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No impartial person, competently acquainted with the history of the Reformation, and the works of the earlier Protestant divines at home and abroad, even to the close of Elizabeth's reign, will deny that the doctrines of Calvin on redemption and the natural state of fallen man are in all essential points the same as those of Luther, Zuinglius, and the first Reformers collectively. These doctrines have, however, since the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church at the return of Charles II, been as generally* exchanged for what is commonly entitled

*At a period, in which Doctors Marsh and Wordsworth have, by the zealous on one side, been charged with Popish principles on account of their anti-bibliolatry and the sturdy adherents of the doctrines common to Luther and Calvin, and the literal interpreters of the Articles and Homilies, are (I wish I could say, altogether without any fault of their own) regarded by the clergy generally as virtual schismatics, dividers of, though not from, the Church, it is serving the cause of charity to assist in circulating the following instructive passage from the Life of Bishop Hackett respecting the disputes between the Augustinians, or Luthero-Calvinistic divines and the Grotians of his age: in which controversy (says his biographer) he, Hackett, "was ever very moderate."

"But having been bred under Bishop Davenant and Dr. Ward in 118 Arminianism, but which, taken as a complete and explicit scheme of belief, it would be both historically and theologically more accurate to call Grotianism, or Christianity according to Grotius. The change was not, we may readily believe, effected without a struggle. In the Romish Church this latitudinarian system, patronized by the Jesuits, was manfully resisted by Jansenius, Arnauld, and Pascal; in our own Church by the Bishops Davenant, Sanderson, Hall, and the Archbishops Usher and Leighton: and in this latter half of the preceding aphorism the reader has a specimen of the reasonings by which Leighton strove to invalidate or counterpoise the reasonings of the innovators.

Passages of this sort are, however, of rare occurrence in Leighton's works. Happily for thousands, he was more usefully employed in making his readers feel that the doctrines in question, Scripturally treated and taken as co-organized parts of a great organic whole, need no

Cambridge, he was addicted to their sentiments. Archbishop Usher would say, that Davenant understood those controversies better than ever any man did since St. Augustine. But he (Bishop Hackett) used to say, that he was sure he had three excellent men of his opinion in this controversy; 1. Padre Paolo (Father Paul) whose Letter is extant in Heinsius, anno 1604. 2. Thomas Aquinas. 3. St. Augustine. But besides and above them all, he believed in his conscience that St. Paul was of the same mind likewise. Yet at the same time he would profess that he disliked no Arminians, but such as revile and defame every one who is not so: and he would often commend Arminius himself for his excellent wit and parts, but only tax his want of reading and knowledge in antiquity. And he ever held, it was the foolishest thing in the world to say the Arminians were Popishly inclined, when so many Dominicans and Jansenists were rigid followers of Augustine in these points: and no less foolish to say that the Anti-Arminians were Puritans and Presbyterians, when Ward and Davenant, and Prideaux, and Browning, those stout champions for Episcopacy, were decided Anti-Arminians: while Arminius himself was ever a Presbyterian. Therefore he greatly commended the moderation of our Church, which extended equal communion to both." 119 such reasonings. And better still would it have been, had he left them altogether for those, who, severally detaching the great features of Revelation from the living context of Scripture, do by that very act destroy their life and purpose. And then, like the eyes of the Indian spider,** they become clouded microscopes, to exaggerate and distort all the other parts and proportions. No offence then will be occasioned, I trust, by the frank avowal that I have given to the preceding passage a place among the spiritual aphorisms for the sake of comment: the following remarks having been the first marginal note I had pencilled on Leighton's pages, and thus (remotely, at least), the occasion of the present work.

