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ship, that the Son was produced by a reflection upon the Father's knowledge; whereas the Bishop makes him to be his reflex knowledge itself.
As to what your Lordship says of my rash defiance, which I have again the rashness to repeat, let our readers now judge : “ Dr. Priestley's rash defiance, I may place among the specimens with which his History and his Letters to me abound, of his incompetency in this subject, and of the effrontery of that incurable ignorance which is ignorant even of its own want of knowledge.”* Many persons will be of opinion that the ignorance, (which your Lordship describes as itself ignorant,) and also, that ithe effrontery (or boldness, which I suppose is itself bold) of which you here speak, are, indeed, to their great surprise, to be found somewhere; but it will now be evident, that they are not with me.
As this letter relates to a subject which many persons will not be able to contemplate with much gravity, I shall subjoin to it another article of a similar nature.
This controversy affords many instances of different persons being very differently affected by the same representation of things. Your Lordship says, that God's saying,
Let us make man,” (Gen. i. 26,) “ describes a consultation which passed between the persons of the Godhead," and that this “is shewn with great brevity, but with the highest degree of evidence and perspicuity, in Dr. Kenni. cott's Dissertation.”t. Now, my Lord, had any person besides a Trinitarian suggested the idea of any thing that could be called a consultation, being held by the three persons in the Godhead, you would have said that it was blasphemous; since a consultation among different persons implies a previous ignorance of each other's sentiments, and something like debate, and, consequently, difference of opinion; and that in a consultation among three persons, if a proposal did not please any one of them, the other two would carry it by a majority. But the idea being sug. gested by yourselves, you see nothing absurd in what is most obviously and most ridiculously so.
I would farther observe, that a consultation among the persons of the Trinity, clearly supposes the same distinction in these persons as that which subsists in any three men, each of whom has a train of thinking peculiar to himself, and
it by a mai any one of themree, persons, ?
• Tracts, p. 476. (P.)
+ “On the Tree of Life, pp, 29, 30. Compare the same Dissertation, p. 71." Tracts, p. 49.
independent of those trains that are going on in the minds of the other two; so that whatever they be called, they must, in reality, be three Gods. If, however, such a consultation may, with the highest degree of evidence and perspicuity, as your Lordship says, be inferred from this phraseology of Moses, is it not a little extraordinary, that no Jew ever made the same inference from the passage ?
I am, &c.
LETTER IX. A Of the Church of Orthodox Jewish Christians at Jerusalem,
and of the Veracity of Origen. My LORD, To make it appear at all probable that the doctrine of the Trinity was taught by the apostles, your Lordship has very justly thought it necessary to find it among the Jewish converts, who cannot be supposed to have altogether abandoned the faith which they received from them. That many of them were so far from receiving this doctrine, that they held it in abhorrence, you cannot deny; but your Lordship maintains that, notwithstanding this, there was a church of Trinitarian Jews at Jerusalem even subsequent to the time of Adrian; and because what Origen, who must have known the fact, says concerning the Jewish Christians is inconsistent with such a supposition, you scruple not to call him a wilful liar. To silence “ an adversary,” you say, “ he had recourse to the wilful and deliberate allegation of a noto. rious falsehood."*
Origen evidently makes all the Jewish Christians to have been Ebionites, and the Ebionites to have been of two kinds, viz. those who held the doctrine of the miraculous conception, and those who denied it; but he says, that neither of them admitted the divinity of Christ. So positive a testimony as this, from so respectable a character, (the most so, I will venture to say, that his age, or that any age can boast,) one would have thought, could not have failed to have some weight with persons who had not entirely bid farewell to shame, and who were not determined to support an bypothesis at any rate. It is not only the testimony of
lar. To a suppohe ser
* Letters, p. 260 [Tracts, p. 277]. As this is nothing less than the lie direct, it may be well for bis Lordship of St. David's that Origen is not now living, and actuated by the modern uotions of honour. (P.) See Vol. XyUl. pp. 180, 181.
an expect to would
a man of the greatest purity of character in all respects, but delivered in the face of all the world, who could not but have known it to be a falsehood, if it had been one ; and, therefore, could not have had any other effect than to expose himself. It is, in fact, to suppose that a man of the greatest integrity in the world would tell a lie in circum. stances in which the greatest liar would have told the truth.
This account which Origen has given of the Ebionites, is also given by him as an express contradiction to what his adversary had said with respect to a known fact, his igno. rance of which he is ex posing. Would he, then, have knowingly exposed himself to the charge of purposely mis. representing the very thing which he was there charging his enemy with misrepresenting? Moreover, this treatise of Origen was written by him late in life, and is the most elaborate of all his compositions ; so that there can be no doubt of its having been written with the greatest circumspection, It is a defence of Christianity, then persecuted, against the Heathens, who were its persecutors. In these circumstances, would not a Heathen philosopher have rejoiced to expose such a writer as Oriyen, and the cause in which he was engaged; glad as the Heathens always were to load the Christians with unmerited calumnies of the most atrocious kind?
