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which WORD is accordingly very properly term'a his eternal and coeffential Son.
Now the Father (in the Sense just now admitted) the Son or WORD, and the Holy Spirit, are commonly called the Three Persons in the Godhead, or Divine Nature or Effence. What is the original Notation of the Word Perfon, what various Acceptations it has had, and in what Senses it has been apply'd to Father, Son, and Iioly Ghoft; I shall not inquire. 'Tis true, the Word Perfon, when apply'd to the Son and Holy Ghost, does not signify a distinct intelligent Being separat from the Father. For tho' we can't exa&ly define what a Divine Person is yet we can say what'tis not.And consequently the three Persons of the Godhead are not three Perfons in the fame Sense, in which three Men are three Persons. There is therefore noReason, why we should wrangle about a Phrase. The aforesaid Distinction in the Divine Nature or Essence, is what we mean by Personality : and the thing diftinguilh'd, is the Person. Whether the Terms are properly used, or no; 'tis needless to difpute. I only desire, that the use of them may be continued, till better can be fubftitured in their room. What is meant, is pretty generally agreed, viz. that the Father, the WORD, and the Spirit, tho' they are truly and really diftinet, so that one is not the other, yet are not separat Beings, but one and the same Being, which Being is the selfexistent or very God.
Briefly therefore, the Father (in the Sense already given) the WORD, and the Spirit, are one and the same Being with each other. That is, tho' they are distinct in, yet they are coessential to, and necessarily constitutive of, one and the fame Being. Even as the Soul and the Body are distinct in, tho' coessential to, and necessarily conftitutive of, the same Being, Man. I do by no means say, that the
Father, the WORD, and the Spirit, are different Substances, as the Soul and the Body are in a Man (the Body being a material Substance, and the Soul an immaterial one) but surely if the Union of diftinct Substances may constitute one and the fame Being, Man: certainly the Father, the WORD, and the Spirit (of whose joint Substance I affirm nothing, because 'tis not known) may constitute one and the same most simple and uncompounded Bcing, viz. the very or felfexistent God.
The manner of this Distinction in the very God, I think, 'tis impossible to assign or comprehend ; beeause the Divine Substance is not understood by us. But since we know so little of the Substance of any thing; methinks, we should readily believe, what God himself has reveled concerning his own Substance ; tho' at present perhaps our Faculties are not qualify'd to form any tolerable Idea of it. This we know, that God is immaterial. But Immateriality is only a Negation. There may be thousands of immaterial Beings, whose Substances may be as different, as the Substance of the human soul is different from that of the Body. How then can we hope to find out the positive Substance of God?
Had we been as little acquainted with Matter, as we are with the positive Substance of God; and had a Triangle then been made known to us, not by a Name which expresses its positive Nature, but by some other Name as little expressive of its positive Nature, as teòs (for Instance) is of the positive Nature of God: I doubt not but we should have found it as difficult (tho' the Comparison is by no means adequate) to conceive the real Distination of the Angles A, B, C, in the Unity of the Nature of the Triangle, to which each of them is coeffential; as we do now find it to conceive
the real Distinction of Father, WORD, and Spirit (the Three Persons of the Trinity) in the Unity of the Godhead, to which each is coeffential.
The Simplicity of God's Nature can afford no Objection against what I have written. For God's Simplicity only denies and excludes a Composition of separable Parts: Whereas the Father, WORD, and Spirit, are necessarily inseparable and coefsential to the Godhead; and may therefore constitute the most simple Being.
As for the Incarnation, it can by no means ftagger the Faith of any reasonable Man. For since the Persons of the Everbleffed Trinity are really distinct; the WORD, or second Person, might well be incarnat, altho' the Father and the Spirit, viz. the first and third Persons are not. God is indeed incarnat; but by his second Person only: Even as a Triangle touches a Point given, if B touches it, at the same time that A and C do not touch it ; notwithftanding A and C, together with B, do coessentially constitute the
Triangle. And why may not God, by his WORD, be united to a Man, as well as the Body and Soul are united in each of us? We readily allow the Union of the Body and Soul; tho’ we can no more comprehend or account for the manner of it, than we can for that of the Union of the Divine and Human Natures. I think, I can as easily conceive, that God by his WORD, is personally united to the Man Christ Jesus, and now governs the whole world by and thro' his Human Nature; as I can conceive, that the Soul aas by and thro' the Body. Tho'God could, and did govern the World before the Incarnation, immediatly ; even as a Soul may act without the Body: yet God may also (and we contend, that he at present actually does) govern the World by and thro'
the Man Christ Jesus, whom he has vouchsafed to unite to himself by the Incarnation of his WORD.
And in consequence of this Mediatorial Government, the Person of our Saviour Christ (he being Godman) is as truly an Object of Religious Adoration, as the Person of an earthly Prince is the Objea of Civil Honor.
The Difficulty as to the Belief of the Trinity, when reveled (tho'tis still equally a Mystery as to our Comprehension of the manner) is in Reality none; unless we can find out some good Reason to affirm, that whatever the positive Substance of the selfexiftent Being is, yet that Substance will not admit of any real Distinction internal and neceffa- . ry (not from, but) in it felf.
But I shall not enlarge. You are so good a Philosopher (not to mention your Skill in Divinity) that you can't need being convinc'd of the Reasonableness of believing what is above our Comprehension, or attended with such Difficulties as we are not able to clear. Nay, I do not remember any one Writer, that has express’d himself upon that Point, more fully and judiciously, than you your self have don in diverse of your Books. I will take the Liberty therefore (for the Reader will find cause to thank me for it) of reciting some of your Words, which tho'not penned with any View to the Do&rine of the Trinity, may notwithstanding be most properly apply'd upon this Occasion; because they do so exactly either obviat or answer the Cavils of those Smatterers in Knowledge, who love to decry all Mysterys in Religion, and pretend that we ought not to believe any more than we can frame adequate and complete Ideas of.
In your Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God (b), you have what follows. Since in all Questions concerning the Nature and Perfections of God, or concerning any thing to which the Idea of Eternity or Infinity is joined ; tho' we can indeed demonstrate certain Propositions to be true ; yet it is impossible for us to comprebend or frame any adæquate or compleat Ideas of the Manner; Hów the Things to demonstrated can be : Therefore when once any Proposition is clearly demonstrated to be true ; it ought not to disturb us, that there be perhaps perplexing Obječtions on the other fide, which for want of adæquate
Ideas of the Manner of the Existence of the Things demonstrated, are not easy to be answer'd. Indeed were it possible there should be any Proposition which could equally be Demon strated on both sides of the Question, or which could on both sides be reduced to imply a Contradiction; This it muft be confessed, would alter
the Cafe: Upon this absurd Supposition, all Difference of True and False, all Thinking and Reasoning, and the use of all our Faculties, would be entirely at an
end. But when to Demonstration on the one fide, there are opposed on the other, only Obje&tions raised from our want of having adæquate Ideas of the Things themselves; this ought not to be esteemed a Real Difficulty. 'Tis dire&tly and clearly demonstrable, that Something bas been from Eternity: All the objections therefore raised against the Eternity of any thing, grounded merely want of having an adequate Idea of Eternity, ought to be looked upon as of no real Solidity. Thus in other the like Instances : 'Tis demonstrable, for Example, tbat Something must be actually Infinite : All the Metaphysical Difficulties therefore, which arise usually from applying the Measures and Relations of Things Finite, to what is Infinite ; and from fuppofing Finites to be Parts if Infinite, when ina
(6) Prop. I.