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EXTRACTS FROM A LETTER ADDRESSED BY THE
REV. CHARLES LESLIE, M.A., TO A DEIST.
[THE writer of the Letter from which extracts are about to be made was the well-known Author of "A Short and Easy Method with the Deists:" a defence of the Christian Religion of which, we believe, no refutation has ever been even attempted. In truth, it is unanswerable. The "Letter to a Deist" is equally powerful and convincing. Both productions attest the justness of Dr. Johnson's remark," Leslie is a reasoner, and a reasoner who is not to be reasoned against." This eminent divine wrote towards the close of the 17th century.]
REV. C. LESLIE'S LETTER, ETC.
OBJECTION AS TO THE HOLY TRINITY.
PREJUDICES are raised up against what is revealed, as being of things that are above our reason, and out of its reach; as, chiefly, the doctrine of the blessed Trinity.
In answer to which, we may consider, that if such things were not above our reason, there needed no revelation of them, but only a bare proposal of them to our reason, made by any body without any authority, and their own evidence would carry them through.
In the next place, we must acknowledge that there are many things in the Divine Nature far out of the reach of our reason. It must be so; for how can finite comprehend infinite? Who can think what eternity is? a duration without beginning, or succession of parts, or time! Who can so much as imagine or frame any idea of a Being, neither made itself nor by any other? Of omnipresence, of a boundless immensity? &c.
Yet all this reason obliges us to allow, as the necessary consequences of a First Cause. And where any thing is established upon the full proof of reason, there ten thousand objections or difficulties, though we cannot answer them, are of no force at all to overthrow it. Nothing can do that, but to refute those reasons upon which it is established; till when the truth and certainty of the thing remains unshaken, though we cannot explain it, nor solve the difficulties that arise from it.
And if it is so, upon the point of reason, much more upon that of revelation, where the subject matter is above our reason, and could never have been found out by it.
All to be done in that case is, to satisfy ourselves of the truth of the fact, that such things were revealed of God, and are no imposture.
And as to the contradiction alleged in three being one, it is no contradiction, unless it be said that three are one in the self-same respect: for in divers respects there is no sort of difficulty, that one may be three, or three thousand; as one army may consist of many thousands, and yet it is but one army: there is but one human nature, and yet there are multitudes of persons who partake of that nature.
Now, it is not said that the three persons in the divine nature are one person—that would be a contradiction: but it is said that the three persons are one nature. They are not three