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taken away. (But did they dispute, then, in syllogisms and in writing? I question it.) And p. 26, if he could see a conference, whose moderators were designed to see all done in strict form of argument, and the ratiocinators on both sides might have days given them to review if any thing had slipped from them, that there might be no lying at the catch; he should hope by such a counsel as this to see the church in her ancient splendour and glory. And what hindered but the bishops might have had such a one if they had desired it? And what advantage got Dr. Gunning, Bishop of Chichester, by disputing with Mr. John Corbet? And did not Bishop Morley lie at the catch with Mr. Baxter?
"But its time to end. Might it not do well to reprint some of Mr. Baxter's little pieces together, as his Call to the Unconverted; Now or Never; And they made Light of Him; his Sermon before the House of Commons, before King Charles II. coming in; and his book of Catholic Communion or Unity,' (in 8vo.) as I think he calls it? Dear Sir, I pray God be with you in this good work; you have a very. fair opportunity to teach all sorts many useful things, and you have a grave, savoury style; and as I said at first, make not too much haste, though you be pressed to it. It will prove a work of many months to do it well; and sat cito (you know) si sat bene. Excuse this freedom from
dle of sticks, this important lesson has become almost a truism, and to dilate upon it would be tedious. But if all are ready to acknowledge this truth in theory, all are not so successful in reducing it to practice; and as regards the Unitarian body, while there is much ground for congratulation on the increasing spirit of cooperation that exists among us, there is also much room for regret that this spirit has not attained a still greater degree of strength and perfection, What energy has a well-cemented system given to the Wesleian Methodists! They move in a mass, and the strength of the whole body is brought to bear on every point of their operations, The esprit du corps animates every member, and engenders cordial warmth and indefatigable exertion. In entering into their society, a man expects not only to worship in a manner congenial to his sentiments, but to obtain a numerous band of friends and allies, both in temporal and spiritual concerns. It must be admitted, that this is sometimes carried so far as to give cause of complaint, roîę žęw, for want of impartiality and good neighbour ship; and God forbid that any such sectarian spirit should ever narrow the open-hearted philanthropy of Unitarians. Still something is due to that common cause which unites us together, and without cordial union and systematic co-operation no cause can ever succeed. It is not, however, my present scope to enter at large into this subject. The great sources of union, unanimity of sentiment, Christian love and good church order, might afford much to say, and not unseasonably; but my present work lies in a humbler department. The things which unite bodies of men together are very various; some are intrinsi cally important, some, on the other hand, are trifles: but, perhaps, the trifles are scarcely less powerful, in this respect, than the more important matters. What unites the Freemasons
has often been and think not without reason, that Unitarians are not cemented together by so powerful a spirit of union as is desirable. Perhaps among all the Christian sects, there is not a more loose and straggling connexion than ours. Since the old mythologist portrayed to the world the power of union by the quaint emblem of a bun
but some odd twist in
and an oath to keep nothing a secret? I think it not unlikely that the Quakers are held together as powerfully by their tutoyer and broad brims, as by their fancied immediate inspiration. And the quaint plainness of a Methodist's dress may have entered into Wesley's calculation as much as his class-meetings and love-feasts. A fa
vourite national air is as mighty to rouse the patriotic enthusiasm as the most consummate harangue, or the consideration of the highest personal interests; and the flag of our country appears amidst the battle like its guardian angel. Do not apprehend, Sir, that I am about to propose for the adoption of Unitarians any of those whimsical singularities which make some of our neighbours, with all their excellencies, seem such odd sort of beings as they sometimes do. I am not going to advise any particular directions for the tailor or mantua-maker. Let us, by all means, dress like other people, speak good English, and deal with all our neighbours ipartially as men and brethren. But though, I trust, I shall recommend no foolery, yet I am aware that he who suggests any new plan, which deviates a little from the beaten track, must prepare himself for the smile of pity, if not the sneer of contempt. But these are light evils, and no more than many an excellent project has procured for its first proposer. Many little things are great in their effects, and he that will not consider this, is neither a philosopher nor a politician. The features of a friend's face, though in themselves insignificant, are inexpressibly valuable, because they are associated with his mind, and a single glance at them puts us in full possession of his presence. So any thing that, by a ready notice to our senses, distinguishes those brethren, whose sentiments are most congenial to our own, excites our affections very powerfully, and has a strong cementing influence, owing to the ready and rapid play of association.
