« ПретходнаНастави »
then, indeed, be expedient that the magistrate should shew that he beareth not the sword in vain."'* -- You say, ". Let us trust for the present, as we 'securely may, to the trade of the good town of Birmingham, and to the wise connivance of the magistrate, (who watches, no doubt, while he deems it politicto wink,) to nip Dr. Priestley's goodly projects in the bud; which nothing would be so likely to ripen to a dangerous effect, as constraint excessively or unseasonably used. Thanks, however, are due to bim from all lovers of their country, for the mischief which he wants not the inclination to do, if he could find the means of doing it. In gratitude's estimation the will is ever to be taken for the deed.”+ What is this but saying that it would be wise and right to nip my projects even in the bud, if there was any prospect of my succeeding in them? And what could a Bonner or a Gardiner say more? They would never have burned men alive, if it had not been to prevent what they thought to be mischief. Indeed, Sir, you do not know what spirit you are of.
But my projects are more than in the bud. I am at this very time actually executing all that I would be understood to threaten, or ever have threatened. I am endeavouring, by all the means in my power, to rouse the attention of thinking men in this country to the corrupt state of the religion that is established in it, and especially to convince them of the mischievous tendency of worshipping Christ as a God, when Christianity disclaims all knowledge of any other God than one, and that the God and Father of Christ; being confident that when this is effected, (and towards this, considerable progress is visibly making every day, and it has met with no obstruction since the commencement of this controversy,) not only will the present forms of Trinitarian worship be abolished, but my countrymen will then thank me and my friends for what we may have contributed towards so glorious a revolution. Till this be actually effected, you will naturally call our attempts rebellious. In the mean time, convince our governors, if you can, that the country will suffer in its wealth, population, power, &c. &c., by the people becoming Unitarians.
Whatever you may insinuate to the contrary, the real nature and full extent of my views (which I carry on in obedience to a greater power than any in this world) might
+ Remarks, PS
Remarks, p. 82. (P.) Tracts, pp. 105, 406.
83. (P.). Tracts, p. 406.
easily be seen by yourself, especially in my late Observations on Freedom of Inquiry in Matters of Religion. There you might also have seen that the dreadful engine, by means of which I hope to accomplish my dangerous designs, is, free discussion or controversy-an obstinate controversy-in which much rest, but I hope no lives, will be lost-much ink, but no blood, will be spilt ; and in this I consider the Archdeacon of St. Alban's, Mr. White, Mr. Howes, and all my opponents, as my coadjutors; for without such concurrence no controversy could be carried on. But « tlie weapons of our warfare are not carnal."
To yourself, Sir, in particular, the world is indebted for whatever there may be of value in my large History of early Opinions concerning Christ. : For without the link that you put into the chain of causes and effects, mechanically operating in my mind, the very idea of that work would not, I believe, have occurred to me. And I trust that a fire still more destructive to error and superstition, and consequently to all the ecclesiastical establishments in the world, which are built upon and promote them, will be raised by the concurrence of your 'seasonable pains in blowing up the flame of this controversy ;. which will not, I trust, be extinguished till its end be effectually answered.
Lest you should again relapse into your criminal indolence of eighteen months, consider that the great danger on which you, Sir, first sounded the alarm, (and Mr. White has sounded the horn of battle still louder,)t is now more threatening than ever. I hope that you and your brethren will never drop the spirit which breathed in your famous Charge to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of St. Alban's. Lest you should remit of your ardour, I shall here recite one paragraph from it.
“ The restless spirit of scepticism will suggest difficulties in the system, and create doubts about the particulars of the Christian doctrine : difficulties must be removed, and doubts must be satisfied. But, above all, the scruples must be composed, which the refinements of a false philosophy, patronized as they are in the present age by men no less amiable for the general purity of their manners, than distinguished by their scientific attainments, will be too apt to raise in the minds of the weaker brethren. And this is the service to which they, whom the indulgence of Providence hath released from the more laborious offices of the priesthood, stand peculiarly engaged. To them their more occupied brethren have a right to look up, in these emergencies, for support and succour in the common cause. It is for them to stand forth the champions of the common faith, and the advocates of their order. It is for them to wipe off the aspersion injuriously cast upon the sons of the Establishment, as uninformed in the true grounds of the doctrine which they teach, or insincere in the belief of it. To this duty they are indispensably obliged by their providential exemption from work of a harder kind. It is the proper business of the station which is allotted them in Christ's household. And deep will be their shame, and insupportable their punishment, if, in the great day of reckoning, it should appear, that they have received the wages of a service which hath never been performed.”*
Appendix, No. XI.
+ See ibid. No. XII.; supra, p. 276, Note t.
It, Sir, you read the above as often as you ought to do, you will never, in this very critical situation, when the enemy is at every gate, and scaling every rampart of your old and ruinous fortress, indulge yourself in your soft couch of preferment, but, together with your brethren, exert yourself pro aris et focis.
