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to be punished. There were others of the same infatuation, whom because they are Roman citizens, I have noted down to be sent to the city. In a short time, the crime spreading itself, even whilst under persecution, as is usual in such cases, divers sorts of people came in my way. An information was presented to me, without mentioning the author, containing the names of many persons, who, upon examination, denied that they were Christians, or had ever been so; who repeated after me an invocation of the gods, and, with wine and frankincense, made supplication to your image, which for that purpose I had caused to be brought and set before them, together with the statues of the deities. Moreover, they reviled the name of Christ. None of which things, as is said, they who are really Christians can by any means be compelled to do. These, therefore, I thought proper to discharge.

"Others were named by an informer, who at first confessed themselves Christians, and afterwards denied it. The rest said, they had been Christians, but had left them; some three years ago, some longer, and one or more, above twenty years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, they also reviled Christ. They affirmed, that the whole of their fault or error lay in this, that they were wont to meet together on a stated day before it was light, and sing among themselves alternately a hymn to Christ as a God, and bind themselves by an oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, but not to be guilty of theft, or robbery, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor to deny a pledge committed to them when called upon to return it. When these things were performed, it was their custom to separate, and then come together again to a meal, which they ate in common without any disorder; but this they had forborne since the publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I prohibited Assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it the more necessary to examine, and that by torture, two maid-servants, which were called ministers. But these discovered nothing, beside a bad and excessive superstition. Suspending, therefore, all judicial proceedings, I have recourse to you for advice; for it has appeared unto me a matter highly deserving consideration, especially on account of the great number of persons who are in danger of suffering. For many of all ages and every rank, of both sexes likewise, are accused, and will be accused. Nor has the contagion of this superstition seized cities only, but the lesser towns also, and the open country. Nevertheless, it seems to me that it may be restrained and corrected. It is certain that the temples which were almost forsaken, begin to be more frequented; and the sacred solemnities, after a long intermission, are revived. Victims, likewise, are every where bought up, whereas for some time there were few purchasers, when, it is easy to imagine, what numbers of men might be reclaimed, if pardon were granted to those who shall repent!"

Now, Sir, point out the "confession." Where does Pliny confess that he knew nothing of this sect before he came into his province? But lest I may be thought to

deprive you of the means of justification, I subjoin the reply of Trajan.

"Trajan to Pliny, wishes health and happiness. You have taken the right method, my Pliny, in your proceedings with those that have been brought before you as Christians, for it is impossible to establish any one rule that shall hold universally. They are not to be sought for. If any are brought before you, and are convicted, they ought to be punished. However, he that denies his being a Christian, and makes it evident in fact, that is, by supplicating to our gods, though he be suspected to have been so formerly, let him be pardoned upon repentance. But in no case, of any crime whatever, may a bill of information be received without being signed by him who presents it; for that would be a dangerous precedent, and unworthy of my government."

I again demand the "confession." It is not, as far as I can perceive, to be found in these letters. The Christians are spoken of as persons whose characters were perfectly well known. Pliny designates Christians as certain persons whom he met with in his province. If the name had been new either to himself or the Emperor, he would have commenced his letter by describing them; he would have said, "Since arriving in these parts, I have met with a certain class of men whom they call Christians, a religious body, deriving their name, &c." On the contrary, he speaks of the name as one perfectly familiar to himself and the Emperor. This, besides the absence of all "confession," negatives your bold assertion, that "Pliny knew nothing, by his own confession, &c." There is good reason to believe, that Pliny wrote his letter to Trajan, soon after his arrival in his province. Before this he had issued an edict. It is not, therefore, unreasonable to infer, that he brought this edict with him, which we see by its effects regarded the Christians. Both he and the Emperor, then, were acquainted with the persons against whom they were legislating, before Pliny came into Bithynia.-(L. i. p. 22–25.)

Mr.C.-All the information that Pliny could get of them (the Christians) was, that they were A FEW SLAVES, &c.

Mr. B.-How could you write this, and not blush? Read, Sir, the clearest conviction of this falsehood, in the letter above quoted. "For many of all ages, of every rank, of both sexes, are accused, and will be accused. Nor has the contagion seized cities only, but the lesser towns, and also the open country."—(L. i. p. 25, 26.)

Mr. C.-I had not read it (Pliny's letter) for near six years, when I made an observation from it on memory,

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and recollecting that he tortured two slaves who ministered to the Christians, my impression was, that they were all slaves.


