3 In London in 1644 a preacher at a religious meeting in Bell Alley declared that ‘though Christ was a prophet and did miracles, yet he was not God; and near Coleman Street there was a society denying the divinity of Christ, under the leadership of a certain Welchman. Cf. Bonet-Maury, Sources, p. 197.
12 v. his Accuser Sham’d (London, 1648), to which a denial of the Trinity is appended; and The Clergy in their True Colors (1650). Cf. Wood, Athenae, ii, 359–361; Bulstrode Whitelock, Memorials of English Affairs (Oxford, 1853), iii, 291; D. N. B., s.v.
18 Cf. Paul Best, Mysteries Discovered (London, 1647), the first Socinian book published in England; Whitelock, Memorials, i, 565, 572; ii, 2, 4f, 181; Neal, Puritans, iii, 266; Monthly Repository, viii (1813), 109; ‘Paul Best, the Unitarian Confessor,’ Christian Reformer, ix, N. S. (1853), 493–503; Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 161–167; D. N.B., s. v.
19 The text in full in Crosby, English Baptists, i, 197–205; Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 588–590; cf. Neal, Puritans, iii, 418–425; Toulmin, Biddle, pp. 59–65; Henry Scobell, Collection of Acts and Ordinances (London, 1658), p. 149 f.
20 The name is variously spelled. He was baptized and was matriculated at Oxford as Bidle, but later in life (cf. U. H. S., London, vi, 236, 1937) he used the form Biddle. In an age when persons were often inconsistent in the spelling of even their own names, forms were used indifferently, sometimes even in the same writing in contemporary works as late as the quarto “Unitarian Tracts” toward the end of the century.
Cf. (John Farrington), Johannis Biddelli (Angli) Academiae Oxoniensis quondam Artium Magistri celeberrimi vita (Londinii, 1682); (Anon.), Short account of the life of John Bidle, M. A., in vol. i of “Unitarian Tracts” (London, 1691); Wood, Athenae, ii, 299–306, also reprinted in Monthly Repository, xiv (1818), 345–349, 413–419; Crosby, English Baptists, i, 206–216; Biog. Brit., ed. 2 (London, 1778–1793), ii, 302–309, s. v.; Whitelock, Memorials, ii, 204; iv, 160; Neal, Puritans, iv, 122 f; Toulmin, Biddle; Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 173–206; D. N. B., s. v.
25 Eight years later Estwick completed his confutation of these three early writings of Biddle, which had recently all been revised and reissued in 1653, in a book of over 500 pp., entitled Mr. Bidle's Confession of Faith, etc. (London, 1656), but while really confuting the Confession, he mistakenly supposed it to be the now notorious Catechism, of which he evidently had only hearsay knowledge. Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., i,131 f.
27 Cf. (Stephen Nye), 'Grounds and Occasions of the Controversy,' etc., p. 16, in vol. v of "Unitarian Tracts" (London, 1698); Walter H. Burgess, 'John Knowles and Henry Hedworth; Transactions of Unitarian Historical Society (London), v (1931), 1–16; Alexander Gordon, `John Cooper, the Cheltenham Unitarian,' Christian Life (London), xxv, 128, March 18, 1899; id., `John Cooper of Cheltenham, 1622–1665,' id. op., xliv, 278, Aug. 30, 1919; correcting Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 360–362, and John Goding, `The History of Unitarianism at Cheltenham,’ Christian Reformer (London), xi, N. S. (1844), 386–391.
29 This has been incorrectly spoken of as a Unitarian congregation, and the earliest in England. But the name Unitarian did not begin to be used in England until a decade after this. The group was undoubtedly Antitrinitarian, for Cooper's intimate relations were with those that inclined that way.
34 The items in it were: Knowles, A Friendly Debate . . . concerning the Divinity of Jesus Christ (London, 1650); Eaton, the Mystery of God Incarnate (London, 1650); do., A Vindication, or further Confirmation . . . to prove the Divinity of Christ (London, 1651). These last two were large volumes, answering Knowles's small book.
