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A GENERAL VIEW
OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE
UNITY OF GOD;
AND AGAINST THE
DIVINITY AND PRE-EXISTENCE
FROM REASON, FROM THE SCRIPTURES, ANB FROM HISTORY.
I. Arguments From Reason Against The
That the doctrine of the trinity could ever have been suggested by any thing in the course of nature (though it has been imagined by some persons of a peculiarly sancisul turn, and previously persuaded of the truth of it) is not maintained by any persons to whom my writings can be at all useful. I shall therefore only address myself to those who believe the doctrine on the supposition of its being contained in the scriptures, at the same time maintaining, that, though it is above, it is not properly contrary to reason; and I hope to make it sufficiently evident, either that they do not hold the doctrine, or that the opinion of three divine persons constituting one God is strictly speaking an absurdity, or contradiction; and that it is therefore incapable of any proof, even by miracles. With this view, I shall recite in order all the distinct modifications of this doctrine, and shew that, upon any of them, there is either no proper unity, in the divine nature, or no proper trinity.
If, with Dr. W-aterland, and others who are reckoned the strictest Athanasians, (though their opinions were not known in the time of Athanasiu's himself,) it be supposed that there are three persons properly equal, and that no one of them has any Q, * sort sort of superiority over the rest, they are, to all intents and purposes, three distinct Gods. For if each of them, separately considered, be possessed of all divine persections, so that nothing is wanting to complete divinity, each of them must be as properly a God as any being possessed of all the properties of man must be a man, and therefore three persons possessed of all the attributes of divinity must be as properly three Gods as three persons possessed of all human artributes must be three men. These three persons, therefore, must be incapable of any strict or numerical unity. It must be universally true, that three things to which the same definition applies can never make only one thing to which the same definition applies. And when by the words things beings or person we mean nothing more than, logically speaking, the subject, or substratum os properties or attributes, it is a matter of indifference which of them we make use of.
Each of these three persons may have other properties, but they must be numerically three in that respect in which the same definition applies to them. If, therefore, the three persons agree in this circumstance, that they are each of them perfect Godt though they may differ in other respects, and have peculiar relations to each other, and to us, they must still be three Gods; and to say that they are er;ly one God is as much a contradiction, as to say that three men» though they differ from one another ther as much as three men can do, are not three men, but only one man.
If it be said, with the Antenicene sathers, and with bishops Pearson and Bull, among the modern English writers, that the Father is the fountain of deity, and that the son is derived from him, whether necessarily or voluntarily, whether in time or from eternity, they cannot be of the same rank : but the Father will be possessed of an original, a real,and proper superiority to the Son ;, who will be no more than an effeSi upon the Father's exertion of his powers, which is, to all intents and purposes,1 making the Son to be a production or creature of the Father; even though it should be supposed with the antients that he was created out of the substance of the Father, and without taking any thing from him. Moreover, as upon this scheme the Son was never capable of giving birth to another person like himself, he must hare been originally inserior in power to the Father, the source from which he himself sprang. On this scheme, therefore, there is no proper equality between these divine persons; and the Antenicene Fathers did not pretend that there was, but distinguished the Father by the epi. thet of usuToSe®', God of himself and the Son by the inserior title of St®* m Sia,- God of God* or a derived God.
If it be said that there is- only one intelligent fir
preme mind, but that it exerts itself three different
ways, and has three different modes of action, or