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our very childhood; as soon as we could speak we lisped praises to God in his Divine Songs, and his name has become associated with the holiest and dearest emotions of our souls. It is connected with those pure feelings of piety, which we remember to have first caught from the lips of our mothers, and with all that is solemn and impressive in the worship of God's house, where christians for a century have sung praises in the language of Watts. Few names therefore are held in more general estimation. There is nothing in his life and character, which tends at all to change the impressions which his poetry had made, and all christians agree in naming him with respect. It is not the least of his titles to praise, that he was, in the truest sense of the word, liberal. The few examples of a different spirit, which are to be found in his writings, are less his fault than that of the age in which he lived, and he doubtless repented of them all, like Baxter, in the close of his life, when his heart was more enlarged, and he was better acquainted with his own weakness and imperfections. But it was always his desire to keep “ orthodoxy and charity united,'' – which is the title of one of his works---and he has left as many examples as any man of sobriety and caution in the investigation of religious truths, and of courtesy and moderation in the treatment of errors and their advocates. Many are the passages that might be selected from his writings, which would put to the blush, by heir united earnestness and mildness, the vehement and sometimes passionate declamation of controversialists not more wise and not half so good ;-he is one of the few who have engaged warmly in controversy, and amid all its violence and perils have kept their piety and charity uninjured.

The doctrine of the Trinity, which has been the subject of so much disputation in times past, and concerning which we feel it a duty to say so much more-appears to have pressed with a heavy weight on his mind, and to have been a cause of no little uneasiness and perplexity to him. It evidently occupied his most serious meditations and devout prayers, interesting all the ardour of his heart, and all the fervour of his faith. To right opinions on this subject, he attached supreme importance ; not regarding it as a matter of curious speculation, as it is to be feared too many view it; but as intimately connected with the religion of the soul, and deeply affecting all the religious habits of the man. Hence he never approached the subject without recollecting that the ground was holy. He wrote upon it as if trembling with reverence. Familiarity seems never to have diminished the dread which fell upon him in the contemplation of this solemn theme. He was always a stranger to the carelessness with which other

men are accustomed to treat subjects, about which they are perpetually thinking, conversing and writing. In this respect he is a model to all; and if in this christians would imitate him, avoiding even the appearance of levity and irreverence, there would be less cause for apprehension from religious controversy. We are fully sensible of the evils which may attend the frequent agitation of this subject,—that it tends to beget familiar modes of thinking and speaking of the Deity, and thus to diminish that reverence, which is essential to the maintenance of sober and constant and effective piety. This danger must have presented itself to the mind of every reflecting man. It was well expressed by the lamented Thacher,* in his Sermon on the Unity of God, (an admirable specimen of the style we recommend, however deficient in it we may sometimes be ourselves) who mentions it as an “ objection to the controversy, that it unavoidably leads us to speak and think, with so much familiarity and freedom, of the existence, the nature, and the name of that awful power that made us ; an idea in every form to be consecrated in our minds, and never to be connected but with our holiest thoughts, and most solemn and devout feelings.' It is to be lamented that more are not aware of this evil; for as it is impossible not to discuss the question, it is of the first importance that we should guard against its putting to hazard our devout temper.

A fine illustration of the spirit and feelings of Watts in this respect may be found in his Solemn Address to the Deity. No one can read it without being deeply affected. It ought to be universally studied. It is printed at length in the pamphlet before us, and we wish we had room for the whole of it here. We cannot refuse place to the following specimen.

“Dear and blessed God, hadst thou been pleased, in any one plain Scriptore, to have informed me, which of the different opinions about the holy Trinity, among the contending parties of christians, had been true, thou knowest with how much zeal, satisfaction and joy, my unbiassed heart would have opened itself to receive and embrace the di

* We take this opportunity to express our regret, in which we shall be joined by all lovers of religion, that no inore memorials remain of this accomplished christiau and scholar. He published little while living, and forbade his manuscripts to be printed at his death. Thus we are deprived of labours which might have enlightened and blessed the church, and perpetuated his name as long as sound sense and pure religion shall be valued in the world. We must add the expression of our regret, that a collection of his printed works has not been inade, and that no one has been found to join to them the tribute which is so richly due to his life and character. We hope it is not still too late to look for so valuable a publication.

vine discovery. Hadst thou told me plainly, in any single text, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are three real distinct persons in ihy divine nature, I had never suffered myself to be bewildered in so many doubts, nor embarrassed with so many strong fears of assenting to the inere ioventions of men, instead of divine doctrine ; but I should bave humbly and immediately accepted thy words, so far as it was possible for me to understand them, as the only rule of my faith. Or hadst thou been pleased so to express and include this proposition in the several scattered parts of thy book, from whence my reason and conscience might with ease find out and with certainty infer this doctrine, I should have joyfully employed all my reasoning powers, with their utmost skill and activity, to have found out this inference, and ingrafted it into my soul.

" Thou hast taught me, Holy Father, by thy prophets, that the way of holiness, in the times of the gospel, or under the kingdom of the Messiah, shall be a highway, a plain and easy patb ; so that the wayfaring man, or a stranger, though a fool, shall not err therein. And thou hast called the poor and the ignorant, the mean and the foolish things of this world, to the knowledge of thyself, and thy son, and taught them to receive and partake of the salvation which thou hast provided. But how cap such weak creatures ever take in so strange, so difficult and so abstruse a doctrine as this ; in the explication and defence whereof, multitudes of men, even men of learning and piety, have lost themselves in infinite subtilties of dispute, and endless mazes of darkness ? And can this strange and perplexing notion of three real persons going to make up one true God, be so necessary and so important a part of the Christian doctrine, which, in the Old Testament and the New, is represented as so plain and so easy even to the meanest understandings ?"

