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amined, though manifestly repugnant to his cotta clusion, there was not to be found so brief and stubborn an expression, as τες αιώνας εποιησεν. As to the arguments derived by him, from the passages which he has thought proper to notice, they do not seem entitled to very minute attention: they amount merely to a note of Mr. Locke on the one ; and an assertion, on the other, that the natural creation cannot have been intended, “ because this is uniformly spoken of, throughout the Bible, as effected by the immediate power
of God, without the interposition of any other being whatever."
Thus Mr. Belsham's assertion, that Mr. Lindsey would overturn the notion of the preexistence of Christ, is maintained by Mr. Lindsey's own assertion that he has done so. He ad* mits indeed, that his argument is not likely to any effect upon
those who are Tritheists, or Orthodox in the vulgar and strict sense ; who can with the same breath, and in the same sentence, without being astonished at themselves, assert, that there are three Creators and yet but one Creator. There is no arguing (he adds) with men that can swallow, without feeling, downright contradictions." Mr. Belsham in his engagement, that the champions of his tenets, would be able fully to establish them, by proving, that all such passages of Scripture as contradicted them, were “either interpolated, corrupted or misun
derstood," forgot to make the exception, which is here very properly introduced by Mr. Lindsey : for sound argument must surely be lost upon such men as the above. But let us examine farther, in what
the parallel passages in Colos. i. 16. and Ephes. iii. 9. which by attributing the work of creation to Christ, seem to intimate his pre-existence, are explained by other writers, who are fellow-labourers with Mr. Belsham, in the laudable work of reducing the exalted dignity of our blessed Saviour to the common standard of human nature, It is true, says Mr. Tyrwhitt (Commentaries and Essays, vol. 2.) that it is said (Ephes. iii. 9.) that God created all things by Jesus Christ. But these words are thus to be interpreted :--things must be taken for persons, because there are passages where the word is so understood:--by things that are, must be intended persons peculiarly chosen by God, as the Jews were, in opposition to the Gentiles, who are described as things that are not. But as we now speak of the Christian dispensation, by all things must be understood, all persons, whether Jews or Gentiles, who believe in the Gospel : and by the word created, is meant to be conveyed, “ not the giving being, or bringing into existence; but the conferring benefits and privileges, or the placing in a new and more advantageous state of being." And thus these few slight and obvious transitions being admitted, Mr. Tyrwhitt easily explains the creation of all things by Jesus Christ,
to be, the bestowing upon all persons who would accept them, the privileges of the Gospel, by the ministry of Christ.
Again, on Col. i. 16, we are informed by the German divines, Ernestus and Teller, in a similar felicity of interpretation, that when it is said, that by Christ were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in carth; visible and invisible, &c. it is meant to express by an EASY FIGURE, a new moral creation wrought in the world by the gospel of Christ :-the things that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, meaning the Jews and Pagans :--and the things visible and invisible, the present and future generations of men !!! See Rosenmuller's Scholia
on Col. i. 16. *
To remind these writers, that St. John has placed this matter beyond dispute, in his first chapter, by declaring, that the world which was made by Christ, was a world which yet knew him not, and therefore could not have been the work of a spiritual creation, the very nature of which was to bestow the true knowledge of Christ and his Gospel : to remind them, I say, of this, and
* What says the learned dissenter Mr.
such treatment of this passage of Colossians ?" The interpreta. tion which refers what is here said of our Saviour, to the new creation, or the renovation of all things, is so forced and violent, that it can hardly be thought, that men would ever have espoused it, but for the sake of an hypothesis. The reader may meet with a confutation of it in most commenta tors.” Paraphrase, &c, p. 12, note w,
of the other express declarations in that chapter, on the subject of Christ's pre-existence in general, as well as on that of the creation by him in particular, is but to little purpose. It is replied, that in that chapter, the Logos, to whose operations the effects there spoken of are ascribed, does not imply a person, but an attribute: and that the work of creation is consequently not attributed to Christ, but to the WISDOM of God the Father. This is not the place to discuss this point. Whoever wishes to see it fully examined, may consult Whitby, Doddridge and Rosenmuller. To the enquiring reader I would more particularly recommend upon this head, Pearson on the Creed, p. 116-120: Le Clerc, Nov. Test. tom. i. p. 392—400: Wits. Misc. Sacr. tom. ii. p. 88– 118: Whitaker's Origin of Arianism, p. 39– 114: Howes's Critical Observations, vol. iv. p. 38—198: Bishop of Lincoln's Elements, Art. ii. and Dr. Laurence's Dissertation upon the Logos.
But I am content to rest the whole issue of the question, upon the state of the case furnished by the Socinian or Unitarian writers themselves. Let the reader but look into the translation of this chapter by Mr. Wakefield, and let him form his judgment of the merits of the Socinian hypothesis, from the mode of expounding Scripture, which he will there find employed for its support. Let him try, if he can even com. prehend the distinct propositions contained in the first fourteen verses. Let him try, if he can annex any definite notions to the assertion, that wisdom (meaning thereby an attribute of God) was God: or to the assurance so strongly enforced by repetition, that the wisdom of God was with God; in other words, that the Deity had not existed before his own essential attri. butes:-or again, if he can conceive, how the Evangelist (supposing him in his senses) could have thought it necessary, after pronouncing the true light to be God, formally to declare that John was not that light; or how he could affirm, that the wisdom which he had spoken of but as an attribute, was made flesh, and became a person, visible, and tangible:-in short, let him try, if he does not find, both in the translation and the explanatory notes, as much unintelligible jargon as was ever crouded into the same compass; nay, as is even, according to Mr. Wakefield's notion, to be found in the Athanasian creed itself. This however is called a candid and critical investigation of Scripture; and this, it is to be remembered, is the latest,* and
* Notes on all the Books of Scripture, by Dr. Priestley, have issued from the press since the first edition of this work: and to the exposition there attempted of the introduction of St. John's Gospel, the remarks, which I have made on Mr. Wakefield's translation, apply as aptly, as if for that they had been originally designed, Whoever has a curiosity to discover whether Mr. Wakefield or Dry