[Page] A Brief History OF THE UNITARIANS, Called also SOCINIANS.

In Four Letters, Written to a Friend.

Acts 17. 11. They searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so?

Printed in the Year 1687.

The First Letter, Concerning the Unitarians, vulgarly called Socinians.


IN Answer to yours, demanding a brief account of the Ʋnitarians, called also Socinians; their Do­ctrine concerning God (in which only they differ from other Christians, the Remonstrants, professedly agreeing with them in other points of Faith and Doctrine) and the Defence they usual­ly make of their Heresy. They are called Socinians, from F. Socinus, an I­talian Noble-Man, and a principal Wri­ter of their Party. They affirm, God is only one Person, not three. They [Page 4] make our Lord Christ to be the Messen­ger, Minister, Servant, and Creature of God; they confess he is also the Son of God, because he was begotten on blessed Mary by the Spirit or Power of God, Luke 1. 35. But they deny that he or any other Person but the Father (the God and Father of the said our Lord Christ) is God Almighty and E­ternal. The Holy Ghost, or Spirit, ac­cording to them, is the Power and In­spiration of God, Luke 1. 35.

That the Lord Christ was a Man, the Son, Prophet, Messenger, Mini­ster, Servant, and Creature of God; not himself God, they think is pro­ved by these (as they call them) Ar­guments.

1. If our Lord Christ were himself God, there could be no Person greater than he; none that might be called his Head, or his God; none that could in any respect command him. But the Holy Scriptures teach, that the Father is grea­ter than Christ; is the Head, and the God of Christ; and gave Commandment [Page 5] to him, what he should say, and what he should do. John 14. 28. My Father is greater than I. 1. Cor. 11. 3. The Head of Christ, is God. John 20. 17. I ascend to my Father, and your Father, to my God, and your God. John 12. 49. The Father which sent me, he gave me a Commandment, what I should say. John 14. 31. As the Father gave me Com­mandment, so do I.

2. If our Lord Christ were indeed God, it could not without Blasphemy be (absolutely and without Restricti­on) affirmed of him, that he is the Creature, the Possession, the Servant, and Subject of God; or that for his Obedience, he was rewarded and ad­vanced by God. But the inspired Au­thors of Holy Scripture do say, that the Son our Lord Christ is the Crea­ture of God, the Possession of God, the Servant of God; was obedient to God, and for that cause by him re­warded and exalted; also that when God shall have subjected all Men to his Son our Lord Christ, yet even then [Page 6] shall he remain subject to God. Col. 1. 15. The first-born (from the dead, ver. 18.) of every Creature. Heb. 3. 1, 2. Consider the Apostle and high Priest of our Profession Jesus Christ, who was faithful to him that appointed him. In the Greek, and in the Margin of our Bibles, 'tis faithful to him that made him. 1 Cor. 3. 23. Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Matth. 12. 17, 18. That it might be fulfilled that was spoken by Isai­as,—Behold my Servant. Phil. 2. 8, 9. He humbled himself, and became obedient,—Wherefore God hath highly exalted him; and given him a Name above every Name. 1 Cor. 15. 28. When all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

3. He that is true God, is not the Minister, or Priest of any other Per­son or Persons; he neither doth nor will (being himself Omnipotent and All-sufficient) mediate or intercede with any whomsoever, for his Servants and People. But 'tis certain that our [Page 7] Lord Christ is the Minister, and Me­diator of God and Men; a Priest that appeareth in the Presence of God, and intercedeth with him for Men. Heb. 8. 6. Now hath he obtained a more ex­cellent Ministry. 1 Tim. 2. 5. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Jesus Christ. Heb. 2. 17. A merciful and faithful High-Priest in things pertaining to God. Heb. 9. 24. Christ is not entred into the Holy place made with Hands, but into Heaven it self, now to appear in the Pre­sence of God for us. Heb. 7. 25. He ever liveth to make Intercession for them.

4. Almighty God doth all things in his own Name, and by his own Au­thority; He ever doth his own Will, and seeketh his own Glory; he declares himself to be the prime Object of Faith and Worship; and pronounces all Doctrines or Religions to be vain, which proceed not from Him alone. But in our Lord Christ all things are contrary, for he declares, that he came [Page 8] not into the World in his own Name or Authority; not to do his own Will, or seek his own Glory, or propound himself as the principal Object of our Faith or Worship, or to publish a Do­ctrine of his own. John 17. 28. I am not come of my self. John 5. 43. I am come in my Father's Name. John 8. 42. I proceeded forth and came from God, neither came I of my self, but he sent me. John 5. 30. I seek not my own Will. John 8. 50. I seek not my own Glory. John 12. 44. He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. Phil. 2. 11. That every Tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. John. 7. 16. My Doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

5. God was always most wise, ne­ver ignorant of any thing: He need­eth not the concurrence of any other Person, to assure him that he judgeth right. He cannot (saith St. James, chap. 1. ver. 13.) be tempted. And as he is infinitely great, so he is no less [Page 9] Good. But the sacred Writers do not speak of the Lord Christ after this Te­nor. They say our Lord Christ in­creased in Wisdom; that he professed himself ignorant of some things; that he ascribed the Certainty and Infallibi­lity of his Judgment to the Father's Pre­sence with him; that he was tried by great Temptations, being thereto ex­posed by the Holy Ghost; that he re­fused to be called Good, because God only is Good. Luke 2. 52. Jesus increa­sed in Wisdom,—and in Favour with God and Men. Mark 13. 32. Of that Day and Hour knoweth no Man (In the Greek tis, none knoweth) no not the Angels which are in Heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. S. Matthew (Mat. 24. 36.) adds, But the Father only. John 11. 34. Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. John 8. 16. My Judgment is true, for I am not alone; but I and the Father that sent me. Matth. 4. 1. Then was Jesus led of the Spirit, to be tempted of the Devil. Luke 18. 19. Why callest [Page 10] thou me good? there is none good save one, that is God.

6. God giveth what and to whom himself pleaseth; he needs not the Aid of any other; he entreateth not for himself or People; he cannot die, and he deriveth his Power from none but himself. But 'tis certain that the Lord Christ could not himself, without the previous Ordination of the Father, confer the prime Dignities of Heaven, or of the Church. He placed his Safe­ty in the Father's Presence and Help. He prayed often and fervently to the Father, both for himself and for his Disciples. He died, and was raised from the dead by the Father. After his Resurrection he received of another, that great Power which he now injoy­eth. Matth. 20. 23. To sit on my right Hand, and on my left, is not mine to give; but [it shall be given] to them, for whom it is prepared of my Father. John 8. 29. He that sent me, is with me; and the Father hath not left me alone, for I always do those things that please him. [Page 11] Luke 22. 42. Father, if thou be willing, remove this Cup from me. Heb. 5. 7. Who in the Days of his Flesh offered up Prayers and Supplications, with strong Crying and Tears, unto him that was able to save him. John 17. 20. Nei­ther pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in me through their Word. Ephes. 1. 19, 20. Accord­ing to the mighty working of his Power, which he wrought in Christ, when he rai­sed him from the dead. Matth. 28. 18. Jesus came and spake to them, saying, All Power is given to me.

7. Jesus Christ is in holy Scripture always spoken of, as a distinct and dif­ferent Person from God; and described to be the Son of God, and the Image of God: Rom. 16. 27. To God only wise, be Glory through Jesus Christ. Luke 18. 19. Why callest thou me good? there is none good save one, that is God. 1 Tim. 2. 5. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Jesus Christ. John 13. 18. He that be­lieveth not, is condemned already, because [Page 12] he hath not believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God. Luke 1. 35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee (Blessed Mary) and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also (or, and therefore) the Holy thing that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Col. 1. 15. The Image of the invisible God. 'Tis. (say the Socinians) as impossible that the Son or Image of the one true God should himself be that one true God, as that the Son should be the Father, and the Image that very thing whose Image it is; which they take to be simply impossible, and con­tradictory to common sense, which Religion came not to destroy, but to improve.

Whereas to these arguings: 'tis ob­jected, that these things are in Holy Scripture spoken of Christ according to only his humane Nature, or as he is a Man; but that he is also God the Son, though united to an humane Na­ture, that is, to an humane Soul and Body. The Socinians reply, that there [Page 13] is in Scripture no real Foundation for such a Conceit; that 'tis inconsistent with almost all the Texts already cited, especially those in which the Lord Christ is spoken of as a distinct and dif­ferent Person from God; and that there are many other Considerations and Pas­sages of holy Scripture, which no less than demonstrate it to be false. As,

8. Because so many Texts expresly declare, that only the Father is God: John 17. 1, 2, 3. Father, this is Life e­ternal, that they know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; or Jesus Christ thy Messenger. 1 Cor. 8. 6. But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him: and one Lord (or, Ma­ster, i. e. Teacher) by whom are all things. In the Greek thus, One Lord, Jesus Christ, for whom are all things, and we for him. See the Note on Heb. 1. 2. in the Fourth Letter. Eph. 4. 4, 5, 6. One Spirit, one Lord, one God, and Fa­ther of all, who is above all. 1 Cor. 15. 24. Then [...] the End, when he [Page 14] (Christ, ver. 23.) shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. Jam. 3. 9. Therewith (with the Tongue, ver. 8.) bless we God, even the Father. Rom. 15. 6. With one Mind, and with one Mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9. If Christ were indeed God as well as Man, or (as Trinitarians speak) God the Son incarnate in an humane Nature; it had been altogether super­fluous to give the Holy Spirit to his said humane Nature, as a Director and Guide. For what other help could that Nature need, which was one Per­son with (as they speak) God the Son; and in which God the Son did personal­ly dwell? Luke 4. 1. Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, departed from Jordan. Acts 1. 2. After that he through the Ho­ly Ghost (i. e. through direction and motion of the holy Spirit, and Inspi­ration of God) had given Command­ments unto the Apostles. Acts 10. 38. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.

[Page 15] 10. Had the Lord Christ been (as Trinitarians speak) God the Son joyned to an humane Nature, he could not have ascribed his miraculous Works to the Holy Ghost, or to the Father, dwel­ling in him; but to the Son dwelling in him and united to him. Matth. 12. 28. I cast out Devils by the Spirit of God. John 14. 10. The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the Works. John 5. 30. I can do nothing of my self. Acts 2. 22. Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you, by Miracles, and Wonders, and Signs, which God did by him in the midst of you.

11. Had our Lord been more than a Man, the Prophecies of the Old Testa­ment in which he is promised, would not describe him barely as the Seed of the Woman; the Seed of Abraham; a Prophet like unto Moses; the Servant and Missionary of God, on whom God's Spirit should rest. Gen. 3. 5. I will put Enmity between thy Seed and her Seed. Her Seed is by all Interpreters under­stood to be Christ. Gen. 22. 18. In [Page 16] thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed. This again is universally interpreted of Christ. Deut. 18. 18. I will raise them up a Prophet from a­mong their Brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my Words into his Mouth. This is interpreted of our Lord Christ in many Texts of the New Testament, as John 1. 45. and Acts 3. 22. and Acts 7. 37. Isai. 41. 1. Behold my Ser­vant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my Soul delighteth; I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth Judg­ment to the Gentiles. This is interpret­ed of Christ, Matth. 12. 17, 18.

Now that the Holy Ghost or Spirit is only the Power and Inspiration of God, at least is not himself God, they hold is ascertained by these Considera­tions.

1. The Holy Ghost or Spirit, and the Power of God, are spoken of, as one and the same thing. 1 Cor. 2. 4, 5. My preaching was not with enticing Words of Mans Wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of Power; that your [Page 17] Faith should not stand in the Wisdom of Men, but in the Power of God. Luke 1. 35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee (Blessed Mary) and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Luke 11. 20. I with the Finger of God (that is, by the Power of God, Exod. 8. 19.) cast out Devils. Mat. 12. 28. I cast out Devils by the Spirit of God. Compare also Luke 24. 49. with Acts 1. 4, 5, 8.

2. A manifest Distinction is made, as between God and Christ, so also be­tween God and the Holy Spirit, or Power and Inspiration of God; so that 'tis impossible the Spirit should be God himself. Rom. 5. 5. The Love of God is shed abroad in your Hearts, by the Ho-Ghost which is given to us. 1 Cor. 3. 16. The Grace (or Favour) of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. Rom. 8. 27. He (the Spirit, v. 26.) maketh Intercession for the Saints, according to the Will of God. They note here, that God's Spirit or Inspira­tion (being designed to be a continual [Page 18] Director and Guide to the Faithful) it is spoken of, in these and some other Texts, as a Person; by the same Figure of Speech that Charity is described as a Person, 1 Cor. 13. 4, 5. and Wisdom, Prov. 9. 11. and the Law or Command­ments of God, Psal. 119. 24. They note also that in some Texts 'tis called the Holy Ghost, and Holy Spirit: in the same sense that we commonly say the Holy Wisdom, Holy Will of God.

3. The Spirit is obtained for us of God, by our Prayers; therefore it self is not God. Acts 15. 8. God which knoweth the Hearts, bare them witness; giving them the Holy Spirit as he did to us. Luke 11. 13. How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spi­rit to them that ask him. If we say, these Texts are to be understood, not of the Person of the Holy Ghost, but of his Gifts and Graces; the Socinians readily confess it, but they say also, that if the Holy Spirit were at all a Person, much more a God, his Gifts and Graces would be bestowed by [Page 19] himself, and asked of himself, not bestówed by, and asked of another Person; as 'tis manifest (and by all confessed) they are in these Texts. They add, there is neither Precept nor Example in all Holy Scripture, of Pray­er made to the Spirit, on this or any other occasion: which (on the Trini­tarian Supposition) that the Holy Spi­rit is a Person and God, no less than the Father, is very surprizing, nay ut­terly unaccountable.

4. If the Holy Spirit, and our Lord Christ, are Gods or God, no less than the Father; then God is a Trinity of Persons, or three Persons: but this is contrary to the whole Scripture, which speaks of God as but one Person; and speaks of him and to him by singular Pronouns, such as I, Thou, Me, Him, &c. Job 13. 7. Will ye speak wickedly for God?—Will ye accept his Person? Heb. 1. 1. God—hath in these last times spoken to us by his Son,—who being the Brightness of his Glory, and the express Image of his Person,—sat down at the [Page 20] right Hand of the Majesty on high. Deut. 6. 4, 5. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine Heart. In the Hebrew thus, O Israel, hearken to Jehovah our God: Jehovah is one, and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thine Heart. The Jews by a most ancient Tradition and Custom, are obliged to repeat this Verse every Morning and Evening, to keep it in perpetual Memory, that Jehovah, or God, is one only, not two or three. Isa. 45. 5. I am the Lord,—there is no God but Me. Psal. 102. 25. O my God,—of old hast thou laid the Founda­tion of the Earth. Matth. 4. 10.—the Lord thy God, him only shalt thou serve. No Instance (say the Socinians) can be given in any Language of three Persons, whoever spoke of themselves, or were spoken to, by the singular Pronouns, I, Thou, Me, Him, Thee, &c. Such speak­ing is contrary to Custom, Grammar, and Sense, which are the Laws of Speech: therefore the Holy Scriptures [Page 21] always speaking thus of God, either he is only one Person; or the Scriptures are one continued ungrammatical Soloe­cism and Impropriety, and that in the capital Article of Faith, which no rea­sonable or good Man can or ever will allow. For it no way helps the Trini­tarians, that God (according to some Translations) says at Gen. 1. 26. Let Ʋs make Man. Because nothing is so usual in common Speech, as for single Persons to speak of themselves, indiffe­rently by singular or plural Pronouns; thus 2 Cor. 10. 2. I think to be bold a­gainst some, who think of Ʋs, (saith Paul of himself only) as if We walked according to the Flesh. Briefly, they contend that when God speaks of him­self in the plural Number, or by plu­ral Pronouns, (which yet some deny he ever does; and if he doth, 'tis not above once or twice in the whole Scrip­ture) he speaks according to the Cu­stom of single Persons, especially Prin­ces and great Persons, in all Nations and Languages: but were Almighty [Page 22] God three Persons, they could never speak of themselves, or be spoken to, by the singular Pronouns, I, Thou, Thee, Him, Me; because 'tis contrary not only to Grammar, (which is always to be observed, when there is no Cu­stom to the contrary) but to the Custom of all Nations which understand to speak intelligibly and sensibly.

5. Had the Son, or Holy Ghost, been God, this would not have been omitted in the Apostles Creed. This Creed (say they) which is of next, if not equal Authority to any part of Holy Scripture, after having declared that God is the Father Almighty, and Ma­ker of Heaven and Earth; speaks not a Word of the Godhead of the Son, or Holy Ghost. It describes the Son by all the characters of a Man, and by such on­ly; it says, he was conceived or begotten by the Holy Ghost on Blessed Mary, that accordingly he was born of her; that he was crucified, died, and was buried; that he rose on the third day, and as­cended into Heaven: all these are the [Page 23] Descriptions of a Man: for God can­not be conceived, or be born, or die, no nor ascend into Heaven, for he is al­ways there. Not content to take no notice that he is God, this Creed di­stinguishes him very plainly from God, (that is, denies him to be God) by ad­ding, He sits at the right Hand of God. i. e. He is advanced to be next to God, and is under the immediate and parti­cular Protection of God. Concerning the Holy Ghost, this Creed says no higher thing than it says of the Church, I believe in the Holy Ghost, and in the Holy Catholick Church. For in the Greek, the same Preposition in, is be­fore both alike; and so also is this Creed recited by St. Cyril, and by St. Cyprian ad Numid. and by Socrates Hist. l. 1. c. 26. If the Compilers of this Creed had believed, that either the Son or Spirit is God; tis unaccountable that they should take no notice of it in a Greed, and such a Creed as was pur­posely drawn up to represent all the ne­cessary Articles of Religion. If a So­cinian [Page 24] (say they) were to draw up a Confession of his Faith, he would do it in no other Words, but these of the Apo­stles; and on the contrary, no Trini­tarian, after having described the Father, by all the usual Characters of God, (saying, he is God, Almighty, and Ma­ker of Heaven and Earth) would fail to mention the Divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit; whence we must needs infer, that the Apostles believed as the Socinians, not as the Trinitarians be­lieve concerning God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

6. To conclude; Theirs (they say) is an accountable and a reasonable Faith; but that of the Trinitarians is absurd, and contrary both to Reason and to it self, and therefore not only false, but impossible. For you (say they) teach, there are three almighty, and most wise Persons, and yet but one God; as if every Almighty and most wise Person were not a God, and con­sequently three such Persons, three Gods. You add yet more absurdly, that [Page 25] there are three Persons who are seve­rally and each of them true God, and yet there is but one true God: This is an Error in counting or numbring; which when stood in, is of all others the most brutal and inexcusable; and not to dis­cern it, is not to be a Man. But we would not (say they) trouble our selves at the non-sense of this Doctrine, if it did not impose false Gods on us; by advancing two to be Gods, who are not so: and rob also the one true God of the Honour due to him, and of which he is jealous.

