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And thus while some fancy, and some pretend to fancy, that there is sense of one kind or another, tho' nobody presumes to say what sense, as well as sound, in the words, “ the more part” continue to roar aloud, great is the mystery of two natures in one person, and being full of wrath, are ready to knock down as “ blasphemers and robbers of churches,” all who venture to suggest that, when the terms are traced to their origin, the affirmation may perhaps turn out to be, in plain english, no more than this; that there are two natures (or persons) in one nature (or person)! A mystery so sublime and illustrious, that I am surprised it has been suffered to remain so long undistinguished among the vulgar herd of commoners without a name; and would therefore recommend that it be immediately called up to the upper house of the ecclesiastical realm, by the title of the Duinity, to which no impartial trinitarian, whether lutheran or calvinist, can, I think, consistently with a proper respect for their masters, object, on the score of its sounding frigidly, or of its being a barbarous term of human invention. *
*“ Vocula hæc (Trinitas) nusquam in divinis scripturis repe56 ritur, cæterum humanitus tantummodo inventa est, unde om“ nino etiam frigide sonat, ac multo præstabilius forct si Deus “ potius quam trinitas diceretur.” Lutheri enarratio, seu postilla, in Evangelium ad Dominicam Pentecostes feriis proximam, quæ trinitatis appellatur. Vid. Enarrationum suarum, edit. fol. Basil. 1516. p. 282.
“ Precatio vulgo trita est, sancta trinitas unus deus miserere • nostri. Mili non placet, ac omnino barbariem sapit.” Cal. vini Epistola qua fidem Admonitionis ab eo nuper editæ apud Polonos consirmat. Operum ejus, vol. vii. p. 687, col. 1. edit. 1612. Genev.
To the same cause, a change in the meaning of words, is owing much of that obscurity which many persons find in reading the scriptures. The reader
In the Unitarian tracts, published in quarto, 1691, &c. the trinitarians are divided into three classes, Nominals, Realists, and Ignoramuses. The first class comprehends those who explain the doctrine so as to explain it all away. Their trinity is a mere trinity of names. The second comprehends those who explain it so as to make really three Gods. Their trinity is real tritheism. The last includes those who refuse to explain it at all. These, if they are asked what they mean by that trinity which they say they believe, make no other reply but mum, or mystery. See also Taylor's Ben Mordecai's Apology, vol. i. p. 68-74. edit. 8vo. 1784.
Luther ranks with the last class. He observes, that the world thinks the trinitarians mad; (omnes vesanos judicat qui hoc docent et credunt), and that Turks and Jews deride them. Verum si hæc sapientia esset, quis non pronunciare et cogitare cum Turcis et Judæis posset; tantum unus Deus est, Christus non est Deus? ...... Si Turcæ et Judæi nos irrident, quasi nos tres fratres in cælo collocemus, qui pariter imperium habeant; id nos quoque facere possemus, si scripturam omittere vellemus. .... Quod si absurditas in articulo negotium facit, quid hoc mea refert? Nam si in hac re ratiocinari liceret, non male id equidem facturus essem, et melius fortasse quam ullus Turca vel Judæus. Verum hoc divini beneficii loco accipio, quod de hoc articulo non disputo, utrum verus sit, et cum ratione consentiat. There are many things, he says, which we cannot explain, such as laughing, seeing, sleeping, &c. ubi disputatio sine periculo esset. Verum in hoc articulo periculum conjunctum est. As to understanding the doctrine, he says, we must defer that, till we get into the next world, atque interim nihil disputandum est, verum simpliciter credendum.
