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" holy prophets, that by these means he might bring them gradu.
ally to the faith.” A. D. 398.
• Those of the Jews, who believe that Jefus is the « Christ, are called Ebionites.' Origen contra Celfum.
• And when you consider what belief they of the Jewish s race, who believe in Jesus, entertain of the Redeemer ;
fome thinking that he took his being from Mary and Jo
feph, fome indeed from Mary only and the divine spirit, $, but still without any belief of his divinity: you will under* stand'---Ditto, Commentaria,
13. But concerning Christ, I cannot affirm, whether they [the Nararenes] are involved in the above-stated
crime of Cerinthus and Merinthus, and believe him to be ç a man born of a man; or avow, as the truth is, that he
was begotten of Mary and the holy spirit.' Epiphanius, Hærefis 29. A. D. 368.
Ebion borrowed his abominable rites from the Samari, tans, his name from the Jews, his opinion from the Ef
fenes, the Nazarenes and the Nafareans, and he desired • to bear the appellation of a Chriftian.' & For this Ebion
was contemporary with these, (the Nazarenes) and sets out * from the fame principles with them; and first he afferted, • that Christ was born of the commerce and feed of a man ; • namely Jofeph, as we have already related. For agreeing . in every respect with the rest, in this only he differed; - that he adhered to the Jewish law with respect to the
Sabbath, and Circumcision, add all other Things en joined by the Jews and the Samaritans; and besides, he
imitates the Samaritans in things not regarded by the • Jews. “This man began to propagate his doctrine from - the fame country with the lawless Nazarenes; and, agree + ing together, they communicated of their perverfeness to • each other.' Ditto, Herefis 30. 14.
“ If this be true, we fall into the herefy of Cherintus and Ebion, who, believing in Christ, were anathematized by the father's on " this account only, that they mixed the ceremonies of the law with " the gospel of Christ
, and held to the new (dispensation] in such a manner as not to lose the old. What shall I say concerning the
Ebionites, who pretend that they are christians? It is to this very 5 day, in all the fynagogues of the Eart, a heresy among the Jews, * called that of the Minei, now condemned by the Pharisees, and us commonly called Nazareness who believe in Chritt, the fon of $ God, born of the virgin Mary, and say that it was he who suf* fered under Pontius Pilate, and rose again ; in whom also we belicve. But while they wish to be both Jews and christians, they
neither Jews nor Christians.” Jerom, Epiftola ad Auguftinun. A. D. 378.
Apologia. A. D. 177.
15. "The Nazarénės ate Jews, who respect Christ as a righteous man,' Theodoret, apud Suicerum. A. D.
425 V. 16. Christ is the first production of the Father. Not as having been made ; for God being an eternal mind,
from the beginning had the logos in himself, being eter4 nally rational (noyixa;) : but that the materials of na• ture yet being in chaos, waiting the operation of the active ! mind, and the dense being mingled with the rare, he went • forth to be idea and energy upon them.' Athenagoras,
17 " Before all things God was alone. But even then “ he was not alone, for he had with hiu his own reason. " For God is a rational being. This reason the Greek call
logo's, which word we render sermo, and that you may more easily understand this from yourself, consider that
you, who are in the image of God, and like him a ration" al being, have also reason within yourself. Recollect,
that, when you filently consult with yourself, it is by
means of reason that you do it.”—“ You will say, but is what is speech beside á word, a found, something empty, “ unsubstantial, and incorporeal? But I say, that nothing
empty and unsubstantial can proceed from God, because it - does not proceed from what is itself unfubftantial, nor
can that want fubstance which proceeds from so great a “ substance."-" Then did this speech assume its form and “ dress, its sound and voice, when God said, Let there be
light. This is the perfect nativity of the word, when it proceeded from God. From this time he made him equal (or like, parem] to himself, and by this procession he is
made his son, first-born, begotten before all things, and “ only begotten."! Tertullian, ad Praxeam. A. D. 192.
