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did not, & having in a little writing once himselfe but a spanne long, horv
God (a god, he might have said*) and One word or two more I must crave. ye Holy Ghost wus God, and then I am sorry to reade what you write askd a maid in church, how many Gods so truly of ye ignorance of ye people, there were & she said three. And, & take speciall notice of those pas- truly, what are three Divine persons sages in y' Apol. p. 23 & 54. But so collaterally mentioned but three for my part I could never hope to see Gods in other words of the same sigthings goe very well with yê meaner nification? I have a booke of Zanchy's sort of ye people, who cannot spare (whom yet Episcopius quotes, wtb Bamuch time, whilest their teachers sil, as not wel approveing yt collate stumble at ye threshold & stifle their ralitie) de tribus Elohim : what's that Catechumens at ye beginning with in English but of ye three Gods odde and contradictory notions about Much about ye same tirne, ye minisye trinitie, instead of teacheing y one
ter himselfe 'made an unhappy slip, God ye Ffather, one Lord Jesus Xi & viz. to whom with thee & God ye Holy one Holy Spirit. They are talkeing Ghost, three Gods and one person, &c. of essence, persons, consubstantial, Much about ye matter, for no doubt relative properties, comunication of idioms, wch is a figure or 5th trope in rhetorique y destroys all ye figures in * A god he might have said, speaking logique, wch are quirkes not so fitt of ye Soune ; so appellatively, as Joh. i. for parish churches as young sophis-1, & apart, as a person of eminent ters; whom yet at another time their honour and power, next unto God ye tutours will teach yt disparates cannot Ffather : see Tertull. adversus Praxean be predicated one of another; as to
c. 13, Si pariter nominandi fuerint Pater say`a man is an Angell, or an eagle Christum Dominum nominem : solum au
et filius, Deum patrein appellem et Jesum is a lion, and can flie as an eagle but
tem Christum potero Deum dicere, sicut not as a Lion.
idem Apostolus, ex quibus Xtus, qui est "Thus they can teach their people (inquit) Deus super omnia benedictus in (as I have oft heard y") how ye infi. ævum omne. so Tertull.' some thinke nite God vch spannes ye heavens, was better, super omnes : see Grot, in loc.
Points of Resemblance between Unitarianism and Calvinisin, 71 but God is a person, and so spoken tifie Atheists & carnal men who of in Scripture.
would undoubtedly subscribe to a hun: In ye same p. 23, you speake of dred things more rather than loose original Sinne, wch as to ye corruption their benefices : they will not be such of nature or vitious inclinations, should fooles, as Camden sayth of ye Papists be propounded rather as a curse than in Qu: Eliz: time, yt of 12000 benea sinne; as part of Gods curse for fied men not above 80 would loose Adams transgression & ye wieked- their preferments & some least ye nesse of ye world, rather than 80 pro- Heretiques should gett ym. Such perly a sinne as our owne voluntary kind of subscriptions are Honey & sinnes are. For ye cure of this, what nutts for ye Devill. I was reading odde doctrines doe the Lutherans & yesterday Josias Nicholas, who much others teach their disciples, concern- inveighs agst y®, An: 1602, & Zanchy's ing the sacrement of Baptisme con letter to Qu: Eliz: agst y* Surplice. ferreing grace non ponentibus obicem; S', I hope you will take this my & therefore to all children baptized, Apologie in good part. God continue who they say doe actually beleive and you in health & prolong your life. I understand (all Tho: Aquinas his hope yf selfe & all about you will be summes, no doubt). Possibly it may carefull of you. Good people chalbe simply lawfull to baptize infants, lendge a title to ye longest day of your as it may be done : (I think ye primi- life, & pray heartily for you : so doe tive Xtians did circumcise yn for a I, resting, St, your most heartie time :) but yt it is better and more ffriend- & humble servaunt, seriptural, as ye 27th article sayth, I
G. C. cannot subscribe: if ye subscription had been only negative, (as I have
SIR, been at Irish one,) possibly I might of the herscotch faculty of Common have been content to hold my tongue. I think I should in a matter of greater Sense, Dr. Priestley expresses much moment, when to speake would doe surprise that a stanch Calvinist, like more hurt than good, as you very well Jonathan Edwards, should believe and say. I have askd some of ye old & ably defend the doctrine of Philosobest approved Xtians, whither when phical Necessity, which he considery they have been tempted, whither (I to be more closely allied to the creed say) they have felt any efficacious of Socinus. I ain well aware that checque from their baptismal vow in Unitarianism and Calvinism are usuinfancie, or what their Godfathers ally regarded as consisting of the most promised for yes and they have con- discordant elements, and that in the fessed y' they have not. What witches estimation of the generality, the antiand ye Devil doe is not much to be podes of the opposite hemispheres are regarded.
