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foretold that there would be such men among his followers."
A man who can fancy there is a reference to any other persons than the Gnostics in this passage, may fancy that he finds the detested Unitarians in any other page of the same author; or, like Don Quixote, he may take a windmill for a giant; for the difference between the ancient Unitarians and the Gnostics was as great as this. Their opinions are generally spoken of as two opposite heresies.
Of the Creed of Tertullian.
It will be no less easy for me to shew the extreme weakness or unfairness of Mr. Badcock's observations with respect to the creed which he quotes from Tertullian, and which he supposes I purposely kept out of sight; saying, "Few are so very courageous as to put such a weapon in the hand of an adversary, as threatens to demolish them."*
Without retorting this observation on Mr. Badcock himself, I shall observe, that in the treatise De Præscriptione, &c., from which Mr. Badcock quotes the Regula Fidei, Tertullian is evidently giving his own gloss, or interpretation, of the creed, and not the creed itself, as delivered to the Catechumens. In writing this work, his great object was the Gnostics, and therefore his gloss is directed altogether against them, and does not respect the Unitarians at all; as, indeed, the very first article (omitted by Mr. Badcock) shews. Regula fidei-qua creditur unum omnino Deum esse, nec alium præter mundi conditorem, qui universa de nihilo produxerit, &c.; that is-" by which we are taught to believe that there is but one God, and this no other than the maker of the world, who produced every thing out of nothing by his own word, then first sent down; that that word was called his Son; that he appeared variously in the name (that is, in the character) of God, to the patriarchs; that he was afterwards conveyed, by the spirit and power of God the Father, into the virgin Mary; that he was made flesh in her womb, and from her (egisse, perhaps exisse) appeared in the person of Jesus Christ; that he thence preached a new law, and a new promise of the kingdom of heaven," &c.
* Mon. Rev. LXX. p. 60. (P.)
All this is evidently a gloss, and not a simple creed. Whereas, in the treatise De Velandis Virginibus, from which I have quoted the creed, he is not opposing orthodoxy to heterodoxy, but faith to practice, and was therefore much more likely to give the simple creed, as it was delivered to the Catechumens in his day. Accordingly, Accordingly, it is nearly the same that is now generally received. Let the four ancient copies of the creed, viz. the Vulgar, that of Aquileia, the Oriental, and the Roman be compared as they are done by Dupin, † and it will be seen that none of them contain any such articles as those in Tertullian's gloss. If those articles ever made a proper part of the creed, how came they to be dropped, and indeed to be found no where else?
That Mr. Badcock has entirely mistaken the object and real meaning of what he has given as the creed in the time of Tertullian, and that it refers to the Gnostics only, is evident from every article relating to God and Christ in it. The Gnostics maintained that the Supreme Being himself, the Father of Jesus Christ, did not make the world, but that it was the work of a different being, the same that appeared to the patriarchs and prophets, but entirely different from the Christ. On the contrary, all the articles above recited from Tertullian's gloss upon the creed, are evidently intended to express, that the immediate maker of the world, the Logos, or Verbum Dei, was the same person that appeared to the patriarchs and prophets, and was also afterwards the Christ.
It appears to me, (but I submit the conjecture to the learned,) that the Gnostics, who gave so much alarm to the primitive Christians, had advanced so many specious arguments, to prove that the Supreme Being himself was not the immediate maker of the world, and the author of the Jewish dispensation, that the orthodox were, in fact, staggered by them; and so far conceded to them, as to content themselves with maintaining that the being who made the world, and who appeared to the patriarchs and prophets, though not the Supreme God himself, was the word or power of that God personified; so as to become a second God, really different from the first; taking advantage of some expressions in the Old Testament, and also of the language of John in the introduction to his gospel. For of the same logos, or word, which John personified figuratively, (as wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs,) they made a real and permanent person.
* See supra, p. 63, Note ↑.
+ Eccles. Hist. I. p. 12. (P.)
Gnosticism, therefore, as well as Platonism, was a great means of establishing the doctrine of the personification of the Logos, which was the first step towards the modern Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity. In fact, the orthodox use many of the same arguments with the Gnostics, to prove that the Supreme God himself was not the person who appeared to the patriarchs, &c.
On the whole, it must, I think be evident to the impartial reader, that the proper creed in the time of Tertullian was that which I produced from him as such in my Letters to Dr. Horsley; whereas, that which Mr. Badcock has produced expresses no more than Tertullian's own faith, which is not the question in debate. Indeed, how could Tertullian consider that as the established creed assented to by every catechumen, which, according to his own account, was not believed by those whom he (out of contempt, Mr. Badcock will say) represents as the major part of Christians in his time?
I AM tempted to give a few other specimens of Mr. Badcock's mode of reviewing, and shall begin with his most extraordinary remarks on the manner in which I have treated an opinion of Eusebius's.
