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« by learned men, a great obstruction to the * progress of Christianity*.'
* The friendly intercourse intimated above, between Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Haynes, and their probable similarity of opinions on religious subjects, may receive surther confirmation from a passage in Wetstein's Prolegomena to his edition of the Greek New Testament, p. 185; in which it is related, that Mr. Haynes had been employed in translating into Latin two Letters of Sir Isaac Newton on the true reading os 1 Jo. v. 7. 8. and I Tim. iii. 16 i with a view, perhaps, at the time to their being printed for the benefit of the learned abroad, though. it did not take place.
It may not be amiss to remark here, that this most admirable critical tract of Sir Isaac Newton's is to be found at the conclusion of the fifth volume of his works, in Dr. Hprstey's edition with the following title-page; " An historical account of two notable corruptions of Scripture. In a letter to a friend. Now first published from a MS. in the author's handwriting, in the possession of the Rev. Dr.Ekens, Dean of Carlisle."
And there is prefixed to it the following advertisement; -" A very impersect copy of this tract, "-wanting both the beginning and the end, and er"roneous in many places, was published at London "in the year 1754, under the title of Two Letters
So long then as the noble family, who arc the depositaries of Sir Isaac Newton's manuscript papers, which he left behind him, those especially which contain his sentiments on theological subjects, shall think proper to suppress them, and prevent the curious forming a judgment from his own words, we may abides by this testimony of Mr. Haynes, in itself probable, conveyed to us by Mr. Baron, that that sublime genius, and virtuous man, was a perfect Unitarian.
Not that it is of any moment, what the greatest and wisest men may think, but what the scriptures hold forth on all points; though, it is a satisfaction, in matters of consequence, to have the suffrage of such persons. Indeed, it seems scarcely possible, that any one, free from prejudice, and a serious searcher after truth, who perused the bible so assiduously, as we are assured, by various authorities, was
"from Sir Isaac Newton to Mr. Le Clerc. But I'ik "the author's MS, the whole is one continued dis"course; which, although it is conceived in the "epistolary form, is riot addressed to any particu"Ihr person."
done by Sir Isaac Newton, could form- any other conclusions concerning God and Christ, than those made by Mr. Haynes.
BUT these valuable remains of our author have undergone a singular fate, very contrary to his intention, in never having been properly made known, or put into the hands of the public.
. Mr. Haynes died whilst his book was in the press. From his own words, as well as his intention, signified by the * Editor, in a short but excellent preface, it is plain that he printed it with a view to have his sentiments pnblifhed, and in hope of serving mankind by them. But there must have been some great default afterwards somewhere; since from the few copies known to be in the possession of private persons, or that have been in circulation for many years past in the yearly catalogues of libraries on sale, a very small
* Mr. John Blackburne, minister osa congregation of Protestant Dissenters in St. John's-court, Southwark; where he had for his immediate predecessors, Mr. Pickard, and Dr. Benson. He afterwards removed to Newbury, Berks.
number fnust have got abroad in the world. It was advertized in the Gendeman's Magazine for April 1750. But the Monthly Review, then a new periodical publication, and, from the first on the fide of freedom of inquiry, takes no notice of such a work. The Rev. Dr. * Flexman, who lived in the metropolis at the time, and was acquainted with, die Editor, informs me that very soon there were no copies to be purchased. It would seem, from the paslage above quoted, mentioning Mr. Haynes as author of several tracts, but never speaking of this, which would have been so much to his purpose to have expatiated upon, that it was hardly known to Mr. Baron.
Such an extraordinary suppression of such a work, and strangling it as it were in its birth, shews as if there had been no good design in it. But as I have nothing certain to offer about it, I shall leave the reader to make his conjectures how this could have
* A minister among the Protestant Dissenters, now much advanced in years, of learning and great integrity; who hath served the Public usesully in hii day in various ways.
happened; and particularly, because, though late, we are now fulfilling the author's will and intention in laying his book before the public.
So much was judged proper to fay seven years ago, when the second edition was printed in 1790.
The Editor thinks it right now to add, that he was first excited to the republication of so scarce and valuable a work, and the principal expence borne, by a person of high rank, distinguished by an eminent love of truth, and generous concern to promote a just critical knowledge of the sacred writings^ and who is also ever ready to encourage learned and worthy men, and to serve the cause of virtue and true religion, by those ample means which Divine Providence hath put in his power.