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valence of infidel opinions. Now in what way shall we account for this event? Was Unitarianism not properly taught at Hackney?* or, with all its vaunted simplicity, is it a scheme so difficult to conceive, that the learners not being able to comprehend it rightly, became unbelievers from not having been firmly grounded? Howsoever it be explained, the fact is incontrovertible, and seems not a little to countenance the idea, that the road to Unitarianism differs from that which leads to infidelity by so slight a distinction, that the traveller not unfrequently mistakes his way."+
In another place, Dr. Magee makes the following appeal to one of the former conductors of the institution at Hackney-" Let Mr. B. himself say, what has been the progressive nature of the cause in that seminary. Mr. B. has too great a regard for truth, not to admit, that the pupils of the new light had gone beyond their teachers a little too far: that they had somewhat too strongly exemplified the progressive nature of the system, by reaching at once the goal of deism; and that in some instances, perhaps not a few, the race had been crowned with the prize of direct, avowed, and unqualified atheism."
The present author was in England, when the said institution of Hackney, about twenty-six years ago, was contemplated; and when the measures were in train for the founding of it. He was acquainted and occasionally in conversation with some, who were leaders in that business, and of whom he believes, that had they perceived the natural issue of their labours, they would have abandoned the object of them. But such, and in so short a space of time, respectable authority attests to have been the fruit of an enterprise, on which there were founded the most sanguine expectations.
*The academy of Hackney was instituted to be a substitute for another which had been at Warrington, and had already run its course.
† American Edition, p. 484,
Notwithstanding the length of this section, it ought not to be concluded, without a remark on the title page of the version under review. It is here conceived to do injustice to a very respectable character-that of Dr. Wm. Newcome, late archbishop of Armagh. What is called "An Improved Version," is professed to be "on the basis of archbishop Newcome's new translation." The relation of a basis to its superstructure is so well understood, that it is not natural to find what was laid down in the former, essentially changed by the raising of the latter. The question as to what is essential, should be determined according to the theory of the archbishop, and not according to that of his Improvers. His translation* abundantly shows his faith in the two doctrines, to disprove which was the principal object of their work: and believing those doctrines, he ought not to be supposed to have held them of less importance, than those generally who consent with him in opinion. It is true, that the title page gives notice of a corrected text. But this may mean much or little; and would have been sufficiently complied with, by the rectifying of typographical errours, if such were found. At any rate, the corrections ought to have been very moderate, after the promise of retaining the basis. Let it be here acknowledged, that the errour of the title page seems to have been counteracted by the notes. But there are many, whose knowledge of the work will go no further, than what the title page informs them of; and many more, who will hear the text read or quoted, and even read it, without extending their attention to the criticisms below. Accordingly, the event has been, that the late primate of the established Church of Ireland has been supposed by some to have surrendered her doctrines, in the form of a translation of the New Testament.
It is here meant as given by the version under review, compared with the notes. The present author has taken pains, without effect, to procure a copy of the translation of the archbishop. Accordingly, he neither denies nor affirms the fidelity of the exhibition of it.
The Improvers had originally entertained an idea, which would have dispensed with what is here thought an undue use of the name of archbishop Newcome. They contemplated the adopting of another translation, set out by the late Gilbert Wakefield; who agreed with them in what are called Unitarian principles, and had superadded the extraordinary discovery, that there is no warrant for social worship in the New Testament. It is here supposed, that although in a few instances there might have been the necessity of deviating from his text, it would have substantially retained its character of a basis.
It only remains to add, that the advocates of the New Testament in its integrity, have a right to deduce their own inferences from the mutilated and vitiated production bearing its name; and to urge, that the having of recourse to such an expedient, is virtually an acknowledgment of the impossibility of educing from the pure text, the mistaken system intended to be established by the other. It was remarked in the beginning, that the deniers of the divinity of Christ and of the propitiatory sacrifice, have been remarkable in times past for change of the ground of argument. Of this, the improved version [so called] may hereafter be considered as the most remarkable instance that has occurred: which ought to be remembered, when, as is here expected to be the issue, the version shall have fallen into neglect.
OF THE WORSHIP OF IMAGES.*
Second Commandment.-The Israelitish History.-The Jews in our Lord's day. The Primitive Church-The Origin and the Progress of the Practice.-An erroneous Construction of the Commandment.-Aggravation in the Unlawfulness of the Object.-Cessation must precede the Conversion of the Jews.
IN the lecture, there is a caution against image or creature worship in any shape. In truth, the author considers it as a branch of the sacred trust committed to every minister of the gospel, to hold up to his flock the importance of the present point, as involved in the integrity of Christian faith.
Although the second commandment, in that its proper place, speaks more emphatically than when removed, and made an appendage to the first; yet in either case, it is plainly to the point of faulting the making of graven images, with the view of worshipping them. And this prohibition is without regard to difference of grade in worship: a distinction of times comparatively modern; devised for the purpose of palliating a departure from the practice of the early ages of the Church.
But it is said, that by a graven image is meant an idol. Certainly: because there came under this name whatever was contemplated as a sensible object of religious worship. Still, the original word signifies a graven image, and nothing more: although doubtless, only in the view of its being designed as an object of worship.
But a distinction is further taken, between wor
See Lecture III.
ship offered relatively to the image, and that intended terminatively; which may be to the object thereby represented. This is the very matter, against which the command was levelled: as may appear from the following amplification of it in Deuteronomy, iv. 15-19.-"Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire,) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven." It is evident from the connexion of the fifteenth verse with the verses which follow, that the danger contemplated was the worshipping of God, under certain material representations of him. The Egyptians, whose manners must have been well known to the Israelites, offered their worship to the images of beasts, and birds, and fishes, contemplated as representing figuratively certain operations of God in nature. And as to the sun, the moon, and the stars; although the more ignorant of their worshippers may have thought them endowed with intelligence; it might be shown from early records, that the design originated in the contemplating of them as representative of the beneficence of the Deity.
The whole history of the ancient Jews, may be considered as a comment on the second commandment, and as explanatory of its meaning. In all the admonitions, the remonstrances, and the denunciations of the prophets concerning idol worship, its