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the miraculous conception) probably was in his time."* This the Reviewer called a very great inconsistency. “The Doctor," he says, “ has no right to insert his at least with the belief of a miraculous conception. The insertion is entirely arbitrary ; and those who know less of the author's character than we do, and may not have the same wellgrounded assurance of his integrity, may possibly be led to imagine that he introduced those words only to give some colourable pretext to his own principles.”
This I scrupled not to call a groundless and perverse misrepresentation of my meaning ; that part of the sentence in which mention is made of the miraculous conception being expressive of an opinion of my own, and for which I make myself only answerable. The sentence is therefore perfectly unexceptionable, and very far from giving just cause for such an alarming exclamation as the Reviewer makes
This, however, he has the assurance to defend; and, confident of his advantage in the argument, he even quotes the whole Section in my Reply relating to this subject ; and
“ We carefully revised what we had written, and as carefully compared it with the passage in Dr. Priestley's History which occasioned the reflection we make.
The revisal, instead of convincing us that we had misconceived or misrepresented Dr. Priestley's meaning, fully convinced us that we had done neither; and we now a second time repeat what Dr. Priestley has been pleased to call an almost unparalleled instance of groundless and perverse misrepresentation.”+ He rests his vindication on that part of the sentence in which mention is made of the miraculous conception, being an inference from the passage in Justin. " As such,” he now says, “ we found fault with it.”
Now I assert, as I did in my Reply, that this clause is no inference at all, but an independent observation of my own,
of my inference, or rather of part of it only ; and if it be otherwise, I profess that I have no knowledge of language, and that I am not able to express my own meaning. If I understand myself, the whole sentence may be paraphrased as follows: “ What Justin here advances appears to me to have the air of an apology for an opinion of his own, different from that of the majority of Christians in his time. The opinion which he mentions as not his own, is, that Christ was a mere man, and even the son of Joseph as
" See supra, p. 16.
+ Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 244. (P.)
well as of Mary. Now I will not venture to say that this opinion was more prevalent than that of Justin ; but if we add to those who held this opinion, those who, believing Christ to be a mere man, held that he had no human father, I think it probable that those two classes of Chris. tians, taken together, were more numerous than those who, with Justin Martyr, held the doctrine of Christ's pre-existence.”
This, I will venture to say, no person can doubt was my real meaning ; and though it is concisely, it is not, I think, obscurely expressed. With a person who can misunderstand so plain a sentence, consisting of no more than two members, and persist in his misconstruction, after its being particularly pointed out to him, and his professing to have given all due attention to it; and also with one who can think it natural (as he does*) that Tertullian, or any man, would represent his opponents as more numerous than they really were, in order to express his contempt of them, it is absolutely impossible for me to hold any argument. We want common language and common principles. It is, as the Reviewer says, to bring the question to an issue at once. We have nothing more to say, and our judges must decide between us.
He cannot express his confidence more strongly than he has done ; and to what I have already said, I will now add, that I not only think he has misrepresented my meaning, but that, considering all the circumstances, and epecially his persisting in it, as he now does, it will not be easy to produce any misrepresentation of a writer's meaning so groundless and so perverse as this, in any controversial writing. And yet, though this case is so clear that I might safely appeal to any person who understands English, it is very possible that, instead of any kissing of the rod, which he promised, or any other answer, he will quote all that I have now written, and repeat his accusation a third time,
I shall now consider another article on which the Reviewer lays great stress, and which is the first part of his answer to my Reply. It is what he calls his strong reason for some material but unknown difference between the Ebionites and the Nazarenes ; and it seems that we both of us have the same authority for our very different opinions on this subject. " It is somewhat singular," he says, “ that the passage to which the Doctor has sent us, by a marginal
* Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 228. (P.)
reference, (for he has not quoted one word from it,) should turn out to be the very passage that we intended to produce, if we should be called upon for that strong reason by which we were inclined to think that the members of both sects differed considerably in articles of faith, notwithstanding there was such a point of agreement between them in the outward services of religion as might in the end lead to a nearer intercourse," &c.*
I shall now produce the passage, beginning a little earlier than the Reviewer has done, and then give my translation of it, which any person who understands Latin may compare with his : « Si hoc verum est; in Cherinti et Hebionis hæresim dilabimur, qui credentes in Christo, propter hoc solum à patribus anathematizati sunt, quod legis cærimonias Christi Evangelio miscuerunt, et sic nova confessi sunt, ut vetera non amitterent. Quid dicam de Hebionitis, qui Christianos esse se simulant? Usque hodie per totas orientis synagogas inter Judeos hæresis est, quæ dicitur Mineorum, et à Pharisæis nunc usque damnatur, quos vulgò Nazareos nuncupant, qui credunt in Christum, filium Dei, natum de virgine Maria, et eum dicunt esse, qui sub Pontio Pilato passus est, et resurrexit, in quem et nos credimus: sed dum volunt et Judæi esse, et Christiani, nec Judæi sunt nec Christiani.” This I translate as follows:
“ If this be true, we fall into the heresy of Cherintus and Ebion, who, believing in Christ, were anathematized by the fathers on this account only, that they mixed the ceremonies of the law with the gospel of Christ, and held to the new (dispensation) in such a manner as not to lose the old. What shall I say concerning the Ebionites, who pretend that they are Christians ? It is to this very day, in all the synagogues of the East, a heresy among the Jews, called that of the Minei, now condemned by the Pharisees, and commonly called Nazarenes, who believe in Christ, the son of God, born of the virgin Mary, and say that it was he who suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rose again ; in whom also we believe. But while they wish to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews nor Christians.”