Mr. B. Of course, we receive your account of the Yet your readers must deplore the treachery of your memory. It is not long since they heard you boast of a perfect knowledge of, and competency for, this whole controversy: "I have been so long and laboriously engaged in this controversy, that I can anticipate every word that can be adduced by my opponents," &c. Your readers must equally regret that the imperfections of your memory have impaired your judgment also; and when they see that you can infer from the certainty of there being two slaves, that "all" were "slaves," and that all but a "few;" and deluded also by the same unfaithful monitor, write of a confession that is no where to be found, they will feelingly exclaim, "Oh! what a falling off is here my friends!" "How are the mighty fallen!"-(L. ii. p. 57, 58.)

(To be Concluded in our next.)

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THE misrepresentations of the sentiments held by Unitarians, which are to be found in works written expressly against us, though a cause of great pain and vexation, admit, at least to some extent, of remedy through the medium of the press; but those that are uttered in the pulpit, which are often more sweeping and bitter, because the preacher thinks himself sheltered from observation and stricture, are chiefly efficient in obstructing the progress of truth, and too often are suffered to pass, because they are not known, without merited castigation. If, however, publicity were given to them, preachers would be more guarded, and an approximation at least to fair dealing would be gained. Under these impressions, I send for admission to the Pioneer, the following Letters.

MANCHESTER, Jan. 10, 1828.

Yours, respectfully,



To the Rev. Jabez Bunting, Methodist Preacher. REV. SIR,

WHILST attending at the religious services in the Irwell-Street Chapel this day, when you officiated, I was pained to hear you utter, towards the close of your sermon, and when speaking of the dignity of human‍ nature, the following words: "There is a set of men characterised by the malignancy of their opposition to the Christian Revelation; or, at least, to some of its fundamental doctrines, who talk largely and loudly of the dignity of human nature." These words are in agreement with calumnies that are not unfrequently launched against the Unitarians. On that account, I fear that you meant to designate that body by the words which I have cited. The object of this Letter, is to beg that you will satisfy me on this head. Did you, or did you not, intend to designate the Unitarians by the above words? if not, to whom did you refer? I shall wait till Saturday in expectation of your reply, and if I am not favoured with it within that period, shall be constrained to conclude that your silence is a proof that the Unitarians were intended.

I am, Rev. Sir, your obedient Servant,

December 25, 1827.


To the Rev. J. R. Beard.

SALFORD, Dec. 28, 1827.


In replying to your Letter of the 25th inst. I shall not stay to remark on the somewhat too pugnacious and inquisitorial style which appears to me to characterise its contents; or to argue the question of your right as a stranger, to demand a personal explanation or defence of opinions uttered only in my own pulpit, and in a discourse professedly addressed, almost extempore, to my own proper flock and congregation. But I will frankly state, that in the sentence which you have, not quite accurately, quoted, I referred primarily and chiefly to a wellknown class of Infidels, who often attack Christianity in no mild or measured terms, on the ground of what they understand, and, I think, correctly understand, to be one of

its fundamental doctrines. In opposition to these men, I affirmed, in the sentence which followed that which has offended you, that it is the Christian system which confers on the human nature its truest dignity, and exhibits it in its highest exaltation and excellence. It is, however, notorious, that there are persons who admit the divine origin of our holy religion, but who, nevertheless, agree with Infidels in those views of the present state of human nature to which I alluded; and that some of these, like the party with whom they on this point coalesce, are in the habit of attacking the opposite sentiment, in a spirit of bitterness and invective, such as betrays, in my judgment, that malignant hostility to the humbling truths of the Gospel, which I apprehend to be one of the most prevailing diseases of our fallen nature. Now, I grant that my observation did fairly include, and probably, though I have now no very distinct recollection of the precise feeling of the moment, was intended to include, persons of the latter description as well as the former.

I must take leave, in conclusion, to observe, that I have neither leisure nor inclination for useless controversy, or even for what I deem to be an unnecessary self-defence. Incessant public and pastoral duties compel me to say, like Nehemiah of old, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" I have not adopted those views of the Christian system which I profess and teach, without careful examination, and conscientious conviction of their general accordance with the Scriptures of truth. And I, therefore, think myself quite at liberty to hold and to preach them to the people whom I serve as one of their ministers, without being amenable either privately or publicly, to the self-constituted tribunal of the pastors or members of another body. If any such be anxious for polemical discussion, they may, in my opinion, find ample occupation for their time and talents, in attempting to answer what I hold to be the yet unanswered arguments of many old and standard writers, who have publicly taken the field in defence of those doctrines which Socinians impugn.

With sentiments of personal good-will and respect,
I am, Rev. Sir, your obedient Servant,


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