Billeder på siden

he and his brother did assert, (to wit, God subsisting in three distinct persons) than the jesuits, so that if I should not as well reflect a scandal upon their learning by a comparison, as he did upon' my principle, I could more truly invert jesuitism upon himself: in short, they neither would keep to scripture-terms themselves, nor suffer it in any others; but looking upon George Whitehead's explanation of their terms, and reduction of their matter (if possible) to a scripture-sense (thereby fitting it to the auditors appre-hension) to be an indirect way of answering (as that which nakedly did expose their traditional folly to the vulgar) T. V. in an abrupt manner fell to his prayer, in which he falsly, and with many strangely affected whines, accused us for blasphemers unto God, and that he might prevent the clearing of ourselves, he desired the people, when he had finished, to be gone, giving them an example by his and three brethrens retreat : but we being desirous farther to inform the people of our innocency, they did not only (as before) endeavour to pull us down, but put the candles out, though several persons, of good esteem, continued whilst we spoke in vindication of ourselves from the invectives of our adversaries. The people still remaining undispersed, T. V.

came very palely down the stairs (having a candle in his hand) requiring their dismission, at which time he promised us, at our request, another meeting; but as one that knew not well what he said, or never purposed to perform what he promised, has given us since to understand, he cannot in conscience spare us so much time; yet to satisfy G. W. and myself, in private, he could agree; which surely cannot be termed another meeting, since then it must relate to the preceding one: but how near the relation is betwixt an accusation before hundreds, and a satisfaction before none, must needs be obvious to every unbiassed person : our right should have been altogether as public as our wrong: for which cause were necessitated to visit his meeting, where, on a lecture day, (after a continued silence during all his worship) we modestly intreated we might be cleared from those unjust reflections before his congregation, leaving a disputation (if he could not then attend it) to some more seasonable opportunity: but as one, who resolved injustice to men's reputation, as well as cowardice, in baulking a defence of his own principles, he slunk most shamefully away; nor would any there, though urged to it, assume his place to vindicate his practice towards us, or his doctrines then delivered.


Reader, what is thy opinion of this savage entertainment? Would Socrates, Cato, or Seneca, whom they called heathens, have treated us with such unseemly carriage? I suppose not: and well is it for the truly sober and conscientious, they are not liable to those severe lashes, and that peevish usage, which are the inseparable appendix to a 'Scotch directory, whose cold and cutting gales ever have designed to nip and blast the fairest blossoms of greater reformation. So much for history.

What remains is, to inform the reader, that with great brevity I have discussed, and endeavoured a total enervation of those cardinal points, and chief doctrines so firmly believed, and continually imposed for articles of Christian faith : 1. The trinity of separate persons, in the unity of essence. 2. God's incapacity to forgive, without the fullest satisfaction paid him by another. 3. A justification of impure persons, from an imputative righteousness. Which principles let me tell thee, reader, are not more repugnant to scripture, reason, and souls-security, than most destructive to God's honour, in his unity, mercy, and purity.

Therefore I beseech thee to exterminate passion from her predominancy, in the perusal of this discourse, since it was writ in love to thee; that whilst it is thy desire to know, love, and fear God Almighty above men's precepts, thou mayest not miss so good an end, by the blind embraces of tradition for truth. But in the nobility of a true Berean, search and enquire ; letting the good old verity, not a pretended antiquity, (whilst a mere novelty) and solid reason, not an over-fond credulity, sway the balance of thy judgment, that both stability and certainty may accompany thy determinations. Farewell. A short confutation by way of recapitulation, of what was

objected against us at Thomas Vincent's meeting. If disputations prove at any time ineffectual, it is either to be imputed to the ignorance and ambiguity of the disputants, or to the rudeness and prejudice of the auditory : all which may be truly affirmed of T. V. with his three brethren, and congregation.

The accusation being general, viz. that the Quakers held damnable doctrines, George Whitehead on their behalf stood up, and, as it was bis place, willingly would have given the people an information of our principles, which, if objected against, he was as ready to defend by the authority of scripture and reason; but instead of this better method, T. V. as one that is often employed in catechistical lectures, falls to interrogatories, begging that himself, he in

his slander had taken for granted, to wit, the knowledge of our principles.

The question was this, 'Whether we owned one Godhead, subsisting in three distinct and separate persons, as the result of various revises and amendments; which being denied by us, as a doctrine no where scriptural, T. V. frames this syllogism from the beloved disciple's words.

" There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are onea.'

« These are either three manifestations, three operations, three substances, or three somethings else besides subsistences.'

• But they are not three manifestations, three operations, three substances, nor three any thing else besides subsist. ences.'