not more remote from each other, 'Tis said, Act. 2, they continued in than the peculiar tenets of Calvin and ve Apostles' doctrine, &c. "Till we Dr. Priestley. But really upon a have recovered the apostles' doctrine closer view of some of their opinions, from all Babylonical mixtures, our I cannot discover that their variance Christian communion will be very is altogether so irreconcileable; nor lame. Some good may be done, but can I avoid perceiving several striking something will be so done as to be points of resemblance between the undone againe another time, and all systems of these renowned polemics. our national agreements & combina- Thus the Calvinist affirms that while tions will be but conspiracies and con- a small portion of mankind are prefederacies, which must downe another destined by the unalterable decrees time, except our magistrates and gran- of heaven to eternal life, the great dees would be persuaded to urge as a majority are consigned to hopeless condition of ye publique ministry a condemnation. The Unitarian likesubscription to but few articles & but wise (whom I suppose to entertain the in undoubted scripture expressions, doctrine of Necessity) believes that with some test against Popery & com- comparatively few of the human race plete indulgence to all reformed dis- will so far comply with the injunctions senters in things merely spiritual; of Christianity, as to entitle them to where is no civå injurie, & not gran share in its promised rewards, and
that the remainder will inevitably incur indeed, many who entertain no doubt the punishment denounced against the respecting the final restitution of the disobedient. He will not allow, per- whole human race to virtue and haphaps, that this distribution takes place piness, and with them the tenets of in consequence of any arbitrary decree Calvin would lose much of their hideof the Almighty, but may contend ous deformity; but it is difficult to that it arises from the necessary ope- say, how those of the same party who ration of moral causes and effects. rest their views in the ultimate anniAnd does not this, when traced to its hilation of the iniquitous, (leaving the source, amount to the same thing ? eternity of punishment out of the
It was, doubtless, foreknown to the question,) can be said materially to Divine mind, “ from the foundation differ from the Reformer of Geneva, of the world," on which particular in some of the more prominent points individuals among the human race of his system of faith. To every ef. these causes would produce their pro- fectual purpose, they appear to me per effect, and on which they would virtually to admit, though they may operate in vain. Nothing, according ostensibly disavow, the doctrines of to the Necessarian scheme, could re- absolute decrees, of election and repromain contingent upon future events, bation, of irresistible grace and final nothing could be left liable to altera- perseverance. tion from unexpected occurrences. In the Calvinistic system, it is true And is not this equivalent to saying that good works are not allowed to that it was predetermined, in the constitute either the means or the councils of the Most High, who should condition of salvation, as the whole is persevere to the end, and who should resolved into the free and irrespective. ultimately fail, --who, in short, to grace of God and his sovereign power;. adopt the phraseology of Calvinism, but, at the same time, it must be should be numbered with the elect remembered, that though the adheor chosen few, and who with the re- rents of this sect utterly deny the probate or rejected majority? It will saving efficacy of good works, they scarcely be denied by the Unitarian, regard them as intimately connected I imagine, that those of the species with a genuine vital faith, and that who strictly conform to the conditions without them, the latter cannot prorequired in revelation, are placed in perly be evidenced. On the subject such favourable circumstances as to of personal merit, I conceive that these, lead them inevitably to rectitude of two classes of Christians nearly acconduct; and there cannot exist a cord. And to what other cause, let doubt, that were the rest of mankind me ask, can the Unitarians ascribe the $0 situated as to come within the different conditions and destinies of sphere of the same operative causes, mankind, but to the free bounty and their volitions would be influenced in sovereign will of the Supreme Arbiter, the same manner, and we should find of the universe? It is his pleasure in the formation of their characters that a chosen few should so shape the same result. He then who or- their conduct, and so conform their dains the circumstances by which ra- volitions to the precepts and model of tional and moral beings are invariably the Saviour, as with certainty to obtain influenced, does in effect ordain their " the inheritance of the saints in ultimate condition :-for what Neces- light;" and to the same uncontronlsarian will dispute that these pre- able pleasure it is surely owing that established antecedents and conse- the other, and far greater portion of quents follow each other with unerring his rational offspring, should fail in certainty ?
