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Dr. now Bp. Horseley, Mr. White, Mr. Howes, Dr. Horne, dean of Canterbury, and president of Magdalen college, Oxford, have lately appeared in print against our author, chiefly with an intention to confute what he has advanced concerning the divine unity, and the person of Christ. The state of the argument betwixt himself and Dr. Horseley, Dr. Priestley has mentioned in page 1o, &c. of his letters to Dr. Horne ; and has made fome animadversions on Mr. White, in his “ Im
portance and extent of free inquiry in
matters of religion ;” and in his Defences of Unitarianism for the year 1787, p. 71 to 108, hath made a full reply to the charges, which Mr. Howes hath brought against him.
The president of Magdalen maintains, that there are three divine persons, who are each of them Gods, and equally to be wor-shiped ; and yet that these three persons, thus distinctly to be invoked, are not three Gods, but one God: a doctrine, and a worship this, as appears from the face of the scriptures, and will more appear the B 3
more accurately they are examined, wholly unknown to Moses, and to Jesus, and his apostles : and, to the philofophic inquirer, nature's (a) light certainly teaches its great author and creator, God, to be one person only, one conscious mind, one single intelligent agent, wile and good.
After having shewn the inconclusiveness of Dr. Horne's arguments in defence of this Trinity in Unity, as he files it from the creed ascribed to Athanafius, it was natural
(a) “ The plain argument for the existence of the “ Deity, obvious to all, and carrying irresistible conviction “ with it, is from the evident contrivance and fitness of “ things for one another, which we meet with throughout all parts
of the universe. There is no need of nice « and subtle reasonings in this matter: a manifest contri“vance immediately suggests a contriver, It strikes us “ like a sensation; and artful reasonings against it may “ puzzle us, but it is without shaking our belief. No
person, for example, that knows the principles of op“ tics, and the structure of the eye, can believe that it was « formed without skill in that science; or that the car was « formed without the knowlege of sounds; or that the male « and female in animals were not formed for each other, and “ for continuing the species. All our accounts of nature
are full of instances of this kind, The admirable and “ beautiful structure of things for final causes, exalts our " idea of the Contriver: the unity of design shews him to “ be One."--Maclaurin's account of Sir Isaac Newton's philosophical discoveries, p. 400, 8vo.
for Dr. Priestley to turn his eyes to you, O ye noble, and ingenuous youth, the nation's hope, and future ornament and support, I trust! concerned and grieved at the thought, that should be constrained at any time, particularly at so early a period as some of you have done, to subscribe and declare your belief of a doctrine so irreconcileable to reason and to scripture, together with that of original or birth-fin, &c. &c. (b) connected with it.
From a foresight of the difficulties, in which those of you in particular, who are designed for sacred orders, will probably be involved, if ever you should search the scriptures in earnest for yourselves, and find the daily service of the church, in which
you are bound to minister, and the articles of faith, to which your teachings are to be conformable, inconsistent with the convictions of your consciences ; he presses and
(b) A late excellent prelate, who earnestly wished for a farther reformation, and was not wanting in endeavours to promote it, was wont sometimes in familiar conversation with friends, humourously to call original or birth-sin, the fin of being born.
solicits you, by the most cogent and affectionate arguments.(d), to consider this in time, and to take the measures, which might be effectual to remedy and redress so heavy a grievance.
Nor are those among you, who are intended merely to discharge the duties and offices of civil life, unconcerned in this matter as they may imagine, so as to be under no obligation to take a part in it.
(c) “Let titles of honour and dominion go as the pro“ vidence of God will have, yet quiet and peaceable men « will not fail of their obedience: no more will I of aught, « so be that God and good conscience command not the con“trary. A higher degree of duty I do not see any man
demand at my hands : for whereas the exception of « good conscience sounds not well with many men, because « ofttimes under that form, pertinacy and wilfulness is « suspected to couch itself; in this cafe, it concerns every « man fincerely to know the truth of his own heart, and « so accordingly to determine of his own way, whatsocver " the judgment of his superiors be, or whatsoever event be« fall him. For fince, in case of conscience, many times " there is a necesity to fall either into the hands of men, or « into the hands of God; of these two, whether is the best, “ I leave every particular man to judge : only I will add thus « much, it is a fearful thing to trifle with conscience ; for most « assuredly, according unto it, a man shall stand or fall at
the last."-Letter of Mr. Hales to Abp. Laud.
Next to officiating and administring in forms of worship contrary to the sense of their own minds, and invoking those whom they believe not to be gods, or capable of hearing and helping them ; near of kin to this, and not much inferior surely is the fault of joining in worship directed to such objects, and thereby giving fanction and encouragement to it. Your first apprehensions, I am persuaded, would lead you to think that no good mind could be easy in such a cuftomary practice ; although many such there have been, and are, who can bring themselves to be satisfied with it, through the force of habit, and from various reasons, and particularly by supposing, that as the wrong part of the worship is not their act, they may safely join in the parts they approve, and have nothing to do with the others. But whether this be a conduct strictly upright, and what a christian ought to acquiesce in, as agreeable with his divine master's teachings, deserves your maturest consideration.
It is not therefore impertinently, or without just cause, that Dr. Priestley has taken