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6 such assertions as these, no honest man will engage in its 6 defence." (Page 213.)-I have re-considered the assertions;
- I have compared them anew with the specimens of Unitarian criticism to which they refer;-and, taking into account the nature of these criticisms, the general agreement of translators and critics against them, the disagreement, in some instancès, of Unitarians themselves, as to the proper alteration of the received version, and, in general, the negative kind of style in which they treat these texts,- I have been tempted to say, like the Roman governor, “ What I have written, “ I have written.”—Mr. Yates, however, declares, (and I must believe him,) that “ it is his deliberate opinion” (an opinion in which, he says, “ all Unitarians who think themselves ca“ pable of understanding the original will probably agree with “ him) that, in the very few instances in which they depart “ from the common translation, they think their versions at 66 least equally fair, natural, and obvious with those of Trini" farians.” (P. 213.)- This declaration I am bound to believe, and, at any rate as far as respects Mr. Yates himself, do believe. It obliges me to take other ground, and to marvel at the illustration which it furnishes of the influence of prejudice and attachment to system in biassing even a sound and enlightened judgment.
My wonder is not diminished by the following closing sentences of the chapter:-“ Since we find the doctrines of the strict unity 66 of God, the inferiority of Jesus Christ, and the derivation of « his knowledge and power, clearly asserted in many hundred 6 passages of Scripture; and since we think the doctrines of the 66 Trinity and the Divinity of Christ, as now held by the ortho66 dox, both absurd in themselves, and contrary to the general “ tenor and plain language of the Bible; we should be justified 6 in rendering four or five difficult passages in any allowable “ manner, which made them consistent with our primary and
indisputable principles. The fact, however, is, that we are 6 not reduced to this necessity." (Page 214.)-These sentences, I say, do not abate my wonder:- because I cannot help thinking, that the " necessity," actually felt ‘and operating, has led to the adoption of the principle of criticism here avowed. It is a principle, which, to say the least, requires to be guarded, and applied to practice, with very great jealousy indeed. Of this Mr. Yates seems to have been sensible: for the principle is here very cautiously stated. It is confined to the “ rendering of four or five difficult passages," as if this were the whole extent of embarrassment and difficulty which the Unitarian system had to clear away; whereas the principle is as directly applicable to the interpretation of multitudes of other passages, as it is to the translation of these. The 6 many hundred plain passages of Scripture,” indeed, which are here opposed to four or five difficult ones, assert what all
Trinitarians hold, as a part of their system, namely, the strict “ unity of God, the inferiority of Jesus Christ, and the deri“ vation of his knowledge and power.” The proper interpretation of these passages leaves, on their system, no difficulty in the interpretation of the smaller number. The difficulty exists on Socinian principles: it exists to a vastly greater extent than “ four or five" passages;- and the principle which is here vindicated in the rendering of these four or five in any allowable manner, is actually applied both in the translation and interpretation of many more than these, in a way which will be considered as allowable only by those who are strongly sensible that the natural rendering, and obvious explanation, of such passages, would overturn their system. ', 's'. .
MR. YATES's strictures on the passages in which the 56 PECULIAR WORKS OF GOD are supposed to be ascribed to 6 Jesus Christ,” come next in order.
The strong presumptive argument which, in introducing the discussion of this part of my subject, I had drawn from the peculiar manner in which Jesus performed some of his mira
cles, I should wish the reader to re-peruse, as I have given it , myself, Discourses, pages. 100—103; Mr. Yates's of condensed
6 statement of it being far from calculated to make a fair impression of its nature and force. Supposing the reader to have thus refreshed his memory, let him now listen to Mr. Yates.--" The arguments which I have here presented in a 66 condensed form, appear to me the most ingenious and elo
quent pieces of reasoning in Mr. Wardlaw's volume. But 66 deplorable is the condition of that tottering system, whose « advocates, instead of relying on plain and positive declara« tions of Scripture, are obliged to prop it up by far-fetched « inferences, and by imaginary hints and allusions: and it is 6 curious and entertaining to observe how Reason, which is 6 discarded and turned out of doors, whenever her evidence 6 is unfavourable to the popular system, is called up again to " the tribunal, and treated with all possible respect, when 6s it is conceived that she can serve the cause of orthodoxy, “ even by suggesting the most faint and distant analogies." (Pages 215, 216.)
On this most singular paragraph, I offer the following brief remarks:
Ist. If the argument here ridiculed has nothing more to recommend it than mere ingenuity and eloquence, let it be at once rejected.
2dly. But, if Mr. Yates means to impress the reader with the conviction, that these “ pieces of reasoning" are really, on the whole, the best, the most forcible, on the point in support of which they are adduced, I again say, Timeo Danaos. Although I think the argument possesses force, and considerable force too, yet, in the scale of comparative importance and conclusiveness, I am far from giving it this pre-eminence. I feel jealous of all such compliments. They glitter on the hilt of a sword. The commendation bestowed on an argument of this nature, seems intended to operate, in the reader's mind, as a deduction from the value of all the rest.
3dly. The insinuation that we do “ not rely on plain and 66 positive declarations of Scripture,” is contrary to truth; and Mr. Yates's language here, when he talks of the “ deplora“ ble condition of our system,” and of our being s obliged to o prop it up by far-fetched inferences, and imaginary hints and 66 allusions," is quite of a piece with that of Mr. Belsham, when he speaks of the controversy on our side being “ reduced” to the argument from the use of the definite article; and it merits the same reprehension.--As to the argument itself in question, the reader must be left to form his own judgment whether it deserves to be ranked amongst "far-fetched infer. “ ences, and imaginary hints and allusions.” .
4thly. The sarcasm about “ Reason,” which was intended no doubt to bite, is a very harmless one. I shall leave the reader to feel for its fangs; merely remarking, that the only occasion on which we feel disposed to turn Reason out of doors is when, in the plenitude of her pride and presumption, she attempts, with the aid of her Unitarian adherents, to do the same by Revelation: and then we are of opinion that she well deserves this summary justice. .
I must transcribe another paragraph from Mr. Yates, on account of the sentence with which it concludes:- I might .6 bid adieu to this argument without any farther observations. “ But the charge of “presumptuous impiety' has been brought 66 against the holy and humble Jesus: he is said to have claimed - 66 for himself, as his original possession, an unlimited control .66 over the material and moral world. Let the reader call to 66 mind those solemn, explicit, and often repeated declara6 tions, which were formerly brought forward, (Part II. ch. .667. 8. 2.) and by which our Lord absolutely disclaimed the
< possession of inherent power,' saying, that of himself he .66 could do nothing, and that the Father, dwelling in him, did 66 the works. I confess, that his express assertions, when 6 put into the balance with the eloquent and ingenious plead66 ings of one whose talents and virtues I highly esteem, weigh 66 more in my mind than the waters of the ocean, when 66 placed in comparison with the drop that hangs upon the 6.bucket.” (Page 219.) .
And so unquestionably they should. The only fault of the comparison is, that it is not sufficiently strong. All the ** pleadings" of man, however “ ingenious and eloquent,”
when opposed to a single “ express assertion" of the faithful - 66 witness” must be infinitely less than nothing. But the charge · which is here implied, of my framing eloquent and ingeni
ous pleadings, in opposition to the “ solemn, explicit, and fre« quently repeated declarations” of my Lord and master, is a very serious one indeed. Accursed be the pleading,-avdella &TW_with all its ingenuity and eloquence, that would contradict his words, or impute to him the impiety of claiming an equality with God, which he did not possess ! But if, on the