This, Sir, is the Doctrine of the Ʋni­tarians, more commonly by others call'd Socinians, concerning Almighty God; and these their Arguments; which I have so related as not to judg or rail of their Persons, because however learn­ed and reasonable Men (which is their Character among their worst Adversa­ries) may be argued out of their Er­rors, yet few will be swagger'd or chode out of them. It remains, that I make a brief and fair Deduction [Page 26] of their History; from the time that they have been taken notice of in the World.

They whom we call Socinians, were by the Fathers and first Ages of Chri­stianity called Nazarens; by which name St. Paul is accused before Felix, Acts 24. 5. They were also in those first times called Ebionites, Mineans, Artemonites, Theodotians, Symmachians, Paulinists, Samosatenians, Photinians, and Monarchians. The Writings of these Ancients are all lost, being de­stroyed by the Arians and Catholicks: Notwithstanding they had (I find) some very considerable Men among them; as, 1. Theodotian, who transla­ted the Old Testament out of the He­brew into Greek, about the Year of our Lord 182. 2. Symmachus, who published another Translation from the Hebrew also into Greek, in the Year 193. Eusebius assures us, both these were Ebionites or Nazarens; and their Translations were greatly esteem­ed, and much used in the Greek Chur­ches. [Page 27] 3. Paulus of Samosatum, Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch; a Man not only learned and eloquent, but so much e­steemed in that Capital City of the East, that an Episcopal Council there assembled, were not of sufficient Au­thority with his Citizens, to cast him out of St. Peter's Chair. 4. Photinus Bishop of Sirmium, against whom o­ther Bishops being by Imperial Autho­rity assembled, proceeded by Concilia­ry Acts and Censures of the Church; but neither would his City part with him, till the Emperour sent an Army to expel him.

Eusebius (Hist. l. 5. c. 28.) and The­odoret (Haer. Fab. l. 2. c. de Artem.) say, that these Nazarens constantly affirm­ed, that they derived their Doctrine from the Apostles of our Lord; and that it was the general Doctrine of the Church, till the Popes, Victor and Ze­pherin, set themselves to root it up. Vi­ctor (say the Socinians) began to per­secute the Apostolick Doctrine of one God, or (what is the same) that God [Page 28] is one, in the Year 194; but with lit­tle Success, till that which was after­wards the Doctrine of the Arians grew into general Credit and Accep­ance. For Justin Martyr, Origen, and other principal Fathers teaching (as the Arians afterwards did) that the Father is indeed before the Son and Holy Spirit, in Time, in Dignity, and in Power, yet that the Word, or Son, who in the fulness of time took our nature on him, was generated or crea­ted some time before the World, and was the Father's Servant and Mini­ster in making the World; and that the Holy Ghost was the Creature of the Son, and subservient to him in making all things: this Doctrine being advanced by Justin, Origen, and others of note in the Church; and seeming more for the Honour of the Son, than the plain and simple Doctrine of the Nazarens, by the Help of Persecution prevailed against theirs, and became the more current Doctrine of the Church, till in the Council of Nice it [Page 29] was condemned, and another more popu­lar (and so more taking) than that (as attributing to the Son, Eternity, and Equality with the Father) did generally obtain, being supported by Imperial Authority. But did Super­stition (say the Socinians) stop here? No, for there shortly arose another Do­ctrine, that the Son and Holy Spirit are the same God with the Father, not only (as the Nicene Fathers ex­plained this matter) by Unity of Wills, and specifical Identity or sameness of Substance, but by numerical or true Identity and sameness of Substance and Nature. This last has been esta­blish'd by so many terrible penal Laws, partly obtained of the Roman Empe­rours by Catholick Bishops; partly made by Popes in the times of their Omnipotence; that now not only the Nazaren Faith, but the Arian and the Nicene (truly so called) are no where openly profest in the Territories of Christian Princes and States; except in a few Cities of Transilvania, and [Page 30] some Churches of the United Nether­lands, in which Countries Liberty of Conscience makes a part of their Civil Rights and Franchises. But in the Turkish and other Mahometan and Pagan Dominions, where also the con­quered Provinces of Christians have Liberty of Conscience, the Nazaren and Arian Churches are very nume­rous. Much of the new Conquests of his present Imperial Majesty, in Hun­garia, Sclavonia, and Illyricum, are A­rian.

But though the open and avowed Profession of the Unity of God (as 'tis taught by the Nazarens, or Socinians, and by the Arians) be supprest; yet 'tis observed that not a few of the most learned and celebrated Writers of the Church, whether Catholick or Refor­med, have certainly been either Ari­ans or Socinians, or great Favourers of them; though they have used much Caution in so expressing themselves, as not to lye too open to Exception, Envy, or a legal Prosecution.

[Page 31] 1. D. Erasmus, the restorer of Learn­ing, hath given occasion both to his Friends and Enemies to think him an Arian. He saith, that Phil. 2. 6. was the principal Argument of the Fathers against the Arians; but that to say true, it proves nothing against them. He notes on Eph. 5. 5. that the word God being used absolutely, doth in the Apostolick Writings always signifie the Father. In his Scholia on the third Tome of St. Jerom's Epistles, he de­nies that the Arians were Hereticks; he adds, farther, that they were supe­rior to our Men in Learning and Elo­quence. 'Tis believed, Erasmus did not make himself a party to that which he esteemed the ignorant and dull side of the Question. In his Epistle to Bi­libaldus, he speaks as openly as the times would permit a wise Man to speak, I (saith Erasmus) could be of the Arian Perswasion, if the Church approved it.

2. H. Grotius is Socinian all over. This great Man in his younger Years [Page 32] attacked the Socinians in a principal Article of their Doctrine: But being answered by J. Crellius, he not only ne­ver replied, but thank'd Crellius for his Answer; and afterwards publishing some Annotations on the Bible, he inter­preted the whole according to the mind of the Socinians. There is nothing in all his Annotations, which they do not approve and applaud. His Annotati­ons are a compleat System of Socinia­nism, not excepting his Notes on John 1. 1, &c. which are written so artifici­ally, and interwove with so many dif­ferent Quotations, that he has cover'd himself, and his sense of that Portion of Scripture, from such as do not read him carefully.

3. D. Petavius, the most Learned of the Jesuits, has granted that generally the Fathers who lived before the Ni­cene Council, and whose Writings are preserved, agreed in their Doctrine concerning God with the Nazarens or Socinians, and concerning the Son our Lord Christ, and the Holy Spirit with [Page 33] the Arians. For 'tis to be noted that the Arians and Socinians agree in their Doctrine concerning God, that he is only one Person, the God and Father of our Lord Christ; but they differ concerning the Son and Holy Spirit. The Son, according to the Arians, was generated or created some time before the World, and in process of time, for great and necessary causes, became in­carnate in our Nature: The Holy Ghost (they say) is the Creature of the Son, and subservient to him in the Work of Creation. But the Socini­ans deny, that the Son our Lord Christ had any Existence before he was born of Blessed Mary, being conceived in her by the holy Spirit of God: They say, the Spirit is the Power and Inspi­ration of God, saving that Mr. Bidle, and those that follow him, take the holy Spirit to be a Person, chief of the Heavenly Spirits, prime Minister of God and Christ, and therefore called the Spirit by way of excellence; and the Holy Spirit, to discriminate him [Page 34] from Satan, Prince and Chief of the wicked and Apostate Spirits. This difference notwithstanding, because they agree in the principal Article, that there is but one God, or but one who is God, both parties (Socinians and Arians) are called Ʋnitarians, and esteem of one another as Christians and true Believers, as may be seen on the part of the Arians in their Historian Chr. Sandius; (Hist. Eccl. l. 1. c. de Paul. Semosat.) and for the Socinians in the Disputation of Alba. But to re­turn to Petavius, He often affirms, that the Doctrine of the Trinity, and of the Divinity of the Son and Spirit, cannot be proved by Scripture only; and that those who have attempted it, have always been baffled. He adds, there is no way to Unity in the Church about these matters, but by contenting our selves to speak concerning them, as the Fathers who lived nearest to the Apostles time did speak.

4. S. Episcopius, so much esteemed by our English Divines, seems to have [Page 35] been an Arian. He saith, the Father is so first, as to be first in order (i. e. time) in Dignity and in Power. He saith, that to make three equal Per­sons in God or in the Godhead, is to make three Gods. He denies, that the Lord Christ is the Son of God by substantial Generation, that is, by Ge­neration from the Father's Substance or Essence. Speaking of the Creeds that express the Catholick Doctrine of the Trinity, and the Divinity of the Son and Spirit, he saith, that Bishops in general Councils being led by Fury, Faction, and Madness, did not so much compose as huddle up Creeds for the Church: See for these things Episc. Inst. Theol. l. 4 c. 32, 33, 34.

5. C. Sandius, a Gentleman of pro­digious Industry and Reading, and no less ingenious then learned, in all his Books refuses in Words to be called ei­ther Arian or Socinian; but has writ­ten an Ecclesiastical History in Quarto, with Addenda to it Coloniae 1678, on purpose to prove that all Antiquity [Page 36] was Arian; and that the Ʋnitarian Doctrine has been reduced so low by the Persecutions of Rome, and the pu­issant Arms of Charles the Great, and other Kings of France, for which Servi­ces they have been requited by the Roman Pontiff. with the Titles of Most Christian Kings, and Eldest Sons of the Church. He has also (under the borrowed Name of Cingallus) writ­ten a small Treatise with this Title, Scriptura Trinitatis Revelatrix; here under pretence of asserting the Trini­ty, he has (as much as he could) de­feated all the strengths of the Catholick Cause; and shews that there is no considerable Text objected to the Ari­ans or Socinians, but is given up as an incompetent and insignificant proof, by some or other of the principal Critics and Authors, who were themselves Trinitarians; so that among them they have given away the Victory to their Adversaries.

But, Sir, I perceive I have drawn out this account of the Socinians, to al­ready [Page 37] a sufficient length for a Letter; I will therefore conclude with a Passage out of Dr. Burnet's second Book of the History of the Reformation abridged. George van Parr, a Dutch Man, refu­sed to abjure; so he was burnt in the year 1549, (by virtue of a Law or Writ since abolished by Act of Parliament) for affirming, that only the Father is God, and denying the Divinity of the Son our Lord Christ. He had led a very exemplary Life, for Fasting, Devotion and a good Conversation; and suffered with extraordinary Composedness of Mind. These things cast a great Ble­mish on the Reformers: It was said, they only condemned Cruelty, when acted on themselves; but were ready to practise it when they had Power. The Papists made great use of this in the next (Queen Mary's) Reign; and what Arch-Bishop Cranmer and Bishop Ridly (Authors of Van Parrs Punish­ment) suffered in her time, was thought a just Retaliation on them by that wise [Page 38] Providence, which disposes all things justly to all Men. Thus far Dr. Bur­net.

SIR, I am most sincerely Yours.
A Second Letter TO A …

A Second Letter TO A FRIEND, Concerning the UNITARIANS, Called also SOCINIANS.

Containing the Texts objected to them out of the Old Testament, and their Answers.

Acts 24. 14. After the way which they call Heresy, so worship I the God of my Fathers, believing all things that are written in the Law and the Prophets.

Printed in the Year 1687.

A Second Letter, Concerning the Unitarians, vulgarly called Socinians.


THE Texts and Arguments from them, objected to the Doctrine of the Ʋnitarians and Saoinians concerning God, are so many; that 'tis impossible to give a tolerable ac­count of what they answer to the Or­thodox, in a Letter; their Answers would indeed require a Volume. Yet because I would not wholly disappoint your Expectations and Demands, I will in several Letters lay before you some part of what they reply to the Texts and Arguments taken from the [Page 42] Old Testament; what to those that are found in the Gospels and Acts; what to those out of the Epistles and Revelation.

The Texts objected to them out of the Old Testament, are of two sorts. 1. Those which singly and alone prove the Trinity, or the Divinity of the Son or Spirit. 2. Those which perhaps would not, if alone considered, prove the Orthodox Doctrine; but do it sufficiently when compared with, and interpreted by some Texts of the New Testament. I will propound both these in the order of Scripture.

1. Gen. 1. 26. Let Ʋs make Man in our Image. Answ. (1.) This Text hath been considered in the foregoing Letter. (2.) But 'tis to be also far­ther observed, that some Rabbies ren­der the Original Hebrew thus, Let Man be made in our Image. Meaning (say they) in the Likeness of God and Angels: for he speaketh to the Angels who were all present: Job. 38. 4. 7. Yet God speaketh to them, not as Ad­jutants, [Page 43] but as Spectators of his Work. They note, that this Translation agre­eth with the stile used all along in this chapter; ver. 3. Let there be Light. ver. 6. Let there be a Firmament. ver. 20. Let the Waters bring forth. ver. 24. Let the Earth bring forth the living Creature.

2. Gen. 3. 22. God said, The Man is become as one of Ʋs, to know Good and Evil. Answ. (1.) It may be (and is by very many learned Men) said, that God speaketh here to the Angels. (2.) But others translate the Hebrew words thus, the Man is become one of himself, knowing Good and Evil. And thus also 'tis expressed in the Chal­dee Translation by Onkelos.

3. Gen. 11. 6, 7. The Lord said, Let Ʋs go down, and there confound their Language. Answ. (1.) It is said by some, that God speaketh here to the Angels, and the Ministers and Execu­tors of his Decree. (2.) Others say, Let their Language be confounded (for so the Hebrew may be rendred) is an [Page 44] Hebrew Phrase, signifying, I will con­found their Language. For so he saith, Gen. 1. 3, 6, 20, 24, 26. Let there be Light. Let there be a Firmament. Let the Waters, Let the Earth bring forth. Let Man be made: that is, I will make Light; I will make a Firmament, I will cause the Waters and Earth to bring forth; I will make Man. Note that God is said to go down, because his Pow­er accompanied his Angels, who were either Ministers, or Spectators of his miraculous Work.

4. Gen. 19. 24. The Lord (Heb. Je­hovah) rained Fire from the Lord (Heb. Jehovah) out of Heaven. Answ. The Translation of Seb. Castalio is general­ly approved, by the most learned Cri­ticks, as agreeing to the Genius and manner of the Hebrew Tongue, he renders the original Words thus, Jeho­vah rained Fire from himself from Hea­ven. But see also what they say on Zech. 3. 2. a place parallel to this.

5. 2 Sam. 23. 2, 3. The Spirit of God [...]ake by me,—the God of Israel said. Answ. [Page 45] The Spirit of God, that is, the Inspi­ration of God; q. d. God inspired, and spake by me.

6. Psal. 2. 7. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Answ. Paul hath taught us that this Text so far forth as it respecteth Christ, and is a Pro­phecy of him, and what God would do for him, was not intended of his (sup­posed) eternal Generation from the Essence of the Father or God; but of his being begotten to Life again from the dead. Acts 13. 34. God hath fulfilled the same,—in that he raised up Jesus from the dead; as it is written in the se­cond Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Col. 1. 18. The Head of the Body the Church, the first born from the dead.

7. Psal. 45. 6, 7. Thy Throne, O God, is for ever and ever,—thou hast loved Righteousness,—therefore thy God hath anointed thee with the Oyl of Gladness above thy Fellows. These Words are interpreted of Christ by the Author to the Hebrews; Heb. 1. 8, 9. Ʋnto [Page 46] the Son, he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever, &c. Answ. In the Hebrew and in the Greek 'tis, God is thy Throne (i. e. thy Seat, resting-place, or Esta­blishment) for ever.

8. Psal. 68. 18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led Captivity captive, thou hast received Gifts for Men; or (as 'tis in the Syriac, and Eph. 4. 8.) hast gi­ven Gifts to Men. These Words ma­nifestly spoken of God, are interpret­ed of Christ; Eph. 4. 8, 9, 11, Where­forh he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led Captivity captive, and gave Gifts to Men. (Now that he ascended, what is it, but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the Earth? He that descended, is the same also that ascended up far above all Heavens, that he might fill all things) And he gave some Apostles; some Prophets; and some Evangelists, &c. Answ. (1.) Those Words, descended first into the lower parts of the Earth; are to be under­stood of our Lord's descent into the Grave and Hell, from whence he a­rose [Page 47] and afterwards ascended into Hea­ven. (2.) These Words, ascended far above all Heavens, that he might fill all things, had been better rendred, that he might fulfil all things, namely all the Prophecies of himself and others concerning his Death and Descent into the Grave and Hell, and his Ascensi­on into the highest Heavens; far above all the visible Heavens, all the Heavens and Orbs in which the Sun and Stars move. (3.) Thou hast ascended,—and given Gifts to Men; are in the Psalm litterally meant of God; and of Christ only by way of Prophecy, or rather of Emblem and Accommodation. And that Paul in the Ephesians intended no more than an Accommdation (or, as Grotius speaks, a mystical or allegorical Inter­pretation) of the words in the Psalm, is evident by the Gifts he mention­eth: He gave some Apostles, some Pro­phets, some Evangelists; that is, he ad­vanced some to be Apostles, others to be Prophets and Evangelists, in the Chri­stian Church. These Gifts not being [Page 48] given or received till about one thou­sand Years after David's time, Paul could not possibly intend a literal In­terpretation of David's Words, but on­ly to accommodate them to Christ, be­cause Christ also did ascend on high, and give Gifts to Men. To this effect speak Grotius, Dr. Patrick, and other famous Interpreters, on this Text.

