« PreviousContinue »
A GENERAL VIEW
OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE
UNITY OF GOD;
AND AGAINST THE
DIVINITY AND PRE-EXISTENCE
CH R I S T;
FROM REASON, FROM THE SCRIPTURES, AND
İ, ARGUMENTS FROM REASON AGAINST THE
That the doctrine of the trinity could ever have been suggested by any thing in the course of nature (though it has been imagined by some persons of a peculiarly fanciful turn, and previously persuaded of the truth of it) is not maintained by any persons to whom my writings can be at all useful. I shall therefore only address myself to those who believe the doctrine on the supposition of its being contained in the scriptarés, at the fame time maintaining, that, though it is above, it is not properly contrary to reason ; and I hope to make it fufficiently evident, either that they do not hold the doctrine, or that the opinion of three divine persons conftituting one God is strictly speaking an absurdity, or contradiction, and that it is therefore incapable of any proof, even by miracles. With this view, I shall recite in order all the diftin&t modifications of this doctrine, and shew that, upon any of them, there is either no proper unity, in the divine nature, or no proper trinity.
If, with Dr. Waterland, and others who are reckoned the strictest Athanafians, (though their opinions were not known in the time of Athanasius himself,) it be supposed that there are three persons properly equal, and that no one of them has any
sort of superiority over the rest, they are, to all intents and purposes, three distinct Gods. For if each of them, separately confidered, be possessed of all divine perfections, so that nothing is wanting to complete divinity, each of them must be as properly a God as any being possessed of all the properties of man must be a man, and therefore three persons porsessed of all the attributes of divinity must be as properly three Gods as three persons possessed of all human artributes must be three men. These three persons, therefore, must be incapable of any strict or numerical unity. It must be universally true, that three things to which the same definition applies can never make only one thing to which the same definition applies. And when by the words thing, being, or person we mean nothing more than, logically speaking, the subject, or substratum of properties or attributes, it is a matter of indifference which of them we make use of.
Each of these three persons may have other properties, but they must be numerically three in that respect in which the same definition applies to them. If, therefore, the three persons agree in this circumstance, that they are each of them perfect God, though they may differ in other respects, and have peculiar relations to each other, and to us, they must still be three Gods; and to say that they are only one God is as much a contradiction, as to say that three men, though they differ from one ano