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(but it would be digressing too far from the object of this controversy to do it,) it would soon appear that it was high time that this boasted alliance between the CHURCH and the STATE was entirely broken; as it has proved infinitely injurious to both the contracting parties, though occasionally useful to those churchmen and statesmen who, to serve the purposes of their own ambition, had drawn the contract.
When I contemplate the dignity you assume as Archdeacon, and the high tone of your whole performance, superior to any thing on my shelves, I wonder that you should profess any respect for tender consciences at all. I find, however, that the respect you profess for Dissenters is only for those who are favoured by the laws; so that our obligations to you are not great; nor do you think there is any impropriety in the restraints of human laws in matters of religion, only you would have them used "with the greatest gentleness and moderation."* How far this gentleness and moderation would go, if you really thought the church in danger, I cannot tell. I am, therefore, happy that you are so easy on that account, as you represent yourself.†
You are pleased, however, though in no perfect consistence with what you say of the powers of the priesthood, as derived by succession from the apostles, to say, "You will remember that I make the learning and the piety of her clergy, of which ample monuments are extant, the basis of her pre-eminence." I have no disposition to detract from the learning or the piety there may be among you; but as you celebrate your own praises, I will take the liberty to observe, that, allowance being made for your superior numbers and superior advantages, with respect to conveniences for study, from which, by a policy as weak as it is illiberal, you exclude Dissenters, (thinking, perhaps, to make us despicable, by keeping us in ignorance,) I do not think that the body of Dissenting ministers, with all their disadvantages, need be afraid of a comparison with you; and candid persons among the clergy have acknowledged the benefit you have derived from us; not to say that you are indebted to us for some of your great ornaments, as Tillotson, Butler, and Secker.
In what you say of Dr. Chandler, (whose infirmity and,
• Letters, p. 171. (P.) Tracts, p. 293.
+ Letters, p. 8. (P.) "My alarms," says Dr. Horsley, " (if I ever felt alarm) for the Catholic faith, or for the national establishment, as in danger from your attacks, must now be laid asleep." Tracts, p. 92.
Letters, p. 161. (P.) Tracts, p. 278.
I may add, whose misfortune, it was to pay too much court to leading men both in the church and in the state,) viz. that he preferred the Church of England to any other establishment of Christianity, it would be no great compliment from me if I should say it after him. But I really cannot do it; and if I could adopt your idea of the transmission of the powers of the priesthood from the apostles, and was to conform to any establishment, I should choose to be a member of a much older and more venerable establishment than yours, and in which the claim to that valuable succession should be less liable to litigation.
As to yourself in particular, who are so proud of being a churchman, it would have been happy for the public, and likewise a particular satisfaction to myself, if you had had a greater share of that learning of which you think your church possessed. More information would then have been given to our readers by both of us; and at least I might have been able to say, with the person who examined Dr. Clarke,t Probe me, exercuisti. All I can now say is, that I have made some use of your ignorance, though I should have made more of your knowledge, to throw light on the subject of our discussion. My task has been much too easy; but I would willingly have done more if there had been any occasion for it, or indeed a propriety in it.
I am, Sir, your very humble servant,
Birmingham, September, 1784.
Letters, p. 161. (P.) "I have heard," says Dr. Horsley, "from very good authority, of a conversation that passed between the late Dr. Chandler and a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, in which Chandler was a warm advocate for the constitution of the Church of England, in preference to any of the reformed Churches." Tracts, p. 278.
+ In 1709, on taking his degree of D.D. at Cambridge, where “he performed a remarkable public exercise." His thesis was on this question, “ Nullum Fidei Christiana dogma, in S. Scripturis traditum, est rectæ rationi dissertaneum; i, e. No Article of Christian Faith, delivered in the Holy Scripture, is disagreeable to right reason." The compliment was paid to Dr. Clarke by " Dr. James, then Royal Professor of Divinity, a very learned and acute disputant." See Biog, Brit. III. pp. 599, 600; Gen. Biog. Dict. III. pp. 413, 414. Some passages in this " public exercise" produced Dr. Bentley's Tetrastick, on the Professor, Whiston, and Clarke. See Whiston's Hist, Mem, of Clarke, Ed. 3, 1730, p. 14.
LETTERS TO DR. HORSLEY,
HIS REMARKS ON LETTERS, PART II.*
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
STRICTURES ON MR. HOWES'S NINTH NUMBER OF OBSERVATIONS ON BOOKS, ANCIENT AND MODERN.
Infelix! quæ tanta animum dementia cepit!
