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beyond the reach of definition. The nature of men is the same, yet personal identity is various, according to the number of individuals; and if human nature was infinitely simple, we do not know but one nature, and one power, might act in all the individuals. It is not inconsistent with any rule of reason, that a nature which is infinite and simple, may act in a plurality of distinct identities without division. If it is infinitely simple, it cannot be divided; and if it is infinitely powerful, holy, just, and good, it is uo absurdity to say, it may act in distinct persons, and be one according to the simplicity of nature. The word nature, when applied to God, must (according to the rules which revelation affords us to judge of that blessed Being) be understood in the most simple and absolute sense, removing from our thoughts, all the gross ideas which our acquaintance with corporeal things suggest to our minds. If we can by reason conceive, that there is an immaterial and infinite nature, it is no way unreasonable to suppose that nature capable to act quite beyond all the rules which we have learned from our observations of limited natures.

However, it must be unreasonable to reject the divine testimony, which affirms that God is one, and expresseth himself by a plurality, and in each claims the same honor, worship, and reverence, and assumes the same names and attributes; because we cannot account for the manner of such an union and distinction. We may conceive of the most difficult thing concerning the Trinity, as a matter of revelation, if it is affirmed therein, as well as any other doctrine, i. e. we may conceive that God has informed us that it is true. But if by conceiving thereof be meant, that we shall know the manner and reasons how it is true, that is quite another thing, and natively tends to profanity; the same as to say, we will not credit the Almighty, 'till we be as wise as himself; and that it is necessary for us to be gods, before we believe that there

We can just as little conceive of the manner how God exists at all, as we can conceive how he exists in a plurality, and if we will not believe his existence, 'till we know the manner of it, we must be atheists for ever.

is one.

There are some who deny the doctrine of the Trinity, because they cannot understand it, who yet pretend to know several things as difficult to understand; as for instance, that a creature made the world, and himself also. If Jesus Christ made all things, which they dare not deny, since the apostles have told us so often, in so plain terms, and he himself be a creature, as they affirm, then he is the maker of himself, which is as inconceivable as any point concerning the Trinity.

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That the divine three are one, is demonstrable from scripture, inasmuch as the divine attributes and perfections are ascribed to the three, who, if possessed of divine perfections, must be possessed of the divine nature; for there is no separating the divine nature and perfections; and as the divine nature is but one, consequently they must be one God.

I do not pretend to prove from reason, that God is three and one, this would be foolish; for no man can prove a priori, that such a thing must be in God. It must be proved from revelation; and if it is found there, every man that owns revelation is divine, is obliged to acquiesce in what God says of himself, unless he is so presumptive as to pretend to know the infinite Being better than he does himself.

Nor do I pretend to tell how, and in what respects God is three and one. The best answer, I suppose that could be given to this question is, that God has not revealed it, and therefore no man can tell. Words have been used, and we are obliged to use them still, to express this matter, not so much for their propriety to the subject, as for want of better, and for the sake of discourse; as that there are three, commonly called persons, in one essence or nature. But we have no notion of person or essence as to God, and so no notion of either Trinity or Unity in this sense. Notwithstanding, we must not refuse, on this or any other account, our assent to what God assures us is true, as to the reality of the thing itself, though not in the words which men have devised to express it in. Should we do this, we might with equal propriety deny that God made the world, for we cannot tell how he created all things of nothing: nor can we tell how God is immense without extension, or eternal without succession, or growing older. How spirits work on bodies,-nor how our souls are united to our bodies! Yet to deny all these, and many other things which we know are real, though we cannot comprehend or describe the manner or reason of them, were to commence sceptics, or rather madmen.

God may oblige us to believe the existence of this or that thing, and give us no account how, or in what manner he does exist. If God tell us that Jesus Christ is God and inan, in a true and proper sense we are to believe the reality of it as a truth, though he tells us not the manner, or wherein the unity consists. We are not told that he is God and man, in the same respect, but that he is God and man, though in different respects, which is no contradiction, and therefore reason itself must be satisfied.

There are some who pretend to found their scheme of religion upon reason, and maintain that nothing is to be admitted but what they can assign a reason for; or rather what agrees with the ideas they have formed for themselves. The humble christian agrees with them as far as right reason goes; but believes that there are things of which he neither has nor can have adequate ideas; that some things may be true, though he does not justly know how or why they are so; and for the truth of such things as do not depend upon reason, or fall within his knowledge or investigation, he must depend upon such evidence as is sufficient to induce the belief of any matter of fact.

When we consider how little we know of matter, which we see, feel, and taste, and on which so many experiments have been tried by the wit of the greatest geniuses, which have been certainly believed for some time, but denied and succeeded by others, how little we know of the mechanism of ourselves, or the system we are in; and how much less of the nature of our own souls, or of any other spirit, except the little we feel transacting in us. When we farther reflect how infinitely above our comprehension the Deity must be; can we view, without astonishment, the presumption of those men, who by their knowledge, would define the nature and manner of existence of the incomprehensible Deity,--peremptorily decide what God is, or what he is not, and make their definitions the test and standard to others of divine things?

Hence the doctrine of the Trinity is rejected by many, because of the difficulty of comprehending the how and wherefore in it, as commonly expressed in the systems, which carry some more than the appearance of contradiction in the terms, and make no small difficulty to conceive what is meant to be believed. But this apparent or real contradiction, is not owing to the revelation of that doctrine, from which the knowledge of it should be taken; but to the folly and vanity of church doctors, who puffed with too great an opinion of their own parts, would pretend to define what revelation does not; and coin terms not used in scripture, to express their imperfect conceptions. To these terms, and the application of them, the difficulty of believing the doctrine is chiefly owing. But on this, I shall say no more in this place, as I shall have occasion more particularly to handle it afterwards.


HAVING shewed from scripture evidence, that there is but one GOD--that there is a DIVINE PLURALITY; and so far as we can understand the scope and meaning of many passages in revelation, the plurality so plainly taught, is limited to three. I now come to the next thing proposed for this first part, which was to shew, that to each of the divine three, is ascribed in revelation the NAMES and PERFECTIONS proper only to God. Or, that the NAMES, PERFECTIONS, WORKS, and WORSHIP, proper only to Deity, are common to the THREE who

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are ONE,

But as no professed christian calls in question the proper Deity of the Father, it would answer no valuable end, to spend time in using arguments to prove it. The proper Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, I shall endeavor

to prove.


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