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of Prestwich appeared against the said your last communication, for which I Mr. Isaac Allen for his non-officiateinge feel myself at present altogether uneat Prestwich aforesaid, It is ordered, that qual, Í design to give you a sketch those that doe appeare in the behalfe of of my history, which will include my Mr. Allen, they give in their names in apology, and, at the same time, if And also ordered, that nothing bee done such is the will of Providence, it may against Mr. Allen, untill such tyme as the also prove to be “the last speech, parties appeareinge for him come in to confession and dying words” of your make out what they can on theire be- friend. halfe.
For many years I have been much “ 4. Mr. Birch, Scholemaster at Prest- subject to a stomach and bowel comwich, havinge been formerly admonished plaint, which, though not so severe as for makeinge clandestine marriages and to preclude me from performing the private baptizeinge of children, aud hath duties of my situation, has scarcely no:withstandinge, since his admonition, left me a week of uninterrupted good offended herein contrarie to the direc- health. You may easily conceive that torie. It is ordered that the said Mr; this radical defect in my constitution Birch, bee from henceforth inhibited from the exercise of all Ministeriall for such from early recollections offices within the bounds of this Classe I am convinced is its real character of Manchester. And it is ordered that has not been removed by the process this Inhibition bee published in the con
of time; on the contrary, every year gregation of Prestwich.
has rather increased it; and though “6. Warrants to be sent to Mr. Jones, the use of inedicine, to which I am Mr. Woolmer, Mr. Benson, and Mr. obliged daily to have recourse, has Clayton, to shew cause wherefore they enabled me to enjoy a good deal of doe not frequent Classicall Meetings as happiness in literary pursuits, and in formerly “9. A new summon to bee sent to the yet still, upon the whole, I have been
the society of my friends and family, Elders of Ouldham to come in the next
making it worse. Classe."
In consequence of this, immediately after I received your
last letter, a young gentleman in EdinLetters from the late Rev. J. Nicol. burgh, who has long been a particular
friend of mine, and is one of my heri. Letter II.
tors, insisted that I would come to Traquair Manse, May 5, 1819. town for medical advice, offered me MY DEAR SIR,
every accommodation in his father's
family during my stay, and, with his OU are by no means to suppose wonted generosity, sent out his father's for such I fear it will prove, any equi- polis. I need not say that I accepted valent for your friendly letter which his kind invitation; that I carried I received some months ago.
your letter to Edinburgh in order to When I tell you that ì am writing answer it during my abode there; and this in bed, propped upon my elbow, that, as my other studies were to be you will believe me, when I assure broken off for two weeks at least, I you,
that the sole design of my writ- sincerely resolved to pay all my liteing, at this time, is to inform you rary debts, and yours among the rest. that I am “ still in the land of the But what is man! Notwithstanding living;" that though I have long been all my virtuous resolutions, matters silent, yet my heart is not dead to turned out in Edinburgh very differfriendship; and that though I may ently from what I expected. Uneasy, seem to bave forgot the friends of and even sick with medicine, unable truth and of religion, yet I have never almost to command a single hour ceased to rejoice in their joy; and from the attention and solicitude of the very love of the dearest interests my friends, and hoping that every of religion has given you the grounds succeeding day would prove more of suspecting my attachment, which propitious to thonght than the preI fear may have taken place. Instead, sent, the whole two weeks that I retherefore, of entering into any disqui- mained in Edinburgh, passed away sition on the interesting topics of without my ever putting pen to paper,
and I returned home improved in my ments for the Unity of God, which I health, but quite dissatisfied with the had not met with, many new elucidamanner in which my time was allowed tions of texts, which are generally to slip away. All this may do very brought forward by both parties, ocwell; but how has the long interval curred to me; and even upon this been filled up from your return to the subject I began to flatter myself that present day? To shew this, I must I might do something for the interests go backwards a little. I have been of religion. My papers, however, busily employed for several years in though valuable to myself, I well knew, elucidating some of the peculiar doc- could be of no value to any other trines of revelation ; and in giving a person, from the detached manner in view of them, which appeared to me which they were written; and as I had not only entirely new, but, as far as I then completed Original Sin, I set to can judge, inuch more rational, and, I the copying and extending and formmust add, much more scriptural than ing into a whole the insulated mateany with which I am acquainted. I rials I had by me, and in a short time was engaged with Original Sin at the I got so immersed in the investigation, time when Wardlaw's " Unitarianism that I lost sight of every thing else; Incapable,” &c., fell into my hands. and wishing, with the greatest enthuI must state that the doctrine of the siasm, to add one labour more to what Trinity was not included in the plan I had done, I brought on myself a which I had chalked out for myself. return of my former complaint, which
