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fascinating power of religious prejudice instilled in early life, and upheld by an aweful, superstitious dread of inquiring into a subject weakly deemed too sacred for human investigation !
Here, Sir, I close my observations on the matter of your Remarks.*
I have still something to say * One thing more, however, I cannot wholly omit to notice, and that is, your curious mode of reasoning in your notes, pages 5, 11, and 12. Jesus, you say, must be the object of supreme worship, because he is mentioned jointly with God, in the following texts, 1 Thess. iii. 11, 1 Tim. i. 1 and 2, 2 Tim. i. 2, Tit. i. 4, 2 Jo. B, 2 Cor. i. 2, Ephes. i., 2. vi. 25, Gal. i. 3, Philem. 3. What a charming thing a conjunction is! Much virtue in if! says Touchstone, None at all, say I, compared with and !You certainly must, Sir, have a coalition with Ambrose, as I recommended in my 4th letter, (note upon p. 93). And do you really think that Jesus was prayed to, in any one of these texts ? By the same sort of Ambrosian logic, the seven spirits (Rev. i. 4), must be supremely worshipped, and prayed to; David must be worshipped (1 Chron. xxix. 20), and Samuel must be feared (1 Sam. xii. 18), as God. And, in like manner, when a protestant says, as many a good protestant does say, « God and “ all good angels guide you on your way,” your logic makes him to be one that prays to and worships angels, and turns him into a staunch papist in a moment.--- Angels and ministers of
grace defend us !” I was going to say, had not the fear of being made a papist myself stood in my way. Nay, if every simple wish is to be thus turned into a prayer and supplication, you may prove that many an honest man in this country offers up, supreme worsbip to the devil himself. Upon this subject of worshipping and praying to Jesus, I would recommend you to read what is said in Unitarian Tracts, 4to. vol. ii. tract iii. pag. 46-50; and in modern Tracts, published by the Unitarian Society, vol. i. 1791. 12mo. tract 4th, pag. 10-22; and the latter of two dissertations published in 1779, 8vo. by the good and every way worthy Mr. Lindsey; and the 6th section of his u Examination of Robinson's Plea,' p. 70-89. edit. 1789. .
on the manner of them. I do not mean the want of perspicuity and precision in expressing your ideas, which I have before noticed as far as was necessary
Your conclusion is no less curious, when you infer (p. 8 and 9), that because Jesus is called a shepherd, and God is also called a shepheed, therefore Jesus is God. “Oh! most lame and impo“ tent conclusion !” (Shaksp.) Saul is called king of Israel (1 Sam. xxiv. 14), and God is also called king of Israel (Isa. xliv. 6.), therefore Saul is God! The Lord have mercy upon us! If the Bible, in its object and design, had not been one of the plainest and simplest books in the world ; if it had not been its only purpose to make us good and happy; and if that pur. pose had not filled every page of it, it must long since have been overwhelmed by the treatment it has met with. No othet book was ever so used, or rather. so abused, as this has been. No other book could have survived such usage. That it still continues to answer its design, and to do good among us, after it has been so bedaubed, so pitched and plastered over with one silly conceit or another, proves its consummate excellence, proves how copious and full, how constant, steady, and true it is to its main end and object, so that there is no way of wholly putting out its moral light, unless every chapter, nay, almost every verse of it, be completely burged up with theology. I wonder no body ever took it into his head to maintain, that it ought to be read Byspoondov, one line forwards, and the next backwards, or up and down, like the Chinese, or that the two columns, where it is so printed, ought to be read across, in the manner of Papyrius Cursor. If it is to be explained so differently from all other books, I do not see why it may not be read differently from all other books. If common sense is to be wholly laid aside in expounding it, why may we not as well lay aside common sense in reading it? I verily believe, even then, it would look more like a book of morality than any thing else. . But, Sir, I must tell you another thing. Most of these texts from which you draw your inferences about joint prayer to Jesus, require to be a little corrected in the version : and if you were for mending the common translation of the New Testa
to our purpose; nor the positive, decisive tone which you assume, when you speak of
ment, you would have done well to have fixed
