« EdellinenJatka »
Every part of this plan has now been fully executed. - In the three first Discourses, the one sole Godhead of the Father was demonstrated. In the three following ones, the subordinate and inferior nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the subject and creature of God, was established and ascertained by the most clear and positive proofs. And in the four last Discourses the objections of Trinitariars, founded on various passages of the Old and New Testament, were particularly examined, and completely answered ; and the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God, was shewn from the genuine acceptation of the words in scripture, to be either the Father himself, or to denote his power, influences, operation, or inspiration.
Having thus completed all we undertook to perform, there remains nothing more for us now to do, but briefly to suggest some considerations which naturally arise from the subject. The doctrine of a Trinity in Unity is one of the strangest riddles that ever entered into the mind of man. To say that three persons are one God, and one God is three persons, is the highest pitch of inconsistency, and nothing more manifestly contradictory can be imagined. It confounds and disarranges all our ideas, and destroys all the principles of sound and just reasoning. The man who can calmly admit this doctrine, must for ever part with reason in religion, and has no criterion left him for distin. guishing truth from error. He may go on to the belief of any other absurdity, and has no pretence for rejecting even the doctrine of transubstantiation itself. It is so palpably inconsistent with the nature of things, that some who have held and contended for the doctrine itself, could not bear to see it drawn out and fully expressed in words. 66 The word Trinity, (says Luther,) sounds oddly, and is a human inven. tion; it were better to call Almighty God, God, than Trin. ity.", And Calvin observes in like manner.
56 I like not this prayer, O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity! It sa. vours of barbarity: the word Trinity is barbarous, insipid, profane, a human invention, grounded on no testimony of God's word, the popish God, unknown to the prophets and apostles. All the real believers of this triple Godhead, (for the nominal and modal Trinitarians are only disguised Unitarians) are guilty of a plain breach of the first sacred
* Monthly Review for October 1754, p. 257.
commandment of God to man:-“Thou shalt have no other Gods, before me.' They dishonour the one God and Father of all, by giving away his peculiar glory to another, and as. sociating and comprehending other benes in the Godhead with him, who alone is the only sovereign Lord of the uni. verse. They do this no doubt ignorantly, from the prejudices of education, and a mistaken apprehension of the scripturesy but their idolatry is not the less. real on that accounti Whoever acknowledges more, gods than one, is an idolater, according to the seripture definition of the word; and no pretended unity of essence, or of nature, can ever make three distinct divine agents to be one God. Divines may amuse themselves, and deceive others, with scholastic jar. gon, arbitrary, and unmeaning distinctions, and terms of human invention,, they may cry out mystery, ineffable mystery, but the nature of things will not be altered or changed. A God the Father, a. God the Son, and a God the Holy Ghost,, distinguished by their personal properties, and pose sessing each of them all the proper attributes, of, the divine nature, will still be three Gods, after all
, the unavailing at. tempts to prove them one God. As the doctrine of three divine persons, or intelligent agents, infers a breach of the first command, so in like manner, the incarnation of God, or the supposed union of the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ, which the Trinitarians also maintain, neces. sarily implies a violation of the second precept of the deca. logue. That precept strictly prohibits the worshipping of the one true. God under any bodily form of appearance whatever; and consequently those who acknowledge and adore Jesus Christ, as God, do manifestly transgress. this command. “For," as an able writer observes," when the Protestants invoke the one Almighty Lord of heaven and earth, by his nativity and circumcision, his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion, his death and burial," they represent to us the bodily form of their deity, 4s plain as if they placed a crucifix before our eyes. And accord. ingly they are not the churches and books of devotion of Roman Catholics only, in which images, and pictures are to be found of the human deity, or the God-Man, as the onthodox affect to call him, whom both Papists and Protes. tants adore as the only true God." *
It is evident then, * Evanson's letter to the Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry.
that the Trinitarian faith and worship is idolatrous in two respects; and it is truly surprising that rational creatures can continue in the belief and profession of 'a system, so contrary to the word of God, and the nature of things. "An eminent philosopher, and one of the greatest geniuses that this kingdom ever produced, gave the following definition of Christianity, as it is exhibited, or rather disfigured, in certain'creeds and articles. WÁ Christian is one that believes things his reason cannot comprehend—He believes three to be one, and one to be three; a Father not to be older than his son; a son to be equal to his father; and one proceeding from both, to be equal with both; he believing three persons in one nature, and two natures in one per
But the doctrine of the Trinity is not merely an absurdity, a speculative error, an idolatrous system; but if consistently adhered to and followed out, it must also have the worst effects in regard to practical religion, and tend to debase the nature of true genuine piety.
