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of the loftiest intellect, yet did Paul make no high pretensions to human wisdon, nor even defend his claims in this respect, but simply "declared unto them the testimony of God," putting honour on the Spirit who had revealed them unto him.
Paul's idea of inspiration was essentially different from that of the rational divines, or he has expressed himself in the most bungling and unintelligible terms. So far from supposing that his thoughts, excogitated in his own mind, were the revelation of God, he leads us to believe, that he derived them as certainly and directly from an imme- . diate communication made from God to him as we may be said to derive our thoughts from another when we attend to what he tells us. He did not preach to his hearers the result of his own reasonings.
The things he taught were gratuitously communicated of God, and therefore, were of such character as to have forever eluded discovery by human reason. They were things which none of us had a right to expect would be, and which man, if left to himself, never could have imagined. Nor should we be surprised at this. For, if we cannot look into the nearest planet, or penetrate into the essence of the smallest atom, is it to be expected, that we should be able to explore the eternal mind? “Touching the Almighty we cannot find him out.” “Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor."2 To divine what it might please Him to give, when we cannot conjecture the purposes even of our nearest and most intimate friends, is entirely beyond the power of man:especially so, when, instead of anticipating a favour, conscious guilt suggests that all we have any right to expect is "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish."
From the above remarks is obvious that reason cannot legitimately act as umpire in matters of faith. The 1 Job, xxvü. 23. 2 Rom. xi. 34.
3 Rom. ïi 8, 9.
revelation of God, claims assent on its own appropriate evidence, and is not dependent on the deductions or demonstrations of reason. The early Unitarians did not presume in this matter to push their principles as far as their modern successors have done. They acknowledged a revelation from God in some immediate and supernatural way, not through the natural excogitations of the human intellect, and therefore did not presume to exalt reason to the office of judging, and determining what it is in the sacred scriptures we are bound to believe and what not. If they did extol it, they gave not to it the paramount authority. In regulating the distinctive doctrines of revelation, they rather tortured their ingenuity to explain away the obvious meaning of terms, than took the bold infidel and deistical ground of rejecting them as mysteries of which reason could not approve. Hear one of the most celebraof this school, “As regards reason, this truly is a fallacious way in a matter which is dependent on Divive revelation as is the Christian religion.” Another and as great a name adds, “Mysteries do indeed overcome reason; but they do not destroy it. They do not extinguish its light but they perfect it. Nay, reason alone, which could not of itself discover mysteries, both perceives, and embraces, and defends them when revealed to it. “Truly," says a third, speaking of those too, whom he called Unitarian Christians, "these Christians confess that the appropriate mysteries and dogmas of the Christian religion themselves, are by no means excogitated, or discovered by human reason; but delivered by the revelation of God Himself, through His Son Jesus Christ.” And a fourth admits that neither can philosophy itself reveal the Christian religion, nor can our reason ever prevail to try it at law, entirely on philosophical principles; but it behoves it altogether to know it from a Divine revelation.' It is too bold a pretence to exalt reason as the supreme authority, and make it both judge and law in matters of faith. They that claim for it this office, and receive, and reject the revelations of the word of God, just in so far as they accord with, or are approved by the judgment of their reason are infidels of an high order. It is not slanderous to call them such, nor are they thus malignantly denominated by us, for it is their most appropriate appellation, and it is the most arrant hypocrisy for them to claim and wear the title of Christians.
1 Quod enim ad rationes attinet, hæc nimis fallax via est, in re quæ ex divina patefactione pendet, qualis est Christiano religio.-Faust. Soc. in Tract de authoritate Jac. Scrip. cap. 1.
Admitting however that faith is bound to receive the revelations of God, on their appropriate evidence, and not because reason may approve of their mysteries, a question arises as to what may be that evidence. On this subject there has been strong and learned controversy, having the renowned names of Locke on the one side and Haly burton on the other. We shall not enter into this controversy, but content ourselves with exhibiting a few facts from which we may be led to a proper conclusion. The sacred scriptures are demonstrably the word of God, so that whoso will be at the pains of weighing this matter, may arrive, by a process of invincible reasoning, at this convietion. It is a truth, supported by intuitive evidence, that what God says, is and must be true. It might be supposed that where these two convictions are had there the individual must believe: That he ought indubitably to believe none will deny. But it is not the fact. Many profess, and no doubt have both, and yet do not believe. Now whence cames this? Is it not the nature of the human mind to be determined in its convictions, by the force of evidence? A man cannot believe a proposition which he thinks is not true. Let him however be convinced of its truth, and it is just as impossible for him not to believe. It is obvious therefore, that there must be some other evidence to produce faith than what has been stated. But what can this be? We apprehend that it is to be found in the nature of the second conviction stated above, viz., that what God says is true. There is something more necessary to induce confidence, than the mere intellectual conviction, that a man speaks the truth. There must be some feeling of approbation, some love for the character of that man, if not of his person. We often misplace our confidence, and believe implicitly the falsehood which some unworthy object of our friendship may assert: while, on the other hand, through prejudice or improper feeling entertained towards another, his testimony is rejected though he speaks the absolute truth. It would seem then that the heart is the great seat of that perplexity and difficulty under which any one may labour, as it respects believing the word of God. Let the heart-the sensibilities of man's nature, be brought into unison with the convictions of his understanding, and there will be no difficulty.
Superant quidem rationem mysteria; sed non evertunt: non extinguunt illa hujus lumen; sed perficient. Imo ratio mysteria quæ per se invenire non poterat, sibi revelata, et percipit sola, et amplectitur, et defendit.—Culkuis de Uno. Deo. Patre Lib. sub finem.
At vero isti Christiani, confitentur, ipsa religionis Christianze propria mysteria, seu dogmata, nequaquam esse et ratione hunana excogitata, sive inrenta; verum ex Dei ipsius revelatione per filium cjus Jesum Christum tradita. --Religio Rationalis And. Wissowat. p. 9.
The fact of such difficulty however is not to be questioned, and for its removal some divine influence is in reality as necessary as were the communications of God in making the orignal disclosure of the facts themselves. The removal of this is attributed to the same great agent that revealed men the Spirit of God, who exerts an influence designed to counteract the depraved perceptions of the mind and vitiated taste of the heart. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” 1 In exerting this influence the Spirit of God is spoken of in the sacred scriptures, as producing a new life-awakening the mind to new perceptions and energies, and bringing the heart under the power of new emotions. So Paul speaks of his own perception of the truths of the gospel, and of his successful exhibition of them to his hearers. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life." While therefore it is conceded that human reason or the mind of man is the percipient principle, in the appropriate exercise of which alone, we can have any knowledge of divine things, we are far from granting that it is possessed of original and independent power to discover the things which the Spirit of God has revealed, or is placed in circumstances and found affected so as rightly to perceive and appreciate those things while uninfluenced by the same Spirit. The life-giving influence of the Spirit of God in the human soul, is essential to right and clear perceptions of the truth, so that it is utterly extravagant and absurd to claim for the unrenewed mind of man the right to sit as umpire and judge of what can or cannot be, of what is or is not the revelation of God. The character of the facts, and the discordant state of the human mind seem alike to require an influence of the Spirit, in order to a right apprehension of them.
This subject will again occur, when it must receive a more minute examination. It is only referred to at present with a view to urge the necessity, and importance, of laying aside every thing like the pride of human reason, and an overweening conceit of our own worth, and "receive with meekness the ingrafted word which is able to
II Cor. Ü. 14.
2 2 Cor. üi. 5, 6.