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Mr. English has derived any thing. The publication of the conference of Orobio and Limborch in Latin by the latter, also a Christian professor, in the year 1687, certainly savours not of intolerance and suppression. While the correspondence of Levi and Priestley, in English, passed in open day, within the last generation, and no objection was taken, that I know, to the boldness of Levi, which was exemplary, or his coarseness, which was extreme. Deriving his Jewish arguments from these sources, I cannot but wish Mr. English had said less of the compulsory silence imposed upon the Jews, and the suppression of their works.
Mr. English leaves, I think, upon his reader's mind the impression, that he had discovered some Jewish ar-. guments, which had hitherto been entirely or almost unknown. Now I assert, without fear of contradiction, that there is not in all Mr. English's work a single argument against Christianity, which has not repeatedly been stated. I will not say that he has not adduced a single illustration that is original; perhaps the comparison of the primitive Christians to the Shakers is so. But that a single argument can be found in his work which has not been before urged, I am sure. Moreover, the sug gestion that this work contains Jewish arguments in distinction from Deistical, is equally unfounded. Except ing single illustrations and examples, there is not an argument in it, that may not be found in Deistical writers; and this I say, after a perusal of the most considerable of them to ascertain this point.
It may excite surprise in some, that Mr. E. should have found it to his purpose, to take so much from the writings of Dr. Priestley, and that he should venture to insinuate that the doctor came to a conclusion, not essentially different from his own.* In reply to this last insinuation, there are few to whom it is necessary to say, that Dr.Priestley lived and died a sincere believer in Jesus Christ and his gospel, as he understood it to be taught in the New Testament. He thought that many of the prophecies applied by Christians to the Messiah, referred to a
* Letter to Mr. Cary, p. 90.
temporal prince, of the house of David, and from a tract where he asserts this, Mr. E. copied his third chapter : -copied not only without acknowledging the debt, at the time; but also without acknowledging it in the partial settlement he makes with his creditors, in the letter to Mr. Cary.
Dr. Priestley firmly believed that other prophecies foretold a suffering Messiah, and that these were fulfil led in Jesus Christ. Among these prophecies, and in the very tract from which Mr. E. takes his third chap ter, he names Is. lii. and liii.though Mr. E. indulges himself in quoting him for the Jewish interpretation of that prophecy, without any mention of this fact.-In his tract on the perpetual obligation of the Jewish ritual on? Jews, Dr. Priestley affords Mr. E. another chapter.With respect to this last point in addition to what I have said, in the course of this essay, I would add a quotation from a writer, very high in Mr. E's. esteem. "A word of that anonymous writer, whose arrogant work ⚫ upon the design of Jesus and his disciples** has lately been edited by Lessing. He pretends that Jesus, by no means intended the abolition of the Mosaick law, nor taught the cessation of the ritual, in which he mistakes marvellously. For if, as this writer supposes and clamorously asserts, Jesus professed to be the Messiah; he must necessarily have proceeded to the abrogation of the Mosaick law, in virtue of this new authority, a point so clearly conceded by the Jews and Rabbins, that one cannot sufficiently wonder that a learned man should be so ignorant of it, as to dare to maintain that Jesus, in assuming the character and authority of the Messiah, did not therefore wish to abrogate the Mosaick law.”*
I would add a few words with respect to this essay. In perusing Mr. English's work I have suffered so much inconvenience from his deficiency in stating authorities, that I have perhaps gone to the extreme of minuteness, in giving mine.-I have never,
*« Von dem Zweck Jesu und seiner Junger" See page 458 of this work.
* SEMLERI Paraph. epistolæ ad Galat. p. 171.
as I believe, given a reference to the originals, without having consulted them, and where I am indebted to other writers for references to the fathers, I have not thought myself at liberty to claim them, as the fruits of my own reading. The quotations from Josephus and Basnage are generally made from the translations of Whiston and Taylor. But having myself turned to the originals, wherever there was any doubt, I have given the references according to the Greek of Josephus, and the French of Basnage, to aid the reader in doing the same.
It will be thought injudicious by many, to have recalled the publick attention to a work, which was received at first with little sensation by the community in general, and which is now quite forgotten. But I do by no means expect that these pages are to attract general public notice that they will be seen by any, besides a few inquirers, or long remembered beyond the circle of personal friendship. It has not been my object to prolong by controversy, the indecision of those who have not leisure to inquire, but to furnish a few materials to those who have. There is a mixture of styles in this work, of the popular and the learned, into which I was unconsciously led, by attempting to adapt it to the state of publick information, but which, upon revision, appears to myself, and doubtless will to my readers, sufficiently unnatural. But I wished to make the discussion not absolutely below the notice of scholars, and yet not unintelligible to others. I have therefore also thrown into the notes as much as I could, which was not likely to be generally read.-Finally, I can hardly be thought to have prepared these pages, with a view to my own reputation. I see such defects in them, as should preclude the idea, and those who are less partial will see more. I have prepared them under some disadvantages, which I state, not so much as an apology, as a cause of their defects. I commenced them October, 1813, about a fortnight after I began to preach, as a candidate for the Christian ministry. They have accordingly been mostly written, while my hands were filled with other duties, and my heart with other cares:
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Miracles and Prophecy both proofs of revelation....The opin«
Disingenuousness of Collins in passages copied by Mr. Eng-
Testimony of Theodoret to the early and extensive diffusion of
The prophecy Gen. xlix. 10....Mr. English's ignorance of the