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“ things, I appeal to thee concerning the sincerity “ of my enquiries into these discoveries of thy 66 word.
“I humbly call thee to witness, O my God, “ what a holy jealousy I ever wear about my heart, “ left I should do the nightest dishonour to thy “ supreme Majesty in any of my enquiries or de“ terminations. Thou seeft what a religious fear, 66 and what a tender solicitude I maintain on my “ soul, lest I should think or speak any thing to di“ minish the grandeurs and honours of thy Son
Jesus, my dear Mediator, &c. Thou knowest “ how much I am afraid of speaking one word “ which may be construed into a neglect of thy “ blessed Spirit, from whom I hope I am daily
receiving happy influences of light and strength. “ Guard all the motions of my mind, O Almighty “ God, against every thing that borders upon these
dangers. Forbid my thoughts to indulge, and “ forbid my pen to write one word, that should “ sink those grand ideas which belong to thyself,
or thy Son, or thy Holy Spirit. Forbid it, O my “ God, that ever I should be so unhappy as to unglorify my Father, my Saviour, or my Sanctifier, any of
my sentiments or expressions concern“ ing them.
• Blessed and faithful God, haft thou not pro« mised that the meek thou wilt guide in judgment, “ the meek thou wilt teach thy way? Hath not
thy Son, our Saviour, assured us, that our hea
venly Father will give his holy Spirit to them « who ask him ? And is he not appointed to guide 6 us into all truth? Have I not fought the gracious “ guidance of thy good Spirit continually ? Am I “not truly sensible of my own darkness and weak“ ness, my dangerous prejudices on every side, and
my utter insufficiency for my own conduct? Wilt “ thou leave such a poor creature bewildered
among a thousand perplexities, which are raised
by the various opinions and contrivances of men " to explain thy divine truth?
“ Help me, heavenly Father, for I am quite “ tired and weary of these human explainings so “ various and uncertain. When wilt thou explain “ it to me thyself, O my God, by the secret and “ certain dictates of thy Spirit, according to the "s incimations of thy word ?"
Now, for truth's sake, I desire to ask any intelligent, impartial, and candid reader, whether we have not in these passages strong indications of a wavering, though pious mind ? Whether such language as this does not rather tend to encourage specious scepticism, than sound faith? Whether it is not chargeable with inconsistency between reverence and remonftrance, between declarations of acquiescence and expoftulations of discontent? Whether, according to Dr. W—'s ideas, all ecclesiastical authority is not as such altogether odious, or contemp
tible; and whether, for what appears to the contrary from these periods, Christianity might not flourish without the existence of Church, pastor, or teacher? Whether we have not in this illustrious Dissenter an extraordinary instance of the compatibility of radical and invincible prejudice with an bonest and good heart, and a solid understanding ? Whether Dr. W. had any thing like fufficient grounds for his suspicion that the orthodox received doctrines are resolvible into mere
“ explainings, “ inventions, or contrivances of men ?" Whether he does not appear to be unreasonably, though fincerely anxious to understand all mysteries, while at the same time he could not but know, that the capital doctrines of the Gospel are delivered as mysterious, and that Christians are supposed and required to walk by faith, and not by fight? Whether he does not moft erroneously convert a particular promise into a general one; not recollecting that, though, for obvious and very important purposes, our beavenly Father will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask bim, yet that Spirit was by no means “ ap“pointed” to guide every individual Christian into all spiritual truth? Whether, had we been cold
plainly;" in so many words,“ in any single text, " that the Father, Son, and holy Spirit are three “ real and distinct persons in the divine nature,” it had been possible for D. W. to have misunderstood it; or whether he, or any body else, could have
been “ bewildered in any doubts,” with respect to this doctrine? Whether fuch discovery" of it would not have been received every where with es unbiassed hearts,” and with universal “ zeal, fa“ faction and joy," a few instances perhaps of obduracy, &c, excepted? Whether, had it been “ so " expressed and included in the several scattered "parts” of Scripture, that the Doctor's “ reason 6 and conscience could with ease have found it out, " and with certainty inferred it," there would have been the least occasion for the “ skill and activity of his rational powers ?” Whether, after all, the doctrine in question be not expressed, or included in the sacred pages sufficiently to warrant any man's firin affent to it; especially when we take into the account the whole weight of that evidence by which we prove its correspondency with the sense of antiquity, and the belief of the primitive Church? Whether the wiseft and the weakest are not equally incapable of “ taking in so difficult, and so abstruse a doctrine" as that of the Trinity ? Whether the Christian doctrine concerning things spiritual and mysterious is really represented," eicher in the Old Testament or the New, as“ plain “and eafy even to the meanest understanding ?” Whether, granting that “ multitudes even of men “of learning and piety have lost themselves in in" finite subtilties of dispute, &c, in the explica“ tion and defence” of the doctrine before us, all
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this should not be principally attributed to antitrinitarian artifice, and to a gradual departure from that simplicity in which it was originally taught and received in the world? Whether, if this “ perplex
ing notion of three real persons going to make
up one true God” be a part of Christian doctrine, it is not prima facie the most “necessary and the most important?” Finally, whether the doctrine of the Trinity, as held in the Church, has not at least as much countenance from Scripture, and even from reason, as Dr. W—'s notion of the indwelling of the Deity in the Man Christ Jesus; and whether this is not in effect acknowleged by himself?
As to the notion itself, it is, I trust, to all intents and purposes refuted in the foregoing pages; and I shall content myself with expressing my astonishment at the force of prejudice in one who fo strongly recommends, or more properly inculcates an“ indifference for every thing but truth," * and cenfures fo feverely all domestic, national, or party attachments. For with all his gentleness, benevolence, charity, and love of truth, Dr. W. appears to me to have been biassed by more than ordinary prepoffesfions. He who has expressed himself in the manner we have seen;, he who has occasionally declared, that he “ allowed the greatest distinction pof“ fible between the sacred three in the divine nature,
which does not arise to three diftinct conscious
* See Improvement of the Mind. p. 285.