35 Cf. Robert Ferguson, justification only upon Satisfaction . . . asserted against the Socinians (London, 1668); Knowles, An Answer to Mr. Ferguson's book . . . wherein he is friendly reproved, fully silenced, and clearly instructed (London, 1668).
41This has sometimes been called the first Unitarian church in England; but there appears no evidence that it was organized as a church, or was more than an informal meeting of people of kindred mind; and in any case the name Unitarian did not become current in England until somewhat later.
49 Namely: Samuel Przypcovius, The Life of that Incomparable Man, Faustus Socinus Senensis; Joachim Stegmann, Sr., Brevis Disquisitio; or, a Brief Inquiry touching a better way than is commonly made use of, to refute Papists, and reduce Protestants to Certainty in Religion (also reprinted in The Phenix (London), ii, 315–347 (1708); Przypcovius, Dissertatio de Pace, etc., or, A Discourse concerning the Peace and Concord of the Church, also in The Phenix, ii(1708), 348–390. All these were issued in 1653 in London, with no author's name given.
52 Although the Racovian Catechism had already been in print in England for two years, the present Catechism is in no sense a rehash of that, and shows few traces, if any, of its influence. The choice of topics and the order of them are as different as possible, and the manner of treatment of them is quite unlike. The answers are exclusively in the language of Scripture. The Catechism for Children, again, is not a mere abridgment of the other, having less than half as many chapters, and being different in order and contents.
Ten years later both these Catechisms were translated into Latin for the use of foreign scholars, by Nathanael Stuckey, a lad of fifteen, whom Biddle had assisted in his studies, and whose widowed mother was one of Biddle's congregation. Upon his premature death soon after, she offered to take into her vacant home two children of the exiled Polish minister, Christopher Crellius, and to take care of their education. Appended to this translation is also a letter from Danzig, addressed to Biddle by Jeremias Felbinger, a recent German convert, expressing his joy at the accession of Biddle to the party of the Antitrinitarians. Cf. F. S. Bock, Bibliotheca Antitrinitariorum (Regiomonti et Lipsiae, 1774–84), i, 348; Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 326–328, 591; Monthly Repository, xi(1816), 633 ff.
57 Cf. John Brayne, The Divinity of the Trinity cleared, etc. (also printed under the title, Mr. John Biddle's Strange and New Trinity) (London, 1654), in answer to Biddle's Apostolical and True Opinion concerning the Holy Trinity as reprinted in 1653.
63 Respectively: Two letters of Mr. John Biddle, late prisoner in Newgate, but now hurried away to some remote island; A True State of the case of Liberty of Conscience . . . together with a True Narrative of the cause, and manner, of Mr. John Biddle's sufferings; The Spirit of Persecution again broken loose . : . against Mr. John Biddle, etc.; The Petition of divers gathered Churches . . . for declaring the Ordinance . . . for punishing Blasphemies and Heresies null and void. All, London, 1555. Cf. also Crosby, English Baptists, i, 209–215;Wallace, Antitrin., ii, 196–201.
2 Cf. Neal, op. cit., iv, 324–330. This Act was followed in 1664by the Conventicle Act, condemning to banishment or death any refusing to go to Church, and forbidding any to hold or attend any religious meeting except those of the Church of England, under pain of imprisonment, fine or banishment. Again in 1665,by the Five-Mile Act, forbidding nonconformist ministers to come within five miles of any city or town where they had ministered, or to teach in any school, under heavy fine. Finally in 1673 by the Test Act, requiring any holder of public office to receive the sacrament in Church in public, under pain of a fine of £500. Cf. Neal, iv, 357 f, 366 f, 422f, all summarized, 423 f.
3 So given in Edmund Calamy, Nonconformist's Memorial, ed. 2 by Samuel Palmer (London, 1778), i, pref., p. 1, n. The figure usually given is the round number of 2,000. But A. G. Mathews, Calamy Revised (Oxford, 1934), p. xiii, reduces the number to 1760, besides 149 from Universities and schools.
5 Of the ejected clergy themselves the only one known to have adopted Unitarian views later was William Manning, an Independent of Peasenhall, Suffolk, who was converted to them by reading Dr. Sherlock's Vindication of the Trinity (1690). Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 495–503. v. infra, p. 219.