Leighton, I observed, throughout his inestimable work, avoids all metaphysical views of Election, relatively to God, and confines himself to the doctrine in its relation to man; and in that sense, too, in which every Christian may judge of it who strives to be sincere with his own heart. The following may, I think, be taken as a safe and useful rule in religious inquiries. Ideas, that derive their origin and substance from the moral being, and to the reception of which as true objectively (that is, as corresponding to a reality out of the human mind) we are determined by a practical interest exclusively, may not, like theoretical positions, be pressed onward into all their logical consequences.† The law

** Aranea prodigiosa. See Baker's Microscopic Experiments.

†May not this rule be expressed more intelligibly (to a mathematician at least) thus:--Reasoning from finite to finite on a basis of truth; also, reasoning from infinite to infinite on a basis of truth; will always lead to truth as intelligibly as the basis on which such truths respectively rest. While reasoning from finite to infinite, or from infinite to finite, will lead to apparent absurdity, although the basis be true: and is not such apparent absurdity another expression for "truth unintelligible by a finite mind?" 120 of conscience, and not the canons of discursive reasoning, must decide in such cases. At least, the latter have no validity, which the single veto of the former is not sufficient to nullify. The most pious conclusion is here the most legitimate.

It is too seldom considered, though most worthy of consideration, how far even those ideas or theories of pure speculation, that bear the same name with the objects of religious faith, are indeed the same. Out of the principles necessarily presumed in all discursive thinking, and which being, in the first place, universal, and secondly, antecedent to every particular exercise of the understanding, are therefore referred to the reason, the human mind (wherever its powers are sufficiently developed, and its attention strongly directed to speculative or theoretical inquiries,) forms certain essences, to which for its own purposes it gives a sort of notional subsistence. Hence they are called entia rationalia: the conversion of which into entia realia, or real objects, by aid of the imagination, has in all times been the fruitful stock of empty theories and mischievous superstitions, of surreptitious premisses and extravagant conclusions. For as these substantiated notions were in many instances expressed by the same terms, as the objects of religious faith; as in most instances they were applied, though deceptively, to the explanation of real experiences; and lastly, from the gratifications, which the pride and ambition of man received from the supposed extension of his knowledge and insight; it was too easily forgotten or overlooked, that the stablest and most indispensable of these notional beings were but the necessary forms of thinking, taken abstractedly: and that like the breadthless lines, depthless surfaces, and perfect circles of geometry, they subsist wholly and 121 solely in and for the mind that contemplates them. Where the evidence of the senses fails us, and beyond the precincts of sensible experience, there is no reality attributable to any notion, but what is given to it by Revelation, or the law of conscience, or the necessary interests of morality.

Take an instance:

It is the office, and as it were, the instinct of reason to bring a unity into all our conceptions and several knowledges. On this all system depends; and without this we could reflect connectedly neither on nature nor our own minds. Now this is possible only on the assumption or hypothesis of a One as the ground and cause of the universe, and which in all succession and through all changes is the subject neither of time nor change. The One must be contemplated as eternal and immutable.

Well! the idea, which is the basis of religion, commanded by the conscience and required by morality, contains the same truths, or at least truths that can be expressed in no other terms; but this idea presents itself to our mind with additional attributes, and these too not formed by mere abstraction and negation--with the attributes of holiness, providence, love, justice, and mercy. It comprehends, moreover, the independent (extra-mundane) existence and personality of the Supreme One, as our Creator, Lord, and Judge.

The hypothesis of a one ground and principle of the universe (necessary as an hypothesis, but having only a logical and conditional necessity), is thus raised into the idea of the Living God, the supreme object of our faith, love, fear, and adoration. Religion and morality do indeed constrain us to declare him eternal and immutable. But if from the eternity of the Supreme Being a reasoner 122 should deduce the impossibility of a creation; or conclude with Aristotle, that the creation was co-eternal; or, like the later Platonists, should turn creation into emanation, and make the universe proceed from the Deity, as the sunbeams from the solar orb;--or if from the divine immutability he should infer that all prayer and supplication must be vain and superstitious: then however evident and logically necessary such conclusions may appear, it is scarcely worth our while to examine, whether they are so or not. The positions themselves must be false. For were they true, the idea would lose the sole ground of its reality. It would be no longer the idea intended by the believer in his premiss--in the premiss, with which alone religion and morality are concerned. The very subject of the discussion would be changed. It would no longer be the God, in whom we believe; but a stoical Fate, or the superessential One of Plotinus, to whom neither intelligence, nor self-consciousness, nor life, nor even being can be attributed; or lastly, the world itself, the indivisible one and only substance (substantia una et unica) of Spinoza, of which all phaenomena, all particular and individual things, lives, minds, thoughts, and actions are but modifications.

