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CHA P. IX.
Ag. 26. lin. ult. read Phil. 2. 19, 24. P. 39. 1. 3. read thereby
more happy. p. 64, 1. 6. read come, v.15. which. p. 87. 1. 18.
Of the EVER BLESSED
TRINITY in UNITY.
С НА Р. І.
The Occasion and Design of this Discourse.
To the Reverend
Dr. SA MUEL CLARK E.
HEN I receiv'd those Copies of the several Pieces you have publifh'd concerning the Trinity,
which you were pleas'd to send me; as I could not but efteem them fresh Instances of your good Affections towards me of which I have had much happy Experience in a Course of many Years Acquaintance ) so I am persuaded,
You were far from expecting my Approbation of them. On the contrary, as it became a Person that loves you fincerely, I fignified to you, by Letter and otherwise, my dislike of your Noti
ons; and you condescended to bear my usual • Plainess with that Patience, Çandor, and Sweet
ness of Temper, which you constantly discover in your whole Conduct.
You have well (a) observ'd, that the Doctrin of the Trinity is of the greatest importance in Religion ; a matter not to be treated of Nightly and carelessly, as it were by Accident only, after the manner of superficial Controverfies about Words, or of pårticular Occasional Questions con, cerning the meaning of single ambiguous Texts; but which bugbe, when discoursed upon at all, to be examin'd thorough
on all sides, by a serious ftudy of the whole Scripture, and by taking care that the Explication be consistent with it Self in every part. You (b) profess that you have, according to the Weight and Dignity of the subject, considered it throughout, as carefully and distinctly as you were able; and desire only, that ibe Reader, when he begins the Book, would peruse it all, and consider seriously every Part, and compare the whole of what is here said, with other whole Schemes, before he passes bis Judgment upon it. For my own part, I folemhly make the same Profeflion with your self; and what you desire of the Reader, I have conscientiously perform’d: and yet I must assure you, that after all the Pains I have bestow'd in considering this nice Subject (both at former Times, and since your several Books have been publish d) I am-as throughly convinc'd, that you are in the Wrong, as you your self can be that you are in the Right.
(*) Preface to your Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity.
Now, since the Subject of these your Writings is of so great Consequence, and the difference between your Sentiments, and those which, I firmly believe, are deliver'd in the Holy Scriptures, is so exceedingly wide, that your Mistakes are . not less certain than dangerous, and prejujudicial to our common Christianity; and since these fatal Errors are Patroniz'd by a Writer of establish'd Reputation in the Learned World: certainly those who retain any Zeal, in this Lukewarm Age, for the Faith once deliver'd to the Saints, and are persuaded that an Orthodox Belief is the only firm Foundation of a truly Chriftian Practice ; can't but desire, even with some degree of Impatience, to see your Notions fairly examin'd, and substantially disprov'd; so that neither the Weight of your Authority in the Commonwealth of Letters, nor your excellent Management of what I can't but efteem Cause, may prejudice the Truth, disturb the Church's Peace, and deceive the Unwary.
Besides, I can't bear the Thoughts of your being injurious to the Church of Christ. God forbid, that you should in any Respect wound that Religion, which you have in so many Respects adorn'd and defended. Farther, I am fully persuaded, that you'll be glad to see your Mistakes, and that you will also readily acknowledge them, if they appear to you. I think my self therefore bound in strid Duty to God, and in pure Friend- . ship to your self, to lay afide for a while thore several Tasks, which would otherwise have found me full Imployment, for many Years ; that I may contribute what lies in my small Power, to the clearing of the Truth, and your Convixion.
These Considerations, and only these, have engagd me to undertake the present Controverly with you ; being so abundantly satisfy'd of the Goodness of my Cause, and so eagerly bent to do what little Service I can (particularly to your self) that I am refolv’d to risque my Endevors. And I humbly trust our great and good Master, who will not desert such as impartially seek to advance the Truth, and aim only at his Glory, with the Success of my Labors.
May that God, who knows the Secrets of both our Hearts; May that incarnat Savior, who must judge us both at the last great Day; May that blessed Spirit, who works in Men both to will and to do; so direct and influence us both, that no Prejudice. or Intereft may blind our Underftandings, no unmorcify'd Luft may pervert our Wils, no Defire of Glory or Reputation may bribe our Affections : but that each of us may behave himself, in the Course of this Friendly Disputation, as becomes those who live in a constant Expectation of giving an Account of all their Actions; and are practically convinc'd, that whatever little Ends may be serv'd in this world by Artifice, Shift, and Collusion; yet nothing but the most unbiass's Integrity in our Conduct here, can prevent our everlasting Disgrace, and insupportable Confusion hereafter.
Let us now, with a firm Dependence on the Divine Allistance, proceed to the Business lying be