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SIX MORE LETTERS,
“ It will be proved to thy fačė, that thou hast men about thee " that usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable “ words as no Christian ear can endure to hear.”
highly respect for his virtues and abilities, desired my opinion, in writing, of your “ REMARKS “ on the Uses of the Article in the Greek Testament, and of Sıx LETTERS on the subject of them, which an anonymous correspondent has
father'd upon you.* * I do not mean that the mother of this literary bantling has given it your name, or publicly called it yours : but from its being laid at your door; it is plain that you are believed to have had a considerable share in its production, by the wanton hussey (evidently some young thing !) who seems, from her own confession, (p. 3,) to have been too eager' and forward to embrace any one that could perform the office of a father, to know rightly who, besides herself, was its proper parent; and therefore, either for the purpose of glorying in what ought to be her shame, the extent of her amours with a parcel of old sinners, or else, as I should rather hope, and as my own charity, and a little appeara ance of privacy in her, incline me to believe, for the purpose of quieting her own conscience, having some grace remaining, she has made out an exact list, to the best of her knowledge, of all those · fathers she has been concerned with, and for your satisfaction, has wrapt it up with the babe in the basket.
I gave my opinion; and then, truly, as one mise chief always leads to another, he would have me print ". what I had written. I resisted for a time, urging, that neither your, nor your correspondent's pieces, (you'll excuse me) were originally worth writing about; and that mine, when printed, would not be worth reading : but no, nothing would satisfy him, but that, like yourself and your correspondent, I too must be pressed to death. So at last, for the sake of
peace and quietness, I consented, upon condition that he, who is possessed of much more polished manners than I can boast of, would revise and correct the manuscript, write a handsome preface, and do every thing else in his power to round and file down all my angles and asperities; for you must know, Sir, that I am apt to be somewhat awkward, rough, and uncouth at times; but good humoured at bottom, as you may guess from what I have al. ready told you, or I should never have submitted to my friend's sudorific.*
So, Sir, if my awkwardness should utter any thing in the course of these letters which looks like a rude or uncivil word, and it should escape my friend's vigilance, or be spared by his tenderness, you must reinember that I do not mean to offend you.
You must attribute it more to nature than to inclination, must recollect the poet’s adage, Naturam expellas, &c. and must forgive it. To dispose you the more readily so to do, I here previously declare, that though
* « Sub prelo nunc sudans," says a literary catalogue, speaking of the fac-simile of your favourite Alexandrian MS. of the New Testament, while it was yet in the press.
I don't know you, yet from all I hear, I firmly be. lieve you to be as honest and good a man as myself, and am willing to suppose that you may be a much better, already possessed of many virtues which I am only labouring to acquire; and that in this persuasion I greatly reverence your character and should be sorry to give you pain : though I must say, that you don't know much about the greek article, nor about christianity, or you would never have dreamt of looking for the latter in the former.
When I say christianity, I do not mean practical christianity, which, in my opinion, formed upon a careful perusal of my bible, though not it seems in your's, is the only real, genuine christianity; containing all that Jesus and his apostles ever put into their religion. No, Sir; God forbid I should derogate in the smallest degree from your knowledge of that christianity, which cannot be described in fewer, or better words than those of the apostle, “ the cross 6 of Christ;" and which consists in crucifying all our worldly and selfish appetites and lusts, and in being “ dead indeed unto sin.” This christianity, which, because it was so plain and simple, and had so little to do with learned systems, disputes, and controversies, was foolishness to the Greeks of old, as it still continues to be to many modern Greeks and disputers of this world, and is in danger of being rendered every day more and more foolish by such labours as your's this christianity you and I, and all of us, understand well enough; because the true religion of Jesus is so plain, that no one ever did, or could misunderstand it; though none of us
cultivate it with such care and strictness as we ought to do; and for that reason alone we live so uncomfortably together, and have so much wretchedness and misery to 'complain of among us; and must continue so to live and to complain till our christianity be less in our heads, and more in our hearts.
No, Sir; when I say that you do not know much about christianity, I mean theoretical christianity ;a thing which you and many others, for want of knowing better, suppose to be, in some shape or other, the christianity of the scriptures, but which, in every shape that it can assume, and it can and does occasionally assume a greater variety of forms than ever Proteus did, has nothing of christianity belonging to it but the nanie. I mean the motley christianity which men fabricate by sewing scraps and bits of texts together, as they make a history of the Jews out of Homer,* or of the gospel out of Virgil ;t a christianity which must be dug out of greek articles and plural hebrew nouns and verbs, 6 and such abominable' holes, as no christian, who is not so hoodwinked by the nursery, the church, or the state, as to be quite blind to the broad religion of the bible, would ever think of groping in or “the light of the world.” (John viii. 12.)
We are told, that apostolical christianity, which is to this, Hyperion to a satyr, was not hidden in a ·corner, (Acts xxvi. 26.); but this “ thing of shreds
and patches” is to be found nowhere in the bible but in holes and corners. And when, by “ observ* ing times,* and using enchantments and witch: “ craft,f and by dealing with familiar spirits and " wizards,” I (2 Chron. xxxiii. 6.) some theological Manasseh drags it forth to view, it comes reluctantly by inches, and appears at last in such a questionable shape, that if a christian can but muster up courage to look it steadily in the face, he will soon see what an unsubstantial visionary form it is, and will behold it instantly shrink from his sight; and if he will but continue to pursue it with a fearless eye, and fixed 'regard, will find it vanish into air, “ and “ what seemed corporal, melt as breath into the “ wind.”S Let him but follow the apostle's advice (1 Cor. xiv. 20.), and not be, what the generality of christians are upon all questions of this sort, children, afraid to use their understandings; brut let him be upon this, as upon every other matter that concerns
* Homerus Hebraizans. † Virgilius Evangelizans.
* For the purpose of making out the doctrines of pre-existence, the rites and discipline of particular seasons, &c. &c.
+ Conjuring with supplications, adorations, and invocations, &c. and juggling with names and titles, actions and attributes, persons and natures, &c. &c. at which sort of work you and your editor have nibbled a little, you in your notes, (page 5, &c.) and he in his table, and plain argument, (p. 65, &c.)
# The subtle doctors, deep divines, and systematic expositors of ignorant and corrupt ages ; many of whose mystical mummeries are still so current and contagious among us, that it is hardly possible for the youthful mind to escape the infection, or to postpone the attack till it has acquired strength to resist a taint, which, when once it gets into the habit, it is very difficult to get out again : so that many a poor child is the miserable victim of it all his life long. I am afraid, Sir, you had the disease badly in your youth. § Macbeth.