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field's version, or any other, except indeed that the former •was done into English by royal authority ?—This may possibly weigh heavily with Mr. Cobbett; and further, you, Sir, I know, have a very high opinion of priests and bishops. To say then nothing of the mistakes, which to common honesty would be likely to occur in translating from the dead languages, let me ask, is it very wonderful that those pious gentry, believing the nonsense of the Trinity themselves, or at any rate thinking it necessary for the people to believe it — is it wonderful,1 say, that, in the translation of the scriptures into English, they should have thrown in some little colouring of their own sentiments and opinions? Is it won* derful, when they could no longer keep the scriptures from getting among the people, they should have sent it into the world not quite so chaste as might have been desired ? Sir, if you wish for a fair ground of attack on the Unitarians, let it be for this, that, with their knowledge of the corruptions, the forgeries, and the errors of the common version of the scriptures, they should unite with the British and foreign Bible societies in disseminating them without note or comment among mankind ; that they should give, as the unadulterated word of God, the impious inventions of man ! that they should suffer, lies to be bound up in the volume oftruth! and introduce darkness into the very fountain of light!
But to return, Sir, to your argument—you assert, and repeat, that" the divinity of Christ is the basis of Christianity." The assertion, Sir, you know has been made ten thousand times before you have made it, and ten thousand times refuted; and it would have evinced some little glimmerings of candour and honesty, if you had noticed the argument by which the negative of your position has been supported. It is contended then on the other side, that the diyinity of the mission of Christ is the basis of Christianity—it ■was the divinity of his mission on which he rested his claim to the attention of the Jews—it was the divinity of his wission which he proved by miracles—it was the divinity of his mission which he attested by his resurrection from the dead •—it was the divinity ofhis mission which the apostles proclaimed to the world—it was in the language of Peter to his countryman, " Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know;" or, in the address of Paul to the Gentiles, that *' God had appointed a day in which he would judge the world in righteousness by that man whom be bad ordained."
You ask, Sir, whether the belief of those in whose behalf Mr. Smith Wrings his bill is," that Christ was not the son of God?" You add, " if it be, with what decency do they profess to believe the scriptures?" Alas ! Sir, what poor flimsy stuff is this from the pen of a nervous and discriminating writer!—Why, Sir, the Unitarians do believe that Christ was the son ofGod ;* but they do not believe it in the sense which Mr. Cobbett and the Church have been pleased to put upon it. They believe that he was the son of God by adoption, or appointment, as the scriptures declare, and not by nature, or eternal generation, or any such gross and palpable nonsense, which was conceived amid the wild delusions of heathen philosophy, nursed in the dark ages of monkish superstition, grew up to maturity with the jargon and senseless divinity of schools, and now sleeps out its days within the antiquated walls of colleges, or the musty rolls ofParliament; and even in those asylums for ignorance, and receptacles for absurdity, the repose of its age is disturbed, and the last lingering sparks of existence exposed to violent and sudden extinction!!
You tell us roundly that" he who denies the Divinity of of Christ is no Christian ;'' and 1, Sir, tell you in reply that you know nothing about it—and that to believe in The One Living And Tiiue God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent to be governed by his precepts, and animated by his example, in hope of a future state of happy existence, from the evidence he has afforded of its possibility in his own resurrection, is in my humble opinion to be a Christian; and with these things I do not expect to be rejected, unless indeed Mr. Cobbett keep the gates of heaven.
By a most artful and Jesuitical mode of reasoning, you attempt to destroy all belief in miracles, by insinuating that the Unitarians might just as well attempt to deny the miracles of the Old and New Testament, as the doctrine ofthe Trinity, on the ground that they ought not to be" compelled to believe what they cannot believe."
But where is the parallel of the cases, where the parity of reasoning? The Unitarians cannot believe in the Trinity, because it is a self evident contradiction, but they can be" lieve in miracles, because they imply no such contradic'10" —became they are compatible with the power, and consls" tent with the wisdom, of Deity to perform, as the mostli'ie" ly means of striking the attention, and convincing an unen* lightened people of his interference and greatness. Ti,e Unitarians do not believe in the Trinity, because it is not taught in scripture; but they do believe in miracles, because the account of their having been performed is recorded in scripture; because the admission of their truth implies a less difficulty than the denial of them would do; because, from the analogy of facts and circumstances, they appear necessary to account for events and phenomena known to have existed; because their nature and kind were ofa benevolent tendency, and utterly irreconcileable to the spirit of imposture.
* Son of God—a phrase evidently implying pre-eminence and ex^> hnltation, without any reference to the nature or the person receiving it Thus Christians are denominated in scripture language the Sons of Cod. But if it is insisted that Jesus is nothing less thaufii God, from his being called the Son of God—then it will equally follow, that he is nothing more than a man, from his being called the "ton of man!" What, in fact, may not be proved and disproved from this sort of word-pecking—from this method of building system) on terms and figures of speech!
