OBSERVATIONS ON THE Four Letters OF Dr. John Wallis, Concerning the TRINITY AND THE Creed of Athanasius.

LONDON: Printed in the Year, M.DC.XCI.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE Four Letters OF Dr. JOHN WALLIS, &c.

SIR, I thank you for Dr. W's Third Letter (or rather Book) which you brought to my House. You not find­ing me at home, prevented our dis­coursing together of it: therefore I have given you here, my thoughts of his perfor­mance therein. And because in this, he has reviewed and explained his former Letters; I also will again consider them.

The Design of Dr. Wallis his Letters, consider'd.

HE tells us (at pag. 10. and 18. of his first Letter, and at pag. 38. of the third Letter) what is the design of these Letters; to prove, says he, that What are in one re­gard Three, may in another regard be but One: and if I have sufficiently evinced this, I have done what I undertook. And in so doing, have removed the great Objection, which the Socinians would cast in our way; and because of which, they think them­selves obliged to shuffle off other Argu­ments.’ To prove his Proposition, He al­ledges in his first Letter; that the three Di­mensions (Length, Breadth and Heighth) of a Cubical Body, are but one Cube. He adds there; to Be, to Know, and to Do, are di­stinct from each other: yet 'tis one and the same Soul, which Is, and Knows, and Does. Further; Understanding, Will, and Memory, are all in the same Soul. And Ʋnum, verum, [Page 4] bonum are but the same Ens. To enlighten the dull Socinians by familiar and easy Exam­ples, he minds them (at pag. 42. of the Third Letter) that, Three Groats make but One Shilling, Three Nobles but one Pound. He dilates upon these Instances; especially that noble one of the Cube (of which he has, he saith at pag. 18. of the Fourth Letter, considered above Forty Years) in several Pages: and he is so serious and earnest, that I verily think, the Doctor is sincere and honest; and doth indeed imagine, that this is the point in question; ‘Whether what are in one re­gard Three, may not in another regard be but One?’

Therefore, Sir, I pray tell him from me; that the Socinians will grant him, what he ima­gines is the thing in Question, and much more to it. They will not put Dr. Wallis, up­on proving that, what in one regard are an Hundred, a Thousand, or even an Infinite Number, may in another regard be but One. An Hundred Souldiers make but one Compa­ny, a Thousand but one Regiment, an Infinite Number of Moments make but one Eternity. Tell him, the Question is, Whether (as St. Paul expresly teaches, Gal. 3.20.) God is One? or (as Holy Mother Church, and Alma mater Academia) God is Three? Whether there are or can be Three Infinite, Almighty and All-wise Persons; or only One such Person or Be­ing? Which the Socinians, guided by natural and common Notions, think to be as much as, Whether there are Three Gods, or but One God? They affirm the latter, the Trinitarians the former.

But you will say; the reason why the So­cinians deny that God can be Three, or that there are Three Infinite Persons or Intelligent Beings, is, because God being but One, cannot be Three: and here comes in the Doctor's Soluti­on, What are in one regard Three, may in another regard be but One. And this he proves by In­stances, as, that in a Cube there are three Di­mensions, and yet but one Cube; and several such like.

I answer; The Doctor first raises (in the Name of the Socinians) an impertinent Ob­jection; and then solves it by Instances. The Socinians do not deny, that the One true God is Three Persons, because what is in one regard but One, cannot in another be Three; of which no Man ever was so foolish as to doubt; but for the Reasons mentioned in the First Letter of the Brief History of the Ʋnitarians. If the Doctor would have proved a particular Pro­position, in favour of the Trinity; this was the Proposition to have been proved, ‘What are in one regard Three, may in another regard be so One; that all of them (toge­ther) are but One, and yet each of them (singly and by Himself) is that One. For so they say of the (pretended) Tri­nity. The Three Persons (say they) together are the one true God: yet each of them, singly and by himself, is the one true God. Each of them is so perfectly God, and that one true God; that he hath the whole Divine Nature and Essence, is an Infinite Almighty and All-wise Person. This is that monstrous Paradox and Contradiction, that the Doctor should have proved; and which he and his Party charge upon the Word of God it self. This is that, which, because all other Arguments failed them, in their Dispu­tations with the Photinians and Arians; they at last effectually proved, by the Imperial Edicts, by Confiscations and Banishments, by seizing and burning all Books written a­gainst it or them, by Capital Punishmente, and when the Papacy (of which this is the chief Article) prevailed, by Fire and Faggot.

Let us now (briefly) consider the Doctor's notable Instances. Three Groats are but one Shilling, saith the Doctor: Very well; but each Groat, singly and by it self, is not a Shilling. Three Nobles are but one Pound: but each Noble, single and by it self, is but the third Part of a Pound. To be, to know, and to do, are in the Soul; so are Understanding, Will, and Memory; as also Verum, Bonum, Ʋnum: but no one of them, singly, is the Soul, or a Soul. Long, broad, and high, are Dimen­sions in a Cube: But long, singly and by it­self, is not a Cube, but only a Line; long [Page 5] and broad are not a Cube, but only a Su­perficies; long, broad, and high together are the Cube. But 'tis far otherways in the (pretended) Trinity. There Father, Son and Spirit together, are the One true God; as long, broad, and high, are the Cube: and yet each of those Persons, sing­ly, and by himself, is (saith their Creed) Perfect God, has the whole Divine Nature, or whole Nature and Perfections of God; though (in the alledged parallel) neither long, broad, nor high, is the Cube, has the whole Cubical Nature, or whole Nature and Perfections of a Cube. Therefore say I, this instance of a Cube and its three Di­mensions, does not quadrate to the (ima­gin'd) Trinity, or help us to conceive its Possibility or Consistency.

But saith the Doctor (at pag. 9. of the second Letter,) ‘Thô we cannot say (in the Abstract) that Length is a Cube, and so of the rest; yet (in the Concrete) we may say, this long thing (or this which is long) is a Cube. Just so, we do not say (in the Abstract) Paternity is God; but (in the Concrete) the Father is God; and so of the other Persons. The Perso­nality is not said to be God; but the Per­son is. Which fully answers the Excep­tion.’

So it is; when they find themselves distrest, by a clear either Argument or Answer, they fly to Metaphysicks, and Terms of the canting Schools. Then come in Abstract, Concrete, Paternity, Personality, and an Infinity of o­ther barbarous and insignificant Words: only to hide clear Truth from Persons, who can be shifted off with obscure and sensless Words; Words which denote nothing that is really existent in Nature, but only the Chimera's of the Metaphysician. Show me that Trinitarian, who dares dispute this Question (about the Trinity) in plain Eng­lish, by any sort of Arguments; whether Arguments from Scripture, from Reason, or from Authority of first and pure Antiquity. No, no; They never durst attempt this, nor ever will: for they know the Cause is lost, if the People be permitted to under­stand it, and the Reasons for and against it. But the comfort is; Those who are at all capable of judging these Gothish and Vandalic Terms, are much more capable of discern­ing, when they are detected and confuted. Therefore to this Flourish of the Doctor, I reply.

