« 上一頁繼續 »
lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” James i. 3. 2. That we be sincerely desirous to do the will of God when known: “ If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.” John vii. 17. Without these we have no reason to expect to be guided into all truth.
In the following observations I have referred the reader to the word of God only, and to that as we have it in our native tongue; for to me there seems to be a great impropriety in appealing to the unlearned about any doctrine, and then entertaining them with criticisms upon the learned languages, which they cannot understand. If the persons appealed to are those who only know the English language, no reference ought to be made but to the English Bible. The Author of the
Appeal,” thinks the lower class of people are as capable of judging concerning the important truths of revealed religion as the most learned ;* which can only be true on sup
; position that the Bible, as we have it in our own language, is sufficient “ for doctrine, and instruction in righteousness.”
The Writer of this Tract conceals his name for the reason mentioned by the Author of the
• Preface to Mr. Elwall's Trial.
Appeal,” viz. “To give what he has written, a better chance of being read without prejudice.”* And as he claims no assent to any thing he has said, upon his own credit or authority, his name would be of no service to the reader. The Bible, to which alone he refers, is open to every one; and he desires the reader to judge for himself, whether the sense in which he quotes any Scripture be agreeable to the context, and to other passages or not. He is not, however, ashamed of the doctrine he defends, for it is that upon which (after the most mature deliberation) he can cheerfully venture his eternal salvation. He is free to acknowledge, that he daily
o calls upon the name” of Christ, that he may be saved; that he “honours the Son even as he honours the Father ;” and looks for “ grace, mercy,
peace, not only from God the Father," but also “ from the Lord Jesus Christ." Wishing the reader every spiritual blessing through Him, he begs leave to subscribe himself,
A Lover of THE BIBLE.
* Dr. Priestley has acknowledged himself to be the Author of the “ Appeal,” since this was written.
I. It has been objected to the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, that it is incomprehensible, and contrary to our reason. On the former account, not the proper object of our faith, though it were true; and on the latter, not to be believed on any testimony whatever. Both these objections appear to me to be without foundation, though constantly insisted on by those who oppose this doctrine.
The thing proposed to our belief in this doctrine is this; “ That the glorious person, whom the Evangelist St. John styles, The Word, who was in the beginning with God, and was God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us; thus uniting in his own person, in an inexplicable manner, the divine and human nature.”
“We believe this fact," I say, “ as a doctrine of revealed religion,” that the divine and human nature are united in the person of Christ; “but as to the manner" in which they are united, “ we believe nothing, because we know nothing about it; the sacred writers not having explained, that is, not having revealed, or made it known unto us."* We are, therefore, unjustly charged with making a thing incomprehensible the object of our faith ; for the proposition which we believe is perfectly clear and intelligible; it is a plain fact, received upon divine testimony, which is the best evidence in the world.
And as this proposition is not unintelligible, so neither is it contrary to reason: for who can prove, that it is impossible in the nature of things, that the divine and human nature should be united in the same person? Yet good proof should be given of this before it be asserted, that the Divinity of Christ is a thing contrary to our reason, and such proof I am persuaded can never be given.
But here it may be said, that this doctrine, being founded upon that of the Trinity, is absurd and irrational, since it is impossible
* See Dr. Priestley's Queries to the Anonymous Answerer, page 19.
that three should be one, and one three. To this it hath often been replied, that the objection is full of ambiguity, and is either true or false as the terms are explained. If it mean, that three cannot be one, and one three, precisely in the same sense, the assertion is true; but it does not affect those who believe there is but one God, though subsisting in three persons ; (as they are usually called ;) and if it be asserted, that what is three in one respect cannot be one in another, the objection is without foundation. The plain state of the case is this; The same Scriptures, which constantly assure us that there is but one Supreme Being, whom we call God, do repeatedly ascribe the peculiar attributes and acts of God to “ the Father, the Son or Word,” and “the Holy Ghost;" and lest we should thence imagine that there are three Gods, they likewise inform us that these three are one. “ There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one." i John v. 7. So the Apostles were commanded to “ teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew xxviii. 19. And since it has pleased “ the one only true God” to speak of himself as if he were three distinct persons, although