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ponents as shonnual reply to such the subject, Lolling to
Having undertaken the defence of the Unitarian doctrine, or rather of this one position, that Unitarianism was the faith of the primitive church ; but not being willing to trouble the public unnecessarily on the subject, I proposed to make one annual reply to such publications of my opponents as should make their appearance in the course of each year. This I did for the years 1786 and 1787 ;* but nothing of any consequence having been produced in the year 1788, I had no occasion to write at all. The case has been something different this year; for, though it will suffi. ciently appear that the advocates for the doctrine of the Trinity have published nothing that is in the least degree formidable, enough has been done to give me an opportunity of shewing how little the cause of Unitarianism has to fear from any thing that the keenest eyes of its adversaries can discover to its prejudice.
If any man was ever interested in the support of any cause, it is the present Bishop of St. David's in that of Trinitarianism; and yet I think there is hardly an example in the whole history of controversy, of any man having made so poor a figure as he has done in this. Sparing nothing that the force of language could supply to bear down his adversary, (with what temper others will judge,) I appeal to the impartial reader whether all his arguments have not only been totally without weight, but, in general, destitute even of plausibility.
Professing to prove my incompetency in the subject, he has given most abundant proofs of his own, and even of his deficiency in the learned languages. He has shrunk from the defence of most of the articles which he undertook to discuss, and has totally failed in the few that he did select, especially with respect to his church of orthodox Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, after the time of Adrian, and the want of veracity in Origen, who appeared by his writings to know of no such church. Even these mistakes were borrowed from Mosheim ;t so that, in all probability, he was, before the commencement of this controversy, entirely un
* Vol. XVIII. pp. 317-511.
† See ibid. p. 265, Note.
acquainted with all those original writers with which he ought to have been particularly conversant.
This, indeed, is most evident both with respect to himself and his late ally Mr. Badcock, * from the manner in which they took up my quotation from Athanasius. It is clear that the very idea of the apostles not choosing openly to teach the doctrine of the Trinity, because it would give offence to their hearers, was absolutely new to them ; though I have shewn it to have been the opinion of all the Christian fathers, without exception, who mention the subject; so that my construction of this passage of Athanasiust is abundantly confirmed by all the writers who either preceded or followed him ; to say nothing of such men as Beausobre and Dr. Lardner having understood it exactly as I did, and of my antagonists being unable to produce the opinion of any writer whatever in favour of theirs. To call my conduct in this business, as they scrupled not to do, a fraud and an imposition, discovers, I will not say, their own readiness to take such an unfair advantage themselves, (for I hope that no man is capable of such complicated folly and wickedness, as in more cases than one they have as. cribed to me,) but such gross ignorance on the subject as is barely credible, with respect to men who voluntarily un. dertook to criticise another.
On this subject (with respect to which I am willing to appeal to the most prejudiced of my readers, and which, when it is well considered, will appear to be, in fact, decisive in favour of the Unitarian doctrine having been taught by the apostles) the Bishop of St. David's, in both his last publications, has been absolutely silent; and I am persuaded he will continue to be so.
Mr. Badcock charging me with a wilful perversion of the passage in Justin Martyr,& in which he is also countenanced by Bishop Horsley, is another instance of a premature triumph of the same kind; discovering both their ignorance of the subject of this controversy, and of a very common idiom of the Greek language. This charge I will also venture to say the Bishop of St. David's will not repeat.
As to Dr. Knowless and Mr. Barnard, on whom I next
• Who died in London, May 19, 1788, in his 39th year. See Prot. Diss. Mag. III. p. 373; Dr. Gabriel's Facts, p. 52. In 1787, Mr. Badcock had been ordained ; a clergymnan of the Church of England, and just before his decease had engaged to become Dr. Gabriel's “ Assistant at the Octagon Chapel, in Bath." See ibid. p. 84. + See Vol. XVII. p. 17.
I See ibirl. pp. 128–133. § Prebendary of Ely, who published “ Primitive Christianity; or Testimonies
animadvert in this publication, nothing but my promise to notice every thing that should be advanced with respect to the argument from antiquity, could have induced me to reply to them. But though they are evidently deficient in a
knowledge of Christian antiquity, they appear to me to is come have given more attention to it than the Bishop of St. ben! David's, and they are his superiors both in judgment and in ald candour. They are capable, I am persuaded, of seeing their
own deficiency, and of acknowledging it.
Mr. Hawkins * I produce as an instance of the fatal fasciUDJECI nation of splendid establislıments on a mind truly sensible,
and, in other respects, ingenuous. From the knowledge I werp have of hins I will venture to say, that, had it not been for men this foreign influence, (which, however, he may not perceive, clip or suspect, he would no more have professed his belief of cel the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, after
maturely abandoning the Church of Rome, or have undertaken the defence of the doctrine of the Trinity, than myself. But that a man of his good sense and good dis
position, and so well qualified as he is to write on any d to subject with which he is acquainted, should argue so weakly ve 24 as he has done, both with respect to the doctrine of the Trie pecta nity and the subject of subscription, cannot, I am persuaded, ly or be accounted for on any other principle.
I have not scrupled to consider Mr. Hawkins's “ General ingel Defence of the Principles of the Reformation," in a Letter abice to Mr. Berington, (with a copy of which he favoured me,) deo in conjunction with his E.rpostulatory Address to myself, t aut as a book printed, and circulated without any restriction, is s las sufficiently published. Besides, the reasons given in his - pt: Preface for not choosing a more extensive circulation, as
they relate to the Catholics only, do not at all affect any of of the the passages on which I have animadverted. It is a work ancei" which must do the writer credit, in a variety of respects;
and both Mr. Berington and myself wish that it was more
generally known. It is for the interest of truth, for which Inot we all profess to be advocates, that every question of conse
i from the Writers of the First Four Centuries, to prove that Jesus Christ was wornest sbipped as God, from the beginning of the Christian Church,” which produced Mr. i Capel Loftt's “ Observations on the First Part of Dr. Knowles's Testimonies, in a Letter to a Friend." See Neo An. Reg. 1789, X. p. .
• Rev. John Hawkins, Rector of Hinton, near Alresford, Hants. See infra.
+ “ An Expostulatory Address to the Rev. Dr. Priestley, containing an Apology for those who conscientiously subscribe to the Articles of the Church of England." See New Au. Reg. IX. p. [205).