fulfilling the conditions required, and As far, therefore, as the destiny of thus forfeit every hope of possessing mankind, which is to follow the ter- the proffered prize. mination of the present state of ex, It is impossible, in my opinion, to istence, is concerned in the argument, reconcile the harsh and revolting tenets I acknowledge myself unable to disa of Calvinism, with the benevolence, cern any essential difference between and much more with the infinite bene. avowed Calvinists and those Unita- volence of the great Parent of Nature; rians who comprehend in their creed but I am at a loss to discover in what the doctrine of Necessity. There are, manner those Unitarians, who reject
Letters from the late Rev. James Nicol to the Rev. B: Mardon.
the belief of final restitution, can with thing but grief and dissipation ; and any consistency condemn the very though I have already forced my way sentiments which they themselves through many an intricate labyrinth, really indulge, though clothed in a yet a weary distance still awaits me, different garb, and coloured in a softer and my growing infirmities, while they tone.
render me less able for exertion, are CLERICUS CANTABRIGIENSIS.* continually calling upon me to quicken
my pace. I do not know if I menLetters from the late Rev. James tioned it before, but the truth is, that Nicol to the Rev. B. Mardon. owing to these circumstances, and LETTER III.
the love which I have to the cause,
which I believe a good one, my con[For Letters I. and 11. see Vol. XVII. pp. science constantly upbraids me, when591 and 735.)
ever I am employed in any thing but Traquair Manse, Sept. 28, 1819. that which I mention; and though MY DEAR SIR,
this may not vindicate, it will account DARE say you will now be con- for my silence, without an impeach
cluding that my friendship is no- ment of the affection of my heart. thing but a pretence, and that the I formerly told you that I had enletters you receive from me, are no. tered upon a consideration of the docthing but words of course, designed trine of the Trinity, and that I was to amuse you, and to while away an led to that consideration by the pubinsipid hour. Were I called to refute lication of Wardlaw's perforinance this idea, I am not sure that I could against Yates. From the cursory manbring any proof which would at all ner in which I must have mentioned serve that purpose to any person, and this circumstance, I see from your last yet, you may believe me, the idea that you have formed an inaccurate would be totally unfounded. Various idea of my design. My design is not causes have had considerable influence, to revise, and to refute in that revisal, not only in effecting it, but even in the statements and reasonings of excusing my silence to myself. From Wardlaw, but to accomplish a still your last letter, I anticipated the plea- more important and arduous work, by sure of seeing you at Traquair Manse investigating the subject in all its diflong before this, and of receiving more ferent aspects and bearings; and thus information from you in a single day, to refute the doctrine, rather than any than a correspondence by writing particular defender of it. In the could convey in a year, and I have accomplishment of this design, howalways found, too, that what is thrown ever, you will easily see, that the asout in a moment of social intercourse, sertions of Wardlaw will not be forpossesses a freshness and a raciness, gotten, especially as he has attempted if I may use these terms, which no- to furbish anew the blunted weapons thing that distils coldly from the pen of his predecessors. I have endeacan ever possess. I have, likewise, voured to pay particular attention, as I formerly told you, unhappily for with what success it does not belong myself, though, perhaps, very hap: - to me to say, to what may be called pily for my correspondents, plunged the metaphysical discussion of the headlong into the gulf of polemical question, whether it be possible that theology, without much prospect of the orthodox doctrine can be true? ever getting out of that " bottomless My reason for doing this, is, that if pit,” which the orthodox, in the rest. it can be shewn, and I flatter myself less blindness of their understanding, that I have shewn, that the orthodox if the understanding had any hand in doctrine is by no means a mystery, as it, have dug for their opponents. Need its abertors would have us to believe, I mention, too, that this is actually and as many of its opponents seem to my birth-day, when I enter upon my admit, but a plain and palpable eonfiftieth year, with a constitution never tradiction, and which, therefore, canrobust; but now, worn out with every not possibly be true; all attempts to
prove it from Scripture must be in
vain; for should Scripture be brought Or, as in Vol. XVII. p. 427, Canta- to prove it, it could not establish it, brigiensis (II.).
