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air, which animal life destroyed ! Priestley was hailed as the wonder of his age, and for a while its oracle. He was however no ordinary being, and even his enemies admitted him to be a kind and moral man. His intellectual powers will speak for themselves. We have now had sufficient experience to see how shifting all kind of theory must be when left to the will and ingenuity of man only—and how unsafe a guide in questions of importance as the one now referred to. Horsley saw the weak points of Priestley's argument, and was not to be dazzled and put aside by Priestley's philosophical display. Horsley fearlessly entered into this controversy, like a man who felt his own strength, and particularly the strength of his cause; though he needed not the courage of a Luther, he was apparently a man who possessed it, if called on. He used the best means to silence his adversary,* with the Bible before him as his shield, (but at the same time his support as well as defence,) from behind which he assailed his opponent with his Biblical learning so powerfully, that his first attack made Priestley feel the strength of his adversary. In vaunting language, Priestley made the best defence which he thought he could, but not the most prudent, by promising to answer his opponent so efficiently, as to make him a convert to his doctrines. But in this vaunting prediction, that he would not only answer his opponent satisfactorily, to all who were interested in the controversy, but convert him to his opinions, it need not be added he failed, so completely, and at the same time displayed such a “ridiculous vanity," as to deprive him of that influence which he had so overrated in himself. Horsley's letters seem particularly to have attracted Coleridge's attention, and to have caused him to make one of his concise, pithy and powerful notes as a comment on this letter of Horsley's, entitled, “ The Unitarian Doctrine not well calculated for the conversion of Jews, Mahometans, or Infidels, of any description."*
* Horsley appears to have been in his way a Christian Hercules, and well adapted for cleansing even an Augean stable of apostasy.
The following is Coleridge's Comment on the Letter, to which allusion has been made, and from the date seems to have been written during his residence at Malta :
“ February 12, 1805.—Thinking during my “perusal of Horsley's letters in reply to Dr. “ Priestley's objections to the Trinity on the part " of Jews, Mahometans, and Infidels, it burst “ upon me at once as an awful truth, what seven “or eight years ago I thought of proving with a
* “ Letter sixteenth,” p. 264. ed. 1789, in Bishop Horsley's Tracts in controversy with Dr. Priestley.
“hollow faith, and for an ambiguous purpose, * “ my mind then wavering in its necessary pas“ sage from Unitarianism (which, as I have “often said, is the religion of a man, whose “ reason would make him an atheist, but whose “ heart and common sense will not permit him “to be so) through Spinosism into Plato and “ St. John. No Christ, no God! This I now feel 66 with all its needful evidence of the under“standing : would to God my spirit were made “ conform thereto -- that no Trinity, no God! “ That Unitarianism in all its forms is idolatry, “ and that the remark of Horsley is most accu“ rate; that Dr. Priestley's mode of converting * the Jews and Turks is, in the great essential “ of religious faith, to give the name of Chris“tianity to their present idolatry - truly the 6 trick of Mahomet, who, finding that the moun“tain would not come to him, went to the “ mountain. O! that this conviction may work “upon me and in me, and that my mind may “ be made up as to the character of Jesus, “and of historical Christianity, as clearly as “it is of the logos, and intellectual or spi“ritual Christianity—that I may be made to “know either their especial and peculiar union,
* This observation, it is presumed, alludes to the time when he was preaching Unitarianism.
“ or their absolute disunion in any peculiar “sense.*
“ With regard to the Unitarians, it has been - “ shamelessly asserted, that I have denied them
“ to be Christians. God forbid ! For how should · kon " I know what the piety of the heart may be, or
“ what quantum of error in the understanding
* Written in 1805.