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absurd and unreasonable, and that, as a man who has not disturbed the peace of his neighbours, I am entitled to all the rights of other citizens ; so that I neither ought to be molested on account of my own religion, nor compelled to contribute to the support of that of another person, any more than to pay his physician ; I think myself happy, considering how much more unfriendly to truth civil governments and civil governors have been, that I am not exposed to all the difficulties and hazards that the apostles were exposed to; and when I cannot obtain a legal toleration, I am very thankful for a connivance.
You say, that “ conscientious scruples are no excuse at all for doing what the law allows not to be done."* In this you totally mistake the ground of my conduct. I do not pretend that it is authorized by the laws of this, or of any country. It is enough for me if I think myself justified by the laws of God; and whether I ought to obey God or man, in this case, do you yourself judge.
What would you yourself advise us Unitarians in this country to do? We have heard again and again all that you have to say in defence of your Trinitarian notions and Trinitarian worship, without any approach towards conviction, and yet we think it our duty to make a public profession of our Unitarian principles, and to adopt an Unitarian form of worship. Would you seriously say, we ought, with the views of things that we really have, to keep our opinions to ourselves, and have no public worship at all ? And yet between this conduct and our acting more or less openly in opposition to you, and incurring the penalties of the laws now in force against us, there is no medium.
If you really be a friend to any thing that deserves the name of toleration, you must feel for the disgrace of your country, on account of the unjust and impolitic restraints the laws of it lay upon us, and you will use your endeavours to promote the repeal of all penal laws in matters of religion, and likewise to lay open all civil offices to all persons who are qualified to fill them ; which, indeed, is no more than is already done in several countries in Europe. That those who prefer the mode of religion now established, should bear the whole expense of it, without compelling us to asto promulgate their opinions, and thus to impugo the Jewish or Christian revelations, are still exposed, “ in this happy land of religious liberty and toleration," and “ without any offence of a civil nature," to confiscations and imprisonments, inflicted by civil tribunals, to any extent, according to the arbitrary discretion of Judges. See Vol. X. p. 495, Note; XIV.
p. 514, Note **. * Letters, p. 168, P., Tracts. n. 989
sist them in it, while they do nothing for ours in return, though a thing perfectly reasonable, is more than I expect the Archdeacon of St. Alban's to countenance. I, how. ever, live in the firm belief that even this will take place some time or other; and my belief is grounded on this general and glorious trụth, that there is a wise and good Being at the head of all affairs, bringing good out of all evil. I therefore believe that good will finally take place of all evil, and, consequently, equity of injustice.
You, Sir, as Archdeacon of St. Albau's, may believe that the Church of England will continue to the end of the world, and that all nations (at least all that speak the English language, and can read the book of Common Prayer in the original) will flow into it. On the other hand, it is my firm persuasion, that when Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, shall fall, all her daughters, all the little Babylons, all the lesser establishments, of what I deem to be corrupt Christianity, will fall with her, or soon after her; and, therefore, I apply to them, as well as to the Church of Rome, that awful warning, Rev. xviii. 4, “ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
While we Unitarians behave as good subjects, (and I do not kuow that we are worse thought of than other Dissenters in this respect,) I have such confidence in the good sense of my countrymen, though without any particular obligation to yourself on this account, and in the spirit of the times, (which, throughout all Europe, is daily more favourable to freedom of inquiry and toleration, and less favourable to old and corrupt, though venerable establishments,) that I have little doubt but that I shall be suffered to proceed as I have bitherto done, unmolested, promoting by every means in my power what I deem to be important truth, though our legislators in the last century voted it to be heresy and blasphemy. What our present legislative body, if the question was brought before them, would decree, is unknown ; but I am pretty confident, that when the subject shall come properly before them, (and this may be pretty soon,) they will be disposed to hear reason and to do justice. +
See, on vers. 9, 10, Vol. XIV. p. 495. + “The learned writer was mistaken in expecting that he should be permitted to proceed unmolested in his defence of important truth, having been driven from his pastoral charge by the disgraceful Riots at Birmingham, in July, 1791, when his house was burned to the ground, and, bis laboralory, his library, and his papers, were destroyed. He was right, however, in his expectation of the increasing libewality of succeeding times. The nenal lawe against the impugners of the doctrinca
From what you say of your own freedom of inquiry, one would think that you might have treated us Dissenters with a little more respect. For, after observing that you “ was much at home in the Greek language," and that you had redde the ecclesiastical historians,” you add, “I had been many years in the habits of thinking for myself upon a variety of subjects, before I opened Dr. Clarke's book. There is in most men a culpable timidity; you and I, perhaps, have overcome that general infirmity ; but there is in most men a culpable timidity which inclines them to be easily overawed by the authority of great names."* It will make some persons smile to see you, Sir, groupe yourself with me upon this occasion'; and they may ask for similar evidence of your having overcome this culpable timidity, and of your having really thought for yourself, when they see you professing to believe, and complying with every thing that those who do not think for themselves at all, profess to believe and comply with. Your profound admiration of Bishop Bull's writings is no proof of your thinking for yourself. All that can be in ferred from it is, that you have made a wise choice of masters. The writer for whom I always profess the greatest admiration is Dr. Hartley, but I differ from him in many things, and things also of great consequence.