'Tis somewhat surprizing, that a Mathe­matician should not be more considerate; in giving an Instance belonging to his Pro­fession. He tells us, we may say in the Concrete, This long Thing is a Cube. I deny it. This long Thing is only a Line; this long and broad Thing, is only a Superficies, or one side of a Cube; 'tis only this long, broad, and high Thing, that is a Cube. But if the Doctor meant, ‘This long Thing, which is also broad and high, is a Cube; and were it not broad and high, it were not a Cube, but a Line, or one side of a Cube: then this is no Parallel to the matter in hand, the Trinity.’ For then this Proposi­tion, This long Thing is a Cube, is but the same with this, This long, broad, and high Thing, is a Cube: which will not at all help the Doctor. Long, broad, and high of the Cube, answer, to Father, Son, and Spi­rit of the Godhead or God; and the Cube it-self answers to God or the Godhead: so far we are well. But now say I; thô we may say, This long thing is a Cube, meaning this thereby; ‘This long Thing, which is also broad and high, is a Cube; and were it not broad and high, it were not a Cube:’ yet we cannot say, the Father is God, and mean thereby, ‘The Father, who is also the Son, and Holy Spirit, is God; and were He not withal the Son, and Holy Spirit, He were not God.’ So we must speak, to make out the Parallel: but so to speak, All know, is Heresy; for the Father is not the Son and Spirit, nor are they the Father. Therefore the Concrete way of speaking, will no more favour the Doctor's Parallel, than the Abstract. And he ought to have seen this; when he was advised of it, in a private Letter by W. I. without [Page 6] publishing to the World, that even upon second Thoughts he understood not, a Thing self-evident.

But supposing now, That the Doctor's In­stances did enable us, to conceive this par­ticular Difficulty, in the Doctrine of the Trinity: does he not know, that there are many more; of which himself will not pre­tend, that his Instances or Solutions are at all applicable to them? I say this; because his Letters bear this haughty Title, The Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, and the Athanasian Creed, Explained. Do these Explications reach the tenth Part of the Contradictions, charged on the Doctrines of the Incarnation and Trini­ty, and on the Athanasian Creed? What are the Dimensions of a Cube, or the Parts of a Shilling or of a Pound, to the chief Absur­dities in those Doctrines and that Creed? I will mention but some of them. They tell us of, a Son receiving of his Father, be­ing Life and Godhead; and yet as old as his Father. And these two, Father and Son, loving one another; their Mutual Love is a Third Person and Spirit, equal to themselves. This Spirit, though but an effect, is as early as its Causes; and the same with them. They tell us of an Infinite Person, who is, whole and all, united; without Lessening or Contra­ction of himself, to a Finite Man. They tell us of a Perfect God and a Perfect Man, who are not Two, but One Person; though God (they say) is Three Persons; and e­very Man (all know) is One Person, be­cause a reasonable Soul, and an humane Body are a Person. They tell us one while, that two Intelligent Natures are but One Person: another while, on the con­trary; Three Persons are but one Numerical Nature. They tell us, each Person has the whole Divine Nature, and cannot be separa­ted from it; They tell us farther, All the Divine Persons are inseparably in the Di­vine Nature: from whence we have this first Corollary, that each Person is the other Two Persons; and then this (contrary to what the Doctor holds, at pag. 33. of the third Letter) that when the second Person was Incarnate, so also must the First and Third. They tell us of a Son begotten in the most perfect Manner from all Eternity; yet is still in begetting (for the action of Generation in God, say they, never ceases, because that would suppose some Change in God) and ever shall be so: and the like of the Spirit. They tell us, their Trin-Unity is but One, as it is but One God; and is Three, as it is Three such Persons, that each of them is (singly and by himself) a God, that is, 'tis Three in this regard, that 'tis Three Gods: so that at length their Trin-unity is (what Dr. Wallis all along abhors, as both false and impossible) Three, in the same regard that it is but One. For the regard is God, in both Pro­positions: in the first it is One God, in the other (though not in the bare Sound, yet in the Signification of the words) it is Three Gods. To add now no more; whoever does not believe all these (and many the like) Inconsistences; and that, whether he can or no; shall be damned. They lay the greatest stress upon this Last; because with­out this, few would mind the other. And this is the reason, they have so constantly and absolutely refused to part with the Dam­natory Clauses in the Athanasian Creed: to part with them, is to give away all the other Articles.

Of these, or any of these, I think Dr. Wal­lis will not say, that his little Congruities, or rather Ʋmbrages, are Explications or So­lutions. He has offer'd, but at very few of them: However, I will consider even the lit­tle he has said.

At pag. 34. of the third Letter he says; ‘Let one face of a Cube, suppose the Base, admit a foil or dark Colour; while the rest of the Cube is Transparent: — this may someway represent Christ's Humilia­tion; who being equal with God, yet took on him the form of a Servant. But can the Doctor tell me, how I may shut up the Base of an Infinite Cube, which Base (him­self supposes) is Infinite; in a Nut-shell? For his Creed tells me, a Thing much more marvellous; that an Infinite Person is whole [Page 7] and all, united to a Finite Man; and that without lessening or contraction of the Infi­nite Spirit or Person.

In the same page of the same Letter, he says; ‘God's Justice and Mercy are distin­guishable, thô in God they are not divided: accordingly some Things are effects of his Justice; others of his Mercy: So the Power and Will of God, are both Indivi­dual from himself: but when we say God is Omnipotent, we do not say he is Omnivo­lent. — If therefore we allow as great a Distinction between the Persons, as be­tween the Attributes (as certainly it is not less, but somewhat more) there will be no Incongruity, in ascribing the Incarna­tion to one of the Persons, and not to the rest.’ He argues here, as if the Incarnation were an Action: now allowing him that gross Mistake, I say; if this be any Expli­cation of the proposed Difficulty, he must allow that one Attribute may be Incarnate and not another. I ask the Doctor there­fore; Can the Justice of God be Incarnate, and not his Mercy: or his Power, and not his Will? But I must tell him farther; there is a closer Connexion between the Persons, than the Attributes: The first are (according to him and his Party) in one another; the other not so.

Again, at pag. 13. of the first Letter, he argues thus; ‘If in this supposed Cube, we suppose (in order, not in time) its first Di­mension, that of length, as A B: and to this length be given an equal breadth (which is the true Generation of a Square) as C D: and to this Basis of length and breadth be given (as a farther Procession from both) an equal height E F: and all this eternally. Here is a fair resemblance of the Father, as the Fountain or Original; of the Son, as generated from him from all Eternity; and of the Holy Ghost, as eternally proceeding from both. And all this, without any Inconsistence. But not with­out some Non-sense. He supposes the length of this Cube to be the first Dimension, in Order, not in Time. 'Tis Non-sense to say, Length is first of the Dimensions, not in Time but in Order. For Priority of Order, must be either the Priority of Time, or of Digni­ty. Priority of Time, the Doctor himself disclaims; because it would destroy his Pa­rallel: Priority of Dignity cannot be pre­tended between Dimensions; which himself too supposes to be equally Infinite. Thus the Foundation of his Parallel is absurd and false. But I will not stand upon it. I ask him, whether length did of it-self beget breadth, communicating to it its whole Nature? did length and breadth of themselves, without some external Agent, generate heighth, and communicate their Nature to it? If not, this is no Illustration, how the Father did himself eternally beget the Son, and the Father and Son generate the Spirit. He cautions me, that I would not ludere cum Sacris: He sees, I will not; how great occasi­on soever be given.

The Thing which in my opinion, and I believe in the Judgment of most Readers, deserves best to be considered; is at p. 26. of the third Letter. Solomon, as wise as he was, — doth yet acknowledg himself to be at a loss; when he would search out the bottom of Natural Things: and shall we then say, of the Deep Things of God; It is impossible, because we cannot find it out?’ I answer, the Deep Things of God (in the Text quoted by the Doctor) are those hidden and secret Things, which God hath prepared for them that love him; see the alledged Text, 1 Cor. 2.10, 11. These Contradictions to Reason and Scripture, are not the Deep Things of God; but rather the Depths of Satan, (Rev. 2.24.) by which he seeks to lead us into Polytheism and Idolatry.

