« 上一页继续 »
A GENERAL VIEW:
OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE
UNITY OF GOD;
AND AGAINST THE
DIVINITY AND PRE-EXISTENCE
CH R I S T;
FROM REASON, FROM THE SCRIPTURES, AND
1. ARGUMENTS FROM REASON AGAINST THE
That the doctrine of the trinity could ever have been suggested by any thing in the course of ? nature (though it has been imagined by some per
sons of a peculiarly fanciful turn, and previously persuaded of the truth of it) is not maintained by any persons to whom my writings can be at all useful. I Mall therefore only address myself to those who believe the doctrine on the supposition of its being contained in the scriptures, at the same time maintaining, that, though it is above, it is not properly contrary to reason ; and I hope to make it sufficiently evident, either that they do not hold the doctrine, or that the opinion of three divine persons constituting one God is strictly speaking an absurdity, or contradiction ; and that it is therefore incapable of any proof, even by miracles. With this view, I shall recite in order all the diftinct modifications of this doctrine, and few that, upon any of them, there is either no proper unity, in the divine nature, or no proper trinity.
If, with Dr. Waterland, and others who are reckoned the strictest Athanasians, (though their opinions were not known in the time of Athanasiu's himself,) it be supposed that there are three persons properly equal, and that no one of them has any fort of superiority over the rest, they are, to all intents and purposes, three distinct Gods. For if each of them, separately considered, be possessed of all divine perfections, so that nothing is wanting to complete divinity, each of them must be as properly a God as any being possessed of all the properties of man must be a mian, and therefore three persons pofsessed of all the attributes of divinity must be as properly three Gods as three persons possessed of all hu. man artributes must be three men. These three persons, therefore, must be incapable of any strict or numerical unity. It must be universally true, that three things to which the same definition applies can never make only one thing to which the fame definition applies. And when by the words thing, being, or person we mean nothing more than, logically speaking, the subject, or substratum of properties or attributes, it is a matter of indifference which of them we make use of.
Each of these three personis may have other properties, but they muft be numerically three in that respect in which the same definition applies to them. If, therefore, the three persons agree in this cir. cumstance, that they are each of them perfect God, though they may differ in other respects, and have peculiar relations to each other, and to us, they muft ftill be three Gods; and to say that they are only one God is as much a contradiction, as to say that three men, though they differ from one ano
ther as much as three men can do, are not three men, but only one man.
If it be faid, with the Antenicene fathers, and with bishops Pearson and Bull, among the modern English writers, that the Father is the fountain of deity, and that the son is derived from him, whether necessarily or voluntarily, whether in time of from eternity, they cannot be of the same rank : but the Father will be possessed of an original, a real, and proper superiority to the Son; who will be no more than an effect upon the Father's exertion of his powers, which is, to all intents and purposes, making the Son to be a production or creature of the Father ; even though it should be supposed with the antients that he was created out of the substance of the Father, and without taking any thing from him. Moreover, as upon this scheme the Son was never capable of giving birth to another person like himself, he must have been originally inferior in power to the Father, the source from which he himself sprang. On this scheme, therefore, there is no proper equality between these divine persons ; and the Antenicene Fathers did not pretend that there was, but distinguished the Father by the epi. thet of avtodec, God of himself, and the Son by the inferior title of Jeco ex Jazy God of God, or a derived God.
If it be faid that there is only one intelligent surpreme mind, but that it exerts itself three different ways, and has three different modes of action, or