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should in less than two years be sunk into a mere figure, an eastern form of speech, (that is into nothing) is unaccountable.
3. There are none who draw you off from the common faith, but they pretend to clearer ideas of the doctrine. To which I answer, that,
(1.) Distinguishing the Trinity into one person and two powers cognoscitive and volitive, is only a rumble of words without knowledge. If any one is enlightened by this sort of talk, I own it is more than I am. Nor do I wonder, that the tattling advocates of the author, and his scheme tell us, that very few understand it. If so, there is no great clearness in those ideas; it is far from being so plain, that way-faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
(2.) These terms are new in the world and in the Churches. We have not proved them, The truth has been believed, defended, relished, and adored without them. Therefore, if I should begin to talk about the Trinity in this language, I shall be a barbarian to all my bearers, and they to me. We desire to use great plainness of speech.
4. I need only name another argument, and answer it by denying the fact; that“ without « supposing a figurative personality in the Son " and Spirit, we cannot maintain the unity of “ the Godhead.” All the heresies in the world, have set out with a zeal upon this head.
The Sabellians thought there was no other way to assert only one God, than by making Father, Son, and Spirit, to be three names of the same person. Arius saw, they were too distinct for such a notion, and therefore his scheme for the divine unity, was placing the Godhead only in the Father, and making the Son and Spirit to be subordinate beings. But all these enemies must own, that they are contending for what is never denied; for there are none whom they call Trinitarians in a way of reproach, that are not Unitarians as much as themselves.
5. It is pleaded that “a scheme may be found « out, for the reconciling of all contentious « parties.” And one author among us, thinks he has got a sight of it. He shows the Arians and Semi-arians, that in his notion there is the same exaltation of the Son as a super-angelic Spirit which they contend for. He tells the Socinians, that there is such an union of the divine attributes to him, as makes him the object of worship. And yet ventures to assure the Athanasians, that here is a proper deity given him ; though he knows, and so do all the world, that these last contend, for three equal proper persons in one undivided nature, But,
(1.) The event proves they are not united. We have only new strifes with every new scheme ; full of backbitings, whisperings, swellings, and tumults.
(2.) I do not know that such an union is desirable. There must be heresies that they who are approved, may be made manifest. among you. There is no communion between truth and error, light and darkness, Christ and Belial, one that believes, and an infidel. The
Scripture has directed us to no such agreements. If any man consent not to wholesome words, from such withdraw thyself; 1 Tim. vi. 3, 5. from such turn away. 2 Tim. iij. 5. He that knows God, hears us; '.e that is not of God hears not us; hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. I John iv. 6.
6. As to the pretence, that this is a doctrine of antiquity, and that some great men of late are gone into it, I am amazed that it is talked of; because it is arraigning the sincerity or capacity of those learned persons, who have so lately proved the contrary. An author, among ourselves, has quoted Dr. Goodrin (whom he calls a learned inquirer) as in his scheme. I read him with all the care I could use, and do aver that I cannot find one passage that looks like it, but above a hundred quite the other way. I may therefore be excused from believing what he says of those that Ihave not read, when he makes a sham-boast of those that I have. Did any of these great ministers ever deny the personality of the Son and Spirit ? If they stretch beyond their line, in guessing at the manner how the Father, Son and Spirit are one, and how they are three, let what they spoke without light, be covered with darkness. But they never imagined that any of their successors would bring them in either as shuffling or trifling in the first article of our religion.
One passage of Dr. Owen I will now take leave to give you, from his second volume upon the Hebrews, p. 40. He had proyed, that
by the eternal word of God we are to understand a person ; and then brings in a quotation from some of the Socinian writers, who would have the scriptures that he mentions, taken in a figurative sense, as so many prosopopæias, upon which the Doctor has this remark,“ that “ the pretence of a prosopopæiu, or a fiction “s of person, is of great use to the Anti-trinita" rians. By this one engine they presume to “ despoil the Holy Ghost of his deity and per“sonality. Whatever is spoke of him in Scrip“ ture they say is by a prosopopæia ; those “ things being assigned to a quality or acci« dent, which really belong to a person only;" but, says the learned author, “ as to what con• cerns the Holy Spirit, I have elsewhere taken “this engine out of their hands, and cast it, " to the ground, so that none of them alive « will erect it again :" Little did he imagine, that after this triumph over the Socinians one of his own successors should do it for them.
7. As to their endeavour, to unsettle us from the piety, learning, and humility of those, that are spawning out their new schemes, it is not worth an answer. If comparisons upon this head were proper, they are not impossible. There is so much vanity in the pretence, such a contempt of those whose memories will be ever blessed, and so false a turn given to the course of thinking, that we shall leave the argument to take the fate of a sudden vapour ; to appear for a while, and then vanish away.
I have shown you what the faith is, that you professed at baptism, and the necessity of hold
ing it fast ; let me only give you two directions about it.
1. That Christ, whose deity you plead, is able to carry you through all the dangers of this cause, and into all the glory of it. He is faithful who has promised. It is he, who keeps you from falling, and will, present you before his glory, with exceeding joy. The trial of your faith, which is much more precious than that of gold that perishes, will be found into praise and glory at his appearing.
2. Depend on the assistance of that person in the divine nature, by whom you were first enlightened, and are to be established. We have not received the Spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God. Thus stand fast in the faith, that we lose not the things we have wrought; but in the day of Christ Jesus may rejoice, that we have not preached in vain, nor run in vain.
ADVERTISEMENT. The Copy from which this edition is printed was very inaccurate. Care has however been taken, that our corrections should not affect, in the least degree, the AUthor's peculiar style or sentiments,