that they are not so : and then the whole argument will revert to its proper ground, and must be determined as matter of fact,“ Is it revealed, or is it not ?" - and, on this ground, you readily admit these glorious doctrines stand firm.
May you, my dear Sir, feel, experimentally and unceasingly, the importance of truths which enter, as they do, into the foundation of our hopes and holiness! Yours, séc.
LETTER FROM THE LATE REV. S. WALKER,
OF TRURO... Dear Sir,
Your kind favour of July 26th had not been so long un, answered, but that I was willing to get what subscriptions I could for the Christian Orutory; - a book which, tho' I never saw, I can easily believe to be excellent in its kind, from the undertaking yourself and friends are engaged in respecting it. I will desire to have eighteen copies; which please to deliver to Mr. Corder. If at the same time you should be disposed to send me any other books, they will be thankfully accepted; and I have reason to hope your bounty will not be misplaced. I thank you, Sir, heartily for those you have already sent me. Indeed, we have much need of books, there being a good steal of impression on the minds of many about us, who therefore much need such helps, which nevertheless we are not able to
supply them with. The churches here are poor, though we live in, perhaps, the wealthiest county of the kingdom. Not many rich are called. Not more than two or three in this place are able to do any thing in the way of liberality; and it is worse everywhere else. Yet I kpow not of any but our selves through whoin useful books are likely to be dispersed. The most useful tract I know is the Compassionate Address; a number of which I had some time since from your Society, through Mr. Cruttenden. It was particularly well received, seems peculiarly calculated to awaken and instruct, and, from the great desire of very many to have it, I could wish it in the number of those you have been publishing.
The state of vital Christianity bears a inore favourable ap. pearance in these parts. We have a zealous young clergyman added to us lately; and no unproinising hope of soine others of the younger sort. This gentleman has a happy mixture of zeal and prudence; the latter remarkably beyond his age. The Lord is blessing him already; and my confidence is great that he will be a considerable light in his day, Dear Sir, pray for us; pray that the Lord may send forth labourers. Especially pray, I intreat you, that he would not be provoked by the harduess of those to whom I minister to take his Spirit from us. That he may bless you abundantly in your own soul, and in your endea vours for his glory, is the earnest request of, Dear Sir,
your much obliged and affectionate servant in Christ, Truro, Sep. 21, 1736.
ON THE SOCINIAN VERSION OF.
To the Editor. As some of your readers may have met with that edition of the Socinian version of the New Testament which contains the translator's notes, it may probably have excited as much surprize as regret, to find the names of Beza, Doddridge, and some others, appealed to in support of the sentiments of that work. Having examined but two of the passages to which they refer, and found them both virtually falşe, I have sent you the Notes of Beza, to whom they appeal, on John xx. 28, 29, . And Thomas answered, and said to him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith to him, Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed. The note of the Socinian version is,' These words are usually considered as a confession. Beza says,
that they are an exclamation, 9. d. My Lord and my God, how great is thy power! : A reference is added to Ephesians i. 19, 20, According to the exceeding greatness of his power, wi... W30. shed with warr
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which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places;' which seems designed to prove that Thomas addressed the exclamation to the Father: 'O my Lord and my God! how great is thy power in raising Christ from the dead"
Astonished to find Beza quoted in support of this pitiable perversion, I turned to his annotation on the versē, which I will first give in his own words:- Et auru. Hæc igitur vér: ba quæ sequuntur, non sunt tantum admirantis Thomæ, ut hunc locum eludebant Nestoriani, sed ipsum illum Jesum ut vere. Deur ac Dominum suum compellantis. • Thomas answered, and said to him. The following words, therefore, are not the language of Thomas, merely wondering, as the Nestorians used to say, in order to elude the force of this passage; but he iš here addressing this Jesus himself as truly his Lord and his God.'
If any should ask, How it was possible for à person, with this declaration of Beza's sentiments before his eyes, to mention bis name as favourable to the Socinian turn given to the text, they should be informed, that Bezà, referring to the word Lord, which, in the Greek, is in the nominative o Kupsos, de fends his rendering it into the vocative of the Latin, Domine, by saying, Exclamatio est, rectis vocativi vice positis. It is an exclamation, as the nominative case is sometimes put for the vocative. Availing themselves of this word Erclamatio as a hook, they have used Beza's name as a bait, to catch the ig: norant in the belief that the celebrated reformer maintained the words of Thomas to be a mere exclamation of wonder at seeing Christ alive again; and though he had so explicitly rejected that opinion, as a Nestorian evasion, and maintained that the words, he said to him, were a proof that Thomas was not merely wondering, but addressing Jesus as truly his Lord and God.
The sentiment which pervades this soi disant improved Version' is, that nothing done or suffered by Christ is of any avail for our acceptance with God, since, in defiance of the apostolic assertion, "That by the deeds of the lảw shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God,' these translators or coinmentators are neither afraid nor ashamed to say, " That we can only be justified by our own works of obedience to the law.' Now this law says, Thou shalt not bear false witness ;' and it extends to the thoughts and purposes of the heart, condemning a virtual evasion with as niuch severity as an open and li
teral infraction; and what impartial judge would not decide. · that a man, who had given such false testimony in a court of
justice, as here given concerning Beza's sentiments, was worthy of the pillory? What, tho' he might be able to provė. that dile word which he gave in evidence was really spoken by