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THE Rev. Mr. Fletcher, whose unfinished letters, at your desire, are laid before the public in the preceding pages, has just observed to Dr. Priestley, that if he will not allow, St. Paul wrote by inspiratiou, he ought at least to allow, he wrote with common sense. And most professors of Christianity will suppose, that if Mr. Fletcher had extended the observation, so as to include the other sacred writers, his demand would not have been unreasonable. They will be of opinion, that the Doctor ought to allow they all wrote with common sense. And yet to desire him to allow this, is to desire him to give up his favourite doctrine of Christ's mere humanity. For only let this doctrine, to say nothing

* Though the aged and truly Reverend Minister of Christ, to whom these letters are addressed, is now no more; yet, as they were written and presented to him many months before his death, it is judged best to give them to the public in their original form.

of other points, be supposed to have been held by these holy Writers, especially by the penmen of the New Testament, and let their writings be read under that supposition, and I will be bold to affirm that any person, who has himself common sense, will pronounce, that, in a multitude of instances, the Apostles and Evangelists wrote without it. And to this test one may venture to submit the matter in dispute between Dr. Priestley and his antagonists.

The Sacred Writers, he affirms, considered our Lord in no other character than that of a mere man. Well Sir, let us for the present take this for granted, and let us make experiment how those passages of their writings, which relate to Christ, read according to this hypothesis. If they appear to contain common sense, we will allow he has the truth on his side; but if not, methinks it would be no unreasonable demand to require him to own himself in an error. I begin with St. Paul, whose epistles are now under consideration, but shall pass slightly over the epistle to the Romans, and the first to the Corinthians, because Mr. Fletcher has already reviewed these epistles. I shall, however, refer to a few passages. From the others I shall quote more largely.

In the beginning of the epistle to the Romans, according to Dr. Priestley's doctrine, we must understand the apostle as follows:

Chapter i. 1:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,' that is, a servant of a mere man, called to be an apostle [not of men, as he informs the Galatians, (chap. i. 1,) neither by man, but by Jesus Christ,' a mere man! ' and God the Father, who raised him from the dead] separated unto the gospel of God,-concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord,' a mere man, made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be t the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, by whom,' though a mere man, we have received grace and apostleship :-Among whom ye are also the called of Jesus Christ,'-that is, the called of a mere man, once


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indeed on earth, but now confined to heaven, and whom, therefore, ye Romans never saw, nor heard, nor could have any access to, or intercourse with,—or be called by,- To all that be at Rome,-grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father,' the self existent, independent, supreme and everlasting Jehovah, and from the Lord Jesus Christ,' a mere man, who had no existence till about forty and fifty years ago, but who, nevertheless, is the source and fountain, the author and giver of grace and peace, conjointly with the supreme God!

Now, Sir, would any man, who believed the mere humanity of Christ, have expressed himself in this absurd manner? Would he have spoken of being called to be an Apostle, not of man, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, if he had believed Jesus Christ to be no more than a man? Would he, in mentioning his being of the seed of David, have added the words, according to the flesh, thereby manifestly intimating that Christ had a nature which was not from David? Would he have spoken of receiving grace and apostleship, through this mere man, and have looked up to him, in conjunction with the eternal God, for grace and peace to be conferred upon the churches to which he ministered? I think, dear Sir, the Doctor himself would hardly affirm it: But if he would affirm it, then I ask why his own practice and that of his brethren is so very different from this apostolic pattern? Why do they never express themselves in any such manner as this, either in their prayers or sermons, nor apply to Christ in union with his Father, for grace, or peace, or any other blessing?

I shall give another instance out of the fifth chapter, 'When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ,' a mere man, says the Doctor, died for the ungodly. God commended his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ,' a mere man!, 'died for us,' viz. one mere man for the whole human race ! Much more, then, being now justified by his the blood of one mere man !, we shall be


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saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto God,' many millions as we are!,' by the death of his Son,' viz. the death of one mere man!, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved [from everlasting damnation] by his life,' the life of the same mere man! If by one [mere] man's offence, death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ,' although also but a mere man!

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Pass we on to the eighth chapter. 'There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,' that is, that are in a mere man!-' For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,'-that is, the law of the spirit of life in a mere man!, hath made me free from the law of sin and death.-For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh -God hath done, sending his own [dtov, proper] Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,' that is, if Dr. Priestley be right, causing a mere man to be born!- and by a sacrifice for sin [the Doctor says, by dying a martyr, merely to confirm the truth] condemned sin in the flesh.'-Verse 8, Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you: :-Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,' that is, the spirit of a mere man ',' he is none of his-But if Christ be in you'-viz. if a mere man, crucified in Judea 1700 years ago, and now in heaven, be in you,

the body indeed is dead, [is mortal,] because of sin, but the spirit is life, [is immortal,] because of righteousness. And he that spared not his own Son,' that spared not one mere man!, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him, also, freely give us all things? ;'—that is, on the Doctor's principles, if he delivered one mere man to die a martyr to confirm the truth of the gospel, how shall he not, with him, deliver millions of meu from everlasting damnation, and put them in possession of eternal salvation! The apostle proceeds, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who

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is he that condemneth? It is Christ,' a mere man!, 6 that died: Yea, rather, that is risen again: Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?' the love of a mere man! Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake,' mere man though thou art!, we are killed all the day, we are appointed as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him,' that is, through a mere man !, 'that hath loved us.' -Strange language this from the mouth of a Scholar, a Christian, and an Apostle! Nay, who can reconcile it with common sense?


Here again one if speaking of a as concerning

But to proceed: Still more irreconcilable therewith, is the language of the same Apostle in the two next chapters. I say the truth in Christ,' that is, in a mere man, by whom I thus swear, and to whom I thus appeal, though as a mere man, now in heaven, he certainly cannot know my heart, nor be a witness in any such matter; however, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart-for my brethren—my kinsmen according to the flesh-of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.' might inquire what ideas the apostle, mere man, could annex to the words, the flesh: Surely if Christ be a mere man, his whole person was from the Jews, as much as the person of St. Paul himself. And would it not be absurd, if, speaking of that Apostle's progenitors and his descent from them, one were to express one's self in a similar manner, and say, of whom as concerning the flesh, St. Paul came ? Those, indeed, who believe the soul to be inspired immediately from God, and not received by traduction from our parents, may suppose that the phraseology, though unusual, and unprecedented when applied to a mere man, is, however, not quite improper: But the Doctor cannot avail himself of any such

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