But hitherto of the Doctor's Design, or Scope in these Letters; and of the Instan­ces and Similitudes, by which he would confirm it.

Of his Somewhats and Persons.

ONE would expect, that since they say, the Trinity is the Doctrine of the Catholick or Universal Church, and neces­sary to be believ'd in order to Salvation; that at least they knew and were agreed, what this Trinity is, or what is thereby meant; else we are required to believe no Body knows what, in order to Salvation. But so it is; there is as much Confusion, in declaring what this Catholic necessary Doctrine is, as there was at the building of Babel, where no one understood another. As ma­ny Writers, so many Explications of the Trinity; neither does this happen only a­mong the vulgar of their Learned Men; but among their Learned of the first Class and Magnitude. When any of them dares de­mand it; I will give an ample Account, of the Diversity and Divisions among their chief Doctors: such Diversity, that they have nothing left in which they agree, but only the word Trinity; but sure the Word, without the Notion, is not Necessary to Sal­vation, because 'tis confessedly Unscriptu­ral.

Let us consider an Instance of this, which has lately hapned. First comes forth Dr. Sherlock, the Churches well-known Champi­on against all Her Foes; that is, against all those who believe the Holy Scriptures with­out reserve, and believe the Church only so far, as they can see and judg that she agrees with Scripture and Reason, a Fault not to be purged with Sacrifice nor Offering, for ever: this famous Combatant tells us; ‘The Trinity is Three Infinite Beings, Minds or Spirits, each of which is singly and by himself a God; yet they are all but One God, be­cause Mutually Conscious; that is, because they perfectly and intimately know one anothers Thoughts and Actions.’ He is so sure, this is the very Doctrine of the Trini­ty; that to say the contrary, is (he saith) both Heresy and Non-sense. This was spoken like a Vindicator: for all that, not two Persons of forty in his own Party do believe him. They plainly see, that if one Infinite and absolutely Perfect Being, Mind or Spirit, be one absolutely Perfect God, as all both Phi­losophers and Divines confess he is; then of necessity, Three such Beings are Three Gods: and Mutual Consciousness may make them a Cabal or Council of Gods; but never numerically One God. The Learned of his own Party know, that this Opinion of Dr. Sherlock, is the Errour or Heresy of Abbat Joachim, condemned in the fourth General Council of Lateran, Anno 1215.

The next is Dr. Wallis, who has been stu­dying this Point, above Forty, and towards Fifty Years; as himself saith, Letter 4. pag. 18. After so long Consideration, He is not pleased with former Explications; but advances one that is equally New and Cautious. ‘The blessed Trinity is (saith he, Lett. 2. pag. 3.) three Somewhats; and these three Somewhats we commonly call Persons: but the true Notion and true Name of that Distinction, is unknown to us.’ He again owns this to be the true Sense of his first Letter, at pag. 8. of the Second; and often in his following Letters. We may call this Explication, Dr. W's Three New Nothings: for three Some­whats, that have neither true Notion nor true Name, are to Us and to Him also, but so ma­ny Nothings; or rather Somewhats less than Nothings, for Nothing has at least a Name.

It is plain, Dr. Wallis spake after this man­ner, only to avoid the Inexplicable Difficul­ties and Exceptions, to which (he saw) for­mer Explications of the Word Trinity, were liable. And if he had gone no farther in [Page 9] his Attempts, upon this Subject; the clamorous Socinians (as he calls them) would not have charged his Doctrine, with Impossibility or Inconsistency. But in his Third Letter he has so described these Somewhats, or Persons with­out Notion or Name; as to involve himself in Labyrinths, out of which all the Metaphysicks of which he is Master, will never lead him.

He saith, Lett. 3. pag. 39. ‘These Some­whats, till my Answerer can furnish us with a better Name, we are content to call Persons; which is the Scripture Word at Heb. 1.3.’ But I deny, that Persons is used of God, either in that Text, or else­where in Holy Scripture. The Scripture-Word every where is Person. In the Text by him alledged, the Son is said to be the Image of God's Person; therefore God is but One Person: and therefore these (pretend­ed) Somewhats must not be called Persons; because this is not only, not the Scripture-Word, as the Doctor unwarily said, but is contrary to Scripture.

He saith, in the Letter and Page last quo­ted, ‘The Word Persons (when applied to God) is but Metaphorical; not signifying just the same, as when applied to Men.’ And again at Lett. 3. pag. 31. ‘We mean thereby, no more but somewhat analogous to Persons. He repeats both these, very often in his Letters. Now this is to say, that what we call Persons in God, are not indeed Persons, not truly or properly Persons; but somewhat there is in God, we know not what, which in some regard answers to Persons. It had been tolerable, tho not intelligible; if the Doctor had here held his Hand: but in his Explication of the Athanasian Creed, where it was necessary to be somewhat Or­thodox, he is in a contrary Story. For he says (Lett. 3. pag. 13.) The Three ( [...]) are ( [...]) truly Persons, or properly Persons. And at pag. 66. of the same Letter, he approves of that as the better Reading, and clearer Sense.

What a Task has he imposed upon us? We must believe a Trinity of Somewbats. For Peace sake, we are content to be Fools, and believe we know not what. But will this do? No: you must believe these Somewhats are Persons. But the Scripture is against it. No, no; for this Distinction of Persons, has neither true Notion, nor true Name. Upon this condition, we are contented: for if the Di­stinction has neither true Name, nor true Noti­on; we may affix a Notion and a Name by way of Explication, which may agree to the Descriptions of God in Scripture, especially with that in the First Commandment. Is all done now? There is one thing behind; but 'tis only this; ‘You must believe the Some­whats to be but Metaphorical Persons, somewhat Analogous or like to Persons, not truly and properly Persons; and also, that they are truly Persons and properly Persons. The Doctor will not deny this is worse than Egyptian Slavery, of making Brick without Straw; for that was only hard, not impossi­ble. And I cannot think the Doctor is so rigid, but that upon this Remonstrance to him, he will discharge us of believing his Explications, which he must needs own to be contradictory, and therefore impossible to be believed.

It is evident to me, that Dr. Wallis has thought but very slightly (tho, it seems, very long) of the Trinity. For afterwards, he retracts this last, that the Somewhats are truly and properly Persons; and explains them to be Three such Persons, as the Sabelli­ans anciently, and now the Socinians, never opposed, but are ready to admit. Letter 3. pag. 4. He says; Henry, William, Nassau, is but one Man, and one Husband. James, Duke, Marquess, and Earl of Ormond, is not three Men, or three Chancellors.’ By these Comparisons, the three Persons are but three Names or Titles of God, as the Sabellians held; and being rightly explained, the Socinians do not deny. But he goes on. Tully says, Sustineo unus tres personas; i. e. I being but one Man, do sustain three Persons: that of my Self, that of my Adversary, and that of a Judge. He did not become three Men, by sustaining three Persons.—If among us, one Man may sustain three Persons, with­out [Page 10] being three Men: why should it be thought incredible, that the three Divine Persons may be one God, as well as those three other Persons be but one Man?’ Again at pag. 62. of the same Letter; ‘The same Man may be said to sustain divers Persons, and these Persons to be the same Man, that is, the same Man as sustaining divers Capaci­ties: as was said but now of Tully, Tres per­sonas unus sustineo. And then it will be no more harsh, to say the Three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) are but one God; than to say, God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier, are (He should have said, is) but one God.— It is much the same thing, whether of these two Forms we use.—A King and an Hus­band (tho they imply very different Noti­ons, different Capacities, different Relations, or different Personalities) yet may both concur in the same Man. So also a King and a Father, a King and a Brother.’ Again, Lett. 4. pag. 25. ‘We say; God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier (or in other Words, the Fa­ther, Son, and Holy Ghost) are this one God.’ At pag. 33. of the same Letter, he maketh a different Person to be only a different Consideration or Respect; and in the next Page, not a Thing, but only a Mode. Now how can he, who believes such a Trinity of Somewhats or Persons, as this is, write against the Socinians? They believe this Trinity, as much as Dr. Wallis. They allow, there are in God three Somewhats and Persons; mean­ing thereby, as Dr. Wallis explains them, three Names or Titles, three Capacities or Re­spects, three Relations, three Considerations, three Notions, three Modes. They believe, there are in God these three Modes, Noti­ons, Considerations, Capacities, Names or Titles; God the Creator, God the Redeemer, God the Sanctifier.