This, the Reviewer says, after Bishop Bull, is the “ clearest testimony for a difference between the Ebionites and Nazarenes, testimonium apertissimum.” It is indeed apertissimum, a testimony exceedingly open to refutation.
Can any instance be brought of a writer closing his
* Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 210. (P.)
ing it? *
account of a thing with saying, What shall I say concern
After such an expression as this, we naturally expect that he should proceed to say something concerning it, which this author most evidently does ; observing, that the same people who were called Ebionites, (by the Gentiles,) were called Minei and Nazarenes by the Jews. Had he meant to describe any other class of people, he would naturally have begun his next sentence with Est et, or Est alia hæresis, and not simply hæresis est. As to his speaking of heresy in the second sentence, and not heretics, as in the first, it is a most trifling inaccuracy in language, the easiest of all others to fall into, and of no consequence to the meaning at all. Besides, Jerome's account of these two denominations of men is exactly the same; the Ebionites being believers in Christ, but miring the law and the gospel; and the Nazarenes wishing to be both Jews and Christians, which certainly comes to the very same thing.
The Reviewer lays great stress on our author's saying that the Ebionites pretended to be Christians; but in the part which is omitted by him, Jerome calls them credentes in Christo, believers in Christ ; and if they believed in Christ at all, they could not believe much less than he himself represents the Nazarenes to have done. He may say that they only pretended to be Christians, but were not, because they had been excommunicated. But what had they been excommunicated for ? Not for any proper imperfection of their faith in Christ, in which they were inferior to the Nazarenes, but only (solum ) because they mixed the ceremonies of the law with the gospel of Christ; which, in other words, he asserts of the Nazarenes also, when he says, they wished to be both Jews and Christians. And though he does not say that the Nazarenes were excommunicated, he says they were not Christians, which is an expression of the same import. This
passage, the strong reason, the testimonium apertissimum of my opponent, I might have urged as decisive in favour of the identity of the Ebioniles and Nazarenes ; but I only said, “ I also think it may be clearly inferred from it, that the Ebionites and Nazarenes were the same people.”+ As to the term Minei, it only means sectaries in the Hebrew language.
* The Reviewer translates Quid dicam de Hebionitis, by. But why should I speak of the Ebionites.-For, &c. Let the reader judge between us; observing that there is nothing in the original to correspond either to his but or bis for, and the more usual nieaning of quid is what, and not why. (P.)
t Reply. (P.) Supra, p. 10.
Had there been any foreign reason why we should suppose that Jerome meant to distinguish between the Ebionites and the Nazarenes, we might have hesitated about the interpretation of his meaning, easy as it is; but certainly there can be no cause of hesitation, when it is considered that in this he agrees not with Epiphanius only, but with the whole strain of antiquity, as is allowed by Le Clerc, and all the ablest critics ; and to interpret bis meaning as Dr. Bull and the Reviewer do, is to set him at variance with all other writers.
The Reviewer says, “Why were the Cerinthians omitted ? Jerome places them with the Ebionites in the preceding sentence; and if the Nazarenes and the Ebionites were the same people, it may, with equal clearness of evidence, be inferred that they were the same people with the Cerinthians likewise.”
I answer, they were the same people, as far as Jerome then considered them, because they were equally zealous for the law of Moses.
I cannot help thinking that by this time the Reviewer is not disposed to lay quite so much stress on this strong reason as he did at first, for before he has done writing about it, he contents himself with calling it a conjecture only. But the conjecture is as improbable as the reason was weak.
Since I wrote the above, I find that Suicer, in his Thesaurus, under the article Ebion, makes the same use of this passage of Jerome that I have done, and considers the Nazarenes as a branch of the Ebionites; and that the Reviewer hath been misled in his construction of this passage by Dr. Bull, of whom he, as well as Dr. Horsley, entertains a very high opinion. On the contrary, I think no writer has been more effectually answered than he has been.
What the Reviewer says of the quotation from Athanasius, and which he calls “ something very serious indeed,”+ I have fully considered in my Letters to Dr. Horsley; I and as to his quotation from Barnabas, he will find that article well explained by Mr. Lindsey. This is a work from which this writer might learn a great deal.
As to every thing else in this answer of the Reviewer, I can truly say, that, after perusing it with care, I see no reason to wish that I had said any thing otherwise than I have done in my former Reply to him, except that I understood
• Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 216, Note. (P.)
232. (P.) Supra, pp. 69–77. § “ In the Sequel to his Apology," pp. 428-433.