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AN ANSWER

TO

SOME QUERIES.

QUERY I. Whether the term GoD in the singular number can be proved to be used, in any one place of the Scripture, to denote more persons than one?

ANSW. 1. It is not necessary for the defenders of the received doctrine of a coessential Trinity to assert, that the term GOD, in the singular number, can be proved to be used in Scripture to denote more Persons than one: for as the Arians suppose Father and Son to be two Gods, though they are never called two Gods, or Gods in the plural number, through the whole Scripture: so the Catholics may as well suppose that Father and Son are one God, though the term GoD could not be proved to be used to denote more Persons than one. Or if it be said, that the Arians do not suppose Father and Son to be two Gods, whatever pleas they allege to clear themselves of Ditheism will as effectually clear the Catholics of Tritheism; so that the Catholics will stand at least upon as good a foot as the Arians.

2. It is not necessary even so much as to suppose that the term God is ever so used. For admitting that the term God in Scripture is always used to denote one Person only, all that follows is, that one Person only is spoken of, whenever the term GOD is used. Not that there are not other Persons essentially and coeternally included in him and with him. It may be the method of Scripture, and generally is, when it speaks of God, to mean it of one Person, yet not excluding, but only abstracting from, the consideration of the other two persons included in the same Godhead.

3. They may reasonably suppose it, after proof of their general doctrine, since the doctrine of a coessential Trinity of three Persons being divine, and being one God, is demonstrable from Scripture, (though too long a subject to be here considered,) we may reasonably suppose, that when God is spoken of, and neither the context nor any other circumstances do confine the signification of the word, in that place, to one Person only; I say we may reasonably suppose, that not one Person only, but all the three Persons are denoted by it. And,

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4. They have moreover grounds for it from some particular texts. Gen. i. 26. one God is spoken of, and yet the words run, LET US (in the plural) make, and IN OUR image. Gen. iii. 22. one Lord God is spoken of, and yet it is said, "the man is become as one of us." The like may be observed of Gen. xi. 7. In Isaiah vi. 3. mention is made of the true God, the Lord of hosts, who, by confession of all, is the Father; and that the same Lord of hosts is also the Son and Holy Ghost, appears from John xii. 40, 41. and Acts xxviii. 25, 26. which is also intimated even by the Prophet himself introducing the Lord speaking both in the singular and plural. "I heard the voice of the "Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Ver. 8.

QUERY 2. Whether we have not the same evidence from the Scripture, that God is one Person, that we have, that either the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost, is one Person.

ANSW. We have the same evidence, that the word GoD is sometimes used to denote one Person, that we have, that either the Father, or Son, or Holy Ghost, is one Person. But to conclude from thence, that the word God always denotes one divine Person only, is just as if we should conclude, that the word man always denotes one human person only, purely because it does so sometimes, or most commonly. It is desired by the Querist, that "some Scripture argument may be alleged to prove any one of the Trinity to be one distinct Person, which may not with equal " evidence be applied to prove that God is one distinct Person." I suppose the Querist means, that the personal characters, I, thou, he, if they prove any one of the TRINITY to be one distinct Person, do equally prove God to be one distinct Person. To which it is answered, that the personal characters, I, thou, he, do not certainly prove, that whatever they are applied to is one Person, and no more; for they are often applied in Scripture to

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a whole city, tribe, or family, or to the head of a family considered with his whole seed or race. But the personal characters are a good proof of one distinct Person, where there are not plain reasons to be given why we should believe they are to be understood of more. Now, since plain reasons may be given, why GOD is more Persons than one; and no plain reasons can be given why any one of the Trinity is more Persons than one; therefore it is, that the Scripture argument to prove any one of the Trinity to be one Person does not equally prove that God is one Person.

QUERY 3. Whether there be any one text of Scripture, which treats of the unity of God, and places it in any other Person than the Father? It is humbly desired, that some text may be alleged where it is said, the one God is the FATHER, SON, and HOL GHOST.

