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or a Peruvian for the faith of Pizarro? And when a Jew has passed a Christian, who "called him cut-throat dog, and spit upon his Jewish gabardine," will he, think you, Sir, beg the next Christian whom he sees to give him a New Testament? Let Christians treat Jews as if they were human beings, and fellow creatures; let them manifest in their behaviour toward them the love of the Gospel, and then, if the Deity should permit, we may succeed in converting them. But not till then, unless an overwhelming miracle should be wrought for them.
Your patience for one word more, and I will end. We are told in the public papers that "the divine veracity is pledged" to convert the Jews; and we are then called on to lend our aid to the work. The signification of this argument is plain. The pledge is not to be redeemed without us. What presumption! A few mortals get together, form a society, choose officers, have their names printed in the newspapers, collect some hundreds of dollars and all this to establish the veracity of the Holy One! Yes, Sir, to assist the Almighty in keeping his word!
The Liberal Christian.
We have received the first number of a religious paper, with the above title, which has been commenced in Brooklyn, Connecticut, edited by the minister of that place, the Rev. S. J. May. A perusal of the articles contained in it has afforded us much gratification.
It maintains those views of Christianity which we ourselves are labouring to establish. We hope that it will be freely circulated in Connecticut, and that it will receive the support of all our friends who can afford their patronage. Few of our readers will think the title of this paper improperly assumed, when we inform them that it offers half of its pages to orthodox communications.
It is to be published once a fortnight, at the annual price of one dollar; each number containing eight quarto pages.
WELLS and LILLY of Boston will shortly put to press a work entitled, An Inquiry into the comparative Moral Tendency of Trinitarian and Unitarian Doctrines. By JARED SPARKS. This work is intended to comprise the substance of the Letters, which have appeared at different times in the Miscellany, with the signature of A Unitarian of Baltimore. These Letters will be altered and improved in several parts, and many additions will be made, embracing a greater variety of topics and compass of discussion. The principal doctrines in which unitarians are supposed to differ from other christians will be considered; and especially the prominent articles of Calvinism will be examined, and their influence on piety and morals compared with the same influence of the unitarian belief. The whole will aim to show, that the charges, which the illiberal and uninformed have pressed upon the public mind to disparage the unitarian cause, are without foundation, unjust in their nature, and unrighteous in their tendency.
Dialogue on Atonement.
To the Editor.
THE same motives by which I was governed in sending you the Dialogue on Unitarianism, which was printed in your last number, have induced me to trans. mit to you the substance of another conversation, on the popular doctrine of Atonement, which I hope will be received with equal favour.
It so happened that I fell into company a few days ago, at the house of a friend, in New-York, with two of my former companions in the steam-boat, the Unitarian, and the Episcopalian. They recognized each other at once; and after the usual compliments, manifested a desire to resume the old subject of discussion. The Episcopalian observed, that since their last meeting, he had divested himself of his prejudices so far as to attend divine worship, one morning, at the Unitarian Church.
"And how were you pleased?" asked the other. Episcopalian. Extremely well. Every part of the services was conducted in a serious, interesting, and
devotional manner. I was so well satisfied, indeed, that I purchased, and read, several of the tracts on the subject of the trinity, which are published by their Book Society. To what extent I might have carried my inquiries, and acceded to your belief, I do not know, had I not felt myself obliged to give up the examination altogether, on hearing that you not only denied the doctrine of the trinity, but that of our Saviour's atonement also. This last doctrine I consider as absolutely fundamental, and as a necessary part of Christianity, and I never can give it up. But is it true that Unitarians reject it?
Unitarian. We do indeed reject the doctrine that the sufferings and death of Christ were necessary to appease the wrath of God, and make it consistent with his justice to forgive sin. We cannot believe, and the Scriptures do not require us to believe, that Christ, in the language of some orthodox confession, "died to reconcile the Father to us." We think that such a doctrine is full of impiety, and highly dishonourable to the good and gracious Being who represents himself with every tender attribute of a Father, and proclaims himelf a God full of compassion, and ever ready to forgive.
Epis. These are mere general assertions. The doctrine of atonement is certainly the doctrine of Scripture. The Epistles, in a particular manner, declare it most plainly.
Unit. Of the truth of that assertion I must, in my turn, beg leave to doubt. You will not find even the word atonement but once in the whole New Testament; and you would not have found it once, had the translators been consistent in their work. In every other place in which the same original word is used, they
have translated it, as they intimate in the margin it might have been done here also, by the word reconciliation. I say this merely to let you see how much those people are mistaken who think that atonement is a New Testament word, and who use it as if it were repeated in every chapter of that sacred volume. But I consider this inconsistent translation as of little moment. To the popular doctrine, indeed, it affords no manner of countenance; for St. Paul expressly asserts in that passage, Rom. v. 11. that it is we, and not God, who have received the atonement, whatever that word may signify. We are no where told that the death of Christ was intended either to manifest, or to assuage, the wrath of God, but, on the contrary, to indicate and attest his love. "Herein perceive we the love of God, because Christ laid down his life for us." The Scriptures uniformly declare that we are reconciled to God by the death of his Son, but in no place intimate that God was reconciled to us.
Epis. But what do you mean by our being reconciled to God?
Unit. While we are in our sins, we are, in a certain sense, enemies to God; for God is goodness, and delights only in good. God cannot be our enemy, nor the enemy of any thing which he has made. He is long suffering, and always desirous that we should return to him. When therefore we feel, as we ought, the motives, and obey, as far as we are able, the laws, which Jesus Christ lived and died to set forth and confirm, we give up our enmity, and are reconciled to our Father in Heaven.
Epis. You have said nothing of Christ as a sacrifice. What efficacy do you a scribe to his death?