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ployed upon it is highly meritorious. ed himself of the two years which lie if to any of his readers a different re- spent in Palestine, during Paul's consult from that wbich he has deduced, finement at Cæsarea, to obtain the acshould appear more satisfactory, they curate information from which he are still equally indebted to his la- composed his Gospel. This date prebours, without which they probably cedes that assigned by tradition to the could not have formed their own cone writings of Matthew and Mark, by clusións.
six years: but as he wrote in Greek, The objections which have occurred for ihe use of the Hellenist and Gento me against a complete adoption of tile converts, among whom he had la. Mr. M's. hypothesis, are the follow- boureil with Paul, his Gospel might ing. It seems more complicated than remais unknown in Judea ; from the object requires. It reduces the whence also he might have departed original narrative almost to nothing; for Rome, before his work was com. for there are scarcely more than forty pleted. Tliat Mark; however, should of the verses into which our New write, six years afterwards, at Rome, Testament is divided, which are ex. or in any place where the Greek lanpressed by the first three Evangelists guage was commonly understood by in the same words. It does not ap- Christians, without knowing that pear likely; that various copies of the Lukie had already written a Gospelin original document, and of copious that language, is extremely diinult additional inatter interwoven with its to conceive. text, should have been translated into I apprehend, that Mark had before Greek, previous to the composition him the Gospel of Luke; and likeof any of the canonical Gospels. I wise a copy, in Hebrew, of a narraalso think it improbable, that no one tive which Matthew made use of, and of the first three Evangelists should had perhaps originally drawn up. have seen the compositions of either Mark's purpose was apparently to of his brethren.
compile a work which might more Mr. M. has purposely avoided any readily be transcribed and circulated. consideration of the times and places than that of Luke. With this view, in which the first three Gospels were he omitted the longer discourses of written; and seems to regard his hy. Christ, and the events previous to his pothesis as equally applicable, what, baptism. He rendered into Greek ever dates they imiglit bear: yet its the original narrative; and where he truth must, in some measure, depend found this already translated by Luke, upon the distance of the places, and he frequently adopted his expresthe coincidence of the times, of the sions. When be thought it necessary respective dates. If all the three to insert transactions, that were omitGospels were written on the same spot, ted in the Hebrew, but recorded by it is hardly credible that the authors Luke, he avoided relating them in should be ignorant of each other's the words of the latter; as the apocompositions, and however remote stle John afterwards avoided the the places might be where they were phraseology of the first three Gospels, published, yet the difficulties at which be doubtless had before bim tending sucli an bypothesis are evi. when he wrote. Mark either transdently augmented in proportion to laled the additional accounts from the distance of time at which they some other original document in his were composed.
possession, or (agreeable to ancient It is true, that ancient traditions tradition) derived his information vary greatly concerning the dates of of them from the apostle Peter. Matthe Gospeis; yet the earliest, and I thew, about the same time, wrote in think the most probable, state the Judea ; and in completing his Gospel
, Gospels of Matthew and Mark 10 altered, by his recollection of the have been written about the same pe events, the order of several parts of riod; the former in Judea, and the the varrative; and, perhaps, the latter at Rome. The date of Luke's terms also, in which he might forinerij Gospel appears to be fixed, by his in have recorded those facts. troductory address, earlier than any This hypothesis, so far as it varies other canonical Gospel that he was ac from Mr. Marsh's, seems to me more quainted with ; and to be nearly as- simple and natural than his. I think certained by his own apostolical his- that the arguments he has advanced tury. Ile must apparently have avail. against the Gospel of Luke having
been used by Mark, are principally truth; inveighing against the creeds obriated by hints I have suggested in and confessions of other men, to make the proposed alteration of his plan; way for their own : as though all that and that they might be entirely re went before them were knaves or moved, if there was opportunity for fools ; while they, benevolent souls ! ampler discussion. I have adopted are willing to step forward to disabuse the groundwork, and several leading mankind, and to prepare them a set parts of his bypothesis ; and in pro- of principles free from the “barbaposing any amendment, I am consci- rism and rubbish of former ages.” If ons of a liability to err. I shall be the reader can give them credit for thankful for correction, as my sole these pretensions, all is well : but if he object is truth. I apprehend, with question their ipse dixit, in the manMr. Marsh, that the inspiration of the ner they teach him to question when Gospels is not infringed by his hypo- examining the Bible, he will not be thesis. The promise of the Holy able to get on. Spirit was to bring to the remem This writer complains of the re. brance of his disciples, what Christ proaches and anathemas that are cast had spoken and done in their pre- upon the Unitarians for their adhersence; and to enlighten them to a ence to reason, p. 11: and so did Mr. clear understanding of his will: not Biddle above a century and a half to convey to them a supernatural ago; to which Dr. Owen, if I rememknowledge of what they had never ber right, replied, that if it were so, seen, nor heard from him. It was he thought them very unjustly treated; highly proper for the Apostles, when no less so than poor St. Hierome, who this promise was fulfilled to them, to said he was beaten by an angel for record, in detached writings, what preaching in
Ciceronian style, a was brought to their minds. From crime of which it is thought he was such writings, I conceive the Gospels never guilty. to have been chiefly composed ; and
The author having thus, according to have been completed from verbal to custom, introduced himself to his information of the inspired eye-wit- reader, pursues his principal object.
