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the understanding, discern whether this proposition be true or false ; or whether the ideas, denoted by the words God and tri-personal, agree or disagree. Until this can be done, it is perfectly nugatory, either to assert or deny this proposition, as an object of intellectual discernment or philosophical inquiry. Where the mind has not ideas, it cannot compare them; where it cannot compare them, it cannot discern their agreement or disagreement; and of course it can form out of them no proposition, whose truth or falsehood it can at all perceive. Thus this boasted objection is so far from being conclusive, or even formidable, that it is wholly without force or application.
After all that has been said, it may still be asked, Why, if this proposition be thus unintelligible, do Trinitarians adopt it as an essential part of their creed? I answer, Because God has declared it. Should it be asked, of what use is a proposition, thus unintelligible? I answer, of inestimable use: and this answer I explain in the following manner. The unintelligibleness of this doctrine lies in the nature of the thing which it declares, and not in the fact declared. The nature of the thing declared is absolutely unintelligible; but the fact is, in a certain degree, understood without difficulty. What God is, as one or as three in one, is perfectly undiscernable by
Of the existence thus described we have no conception. But the assertions, that he is one, and that he is three in one, are easily comprehended. The propositions, that, the Father is God, that the Son is God, that the Holy Ghost is God, and that these three are one God, are equally intelligible with the proposition, that there is one God. On these propositions, understood as facts, and received on the credit of the divine witness, and not as discerned by mental speculation, is dependent the whole system of Christianity. The inportance of the doctrine is therefore supreme.
The utmost amount of all that can be said against the doctrine of the Trinity is, that it is mysterious, or inexplicable. A mystery, and a mystery as to its nature wholly inexplicable, it is cheerfully acknowledged to be by every Trinitarian ; but no Trinitarian will on that account admit that it ought to be less an object of his belief. Were the faith or even the knowledge of man usually conversant about objects which are not myterious, mysteriousness might, with a better face, be objected against the doctrine of the Trinity. But mystery en
velopes almost all the objects of both. We believe, nay, we know the existence of one God; and are able to prove him self-exis-ent, omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, unchangeable, and eternal. But no more absolute mysteries exist than in the being, nature, and attributes of God. The soul of man, the body of man, a vegetable, an atom, are all subjects filled with mysteries, and about them all a child may ask questions which no Philosopher can answer. That God, therefore, should in his existence involve many mysteries inexplicable by us, is so far from violating or stumbling a rational faith, that it ought to be presumed. The contrary doctrine would be still more mysterious, and far more shock a rational mind.
“ As to the doctrine of the Trinity,' says a writer* of distinguished abilities and eloquence," it is even more amazing than that of the incarnation : yet, prodigious and amazing as it is, such is the incomprehensible nature of God, that I belive it will be extremely difficult to prove from thence, that it cannot possibly be true. The point seems to be above the reach of reason, and too wide for the grasp of human understanding. However, I have often observed, in thinking of the eternity and immensity of God; of his remaining from eternity to the production of the first creature, without a world to govern, or a single being to manifest his goodness to; of the motives that determined him to call his creatures into being; why they operated when they did, and not before ; of his raising up intelligent beings, whose wickedness and misery he foresaw; of the state in which his relative attributes, justice, bounty, and mercy remained through an immense space of duration, before he had produced any creatures to exercise them towards ; in thinking, I say, of these unfathomable matters, and of his raising so many myriads of spirits, and such prodigious masses of matter out of nothing; I am lost and astonished, as much as in the contemplation of the Trinity. There is but a small distance in the scale of being between a mite and me ; although that which is food to me is a world to him, we mess, notwithstanding, on the same cheese, breathe the same air, and are generated much in the same manner ; yet how incomprehensible must my nature and actions be to him! He can take in but a small part of me
Skelton. Deism Revealed, Dialogue vi.
with his eye at once ; and it would be the work of his make the tour of my arm ; I can eat up his world, im as it seems to him, át a few meals : he, poor reptile ! tell but there may be a thousand distinct beings, or p such as mites can conceive, in so great a being. By th parison I find myself vastly capacious and comprehe and begin to swell still bigger with pride and high the but the moment I lift up my mind to God, between wh me there is an infinite distance, then I myself become or something infinitely less; I shrink almost into nothi can follow him but one or two steps in his lowest an est works, till all becomes mystery and matter of ama to me. How, then, shall I comprehend himself? Ho I understand his nature, or account for his actions? In he plans for a boundless scheme of things, whereas I c but an inch before me. In that he contains what is in more inconceivable than all the wonders of his creati together; and I am plunged in astonishment and bli when I attempt to stretch my wretched inch of line al immensity of his nature. Were my body so large that sweep all the fixed stars visible from this world in night, and grasp them in the hollow of my hand, and w soul capacious in proportion to so vast a body, I shou withstanding, be infinitely too narrow minded to conc wisdom when he forms a fly; and how then should I t conceiving of himself ? No, this is the highest of all i bilities. His very lowest work checks and represses i contemplations; and holds them down at an infinite from him. When we think of God in this light, we ca conceive it possible, that there may be a trinity of pe his nature."
II. It is asserted by Unitarians, that the doctrine Trinity is anti-scriptural,
It has undoubtedly been observed, that in this Disc have considered objections against the Deity of Chr the Trinity, as being cominensurate. The reason is t far as my knowledge extends, those who deny one of doctrines, deny also the other. Although it is not true therefore, that every objection against the Trinit of course be an objection against the Deity of Christ;
e false, the other, sumed as the true be easily evinced
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1. Christ, the Train S. inferior to the Father and intime there langunge
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In Gen. xix. 22. rial character, says f and his family to er; for I cannot do
with his eye at vuce; and it would be the work of his life to make the tour of my arm ; I can eat up his world, immense as it seems to him, at a few meals : he, poor reptile ! cannot tell but there may be a thousand distinct beings, or persons, such as mites can conceive, in so great a being. By this comparison I find myself vastly capacious and comprehensive; and begin to swell still bigger with pride and high thoughts; but the moment I lift up my mind to God, between whom and me there is an infinite distance, then I myself become a mite, or something infinitely less; I shrink almost into nothing. I can follow him but one or two steps in his lowest and plainest works, till all becomes mystery and matter of amazement to me. How, then, shall I comprehend himself? How shall I understand his nature, or account for his actions? In these, he plans for a boundless scheme of things, whereas I can see but an inch before me. In that he contains what is infinitely more inconceivable than all the wonders of his creation put together; and I am plunged in astonishment and blindness, when I attempt to stretch my wretched inch of line along the immensity of his nature. Were my body so large that I could sweep all the fixed stars visible from this world in a clear night, and grasp them in the hollow of my hand, and were my soul capacious in proportion to so vast a body, I should, notwithstanding, be infinitely too narrow minded to conceive his wisdom when he forms a fly; and how then should I think of conceiving of himself? No, this is the highest of all impossibilities. His very lowest work checks and represses my vain contemplations; and holds them down at an infinite distance from him. When we think of God in this light, we can easily conceive it possible, that there may be a trinity of persons in his nature."
II. It is asserted by Unitarians, that the doctrine of the Trinity is anti-scriptural.
It has undoubtedly been observed, that in this Discourse I have considered objections against the Deity of Christ and the Trinity, as being cominensurate. The reason is that, so far as my knowledge extends, those who deny one of these doctrines, deny also the other. Although it is not strictly true, therefore, that every objection against the Trinity must of course be an objection against the Deity of Christ; yet, is