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pily availed himself of the striking analogies which the system of nature presents, as if designed on purpose, as Tertullian more than insinuates, to excite the expectation of such an event. Among others highly deserving attention, we shall present our readers with the following in the words of Dr. Gregory.
'Nearly allied to these are the examples of peculiar transformations undergone by various insects, and the state of rest, and insensibility, which precede those transformations; such as the chrysalis, or aurelia state of butterflies, moths, and silk-worms. The myrmeleon formicaleo, of whose larva, and its extraordinary history, Reaumur and Roesel have given accurate descriptions, continues in its insensible, or chrysalis state, about four weeks. The libellula, or dragon fly, continues still longer in its state of inaction. Naturalists tell us, that the worm repairs to the margin of its pond in quest of a convenient place of abode during its insensible state. It attaches itself to a plant, or piece of dry wood, and the skin, which gradually becomes parched and brittle, at last splits opposite to the upper part of the thorax; through this aperture the insect, now become winged, quickly pushes its way; and being thus extricated from confinement, begins to expand its wings, to flutter, and, finally, to launch into the air with that gracefulness and ease which are peculiar to this majestic tribe. Now who that saw, for the first time, the little pendant coffin in which the insect lay entombed, and was ignorant of the transformation of which we are now speaking, would ever predict that, in a few weeks, perhaps in a few days or hours, it would become one of the most elegant and active of winged insects? And who that contemplates with the mind of a philosopher this curious transformation, and knows that two years before the insect mounts into the air, even while it is living in water, it has the rudiments of wings, can deny that the body of a dead man may, at some future period, be again invested with vigor and activity, and soar to regions for which some latent organization may have peculiarly fitted it.' p. 225.
In descanting on the change that will be effected by the Resurrection, when we shall be invested with a glorified body, the language of the author rises to a high pitch of elevation, and exhibits a scene which surpasses the brightest visions of poetry, while the exactness of the delineation, in its most essential lineaments, is attested by the "true sayings of God." The science with which the mind of the author is so richly imbued, enables him to mingle a refined spirit of philosophy with the colors of imagination, which without diminishing their brightness, compels the assent of the understanding, while it captivates the heart.
In the letter on the Eternal Existence after death, the author strenuously opposes the sleep of the soul, and urges formidable, and, we apprehend, irrefragable arguments for interpreting the
passages of Scripture which speak of the everlasting misery of the impenitent, in their obvious and literal sense; nor have we met with a discussion of this awful subject so calculated to carry conviction to a philosophical mind, provided it be disposed to bow to the authority of Revelation. His confutation of the reasoning of his opponents, founded on the supposed ambiguity of the terms employed to denote an eternal duration, is particularly masterly.
On the third branch of his subject, which relates to the Duties of Christianity, he is comparatively brief,-not, it is evident, from his undervaluing their importance, but partly, we conceive, on account of the length of his former discussions, and partly because, in this part, there is little room for controversy. He has contented himself with arranging the duties of Christianity under three heads those which relate to God, to our fellow-creatures, and to ourselves; and with illustrating and enforcing them by a direct appeal to the language of Scripture.
Having endeavored to put our readers in possession of the general plan and design of this work, we shall close this article with a few general observations on it.
Dr. Gregory throughout denominates the abettors of the simple humanity of Christ, Socinians, instead of employing their favorite appellation of Unitarians. We rejoice that he has done so, and hope his example will be generally followed. To accede to the appellation of Unitarians, is to yield up the very point in debate; for ask them what they mean by Unitarian, and they will feel no scruple in replying, that it denotes a believer in one God, in opposition to a Tritheist. That this is not asserted at random, is evident, as well from many other facts, as from the following very remarkable one, that, when a noted academic was, some years since, expelled from the university of Cambridge, amidst various points which he insisted on in defence, one was this,-that it was quite absurd to censure him for avowing Unitarian principles, since he never heard but of one person who publicly declared himself not an Unitarian. Now what did he mean by this singular assertion? Did he mean to say, that he never heard of more than one person who publicly affirmed his belief in a plurality of persons in the Godhead? This is impossible. What could he mean, then, but that he never knew but of one person who affirmed himself not to be a believer in one God?-which is neither more nor less than to identify the term Unitarian with a believer in one God, and the term Trinitarian with a believer in three. Let the intelligent public judge, whether it is not high time to withhold from these men an appellation, which assumes the question at issue, and which cannot be bestowed without being converted into an occasion of insult and triumph over their opponents. There was a time when the learning and moderation of Lardner,
and the fame and science of Priestley, combined to throw a transitory splendor over their system, and to procure from the Christian world forbearance and complaisance to which they were ill entitled. That time is passed. Such rational Christians as they are, should have discernment to perceive, that it is not with them as in months past, when the candle of their leader shone around them; it becomes them to bow their spirit to the humble state of their fortunes. They should learn at last to know themselves. The world is perfectly aware, whether they perceive it or not, that Socinianism is now a headless trunk, bleeding at every vein, and exhibiting no other symptoms of life, but its frightful convulsions.