9. Psal. 95. 9, 10. Your Fathers tempted me; forty years long was I grieved with this Generation. These words spoken by and of God, are interpreted of the Holy Ghost, Heb. 3. 7, 9, 10. As saith the Holy Ghost, your Fathers tempted me, &c. Answ. As saith the Holy Ghost, that is, As saith the Holy Spirit or Inspiration of God by the Mouth of the Prophet David. So Estius, Pisca­tor, Capellus, Grotius, &c. Note that in the Psalmist's words there is an E­nallage of the Person, (frequent in the Hebrew, and especially in the Psalms) Me for Him, and I for He.

10. Psal. 97. 7. Worship him all ye Gods; or, all ye Angels. These words, [Page 49] though spoken of God, are interpreted of Christ, Heb. 1. 6. Again, when he bringeth the first-begotten into the World, he saith, And let all the Angels of God worship him. Answ. In the Greek 'tis, When he bringeth again the first-begot­ten into the World, (that is, when he raised Christ from the dead, who is his first-begotten from the dead) he commandeth, let even all the Angels of God worship him. 'Tis uncertain whether St. Paul had any respect to the Words in the Psalm; but if he had, he doth not quote the Words of the Psal­mist, as if they were spoken of Christ: but only declareth the Decree of God (known to him by the Spirit) for sub­jecting the Angels to Christ, in the same words that the Psalmist had used on another occasion; because they are words most proper to express that De­cree, for the Writers of the New Testament generally affect to speak in Scripture Language.

11. Psal. 102. 25. Of old hast thou laid the Foundation of the Earth, &c. [Page 50] This seems applied to Christ, Heb. 1. 10, 11, 12, 13. And thou, Lord, in the Beginning hast laid the Foundation of the Earth;—but to which of the Angels said he at any time, Sit on my right Hand? Answ. Thomas Aquinas hath rightly acknowledged, that the Words of both these Texts may be understood of God only, not of Christ. The Context of the Hebrews hath this sense, And thou Lord (that is, and in another Text of the Psalms 'tis said, Thou Lord. So Estius, Camerarius, Grotius) hast laid the Foundation of the Earth;—But to which of the Angels said he, (i. e. said the Founder of the Earth, &c.) sit on my right Hand? as he saith to Christ at Psal. 110. 1. For though Psal. 110. 1. is literally de­signed of David, yet you Hebrews knowing that David was a Type of Christ, do also apply the Words there, sit on my right Hand unto the Messias or Christ.

12. Psal. 110. 1. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my right Hand, until I [Page 51] make thine Enemies thy Footstool. It appears by Matth. 22. 43. that the Jews understood these words of David, as spoken of God and Christ: and there­fore our Saviour puts this Question to them, how Christ could be David's Son, (for they were, it should seem, commonly taken to be David's Words) if he was David's Lord? which can no way be answered but by saying, he was David's Son according to the Flesh, and David's Lord, as he was God. Answ. Our Saviour's Words are, Da­vid in Spirit calleth him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit on my right Hand; that is, David in the Spi­rit of Prophecy foreseeing Christ, calls him his Lord. But he calleth him so, not because Christ is God, (for if that were true, himself could have made his Enemies his Footstool) but because not only the Spirits of David and all Saints, but even Angels are in Heaven made subject to Christ, and that as the Re­ward of his most Holy Life and obse­quious and acceptable Death, 1 Pet. [Page 52] 3. 22. Phil. 2. 8, 9. But note that when the Psalmist says, the Lord said unto my Lord, the Lord said is to be un­derstood, he hath in decree said; he hath decreed it shall be so. So Dr. Pa­trick in his Paraphrase on this Text.

13. Psal. 110. 3. Thy People shall be willing in the day of thy Power, in the beauty of Holiness from the womb of the Morning, thou hast the Dew of thy Youth. Answ. This Text, as 'tis in the Eng­lish Translation, is wholly unintelli­ble. Seb. Castalio has, as he is wont, made a probable and elegant sense from the Hebrew thus, Thy People (or thy Troops) shall be chearful; when with sa­cred Majesty thou goest to Battel, thou shalt have innumerable Youth. The words are spoken to David.

14. Psal. 139. 7. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Answ. From thy Spi­rit, is an Hebrew Phrase for From thee. Like as when 'tis said of Moses, Psal. 106. 33. They provoked his Spirit; the undoubted meaning is, They provoked Him. So also (Eph. 4. 30.) Grieve [Page 53] not the holy Spirit of God, is an Hebra­ism for Grieve not God.

15. Prov. 8. 24. When there were no depths, I was brought forth. Answ. So­lomon speaketh here of the Quality or Faculty of Wisdom, by which God and Men order their Affairs wisely. That he meaneth not (as some have fancied) the Son, or the Spirit of God, appears by the Gender he useth: For he saith, ver. 2. She standeth in the top of high Places: ver. 3. She crieth at the gates: and chap. 7. 4. Say unto Wis­dom, Thou art my Sister.

16. Prov. 30. 4. Who hath ascended up into Heaven,—who hath established all the Ends of the Earth? what is his Name, and what is his Son's Name? Answ. Dr. S. Partick interpreteth this Verse thus; Hath any Man ascended in­to Heaven;—who among Men hath ga­thered the Wind, or fixed the Earth; what is the Man's Name, or his Sons?

17. Isa. 6. 1, 8, 9. I saw the Lord sitting upon a Throne.—I heard the Voice of the Lord,—go tell this Peo­ple, [Page 54] Hear ye indeed, but understand not,—shut their Eyes, &c. This Ap­pearance of God is ascribed to Christ, John 12. 41. These things said Isaias, when he saw his Glory: the Words, Go tell this People, &c. are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, Acts 28. 25, 26. Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaias,—Go unto this People, &c. Answ. (1.) The Words in St. John are to be understood not of Christ, but of God; for God only is intended in the foregoing Verse, as all confess. (2.) Accordingly the best Greek Bibles read that Text thus, These things said Isaias, when he saw God's Glory. (3.) The Texts in the Acts ascribeth the Words in the Pro­phet to the Holy Spirit, because the Vision and all the Words there menti­oned were a Scene wrought in the Prophet's Mind (not exhibited to his outward senses) by the Spirit or Pow­er of God.

18. Isa. 7. 14. A Virgin shall conceive and bare a Son, and shall call his Name Immanuel. 'Tis added, Matth. 1. 23. [Page 55] which being interpreted, is God with us. Answ. (1.) Matthew (as all know) wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, and therefore did not interpret the Hebrew Name, no more than the Prophet (whose Words he cited) had done be­fore him. We are not bound to sub­scribe to the Interpretation of the Greek Translator, being an obscure and un­known Person. Immanuel is by Eras­mus interpreted God with him, a Name most proper for the Lord Christ; and to this Interpretation of the Name Im­manuel, S. Peter very plainly alludes, Acts 10. 38. (2.) Admitting that Immanuel may signify God with us, yet the Child also who was to be a Sign to King Ahaz (and whom Grotius thinketh to be the Son of the Prophet Isaiah) was called Immanuel by order from God. And there are several Names of this high Import and Signification in Scripture. Elihu, recorded 1 Chron. 12. 20. signi­fies, He is my God. Eliatha (menti­oned 1 Chron 25. 4.) is, Thou art my God. (3.) Christ may well be named [Page 56] Immanuel, taking it for God with us; as God was most plentifully with his People, by sending the Lord Christ to be his Ambassador and Representa­tive, and our Redeemer. Several of the most learned Trinitariaus acknow­ledg, that no more than this was intended by this Name.

19. Isai. 8. 4. He shall be a Stone of Stumbling, &c. This is spoken of God in the Prophet, and applied to Christ; Rom. 9. 33. 1 Pet. 2. 8. Answ. Neither St. Paul nor St. Peter cite the Words of the Prophet as spo­ken of Christ, but only as in some sense applicable to him; namely as Christ also was to many a Stone of stum­bling.

20. Isa. 9. 6, 7. Ʋnto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;—He shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the Encrease of his Government and Peace there shall be no end; upon the Throne of Da­vid to order and establish it with Judg­ment [Page 57] and Justice, from henceforth and for ever. The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this. Answ. (1.) This cannot be a Prophecy of Christ, be­cause it speaks of a Prince actually born at that time, Unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given. Isaiah lived above seven hundred Years before Christ. (2.) The Text is indeed to be understood of Hezekiah, but is ve­ry extravagantly rendred in the En­glish. In the Hebrew 'tis thus, Ʋnto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,—the wonderful Counsellour, the mighty God, the everlasting Father shall name him the peaceable Prince; his Govern­ment shall be multiplied, (i. e. He shall reign long, even twenty nine Years) and he shall have very great Peace; he shall sit upon the Throne of David, or­dering and establishing it with Judgment and Justice, from henceforth to the end of his Life: The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall perform this: i. e. God's Love to his chosen People shall make good this my Prophecy.

[Page 58] Note that no end of Peace, and no end of Riches are never to be strictly understood in humane Affairs; but we mean by them, very great Peace and Riches. Therefore the Peace of He­zekiah being in twenty nine Years in­terrupted by only one Expedition a­gainst him; and that also in the end, unsuccessful; he may be said to have en­joyed great Peace, or (speaking hy­perbolically, as is the manner of this Prophet) Peace without end.

21. Isai. 35. 4, 5. Your God will come,—then the Eyes of the Blind shall be opened, &c.

This seems to be applied to Christ, Matth. 11. 4, 5. Jesus answered,—Go tell John what ye do see and hear, the Blind receive their Sight, &c. Answ. God is said to come to the Jews, in his Ambassadour and Messenger Jesus Christ: and because in and by him God gave Sight to the Blind, &c. John 14. 10. The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the Works. Acts 10. 38. God was with him.

[Page 59] 22. Isai. 40. 3. The Voice of him that crieth in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,—a high way for our God. This Voice was John Baptist, Matth. 3. 1, 3. And it was Christ's way he prepared, Luke 1. 76. compa­red with Matth. 11. 10. Mark 1. 7. Acts 13. 24. Answ. John Baptist is said to prepare the way for God, when he prepared the way for Christ; because Christ was the Ambassadour and Re­presentative of God, and God was with and in Christ. Acts 10. 38. God was with him. John 14. 10. The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the Works.

23. Isai. 44. 6. Thus saith the Lord, I am the first, and I am the last. Christ also is called the first and the last, Rev. 1. 8, 17. Rev. 22. 13. Answ. Rev. 1. 8. is not spoken of Christ, but of God. At v. 17. Christ is called the First and the Last: but Erasmus, Grotius, and Hugo Cardinalis interpret the Words of him as he is a Man. Christ (saith Hu­go) is the first (or most honourable) with good Men; and the last (or most [Page 60] despised) with Infidels and wicked Men. Briefly, both Almighty God and our Lord Christ, are the First and the last, but in different Senses.

24. Isai. 45. 23. I have sworn by my Self.—Ʋnto me every Knee shall bow. These Words of God are applied to Christ; Rom. 14. 10, 11. We shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, for it is written,—Every Knee shall bow to me, and every Tongue shall confess to God. Answ. In bowing and confessing to Christ at the last Judgment, we are said to bow and confess to God; because Christ then and there holdeth the place of God, representeth him and acteth by his Commission. So Men are said to appear before our Soveraign Lord the King, when they appear at the Bar of his Judges; because the Judges act in the Kings stead, and by his Com­mission.

25. Isai. 48. 16. I have not spoken in secret from the Beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God hath sent me, and his Spi­rit. [Page 61] Answ. I in this Text is not Christ, but the Prophet; for Christ was not sent by the Lord God and his Spirit in the days of the Jewish Prophets, Heb. 1. 1, 2. But if it were Christ, or the Son that here speaketh, yet this very Text would prove that he is not God; for he is here distinguished from the Lord God, as one who is not himself God, but is sent by God. The Pro­phet seems to speak of the Overthrow of the Chaldean and Babylonish Troops, by some great Prince, whom God either had or would raise up a­gainst them, see ver. 14. and 15. Therefore Grotius and Forerius do not translate (as the English hath it) From the time that it was, but before this thing is, or before it hapneth. There am I, that is, I declare it as explicitly and clearly as if I were present on the place.

26. Jer. 23. 5. 6. I will raise unto David a righteous Branch,—in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the Name [Page 62] whereby he shall be called, The Lord (Heb. Jehovah) our Righteousness. Answ. In the Hebrew 'tis, This is the Name which they shall call the Lord our Justifier: that is, in the happy and peaceful days of the Branch, the Nation shall call God their Justifier, or their merciful De­liverer from all Adversaries and all E­vils.

27. Dan. 3. 25. The Form of the Fourth is like the Son of God. Answ. In the Hebrew 'tis like a Son of God: that is, like an Angel, for so this Passage is explained at ver. 28. Angels are cal­led Sons of God; Job. 1. 6. Job 38. 7.

28. Micha 5. 2. Thou Bethlehem,—out of thee shall come unto me, that is to be Ruler of Israel; whose goings forth have been of old; from everlasting: or as 'tis in the Margin, from the days of Eternity. Answ. In the Hebrew 'tis, From ancient days. Grotius makes this sense of the Verse, whose goings forth (or whose Descent, Original, or Pe­digree) is of old, from ancient times. [Page 63] For Christ descendeth of the most an­cient and Royal Stock of David of Bethlehem.

29. Zech. 2. 8, 9. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; after the Glory hath he sent me to the Nations which spoiled you;—I will shake my Hand upon them, and they shall be a Spoil to their Servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me. Answ. These Words as they are in the English Translation, are hardly sense. Neither are these Words, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the Words of the Lord of Hosts himself, but of the second Angel, who at ver. 3. and 4. spoke to the first Angel, and to Zechariah. The Verses should have been thus rendred from the Hebrew, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, After­wards shall be Glory, (i. e. after ye are departed our of Babylon, ver. 7. ye shall have Peace and Honour) for he hath sent me to the Nations which spoil­ed you: (i. e. To the Babylonians and their Confederates) I will shake my Hand upon them, and they shall be a Spoil [Page 64] to their Servants; (i. e. I will stir up their Subjects to rebel against them, and spoil them) And ye shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me; i. e. hath sent me to punish them, and give you Peace and Glory.

30. Zech. 3. 2. The Lord (Heb. Je­hovah) said unto Satan, The Lord (Heb. Jehovah) rebuke thee. Answ. The Lord in the first clause is the Angel of the Lord, as appears by ver. 1. for there Satan stands before the Angel. And that indeed he was an Angel, and not true Jehovah, is ascertained by his pray­ing to another Person to rebuke (i. e. to chastise) Satan. When Angels are sent by God, and do represent his Per­son, the names Jehovah and God are communicated to them; Exod. 3. 2, 4, 6. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a Flame of Fire out of the midst of a Bush.—and when the Lord (Heb. Jehovah) saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the Bush,—Moreover he said, I am the God of thy Father. Briefly, Jehovah is a [Page 65] Name of God, but such an one as is sometimes communicated both to Per­sons and Places. Therefore the Eng­lish have very ill translated Psal. 83. 18. Thou whose Name alone is Jehovah, art the most High over all the Earth. In the Hebrew 'tis, Thou whose Name is Jehovah, thou alone art the most high over all the Earth.

31. Zech. 12. 10. They shall look up­on me, whom they have pierced. The same thing is said of Christ, Rev. 1. 17. nay the Words (tho spoken of God) seem to be applied to Christ, John 19. 37. Answ. As the Jews in the times of the Prophets, did (as it were) pierce God with their Sins of several kinds; so they pierced him again when they put to death the Lord Christ: as on the contrary, he who received (i. e. kindly and respectfully entertain­ed) Christ, was understood as recei­ving him that sent him. But the Words in the Prophet, are not by St. John interpreted of Christ, but accommo­dated to Christ and his Sufferings.

[Page 66] 23. Mal. 3. 1. I will send my Messen­ger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord (or Prince) whom ye seek, shall suddainly come to his Tem­ple. This Messenger was John Bap­tist, who prepared the way before Christ. Answ. See on Isai. 40. 3.

33. Baruch. 3. 35, 37. This is our God,—afterwards did he shew himself upon the Earth, and conversed with Men. Answ. (1.) 'Tis an Apocryphal Book. (2.) Those that admit the Book, re­ject these Verses as supposititions. (3.) The original Greek may be thus rendred. Afterwards this Book of the Commandments of God, and the Law which endureth for ever, was seen up­on Earth, and turned over by Men. Note that the last Verse of Baruch 3d, is to be read with the first of Baruch the 4th.

Besides these particular Answers to the several Texts objected to their Do­ctrine out of the Old Testament, the Socinians say farther to them all in ge­neral.

[Page 67] 1. Whereas so exceptionable a Do­ctrine as that of the Trinity, and its Dependances, ought to be proved by clear Texts and demonstrative Argu­ments; on the contrary, these Texts are so far from being clear and evident Proofs, that a Man must have a more than ordinary Wit and Capacity to ap­prehend how most of them are at all to the purpose, and why or to what end they are alledged by the Trinita­rians.

2. Though in the Heat of Disputa­tion and Anger, Men catch up any Weapon against their Adversaries; yet out of these Heats the more learned and judicious Trinitarians confess, that the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, are not indeed taught in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but are a Revelation made to us in the New. So saith Tertullian, Adv. Prax. c. 3. Cyprian, Serm. 6. St. Jerom, Adv. Lucif. Thcodoret l. 2. ad Graec. R. Tuitiensis de Divin. Offic. l. 11. c. 14. Fr. L. Brugensis on John 1. 49. [Page 68] and on Matth. 28. 19. Card. Bellarmine de Christ. l. 2. c. 6. and more plainly de Purg. l. 1. c. 11. Calovius Anticrel. S. 420. Alf. Salmero Pros. in Evang. 11. q. 3. And infinite more, both Catho­licks and Reformed.

3. If so many had not confessed it, yet the thing is evident in it self. For if the Trinity were indeed taught in the Old Testament, how came the Jew­ish Church in all Ages to be so wholly ignorant of it, that (as all confess) they had not the least Suspicion, that God is more than one Person? And if in this they had erred, 'tis not to be doubted our Saviour would have repro­ved their Heresy, and carefully set them right, as he did in the matter of the Resurrection. But doth our Lord any where charge them with Heresy, for believing that God is only one Per­son.

