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mony of Mr Haynes, that the sentiments of Sir Isaac Newton did not differ from his own, in what concerned the divine unity and the person of Christ.
“1. The Rev. Richard Baron, a person of great probity and public spirit, known by many valuable publications, observes, *
Mr. Haynes was the most zealous Unitarian I ever knew; and, in a conversation with him on that subject, he told me that . Sir Isaac Newton did not believe our Lord's pre-exist. ence, being a Socinian, as we call it, in that article, and that Sir Isaac much lamented Dr. Samuel Clarke's embracing Arianism, which opinion he feared had been, and still would be, if maintained by learned men, a great obstruction to the progress of Christianity.'
“ No, man had searched the Scriptures more than Sir Isaac Newton, or understood them better; and if men will set up names for authorities in this matter, we have the greatest name on our side.-Not that it is of any moment, what the greatest and wisest men may think, but what the Scriptures hold forth on all points ; though it is a satisfaction, in matters of consequence, to have the suffrage of such persons."
The only objection that I remember to have seen any where made to this evidence, is derived from “Mr. Haynes' being a. most zealous Unitarian," as if this should have led him to ima. gine and assert, with respect to Newton's opinions, what was not strictly true. To this insidious and chimerical allegation, we may oppose the facts, that Haynes had the best of all opportunities, during a constant intercourse of thirty years, for knowing what Newton's opinions were; that, from the similarity of their pursuits, it is scarcely conceivable that the contrary could have been the case ; that the minute accuracy with which Haynes formed bis own opinions, and the precision with which he defends them in his “Scripture Account,” would preserve him from the error into which persons not much conversant in theological distinctions are apt to fall; and that his unsullied integrity, to which his long continuance in an office, of great responsibility in the State, bears ample testimony, affords sufficient evidence that if he had had any inducement to falsify, he would still have adhered to the truth. Although, therefore, there were no farther proof of Sir Isaac Newton's Unitarianism, than the single passage already quoted, it would
* In the Preface to a collection of curious Tracts, entitled, “ Cordial for Low Spirits," vol. I. p. 18, note, 3d edit. 1763.
† Preface to the 2d edit. of Haynes' “ Scripture Account."- See also, a quotation of this evidence, in Lindsey's Sequel to his Apology, p. 19.
be similar in kind to that which is urged by Dr. Paley, and even by Dr. Chalmers himself, for the credibility of the facts and discourses of the gospel history, namely the evidence of honest and respectable men, of unimpeachable veracity, who were so well circumstanced for the reception of evidence, that they could not be deceived themselves; and who, from every thing that appears, could have had no inducement to impose upon others.
2. Sir Isaac Newton, in a Note to the 11th chapter of his work on Prophecies, entitled, “ Of the Times of the Birth and Death of Christ," speaks of Christ being " endued with a nobler prophetic spirit than the rest,” meaning the former prophets.
3. Among the theological writings of this great man, we possess what is called “ A Historical Account of two remarkable Corruptions of the New Testament, i John v. 7. 1 Tim. iij. 16.”—The evidence for the spuriousness of the former passage, and for the correction of the latter, is placed in a very striking light. In this work, Newton thus speaks ; Cyprian " does not say the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, as it is in 1 John y. 7. but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as it is in Baptism, the place from which they at first TRIED to deride the Trinity."
4. P. 528.- Jesus was the Son of God, 'as well by his resurrection from the dead, (Acts xiii. 33,) as by his supernatural birth of the Virgin.” Luke i. 35.--Had Newton been a Tridi. tarian, would he have given this definition of the Scripture phrase, "Son of God?"
5. P. 529.-Having spoken of the impossibility of reconcil. ing the two sets of witnesses, 1 John v. 7, 8, Newton says, “ Let them make good sense of it who are able. If it be said that we are not to determine what is Scripture, and what not, by our own private judgments, I confess it in places not controverted. But in disputable points, I love to take up with what I can best understand. It is the temper of the hot and superstitious part of mankind, in matters of religion, to be fond of mysteries; and, for that reason, to like best what they understand least. Such men use the Apostle John as they please; but I have that honour for him, as to believe that he wrote good sense, and therefore take that sense to be his which is the best, especially since I am defended in it by so great au. thority :” viz. the evidence for the spuriousness of 1 John y, 7.
6. Speaking of the Apocalypse, Newton says, “ As the few and obscure prophecies concerning Christ's first coming, were, for the setting up of the Christian religion, which all nations New Series-vol. III.
have since corrupted, so the many and clear prophecies concerning the things to be done at Christ's second coming, are not only for predicting, but also for effecting a recovery of the long-lost truth."
7. “Newton and Locke were esteemed Socinians, Lardner was an avowed one."-Bishop Watson, Theol. Tracts, Pref.
