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say, that because each person is God, one person must be another, is to crave leave to disbelieve what God hath revealed, without giving any reason at all for their so doing. But this sophism being borrowed from another, namely, Crellius, who insisted much upon it, I shall upon his account, and not on theirs, who as far as I can apprehend, understand little of the intendmentofit, removeit more fully out of the way. It is proposed by him in way of syllogism, thus; “The only true God is the Father; Christ is the only true God, therefore he is the Father.' Now this syllogism is ridiculously sophistical. For in a categorical syllogism the major proposition is not to be particular, or equipollent to a particular. For from such a proposition, when any thing communicable to more is the subject of it, and is restrained unto one particular, nothing can be inferred in the conclusion. But such is this proposition here, the only true God is the Father. It is a particular proposition, wherein the subject is restrained unto a singular, or individual predicate, though in itself communicable to more. Now the proposition being
so made particular, the terms of the subject or predicate.
are supposed reciprocal ; namely, that one God, and the Father, are the same, which is false; unless it be first proved, that the name God, is communicable to no more, or no other, than is the other term of Father; which to suppose, is to beg the whole question. For the only true God hath a larger signification than the term of Father, or Son. So that though the only true God be the Father, yet every one who is true God, is not the Father. Seeing then that the name of God here supplies the place of a species,
though it be singular absolutely, as it respects the divine nature, which is absolutely singular, and one, and cannot be multiplied; yet in respect of communication it is otherwise, it is communicated unto more, namely, to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And therefore, if any thing be intended to be concluded from hence, the proposition must be expressed according to what the subject requires, as capable of communication or attribution to more than one, as thus; whoever is the only true God, is the Father; which proposition, these persons and their masters shall never be
able to prove. I have given in particular these strictures thus briefly,
upon these empty sophisms; partly, because they are well removed already, and partly, because they are mere exscriptions out of an author not long since translated into English, unto whom an entire answer may ere long be returned.
That which at present shall suffice, is to give a general answer unto all these cavils, with all of the same kind, which the men of these principles do usually insist upon.
1. * The things,' they say, 'which we teach concerning the Trinity, are contrary to reason; and thereof they endeavour to give sundry instances, wherein the sum of the opposition which they make unto this truth doth consist. But first, I ask, What reason is it that they intend ? It is their own, the carnal reason of men. By that they will judge of these divine mysteries. The Scripture tells us indeed, that the 'spirit of a man which is in him knows the things of a man.' A man's spirit, by natural reason, may judge of natural things. But the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God;' 1 Cor. ii. 11. So that what we know of these things, we must receive upon the revelation of the Spirit of God merely, if the apostle may be believed. And it is given unto men to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. To some, and not to others; and unless it be so given them, they cannot know them. In particular, none can know the Father, unless the Son reveal him. Nor will, or doth, or can, flesh and blood reveal, or understand Jesus Christ to be the Son of the living God, unless the Father reveal him, and instruct us in the truth of it; Matt. xvi. 18. The way to come to the acknowledgement of these things, is that described by the apostle, Eph. iii. 14–19. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints,'&c. As also, Col. ii. 2,3. That ye might come unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. It is by faith and prayer, and through the revelation of God, that we may ocme to the acknowledgment of these things; and not by the carnal reasonings of men of corrupt minds.
2. What reason do they intend ? If reason absolutely, the reason of things; we grant that nothing contrary unto it is to be admitted. But reason as it is in this or that man, particularly in themselves, we know to be weak, maimed, and imperfect; and that they are, and all other men, extremely remote from a just and full comprehension of the whole reason of things. Are they in such an estate, as that their apprehension shall pass for the measure of the nature of all things? We know they are far from it. So that though we will not admit of any thing that is contrary to reason, yet the least intimation of a truth by divine revelation, will make me embrace it, although it should be contrary to the reason of all the Socinians in the world. Reason in the abstract, or the just measure of the answering of one thing unto another, is of great moment. But reason, that is, what is pretended to be so, or appears to be so unto this or that man, especially in and about things of divine revelation, is of very small importance; of none at all where it riseth up against the express 'testimonies of Scripture, and these multiplied to their mutual confirmation and explanation.