My reason for leaving it out was, my journey to Edinburgh had a little not because I did not deem it of the mitigated, and as I have not been very first importance, but because I able for many years to sit at my desk despaired of throwing any new light when writing, from a pain at my upon the subject, and because the breast, I was under the necessity of other doctrines which I fondly per- standing; and the constant standing suaded myself I could exhibit in a about three weeks ago brought on a light that would make thein perfectly swelling and inflammation in both my irresistible, would, in all probability, limbs, which has confined me to bed, occupy all that remained of a life not and put a stop to all my operations. very good at the best, and certainly at I am, however, getting fast better ; that particular period rather preca- any degree of fever which I had is rious. But in reading over Wardlaw, gone, and I hope in a few days to reI could not help observing, that all sume, with more caution, my labours. that had been done in defence of the This, then, is the real state of the primary principles of all religion, matter. I could not think of writing whether natural or revealed, was so to you without entering at some length very far from silencing the orthodox, into the subject of yours. I could not that they only seemed to gather fresh do that without spending a day or two courage from every attack made upon upon it; and a day or two, in the way them; and, half in jest and half in in which I felt my mind, seemed an earnest, I began to fill the margin of age, as it might probably binder me his volume with notes as I went along, from finishing my Essay; for the state which might serve as memoranda, if of my health is far from being good; ever I should think of turning my at- and I hoped, by telling you the truth, tention to that subject. As the mar and shewing you the effects of my si. gin soon was crowded, I had recourselence, to obtain your forgiveness. I to separate slips of paper, and many have now, however, been brought to of my notes I wrote more fully out a sense of my duty; I have made a afterwards at by-hours, if you will confession of what I otherwise would, excuse the expression. At the period perhaps, not have done, and I wait of my return from Edinburgh, there with some hope of your pardon *** fore, I had a large mass of observa You must write me soon, notwithtions, of explanations of texts and of standing my delinquency. I will prove expositions of sophisms which were a better child for the time to come. employed by the orthodox, all lying Send me all the news, not about trade by me. I need not add, that in the and manufactures, but about somecourse of composition, many argu- thing else, which is of infinitely more
importance, the success of truth and stood before the woman which was true religion. Am I never to see you ? ready to be delivered, for to devour
her child as soon as she was delivered. I must conclude, then, by assuring Vers. 3, 4. From the explanation in you that I am,
Daniel of the fourth beast,* and in My dear Sir,
the seventeenth chapter of this book, Yours most sincerely, of the beast with seven “ heads and JAMES NICOL.
ten horns, it is certain that the dragon
is intended to typify the civil power Attempt to illustrate Jude, ver. 9. of the Roman empire in its original LETTER III.
state of Pagan idolatry.” This dragon
stood before the woman who brought Sir,
forth a man child, who was to rule all NOW proceed to consider the ac. nations with a rod of iron: and her
count we have of Michael in the child was caught up to God and his New Testament: this is contained in throne. This is universally underonly two places, Jude 9, and Revela- stood to refer to the conversion of tion xii. 7. We have already seen Constantine to the Christian faith, that Michael (as described by Daniel) “who, by the Divine providence, was is a great temporal prince. “ In the elevated to the imperial throne, and vision of the above chapter of the ordained to govern with despotic polyRevelation, a prophetic view is given er all the nations comprised within of the state of the Christian Church the limits of tbe Roman empire." In both before and after her apostacy consequence of his conversion, Chrisfrom the religion of the New Cove- tianity was raised to imperial dignity, nant promulgated by Jesus and his and an alliance was forined between apostles.” There appeared a great the Church and the State, which alliwonder (sign, as it should be rendered, ance led to the degradation and corand as it is in the margin of the Bible) ruption of the pure religion of the in heaven; a woman clothed with the gospel into the vilest superstition and sun, and the moon under her feet, and idolatry. The woman, we are told, upon her head a crown of twelve fled into the wilderness, where she stars. Here, under the type of a hath a place prepared of God, that woman, the church is emblematically they should feed her there a thousand, described as representing “ the state two hundred and three score days, ver. of the church as first instituted by the 6; typifying that state of immorality apostles, invested with the splendour to which she was reduced, as described of that heavenly light which is or- chap. xvii. 3: He carried me away in dained to illuminate the understanding the spirit into the wilderness, und I of all ipankind, and which forms a
saw a woman sitting upon a scarletmost striking contrast with the dark- coloured beast, the Roman empire, by ness of that unintelligible mystery which she was supported in all her with which she is described as branded abominations, full of the names of in her forehead in her apostate state, Blasphemy, having seven heads and chap. xvii. 5. She wears upon her ten horns. And again, ver. 13, The head a crown of twelve stars, typifying woman which thou suwest is that great the doctrine of the twelve apostles of city, which reigneth over the king's of Jesus; and tramples the inferior light the earth. “ Upon this adoption and of the old partial covenant under her avowed protection of the nominally feet, to denote her rejection of all car- Christian Church by the E:nperor nal ceremonies and the ritual of the Constantine, it was to be expected observances of times and seasons of that the majority of the subjects of the Mosaic law."
