Page images
PDF
EPUB

. XXXI

. xxxi.

3. You are to prove, either that the Son is not God; or that there are two Gods, and one of them a creature.

4. You are to show, that your hypothesis is high enough to take in all the high titles and attributes ascribed to the Son in holy Scripture; and, at the same time, low enough to account for his " increasing in wis“ dom, not knowing the day of judgment,” his being “ exceeding sorrowful, troubled, crying out in his ago“ nies,” and the like. You are to make all to meet in the one Abyos, or Word; or else to mend your scheme by borrowing from ours.

5. I must add, that, whatever you undertake, you are either to prove it with such strength, force, and evidence, as may be sufficient to bear up against the stream of antiquity, full' and strong against you; or else to show that antiquity has been much misunderstood, and is not full and strong against you. · Now you see, what you have to do; and our readers, perhaps, may understand what we are talking about, the dust being, I hope, in some measure thrown off, and the cause opened. Now proceed as you think proper : only dispute fair; drop ambiguous terms, or define them; put not gross things upon us; contemn every thing but truth in the search after truth; and keep close to the question : and then it will soon be seen, whether Arianism or Catholicism is the Scripture doctrine of the Trinity.

There remain only two Queries, which I have any concern in; and I hardly think it needful to take farther notice of them, the substance of them being contained in the former: besides that this Defence being drawn out into a length beyond what I expected, I am willing to come to a conclusion. You will excuse me for not returning a particular answer to your Queries, having obviated all that is of weight in them, in this Defence of my own. Besides, you have now had some years to consider this subject, and may probably see reason to alter some things; to contract your Queries into a shorter compass, and to put them closer and stronger; though that part, I think, should come, after you have made a defence of your own principles : otherwise, you know, it is nothing but finding faults, without proposing any way to mend them; which is only a work of fancy, and is both fruitless and endless. My design chiefly was to be upon the offensive: the defensive part, on our side, has been handled over and over, in books well known, and easy to be had: What was most wanting was, to point out the particular defects of Dr. Clarke's scheme, which was thought to contain something new; and was certainly set forth in a very new method.

In conclusion, give me leave to tell you, that I have entered into this cause (after a competent weighing what I could meet with, on either side) under a full conviction both of the truth and importance of it; and with a resolution (by God's assistance) to maintain it; till I see reason (which I despair of) to alter my judgment of it. Make you the best you can of your side of the question, in a rational and fair manner. Truth is what I sincerely aim at, whether it be on your side or on mine. But I may be allowed to speak with the greater confidence in this cause, since the controversy is not new, but has been exhausted long ago; and all had been done on your side, that the wit of man could do, long before either you or Dr. Clarke appeared in it. . You may, if you please, traverse over again Scripture, antiquity, and reason. As to the first; all the texts you can pretend to bring against us have been weighed and considered; and we have soļutions ready for them; while you are yet to seek how to give a tolerable account of several texts; those, especially, which declare the unity of God, and proclaim the Son to be God, Creator, and object of worship and adoration. If you proceed to Fathers, they stand pointed against you; and you are certain to expose your cause, as often as you hope for any relief or succour from them. If, lastly, (which you think your strongest hold,) you retire ta philosophy and metaphysics, I humbly conceive, you will still be able to do nothing. It will be only falling to conjecture, after you

fail of proof; and giving the world your wishes, when they looked for demonstrations. I do not expect you should believe one word of what I have now said; neither say I it to discourage any rational inquiries; let truth have its utmost trial, that it may afterwards shine out with greater lustre: only let 'not your zeal outrun your proofs. If your arguments have weight sufficient to carry the point with men of sense, let us have them in their full strength; all reasonable men will thank you for them. But if, failing in proof, you should condescend (which yet I am persuaded you will not) to wile and stratagem, to colours and disguises, to misrepresentation and sophistry, in hopes to work your way through the unlearned and unthinking part of the world; then let me assure you beforehand, that that method will not do. Every man, that has a spark of generous fire left, will rise up against such practices; and be filled with disdain to see parts and learning so prostituted, and readers so used.

I am, Sir,

Your Friend and Servant.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

POSTSCRIPT

TO

THE FIRST EDITION.

I HAVE just run over the second edition of Dr. Clarke's Scripture Doctrine; where I observe, that most of the passages, which I have animadverted upon, stand as they did, without any correction or amendment. Where the Doctor has attempted any thing, which may seem to weaken the force of what I have offered above, I shall here take notice of it. I had noted (as the learned Mr. Welchman had done before me), the Doctor's unfair manner of suppressing some words of Chrysostom, which were necessary to let the reader into the author's true meaning. The Doctor here endeavours a to bring himself off, by saying, that the words left out are Chrysostom's “ own inference, and not the explication of the “ words of the text.” But the truth is, Chrysostom's inference shows plainly what his explication of the text was; which explication represented separately without that inference, by the help of the Doctor prefacing it, was made to appear in another light, and to speak another sense than what the author intended. One in power (xata dúvap.v) is the same, with Chrysostom, as equal in power or ability, and essentially so. He could never have imagined, that one in power should signify no more than the Doctor pretends. One having infinite and the other only finite power, could not, according to Chrys

• Page 92.

« PreviousContinue »