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wou'd instantly discern what my Sentiments are touching every Point of it: yer I can't but esteem it necessary, for the sake of most other Readers, to subjoin a short Examination of your Doctrin, and therein to signify what I think concerning each difting Branch,referring backwards to those Places, in which I have more largely handled such Particu- . lars, as we may happen to clash with each other about. By this means, what I have digested into a regular Discourse in a Syftematical way, will be immediatly transform'd into a Personal Contoverfy with your self; and the meaneft Reader will be able to find, without any Trouble or loss of Time, a distinct Reply to whatsoever you have advanced in opposition (as I verily think) to what the Holy Scriptures do teach concerning the Everbleffed Trinity in Unity.
Ε Χ Α Μ Ι Ν Α Τ Ι Ο Ν
Of the Doctor's Preface.
Of his Introduction.
2. That I have fully expressed my Mind as to the Point of Subscription to our Church's Articles, in my Essay on them. 3. As to our Complyance with other legal Forms, I shall wave all Discourse concerning it, sor a Reason which I shall give, when I come to your Third Part.
Of his First Part.
Your Book is divided into Three Parts. You say (a), that in the First Part of it (that it might appear wbat was, not the Sound of single Texts, which may be easily mistaken, but the whole Tenour of Scripture) you have colle&ted all the Texts that relate to the Doctrine of the Everblessed Trinity (which you are not sensible bas been done before) and set them before the Reader in one View, with such References and critical Observations, as may ('tis boped) be of considerable Use towards the Understanding of their true Meaning. I shall therefore take no further notice of this First Part, than as I shall find my self obliged in the Examination of your Second, which refers backwards to, and depends upon, your First; and wberein, you (b) say, is collected into methodical Propositions the Sum of that Doctrine, which (upon the carefullest Consideration of the whole Matter) appears to you to be fully contained in the Texts cited in the First Part. So that by examining your Second Part, I shall of consequence examine your First also, as much as the Nature of my Design requires; which is to rectify your Notions relating to the Holy Trinity, and to thew what the Holy Scriptures do really teach concern
(a) Introdu&t. p. 17.
Of his Second Part.
You (c) say, róu bave illustrated each Proposition (you should have said, the greatest Number of them) with many Testimonies out of the antient Writers, both before and after the Council of Nice; especially out of Athanasius and Basil; of which are several not taken notice of either by Petavius or the Learned Bishop Bull. Concerning all which, you desire it may be observed, that they are not alledg’d as Proofs, of any of the Propositions (for Proofs are to be taken from the Scripture alone) but as Illustrations only; and to flew how easy and natural that Notion must be allowed to be, which so many Writers could not forbear expressing so clearly and diftintly, even frequently, when at the same time they were about to affirm, and endeavouring to prove, something not very confiftent with it. Now, whether you have truly represented those Writers, whose Testimonys you have alleged, 'cis perfectly needless for me to inquire. For why should we argue about, or appeal to, the Testimonys of those Persons, whose Words you do not allege as Proofs, for the Establishment of any Proposition, and whose Judgment you are resolved beforehand not to abide by ?
Wherefore, whether you have just Grounds to assert, that (d) the greatest part of the Writers before and at the time of the Council of Nice, were really of that
(c) Introdu&t. p. 17.
Opinion (tho’they do not always speak very clearly and conSijtently) which you bave endeavour'd to set forth in your Second Part; I shall not examin for the Reason already given. Besides, what does a cloud of Witncies signify, unless they are consistent? But as to the Writers after that Council, you (e) declare, that the Reader must not wonder, if many passages not consistent with (nay, perhaps contrary to) those which are by you cited, shall by any one be alleged out of the same Authors. For, you say, you do not cite Places out of these Authors, so much to show what was the Opinion of the Writers themselves, as to sew how naturally Truth sometimes: prevails by its own native Clearnefs and Evidence, even against the strongest and most settled Prejudices : according to that of Balil: I am persuaded (Jaith be, as quoted by you) that the Strength of the Doctrine deliver'd down to us, has often compelled Men to contradict their own Assertions. Now, if this be the Case with respect to those who wrote since the Council of Nice, then we may by your own Confeffion divide those Writers between us. And what will the Cause of Truth gain, by our sharing such oppofit and selfcontradicting Authoritys?
You see therefore, that tho! I do by no means Give up either the Antinicene or Postnicene Writers; yet I justly wave an Inquiry into their Sentiments, purely to shorten our Dispute, and that I may 1peedily bring it to an Issue, and obtain a Verdict from the Word of God, which alone can infallibly decide the Difference between us.
Ş) Introduct. p. 18.