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' conveyed by the ministry of angels.' So far is Scripture, from countenancing the belief of any such mode of conveyance, that it attributes most • of these prophetic messages, not to created angels, but to the Holy Ghost, of his own motion, and according to his own will'. To be sure St Paul makes use of some expressions, which seem to favour the Doctor's ' ministry of angels :''" The “ law," says this apostle, “ was ordained by angels “ in the hand of a Mediatora." And again, if the “ word spoken by angels was stedfast 5.” These are texts which would have been readily brought forward in support of the Doctor's plan, if he had not borne in mind, that created angels' had no official ministration, in what St Paul more immediately alluded to. While the Apostle's applying the term angels to the ordination of the law, affords a sufficient key for opening up its meaning, in most other places where the word occurs. Especially, when it is recollected, that St Paul bas corroborated, in some measure, this meaning of the term, in his quotation from the book of Psalms 4 _" who was “ made a little lower than the angels.” Here the Hebrew term is 1758 Aleim-God; which Arias Montanus has rendered • a Deo, though the LXX have translated it ayyerous,' angels. Are we then
1 Cor. xii. 11.
Heb. i. 4 i See, inter alia, Acts xxvij. 25. i St. Peter i. 11. 2 St Peter i. 21. à Gal. iii. 19.
3 Heb. ii. 2. 4 Heb. ii. 7. 9. Ps. viii. 5.
that St Paul, in quoting the Septuagint version, was a stranger to the import of the original language, used by the Psalmist? or, are we not rather to believe, that his application of the Psalmist's language to Christ was meant, as conveying a description of the Redeemer of mankind, such as he had given in his Epistle to the Phi lippians'? For, that he could not mean to say, that Christ was made lower than created angels, is plain from what he had previously said of him, that he was made so much better than they *; as well as from the whole tenor of his reasoning in the first chapter of the Hebrews. One thing I am convinced of, that St Paul would never, (as Dr Scott has unwarrantably done), have placed these
ministring Spirits’ in the same scale with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter."
From what has been now advanced on this subject, it will, I hope, have appeared evident to the reader, that, in the scriptural style of the Old and New Testaments, there are two classes of angels, created, and shall I say, uncreated ; or rather two classes, real and assumed. While, in the former, the Old Testament, it will be no easy matter to find out, when it is, that this real or assumed character of angel is meant to be understood. Did the context serve to aflix the meaning to the cre• atcil' side, those who reason in this way might
Phil. ii. 6. 7.
2 Heb.i. 4.
plead authority for their reasonings ; but this the context seldoin if ever does : and I cannot, for my own part, but be more and more confirmed in the opinion, which I long since formed, that this doctrine of angels, so incorporated with the modern tests of orthodoxy, and standing so high in the estimation of the Roman church, found its origin in the refinement of Plato's dæmons and middle gods,' by the Jew Philo, who made Scripture-angels of them; until, by gradual transmission and embellishment, the doctrine has proceeded to uprear that fabric of subordination in Deity, of which the defender of the Nicene faith may be said to have afforded the chief corner-stone.
THAT, in the preceding Letter, I have exposed myself to the reprehension of many
learned divines, by having dared, not simply to dissent from writers of such eminence, but to animadvert on a system of theology, supposed to be founded on the
authority of the primitive Fathers, I am not insensible. Nay, I foresee, that I shall be charged with something little short of heresy, in having contradicted so many champions of the Faith, so many of those who have hitherto been held in high esteem among all denominations of Christians. To this heavy charge, I can, and I do plead,
guilty ;' being conscious of entertaining all due veneration for the character and writings of every one of that noble army of martyrs, whose works liave reached the present period, and to whose works I have been fortunate enough to procure access. As, however, the volume of revealed truth is as open to me, as ever it was to them, and, as I am required to “ search the Scriptures,” whether the things “ which others have declared concerning the Son of Man“ be so," I dare not pin my faith, in such an essential article, to the creed of any man; be he father, or doctor—be he martyr, or prelate. I may, (for instance), and I do, not merely reprobate, but abominate Whiston, and the whole tribe of Arians, and Socinians, for their vilifying and contumelious treatment of Athanasius; yet have I no hesitation in owning, that I, individually, cannot go all the lengths, to which even some great men have gone, in almost superstitious attachment to him ; nor can I, without scrupulous examination, embrace one tenet of his, merely because “ ita loquitur magnus
Athanasius was certainly a most illustrious cha
racter no less distinguished for the support, which he lent to the catholic faith, than distinguished by his sufferings in its behalf. But of Athanasius' contemporaries, there were men equally illustrious, and equally distinguished, in the same cause, as the Nicene champion. One inan, in particular, has long attracted my admiration, for his meek and peaceable retirement from the Patriarchate of Antioch, viz. Eustathius, whom the Arians, as they feared and hated him no less than they feared and hated Athanasius, so did they not fail to make equally the object of their calumny and persecution. Indeed, when I contra t the conduct of Eustathius, in regard to the See of Antioch, with Athanasius' repeated struggling and contention for the See of Alexandria, the former seems to me the more praise-worthy character of the two. For the trite panegyric, · A*thanasius contra mundum, et mundus contra Athana. sium,' meets with none of my regard. And I cannot but express my surprize, that a system of theology, under the denomination of the Creed of St. Atha• nasius,' should still find a place in the liturgy of the church. Admitting that this composition is the genuine composition of him, whose name it bears what single uninspired individual is worthy of being held in such high authority, as that his system of faith should be put into the mouths of christians at large ? But, when the weight of evidence against its authenticity preponderates so much; when Vossius Usher, Quesnel, Pearson, Cave, Schelstrate, Pagi, Dupin, Fleury, &c. are of opinion, that the com