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his third and fourth, to wit, Thomas Danson, Thomas Doolittle, and Maddocks, who at their times (and often out of them) did interpose, to whom George Whitehead mostly answered; nor had there any thing been spoken by another but from their own example.
The matter in controversy will be related in the be. ginning of this treatise, as a necessary preludium, or introduction to the following discourse; the manner of it was so gross, that I know not how to represent it better, than by the levity and rudeness of some prize; laughing, hilling, shoving, striking, and stigmatizing us with the opprobrious terms of confident fellow, impudent villain, blafphemer, &c. And, as the usual refuge of shallow perfons (when they have little else to say, to prepossess their hearers with prejudice against the principles of such as do oppose them) he questioned much whether I was not some Jesuit; not remembering, or at least unwilling to let the people know, that none have been, nor are more instant in the vindication of that doctrine he and his brother did assert, (to wit, God subsisting in three distinct persons) than the Jesuits, so that if I should not as well reflect a scandal upon their learning by a comparison, as he did upon my principle, I could more truly invert jesuitism upon himself: in short, they neither would keep to scripture-terms themselves, nor suffer it in any others; but looking upon George Whitehead's explanation of their terms, and reduction of their matter (if possible) to a scripture-sense (thereby fitting it to the auditors apprehension) to be an indirect way of answering (as that which nakedly did expose their traditional folly to the vulgar) T. V. in an abrupt manner fell to his prayer, in which he falsly, and with many strangely-affected whines, accused us for blafphemers unto God; and that he might prevent the clearing of ourselves, he desired the people, when he had finished, to be gone, giving them an example by his and three brethrens retreat: but we being desirous farther to inform the people of
our innocency, they did not only (as before) endeavour to pull us down, but put the candles out, though several persons, of good esteem, continued whilst we spoke in vindication of ourselves from the invectives of our adversaries.
The people still remaining undispersed, T. V. came very palely down the stairs (having a candle in his hand) requiring their disinislion, at which time he promised us, at our request, another meeting; but as one that knew not well what he said, or never purposed to perform what he promised, has given us since to understand, he cannot in conscience spare us so much time; yet to satisfy G. W. and myself, in private, he could agree ; which surely cannot be termed another meeting, since then it must relate to the preceding one: but how near the relation is betwixt an accusation before hundreds, and a satisfaction before none, must needs be obvious to every unbiassed person :our right should have been altogether as publick as our wrong:for which cause we were necessitated to visit his meeting, where, on a lecture-day, (after a continued silence during all his worship) we modestly intreated we might be cleared from those unjust reflections before his congregation, leaving a disputation (if he could not then attend it) to some more seasonable opportunity : but as one, who resolved injustice to mens reputation, as well as cowardice, in baulking a defence of his own principles, he flunk most shamefully away; nor would any there, though. urged to it, afsume his place to vindicate his practice towards us, or his doctrines then delivered.
Reader, what is thy opinion of this savage entertainment? Would Socrates, Cato, or Seneca, whom they called heathens, have treated us with such unseemly carriage ? I suppose not: and well is it for the truly sober and conscientious, they are not liable to those severe lashes, and that peevish usage, which are the inseparable appendix to a Scotch directory, whose cold and cutting gales ever have designed to nip and blast M 4
the faireft blossoms of greater reformation. So much for history.
What remains is, to inform the reader, that with great brevity I have discussed, and endeavoured a total enervation of those cardinal points, and chief doctrines so firmly believed, and continually imposed for articles of Christian faith: 1. The trinity of separate perfons, in the unity of essence. 2. God's incapacity to forgive, without the fullest satisfaction paid him by another. 3. A justification of impure persons, from an imputative righteousness. Which principles let me tell thee, reader, are not more repugnant to scripture, reason, and souls-security, than most destructive to God's honour, in his unity, mercy, and purity.
