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and prophets, (Ephes. ii. 20.), buyers and sellers, (Matt. xxi. 12.) were the same; that Mary Magdalene was the same as Mary the mother of Joses, (Mark xv. 47.); and that there was no difference between Joses himself and his brother James, (Matt. xxvii. 56.), between Peter and John, (Acts viii. 14.)
From Luke ix. 28, you may, by virtue of your excellent rule, extract a new, secondary, apostolical trinity, by way of supplement to that commonly received ; and that too, all from one text, without being forced, as is the case in manufacturing the old trinity, to dig a little bit of mystery out of a text in one corner of the bible, next to splice that to a bit more out of another corner, afterwards to eke out that with a bit from a third, thus hopping about from text to text; and after all the toil and labour bestowed on it, after all the twisting and turning, and vamping, and soleing and heel-piecing, to rest satisfied with producing what to a common eye, not tutored and trained from infancy to look askew at it, appears just as broad as it is long, though when it is squinted at, through a theological magnifying glass, such as you make use of to turn points of separation into lines of connection,' (p.48.) many persons are apt to fancy that it looks - nearly Sthree times as long as it is broad.'*
From Luke viii. 1, 2, you might shew, by your rule, that the twelve apostles were all women ; as you
* “ Early and interested prepossession, or prejudice, is a mag
nifying-glass that makes mountains of molehills, or the greatest “ matters of mere nothings." Unitarian Tracts, 4to. 1695. vol. iii. tract 1. p.
might make it appear, from the same evangelist, (xxiii. 27.), were likewise the great company of people that followed Jesus to his crucifixion, and moreover, (from verse 49 of the same chapter), that all his acquaintance were persons of the same sex who followed him from Galilee.
From Acts xv, you might shew that Paul and Barnabas, who were very different persons at the beginning of the chapter (verse 2,) and who, though without any express articles of separation subsisting between them, and therefore, by virtue of your fifth rule and its exception, were beginning to grow rather ambiguous,) still continued distinct for some time after (verse 12.), got so confounded in the course of a few verses more, (verse 22.), that it was impossible to distinguish the one from the other, till the successful application of your wonderful discovery restored each of them again, (verses 25. 35.), to his separate personal identity and diversity.
Many more discoveries, equally notable, might you
make from Luke xi. 27. Acts iv. 5, 6, xv. 2. xxiv. 1. Rom. ii. 5. 1 Cor. iv. 9. 2 Thes. i. 4. &c. &c. but I shall content myself with mentioning only one, to be found in 1 Tim. vi. 13. where Jeos and XP1505 being connected in the way your rule requires, the former with, and the latter without the article, must necessarily be descriptive of one and the same person; but since each of these nouns is attended by a participle, and since the article which is prefixed to the first participle is repeated before the second, the two nouns must on that account be descriptive of different persons: and thus we have both the identity
and diversity of God and Christ established in the compass of a single verse, proving clearly, as I have somewhere seen, or heard it expressed, that they are " united, though divided; divided, though the 66 same."
It makes no difference, I apprehend, in this reasoning, that 'the substantive of personal descrip' tion, as you call xpisos (P. 30), is followed by the proper name Jesus ; since wpisos here does not make any part of the proper name, but is merely an epithet, like the similar personal noun xuplos, in a similar situation. But what if it were unavoidably a proper name? We have seen that no reasoning nor practice of your's, will justify us in depriving it of the benefit of your rule on that account. Or, lastly, what if Paul had thought fit to have omitted the word Jesus altogether, which he might have done if he had chosen it, for any thing that I can see to the contrary?
Such are the curious consequences to which your theory of the article fairly and directly leads; consequences from which no arbitrary, groundless, and unsupported limitations can extricate you, as you must see, unless some theological ignis fatuus has completely dazzled your sight.
Now, Sir, with so many and such great absurdi- . ties pleading loudly against your fancied rule, and with what I think, and what every one who will but use the reason which God has given him for the purpose of being used upon this, in the same way as upon every other subject, must think, an absurdity infinitely greater, I mean the monstrous consequence
you deduce from your mistranslated texts, an abso. solute impossibility! pleading “ trumpet - tongued” against your rule; let me ask, what you have to plead in its favour? Theological prejudices except. ed, nothing, that I can devise, but this single consi. deration : viz. that after your imaginary limitations, made without any foundation either in nature or language, had excluded the use of all such examples as the friend whom you mention in page 2, had brought as objections to your rule, neither you nor he were able to find any example of a kind which your
limitations would not exclude, to contradict the rule.
But what was the proper inference from this? That no such example exists, or can be found ? No, Sir : before I take my leave of you, I will produce you two such examples, though one is sufficient to ruin your
whole articular system. But I shall first beg leave to shew you that, even supposing your limitations were well founded, a little reasoning, independently of those consequences which, as I have pointed out in my first letter, you might have drawn from the analogy between the greek and english languages in respect of the article, would have discovered to you how bold and hazar. dous a conclusion it was to infer, that a rule, so cire cumscribed and limited, must necessarily always prevail, because you could not find one example to the contrary.
To say that the rule always prevails, is to maintain, that the whole compass of the language cannot furnish one instance to the contrary ;-a universal
negative; negative; a thing which, as has been often remark ed, can never be proved, and which it requires not merely half a dozen examples taken, like your's, from a single volume, nor half a dozen ambiguous texts expounded, like those in your correspondent's extracts, with most obsequious unanimity in the same way, half a hundred times over, by “ those
parasites of former times, whom now, in regard “ of their antiquity, we call the fathers;"* but a great multitude of examples of all sorts, taken promiscuously from authors of every description, and free from all bias towards a particular interpretation, to render even probable. If neither you nor your friend, with all your researches, could find one such example against your rule as your limitations did not exclude, the proper inference was that it was difficult to find them, not that it was impossible. And this difficulty a little previous consideration might have taught you to expect, before you began the research.
Examples, even when not confined within any
* “ Trinitarianism is not so much a rcligion, as the law of the “ Byzantine emperors. It was first introduced by military force, " then confirmed by edicts of the arbitrary emperors of Constan“ tinople. Well, but when folly and impiety are once established " by law, and are the only way to preferment, there will never ” want a great number who will court the favour of the govern, “ment, by endeavouring to represerit the current doctrine of the
times, as possible, nay, as reasonable and agreeable to scrip* ture: and from hence came the explications of the trinity, by “ the parasites of those times ; whom now, in regard of their ans tiquity, we call the fathers.”
Unitarian Tracts, 4to. 1695. Tract 7. p. 63.