If this be Dr. Wallis his Abiding Sentiment, concerning the Trinity; then if it be below his Character and Dignity, to permit himself to be called a Sabellian, or a Socinian; the Socinians and Sabellians, in honour of him, are content to be called Wallisians. And if you ask a Sabellian, How God the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier, may be called God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? He will answer; Almighty God as Creator is called the Father, or God the Father, be­cause by Creation he is Father of all things: as the Redeemer, he is called the Son, or God the Son, because he redeemed us by his Son the Lord Christ: as the Sanctifier, he is cal­led God the Holy Spirit, because he sanctifies us by his Afflatus or Inspiration. The Socini­ans do think this is an harsh way of speaking, yet for Peace sake they would admit this Ex­plication.

The Doctor's Explication of the Athanasian Creed, consider'd.

IT was with great expectation, that I be­gan to read Dr. Wallis his third Letter; because it bears this ambitious Front, An Ex­plication and Vindication of the Athanasian Creed. I supposed, He would attempt to assoil all the Difficulties and Contradictions, objected to it; at least, those in the Brief Notes on that Creed. But he meant no more by this Title, but this; An Explication of the Damna­tory Clauses, in the Athanasian Creed. This was to me a wonderful Disappointment. How­ever, I will be content to consider, what Dr. Wallis thought worthy to offer. He saith Lett. 3. pag. 4. ‘Whosoever will be saved; before all things, it is necessary, that he hold the Catholick Faith. Where, saith the Doctor, before all things, is as much as Im­primis; importing, that it is mainly necessary, or is a principal Requisite.’ Was there ever a greater force put upon words? 'Tis before all [Page 11] things necessary, saith the Creed; that s, saith the Gloss, 'Tis a principal Requisite. I always thought, there had been an immense diffe­rence, between Necessary and Requisite: and that abundance of Things had been mainly or principally requisite, which yet were not in­dispensably or before all Things necessary. But which of these Athanasius meant, the next Clause puts out of question.

Which Faith, saith the Creed, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. The Grammatical and obvious Sense of these words, is this; ‘That Man or Woman shall perish everlast­ingly, who doth not believe and profess this (following) Faith, which is indeed the Catholic or Universal Faith; without taking ought from it, or adding ought to it.’ No, says Dr. Wallis; the Greek word is not [...] totam or whole, but [...] salvam sanam, sound or safe. And says he, farther; ‘As a Man may be said to be sound and safe, notwithstanding a Wart or Wen; or even a Wound or a Maim; so long as the Vi­tals are not indangered: So the Catholic Faith is sound and safe, so long as there is nothing destructive of the main Substan­tials or Fundamentals.’ This is a marvel­lous reasoning, and such as the Doctor will very hardly persuade any to believe it. Is a Man safe and sound, when his Legs and Arms are shot off; so long as the Vitals are not indangered, but intire and safe? God deliver me, and Dr. Wallis too, from such Soundness and Safeness. And if the Catho­lic Faith is sound too, as he says, so long as the Substantials and Fundamentals remain; it will follow, that the Faith of the Church of Rome is sound. For all Protestants, but the Socinians, grant; that Church retains all the Substantials and Fundamentals: yet her Faith, they confess, is unsound; because of the erroneous Additions to the Substantials and Fundamentals. The Doctor therefore shall do well, to think again of this part of his Explication. But whereas he would con­firm these Perversions, of the true intention of the damning Clauses in this Creed, by criticizing on the word [...]; I must plain­ly tell him, he is grosly out in his Criticism. ‘'Tis not, says he, [...] totam or whole, but [...], salvam, sanam, sound or safe. Is not [...] indeed the same with [...]? If he pleases to consult his Lexicons, he will find that [...] is rendred integram, perfectam, whole or perfect: so that the sense of this Article, is, That Faith must be kept perfect, whole or entire; nothing must be added to it, nothing taken from it.

Lett. 3. pag. 8. And the Catholic Faith is this; that is, this is one main Part of the Catholic Faith.’ I confess, at this rate of expounding, a very tolerable Sense may be made of this Creed, and of the Alchoran. If before all Things, necessary is only, mainly requi­site: if whole and undefiled may be true of a Faith, which is neither whole nor undefiled; but sound only in Fundamentals: if the Ca­tholic Faith is only part of the Catholic Faith: what Creed or Book may not be expounded to a sound Sense?

Lett. 3. pag. 11. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither Made, nor Be­gotten, but Proceeding. Here is no Ana­thematizing of the Greek Church. 'Tis said indeed, he doth proceed, and so say they: but not that he doth proceed from the Father and the Son. And it is said he is of the Father and of the Son: but whe­ther by Procession from both; or, if so, whether in the same manner, is not said, but warily avoided. — And those who are better acquainted with the Doctrine and Languages of the present Greek Chur­ches, than most of us are, do assure us, that the Differences between them and us, are rather in some Forms of Expressions, than in the Thing it self.’ To this I answer: The Doctor had as much reason to deny, that in this Article the Spirit is said to proceed from the Father, as from the Son. For the word Proceeding is so placed, both in the Greek and English as to refer to both, or to neither. Besides, Proceeding is (he knows) the very Characteristic of the Spirit; so that if he is of or from the Fa­ther [Page 12] and the Son (which, the Doctor will not deny, is expresly affirmed in this Arti­cle) it must be by proceeding from them: which since the Greeks deny, 'tis manifest their Doctrine is here condemned. What he adds of the present Greek Churches is not true: 'tis certain they hold, that their Doctrine is condemned in this Article; and therefore in return to Athanasius his Com­plement, that they shall perish everlastingly, they pleasantly answer, He was drunk when he made this Creed.

The Athanasian Creed has this Conclusi­on; This is the Catholic Faith, which except a Man keep faithfully, he cannot be saved. How can Dr. Wallis elude these plain words; which are not annexed to any Generals, as he (though untruly) says of the other Damnatory Clauses, but are as it were the Label and Seal, affixed to the whole Creed at the end or bottom of it? But what can­not a Wit, and a Learned Man do; at least, what will he not attempt? He gives us a large Interpretation of this Clause, at pag. 19. of his third Letter: but the summ of it is this: This is the Catholic Faith, i. e. this is part of that Faith, which all Christians do and ought to believe. Which Faith except a Man keep faithfully, he cannot be saved, i. e. which Faith except a Man truly believe it, as to the Substantials of it, though possibly he may be ignorant of many particulars there­of, he cannot be saved: Which is, as if the Doctor had said: ‘Whereas the Atha­nasian Creed concludes, with these for­midable and seemingly plain words; This (before related) is the Catholic Faith, which except a Man keep faithfully, he cannot be sa­ved: Athanasius meant nothing less, than to damn all those, who do not intirely believe his Creed. No, no, that good Man intended only this. This Catholic Faith is part of the Catholic Faith; and if you would be saved, you must believe this part of the Catholic Faith, in part, in the Substantials of it. Which Substantials, as I said before, are only these two Generals; that there is a Trinity in Ʋnity, or three Somewhats in one God; and that Christ was Incarnate. This last may most easily be received by all Parties; for all Souls are Incarnate; and Partakers of Flesh and Blood, by Incarnation or Incorporation. I leave it with the Reader to judge, whether the Doctor has interpreted, or eluded this Creed.

