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ship's means, any more than the number of Unitarians in this country by your controversy with me.*
Some time ago your Lordship advertised something on the subject of the Corporation and Test Acts, but it was suppressed. Now is the time to bring it forward ; and we Dissenters wish much to see it; not doubting but that, like every other production of your Lordship's pen, it will, with respect both to sentiment and language, be a curiosity of its kind.
From the manner in which I have taken the liberty to address your Lordship, on every subject on which you have thought proper to resume the controversy between us, (and having had your choice, it cannot be doubted but that you have aimed at what you thought to be the most vulnerable
. Since the above was written, I have been informed that the Bishop of St. David's has sent the following circular letter to the clergy of his diocese:
« REVEREND SIR, « Sir William Mansell has declared himself a candidate to represent the borough of Caermarthen in the next parliament. I cannot refrain from declaring that he has my heartiest good wishes. Mr. Phillips, the present member, has received the thanks of the Dissenters, for the part he took in the late attempt to overthrow our ecclesiastical constitution by the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts. By this it is easy to guess what part he is likely to take in any future attempt for the same purpose. * "'I hope that I shall not have the mortification to find a single clergyman in my diocese, who will be so false to his own character, and his duty to the Established Churchi, as to give his vote to any man who has discovered such principles.
“I am, Rev. Sir,
“SAMUEL St. David's. “ Aberguilly, Aug. 24, 1789."
This, I should bave imagined, was an unjustifiable interference of a member of . the upper house of parliament, in the election of members for the lower house. Be this as it will, it certainly shews his Lordship's great apprehensions for the safety of the Established Church, which must be good news to the more violent Dissenters. For if, in the opinion of this ever-watchful guardian, it be liable to be shaken by such a circumstance as this, its foundation must be very weak indeed, and, consequently, its downfal may very sovn be expected. It would, therefore, perhaps, have been better policy in his Lordship to bave concealed his apprehensions by the appearance of a more fearless magnanimity.
To those who have a better opinion of the stability of the Church of England, the idea of his Lordship must appear perfectly Quixotic. We consider him as such a character as the public has not been entertained with since the days of Sacheverel. (P.)
“If innovation,” said Fox, referring to this circular, “ was a subject of so much dread, what innovation could be more alarming to the constitution than this prece. dent of an English bishop interfering, not only in an election for a member of parliament, in direct violation of the privileges of that House [of Commons), but also presuming to marshal his ecclesiastical tribe in civil array, and denouncing his anathemas against every one who should be of opinion that the civil power could exist independently of the authority of the church" Speech, March 2, 1790, on a “ Motion for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts." Speeches of C. J. Fox, 1815, IV. p. 67. See New Ar. Reg. (1790,) XI. p. 88.
parts, your Lordship may be confident that it will be taken for granted, that you will make a reply, if you think it possible to make one with effect; especially as you now say that you are no longer pledged to be silent, and you condemn your former imprudence in preinaturely declaring that you would not continue this controversy.
Come forth then again, my Lord, and to all your powers of language, be pleased to add those of argument. If you have hitherto only trifled, as an indolent man naturally might do, with an uninformed adversary, unfortunately ignorant of his own ignorance, (in which, however, your Lord. ship has obligingly taken some pains to instruct him,) trifle no longer. You must by this time have seen the inconvenience of it. To use your own high Platonic language, come forth with the full projection of all your energies, and, if possible, overwhelm me at once. * Consider, my Lord, that while, in the late war, America was thus trifled with, it was lost, and take warning by that example. That, my Lord, was a fatal blow to your system of diocesan episcopacy, and an unanswerable argument against all that you can allege in favour of the necessity or expediency of the esta. blishment of any form of religion by civil power.
Build once more, if your Lordship can any where find materials, your favourite church of orthodox Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, or assail once more the character of Origen. Bring new arguments to prove that Tertullian's idiote were English idiots, or describe the curious process by which a father may generate a son by contemplating his own perfections. You have topics enow, my Lord, before you, and some of them must not be unworthy of your Lordship's wonderful talents.
As a stimulus to your Lordship, and others in your church, who ought to be equally zealous in the cause of orthodoxy, I shall remind you of the animated exhortation to the study of the Christian fathers with which Cave con. cludes the Prolegomena to his Historia literaria.