8. “ He (Newton) not only showed a great and constant regard to religion in general, as well by an exemplary life, as in all his writings, but was also a firm believer in Revealed Religion, as appears from many papers which he left behind him on this subject. But his notion of the Christian religion was not founded on a narrow bottom, nor his charity and morality so scanty, as to show coldness towards those who thought otherwise than he did, in matters indifferent, much less to admit of persecution, of which he always expressed the strongest abhorrence and detestation.”--(Note) "I have heard it affirmed by some of the self-constituted Philosophers of the present day, that Sir Isaac Newton believed the Christian Religion, merely because he was born in a Christian country; that he never examined it; and that he left behind him, a cart-load of papers on religious subjects, which Dr. Horsley examined, and declared unfit for publication. These gentlemen do not perceive that their assertions are inconsistent with each other. No body who has ever read a page of Newton's works, would be. lieve that he could write a cart-load of papers on a subject which he never examined. Newton's religious opinions were not orthodox. For example, he did not believe in the Trinity. This gives us the reason why Horsley, the champion of the Trinity, found Newton's papers unfit for publication. But it is much to be regretted, that they have never seen the light."Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Society, p. 283, 284.--Annals of Philosophy, vol. II. p. 322.*
THE CHRISTIAN'S PRAYER AGAINST TEMPTATION.
We live in a world that is perpetually exposing us to temptation. When we look abroad, and observe the various snares, that surround us in the alluring objects, in the artful solicita. tions, the corrupt examples and habits of the world; when we turn our eyes within, and mark our fond attachments, our earth
* For this article we are indebted to the potes of a Letter to Dr. Chalmers, by Benjamin Mardon, Minister of the Unitarian Church, Glasgow.
ly passions, and our treacherous purposes; and when we reflect how many, whose virtue seemed fair and promising, nay, even firmly established, have miserably fallen; to the triumph of the worldly, to the grief and mortification of the friends of virtue, and to the ruin of their own souls; we have all reason to pray, " Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
We cannot indeed ask to be delivered from the ordinary trials and difficulties of life. These are inseparable from our state of probation. They are appointed of God as exercises of our virtue, for the improvement of character; and such is the very condition of human existence, that we must give up life itself, if we would be exempted. All the frowns of Providence, every pain, affliction and disappointment are in the nature of temptations, or trials. Neither can we hope to escape entirely from those affections and passions, which grow out of our mixed nature, and more immediately solicit to sin. As long as we are in the body, our state is a warfare, and the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian is, that he subjects the senses to his soul, and denies himself in all ungodliness. Neither in offering to God such a petition, are we to admit the thought, that He tempts bis children to sin, either by infusing evil passions into their hearts, by inclining them to transgress, or by placing them in situations where transgression is inevitable. For this would be entertaining the most unworthy views of the character of Him, whose delight is in goodness, and who designs by every blessing he bestows, and every trial he appoints, to make his children partakers of his own holiness. On the contrary, the petition implies the most just and filial conceptions of God, as our moral governor, and humble views of ourselves, as beset by dangers and liable to fall.
This sentiment is essential to our vigilance and circumspection. For do we say too much, when we assert, that we are exposed to temptations on every side ? Our natural tempers, in the vast variety, in which they appear, whether gay or gloomy, timid or daring, worldly, suspicious, or irritable ; our period of life, whether exposing to the excesses of youth, to the selfish schemes, or ambitious and calculating spirit of manbood, or to the petulance of old age; our daily employments and cares; our disappointments, or our success; our affluence or our straits; our friends or our enemies; our ignorance or our knowledge; and even our religion, or more properly, our abuses and mistakes concerning it, may all in their turn become our tempters. So that occasions for vigilance and prayer must be continually occurring; and the subjects of our requests will be, that we may maintain such a regulated state of our affections and desires, as
may best prepare us to meet temptation ; that we may be preserved by Him, who appoints the circumstances of our lives, from such outward situations as may prove fatal to our virtue, and that we may have the kindly succours of that spirit, which is able to keep from falling, to strengthen the feeble, and to restore the penitent.
A well regulated state of the affections and passions, a chastened regard for the objects of the world, is one of the most effectual securities against temptation. When the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, and acts as the pervading principle of the life; when we are accustomed to look with the eye of faith upon the objects most tempting to the worldly mind; regarding wealth only as a means, which may prove a blessing or a curse, according as it is employed; pleasures, as at best but transient good, fleeting as the visions of the night, and leaving no profit behind; honours, as the short-lived distinctions, which an hour may destroy, or which at best will be soon levelled in the grave; when in fine the heart is there firinly fixed, where only true joys can be found, and has attained that spiritual-mindedness, which while it gives inward life and peace, inspires a generous superiority to the vanities of the present world, temptations from without will lose their power.
We are also permitted to pray, that we may be preserved from such outward situations as may prove fatal to our virtue. Much, it is to be feared, of what passes in the world for moral goodness, depends on the external circumstances in which we are placed. There is a great difference in the pursuits and con. ditions of men, as influencing character; and many, who have passed through life without reproach, have much more reason to thank God for casting the lines for them in safe and pleasant places, an: thus “ keeping them from the evil,” than to rejoice in any virtue of their own; while others, doubtless, who have miserably fallen amidst the snares, which have beset their path, might in more favorable situations have preserved their integrity. “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this ?” was the question of Hazael, before he had been exposed to the temptations of royalty, and the only answer returned to him by the Prophet, whose predictions, incredible as they seemed, were faithfully fulfilled, was, “ The Lord hath showed me, that thou shalt be King over Syria.” Had David been possessed of less influence and power, he might not have been betrayed to the commission of his aggravated crime. Had Peter not ventured into the palace of the High Priest, where his presumption exposed him to suspicion, he might not have denied bis Lord. And how many have been betrayed, in situations of responsibility and