ANSW. It is written, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the "ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I "have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee "shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Isaiah xlv. 22, 23. Compare the New Testament. "We shall all stand before the "judgment-seat of Christ; for it is written, As I live, saith the

Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall "confess to God." Rom. xiv. 10, 11. "At the name of Jesus "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in "earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue "should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God "the Father." Phil. ii. 10, 11. The application of Isaiah xlv. 23. to Christ is manifest from these two passages of St. Paul. It is as manifest, that the Person spoken of in Isaiah is the only God, ("I am God, and there is none else.") Therefore Scripture treating of the unity of God, places it in another Person besides the Father, namely, in God the Son. Again, it is plain, in the Old Testament, that the unity is placed in the Jehovah: but Christ is Jehovah, as may be proved from numerous passages, and is now generally confessed. Therefore the unity is not placed in the Person of the Father only, Isaiah vi. 1, 9. with John xii.

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The Querist desires some texts where it is said, that the one God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

This is no where said in one single text, but it is in many

compared together. That Jehovah is the one God, and that the one God is Jehovah, is often said in the Old Testament: but the Father is Jehovah, the Son Jehovah, and the Holy Ghost Jehovah; therefore Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one Jehovah. Or the one God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Again; it may be proved from Scripture, that God is one; and from the same Scripture, that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. Therefore again, the one God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Compare Isaiah vi. 1, 9, with John xii. 40, 41, and Acts xxviii. 25, 26.

N. B. It is unreasonable to demand any particular text, where it is said, that these three are one God: unless our adversaries could produce a text, where it is said, that any two of them are called two Gods, or Gods in the plural. They pretend no more than Scripture consequences for their doctrine, not express Scripture and they cannot prove their consequences, when we

can ours.

QUERY 4. Whether the same arguments that prove the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be three distinct Persons, will not with equal strength conclude they are three distinct Beings?

ANSW. No; because all the arguments that prove the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be three distinct Persons, prove only that they are three distinct Persons. Whether intelligent being and person are reciprocal, remains a question as much as ever: or whether three persons may not be one individual being is still a question, and must be so; neither can it be resolved at all either way, merely from the nature and reason of the thing itself, for want of a certain principle of individuation.

QUERY 5. Whether any man can properly be said to believe that God is three Persons, and but one intelligent Being, without having some notion of the difference he hereby makes between a person and an intelligent being?

ANSW. Any person may have this notion, that God is not three separate Persons, and therefore is not three intelligent Beings: but that God is three united Persons, and therefore one intelligent Being. The precise difference between the idea of a divine Person, and that of a divine intelligent Being, is, that a divine Person is not a separate Being independent of all other things. A divine intelligent Being is separate and independent of any thing. The one is ens relativum, the other ens absolutum. I may add further, that a man may believe the omnipresence of God, without

having any distinct notion of the difference between God's being present, in whole or in part, with or without extension; and of the divine prescience, without having any clear notion of the difference between what certainly will be and what certainly must be; and of eternity, without having a clear notion of the difference between succession and an eternal Now, and without being able to answer every minute or captious question which may be raised in a point so abstruse, and above human capacity. It is therefore no just objection against the doctrine of the TRINITY, that we are not able perfectly to explain the modus or manner, how three Persons are one Being, or one God. It is sufficient to know, that the Persons are distinct and real, as any other persons are; but so united withal, as no other persons are or can be; and therefore they are not (like other persons) as many beings as persons, but one being only.

QUERY 6. Whether (if no difference can be assigned between an intelligent being and a person) it be not a contradiction to say, that God is three Persons and one Being? that is, whether it be not all one, as to say, he is three Persons, and but one Person; or three Beings, and but one Being?

ANSW. A difference has been assigned in the answer to the preceding Query. Nothing is properly called a being, but a separate being. Thus, those who suppose the soul, or the divine Being to be extended, do not call the parts of the soul, or of GOD, beings. This I mention, only to shew the nature and usage of language, and what it would be by consent of mankind, on such or such suppositions, be they true or false. Now, since the three Persons are conceived to be more intimately united than the parts of any being (though they are not parts) are or can be; it is very right and just, not to call them three Beings, but one Being. A separate person is rightly called an intelligent being, because a separate person is a separate being: but a person considered as essentially adhering to, and united with another person, does with that other person make but one being; and therefore cannot properly be called a being, unless the word being admits of two senses: and yet then the one is proper, the other improper. The Querist therefore runs into a double fallacy; first, in making two senses of being, proper and improper, and arguing from one to the other: secondly, in confounding both together, as if they were really but one sense.

QUERY 7. Whether, if the Father, Son, and Spirit are but one

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