When men once come to believe that there are more divine persons than one, they very naturally ascribe different qualities and properties to them. Accordingly, the Trinitarians tell us, that God the Father supports the majesty of the Godhead, and, therefore, they assign to him a strict, inflexible justice, that lays him under a necessity of pardoning no sin, with out an infinite satisfaction, in order to vindicate the honour of his broken law. God the Son, it seems, according to them, possesses no such inflexible justice, for he not only forgives sin without any atonement, but makes an infinite satisfaction to the Father himself. God the Holy Ghost neither satisfies nor is satisfied, and, therefore, must be supposed, as well as the Son, to forgive sin freely. There are many absurdities and inconsistencies' attending this mon.. strous scheme of divinity: but I shall only take notice of such as belong to the present subject. It 'is obvious, that while:God the Father is considered in this unamiable light, that the affections of his creatures must be transferred from -him to the other two persons. The Holy Ghost will appear a more gracious and merciful being than the Father, because he requires no satisfaction; and the Son will appear still more amiable than the Holy Ghost," because he not
only forgives sin freely, but satisfies the Father's offend. ed justice. Thus the God and Father of all,' will be unjustlý deprived of the love of his creatures, and the'noblest incentive to sincere contrition, repentance, and reforma. tion, will be taken away. For who can love a being that appears cruel, rigorous, and severe; and divested of all those qualities which naturally beget pious and devout af. fections? Again, the scheme of three co-equal divine 'persons, renders it impossible to love the Lord our God, with all the heart, soul, and mind,' as he has strictly commanded us to do. We cannot center our supreme love upon three different objects. The highest affections of the human mind are incapable of being divided. And we shall be led to esteem and regard some of these supposed divine persons more highly than others, in proportion as we conceive them to be more or less favourably disposed towards us. This system is, therefore, unfavourable to rational piety and true devotion; and must have a tendency to produce superstition and enthusiasm, It distracts and confounds the mind of the word shipper, by presenting three different objects before him, each of whom possessing all divine perfections, are equally entitled to that utmost reverence and love which can only be given to one.
These are some of the sad consequences resulting from this tritheistic scheme of religion, but they are not the only ones. The doctrine of the Trinity has had other baneful effects, 'by impeding the progress of Christianity in the world, and preventing the conversion of Deists, Jews, Mohammedans, -and . Pagans. It is true, we ought not to give up any essential part of our religion, to please unbe lievers of any denomination; nor is it allowable to shape the doctrines of Christianity according to the fancies and caprice of men. But this doctrine, being no part of the faith once delivered to the saints'; but a most fagrant corruption of it, it is truly melancholy to reflect, how much the religion of Jesus has suffered on that account. The Deists in our own country, taking their notions of Chris tianity from the creeds, articles, and confessions of our national establishments, and not giving themselves the trouble to examine the New Testament with critical care and skill, have taken it for granted that this tenet is contained in that incomparable book; and have assigned it as
one of their reasons for rejecting the Christian faith. The Jews, although in the early periods of their bistory remarka. bly prone to idolatry, and severely punished by the Divine Being on that account, have yet ever since their return from the Babylonish captivity, preserved uncorrupted among themselves, the faith and worship of one living and true God; and are really a standing reproach to Christians. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of their principal objections against Christianity. They look upon it with the utmost abhorrence, as an impious idolatrous system, inculcating the belief of more divine persons than one; and raising the creature to the dignity of the Creator. Let a Trinitarian endeavour to convert a Jew to the belief of his own tenets; and he will tell him that the law of God, the revelation of the Almighty in the Old Testament forbids it. He will tell him, that he will never give up the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the Prophets, the one adorable Jehovah, the God of Israel, who was the God of his an cestors for this new God, this triune Deity, that Christians have devised. The creeds and public offices of devotion of the Jews are formed upon principles diametrically opposite to those of Trinitarians.-One article of their creed is this, " I believe with an entire faith, that God the Creator, is one person, and that the unity or oneness which is in him is not in any other.". And a hymn which is iņ daily use among them contains the following words, And God shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one God and his name one.' (Zechariah xiv. 9.) in like man. ner as it is written in thy law. • Hear, Israel, God our God is one God,' “ This (says the author from whom this quotation is taken,) is so drawn up by them in opposition to the belief of Christians, as thongh we adored more Gods than one, or gave him more names than one, viz, that of Christ." The Mohammedans bave also testified the strongest aversion to the doctrine of the Trinity; and have severely reproached Christians for their adherence to it. The general prevalence of that doctrine, gave Moham, med the greatest advantages in propagating and establishing
• Buxtorf Synagoga Judaica, p. 165, as quoted by Mr. Lindsey ia his Apology, p. 90, 91.