6John Crellius Francus, The Two Books touching One God the Father (Kosmoburg London, 1665), with rubricated title. The same sheets reissued with the title, The Unity of God asserted and defended, etc. (London, 1691).
16 A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, compiled from the Holy Scriptures alone (London, 1825). The publication at once occasioned the writing of two famous essays on Milton: by Macaulay in the Edinburgh Review, xlii (1825), 304–346; and by Channing in the Christian Examiner (Boston), iii (1826), 29–77. Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 328–357.
20 The most important notices were a series of six successive monthly articles by the Independent scholar, the Rev. John Pye Smith, in the Evangelical Magazine, N. S. iv (1826);and one in the Monthly Repository, xx (1825), 609, 687, 748;also the Rev. John Evans's articles, id. op., xx, 710–713;xxi, 724–731.Cf. Francis E. Mineka, ‘The Critical Reception of Milton's De Doctrina Christiana,’ University of Texas Studies in English (Austin, 1943), pp. 115–147.
21Cf. Martin A. Larson, ‘Milton and Servetus; a study in the Sources of Milton's Theology,’ Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, xli, no. 4 (Dec., 1926), pp. 891–934; Louis Aubrey Wood, The Form and Origin of Milton's Antitrinitarian Conception (London, Ont., 1911). The latter of these two refers to the influence of Ochino's Dialogues of 1563.
23 In three editions (n. p., 1675); reprinted in Somers, Collection of . . . Tracts (London, 1748–51), ser. I, vol. iii, pp. 329–338; and with introduction by Bp. Henson (London, 1919); answered by (Gilbert Burnet), A Modest Survey of . . . Naked Truth; (Francis Turner), Animadversions upon . . . Naked Truth; (Peter Gunning), Lex Talionis; defended by (Andrew Marvell), Mr. Smirke; or, The Divine in Mode, all (London, 1676) reprinted in part in "Unitarian Tracts," v, last essay. Cf. Ethyn W. Kirby, "The Naked Truth": a Plan for Church Unity,' Church History, vii (1935). 45–61.
24 Cf. Life of Mr. Thomas Firmin, late Citizen of London (London, 1698), including Sermon on his death, and An Account of Mr. Firmin's Religion; Alexander Gordon, ‘Thomas Firmin, Unitarian Philanthropist,’ in his Addresses Biographical and Historical (London, 1922); Harold W. Stephenson, ‘A Seventeenth Century Philanthropist,’ U. H. S. (London), vol. vi; Wallace, Antitrin., iii, 272–389.
31 Of these tracts there were five successive collections, dated from 1691 to 1703, each with a numbered title. The first three were subsidized by Firmin. Those published after his death seem to have modified their scope, and included new contributors. A sixth collection is sometimes mentioned, but no copy is found with the usual title, and as such copies vary in contents they are doubtless collections individually made and bound up. For lists of contents, and descriptions, see Wallace, Antitrin., i, 229 f; 236 f; 265 f; 361 f; iii, 604–607;Herbert McLachlan, 'Seventeenth Century Unitarian Tracts,' in his The Story of a Non-conformist Library (Manchester, 1925), pp.53–87;Hunt, Religious Thought, ii, 273–278; iii, 604–607.
32 A Preservative against Socinianism: showing the direct and plain opposition between it, and the religion revealed by God in the Holy Scriptures (Oxonii, 1698–1703).Issued in four separate parts variously dated; the first in 1693.
33 Cf. 'Considerations on the Explications of the Doctrine of the Trinity,' Unitarian Tracts, iii (1695), 66–68; also ‘A Discourse concerning the Nominal and Real Trinitarians,’ id. op., vol. iii. Both anonymous, but by Nye. Wallace, Antitrin., i, 340–342.
34 There were those that were more impressed by his tendencies toward heresy than by his countless services to philanthropy. One such felt moved in the following year to preach in St. Paul's before the Aldermen a sermon on 'A False Faith not justified by care for the poor. Proved in a sermon' by the Rev. Luke Milbourn; but he was soon suitably answered in a published 'vindication.'
