It is sufficiently evident from many circumstances, that the doctrine of the divinity of Christ did not establish itself without much opposition, especially from the unlearned among the Christians, who thought that it savoured of Polytheism , that it was introduced by those who had had a philosophical education, and was by degrees adopted by others, on account of its covering the great offence of the cross , by exalting the personal dignity of our Saviour.
Part I : The History of Opinions Relating to Jesus Christ, § IV : Of the Difficulty with which the Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ was Established.
[The doctrine of air] I was led into in consequence of inhabiting a house adjoining to a public brewery, where I at first amused myself with making experiments on the fixed air [carbon dioxide] which I found ready made in the process of fermentation . When I removed from that house I was under the necessity of making the fixed air for myself; and one experiment leading to another, as I have distinctly and faithfully noted in my various publications on the subject, I by degrees contrived a convenient apparatus for the purpose, but of the cheapest kind.Joseph Priestley
It is known to all persons who are conversant in experimental philosophy, that there are many little attentions and precautions necessary to be observed in the conducting of experiments, which cannot well be described in words, but which it is needless to describe, since practice will necessarily suggest them; though, like all other arts in which the hands and fingers are made use of, it is only much practice that can enable a person to go through complex experiments, of this or any kind, with ease and readiness.Joseph Priestley
The mind of man can never be wholly barren. Through our whole lives we are subject to successive impressions; for, either new ideas are continually flowing in, or traces of the old ones are marked deeper. If, therefore, you be not acquiring good principles be assured that you are acquiring bad ones; if you be not forming virtuous habits you are, how insensibly soever to yourselves, forming vicious ones…Joseph Priestley
If any person, discouraged by these difficulties, should think to relieve himself by rejecting all religion , natural and revealed, he will find, if he reflect at all, that he has miserably deceived himself, and that he is involved in greater perplexity than ever; the scheme he has adopted not only filling his mind with great darkness and distress, but being contrary to some of the plainest appearances in nature, and therefore manifestly irrational and absurd.Joseph Priestley
When we say there is a GOD, we mean that there is an intelligent designing cause of what we see in the world around us, and a being who was himself uncaused.Joseph Priestley
We find upon all occasions, the early Christian writers speak of the Father as superior to the Son, and in general they give him the title of God , as distinguished from the Son; and sometimes they expressly call him, exclusively of the Son, the only true God ; a phraseology which does not at all accord with the idea of the perfect equality of all the persons in the Trinity. But it might well be expected, that the advances to the present doctrine of the Trinity should be gradual and slow. It was, indeed, some centuries before it was completely formed.Joseph Priestley
Most of the early Christian writers thought the text "I and my Father are one," was to be understood of an unity or harmony of disposition only. Thus Tertullian observes, that the expression is unum , one thing, not one person; and he explains it to mean unity, likeness, conjunction, and of the love that the Father bore to the Son. Origen says, "let him consider that text, 'all that believed were of one heart and of one soul,' and then he will understand this, 'I and my Father are one.'"Joseph Priestley
As I conceive this doctrine to be a gross misrepresentation of the character and moral government of God, and to affect many other articles in the scheme of Christianity, greatly disfiguring and depraving it; I shall show, in a fuller manner than I mean to do with respect to any other corruption of Christianity, that it has no countenance whatever in reason, or the Scriptures; and, therefore, that the whole doctrine of atonement , with every modification of it, has been a departure from the primitive and genuine doctrine of Christianity.Joseph Priestley
It is hardly possible not to suspect the truth of this doctrine of atonement, when we consider that the general maxims to which it may be reduced, are nowhere laid down, or asserted, in the Scriptures, but others quite contrary to them.Joseph Priestley
From the fame opinion of a soul distinct from the body came the practice of praying, first for the dead, and then to them with a long train of other absurd opinions, and superstitious practices.Joseph Priestley
Had Mr. Gibbon lived in France, Spain, or Italy, he might with the fame reason have ranked the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the worship of saints and angels among the essentials of Christianity, as the doctrines of the trinity and of the atonement.Joseph Priestley
Let us not... contend about merit , but let us all be intent on forwarding the common enterprize , and equally enjoy any progress we may make towards succeeding in it; and above all, let us acknowledge the guidance of that Great Being, who has put a spirit in man, and whose inspiration giveth him understanding .Joseph Priestley