Having shewn the importance of these studies with respeet to the Catholics, he adds, “ Nor are new arguments wanting to the prosecution of these studies, especially from
* “ To this animated challenge the right reverend adversary made no reply. The oracle was silent. The warfare was accomplished. The prize was won. And both the contending parties retired from the field equally well satisfied with the result of the conflict; Dr. Priestley with his vicTORY, and Dr. Horsley with his MITRE.” Mr. Belsham's “ Review of the Controversy between Dr. Horsley and Dr. Priestley," Calm Inquiry, 1811, p. 439.
they tre is a co
ever pions of
the unhappy itch of heterodoxy in persons of our own age, which has revived so many ancient heresies, which had been constantly condeinned by the church. The disciples of Arius, or rather of Photinus, are extending themselves every where. Seeing their cause condemned by the tri. bunal of the primitive church, they attack antiquity itself, and trample upon the venerable witnesses of the primitive faith.
- The Nicene Creed is a constant beam in the eyes of these men, and they treat Athanasius, Hilary, and the other champions of it, worse than dogs or serpents. They, how. ever, boast of their antiquity, but it is the offspring of the old serpent. They have their fathers, but whom? Ebion, Cerinthus, Symmachus, Theodotion, Paulus Samosatensis, Photinus, and others. These they boast of as their predecessors, and the fathers of their faith. As to the Catholic writers, they either reject them, elude the force of their arguments by sophistry, or, what is more extraordinary, endeavour to draw them over to their party.
“ Our studious youth, therefore, must be exhorted to be upon the watch, and must apply with all their might to the works of the ancients; that, protected by these arms, they may repel the attacks of their adversaries, answer their sophistry, and successfully defend the cause of the Catholic, and consequently that of the English Church. Stand ye in the way and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein. Jeremiah vi. 16. These writings will shew us the lurking holes of the serpents. These will bring us to the very fountain of truth.
" I shall conclude with an excellent passage from Ter. tullian (De Præscript. Heret. C. xxi. p. 209): If these things be so, it is plain that whatever opinion agrees with the apostolic churches, where our faith originated, it is to be considered as true ; since they, no doubt, hold what the church received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, and Christ froin God. And every doctrine is to be consi. dered as false, which is contrary to that truth which was taught by the churches, by the apostles, by Christ, and by God. You, therefore, (ibid. C. xxxvi. p. 21.5,) who wish to exercise your curiosity in things relating to your salvation, visit the apostolical churches, where the chairs of the apostles still are, and where their authentic letters are read, so that you seem to see and hear them in person. Upon the whole, ( Adv. Marcionem, L. iv. C. v. p. 415,) if that be
true which was the most ancient, and that be the most ancient which was from the beginning, and that was from the beginning which was from the apostles, it will be equally evident, that that was from the apostles which is held sacred in the apostolical churches.
“ Furnished with these arms, let us defend our own principles, and answer those who ask a reason of our faith, which we profess to be that which is truly primitive, ca. tholic, and apostolic. Such are our principles, that we have no reason to decline the discussion of them before the tribunal of the purest antiquity. Let us, then, abandon all useless pursuits, knotty trifles, violent contentions, ridicu. lous and absurd disputations, and let us pass our time, not in places of public business or diversion, running about like buffoons, attending the levees of the great, and courting their favour ; but in pulpits, in cathedral chairs, and in the recesses of our libraries ; diligently applying to those studies which have for their object the good of the church, the salvation of souls, the knowledge of antiquity, and all useful literature.
“ Do you especially apply to these sacred studies with all your might, who are blessed with ability and leisure, who are high in rank, and in the possession of those emo. Juments which the piety of our ancestors has consecrated as the rewards of useful learning, and excitements to greater diligence. Let us distinguish ourselves by piety and sacred literature. Let the venerable fathers of the Catholic Church be in everlasting remembrance with us, and let their writings be held in the highest honour and esteem. If my writings shall contribute in the least to our better acquaintance with theirs, I shall think that I have not laboured in vain."*
* “ Neque ad prosequendum hoc nobile institutum nova nobis desunt argumenta, praesertim ab infausta illa ingeniorum nostri temporis in narodogray prurigine quæ tot antiquas hæreses ecclesiæ catholicæ judicio constanter damnatas, ab orco revocavit. Pomeria sua longe lateque nuper apud nos dilatarunt famosissimi hæresiarchæ Alexandrini discipuli, seu Photini potius gregales et asseclæ; qui cum videant pro veteris ecclesiæ tribunali se causam suam sustinere non posse, in ipsam insurgunt antiquitatem, et venerandos primævæ fidei testes lacerant, conculcant, execrantur.
