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IN ANSWER TO SOME
POPULAR ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE TRINITY.
GATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY,
MEN AND BRETHREN,
AS Christians and members of the church of England, you have been taught, that the true God, whom you are bound to believe and worship, is a trinity in unity. In the name of these three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, you have been baptized : and in the litany are directed to pray to this holy, blessed and glorious trinity, three persons and one God, that he would have mercy upon us miserable sino
From the first propagation of the gospel, there has been a sort of men in the Christian church, who had too high an opinion of their own knowledge and wisdom to submit quietly to this doctrine. They pretended it was contrary to their reason and common sense, and impossible in the nature of things, that the true God should be made manifest in the flesh for the salvation of the world ; and hence they ar
gued, that the incarnation must either have been à delusion, a fact brought to pass only in shew and appearance ; or that the person incarnate must have been some created being, far inferior in power and dignity to the divine nature itself.
About three hundred years after the death of Christ, when Paganism, or the worship of idols, was losing its influence in the Roman empire, this heresy being come to its full growth, did immediately supply the place of it, and prosper. ed to such a degree, that it overspread the greatest part of the east, and ended at last in the imposture of the filse prophet Mahomet ; whose doctrine was readily embraced wherever Arian. ism prevailed, and no where else among Christians; and his disciples do at this day must zelousiy deny that trinity which you worship.
When the teachers of the church found themselves disturbed, and their people corrupted, more and more by the daily increase of his he. resy ; upwards of three hundred Christian bishops, many of whom had been tortured and maimed in the heathen persecutions, assembled together at the city of Nice in Bithynia, and one Arius, a principal promoter of this wickedness, was summoned to appear before them: his doctrine and writings were condemned ; the faith which these holy men had brought with them to the council was declared, and is now preserve ed in the Nicene Creed; which form we make use of in the church because it comprehends the sen e of our faith in a few words. do not rest our belief upon the authority of any
human form, because the doctrine therein ex. pressed is secured by the unquestionable authority of the Old and New Testaments.
The evidence of this faith, as it is found in the scripture, I have endeavoured to extract and methodize in the best manner I could. The work was made public rather with an humble and charitable desire to assist the studies of the younger clergy, than to instruct the common people ; and therefore it was first printed at Ox. ford. Nevertheless, I am well persuaded, that so many of the arguments therein contained are level to "all capacities, that an unlearned re der may thence be able to satisfy himself, and inform his Christian neighbors. I shall therefore have no occasion in this place to urge any new evidence from the scripture, but only to refer to some of the old ; it being the design of this address to obviate a set of pofiular arguments, which have been made use of by some nameless writers to turn your affections from the doctrine of the trinity; most of which might be applied with as much propriety to prejudice you against any other article of faith in the Christian reli. gion.
I. You know, my dear brethren, that pride is a very prevailing passion in human nature ; and unless we are very much upon our guard, and are fortified with the true principles of Christian humility, we are all of us in danger of being ensnared by it. Men are proud of their clothes, and proud of their riches, and proud of their ti çles ; but, above all, they are proud of their un
derstanding. Some men are endued with a strength of mind which enables them to bear up with cheerfulness under the common trials of sickness, and losses, and disappointments; while, perhaps, the same men cannot endure the thought of being cheated and imposed upon, because it is a reflection upon their understanding. Our adversaries, therefore, hoping to make the stronger impression, apply themselves first of all to your pride, and inform you, that this doctrine of the trinity is imposed upon your consciences by church authority.d But if the fact be laid before you, it will soon appear that no point of faith is thus imposed upon you by the church of England. The points of faith which you are required to believe are interwoven with all the forms and offices of our public liturgy. They are collected together for the younger sort of people in the church catechism ; and for all teachers, whether clergy or laity, they are drawn out more at large in the oracles of religion, generally printed at the end of the book of common prayer.' So that all the articles of faith being imposed in the same manner, it will follow, that they are all imposed by church authority or none of them, Let us put it to the trial, and begin with the first article of the creed-I believe in God the father almighty. How is this article impostd? Does the church determine by her own authori. ty whether there is a God or not? And so for
d See the title-page of a pamphlet called “ An Appeal to the Common Sense of all Christian People,” &c. pritted for Millar, in the Strand: