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By thee, the youth encourag'd nought to fear
'Sdeigning ignoble ease and mean repose, Meets the swift fury of the threat'ning spear,
And follows glory through a host of foes.
Thou mak'st the god of war forsake the field,
Thou know'st in pleasing how, to wound the mind,
Surpris'd, unguarded, and to love betray'd :
That powerful impe, in heaven and earth obey'd ?
Deep strike his shafts, unerring in their aim, - And his torch burns with unextinguish'd flame. These are thy triumphs, goddess, this thy might,
Faintly describ'd in far unequal lays.
Ambitious by thy name my verse to raise,
And find thy favour, while I sung thy praise. .: O smile on these endeavours, hearinly maid !'
Sweet is the toil, if with thy smile repaid.
Librum tuum legi, et quam diligentissime potui annotavi quae commutanda, quae exjmenda arbitrarer. Nam ego dicere verum assuevi. Neque ulli patientius reprehenduntur, quam qui maxime laudari merentur.
ARTICLE 21. A Sermon, delivered at Trinity Church, Christmas Day, December 25, 1810, on the Divinity of Jesus Christ. By John S. J.
Gardiner, Rector. Published at the request of the hearers. • Boston, printed by Munroe and Francis, 1811. .
The weekly services of christian assemblies comprise a commemoration of the birth of the Saviour; and the separation of a particular day in the year for this purpose is not in the code of positive duties. The dissenters had sufficient grounds for objecting to the multiplication of fasts and festivals, and did not exempt Christmas, which seems a natural and becoming observance, from the number of unauthorized and exceptionable holidays. In this part of the country for a considerable time past, the interest and passions which once kept up the controversy with churchmen, are diverted into other channels; and he that observeth the day, and he that observeth not the day, have generally no pique against each other on account of this distinction. The congregationalist enters a church without any peculiar horrour of conscience, and the churchman sometimes condescends to worship in a meeting house. The Christmas service at the Episcopal Church is a favourite with many of the “ sectaries ;" who find satisfaction in a celebration agreeable to their best feelings, although not always more fully assenting to all the articles, than some of the stated members of that communion, The preacher's first duty is to his own charge ; and not to occasional hearers, who are not obliged to come, and if they are not edified, may take care not to come again. It seems also the right and the obligation of a minister to defend the articles of his church, and when, and how he thinks fit. Some persons may think much controversy not well suited to the celebration of an event announced with a proclamation of peace on earth; good will to men; and they might prescribe a text for a Christmas sermon, leading to the consideration of the general and acknowledged benefits of christianity; and presenting views that tend to expand the heart. It is indeed well for all parties on this festival, if the offering of pious gratitude can be reconciled with sentiments of general benevolence; if thoughts of kindness to men can be blended with expressions of praise to God; and the blessings of the Messiah's advent and reign be acknowledged on behalf of as many, and to the disparagement and exclusion of as few, as regard to truth will admit. Still it must be confessed that pleasing men is subordinate to serving them, and that this is the duty of contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, as well as promoting charity and union. The Rector believes, no doubt, that orthodoxy is the nutriment of piety, and probably has observed that the spirit of sect is no bad assistant, though it may not always be a purifier of the spirit of devotion. “ He has never known,” he says, " the scriptures much read and greatly reverenced, where the divinity of Christ has not been believed and preached." If the converse of this proposition were true ; and wherever the divinity of Christ, that is the article in the symbol of faith purporting to express the doctrine of the scriptures on the nature of Christ, was believed and preached, the scriptures were much read and greatly reverenced, it would indeed be expedient to discourse upon it in season and out. But the fact is, that what some may believe with reason, others may believe without ; and that when prejudice, and habit, and interest are in the same line with a particular dogma or rite in religion, it is an equivocal proof of extraordinary docility or virtue, to be a zealot for the faith, and a strict conformist. As a man may believe the divinity of Christ as taught in the scripture, and have much room for im.. provement in christian practice, so he may believe the same doctrine as taught by the church, papal or protestant, or laid
down by councils and houses of convocation ; and be more or thodox than good. “Of the practical importance of the doctrine,” i. e. the received doctrine of the divinity of Christ, “I have had striking instances in my own church. Some very in. telligent persons were deterred from cordially embracing christianity, and from partaking of the sacrament, by doubts on this subject. When those doubts were removed, they became and continue exemplary christians.” In this argument the conclusion seems to have forgotten the premises. The doctrine raises doubts that discourage intelligent persons from embracing christianity. Hence we are to preserve its effect to induce men to embrace christianity. The impediment to practice assists practice. The author must suppose the reader will supply the ellipsis in his expression, and will understand, that by the “ doctrine” used after the words practical importance, Mr. G. intends a satisfactory explanation and defence of the doctrine.
It is often intimated in this controversy, and it is done by our author, that the question between the Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians, turns upon the principle that we are to believe what the scriptures contain, however mysterious and unaccountable;" whereas the dispute is concerned with statements and definitions of councils and assemblies, professing to put the sense of the scriptures into other words. Many persons believe all that the scriptures say about the nature and character of Christ, and yet have difficulty in admitting, that the phrases of this or that doctor or council, are tantamount to the words of the scriptures. Neither is there any dispute about the propriety of believing what is mysterious and unaccountable ; but the question is whether men are to believe what is unintelligible, and assent to propositions the terms of which convey no idea or a contradictory one to their minds. There is a dark side to almost every truth or fact, which we believe; but if it be all dark, it is difficult to believe in any sense or degree."
Bishop Taylor thinks it very important that people should be allowed some latitude of thought and expression on this subject, and not be obliged to declare their belief in what cannot be an object of conception.
“ He that goes about to speak of the mystery of Trinity, and does it by words and names of man's invention, talking of
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essenses and existences, hypostases and personalities, priorities in co-equalities, and unity in pluralities, may amuse himself, and build a tabernacle in his head, and talk something he knows not what ; but the good man, who feels the power of the Father, and to whom the Son is become wisdom, sanctification, and redemption, in whose heart the love of the Spirit of God is shed abroad ; this man, though he understands nothing of what is unintelligible, yet he alone truly understands the christian doctrine of the Trinity.”
The text of this sermon is Revelation 22 ch. 16 v. “ I am the root and offspring of David-which means,” that " Jesus Christ is both the root and the offspring of David ;-the same person is both God and man, father and son, cause and effects original and copy."
The doctrine, being stated, after a few remarks on the Arian and Socinian hypotheses, the proofs of the doctrine are produced, derived from the declarations of scripture, the miracles of Christ, and the success of the gospel. The conclusion of the discourse is an exhortation to almsgiving.
The proposition containing the doctrine gives rise to some queries. Is that part of it, which says the same person is, &c. exegetical of the prior assertion “ Jesus Christ is both the root and offspring of David ?” We imagine not. For it cannot be true in a literal sense that the same person was both father and son of David ; or that Jesse and his grandson should be considered as the same person. Is it true in a mystical sense-i. e. was Christ in his divine nature the father of David ; and his son as to his humanity ? This is intelligible, and, upon this construction, he miglit be considered both as 66 cause and effect;" but his being “ original and copy” of David, seems to imply the divinity of David. Was the man Christ a copy of the original David ? We presume such a proposition is not orthodox. Was the Saviour as God the “ori. ginal," and as man the 6 copy" of David ? Then were not Christ and David copies of the same original, and therefore have they not equal claims as it respects divinity? It will not be granted that, as second person in the Trinity, our Lord was 6 original” and “ copy" of David. It does not seem credible that the phrase " root and offspring of David” was intended to