Therefore I beseech thee to exterminate passion from her predominancy, in the perusal of this difcourse, since it was writ in love to thee; that whilst it is thy desire to know, love, and fear God Almighty above mens precepts, thou mayest not miss so good an end, by the blind embraces of tradition for truth. But in the nobility of a true Berean, search and enquire ; letting the good old verity, not a pretended antiquity, (whilst a mere novelty) and solid reason, not an over-fond credulity, sway the balance of thy judgment, that both stability and certainty may accompany thy determinations. Farewell.
A short confutation by way of recapitulation, of what
was objected against us at Thomas Vincent's meeting. F disputations prove at any time ineffectual, it is
either to be imputed to the ignorance and ambiguity of the disputants, or to the rudeness and prejudice of the auditory: all which may be truly affirmed of T. V. with his three brethren, and congregation..
The accusation being general, viz. that the Quakers held damnable doctrines, George Whitehead on
their behalf stood up, and, as it was his place, willingly would have given the people an information of our principles, which, if objected against, he was as ready to defend by the authority of scripture and reason; but instead of 'this better method, T. V. as one that is often employed in catechistical lectures, falls to interrogatories, begging that himself, he in his slander had taken for granted, to wit, the knowledge of our principles.
The question was this, "Whether we owned one God-head, sublisting in three distinct and separate per. 'fons,' as the result of various revises and amendments; which being denied by us, as a doctrine no where scriptural, T. V. frames this fyllogisin from the beloved disciple's words.
“ There are three that bear record in heaven, the “ Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these « three are onea.”
« These are either three manifestations, three operarations, three substances, or three somethings else besides fubfiftences.' But they are not three manifestations, three
operations, three substances, nor three any thing else I besides subsistences :'
Ergo, Three fubfiftences.
G. W. utterly rejected his terms, as not to be found in scripture, nor deducible from the place he instanced: wherefore he desires their explanation of their terms, inasmuch as God did not chuse to wrap his truths
in heathenith metaphysicks, but in plain language : notwithstanding we could not obtain a better explanation, than person; or of person, than the mode of a substance; to all which G. W. and myself urged several scriptures, proving God's complete unity: and when we queried how God was to be understood, if in an abstractive sense from his substance, they 'concluded it a point more fit for admiration than disputation. But a little to review his fyllogism; the man
• John v. 7.
ner of it shews him as little a scholar, as it's matter does a Christian; but I shall overlook the first, and so much of the second, as might deserve my objection to his major, and give in short my reason, why I fatly deny his minor proposition. No one substance can have three distinct subsistences, and preserve its own unity: for granting them the most favourable definition, every subsistence will have its own substance; so that three distinct subsistences, or manners of being, will require three distinct substances, or beings; consequently three Gods. For if the infinite God-head subsists in three separate manners, or forms, then is not any one of them a perfect and complete subsistence without the other two; fo parts, and something finite is in God: or if infinite, then three diftinct infinite fubsistences; and what is this but to assert three Gods, fince none is infinite but God? and on the contrary, there being an inseparability betwixt the substance and its subsistence, the unity of substance will not admit a trinity of incomrnunicable or distinct subsistences.
T. D. being asked, Of whom was Christ the express image, from his alledging that scripture in the Hebrews; answered, of God's subsistence, or manner of being: from whence two things in short follow as my reply, It makes God a Father only by subsistence, and Christ a son without a substance. Besides 'tis fallly rendered in the Hebrews, since the Greek does not say Χαρακτήρ προσώπε, but Χαρακτήρα της υποςάσεως, the character of substance.
And if he will peruse a farther discovery of his error, and explanation of the matter, let him read Col. i. 15. “ who is the image of the invisible God.”
And because G. W. willing to bring this strange doctrine to the capacity of the people, compared their three persons to three apostles, saying he did not understand how Paul, Peter, and John could be three persons, and one apostle, (a most apt comparison to detect their doctrine) one Maddocks, whose zeal out-stript his knowledge, bustling hard, as one that had some necessary matter for the decision of our