If, however, you still retain the habit of thinking for yourself, allow me to return your civility to me, when you joined my name to those of Bolingbroke, Voltaire, and Gibbon, t by adding yours also to this list of free inquirers, and your sentence will then close thus,-a Gibbon, a Priestley, or a Horsley.
For my own part, I cannot say that I much dislike my situation in the light in which I view the different characters ; since I find myself placed between an unbeliever on the one hand, and a high churchman on the other. Medio tutissimus ibis.
I am, &c.
the Trinity having been totally repealed by a bill introduced into Parliament by Mr. Smith, the upright member for Norwich, in July, 1813, which passed without any opposition through both houses." Mr. Belsham's Note. See supra, p. 257, Note †.
Letters, p. 163. (P.) Tracts, p. 262. + Letters, p. 164. (P.) “and while they" (whom Dr. Horsley bad before denominated fools) “ thus trample on the accumulated authority of ages, with an idiot simplicity they suffer themselves to be ledde by the meer name of the writer of the day, a Bolingbroke, a Voltaire, a Gibbon, or a Priestley; as if they thought to become wise and learned by taking a share and an interest in the follies or the
natu views of men of abilities and
rate no 90 og
Of the Charge of wilful Misrepresentation, fc. Rev, Sir, As both yourself and your great and good ally, Mr. Badcock, have employed so much of your respective publications on the subject of perversions, wilful misrepresentations, artifice, management, &c. &c. &c., (for you are at no loss for words or phrases of this import,) it may not be improper to give you one short Letter on thạt subject.
I was willing to hope that, in this second publication, you would have observed the rules of decency and of probability in your charges against me, and that you might have expressed some little concern for your former violations of them. But I am sorry to find that, instead of retracting any thing, you have considerably added to your offences of this kind. You had before charged me with knowingly misquoting the English translation of the Bible, when, in fact, I should not have gained any thing by it. You now talk of my designedly omitting a “very significant adjective," * you say, in a quotation from Athanasius, when I neither intended to quote nor to translate the passage, but only referred to, and gave the general sense of it;t and this, I doubt not, was the true one. Yet upon this you raise loud exclamations concerning truth, candour, consistency, and dealing in sarcasms. I
You also think, with Mr. Badcock, that I really meant to conceal from the unlearned, part of a quotation from Justin Martyr, which I printed in Greek at full length, and this in a public controversy with yourself, of whose vigilance in this respect I could not entertain a doubt. 66 The entire passage,” you say, “ as long as it appears not in your translation, lay innocently enough in the Greek, at the bottom of your page.” But I must have been an idiot indeed, in plain English, and something worse than the idiota of Ter.
• Letters, p. 5. (P.) Tracts, p. 89.
“Thus,” says Dr. Horsley “ you procure yourself a fine opportunity of introducing an oblique sarcastic stroke at Athanasius.-Surely truth, candour, and consistency, are conspicuous in the writings of our modern Unitarians, and the Archdeacon of St. Albau's is the only writer of ihe age who deals in sarcasms !" Tracts, p. 89.
§ Letters, p. 83. (P.) Tracts, p. 184. See supra, pp. 65, 129, 130, 141.
tullian, as well as the homo nefarius of Bishop Bull,* to have attempted a deception in these circumstances.
As, in another place, you speak more fully on the subject of my artifice and insincerity, and enlarge upon the nature of it, and the degree of its guilt in controversial writings, I shall produce the passage at length, and then give a general answer to it.
“ Indeed, Sir," you say, “ in quoting ancient authors, when you have understood the original, which in many instances is not the case, you have too often heen guilty of much reserve and management. This appears in some instances in which you cannot pretend that your own inadvertency, or your printer's, hath given occasion to unmerited imputations. I wish that my complaints upon this head had been groundless : but in justice to my own cause I could not suffer unfair quotations to pass undetected. I am unwilling to draw any conclusion from this unseemly prac. tice against the general probity of your character; but you must allow me to lament, that men of integrity, in the service of what they think a good end, should indulge themselves so freely as they often do in the use of unjustifiable means. Time was when the practice was openly avowed, and Origen himself was among its defenders.
The art which he recommended he scrupled not to employ. I have produced an instance in which, to silence an adversary, he hath recourse to the wilful and deliberate allegation of a notorious falsehood. You have gone no such length as this. I think you may believe me sincere, when I speak respectfully of your worth and integrity, notwithstanding that I find occasion to charge you with some degree of blame, in a sort in which the great character of Origen was more deeply infected. Would to God it had been otherwise. Would God I could with truth have boasted, · To these low arts stooped Origen, but my contemporary, my great antagonist, disdains them.' How would it have heightened the pride of victory, could I have found a fair occasion to be thus the herald of my adversary's praise !”+
All these, Sir, and such like charges of artful, and, therefore, highly criminal misrepresentation, (for they cannot amount to any thing less, notwithstanding all your qualifying clauses,) which you and Mr. Badcock are perpetually
* See supra, p. 258, Note. † Letters, p. 159. (P.) Tracts, pp. 277, 278.