Let the believer never be alarmed by objections wholly speculative, however plausible on speculative grounds such objections may appear, if he can but satisfy himself, that the result is repugnant to the dictates of conscience, and irreconcilable with the interests of morality. For to baffle the objector we have only to demand of him, by what right and under what authority he converts a thought into a substance, or asserts the existence of a real somewhat corresponding to a notion not derived from the experience of his senses. It will be of no purpose 123 for him to answer that it is a legitimate notion. The notion may have its mould in the understanding; but its realization must be the work of the fancy.

A reflecting reader will easily apply these remarks to the subject of Election, one of the stumbling stones in the ordinary conceptions of the Christian Faith, to which the Infidel points in scorn, and which far better men pass by in silent perplexity. Yet surely, from mistaken conceptions of the doctrine. I suppose the person, with whom I am arguing, already so far a believer, as to have convinced himself, both that a state of enduring bliss is attainable under certain conditions; and that these conditions consist in his compliance with the directions given and rules prescribed in the Christian Scriptures. These rules he likewise admits to be such, that, by the very law and constitution of the human mind, a full and faithful compliance with them cannot but have consequences of some sort or other. But these Consequences are moreover distinctly described, enumerated, and promised in the same Scriptures, in which the conditions are recorded; and though some of them may be apparent to God only, yet the greater number of them are of such a nature that they cannot exist unknown to the individual, in and for whom they exist. As little possible is it, that he should find these consequences in himself, and not find in them the sure marks and the safe pledges that he is at the time in the right road to the life promised under these conditions. Now I dare assert that no such man, however fervent his charity and however deep his humility may be, can peruse the records of history with a reflecting spirit, or look round the world with an observant eye, and not find himself compelled to admit, that all men are not on the right road. He cannot help judging that even in Christian countries 124 many,--a fearful many,--have not their faces turned toward it.

This then is a mere matter of fact. Now comes the question. Shall the believer, who thus hopes on the appointed grounds of hope, attribute this distinction exclusively to his own resolves and strivings,--or if not exclusively, yet primarily and principally? Shall he refer the first movements and preparations to his own will and understanding, and bottom his claim to the promises on his own comparative excellence? If not, if no man dare take this honour to himself, to whom shall he assign it, if not to that Being in whom the promise originated, and on whom its fulfilment depends? If he stop here, who shall blame him? By what argument shall his reasoning be invalidated, that might not be urged with equal force against any essential difference between obedient and disobedient, Christian and worldling;--that would not imply that both sorts alike are, in the sight of God, the sons of God by adoption? If he stop here, I say, who shall drive him from his position? For thus far he is practically concerned;--this the conscience requires; this the highest interests of morality demand. It is a question of facts, of the will and the deed, to argue against which on the abstract notions and possibilities of the speculative reason, is as unreasonable, as an attempt to decide a question of colors by pure geometry, or to unsettle the classes and specific characters of natural history by the doctrine of fluxions.

