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Bull
Bull
237

Cirencester, and he was so acceptable to the parishioners, that when the living became vacant they were most anxious that he should succeed to it; but he steadily refused to allow any efforts to be made on his behalf. In 1662 he was presented to the vicarage of Suddington St. Peter's by the lord chancellor (Clarendon), at the request of Dr. Nicholson, bishop of Gloucester. This being a contiguous parish, he was able to hold it with Suddington St. Mary's. The united incomes of the two parishes did not exceed 100l. a year net; and the two villages together did not contain more than thirty families. At Suddington he wrote his first book, the 'Harmonia Apostolica,' in which he attempted to reconcile the apparent discrepancies between St. Paul and St. James on the relationship of faith and good works in Christian justification. He advocated the principle that St. Paul ought to be interpreted by St. James, not St. James by St. Paul, on the ground that St. James wrote latest, and was presumably acquainted with St. Paul's teaching. Bishop Morley wrote a pastoral letter to his clergy against Bull; Dr. Barlow, afterwards bishop of Lincoln, lectured against him at Oxford; Dr. Tully, principal of St. Edmund Hall, wrote an answer, in which he is said to have been assisted by Morley and Barlow; Charles Gataker, son of Thomas Gataker, well known from his treatise 'On Lots,' and Thomas Truman and John Toombes, nonconformists, also wrote against him. The 'Harmonia Apostolica ' was published in 1669-70, and his 'Examen Censures' (his reply to Gataker), and his 'Apologia pro Harmonia' (his reply to Barlow) in 1675. His greatest work of all, too, if not actually an answer to, was called forth by, his assailants. His advocacy of the necessity of good works caused his adversaries to insinuate that he was a Socinian. To vindicate himself from this charge, Bull wrote his memorable 'Defensio Fidei Nicaenae.' It was finished in 1680, but was offered in vain to three publishers. Bull wrote, we are told, several works which never saw the light, and the 'Defensio ' was all but consigned to the same limbo. But happily he showed his manuscript to a friend, who persuaded him to 'take it out of the grave' and show it to Dr. Jane, regius professor of divinity at Oxford. The professor recognised the value of the work, and showed it to the famous Dr. Fell, bishop of Oxford and dean of Christ Church, who nobly undertook the whole cost of the publication. When it was printed in 1685, it was most favourably received; its fame extended to foreign lands; it was mentioned with praise by the great Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, who, in his controversy with Jurieu, referred his adversary to 'that learned English protestant, Dr. Bull.' The 'Defensio' was a very seasonable as well as a very valuable work; for not only the antitrinitarians, but also some of the believers in the Trinity notably Petavius the Jesuit, and Episcopius denied that the ante-Nicene fathers held the same doctrines as those which were established at the council of Nicaea. Bull took upon himself to prove that they did. The 'Defensio' was written in excellent Latin. It still remains the 'locus classicus ' of that particular branch of the great trinitarian controversy with which it exclusively deals, and the objections which have been raised against it seem, partly at least, to have risen from what really is one of its chief merits. Bull showed great self-restraint in never being tempted to diverge from his proper subject (the opinions of the ante-Nicene fathers) into any of the other numerous questions connected with the doctrine of the Trinity; and consequently those who have looked for a satisfactory reply to any question except that to which Bull confined himself, have not found what they wanted. Bull's next work, the 'Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicae,' though not published until nine years after the 'Defensio' (1694), must be regarded as a supplement to the earlier work. Episcopius held that the Nicene fathers did not consider a belief in our Lord's true and proper divinity as an indispensable term of catholic communion; Bull wrote the 'Judicium' to prove that they did. His latest work on the trinitarian question, entitled 'Primitiva et Apostolica Traditio,' was directed against the opinion of Daniel Zwicker, that Christ's divinity, preexistence, and incarnation were inventions of early heretics. The three works are, in fact, a sort of trilogy. Another work, though not actually a part of the same subject, obviously arose from it. Robert Nelson, Bull's pupil and biographer, encouraged by the favourable remarks which Bossuet had made upon the 'Defensio,' sent the great French prelate a copy of the 'Judicium.' Bossuet was equally pleased with this work, and showed it to his brother prelates; and Bull had the unique honour (for an Anglican divine) of receiving 'the unfeigned congratulations of the whole clergy of France assembled at St. Germain's for the great service he had done to the catholic church by defending the determination of the necessity of believing the divinity of the Son of God.' At the same time, Bossuet expressed his wonder as to what Bull meant by the word 'catholic,' and why it was that he remained separated