4. The Socinians confess, that to Persons who never read any thing of this great Question, some of their In­terpretations of the Texts, both of the [Page 69] Old and New Testament may seem some­what harsh and strained. But this (they say) is only because such Persons have been always accustomed to under­stand the alledged Texts in a contrary sense, that is, in the sense of the Church: but if they will often read and consider the Socinian sense of them, they will soon discern that 'tis not only a proba­ble sense, but the true and only sense of which these Texts are capable, if we would reconcile them to the rest of Scripture, and (particularly) to the many and clear Texts and Demonstra­tions cited and hinted in the first Let­ter.

SIR, I am Yours.

[Page] A Third Letter TO A FRIEND, Concerning the UNITARIANS, Called also SOCINIANS.

Containing the Texts objected to them out of the Evangelists and Acts; and their Answers.

Matth. 22. 29. Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.

Printed in the Year 1687.

A Third Letter, Concerning the Unitarians, called Socinians.


IN this I give you the Texts of the Evangelists and Acts objected to the Socinian Doctrine concerning God our Lord Christ, and the Holy Spirit: and the Answers of the Socinians to the Arguments arising from them.

(1.) Matth. 1. 23. They shall call his Name Immanuel, which being interpre­ted, is, God with us. Answ. See on Isai. 7. 14.

(2.) Matth. 2. 2. Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we—are come to worship him. Answ. Neither [Page 74] the Hebrew, Greek, nor Latin Word for worship him, import any more than a civil Worship and Honour. And it was the manner over all the East, and particularly among the Jews, to pro­strate to Kings, 2 Sam. 19. 18. 1 Kings 1. 16, 23, 31. 2 Sam. 9. 6.

(3.) Mat. 9. 6. The Son of Man hath Power on Earth to forgive Sins. Answ. This is plainly spoken of Christ as he was a Man. God gave this Authority to the Lord Christ, because he gave to him also to know what was in Mens Hearts; namely, whether their Repen­tance and outward Professions were sincere and lasting. John 2. 24, 25. Rev. 1. 1.

(4.) Mat. 11. 27. All things are de­livered to me of my Father, and no Man knoweth the Son but the Father, &c. Answ. (1.) If Christ were himself that one true God, it could not be said here that another Person gave all things into his Hands. (2.) The most Or­thodox Interpreters do understand all things here, to be all things requisite for [Page 75] procuring and effecting the Redemp­tion and Salvation of Men, or all things necessary to the executing the Office of the Messias. Whereas our Lord adds, None knoweth the Son but the Father, &c. Maldonate and Groti­us make the sense to be, None but God knows what the Son's Office is, or what he is to do and suffer in order to the Salvation of Men; as on the other side, none but the Son knows the Father's Mind, concerning the way and means by which Mankind is to be redeemed and saved.

(5.) Mat. 12. 31. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. Answ. St. Austin, and generally all ju­dicious Interpreters, by Blasphemy a­gainst the Holy Ghost or Spirit, under­stand Mens ascribing (with the Scribes and Pharisees in this Chapter) the Mi­racles and Works done apparently by the Spirit or Power of God, unto Ma­gick, or the Power of the Devil. So that the Holy Ghost or Spirit is not in this Text a Person or a God, but mere­ly the Power of God.

[Page 76] (6.) Mat. 18. 20. Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them. Matth. 28. 20. I am with you always, even to the end of the World. Answ. Christ is in the midst of, and is with his People; not by an immediate Presence, as God is, but by his most powerful Aid and Help, which he affordeth partly by his continual and succesful Mediation with God for them all in general, Heb. 7. 25. partly by the Angels who are under his Directions, and by him engaged in the Defence of the Faithful, Heb. 1. 14.

(7.) Matth. 26. 63. Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Like to which Text are Matth. 14. 33. Mat. 16. 16. John 1. 49. Answ. It being manifest that Princes are called Sons of God by the Psalmist, Psal. 82. 6. As also that Psal. 2. 7. (Thou art my Son) is literally meant of David. Hence it was that the Jews both then and now call the Messias the Son of God: not because (as some imagine) they think he is God, or is generated [Page 77] of the Divine Substance; but because they expect he shall be a very great Prince, an universal Monarch, and therefore the Son of God in a more perfect and higher sense than David, or other Princes are.

(8.) Mat. 28. 19. Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Answ. (1.) To be baptized in the Name of a Person or Persons, is a Rite by which one deli­vers himself to the Institution, In­struction, and Obedience of such Per­son or Persons: so that to be baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is to profess to be led and guided by them; or (as Grotius ex­presses this matter) 'tis to declare we will admit of no other thing as a part of our Religion, but what proceeds from these, that is, nothing but what is commanded by God or the Father, and has been delivered by his Son the Lord Christ, and confirmed externally by the Miracles, and internally with the Wit­ness and Testimony of the Spirit, that [Page 78] is, of the Power and Inspiration of God. (2.) 'Tis in vain, not to say ridiculous­ly pretended, that a Person or thing is God, because we are baptized unto it, or in the Name of it. For then Moses and John Baptist also would be Gods, 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2. Our Fathers were—all baptized unto Moses. Acts 19. 3. Ʋn­to what then were ye baptized? and they said, Ʋnto John's Baptism; that is, (saith the Generality of Interpreters) unto John and the Doctrine by him deliver­ed. Nor can it be doubted that to be baptized unto a Person or Persons, and to be baptized in the Name of such Per­son or Persons, is the same thing. For (1.) 'Tis acknowledged by all that understand the Hebrew and Syriac Idi­oms. (2.) 'Tis manifest by compa­ring some Texts of Scripture. For what in some of them is called bapti­zing unto, is in others called baptizing in the Name of. Rom. 6. 3. As many of you as have been baptized into Jesus Christ, (or unto Jesus Christ; for 'tis the same Preposition in the Greek that [Page 79] is used of Moses, 1 Cor. 10. 1, 2. and of John Baptist, Acts 19. 3.) have been baptized into (or unto) his Death. Gal. 3. 27. As many of you as have been bap­tized into Christ (in the Greek, unto Christ) have put on Christ. Acts 2. 38. Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ. Acts 8. 16. They were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Who does not now see, that to be baptized unto, and in the Name of Christ, or any other Person or thing, are used as equivalent terms? And accordingly the Fathers, particu­larly Tertullian, often say baptized un­to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Nothing therefore can be inferred from this Text, for the Godhead of the Son or Spirit; because as now Christians are baptized unto them, so the Jews were baptized unto Moses, and John's Disciples unto John.

(9.) Luke 1. 16, 17, 76. Many of the Children of Israel shall he (John Bap­tist) turn to the Lord their God; and he shall go before him in the Spirit and [Page 80] Power of Elias.—Thou Child shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the Face of the Lord to prepare his way. Answ. See on Isa. 40. 3.

(10.) Luke 17. 5. The Apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our Faith. Answ: By thy Prayers to God, which are al­ways heard for us.

(11.) Luke 24. 47. That Repentance and Remission of Sin should be preached in his (Christ) Name. Answ. The sense is, Christ commanded the Disciples to require Men to repent, and on their so doing to assure them in his Name (or from him) that God would forgive them.

(12.) John 1. 1. &c. In the Beginning was the Word, &c. Answ. The Trini­tarian Exposition of this Chapter is absurd, and contradictory: 'tis this,

In the Beginning: i. e. from all Eter­nity. Answ. From all Eternity is be­fore the Beginning, or without Begin­ning; not in the Beginning. In the Beginning must refer to some time and thing, it must be in the Beginning of the World, or of the Gospel, or of the [Page 81] Word; and in which ever of these sen­ses it is taken, the Word cannot be from all Eternity, by Virtue or Force (I mean) of this Expression, Was the Word. i. e. was God the Son. Answ. But where in Scripture is the Word called God the Son?

The Word was with God; i. e. The Son was with the Father. Answ. It seems then that God in this clause is the Father. But was not the Son also with the Holy Ghost, and is not he too (ac­cording to the Trinitarians) God, or a God? If he is, why doth St. John on­ly say the Son was with the Father; and how comes the Father to engross here the Title of God to the Exclusion of the Holy Ghost?

The Word was God. What shall we do here? was the Word the Father? for so they interpreted God in the forego­ing clause. No, God in this clause, hath a new meaning, 'tis God the Son. But in the whole Scripture there are not these words, God the Son.

The same was in the Beginning with [Page 82] God. How comes this to be again re­peated? for John had said once before, that the Word was with God. They care not, 'tis said, and that's enough. The Truth is, according to their sense of this Context, no account can be gi­ven of this Repetition, and they must allow it to be a meer Tautology. But let us (say the Socinians) hear Grotius interpreting this sublime Proem of St. John's Gospel.

Ver. 1. In the Beginning, (i. e. when God created the Heavens and the Earth. For these Words are taken from Gen. 1. 1.) was the Word. The Hebrews call that Power and Wisdom of God, by which he made the World, and does all other his extraordinary Works, his Word. Psal. 33. 6. By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens made. Heb. 11. 2. The Worlds were made by the Word of God. 2 Pet. 3. 5. By the Word of God the Heavens were of old. They borrow­ed this Expression from Moses, who in describing the Creation, saith that God said, Let there be Light, Gen. 1. 3. [Page 83] God said, Let there be a Firmament, Gen. 1. 6. and so through the whole Chapter. Undoubtedly Moses is not to be understood of a Word orally spo­ken, for God is a Spirit; but his mean­ing is, God put forth his Power and Wisdom, and thereby created Light and the Firmament, &c. As easily as Men can speak these Words, Let there be Light, Let there be a Firmament. Thus we see why the Divine Wisdom and Power was called the Word by Da­vid, and so many Writers of the New Testament.

The Word was with God; i. e. It was not yet in the World, or not yet made Flesh, (ver. 10. and 14.) but with God.

The Word was God; i. e. The Word (or Divine Wisdom and Power) is not some­thing different from God; but being his Wisdom and Power, is God. 'Tis the common Maxim of Divines, that the Attributes and Properties of God are God. Which is in some sense true. We may also here note, that those Per­sons [Page 84] (whether Angels or Men) to whom the Divine Word hath been in an extraordinary Degree communica­ted, have also had the Names Jehovah and God given to them. The Angel who destroyed Sodom by a miraculous Tempest from Heaven is called Jehovah; so is he that promised Abraham to cause Sarah to conceive a Son, Gen. 18. 13. On the same account God says to Moses, Exod 7. 1. See I have made thee a God to Pharaoh. Ver. 2. The same was in the Beginning with God. This is here again repeated by the Evangelist, to teach us that the Word is so God, that it is not all that God is; there being other Properties and Attributes of God, that are communicable as well as the Word.

Ver. 3. All things were made by him. The English-Geneva Translation saith here, All things were made by It. But it matters not, for the Word begins here to be spoken of as a Person, by the same Figure of Speech that Solomon saith, Wisdom hath builded her House, and hewn out her seven Pillars, Prov. [Page 85] 9. 1. And that David calls God's Com­mandments Counsellours, Psal. 119. 24.

Ver. 4. In him: i. e. In him when he was in the World and was made Flesh; Ver. 10. and 14.

Was Life. i. e. By the Word, when made Flesh or Man, the way and manner of ob­taining Life (eternal Life) was disco­vered to the Gentiles. The way is the Doctrine of the Gospel, John 12. 50.

And the Life was the Light of Men; i. e. The Life-giving Doctrine by him taught was that Light, to and by which Men may and ought to direct their Steps in order to eternal Blessedness. John 12. 50. So here the Doctrine of Christ, the Gospel, is called Light, as before it was called Life.

Ver. 8. He (John) was not that Light; i. e. John neither was, nor was the bringer of the Light of the Gospel: though he bare Witness to both. 'Tis usual in familiar Speech to call the Bringer of a thing, by the name of the thing he brings: and for this reason our Saviour is called Life, and [Page 86] Light, John 14. 6. John 8. 12.

Ver. 10. He was in the World. Here the Evangelist returns to speak of the Word. The sense is, in Process of time the Word became incarnate, that is, Abode on the Person of Jesus Christ, and so conversed in the World among Men. God communicated his Word, (that is, a vast Effusion of his Divine Power and Wisdom) to his Son the Lord Christ, Acts. 10. 38.

The World was made by him; i. e. The World and all Men were made by this Word, which (afterwards) abode on Jesus Christ: and which in and by him performed Works not much less wonderful than was the first Crea­tion.

And the World knew him not. Knew not that the Word abiding on Jesus, was that very Divine Word which made both the World and all Men.

Ver. 11. He came unto his own; i. e. To those whom he had made, ver. 10. He is to be understood of the Word. The Word came in the Person of Christ.

[Page 87] His own received him not; i. e. did not own him for what he indeed was, the Divine Word. 'Tis again repeat­ed, to brand the Ingratitude and Stupi­dity of the Jews of that Age.

Ver. 12. Them that believe on his Name. On his Name, is an Hebrew Phrase, as much as to say, on him; i. e. Them that believed on the Word, made Flesh: or them that received and own­ed him for what he indeed was, even the Divine Word.

Ver. 14. And the Word was made Flesh; Or, For the Word was made Flesh: i. e. did abide on and inhabit an humane Person, the Person of Je­sus Christ; and so was (in Appea­rance) made Flesh or Man: for Flesh is the usual Scripture Phrase for Man, Gen. 6. 12. Deut. 5. 26. Jer. 12. 12. Jer. 17. 5. Mark 13. 20.

And we beheld his Glory; i. e. The Glory of the Man, on whom the Word did abide and inhabit in him. We be­held his Glory in his many Miracles, John 2. 11. Also in his Transfigura­tion, [Page 88] 2. Pet. 1. 17. And on many o­ther occasions.

The Glory as of the only begotten of the Father; i. e. A Glory worthy of the only-begotten of the Father. Christ is called the only-begotten on several accounts, this especially, that he only was begotten by the Divine Power on a Woman, Luke 1. 35.

Ver. 15. John bare Witness of him—saying,—He was before me: i. e. Was before me in Dignity, being the only-begotten of God. So Erasmus and Beza as well as Grotius.

Ver. 18. Which is in the Bosom of the Father: i. e. Who is most dear to the Father. So the Phrase signifies in o­ther Texts; Numb. 11. 12. Deut. 13. 6.

Hath declared him: i. e. hath reveal­ed his Mind and Will to Men. Hi­therto (for the most part) Grotius.

Briefly, The Word (according to Grotius) is not an eternal Son of God, but is here the Power and Wisdom of God; which Word abiding without [Page 89] measure on the Lord Christ; (as it is expresly said, Heb. 1. 3. Matth. 28. 18. Col. 2. 3. see the Notes on these Texts) 'tis therefore spoken of as a Person, and as one Person with Christ and he with that.

This notion of the Word will lead a Man through all the Difficulties of this Chapter, with far more ease than any other hitherto offered. Besides that it is so well founded, as has been shown on ver. 1. 'tis also as easy and obvious, and clears the sense as much as can be expected on a Portion of Scripture, that is so obscure and dark, and which was designedly written af­ter a mysterious and sublime manner.

(13.) John 2. 19, 21. Destroy this Tem­ple, and in three Days I will raise it up.—He spake of the Temple of his Body. Answ. Christ raised his Body, by a Power communicated to Him by the Father: and accordingly his being rais­ed, is always attributed to the Father, not to himself, Gal. 1. 1. Paul an Apo­stle,—by Jesus Christ; and God, the [Page 90] Father, who raised him from the dead. See also Eph. 1. 19, 20. 1 Thess. 1. 9, 10. Had our Lord raised himself by his own proper Power, his Resurrection could in no respect be ascribed to the Father.

(14.) John 2. 25. He knew what was in Man. Answ. The Knowledg which the Lord Christ had, or now in his state of Exaltation hath, of the Secrets of Mens Hearts, is the pure Gift of, and Revelation from God, and the Di­vine Word abiding on him. Rev. 1. 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to shew unto his Servants. John 3. 34. God giveth not the Spirit by measure (that is, sparingly) unto him. But see also what they say on Rev. 2. 23.

(15.) John 3. 13. No Man hath as­cended up to Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven; even the Son of Man, which is in Heaven. Answ. (1.) Eras­mus, Beza, Camerarius, acknowledg that the Greek should be rendred, which was in Heaven. Neither so are the Words, which was in Heaven, an idle Repetition of what went before; for [Page 91] it is repeated majoris asseverationis causâ, for its greater Confirmation. The most learned Orthodox Interpreters un­derstand this ascending into, and being in Heaven, as also the descending, on­ly metaphorically; and interpret thus, No Man hath ascended up to Heaven: No Man hath known the Mind of God our Heavenly Father. But he that came down from Heaven; i. e. but he that is sent to you as the Messenger of Heaven, or of God. Even the Son of Man which is in Heaven; i. e. even I whose Meditation and Conversation is in Heaven. As St. Paul says of himself, Phil. 3. 20. Our Conversation is in Heaven. So they interpret the whole Passage, of the humane Nature, I suppose, because our Lord considers and speaks of himself here by the Name only of the Son of Man. But the Socinians do (generally) under­stand this Text literally, and say, that 'tis here intimated that before our Lord entred upon his Office of Messias, he was taken up to Heaven to be instruct­ed [Page 92] in the Mind and Will of God (as Moses was into the Mount, Exod. 24. 1, 2, 12.) and from thence descended to execute his Office, and declare the said Will of God. The same thing they say is also hinted, John 6. 38, 46, 51, 62. John 8. 40.

(16.) John 3. 18. The only begotten. Answ. See on John 1. 14.

(17.) John 5. 19. Whatsoever things He (the Father) doth, those also doth the Son. Answ. The Son doth them, only by the Spirit or Power of the Fa­ther inhabiting in him. John 5. 30. I can do nothing of my self. John 14. 10. The Father that dwelleth in me, He doth the Works. Matth. 12. 28. I cast out Devils by the Spirit of God.

(18.) John 5. 23. That all Men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. Answ. The meaning only is, as we honour God or the Father, so we must not forget to honour also the Son of God; because to him the Father hath committed the last Judgment of all Men, ver. 22. An Equality of Ho­nour [Page 93] is no more intended here, than an Equality of Perfection in those words, Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect, Matth. 5. 48. For the sense there is, as God is truly perfect, so do ye endea­vour to be perfect with that Perfecti­on of which your finite Natures are capable.