« Perpetua his hominibus sudes in oculis Nicæna fides cujus hyperaspistas Athanasium, Hilarium, &c., cane pejus et angue traducunt odio. Habent quidem suam quam jactitant antiquitatem, sed antiqui illius serpentis progeniem. Suos habent patres, sed quos ? Ebionem, Cerinthum, Symmachum, Theodotionem, Paulum Samosatenum, Photinum, et alios. Hos venditant præcursores suos; his fidei parentibus Unitarii nostri gloriantur. Catholicos aut aperte rejiciunt, aut eorum testimonia sophisticis argutiis illudunt, aut, quod caput est, in suas sæpenumero partes pertrahere nituntur.
« Evigilandum igitur studiosæ juventuti totisque viribus scriptis veterum gpаviter incumbendum, ut his armis muniti adversariorum tela retundant, sophismata solvant, et ecclesiæ Catholicæ, ac proinde Anglicanæ, causam feliciter propugnent. •State
This exhortation of this most excellent man, whose writings, allowing for his prejudices, I highly value, and endeavour to make the best use of, has not been sufficiently attended to by those to whom it was addressed. There would not else have been such a want of learned champions in this controversy, so few who have ventured at all upon the ground on which I have invited them to meet me, and we should not have had such crude opinions as have been advanced by your Lordship, by Mr. Howes, * and by Dr. Knowles, t who are the only persons of your church who have come upon it; thinking, no doubt, they had some more knowledge of these matters than their brethren, at least more than myself, who have no access to your libraries, and none of those incitements which this writer mentions. If we apply to these studies from the pure love of truth, what may not be expected from the members of your church, who have every motive that heaven and earth can hold out to you to go beyond us in them! Let not, then, super vias et videte, et interrogate de semitis antiquis, quæ sit via bona et ambulate in ea,' Jerem. vi. 16. Hæc nobis serpentum latibula monstrabit, hæc ad ipsissimum veritatis fontem nos recta ducet.
“ Claudam hæc optimis Tertulliani verbis. (De Præscript. Hæret. C. xxi. p. 209.) •Si hæc ita sunt, constat omnem doctrinam quæ cum ecclesiis apostolicis matricibus et originalibus fidei conspiret veritati deputandum; sine dubio tenentem quod ecclesiæ ab apostolis, apostoli à Christo, Christus à Deo accepit: Omnem vero doctrinam de mendacio præjudicandam quæ sapiat contra veritatem ecclesiarum et apostolorum et Christi et Dei.'-Ibid. C. xxxvi. p. 215. • Age jam qui voles curiositatem melius exercere in negotio salutis tuæ, percorre ecclesias apostolicas, apud quas jpsæ adhuc cathedræ apostolorum sais locis præsident, apud quas ipsa authenticæ literæ eorum recitantur, sonantes vocem, et repræsentantes faciem uniuscujusque.' Advers. Marcion. L. iv. C. y. p. 415. Alibique, In Summa, “Si constat id verius quod prius, id prius quod et ab initio, id ab initio quod ab apostolis ; pariter utique constabit id esse ab apostolis traditum, quod apud ecclesias apostolorum fuerit sacrosanctum.'
“ His igitur armis optime instructi simus, parati semper nostra tueri, jisque respondere, qui fidei nostræ (quam vere primitivam, catholicam, apostolicam esse sancte profitemur) rationem requisiverint. Neque enim is est ecclesiæ nostræ status, ut pro summo purioris antiquitatis tribunali causam dicere defugiamus. Facessat à nobis inutilis omnis studiorum ratio, facessant difficiles nugæ, implacabiles rixæ, leves et ludicræ disputatiunculæ; ætatem teramus non in foro et prætoriis, non agyrtarum more sursum et deorsum cursitantes, non apud magnatum limina sordidis obsequiis gratiam et favorem aucupantes, verum in rostris, in ambone, intra bibliothecæ denique clathros et cancellos, ecclesiæ commodo, animarum saluti, antiquitatis cognitioni, bonisque literis promovendis, gnaviter incumbentes.
“Quin ergo agite vosmet et ad sacra hæc studia totis viribus, omnibus nervis contendite; vos, inquam, maxime, quibus melior indoles et liberius otium ; dig. nitatibus ornati, reditibus aucti, quos tanquam meliorum literarum præmia et cumulatiores diligentiæ stimulos et incitamenta majorum pietas consecravit. Vigeat apud nos pietatis et literarum ecclesiasticarum studium; sint in æterna memoria venerandi ecclesiæ Catholicæ patres; sit scriptis eorum summus honor et æstimatio, quorum potitiam si hæc quam contulimus symbola vel tantillum promovebit, præclare mecum agi putem, meque bonas horas bene collocasse judicabo." (P.)
• See Vol. XVIII. pp. 310-314, 468_490, 562-564, 571, 572. + See supra, pp. 4, 5, Note g.