Walter Chamberlain.

The Christian verity states, in reply to a Unitarian online

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"Baptizing them into the name of The Father, of The Son, and of The
Holy Ghost."— Matt, xxviii. 19.

"And Thomas answered, and said unto him, My Lord and My God." —
John xx. 28.

" No man can say that Jesus is The Lord, but by The Holy Ghost." —
1 Cor. xii. 3.



24, Paternoster Row,

and 23, holles street, cavendish square.


If there be amy unscriptural thought in this book, I ask God



If any saving truth, I pray God to accept and bless it.

^77 1 - k/
"Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving,
and honour, and power, and might, be unto our god, for ever
and ever." — Rev. vii. 12.





My dear Sir,

Some time since you sent me a little book by Dr. Beard, of
Manchester, entitled " Reasons for being a Unitarian," and requested me
to answer it ; the expense being, with your wonted liberality in a good
cause, borne entirely by yourself, but left, without limit, to my own dis-
cretion. The work I now send you is intended as some sort of compliance
with your wishes.

Upon consideration, it seemed desirable not to occupy ourselves in
replying merely to Dr. Beard, but to take the opportunity of sending out
an easy volume, stating Christian, i. e., Trinitarian, truth as opposed to
Unitarian error, in as plain and as concise a manner as we could.

Many of Dr. Beard's boasted reasons for being a Unitarian we might
have handed over justly to Trinitarian religion ; as, e. g., we might
have said, Trinitarianism is intelligible, real, reasonable, true, positive,
permanent, etc. ; but we shall both agree that on this solemn subject,
affecting (as it does) the salvation of our immortal souls, appeal ought
not to be to the erring powers of the unaided human mind, but to the
inspired declarations of God's "Word, studied by minds praying for the
teaching of The Holy Ghost.

I am too well acquainted with your own scholarship, and habit of
patient and critical reading, not to feel it unnecessary to do more than
mention the abstruse, and erudite, nature of many parts of the subject
we have undertaken. And I feel assured you will be pleased that, while
striving to place this book upon a sound, and substantial, foundation,
I have thrown aside to the utmost all technical expressions, and hyper-
critical, and elaborate, references ; and have written it in the simplest
style I could command.

Such as it is, I place it in your hands with the earnest prayer
that your bounty may he accepted; and that many helievers, Avho read
this work, may be confirmed in the profession of their holy faith ;
many waverers be strengthened against the error it assails ; and, if so
great a blessing may be hoped for, many Unitarians rescued from their
delusions. Incomplete it necessarily must he ; though not, on that
account, insufficient. But its faults (and there will be many) are
entirely my own: still, I earnestly hope that the feeling, and spirit,
with which it has been written, are such as become "the doctrine of
God our Saviour," which it would be as painful to you as to myself
to dishonour by any want of that " charity which is the bond of per-

Allow me to remain,

My dear Sir,
Very faithfully, and obediently,

"Walter Chamberlain.

Bolton-le- Moors, Dec. 26tk, 1860.





On Sunday, November 4, I860, Dr. Vaughan, late Head Master
of Harrow, read himself in as Vicar of Doncaster ; and spake as
follows : —

" It is now not far from half a century since those Articles have
been read aloud in the parish church; and I can well believe
that many of you may never have had your attention called to
them — perhaps you may never have read them carefully in the
whole course of your lives. I would call upon you, then, to
listen to them, and to follow them with all your care as I read
them to you to-day. It is not my intention to slur them over.
On the contrary, I would give full force and emphasis to them,
believing them, as I do, to be carefully drawn from Holy Scrip-
ture, and to contain a body of Divine truth always seasonable
and sometimes too much disregarded. I do not look upon this
as a wearisome form, nor, indeed^ as a form at all. In the
appointment of your minister you have had no voice. It is not
the usual practice of our Church to look to the congregation
either for the nomination or for the approval of the nomination
of their parochial minister. All the more necessary is it that
every precaution should be taken for your being satisfied of the



