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less, not only the Jews and the Socinians of our age, but
others also, who otherwise admit the Trinity of Persons in sharply oppose; but without reason. For that some plurality in the Divine essence is signified by this word is extremely manifest, and what other can it be, but of the Persons?'
We omit the course of this writer's argument, for the sake of brevity, and only add what may be called his conclusion. p. 260. (f) 'I do not indeed,' says he, assert that the plural number of this noun alone suffices to prove the plurality of the Divine Persons; much less that the Trinity of Persons can be demonstrated from it: but when this mystery appears elsewhere, I contend that from hence great strength may be brought to the assertion of the personal plurality especially as no other reason of this peculiarity can be given.'
Enough, we trust, has been said, to justify the language of the discourse, to show the lover of the Old Testament a new reason for admiring the beautiful and sublime consistency which runs throughout the whole Book of God, and to make it at least questionable whether this point is generally conceded by the Trinitarian to the Socinian and the Jew, and more than questionable whether it ever ought to be.
mero adhibeatur. Quam tamen sententiam non Judaei modo, ac Socini adseclæ, sed alii quoque, qui cæteroquin personarum in una essentia trinitatem admittunt, acritur impugnant: sed sine ratione. Pluralitatem enim quamdam in essentia divina hac voce significari, nimis manifes tum est; quam vero aliam, quam personarum?
(f) Non equidem assero, solum nominis hujus numerum pluralem, ad personarum divinarum pluralitatem evincendam sufficere; multo minus trinitatem personarum ex eo confici posse: sed cum aliunde etiam hocce mysterium constet, magnum inde ad pluralitatem personarum adserendam accedere robur, contendo: præsertim, cum nulla alia istius rei adferri ratio queat.
On the error of the Romanist and the Socinian, who both allege that in the opinion of the Fathers and the Primitive Church, the doctrine of the Trinity is not set forth in the Scriptures.
HAVING made it our object in this dissertation, as far as practicable, to give the words of other men, rather than our own, we shall cite a passage from Chillingworth, one from Mr. Jared Sparks, and one from Bishop Bull, on the subject proposed, and then, by plain quotations from the Fathers, show the true state of the question.
'I would show you,' says Chillingworth, arguing with his adversary against the infallibility of the Church of Rome, (see Preface to the author of Charity Maintained, $ 16,) that divers ways the doctors of your Church do the principal and proper work of the Socinians for them, undermining the doctrine of the Trinity, by denying it to be supported by those pillars of the faith, which alone are fit and able to support it, I mean Scripture, and the consent of the ancient doctors.'
17. For Scripture,' continues he, 'your men deny very plainly and frequently, that this doctrine can be proved by it. See, if you please, this plainly taught, and urged
very earnestly, by Cardinal Hosius, De Author. Sac. by Gordon. Huntlæus, by Gretserus and Tannerus, and also by Vega, Possevin, Wickus and others.' Again, p. 45. § 18. 'And hath not your great antiquary Petavius, in his notes upon Epiphanius, in Hær. 69. been very liberal to the adversaries of the doctrine of the Trinity, and in a manner given them for patrons and advocates, first Justin Martyr, and then almost all the Fathers before the Council of Nice, whose speeches, he says, touching this point, cum orthodoxa fidei regula minime consentiunt?'
We are exceedingly surprised to find a writer of character and talent, such as Mr. Jared Sparks, quoting these sentiments of Chillingworth, in such a manner as to lead his reader to suppose that the opinions of Chillingworth and of the Romanists were the same. His language is this; (vid. 'Inquiry into the comparative moral tendency of Trinitarian and Unitarian doctrines.' A. D. 1823. p. 159.) 'On this subject, Chillingworth says to a catholic, as for scripture, your men deny very plainly and frequently that the doctrine (of the Trinity) can be proved by it;' and in the note, Mr. Sparks, referring to the above work, and to the very section, alleges that 'Chillingworth refers to sundry authors in support of the assertion.' But inasmuch as Mr. Sparks has chosen to leave the authority of Chillingworth in this seeming accordance with his own views, we shall cite another sentence, which is in the very next section of the piece referred to, p. 46. 'You see,' says Chillingworth, addressing his Roman Catholic antagonist, with what probable matter I might furnish out and justify my accusation, if I should charge you with leading men to Socinianism; yet do I not conceive, that I have ground enough for this odious imputation. And much less should you have charged Protestants with it, whom you confess to
abhor and detest it, and who fight against it, not with broken reeds, and out of the paper fortresses of an imaginary infallibility, (which were only to make sport for their adversaries;) but with the sword of the Spirit-the Word ́of God; of which we may say most truly, what David said of Goliah's sword, offered him by Abimelech, non est sicut iste, there is none comparable to it.' Now it is somewhat singular that Mr. Sparks could not find Chillingworth's sentiments, although they were in the sentence which went immediately before, and in the section which immediately followed the passage which he has quoted.
The key to this mistake, may be found in Mr. Sparks' undertaking to prove the following startling propositions. 'The opinion,' says he, that the Trinity is plainly taught in the Scriptures, has not generally prevailed till of late. p. 150. Again p. 151: 'Let us go back to the time of our Saviour-let us accompany the apostles in their travels and ascertain the opinions which were derived from their instructions-let us refer to the first believers in Christianityto the early and later Fathers-to the Catholics after the Reformation to some of the first Reformers—to the Arminians of Holland-and even to eminent English Divines. The train of testimony which might be brought from these sources would show with how little discretion the Trinity is now affirmed to be plainly taught in the Scriptures; and with how little regard to consistency it is imposed as a necessary article of faith.' Again, p. 155: 'Athanasius allows that Christ did not make known his deity to the Jews, and endeavors to account for it by intimating that the world could not yet bear such a doctrine, and he adds, ‘I venture to affirm that even the blessed disciples themselves, had not a clear knowledge of his deity, till the Holy Spirit
came on them at the day of Pentecost.'-Theodoret speaks to the same purpose. Before his death and sufferings, the Lord Christ did not appear as God, either to the Jews generally, or to his apostles. Chrysostom further says, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not herself know the secret of his being the Supreme God, &c.'
From these sentiments of the Fathers,' says Mr. Sparks, (p. 157,) 'it may justly be inferred that in their opinion no such doctrine as the Trinity, nor even the Deity of Christ, is plainly set forth in the Scriptures.'
We perceive, therefore, that Mr. S. had undertaken to prove that some English Divines, to wit, Chillingworth, for one, and the Fathers, generally, agreed with himself and the Roman Catholics in the position, that THE SCRIP
TURES DID NOT PLAINLY TEACH THE DOCTRINE OF THE
TRINITY AND THAT THE FATHERS KNEW IT. We have shown that in the case of Chillingworth he was utterly mistaken, and we shall presently show that in the case of the Fathers he has been equally misled. We should do injustice, however, to Mr. Sparks, if we did not notice a far more striking instance of his skill in misapprehension, for which we Episcopalians are specially indebted to him. In a note to page 174-5 of the work to which we have referred, he has quoted in full the first part of the Litany in our Book of Common Prayer, and then gravely assured his readers that 'If we are to understand language in its common acceptation, the above extract inculcates the wopship of four Gods. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity, are here worshipped separately and respectively under the title of God.' So then, we have the most solemn part of our Liturgy branded with the serious charge of being a little worse than Tritheism. Trinitarians, in general, as he supposes, worship three Gods; but the