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single person might do. I suppose you conclude from the matter of it that it must be from some Uniturian, and perhaps so; yet you may remember that so you concluded from the matter of Dr. Tillotson's Sermons, that they were a Socinian's.”*.
After being represented as having made near approaches to Mahometanism, I cannot be surprised that you should seem to insinuate that I am an unbeliever in Christianity; for certainly I can be no less, if what you say be true. “ With your notions of inspiration, you are at liberty to dispute what the inspired apostles taught.”+ Here is no exception made with respect to any thing that they taught, and even what they taught from inspiration. I do not personally require any acknowledgment for these gross misrepresentations, but the public, whom you have imposed upon, have a right to demand it of you.
Your endeavour to shew' the little value of Christianity on the Unitarian principles, besides shewing your disposition to calumniate, discovers equal ignorance both of the state of the world, and of the system of revelation. You talk of " sober Deists, who, rejecting revelation, acknowledge, however, the obligations of morality, believe a Providence and expect a future retribution. The whole difference between you and us,” you make them say, “ is this, that we believe the same things upon different evidence; you, upon the testimony of a man; who, you say, was raised up to preach these truths: we, upon the evidence of reason; which we think a higher evidence than any human testimony,” &c.*
Emlyn's Works, 1746, II.'p. 93. (P.) Dr. Horsley, in an N. B. added to bis sixteentho Letter, when he collected, bis Tracts in 1789, complains, that “ Dr. Priestley is pleased to treat the story with great contempt, as an invention, that is to say, a lie or forgery of Dr: Leslie's.” To prove the contrary, Dr. (1. appeals to “the Codices MSS. Tenisoniani, No. 675, in the Archiepiscopal Library at Lambeth.” Here he found, , “ Jan. 15, 1789–ihe very Leller to Ametli Ben Ameth, published by Dr. Leslie, in his Socinian Controversy discussed," with three other MSS. which are in Latin, the whole endorsed by "l'homas Tenison, then Vicar of St. Martin's," afterwards Archbishop, as " the original papers, which a cabal of Socinians in London offered to present to the Embassador of the king of Fez and Morocco, when he was taking leave of England, August 1682." Tenisun 'adds, that “the said Embassador refused to receive them, after having understood that they concerned religion ;" that “the agent of the Socinians was Monsieur Verzé;" and that the papers were given to Tenison by “ Sir Charles Cottrell, Kut. Mr. of the Cerem. then present," who " desired be might have them.” Dr. Horsley's Tracts, pp. 272-274.
A few years since I was in the Lambeth Library, and looked, though cursorily, into the "thin Folio MS." to whicb Dr. Horsley refers; and I have no doubt, from recollection, that his account of the Memorandum, purporting to be Tenison's, is correct. If, however, the “ Cabal of Socinians," as the Priest of St. Martiy's elegantly expresses himself, really attempted to persuade the Emperor or his Embassador, that Jesus, and not Mahomet, was the prophet of the one only Supreme Deity," whom Socinians and Mahometans alike professed to worship, there is no thing in the transaction of which Unitarians ought to be ashamed." They should rather imitate the zeal and worthy purpose of their predecessors, while they pursue more hopeful undertakings.
t Letters, p. 106. (P.) Tracts, p. 213. ?
I wish, Sir, you would produce a few of these sober Deists. I think I am acquainted with as many unbelievers as you are ; but whatever may have been the case formerly, I know Do such persons at present as you describe; that is, unbelievers who have a serious expectation of a future life. We may see from fact that the arguments from reason alone are unable to make any lasting impression on the minds of those who can resist the much plainer evidences of Christianity; which, being of the historical kind, are much better adapted to carry conviction to the mind.
The present state of things furnishes an abundant proof that it is by the gospel alone that life and immortality are fully brought to light. . This gives the most satisfactory of all evidence of a future life, such as we see can really influ. ence the heart and the life; such as can controul the strongest passions of the human breast, and give men a manifest superiority of mind to the world, and all the pleasures and pains of it.
To imagine, as you do, that the arguments for a future life from reason alone, that is, from appearances in the common course of nature, are at all comparable to the evidence that results from the gospel history, and especially from the death and resurrection of Christ, (a man like ourselves, and therefore the most proper pattern of a future universal resurrection,) discovers such a want of real discernment and judgment, and such ignorance of human nature, as I will venture to say are no where more conspicuous than in these letters of yours.
Your representation of the doctrine of Materialism as favourable to Atheism, † only shews your ignorance of the system that you wish to expose, as indeed what you dropped on the subject of ideas, I sufficiently shewed before. But upon this I have said so much, (more I suppose than you will ever take the trouble to read,) in my Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, ß that I shall not reply to such trite and idle reasoning as yours here.
What you say on the subject of the resurrection, if it has any weight at all, affects the Christian doctrine, as taught
• Letters, p. 154. (P.) Tracts, p. 269. i Letters, p. 113. (P.) | Tracts, p. 220.
+ Tracts, pp. 270, 271.
§ Vol. IV. pp. 950—411.
by St. Paul.
“ The hope which you hold out,” you say, “ of a resurrection, he" (the Atheist).“ will tell you is no hope at all, even admitting that the evidence of the thing could, upon your principles, be indisputable. The atoms which compose me, your Atheist will say, may indeed have composed a man before, and may again ; but me they will never more compose when once the present me is dissipated. I have no recollection of a former, and no concern about a future self.” *
This might have been copied from the writings of the Heathen philosophers against Christianity; for if, as I have already intimated, there be any force in the objection, it will operate against the doctrine of a resurrection universally considered. Because, if the thing that dies, (and it is the body only that is ever said to die,) do not rise and come to life again, there is no proper resurrection at all.
