« AnteriorContinuar »
God,' and the Jews,' who do always resist the Holy Ghost,' and the followers of the false Prophet,' and Deists, and Chinese, and Hindoos, and Christian Unitarians; and, on the other side, all those who call on the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”—That Deist ineans properly a believer in God, and only accidentally a disbeliever in Christianity, and that it is solely in the former sense that Unitarians (and Trinitarians also) are a sect of Deists; that the Gentiles referred to were those who did “ by nature the things contained in the law," thus uniting the approbation of the New Testament and the reprobation of the Eclectic Review; that it is not, nor ever has been, by maintaining the unity of God that the Jews " resist the Holy Ghost;" and that when that doctrine was asserted by "6 the false Prophet,” it could no more cease to be an important truth, than Jesus could become an impostor in consequence of a Demoniac's proclaiming him the Messiah ; these are facts so obvious, that it would be unnecessary to point out the foregoing evasion of them, but to illustrate the mode in which an Evangelical Reviewer criticises an Unitarian publication. When he characterizes his own party as “ those who call on the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” his description is both correct and unscriptural: it marks their worship as neither known nor practised by Christ and his apostles. Had he read the note to which these remarks are appended, he would have seen that I was warranted by one of his brethren in not considering Trinitarians, any more than Unitarians, as standing alone, or having no associates out of the Christian pale. Horsley, and others, (see Yates's Sermon on the Pecu
liarities of the Gospel,) have fraternized, not indeed with those whose comparatively pure and sublime speculations seem a glimmering of the light of heaven, but with the adorers of Bruhma, Veeshnu and Seeva; of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva ; and with those who “ held the 'existence of three Parcæ or Fates, of the three-shaped monster Chimæra, and of the dog Cerberus, which had three heads upon one body.” The list of affinities thus completed, I no more quarrel with it than the reviewer. Let him and his party
“ Claim kindred there, and have their claims allowed."
An Eclectic Reviewer, one of their ablest and most candid writers, once complained to me, that, having criticised the book of a brother Reviewer, he found, when the article was printed, his objections interpolated with replies or modifications, apparently written by the author or some friend of the author's. Not possessing this means for mitigating their critical severity, I take the present opportunity of replying to some of their accusations.
The most serious charge is that of having advanced
a naked untruth” in affirming “ the constant use of singular pronouns, in declarations made in the name of God and worship addressed to him.” In the present edition the word “ constant” is omitted to avoid cavil ; but how stands the fact ? The alleged exceptions are Gen. i. 26, iji. 22, xi. 7, and Isaiah vi. 8. On the last passage Grotius remaks, “Loquitur tanquam de sententiâ consilii Angelorum;" an interpretation so accordant with the circumstances of the vision as fairly to put this passage out of the question. To make my disregard
of the other three an “ untruth,” it must be taken for granted, that they are not, in my opinion, susceptible of a similar interpretation ; that the connexion of the offensive passage did not shew its particular reference to the history, laws and illustrations of the Jewish dispensation; and that the anonymous writings collected by Moses, and prefixed to his own, come under the description of an authentic literal record of “ declarations made in the name of God:" Postulata more easily granted by the readers of the Eclectic Review than by the congregation whose ignorance of Scripture the writer gravely intimates I intended to impose upon. The Reviewer urges that I “
up to scorn, either the very language of Scripture, or language differing from it only by a shade of phraseology.” The proofs are four. 1. The contrast between Gospel and Calvinistic preaching, p. 104. 2. The description of the feelings of a Calvinist who deems himself secure of heaven, in p.
139. Why would he not see that the object of the allusions, which he calls" indecently distinct,” was to “ hold up to scorn,” (if any thing,) not the misinterpreted and insulted volume of Divine Grace, but the proud and selfish interpreter, who would appropriate its noblest descriptions and promises to himself and his party, and bestow, with aggravation, its delineations of depravity, and denunciations of judgment on all besides ? The 3d and 4th instances are, putting in Italics “ thy most precious blood,” (p. 43,) and “ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," (p. 42). He suppresses the fact that my censure was levelled at the liturgic union, most unscriptural and gross, of the first expression with the incorporeal God; and at the use
of the second by priests, for the purpose of regenerating infunts; and represents it as actually aimed against the phrases themselves as they stand in the New Testament !
With a similar determination to make out a charge of misrepresentation ut any rate, the statement as to Rev. i. 11, in page 144, is quoted, and Doddridge is falsified to prove my
“bad confidence in the reader's inattention." The Reviewer asserts that “ Mr. Fox knows, and any one who looks at the chapter will perceive, that the argument is altogether independent of this interpolated clause in the 11th verse, and that it rests wholly upon the relation between the 8th and the 17th and 18th
of whose genuineness there is no question. And again ch. xxi. 6, and xxii, 13, and all these expressions coinpared with Isaiah xliv. 6.” If by “the argument" is meant any thing else than Dr. Doddridge's argument upon the verse in question, the Reviewer's remark is altogether impertinent. I had not entered into the discussion of what argument might, or might not be founded upon the passage; but simply stated the fact of its influence upon the mind of a distinguished individual, as illustrative of the tendency of that and similar interpolations of the sacred writings. Now a reference to the Family Expositor will shew the reader, that his argument was not “ altogether independent of this interpolated clause," but wholly founded upon it; that it did not “rest wholly upon the relation between the 8th and the 17th and 18th verses, but
upon the repetition of words from ver. 8, in ver. ll. which are not in the 17th and 18th verses; and that he does not refer to ch. xxi. 6, nor to ch. xxij. 13, nor to Isaiah xliv. 6. As the interpolation must be given up, let Trinitarians patch op an argument without it as they can; but let them not
abuse those who remind them of the fact that, while they had it, they placed much reliance on it. The following is Doddridge's declaration, alluded to in the Lecture; “And I cannot forbear recording it, that this text has done more than any other in the Bible toward preventing me from giving into that scheme which would make our Lord Jesus Christ no more than a deified creature.”
One great misrepresentation runs through the whole of this Eclectic Article. Not only is the reader left unacquainted with the leading design of the Lectures, and with the different subjects, some surely of deep interest to the friends of religious liberty and of man, of which it involved the consideration, but they are uniformly spoken of as a controversial work on the Trinity, and many censures are pronounced which can solely be justified by this supposition. Much sage admonition is consequently thrown away about the “bare, dry evidence" that should have been adduced ; and the declamation that should have been avoided ; and many things are pointed out as defects which certainly would have been defects had the Lectures not been Lectures, and had the design, plan, and course of the whole been something very different from what they are, so as to correspond better with the assumption of the Critic.
NOTE (m) - Page 121.
An exception should have been made of the brief, but interesting account of some of the principal sufferers for the Unitarian cause, in Mr. Belsham's Sermon on the Repeal of the Penal Laws against Antitrinitarians. “The