Rejecting what he calls the popular I am sir,
doctrine of atonement, on the one Yours, &c. hand, and that advanced by Dr Tay
lor, (which is embraced it seems by a large majority of the Unitarians) on the other, he declares, that, “ the
most powerful motive to Christian kemarks on Simpson's Doctrine of the obedience is not to be found in either dronement.
the system of Socinus or Calvin. By the popular doctrine he means, that of
a satisfaction to divine justice, which MR. EDITOR,
he thinks is founded on a total misA FRIEND of mine lately put understanding of the nature of atoneinto
my hand a new pamphlet ment. By the scheme of Dr. Tayentitled, Plain Thoughts on the Nexu lor, he means that exposition of the Testament Doctrine of Atonement, by doctrine of reconciliation, which John Simpson, of Hackney.” As the makes it consist in the reconciliation motto seemed rather singular, I read of our heathen ancestors to Chrisit with an expectation of finding tianity, to the superseding of persomething new : and I cannot say that sonal conversion in iheir descendants: I have been wholly disappointed. and this he says renders the atoneThe introduction, however, contained ment almost, if not altogether, a nul. in the first ten pages, is little more lity.” p. 13. It is thus he accounts than a repetition of what most of his for a fact acknowledged by Dr. predecessors have said before him. It Priestley, and of which Mr. Andrew is common with these writers to begin Fuller has availed bimselt: “ that the with magnifying the reasoning pow. Unitarians of the present age are only ers of man; disowning all depend. men of good sense, and without much ance on the teachings of the Holy practical religion.” It is po wonder, Spirit; declaiming against orthodox he thinks, that the advocates for an ministers, under the name of priests, entailed Christianity should have to and pretended monopolizers of the make such a complaint of their fol
TO THE EDITOR.
lowers. p. 19. I confess I do not pere range through the whole of mankind ceive how this accounts for there that man is an enemy of God and being “ a greater conformity to the that the consequence of this is conworld in them than in others,” who demnation, or an exposedness to fuare supposed to be equally remote !ure punishment, p. 35.-that God, from the truth. One thing, however, however, is not the enemy of man, is fully acknowledged, THAT MO nor so offended with his sin as to reDERN UNITARIANISM DEST, quire any satisfaction, pp. 49, 50, 57, TUTE OF THE GRAND PRINCIPLE 58.--that Christ, though he did not OF CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE. This die to remove any bar or hindrance, is an important concession. Dr. which on God's part opposed the fullPriestley would have persuaded Dr. est display of mercy, yet laid down Price, that in becoming an Vnitarian his life for the good of sinners--that there was no danger of losing “the he perfectly removed all the mischiefs consideration on which the Scriptures occasioned by the first transgression, always lay the greatest stress as a mo the principal of which seems to be tive to gratitude and obedience; an exposedness to annihilation, rennamely, the love of God in giving dering the human race once more his son to die for us.” Defence of candidates for immortality, p.31.Unitarianism for 1786, p. 101, 102, that the atonement made by his But if this writer may be credited, death consisted in his furnishing a among a large majority of Unitarians, motive to reconcile or conciliate the and some others, IT IS LOST. Their hearts of men to God, p. 38.--that system is a mere assemblage of dry salvation is a mere gift of grace, and bones. If Mr. S. as a friend to it in the is not bestowed in reward of the me. main, can inspire it with the breath of rits of Christ, p.41.-that the term life, his party ought to be greatly of it, on our part, is believing, which obliged to him : but if not, dead it is within the compass of every man's must remain, and the sooner it is bu- power, p. 27.--that believers shall posried so much the better for mankind. $ess a happy immortality, p. 32, 33.
I shall take no notice of this “feeble and that unbelievers will be exposed effort," as the author very justly calls to future punishment, p. 64. it, to overturn the doctrine of Christ's - These sentiments the author not satisfaction, and if I did, I should not only “ conceives to be a just represen. think myself obliged to defend every tation of the Gospel of Christ, unexplanation of it which he has intros contamiiated with human inven. duced, and much less to admit bis tion;" but proceeds to speak of them gross misrepresentations : I shall as if they were the Gospel itself; and merely attend to his hopeful under- of all others that differ from them as taking of inspiring the Unitarian sys “ human systems," as though his tem with a principle of life.
