« AnteriorContinuar »
book, and any thing made out of any thing. Thus his first proof** of the Trinity in Unity is that text, Psalm. xxxiii. 6,-“ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Whence he in his way inifers—-" The whole Trinity therefore created the world.” And he proves this Trinity to be but One Lord, in the same curious way, from Isaiah xliv. 24.-Jones's Catholic Doctrine, p. 69.
The following anecdote concerning this noble work, and its author, deserves to be recorded.
* * Sciens ac volens supersedeo à multis testimoniis qui. bus usi sunt, veteres. Plausibile illis visum est. citare ex Davide xxxii. 6, “verbo Domini cæli firmati sunt, et spiritu oris ejus omnis virtus eorum;' ut probarent non minus Spi. ritûs Sancti opus esse mundum quam Filii. Sed quum in Psalmis usitatum sit bis idem repetere, et quum apud Jesaiam spiritus oris idem valeat (xi. 4,) atque sermo, infirma illa ratio fuit." Calvin. Instit. L. i. p. 22. *
Calvin was by some accused of Judaizing and Arianizing because he gave up this passage, and Psalm ii. 7, Genesis xix. 24, John X. 30, Hebrews i. 5, 1 John v. 7, and would not allow them as sufficient proofs respectively, of the Trinity, or the Divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit. He did not deserve the aspersions of soine -of his warm adversaries, but his good sense led him to see, that these texts would rather weaken than support the doctrine of the Trinity. On the last text, 1 John v. 7, his remark is, “Quod dicit tres esse unum, ad essentiam non refertur, sed ad consensum potius."
* About this time, or before the publication of Dr. Clarke's Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, there was a message sent him from the Lord Godolphin, and some others of Queen Anne's ministers, that the affairs of the public were then with difficulty kept in the hands of those that were for liberty ; that it was therefore an unseasonable time for the publication of a book that would make a great noise and disturbance, and that therefore they desired him to forbear till a fitter opportunity should offer itself, which message Dr. Clarke had no régard to, but went on according to the dictates of his own conscience with the publication of his book notwithstanding. This history, which I have from undoubted authority, but which I never heard of till very lately, affords us one of the greatest instances of Dr. Clarke's Christian courage and sincerity of all other.”-Whiston's Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Sam. Clarke, p. 30.
And as fugitive pieces in newspapers are seldom much regarded, and more liable to be lost than in a larger publication, the following vindication of this worthy man's memory from an aspersion in which many gloried much at the time, may well find a place here. .
Extract from the London Evening Post, printed
Saturday, December 7, 1771.
To the Printer of the London Evening Post. Sir,
You are desired to insert in your paper the following article, and you will oblige
Your humble servant,
SAMUEL CLARKE. Salisbury, Nov. 30, 1771.
Whereas, in the London Evening Post, on or about the 25th of May, 1771, there appeared an anonymous paragraph, highly reflecting on the late Dr. Samuel Clarke, Rector of St. James's, Westminster; wherein it is asserted, that Dr. Clarke certainly gave up his principles a long time before he died: and that Mr. Jackson, minister of Torrington, said he had it from Dr. Clarke's son that the Doctor on his death-bed said, nothing grieved him so much as writing his book on the Trinity, and wished he could see all his books on that subject burning before him."
“ Mr. Clarke, in justice to his father's memory, and also to prevent the public from being imposed upon by such a falsehood, thinks himself obliged to declare, that Mr. Jackson is a person entirely unknown to him, and one whom he cannot recollect to have ever been in company with; nor could he possibly say to any person what is here affirmed, as he has not the least reason to believe that his father ever retracted any of his sentiments.
“ The falsehood of the assertion appears evident from this circumstance, that Dr. Clarke, a little before his death, revised his work, entitled • The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity,' designedly for a third edition, and inserted in the preface an additional paragraph, relating particularly to that edition, which was after his death published accordingly, in the year 1732."
In the year 1772, Mr. Madan, chaplain to the Lock Hospital, in the preface to his Scriptural Comment on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, republished the letter, to which the above is a reply, with this commendation of it; “ There appeared in the London Evening Post of the 23d of May last, the following letter, which, in justice to the memory of Dr. Clarke, and for the good of those whose principles have been injured by his writings, I shall insert in this place.”
I have not been able to learn, that Mr. Madan ever publicly owned the injury which he had been led to offer to the memory of Dr. Clarke, by giving too hasty credit to such a slanderous report concerning him,
Conclusions to be made from the foregoing
The religion of Christ, or the will of God by him delivered to men, was easy to be understood by those to whom he and his apostles first preached it. This his religion was afterwards put down in writing by his apostles and disciples. And this faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), is to be carefully preserved by us. It would be impious to take upon us to add to or diminish aught from it. This however has been done by many, though oft, I believe, without design and without knowing it. It was by. insensible degrees, and the work of many ages; by enlarging creeds one after another, and after all by the laborious sophistry of monkish schoolmen, that the present complicate system of an orthodox belief was framed. And it must be by the same slow steps and labour, that we can expect to clear away and remove this rubbish of ages, which has disfigured, and nearly smothered the fair fabric of the word of God.
These our honourable predecessors, with others before them, who, with great labour and hazard and loss, have stood up to oppose the corruptions of God's true worship, are to be followed and imitated by us. And, as they have made the
way of truth more easy and accessible to us, we shall be without excuse, if we do not