But if the self-examinant will abandon this position, and exchange the safe circle of religion and practical reason for the shifting sand-wastes and mirages of speculative theology; if instead of seeking after the marks of Election in himself he undertakes to determine the ground and origin, the possibility and mode of Election 125 itself in relation to God; in this case, and whether he does it for the satisfaction of curiosity, or from the ambition of answering those, who would call God himself to account, why and by what right certain souls were born in Africa instead of England;--or why (seeing that it is against all reason and goodness to choose a worse, when being omnipotent He could have created a better) God did not create beasts men, and men angels;--or why God created any men but with foreknowledge of their obedience, and left any occasion for Election;--in this case, I say, we can only regret that the inquirer had not been better instructed in the nature, the bounds, the true purposes and proper objects of his intellectual faculties, and that he had not previously asked himself, by what appropriate sense, or organ of knowledge, he hoped to secure an insight into a nature which was neither an object of his senses, nor a part of his self-consciousness; and so leave him to ward off shadowy spears with the shadow of a shield, and to retaliate the nonsense of blasphemy with the abracadabra of presumption. He that will fly without wings must fly in his dreams: and till he awakes, will not find out that to fly in a dream is but to dream of flying.

Thus then the doctrine of Election is in itself a necessary inference from an undeniable fact--necessary at least for all who hold that the best of men are what they are through the grace of God. In relation to the believer it is a hope, which if it spring out of Christian principles, be examined by the tests and nourished by the means prescribed in Scripture, will become a lively and an assured hope, but which cannot in this life pass into knowledge, much less certainty of fore-knowledge. The contrary belief does indeed make the article of Election both tool and parcel of a mad and mischievous fanaticism.


But with what force and clearness does not the Apostle confute, disclaim, and prohibit the pretence, treating it as a downright contradiction in terms! See Rom. viii, 24.

But though I hold the doctrine handled as Leighton handles it (that is, practically, morally, humanly) rational, safe, and of essential importance, I see many** reasons resulting from the peculiar circumstances, under which St. Paul preached and wrote, why a discreet minister of the Gospel should avoid the frequent use of the term, and express and meaning in other words perfectly equivalent and equally Scriptural; lest in saying truth he may convey error.

Had my purpose been confined to one particular tenet, an apology might be required for so long a comment. But the reader will, I trust, have already perceived, that my object has been to establish a general rule of interpretation and vindication applicable to all doctrinal tenets, and especially to the (so called) mysteries of the Christian faith: to provide a safety-lamp for religious inquirers. Now this I find in the principle, that all revealed truths

**For example: at the date of St. Paul's Epistles, the (Roman) world may be resembled to a mass in the furnace in the first moment of fusion, here a speck and there a spot of the melted metal shining pure and brilliant amid the scum and dross. To have received the name of Christian was a privilege, a high and distinguishing favour. No wonder, therefore, that in St. Paul's writings the words, elect and election often, nay, most often, mean the same as eccalumeni, ecclelsia, that is, these who have been called out of the world: and it is a dangerous perversion of the Apostle's word to interpret it in the sense, in which it was used by our Lord, viz., in opposition to the called. (Many are called but few chosen). In St. Paul's sense and at that time the believers collectively formed a small and select number; and every Christian, real or nominal, was one of the elect. Add, too, that this ambiguity is increased by the accidental circumstance, that the Kyriak, aedes Dominicae, Lord's House, kirk; and ecelesia, the sum total of the eccalumeni, evocati, called-out; are both rendered by the same word Church. 127 are to be judged of by us, as far as they are possible subjects of human conception, or grounds of practice, or in some way connected with our moral and spiritual interests. In order to have a reason for forming a judgment on any given article, we must be sure that we possess a reason, by and according to which a judgment may be formed. Now in respect of all truths, to which a real independent existence is assigned, and which yet are not contained in, or to be imagined under, any form of space or time, it is strictly demonstrable, that the human reason, considered abstractly, as the source of positive science and theoretical insight, is not such a reason. At the utmost, it has only a negative voice. In other words, nothing can be allowed as true for the human mind, which directly contradicts this reason. But even here, before we admit the existence of any such contradiction, we must be careful to ascertain, that there is no equivocation in play, that two different subjects are not confounded under one and the same word. A striking instance of this has been adduced in the difference between the notional One of the Ontologists, and the idea of the living God.

