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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
John Ireland to Francis Hodgson, 28 March 1808

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Produced by CATH
No. 1 Fludyer Street: March 28, 1808.

Dear Sir,—Your letter has found me here, being engaged in the duties of my residence, and re-
moved from the books which would have afforded me the evidence proper for the point between us. As it is, I have only the opportunity of saying that in the conclusion of your letter you have seized the word, under which lay the whole force of my observation. I had talked to you of the ignorance of the Pagan schools in the doctrine of a proper creation. By this I meant, that in all the ancient cosmology which has descended to us, the only doctrine taught is that of the form impressed upon bodies, or the extraction of bodies from pre-existing matter; and that the primary matter, or ύλή, is always supposed beforehand. The more you examine the ancient evidence with this view, the more persuaded you will be that all these passages, in which there is an appearance of creation, are to be popularly interpreted, and that as the early Church teaches us through
Eusebius, ‘It was peculiar to the Hebrew doctrines to consider the God over all, the one maker of all things, and of the substance which underlies bodies, which the Greeks denominate matter.’ I cannot refer to the place, for I have not my Eusebius with me, but am sure of the passage. I know that several of the fathers talked of a creation, as really inculcated by the Pagan writers; but I know that this
untenable notion was advanced by them with no other view than to win the later Greeks to the Gospel through an approximation of the former Grecian writings to the Scriptures. This was one of those injudicious accommodations of which the fathers were often guilty, upon motives of mere Christian zeal. And you may be persuaded of the futility of this doctrine, when you consider that the fathers have adduced numbers of their proofs from the poets and play-writers—
Sophocles, Menander, Philemon, &c. In short, I will only beg you to read a short, but perfectly convincing treatise on this subject. I mean that of Mosheim, ‘De Creatione Mundi ex nihilo;’ you will find it among his ‘opuscula,’ or in his edition of Cudworth’sIntellectual System,’ which indeed ought never to be read without it.

And now I must bid you farewell, for a thousand things press upon me. I have given your kind remembrance to Gifford, who is but just recovered from a fever which gave me, for a day or two, some uneasiness about him.