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HEN the Reverend Dr. Clarke published his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity ; as I could not
but perceive and lament the natural Tendency of such a Book (especially considering what Credit the Author had gained by his former excellent Writings, and consequently how powerfully the Authority of his Name would recommend even the most dangerous Notions) so I could not but observe the Course of that Controversy, which arose upon that unhappy Occasion.
Every body knows, that many Writers, of different Spirits and Abilitys, attaqued the Doctor in different Manners, as their Inclinations or Judaments led them. But notwithstanding this Variety of Opposition, 1 heartily wish I could not say, that what to me seemed in such a Case the most desirable, or rather absolutely necessary, was totally neglected. For tho much commendable Zoal was spent against the Book in general, and diverse Parcels
of it were particularly question'd and taken to pieces : yet none of the Doctor's Adversarys attempted a Confutation of his whole Scheme, and a thorough Examination of every Branch of his Doctrin.
Wherefore, since I could not hear, that any one Person intended to prevent me, by ingaging in so seasonable an Undertaking; and since the controverly about the Holy Trinity, which has lately been revived, is of greater Consequence, than those other Matters which lay before me : 1 judged it reaSom able to postpone what I should otherwise bave
proceeded in, and determin’d to write a full Reply to that celebrated Treatise of my Learned Friend.
Accordingly, as my Affairs would permit me, I got thro' the Work, and brought up with me every Chapter of it in January , when I left. Colchester, and fixed my self in London. And I should immediatly have published it, had not my Removal involved me in so much new Business, that I found it impossible for many Months, not only to profecute my Studys, but even to review what I had actually written. And tho' at length 1 made Shift to draw up a short Argument against the Nonjurors Separation (which the most pressing Neceflity extorted from me) and then hoped to have work'd off this Book without farther Delay : jet fresh Interruptions aroje, from which I could not disent angle my self till about May last, when I resumed my Papers; and then they should bave seen the Lighi, had not the Controversy about the Bisbop of Bangor's Sermon preached before the King, which ingrossed the Thoughts of all People, obliged me to juspend
the Publication till now ; if perchance fome few may even now be at leisure to per use them.
I need not acquaint the Reader, that in the whole Controversy concerning the Everblessed Trinity, the principal Point, and that which has been the most largely and warmly debated, is the Divinity of the Son or Second Perfor. Upon this therefore I have Spent the greater Part of my Discourse, wherein I have carefully answered all Obječtions, and particularly the Learned will be perhaps
, not displeased with the Pains I have taken in establishing, what our Greatest Divines do generally either suppose or affert, tho they have been over svaring in the Proof of it; I mean the Quiescence of the WORD during our Savior's Ministry.
Of what Consequence this Notion is, 'tis impobssile for the most negligent not to perceive. It enables us clearly to account for our Savior's not knowing the Day of Judgment, which has hitherto been esteemed the great Difficulty : and it gives such a Turn to the whole Dispute, that I can't but wonder, how those Divines, who have been necessitated to shelter themselves under it, and have therefore so frequently Juggested and proposed it ; should not discern, or at least so imperfectly display, that Evidence of it, which the Holy Scriptures afford us. I dare affirm, that whosoever impartialy considers what I have offered (and truly I thought my self obliged to enlarge pretty freely on a Matter of such Importance, especially when it has been too much negle&ted by others) will readily embrace a Truth, which is lo
manifestly useful in the Demonftration of our blesfed Lord's Divinity..
There is one thing, which (in the Opinion of some Persons) may possibly need an Apology. I have taken the Liberty of maintaining the Preexistence of our Savior's Human Soul; not because I am in the least inclined to favor the Preexistence of other Souls; but because the Holy Scriptures, 1 humbly conceive, do warrant that Position. I promise my self, that the Reader will candidly weigh what I have advanced concerning that Tenet
. I assure him, I have no particular Fondness for it, notwithstanding it has been, and still is, maintained by Great Divines. I can't but think it the most rational Way of interpreting diverse Texts of Scripture : but if any one will few me, how to interpret those Tests without admitting that Doctrine, I shall readily become his Convert. This I am sure of, the
. Consubstantial Divinity of our Lord is so plainly taught in Scripture, ihat I would admit any Hypothesis, provided it were barely possible, rather thin deny it : and if those Texts can be explained so, as not to injure that great Truth ; the Author of fucb Ex licazion shall find me, not his Adversary, but truly thankful for imparting Juich valuable Secrets to me.
As I have been follicitous to obviste all Objections ; so have I been designedly brief in the positive Part: concerning which, as I am perfuaded I have said enough; so I was unwilling to say more than was indispensably necessary. 'Twill not be expected there.
fore, that I should be ap up all those Arguments, which have been urged by former Writers ; or that
1. fhould insist upon all those Texts, wherein the Same Doctrin is contained.
This Method I have purposely chosen, that I might not expose the Doctor and my self to infinit Wranglings, which do rather obscure, than confirm, the most important Truths, with respect to the Generality of People; who are rather confounded, than instructed, by a Multiplicity of Reasonings, guarded gainst numberless Exceptions, thro' the whole Course of which 'tis difficult for those who have not very strong Heads, to see every Consequence clearly, and upon the Whole to form an exact Judgment.
I have therefore proceeded in such a Manner, and selected such Topics, as will (1 hope, thro' God's Allistance) not perplex the meaneft, but yet convince, the best Vndersi andings ; such as will not embarrass - yet satisfy every Reader.
Briefly, if those Arguments which I have pitched upon, be conclusive ; the Cause will not suffer for want of others to accompany them : and if those Arguments are not conclusive, I must for my self confess, that I know of none which have more Force in them.
Octob. 23. 1717.