37Cf. `The Agreement of the Unitarians with the Catholic Church,' Unitarian Tracts, vol. iii (1697); and 'The Grounds and Occasions of the Controversy concerning the Unity of God,' etc., id. op. (1698).
39 In particular, Biddle's followers rejected the Socinian idea of the invocation of Christ as a subordinate divine being, and that of the natural mortality of man; while they added the conception of the Holy Spirit as an angel, and the doctrine of the essential immortality of the soul.
42 Cf. Georgius Bullius, Defensio Fidei Nicaenae, etc. (Oxonii, 1685); also in his Works (Oxford, 1846), vol. v; Eng. trans., Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology (Oxford, 1851). Supplementary to this was his Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicae, etc. (Oxonii1694); also in his Works, vol. vi; Eng. Trans. As above, 1855.
45 Cf. Robert Nelson, Life of Dr. George Bull (London, 1713), p. 280 ff; Abbey and Overton, The English Church in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1878), i, 484–486; Wallace, Antitrin., i, 184–187; Patrick Fairbairn's Review appended to J. A. Dorner's History of the Development of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Edinburgh, 1863), 340–350.
50 Cf. his Disquisitiones Modestae in Clarissimi Bulli Defensionem Fidei Nicaenae (Londini, 1718). See also Whitby's reply to Dr. Waterland's objections (in two parts) (London, 1720, 1721). Cf. Sparks, Collection of Essays, ii, 19–21.
59 The German theologian Abraham Calovius in his Dissertationes Theologicae Rostochienses, etc. (Rostochii, 1637), p. 6, says of South that "in a subject that requires the greatest sobriety of style he has vented his fury in a way so boisterous . . . that if a system of scurrility were to be compiled, I know not where the materials are to be so plentifully found as in his writings."
61 The items of most importance, after the originals by Sherlock and South, are the following: (Edward Wetenhall) An Earnest and Compassionate Suit for Forberance (1692); Sherlock, An Apology for Writing against Socinlanism in Defence of the Doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation (1693); (Howe) A Calm and Sober Enquiry concerning the Possibility of a Trinity in the Godhead (1695); (Sherlock) A Defence of Dr. Sherlock's Notion of a Trinity in Unity (1694); (South) Tritheism Charged upon Dr. Sherlock's New Notion of the Trinity (1695); (anon.) Reflexions on the Good Temper, and Fair Dealing, of the Animadverter upon Dr. Sherlock's Vindication (1695); Bingham, Sermon on the Trinity (1695); Sherlock, Modest Examination of the Authorities and Reasons of the late Decree (1696); Sherlock, The Distinction between Real and Nominal Trinitarians Examined (1696). For a sufficiently full account of the whole controversy, see Wallace, Antitrin., i, 199–358; Mr. Firmin's Religion, pp., 52–83; Hunt, Religious Thought, ii, 194–222; Sherlock, The Present State of the Socinian Controversy (1698); John Stoughton, History of Religion in England (London, 1881), v, 157–165.
67 A Designed End to the Socinian Controversy (London, 1695); for which, as heretical, the author was called to account before the ecclesiastical court, and required to recant the heresies therein contained. Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., i, 289–298.
71 Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., i, 377–384: Hugo Arnot, Collection and Abridgment of Celebrated Criminal Trials in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1785), pp. 377–384; Thomas Bayly Howell, Complete Collection of State Trials, etc. (London, 1809–28), xiii, 918–939; Monthly Repository, viii (1813), 17, 108, 178–180; John Gordon, Thomas Aikenhead (London, 1856).
72 Cf. John Edwards, Some thoughts concerning the several Causes and Occasions of Atheism . . . with some brief reflections on . . . The Reasonableness of Christianity (London, 1695). See also a far more temperate criticism in (Anon.) Animadversions on . . . The Reasonableness of Christianity (Oxford, 1697).
75 Cf. Wallace, Antitrin., i, 314 f; 321–323; Bold, A Short Discourse of the True Knowledge of Christ Jesus (London, 1697); id., Some Passages in the Reasonableness of Christianity (1697); id., A Reply to Mr. Edwards's Brief Reflections (1697); id., Observations on the Animadversions . . . on The Reasonableness of Christianity (1698); id., Some Considerations on . . . Locke's Essay of Humane Understanding (1699); all republished together in his Collection of Tracts (London, 1706).
