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* minds or spirits;” and that he was fully “ef6 tablished in the belief of the Deity of the blessed ss Three, though he knew not the manner of explica« tion," must, to my apprehension, be considered as protesting against the doctrine of a Trinity of Persons, chiefly because it was an established one; because it was the doctrine of the Church.
I have dwelt the longer on this case as it is uncommon; as it is the case of a great and good man, whom (to borrow Dr. Johnson's words) 66 every Christian Church would rejoice to have " adopted."
Dr. Watt's last Sentiments on the Trinity. p. 62. Solemn Address. p. 101, &c. See Johnson's Life of Dr. Watts with notes, &c.' Cudworth's Intell. Syft. Ch. 4. P. 304. A. Ross's View of all Religions.
P. 260. (00) to judge for ourselves.] It abundantly appears by a considerable number of extracts made by Bp. Jewel from many fathers and doctors of the Church of Rome, that antiently in that communion the Holy Scriptures were not barely indulged, but secommended to every hand. By what means the Romanists have since qualified the sense of these palfages, or reconciled the same with principles of a later date, I have no occasion to inquire. But in one of them there is a fingularity which, I believe, will pay any man for his trouble in the reading. It is to be found in Theadoret; -and is transated by the CC 2
great prelate as follows. “Ye may commonly fee, " that our doctrine is known, not only of them “ that are the doctors of the Church, and the maf“ ters of the people, but also even of the tailors, " and smiths, and weavers, and of all artificers : yea,
and farther also of women; and that not only of them that be learned, but also of labour
ing women, and fempsters, and servants, and band“ maids. Neither only the citizens, but also the “ country-folks do very well understand the fame. “Ye may find, yea, even the very ditchers, and “ delvers, and cow-herds, and gardiners disputing of “the Holy-TRINITY, and of the CREATION OF -CS ALL THINGS."
The same paffage is referred to by Dr. POTTER in his Answer to Charity Mistaken. p. 205.
Jewel's Defence, &c. part. 5. p. 507.
Page 262. (PP) mistaken in that judgment.] An eminent and learned writer of the last century, whom I have quoted before, observes, (and the obfervation has been also cited,) thar“ herefy is not « an error of the understanding, but of the will;" and to this doctrine, properly stated, we can readily subscribe. But in the excess of his moderation, this Right Rev. author fometimes questions, in effect at least, the authority, not only of all ecclefiaftical traditions, and councils, but of the Scripture itself; giving us sentiments wholly incongruous with every idea of faith, system, or establish.
ment. Witness those contained in the following extract, which, to my imagination, nothing but the zeal of adherency to a favourite principle could have drawn from the pen of so able a writer, and fo profeffed a cafuift.
“ Since, says he, holy Scripture is the repository e of divine truths, and the great rule of faith, to « which all fects of Christians do appeal for
pro66 bation of their several opinions, and since all
agree in the articles of the Creed as things clearly " and plainly set down, and as containing all that “.which is of simple and prime necessity; and since s on the other side there are in Scripture many “ other mysteries, and matters of question upon " which there is a vail; since there are so many "copies with infinite varieties of reading; since a « various interpunction, a parenthesis, a letter, an " accent may much alter the sense; since fome
places have divers literal senses, many have fpi
ritual, mystical, and allegorical meanings; since " there are so many tropes, metonymies, ironies,
hyperboles, proprieties and improprieties of lan
guage, whose understanding depends upon such “ circumstances that it is almost impossible to know wies proper interpretation, now that the know
lege of such circumstances and particular stories is « irrecoverably lost; since there are some mysteries “which, at the best advantage of expression, are not s easy to be apprehended, and whose explication,
“ by reason of our imperfections, muft needs be “ dark, sometimes weak, sometimes únintelligible; “ and lastly, since those ordinary means of ex“ pounding Scripture, as searching the originals, “ conference of places, parity of reason, and ana“ logy of faith, are all dubious, uncertain, and very fallible, he that is the wisest and by consequence the likeliest to expound trueft in all
proç bability of reason, will be very far from confi
dence, because every one of these and many “more are like so many degrees of improbability " and incertainty, all depressing our certainty of " finding out truth in such mysteries, and amidst " so many difficulties. And therefore a wise man ” that considers this, would not willingly be pre“scribed to by others; and therefore if he also be “ a juft man, he will not impofe upon others; for “ it is best every man should be left in that liberty from which no man can juftly take him, unless " he could secure him from error. So that here “ also there is a necessity to conserve the liberty of “ prophesying, and interpreting Scripture ; a neceffity derived from the consideration of the dif“ ficulty of Scripture in questions controverted, " and the uncertainty of any internal medium of
Now if this be the case, we are but mocked, when we are told the Scriptures are the “repository of divine truths;” or that any articles of faith
can be “ clearly and plainly fet down" in any Creed whatsoever. Under the above circumstances, in what formulary, or fyftem, shall we look for all “ that which is of simple and prime necessity ?” Is it not strange too, that there should be many other mysteries in Scripture distinct from those divine trutbs of which it is the repofitory; and stranger still, that matters of question should be put under a vail ? Upon all matcers of faith there is indeed a vail; I mean, upon all mysterious matters, which cannot possibly be “ apprehended at the best advantage of expression.” The explication of these is abfolutely impracticable ; and every attempt for that purpose, “ by reason of our imperfections, " muft needs be dark, sometimes weak, fometimes « unintelligible.” Perhaps he will bid as fair as any man to be an expounder of mysteries who shall disentangle the several clauses of this paragraph. I know not whether any thing can be found furpassing this, either in the style, or in the spirit of present moderation.*
The truth of the matter is, that very sensible and very good men, are apt to run into inconsistencies upon this subject. “ It is very meet, says Dr. Potter "in his answer to Cbar. Miftaken, that the igno“ rant people should obey their overseers in the Lord,
See a curious vindication of this author, (Bp.TALYOR,) in Wood's Ath. Oxoni. p. 402. Vol. 2.
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