WHEN, in the advertisement of my History of early Opinions concerning Christ, I pledged myself to shew that Dr. Horsley's Remarks on my Letters to him were " as defective in argument as they are in temper," I did not mean that I would animadvert upom them immediately, or very soon; but intended to wait till I should hear what would be objected to that larger work, and then reply to him and others at the same time. I found, however, that the adver. tisement had raised a general expectation of a speedy reply to Dr. Horsley in particular; and being unwilling to disappoint any expectations I had even unintentionally excited, and more unwilling to appear desirous of shrinking from this discussion, I have done at present what many of my friends will probably think might as well have been deferred a while longer.
Besides, as Dr. Horsley's Remarks were written before he had seen my large History, I thought it might not be amiss, in this manner, to close the first act in our drama; the second being reserved for what may be occasioned by that work, which will probably be much more considerable than any
"Remarks upon Dr. Priestley's Second Letters to the Archdeacon of St. Alban's, with proofs of certain facts asserted by the Archdeacon." Reprinted in "Tracts in Controversy with Dr. Priestley," 1789, pp. 359-411.
thing that has been produced by the History of the Corruptions of Christianity. And my design (after the termination of the present discussion with Dr. Horsley, which must soon come to an issue) is, to wait a year or two, till I see what the publication of my large work on this subject shall produce, and then to reply to all my opponents at once; frankly acknowledging any mistakes I shall appear to have fallen into, and vindicating whatever I shall think capable of it, and deserving it.*
Agreeably to this scheme, I have annexed to these Letters some Remarks on the Ninth Number of Mr. Howes's Obserservations on Books, ancient and modern, in which he has begun his attack upon me. But in this I have been very concise, expecting to have an opportunity of treating the subjects more largely when I consider what he has further to produce. Mr. Whitef also cannot decline the discussion, and I have heard of the threats of others. We may, consequently, hope that this controversy (to which I find that much attention is given in foreign countries) will soon come to a proper termination, so that learned men in all nations will not long remain in uncertainty with respect to any thing of importance relating to it.
As this is a controversy that will probably have lasting consequences, let all who engage in it, on either side, be careful to acquit themselves in proportion to the character which they apprehend they have at stake; but above all, let truth be our great object. Our readers will easily perceive whether it be so or not. We shall sooner deceive ourselves than them. And least of all can we impose upon that great Being who is the God of truth, who secretly guides all our pursuits, and whose excellent purposes will be answered by them, with whatever views we may engage in them.
*Though an account of The State of Calvinism among the Dissenters, on which Dr. Horsley enlarges so much, has but little to do with the object of our controversy, I should have said something more on this subject, but that I hear it will be considered by a person who is exceedingly well qualified to inform the public concerning it, and to explain the cause of Dr. Horsley's very gross and palpable mistake. (P.) Dr. Priestley here refers to Mr. Palmer's publication. See infra, on Letter VI. No. IV., Note.
↑ Author, or rather preacher, of "Sermons preached at the Bampton Lecture, 1784, which Dr. Priestley noticed in 1785. On Sermon VIII., which examines the pretensions of Mahomet, there is a long note on that favourite topic, the agreement of" the Koran of Mahomet and the Creed of Socinus," in rejecting" the doctrines of the Divinity and Atonement of Christ." Notes, pp. Ixi.-Ixviii.
This Note was, probably, communicated by Mr. Badcock. In a letter to his able assistant, if not his principal, dated Oxford, July 27, 1784, Mr. White says, My notes on the Mahometan History will be copious; but I want some Remarks on the Christian part, which I here send you. Send me every thing you can, by way of Annotation as soon as possible." See Dr. Gabriel's " Facts relating to the Rev. Dr. White's Bampton Lectures," 1789, pp. 33, 84.
THE ARCHDEACON OF ST. ALBAN'S.
AN INTRODUCTORY LETTER.
In the course of our controversy, you maintained that there was a church of Trinitarian Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, after the time of Adrian; and as the account that Origen gives of the state of things in his time does not admit of the existence of such a church, you scrupled not to say, that he had recourse to the wilful and deliberate "allegation of a notorious falsehood." This you did on so little foundation, that I charged you with being a falsifier of history, and a defamer of the character of the dead.
On this article you have thought proper (notwithstanding your previously declared resolution to the contrary) to make your defence, in which you produce five passages from ancient writers, two from Origen himself, two from Jerome, and one from Epiphanius. In these Letters I undertake to shew that, though you have taken eighteen months to write, and to revise your Remarks, you have grossly misunderstood, or misapplied, all the passages, so that not one of them is to your purpose, and my charge still remains in its full force. For the justness of my interpretation of the passages in ques tion, I appeal to all who have any pretensions to scholarship, in this or any other country, and in this public manner I call upon you to vindicate your own.
On this article, at least, an article deliberately selected by yourself, let the controversy between us come to a fair issue. Nothing has been or shall be wanting to it on my part; and therefore the public will certainly expect your explicit and speedy answer.
I am, Reverend Sir,
Your very humble servant,