18." How did he beget him? (that is Chrift.) Thé fa“ cred fcriptures inform us, that the fon of God is the speech " or reason of God, and the other angels the breath of God,
Spiritus Dei.) But speech is breath, emitted together with
a voice, expressive of some meaning; and, since speech “ and breath proceed from different principles, there is a
great difference between the son of God and the other “ angels. For they are mere filent breathings, ([piritus taci“ ti) because they were produced, not to teach the know“ ledge of God, but to minifter. But he, being also a breathing, yet proceeding from the mouth of God with
voice and found, is the Word ; and this, because he was “ to be a teacher of divine wisdom.'." Our breathings are “ diffoluble, because we are mortal : but the breathings of "God are permanent; they live and feel, because he is
immortal, the author of life and sensation.” Lactantius, Institutiones. A. D. 303.
Such is the general evidence which Dr. Priestley, either in his principal work, or in his subsequent defences of it, has adduced in support of his propofitions. We do not pretend to have done any thing like detailing all the testimonies he has exhibited. But we have failed very unintentionally, if we shall be found to have kept back any thing of considerable moment. All that remains for us under this head is, to caution the inconfiderate reader against drawing any peremptory conclusion from ex parte documents, and to intreat him to fufpend his judgment till he shall have seen, what we propose to lay before him in our next review, the arguments, by which the value of the above testimonies is endcavoured to be invalidated, and the direct evidence that has been produced in opposition to our author's hypothefis.
Though the controversy before us be certainly only of fccond rate importance, and though it deal much in dry, abftrufe and unprofitable learning, yet the great and merited reputation of the difputants, particularly of Dr. Priestley, has drawn upon it an uncommon degree of attention. Indeed, whatever becomes of the present dispute, and however we decide upon his character as a divine, it must certainly be acknowledged that as a philofopher, and, what is much better, as a man, our author will reflect lasting honour on the age and country that produced him. Poffeffed of a more extenfive share of learning than perhaps any other man living, endowed with the most undisputed and first-rate talents, and diftinguished by an unparalleled rapidity of conception and facility of expression; these qualities are indeed accompanied with an answerable promptitude of feeling, which forms perhaps the weak fide of this illustrious character. But, whatever may be decided respecting the style he has employed towards those who have insulted or offended him, and even in some cases where he had received no personal offence, certain it is that his natural temper and manners are perfectly mild, simple and unassuming. That disdain of literary reputation, by which he is animated in the pursuit of what he conceives to be the cause of rectitude and truth, is, in a moral view, as noble and as venerable, as it is fingular. The members of our church, if it should be thought proper to diffuade them from the indiscriminate perufal of his theological works, may however fafely and advantageously study his character, as a model of evangelical virtue. It is to a proverb difficult and ungraceful for an author to discourse of himself. But there is something so dignified, ingenuous and fair, in Dr. Priestley's manner of thinking, that it may be af
firmed of him, that there is no subject of which he treats in so attractive and beautiful a manner.
With respect to myself,' says he, in his Preface to the volume before us, “I do not know that I can do any thing more. Being persuaded, as I am, from the study of the scriptures, that Christ is properly a man, I cannot cease to think fo; nor can I possibly help the influence of that persuasion in my historical researches. Let other persons write as freely on their respective hypotheses as I have done on mine ; and then indifferent persons, and especially younger persons, whose minds have not acquired the stiffness of ours, who are turned fifty, may derive benefit from it.
Firm as my perfuafion now is concerning the proper humanity of Christ (a persuasion that has been the flow growth of years, and the result of much anxious and patient thinking) I do not know that, in the course of my enquiry, I have been under the influence of prejudice more than all other men naturally are. As to reputation, a man may distinguish himself juít as much by the defence of old fyftems, as by the erection of new ones; but I have neither formed any new systeins, nor have I particularly distinguished myself in the defence of old ones. When I first became an Arian, and afterwards a Socinian, I was only a convert, in company with many others ; and was far from having any thoughts of troubling the world with publications on the subject. This I have been led to do by a series of events, of which I had no forelight, and of which I do not see the issue.
