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dispay of wisdom, or eloquence, or mere human reasoning. He employed not the enticing words of man's wisdom--he came not among them with excellency of speech or of wisdom; but trusting to the powerful influence of the Spirit, who revealed the truth to his own mind, he told again and again, his simple and affecting story of “Christ and Him crucified.” “For I brethren,” says he, “when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God; for I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling: and my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of men's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the
of God."i Here the true reason of our conviction of the truth, as revealed by God, is distinctly stated--the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. It is the powerfully convincing evidence of truth, had, in "the testimony of God," which the Holy Spirit has delivered to us by the mouths of holy men and prophets, and which he urges on the mind, that sways it into faith.
This, Paul wished to be the basis of their faith, and none other, and as he unfolded the truth, which God had revealed, he claimed their unhesitating assent. His style of preaching does not seem to have pleased all. ferred Apollo's gentle and persuasive strains, while others were enamoured with Peter's ardent and vehement delivery. Their factious and contentious spirit, Paul utterly contemned; and he was careful to apprise them, that the gospel which he preached differed in its very nature, from all the dogmas or demonstrations of their philosophers. The ministry of reconciliation was not to be prostituted, and the high functions of that holy office, which unfolds
1 1 Cor. ii. 1-5.
and urges the word of God on the consciences of men, were not to be discharged as were the professional lectures of their admired scholars. He did not profess to have made any magnificent discoveres, or to have adopted any new philosophy or to have elicited truth by the power of his own logical mind. He resorted not to the schools of the philosophers for his information, nor did he even dream of quoting Pythagoras or Plato, Aristotle or Socrates as his authorities. He took it from the mouth of God Himself, and as he bowed in submissive belief of its truth, so did he require the same faith from his hearers. "I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me, is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He spake' by the Holy Spirit of God, and not according to the wisdom and judgment, the reasonings and convictions of the world. This fact he assigns as a sufficient explanation of the authoritative character and style of his preaching-as a satisfactory reason for his claiming the full unhesitating assent of his hearers. Now we have received,” says he, “not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” It was by the revelation of this Spirit, that he obtained his knowledge, and in no other way. For the things that he declared were what:“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man--the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." The whole scheme of redemption, by the eternal Son of God, crucified and slain in the nature of man, was originally beyond the power of human conception. It never could have been excogitated by the human mind. And therefore in undertaking to speak on themes so novel, so extraordinary, so amazing, so inconceivable, however some might deem them extravagant and wild, or others, evincive
1 Gal. i. 11. 12.
2 1 Cor. ii. 12.
1 Cor. ii. 9.
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." 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 it is obvious that reason can., not 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 ow it from a Divine revelation. It is too bold a pretence to
1 Quod enim ad rationes attinet, hæc nimis fallax via est, in re quæ ex
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.
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
divina patefactione pendet, qualis est Christiano religio.-Faust. Soc. in Tract de authoritate Jac. Scrip. cap. 1.
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.