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The Doctrine of the Bleffed Trinity afferted, and proved not contrary to Reason: In a SERMON preached between the Years 1663 and 1670, before the University of Oxon.
COL. ii. 2. Latter Part.
Εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τῇ μυςηρίε τῷ Θε8, καὶ Πατρὸς, καὶ τε Χρις8.
N the handling and afferting of the Doctrine of the Trinity, I do not remember any Place fo often urged, and fo much infifted upon by Di.
vines, as that in I Joh. v. 7. There are Three who bear Record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and I 4 thefe
thefe Three are One: A Text fully containing in it the Doctrine of three distinct Divine Perfons, in one and the fame Bleffed and Eternal Godhead; a Doctrine unanimously received by the Catholick Christian Church; and warranted by the Testimony of the most ancient, genuine, and unexceptionable Records or Copies of the New Testament, as well as of the most noted of the Fathers concerning it; and that not only as of a fingle Article, but rather as the Sum Total of our Chriftian Faith, and not fo much a Part or Member, as a full but short Compendium of our Religion. And yet under these high Advantages of Credibility, we fee what Oppofition it met with, both from Ancients and Moderns; of the first Sort of which, we have Arius with his infamous Crew leading the Van, by questioning the Text itself, as if not originally Extant in fome two or three ancient Copies of this Epistle; and, of the latter Sort, are those innumerable Secs and Sectaries fprung up fince; fome of them openly denying, and fome of them (whofe Learning one would have thought might have been better employed) flyly undermining this Grand Fundamental; and while they feemingly acknowledge
knowledge the Truth, as it lies in the bare Words of the Text, treacherously giving it up in the Explication.
As for the Socinians, who hold with the Arians, fo far as they oppose us, though not in all which the Arians affert themselves, they have a double Refuge. And first with them pretending the Doubtfulness of the Text, they would farther evade it by a new Interpretation of its Senfe, affirming, that this Expreffion [thefe Three are One] does not of Neceffity import an Unity of Nature, but only of Confent. The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost being therefore said to be One, because they jointly and indivifibly carry on. one and the fame Design; all of them jointly concurring in the great Work of Man's Salvation.
Thus fay they; but if this were indeed fo, and if no more than Matter of Confent were here intended, where then (in God's Name) would be the Mystery, which the Univerfal Chriftian Church have all along acknowledged to be contained in thefe Words? For that the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit fhould thus jointly concur in, and carry on the grand Business of saving Mankind, is a Doctrine expreffing in it nothing myfte
mysterious, unaccountable, or furpaffing Man's Understanding at all.
But farther, if Unity of Confent only were here intended, why in all Reason was it expreffed by ev cia, that is, they are one Thing, Being, or Nature, and not rather by eis to ev eio, they agree in One; as in the τὸ εἰσι, very next Verse to this, fuch an Unity of Concurrence in the Spirit,theWater,and the Blood, is expreffed by the fame Words εἰς τὸ ἕν εἰσι, manifeftly importing no Idenity, or Unity of Nature, or Being, but only of Agreement in fome certain Respect or other; and doubtlefs, in fo very near a Neighbourhood and Conjunction of Words, had the Senfe been perfectly the fame, there can be no imaginable Reason given, why the Apostle should in the very fame Cafe thus have varyed the Expreffion.
But, for yet a farther Assertion of the great Truth now infifted upon, this Text out of the Epistle to the Coloffians will as effectually evince the fame, as the Place beforementioned; though perhaps not quite fo plainly, nor wholly in the fame Way; that is to fay, it will do it by folid Inference, and juft Confequence from the Words, though not expreffly in the very Words themfelves. And
accordingly we may confider thofe Words, Εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ξ μυτηρίες 8 Θεό, καὶ Πατρὸς, Xes, two different Ways, viz.
1. As the Term 18 Os may be taken perfonally, as in Scripture fometimes it is, and then it will here fignify the Holy Ghost, the Third Perfon of the Blessed Trinity, tho' not indeed mentioned in this Place, in the Jame Order, in which the Three Perfons commonly use to be; but the Order, I conceive, may fometimes be lefs obferved, without any Change in, or Detriment to the Article it felf. And fo this Text out of the Epiftle to the Coloffians will point out to us the Doctrine of the ever Bleffed Trinity, as well as that fore-alledged Place, out of St. John, did. But,
2. If the Word F O be here taken ef fentially, and for the Divine Nature only; then the Particle will import here properly a Distribution of r 8 (fignifying the Divine Nature) as a Term common to thofe two τῇ Πα]ρὸς, καὶ τε Χρισ8, as to two particular Perfons, diftinguished by their refpective Properties. And fo taken, it must be confeffed, that the Term Ts Og here, will not fignify the Perfon of the Holy Ghost. But granting all this: Are there not, how