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cerning the plenary inspiration of the facred writers, and of confequence maintaining that in all things written by them, they are not alike infallible, the prefident of Magdalen fpares not to infinuate, that this may lead at laft to deny (q) the refurrection of Christ, and of course renounce chriftianity and the the bible. Nay, by his way of mentioning an advocate of atheism, whom Dr. Priestley had confuted, he drops a grave hint for you to take up, as if he might end there himself.
And this is, without referve, thrown out against the man, whom you may not hesitate to call one of the moft able defenders of the being of a God, and of the truth of the divine revelation contained in the hebrew and chriftian fcriptures, that the world ever faw. This, impartial pofterity will confefs, however fome now gainfay, and fpeak evil of him.
And permit me to fay, that much as you may have acquired from the inftructions
(9) Letter of an undergraduate to Dr. Priestley, P. 19, &c.
ftructions of your tutors, or your own reading, you will find that Dr. Priestley's Inftitutes of natural and revealed Religion, will furnish you with many curious, original, useful observations, and new trains of reasoning, to fettle your belief of the existence of one firft caufe of all things, the fole omnipotent creator and parent of the univerfe, and raife your devout affections towards him, and alfo to confirm. your faith in Jefus Chrift, and increase your thankfulness for that discovery of the divine ineffable goodness, and defigns for your everlasting happiness, which we have by the gofpel.
Dr. Prieftley's Hiftory of the corruptions of Chriftianity, will give you the greatest fatisfaction, as you will there fee traced out, with vast labour and exquifite difcernment, how this divine religion of the gospel was at first, through the prejudices of those who received it, unavoidably depraved by many polytheistic errors and fuperftitions, although its founder, the bleffed Jefus, taught the worship of the Father alone in fpirit and in truth, and that his favour was no
other way to be fecured, but by a perfeverance in or timely return to the paths of virtue, and a holy obedience. You will there alfo with pleasure fee the present tendency of things in the chriftian world, towards a refloration of the true religion of the gofpel, and its final establishment on on the firmeft foundations.
And his Letters to a philofophical Unbeliever, Part i. ii. a work fingular in its kind, and most admirable, will quiet your minds with refpect to the objections which have been raised against the being of a God, and a providence, and the divine miffions of Mofes and of Jefus; and prepare you to meet the powerful arguments, which are frequently urged against them both, the latter especially, in company, as well as in books; which you will perceive to have their fource and all their strength, not from the gospel itself, but from the groundless fuperftitious doctrines grafted upon it.
And now if you afk, how a scholar and eminent divine, can overlook this and much more, which has been accomplished by this celebrated writer, for the vindication and.
fupport of divine revelation and the gospel, and strive to perfuade you that he has done harm to the caufe, and is even verging towards infidelity and atheism; it is eafy to perceive, that Dr. Horne's prejudices deprive him of all true judgment in the cafe, by making him place the religion of Chrift in those things and doctrines, in which its divine author did not place it, and indeed knew nothing of; fo that he holds it to be a duty by all means to oppose Dr. Priestley, who denies many of those things, which the other believes to be the moft facred parts of the gospel, to be any part of it at all; and in particular maintains, that there is no God but one, the fingle perfon of the universal Father alone; and that Jefus Chrift is a creature of that God, like all the rest of us, but most highly favoured and distinguished by him.
From this account you will form your own judgments, and what abatements are to be made in Dr. Horne's reprefentations of Dr. Priestley's fentiments. In p. 8.9. of his undergraduate's letter, he produces a long list of accufations, which fhew his light
manner of exhibiting Dr. Priestley to you,
and of putting, in the most odious light, his freedom in criticizing the fcriptures; in which you will find that other eminent and esteemed writers have taken as great liberties as he. I shall take notice of every thing of any moment alleged by him, beginning with the subject of inspiration of the scriptures. But let us first hear his charges.
Scripture, (fays Dr. Horne,) you 'feem prepared to difcard, whenever it does not please you. Some chapters of the
gofpel by St. Matthew, and that by St.
Luke, are gone, because they teach the 'miraculous conception. Paul, as you have given the world to understand, does not always know what he is about, but fometimes reafons inconclufively.-You fay, all that Paul could know about Adam, and the effects of his fin, he must have learned from the books of Mofes, which are as open to us as they were to him: you mean, I prefume, (for otherwise the observation • is made to no purpose) that our expofitions " are of equal authority with his. And then your words tell us, that you think yourself at liberty to confider the hiftory which Mofes bas