These passages sufficiently express the awe which was upon his mind in the contemplation of this subject, and the perplexities and embarrassments with which he was exercised. To an attentive reader they will also forcibly suggest, that Dr. Watts did not really embrace the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity; for there is not only none of the positiveness, with which the advocates of this faith are accustomed to stifle every doubt, but there is actual expression of doubtful and wavering assent. The world indeed has been satisfied to rank Watts among trinitarians ; and his Hymns, which he wrote in the early part of his life, and by which he is almost exclusively known, do in fact maintain, and more, perhaps, than any other means, maintain, this doctrine. But however strenuous he might have been in his youth, he was less positive in his later years. The doctrine sat uneasily upon him and distressed him. His hymns he repented of, and greatly desired to alter. The more zealous amongst his brethren suspected the soundness of his faith, and called him an Arian. About two years before his death, be published his opinions at large,

which, however they might admit, in some shape, of being expressed in the established form of words, certainly were very far in meaning from the established doctrine. It became, therefore, a matter of debate, whether he died a trinitarian or not; and the uncertainty was increased by a rumour, which gained extensive currency, that he had written a more positive renunciation of the doctrine, which his friends persuaded him to destroy.

The work to which this rumour referred, has probably at length come to light, but proves to be hardly of so decisive a character as had been anticipated. It is that which we are reviewing.

The editor's preface informs us, “ there is reason to believe, that a publication of it was intended and actually attempted by its worthy author; but that in consequence of undue influence from his immediate connexions, it was entirely frustrated. In a blank leaf of the original work was written in a fair hand, the following sen. tence verbatim :

-The Doctor printed off only fifty copies of this work, and shewed them to some friends, who all persuaded him that it would ruin his character in his old age, for publishing such dotages, and at length he was prevailed on to burn them ; so that the whole impression of fifty was destroyed without publication, except this single copy of it, which by an accident escaped the flames.'»

This copy, we are told, was found “in a bookseller's shop in Southampton, in the year 1796. The author's name, &c. together with the date, were written at the bottom of the title-page, as in the present impression.

“It is probable this copy had formed part of a collection of books belonging to some member of the author's family, which had recently been exposed for sale ; for in a blank leaf at the beginning of a snall work which was lying by it, was written (apparently in his own hand) the following presentation, To My Dear Sister Mrs. Mary Watts."

The first section of the work has this title-The doctrine of the Trinity proved to be a plain and easy doctrine. It is very characteristic of the author, and purports to set forth that knowledge of the doctrine which may be sufficient for salvation. This knowledge he describes as having six qualifications.

1. It must be such a knowledge of this doctrine as allows a sufficient foundation for all the necessary and most important articles of the christian faith, that relate to the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. 2. Such knowledge of this doctrine must be plain and easy to obtain and to remember. 3. It must be a doctrine not only easy to be apprehended, but it must not be liable to many cavils. 4. It must be such a knowledge of this doctrine as is perfectly consistent with the notions and conceptions that the wisest of the heathens had gotten by the light of nature concerning the one true God, and with the ideas wbich the Jews had learnt of the same true God, both from reagon New Series-vol. II.


and Scripture. 5. It must be such a knowledge as may sbew us io some sufficient measure what every one of the sacred Three hath done, and what he doth for us and towards our salvation ; and to inform us what are those respects and honours which we are bound to pay to each of the Sacred Three according to the New Testament. 6. It must be such a doctrine as is obvious in Scripture and evidently con. tained there ; if not in the most express words, yet so plainly appear. ing to common readers, as not to want long trains of reasoning and distant inferences to draw it out of Scripture.

In the next section the Divine Unity is assumed as unquestionable; and in the third, it is taken for granted, that“ the doctrine of the blessed Trinity is a special doctrine of the Christian religion.” The object, then, is, to show, that this new doctrine of Christianity has made no inroad” upon the ancient doctrine of the Unity. This is done by inquiring whether the sacred three be three proper persons.

“ Those writers who call the Sacred Three by the game of three persons, do not assert or maintain that this very word or expression of three persons is found in Scripture, nor is the word person expressly applied to them all three.

“ And though in our translation the word person be ascribed both te the Father and the Son, who (as we find in Scripture) are proper persons, yet none pretend that this word is so expressly applied to the Holy Spirit, though he be represented often in a personal manner."

P. 19

" And this is certain further, that our most orthodox divines, though they sometimes call them proper and real persons, yet they do not pretend to use the word person, in this scriptural doctrine of the Trinity, in the very same entire and complete sense as when we say, Peter, Paul and John, are three persons. A distinct person, in the full and proper sense of the word among men, inust be a distinct spirit; for a distinct person requires at least another distinct consciousness, with another distinct will, which seems to infer anotber different spirit. And surely the Deity is not made up of three such distinct and different spirits.

“ Besides, it is sufficiently evident, that in the language of Scripture, and in the writings of the Jewish nation, those things which are not strictly and properly persons, are often represented in a personal manner, as Wisdom, Prov. ix. 1. The Lan, Gal. iv. 21. The Scriptures, Gal. iii. 8. Righteousness, Rom. x. 6. Love or Charity, 1 Cor. xiii. And therefore the Sacred Thrce may be called three persons, or at least Three Scriptural Persons, I hope, without offence, and without entering into the tedious, learned and pbilosophical dif. ticulties about the word person : and without enquiring or determining whether they be three real proper persons, or no; which has created infinite disputes, and which cannot be understood, much less decided, by private Christians." p. 20.

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