19. John 6. 44. I will raise him up at the last Day. Answ. The Lord Christ shall raise and change our Bodies by the same Divine Word, or Power of God communicated to him, and abiding on him, by which while he was in this mor­tal Life he raised and changed the Body of Lazarus, which was corrupted: that the Power by which he restored Lazarus to Life again, was not our Lords own pro­per Power, but God's, that is the Fathers; is plainly intimated by our Lord him­self, John 11. 41. Father, I thank thee, that thou hast heard me, &c. Almigh­ty God can lodge even in dry Bones, a Power of restoring the dead, 2 Kings 13. 21. see also what hath been said on John 5. 19.

[Page 94] (20.) John 8. 56, 58. Abraham re­joiced (or desired) to see my Day, and saw it.—Before Abraham was, I am, Or (as 'tis rendred by the Syriac, Non­nus and Grotius) I was. Answ. (1.) Abraham saw Christ's Day, in the Spi­rit of Prophecy; he saw it as coming, not as present; he foresaw (as he de­sired) the time when it should be. (2.) St. Austin has confessed, that Christ is here said to be before Abra­ham, not actually, but in the Counsel Decree, and Ordination of God. And so St. Peter explains this matter; 1 Pet. 1. 20. Who verily was fore-ordained from the Foundation of the World, but was made manifest in these last times. In like manner at Rev. 13. 8. Christ is called the Lamb slain from the Founda­tion of the World. The Words are, Whose Names are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb slain from the Foun­dation of the World. Every one sees that Christ could be no otherways slain from the Foundation of the World, but in the Counsel and Decree of God. [Page 95] See more such Instances on John 17. 5. 'Tis true the Jews did not apprehend in what sense our Lord meant he was before Abraham: but neither did he intend or care they should; for finding them averse from Truth and Piety, he often so spake to some of them, as to perplex and affront their Blindness and Arrogance yet more, and not to in­struct them, see for this Luke 8. 10.

(21.) John. 10. 30. I and the Father are one. Answ. Not one God, but as Friends are said to be one. Thus our Lord explains himself, John 17. 11. Keep them whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are. The Disci­ples could be one no otherways than as Friends are one, (namely in Affection and Design) neither with one another nor with God. Ver. 22. The Glory which thou gavest me, (i. e. the Power of doing Miracles) I have given them, that they may be one, as we are one.

(22.) John 10. 33. Thou being a Man makest thy self God, or a God. Answ. It appears they lied, by our Saviours [Page 96] Answer at ver. 36. Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the World, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God. Had our Lord been more than the Son of God, he would have owned his Dignity, when they charged him with Blasphe­my for saying those things, from which it might (by their strained Consequen­ces) be inferred that he made himself a God. Camero on this Text ingenuous­ly confesses, that in this Context our Lord doth not make himself God: He adds, that times and circumstances re­quired, that the Revelation of this Mystery should be deferred till our Lord's Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. In which saying he gives up to the Socinians all the Texts of the Evangelists.

(23.) John 10. 38. The Father is in me, and I in him. Answ. 'Tis also said, 1 John 4. 16. He that dwelleth in Love, (i. e. exerciseth Love and Charity) dwelleth in God, and God in him. There­fore Christ and Christians are said to [Page 97] be in God, and God in them, by their mutual Love; or because of their mu­tual Love.

(24.) John 12. 41. These things said Isaias, when he saw his Glory, and spake of him. Answ. see on Isai. 6. 1, 8, 9.

(25.) John 14. 1. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. Answ. Our Lord has himself interpreted this. John 12. 44. He that believeth on me, belie­veth not on me; but on him that sent me.

(26.) John 14. 7, 9. If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him:—He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, shew us the Father? Answ. It is also said, Luke 10. 16. He that heareth you, heareth me; 'tis there farther added, He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. Shall we now infer, that the Disciples and Ministers of Christ, are Christ: nay, are him also that sent Christ, name­ly God? The Truth therefore is, when [Page 98] we are said to know, see, hear, despise God, in knowing, seeing, hearing, or despising Christ, or his Ministers; the meaning only is, that Christ and his true Ministers being the Ambassadours and Messengers of God, and revealing to us his Nature and Will, they are so far forth to be esteemed one with God; and in seeing and hearing them, we see and hear him as much as the invisible God can be seen or heard, in this mor­tal Life.

(27.) John 14. 14. If ye ask any thing in my Name, I will do it. Answ. The obvious meaning is, if ye pray for any thing to God, using my Name; I will cause it to be done for you by my In­tercession, the general Intercession that I will make for all good Christians. Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save them that come unto God by him, (i. e. that pray to God in his Name) seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them.

(28.) John 16. 8, 13, 14. When he (the Comforter, or Spirit) is come, he will reprove the World of Sin:—He [Page 99] shall not speak of himself:—He shall receive of mine, and shew it to you. Here the Spirit is plainly spoken of as a Person. Answ. (1.) Of those that are Ʋnitarians, all the Arians, and very many Socinians, do acknowledg, that the Holy Spirit is a Person, chief of the Heavenly Spirits, prime Minister of God and Christ; because he is here called the Comforter (or Advocate) and said to hear, speak, and teach; and elsewhere to interceed for us. But they add, that this very Context in telling us, (ver. 13.) He will guide you into all Truth, for he shall not speak of himself; Sufficiently sheweth that he is not God, or a God. For it were in­tolerable to say of God, he shall lead you into all Truth, for he shall not speak of himself: the contrary is true of God, he shall lead you into all Truth, For he shall speak of himself. (2.) But more generally the Socinians say, that Actions proper to Persons are by a Figure ascribed to things, and even to Qualities of things, not only in Ho­ly [Page 100] Scripture, but in all Writers. God's Commandments are called Counsellours, Psal. 119. 24. Understanding is said to lift up her Voice, Prov. 8. 1. Wis­dom to build her House, and hew out her seven-Pillars, Prov. 9. 1. Charity to think no evil, 1 Cor. 13. 5. Water and Blood to bear Witness, 1 John 5. 8. The Stone set up by Joshua to hear all the Words of the Lord, Josh. 24. 27. Are these things Persons? Is it not evident that Actions proper to Persons are as­cribed to them, as well as to the Holy Spirit, or Power and Inspiration of God, by the Figure called Prosopopeia? Briefly, We ought to conceive thus of this matter, a great Effusion of God's Inspiration and Power being to be gi­ven to the Disciples, that it might be a continual Director and Guide when the Lord Christ was no more personal­ly with them: therefore this Guide is by the aforesaid Figure spoken of in such terms as if it were some Doctor, Teacher, and Advocate. Hence it is said to reprove the World, to guide [Page 101] into all Truth, to intercede for us (namely because it suggesteth Prayer and Affection in Prayer) also not to speak of himself, but to speak what he shall hear from God; to receive of Christ's, that is, receive of God the Remainder of Christ's Doctrine, and teach it to the Apostles. For 'tis to be noted that our Lord left some things to be taught by this Inspiration of God; because the Disciples were not capable to hear and believe them, till they had seen the great Miracles of our Lords Resurrection and Afcension into Hea­ven, John 16. 12. I have yet many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now; Howbeit when the Spirit of Truth is come, he shall guide you into all Truth. The Spirit that guided the Apostles into all Truth, was it not the meer Inspiration of God?

It is for the same Reason, and by the same Figure, that this Power and In­spiration of God in the Apostles, is said to bear Witness, John 15. 26. to search Mysteries, 1 Cor. 2. 10. 11. to distri­bute [Page 102] Gifts, 1 Cor. 12. 2. to appoint Bishops, Acts 20. 28. to glorify Christ, John 16. 14.

Finally, It appeared in the Form of a Dove on Christ, and of Cloven Tongues on the Apostles, Matth. 3. 16. Acts 2. 3, 4. Because God conveyed this Divine Energy to the Lord Christ, and to the Apostles, in these outward Symbols, which were fit Emblems of the Quality of the Gifts then bestowed. The Dove signified the mild and peace­able Spirit of Christ; and that the Power then conveyed to him should not be for the Damage or Hurt of Man­kind: The Tongues denoted, that the Apostles did then and there receive the Gift or Faculty of speaking with many Tongues. But what sense can the Trinitarians make of these things? they say the Spirit is a Person and God: did God receive and assume the Shape of a Dove, that is, of a Brute? What hin­ders but that they may believe all the Transformations in the Metamorphosis of Ovid?

[Page 103] (29.) John 16. 15. All things that the Father hath, are mine. Answ. (1.) St. Paul hath said as much of every Chri­stian; 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. All things are Yours:—things present, things to come, all are yours. 2. All things in this Text of St. John, are all things rela­ting to the Christian Faith, Doctrine and Discipline: for it follows, There­fore said I, He (the Spirit) shall take of mine, and shew it to you. The meaning of the whole Passage is, all things relating to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Christian Church, which the Father hath in his Mind and Design, are mine: that is, are known to me, and shall (for the most part of them) be ordered by my self: as for the rest which I my self do not disco­ver or order, the Spirit shall receive it, and shew it to you.

(30.) John 17. 5. Glorify me with thine own self, with the Glory I had with thee, before the World was. Answ. (1.) St. Austin and many other learned and Orthodox Interpreters, not only grant, [Page 104] but contend that the meaning here is, Let me now actually receive that Glory with thy self, which I had with thee in thy Decree and Design before the World was. This Interpretation is confirmed by this, that the Sufferings of Christ were to precede his actual Glory, 1 Pet. 1. 11. Searching what, and what manner of time the Spirit—did signify, when it testified before-hand the Sufferings of Christ, and the Glory that should follow. (2.) As 'tis here said, The Glory that I had with thee be­fore the World was: so 'tis said, 2 Cor. 5. 1. We have a Building of God, an House not made with Hands. Where we have is, we have it in God's Decree and Intention, or it is prepared for us; 2 Tim. 1. 9. Grace was given us in Christ before the World was. Where again was given to us is, was given in God's Decree and Intention. There­fore so also we may understand, that Christ had Glory before the World was.

[Page 105] (31.) John 17. 10. All mine are thine, and thine are mine. Answ. It appears by the foregoing verse, and by what follows, that Christ speaks of such as were or should be his Disciples. His meaning is, all that are my Disciples, are of thy giving to me, and still re­main thine; and all that are true Ser­vants and Lovers of God, readily be­come mine, that is, Disciples to me.

(32.) John 17. 24. For thou lovedst me from the Foundation of the World. Answ. None can deny, that God loved all the Elect from the Foundation of the World. To God all things are pre­sent; not only what is past, but what is to come, is present to the Divine Mind and Knowledg.

(33.) John 20. 28. Thomas answered, and said unto him my Lord, and my God: Or, O my Lord, and O my God! For 'tis an Attic Vocative. Answ. 1. Nestorius, Pa­triarch of Constantinople, was of Opinion that these Words were not designed to Christ, but to God. For though the Evan­gelist saith, Thomas answered and said un­to [Page 106] him (i. e. to Christ) O my Lord, and O my God. Yet the Exclamation might be addressed to God as it's Object, tho it was also an Answer to our Saviour, or in Answer to our Saviour, and to what he had said at ver. 27. Or if the Words were addressed to our Saviour also, it may be admitted as true what others say here: Namely, (2.) When Thomas had felt the Prints of the Spear and Nails in our Saviour's Side and Hands, and was thereby fully satisfied that he was indeed risen again, he breaks forth into this Exclamation; the first part of which he directed to Christ, the other to God. O my Lord! are Words of Congratulation to our Saviour; And O my God! Words of Admiration and Praise to God.

(34.) Acts 5. 3, 4. Why hath Satan filled thine Heart, to lie to the Holy Ghost?—Thou hast not lied unto Men, but unto God. Answ. Some of the most celebrated Interpreters among the Trinitarians have owned, that this Text ought to be thus understood, Why [Page 107] hast thou lied to the Holy Ghost: i. e. to us Apostles who have (thou know­est) the Holy Spirit or Inspiration of God in us. Thou hast not lied unto Men, but unto God; i. e. thou hast not here­by lied to Men only or chiefly, but to God, who is in us by his Spirit and In­spiration. This Interpretation is con­firmed by 1 Thess. 4. 8. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not Man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Ho­ly Spirit. Here 'tis manifest, that those who despised the Apostles, are said to despise God, because God was in them by his Spirit: What hinders then, but that for the same reason, those that lied to the Apostles, should be said and understood to lie to God?

(35.) Acts 7. 59. They stoned Ste­phen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit. Answ. (1.) The Word God is not in the Original Greek, in no Greek Bible. (2.) Admitting this Word God to be here rightly un­derstood, yet the Greek when rendred Grammatically, maketh this sense, cal­ling [Page 108] upon God, and saying, O Lord of Jesus receive my Spirit. (3.) Admit­ting the English Translation, the mea­ning here is only this, Stephen called upon God, and he also said, Lord Je­sus receive my Spirit; because at the same time he saw Jesus (in Prophetick Vision) standing at the Right Hand of God. He began to have this Vision while he stood before the Council, ver. 56. and it continued with him to the Moment of his Expiration, for his Consolation and Support; as is granted by many learned Interpreters of the Orthodox party.

(36.) Acts 9. 14, 21. To bind all that call upon thy Name. (The Words are spoken to the Lord Christ, as is made undeniable by ver. 17.)—Is not this he, that destroyed them which called on this Nome (Christ's Name) in Je­rusalem? Answ. (1.) The Socinians generally not only grant, but earnestly contend, that Christ is to be worship­ped and prayed to: because God hath (they say) by his [...]biting Word or [Page 109] Power given to the Lord Christ, a Fa­culty of knowing all things, and an Ability to relieve all our Wants. The Polonian Ʋnitarians were so zealous in this matter, that they excommunicated and deposed from their Ministry, such of their own Party as denied that Christ might be prayed to, and wor­ship't with Divine Worship. This had bad Effects, therefore the Ʋnitarians of Transylvania were more moderate, they admitted to the Ministers and Professors-Places, those that rejected the Invocation and Adoration of Christ; but obliged them under their Hands, not to speak against worshipping or praying to the Lord Christ in their Ser­mons or Lectures. (2.) Those Ʋni­tarians that reject the Invocation of Christ, say, 1. That the most learned of the Ancients were of their Opinion. It appears by St. Austin (T. 6. L. 1. de Haeres. Num. 43.) and by Photias (Cod. 117.) that Origen denied that the Son was to be adored or prayed to. He is, saith Origin, not the Author, but Pro­curer [Page 110] of the good things bestowed on us. 2. Our Lord Christ, when he was consulted about the Object and matter of Prayers, directed his Disci­ples to God; Luke 11. 1, 2. When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven. 3. It seems clear enough, that he for­bad the Disciples to pray to himself; ordering them at the same time to pray to God in his Name, or for his Sake: John 16. 23. In that Day (i. e. after I am risen, have seen you again, and be­ing ascended into Heaven have procu­red for you the Comforter, whose Consolations none can take from you. So all Interpretters of note) ye shall ask me nothing;—whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you. 4. To make Christ himself the Object of Prayer, is to destroy his Me­diatory Office. For if he doth hear our Prayers, and can and doth (by a Power constantly resident in him) re­lieve our Wants; to what purpose is he our Mediator with God. They that make it a Duty to pray to Christ, will [Page 111] find it hard to give a good account of those Words, Heb. 7. 25. He (Christ) is able to save unto the uttermost, all that come unto God by him, (i. e. that pray to God in his Name, or for his sake) seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them. What can be more evident, than that here Christ's saving us from the Evils we either fear or labour under, is a­scribed not to his own inherent Power, but to his Intercession with the Al­mighty. It is farther to be observed, that these Gentlemen say, that Christ's Mediation and Intercession for us, is not to be understood of a verbal or per­sonal Mediation, proceeding from a particular Knowledg of our Wants and Prayers, but he mediates by his Merits; that is, by the perfect Obedience and most acceptable Services, that he has performed to God.

As to the objected Texts, To bind all that call upon thy Name. And again, Is not this he that destroyed them that called on this Name in Jerusalem? They answer, that the Original Greek may [Page 112] be translated several ways. 1. Thus, to bind all that are called by thy Name. And, Is not this he, that destroyed them who are called by this Name in Je­rusalem? that is, All that from Christ are called Christians. And this seems to be the genuine sense of these Texts. 2. Thus, To bind all that name thy Name. And, Is not this he that de­stroyed them who name this Name in Je­rusalem? that is, that profess the Name of Christ, that speak of Christ as their Master and Teacher. Agreably to this, St. Paul saith, 2 Tim. 2. 9. Let all that name the Name of Christ, depart from Ini­quity. 3. Thus, as 'tis in our English Bibles, to bind all that call upon thy Name. And, Is not this he that de­stroyed them that called on this Name in Jerusalem? For though the first Christians did not pray to the Lord Christ, yet they called upon his Name in Prayer, they used his Name in their Prayers to God, praying for all things in his Name; which is a calling upon his Name in the most proper and gram­matical [Page 113] sense of these Words; and is indeed the only sense of which they are capable, when they are used of a Man, as Christ was. So they.

(37.) Acts 15. 28. It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us. Answ. that is, to God's Inspiration in us, and therefore to us also: See on John 16. 8, 13, 14.

(38.) Acts 20. 28. Feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own Blood. Answ. (1.) It appears by the Syriac, the Armenian, and the most ancient Greek Bibles, that the true rea­ding of this Text is, Feed the Church of Christ, which he hath purchased with his own Blood. (2.) Admitting the reading in the vulgar Editions of the Greek, yet some great Masters of that Tongue have rendred the Greek Words thus, Feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own Son's Blood. (3.) Admitting the Tran­slation in our English Bibles, some learned Men (particularly Erasmus) have noted, that the Blood of Christ [Page 114] is here called the Blood of God, be­cause it was the Blood which God gave for the Redemption of the World. So John 1. 36. Behold the Lamb of God: that is, the Lamb of Sacrifice which God giveth for the Sins of the World. For God so loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son to die and shed his Blood for us.

From, SIR, Your Faithful and Assured.
A Fourth Letter TO A …

A Fourth Letter TO A FRIEND, Concerning the UNITARIANS, Called also SOCINIANS.

Containing the Texts objected to them out of the Epistles and Re­velation.

Rom. 1. 25. Who changed the Truth of God into a Lie; and worshipped and served the Creature, more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Printed in the Year 1687.

A Fourth Letter, Concerning the Unitarians, vulgarly called Socinians.