But if not the abstract or speculative reason, and yet a reason there must be in order to a rational belief--then it must be the practical reason of man, comprehending the will, the conscience, the moral being with its inseparable interests and affections--that reason, namely, which is the organ of wisdom, and (as far as man is concerned) the source of living and actual truths.

From these premisses we may further deduce, that every doctrine is to be interpreted in reference to those, to whom it has been revealed, or who have, or have had the means of knowing or hearing the same. For instance: 128 the doctrine that there is no name under heaven, by which a man can be saved, but the name of Jesus. If the word here rendered name, may be understood (as it well may, and as in other texts it most be) as meaning the power, or originating cause, I see no objection on the part of the practical reason to our belief of the declaration in its whole extent. It is true universally or not true at all. If there be any redemptive power not contained in the power of Jesus, then Jesus is not the Redeemer: not the Redeemer of the world, not the Jesus (that is, Saviour) of mankind. But if with Tertullian and Augustine we make the text assert the condemnation and misery of all who are not Christians by Baptism and explicit belief in the revelation of the New Covenant--then I say, the doctrine is true to all intents and purposes. It is true, in every respect, in which any practical, moral, or spiritual interest or end can be connected with its truth. It is true in respect to every man who has had, or who might have had, the Gospel preached to him. It is true and obligatory for every Christian community and for every individual believer, wherever the opportunity is afforded of spreading the light of the Gospel, and making known the name of the only Saviour and Redeemer. For even though the uninformed Heathens should not perish, the guilt of their perishing will attach to those who not only had no certainty of their safety, but who are commanded to act on the supposition of the contrary. But if, on the other hand, a Geological dogmatist should attempt to persuade me that this text was intended to give us an historical knowledge of God's future actions and dealings--and for the gratification of our curiosity to inform us, that Socrates and Phocion, together with all the savages in the woods and wilds of Africa and America, will be sent to keep company with 129 the Devil and his angels in everlasting torments--I should remind him, that the purpose of Scripture was to teach us our duty, not to enable us to sit in judgment on the souls of our fellow creatures.

One other instance will, I trust, prevent all misconception of my meaning. I am clearly convinced, that the Scriptural and only true** idea of God will, in its development, be found to involve the idea of the Triunity. But I am likewise convinced, that previously to the promulgation of the Gospel the doctrine had no claim on the faith of mankind: though it might have been a legitimate contemplation for a speculative philosopher, a theorem in metaphysics valid in the Schools.

I form a certain notion in my mind, and say: This is what I understand by the term, God. From books and conversation I find that the learned generally connect the same notion with the same word. I then apply the rules laid down by the masters of logic, for the involution and evolution of terms, and prove (to as many as agree with me in my premises) that the notion, God, involves the notion, Trinity. I now pass out of the Schools, and enter into discourse with some friend or neighbour, unversed in the formal sciences, unused to the process of abstraction, neither logician nor metaphysician) but sensible and single-minded, an Israelite indeed, trusting in the Lord God of his fathers, even the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. If I speak of God to him, what will he understand me to be speaking of? What does he mean, and suppose me to mean, by the word? An accident or

**Or (I may add) any idea which does not either identify the Creator with the creation; or else represent the Supreme Being as a mere impersonal law or ordo ordinans, differing from the law of gravitation only by its universality. 130 product of the reasoning faculty, or an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking? No. By God he understands me to mean an existing and self-subsisting reality,** a

**I have elsewhere remarked on the assistance which those that labor after distinct conceptions would receive from the re-introduction of the terms objective and subjective, objective and subjective reality and the like, as substitutes for real and national, and to the exclusion of the false antithesis between real and ideal. For the student in that noblest of the sciences, the scire teipsum, the advantage would be especially great. The few sentences that follow, in illustration of the terms here advocated, will not, I trust, be a waste of the reader's time.

