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the voice of friends and enemies, who concur in the same exhortation, be heard in vain.
If the general motives above-mentioned be not sufficient, let particular premiums be proposed in your universities for those who shall give proofs of their proficiency in these studies, and who shall give the best answers to the arguments of Unitarians, from the state of things in primitive times. This is now done in Holland, which is less interested in this controversy than Great Britain. Your Lordship being now advanced to one of the highest stations in your church, and professing more energy of character than other men, will be expected to do something towards the revival of these useful studies; the want of which by this time, whether you will confess it or not, have sufficiently felt. In this one thing, then, my Lord, let us act in concert; and if you have any generosity in your nature, lay open the stores of learning locked up at Oxford and Cambridge to us poor sectaries. Let the universities, supported at the national expense, be free to every inhabitant of Great Britain, and of the world. Throw down the illiberal guard of your subscriptions to articles of faith at matriculation or graduation ; and then we shall see who will make the best use of those noble advantages, which now, with so much vigilant jealousy, you keep to yourselves.
If you want a farther motive, consider, my Lord, not only what, with so much justice and energy, your Lordship formerly urged concerning the obligation incumbent on all persons of your Lordship's high station in the church to defend the establishment which supports you, but also the peculiar light in which you have been placed with respect to this very controversy.
It is said that your Lordship’s bisbopric was given you as a reward for your services in the defence of orthodoxy; though wisdom would have dictated that it should have been
made to depend upon your final success in it. However, į you have every motive of gratiude to urge you to exert
yourself, as much as if your perferment still depended upon it. And consider, my Lord, how much ridicule will be reflected upon yourself, and your benefactors, especially the learned Lord High Chancellor of England, * if it should
• Mr. Nichols, speaking of Dr. Horsley's Tracts against Dr. Priestley, says that be " obtained by these publications the friendship and patronage of Lord Chancellor Thurlow, wbo observed, that those who defended the church, ought to be sopported by the church;' and accordingly presented him to a prebendal stall In the church of Gloucester; and-in 1788, he was made Bishop of St. David's by the interest of the come noble Lord," Lit. Anecd. IV. pn. 680 681.
appear that you have been rewarded for a service which you have not been able to perform ; and that, by provoking this contest, you have injured the cause of which you are appointed the champion !
Consider also that, high as your past services have justly raised you, your Lordship may stihl be higher; and to myself it will afford a particular satisfaction, to address you in the style of my Lord, your Grace, after having past from plain Dear Sir, and Reverend Sir, to that of my Lord, your Lordship. But perhaps your Lordship may refrain from a regard to myself; lest having been generally considered as the means of your present advancement, I should (being, as you always represent me, naturally vain) be too vain of being the instrument of your farther exaltation.
Report says, that one of the wisert of your Lordship’s bench* generally recommends silence with respect to such writers as myself. He himself religiously observes it.
Absistamus, ait; nam lux inimica propinquat.t In all events, whether prudence should dictate that it is a time to speak, or a time to be silent, my motions will, with all just déference, be governed by those of your Lordship; being at all times, and with all due respect, My Lord, Your Lordship's inost obedient, humble servant,
LETTERS TO THE REV. JAMES BARNARD.I
Mene igitur socium summis adjungere rebas
LETTER I. Of Mr. Barnard's Idea of Unitarians. REV. Sir, It gives me peculiar pleasure to see a person of your persuasion undertake the defence of your proper doctrine of the
• Designing, I apprehend, Bishop Hurd. See Vol. XVIII. p. 7, Note t. + Virgil. (P.) Æneid, IX. 355.
| Author of "'The Divinity of Christ demonstrated from Holy Scriptore, and from the Doctrine of the Primitive Church, in a Series of Letters addressed to the Rev. Dr. Joseph Priestley, in answer to his Letters to the Rev. Dr. Geddes," 1789.
Ś Virgil. (P.) Æneid, IX. 199, 200.
Trinity ; and indeed you Catholics are the only consistent defenders of it. I was glad to find my friend, Dr. Geddes, engaged in this discussion, and am concerned that he seems to have dropped it; though I hope it is only in consequence of his being occupied about his translation of the Bible, a work for which he appears to be singularly qualified. Since, however, he has quitted the field, I am glad to find another person of his communion so ready to defend his ground. I cannot help wishing, however, that you had been possessed of his candour. For in this, as well as in a knowledge of Christian antiquity, you seem to be deficient; and both are requisite to qualify you to enter upon this controversy with advantage.
By saying, as you do, “ that Unitarians are those that believe, or pretend to believe, the gospel,” you more than insinuate that many of us may be unbelievers ; especially as you add, “ I wish every Unitarian would candidly examine his own heart, and see whether he has not endeavoured to deceive himself, whether he has not laboured to overcome
the conviction of his own conscience," &c.t Now, though ! I have just the same reason to call in question your Christi. iš anity, or sincerity, I am not disposed to do it; thinking
more favourably, I hope, of mankind in general than you do; and not being willing to charge any man with hypocrisy, or malignity, without some more evident reason than you can have in my case.
