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I myself, satisfied as I am that the doctrine is false and unscriptural, should have no objection to bestow the title of God upon a man, whom, for his divine, adorable virtues, I could almost fall down and worship, were it not that I never open the New Testament without meeting with something in every page of it which seems to say: “See thou do it not, " for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren « the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings “ of this book: worship God” (Rev. xxii. 9.); I say, persuaded as I am, from scripture, that Jesus was no more than a mere man, I should feel no objection to give him the title of God for his virtues, were it not that I live in times when I see to what gross and monstrous conceptions such language is
Indeed, transubstantiation is not a jot more contradictory to reason than the trinity is. And as to scripture-evidence, the former has greatly the advantage over the latter. For, if you do but grant the papists their own interpretation of one single text, (Matt. xxvi. 26.), their tenet is proved at once ; whereas the trinitarians must have their own interpretations of many texts, taken from very remote parts of scripture which have no connection with each other, granted them, before they can prove their mystery. Add to this, that transubstantiation is no where expressly contradicted in scripture; but the divinity of Jesus, upon which the trinity depends, is denied and declared to be false by the apostles, in terms as positive, direct, and explicit, as can well be conceived: (see John' xvii. 3. 1 Cor. viii. 6. Ephes. iv. 6.), for, as long as these passages stand in the Bible, it is impossible that the son can be God, unless, he be the father also; a flight that even trinitarians do not soar to! For some parallels between transubstantiation and the trinity, see the Unitarian Tracts, 1691, 4to. vol. i. tract on Mystery, pages 20–22. ; and vol. ii. tract i. p. 3-5.; and tract ii. p. 4.
perverted. The sacred writers, having never witnessed such perversion, and having no suspicion that it ever could be witnessed, made use of this and similar metaphors, without being aware of the objection. · Consider, Sir, I once more entreat you, the nature of the doctrine, its awful and appalling magnitude. Consider the nature of the supposed proof, a mere passing allusion. And then consider the character of those whom you suppose to have believed and taught the astonishing tenet. . Consider the plain, open, unreserved declaration which they every where make of their sentiments; their direct and full manner of “ shewing all things,” and of declaring, “ at all seasons,
“ all the counsel of God,” (Acts xx. 35. 18. 27). Having, after their master's resurrection, renounced all earthly hopes and fears, they had nothing “ to manage or to dread.” They were the disciples of a man, who himself spake openly to the world (John xviii. 20.), and who commanded them to preach his doctrine on the house-tops (Matt. X. 27.); and they executed the commission with resolution, unreservedness, and fidelity, speaking the word of God with all boldness and freedom (Acts iv. 13. 17–20, 29. 31. xiv. 3. xix. 8. xxvi. 26. Ephes. vi. 19, 20.), and keeping back nothing that was profitable, but shewing and teaching publicly from house to house (Acts xx. 20. and comp. Psal. xl. 10.) the things which concern the lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence,' no man forbidding them (Acts xxviii. 31.). Were these the men to teach a doctrine so impor.
tant as you deem that of our Saviour's divinity; a doctrine so amazing, a doctrine so very repugnant to every thing in reason and in nature, a doctrine which requires to be laid down with authority so full, express, and positive, and to be asserted in terms so explicit and unequivocal, before any
thinking mind can admit the slightest idea of it; were these, I ask, the men to teach a doctrine like this, by incidental expressions capable of metaphorical explanation, by oblique hints, casual notices, and
passing allusions ? Were these the men likely to leave a thing of this sort to be collected by inference and deduction, from a few scattered and obscure intimations, from the petty observations of a grammarian upon the omission of a greek article, or the plurality of a hebrew noun ? No, Sir, No. Such a doctrine was never taught, by such men, in such a way!
