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Examination of the more direct Evidence adduced by Mr.
Yates, in support of the Principles of Unitarianism.
347 Chap. IV. Containing additional proofs from Scripture of the Divinity of Christ,
364 CHAP. V. Concluding Remarks,
P. 169. 1. 9. for “ Schleusner,” read “ Vigerus."
“ that it was.”
OBSERVATIONS ON VARIOUS TOPICS OF PRELIMINARY
Towards the close of his « Vindication of Unitarianism,” Mr. Yates represents the “ instances of carelessness, indiscre
tion, and misrepresentation, which abound in Mr. Ward“ law's Volume, and which he has been under the necessity “ of noticing, as sufficient wholly to destroy its credit in the ap"prehension of all impartial judges.”—I will not venture, in
putting on my harness,” to “boast myself,” as Mr. Yates has thus done in “putting it off.” Depending, however, on Divine assistance, I address myself anew, with no diminution of courage, to “ this great argument.” I shall examine my opponent's work with all the freedom which a regard to truth requires ; and shall then leave the decision betwixt us to those “ impar“ tial judges" to whom he has made his confident appeal.
It must be a matter of very small consequence to the public, how Mr. Yates and his opponent stand affected towards each other; whether they live in habits of intimate friendship, or merely on terms of mutual good-will. From some expressions used in Mr. Yates's “ Vindication," his readers might be led to suppose the former to be the case ; for in various instances,
in the course of his work, he strongly expresses his regard, and, with the emphasis of Italics, closes his volume by “joy-, “ fully erasing from the tablet of his memory every feeling of
hostility, and wishing to behave henceforth toward his opponent,-his friend, as his moral and intellectual excellences
prompt his esteem.” (Page 273.) When Mr. Yates thus expresses his wishes respecting his behaviour to his friend “ henceforth,” his reader may naturally be disposed to inquire, in what manner he has behaved towards him in this controversy. And in seeking, in Mr. Yates's book, an answer to this inquiry, he will find some things, I fear, hardly quite consistent with that cordial union of spirit, which is generally and justly understood to belong to the essence of true friendship. He will occasionally feel cause for considerable surprise; and may begin, perhaps, to suspect that surely Mr. Yates uses this term, as Unitarians do so many others, in a sense of his own. What sort of esteem and friendship must these be? he will say to himself. This author certainly does not treat his esteemed friend very graciously. He compliments him, it is true, and compliments him strongly and generously. But his eulogies seem to be more than neutralized, when he charges this friend of his with management, and generalship, and manquvring, of various unworthy kinds;—with the artful expedients, and low tricks, of a nibbling adversary ;-with contumely, and petulance, and positiveness, and dogmatism; as well as with ignorance, and carelessness, and bitter misrepresentation, and overheated zeal ;--when he honours him with a place amongst " crows and chattering “ jays,” in their impertinent pursuit of the bird of Jove;-—and speaks of the feeble diminutive accents of our worthy Author”. in terms which could hardly be used without a certain scornful elevation of the upper lip, not extremely desirable in the countenance of a friend.—I am quite aware, however, of the diffe
rent lights in which the same expressions will appear to a friend of the cause that is defended, and to an enemy. Where the former finds no ground of complaint in an author's general manner, but rather, perhaps, an excess of forbearance and gentleness, the latter will quickly discover the clearest symptoms of virulent animosity and insolent self-sufficiency. Certain words and phrases will be severely censured by the latter, as incontestable evidences of such tempers of mind; while by the former they will be justified and commended, as indicating no more than that the writer is not indifferent to the cause he has espoused, but, as he ought to be, “ zealously 66 affected in a good thing.” It was certainly my wish to avoid the evils of which my adversary has so heavily accused me. In this wish it is possible I may have failed ; yet I honestly declare I am not sensible of the failurė, at least to any thing like the extent of the indictment; nor, so far as I have had access to know the public voice, have my readers in general concurred in the accusations.
It may appear to some, perhaps, hardly generous, to bring these harshnesses forward into such prominent notice, after Mr. Yates has declared, towards the conclusion of his replý, the " special gratification it will afford him to expunge any “ expressions which appear disrespectful to Mr. Wardlaw.” (P. 273.). But the truth is, I cannot persuade myself that Mr. Yates was not sensible of something disrespectful in such expressions as those which have just been quoted. And surely, if he was, the spirit which would have been gratified by expunging them from the printed volumė, should have previously gratified itself, by expunging them from the manuscript. This procedure is certainly much liker sincerity, than first to show the public, by offensive personalities, what smart things we can say, and then to bow at the close, and protest our readiness
to cancel them.--I have a similar observation to make rem specting the severe accusations in Mr. Yates's letter to me, published at the end of his book. He
He says himself respecting that letter, “ Some of the expressions in it are certainly harsh. “ I used them, that he might see the full extent of
my accusa« tions against him, and because I always think it proper to
speak of another in severer language to himself than to any
one else.” (P. 273.) Mr. Yates, then, intended this letter for myself, and for no one else ? So, upon the principle which he states (an exceedingly good one) it ought to have been. But so it was not. Mr. Yates, while using these confessedly harsh expressions, “ because he thought it proper to speak of another s6 in severer terms to himself than to any one else," was, at the very moment, writing for the public, and avows his intention of saying to the world all that he was saying to myself:“P. S. I shall probably prefix this letter to my Reply, that, “if any disagreeable consequences do ensue from this contro
versy, the public may see that I am not chargeable with 66 them.”
Could I plead guilty to all the charges of my opponent, I should pronounce myself unworthy of his esteem, or of the esteem of any one else : and, what is of infinitely greater consequence than the forfeiture of the regard of men, I should feel myself exposed to the frown of an offended Master. I know it is his command, that “ the servant of the Lord must “ not strive, but be gentle unto all men-patient, in meekness “ instructing those that oppose themselves.” To this command -a command to which he who was “ meek and lowly in 6 heart” himself set the example of perfect conformity)—it is my desire, by his grace, to adhere, in inward feeling, and in outward act and expression. If the violation of it be necessary to writing with spirit, let me rank with the dullest of the