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5. When persons form themselves into societies, so as to be distinguishable from others, they never fail to get some particular name, either assumed by themselves, or imposed by others. This is necessary in order to make them the subject of conversation, long periphrases in discourse being very inconvenient. *
6. When particular opinions are ascribed to a particular class of men, without any distinction of the time when those opinions were adopted by them, it may be presumed that they were supposed to hold those opinions from the time that they received their deromination. +
7. When a particular description is given of a class of persons within any period of time, any person wbo can be proved to have the proper character of one of that class, may be deemed to bave belonged to it, and to have enjoyed all the privileges of it, whatever they were. I
8. When an historian, or writer of any kind, professedly enumerates the several species belonging to any genus, or general body of men, and omits any particular species or denomination, which, if it had belonged to the genus, he, from his situation and circumstances, was not likely to have overlooked, it may be presumed, that he did not consider that particular species as belonging to the genus. S
9. Great changes in opinion are not usually made of a sudden, and never by great bodies of men. That history, therefore, which represents such changes as having been made gradually, and by easy steps, is always the more probable on that account. ||
io. The common or unlearned people in any country, who do not speculate much, retain longest any opinions with which their minds have been much impressed; and therefore we always look for, the oldest opinions in any country, or any class of men, among the common people, and not among the learned.
11. If any new opinions be introduced into a society, they are most likely to have introduced them who held opinions similar to them before they joined that society.**
12. If any particular opinion has never failed to excite great indignation in all ages and nations, where a contrary opinion bas been generally received, and that particular opinion can be proved to have existed in any age or country when it did not excite indignation, it may be concluded that it had many partisans in that age or country. For, the opinion being the same, it could not of itself be more respectable; and, human nature being the same, it could not but have been regarded in the same light, so long as the same stress was laid on the opposite opinion. It
13. When a time is given, in which any very remarkable and interesting opinion was not believed by a certain class of people, and another time in which the belief of it was general, the introduction of such an opinion may always be known by the effects which it will produce upon the minds and in the conduct of men; by the alarm which it will give to some, and the defence of it by
* Summary View, 8. (P.) + Ibid, 4. (P.) 1 Ibid. 9. (P.) $ l'id. 7. (P.) !! Ibid. 16., (P2)
Ibid. 13, 14. (P.)
* Ibid. 15.
At Thid 1
others. If, therefore, no alarm was given, and no defence of it was made within any particular period, it may be concluded that the introduction of it did not take place within that period.
14. When any particular opinion or practice is necessarily or customarily accompanied by any other opinion or practice, if the latter be not found within any particular period, it may be presumed that the former did not exist within that period. +
# It will be perceived that the whole of this historical evidence is in favour of the proper Unitarian doctrine (or that of Christ being a mere man) having been the faith of the primitive church, in opposition to the Arian no less than the Trinitarian hypothesis.
As to the Arian hypothesis in particular, I do not know that it can be traced any higher than Arius bimself, or at least the age in which he lived. Both the Gnostics and the platonizing Christians were equally far from supposing that Christ was a being created out of nothing; the former having thought him to be an emanation from the Supreme Being, and the latter the logos of the Father personified. And though they sometimes applied the term crcation to this personification, still they did not suppose it to have been a creation out of nothing. It was only a new modification of what existed before. For God, they said, was always rational, (abrizos,) or had within him that principle which afterwards assumed a personal character.
Besides, all the Christian fathers, before the time of Arius, supposed that Christ had a human soul as well as a human body, which no Arians ever admitted; they holding that the Logos supplied the place of one in Christ.
Upon the whole, the Arian hypothesis appears to me to be destitute of all support from Christian antiquity. Whereas it was never denied that the proper Unitarian doctrine existed in the time of the apostles; and I think it evident that it was the faith of the bulk of Christians, and especially the unlearned Christians, for two or three centuries after Christ.
LETTERS FROM CORRESPONDENTS.