The celebrated Euler having demonstrated certain properties of arches, adds: "All experierce is in contradiction to this; but this is no reason for doubting its truth." The words sound paradoxical; but mean no more than this--that the mathematical properties of figure and space are not less certainly the properties of figure and space because they can never be perfectly realized in wood, stone, or iron. Now this assertion of Euler's might be expressed at once, briefly and simply, by saying, that the properties in question were subjectively true, though not objectively--or that the mathematical arch possessed a subjective reality though incapable of being realized objectively.

In like manner if I had to express my conviction that space was not itself a thing, but a mode or form of perceiving, or the inward ground and condition in the percipient, in consequence of which things are seen as outward and co-existing, I convey this at once by the words, Space is subjective, or space is real in and for the subject alone.

If I am asked, Why not say, in and for the mind, which every one would understand? I reply: we know indeed, that all minds are subjects; but are by no means certain that all subjects are minds. For a mind is a subject that knows itself, or a subject that is its own object. The inward principle of growth and individual form in every seed and plant is a subject, and without any exertion of poetic privilege poets may speak of the soul of the flower. But the man would be a dreamer, who otherwise than poetically should speak of roses and lilies as self-conscious subjects. Lastly, by the assistance of the terms, object and subject, thus used as correspondent opposites, or as negative and positive in physics (for example, negative and positive electricity) we may arrive at the distinct import and proper use of the strangely misused word, Idea. And as the forms of logic are all borrowed from geometry, (ratiocinatio discursiva formas suas sive canonas recipit ab intuitu) I 131 real and personal Being--even the person, the I am, who sent Moses to his forefathers in Egypt. Of the actual existence of this divine Being he has the same historical assurance as of theirs; confirmed indeed by the book

may be permitted to elucidate my present meaning. Every line may be, and by the ancient Geometricians was, considered as a point produced, the two extremes being its poles, while the point itself remains in, or is at least represented by, the midpoint, the indifference of the two poles or correlative opposites. Logically applied, the two extremes or poles are named thesis and antithesis: thus in the line,



We have T = thesis, A = antithesis, and I = punctum indifferens sive amphotericum, which latter is to be conceived as both in as far as it may be either of the two former. Observe: not both at the same time in the same relation: for this would be the identity of T and A, not the indifference;--but so, that relatively to A, I is equal to T, and relatively to T, it becomes = A. For the purposes of the universal Noetic, in which we terms of most comprehension and least specific import, might not the Noetic Pentad be,--

  1. Prothesis.
  2. Thesis.
  3. Antithesis.
  4. Mesothesis.
  5. Synthesis.

Prothesis. Sum. Thesis. Mesothesis. Antithesis. Res. Agere. Ago, Patior. Synthesis. Agens.

  1. Verb substantive = Prothesis, as expressing the identity or co-inherence of act and being.

  2. Substantive + Thesis, expressing being. 3. Verb = Antithesis, expressing act. 4. Infinitive Mesothesis, as being either substantive or verb, or both at once, only in different relations; 5. Participle = Synthesis. Thus, in chemistry, sulphuretted hydrogen is an acid relatively to the more powerful alkalis, and an alkali relatively to a powerful acid. Yet one other remark, and I pass to the question. In order to render the constructions of pure mathematics applicable to philosophy, the Pythagoreans, I imagine, represented the line as generated, or, as it were, radiated, by a point not contained in the line but independent, and (in the language of that School) transcendant to all production, which it


[continue]of Nature, as soon and as far as that stronger and better light has taught him to read and construe it--confirmed by it, I say, but not derived from it. Now by what right can I require this man (and of such men the great majority of serious believers consisted previously to the light of the Gospel) to receive a notion of mine, wholly alien from his habits of thinking, because it may be

