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adherence to the law of Moses. Maxim 5. H. p. 14. L- p. 25.
g. The Apostles creed is that which was taught t^ all catechumens before baptism, and additions were made to it from time to time, in order to exclude those who were denominated heretics. Now though there are several articles in that creed which allude to the gnostics, and tacitly condemn them, there was not, in the time of Tertullian, any article in it that alluded to the unitarians; so that even then any unitarian, at least one believing the miraculous conception, might have subscribed it. It may, therefore, be concluded, that simple unitarianism was not deemed heretical at the end of the second century. Maxim 7. L. p. 27.
10. It is acknowledged by Eusebius and others, that the ancient unitarians themselves constantly asiprted that their doctrine was the prevailing opinion of the christian church till the time of Victor. Maxim 2. H. p. 18. R. p. 25.
11. Justin Martyr, who maintains the pre-existence of Christ, is so far from calling the contrary opinion a heresy, that what he fays on the subject is evidently an apology for his own; and when he speaks of heretics In general, which he does with great indignation, as no christians, and having no communication with christians, he mentions the gnostics only. Maxim 12. H. p. 17. R. p„ 15, L. p. 127.
12. Irenseus, who was aster Justin, and who ,Wrote a large treatise on the subject of heresy, says <rery little concerning the Ebionites, and he never calls them heretics. Those Ebionites he speaks of as believing that Christ was the son of Joseph, and he makes no mention of those who believed the miraculous conception. Maxim 12. H. p. 15. L, p. 32. 118.
13. Tertullian represents the majority of the common or unlearned christians, the Idiota, as unitarians; and it is among the common people that we always find the oldest opinions in any country, and in any sect, while the learned are most apt to innovate. It may therefore be presumed, that as the unitarian doctrine was held by the common people in the time of Tertullian, it had been more general still before that time, and probably universal in the apostolical age. Athanafius also mentions it as a subject of complaint to the orthodox of his age, that the many, and especially persons of low understandings, were inclined to the unitarian doctrine. Maxim 4. 10. R. p. 26. L. p. 49.
14. The first who held and discussed the doctrine of the pre-existence and divinity of Christ acknowledge that their opinions were exceedingly unpopular among the unlearned christians; that these dreaded the doctrine of the trinity, thinking that it infringed upon the doctrine of the supremacy of God the Father j and the learned christians made
$ frequent frequent apologies to them, and to others, for their own opinion. Maxim 10. H. p. 54.
15. The divinity of Christ was first advanced and urged by those who had been heathen philosophers, and especially those who were admirers of the doctrine of Plato, who held the opinion of a second God. Austin says, that he considered Christ as no other than a most excellent man, and that he had no suspicion of God being incarnate in him, or how " the catholic faith differed from the "the error of Photinus" (one of the last of the proper Unitarians whose name is come down to us) 'till he read the books of Plato; and that he was afterwards confirmed in the catholic doctrine by reading the scriptures. Constantine, in his oration to the fathers of the council of Nice, speaks with commendation of Plato, as having taught the doctrine of" a second God, derived from the supreme "God, and subservient to his will." Maxim ir. H. p. 20.
16. There is a pretty easy gradation in the progress of the doctrine of the divinity ©f Christ; as he was first thought to be God in some qualified fense of the word, a distinguished emanation from the supreme mind, and then the logos or the wisdom of God personified; and this logos was first thought to be only occasionally detached from the deity, and then drawn into his essence again, before it was imagined to have a permanent
personality, distinct from that of the source from which it sprang. And it was not 'till 400 years after that time that Christ was thought to be properly equal to the Father. Whereas, on the other hand, though it is now pretended that the apostles taught the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, yet it cannot be denied that, in the very times of the apostles, the Jewish church, and many of the gentiles also, held the opinion of his being a mere man. Here the transition U quite sudden, without any gradation at all. This must naturally have given the greatest alarm, such as is now given to those who are called orthodox, by the present Socinians; and yet nothing of this kind can be perceived. Besides, it is certainly most probable that the christians of those times, urged as they were with the meanness of their master, should incline to add to, rather than take from, his natural rank and dignity. Maxim 9. H. p. 20. &c. L. p. 73. 134.
V. Maxims of Historical Criticism, by which the preceding Articles may be tried.
1. When two persons give different accounts of things, that evidence is to be preserred, which is either in itself more probable, or more agreeable to other credible testimony.
2. Neither is entire credit to be given to any set of men with respect to what is reputable to them, nor to their enemies with respect to what- is di sre
S 2 - putable; putable; but the account given by the one may be balanced by that of the other. Summary View, No. 10.
3. Accounts of any set of men given by their enemies only are always suspicious. But the consections of enemies, and circumstances favourable to any body of men, collected from the writings of their adversaries, are deserving of particular regard,
4. It is natural for men who wish to speak disparagingly of any sect to undervalue their numbers, as well as every thing else relating to them; and it is equally natural for those who wish to speak respectfully of any party, to represent the members of it as more numerous than they are. Summary View, No. 13.
5. When persons form themselves into societies, so as to be distinguishable from others, they never fail to get some particular name, either assumed by themselves, or imposed by others. This is necessary, in order to make them the subject of conversation, long periphrases in discourse being very inconvenient. Summary View, No. 8.
6. When particular opinions are ascribed to a particular class of men, without any distinction of the time when those opinions were adopted by them, it may be presumed, that they were supposed to hold those opinions from the time that they