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while they fight against the truth ; whereas , if those learned men had traced die doctrine up to Heathenism as its true source , they wouW have held up their adversaries as defenders , not only of one of the grossest dog-mas of the Pagan religion , but a dogma opposed and condemned by the apostles themselves . J . JONES ,
P . S . The persecution of the Christians by Tiberius must have taken place a year or two after the resurrection of Jesus . The' enemies of the gospel in the provinces , naturally imitated the temper and measures adopted by the higher powers in the capital . The same spirit , as soon as the news of it had time to reach
Judea , roust have there kindled a similar flame . Accordingly , we read , " In those days there came to pass a violent persecution of the church in Jerusalem , " Acts viii . 2 . In a year or
two , the hostility of the emperor was changed by the fall of Sejanus ; and the effects of the edict dispatched in favour of the Christians , must have been , in a period somewhat later , felt in all the provinces , and in Judea and Samaria in the number .
Conformably to this , we read , Acts ix . 31 , " And all the churches throughout Judea , Galilee and Samaria had repose ; and being edified , and walking in the fear of the Lord , arid in the consolation of the Holy Spirit , they
were greatly multiplied . " Thus remarkably the transactions at Rome , mentioned by Philo , Josephus and Tertullian , illustrate , and are illustrated by , two corresponding events in the Acts of the Apostles .
Gibbon , under the veil of insidious irony , endeavours to expose to contempt aud derision the testimony of Tertullian . He says of himself , that his views respecting the records of Christianity were rather extensive than accurate . Yet had they been extensive , as he thus flatters himself , he would have known that all the
improbability which weighs down the narrative of Tertullian , is removed by facts attested by Josephus and Plutarch ; and that the yery edict which Gibbon derides , is recorded b y Philo . See the Decline and Fall , Vol . II . C ? hap . xvi . p . 444 .
38 Vr . Lardners Orthodoxy .
Sir , AS an Unitarian , I feel great satisfaction ia reviewing the characters of those that have borne the same denomination , amongst whom is preeminent the learned and candid Lardner . Of him any party might justly boast . In fact , all parties claim him as a Christian , and I have
sometimes wondered that the Trinitarians do not attempt to prove that he was no Unitarian . An ultra-Unitarian he certainly was not * He would , I think , stand surprised , were he now living , at some of the opinions of the modern Unitarians ; and there is not a little in his
writings which these persons must consider as scarcely reconcileable with their orthodoxy . For example , in his " Vindication of Three of our Blessed ~ Saviour * s
Miracles , * he says , in reply to Woolston ' s fifth objection with regard to the place and state of the soul of Lazarus between his death and resurrection , *• ' Nor could the soul of any good man be unwilling to return for & time to the troubles and miseries of this
wicked world , how grievous soever , in order to serve the great design of saving his fellow-creatures ; for which end Jesus his Saviour descended from the height of glory he had ivith his Father , took fleshy and underwent the troubles and sorrows of this mortal life . ' ( Works , 8 vo . XI . 41 . ) Again , in his reflections upon the raisiug of Lazarus , he exclaims , " Herein also
is adorable the wisdom , the goodness , the condescension of Jesus . " ( Id . 76 ) The treatise from which these extracts are made , was published in the year 1729 , only one year before
the Letter on the Logos was written . Did Dr . Lardner change his opinion concerning the person of Christ , in the interval between the composition of the two works i Or , was his view of our Lord's humanity always united with some notion of his pre-existent
glory ? Or , ia the language here marked by italics the iriere result of early habit , and an accommodation to the prejudices of the Christian world ? Other passages might be extracted from Lardner , to shew that he wrote more agreeably to the language of Christians in general , than modern Unitarians ( at least , the \ bttlk of them }
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1823, page 38, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1780/page/38/