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suffering from his union with the divine nature.If instead of this mysterious system of a two-fold nature, we suppose that the pre-existent being became man,-if he retained the consciousness of the past, and a clear prospect of the future, is it conceivable that this should not have most materially lessened his human sufferings, and annihilated distress of mind? Those whose minds have by long discipline and suffering, acquired that degree of comprehensiveness, which is attainable even in this present state, have been known to lose the present in the contemplation of the future; and is it conceivable that a more exalted being than man, should in this respect be less perfect?-To the divine mind, the past and the future must be equally and for ever present; could a being partaking of the essential attributes of divinity suffer at all?—If then the sufferings undergone by our Saviour, be made the criterion of his love to men, our system has in this point, as in every other respecting his example, the most decided advantage. It was the MAN Christ Jesus who suffered and died for us; and his sufferings as man could scarcely have been what from the Scriptures we suppose them to have been, if he were not simply a man,-if he were supported by a union with a nature incapable of suffering,-or were a being whose nature was greatly superior to that of man.
Feeling the firmest conviction that the proper unity and unrivalled supremacy of God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the doctrine of the
Gospel, and that it is a position fully authorized by the general tenor of the New Testament, and by express and decisive facts, that this illustrious Revealer of the gracious purposes of God to Men, was truly and properly a MAN, and as to nature no more,-unless clear and adequate evidence can be adduced that he was a Being of a superior nature, I consider myself as completely justified in asserting, that 'Unitarianism is the doctrine of the Gospel.'-That the evidence which is adduced to overthrow the doctrines of the proper unity of God, and the proper or simple humanity of Jesus, is totally inadequate, I shall endeavour to show in the next Part.
EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCE DERIVED FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT, AGAINST THE UNITARIAN DOCTRINE AS TO THE NATURE OF JESUS.
Principles of Interpretation.
I FEEL the hope that a careful perusal of the preceding chapters, will have enabled my readers to judge more correctly than they otherwise might, respecting the contents of this. Our interpretations of the controverted passages, are usually considered separately from the foundation of them; and it is partly owing to this circumstance that they are so often regarded, even by persons of great candour and judgment, as far-fetched and groundless. But the grand cause assuredly is, that attachment to pre-formed opinions, which necessarily arises from long regarding them, and reasoning from them, as true, and especially from the connexion existing in the mind, between them, and others of indisputable truth and supreme importance. I by no means intend to affirm, that
there are no instances in which the interpretations advanced by Unitarians have been far-fetched and groundless; but merely state the cause why they are in general regarded in that light, by persons who widely differ from us in sentiments.
No one who has attentively observed the processes of the human mind, can be ignorant, that to produce the ready reception of any truth, it must accord with our habitual modes of thinking and pre-formed opinions; and that unless there is such accordance, even strong and decisive evidence is insufficient to produce at once a lively conviction of the understanding, though it may produce a speculative assent to the position in question. If not only the position itself, but the modes of reasoning by which it is proved to be true, do not accord with the opinions and mental habits of the individual, a truth which to some may appear self-evident, will, in such a case, be rejected as obviously false. These are things which are open to common observation; and those who are sincerely desirous of arriving at Gospel-truth, must endeavour to check the long-established biasses of the mind,--they must allow themselves to examine important positions, which at first sight they might be tempted to reject, with a disposition to yield to the evidence which may be adduced for them,--and they must suspend their decisions till the first impulses of surprise and of dissatisfaction have lost their influence on the mind. Every Searcher after the truth as it is in Jesus, must have experienced with how much dissatisfaction an interpretation, new to his own mind,
is sometimes viewed, (even though sanctioned by great appearance of evidence,) till he has become somewhat familiar with it,-till he has observed it in its various bearings and tendencies, and considered its connexion with other established truths: and few who really yield up their minds to the honest search after truth, can be ignorant, that opinions which they now regard as important and certainly true, they once were ready to reject, at first sight, as injurious and unfounded in revelation, -and that interpretations which they now regard as obvious and natural, once appeared to them forced, far-fetched, and in every respect unsatisfactory. As these things are facts which necessarily arise from the structure of the mind, it becomes every lover of Christian truth to be slow in rejecting important positions which may not accord with his own pre-formed opinions; and to be honest in the examination of the evidence produced for them.
Still however there must be some satisfactory principles, by which our examination into Christian truth should ever be directed, and which will then serve to obviate, and even to prevent, the ill effects of custom and authority in checking or misguiding our inquiries. The following appear to me to be indisputable; and I feel a lively conviction, that when Christians in general faithfully abide by such rules, and their necessary consequences, in studying the truths of their religion, Christians in general will agree in the essential purport of those truths.
1. Revealed truth can be found ONLY in