• The conclusion that I have formed, with respect to the subject of this work, and my exertions in fupport of it, are, however, constantly ascribed by my opponents to a force of prejudice and prepoffeffion, so strong as to pervert my judgment in the plainest of all cales. Of this I may not be a proper judge ; but analogy may be fome guide to myself as well as to others in this case.
Now, what appears to have been my dispolition in other fimilar cases? Have I been particularly attached to byporhees in philofophy, even to my own, which always create a stronger attachment than those of other persons ? On the contrary, I will venture to say that no person is generally thought to be less fo ; nor has it been imagined that my pursuits have been at all defeated or injured, by any prepossession in favour of particular theories; and and yet theories are as apt to mislead in philosophical as in any other subjects. I have always shewn the greatest readiness to abandon any hyporhefis that I have advanced, and even defended, while I thought it defenfible, the moment I have suspected it to be ill founded, whether the new facts that have refuted it were discovered by myself or others. My friends in general have blamed ine for my extreme facility in this respect. And if I may judge of my self by my own feelings, after the closest examination that I can give myself, I am just the same with respect to theology.
• In the course of my life I have held and defended opinions very different from those which I hold at present. Now, if iny obstinacy in retaining and defending opinions had been so great as my oppo-* nents represent it, why did it not long ago put a stop to all my
changes, and fix me a Trinitarian, or an Arian? Let those who have given stronger proofs of their minds being open to conviction than mine has been, throw the first stone at me.
• I am well aware of the nature and force of that opposition and obloquy to whica I am expofing myself in confequence of writing my Hiftory of the Corruptions of Christianity, the most valuable, I trust, of all my publications ; and especially in consequence of the pains that have been taken to magnify and expose a few inaccuracies, to which all works of a similar nature, have been, and evet muit be subject. But I have the fullest persuasion that the real oversights in it are of the smallest magnitude, and do not at all affect any bne position or argument in my work, as I hope to satisfy all candid judges; and as to mere cavil and reproach, I thank God, I am well able to bear it.
' The odium I brought upon myself by maintaining the doctrines of materialism and necessity, without attempting to cover or soften terms of lo frightful a found, and without palliating any of their consequences, was unspeakably greater than what this bufiness can bring upon me: At the beginning of that controversy I had few, very few indeed, of my nearest friends, who were with me in the argument. They, however, who knew me, knew my motives, and excused me; but the christian world in general regarded me with the greatest abhorrence. I was considered as an unprincipled infidel, either an atheist, or in league with. atheists. In this light I was repeatedly exhibited in all the public papers ; and the Monthly Review, and other Reviews, with all the similar publications of the day, joined in the popular cry. But a few years have seen the end of it. At least all that is left would not disturb the merest no: vice in these things. The consequence, which I now enjoy, is a great increase of materialists ; not of atheistical ones, as fome will Itill represent it, but of the most serious, the most rational, and confiftent Christians.
" A fimilar issue I firmly expect from the present controversy, unpromising as it may appear in the eyes of fome, who are struck with what is ipeciously and confidently urged. For my own part I truly rejoice in the prefent appearance of things, as I foresee that much good will arise from the attention that will by this means be drawn upon the subject; and as I hope I respect the hand of God in every thing, I thank him for leading me into this business as I hope to "have occafion to thank him, fome years hence, for leading me through it, and it as much advantage as I have been led through the other.
• It is, indeed, my firm, and it is my joyful persuasion, that there is a wise Providence over-ruling all inquiries, as well as other events, The wisdom of God has appeared, as I have endeavoured to point out, even in the corruptions of christianity, and the spread of error; and it is equally conspicuous in the discovery and propagation of truth.
• I am far from thinking, that that great Being who superintends all things, guides my pen, any more than he does that of
fiercest opponent; but I believe that by means of our joint labours, and