correctness of his doctrine. You have a right to be assured, and
you can be so only from his own lips, that he is in heart as well as
in profession a minister of your own beloved church. That is
one reason why I am required to-day to perform the whole of
the service myself, and to add to that performance of the service
the reading of the Articles of the Church, with an express and
solemn declaration of my assent and consent to them. Dry and
formal statements of abstract truth are not the usual, nor are
they the proper staple of sermons. Dogmatic teaching, as it is
called — the enunciation of Christian doctrine in the form of posi-
iv e and detailed statement — is not much in fashion among us,
perhaps almost too little so, since out of it must grow all Chris-
tian practice, and no part of it can be omitted systematically in
our teaching without injury, in some respect more or less im-
portant, to the Christian life of our hearers. Therefore, I would
bid you to accept with thankfulness the necessity which to-day
is laid upon you of hearing the doctrines of Christianity drawn
out with something of precision into something of detail. Let
me remind you that they who, though dead, yet speak in these
formularies of our church, were men — though the authority of
particular parts may be doubtful — who, living in troublous times,
knew the importance better than we do of correct or incorrect
expression in the things of God, and proved their sincerity, in
many well-known and memorable instances, by sealing their
testimony with their blood. Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, with
many others — fathers of the English Church they are rightly
called — speak to us in these articles from a martyr's grave. Let
us not think lightly of doctrines, whether in their substance or
in their expression, for which living men, men of talent, and
learning, and piety, and occupying places of power and emolu-
ment in the forefront of the church, loved not their lives unto the
death. Observe, too, as you listen, how carefully the phrase-


ology of these Articles is kept within the actual words of Holy-
Scripture. Some of those which might, perhaps, provoke doubts
or differences of opinion — I will instance the 17th — are, if you
examine them, little more than verses of Scripture lightly strung
together by a few clauses of human connections and, whatever
may be the meaning of the passages of Scripture from which
they are taken, such, and no other — not more difficult, not more
ambiguous — will be their meaning here in the Article which
embodies them. Remember, also, in hearing them, that almost
■every one, if not literally every one, of these Articles, even if it
is not so now, was once the negation of some existing error ; not
a mere imagination of what it might be necessary to counteract,
but founded upon an actual experience of that necessity ; a pro-
test against something which might be advanced on the side of
heterodoxy and false religion, even because it had already been
so advanced, and had wrought some serious breach in the unity
and in the completeness of the faith once delivered to the saints.
And if in any respect the doctrines here stated do not suit the
feeling or the taste of the age in which our lot is cast — if there
be any obsolete expressions, or (which is more important) any de-
tails which may seem to favour a tone of opinion with which some
of us have little sympathy, because we have witnessed more than
the Reformers knew of its possible abuse — let us not forget that
we are now within two years of completing the third century, the
full tale of 300 years, since this compendium of doctrine was
finally ratified — much more than that time since it was drawn
up : let us approach it with the reverence, as well as the in-
dulgence due to great antiquity, and only pray to God to make
us one-half as wise, one-half as holy, or one-half as self-
denying and self-devoted as were those illustrious men to whose
studies, prayers, and toils we owe this bulwark of a Christian
faith, and a protestant church. Listen to it as the faith in which


you may be thankful to live and to die ; listen to it as that
faith in which it will be the constant endeavour of him who is
now set over you in The Lord to instruct you week by week,
and to live and to die himself."

Note.— Much of what Dr. Vaughan has so admirably
said respecting the articles of the church
of England may be said with equal — if pos-

those called the Apostles', the Nicene, and
St. Athanasius', as enjoined in the eighth Ar-
ticle. May the time never arrive when the
people of England shall be ignorant of, or
indifferent to, those creeeds.

W. C.


Introduction .

p. xi — XXV111.

— Eeason and Faith

— The Existence and Attributes of God

. — The Angel with the Patriarchs .