WE are come to the last part of our Task, the Texts of the Epistles and Revelation, and the Answers of the Socinians to them.

(1.) Rom. 1. 3. Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the Seed of David, accor­ding to the Flesh. Rom. 9. 5. Of whom, as concerning the Flesh, Christ came; who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen. Answ. (1.) It is very probable, by the Syriae and by some Passages in Ignatius and other Fathers, that the word God was not originally in this Text, for they [Page 118] read it thus, Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, who is blessed above all for ever. 2. But admitting the reading in the vulgar Editions of the Greek, the Greek Words (as Eras­mus and Curcellaeus observe) should have been thus translated, Of whom, as concerning the Flesh, Christ came; God who is over all be blessed for ever. For the Words are a Thanksgiving for Christ, and for his Exaltation. The Addition of the word Amen, proper in Prayers and Thanksgivings, doth much countenance this Translation. 3. These Words, according to the Flesh, and as concerning the Flesh, never signify (as Trinitarians would here interpret them) according to his humane Nature, as if Christ had also a Divine Nature: Rom. 9. 3. My Kinsmen according to the Flesh. Rom. 4. 1. Abraham, our Father as pertaining to the Flesh. Col. 3. 22. Servants obey in all things your Masters according to the Flesh. Had now Abraham or Paul's Kinsmen, or have Masters a Divine Nature, because [Page 119] these Words, according to the Flesh, and as pertaining to the Flesh, are used of them? The Truth is, these Phrases are only as much as to say according to the Body; and are to signify that Abra­ham is the Father of the Jews, accord­ing to their Bodies, as God is the Father of their Souls or Spirits: and that the Jews were Paul's Kinsmen according to the Body, but not of Kin to him in Respect of Likeness in Faith or Man­ners: also that Masters are Masters over our Bodies, not of our Minds or Spirits. Therefore in the other Texts also, where Christ is said to be of the Seed of Abraham, of Israel, and of Da­vid, according to the Flesh; the mean­ing can only be, that as to his Body or outward Man, he descended of the House of David, and of the Stock of Israel and Abraham, his Soul or Spirit being from God.

(2.) Rom. 2. 16. God shall judg the Secrets of Men by Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 4. 5. Who both will bring to light the hid­den things of Darkness, and will make [Page 120] manifest the Counsels of Hearts. Answ. The Knowledg Christ hath, or at the last Judgment shall have of the Secrets of Hearts, is purely by Revelation from God, and the Divine Word communica­ted to him, Rev. 1. 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to shew unto his Servants.

(3.) Rom. 10. 12. The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Answ. This and what follows is spoken of God, not of Christ.

(4.) 1 Cor. 1. 2, 3. All that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ. Ver. 3. Grace be to you and Peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Je­sus. Answ. 1. As to the former of these Texts, see on Acts 9. 14, 21. For all that is there said, takes place here also. 2. But as to ver. 3. It shows plainly that Christ is not God, for it speaks of him as a distinct and different Person from God: Therefore Grace and Peace is wished to the Corinthians from God, as the Author of every good and perfect Gift; and from Christ, [Page 121] (to use the Words of Origen) as the Procurer by his Intercession with God.

(5.) 1 Cor. 6. 9. Your Body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. 2 Cor. 6. 16. Ye are Temples of the living God. Answ. The Holy Ghost or Spirit being the Inspiration and Power of God, the same Bodies that are Temples of one, must needs be Temples also of the other.

(6.) 1 Cor. 10. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of Serpents. It had been said before at ver. 4. They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. Answ. 1. The Rock was Christ, not really, but in Signification, it signified and prefigured Christ, for which reason 'tis called a spiritual Rock. So St. Austin, contr. Advers. Leg. et Prophet. l. 2. c. 6. This Interpretation is confirmed by Instan­ces of like Nature, Gen. 41. 26. The seven good Kine are seven Years, and the seven good Ears are seven Years: [Page 122] that is, they signify and prefigure se­ven Years of plenty. This Rock pre­figured Christ, as he is the true Rock of his People and Church: Its Waters also signified Christ, for as they were the Refreshment and Life of the Isra­elites in the Wilderness; so is Christ of the true Israel of God, in the howling Wilderness of this present World. 2. Whereas we are bid at ver. 9. not to tempt Christ, 'tis to be noted that the ancient and true reading of this Text is, Let us not tempt God. S. Epiphanius hath left upon record, that it was the Heretick Marcion who cor­rupted this Text, by putting Christ for God in the Copies by him published, Epiphan. L. 1. T. 3. p. 358. Edit. Petav. But admitting the reading in the Eng­lish Bibles, yet the sense will be, Let us not tempt (that is, murmur against) Christ; as the Israelites tempted or murmured against God in the Wilder­ness. That tempting God and Christ is rightly interpreted by murmuring a­gainst them, appears by Numb. 14. 27, 28, 29.

[Page 123] (7.) 1 Cor. 12. 4, 5, 6, 11. There are Diversities of Gifts, but the same Spi­rit;—Differences of Administrations, but the same Lord;—Diversities of Operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.—All these worketh that one and the same Spirit. Answ. The plain meaning is, God and his Spirit; that is, God by his Spirit and Inspiration, worketh that great Diver­sity of Gifts, (Prophecy, Tongues, Healing) which were in the Christi­ans of those times: and that though there are different Administrations (that is, Orders of Men) in the Church, yet they are all under one Lord or Head, even Christ.

(8.) 2 Cor. 8. 9. Ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his Poverty might become rich. Answ. The sense is, Such was the Favour and Love of Christ to Man­kind, that in his own Person he set us an Example of Mortification and Self-denial, in his living a poor sort of Life; [Page 124] though 'tis certain he could have lived in the greatest Splendor, Dignity, and Plenty. He that could multiply the Loaves and Fishes, and the Wine at the Wedding of Cana, need not have wan­ted any of the Comforts of Life; if for our Sakes (that we Gentiles might be rich and blessed for ever) he had not chose to imploy himself in preach­ing, and making Disciples who might be his Agents in planting the Word of the Gospel over all the World.

(9.) 2 Cor. 12. 8, 9. I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.—Therefore I will rather glory in my Infirmities, that the Power of Christ may rest on me. Answ. He be­sought the Lord, that is, he besought God. The Power of Christ here is the Strength or Power which Christ procures, by his general Mediation (for all his Church, and every Member of it) with God. So the sense is, that what my Lord Christ can do and procure for me with God, may abide on me, name­ly Power and Strength either to over­come [Page 125] or bear this Affliction. But note that the Socinians, for the most part of them, do grant that the Word or Power of God abiding on Christ, doth qualify him both to hear our Prayers, and to succour us in all Distresses.

(10.) 2 Cor. 13. 14. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you. Answ. 1. This Text demon­strates, that neither the Lord Christ, nor the Holy Spirit are God, for it plainly distinguishes them from God. 2. The sense of the whole Verse is, I wish you the continual Favour and In­tercession of Christ; for you are not unknown to him, seeing the Angels (of whom he is made King and Head) signify to him your State and Conditi­on, Rev. 5. 6. Heb. 1. 14. I wish you, as an Effect of Christ's Intercession, the Love of God or the Father: and as the Consequence of that, a plenti­tiful Communication of God's Holy Spirit or Inspiration, together with all the Effects of it.

[Page 126] (11.) Gal. 1. 1, 12. Paul an Apostle, not of Man, neither by Men, but by Je­sus Christ, and God the Father.—I neither received it of Man, neither was I taught it, but by Revelation of Jesus Christ. Answ. As we truely say the Holy Bible is the Word not of Men, but of God; because though it was spoken and written by Men, yet it proceedeth (as to the matter of it) from the Inspiration of, and Direction from God: So Paul rightly denies he is made an Apostle by Man, be­cause he was made one by Jesus Christ, who in all things acted by the Spirit and Directions of God. Briefly, Not of Man, neither by Man in these Verses, is only as much as to say, not by humane Authority, but by Authority from God by the Lord Christ.

(12.) Eph. 3. 9. Who created all things by Jesus Christ. Answ. Though the Words might have been rendred, Who created all things for Jesus Christ, (see on Heb. 1. 2.) yet the truth is, these [Page 127] Words, by or for Jesus Christ, were not originally in this Text, but added to it. For it appears by the most ancient Greek Copies, and by the Syriac and Latin, as also by several of the Fathers, that the true reading here is only thus, Who created all things.

(13.) Phil. 2. 5, 6, 7, 8. Let this Mind be in you, which was in Christ Je­sus; who being in the Form of God, thought it not Robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no Reputati­on, and took upon him the Form of a Servant. And being found in Fashion as a Man; he humbled himself and be­came obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross: Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name above every Name. Answ. It cannot be the Design of the former part of these Words, to intimate that Christ is God; because 'tis at last added, that God hath exalted him and given him a Name above every Name; for these Words plainly distinguish Christ from God, as one who is not himself God, but exalted [Page 128] by God. This and other Considerati­ons, has obliged the more judicious and learned Trinitarians, to interpret this whole Context of Christ, as he is a Man, and to translate somewhat otherways than we have done in the English. They render and interpret the Words thus;

Ver. 5. Let this Mind be in you, that was in Christ Jesus; i. e. be ye humble and lowly as the Lord Christ was, ver. 3, 4.

Ver. 6. Who being in the Form of God; i. e. who being made like to God; and namely by a Communicati­on to him of Divine and miraculous Power over Diseases, Devils, the Grave, the Wind, the Seas, &c.

Committed not Robbery by equalling himself to God; i. e. did not rob God of his Honour, by arrogating to himself to be God, or equal to God.

Ver. 7. But made himself of no Re­putation; i. e. chose a poor Life, like a Person of no Reputation or Me­rit.

[Page 129] And took upon him the Form of a Ser­vant; i. e. became like a Servant; possessing nothing of his own, and suffering Injuries and Reproaches with­out making Reply or seeking Revenge. Being a Preacher of Mortification, Hu­mility and Self-denial, he lived up to the height of his Doctrine.

Ver. 8. Being made like other Men, in the common Similitude of Man; he humbled himself, and became obedient un­to Death; i. e. being a Man in all re­spects like other Men, (Sin excepted) he always expressed a great Humility; and notwithstanding that he could have delivered himself from them, yet was he obedient even to evil Magi­strates; and without Resistance under­went that Death, which their Wick­edness and Malice prepared for him.

Ver. 9. Wherefore God hath highly ex­alted him. For this, as well as other causes, he is now by God advanced e­ven above Angels; the very Angels being put under his Directions.

[Page 130] (14.) Phil. 3. 21. Who shall change our vile Body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious Body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to sub­due all things to himself. Answ. See on John 6. 44. and on John 5. 19. places parallel to this.

(15.) Col. 1. 15. The Image of the invi­sible God. Heb. 1. 3. The Express Image of his Person. Answ. 1. These Texts are Demonstrations that Christ is not God; it being simply impossible, that the I­mage should be the very being or thing whose Image it is. 2. Those that al­ledg these Texts to prove that Christ is God, forget that St. Paul saith of every Man, that he is the Image and Glory of God, 1 Cor. 11. 7.

(16.) Col. 1. 15, 16. The Image of the invisible God, the first-born of every Creature. For by him were all things created that are in Heaven and that are in Earth.—And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Answ. 1. Christ is called the first-born of every [Page 131] Creature, not absolutely, as if he was in being before all other Creatures; but the meaning is, he is the first-born from the dead of all God's Creatures. He is the first that was raised from the dead (and thus as it were born again into the World) so as never to die a­gain, but forthwith injoy eternal Life. Thus in this very Context is the first-born explained, ver. 18. He is the Head of the Body the Church, who is the Begin­ning, the first-born from the dead. 2. These Words, For by him were all things crea­ted, &c. are not spoken of Christ, but of God. The sense of the whole Context is this, the Lord Christ is the most perfect Image of the invisible God, the first-born from the dead of eve­ry Creature; for (O Colossians) by him, even by the invisible God, were all things created; they were not (as some of your Philosophers have taught you) from all Eternity, nor (as others say) arose from the accidental Con­course of Atoms, but all of them (whe­ther [Page 132] things in Heaven, or things in Earth; whether they be Thrones or Dominions, or Principalities, or Pow­ers) are Creatures, and were by God created, who is before them all, and by him they all consist. But he is the Head of the Body the Church, who is the Beginning and first-born from the dead, even the Lord Christ. 3. They observe farther, that the most learned and critical Interpreters of the Trini­tarians, do not think that Creation is in this Context ascribed to Christ. They interpret this Context thus, The most Beloved (so first-born is used by the Hebrews and Hellenists; Exod. 4. 22. Psal. 89. 27. Jer. 31. 9.) of every Crea­ture, or the Chief and Head of every Creature. So Camero, Piscator, Deo­dat, Dally, Vorstius, Davenant, Groti­us. For by him were all things modelled, whether they be things in Heaven, or things in Earth, modelled, not created. So of the Ancients, even Athanasius, and St. Cyril, and Fulgentius: So also [Page 133] Alfonsus, Salmero, Arias Montanus, Grotius, and many more. The Lord Christ is said to model (or order) all things on Earth, because of the great change he introduced; abolishing Ju­daism and Paganism (the only Religi­ons then in the World) and introdu­cing Christianity in their stead. He new ordered or modelled the Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, (and other Angelick Orders) in Hea­ven, in that he became their Head and King (whereas they were before im­mediately under God) and giveth to them from time to time such Orders and Directions as to him seem good, 1 Pet. 3. 22. Rev. 1. 1. Rev. 5. 6.

Whereas 'tis added at ver. 17. He is before all things: They understand it thus, he is in Worth and Excellence, as well as Dignity and Power, before all other Persons and things; And by him all things consist; i. e. By his wise Pro­vidence and Government they consist, or fall into no Disorder and Confusion. [Page 134] 4. St. Chrysostom goes away by himself. He understands indeed, ver. 16. of Christ, but he renders it not, for by him were all things created, but thus, the most beloved of every Creature, for for him were all things created that are in Heaven, and that are in Earth, &c. So that the sense here is the same with what is said, Heb. 1. 2. Whom he (God) hath appointed Heir of all things; i. e. All things were originally made with respect to Christ, that they might be subjected one day to him, and he be made Heir or Lord (under God his Fa­ther) of them.

(17.) Col. 2. 3. In him are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledg. Answ. 1. The Socinians grant, that in Christ are inestimable Treasures of Wisdom, given to him by God. But, 2. It has been observed by others, that this particular Verse and its Context should have been thus translated, to the Acknowledgment of the Mystery of God even the Father, and of Christ; [Page 135] in which (i. e. in which Mystery) are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledg.

(18.) Col. 2. 9. In him dwelleth the Fulness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are compleat in him; or, ye are filled by him. Answ. 1. 'Tis also said, Eph. 3. 9. That ye (ye Ephesians) might be filled with all the Fulness of God. And this very Text of the Colossians saith, that the Fulness of God (or of the Godhead) is so in Christ, that we are filled by him with the same. Therefore the Fulness of God or of the Godhead here, is the Fulness of the Knowledg of God, or of the Godhead: this dwelt in Christ, and with this he hath filled or compleated us Christians. This Know­ledg is said to dwell in Christ bodily, or (as others translate) substantially; in Opposition to that imperfect um­bratile and unsincere Knowledg of God, that was to be found in the Philosophy and Philosophers of the Greeks, who in Paul's time were in great Esteem [Page 136] among the Colossians and other Greek Nations and Colonies. This Interpre­tation is confirmed by ver. 8. and al­lowed by the most learned and Ortho­dox Interpreters.

(19.) 1 Thess. 3. 11, 12. God him­self and our Father, and our Lord Je­sus Christ direct (in the Greek, prosper) our way unto you. Answ. Paul wisheth that the Lord Christ may prosper his way; meaning, by his general Inter­cession with God for all his Ministers and other Labourers in the Gospel; as also by his Angels, who are Christ's Agents, sent forth to minister to (i. e. to protect and help) those that shall be Heirs of Salvation, Heb. 1. 14. 1 Pet. 3. 22. Rev. 1. 1. Rev. 5. 6. But it is added at ver. 12. of this third to the Colossians, And the Lord make you to en­crease and abound in Love. Answ. If these Words are to be understood of Christ; It must be said that the Lord Christ causeth us to abound in Love, and all other Graces, partly by his Go­spel; [Page 137] partly by his Intercession with him, who is the Giver of every good and perfect Gift, Heb. 7. 25. See also what has been said on Acts 9. 14, 21.

(20.) 2 Thess. 2. 16, 17. Our Lord Je­sus,—comfort your Hearts; and esta­blish you in every good Word and Work. Answ. See on 1 Thess. 3. 11, 12.

(21.) 1 Tim. 3. 16. Without Contro­versy, great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was manifest in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels,—belie­ved on in the World, received up into Glory. Answ. It appears by the Syri­ac, Latin, Ethiopic, Armenian, Ara­bic, and most ancient Greek Bibles; as also by the first Council of Nice, and a great many Citations out of the Fa­thers both Greek and Latin; that the Word God was not originally in this Text, but added to it: For they read it thus, Without Controversy great is the Mystery of Godliness, which was ma­nifest by Flesh, (that is, by Man, by the Ministry of Men, even Jesus and [Page 138] his Apostles) justified by the Spirit; (i. e. proved by Miracles done by the Spirit or Power of God) seen of Angels (i. e. discovered to Angels, who greatly de­sired to understand this Secret, and the Particulars and Causes of it, Eph. 3. 10, 11. 1 Pet. 1. 12.) believed on in the World, received with Glory; that is, entertained in most places with the greatest Respect and Honour, Gal. 4. 15. Note that the Gospel is here called a Mystery, because it was so long con­cealed, and so late discovered: and the Mystery of Godliness, from its Effect; namely, because it disposeth Mens Minds to true Piety and Godliness. Note also that it was Macedonius (the 2d) Patriarch of Constantinople, that corrupted this Text by substitution of the word God instead of the word which; and for this and other matters he was deposed in an Episcopal Coun­cil, and banished by the Emperour Anastatius, about the Year 512. But 2. Admitting the word God were tru­ly [Page 139] read in the vulgar Copies of the Greek, yet if you will make sense, you must thus translate and interpret, great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was ma­nifested by Flesh, (i. e. God's Nature and Will was manifested by Flesh, that is, by Man, by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, to us Gentiles) was justi­by the Spirit, (i. e. the same Will and Nature of God, was verified by Mira­cles done by the Spirit or Power of God) was seen of Angels, (was known to the Angels, who were very desirous to understand this new Revelation) believed on in the World, received with Glory or gloriously.