But, without further proem, I will now come to my plan, and, I trust, it will appear to be one which, while it answers the purpose of a characteristic, involves no singularity of dress, speech or behaviour, in common life; and is not only unobjectionable in all these respects, but has much intrinsic utility, independent of the end for which it is now more especially proposed. It is this: that Unitarians, as far as can conveniently be done, should, in a peculiar and characteristic manner, adopt the study and use of the Greek language among themselves, somewhat in the same way as the Jews do the Hebrew. And to give a more characteristic effect, as well
as to secure a common pronunciation in all countries in which Unitarians might adopt the plan, I should propose, that we should follow the ancient mode of utterance, as far as that is pretty well agreed upon by the learned, as, in fact, it is in the main. We should thus have in use throughout our whole body, in all countries, a common and beautiful language, in a considerable measure peculiar to us; a thing which, I conceive, has a more conciliating and cementing efficacy than any external circumstance whatever. While in all common intercourse we should freely use our vernacular dialects, we should still, those at least who were tolerably educated, be sufficiently frequent and familiar in the use of Hellenism, to give it a characteristic effect, and to recognize each other readily by it; especially by the aid of our mode of pronunciation, which, while it would be the genuine and beautiful utterance of ancient Greece, would also be, more or less, peculiar to ourselves, in the present day. I think all the advantages derivable from a characteristic and sensible token of our community, would thus be secured, and that in a way which would produce no singularity observable by our neighbours, though affording a ready distinction to ourselves.
It is almost needless to dwell on the collateral advantages of this plan: they are such, I conceive, as would alone repay all the labour which it requires, which is indeed not very considerable, if well managed. The Greek is not essentially a hard language to acquire. It is regular and perspicuous; natural and easy in its construction; its idiom, as has often been observed, much resembling the English, with which, indeed, it has a kindred origin; the accent is always marked, and the quantity, unlike the Latin, generally self-evident. Nothing is wanting but suitable books and a rational mode of instruction, to render the acquirement of this language far from a formidable undertaking. The Greek language, meanwhile, is not only the most beautiful and perfect which mankind has ever spoken, but in respect to the advantages of being acquainted with it, is the most important of all that we are accustomed to add to the knowledge of our mother tongue. It is the sacred language of Christianity, the groundwork of theology, the na
tive dialect of freedom, the fountain head of literature, and the key of science. The learned and philosophic have always been enraptured with its praises, and those ingenious men, who have proposed an artificial, philosophical language, should have considered that in the Greek they had one already prepared, infinitely more perfect and beautiful than any they could hope to devise. As far as Christianity extends, this tongue will be revered and studied; as far as science is diffused, its nomenclature will be naturalized; wherever the muses wander, they will bear it with them as their native tongue, and its inimitable bards will be read with delight. The lapse of ages, sweeping less perfect dialects from the earth, will add new honours to this: in short, if true religion and civilization are destined to encircle the globe, and maintain a permanent sway, the knowledge of this sacred and incomparable tongue will do so likewise: it will be the universal language of enlightened education.
To Unitarians a good acquaintance with Greek is peculiarly desirable, as it is connected so closely with the defence of their
much is this apprehended to be the case, that I have actually heard the study of Greek disapproved of, as leading to Unitarianism, while that of Hebrew was commended as having a contrary tendency. This Cabbalistic antipathy is not, I believe, without some foundation. To some knowledge of this tongue, I can trace my own first persuasion that Unitarianism was truth, and my present satisfaction in this belief is not a little derived from the same source. My case, I presume, may not be singular. Moreover, an extensive cultivation of this language among us would also have this advantage, that it would qualify many for superintending education, and thus would be favourable to the extension of our sentiments among the rising generation.
Towards carrying the proposed plan into execution, so far as it shall meet with approbation, it would appear necessary that parents should make the acquisition of Greek an essential part of their children's education, and that for both sexes; that those adults who have leisure and ability, should think
it no unworthy pursuit to add this interesting branch of knowledge to those they have already acquired, a task which I have known several ladies undertake with much ultimate satisfaction; that where circumstances admit of it, some knowledge of the Greek Testament should be given to the most meritorious and intelligent children in our Sunday-schools; and, lastly, that in every congregation, such as like the plan should form an Hellenistic association, for carrying it into effect among themselves. The economy of such an association would be simple and obvious; but I cannot now go into detail.