. — The Angel with Moses and the Judges

. — The Son with David and the Prophets

. — The Son with the Prophets

, — The Deity of The Holy Ghost

— The Personality of The Holy Ghost

— The predicted Incarnation

— The Son of God

. — The Son of Man

. — The Subordination

, — Atonement

. — Messlih Crucified

, — Christ in Glory

, — Pentecost

—Necessary to Salvation









I trust we may reckon among other means of improving her
social and intellectual condition, which have of late years distin-
guished Manchester, the progress also of " true religion and
virtue." She is possessed of an active, energetic, and thriving
church ; and among her ministers of various Trinitarian deno-
minations are many most distinguished men ; some remarkable
for persevering, parochial assiduity ; some for excellent powers
of pulpit eloquence ; some for their erudition. And on this
very account should I have hesitated to undertake the present
task, had I not been requested to do so.

One peculiar credit which Dr. Beard claims for Unitarianism
is the expansiveness of its views, and its complete unsectarian
character ; and he also aggrandizes to himself and co-reli-
gionists an unusual degree of Christian charity. " Think and
let think, is its motto. This true Christian principle it could
not recognize did it hold that salvation was by any form of opinion"
p. 59. "This divinely authorised latitude of thought guarantees
a corresponding largeness of heart, which makes intolerance im-
possible," p. 61. Scripture, however, reminds us in many places
that such a charity as this is not Christian ; but without stopping
to point out more particularly that the writer here asserts, in
effect, that every man may go to heaven his own way, no
matter what religious opinions he may entertain ; without dwel-
ling on the fact that this boasted ** largeness of heart" may


prove, in the issue, to have been any thing but goodness of
heart, we might have expected from such a writer more forbear-
ance towards the members of Trinitarian communions. With
such loose sentiments avowed it is painful to record the tone in
which he speaks of others. All who are not Unitarians, though
he admits that many Unitarians differ from himself, are in his
opinion remaining " deaf to a religious revival in which Reason
and Scripture are to be honoured, rather than passion;" p. ix. :
they " have been brought up in the orthodox system — have
been taught to avoid free discussion" p. 1 : they hold "a man-
made system," "a tradition handed down from ancient creed-
makers" p. 10: their intellects are "cabined, cribbed, and con-
fined by a narrow creed, that finds religion chiefly in the
bended knee, the serious countenance, and the mortified heart;
that, fearing to go wrong, can hardly go right ; that, dreading
heresy, misses the portal to truth ; and, intent mainly on avoid-
ing the way to death, has no energy left for walking in the path of
life," p. 45. Such sentiments, expressed in contemptuous com-
miseration of others, are unworthy of any candid writer, and
certainly ought not to secure him a more patient hearing from
his fellow-townsmen; nor will they give them much con-
fidence in the soundness of a cause so defended. Who is likely
to agree with him when insinuating, that all ministers and
serious believers, of all Trinitarian denominations, are mere
victims of formulas ; blind professors of belief in ambiguous,
and doubtful creeds ; held in terror to their system by threats
of eternal woe, dwarfed and stunted in their minds 1 Surely
he cannot suppose that many thousands of Gospel preachers,
and many ten thousands of educated believers in their preach-
ings, are scattered throughout these favoured isles : of equal
mental power with his own, and some of greater ; of equal edu-
cation with himself, and some of more extended ; of equal attain-


ments, and some of far superior ; only to be, after all, the crea-
tures of delusion, and subjects of melancholy pity to their friends.
We should be justified in harder words than merely remarking
that such a style is enough to create distrust in the writing that
contains it.

Dr. Beard descants with much admiration upon the various
kinds of Unitarians, and enumerates four classes, among whom
he says, (p. 5) that "in relation to the person of Christ, diver-
sities prevail;" and, considering the subject of their specula-
tions, we should not have been surprised if he had counted
forty. But of these four, he observes they are agreed " that
'The Son of God' is not God the Son," p. 7: and again
that " the denial of The Trinity, the denial of The Trinity of
the authorised statements of the notion ; that is, the denial
of The Trinity of the creeds, especially of the Athanasian creed
— the creed sanctioned alike by age and numbers — that makes
the distinction between a Trinitarian and a Unitarian," p. 36.
So that Unitarianism may be safely treated in its most general
form as that distortion of Christian verity which denies the
deity of Christ; however great, or exalted in any sense, its
votaries may otherwise allow him to be. In short, the. denial
of Christ's deity is the generic mark of Unitarians. And, in
whatever degree the deity of our Blessed Redeemer be estab-
lished, in that same degree Unitarianism is refuted. That is the
pole-star of Christianity.

