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trinity in unity is worshipped. But of this fourth he takes no notice ; and then accuses the church of a remarkable and notorious deviation from her own maxims; whereas he ought to have taken the whole address together, and then have urged his exceptions, if any such could have been reasonably made against it. To take one portion of any form, abstracted from another which completes it, and then charge his brethren with defects and contradictions of his own making, is agreeable neither to sound criticism, nor
indeed to common equity. Such a practice as E'this will convict even the scripture itself of athe.
ism : for if you leave out the words The fool hath said in his heart, there will remain the naked assertion-There is no God. Or it might be proved from the gospel, as I once heard it ato tempted by an excommunicated infidel, that the Old Testament is now to be utterly condemned and laid aside, because it is said — Hang all the law and the prophets. But if the sentence be taken in the form in which the scripture hath given it, the sense is entirely altered; and so it happens with the objection lately discovered by the author of the Confessional. His brethren, as you have seen, accuse us of believing in three Gods; and he mocks at our worship, as if it could be reconciled with no other principle.
XI. But it is said farther, that the doctrine of the trinity is an offensive doctrine,a which has done infinite mischief to the cause of Christ's
a P. 66. of the Appeal.
religion, and that it is in vain to expect the corversion of Jews, Mahometans, and Heathens,b so long as we hold this doctrine necessary to salvation.
On such occasions as this, the gospel, I fear, will countenance but a very small degree of compliance. In matters indifferent, and for the sake of those who have not yet broken the bond of peace and Christian unity, every concession ought to be made that can be made with innocence. But we once quit our moorings, to launch out into the boundless ocean of wordly policy, miscalled moderation, in search of proselytes, whose pride, pleasure, and merit it is, not to be found and converted, we shall be rewarded with shame and disappointment, and shall also make shipwreck of our own faith.
The Socinians objected it to us long ago, that the doctrines of the trinity and incarnation prevent the conversion of Mahometans, Jews, and Pagans And the same doctrines hinder our Arians and Socinians too from being converted : the true character of the Christian Saviour, and the true object of Christian worship, being so essential to the gospel, that no man is to be accounted a convert, till he agrees with Christians in these articles. Were we to alter the Christian faith into what Jews, Turks, and Pagaus believe, then we should gain them all; for then we should be agreed ; that is, we should cease to be Christians as well as they.
b 133, Ibid:
If this reasoning is of any force in one case, it must be admitted in others. The trinity, they say, is so offensive to the Turks, that we shall never gain them till it is given up. No: nor then neither. For Mahomet gave them a liberty of having several wives; but Christ hath taught us, that God in the beginning made them male and female, and that a Christian must have no more wives than Adam had. Of this doctrine I may therefore say, with as much reason as the Arians do of the trinity, that it has done infinite mischief, and that we can never expect the conversion of Mahometans, so long as it keeps its place in the gospel of Christ. If an Arian or Socinian were to preach in the streets of Constantinople, insisting properly upon this doctrine, he would make no converts : for the Turk will as soon be persuaded to worship the trinity in unity, or even three different Gods, as submit to have no more than one wife. And this may serve to shew the weakness and absurdity of such popular arguments; to which, I apprehend, our disputants against the church would not apply themselves so very often, could they depend safely upon better topics. If the present faith and worship of the church are against the scripture, that is enough; and we shall want no other arguments to persuade us out of them. But if they are not, I leave you to judge, my friends, whether we ought to forsake them out of civility to the Turks, who pray five times a day that they may never become Christians.
But there are Papists in the world who have
souls to be saved as well as the Turks ; and what would they think of us, if we should gratify Jews, Heathens, and Mahometans, by denying the trinity? They have always been sound in the belief of this doctrine ; and we could never hope to recover any proselytes from the errors of Popery ; but, on the contrary, should make the religion of Protestants more odius than ever, if, under the name of reformation, we were to root up the foundations of the gospel. You have heard, perhaps, that they have called us heretics for these two hundred years past; and very falscly: but if we should abjure the Christian trinity, we should no longer have the name for nothing; but should be guilty of adding that truth to the accusation, of which they would not fail to make their sdvantage. And lastly, the far greater part of the Protestants would reject us.
These things being considered, we are brought at length to the following issue : that to please some, we must part with the doctrine of the trinity; and to please others, we must keep it. Which may shew plainly enough what I have had in view from the beginning of this epistle, that merely popular arguments are of no use towards settling points of scriptural doctrine ; but may be turned this way or that as the manager finds it most convenient. Discretion and charity are indeed to be consulted by every Christian, and on every subject; but a writer who has a good cause to maintain, and knows where its proper strength lies will not go out of his way to amuse people with what is nothing to tħe purpose. Whereas, if a cause is not so strong as it should be, popular considerations serve so put the reader into an heat; and when a man's passions are up, he will hear no reason on one side, and requires none on the other.
XII. There is one more of their insinuations, which is the last I shall make any remarks upon at present; and it is this, viz. that “there are several clergymen of the church of England, who groan under the weight of the Athanasian forms and worship, that would be very glad of your assistance to be delivered from so great a burden
upon their consciences.". For the credit of the church of England, I hope there are not many such : but if any clergymen should be so mistaken as to imagine, that a contempt
any of the Christian doctrines is an argument of their superior sense and learning, they are more truly the objects of pity, than of envy or imitation : and your Arian counsellors, who are so forward to caution you against human authority, will give me leave to advise you not to depend upon human example. An error is still an error though it resides in a clergyman; and instead of being thereby sanctified, is only more deformed and dangerous than it was before. A profane oath, or a curse, would sound the more horrible, if a bishop were to have the uttering of it. A toad is an hideous creature in every situation ; but is never so much abhorred as when it creeps into the best room of the house. The ministers of Christ are the salt
C Appeal, p. 120.