the empire, who were habituated to And she being with chili cried, tra- the polytheism and idolatrous cerevuiling in birth, and pained to be deli- monies of their ancestors, would conrered, ver. 2; and there appeared uno- tend in opposition to the counsels of ther emblemátic sign in heaven; und be- Divine Providence which had ordained hold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.-And the dragon
See chap. vii.
the approaching abolition of the old cially if it took place (as is generally Pagan idolatry throughout the Roman supposed) not only before the church empire.” Such a contest actually had any existence, but even before the took place; as it follows, “And there foundation of the world? was war in heaven: Michael and his The only remaining passage where angels fought against the dragon; and Michael is mentioned, is Jude 9, and the dragon fought and his angels.” We here he is again represented as having have seen that the dragon is the Pagan a contest with the Devil. Roman empire, the defender of the old Before we enter on the particular religion of superstition and idolatry; consideration of this passage, we shall so Michael, the prince, who fought proceed, as was proposed, to inquire against him and his angels, his ininis- what we are to understand by the ters and agents, in support of the new Deril, the other party said to he enreligion, can be no other than Con- gaged in this contest. This inquiry stantine. He it was who abolished the has, in some measure, been entered Paganism of the empire, destroyed the upon in the preceding observations; temples of idolatry, threw down its we shall, however, make some further altars, and established his new religion remarks on this part of the subject. upon the ruins of the old superstition The Greek word, diabolos, here used, of the empire, and changed the very literally means the calumniator, acform in which it before existed. “The cuser, slanderer. It first occurs in dragon fought and his angels, and the account which we have of our prevailed not; neither was their place Lord's temptation in the wilderness; found any more in heaven. And the but that was merely a visionary scene, great dragon was cast out, that old as Farmer has attempted to prove, or, serpent called the Devil and Satan, as others, a mental temptation. The which deceiveth the whole world, he Devil here, then, is not a real but an was cast out into the earth, and his imaginary being, and we may observe, angels were cast out with him." that that is the only instance in the
Heaven means a state of political New Testament in which he is denopower, authority and government; the minated a tempter. Christians are sun, moon and stars in this heaven, never said to be tempted by him, or to are the higher orders of the state. be liable to his temptations, nor are This idea ought ever to be kept in there any warnings or cautions on view in reading the prophecies. The that subject. The term is applied to earth means the lower orders of the Judas, John vi. 70. It is said, that state, the common people. The old in the last days, “ Men shall (will) be serpen!, the Devil and Satan, does not false accusers," Greek, derils. 2 Tim. mean a wicked fallen spirit ; but the iii. 3. So of deacons' wives it is said, old Roman empire, with its rulers, " that they must be grave, not slanwhich under every form of its govern- derers," Greek, devils. So also of aged ment was the great accuser and per women it is required that “ secutor of the faithful servants of God, in behaviour as becometh holiness, not and engaged in the support of the false accusers," Greek derils. Titus reigning polytheism and idolatry. Mi- ii. 3. In 1 Peter v. 8, “Your adrersachael means Constantine, that great ry, the devil,” means the enemies and temporal prince, who was destined persecutors of Christians, by whom successfully to combat and cast this ihey were greatly afflicted. This apdragonic power out of the political pears evidently from the following heaven to the earth, the cominon peo- words: “Whom resist stedfast in the ple, among whom it continued to pre- faith, knowing that the same afflictions vail till its final extirpation by his are accomplished in your brethreu successors. This war is said to be in which are in the world. In all those heaven, in the political heaven of the cases where devils are said to be cast Roman power, not in the literal hea- out of persons who were possessed by vens, the celestial regions, and be- them, the Greek word made use of is tween its inhabitants. The prophecy uniformly demons, not devils. It is is a prediction of events respecting very questionable whether the term the church ; but what concern could deril is ever applied in the Scriptures the church have in such a war, espe- to an evil spirit, such as the Devil is
supposed to be there certainly is no his apostles, and from which they apdirect evidence of such an application. pear to have made their quotations. This, however, is clear from the above Let us then inquire into the meancited passages, that it does not neces- ing of this part of the prophecy of sarily convey that idea. We proceed, Zechariah referred to by Jude, and Secondly, to inquire what is intend see whether
will not lead to some ed by the body of Moses, the subject clear idea of the nature of the dispute of the contention between Michael between Michael and the Devil about and the Devil. In the New Testament, the body of Moses, which he mentions. Moscs is frequently used to signify, The prophets Haggai and Zechariah not the person, but the law or dispen- were raised up and sent at the time sation of Moses. In John v. 45, our of the return of Israel from the BabyLord says to the Jews, “Do not think lonish captivity, to encourage the that I will accuse you to the Father: hearts and to strengthen the hands of there is one that accuseth, even Mo- Zerubbabel and Joshua in the work ses,” (i. e. the law of Moses, called of building Jerusalem and the Temthe “ministration of condemnation,”) ple, and in re-establishing the church " in whom ye trust.” Again, Acts and worship of God. Zechariah is xv. 21: “ Moses of old time had in directed to cry, saying, Thus saith every city them that preach him, being the Lord of hosts, I am jealous for read” (i. e. his writings being read) Jerusalem and for Zion with a great
every Sabbath-day.” In 2 Cor. iii. jealousy; therefore saith the Lord, Paul, speaking of the blindness of the I will return to Jerusalem with mer
"For until this day re- cies, my house shall be built in it, inaineth the same vail untaken away saith the Lord of hosts. Cry yet, in reading the old covenant, or dis. saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, pensation, which vail is done away in my cities through prosperity shall yet Christ; but even unto this day, when be spread abroad, and the Lord shall Moses," i. e. the old covenant, “is yet confort Zion, and shall yet choose read, the vail is upon their heart.” Jerusalem.” Chap: i. 14, 16, 17. And We are not, therefore, under the ne- again, “ The hands of Zerubbabel cessity of understanding the phrase, have said the foundation of this house; the body of Moses, literally; it may his hands shall also finish it.” Ch. iv. I. be used here figuratively to signify In building the Temple and restoring the Mosaic code, or the body of the the worship of God, they acted under laws and institutions of Moses, or of the authority of the Kings of Persia. the church formed under that dispen “ In the first year of Cyrus king of sation of which he was the mediator. Persia, (that the word of the Lord by Macknight, on this passage in the the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulEpistle of Jude, says, “ He, the apos- filled,) the Lord stirred up the spirit tle, may refer to the angel of the Lord, of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made before whom Joshua the high priest a proclamation throughout all his is said, Zech. iii. 1, to have stood, kingdom, and put it also in writing, Satan being at his right hand to resist saying, Tbus saith Cyrus king of Perhim, namely, in his design of restoring sia, The Lord God of heaven hath the Jewish Church and State, called 'given me all the kingdoms of the by Jude the body of Moses, just as the earth; and he hath charged me to Christian Church is called by Paul build him an house at Jerusalem, which the body of Christ.” We have before is in Judah.
Who is there among endeavoured to prove that Jude not you of all his people? His God be only refers to this passage in Zecha- with him, and let him go up to Jeruriah, but that he has in fact made a salem, which is in Judah, and build direct quotation from it ; his making the house of the Lord God of Israel." use of the word diabolos, which the Ezra i. 1-3. Notwithstanding this Septuagint here makes use of, and proclamation of Cyrus, the adversa. from which Jude seems to have taken ries of Judah made great opposition it, may be urgeit as an additional ar to the building of the Temple, and gument in proof of that point: espe- endeavoured to frustrate the design. cially as that version was in general “ They weakened the hands of the úse in the days of Jesus Christ and people of Judah, and troubled them