Your speculations on the causes of the rise and progress of Unitarianism, are not a little curious. Besides ascribing the origin of it, in a general way, to the devil, I you likewise
endeavour to trace it to its natural or physical causes. 기 cannot,” you say, “ quit the general subject without taking notice of what l'imagine to be the motive which has induced some learned men first to become Unitarians, and then to take so much trouble to oppose the doctrine of the Trinity; and, it seems to me to be this: Flushed with their imaginary success in their philosophical researches, they began to think that nothing was beyond the reach of their penetrating genius,” &c. §
Now, excepting myself, I do not know of any Unitarian ! writer who has applied to philosophical pursuits. Your description does not at all apply to the most distinguished of the Unitarian writers, Dr. Lardner and Mr. Lindsey.
• See Vol. XVIII, pp. 428, 429.
+ Lettors, p. 321. (P.)
Having made the devil the prime agent in this business, you make the Divine Being act a subordinate part in it; for having represented the Unitarians as men puffed up with their philosophical discoveries, you proceed to say, that “ to furnish them with an occasion of exercising one act of humility, God recalled to their minds the remembrance of the mystery of the Trinity. As they found they could not explain this incomprehensible mystery, instead of humbling themselves under the mighty hand of God, (1 Peter v. 6,) and acknowledging themselves unable to comprehend heavenly things, (John iii. 12,) they revolted against his goodness, and began to doubt of the existence of the Trinity. From doubts they proceeded to a positive disbelief, and then to an open
denial of it. But dreading the name of heretics they were willing to give it to the Gnostics only, merely because the Ebionites and Nazarenes did not teach the ridiculous doctrine of Æons, and thought that they were not comprehended under the general name of Gnostics, and therefore not considered as heretics by the primitive church.” Whereas you say,
“ The fathers considered all those as comprehended under the generical name of Gnostics, who by any doctrine whatsoever contradicted the doctrine contained in the Scriptures, and constantly taught by the apostolic churches."*
Now I am much more willing to acknowledge the hand of God than that of the devil in this business, though I do not think that you had sufficient authority to suppose it to have been einployed in the manner that you describe ; and I am very confident that you were not divinely inspired in giving this account of the state of opinions in early times. For nothing can be more evident, as I have abundantly shewn, than that the fathers in general considered the doctrine of the Ebionites, or Nazarenes, as the very reverse of that of the Gnostics ; the latter denying the proper humanity of Christ, and the former his divinity. And, if I may judge from my own knowledge of the actual progress of Unitarianism, I must pronounce your account to be nothing better than a romance. Indeed, Sir, you seem to be but little acquainted with the history, or character of Unitarians; and you should have taken pains to acquire a little more knowledge of the living, as well as of the dead, in order to qualify yourself for appearing to proper advantage in this controversy.
But how can I expect to escape censure for my account
* Letters, p. 331. (P.)
of the opinions of the Ebioniles, when you tax Origen him. self with making the same blunder? For, remarking upon his saying that “ those of the Jews who believed Jesus to be the Christ were called Ebionites,” you say, 66 There is evidently an inaccuracy in this account. For those of the Jews who were called Ebionites did not believe Jesus to be the Christ. They made a distinction between Jesus and the Christ, for they said that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and that at his baptism the Christ descended upon him from above, in the form of a dove, and at the approach of his passion it flew away again, and left him.”*
Now, of the two, I should think it safer to depend upon Origen's account than yours, especially as it agrees with that of all other ancient writers, who represent the opinion of Jesus not being the Christ as peculiar to the Gnostics, and the opinion of the Ebionites to have been that of Jesus being the Christ, but still nothing more than a man inspired by God. Both you and the Bishop of St. David's have good reason to be offended with Origen; but you are much more temperate in your anger, thinking that he only wrote hastily, and by that means expressed himself inaccurately ; whereas the Protestant Bishop scruples not to call him a wilful liar,t as he would no doubt have called any other man how respectable soever (for no character I should have thought more sacred than that of the great Origen) whose account of things should have contradicted his own conceptions of them.
Having stripped me of all pretensions to Christianity, you very naturally say, that you consider all those who have been baptized by me as no Christians. You are astonished, you also say, that I “ do not reckon Mahometans among Unitarians, and that I should reject them merely because they believe in the divine mission of Mahoment."$
Why, Sir," you say, “should you object against them upon account of such scruples as these?"| In this I suppose you aim at humour, and as I pretend to have nothing to do but with argument, I shall leave it unanswered. As to the great question, who are Christians and who are not, it will be decided by the proper judge, before whose tribunal both you and I shall meet.
In the last place, however, having made many attempts to penetrate into the hearts of Unitarians, you suppose that
I Letters, p. 361. (P.)
• Lellers, p. 198. (P.) s Ibid. p. 286. (P.)
+ See supra, p. 37.