"With respect to the suffrage of Eusebius to the orthodoxy of the primitive church, and particularly of the bishops of Jerusalem, towards the close of the apostolic age; a suffrage so full and explicit, that it hath been deemed a decisive argument against Dr. Priestley's hypothesis (viz. that this primitive Jewish church, and its bishops, were pure Ebionites), with respect to this testimony, we say the Doctor could only find one way of getting rid of it. It is not,' says he, to be regarded. What a What a prodigious advantage this short and compendious method of decision gives a man over his opponent! It saves all the needless expense of criticism. It serves instead of a thousand arguments, and it has the singular felicity of being sheltered from all reply!"†
After reading this, any person would naturally imagine, that I had given no reason at all why I thought that the assertion of Eusebius was not to be regarded, whereas I immediately subjoin such reasons as I deemed sufficient;
* See supra, p. 65.
+ Mon. Rev. pp. 59, 60. (P.)
observing that the facts which he himself records, arè inconsistent with it. The Reviewer has not even quoted the whole sentence, which ends thus: "it is not to be regarded, unless they bring some sufficient proof of their assertion."* I am truly ashamed to point out instances of such gross disingenuity, even in an adversary, and one who pretends that he has given "the very pith and marrow," of my arguments. After this, with what face can Mr. Badcock charge any writer with concealments!
Dr. Horsley having charged me with borrowing from Daniel Zwicker, whose name I had not heard till I saw it in his Charge, Mr. Badcock says, "Dr. Horsley did not happen to hit upon the right author." Then let Dr. Horsley and Mr. Badcock guess again. As all my arguments must be stolen from some person or other, they may happen to be right at last.
After this, it cannot, surely, be necessary to note any other article in this Review, every one of which discovers nearly equal ignorance or unfairness.
Mr. Badcock calls upon me to give "a fair and ingenuous answer" to his " former animadversions." I reply that, besides my own fair proposal, by which I still abide, and which will require no more room in the article of Correspondence than is frequently given to others, (not to say that their having made my case a singular one, gives me a claim to peculiar privileges,) I have directly or indirectly, noticed every thing in it that I thought worth notice, in my Letters to Dr. Horsley. He, as a Reviewer, has an unspeakable advantage with respect to publication. My confidence, however, is in the goodness of my cause, and in time; which, I doubt not, will do me ample justice.
Two articles, on which Mr. Badcock himself laid the most stress at first, I particularly noticed in the Postscript of my Letters to Dr. Horsley.|| One of them related to a strong insinuation against my integrity, in consequence of his own misconstruction of a plain sentence of mine. He had defended his misconstruction after its being particularly pointed out to him; but being called to look at it a third time, he has, at length, given it up, and asked my pardon ;¶ so that my integrity has had an escape for this time. This, it is to be observed, relates to the greatest objection he had
See Letters to Dr. Horsley. (P) Supra, p. 61.
† Mon. Rev. LXX. p. 65. (P.) Speaking of Dr. Priestley's Reply.
Ibid. p. 58. (P.)
§ Ibid. p. 65.
Mon. Rev. LXX. pp. 65, 66.
See supra, pp. 117-122.
against my History. He pleads in his excuse, that my expression was "equivocally worded;"+ whereas it is not possible to put any other construction upon it, and I am not capable of expressing myself with greater clearness.
If Mr. Badcock fails so much with respect to plain English, it is no wonder that (through his extreme precipitancy I suppose) he should make mistakes in Latin and Greek. I have sufficiently considered what he first called a strong reason for a material difference between the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, what he afterwards called a conjecture, and now calls a demonstration; but I do not think it worth my while to shew the extreme futility of it. To such demonstrations as these, I shall content myself with saying, Valeant quantum valere possunt. If Dr. Horsley chooses this ground, I shall meet him upon it, and speak fully to it.
I CANNOT say that I can entirely satisfy myself with respect to the cause (and every effect must have a cause) of the extreme virulence with which Mr. Badcock began, and now continues, to urge this attack upon me, so totally unprepared as he evidently is to discuss topics of this
I own I sometimes read his former letters to me with peculiar emotion, and am ready to think this whole business a dream; so unwilling am I to believe that any person who once professed himself so much attached to me, can be so much at emnity with me, as he now appears to be. Far am I from wishing that truth should ever be sacrificed to friendship, or any other consideration. I have shewn an example of the contrary myself, in my controversy with Dr. Price; but Mr. Badcock's situation with respect to me should have led him to adopt a more decent mode of opposition.
Time was, when, if it had been foretold to Mr. Badcock, that he would ever do what he now has done, he would, I am confident, have replied as Hazael did to the prophet, [2 Kings viii. 13,]"What, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" But as Hazael did not then know that he would become king of Assyria, so neither did Mr. Badcock foresee that he would ever be a Monthly Reviewer.
See supra, p. 19, Note ‡.
+ See Mon. Rev. LXX. p. 66.