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most unlearned reader sees at once, (unless told he must not see it,) that the God that made him, and whom he is to adore, is one, without multiplicity or division, even as he knoweth himself to be one being, one person, and not many. Learned Christians have indeed coined a new language of their own, quite unknown to our Lord and his apostles, and have called God, Trinity, a Trinity i Unity that is to be worshiped ; which is obviously departing from the simplicity of the gospel, and is at best making a plain thing obscure. As to those persons however, who reckoned these to be proper expressions of what appeared to them the scripture doctrine concerning the Deity, there could be nothing blameable in their thus wording and explaining it for themselves. They had a right to do it, which no one should or ought to interfere with or hinder. But the unhappiness hath been, that some men have not been contented with making and adopting this phraseology concerning the Deity for themselves, but have also obtruded it upon others, by methods not always the most justifiable, as the only right and allowable way of thinking and speaking concerning God. And this obscure language, consecrated at first by a few leading names, and grown hoary, as it were, through length of years, takes place of, and with many is revered above, that of holy scripture itself: and the doctrine thus worded is called a tremendous doctrine, a sacred mystery; and for many ages, Christians have been forbidden to search into it, or call it in question, under various pains and penalties, even unto death; and at this very day, to disapprove this unscriptural language and the doctrine conveyed by it, shall by some be looked upon as denying the truth of divine revelation, as little short of atheism itself.*
* “ The complainants, if we may judge from some publi. cations previous to this attempt, are a motley mixture of Infidels of various denominations, such as Deists, Arians, Socinians and Pelagians ; the grand point they want to be rid of, is the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, and its consequences, such as the Godhead of Christ, and the personality and Godhead of the Holy Ghost; if these could be struck out of the Liturgy and Articles, they would be content. Dr. Clarke's Being, Mahomet's Allamany but the true God will serve their turn.". -Scriptural Comment on the xxxix. Articles Preface, pp. ix. x. by M. Madan, A. B. &c. 1772.
-This is the principal, if not the only characteristical note, whereby to distinguish a Christian from another man; yea from a Turk; for this is the chief thing th at the Turks, both in their Alcoran, and other writings, upbraid Christians for, even because they believe a Trinity of persons in the divine nature.
For which cause they fre. quently say, they are people that believe God hath companions : so that take away this article of our Christian faith, and what depends upon it, and there would be but little difference betwixt a Christian and a Turk."- -Bishop Beveridge, Private Thoughts, Part ii. p. 53.
One is sorry to see this pious bishop laying such unwar. rantable stress on his own private opinions in this and other points, and dealing out such uncharitable censures in a book
The Rise and Date of the Name Trinity.
The word Trinity was not known or used among Christians for near two hundred years after Christ, when it was first adopted by Theophilus, a Gentile convert, bishop of Antioch: but in no great conformity to what it is made to signify at present. It is acknowledged to be entirely of pure heathen extraction, borrowed from Plato, and the Platonic philosophy; and this being its true origin, it should seem, that a proper zeal for God's word, and regard for Christ and his inspired apostles, should make us relax, a little of our passion and vehemence against those who scruple to use a language not sanctified by their authority, in speaking of and addressing the
Luther and Calvin, (as a learned author* informs us,) in some moments were little disposed to favour this unscriptural dialect. “ The word Trinity sounds oddly," saith the former, "and is an human invention. It were better to call Almighty God, God, than Trinity.” And Calvin says, “ I like not this prayer, O holy, blessed and glorious Trinity: it savours of barbarism.-The word
of practical piety ; unfit place for it surely of all others ! Much is to be allowed undoubtedly to the warmth of his natural temper. But then he should be read with caution, Jest we receive harm from him instead of benefit, and in settling our orthodoxy lose our charity,
• Ben Mordecai, Letter i. p. 75.
Trinity is barbarous, insipid, profane: a human invention: grounded on no testimony of God's word; the Popish God, unknown to the prophets and apostles.'
We bear with this freedom of speech in these eminent reformers, because they were well-known and warm contenders for what is called the doctrine of the Trinity, though they expressed such utter distaste and dislike of the word itself. It would be but fair and equitable to give a patient hearing to those, who do not take upon them to condemn this obnoxious language in so rude a way, but who think there is cause and ground from holy scripture to discard not only the name but the doctrine itself; who assert the Divine Unity in the strictest and most absolute sense; that God is One, and his name One, the God that made the world, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that he alone is the object of his creatures' religious regards and worship, by the testimony of Jesus himself.
The bulk of Christians have suffered themselves to be strangely deluded into a notion, that there is a merit in believing dark, inexplicable doctrines, † and that it is owing to want of a
*«Imo Calvinus nou dubitavit dicere, cette prière reçue communement, sainte Trinité, un seul Dieu, aye pitié de nous, ne me plait point, et sent du tout sa barbarie;' in Epist. ad Polon. secund. gallicam epistolarum ejus editionem." Curcellæi Op: p. 833.
+ I beg leave to give a sample at length of one of these dark doctrines, to shew what hay and stubble,|(1 Cor. iii. 12,)
proper humility that others will not submit their understandings to receive them. Nevertheless our Saviour Christ requires no belief of unintel
some that are supposed master-builders present us with, to edify us in our most holy faith,
“ We are now to consider the order of those persons in the Trinity, described in the words before us, Matt. xxviij. 19. First, the Father, and then the Son, and then the Holy Ghost; every one of which is really and truly God; and yet they are all but one real and true God. A mystery which we are all bound to believe, but yet must have a great care how we speak of it; it being both easy and dangerous to mistake in expressing so mysterious a truth as this is. If we think of it, how hard is it to contemplate upon one numerically Divine nature in more than one and the same Divine person? Or, upon Three Divine persons in no more thau One and the same Divine nature ? If we speak of it, how hard is it to find out words to express it? If I say the Father, Son and Holy Ghost be three, and every one distinctly God, it is true : but if I say, they be three, and every one a distinct God, it is false.
I may say, the Divine persons are distinct in the Divine nature; but I cannot say, that the Divine nature is divided into the Divine persons. I may say, God the Father is One God, and the Son is One God, and the Holy Ghost is One God; but I
that the Father is one God, and the Son another God, and the Holy Ghost a third God. I
may say the Father begat another who is God; yet I cannot say, that he begat another God. And from the Father and the Son proceedeth another who is God; yet I cannot say, from the Father and the Son proceedeth another God. For all this while, though their nature be the same, their persons are distinct; and though their persons be distinct, yet still their