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These, and many such, are the offspring of human invention, (except a particular or two concerning the Father) for which there is not the least countenance in the word of God; which will appear by comparing the particulars of this human system, with the scripture account of the Trinity, in the former parts of this work: and indeed, these are soft things, when compared with many other subtle philosophical niceties, which some have spun from their own brains, and presented to the world as explications of the Trinity. Out of many, I shall only trouble the reader with one short note of an orthodox divine. He says," The first way of the divine essence acting upon itself, produceth the first person; the second way of its acting upon itself, produceth the second person; and the third way of its acting upon itself, produceth the third person." This is a discovery indeed! for which we are wholly indebted to the schools: but I could not say much in favor of his common sense, or knowledge of the scriptures, that could admit it as a definition of the GOD we worshipped.

I had no intention of taking any further notice in this place, of the sentiments of particular divines on this subject, had not the first volume of a work, now printing, come in my way, called "An illustration of the doctrines of the christian religion, comprehending a complete body of divinity, by the late reverend and learned Mr. Thomas Boston, minister of the gospel at Ettrick." From which it was proper to give the reader this short extract, to shew the necessity there is of setting this subject in a scriptural light, and of exposing the absurdity of men's in ventions thereon. It is evident from this extract, which is in the author's own words, that the most admired writers among the systematics, even in

the present age, do still on this subject follow the same unscriptural plan first contrived at the council of Nice, and further manufactured in the popish schools, which the reformers from popery adopted implicitly into their systems, and has been generally received as orthodox without examination.

He says, p. 189, "I am to explain the terms the Godhead, and a person. By the Godhead, is meant the nature or essence of God, even as by manhood, is understood the nature of man. A divine person, or a person in the Godhead, is the Godhead distinguished by personal properties: for consider the Godhead, as the fountain or principle of the Deity, so it is the first person; consider it (the Godhead) as begotten of the Father, it is the second; and as proceeding from the Father and the Son, it is the third person.-191. They are distinguished by their order of subsisting, and their incommunicable personal properties. In re spect of the order of subsistence, the Father is the first person, as the fountain of the Deity, having the foundation of personal subsistence in himself; the Son is the second person, and hath the foundation of personal subsistence from the Father; and the Holy Ghost is the third person, as having the foundation of personal subsistence from the Father and the Son.-192. This generation of the Son and Holy Ghost was from all eternity, and to deny it, would be to deny the supreme and eternal Godhead of all the glorious persons. They are not only of a like nature or substance, but one and the same substance; and if so, they are and must be equal in all essential perfections.-Each of the three persons hath the one whole Godhead, or divine nature. This

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mystery of the Trinity is so interwoven with the whole of religion, that there can neither be true faith, right worship, or obedience without it."

Page 522.

Unless Christ had been the Son of God by eternal generation, he could not have been our mediator and redeemer, nor could he have obtained a throne and kingdom as such.— 523. He is the Son of GOD, in a most proper and singular manner, viz. by the Father's communicating the divine essence to him by eternal generation.524. The nature of this generation, our blessed LORD himself doth explain to us, John v. 26. As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. Which doth necessarily import a communication of the same individual essence. For to have life in himself, was an essential attribute of God; i. e. to have life independently, of and from himself, and to be the source and fountain of life to all creatures, is a perfection proper to GOD, inseparable from his nature, yea, the very same with his essence: and therefore, the Father cannot give it, unless he give the essence itself, which he cannot give by way of alienation or participation,-therefore it must be by way of communication. So that the generation of the Son is that eternal action of the Father, whereby he did communicate to the Son the same individual essence which he himself hath, that the Son might have it equal with himself;-in receiving whereof, the Son doth no more lessen or diminish the majesty or Godhead of the Father, than the light of one candle doth the light of another from which it is taken. Wherefore the council of Nice said well, that Christ is GOD of GOD, light of light, very GoD of very GOD, not proceeding but begotten. Hence, it is clear, that he is the true GoD, and the most high GoD, equal with

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the Father." A strange inference from such premises!

Few men, perhaps, have been more popular in the protestant churches, than the author of this work. His writings have been generally esteemed by devout people, and his name reckoned a sufficient recommendation to what has been printed under that patronage: and no doubt the systematic doctrine of the Trinity will be received as truth on the same account, though evidently ridiculous and contradictory in itself. It is amazing what weight men have laid upon doctrines, which have not the least countenance from scripture!So important, so necessary to salvation, that if in the least doubted of, the whole of religion is ruined! By this artifice, the bulk of mankind have been frightened into a belief of the dreadful danger of so much as enquiring into the truth or falsehood of such doctrines, as have been guarded by sanctions of so sacred a nature. You might as soon persuade many pious people to doubt of their own existence, as that this author, and others of equal repute among them, would lay so much weight as he does in this case, upon a scheme of doctrine which hath no foundation in revelation, reason, or common sense. In many respects he was justly admired; but his authority, nor no man's else, can make that a part of the christian religion which GOD has not revealed.

The ideas which this doctrine convey, seem to be more akin to the heathen mythology, than the revealed character of GOD in scripture: and I cannot help thinking, that several parts of it are borrowed from that quarter, by the first contrivers thereof, who still retained some of the notions they had been bred up in, before converted to christianity: and, like the reformers from popery,

did not get clear of all the prejudices of their first education, before they, in the heat of controversy, composed systems of doctrine, and forms of worship, which in many instances, are rather what they formerly believed, the idolatries of the heathen, or the superstitions of popery, than what they afterwards professed, viz. an adherence to revelation, in opposition to all the traditions of men. The terms (if there is any sense in them so connected) convey ideas only suitable to heathen deities, not to the one living and true GOD. To define the essence and nature of God, by the nature of man, the communicating and receiving of Deity by the lighting of one candle at another,to tell us the Godhead is distinguished,-is the fountain of the Deity,-is begotten of the Father, -proceeds from the Father and the Son, &c. is wholly unintelligible, so confused, that no man can know what is meant by Godhead, essence, Deity, Father, Son, or any other term in the whole of the pretended definition.

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I know not which is to be most wondered at and lamented, how so many great men could assume such a prerogative, as to load this doctrine with so many unsuitable, unintelligible, and unmeaning distinctions: or, that such multitudes of people have, without examination, been dispos ed to receive these distinctions as undoubted truths, without seeing their disagreement with revelation. It is a pity the one should have so much presumption, and the other so void of attention.

It would be too tedious a task to enter minutely into the particular parts of this human scheme concerning the Trinity; I shall only give some hints of the most glaring absurdities and contradictions therein,--answer the most plausible

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