I believe, Dr. Wallis had a charitable In­tention, in the pains he has taken, to find out a favourable Sense of the words of this Creed. But on the other hand, it looks not well, that he should put as great a force on the words of Socinus, to make him speak im­piously and heretically, as he has on the words of Athanasius, to make him speak Or­thodoxly or Charitably. This is the next thing I will consider in his Letters.

The Opinions charged on Socinus, and the Socinians.

IN his first, third and fourth Letters, He has charged the Socinians with Opinions; which not only subvert the Authority and Belief of Holy Scripture, but indanger all Religion and Piety towards God. Lett. 4. pag. 3. He saith that; He taketh his whole charge against the Socinians, as granted. He adds, at pag. 5. of the same Letter, that, ‘There is reason to suspect, that the Soci­nians have some other odd Tenents; which they think fit rather to conceal than to de­ny. What those odd Tenents are, he tells us, at Lett. 1. pag. 16. that, ‘There is nei­ther Angel nor Spirit; that, the Holy Scriptures are not the Word of God, nor yet the Doctrines therein contained.’ He there gives his reason, why he suspects, and would have others suspect them of these hor­rid [Page 13] Opinions. ‘Because they spare not to let us know, that were this Doctrine of the Trinity delivered in Scripture, in words as express as could be, they would not believe it.’ There can be nothing more false, or disingenuous, than this Charge. I will examine it, Part by Part; and the (per­verted) Quotations, by which he would prove it to the Unlearned Reader.

Lett. 1. pag. 5. ‘They (the Socinians) tell us; How clear soever the Expressions of Scripture be, or can be, to this purpose, (i. e. to prove the Doctrine of the Trinity) they will not believe it; because inconsistent with natural Reason.’ The Doctor very often in these Letters, makes it a great and inexcuseable Crime in the Socinians, that be­cause the Trinity is inconsistent with Natu­ral Reason, therefore they will not believe it, even though it were expressed in Scrip­ture. But what if the Trinitarians themselves are of this opinion; that, what is inconsi­stent with Natural Reason, or with our com­mon and congennit Notions, is not to be be­lieved, though the words of Scripture be never so express? Dr. Sherlock sure is (now) no Socinian, but a Trinitarian; yet at pag. 151. of his late Answer to the Brief History, and Brief Notes, he puts in his own Name this Question, and answer to it. ‘Suppose, that the natural Construction of the words (of Scripture) import such a sense, as is contra­ry to some evident Principle of Reason? Then I won't believe it. How, not be­lieve Scripture? No, no, I will believe no pretended Revelation, which contradicts the plain Dictates of Reason.’ The Pro­fessors of Franeker, who are not Socinians, (as the Doctor mistakes, Lett. 3. pag. 38.) but Trinitarians of the most rigid Sect; for they are Calvinists of the cut and die of the Dort Synod; and otherways could not be in the Pension of the States of the Ʋnited Pro­vinces: those Professors, I say, by confession of Dr. Wallis, published a Thesis to this ef­fect: ‘If Reason dictates to us any thing o­therwise, than the Scripture does; 'tis an errour to say, in such case, we are rather to believe the Scripture.’ 'Tis no new thing, that Writers who undertake to discuss Questi­ons which they do not thorowly understand, should frequently and very grosly contradict themselves. Dr. Wallis himself is in this very oversight. While he is warmly charging the Socinians, with Sadducism and Impiety, for affirming (as he untruly says) that, they would not believe what is contained in Scrip­ture, if contrary to Reason: while I say he is charging the Socinians with this Doctrine, as an impious and unchristian Opinion; he himself not only believes, but professes it. Lett. 1. pag. 8. ‘In this case (the Question of the Trinity) the Revelation seems so clear (to those who believe the Scripture) that we have no reason to doubt of it; unless the thing be found really impossible, and inconsistent with Reason.’ What is this but to say; Though Revelation be most clear, yet if the thing be impossible, and in­consistent with Reason, we have reason e­nough to doubt of it? Would Dr. Wallis now be content, that his Reader should in­fer from hence, that he is a Sadducee, be­lieving neither Angel nor Spirit; or an A­theist, or at least a Deist, not believing the Scripture, or that the Doctrines thereof are the Word of God; as he, most rashly, and most uncharitably, has intimated concerning the Socinians?

In my former Answer to him, I opposed to this charge of the Doctor, the clear words of Socinus, of Sclichtingius, and of Smalcius. The first of these says; ‘The way of Rea­son is too fallible, in a Matter depending on Divine Revelation; such as the Christian Religion is.’ The second says; ‘If any thing appear to be contained in Scripture; whatever Reason may say in contradiction to it, Reason must of necessity be de­ceived.’ The third says; ‘Religion and Holy Scripture have many things above Reason, and therein they highly commend themselves; but nothing which is contrary to Reason. As a small Light to a great one, so Reason is not contrary to Scrip­ture. Let Frantzius tell us of any one Sen­tence [Page 14] of Scripture, which is contrary to Reason; and then let Reason be silent in the Church.’ Socinus de Author S. Scrip. p. 16. Sclichtingius adv. Meisn. de ss. Trin. p. 68. Smalcius contr. Frantz. disp. 4. p. 137.

To these Citations Dr. Wallis answers; ‘He tells me of some Socinians, who have so much respect for the Scriptures as to say, Scripture contains nothing repugnant to Reason, and what doth not agree with Reason, hath no place in Divinity.’ Since the Doctor is not pleased to observe what my Quotations prove; I must desire our Reader to observe, and to judge between us. I think they clear the Socinians of the scanda­lous Imputation, which the Doctor seeks to fasten on them.

Lett. 3. pag. 45. ‘As to the suspicion I had of some of their Sentiments: Socinus (E­pist. 5. ad Volket.) doth absolutely deny, that the Soul after Death doth subsist.’ But let us hear the words of Socinus, not as they are dockt by this Author, but as they are in that Epistle. Satis apparet me sentire, non ITA vivere post hominis ipsius mortem, ani­mam ejus; ut PER SE praemiorum poenarumve capax existat; cum in ipso primo homine, totius Immortalitatis rationem, uni Gratiae Dei tribu­am, i. e. ‘I hold, that a Man's Soul after his Death doth not so live, as that by it self, or of its own Nature, 'tis capable of Reward or Punishment. In the very first Man, I attribute his Immortality to the alone Grace of God.’ In a word, the O­pinion of Socinus was this, That there is no Natural Immortality in Man, but he hath it by the Grace and Gift of God.

Lett. 3. pag. 46. Socinus in his Tract de Eccl. says thus; I am not to regard what other Men teach or think, or have before now taught or thought; whosoever or how many soever they be, or have been. And if, saith Dr. Wallis, Whosoever are not here to be extended to the Sacred Wri­ters; he tells us of them elsewhere.’ It appears, that the Doctor would have it thought, that these Words are meant of the Writers of Holy Scripture, as well as others; at least, that 'tis doubtful whether they were not so intended. Therefore here again we must hear Socinus himself. Cumque res Divinas, Humana ipsa per se ratio assequi nequeat; ad Divinam patefactionem consugiendum est. Nec attendendum quid Homines, praesertim ques nec vitae Innocentia, nec Divinum aliquod certum Te­stimonium commendat, doceant sentiantve; vel antehac docuerint aut senserint; quicunque illi tandem aut quotcunque sint, aut fuerint, i. e. ‘Since Human Reason cannot of it self attain the knowledg of things Divine, we must have recourse to Divine Revelation; and not mind what Men (especially who are re­commended to us, neither by their own Probity, nor by the Witness of God) teach or think; or have taught or thought; whosoever, or how many soever they be, or have been.’ I know not what could be said more truly, or more like a Protestant.