Had they ever intended to teach it, and still more had they been commissioned by heaven to teach it, we should have read it in their writings as clearly, copiously, and unequivocally, as we do in those of the most explicit and orthodox of the fathers, let him be who he will, not excepting the exquisite author of that incomparable piece, Quicunque vult.* Whatever they thought profitab
thought profitable for doctrine,
* “ Bishop Beveridge (Exposition, p. 163), styles the Atha“ nasian an incomparable creed ; and I do most cordially subscribe
to the truth of the assertion. For, of all the monuments, in
human nature, of presumption, arrogance, and conceit, which “ the history of past ages has left on record, I know of none " which may be fitly compared to this.” Wilton's Review of some of the Articles of the Church of England, p. 91. 8vo. 1774.
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righ teousness, and much more whatever they thought necessáry for salvation, which some pretend to be the case with this tenet, the sacred writers, using great plainness of speech, taught openly, explicitly, and repeatedly, in season and out of season (2 Tim. iii. 16.-iv. 5. and 2 Cor. iii. 12). They left no doubt of their meaning in such cases, no question whether they spoke literally or metaphorically, nothing for their successors to do but to repeat again what they had repeated over and over in the plainest, fullest, and most unambiguous terms before. The very doubt, therefore, that hangs over the few, scanty, casual passages, from which the theological alchymy of the darker ages has extracted such a caput mortuum, is sufficient to shew that it is not the design of those passages to teach any thing of the kind.
But when, in addition to this doubt, we see the doctrine contradicted, both expressly in many par. ticular places of scripture, such as John xvii. 3. i Cor. viii. 6. Ephes. iv. 6. &c. &c. which affirm po. sitively that the father of Jesus is the only true God, and also generally contradicted by the whole tenor of holy writ: when we observe, moreover, to what miserable shifts and expedients the advocates for these mysteries are forced to have recourse, in order to evade the clear and full testimony against them, such as the strange, unintelligible jargon of two natures in one person,* of two sorts of gods, an essen
* It is truly wonderful, that any rational being should be imposed upon by this theological bocus pocus, by which sound divines pretend that they can, in spite of the immutable laws of
tial god and a personal god, and one knows not how many more absurdities, of which there is not the most distant hint in scripture:* when we see with what clumsy buttresses they prop up the incoherent parts of their incongruous, mis-shapen, fabric: we gaze with perfect astonishment at the magic and nature, change a corruptible man into the uncorruptible God : nay, what is more astonishing, can so change him, that he shall not be changed, but though perfect God, shall still continue to be perfect man, that is, to be God and not God, man and not man at the same time! But when once men, calling themselves christians, forsook the simple moral religion of Jesus, and went a whoring after their own metaphysical inventions, in process of time, their foolish hearts became so darkened by their vain imaginations (Rom. i. 21), that they were brought to believe, that where religion began, common sense was at an end ; and there was no fraud, however gross and despicable, but what might be practised with more or less success upon their credulity. They believed that all the laws of the universe might be overturned, and set aside, by a greek article !
* For some specimens of the charming consequences which flow from the contemptible fiction of two natures in one person, see the Unitarian Tracts, 4to. 1691, &c. vol. i. tract upon the Ads of Athanasius, page 29, and tract of Brief Hist. of Unitarians, page 46 ; and vol. ii. tract ii. p. 6, 7, and 14. See also Taylor's Apology of Ben Mordecai, vol. i. p. 116-120; and Mr. Lind. sey's Catechist, Inquiry the 6th : and for an illustration of the other anti-christian fi&tion of a personal and an essential God, producing Gods two in kind, and four in number, see Unitarian Tracts, 4to. vol. i. Aes of Athanas. p. 13. These inventions are mere theological subterfuges, coined to evade the palpable con tradictions which result both to reason and scripture, from the doctrine of a trinity, which, however, they do not evade, but only remove to a little further distance. It is just the case of the Indian supporting the world, first with his elephant, then with his tortoise, &c. &c. At every shift the difficulty increases, to the tripitarian at least, if not to the Indian.