but overturn itself. The only writers, VOL. XVIII.
with whom I am acquainted, who, to might have exerted his power from to any extent, have attempted the elernity.” Now, though this is the same thing, are Clarke and Priestley, decision of no mean mind, yet I thiuk men whose minds were of the very that I could legitimately prove, that it first order. Though Clarke's hypo- is absolutely impossible that any of thesis appears to me altogether unte- the Almighty's acts or exertions can nable, yet I cannot but admire iis be eternal
the proper sense of that clear and forcible and discriminating term. In short, upon Price's principle, reasonings respecting the proper unity I do not see how it would be possible of the Supreme Being, and wish that to disprove the eternal generation of men of similar abilities had pursued the Son. But enough of Metaphysics. the path of which he had fairly taken I received your kind present with possession. Priestley, with powers .pleasure, and return you my sincere which have seldom been equalled, thanks. The extracts from Dr. (Southwanted the coolness and the patience of wood] Smith were not new to me, as Clarke; and the nature of his contro- I am in possession of his masterly perversy with Horsley, as well as num- formance. The pamphlet of your friend berless other pursuits, precluded hiin is excellent ;* and I am sorry that such from doing what he otherwise would a person should leave the country, as have done, upon the primary question. he must have done much good had he Had I not imagined it possible to remained among you. The argument push the inquiry still further than they which he chiefly employs, and which have done, and to give a broader basis he presses home opon old orthodox, to the grand conchision, that it is im- with equal force and skill, has not possible that there can be any thing often been alluded to. Indeed, that but one God in one person, I would Christianity should be so much cornot have entered the field on which rupted, as the Scriptures affirm it the power of their sagacious and ar- would be, in the dark ages, is a fact gumentative understandings was so altogether unaccountable, upon the conspicuously displayed. From this, supposition of the truth of the comyou are by no means to suppose that I mon doctrines. Upon that supposineglect, or even treat lightly, the ar- tion the corruption would be really guments which both parties draw from nothing; for the Popish doctrines of Scripture in support of their respec- Original Sin, the Trinity, the Atonetive doctrines. I have considered every ment-all the primary doctrines, in text that deserves notice, and if I do short, are the same as those of the not deceive myself, I have brought for- Protestant; and hence the primary ward something new upon most.if not doctrines of Christianity would have upon all. I cannot but .add, that I remained free from corruption, and have just now finished a section upon all that ignorance and superstition Eternal Generation, some part of would have done, wonld be only that which I once thought of sending to of adding a few senseless articles to you with this, in which I have come them, without blending them. The to a conclusion, which you may think corruption of which the apostles speak perhaps a paradox, if not a contradic. was not of this kind it was to enter tion, that though God must of neces- into the very vitals of every article sity have possessed the power of acting which Christ taught. Upon the refrom eternity, yet still it is absolutely ceipt of your letter, I sent to Edin. impossible, that any act or exertion of burgh for your Sermon, † which I that power, whether necessary or con- perused with great pleasure ; and must tingent, can be eternal—a conclusion which is not only contrary to what all the orthodox must admit, but to what inany of their opponents positively
* The Layman's Letter to the Protesassert. Price, whom on account of tant, (see Mon. Repos. XIV. 441,) the his amiable disposition and superior author of which soon afterwards remored abilities, notwithstanding his opinions are different from mine, I can admire God, or the Doctrine of Scripture con
+ The Father of Jesus, the Christian's and love, says in one of his sermons, cerning the Object of Religious Worship " It is self-evident, that the Almighty contrasted with prevalent Forms of Being, who existed from eternity, Prayer.