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fourth and fifth centuries were little more than struggles for power and wealth.” Although human frailty and want of perfection in men are in fact esteemed as the first and original causes of their improper conduct and wicked deeds, yet in the ordinary acceptation of the term “cause,” good or evil acts are invariably attributed to their immediate motives, ascertained from circumstantial evidence; and these acts are consequently held to entitle their respective agents to praise or reproach.-But as the motives of actions and the secrets of the human heart are in truth known to God alone, it is indeed beyond my power to establish in a satisfactory manner, that the majority of the primitive Arians and Trinitarians were excited by their mistaken religious zeal to slay each other, and not by a desire of power and worldly advancement. I would appeal, however, to the Editor himself, whether it would not be indeed very illiberal to suppose, that almost all the Christian world should for a period of two hundred years have been weak or wicked enough to engage wilfully in causing the blood of each other to be shed under the cloak of religion, and merely for worldly motives. But as this must be a matter of opinion, I beg to shew that which has been entertained on the subject by one of the highest authorities, against the Trinitarians, who have written on the history of Christianity. I allude to Dr. Mosheim, whose words I here give, and I entreat my readers to draw their own inferences from them:

Volume I. p. 419: “After the death of Constantine the Great, one of his sons, Constantius, who in the division of the empire became ruler of the East, was warmly attached to the Arian party, whose principles were also zealously adopted by the Empress, and indeed by the whole court. On the other hand, Constantine and Constans, Emperors of the West, maintained the decrees of the Council of Nice throughout all the provinces where their jurisdiction extended. — Hence arose endless animosities and seditions, treacherous plots, and open acts of injustice and violence between the two contending parties; Council was assembled against Council, and their jarring and contradictory decrees spread perplexity and confusion throughout the Christian world.” Page 420: “His (Gratian's) zeal for their interest, though fervent and active, was surpassed by that of his successor, Theodosius the Great, who raised the secular arm against the Arians with a terrible degree of violence, drove them from their churches, and enacted laws, whose severity exposed them to the greatest calamities.” It is difficult to conceive what other motives than those of mistaken zeal for a particular doctrine could have influenced the mind of an Emperor like Theodosius to such acts of cruelty and violence: but however that may be, it is obvious that if such a mode of interpreting conduct be adopted, it is dif. ficult to say where we are to stop. The devotion even of the Apostles and Martyrs of Christianity may be attributed to a pursuit after power over the minds and respect in the eyes of men, and all distinction of good and evil character be considered as

futile and without foundation. With respect to the final success of the Trinitarian party, it appears to me the event naturally to have been expected. For, to the people of those ages, doctrines that resembled the polytheistical belief that till then prevailed, must have been more acceptable than those which were diametrically opposed to such notions. The idea of a God in human form was easy and familiar: Emperors and Empresses had altars raised to them even during their lives, and after death were enrolled as divinities. Perhaps too, something may justly be attributed to a certain degree of pride and satisfaction in the idea, that the religion they had begun to profess was dictated immediately by the Deity himself, rather than by any subordinate agency. There had not been among the Heathens any class of mankind to whom they were accustomed to look up with that devotion familiarly entertained by the Jews towards Moses and their Prophets, and they were consequently ready to elevate to a God any being who rose in their estimation above the level of mankind. The violence and outrages which Roman Catholics and Protestants have experienced from each other, were not, of course, as observed by the Reverend Editor, owing in their origin to the adoption of different interpretations respecting the deity of Christ or of the Holy Ghost; but they were the immediate consequences of the different sentiments they have held with respect to the doctrine of an exclusive power of granting absolution, and leading to eternal life, being vested in St. Peter and his successors. What great mischief has, however, been produced, and how many lives have from time to time been destroyed, from the difference of sentiments held by the parties with regard to this doctrine, which even the Editor himself does not deem an essential point of religion 1 The Editor in p. 114* argues, as a proof of the importance of the doctrines of the Gospel, that Christ taught them, fully foreseeing that they would be the subject of dispute; and quotes his saying, that he came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword. The whole of the 10th chapter of Matthew, from which the Editor quotes the passage here alluded to, consists of the instructions delivered by Jesus to the twelve Apostles, when he sent them forth to preach the kingdom of heaven to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but has no allusion, that I can perceive, to eternal dissensions amongst those who were already, or might afterwards become, Christians. That Jesus foresaw, as one of the primary effects of preaching his Gospel, that great dissensions would arise—that he was aware that the great question of confessing him to be the Messiah or not would be as a sword between a man and his father, the daughter and her mother, and the daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law, is evident. But this seems to me by no means to prove that Jesus, as supposed by the Editor, “longed or almost longed” to see a fire kindled in the earth respecting doctrines not essential to the salvation

* London Edition, p. 56.

of mankind. Nor would it have been any reason for suppressing the most trivial of his sayings, that priestcraft working on the ignorance and superstition, the bigotry or intolerance of mankind, should have wrested his words to evil purposes.—As observed by the Editor himself, the mischief lay originally in human nature, not in any part of the doctrines of Christ; but as those dissensions are now perpetuated principally by education, a cause essentially distinct from their origin, the case is entirely altered. The corruption of the human heart cannot be totally removed: but the evil effects that spring from human institutions may be avoided, when their real sources are known. After the secret and immediate causes of persecution have passed away, the differences of opinion which have been the declared grounds of hostility are handed down by the teachers of different sects; and, as already repeatedly avowed, it was with the view of evading, not those questions concerning which Jesus spoke and which distinguish his followers from all others, but those which have from time to time been seized upon to excite enmities still existing amongst fellow-christians, that the Compiler confined himself to those Precepts, concerning which all mankind must be of one accord. As to the question of the Editor, “It can scarcely be unknown to the Compiler, that the very being of a God has been for numerous ages the subject of dispute amongst the most learned of his own country; does he account this a sufficient reason for suppressing this doctrine * We know that he does

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