these texts, instead of those which you fancy to be new proofs of the divinity of Jesus. You would then have seen, that if there were any prayer, or supplication at all contained in them, it would only be addressed to one being, the God of Jesus. Thus 1 Tim. i. 1, should be rendered ;“ according to (not by) the command« ment of God, saviour of us, and lord of Jesus Christ.” So Tit. i. 4, “ from God, father and lord of Jesus Christ ;" and 2 Cor. i. 2," from God, father of us, and lord of Jesus Christ;" and so likewise, Ephes. i. 2. vi. 23. Philem. 3., and in many of the usual salutations of the New Testament, such as Rom. i. 7, 1 Cor. i. 3, Philip. i. 2, Coloss. i. 2, 1 Thess. i. 1, 2 Thess. i. 2, &c. &c. As to 1 Tim. i. 2, and 2 Tim. i. 2, there is some variation in the reading of the MSS. and versions. If we fol. low that reading, which omits nuwe after warpos, we may then render the words, “ from God, father and king of Jesus, the
lord of us.” That Christ is equivalent to king, appears from Mark xv. 32, Luke xxiii. 2, among other passages, and also from Lactantius, Institut. lib. iv. cap. vii. Christus cupatio potestatis et regni; sic enim Judæi reges suos appellabant. Vol. i. p. 287. edit. Dufresnoy. And that God is stiled king, appears also from Psal. xxiv, 7–10. xlvii. 2.6–8, and many other places of scripture. Or, if we follow the reading which retains riwr after watpos, we may then render the words either ; “ father of us and king of Jesus," as before ; or, “ father of us, « and of Christ Jesus.” As to Galat. i. 3. the Alexandrian and several other MSS. fathers, &c. have now after sætpos, instead of after xuple, and some omit sijwy altogether, which is approved by Mill and Bengelius. According to either of these readings, this text will rank with the foregoing. And in 2 John 3, if we either omit Jer, or read to instead of it, with some MSS. this will also rank with the rest. Or you may be rendered by even ; “ Even the lord of Jesus.” Or, which I prefer to any other explanation, and from the lord Jesus, may mean from his precepts and doctrine, from our making Jesus lord by becoming his servants,
pretations as the plainest grammatical constructions (page 22), and talk of the unquestionable proofs, the clear and full declarations, &c. of Christ's divinity (pp. 9, note, 12, note, 30, 38, 49, 54, &c.): but I mean the harsh, narrow, and uncharitable way
in which you mention those who interpret the scriptures differently from yourself.
You use the word Socinian just as the vulgar do every religious and political denomination, except that which happens to describe themselves, namely, as a term of reproach, and not as a name of discrimination. You call them apostates (page 30), and sadducees (p. 42), and charge them with calumny, arrogance (44), and impiety (42, 46, 51). And you represent them as clamorous for a new translation of the scriptures, for the sole purpose of supporting a favourite system contradicted, as you affirm, by the plainest grammatical construction, and which a more close and literal version, you tell us, must necessarily cut up by the roots (pp. 22 and 44).
Now, Sir, what is there more disgraceful, or more deserving of reproach in a man's being a socinian, than in his being a lutheran, a calvinist, or an arminian? Socinus was not inferior to any of the reformers in learning, in morals, or in piety, as you may know if you will read his life, which I suspect,
from your censures, you have not yet done. * person, therefore, to embrace the religious opinions
* The latest and best account of Socinus is contained in the * Memoirs of his Life and Writings,” by Joshua Toulmin, M.A. 8vo. 1777, the worthy and respectable minister of a unitarian congregation at Taunton.
of Socinus merely because they were his, though such conduct would be quite inconsistent with the protestant principle, yet I see nothing more reproachful in it than there would be in implicitly adopting the opinion of any other man, or body of men, calling themselves the church, whether they were catholics or protestants.
But if every man is to be called a Socinian, because he happens to agree with Socinus in one point, , you yourself might be called a Socinian. For though you have not, like Socinus, advanced so far in the knowledge of the scriptures, nor learned to distinguish so well between the tradition of the elders and the commandments of God (Matt. xv. 2, 3, 6, 9), as to renounce the divinity of Jesus; I presume you have made sufficient progress in that knowledge to renounce, as he did, the divinity of Jesus's mother.
When you reproach those whom, for the purpose of rendering them odious, you call Socinians, with what you are pleased to term clamour, about the necessity of a new translation of the Bible, you discover as great inconsistency and partiality as you before betrayed in the business of the limitations to your rule, and in other parts of your Remarks. You yourself have told the public in your
page, that there are passages which are wrongly translated in the common version. In the course of your pamphlet it appears,
deem these passages of great importance, call the common rendering of some of them very erroneous' (p. 34), and contend that the corrected version' which supports your s favourite system,' ought not to be withheld from