But why should they be offended at being styled Socinians, when it is undeniable that they agree with Socinus in his fundamental position, (the simple humanity of Christ ;) which is all the agreement that subsists betwixt the followers of Calvin or of Arminius, and those eminent persons? The Calvinists are far from concurring in every particular with Calvin, the Arminians with Arminius, yet neither of them have violently disclaimed these appellations, or considered them as terms of reproach. Why are the Socinians only offended at being denominated after Socinus? Is it because they differ in the nature of Christ's person from that celebrated Heresiarch? This they will not pretend. But they differ from him in many respects! In what respects? Is it in those respects in which his sentiments gave most offence to the Christian world? Is it that they have receded from him in that direction which brings them nearer to the generally received doctrine of the church? Just the reverse. In the esteem of all but themselves they have descended many degrees lower in the scale of error, have plunged many fathoms deeper in the gulf of impiety; yet with an assurance, of which they have furnished the only example, they affect to consider themselves injured by being styled Socinians, when they know, in their own consciences, that they differ from Socinus only in pushing the degradation of the Saviour to a much greater length-and that, in the views of the Christian world, their religious delinquences differ from his, only as treason differs from sedition, or sacrilege from theft. The appellation of Socinian, as applied to them, is a term of forbearance, calculated, if they would suffer it, not to expose, but to hide a part of their shame. Let them assume any denomination they please, provided it be such as will fairly represent their sentiments. Let them be styled Anti-scripturalists, Humanitarians, Semi-deists, Priestleians, or Socinians. But let them not be designated by a term, which is merely coveted by them for the purposes of chicane and imposture.
Our readers will perceive that the system which Dr. Gregory strenuously abets is orthodoxy; but it is moderate and catholic;
it is the orthodoxy of the three first centuries; it is that system which, communicated by Christ and his apostles, pervaded the church long before the confusion of modern sects arose, or even the distinction betwixt Protestants and Catholics was heard of; it is orthodoxy which has nourished the root of piety in every age, warmed the breast of saints and martyrs, and will continue to subsist in the church till the heavens and the earth are no more.
We congratulate the public on the accession of Dr. G. to such a cause; and sincerely rejoice that, amidst his multifarious scientific pursuits, he has found time and inclination to meditate so deeply, and to exhibit so successfully, the "truth as it is in Jesus. We hope his example will stimulate other men of science and genius to pursue so noble a career. We will venture to assure them, that, upon a dying bed, it will occasion no regret to reflect upon their having enrolled their names with such illustrious laymen as Boyle, Newton, and Locke, in the defence of Christianity.
In a beautiful passage of Euripides, Medea is introduced expressing her surprise, that, amidst such a multitude of inventions and inquiries, the art of persuasion, the mistress of human volition, should alone have been neglected. This neglect cannot be imputed to Dr. Gregory. He has united, with extraordinary attainments in the severer sciences, the art of recommending his sentiments with the most impressive effect; and though he is above a solicitude respecting the minuter graces of finished composition, he exhibits, in an eminent degree, the most important ingredients of good writing. He is correct and luminous, and often rises to the tone of the most impassioned feeling. His language is eminently easy, flowing, and idiomatic. The abstractions of science have not in him exerted the influence often imputed to them, of chilling the heart, and impairing the vigor of the imagination. While he reasons with the comprehension and depth which distinguish the philosopher, he feels with ardor, and paints with force. He is often inspired and transported with his theme. In the midst of pursuits which are not always found to have a propitious effect on the religious character of their votaries, he has found the means of preserving his devotion in its warmth, his faith in its purity, and his sensibility in its infantine freshness and vigor.
We must conclude with earnestly recommending this work to the attentive perusal of young persons, whose minds have been cultivated by science and letters: and must be permitted to add, that we are acquainted with no book in the circle of English literature, which is equally calculated to give persons of that discription, just views of the evidence, the nature, and the importance of revealed religion.