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confined myself to this unexceptionable kind of evidence for the proof of the latter, and have made the Scripture its own interpreter. But our adversaries, though they allow the sufficiency of the Scripture, and unjustly pretend to distinguish themselves from us by insisting upon it, do nevertheless make such frequent use of a lower sort of evidence to bias common readers, and show the expediency of what they are pleased to call Reformation; that I have thought proper to exhibit a specimen of their method of proceeding in that respect, by adding to this edition A Letter to the Common People, in answer to some popular Arguments against the Trinity. These arguments are extracted chiefly from a small book, intitled, An Appeal to the Common Sense of all · Christian People; a thing very highly commeaded by the author of the Confessional. But in this
a "Which book," (says he)" has passed through two editions, "without any sort of reply that I have heard of. This looks as if "able writers were not willing to meddle with the subject, or that "willing writers were not able to manage it." p. 320. The Rev. Mr. Landon published an answer to this book in 1764, printed for Whiston and White: and he has mentioned another himself in a note. But had the case really been as he hath reported in his text, it will by no means follow, that a book is therefore unanswerable, because it hath received no answer. If this be good logic, I could present him with a conclusion or two which he would not very well like.
author's estimation, every writer that opposes the faith of the Church of England is ipso facto invin cible; and consequently, this retailer of Dr. Clarke's opinions, whoever he is, must come in for his share of merit and applause; which I by no means envy him.
So far as the Scripture itself hath been thought to furnish any objections to the received doctrine, I judged it the fairer and the surer way, to answer them as they were offered by Dr. Clarke himself; and have therefore no apology to make for neglecting some of his disciples, who have not made any improvement on his arguments; as I do not find that this gentleman hath: the second edition of whose Appeal was published in 1754, fince which there have been two editions of the Catholic Doctrine in England, and one or more in Ireland.
By all the observations I have been able to make, the greater number of those who disbelieve the Trinity upon principle (for many do it implicitly, and are credulous in their unbelief) do not profess to take their notions of God from the Bible, but affect to distinguish themselves from the common herd by drawing them from the fountains of Reason and Philosophy. We cannot be persuaded, that the Trinity is denied by reasoners of this complexion, because
because the Scripture hath not revealed it: but do rather suspect, that some philosophers dissent from this point of Christian doctrine, because they are not humble enough to take the Scripture as a test of their religious opinions. In which case, the whole labour of collecting of texts, and framing of comments, and fishing for various readings, is an after-thought. It is submitted to rather for apology than for proof: to reconcile readers of the Scripture to that doctrine, which they would be more jealous of receiving if they knew it to have been originally borrowed from another quarter. He that would deceive a Christian, can seldom do his work effectually without a Bible in his hand: a consideration which may help us to a sight of the consequences, if persons were permitted to teach in our churches without any previous Enquiry concerning their religious sentiments, and so allowed to take the same liberty either through mistake or ill design, as was taken by the arch-deceiver in the wilderness, who never meant to use the Scripture for edification, but only for destruction; not to apply it as an instrument of good, but to turn it, as far as he was able, into an instrument of evil. The Bible was given us for the preservation of the kingdom of Christ upon earth; as the book of
a Matth. iv. 6.
Statutes in this kingdom is intended to secure the authority of the government, together with the life, peace, and property of every individual: and we want no prophet to foreshew us the consequences, if all the malecontents in the nation were allowed to be public interpreters of the laws.
These considerations I leave the judicious to apply as they find occasion. I use them chiefly as hints, for the benefit both of such as may be in danger of wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction, and of such philosophers as those alluded to by St. Paul3, who through the profession of fancied wisdom fell into real folly, and purchased a reputed knowledge of things natural and metaphysical, at the lamentable expence of losing the knowledge of God.
a Rom. i. 22.
PLUCKLEY, Jan. 1, 1767.
I Cor. i. 21.
The Christian Religion is distinguished from other
Religions, by its object of worship....
Difference of opinions no argument against the
Whence this difference proceeds...
Men differ about plain facts, as well as Christian
Men are subject to a state of mind, in which they
The Divinity of Christ demonstrated by a com-
parison of such texts as serve to interpret one
Single Texts abused by Arians, cleared up by a
Divinity of Christ proved, by another series of