If ever any man had a motive to keep himself within the bounds of truth, it was Origen, in this particular case; a man who was considered as at the head of the Christians, and of whom the greatest men which that and the following age produced, such as Dionysius of Alexandria, Firmilian of Cappadocia, and Gregory of Neocæsarea, were the greatest admirers. Would such men as these have been so wonderfully attached, as they are known to have been, to Origen, if he had been a wilful liar?
Can it, then, be supposed that such a man as this, in the circumstances in which he wrote, would have asserted, concerning the Jewish Christians in general, that they were all Unitarians, though some of them were believers in the miraculous conception, if it had been notorious (as, if it had been true, it must have been that there was then existing a whole church of Trinitarian Jewish Christians in Judea, the country in which he resided a great part of his time, and in which he probably wrote this very treatise? Such a church, especially in Jerusalem, could not but have been highly respected, as the common mother of all Christian churches, Could he also have said of these Jewish Christians, that they adhered to the peculiar laws of their ancestors, when it could not but have been equally notorious that they had deserted them ?
If we look into history, we shall find no mention of any such church of Trinitarian Jewish Christians who had abandoned the institutions of Moses, or of the bishops of it, though many transactions are recorded in which they could not but have been concerned, in common with other churches, and their bishops. And if these Jewish Christians formed a church, it must have been separate from the Greek church, and have had separate bishops; for the congregation could not have understood the Greek language.
This circumstance your Lordship entirely overlooked when you asserted that these “ Hebrew Christians” were of the “church of Jerusalem, when that church was under the government of bishops of the uncircumcision.”* What connexion could they have with a church, the public service of which they could not have understood ? Worshipping in an unknown tongue was hardly introduced at so early a period. And least of all, can it be supposed that the Jews would have abandoned a language so respectable for its antiquity and sacredness as their own, for the Greek, or any other. whatever.
All the accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem by Adrian are such as are absolutely inconsistent with the supposition of the existence of any such church. They all say, that after this event, no Jew, without making any exception in favour of Christian Jews, was allowed to remain in the place; and they expressly speak of the new church which was formed in the place, as consisting wholly of Gentiles, persons who made use of the Greek language, Marcus being their first bishop. All modern historians of credit, such as Fleury and Tillemont, as much interested as yourself to find an orthodox Jewish church at Jerusalem, or any where else, understood these historians exactly as I do.
To this mass of evidence from the clearest facts, and the strongest probabilities, your Lordship opposes what is most likely to have been a mere idle story picked up by Epiphanius, of Aquila, (the same who translated the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek,) being appointed by Adrian to survey the works which he was erecting at Jerusalem, and being converted to Christianity by Jews who had returned from Pella; though he expressly says that this return was
• Letters, p. 39. (P.; Tracts, p. 157.
LETTERS TO THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID's. after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and not after the dispersion by Adrian.
You now say, “ But the question is, not at what time the Jewish Christians, whom Aquila found at Ælia, had returned thither, but at what time he conversed with them. Epiphanius says, he conversed with them at the time that he was superintendent of Adrian's works at Ælia. At that time, therefore, there were Hebrew Christians settled at Ælia, or they could not then have conversed with Aquila.”*
But surely, my Lord, as I observed before, though you have not thought proper to notice it, “it must be of conse. quence" (to this argument) “ to know whether Aquila was residing at Jerusalem after the destruction of that city by Adrian; and this is more than Epiphanius says, or is at all probable in itself. For, the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Adrian, in which Aquila was employed by him, was undertaken in the thirteenth year of his reign, a year before the revolt of the Jews, and it was not till the eighteenth of Adrian that they were entirely subdued.”+
Your Lordship may well say that I have embarrassed your argument “ with some chronological difficulties ;" I and when chronology is against a man, he is naturally against chronology. Find, if you can, any evidence of Adrian carrying on any works at Jerusalem after the destruction of that city by bin; or find, if you can, in any writer, of more or less credit, the mention of Aquila, or of any Jew whatever, employed by Adrian or not, as residing in Jerusalem after that event. Your argument requires that there should be both Christian Jews, and Aquila to be converted by them, at a period when I assert, on the autho. rity of all ancient historians, and in no contradiction even to Epiphanius, your own authority, that neither Aquila to be converted, nor any Jewish Christians to convert him, could have been in the place. Let the reader now judge which of us two gets rid of our difficulties, as you say, “by making positive testimony submit to his own theory." What I say is from the clearest and most indisputable testimony; and what you say is from theory only, unsupported by any testimony whatever, nay, in direct contradiction to every testimony which those times furnish.
“I maintain,” you say, 's that there is no reason to believe that the Hebrew Christians quietly settled at Ælia before the
Tracts, p. 371, Note. | Tracts, p. 371, Note.
+ Vol. XVIII. p. 290.