76 This is perhaps the place to record an isolated but very interesting trace of an effort to widen the extent of Unitarian influence even before the publishing of the Unitarian Tracts. In 1682 some persons describing themselves only as "two single philosophers," but writing as though representing the Unitarians, addressed the Embassador of the Emperor of Morocco to Charles II, upon his departure from the country. The writers emphasize the fact that Unitarians alone among Christians hold to the unity of God, and thus in religious sympathy are closest to the Mohammedans. They therefore hand the Embassador some little Unitarian books to be presented to his countrymen as a specimen of the thought of Unitarians in England. They add a brief statement of the points wherein the Unitarians agree with the Mohammedans, of the origin and history of Unitarianism, and of points in Mohammedanism that need correcting. Whether this letter ever reached its destination is not recorded; but some years later the controversialist the Rev. Charles Connor succeeded in obtaining a copy of it, and seeing a tactical advantage in doing so he prefixed it to two letters on the Socinian controversy (dated 1694 and 1697), by way of proving that the English Unitarians were not Christians, but nearly the same as Mohammedans. This publication created a considerable sensation at the time, which was much taken advantage of by the orthodox, but it was soon lost among graver issues. The whole is found as an introduction to Charles Leslie, The Socinian Controversy Discuss'd (London, 1708). Also reprinted in America, 'Letter to a Mahometan Ambassador,' in The Panoplist (Boston), xi (1815), 72–78, The original Ms is in the Archepiscopal Library at Lambeth, Codd. Mss Tenisoniani, No. 673. Cf. Alexander Gordon, 'The Primary Document of English Unitarianism,' ChristianLife, xviii (1892), 464 f, 476f, 523 f.
4 Whiston might fairly enough be called an Arian, though he preferred instead the designation Eusebian, but Clarke differed from Arius in some vital points so widely that he refused to own the name in any sense. Heretics, however, have seldom been able to fix the name by which they are to be called, and it has more often fallen to their orthodox opponents to fasten upon them a name identifying them with some ancient heresy to which they seemed akin, thus illustrating the remark that "all labels are libels."
5 Robert Boyle, famous scientist and devout Christian, provided by his will (1691) for a lecturer to preach each year eight sermon-lectures on the evidences of Christianity. This was the precursor of other similar lectureships.
9 The main attacks (all but one by clergymen) were by Edward Wells, Robert Nelson, James Knight, Bp. Francis Gastrell of Chester, John Edwards, Edward Welchman, Bp. John Potter of Oxford, Thomas Bennet, Richard Mayo, and above all Dr. Daniel Waterland. Defences by Daniel Whitby, Arthur Ashley Sykes, John Jackson, and several anonymous writers. Cf. William Van Mildert, Life of Daniel Waterland, pp. 36–43,prefixed to Waterland's Works, vol. i (Oxford, 1856); Abbey and Overton, English Church, i, 494–503.
12 Cf. Waterland, The Case of Arian Subscription considered; and the several pleas and excuses for it particularly examined and confuted (Cambridge, 1721); Supplement to the same (1772); Contra (A. A. Sykes), The Case of Subscription to the XXXIX Articles considered (London 1721); A Reply to Dr. Waterland's Supplement, etc. (1772); J. Hay Colligan, The Arian Movement in England (Manchester, 1913), chap. iv.
14 Cf. Van Mildert, Life of Waterland, pp. 58–67.
15 It was not until the revision of the Book of Common Prayer in 1928 that the use of the Athanasian Creed in worship made optional. It was never adopted by the Protestant Episcopal Church in America.
16 Cf. Herbert S. Skeats and Charles S. Miall, History of the Free Churches of England, 1688–1891 (London, 1891), p. 237: "In the days of which we write it was certainly more profitable, so far as this world was concerned, for a man to live in violation of the whole of the moral law than for him to deny the truth of the Athanasian Creed."
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