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account to Almighty God, no secular fears, no partial attachments, should interfere to render it ineffectual.

The great doctrines essential to Christianity, and without which it cannot be considered as a religion true in itself or beneficial to us, are those concerning the nature of God; the nature of man; the saving principle of faith; the importance and use of the church; the obedience due to civil government; the necessity of a pure life and holy conversation.

The learned and inquisitive, who see what is passing in the world, need not be informed, that, in this age and this country, there are many dangerous corruptions, many errors propagated in respect to all the doctrines above mentioned. Occasional books and pamphlets, with periodical publications of various descriptions, betray lamentable mistakes in some, and very unwarrantable bitterness in others, against the distinguishing articles of the Christian faith. I do not mean, therefore, to inform my learned brethren of that which they know already; but still it is my duty to remind them, and stir up their attention, that they may unite with me, as I assure myself they will be ready to do, in every good measure, which prudence and piety shall suggest for the preservation of our common faith.

I. That God in his nature is one Jehovah, and, in persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is the doctrine into which we are baptized: it meets us every where in the Scriptures, and is therefore very properly interwoven with all the forms and services of our liturgy.

The Trinity of the New Testament is undoubtedly

the same Jehovah, with his Word and Spirit, in the Old; and Arianism seems to have arisen among those Christians who took up from the Jews, in their state of apostasy, the false ideas they had formed of the God revealed to them by Moses and the prophets. They, who do not agree with us in our belief, appeal to the Scripture against us, but do not appear to depend upon it for themselves; because they apply so frequently to other topics, as better suiting their purpose, and more accommodated to the feelings of the vain and inexperienced. How often hath it been urged, that we ought not to receive the faith which the first fathers of the church, and the succeeding fathers of the reformation, have delivered to us, because we are of late years so far advanced above them in knowledge? But I have never seen the connexion pointed out between any modern improvements in science, and the new doctrines of reformers in theology. We are certainly much improved, for instance, in the art of making time-keepers, above those who lived a hundred years ago; but no man will say, that we thence derive any advantage for numbering our days more wisely; or that we have any clearer ideas of eternity than we had before. An eminent artist in this way may doubt of the apostles' creed; but then there is no visible relation between his art and his unbelief. The conceit of superior. learning has always had an ill effect upon Christian

a Mr. Whitaker, in his Origin of Arianism disclosed, seems to have gone upon the right ground; and his work merits conside

ration.

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ity; and is frequently found in those who have no great matters to value themselves upon. We may be as learned as we can make ourselves, and yet continue good Christians; because true learning and true religion were never yet at variance; but the moment we are vain of our learning, we begin to be in danger, and some folly or other is not far off. The Greeks were unfit to receive the Gospel, because they boasted of a sort of wisdom between which and the wisdom of the Gospel there is no affinity. They delighted to speak of little things in great words; while they who first published the Christian faith, propounded to the world the highest objects in the plainest language. Hence it hath been observed, that persons in the same state of life with the apostles of Jesus Christ, have attained to a great understanding of sacred things; while some scholars of high pretensions have betrayed great dulness and misconception in respect to the same: for our religion ever had, and ever will have, some things which are hidden from those who are wise and prudent in their own estimation, and are revealed to persons of teachable, child-like dispositions. The natural and adequate effect of all knowledge, when rightly used, is to make men wiser; but the affectation and abuse of learning have a contrary effect."

Many appear to have been drawn away from the Trinity of revelation by an abuse of abstract reasoning; that is, by presuming upon an analogy which does not exist, between mathematical truth and all other truth. We have seen it argued, seriously in appearance, that three cannot be one in divinity,

because it is not so in arithmetic. But we are here to distinguish the mathematical sciences give us rules by which all quantities are to be measured; but when those rules are applied by analogy to the qualities of things they must fail us, and the experiment is always hazardous. The specific difference between gold and lead, with the respective value of each, is an object of mathematical consideration; but the difference between good and evil is not; for these latter are to be compared and estimated as qualities. God in his nature and his perfections can never be considered under any idea we have of quantity. We know him and describe him by his attributes; all of which are qualities original in Him, and infinite in themselves. It must, therefore, be extremely dangerous to speak of God, and borrow our ideas from terms applied to quantity of any kind.

It may be hazardous to assign the causes of error upon speculation; but facts will speak for themselves. It is well known that most of our enlightened reasoners, who take the highest liberties with the faith of a Trinity in Unity, have been bred in those schools where the sciences which are conversant about quantities claim a superior, if not an exclusive excellence. In their place they are excellent, and give absolute certainty; but in religion, being out of their place, they must of course turn into vain deceit. Let us therefore most humbly wish it to be well considered by those whom it may concern, that mathematicians, merely as such, have in religion no pre-eminence above other men; that mathematical analogies are not transferrable to morality, theology, politics, nor

to any science which is conversant solely with the qualities of things.

Another prevailing source of error in divinity is the human philosophy of deism, which the deists themselves very improperly term the religion of nature. A popular divine, of great talents and reputation, (Dr. S. Clarke,) unhappily conceded to the deists, that an Unity of Person, in God, is the first principle of natural religion: since which time a nearer relation than was formerly known, hath been growing up between doubting Christians and professed infidels. The attempt seems preposterous, that the wisdom of nature, be it what it may, should dictate to Christianity, which was sent from heaven to dictate to that, and is attended with the divine grace necessary to render it receptive of those principles and doctrines which are superior to its own, and must be conclusive against them.-I forbear to insist farther upon this, because natural religion will meet us again as we proceed, and must be considered more fully in another place.

II. Mistakes about the nature of man are almost as dangerous as about the nature of God; and the nature of man can be known only from the history of man, of which the Heathens preserved a tradition, but the original is in the Bible. There is a species of moral philosophy which pronounces it injurious to the goodness of the Creator to suppose that man is corrupt: but the present state of man, under sin, is no reflection upon the goodness of God. The wisdom of a political constitution is not impeached, because there are capital punishments inflicted under

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