(22.) 1 Tim. 6. 14, 15, 16. Ʋntil the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his time he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate;—whom no Man hath seen, nor can see. Answ. The last Words shew, that not the Lord Christ, but God is designed in this whole Description.

[Page 140] (23.) 2 Tim. 3. 16. All Scripture is given by Inspiration from God. 2 Pet. 1. 21. Holy Men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Answ. The Holy Ghost or Spirit being only the Inspiration and Power of God, it is truly said, that the Scriptures which proceeded from that Inspiration, did proceed from God; and that those who were acted by that Inspiration, were acted by God.

(24.) Titus 2. 13. Looking for the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Answ. 1. Nothing hinders, but that we may be­lieve that not only the Lord Christ, but God himself, will appear at the last Judgment. So that Christ is said to judg the World, because he shall pro­nounce the Decree and Sentence of God, and order the Angels to execute it. So several of the Fathers understood this Text. 2. But the Truth is, the Words in the Greek are thus, Looking for the appearing of the Glory of the [Page 141] great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Where the Glory of the great God is the Pomp, Power, and Angels that God, even the Father, will cause to accom­pany the Lord Christ on that Day. Matth. 16. 27. The Son shall appear in the Glory of his Father, with his (the Fathers) Angels.

(25.) Heb. 1. 2. By whom also he made the Worlds. Answ. Grotius ren­ders the Greek thus, For whom he made the Worlds. The Author (saith Gro­tius) writing to the Hebrews, refers to a Maxim received among them, that the World was made for the Messias. This Translation suits well with what went before, whom he hath appointed Heir of all things: for what can be more agreeable, than that the World should be made for him, who is ap­pointed Heir or Lord of it? Others render the Words thus, By whom he made the Ages; understanding hereby, the Gospel-Ages, or Times.

[Page 142] (26.) Heb. 1. 3. Ʋpholding all things by the Word of his Power; or, govern­ing all things by his Powerful Word. Answ. This is to be understood of God's Word or Power; not of Christ's, other­ways than it was communicated to him by God, and did abide on him. For the whole Context runs thus, Who (Christ) being the Brightness of his (God's) Glory, and the express Image of his (God's) Person, and upholding (in the Greek, Governing) all things by his (God's) powerful Word. So the sense is, Christ upholds the Government and Order of the Church both in Heaven and Earth, he governs the Angels and Spirits of Heaven, and the Church mi­litant on Earth, by the Word (i. e. the Power) of God given to him without measure: See also on John 1. 1, &c.

(27.) Heb. 1. 5. Thou art my Son. Answ. See on Psal. 2. 7. in the second Letter.

(28.) Heb. 1. 6. Again when he bring­eth the first-begotten into the World, he [Page 143] saith, And let all the Angels of God wor­ship him. Answ. See on Psal. 97. 7. in the second Letter. But as to the word First-begotten or First-born, it doth not belong to Christ only, in all the senses of it. Christ is Almighty God's first-begotten or First-born from the dead; as was said on Col. 1. 16. but in other respects others also are so called, Israel is Gods First-born, Exod. 4. 22. and David, Psal. 89. 26, 27. for this Expression in the Hebrew, signifies or­dinarily, no more than the most belo­ved, or much beloved, as is apparent from the Texts last cited, and from Jer. 31. 9. Heb. 11. 17.

(29.) Heb. 1. 8. Ʋnto the Son, he saith, Thy Throne, O God, is for ever. Answ. In the Greek 'tis, unto the Son he saith, God is thy Throne (i. e. thy Seat, Resting-Place, and Establish­ment) for ever. So Grotius.

(30.) Heb. 1. 10. And thou Lord in the Beginning hast laid the Foundation of the Earth. Answ. See on Psal. 102. [Page 144] 25. from whence these Words are ta­ken.

(31.) Heb. 2. 14. For as much as the Children are partakers of Flesh and Blood, he also himself took part of the same. Answ. The Socinians do not deny, that the Soul of Christ took part in Flesh and Blood, that is, was incarnate; as his Children, (that is, his People) were also Partakers in Flesh and Blood.

(32.) Heb. 2. 16. He took not on him the Nature of Angels, but he took on him the Seed of Abraham. Answ. In the Greek, and in the Margin of our Bibles, 'tis, He taketh not hold of Angels, (i. e. he saved not from Ruin, and from ut­ter and final falling into Perdition, the Apostate Angels) but of the Seed of A­braham he taketh hold; i. e. he saveth the Seed of Abraham. The Author here mentioneth only the Seed of Abra­ham, because this Epistle was written only to the Hebrews. Unless perhaps by the Seed of Abraham, he meaneth [Page 145] Abraham's spiritual Seed, all the faith­ful, all true Believers.

(33.) Heb. 3. 3, 6. He who hath builded the House, hath more Honour than the House.—Christ as a Son over his own House, whose House are we. Answ. The House here is not Mens Bodies, but the Church of Christ; which (under God) he is truly said to build, partly by himself, partly by his Ministers.

(34.) Heb. 4. 15, 16. We have not an High-Priest, which cannot be touched with the Feeling of our Infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are.—Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace. Answ. We are en­couraged here to pray with Assurance and Faith to God, by this Argument or Consideration, that our High-Priest and Intercessor having been in our very Circumstances, is touched with a true Feeling of our Infirmities, and there­fore doth with great Earnestnest inter­cede for us all in general.

[Page 146] (35.) Heb. 7. 3. Without Father, without Mother,—having neither Be­ginning of Days, nor end of Life: but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a Priest for ever. Answ. All acknowledg that these Words are spoken of Melchi­zedec. And that because neither his Father nor Mother, nor the time of his Birth or Death, are mentioned in Scripture; he is therefore said to be withour Father or Mother, and with­out Beginning of Days, or end of Life. But he is not herein like the Son of God (the time of whose Birth and Death is recorded in Scripture; and whose Mo­ther was blessed Mary, and his Father the everlasting God) but he is like the Son of God, in that he abideth a Priest for ever.

(36.) Heb. 10. 5. A Body hast thou prepared for me. Answ. 'Tis undoub­ted, that God prepared a Body for the Soul of Christ.

(37.) Heb. 11. 26. Esteeming (i. e. Mo­ses esteeming) the Reproach of Christ, [Page 147] greater Riches than the Treasures of E­gypt. Answ. The sense is, Moses pre­ferred being reproached and ill used by Pharaoh and the Egyptians (as Christ was reproached and abused, when he came to deliver the true Israel of God, from the Bondage of Sin and Satan) before all the Treasures and Riches, which he as an adopted Son of Phara­oh's Daughter, might have expected and had in Egypt. So Grotius, and others the most esteemed Interpre­ters.

(38.) Heb. 13. 8. Jesus the same ye­sterdy, today, and for ever. Answ. This is prefaced to what here follows, be not carried away with diverse and strange Doctrines, as an Argument to perswade Constancy in the true Faith. The sense is, the Lord Christ and his Go­spel is the same thing that it always was, be not therefore carried about to every novel Doctrine: Ye will by Ex­perience find, that 'tis a good thing to be establish'd in the Grace of the Go­spel; [Page 148] and not in Doctrines about Meats, which the Jews from the Mosaic Law, and the Gentiles from the Dictates of their Philosophers, so much urge.

(39.) 1 Pet. 1. 11. Searching what, and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before-hand the Sufferings of Christ. Answ. 1. The Spirit of Christ, that is, the same Spirit of Pro­phecy that was in Christ. Or 2. The Prophetick Spirit in them which spoke of Christ. So Grotius interprets here. Others confirm his Interpretation by observing, that the Spirit of Truth, and the Spirit of Error mentioned, 1 John 4. 6. are those Spirits which speak the Truth, and teach Error. So we call Virgil the Poet of Eneas, and Homer of Achilles and Ʋlisses, because they have written and spoken of Eneas, A­chilles and Ʋlisses.

(40.) 1 Pet. 3. 19, 20. Quickned by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached to the Spirits in Prison, which [Page 149] sometimes were disobedient,—in the days of Noah. Answ. This Text seems to speak of Christ's descent into Hell. The sense is, Christ being dead, was shortly quickned, or brought to Life again by the Spirit or Power of God: by which also (that is, by assistance of which Spirit) he preached and spoke to the Spirits imprisoned in Hell, who would not harken to Noah who in his Life-time preached Righte­ousness to them, 2 Pet. 2. 5. Cardinal Bellarmine has quoted above thirty of the Fathers, who interpret this Text af­ter this manner. The Interpretation seems confirmed by 1 Pet. 4. 6. For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead. For that he speaketh of the real dead, appears by the forego­ing verse.

(41.) 1 John 1. 1, &c. That which was from the Beginning,—which we have seen with our Eyes,—of the Word of Life,—declare we unto you, Answ. The Word of Life here is the Gospel. [Page 150] The sense is, we declare or preach to you that Gospel or Word of Life, which from the Beginning was in the Mind and Decree of the Father. So St. John explains himself in these Words at ver. 3. That eternal Life which was with the Father, and was manifested to us. He calleth the Word of Life, eternal Life; as 'tis the ordinary and appointed means and way to eternal Life. He saith, he had heard it, and seen it with his Eyes, and handled it with his Hands; to signify by these Expressions, that it was fully, certainly, and perfectly known to him. For the Hebrews use to express full and certain Knowledg of things, by Words and Phrases bor­rowed from the senses.

(42.) 1 John 3. 16. Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his Life for us. Answ. Neither the Syriac, nor almost any Greek Copy of the Bible, hath the Word God in this Text. The true reading is, hereby perceive we his Love, because he [Page 151] (Christ) laid down his Life for us. 2. Admitting the reading in the Eng­lish Bible, yet he in this Text is not God; but Christ the Son of God, who was mentioned ver. 8. So Grotius. And the Interpretation is certain, for God cannot lay down his Life.

(43.) 1 John 4. 3. Every Spirit that confesseth not, that Christ is come in the Flesh, is not of God. Answ. This say­ing, is come in the Flesh, (or in Flesh, for so 'tis in the Greek) is opposed to those false Prophets and Teachers, that affirmed Christ had not a real Body of Flesh and Blood, but a spiritual; and consequently was not a true Man, nor the Off-spring of David. On the con­trary St. John here teaches that Christ is come in Flesh, or in the Flesh; that is, was clothed with a real Body of real Flesh.

(44.) 1 John 5. 7. There are three that bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. Answ. 1. This verse was [Page 152] not originally in the Bible, but has been added to it. 'Tis not found in the most ancient Copies of the Greek, nor in the Syriac, or Arabick, or Ethiopic, or Armenian Bibles, nor in the most anci­ent Latin Bibles. 'Tis not acknow­ledged by the Fathers, who treated professedly of this Question of the Tri­nity; 'tis wholly rejected by abundance of the most learned Criticks and Inter­preters, and by all acknowledged to be doubtful and uncertain. 2. Admit­ting this verse to be genuine, yet the most learned Trinitarians confess the sense is, not these three are one God, but these three are one in their Testimo­ny, or they agree in their Testimony; for they are here considered and spoken of as Witnesses. So Beza, Vatablus, Calvin, Erasmus, the English-Geneva Notes. And accordingly most of the Greek Bibles which have this verse in them, read here as they do in the next verse (not these three are one; but) these three agree in one; i. e. in one [Page 153] and the same Testimony.

(45.) 1 John 5. 20. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an Ʋnderstanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ: This is the true God. Answ. This was a very negligent Translation, say the Socinians. For whether you interpret him that is true to be God, or to be Christ, no sense can be made of the Words. The latter part of the Text ought to have been thus rendred, We are in him that is true (i. e. in God) by his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God; i. e. He whose Son Christ is, and in whom we are, he and no other is the true God. So that this Text plainly denies that Christ is the true God. When we are said to be in God by Christ; the meaning is, we are u­nited to God (by his Love to us, and ours again to him) by the Procure­ment and means of the Lord Christ, who hath by his Gospel revealed God [Page 154] to us, and by the highest Argu­ments engaged us to love and serve him.

(46.) Rev. 1. 8. I am Alpha and O­mega,—saith the Lord, which is, and which was, &c. Answ. This verse speaks of God only, not of Christ: for at ver. 4. and 5. Christ is distinguish­ed from him, which is, and which was.

(47.) Rev. 1. 11. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Answ. 1. This part of the verse is not in the La­tin, nor in any good Greek Bible. 2. But admitting the Words, it has been said on Isai. 44. 6. in the se­cond Letter, in what sense these terms may be used of the Lord Christ.

(48.) Rev. 1. 17. I am the first and the last. Answ. See on Isai. 44. 6.

(49.) Rev. 2. 23. I am he, which searchesh the Reins and Heart. Eve­ry one knows this is an Hebrew and Scripture Phrase, signifying, I know [Page 155] the most secret Thoughts, which is a Property belonging only to God. Answ. The Knowledg which the Lord Christ had or hath, of any ones se­cret Thoughts, is a Revelation made to him by God; as it was also some­times to former Prophets: Rev. 1. 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to shew unto his Ser­vants. 2 Kings 6. 12. The Prophet that is in Israel, telleth the King of Is­rael, the Words that thou speakest in thy Bedchamber. 2 Kings 8. 12. I know the Evil that thou wilt do to the Children of Israel. Prophets search the Heart, that is, know the Thoughts and Pro­pensions of the Heart, by the Spirit or Inspiration of God in them. But the Lord Christ hath a far greater mea­sure of that Spirit, than any of the former Prophets ever had.

(50.) Rev. 3. 14. The Beginning of the Creation of God. Answ. 1. These Words prove that Christ is not God, but a Creature. 2. But the Truth is, [Page 156] the Greek should have been thus ren­dred, The Prince (or chief) of the Creation of God.

(51.) Rev. 5. 5. The Root of Da­vid. Answ. That is, a Root springing from David: As a Root of the Earth, is a Root which springeth from the Earth; not on the contrary, a Root from which the Earth springeth.

(52.) Rev. 5. 6. I heheld, in the midst of the Throne.—a Lamb (as it had been slain) having—seven Eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the Earth. Answ. This Text confirms what has been often said, namely that the Knowledg which our Lord Christ now hath of Affairs on Earth, is (partly) by means of those ministring Spirits which are sent forth into all the Earth, as his Eyes, to see and relate the state of things: for what other reason can they be here called his Eyes?

(53.) Rev. 5. 8. Having every one of them,—Vials full of Odors, which [Page 157] are the Prayers of the Saints. Answ. In this Vision the Prayers of the Saints are by the Elders (or Presbyters) offe­red to Christ, as the Mediator; that is, with Intention that he should re­commend them to God by his Inter­cession. But note also, that 'tis not here said that these Prayers were at all offer'd to Christ.

(54.) Rev. 17. 4. Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. Answ. Christ is so Lord of Lords; as that himself hath one, who is not only his Lord but his God. John 20. 17. I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.

(55.) Rev. 21. 6. I am Alpha and Omega. Answ. These Words are spo­ken by and of God only.

(56.) Rev. 22. 20. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Answ. 'Tis a Wish, not a Prayer.

(57.) Rev. 22. 21. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Answ. In what sense the Grace or Favour of [Page 158] Christ is wished to Christians, hath been explained on 1 Cor. 1. 2. and on 2 Cor. 13. 14.

Besides these Answers to particu­lar Texts, the Socinians say farther in general to all the Quotations out of the New Testament: that,

1. Whereas they differ from the Church in translating several, and in interpreting all the before-cited Texts; their Translations and Interpretations ought to be admitted, and those of the Church or Trinitarians rejected, because that Interpretation of Scrip­ture can never be true, which holds forth either a Doctrine or a Conse­quence that is absurd, or contradicto­ry and impossible. Is it not (say they) manifestly contradictory and impossi­ble, that there should be three Al­mighty and most wise Persons, and yet but one God; when nothing can be more certain or evident, than that every Almighty and most wise Per­son is a God, a most perfect God, to [Page 159] whom nothing can be added? Is it not doubly contradictory and absurd to say, there are three Persons who are severally and each of them the true and most high God, and yet there is but one true and most high God? Unless you mean one thing by a true and most high God, in the first clause, and another thing in the other clause: and if so, you introduce two sorts of true and most high Gods; which I think all Christians abhor.

We reject the Doctrine of the An­thropomorphites (that God hath hu­mane Parts and Passions) though grounded, if you regard only the sound of the Words, on a great ma­ny clear Texts of Scripture, as may be seen in Mr. Biddles Catechism; because 'tis absurd and impossible, that he who has humane Parts and Passions, and resides in Heaven only, should create and preserve the World, and should be conscious to Mens Thoughts on Earth. What can be more ex­press [Page 160] than this is my Body, yet we justly reject the Doctrine of the Tran­substantiation, because 'tis contradicto­ry and impossible that the same Body should at the same time be in more places than one. Therefore any o­ther Doctrine, that plainly appears to be absurd and contradictory, ought al­so to be rejected; how agreeable soe­ver it may seem to the meer Chime and Jingle of the Words of some few Texts: We are (as Tertullian rightly saith) to interpret Scripture, not by the sound of Words, but the Nature of things: Malo (saith the Father) te ad sensum rei, quam ad sonum vo­cabuli exerceas. Turtul. adv. Prax. c. 3.

2. They say farther, that none of the objected and above-cited Texts, are by Trinitarians themselves thought to be true and demonstrative Proofs either of the Trinity, or of the Di­vinity of the Son or Spirit. Every one of these Texts, but John 1. 1, &c. [Page 161] is given up to the Socinians, as an in­competent and unconcluding Proof, by some or other of the most learned and allowed Criticks and Interpre­ters of the Protestant Party. As to the Catholick Doctors (so called) Chr. Sandius hath made a great Collection of Testimonies out of them, to this Effect, that neither the Trinity, nor the Divinity of the Lord Christ, or of the Holy Spirit, can be proved by the Scripture; but by Tradition only. Some of them confess that the Scrip­tures rather favour the Socinian Do­ctrine; and that the Trinity is not only above, but contrary to Reason; finally that if the Authority of the Church did not oblige them to be Catholicks, they should choose to be Socinians. See for these things: San­dius, Hist. Eccl. l. 1. c. de Ario and Cin­gallus, in Script. Trin. Revel. An Eng­lish Author of the Romish Persuasi­on has these Words (in Fiat. Lux. p. 379, 380.) I may truly say, Christ is the Pope's God. For if the Pope had [Page 162] not been, or had not been so vigilant and resolute a Pastor as he is; (he means such a Persecutor) Christ whom the Pope both worships himself, and pro­pounds to the World to worship as the very true God, that made all things, Christ I say had not been taken for any such Person, as this day we believe him to be.