conceptions of the Gospel were not Having rejected this scheme of human, as well as those of other men. atonement on the one hand, and that He is mightily offended with certain on the other, our author proceeds ministers for arrogating to themselves to state his sentiments of the Gospel; the character of Gospel preachers, for we must not call it his schime, lest p. 41. yet in almost the same breath he be found at last among the " sys
he would persuade us that what he tem-mongers." Nor is it very easy has written is indeed the Gospel, “ free to reduce what he says to a scheme": from all human inventions. for he no where states his ideas oni For my part I consider bis opinions this great subject in an explicit and to be as much a human system as those connected form ; but leaves us to of other people, and therefore shall collect them from scattered sentences, offer a few remarks on what appear and figurative language.
to me their inconsistency with themIf I onderstand him, he believes selves, and with the scriptures. that the death denounced against the 1. If the sin of Adam exposed him first transgression did not consist in not to punishment in a future, state, an exposedness to eternal punish but to annihilation, how can it be true ment, but to annihilation, p. 30. that, “ If the death of Christ had not that neither was there any contagion taken place, we had now been sitting, conveyed from Adam to his posterity, in darkoess, and in the shadow of p. 33, 3-4--- but, that sin has neverthe death, under an apprehension of fall. less, somehow, taken an universaling into eternal nothingness ?" p. 31,
32. If Christ had not died, the sen, thor believes; but merely in such a tence, whatever it was, must have kind of reconciliation as that wherein been executed; and if its meaning the sinners' enmity is conquered. was, that in the day he ate of the There is no condemnation of sin in it; fruit, he should be annihilated, or die no such propisiation as that wherein to rise no more, his death must have the righteousness of God is declared in necessarily prevented our existence. the remission of sins, and in which he
2. This account of things is no less is just, and the justifier of him that be inconsistent with the scriptures than lieveth in Jesus; nothing wherein the with itself. The sentence of death, chastisement of our was upon him; which entered by one man's sii), is nothing, in a word, that essentially said to have passed uton all men, which belongs to the idea of an atonement. supposes that they should all exist, Rom. viii. 3, iii. 24-26. Isai. liii. 5. and would all be sinners, and there 5. Whatever be the meaning of the fore could neither consist in, nor with, phrase "God hath reconciled us to the immediate annihilation of the first himself by Jesus Christ," it must be progenitor. It is also called condemna- expressive of what was wrought for tien, and stands opposed, not to a mere us upon the cross, while we were yet resurrection of the body, but to justifie enemies; and not any thing which (41198 of life, even eternal life by Je. implies a change of mind on our part, sus Christ. Rom. y. 16-21. The re seeing it is held up as a motive to insurrection which is ascribed in I Cor. duce that change. 2 Cor, v. 19-20. xv. to the second Adam, means not “God hath reconciled lis to himself simply a resurrection, but a resurrec .... therefore be we reconciled." Re. fion in eternal life; for it is of the re conciliation does not always denote a surrection of them that are Christ's change in the mind of the party rethat the Apostle there speaks. v. 23. conciled, though to enjoy the benefit If antecedent to the gift and death of of it such change is necessary. To Christ we were exposed only to fall reconcile to one's self is to restore to fainto "eternal nothingness," his er vour. Thus God reconciled Eliphaz, rand could not have been to have de. Bildad, and Zophar to himself, by the livered us from the wrath 10 come,
mediation of Job. Nor dues such reI Thes. i. 10.
The sentence under conciliation denole a change of mind which we lay as sinners, is expressly in the offended party. The soul of said to be death and judgment. From David longed to go forth to Absalom, the sting of the first we are saved by while yet he thought it not proper to his death who was once offered to bear express his goodness, best the honours lhe sixs of many; and from the terrors of justice and paternal authority of the last, by his appearing, to them should be lightly esteemed. ikat look for him, a second timne, with (j. Salvation by mere grace is not out sin, tato salvation. Heb. ix. 27, 28. inconsistent with its being bestowed
3. That sin should have taken an in reward of the merits of Christ. "universal range through the whole The pardon of Israel was not the less of mankind," of whatever age, na of grace for its being given for the tion, or condition, and should have sake of Moses, and at his request : been so malignant in its operation as nor that of Job's friends for its being to render then all the “enemies of granted in answer to his intercession, God, and exposed to future punish- an intercession too preceded by an ment," is a concession somewhat sin- atoning sacrifice. Iisulvation be gular for an Unitarian. If all ibis do not bestowed as the reward of Christ's not imply a carrupt nature, it must re. merits, his intercession is of no acmain upáccounted for: that is, it must count, and it is improper to make use remain a “mystery." And if it ean of his name in our petitions. exist without incurring the wrath of I pass over several articles in this God, if whatever love he bear to the author's creed, and conclude with apsouls of men, he can pass over their pealing to the judgment of thinking enmity against him, without any ex men, whether, if the Unitarian system pression of displeasure against it, he bare no more hope of a resurrection must be a very different Being froin than what is to be derived from these what the scriptures represent him.
opinions, it must not remain in the 4. After all that is said about the congregation of the dead. true scripture doctrine of atonemeut, it is not in an atonement that the au
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