caused but did not partake in. Facit, non patitur. This was the punctum invisible et presuppositum and in this way the Pythagoreans guarded against the error of Pantheism, into which the later Schools fell. The assumption of this point I call the logical prothesis. We have now therefore four relations of thought expressed: 1. Prothesis, or the identity of T and A, which is neither, because in it, as the transcendant of both, both are contained and exist as one. Taken absolutely, this finds its application in the Supreme Being alone, the Pythagorean Tetractys; the ineffable name, to which no image can be attached; the point, which has no (real) opposite or counter-point. But relatively taken and inadequately, the germinal power of every seed might be generalized under the relation of Identity. 2. Thesist or position. 3. Antithesis, or opposition. 4. Indifference. To which when we add the Synthesis or composition, in its several forms of equilibrium, as in quiescent electricity; of neutralization, as of oxygen and hydrogen in water; and of predominance, as of hydrogen and carbon with hydrogen, predominant, in pure alcohol; or of carbon and hydrogen, with the comparative predominance of the carbon, in oil; we complete the five most general forms or preconceptions of constructive logic.

And now for the answer to the question, what is an idea, if it mean neither an impression on the senses, nor a definite conception, nor an abstract notion? (And if it does mean either of these, the word is superfluous: and while it remains undetermined which of these is meant by the word, or whether it is not which you please, it is worse than superfluous). But supposing the word to have a meaning of its own, what does it mean? What is an idea? In answer to this, I commence with the absolutely Real as the prothesis; the subjectively Real as the thesis; the objectively Real as the antithesis; and I affirm, that Idea is the indifference of the two--so namely, that if it be conceived as in the subject, the idea is an object, and possesses objective truth; but if in an object, it is then a subject, and is necessarily thought of as exercising the powers of a subject. Thus an idea conceived as subsisting in an object becomes a law; and a law contemplated subjectively (in a mind) is an idea. 133 logically deduced from another notion, with which he was almost as little acquainted, and not at all concerned? Grant for a moment, that the latter (that is, the notion, with which I first set out) as soon as it is combined with the assurance of a corresponding reality becomes identical with the true and effective Idea of God! Grant, that in thus realizing the notion I am warranted by revelation, the law of conscience, and the interests and necessities of my moral being! Yet by what authority, by what inducement, am I entitled to attach the same reality to a second notion, a notion drawn from a notion. It is evident, that if I have the same right, it must be on the same grounds. Revelation must have assured it, my conscience required it--or in some way or other I must have an interest in this belief. It must concern me, as a moral and responsible being. Now these grounds were first given in the redemption of mankind by Christ the Saviour and Mediator: and by the utter incompatibility of these offices with a mere creature. On the doctrine of redemption depends the faith, the duty, of believing in the divinity of our Lord. And this again is the strongest ground for the reality of that Idea, in which alone this divinity can be received without breach of the faith in the unity of the Godhead. But such is the Idea of the Trinity. Strong as the motives are that induce me to defer the full discussion of this great article of the Christian Creed, I cannot withstand the request of several divines, whose situation and extensive services entitle them to the utmost deference, that I should so far deviate from my first intention as at least to indicate the point on which I stand, and to prevent the misconception of my purpose: as if I held the doctrine of the Trinity for a truth which men could be called on to believe by mere force of reasoning, independently of any 134 positive Revelation. In short, it had been reported in certain circles, that I considered this doctrine as a religion of nature. Now though it might be sufficient to say, that I regard the very phrase "Revealed Religion" as a pleonasm, inasmuch as a religion not revealed is, in my judgment, no religion at all; I have no objection to announce more particularly and distinctly what I do and what I do not maintain on this point: provided that in the following paragraph) with this view inserted, the reader will look for nothing more than a plain statement of my opinions. The grounds on which they rest, and the arguments by which they are to be vindicated, are for another place.

