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appear equally absurd with those quoted in the four preceding Letters.
But two passages I must refer to, as affording a plain and evident demonstration, that the Apostle viewed the Lord Jesus Christ in a different light from that in which Dr. Priestley beholds him. The one passage is in the 1st epistle, (chap. iii. 11,) and according to the Doctor's hypothesis, must be interpreted as follows'Now God himself, even our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, [a mere man !] direct our way unto you. And the Lord [the same mere man!] make you to increase in love one towards another and towards all men, to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.' A manifest and undeniable instance this, of a formal and solemu prayer, addressed to the Lord Jesus, that is, as Dr. Priestley will have it, to a mere man !, and by one who, he says, believed him to be a mere man! Surely it behoves him to consider how, on his principles, he can acquit the apostle of the gross crime of idolatry ! -The other passage (2d epist. chap. ii. 16,) must, on the same hypothesis, be understood in the same manner. 'Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself [a mere man!] and God even our Father, who hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.' Here again we have a plain instance of the Apostle's praying to Christ, and that at the very time and in the very manner in which he prays to the Father.
The Doctor may pass these things over slightly. But you will agree with me, dear Sir, that reason requires him either to allow that the Apostle held a different sentiment concerning the Lord Jesus, from that which he entertains, or to give us proof that he can imitate the Apostle, and worship Christ as he did. While, then, he informs his people, in the language of St. Paul in these epistles, that Jesus Christ' delivers them from the wrath to come,' (1st epist. chap. i. 10,) and that
they obtain salvation through him,' (chap. v. 9 :)— That he is that Lord that shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God; who (2d epist. chap. i. 7,) shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,'-the person from whose presence and from the glory of whose power' such shall be punished, with everlasting destruction,' when he [a mere man] shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe:'-And while he prays to the Father for his flock, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in them, according to the grace of our God, and Jesus our Lord: Let him approach also the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, after the example of St. Paul. Though this might a little astonish some of his hearers, as being a procedure that they had not been accustomed to, yet it would have more weight than any thing he has yet said or done to convince the public that he does not differ so widely from St. Paul, as the generality of mankind in this kingdom suppose him to do. But if he cannot conscientiously do this, as believing it would be gross idolatry to worship a mere man in this manner, or speak of him in this exalted strain, then let him acknowledge that St. Paul and he differ widely in their views of the Lord Jesus.
Methinks, Rev. Sir, on the Socinian principles, the remarkable passage contained in the 2nd chapter of the latter epistle to this people, which has generally been applied by Protestants to the Pope of Rome, might with much greater propriety be applied to Jesus Christ. He, you know, has been worshipped as God for 1700 years at least, by the generality of Christiaus; and be, as God, hath sat and still sits in the temple, or church of God, shewing himself that he is God;' proclaiming himself the root as well as offspring of David, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and declaring that all men ought to honour him, the Son, even as they
honour the Father, and that he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father.' Now if he be no such
being, but only a mere man, and therefore no proper object of divine worship, it seems it would be no diffi-. cult matter, for so great a master of the art of reasoning as Dr. Priestley, to prove that he is the great impostor and usurper, primarily meant by St. Paul in this passage, the grand idol (as indeed he must think him) of professing Christians; an impostor and usurper, by so much greater than the Pope, or any other that hath arisen in the Church of God, claiming divine honours, and exercising dominion over men's consciences;-by how much he hath been obeyed more unreservedly and implicitly, and hath been worshipped more devoutly and universally than they.
You know, Sir, it is generally supposed that all the most remarkable apostasies from faith in and piety towards God, which have occurred or shall occur in his church, have been distinctly foretold in the holy scriptures: Now, if Jesus Christ be a mere man, the worship of him so generally practised, all over Christendom, for so long a run of ages, must be the greatest corruption of true religion, and the most remarkable defection from the service of the one living and true God, that ever took place in the visible church. And it would be strange indeed, and what many would consider as an insuperable objection to the Doctor's whole scheme, if this greatest of all apostasies should no where be foretold in the Oracles of God, when apostasies, far less criminal and general, are constantly found to have been predicted there.-But if it must be supposed to be prophesied of somewhere, it may be worth the Doctor's while to consider, whether this passage is not as likely to foretel it as any other.
It describes a great and general falling away from the worship and service of the true God, a grand and universally spreading idolatry, supported by miracles real or pretended. This, according to his hypothesis, must be very applicable to that apostasy from the wor
ship of one God only, which the Doctor and his friends deplore; which they are using all possible means to remedy, and which he somewhere calls the idolizing of Jesus Christ. And however it might shock the prejudices of some half-thinking zealots to find, that, according to this interpretation, epithets are given to Jesus Christ, such as they have not been accustomed to hear him characterized by, and such as they may deem blasphemous; yet this can no way stagger the Doctor. For how can he think any appellation too severe which is given to one, who, though a mere man, weak, fallible, and peccable like others, for so many centuries has been worshipped as God, and has been the grand idol of so great a part of the known world, and has so manifestly, by word and deed, countenanced and encouraged, nay, and commanded that idolatry!
Now, Sir, when the Doctor has once proved this point, he will have done his business effectually indeed. He will have brought Jesus Christ as low as he could wish him. He then, instead of being the Lord of glory, and Son of God, is discovered to be the Man of sin, and Son of But I must check myself: The whole truth must not be spoken at once, for indeed it would not be borne. And at present there is amongst us an almost universally prevailing opinion that Jesus Christ, so far from being the person described by St. Paul, in this passage, whose coming is after the working of Satan; with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish,' is in reality that Lord who shall consume that wicked one, with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming.' If this opinion should have any foundation in truth, I fear Dr. Priestley will be found to have entertained and taught a great error, and may be in danger of meeting with a severe rebuke, if nothing more dreadful, in that day, from him he has thus degraded.
Praying that we, Rev. Sir, and all professing Chris tians, may be so endowed with that Spirit of truth, whose office it is to reveal the Lord Jesus, that we may
both form proper conceptions of his wonderful person, and pay him the honour due unto his name, I break off here, and subscribe myself,
Your obedient Servant,
In him, even in Christ Jesus, &c.
TIMOTHY, Titus, and Philemon, you know, were particular and intimate friends of St. Paul. In the epistles inscribed to them, therefore, at least we may expect to find his sentiments concerning Jesus Christ, the grand subject of all his Letters, naked and without disguise Let us then narrowly examine these epistles, and see whether they comport with Dr. Priestley's doctrine. In order hereto, let us adopt the method pursued above, and see whether those passages which speak of Christ, appear to contain good sense and sound Divinity, when understood according to the Doctor's hypothesis. Chap. i. 1, Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, [the infinite, eternal, and supreme Jehovah,] and the Lord Jesus Christ, [a mere man, weak, fallible, and peccable, who, mere man though he be, is nevertheless] our hope ;-unto Timothy, my son in the faith; grace, mercy, and peace [from both these persons] from God our Father, [the Supreme Being,] and Jesus Christ our Lord,' a mere man!
Verse 12-I thank [this mere man!] Jesus Christ our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, who was before a blasphemer, and persecutor, and injurious. But I obtained merry, because I did it ignorantly in