Whatever hope of a future life you may build on the Platonic doctrine of a soul, it is, I will venture to say, uni. versally abandoned by the philosophical unbelievers of the present age; and therefore, with respect to them, you can never establish any hope of a future life at all on any other principles than those purely Christian ones which you endeavour to expose ; and whatever difficulties may attend the consideration of it, they will all vanish, even to the philosophical mind, before the certain promise of that great Being who made us and all things. If we once believe that He has given us this assurance, we can never suppose that He will be at a loss for proper means to accomplish his end; and if the gospel history be true, we have this assurance; but from natural appearances we have no evidence whatever of any thing belonging to man that can subsist, feel, and act, when the body is in the grave; and what I maintain is, that we must depart from all the known rules of philosophizing before we can conclude that any such thing belongs to man.
From the same mode of reasoning by which we can prove that there is an immaterial principle in man, we may also prove that there is such a principle not only in a brute or a plant, but even in a magnet, and the most inanimate parts of nature; for even the most inanimate parts of nature are possessed of powers or properties, between which and what we see and feel of them, we are not able to perceive any connexion whatever. There is just as much connexion between the principles of sensation and thought and the brain of a
Letters, p. 156. (P.) Tracts, p. 271.
man, as between the powers of a magnet and the iron of which it is made, or between the principle of gravitation and the matter of which the earth and the sun are made; and whenever you shall be able to deduce the powers of a magnet from the other properties of iron, you may perhaps be able to deduce the powers of sensation and thought from the other properties of the brain. But to you, Sir, the whole of this subject is absolutely terra incognita. I perceive no traces of your being much at home, as you pretend, in the Greek language ; but here you are a perfect stranger.
You are pleased to supply uubelievers with objections to revelation on the views that I have given of it; but I can produce numbers who will tell you, that such Christianity as yours, including the belief of three persons in one God, is a thing absolutely incapable of proof, and who have actually rejected it on account of this doctrine, which they consider as so palpable an absurdity and contradiction, as not even miracles can make credible.
I am, &c.
LETTER XVI. Of Bishop Bull's Defence of Damnatory Clauses. Rev. Sir, In this Letter I shall exhibit a curious specimen of your peculiar mode of controversial writing, and the advantage you take of the most trifling oversights in your opponent.
You gave the highest encomiums to the works of Bishop Bull, without any qualification or distinction, and recommended them to your clergy, as an infallible guide in every thing relating to the subject of our controversy. On this. I said, “ As you recommend the writings of Bishop Bull without exception, I presume you approve of his defence of the damnatory clause in the Athanasian Creed. mention this among his most valuable works.”# When I wrote this, I did not, to be sure, look into the title-page of the book in order to copy the very words of it; but no person could have any doubt which of Bishop Bull's treatises I really meant, as what I said sufficiently characterized it; and though he does not mention the Athanasian Creed in particular, he defends every thing that is harsh and severe in the treatment of Unitarians by the orthodox in the primitive times, and particularly the anathema annexed to the Nicene Creed.
• See supra, p. 106,
Indeed you On this subject, however, you write as follows: “Sir, did you write this in your sleep? Or is it in a dream only that I seem to read it?. Bishop Bull's defence of the damnatory clause!
From you, Sir, I have now my first information that Bishop Bull ever wrote upon the subject.” Then, enumerating the titles of his works, you add, - In these treatises there is no defence of the damnatory clause; vor, that I recollect, any mention of the Athanasian Creed. There is no defence of the damnatory clause in the Sermons and English Tracts, published by Mr. Nelson. Nor can I find any such tract mentioned by Mr. Nelson among the Bishop's lost works; for many small pieces, which it was known that he bad written, were never found after his death. Where have I mentioned, Sir, with such high approbation a work which I declare I have never seen, and of which, you will forgive me, if I still doubt the existence ?" *
Notwithstanding this ridiculous parade, which hath helped to swell out your book, you might just as well have said, that I never wrote an Answer to your Charge, merely because I called my work Lelters 10 Dr. Horsley ; and I will engage,
that whatever doubt you might have had, if you had given an order to any bookseller in London in the very words that I used, be would ihave sent you the Judicium, t &c., that is, The Judgment of the Catholic Church in the three first Centuries, concerning the Necessity of believing that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true God. Now, Sir, what is inplied in the necessity of believing, but the condemnation of those who do not believe? The whole truth, and the occasion of all this lamentable outcry is, 'that, not having the book before me at the time, I said the damnatory clause in the Athanasian Creed, 'instead of the anathema annered to the Nicene Creed; a thing of exactly the same nature.
• Letters, pp. 165, 167. (P.): Tracts, pp. 284, 285.
+ Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicæ trium prioruin Seculorum de Necessitate cre. dendi, quod Dominus noster Jesus Christus sit verus Deus, assertum cootra M. Simonem Episcopiuni aliosque," 1694. . See Biog, Brit. II. p. 704.
“Mr. Nelson sent ibis book as a present to M. Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux.-That prelate not only read the work - but communicated it likewise to several other French Bishops--the result of which was to compliment the author jú their name; and Mr. Nelson was desired, in a letter from the Bishop of Meaux, vot only to return Dr. Bull'his bumble'fhanks, but the unfeigned congratulations also of the whole clergy of : France, then assembled at St. Germains, for the great service he had done to the Catholic Church, in so well defending her determination, concerning the necessity of believing the Divinity of the Son of God." Ibid.
“The occasion upon which these congratulations were sent, detracts greatly from their value.-To be thanked by a national assembly of Roman a Catholic clergy for vindicating anathemas, can copfer no true glory on any man. Indeed, it gives us pain to think, that'só pioas, excellent, and learned a prelate as Dr. Bull, should have applied his abilities to so unhappy a purpose.", Ibid. p. 707.
1“ Asserted against Simon Episcopius and others." Ibidh