« PreviousContinue »
2. That I have fully expressed my Mind as to the Point of Subscription to our Church's Articles, in my Essay on them. 3. As to our Complyance with other legal Forms, I shall wave all Discourse concerning it, sor a Reason which I shall give, when I come to your Third Part.
Of his First Part.
Your Book is divided into Three Parts. You say (a), that in the First Part of it (that it might appear wbat was, not the Sound of single Texts, which may be easily mistaken, but the whole Tenour of Scripture) you have colle&ted all the Texts that relate to the Doctrine of the Everblessed Trinity (which you are not sensible bas been done before) and set them before the Reader in one View, with such References and critical Observations, as may ('tis boped) be of considerable Use towards the Understanding of their true Meaning. I shall therefore take no further notice of this First Part, than as I shall find my self obliged in the Examination of your Second, which refers backwards to, and depends upon, your First; and wberein, you (b) say, is collected into methodical Propositions the Sum of that Doctrine, which (upon the carefullest Consideration of the whole Matter) appears to you to be fully contained in the Texts cited in the First Part. So that by examining your Second Part, I shall of consequence examine your First also, as much as the Nature of my Design requires; which is to rectify your Notions relating to the Holy Trinity, and to thew what the Holy Scriptures do really teach concern
(a) Introdu&t. p. 17.
Of his Second Part.
You (c) say, róu bave illustrated each Proposition (you should have said, the greatest Number of them) with many Testimonies out of the antient Writers, both before and after the Council of Nice; especially out of Athanasius and Basil; of which are several not taken notice of either by Petavius or the Learned Bishop Bull. Concerning all which, you desire it may be observed, that they are not alledg’d as Proofs, of any of the Propositions (for Proofs are to be taken from the Scripture alone) but as Illustrations only; and to flew how easy and natural that Notion must be allowed to be, which so many Writers could not forbear expressing so clearly and diftintly, even frequently, when at the same time they were about to affirm, and endeavouring to prove, something not very confiftent with it. Now, whether you have truly represented those Writers, whose Testimonys you have alleged, 'cis perfectly needless for me to inquire. For why should we argue about, or appeal to, the Testimonys of those Persons, whose Words you do not allege as Proofs, for the Establishment of any Proposition, and whose Judgment you are resolved beforehand not to abide by ?
Wherefore, whether you have just Grounds to assert, that (d) the greatest part of the Writers before and at the time of the Council of Nice, were really of that
(c) Introdu&t. p. 17.
Opinion Opinion (tho’they do not always speak very clearly and conSijtently) which you bave endeavour'd to set forth in your Second Part; I shall not examin for the Reason already given. Besides, what does a cloud of Witncies signify, unless they are consistent? But as to the Writers after that Council, you (e) declare, that the Reader must not wonder, if many passages not consistent with (nay, perhaps contrary to) those which are by you cited, shall by any one be alleged out of the same Authors. For, you say, you do not cite Places out of these Authors, so much to show what was the Opinion of the Writers themselves, as to sew how naturally Truth sometimes: prevails by its own native Clearnefs and Evidence, even against the strongest and most settled Prejudices : according to that of Balil: I am persuaded (Jaith be, as quoted by you) that the Strength of the Doctrine deliver'd down to us, has often compelled Men to contradict their own Assertions. Now, if this be the Case with respect to those who wrote since the Council of Nice, then we may by your own Confeffion divide those Writers between us. And what will the Cause of Truth gain, by our sharing such oppofit and selfcontradicting Authoritys?
You see therefore, that tho! I do by no means Give up either the Antinicene or Postnicene Writers; yet I justly wave an Inquiry into their Sentiments, purely to shorten our Dispute, and that I may 1peedily bring it to an Issue, and obtain a Verdict from the Word of God, which alone can infallibly decide the Difference between us.
Ş) Introduct. p. 18.
Of the Doctor's First Proposition. These things being premised, I fhall now proceed to your several Propositions. The First of them is contained in these Words ;.
There is One Supreme Cause, and Original of Things ; One simple, uncompounded, undivided, intelligent Being, or Person ; who is the Author of all Being, and the Fountain of all Power.
1. In this Proposition you manifestly make, as you do also elsewhere, intelligent Being and Person to be synonymous and convertible Terms. Now 'tis very true, that in common Speech Intelligent Being and Person are convertible Terms, and in this sense the one supreme Cause of all things, whom I call the Very God, is undoubtedly a Person, and but one Person : but then the one supreme Cause or Very God' may be, is a different sense, three distina Persons, according to what has been already said in Chap. 14. p. 218. and in this sense, tho' the one supreme Cause of all things is an intelligent Being, yet he is more than one Person, even three Persons. Wherefore in your sense of the Word Person, I grant the Truth of your whole Proposition, which you justly say, is the First Principle of Natural Religion, and every where supposed in the Scripture Revelation.
2. I need not observe to you, that none of your References are intended to prove your sense of the Word Perfon; and therefore none of them can furnish an Argument against my sense of the Word Perfon.
His Second Proposition. “ With this First and supreme Cause or Father of all Things, there has existed from the Beginning, a Second Divine Person, which is bis WORD or Son.
1. I have (f) already observed, that the WORD is never called God's Son in Holy Scripture; tho' ! have (g) shewn, that that Way of speaking is al. lowable in other Writers.
2. That the WORD of God has existed from the Beginning, is unquestionably true.
3. 'Tis also equally true, that the WORD has existed from the Beginning with the first and supreme Cause or Father of all Things, viz. the Very God. But then I have (b) shewn, that the WORD's existing with God, does not in Scripture Phrase, import that he is a distinct Being from that God with whom he existed from the Beginning. On the contrary I have (i) proved from Scripture, that the WORD is one and the same Being with the Very God, with whom he always existed.
4. The WORD therefore is not a second Divine Person in your sense of the Word Perfon, that is, the WORD is not a second intelligent Being coexisting with the Very God, and distinct and separat from him : but yet the WORD is a second Divine Person in my sense of the Word Person, viz. as existing necessarily in, and coeffential to, the Ve
(f) Chap. II. p. 161,dc.