Of course, when any one finds fault with creeds we must
deal with him as with others who have done so — leave him at
liberty to make a creed of his own. For, as has been well
observed, the dispute among men respecting creeds is not so
much about creed-making as creed-7nakers ; and every man is
likely to be content if left to put together one for himself.
Thus, in justice it must be noted, Dr. Beard delivers one of his


own. At page 8 he says, " I believe that the following proposi-
tions would be generally acknowledged by them (viz., Unitarians)
as comprising the fundamentals of the Gospel : —

1. There is one God the Father, and none other but He.

2. There is one Lord Jesus Christ, who came divinely com-

missioned, to lead men to duty and to God.

3. There is one Spirit of God, comforting and sanctifying all

Christ's faithful disciples.

4. There is one true Church, comprising all, of every denomi-

nation, who live holily in Christ Jesus.

5. There is one bond of Christian unity, the bond of peace,

and therefore the bond of mutual toleration.

6. There is one final abode of the spirits of just men made

perfect, the home of The Heavenly Father."
Let this profession of faith, or creed (for it is such, though it may
shrink from the name) be examined by the extracts previously
given to define Unitarianism and its fatal deficiency on points
essential to Christianity may be seen at once. Art. 2 asserts
not the deity, but the manhood of Jesus, which may mean, and
we know does mean (according to Dr. Beard), that he was the
son naturally begotten of Joseph and of Mary ; i. e., mere man.
Art. 3 asserts not that "The Holy Spirit" is God; and Art. 4
assumes that though not believing the fundamental doctrines of
revealed religion, yet men may live without them holily in Christ
Jesus, and as members of the true church. Only let us contrast
with this what he terms, at page 87, " the earliest form of what
is now called the Apostles' creed; in other words, the earliest
confession of the primitive church," which, " after the simple ac-
knowledgment of The Lord Jesus Christ, in which was implicitly
contained all true Christianity," was

The Creed of the Church of Alexandria in Egypt :
" I believe in the only true God, The Father, The Almighty ;


and in His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour ;
and in the Holy Ghost, the life-giver. ," Or, again, part of

The Creed of the Roman Church (commonly called Apostles') :
" I believe in God Almighty ; and in Jesus Christ His Son, the
only-begotten, who was born of the Holy Spirit, and of Mary the
Virgin." Or, again, part of

The Oriental Creed:

" I believe in one God, The Father Almighty ; and in one
Lord Jesus Christ, His only Son, who was born of The Holy
Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary."

And we see at a glance how completely he is contradicted on
that great article of all, viz., the deity of Jesus. For with Uni-
tarians he is Son of God only as his Christian followers are
made sons too, though he in a greater degree. But in these
creeds His real nature as God is marked by the term " the only-
begotten Son," and as born "of The Holy Spirit and of the
Virgin Mary ; " the primitive churches always believing that His
miraculous conception by The Holy Ghost implied His deity, and
always understanding the word monogenes, or only-begotten, as of
the eternal essence of deity with The Father. " God of God,
Very God of Very God." And, although Dr. Beard denies that
these creeds represent the first and simplest form in which faith
was professed in Jesus, yet plain minds will consider it a weighty
fact that these three creeds, cited by himself, each of which he
admits to be a form of " the earliest confession of the primitive
church," are so decisive upon — that great stumbling-block of all
to Unitarians — the deity of Jesus. Plain minds, I say, will feel
the weight, the overpowering weight, of this fact admitted by
himself, that the earliest churches confessed their faith in
Jesus as " the only-begotten Son " of God ; and will conclude
that, according to these creeds, the very essence of Unitarianism
is adverse to the faith of the primitive church. A fact to plain


minds weightier still when we remember that the great mass of
Christendom, whatever their differences on other points, has
united in this respect in accepting these creeds ; a fact weightier
still when they reflect that even now we can trace them to the
Holy Bible.