Whereas besides the above-cited Texts, the Orthodox object, that if Christ were not God as well as Man, he could not satisfy the Justice of God for our Sins, or be a full and sufficient Atonement for them: The Socinians answer, (1.) That the Lord Christ is a Propitiation and Atonement for Sin, is a Demonstration that he is not God, for God doth not give or make, but receive the Satisfaction for our Sins. (2.) They wonder that the Son of God, though he is a Man only, should not be judged a sufficient Sa­tisfaction and Propitiation for Sin, (through the gracious Acceptance of God) when 'tis so known and evi­dent, [Page 163] that the Oblation and Sacrifice of Beasts under the Mosaic Law, and from Adam till those times, was ac­cepted as a full Atonement and Sa­tisfaction in order to Forgiveness; Lev. 6. 6. He shall bring his Trespass-Offer­ing, a Ram without Blemish;—and the Priest shall make Atonement for him before the Lord, for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing. See the whole Context.

Finally, whereas the Orthodox do decline many of the Socinian Argu­ments, by the Distinction of two Na­tures (a Divine and humane Nature) in Christ: For Example, when the Socinians object, John 14. 28. My Fa­ther is greater than I: or, John 5. 30. I can do nothing of my self. We an­swer, that these things are spoken of Christ only according to his humane Nature; but that he hath also a Di­vine Nature, by which he is equal to the Father, and can do all things of himself. To this they reply, (1.) That the Distinction of two Natures (a [Page 164] Divine and Humane) in Christ, is clearly overthrown by the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Arguments mentioned in the the first Letter. 2. If a thing other­ways true of Christ, may be denied of him, because 'tis only in one of these (pretended) Natures, and not in the other; if our Saviour saith he can do nothing of himself, only be­cause he can do nothing of himself ac­cording to his humane Nature, and can do all things of himself according to his (pretended) Divine Nature; then 'tis lawful and allowable to say, Christ is no Man, was never born of the Virgin, was not crucified, dead, or buried, did not rise again from the dead, ascended not into Heaven, un­der pretence that according to his Di­vine Nature, he never was born of the Virgin, never was crucified, dead, or buried, &c. Now who does not see, that to speak thus, were to deny the whole New Testament, and re­nounce Christianity? Have not we (say the Socinians) reason to reject and [Page 165] abhor a Distinction, that if it in­commodes our Doctrine, and the Al­legations for it, does as effectually fight against the most evident and acknowledg'd Points of the Christian Faith? Nay the Distinction and Evasi­ons founded on it, do at least as much hurt to the Trinitarians as to the So­cinians. For if the Distinction of two Natures be true; and the Answers founded on it allowable; then no Fault can be found with a Socinian, when he shall say, Christ is not true God, was not generated of the Essence of the Father, was not from Eterni­ty: for all this may be said of him according (to use their own Words) his humane Nature; for according to that, he is not true God, was not generated of the Fathers Essence, was not from Eternity. Do not Trinita­rians absolutely disallow, as false and Heretical, these Forms of Speech, though defended by the Distincti­on of the two Natures? why then do they expect, that their Adversa­ries [Page 166] in this Controversy, should admit their Answers which are founded on the same, and no other Defence?

This, Sir, is the Sum of what these Gentlemen say on this great Question; a Brief of their Argu­ments and Answers, by which they would support their Doctrine, that God is but one Person; and that (as some of them add) our Lord Christ nor the Holy Spirit, nei­ther are, nor ever are called Gods or God in Holy Scripture, as also that neither Creation (whether New or Old) nor any of the Attributes of God are ascribed to our Blessed Saviour. For a Conclusion, give me leave to advise you in the Words of St. Paul, 1 Thess. 5. 21. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.

SIR, I am Your most Obliged.

The Publisher to whom the foregoing Let­ters were written, having left them some time with a Gentleman, a Person of excellent Learning and Worth; they were returned to him with this fol­lowing Letter.


HAving had the Favour of peru­sing these Letters, I cannot but greatly esteem the Learning and Judgment of the Author; who has brought so large a Controversy (and that has been debated with the utmost Industry, Learning, and Sub­tilty for many hundred Years, even from soon after the time of the Apo­stles) into so small a Compass, that one may soon see the Allegations from Scripture on both sides, with the most material Distinctions and Answers. Wherein it seems obvious to me, what [Page 168] is said in one of the Paragraphs of the first Letter, that the Ʋnitarian Do­ctrine is an accountable and reasonable Faith, grounded on clear and evident Scripture-Arguments, so far as a ne­gative Proposition can reasonably be ex­pected to be: Whereas the Trinitarian Doctrine is founded upon obscure or mistaken Texts; and defended by such unreasonable Distinctions, as can­not be admitted by any Man of a free Judgment, being either contradictory in themselves, or utterly unintelligible. However I can do no less than con­clude, and expect every judicious Man's Assent to it; 1. That the Doctrine of the Trinitarians is no necessary or fun­damental Doctrine of Christianity. 2. That 'tis unjust and unchristian, to lay the Ʋnitarians or Socinians under any Penalties or Forfeitures, upon the account of their Doctrine. 3. That Trinitarians ought to own the Ʋnitari­ans for Christian Brethren, and be­have themselves towards them as such.

[Page 169] First, I said the Doctrine of the Tri­nitarians is no necessary or fundamen­tal Doctrine of Christianity. For to say, it is, doth, 1. Reflect upon the Goodness of God, and his Love to Mankind: as making that fundamen­tal and necessary to Salvation, the Truth whereof must be confessed to be so very obscure and uncertain, that where the Prejudices of Education, Re­spect of Men, and Fear of Penalties do not prevail, the vulgar (who are ten to one of Mankind) either do not believe it at all, or confess it as Parrots speak Words without Understanding. 2. To make the Doctrine of the Trini­ty fundamental, is to joyn Hands with Papists in contradiction to Protestant Doctrine; owning with them that the Scriptures are obscure and unsufficient even in Fundamentals: and so bringing in a necessity of admitting and believing unscriptural Traditions. Of this the Papists are so sensible, that it is the chief of those Arguments with which they attack Protestants; and which they [Page 170] urge in their former and latter Wri­tings: wherein they not only seem to have, but have in reality great Advan­tage; as will (I am perswaded) appear to those that impartially consider it. It will not be here impertinent to tell you a story that hapned in the present Reign. A certain great Lord was as­saulted in his Faith by a Jesuit or other Seminary, who began with him thus; My Lord, I know you believe the Creed of Athanasius: to which the Lord (wisely perceiving what he would build upon that Concession) answer'd, Who told you so? which quick Answer by Questi­on, did so surprize and disappoint the Seminary, that he had no more to say. It seems his intended Arguments leaned on that Pillar alone, to wit, the Belief of the Creed commonly called the Atha­nasian. 3. The Trinitarian Doctrine reflects Weakness and Unsufficiency up­on the whole Christian Church and Faith of the first Ages; which (as our Author has noted) knew or professed no other but the Apostles Creed, which [Page 171] doth fully agree with the Ʋnitarian or Socinian, but by no means with the Trinitarian Doctrine of fundamental Faith. 4. They that urge the Doctrine of the Trinity as fundamental, do clear­ly impugn the sixth Article of the Church of England, which saith, ‘Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to Salvation: So that what­soever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be re­quired of any Man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith.’ Such also was the Judgment of Mr. Chillingworth, that eminent Defender of Protestantism, ch. 6. n. 56. where he saith, ‘By the Religion of Protestants, I understand—that wherein they all agree.—THE BIBLE, THE BIBLE, I say, THE BIBLE on­ly is the Religion of Protestants. Whatever else they believe besides it, and the plain irrefragable and indubi­table Consequences of it, well may they hold it as a matter of Opinion; but not as a matter of Faith or Reli­gion: [Page 172] neither can they with Con­sistence to their own Grounds, be­lieve it themselves; nor require the Belief of it from others, without most high and most scismatical Pre­sumption.’

Secondly, I said, it follows from the foregoing Discourses, that it is unjust and unchristian, to lay the Ʋnitarians or Socinians under any Penal Laws or other Hardships, on the account of their Conscience and Doctrine. For we may see here, that an honest and sincere Man may in the Pursuit of his own Sal­vation, and in adhering to Protestant Principles of the Clearness and Suf­ficiency of Scripture in Fundamen­tals, as also in reverence of the ancient Faith held forth in the Aposto­lick Creed, and of the Church of the first Ages, he may (I say) with clear Satisfaction in his own Conscience, disbelieve the Trinitarian Doctrine. But how can Christians with Satisfacti­on to their Consciences punish such a Man? As for the publick Peace, there [Page 173] is not only nothing in the Nature of their Doctrine that inclines them to Un­peaceableness; but they have also always been extremely candid to those that dif­fer from them, from a Principle com­mon (I think) to them and the Remon­strants only, that Conscience ought to be free in matters of Faith: This is a Prin­ciple with the Socinians and the Re­monstrants; other Families of Christi­ans take it up as an expedient, when they have need of it. Briefly, If the Socinians appear to be as careful and di­ligent to know the Truth, as Athanasi­ans; if they are in their Stations as learned as they, and as innocent and virtuous Men in their Conversations; how can any Christian judg and con­demn them, without incurring our Sa­viour's Judgment and Condemnation? He that believes the whole Bible hear­tily; and indeavours sincerely to know the Mind of God and Christ therein, and to purge himself from those carnal Affections and worldly Interests that hinder Men from seeing and obeying [Page 174] the Truth; and (perhaps) as a Testi­mony thereof, suffers the Loss of Advan­tages, and Goods, Kinsfolk, and Coun­try, nay, undergoes Penury and other Hardships in foreign Countries, as ma­ny do at this Day; how can any who pretend to give Obedience to the Law of common Reason, of Moses and the Prophets, and of Christ himself in his Sermon on the Mount, to wit, of doing to others as we would they should do to us, how I say can such think a Socinian so qualified as we have but now descri­bed him, doth deserve Punishment for his Faith? And how can any Man, with­out transgressing Christ's Law of Chari­ty, judge such a one to be guilty with­out any Appearance of Guilt, more than may be easily seen in himself? Is it not the common Principle of all Protestants, to believe the Holy Scriptures are suffi­cient to all Religion, and clear in all Necessaries of Faith and Manners, and that every Man is obliged by our Lord Christ, to believe and practise accord­ing to his own Knowledg, Light and [Page 175] Understanding of the Scriptures? He that does so, is not only a Christian, but a Protestant, that is, a reformed Christian. I am fully assured (says Mr. Chillingworth, and consequently those learned Persons, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, the Regius Professor, and others who licensed and approved his Book) that God does not, and therefore Men ought not, require more of any Man than this, to believe the Scripture to be God's Word, to endeavour to find the true sense of it, and to live according to it, ch. 6. n. 56. The same Author says (ch. 5. n. 96.) I have learnt from the ancient Fathers, that nothing is more against Re­ligion, than to force Religion: and of St. Paul, that the Weapons of the Chri­stian Warfare are not carnal. The fa­mous Salvian of Marseils (who wrote about the Year of our Lord 460) saith thus concerning one sort of Ʋnitarians, viz. Arians, They are Hereticks, but not knowingly:—They do so much judg them­selves Catholicks, that they defame us with the Name of Hereticks:—They err, [Page 176] but with a good Mind; not of Hatred, but of the Love of God.—How they shall be punish'd in the Day of Judgment for this Error of a false Opinion, none can know but the Judg. De Gubern. Dei. l. 5. where may be read more to the same purpose. Though this Author, accor­ding to the Vogue of Those times, cal­leth the Arians Hereticks; yet that which he says farther of them, shows they were not so: for the Character he gives of them, shews them to be con­scientious Christians; and Lovers of God. St. Austin against the Manichees (a sort of People that held there were two Gods, one good, the other evil) saith thus, Let them be fierce against you, who know not how laborious a thing it is to find out the Truth; and how diffi­cultly we escape Errors: Let them be fierce against you, who know not how rare and hard a thing it is to overcome carnal Ima­ginations by the Serenity of a pious Mind, &c. Contr. Ep. Fausti.

Thirdly, I added, that the Trinitari­ans ought to own the Ʋnitarians for [Page 177] Christian Brethren, and to behave themselves towards them as such. For Protestants do agree, that all necessary and fundamental matters of Faith are clear and plain in Scripture; but other matters not so evident, but that good Christians may err concerning them, as we see they did even in the times of the Apostles: now this Doctrine of the Trinitarians appearing to be no fundamental Doctrine, it does by no means unchristian those that hold the contrary, nor excuse the Trinitarians from those Offices, which are due to them as Christians. And the rather, be­cause they are not only willing to make Confession of Faith in all the forms of Words contained in the Holy Scrip­ture, but in the Words also of the A­postles Creed; as also because they are not liable to any charge of Idolatry, or Superstition in their Worship; or of Uncharitableness in condemning those of contrary Minds, as the Confede­racy of Rome is.

[Page 178] Therefore I cannot but wonder at some learned Men, that are so far car­ried away with an overweaning Opi­nion of their own Judgment, that they will not allow those the name of Chri­stians who do not believe, besides the Bible, and the Creed of the Apostles, also the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. Nay, some account the Trinitarian Doctrines to be so necessary to Christi­anity, that though those who deny them be otherways very pious and useful Men, yet going against the sense of the Catho­lick Church, they err, not for want of Instruction, but from a certain Wan­tonness and Pride of Ʋnderstanding, and are guilty of such unpardonable Immo­desty as admits of no Excuse. If what is hinted in these Letters, concerning the Catholick Church of the Apostles times and first Ages, be true; then that Author builds his Condemnation upon a false and rotten Foundation, and the Building falling, impresses, Rashness, and Uncharitableness upon [Page 179] himself; I mean as to this particular Case, for otherways I readily acknow­ledg the Worth and Learning of the Author.

Neither can I sufficiently admire, that another learned Man, and a Suf­ferer for his Conscience, should in a Pacifick Discourse treat the Socinians in the same contumelious manner, not allowing them worthy of the Name of Christians, because they go about (saith he) to overthrow the whole frame of the Christian Doctrine, by arrogant Presumptions of false Reasonings and So­phistical Arguments. Yea, it is com­monly objected against them, that they exalt their Reasonings above plain and express Revelation in Scripture. Which Crimination seems to me, to be clear­ly taken away by the four Letters, in which it appears, by the many Un­concluding Texts, false Translations, unintelligible Reasonings and Distin­ctions, cited and urged on the Behalf of the Trinitarian Doctrine; and on the [Page 180] other hand, by the numerous clear Texts, allowed Translations, Reaso­nings and Distinctions, common to Mankind, produced by the Ʋnitarians; that these last may reasonably retort this great Objection, on their Oppo­sites the Trinitarians, who in a thou­sand express Texts of Scripture do ex­alt their Reasonings to maintain ano­ther sense than the plain Words require. For one Instance, how many express Texts ascribe Parts and Members, Affections and Passions, Shape and Fi­gure, Place and Circumscription to God? all which (as the Author of these Letters notes) are otherways ex­pounded by learned Men, because they judg these things in reason unsuitable to God. But what Principle more clear both in Reason and Scripture than this, that there is but one God, or that God is one? All Christians, and all Jews, and all Mahometans (who are said to be more in Number than Chri­stians) besides the wise Heathens, do [Page 181] acknowledg it: and all these under­stand by the term God, a necessary ex­istent Person. Upon these clear Grounds the Ʋnitarians deny that there are three such, as contrary to that Unity; and introducing into the Godhead two unnecessary or superfluous Persons. For if one be sufficient, and he cannot be God if he be not sufficient, then the two more are supernumerary and un­necessary, and consequently not God. For my own part I was bred up in the Trinitarian Faith, and took the Truth of it for granted; but when these Scriptures and Reasons came into my View, (and I had got over the Fear of examining, what some Men who name themselves the Church, call Fun­damentals) I conld not avoid the Force of them: though it grieves me that I cannot continue in consent with my old Friends, as well in this as other parts of Christian Doctrine. But cer­tainly as in Philosophy, Truth should be more dear to us than Plato or Socra­tes; [Page 182] so in Theology, the Testimony of plain Scripture agreeing with evident Reason, should prevail with those who be­lieve the Scriptures Divine, more than obscure Texts dissonant to the clear Rea­son of Mankind. And it may well al­lay any ones Fear of examining and judging concerning (pretended) Fun­damentals, when he shall consider that even the Church of England in ano­ther of her Articles says, that as the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have errred, so also the Church of Rome (which contends that she is the Catholick Church) hath erred, not only in her living and manner of Ce­remonies, but also in matter of Faith. So also Chillingworth (with his Appro­vers) says, I see plainly and with mine own Eyes, that there are Popes against Popes, Councils against Councils; some Fathers against others, the same Fa­thers against themselves; a consent of Fathers of one Age, against a consent of Fathers of another Age.—There [Page 183] is no sufficient Certainty but in the Scrip­ture only, for any considering Man to build upon. As to the boast of their Numbers, 'tis well known there was a time when the Christian World was A­rian, that is Ʋnitarian; so that the Coun­cil of Ariminum and Seleucia in which 560 Bishops were present (the greatest Convention of Bishops that ever was) decreed for the Ʋnitarian Faith. Was number in those times an Argument of Truth? If not, how can it be so now?

The Author of these Letters has well observed besides, that the Doctrine of the Trinitarians in these days, is widely different from the Doctrine decreed in the first Council of Nice; from whence I infer, that their Boast of Antiquity is as vain as the other of Number. I will only add to this Ob­servation, that though the more an­cient and the modern Trinitarians may agree in terms, yet those times and these have different senses of the same Words and Phrases.

[Page 184] SIR, I pray accept of my hearty Thanks for this Publication, and shew the Author how great an Honour I have for him.

I am Yours, &c.

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