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wretched and helpless, I am fulfilling God's command:it is indeed a command which is right in itself, and which, on account of its very nature, as well as the authority from which it emanates, I should be bound to obey; but clearly my obligation to obedience must be rendered more or less impressive by the relation he sustains to me as a Benefactor. If I feel that he has given me my existence, and all my faculties and means of enjoyment, and moreover has sent his Son into the world to teach me the divine will, and encourage me to the discharge of duty, I cannot deny that all this creates a powerful obligation on my part to obey his command to do good to his creatures. But if, in addition to this, I am permitted to view him as having given his Son to redeem me from the curse of the second death by becoming my atoning sacrifice; if I can contemplate in the work of redemption a provision which has filled Heaven with wonder and rapture, and reflect that that provision is to raise me to the abodes of glory, and that, without it, I must have sunk into the abyss of despair, must not my sense of obligation to obey this command be immeasurably heightened; and shall I not regard it one of my highest privileges to do good to others, when such infinite good has been accomplished for me?
Moreover, Evangelical Christianity opens a far more extensive and interesting field of benevolence than Unitarianism. I refer here particularly to the views which the two systems present of the character and condition of man; the one exhibiting him as the subject of a deep moral malady, which must prove fatal unless it is removed, the other as the subject of an accidental imperfection, which furnishes no occasion for any serious alarm. If we look at man merely as an inhabitant of this world, subject to vicissitude and calamity, and sometimes actu
ally sinking under a burden of wo, we can hardly fail to be impressed with the conviction that he is a proper object of our sympathy and our charity. If we view him as ignorant of the first principles of religion, a slave of animal appetite, an outcast from virtuous and even decent society, we shall be constrained to feel still more deeply, that there is that in his condition which appeals strongly to our benevolent sensibilities. But when we ascend one step higher, and view him in his relation not only to this world but to the next,-in his relation to God, not only as a creature of his care and goodness, but as a rebel against his government;-when we contemplate him in the light of that coming judgment in which he shall not be able to stand, of that wretched eternity whose fierce terrours will bring dismay to the stoutest heart; and when, in connexion with all this, we remember that he is yet within the reach of God's pardoning mercy and renewing grace, and that our humble instrumentality may avail to his being made the subject of these rich and everlasting blessings ;-I ask you whether this view of his condition is not fitted to induce yearnings of compassion in his behalf? But this is precisely the view which Evangelical Christianity takes of it; whereas Unitarianism regards such a view as scarcely better than a libel upon human nature. If my fellow creature is entitled to my compassion at all in proportion to the degree of calamity to which he is subject, there is surely that in Evangelical Christianity which must awaken my compassion towards him far more strongly than it ever could be awakened through the influence of Unitarianism. And while each individual who has not been converted to God becomes, in the light of the former system, an object adapted strongly to draw forth my compassionate regards, when I cast my eye over the
world, I behold hundreds of millions of beings who are in precisely that condition; and far the greater portion of whom have never heard even of the existence of Christianity. Is not here a field for benevolent effort of which Unitarianism knows nothing? It is a field of spiritual wretchedness and death, as long and broad as the world.
If I have succeeded in showing that Evangelical Christianity points to higher examples of benevolence in the Creator and Redeemer of the world, that it enforces more strongly the obligations to benevolence, that it opens a more extensive and interesting field for the exercise of benevolence, than the opposite system, it is fair to conclude that it is adapted in a proportionally higher degree to promote a benevolent spirit.
In order to see the different tendencies of these systems in respect to the promotion of this virtue, we need only glance at the different views which they take of the natural character and condition of man, and the provision made for his redemption.
What is there in man's own character and condition which constitutes a ground for humility on the principles of Unitarianism. There is the fact that he is infinitely below his Maker, and a little lower than the angels; that both his knowledge and his virtue are in the present state imperfect; and that he is subject to various trials which, however, are fitted to subserve his moral improvement. As for his destiny, Unitarianism acknowledges that there is some obscurity resting over it; but she sees nothing in sin to warrant the apprehension of an eternal punishment. Evangelical Christianity, on the contrary, teaches man that he is ruined in his whole nature; that God's moral image is completely effaced from
his soul; that a spirit of rebellion against the Ruler of the world and against his own infinite Benefactor, is enthroned in his bosom; that there is a sentence of condemnation burning against him which consigns him to an endless perdition. And is not here enough to make him humble? Can he, with this view of his own character, venture before the throne of infinite purity with any other than a subdued spirit? Will he not often find himself breathing forth the prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner"? But, upon the opposite system, such feelings and expressions of self-abasement would be unreasonable. If I have nothing more to make me humble than the reflection that I am frail, dependant, imperfect, mortal, is it not probable that the influence even of these considerations will be neutralized by the paramount influence of other considerations connected with the dignity of my nature; especially as being a creature of God, and a creature of immortality?
But we are brought to the same result, if we notice the different views which the two systems take of the remedial provision which the gospel. offers. On the principles of Unitarianism, that provision scarcely carries a rebuke to the indulgence of man's self-complacency: on the principles of Evangelical Christianity, it prostrates him in the dust. For if God has done nothing more for man than send his Son into the world to inculcate a purer system of moral virtue, and to exemplify the purity of that system in his life, it is a legitimate conclusion that there is nothing in man's character or condition to furnish much occasion either for apprehension or self-abasement; as it is fair to judge of the exigency of the case by the provision with which Infinite Wisdom has been pleased to meet it. But if God has sent his Son not merely to instruct but to atone; if
the Son whom he has sent is not merely a man like ourselves but the Brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Person; then surely this would indicate that there was some mighty exigency to be met; that human nature must be in absolute ruin, to require such an amazing interposition to restore it. Indeed it is from the cross of Christ that the Evangelical Christian derives his most powerful arguments for humility: Never does he feel so much his utter unworthiness even to lift up his eyes to Heaven, as when the eye of his faith rests on his Redeemer's expiring agonies; but the Unitarian, with his views, may incur little inconsistency, if he gaze upon the cross, and then go away and wrap himself up in the robes of his wonted self-complacency.
5. Christian obedience: by which I mean an external compliance with the divine commands, from motives which meet the divine approbation. I shall limit myself to a consideration of Christian obedience in its more self-denying forms.
Of the influence of the two systems in developing and cherishing several of the great principles of Christian action, I have already spoken; and there remains little to be said under this article, other than to apply the conclusions to which we have actually arrived. What more powerful principles of religious action are there than love to God and gratitude to Christ? If then, Evangelical Christianity contributes to form and strengthen these far more than Unitarianism, the former must, in the same degree, exceed the latter, in nerving the Christian's hand for bold and vigorous action. If the one is much better fitted to promote the spirit of benevolence than the other, there must be a proportional difference between them in the amount of self-denying effort to which they respectively lead; for who does not know that where the ice of