VII. You say, that as you consider this controversy brought to a state resembling that of war, in which no quarter is to be given or accepted,” you think yourself liberty to strike at your enemy without remorse, in whatever quarter you may perceive an opening.”+ This fell language may well make me shudder at my situation, especially as in my large work, at this very time probably in your cruel and remorseless hands, there must be many openings, and your vigilance in discovering them cannot be doubted. I trust, however, that though you may draw blood in many places, you will not be able to reach any vital part. Out of eighteen hundred references, I will gladly compound for eighteen being found defective, when, of no more than five in this performance of yours,' not one proves to be to your purpose. As
you have apprized me of your resolution to strike at me without remorse, wherever you can find an opening, I may presume that the parts at which you have aimed your remorseless blows are all that you thought vulnerable. But, Sir, you are not skilful in the art of tormenting, and, like the
• Tracts, pp. 4, 5, VOL. XVIII.
+ Remarks, p. 78. (P.) Tracts, p. 402.
Indian warrior, I will teach you how you might wound me much more deeply:
Your chief wish is evidently to represent me as an enemy to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of this country. Now had you been better redde in my writings, (but they are happily too voluminous for you to look through,) you might have found passages more to your purpose than any that you have selected.
have selected. You have gone back as far as the year 1769; but you have overlooked the Sermon which I preached on resigning my pastoral office at Leeds, in 1773, one paragraph from which I shall insert for your use on another occasion :
“ All who are interested in the support of these antichristian establishments, which usurp an undue authority over the consciences of men, and whose wealth and power are advanced by them, are at this very time in a state of general consternation, both at home and abroad ; seeing their principles and maxims universally decried, and their unjust claims assailed from a great variety of quarters, so that their kingdom is now · full of darkness, and they are gnawing their tongues for pain,' but without repenting of their deeds. Rev. xvi. 10,” &c. &c. &c.*
VIII. As you talk of “culling the flowers of my composition,”+ I shall, in return, present you with some of your own. If they please so much when separate, what must be their beauty and fragrance when united !
“ Insufficient antagonist;"I “ confident ignorance,-fiery résentment,-virulent invective,” and “ fierceness of wrath; incompetency in the subject ;"! “ fraudulent trick,-he meant to put upon the public,” || but not on Dr. Horsley ; “ unfinished erudition, shallow criticism, weak argument, and unjustifiable art to cover the weakness and to supply the want of argument;"I " the vain, indignant struggle of a strong animal which feels itself overcome; the meer growl. ing of the tiger in the toils ;'** a “never-to-be-forgotten attempt upon a passage in St. Jolin's First Epistle ;" tt a
• Vol. XV. p. 26.
† Remarks, p. 15. (P.) Tracts, p. 342. | Remarks, p. 1. (P.) Tracts, p. 333. S Remarks, p. 2. (P.) Tracts, p. 334. i Remarks, p. 9. (P.) Tracts, p. 337. | Remarks, p. 13. (P.) Tructs, p. 340. ** Remarks, p. 14. (P.) Tracts, p. 341.
++ Remarks, p. 18. [Tracts, p. 344.] Referring to a supposed attempt to impose upon my readers, by a false quotation of the common English version of the Bible. A man really capable of this, could only be fit for Bedlam or Tyburn; and yet Dr. Horsley, in the very publication in which he advanced that charge,
professor of Greek,” unqualified to teach “ the elements of the language;"* " a false and fraudulent representation of an argument;"+ “ precipitance in assertion, and talent in accommodating his story to his opinions ;"' “one in. stance out of a great number, of his shameless intrepidity in assertion ;" & "enraged heresiarch ;" || prudence in not yet declaring - his antipathy” to the civil as well as “ecclesiastical” constitution ~ of his country ;” declaiming “ in his conventicle to enlighten the ininds and excite the zeal of the mechanics of the populous town of Birmingham ;"** the “ excessive admiration” ft in which I hold myself; unjust claim to the titles of “a good Christian," or “ good subject,”#1 &c. &c. &c.
In connexion with this, let the reader now see what you say in other passages : “ If upon any branch of Christian duty my conscience be at perfect ease, the precept • Judge not is that which I trust I have not transgressed ;” and, " from my youth up, I have been averse to censorious judgment."S] Who then, Sir, can deny that an excess of meekness and moderation forms the leading feature in your character ?
Having taken from me every moral quality, all knowledge of human nature, history, logic, and every thing requisite to qualify me for the controversy in which I have had the presumption to engage, together with the very elements of the Greek language, and even of Latin, I think myself happy that, having asserted your own right to all virtue and all knowledge, you have not yet expressly denied my ability to write a little tolerably intelligible English, and I shall endeavour to make the best use that I can of it, before the fatal day shall come when I may be stripped of this also.
But, dropping this style, I must on one subject be a little serious with you. You say that I have charged you with
said my “ virtues were great and amiable ;" as evident a contradiction as the doc. trine of Transubstantiation or the Trinity. But as these have been believed, so may the other. (P.)
• Remarks, p. 34. (P.) Tracts, p. 358. + Remarks, p. 42. (P.) Tracts, p. 366.
Remarks, p. 43. (P.) Tracts, p. 367.
Remarks, p. 47. (P. Tracts, p. 373. i Remarks, p. 51. (P.) Tracts, p. 376. ( Remarks, p. 79. (P.) Tracts, p. 402. ** Remarks, p. 81. (P.) Tracts, p. 404. ++ Remarks, p. 86. (P.) Tracts, p. 409. 11 Remarks, p. 87. (P.) Tracts, pp. 409, 410. Sg Remarks, p. 87. (P.) Tracts, pp. 409, 410.