(See supra, p. 51.) HAVING received letters from two of my learned friends relating to the subject of this work, when it was nearly printed off, I take the liberty to give extracts from them in this place; being satisfied that my readers will be pleased to see them, and hoping that the writers will not be much offended at my making this use of them, without their consent, for which it is too late to apply to them. Indeed, the former letter was intended for my use; but the latter, which is from the author of the Remarks in my vindication, was certainly not meant for the public eye, and was written immediately after the first reading of the review of his piece. But on this account it may be more depended upon, as expressing his real feelings. DEAR SIR,
Summary View, 2, 3, 6. (P.).
+ Ibid. 5. (P.) 1 The following paragraphs were added wheu the Maxims were annexed to the General View. See No. VII. infru.
November 5, 1783. I have just been reading Dr. Horsley's Charge against you, to which, I doubt not, you will make a proper reply. As he seems to triumph in your having, as he supposes, mistaken the sense of some Greek quotations; and as parallel passages are not always at hand, though common enough if we could wait for them till they occur, I take the liberty of sending you one that I have since met with in Demosthenes, and another from Thucydides.
In opposition to your interpretation of the beginning of Jobn's gospel, he says, the natural force of CÚtos is this person. Very true, if the noun to which it belongs represent a person; but if the noun be only the name of a thing, then the natural force of otos will be this thing, as appears from the following passage from Demosthenes, (1st Olynthiaς,) Νυνι δε καιρος ήκει» τις ουτος ; και των Ολυνθιων αυτοματος τη πολει. “Now comes another conjuncture; what conjuncture? That which voluntarily offers itself to the republic from the Olynthians." Francis.
The Doctor is much displeased with your translating oux arw TIVI y, nothing but. To be sure, if it were clear from other arguments that the zoros and copia in question were persons, his translation would be the true one.
But that those words cannot always be understood to mean no other person, will be manifest from the following passage of 'Thucydides, Lib. iv. Cap. cxxvi. p. 311 :
Ουκ αλλα τινι κτησαμενοι την δυναρειαν, η τω μαχομενοι κρατειν. Qui nulla alia ratione principatum sunt adepti, quam quod (hostes) præliando superarent.'
As to the other passage from Theophilus, of which the Doctor takes notice in his 63d page, when you come to look at it again, you will perceive that you did not exactly hit on the meaning of the last line; and I think the Doctor was a little warped by his system, when he translated God the word, the wisdom, Man. I think it pretty plain from the preceding words, τα Θεα και τα λογα, και της σοφιας αυτ8, that the words in question should be translated “ that there might be God, his word, his wisdom, (and) man.” But this I submit to your better judgment.
November 5, 1783. “What sort of faces are we to carry, since this neighbour of ours has put us to shame?' You might have got through the business : but what am I, a puny pedagogue, Iste Græculus,'* who cannot conjugate a Greek verb, nor tell whether it be perfect or defective, what am I to do? It is a bad business sure enough; but it is not desperate; and notwithstanding the violence of the attack, I do not feel even a single wound." I rather wondered that neither you, nor Mr.
desired me to give my authorities for what I advanced in my remarks. I
• Sec supra, p. 138.
had them ready, but I chose to keep them back. The adversary has fallen fairly into the ambuscade; and there he lies, open, as far as I can judge at present, to use his own language, to a good many after-claps.' I have had the Review but a few hours, and business has taken up some of those few, so that I have not been able to pay much attention to it. However, I have read it, and I have not perceived in it any thing that is formidable.”
“ I think it a favourable circumstance for my grammatical reputation, which this tremendous champion has taken so much pains to celebrate, that my original copy (in which the unfortunate ti that obscures and bastardizes' my Greek is not to be found) is still in being; otherwise, I suppose, I should hardly have been believed upon my word, that I could have made out the first future middle optative of curtigeuas, even with the help of a grammar. What a wretched mind, and what a tottering cause must that man have, who can descend to such self-degrading and ridiculoys trivialities ! However, I have already seen that he is not guarded against a retort of similar civilities.”
This excellent critic will, I hope, be prevailed upon to give the public, at his leisure, a new edition of his valuable Remarks, with such additions and observations relating to the subject, as may occur to him. They will be esteemed by all good judges when the reply to them shall be forgotten.