Ergo, Three subsistences. G. W. utterly rejected his terms, as not to be found in scripture, nor deducible from the place he instanced: wherefore he desires their explanation of their terms, inasmuch as God did not chuse to wrap his truths up in heathenish metaphysics, but in plain language : notwithstanding we could not obtain a better explanation, than person; or of person, than the mode of a substance; to all which G. W. and myself urged several scriptures, proving God's complete unity: and when we queried how God was to be understood, if in an abstractive sense from his substance, they concluded it a point more fit for admiration than disputation. But a little to review his syllogism ; the manner of it shews him as little a scholar, as its matter does a Christian; but I shall overlook the first, and so much of the second, as might deserve my objection to bis major, and give in short my reason, why I flatly deny his minor proposition. No one substance can have three distinct subsistences, and preserve its own unity : for granting them the most favorable definition, every subsist. ence will have its own substance; so that three distinct subsistences, or manners of being, will require three distinct substances, or beings; consequently three Gods. For if the infinite God-head subsists in three separate manners or forms, then is not any one of them a perfect and complete subsistence without the other two; so parts, and something finite is in God: or if infinite, then three distinct infinite subsistences; and what is this but to assert three Gods, since none is infinite but God? and on the contrary, there being an inseparability betwixt the substance and its subsistence, the unity of substance will not admit a trinity of incommunicable or distinct subsistences.

a John. y. 7.

T. D. being asked, of whom was Christ the express image, from his alledging that scripture in the Hebrews; answered, Of God's subsistence, or manner of being : from whence two things in short follow as my reply, It makes God a Father only by subsistence, and Christ a son without a substance. Besides it is falsely rendered in the Hebrews, since the Greek does not say Χαρακλήρ προσώπα, but Χαρακτήρ της izosáows, the character of substance.

And if he will peruse a farther discovery of his error, and explanation of the matter, let him read Col. i. 15. " who is the image of the invisible God.”

And because G. W. willing to bring this strange doctrine to the capacity of the people, compared their three persons to three apostles, saying he did not understand how Paul, Peter, and John could be three persons, and one apostle, (a most apt comparison to detect their doctrine) one Maddocks, whose zeal out-stript his knowledge, bustling hard, as one that had some necessary matter for the decision of our controversy, instead thereof (perhaps to save his brethren, or shew himself) silences our farther controverting of the principle, by a syllogistical, but impertinent reflection upon G. W's. person. It runs thus : He that scornfully and reproachfully compares our doctrine of the blessed trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit, one in essence, but three in persons, to three finite men, as Paul, Peter, and Jobn, is a blasphemer. But you G. W. have so done. Ergo,'

A strange way of argumentation, to beg what cannot be granted him, and take for granted what still remains a question, viz. that there are three distinct and separate persons in one essence : let them first prove their trinity, and then charge their blasphemy: but I must not forget this person's self-confutation, who, to be plainer, called theni three Hes, and if he can find an He without a substance, or prove that a subsistence is


other than the form of an He, he would do well to justify himself from the imputation of ignorance.

And till their hypothesis be of better authority, G. W. neither did, nor does hy that comparison design men's invention so much honour.

For it is to be remarked, that G. W. is no otherwise a blasphemer, than by drawing direct consequences from their own principles, and re-charging them upon themselves : so that he did not speak his own apprehensions by his comparison, but the sense of their assertion; therefore blasphemer and blasphemy are their own.

The trinity of distinct and separate persons, in the unity of

essence, refuted from scripture. “And he said, Lord God, there is no god like unto thee, to whom then will ye liken me? or shall I be equal ? saith the Holy One.--I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me. Thus saith the Lord thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I will also praise thee, O my God; unto thee will I sing, O Holy One of Israel, Jehovah shall be One, and his name One.c" Which with a cloud of other testimonies that might be urged, evidently demonstrate, that in the days of the first covenant, and prophets, but One was the Holy God, and God but that Holy One.--Again, “ And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good ? there is none good but One, and that is God. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee (father) the Only true God. Seeing it is One God that shall justify. There be gods many,—but unto us there is but Öne God, the father, of whom are all things One God and father, who is above all things. For there is One God. To the Only-wise God be glory now and for ever.d” From all which I shall lay down this one assertion, that the testimonies of scripture, both under the law, and

since the gospel dispensation, declare One to be God, and God to be One, on which I shall raise this argument:

If God, as the scriptures testify, hath never been declared or believed, but as the Holy One, then will it follow, that God is not an Holy Three, nor doth subsist in Three distinct and separate Holy Ones : but the before-cited scriptures undeniably prove that One is God, and God only is that Holy One; therefore he cannot be divided into, or subsist in an Holy Three, or Three distinct and separate Holy Ones.-Neither can this receive the least prejudice from that frequent but impertinent distinction, that he is One in substance, but Three in persons or subsistences; since God was not declared or believed incompletely, or without his subsistences: nor did he require homage from his creatures, as an incomplete or abstracted being, but as God the Holy One, for so he should be manifested and worshipped without that which was absolutely necessary to himself: so that either the testimonies of the aforementioned scriptures are to be believed concerning God, that he is entirely and completely, not abstractly and distinctly, the Holy One, or else their authority to be denied by these trinitarians : and on the contrary, if they pretend to credit those holy testib 1 Kings viii. 23. Isa. xl. 25. Chap. xlv. 5, 6. c Isa. xlviii. 17. Psal. xxi.

& Mat. xix. 17. Joha xvii. 3. Rom. ii. 30. I Cor. viii. 6. Eph. iv. 6. I Tim. ii. 5. Jude, ver. 25.

22. Zac. xiv. 9.

« ForrigeFortsæt »