« PreviousContinue »
deed they are not properly fo,but only as Mathematical Points to Quantity, which have no Proportion at all; ought to be eft eemed vain and of no Force. Again, 'tis in like manner demonftrable, that Quantity is infinitely Divifible: All the Objections therefore raised by comparing the imaginary E quality or Inequality of the Number of the Parts of Unequal Quantities, whofe Parts have really no Number at all, they all having Parts without Number; ought to be lookt upon as weak and altogether inconclufive.
In your fecond Defense of an Argument made use of in a Letter to Mr. Dodwell, you (c) write thus; there are many Demonftrations even in abstract Mathematicks themselves, which no Man who understands them, can in the leaft doubt of the certainty of, which yet are attended with difficult Confequences that cannot perfectly be cleared. The infinite Divifibility of Quantity, is an Inftance of this kind. Alfo the Eternity of God, than which nothing is more felf-evident; and yet the Difficulties confequent upon it, are fuch as bave reduced most of the Schoolmen to entertain that unintelligible Notion of a Nunc Stans. And bis Immenfity, attended with much the like Difficulties.
And (d) again, Even abftract Mathematical Demonfrations; as thofe concerning the Infinite Divifibility of Quantity, the Eternity of God, and his Immenfity; bave almost infuperable Difficulties on the other fide: And yet no Man, who understands thofe Matters, thinks that thofe Difficulties do at all weaken the Force, or diminish the Certainty of the Demonftrations.
In your third Defense of the fame Argument, you (e) fay; Difficult Confequences that cannot perfectly be cleared, may be, and very often are, found to attend Things which are Demonftrated to be True. The
(c) Pag. 38, 39. of the first Edition.
(e) Pag. 82. of the firft Edition.
Reafon is; because Difficulties that cannot perfectly be cleared, do not (like Abfurdities and Contraditions) arife from a Perception of the Disagreement of Ideas, but barely from the Defect or Imperfectness of the Ideas themfelves. Our Reafon is able to apprehend clearly the Demonftration of the Certainty of the Existence of fome Things, where the Imagination is not able to comprehend the Ideas of the Things themselves. This is plainly the Cafe of the infinite Divisibility of Quantity, of Infinity and Eternity in general, of the Actions of Immaterial Subftances upon Matter, and of many other Things.
And in your fourth Defense of it, you (ƒ) say ; A Difficulty which cannot be perfectly cleared, is a Difficul ty arifing, not from the Perception of any Disagreement of Ideas, but from the Want or Defectiveness of Ideas in the Imagination; which therefore we cannot compare fo as to Imagin diftinctly how they agree, though we can by our Reafon and Understanding demonftrate it is impoffible they fhould difagree. This is plainly the Cafe in most Questions, concerning Eternity, Immenfity, &c.
These feveral Paffages do abundantly demonftrat,that how widely foever we may differ in other Refpects; yet what I have advanc'd, ought not even in your own Opinion to be therefore rejected, because I don't pretend throughly to explain the Doctrin of the Trinity. 'Tis fufficient, if I have fhewn, that the Holy Scriptures do teach it. For if that appears, I am fure, you are a better Scholar, as well as a better Chriftian, than to make any Objection against it, upon the account of fuch Difficulties, as this great Myftery muft needs perplex us with, whose Capacitys are fo narrow, and whose
(f) Pag. 15. of the first Edition,
Facultys are fo dull, that we are conftantly puzzled even with those Objects which are moft familiar to us, and which we have the best Opportunitys of being intimately acquainted with. How then fhou'd the wifeft Man in the World throughly comprehend the Nature of the felfexiftent and infinitly perfect God?
Thus, Dear Sir, have I given you my Thoughts upon this nice and important Subject; and I am willing to hope, that they may work that good Effect, for which, I can truly fay, they are moft fincerely intended.
Whether there be any Solidity in my Reasonings, and whether my Notions be true, as you muft judge for your felf, fo the World muft judge between us both. God grant, that when we are at any time bufy'd in forming our Judgments, we may duly confider and remember, that we fhall answer for our Opinions as well as our Practices (because Opinion is the Foundation of Practice) at his Tribunal, about whose Divinity you and I have been amicably contending; and who will pass a final Sentence upon us, according to, not the Strength of our Heads, but the Integrity of our Hearts.
Here I fhou'd have releafed your Patience, had thefe Papers been communicated to you in a privat manner. But fince I am obliged to addrefs them to you from the Prefs, I ought not to forget, that very few Readers have Abilitys equal to thofe which God has bleffed you with; or will beftow fuch a measure of Attention, as you naturally afford even to Matters of far lefs concern. And therefore, tho' you wou'd easily apply what has been already said, to the feveral Parts of your own Scheme; and wou'd
wou'd inftantly difcern what my Sentiments are touching every Point of it: yet I can't but efteem it neceffary, for the fake of moft other Readers, to fubjoin a fhort Examination of your Doctrin, and therein to fignify what I think concerning each diftinct Branch,referring backwards to thofe Places, in which I have more largely handled fuch Particulars, as we may happen to clash with each other about. By this means, what I have digefted into a regular Difcourfe in a Syftematical way, will be immediatly transform'd into a Perfonal Contoverfy with your felf; and the meaneft Reader will be able to find, without any Trouble or lofs of Time, a diftinct Reply to whatsoever you have advanced in oppofition (as I verily think) to what the Holy Scriptures do teach concerning the Everbleffed Trinity in Unity.
Of the Doctor's Preface.
OUR Preface, as 'tis very fhort, fo 'tis certainly very inoffenfive, and what no honeft Man can object against.
Of his Introduction.
Your Introduction is of confiderable length. Touching the Contents of it I need only fay, 1. That no Man does more heartily own the Holy Scriptures to be the Rule of Faith, than my felf.