Dr. W. Lett. 3. pag. 47. ‘As for me (saith Socinus, de Servat. pag. 3. c. 6.) tho it were found written in the Sacred Monuments, not once, but many times; I would not for all that believe it so to be. And a little before, having first told us that the thing was impossible; He adds: When it doth plainly appear (or when he thinks so, what­ever all the World think beside) that the thing cannot be, tho the Divine Oracles do seem expresly to attest it, it must not be ad­mitted; and therefore the Sacred Words are, even by unusual Tropes, to be interpreted to another Sense than what they speak.’ To this I say, either Socinus was a gross Here­tick, or an Apostate from Christianity; or those who have furnished Dr. Wallis with these Quotations are as gross Falsifiers: for I can­not suspect, that Dr. Wallis himself would forge such Calumnies to blacken another Man, especially a Noble Person, long since dead, and who never did him any Injury. The ve­ry words of Socinus are these. Nonnulla in ipso (nempe Christo) reperta sunt quae ejusmo­di satisfactionem penitus excludunt. Quare ne­queo satis mirari, quid eis in mentem venerit, qui nobis primi Islam Satisfactionem fabricârunt. Cum ea quae fieri non posse apertè constat, Divinis [Page 15] etiam oraculis ea facta fuisse in speciem disertè attestantibus, nequaquam admittantur; (& id­circo sacra verba in alium sensum quam ipsa sonant, etiam per inusitatos tropos explicantur;) nedum tunc pro compertis & plane veris affirmentur, at­que aliis obtrudantur, cum ne verbum quidem in universis sacris literis de ipsis extet. Nam si vel unus saltem locus inveniretur, in quo Satisfactio­nis, pro peccatis nostris Deo per Christum exhi­bitae mentio fieret; excusandi fortasse viderentur. Ego quidem etiamsi, non semel sed, saepe ID in sa­cris monumentis scriptum extaret; non idcirco ta­ment ita rem prorsus se habere crederem, ut vos opinamini. In English, thus; ‘There are some things in our Lord Christ, which plain­ly exclude such a Satisfaction. Wherefore I cannot sufficiently wonder, what was in their Minds, who first devised that Satis­faction. Those things, of which 'tis mani­fest that they cannot be, are not admitted (he means, by Interpreters and Commentators) though the Scriptures do as it were seem to affirm them expresly; (and therefore the sacred Words are, even by unusual Tropes, interpreted to another sense than what they sound;) much less are they affirmed for apparent and plain Truths, or forced up­on others, when there is not a word about them in the whole Scripture. For if even but one Text were found, in which there were mention of Satisfaction, made to God for our Sins by the Lord Christ; they might perhaps be excused. For my part, though IT (he means this word Satisfaction) were extant in Scripture, not only once, but many times; I would not for all that, believe the Thing to be altogether so as ye hold it. These last words are left out in the Doctor's Latin Quotation, and in his Translation; and what Socinus plainly in­tended of the custom and manner of Inter­preters or Commentators, that the Doctor represents as Socinus his private Sentiment, and the rule of interpreting by him only used and advised. But any one who understands Latin, and reads Socinus his own words at length, which I have before repeated, will see, Socinus meant only thus much: ‘This word Satisfaction is no where extant in Holy Scripture; and if it were, yet we need not therefore believe the vulgar Doctrine about the Satisfaction; both be­cause there are in the Lord Christ himself several things which exclude such a Satis­faction; and because all Interpreters have recourse to (even unsual) Tropes, when the Scriptures seem to affirm things which would be manifestly false, if we interpreted them by the mear sound of the Words.’ I suppose Socinus might have in his Thoughts, that Rock was Christ, 1 Cor. 10.4. I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven, if any Man eat of this Bread he shall live for ever; or such like Texts: in which it cannot be deni­ed, that the Tropes are harsh and unusual in the Western Languages, though they were not so in the Eastern.

Lett. 3. pag. 4. ‘They are Socinus his own words (Epist. ad Balcerovic. Jan. 30. 1581.) The contrary Opinion (with Au­gustin's leave, and others of his mind) seems to me so absurd and pernicious; that we must rather put a Force, how great soever, upon Paul's words, than admit it.’ At Lett. 4. pag. 2. and often elsewhere, the Doctor repeats these words as if they were spoken of the Doctrine of the Trinity. But the thing is not so. The Question touched in that Letter, is whether the Context of Rom. 7.14, &c. I am Carnal, sold under Sin, &c. is to be understood of Paul himself, and every other regenerate Person, or not? Socinus denies, they are spoken of Paul, or other regenerate Person, and adds that a Force (how great soever) is rather to be used to the words, than to admit such a pernicious Opinion; that is, than admit that St. Paul or a regenerate Man is Carnal, sold under Sin, &c. These words are indeed hyperbolical; but considering the occasion, capable of (and intended in) an honest sense; as any candid Man will ac­knowledg.

Lett. 3. pag. 44. He saith; Sandius, that great Friend of the Socinians; and Promo­ter of their Cause, published a Thesis a­gainst the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, and [Page 16] was so answered by Wittichius, that a Friend of Sandius (and his Partner in maintaining that Thesis) did after the Death of Sandius publish to the World, that Sandius himself was satisfied, and changed his Opinion.’ This Matter is both unskilfully and unfairly related. First, Sandius was no Socinian, but an Arian; and not only often wrote against the Socinians, but endeavours in that very Thesis (mentioned by the Doctor) to con­fute the Opinion of the Socinians about the Holy Ghost. Secondly, As Sandius denied the Divinity and believed the Personality of the Holy Spirit; so it came into his Mind, that perhaps by the Holy Spirit is meant the whole kind of Holy Angels or Spirits; as by the Devil and Satan, is often meant the whole Race of wicked, apostate or fallen Spirits. This Opinion he calls a Paradox, Problema, Paradoxum, and propounds it to be disputed by Learned Men; himself alledging the Ar­guments for it in the aforementioned Thesis. Wittichius so replied, that (as Sandius his Asso­ciate reports) Sandius was satisfied, not of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, but that the Spirit is One Person, (as the Arians always held) not more Persons or Spirits.

I said in my former Letter, that a Re­spondent for his Degree at Oxford, put for one of his Questions, such a Thesis against the Socinians, as Dr. Wallis objects to them, viz. That they preferred Reason above Scrip­ture; and that his Learned Antagonist (thô neither then, nor since a Socinian) made it appear that the Respondent had not read the Books of the Socinians, but accused them by hearsay. I added, That if Dr. Wallis were urged to defend his Charge against the Soci­nians; I doubted, he could acquit himself no better than that Candidate for his Degree did. The Doctor has increased my Suspi­cion by his third and fourth Letters; for I cannot believe of him, that he would know­ingly and deliberately pervert the Words of Authors, long since dead, and who never did him wrong by Word or Deed. There­fore I suppose his Quotations were borrowed from S. Maresius (or perhaps from S. Lub­bertus) who cared not what he said of any Adversary, especially of a Remonstrant or a Socinian. But were this whole Accusation of Socinus as true as 'tis notoriously false; the Ʋnitarians (though they are by others called Socinians) do not think themselves concerned in it: for they do not profess to follow Socinus, but the Scripture. If Socinus has at any time spoken erroneously, or un­advisedly, or hyperbolically; 'tis not Soci­nus who is their Master, but Christ. As great Chillingworth somewhere says, the Bi­ble, the Bible, the Bible, is our both Rule, and Guide: not Calvin, not Luther, nor Soci­nus, but the Bible.