However, we are not concerned to battle about creeds. They
are, at the best, but imperfect indices to truth, for which, in its
entirety, we must seek elsewhere. Nor did the Christian church
ever esteem them more. They are but pass-words in this dreary
world to show to what corps the soldier of the cross belongs,
though in such particular most useful. They are the register of
the vessel vouching through faithful mariners for the honesty of
its voyage through the seas of life. No doubt we entertain
the deepest reverence for the creeds commonly called " The
Apostles','' " The Nicene," and " St. Athanasius," in reference to
which, and to the last as much as either, no worse can be said than
may also be said of the Holy Bible itself, that in imperfect lan-
guage it endeavours to define the things of God. For all human
language is imperfect in the things of God, and is adopted by
Him only in condescension to the littleness of man. We are
not concerned to defend creeds ; but will cast them all aside,
and take, as the sole pedestal of faith— the Holy Bible. Let
us hear him speak about the Bible : — " My religion comes
from God. As I receive it from no brother man, so I have
not devised it myself. To me religion is, from first to last, a
revelation," p. 9. " If you will not have the God of the Bible
for your God, you run the risk of denying God altogether, or of
confounding The Creator with the works of His hands," p. 37.
" The Bible has been the study of my life. I am fully satisfied
that the Bible is a Unitarian book. I have no doubt whatever,
but the fullest assurance, that the mind of The Spirit of God, as
declared in the Sacred Scriptures, is unreservedly, fully, and


clearly in agreement with the substance of what is termed
Unitarianism," p. 57. So far as the Holy Bible is honoured by
these extracts, we cordially accept them. The writer has a clear
perception of one great use and purport of Revelation ; viz., as
an ultimate and arbitrary standard of appeal, beyond which lies
no other, in all questions between man and his Creator. To
that announcement, however fatal to his opinions, we must ask
permission to hold him. We strike away, then, all consideration
of creeds, and ecclesiastical formulas, all forms " congenial with
(its own) logical and systematising tendencies and habits;" we
will not concern ourselves with " the phraseology of the schools
and the decision of the creeds;" for there lie's the Holy Word
in both its Testaments, and unto that, and that alone, we go for
the doctrines of our faith.

But what does Dr. Beard mean by " The Bible," "The Sacred
Scriptures?" That he has peculiar views of his own is clear,
for he says, at p. 19, " Of notions it (the Bible) knows nothing.
Opinions it never enjoins. Speculation is wholly foreign to its
spirit." "With essences, and modes of being, it (the Bible)
never deals," where we perceive instantly that he is in error.
For with God's essence, and mode of being, the Bible deals ; with
angelic essences, and modes of being, the Bible deals; with
man's essence, and mode of being, present and future, the Bible
deals. With such modes of being the Bible deals ; partially,
though not completely. But, once more, what does he mean
by the Holy Bible ? I perceive that, in a note at p. 24, he refers
to a book or pamphlet, entitled " A revised English Bible the
want of the Church," and hints elsewhere at improving (for
Unitarian purposes) our Authorised Version. There also lies
before me the fourth edition, published in 1817, by the Unitarian
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, of "An improved
version of the New Testament, upon the basis of Archbishop


Newcome's new translation, with a corrected text, and with
notes, critical and explanatory ; " but also without names to
give us any idea of the competency of its authors. As for this
insertion of Archbishop Newcome's name, I may at once (with-
out particular reference to Dr. Newcome) warn the reader of a
matter upon which I shall abundantly convince him, that he must
never be surprised when he finds a Unitarian authority referring
to ministers of the Church. Though the probabilities are he will
perceive, upon examination, inaccuracies of reference demanding
serious attention. But, since Dr. Beard himself, all through
his book, uses our Authorised Version; and since, notwith-
standing all the assaults made upon it; some even by ill-
advised members of the Church; the great mass of critics,
recommended by their learning, has pronounced, and still con-

Online LibraryWalter ChamberlainThe Christian verity states, in reply to a Unitarian → online text (page 1 of 32)