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instruct us, what idea we can possibly form of Divine perfections, which are not contained in the Creation, Preservation, Government, and Redemption of the world ; or what connexion we can have with any superior being, or what worship we can owe to any power, to whom we stand in no such relations, it might greatly contribute to bring the controversy to a decision. There is much reason to conclude, that the relations in which we stand to our Creator, Preserver, Ruler, and Saviour, are the only rational grounds on which our obligation to worship can possibly be founded. At least we must continue to believe this doctrine, till they can point out a more solid foundation upon which to rest it. Perhaps it may not be un. worthy even of an Unitarian, to adore Him, whom all the Angels of God are commanded to worship.
The Low Arians differ in nothing from the Unitarians, except in believing the simple pre-existence of Christ, in an angelio or super-angelic spirit, which was united to our Saviour's body in his miraculous conception. To this spirit they indeed ascribe faculties and perfections of the first order. They, too, generally take the name of Unitarians, but their claim is sometimes disallowed, by the repulsive habits of the more simple Humanitarians. Dr. Priestley refused this name to Dr. Price, while he was alive, though the title was admitted by some of the party, after his death,
Mr. Belsham spurns the elaim, and it must be confessed, he rejects it with considerable force of argument. “Genuine Arianism is not, and cannot be, Unitarianism ; for it believes in two Gods, a great God, and a lesser ope; and in two Creators, one supreme, and the other subor. dinate.”*
• Letters upon Arianism, &c. p. 142.
The Arians are represented as considering the death of Christ a propitiation for sin. As they deny the doctrine of original sin, they cannot, however, consistently believe it to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, Besides, we have already seen that two of the most celebrated advocates of the party, Dr. Taylor, of Norwich, and Mr. Taylor, of Portsmouth, though they admit the terms, Atonement, Sacrifice, &c. of Christ, ad. mit them only for the purpose of explaining away their meaning
With respect to the Holy Ghost, some Arians have agreed with the Unitarians in denying his personality, though the greater part of them admit his personality, but deny his Divinity. These suppose him to be the creature of the Son, either begotten, or created by him, and consequently inferior, not only to the Father, but also to the Son.
The number of Arians is universally allowed to be but small; and even Unitarians consider the seal of fate to be so stamped upon their doctrine, that it can hardly outlive the Nineteenth century. Arianism is the first step from Trinitarianism, and a sort of half-way house to the simple humanity of Christ. The path between them is so slippery, and the descent so steep, that most of the passengers glide through the intermediate space, with great velocity, and find themselves at what they suppose to be the end of the goal, before they are aware of the progress they have made. When they have arrived there, they often find Unitarianism to be no mansion of rest, but only a breathing-spot to prepare them for future toils and adventures. They accordingly soon bid it adieu, for the more captivating regions and mazes of infidelity, where they “roam in conjectures forlorn," till the curtain falls, and they open their eyes in eternity.
We shall conclude this article with a quotation from an excellent writer, whose work on the subject is highly valuable. “ There are only three stages of declension from Christianity into Deism ; Mr. Whiston showed himself very ready for the second, when he dared to charge the Scriptures of God with weakness and with absurdity. Mr. Chillingworth had finished two of them, when he died; and was ready, I fear, for the third. Chubb, too, , whose name was formerly of some notoriety in the lists of infidel fame, but is nearly lost and forgotten in the crowds upon the rolls at present, was first an Arian, then a Socinian, and finally a Deist. Morgan, also, another phantom of unbelief, that once stalked about formidable in its nothingness, was a Presbyterian minister, who commenced an Arian, and concluded an infidel."*
OF SABELLIANISM AND SABELLIANS.
SABELLIUS, who lived in the third century, was the founder of that sect which was so called from his name. Some say that he was a presbyter, and others that he was a bishop of Upper Egypt. It appears evident from the letter which Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, wrote to the clergy of Pentapolis, in Lybia, that the doctrine
• Whitaker's Origin of Arianism, p. 498.
of Sabellius had begun to spread in that region ; and that Sabellius confounded the Three Persons in the Godhead. Athanasius gives the following account of that epistle :—“He wrote, in order to demonstrate from the Gospel, the humanity of Christ, and to persuade those ignorant persons, who boldly denied the Son, and ascribed what belonged to him as man, to the Father,—that it was not the Father, but the Son, who became man for our sakes, and that the Father was not the Son."* count is perfectly consistent with the representation commonly given of Sabellius's teaching, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, were only One Person, with three different names: that the Father descended into the womb of the virgin, as the Son, and that having accomplished our Redemption, he diffused himself on the Apostles as tongues of fire, and was then denominated the Holy Ghost. Others represent him as having taught, that in the Old Testament, God delivered the law as the Father; in the New Testament dwelt among men as the Son; and descended upon the Apostles as the Holy Ghost. The representations which have been given of them, though with some variety of shade, coincide in this, that Sabellius and his followers entirely confounded the three Persons of the Trinity. They were called Patripassians, from their teaching that the Father himself suffered and died upon the cross. Sabellius and his followers were excommunicated, as heretics. The doctrine of the Sabellians is said to form a part of the creed of many of the General Baptists in the principality of Wales. It is cer
• Quoted by Dr. Jamieson, in his Vindication of the Doctrine of Scripture, &c. Vol. 11, p. 358.
tain that the followers of Baron Swedenborg have adopted it, and associated with it other heresies, equally subversive of Christianity. Their prophet taught, “ that in the person of Jesus Christ dwells the whole Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the Father constituting the soul of his humanity, whilst the humanity itself is the Son, and the Divine virtue, or operation proceeding from it, is the Holy Ghost; forming altogether one God, just as the soul, the body, and operation of man, form one man.' He accordingly taught also “ that the humanity of Jesus Christ is itself Divine," and terms it his “ Divine humanity;" expressions which tend to confound the most opposite ideas. Besides denying the doctrine of the Resurrection, at the last day, by confounding a literal with a metaphorical resurrection, and losing the first in the last, he denied the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God. It is evident, indeed, that they cannot justly be called Patripassians, as they renounce the doctrine of the Atonement altogether. The wanderings of the human mind, when it leaves the plain tract of Scripture doctrine, are endless, as well as eccentric; and the return to the temple of truth is intercepted by the mazes in which the imagination has bewildered itself. Happy are they, who with a humble mind, tread with awe the sacred threshold, and with an eye of reverence, that seeks not to explore what the cherubim cover with their wings, dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of their lives, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple; whose heart is not haughty, nor their eyes lofty; and who do not exercise themselves in great matters, or in things too high for them !
Few men have shown more of a disposition to inquiry, chastised by reverence to every thing sacred, than Dr.