I am come now within sight of my Con­clusion; it only remains, that I answer briefly to some exceptionable Passages, and incompetent Answers, to what I had ob­jected in my first Letter. I may be very brief, because the Doctor, as is the custom of eloquent Men and Orators, has said but a little in a great deal.

First; Whereas he has up and down in these Letters, objected several Texts against the Socinian Heresy of but One God; and in defence of the Catholic and Orthodox Doctrine of Three Gods: as to those Texts which he has only cited, without inlarging or criticizing upon them, I refer my self to the Explications in the Brief History of the Soci­nians, and to the Defence of that History. He saith (Lett. 3. pag. 42.) that Dr. Sherlock has confuted that History. I observe, that the Orthodox Writers cry up one anothers Books, as clear Victories; though those Books are as contrary to one another as they are to the Socinians; and if any one of them has confuted the Socinians, he has at the same time confuted all his own Party, and even Holy-mother Church her self. If Dr. Sherlock has confuted the Brief History, he must needs too have confuted Dr. Wallis his four Sabellian Letters. If he has proved, that there are Three Infinite Intelligent Beings, Minds, and Spirits, then he has con­futed those that say, the Trinity is Three Some­whats, without true Name, or true Notion; Three [Page 17] Capacities or Respects, Three Names or Ti­tles of God, Three Modes or Relations to his Creatures, namely Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. And if Dr. Wallis has proved this last in his celebrated Letter, he has without doubt confuted Dr. Sherlock; who asserts Three Infinite Spirits and Beings; who are one God, only as they are Mutually Con­scious, or know and feel one anothers Minds and Actions. And both of them have con­futed Mother Church, who hath in several Ge­neral Councils Anathematized the Doctrine of Sabellius, whom Dr. Wallis follows; and the Heresy of Philoponus and Abbat Joachim, who are followed by Dr. Sherlock. That a Sabellian should tell a Tritheist, he has confu­ted the Socinians, is such a Complement, that if the Vindicator doth not take it for a Jeer, he is (without doubt) so much a Gentleman, as by way of requital to publish to the World in his Next, that Dr. Wallis has eternally and irrefragably confuted the Neighbour, and the Neighbour's Friend.

In the mean time, I cannot but wonder, that the Orthodox Writers being so badly agreed, what their Trinity is, that they have nothing left in common among them but on­ly the word Trinity: I wonder, (I say) that they should so earnestly contend for a Word, which themselves confess, is neither found in Scripture, nor was known to first and pure Antiquity. The two great Reformers, Lu­ther and Calvin, were not so much taken with this Word, as we are now adays. M. Luther (Postil. major. Dominic.) says; ‘The word Trinity sounds odly, and is an humane In­vention. It were better to call Almighty God, God, than Trinity. J. Calvin (Ad­mon. 1. ad Polonos) says; ‘I like not this Prayer, O Holy Blessed and Glorious Trinity. It savours of Barbarity; — the word Trinity is barbarous, insipid, profane, an humane Invention, grounded on no Testi­mony of God's Word, the Popish God, unknown to the Prophets and Apostles.’

I observed in my former Letter, that our Saviour says, John 17.1, 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. I alledged this Text to prove, that only the Father is the true God. The Doctor (at Lett. 3. pag. 51.) gives three Answers. And of these, the first and third are contrary to and destructive of one another; if the first is true, the third must be false; if the third be true, the first is false. For the first sup­poses, that by Father here is meant only the Person of the Father, or the first Person in the Trinity; the other supposes, that by Fa­ther is meant God in the most large sense; so as to comprize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I will examine the three Answers severally.

1. He saith; ‘I should have considered, that it is not said, Thee only, to be the true God; but Thee, the only true God. The restrictive Only is not annexed to Thee, but to God. His meaning in plainer terms is this; I should have noted the vast difference between these two Forms, Thee only, the true God; and, Thee, the only true God. If the objected Text had been in the first of these Forms, the Socinians had undoubtedly gained their Point; but the latter (which is the Form in the alledged Text) does them no service. This may be called a Fineness, a Subtlety, a Querk; not an Accurate Rea­soning, or a real and true Distinction. For, first; There is no difference in the Significa­tion of these Propositions: Thee only, the true God; and, Thee, the only true God: the last is as exclusive of all other Persons besides the Father, as the first. As there is no difference between saying, Thee only, Leopold, the true Emperour of Germany: and saying, Thee, Leo­pold, the only true Emperour of Germany. Secondly, If there were indeed a difference between these two Forms, yet the latter is as hurtful to the Trinitarians as the former. They will not have it to be here said, the Fa­ther only is the true God; no, no, that destroys the Trinity: but, the Father is the only true God. I say now, if this last does not destroy the Trinity, it certainly confounds the Persons, which in their Creed is no less Heresy than the o­ther. [Page 18] For seeing in the Trinitarian Hypothe­sis, God or the One true God is Father, Son, and Holy Sprit; these words, Thee Fa­ther the only true God, must be to say, Thee Father, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But this is Heresy, it confounds the Persons; it makes the Father, to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus the Doctor's first Answer has two Faults; 'tis founded not on a real, but chimerical and imaginary Distinction; and it implies Heresy.

2. He answers; ‘The words may be thus expounded. To know Thee, Father, to be the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’ Or thus, to know Thee, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, to be the only true God. This Interpretati­on is generally rejected by the more Learned Trinitarians, because it apparently destroys the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. For if the Father and Son, be the only true God, it re­mains, that the Spirit either is only a Crea­ture, as the Arians and Bidellians say; or the Power and Inspiration of God, as the Pholinians and Socinians affirm. I believe the Doctor was aware of this unlucky Consequence, and therefore advanced a third Interpretation, which himself seems to approve, because af­terwards he repeats and urges it again.

3. He says; ‘The Scope of the place may be this; to set forth, that there is but One true God (though in this Godhead be Three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit:) and the Doctrine of Redemption, by Jesus Christ whom God hath sent: Which Things the Heathens knew not.’ Now according to this Answer, Father in this Text is God, as comprizing the Three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit; and Jesus Christ, is the Man Je­sus Christ, or Jesus Christ as Man. But I would know how it comes to pass, that the particular Title and very Characteristic of the first Person, is here given to the Son and Spi­rit? At this rate of interpreting, how shall we ever distinguish the Persons? One while we are told, Father is the perpetual and in­communicable Character or Description of the First Person: another while, Father is the Three Persons, even Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But so it is, They that maintain a false Opinion, must answer according to the present Exigence; sometimes this Thing, sometimes the contrary: only Truth is sta­ble, coherent, consistent with it self, always the same. Farther, That by Father here is meant only One Person, not Three Persons, is clear by this, that otherways our Saviour should have said Fathers, not Father. For Three Persons, who All have the relation of Paternity (as this Answer supposes) are as much Three Fathers, as they are Three Per­sons.