I hold then, it is true, that all the (so called) demonstrations of a God either prove too little, as that from the order and apparent purpose in nature; or too much, namely, that the World is itself God: or they clandestinely involve the conclusion in the premises, passing off the mere analysis or explication of an assertion for the proof of it,--a species of logical legerdemain not unlike that of the jugglers at a fair, who putting into their mouths what seems to be a walnut, draw out a score yards of ribbon--as in the postulate of a First Cause. And lastly, in all these demonstrations the demonstrators presuppose the idea or conception of a God without being able to authenticate it, that is, to give an account whence they obtained it. For it is clear, that the proof first mentioned and the most natural and convincing of all (the cosmological I mean, or that from the order in nature) presupposes the ontological--that is, the proof of a God from the necessity and necessary objectivity of the Idea. If the latter can assure us of a God as an existing reality, the former will go far to prove his power, wisdom, and benevolence. All this I hold. But


I also hold, that this truth, the hardest to demonstrate, is the one which of all others least needs to be demonstrated; that though there may be no conclusive demonstrations of a good, wise, living, and personal God, there are so many convincing reasons for it, within and without--a grain of sand sufficing, and a whole universe at hand to echo the decision!--that for every mind not devoid of all reason, and desperately conscience-proof, the truth which it is the least possible to prove, it is little less than impossible not to believe! only indeed just so much short of impossible, as to leave some room for the will and the moral election, and thereby to keep it a truth of religion, and the possible subject of a commandment.**

On this account I do not demand of a Deist, that he should adopt the doctrine of the Trinity. For he might very well be justified in replying, that he rejected the doctrine, not because it could not be demonstrated, not yet on the score of any incomprehensibilities and seeming contradictions that might be objected to it, as knowing

**In a letter to a friend on the mathematical Atheists of the French Revolution, La Lande and others, or rather on a young man of distinguished abilities, but an avowed and proselyting partisan of their tenets, I concluded with these words: "The man who will believe nothing but by force of demonstrative evidence (even though it is strictly demonstrable that the demonstrability required would countervene all the purposes of the truth in question, all that render the belief of the same desirable or obligatory) is not in a state of mind to be reasoned with on any subject. But if he further denies the fact of the law of conscience, and the essential difference between right and wrong, I confess he puzzles me. I cannot without gross inconsistency appeal to his conscience and moral sense, or I should admonish him that, as an honest man, he ought to advertise himself, with a Cavete omnes! Scelus sum. And as an honest man myself, I dare not advise him on prudential grounds to keep his opinions secret, lest I should make myself his accomplish, and be helping him on with a wrap-rascal." 136 that these might be, and in fact had been, urged with equal force against a personal God under any form capable of love and veneration; but because he had not the same theoretical necessity, the same interests and instincts of reason for the one hypothesis as for the other. It is not enough, the Deist might justly say, that there is no cogent reason why I should not believe the Trinity; you must show me some cogent reason why I should.

But the case is quite different with a Christian, who accepts the Scriptures as the word of God, yet refuses his assent to the plainest declarations of these Scriptures, and explains away the most express texts into metaphor and hyperbole, because the literal and obvious interpretation is (according to his notions) absurd and contrary to reason. He is bound to show, that it is so in any sense, not equally applicable to the texts asserting the being, infinity, and personality of God the Father, the Eternal and Omnipresent One, who created the heaven and the earth. And the more is he bound to do this, and the greater is my right to demand it of him, because the doctrine of Redemption from sin supplies the Christian with motives and reasons for the divinity of the Redeemer far more concerning and coercive subjectively, that is, in the economy of his own soul, than are all the inducements that can influence the Deist objectively, that is, in the interpretation of nature.

Do I then utterly exclude the speculative reason from theology? No! It is its office and rightful privilege to determine on the negative truth of whatever we are required to believe. The doctrine must not contradict any universal principle: for this would be a doctrine that contradicted itself. Or philosophy? No. It may be and has been the servant and pioneer of faith by 137 convincing the mind that a doctrine is cogitable, that the soul can present the idea to itself; and that if we determine to contemplate, or think of, the subject at all, so and in no other form can this be effected. So far are both logic and philosophy to be received and trusted. But the duty, and in some cases and for some persons even the right, of thinking on subjects beyond the bounds of sensible experience; the grounds of the real truth; the life, the substance, the hope, the love, in one word, the faith;--these are derivatives from the practical, moral, and spiritual nature and being of man.

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