The Unitarians are represented as saying they cannot comprehend iiow Christ was God, by whom he was begotten; and you make, Sir,a most puny and lame attempt to retort this argument against themselves, and against Christianity. You ask," And can they comprehend how the devil came to take Christ up to the top of a high mountain, and to offer him all the kingdoms of the world ?" To this a long list of miraculous accounts is added. Now, Sir, not to be captious with you, or to cavil at the instances you have chosen, and in which you are particularly unfortunate, as several of them are believed by the Unitarians not to have been ofa miraculous nature, nor does the history necessarily imply that they were so—but of miracles in general they can com* •prchend, not how they were performed, but that they zcere performed—that they were within the scope of omnipotence to perform. Hut God himself cannot do that which is in the nature of things incapable of being done.—The Trinity is a thing virtually and intrinsically an impossibility—it is an anomaly in terms.
I can join with you, Sir, in saying" I am no Doctor; I do not understand Greek and Latin, but I understand how to count with my fingers," and it is sufficient to be able to count three to know that the doctrineof the Trinity cannot possibly be true. The Unitarians then disbelieve the Trinity, because they cannot understand it, and nothing can be the object of faith which is not previously understood. But observe, Mr. Cobbett, there is a material difference between believing in the existence of a thing,and believing how it exists. You say the Unitarians regard the miracles " as mystical." This hit does not tell—for they do not regard them as tugs*
tied any more than the most common occurrence of nature, with whose laws of operation they are unacquainted. They do not profess to understand how they were performed, and consequently they do not believe how they were performed—it is do matter of faith, but they do profess to understand that they were performed (and that for the reasons assigned), and consequently they believe they were performed.
Now, then as a friend to the Bible, as a believer in Jesus, as a Christian, I disclaim all faith in the doctrine of (lie Trinity—I maintain that it is a libel on the scriptures, on reason, and on God ; -and with Mr. Paine I will assert, that a God begotten is a God blasphemed ; and 1 expect, Sir, when you fall out with Christianity again, you will first prove that the doctrine of the Trinity forms any part of it. You will perhaps reply that you are to takcyour notions of Christianity from those who believe in it. But suppose those who believe in it have a variety of opposite notions on the subject— how then, Sir? why then the sentiments of the majority of professors must be the criterion, you will say. Let us see the application of this reasoning. Concerning your political principles there are and have been a multitude of opinions; let us assume for the sake of argument, that the generality of people think you a friend to anarchy and confusion, that your principles are revolutionary and inimical to social order, what would be your defence; would it not be in some such language as this—" It mattersjnothow many opinions there are concerning my principles; it matters not what the majority of people think concerning them; I claim to be judged, by tniy writings—my writings alone can be the standard of my principles! and by them let me be acquittted or condemned?''—And this, Sir, I claim for Christianity; this I claim for the scriptures ; but this you do not grant! No! but you act like a writer who should wish to bring the lawsand constitution of England into contempt, and insiduously take them with all the corruptions which time and the general tendency of things has heaped upon them, and with the glosses and definitions which the .base and degraded ministers, and lawyers, and judges of modern times, have given to them; or, like the canting politicians of the day, who tell us that to attempt to reform the corruptions of government is to endanger the safety of the state— to remove the abuses which the lapse of ages has produced, is to threaten destruction to the whole of the constitution 1 You exclaim, ouce let the people be told that Jesus " was a man, and what becomes of the whole system ?"—remove the law, and down comes the fabric!
Why, Sir, are you not aware how strenuous the best friends to Christianity are, and ever have been in resisting nnd protesting against the adulterous connection between church and state—that they have been the first to assail it with all the force of argument, and all the powers of ridicule—that they have taught and maintained that the reli? gion of Jesns is not of this world—that it cannot be assimilated to its spirit and policy—that it is inimical to the trickerv and chicanery of governments—that it is founded on the immutable principlesof truth and justice, and acknowledges the equality and common rights of man! You hint that the Unitarian Priests want to get at the temporalities of the establishment. He it so; of what consequence is it to the people among whom the spoils of ignorance and oppression are divided? Cunning, cupidity and ambition are common to the priests of every religion; but it may reflect no small degree of credit on Christianity, when I assert what I am ready to prove, that this sapient tribe exist by no appointment of Jesus—by no authority of the New Testament—by no sanction from Revelation—by nothing in fact but their own subtilty, and the moral degradation of their votaries!!
On the whole, Sir, I protestagainstyour method of attacking the Christian religion, under the mask of its corruptions— 3'our artful way of availing yourself of the confused amalgamation of its doctrines and principles with superstition and absurdity, and of sinking its fair fame under the mass of vulgar error and popular delusion! Such conduct is in my opinion illiberal, disingenuous, unmanly,and contemptible; and 1 can readily believe that there is nothing too mean, too low, or too dishonest, for that man to stoop to, who could be guilty of it. But, Sir, I may be mistaken ; and it rests with yourself to give one proof for candour to catch at, that I am 90, by inserting this letter in your Register, and by showing to the world that you are not afraid of circulating the reply to your arguments, and of sending the defence of a system through the same channels that have witnessed its attack.* In the absence of this, your character will no longer remain what in fact it now almost ceases to be-—a matter of speculation ; you will dissipate the last shades of difference which may possibly exist, and confirm what the friends of liberty have long, though reluctantly, thought * The writer will take care this shall meet the eye of Mr, Cobbett.