3. Many things are above reason, that is, as considered in this or that subject, as men, which are not at all against it. It is an easy thing to compel the most curious inquiries of these days to a ready confession hereof, by multitudes of instances in things finite and temporary. And shall any dare to deny but it may be so, in things heavenly, divine, and spiritual ? Nay, there is no concernment of the being of God, or his properties, but is absolutely above the comprehension of our reason. We cannot by searching find out God, we cannot find out the Almighty to perfection.'
4. The very foundation of all their objections and cavils against this truth, is destructive of as fundamental principles of reason, as are in the world. They are all at best reduced to this; it cannot be thus in things finite; the same being cannot in one respect be one, in another three, and the like, and therefore it is so in things infinite. All these reasonings are built upon this supposition, that that which is finite can perfectly comprehend that which is infinite. An assertion absurd, foolish, and contradictory unto itself,
Again, it is the highest reason in things of pure revelation, to captivate our understandings to the authority of the revealer, which here is rejected. So that by a loud, specious pretenee of reason, these men, by a little captious sophistry, endeavour not only to countenance their unbelief, but to evert the greatest principles of reason itself.
5. The objections these men principally insist upon, are merely against the explanations we use of this doctrine ; not against the primitive revelation of it, which is the principal object of our faith, which how preposterous and irrational a course of proceeding it is, háth been declared.
6. It is a rule among philosophers, that if a man on just grounds and reasons have embraced any opinion or persuasion, he is not to desert it, merely because he cannot answer every objection against it. For if the objections wherewith we may be entangled, be not of the same weight and importance with the reason on which we embraced the opinion, it is a madness to forego it on the account thereof. And much more must this hold amongst the common sort of Christians, in things spiritual and divine. If they will let go, and part with their faith in any truth, because they are not able to answer distinctly some objections that may be made against it, they may quickly find themselves disputed into atheism.
7. There is so great an intimation made of such an expression and resemblance of a Trinity in unity, in the very works of the creation, as learned men have manifested by various instances, that it is most unreasonable to suppose that to be contrary to reason, which many objects of rational consideration, do' more or less present unto our minds. .
8. To add no more considerations of this nature ; let any of the adversaries produce any one argument or grounds of reason, or those pretended to be such, against that that hath been asserted, that hath not already been baffled a thousand times, and it shall receive an answer, or a public acknowledgment that it is indissoluble.
Of the person of Christ.
The next head of opposition made by the men of this coe spiracy, against this sacred truth, is against the head of all truth, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Socinians, indeed, would willingly put a better face or colour apon their error, about the person of Christ, than it will bear, or endure to lie on it. For in their catechism unto this question, 'Is the Lord Jesus Christ, purus homo, a mere man? they answer, ‘By no means.' How then?' Hath he a divine nature also ?' which is their next question : to this they say, ‘By no means, for this is contrary to right reason.' How then will these pretended masters of reason reconcile these things? For to us it seems, that if Christ have no other nature but that of a man, he is as to his nature, purus homo, a mere man, and no more. Why, they answer, that “he is not a mere man, because he was born of a virgin.' Strange! that that should be an argument to prove him more than a man, which the Scripture and all men in their right wits grant to be an invincible reason, to prove him to be a man, and as he was born of her, no more. Rom. i. 3. 'Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.' Rom. ix. 5. “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came.' Gal. iv. 4. ‘God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. But, say they, 'He was endowed with the Spirit, wrought miracles, was raised from the dead, had all power given in heaven and earth; for by these degrees, he became to be God.' But all men see that the inquiry is about the nature of Christ; and this answer is about his state and condition. Now this changeth not his nature on the one hand, no more than his being humbled, poor, and dying, did on the other. This is the right reason we have to deal withal in these men. If a man should have inquired of some of them of old, whether Melchizedec were purus homo, a mere man ? some of them would have said, No, because he was the Holy Ghost; some, No, because he was the Son of God himself; and some, No, because he was an angel; for such foolish opinions have men fallen into. But