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elfe, what plan Mr. Fletcher intended to have purfued in the further profecution of the fubject. But after more maturely confidering the matter, it appeared that this would by no means answer the end the pious Author had in view in beginning this work, as he did not seem to have proceeded far enough to have formed what could be called a proper Vindication of the doctrine of Chrift's divinity. It was judged neceffary therefore, to carry the argument a little further to render the work, in any tolerable degree, compleat. In doing this, as I could form no judgment concerning Mr. Fletcher's intentions, I have been under a neceffity of pursuing that plan, which feemed moft likely to anfwer the end propofed; endeavouring, however, to preferve fuch a connexion between the part I have added, and that which Mr. Fletcher had written, that the whole might appear one continued treatise, and not a kind of patch work.

3. As to the ftyle, indeed, the Reader will doubtlefs obferve a material difference between what is mine, and that which is Mr. Fletcher's; and will regret that (for the prefent, at least) he muft take leave of fo entertaining, as well as inftructive, a writer, as the ingenious Author of the Checks, fo early, as at the conclufion of the fourth Chapter, and join company with one much lefs able to mix the agreeable with the useful, and render a needful and profitable subject alfo pleafing truth, however, is of more confequence than the garb in which it appears; and, in what I have written, I have chiefly attended to that ; and, therefore, have endeavoured, in imitation of the very pious, and truly Reverend Author of these unfinished papers, to keep close to the Scriptures as my guide, and that both with respect to fentiment and expreffion. It feems to me to be a dangerous

dangerous thing, especially in a fubject of such importance, concerning which we can know no thing but by revelation, to depart from the Bible, or to go a hair's breadth further than God hath' therein plainly revealed, or than we can fairly infer from what he hath fo revealed. I am fully perfuaded, that most of the errors and controver fies, which have darkened, perplexed, and divided the Church, in all ages, respecting this matter, have arisen from a defire to be wife above what is written, not being contented with the information God hath feen fit to give us in his holy word, the fole rule of faith as well as practice.

4. It is undoubtedly a most defirable thing to know as much as we can concerning the perfon of our adorable Saviour, on whom all our hopes depend: but after all we can know, his perfon is, and will remain a mystery. Of this, the Scriptures, fail not to give us warning. Wherefore enquireft thou after my name? (lays he, Judges xiii. 18) feeing it is fecret, or wonderful, as the word allo means. His name, (fays Ifaiah, ch. ix. 6.) fhall be called, wonderful, or fecret. He hath a name written which no one knoweth but himself, faith St. John. No one knoweth the Son, lays the Lord Jefus, but the Father, even as no one knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. It is true, he has revealed himself, in fome degree, by his Apoftles and Prophets, and reveals himfelf Aill more, or rather gives us the true understanding of what he has revealed, by the inward illumination of his Spirit. But this refpects his offices rather than his perfon; what he is to us and the reft of the creatures, rather than what he is in kimfelf. And to know this, viz. what he is to us.. as it most concerns us, fo it is the principal

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thing meant in Scripture by the knowledge of Chrift.

5. And I may say the fame concerning the knowledge of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit, It does not confift in having abftracted and fpeculative ideas of the nature and attributes of God, and the diftinctions in the divine effence; but is the beholding (as St. Paul says, 2 Cor. iii. 18.) with open, avansah, with unvailed face, (the vail of unbelief being rent from our minds) in the glafs of his word and works, and especially in the perlon of his Son, his glory, so as to be changed into the fame image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Surely he only knows the God and Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, who being made his child by adoption and grace, and haying the Spirit of adoption fent into his heart, crying, Abba Father, fo beholds what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon him, as to love God who hath first loved him. For he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love; whereas he that loveth, and only be, is born of God and knoweth God. He only knows the Lord Jefus, who knows him as the way, the truth, and the life; as the way, through whom he comes to the Father, as the truth, whofe teftimony he fully receives, and on whofe veracity he abfolutely depends; and the life, who has quickened his foul, dead in fin, and by his grace made him a living branch in himself the living vine, a living member in his mystical body, vitally united to the living head. And he only knows the Holy Spirit, who being born of him, and poffeffed of his witness and his fruits, even love, joy, peace, long-fuffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance, is become a temple of the Holy Ghost, a habitation of God through the Spirit.

6. On

6. On the other hand, where there is this wanting, whatever fpecula ive knowledge we may have of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and of their natures and relations to each other, we are properly unacquainted with the Chriftian doctrine of the Trinity, and have not received that real benefit from it, which the revelation of it was defigned to produce. Nay, and for any Spiritual or faving advantage we derive from it, it might as well not have been revealed to us. Thus Dr. Jer. Taylor, "He that goes about to fpeak of the mystery of the Trinity, and does it by words and names of man's invention, talking of effences, and exiftences, hypoftafes, and perfonalities, priorities in coequalities, &c. and unity in pluralities; may amufe himself, and build a tabernacle in his head, and talk fomething he knows not what: but the good man that feels the power of the Father, and to whom the Son is become, wisdom, righteoufnefs, fanétification, and redemption, and in whofe heart the love of the Spirit of God is fhed abroad, this man, though he understands nothing of what is unintelligible, yet he alone truly underftands the Chriftian doctrine of the Trinity." Jer. Taylor on John vii. 17.

7. The Apolle teaches us the true knowledge and ufe of this doctrine, and at the fame time informs us who they are that underftand it aright, (when (Eph. ii. 18.) he says, Through him, viz. Chrift, the only Mediator between God and man, we both, Jews and Gentiles, have access by one Spirit unto the Father. But when this is not our experience; when we do not approach, or have not accefs to the Father, through him, and by the Spirit; when we are ftrangers to the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the foul, and of confequence are devoid both of true repentance and faving faith, which are both of the operation


of God; (fee Col. ii. 1'2, 13.)——when, though we have free liberty to enter into the holieft by the blood of Jefus, in that new and living way which he hath confecrated for us, through the vail, that is to fay, his flesh, and have a great high Priest over the houfe of God; yet we do not use our liberty, and draw near with a true heart in full effurance of faith, having our hearts [prinkled from an evil confcience, as well as our bodies washed with pure water; when we do not believe in Chrift, with our heart unto righteousness, so as 10 be juftified by faith in Chrift, find peace with God, and obtain the love of God Shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Groft given to us,―then is the whole doctrine of Chrift concerning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, hid from us, or abused by us.


8. There is indeed one myftical body of Chrift, but we do not belong to it, are not members of it; one Spirit, but we have not received him, he does not dwell in us, does not quicken and renew our fouls: there is one Lord, but we are not fubject to him, he does not reign in and over us, and therefore he is not our Lord; one faith in that one Lord, even a faith werking by love, purifying the heart, and overcoming the world, but we have it not one baptifm, but we are not baptized with it, or if we have had the fign, have not had the thing fignified thereby, even a death unto fin, and a new birth unto righteousness; there is one God and Father of all, who in and through that one Lord, and by that one Spirit, is above all, and through all, and in all real believers; but he is not our Father, nor are we his children, nor dʊ, we worship him in fpirit and in truth.

9. This, I apprehend, is that ignorance or denial of the blefled Trinity--which is moft to be dreaded, because most destructive. It leaves the:


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