He then shews, (for though he would have, like the modern ignoramuses, no reasoning against the trinity, he has no objection to reasoning of any sort, good or bad, in its favour), that the doctrine is clearly taught in the Apostle's creed, sets before the
who understands, as most readers do, such words ås Wisis, zapos, &c. in the greek, or as faith, grace, &c. in the english testament, in their theological acceptations, is involved in difficulties and perplexities, from which nothing can extricate him but a return to the scriptural meaning of the words; which, with occasional allowance for a few jewish and foreign idioms, is always the common practical meaning of all other moral writers of the same language at the same period, and never the metaphysical meaning of squabbling scholastic divines. If a man were to be so drilled in his youth, as thoroughly to imbibe the notion that the “ Spectator” were a book of mysteries, and that whenever, in reading it, he should meet with the terms, word, spirit, grace, &c. &c. he must rcader God's aweful judgments on those wicked heretics, Cerinthus and Arius, for denying the doctrine, and concludes with this triumphant peroration. Hic est iste articulus de trinitate, primum scriptura, deinde apostolorum certaminibus et sanctorum patrum, ac tandem etiam miraculis contra diabolum et mundum adsertus, et adhuc, Deo favente, adserendus. Id tradi solet hoc die (trinity Sunday), et Christiani soli sunt, qui hæc absurda credunt. Sicut Paulus ait (1 Cor. i. 21), quod Deo sic visum fuerit, quod per stultitiam prædicationis salvos facere voluerit credentes. Nam ratio hic certum syllogismum nunquam poterit colligere, quod tria unum, et unum tria sint; quod Deus homo sit ; quod nos cum baptizamur, per sanguinem Christi peccatis abluimur; quod in pane corpus Christi edimus, in vino ejus sanguinem bibimus atque ita remissionem peccatorum con. sequimur. Omnes isti articuli pro fabulis et stultitia a sapientibus reputantur. Proinde id Paulus etiam sic appellat stultitiam prædicationis, verum qui ea credat, quod is salutem consecuturus sit. Quod nobis præstet Deus pater, &c. Amen.-LUTHER'S Sermon on Trinity Sunday, in the vol. of his Postills, p. 285 and 287. Basil, 1546. fol.
always understand them to mean, Jesus, holy ghost, heavenly. infiux, &c. &c., Addison's writings, which are now so perspicuous, would become as dark and unintelligible as many people find the Bible to be. And on the contrary, if a man will but cast away his theology, and read the Bible with the same common sense that he reads the “ Speciator,” or any other book, he will find much of that which before was dark and unintelligible become plain and easy.
Lastly, I must tell your correspondent, that of all the writers of antiquity which have reached our time, there are none which are so much disfigured and obscured by interpolations and corruptions of all sorts, as the fathers:* and that, unless they be read with a constant and vigilant attention to this circumstance, they will be read to little profit or purpose.
I have pointed out, as we went along, some interpolations in your friend's cabinet of curiosities, from which many more might be selected, as for instance from Nos. 24, 31, 51, in his fifth letter, and from
* Daillé, speaking of these foul and numerous corruptions, introduced both by subtracting and adding, asks a question or two, which will appear very pertinent and impressive to those who have read much of the fathers. Unde, says he, Unde alias nobis nata essent in veteribus scriptoribus tot loca hiulca, tot molestæ lacuna, tot ineptissime assuta, quæ passim inter legen dum occurrunt? Unde viles illæ, setosæque, ac tactu ipso horridæ laciniæ, quas in media ipsorum purpura offendimus? Profe&o non aliud clamat illa pulsus spiritusque inæqualitas quam in eodem homine, minimo spatio, legendo experimur. DALLAUS de usu Patrum, part 1. cap. iv. p. 66. edit. 1656.
And these corruptions he attributes to the church as well as to heretics. See part 1. cap. ii. p. 14.
other passages, both greek and latin, in various parts of his book. Had he duly considered this prominent feature in the countenance of almost every one of the fathers, he wouid not probably have been so forward to tell
that even the heretics give their suffrage in your favour; unless he can suppose that heretics are so much more stupid than other men, that they will not only argue against the point they are maintaining, but will also flatly contradict in one sentence what they have asserted in the preceding. *
* It was upon this ground of contradiction that Rufinus maintained, that Origen had been so terribly corrupted by the heretics. Jerome admitted the mode of arguing, but denied that the contradictions existed. Monsieur Huet, in the second .chapter of the second book of his Origeniana, has collected so many instances of these contradiétions, that, as he observes, (book ii. ch. iii. g. 10), they must have satisfied Jerome himself. For their several arguments, see Rufinus's Apology for Origen, in two pieces published in 5th volume of the Benedictine edition of Jerome's works, p. 249-254. Jerome's second Apology against Rufinus, vol. iv. part ii. p. 409, ejusd. edit. and his Epistle to Pammachius and Oceanus, p. 347 of the same volume, and Huet ubi supra. Whoever looks into Origen, will allow with Rufinus and Huet, that he has been miserably corrupted: but I think Jerome was right in contending, that it could not be to such an extent as to exempt him from the charge of what all these disputants would agree to call heresy. (See Acts xxiv. 14.) I think it probable also, that the passages Rufinus and Huet would have chiefly fixed upon, were not the interpolated ones. And I moreover believe, that such passages as were wilfully and fraudently interpolated, are to be attributed to the arts of the orthodox, rather than of the heretics. Orthodox, in ecclesiastical history; often means no more in: reality than those that are uppermost. Those who have the power in their hands are always orthodox. Now it is much easier for