Next, I objected 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) Jesus Christ, by whom are all Things, and we by Him. Or rather, Jesus Christ, for whom are all Things, and we for Him. For all Things were originally created for Him; that is, with Intention to subject them (in the fulness of time) to Him, as their Principal and Head, under God. To this the Doctor answers as before; ‘It is manifest, that One God is here put in op­position (not to Plurality of Persons in one Deity, but) to the many Gods of the Hea­then; and our one Saviour against their many Saviours.’ But I do not know, that the Heathens distinguished between their Gods and their Saviours, as the Doctor here and many other Interpreters suppose. He should have said, our one Master or Teacher to their many Teachers, to the numerous Professors of different Philosophies among the Heathen. But the One God is opposed, not only to the Many Gods of the Heathen, but to all other Persons, but ( [...]) the Father. I ask as before, How could St. Paul call Three Persons [...] the Father; and how this Characteristic of the First Person can by him be given, to the Son and the Pro­ceeder: is not this plainly to confound the Per­sons? He that confounds the Characters, ne­cessarily confounds the Persons. If the Apo­stle had known and believed the Divinity of our Times, he must have said; To us there is [Page 19] but one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and one Teacher, Jesus Christ as Man. Nay were that Doctrine true, he had more reason so to speak to the Corinthians, than we now have. For they were Novice Christians, to whom it was necessary to speak of so high a Point, in the most explicit open and plain Terms. We may therefore certainly infer, that when he teaches them, To us there is but One God, ( [...]) the Father; he meant to deny, that there is any other Person but the Father, who is or can be God.

Lett. 3. pag. 57. He objects, Rom. 9.5. Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever; Amen. ‘He observes hereupon, that in the Greek 'tis [...], which answers to JAH and Jehovah. And, that Christ is again called [...] at Rev. 1.8. as appears by ver. 11, 13, 17, 18. He saith farther, that the above-cited Text in its full Emphasis, is thus; Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, that Being o­ver all, the ever blessed God. Amen. But first, The word Amen makes Non-sense of this whole Criticism and Translation. If the Doctor had translated this Text as Erasmus, Curcellaeus, and the Socinians do; Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, God who is over all, be blessed for ever: it had been proper for the Apostle to conclude such a Doxology or Thanksgiving, with Amen. But 'tis Non-sense to say Amen, to these words; Of whom as concerning the Flesh Christ came, that Being over all, the ever-blessed God. Every one sees here is no occasion for Amen. But this Criticism and Interpretation of the Doctor, has another fault. For if, as the Doctor says, [...] be that Being over all, and answers to the Hebrew Jah and Jehovah; and if Jesus Christ be that Being over all, Jah, and Jehovah, the ever-blessed God, he must be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: for according to the Trinitarians, [...] Jah Jehovah, the Being over all, the ever-blessed God, is these Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I say therefore, the Doctor's is not a good Translation, because Jesus Christ is not Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He saith, the Lord Christ is called [...] at Rev. 1.8. I deny it. And I give this reason; because at ver. 5. Christ is distinguished from, and opposed to [...], who is mentioned at ver. 4. He cannot be that Person or Thing from which he is distinguished, and to which he is opposed; for Distinction and Opposition suppose that Persons and Things are divers. But the Doctor saith, it appears by ver. 11, 13, 17, 18. that at ver. 8. the Lord Christ is cal­led [...]. He doubted his Reader would not believe him if he recited the Words, there­fore he warily refers only to the Verses. I deny, that in any of these Verses the Lord Christ is called [...]. And ver. 18. (one of the Verses quoted by him) demonstrates, that Jesus Christ is not [...], the Being over All, the ever-blessed God. For there it is said of him, I am he that liveth, and was dead. Dorh it agree to [...], to Unchangeable JAH, to Immutable Jehovah, that BEING over All, the ever-blessed God; that he liveth, and was dead?

Lett. 1. pag. 2. He objected, 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. I answered, 1. They are one in their Testimony; they witness the same thing: not one God. So Calvin, Beza, Erasmus, Vatablus, and the English-Geneva Notes inter­pret. But the Doctor likes it not. He saith, Ʋnum sunt, they are One; and Ʋnum sumus (at John 10.30.) We are One, must signify one thing, one in Being, one in Essence. For so Adjectives of the Neuter Gender, without a Substantive, usually signify both in Greek and Latin. Now I desire him to give me but one Instance in any Author, Sa­cred or Profane, where Ʋnum sunt they are one, or Ʋnum sumus we are one, do signify (as he says) one in Being, one in Essence, or one numerical Thing. When our Saviour says (John 10.30.) I and the Father are One, 'tis certain from his own Explication else­where, that he means not one numerical Thing, one in Being, one in Essence, or one God. He prays at John 17.22.—That they (the Disciples) may be One, as We (the Father and I) are One. This Passage tells us, how we [Page 20] are to understand John 10.30. I and the Fa­ther are One. For the Disciples could be no otherways One, but One in Design, Interest, and Affection. But they were to be one, as Christ and the Father are one: therefore the Unity of God and Christ, is an Oneness or Unity of Affection, Design and Interest. Even as St. Paul, speaking of Himself and Apollos, says, 1 Cor. 3.8. He that planteth, and he that watereth, are one. He meaneth one in Design; in the design of planting and pro­pagating the Gospel. 2. I excepted against the Authority of this Text, because 'tis want­ing in all the Ancient Translations, and all Manuscripts of Note. He makes light of this, and says, Whole Epistles are wanting in some Copies. 'Tis true, that, before Printing was in use, 'twas not very common to find the whole Bible in one Manuscript; for People generally wrote out for their use only such parts of the Bible as they most esteemed. Some had on­ly the Four Gospels, some added the Epistles of St. Paul, some the Catholick Epistles. But whoever wrote out an entire Book, or Epistle, never presumed to add any thing to the Text, or to omit any thing. But the ob­jected Text was in no Copy of the Bible, I mean, in the Text of such Copy, before St. Jerom brought it out of the Margin of some Copies. It was at first a Marginal Note, and by him made a part of the Sacred Text. It is never cited by any of the Fathers, till after his time. It is now indeed in St. Cyprian's Book De Ʋnitate Ecclesiae, but the Criticks have all noted, that no Credit is to be given to that Book, as we now have it. For in that little Tract of but Four Leaves, they ob­serve 288 Alterations and Additions.

Lastly; The Doctor saith, [...] in this Text, and [...] at John 10.30. agree so well; that 'tis a strong Presumption they are from the same Pen.’ But, 1. I observe, [...] are not the Words of St. John at John 10.30. but of our Lord Christ; and I have already accounted for them. 2. If it be so strong a Presumption, that [...], They are one, are indeed St. John's Words, because we find [...], We are one, in his Gospel: 'tis a much stronger Presumption, that they are St. Paul's Words, because he hath the very Words [...], They are One, 1 Cor. 3.8.

Lett. 1. pag. 2. He saith, The Form of Baptism (Mat. 28.19.) is, in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ He adds, Lett. 3. pag. 31. ‘We are baptized to the joint Service and Worship of the Fa­ther, Son, and Holy Ghost; and for ought appears, in the same degree. No, the contra­ry appears, because we know that the Son is but a Man, and the Spirit either an Angel, or the Power only and Inspiration of God. But for this matter I refer the Reader, and (if he pleases) the Doctor himself, to the Brief History, pag. 77, 78, 79. and to the Defence of that History, pag. 37, 38, 39, 40.

I am not aware, Sir, that there is any thing more in the Doctor's Letters necessary to be considered. I conclude therefore, with de­siring you to give my Acknowledgments and Thanks to Dr. Wallis, that he was willing to spend some part of his time, which he knows how to expend so well, in seeking to instruct and reduce the Ʋnitarians, and particularly the Socinians. That they are not convinced by what he hath said, doth not (they confess) lessen their Obligations to him. They desire it may not lessen his Charity to them; since 'tis not in Mens Power to believe as they will. They profess he has written like a Man of Wit and Letters; like a Gentleman, and like a Christian: Therefore they will always hear Dr. Wallis as a Father; and if there be a ne­cessity at any time to reply, they will answer respectfully. Sir, I am Yours.

FINIS.

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