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brought against him both by Mosheim and by Barbeyfac , to whose controversy withCellier on the merits of the early Fathers as moral writers , the historian alludes . Our limits forbid us to notice this part of the learned Professor ' s labours any further than to say , that it is conducted with the learning , judgment and impartiality \ which characterize almost every page of the work * ( To be continued , )
Art . IV , —Observations on the History and Doctrine of Christianity , tir e * By William Mitford , Esq .
[ Continued from page 217 . J The author begins the Second Part of his Observations in Sect . L with some remarks upon the " State of the World when Christ was born , " designed to shew that the period of his birth was the fittest that could have been chosen for the purposes of his mission . We think it likely that Mr . Mitford was unacquainted with another historian ' s essay in the form of a sermon upon this subject . His mode both of thinking and of writing appears to great disadvantage , when the subject compels us to compare him with so judicious a reasoner and so elegant a writer as Dr . Robertson .
In Sect . II ., entitled " Of the Evangelists , " Mr . Mitford suggests some unborrowed thoughts on the inspiration of the sacred writers , which , though containing nothing that is not familiar to theologians , deserve to be extracted as an exposition of the ingenuous mind of the learned writer : " That the whole of the Old Testament , and of the New , has been written
under authority or control of the Holy Ghost , appears to have been so generally held by Christian writers and teachers , that , with my small reading , I have not learnt whether it has been controverted by any . That it is derived from very early times of the church I doubt not ; but , so it has been assumed as undeniable , by authors whose works have fallen in my way , that on what it is founded remains to me unknown . Habituated from instruction in earliest
years , and from observation , ever since , of the reception of the opinion , b y writers and teachers whom I most respected , I have been struck , not till I set myself to methodize and note in writing my thoughts on the subject , with observing that not only none of the evangelists claim such authority , but , on the contrary , two of them seem virtually to disclaim it ; Luke declaring that he received his information from those who had attended Christ from the beginning of his ministry , and John twice asserting , as authority for what he wrote , that he bore record of what he saw , and that he knew his record to be
true " . * I the less scruple so far to express myself on this interesting but difficult subject , ( difficult all the ablest ecclesiastics who have written with any view to controvert objections shew they have felt it , ) as it appears to me , that the testimony which the Gospels themselves , as they have been transmitted to us ,
afford , combined with what the Old Testament offers , is sufficient fojr esta-Wishing- their title to be the ground of the Christian rettgion ; Hardly wanting support from our assurance of the acceptance they obtained on their first publication , and the extent of respect ever continued to them , though the support these afford is powerful , inspiration , frequently mentioned in Scriptu * e , is sq little explained that it remains a mystery . Nevertheless , though not knowing what it is , it seems to me quite consonant to human reason to * ' * " " r »¦ ¦ < ¦ ' ¦ * ¦• " ——— ' — . i « . i .. " Luke i . ; John xix . 3 $ , *> nd xxi , 35 . "
Review . —Mitford ' s Observations on Christianity . 359
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), May 2, 1827, page 359, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1796/page/47/