I shall take this opportunity of saying, that the writer of these remarks is one of the few on whose friendship and approbation I place the highest value, and which I feel as a strong incentive to my labours. The good opinion of these few I am under no apprehension of ever losing; and, though I hope I should act the part which conscience dictates without that auxiliary motive, it is a great consolation to me, and much more than counterbalances the censures of all my opponents. That friendship with the wise and the virtuous which I have the happiness to possess in this world, will, I trust, be resumed, and constitute a principal part of the felicity of another.
UNITARIANS OF HIS TIME. *
(See supra, p. 65.) I THINK myself possessed of so much evidence in favour of the Unitarian doctrine having been maintained in the first ages of Christianity, that I have no occasion to be solicitous about trifles with respect to it; and even with regard to the much-contested passage in Justin Martyr, above referred to, and of which I made some use in my late History,* it is quite sufficient for my purpose, that the writer here speaks of Unitarians with tenderness, and is far from treating them as heretics; and in this I think every reasonable man, who considers the manner in which this writer speaks of heretics in general, (on which occasion he specifies none but Gnostics,) will agree with me. If any person think otherwise, I have nothing further to say, and our readers must judge between us.
* Και γαρ εισι τινες απο τα ημετερα γενες ομολογαντες αυτον Χριςον ειναι, ανθρωπον δε εξ ανθρωπων γενομενον αποφαινομενοι' οις ου συντιθεμαι, εδ' αν πλειστοι ταυτα μοι δοξασαντες ειπoιεν, επειδη 8κ ανθρωπειοις διδαγμασι κεκελευσμεθα υπ' αυτά τα Χρις πειθεσθαι, αλλα τους δια των μακαριων προφητων κηρυχθεισι, και δι' αυτα διδαχθεισι. Edit. Thirlby, p. 234.
Thus rendered by my opponent the Monthly Reviewer : “ There are some of our profession who acknowledge him to be the Christ, and yet maintain that he was a man born in the natural way; to whom I could not
I cannot help thinking, however, with my learned Vindicator, that this passage, more critically examined, furnishes a still stronger evidence in favour of the prevalence of the Unitarian doctrine in the time of Justin.
1. Let it be considered that, in this place, as well as in his writings in general, he labours the proof of the pre-existence of Christ, shewing that it is consonant to the principles of Platonism, and also deducible from the writings of Moses, and other parts of the Jewish Scriptures, without referring to any other writer in support of what he advances.
2. He does not use a single acrimonious expression against those who differed from him with respect to it, which is just as any man would do, who should write in defence of a novel, or not very prevalent opinion, and one of which himself was the principal abettor. He even provides a retreat, in case he should not be able to prove his point; saying that, though he should fail in this, it would not follow that he was mistaken in the other; for that still Jesus might be the Messiah, (which was evidently a matter of the first consequence with him, though he should be nothing more than a man.
3. He talks of not being overborne by the authority of any number of men, even his fellow-christians, but would adhere to the words of Christ and the sense of scripture, which is a style almost peculiar to those whose opinions are either quite novel, or at least not very prevalent.
4. The phrase, “ neither do I agree with the majority of Chris. tians, who may have objected to my opinion,” which is nearly the most literal rendering of the passage, (though I would not be understood to lay much stress on that circumstance,) will naturally be construed to mean, that the majority actually did make the objection, or that Justin suspected they might make it.
yield my assent, no, not even if the majority of Christians should think the same; because we are commanded by Christ himself not to rely on human doctrines, but to receive those which were published by the blessed prophets, and which he himself taught us." [Mon, Rev. LXVIII. p. 522.)
By my Vindicator, mure literally : “ There are some of our race (viz. Gentiles) who acknowledge him to be the Christ, and yet maintain that he was a man born in the natural way; to whom I do not assent, though the majority may have told me that they had been of the same opinion." (See Mon. Rev. LXIX. p. 317.)
Some conjecture that the original reading was υμετερά, instead of ημετερε; and then, it should be rendered some of your race, meaning the Jewish" Christians, But there is no authority for this from any manuscript. (P.) See ibid. p. 318.
• Sce Vol. V. pp. 21, 22.