Such, Sir, is the proposal which, though marked by a little singularity, I have ventured to lay before your readers, deeming it not unworthy of their serious attention.
Εκαςος τὰ ἑαυτῷ δοκῶντα πραττέω.
The Divinity of Christ adopted by the Pagan Philosophers as an artful device to set aside the truth of Christianity.
IN my last paper (pp. 33—38) I
shewed that the Pagans, to account for the miracles of Christ, supposed him to be a God; I will now shew that they adopted the supposition of his divinity to set aside the claims of his Gospel. The Heathen philosophers thought themselves called upon only to account for the miracles of Christ, and for his appearance after death. If he were a demon or God, the phenomena required no investigation beyond his personal nature. They night say he performed the works ascribed to him by virtue of his own power; he survived death by virtue of his own nature. This was sufficient: farther inquiry would be unnecessary, or a mere matter of curiosity. On the other hand, if the dictate of Paganism were discarded, and Jesus considered, as he appeared to be, a mere man, in order to account for his miracles, it was then necessary to receive his doctrine, and the records containing it. And here they would view him held forth as a divine teacher coming from God, the Creator and Governor of the world, with the most important information to mankind,
calling upon them to repent, to mend their lives, and to lead a new course of virtue, as a proper qualification for a higher and nobler state of being, in which vice would be followed by indefinitely great misery, and virtue by indefinitely great happiness. To prove that he announced these glad tidings at the command of God, he did, with the power of God, things which no other power but that of God could do. He voluntarily laid down his life as a proof that he himself believed the doctrine which he brought to light, also, as an example of the happy influence which it produces under trials and suffering; and, lastly, as a step previ ously requisite to establish the truth of his subsequent resurrection. And here it must be observed, that the simple humanity of Christ is essential to the validity of the whole scheme. Jesus Christ rose from the dead as a pledge of the resurrection of mankind: he must, therefore, be in nature and constitution one of that kind. For if he inherited the divine nature, it most obviously followed, that a being who, by virtue of his superior nature survived death, is no proof of the resurrection of an inferior race, who, by the conditions of their being, are subject to death. This was the argument which the Pagan writers wished to inculcate, and if it be solid, the gospel, which contains the glad tidings of a future state to man, falls to the ground. In proof of the assertion that they proceed on this ground, and with this view, in holding the divine nature of Christ, I briefly cite the following facts.
1. First, the Pharisees, when they could no longer deny the works of Jesus, asserted that he was aided by a demon. "This man could not cast out these demons but through Beel zebub, the prince of the demons," Matt. xii. 23. By this they meant to say, not only that Beelzebub assisted Jesus, but that he resided within him. This is evident from the words of Mark, who represents the Pharisees as saying that he had an unclean spirit, chap. iii. ver. 28. This is an incident of great importance, though the consequence of it has not been sufficiently observed by learned men. For it clearly shews that the surest and most plausible way which the enemies of
Jesus had to undermine his claims, was to represent him as a supernatural being, or a supernatural being as united with him.
2. In order to set aside the argument that Jesus Christ was the means of destroying the demons, Plutarch represents him as being himself one of the demons that perished. To this be it added, that the object of the magicians in the court of Tiberius, on proposing to place our Lord among the Pagan gods, could be no other than to destroy his claims as the messenger of heaven, and to assimilate his religion with the religion of the Pagans.
3. The Emperor Alexander Severus had the same object, as is thus attested by Elius Lampridius, a writer whose testimony, as being a Pagan, cannot reasonably be called in question. "He (Alexander) intended to build a temple to Christ, and to receive him among the gods; which Adrian also is reported to have designed; who ordered temples to be erected in all cities, without statues. But he was hindered by those who by consulting the oracle had discovered that if such an event had happened to the person desired, all would become Christians, and other temples would be forsaken." See Lard. VII. 364.
