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all the provinces of the Roman empire, and that for the space of three hundred years ;" but, as Tertullian elegantly observes,* “ that very blood becomes the seed of new Christians :" for one martyr that is cut off, ten new Christians rise around him; like the tree that is pruned, it shoots out in new luxuriancy. All that savage barbarity can possibly contrive, is resorted to by Pagan Rome, to binder “the stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands,'t (I mean, the infant church of Christ,) from increasing, and this tender plant from spreading its roots.
But we learn from Tertullian, that, as early as the second century, that stone, so small in its beginning, had already grown into a mountain that covered the whole civilized earth, and that tender plant had become a tree, that extended its roots from sea to sea, and afforded shade to all the polished nations of the world. So little can men do against the designs of Heaven.
When, ofter the unavailing efforts of three hundred years, the Roman emperors were convinced of the impossibility of arresting the progress of this work, which all the power of men could not arrest, they thought it wisdom to bow down their haughty necks to the sweet yoke of Jesus—it was natural, it seems, to expect that no one afterwards would be tempted to make war against God and against his Christ; but no: Christ, who had bequeathed to his church all that was dear to him, his divine doctrine, his sacraments, his promises, and perpetual assistance, would likewise have it so, that during her militant state upon earth, she should share with him in struggles, trials, and sufferings, in order to enter like himself into his eternal kingdom of rest. He would have it so, that, as she was altogether supernatural and divine in her primitive establishment, so she should announce to all future generations, by the very state of her trials of every description, and of her glorious victories, that she continued to be altogether supernatural, heavenly, and divine. He, accordingly, permitted that, as soon as Pagan Rome had laid down her army against the spouse of Christ, a new and much more alarming war should break out against her from within, by a host of most powerful enemies, succeeding each other in close array, by the Arians, the Nestorians, the Monothelites, the Pelagians, Donatists, Macedonians, &c.: in the eighth century, by the Iconoclasts, and in the ninth, by Photius and the abettors of the Greek schism : enemies, courted, patronized, and supported by all the power of the Roman emperors. But the kingdom of Christ, that perpetual empire which shall not be given over to another people, and which itself shall consume all other empires the church, I say, unprotected, abandoned, and left to her own native vigour and firmness, triumphed most gloriously over them all; they had no other effect but to make men sensible of her superior virtue, of her divine efficacy. She saw them all rise, she saw them rage, but she saw them likewise die away; and so die away, that, had it not been for the care of Christian writers, their very names would have been for ever lost to us; so that she may truly say of her numerous and powerful enemies, what the Angel affirmed of the enemies of her divine founder, “ Defuncti sunt qui quterebant animam pueri.” They are dead who sought the life of the child. They, indeed, at times, seem apparently to triumph, and in the paroxysm of their phrenzy, to exclaim, " We have devoured her: we have devoured her!” But, before long, she casts around her majestic look, and says, “ I have seen the wicked highly exalted and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus: And I passed by, and lo! he was not: and I sought him, and his place was not found.”+ What a striking illustration of this her divine strength, has not the French revolution furnished us with? When iniquity, like an impetuous torrent threatened to spread over the whole world, and to banish the very name of Christ from the earth, behold that same religion, hitherto in chains and dungeons, aban. doned, persecuted, and destitute of all human succour, resum* Daniel, ii. 44. Matth. ii. 20.
* “ Semen est sanguis christianorum,” in Apolog. + Daniel, ii. 34, 35.
# Matth. xiii. 32.
ing, without the hands of men,” her native dignity ; seeking around for “ those that sought her life, and lo! they are not;": and sitting herself on the throne of her venerable pontiffs, appears to the astonished world more venerable, more vigorous, more august than ever. 6 Who has done all this? Is it not visibly the band of the Most High ?”
Such, therefore, being the exalted and glorious destiny of the church of Christ upon earth, to be always attacked and to be always victorious, she does not fear, whatever calamities may rush upon her, or whatever enemies may rise up against her; for, confiding in the glorious promises made to her, she knows, that all the power of men cannot pull down what God has set up; and that the gates of hell cannot prevail against her, because she is built on a rock, by the same mighty hand, which has laid the foundation of the universe.
Thus, if religion deeply mourns at the rise of new errors, it is not, because she fears for her own preservation, but, because she apprehends lest some of her children be seduced by the charm of novelty, and thus suffer shipwreck of their faith, Unitarianism, whose confutation we have undertaken, will, no doubt, share the fate of all former sects, and of other human inventions, for the oracle of Christ will, at all times, be literally verified : “Every plant, which my heavenly Father has not planted, shall be rooted up."* Still, as this new sect intrudes itself on the public under the seducing cloak of religion, although it evidently saps the very foundations of Christianity, the author of these numbers thought, it would be rendering service to the uninformed and unsuspecting part of the community, to lay before them the unshaken principles, on which the edifice of the Christian religion is based, and the palpable inconsistencies, into which those must inevitably run, that dare attack so grand, so noble, and so majestic an edifice. To reclaim some from error, and to caution others against seduction, is the only object of the author, who will deem himself amply rewarded for his labour, if he be but happy enough to succeed in saving one immortal soul, which,
*Matth. xv. 13.
in his estimation, is of greater importance than the gain of the whole world, since the Incarnate Wisdom said: “ What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?" Matth. xvi. 16.
The style of this work will be plain and concise, such as only suits lucubrations like this, which are intended to present to the reader a concatenation of principles and logical inferences necessarily connected together. In a performance of this nature, the object is to set the truth in as clear a light as possible, to adapt it to every capacity, to show, at one glance, the stress of the argument, and the logical conclusiveness of the whole argumentation ; with a view of attaining this object, the writer thought it preferable rather to sacrifice beauty of diction than, perspecuity and the intuitive perception of the stress and force of the argument. It is no small satisfaction for the author to reflect, that, whilst he is vindicating the cause of the Catholic church, of which he glories to be a member, he is, at once, pleading the cause of Christianity at large, and asserting the grand interests of all religious societies.
The author, once for all, solemnly protests, that it is, by no means, his intention to have any thing to do with the personal character of the professors of Unitarianism: He attacks principles, not persons; those he considers as inconsistent with sound logic and divine revelation; these are entitled to his highest consideration for their superior talents and other most valuable qualifications. If, therefore, in the sequel of this work, the reader should happen to meet with any expression or epithet, which might appear to him too severe, or too harsh, let it fall upon Unitarianism-not upon the Unitarian.
It is likewise far from the intention of the author, to elicit controvesy by the present publication, being as averse to it by disposition as by his professional duties; if, however, contrary to his expectation, any one should deem it proper to attack any part of the present work, he is hereby politely requested, to step forward after the fashion of a fair and honest antagonist, and to follow the writer step by step, " pode pes, densus que vira vir.” In a word, let him oppose position to position, reason to reason, logic to logic, authority to authority, and not set about empty and vague declamation, foreign to the question, and which is only calculated to divert the attention of the reader from the main controversy at issue. If any other mode of warfare were adopted, the writer of these sheets would not deem himself bound, by any rule whatever, to reply, as he would not consider himself to be attacked, “ Hanc veniam petimusque, damusque vicissim.” Every new position, argument, or objection, throughout the whole work, is marked with a marginal number, with a view of bind. ing down any writer that should feel disposed to answer this work, to point out the number which he means to attack.