4. Hadrian, in his letter to the Consul Servianus, preserved by Vopiscus, (in Saturnino, c. vii.) or Lard. VII. 363, asserts that the devotees of Serapis were believers in Christ. Illi qui Serapim colunt. Christiani sunt, et devoti sunt Serapi, qui se episcopos Christi dicunt. They who worship Serapis profess Christianity, and the very bishops of Christ are devotees of Serapis." These devotees were doubtless such believers in Christ as Hadrian himself was, that is, they were believers in his divinity, thinking, or affecting to think, that the God which dwelled in him was the same with Serapis. Those bishops of Christ's, yet worshipers of Serapis, were the Gnostic teachers, of whom the celebrated Basilides was the chief. The devotion of that impostor to Serapis, while he affected to be a believer in, and teacher of Christianity, appears from a story told by Tacitus, which represents him among others, as instigating Vespasian to cure a blind man at Älexandria,
with no other view than to obtain, in honour of the Egyptian divinity, the counterpart of a miracle actually performed by Jesus Christ. The supposition that Christ and Serapis were the same, was as natural to the people of Egypt, as it was in the Jews to suppose that he was animated by Beelzebub; or in the magicians at Rome, that he was the son of Mercury and Penelope; or in the people of Lystra, that Paul and Barnabas were Jupiter and Mercury.
5. Those who first believed, or affected to believe, that our Lord was a supernatural being, changed Christus into Chrestus, an epithet which the Pagans applied to such of the demons as they deemed benign and useful to mankind. In this number seems to have been Suetonius, who briefly says that Claudius expelled the Jews for disturbing the city at the instigation of Chrestus. Judæos, impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit. This writer well knew that Jesus had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius; yet his language implies that Christ was still living and instigating the Jews in the time of Claudius. Suetonius, therefore, must have adopt ed the vulgar notion that Christ was a demon, and still in existence, though the man Jesus, in whom he had for a time resided, had been long since put to death.
clothed himself with flesh, he appeared a man, and that after he had even then shewn the greatness of his nature, he disengaged himself from the flesh, again resumed his Godhead, and is still a God as he was before he became a man." Euseb. Præp. Evan. lib. xi. xix. See Lard. VII. 160.
I need not tell the reader that the Barbarian here meant was John the. Evangelist. Here Aurelius, an enemy of the Gospel, acknowledges the divinity of Christ, and admits the truth of his miracles, by saying, that while in the flesh he displayed the greatness of his nature. This is a remarkable fact a Heathen asserts the divinity of Christ to be true, in order to set his Gospel aside as false. For he understood, or affected to understand, the Evangelist as aiming to prove that Christ, who performed the miracles, was the same with the Logos, who made all things. He, moreover, intimates that Heraclitus taught the same doctrine respecting the Logos, and that the Barbarian, John, had advanced nothing but what the Greek philosopher would have advanced had he been then living which amounts to this, "that Christianity, as far as it is true, is included in the Gentile philosophy; whilst, as far as it is new and peculiar, it is false and unnecessary."
This proposition, when properly investigated and ascertained, cannot fail to have great effect towards deciding the controversy between the advocates of the Orthodox and those of the Unitarian faith. As the views of mankind shall open, the providence of God will appear to furnish wonderful provisions for restoring Christianity to its original purity, and to establish its truth throughout the world. And it will seem, in future times, surprising that, even in the nineteenth century, the great majority of those who profess the Christian religion, hold that doctrine to be essential to it, which its enemies at first adopted as the most specious and effectual means of setting it aside as false; a sure proof that Christianity, as vulgarly received and established, whether by prejudice or power, contains the very essence of Antichrist. J. JONES.
The philosophers, who flourished in the second century and afterwards, and who formed the celebrated school of Alexandria, had recourse to the same reasoning; and there is reason to believe that they exerted all their talents and reputation to destroy Christianity, upon no other ground than that the founder was himself supposed to be a supernatural being. A passage of Aurelius, a disciple of Plotinus, and one of the bitterest enemies of the Gospel, is decisive on this subject. "This truly is the word Logos, by whom, as being eternal, all things were made, as Heraclitus would have acknowledged: and, indeed, the Barbarian, assigning to him the rank and dignity of being in the beginning, asserts that he existed with God and was God; that by him were all things made; and in him every thing that is made has its life and being; that having descended into a body, and