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commonly called the Arminian subordination, which has been, and is still adopted by some of the greatest men in England, and even by some of the most learned bishops of that nation. This doctrine he illustrated with greater care and perspicuity than any before him had done, and taught
self with having escaped from the dangers of the third, by bis asserting the elernity, for the doctor believed the possibility of an eternal production, which Whiston could not digest, of the two divine subordinate persons. But with all his circumspection, Dr. Clarke did not escape opposition and censure. He was abused and answered, and heresy was subdivided and modified, in order to give him an opprobrious title, even that of semiarian, The convocation threatened, and the doctor calmed by his prudence the apprehension and fears which his Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity had excited in that learned and reverend assembly. An authentic account of the proceedings of the two houses of convocation upon this occasion, and of Dr. Clarke's conduct in consequence of the complaints that were made against his book, may be seen in a piece supposed to have been written by the Rev. Mr. John Lawrence, and published at London in Svo. in the year 1714, under the following title : 'An Apology for Dr. Clarke, containing an account of the late Proceedings in Convocation upon his Writings concerning the Trinity.' The tru- copies of all the original papers relating to this affair are published in this apology.
If Dr. Clarke was attacked by authority, he was also combatted by argument. The learned Dr. Waterland was one of his principal adversaries, and stands at the head of a polemical body composed of eminent divines, such as Gastrel, Wells, Nelson, Mayo, Knight, and others, who appeared in this controversy. Against these, Dr. Clarke, unawed by their numbers, defended himself with great spirit and perseverance, in several letters and replies. This prolonged a controversy, which may often be suspended through the fatigue of the combatants, or the change of the mode in theological researches, but which will probably never be terminated; for nothing affords such an endless subject of debate, as a doctrine above the reach of human un. derstanding, and expressed in the ambiguous and improper terms of human language, such as persons, generation, substance, &c. which in this controversy either convey no ideas at all, or false ones. The inconveniences, accordingly, of departing from the divine simplicity of the Scripture language on this subject, and of making a matter of mere revelation an object of human reasoning, were palpable in the writings of both the contending parties. For if Dr. Clarke was accused of verging toward Arianism, by maintaining the derived and caused existence of the Son and the Holy Ghost, it seemed no less evident that Dr. Waterland was verging toward tritheism, by maintaining the self-existence and independence of these dirine persons, and by asserting that the subordination of the Son to the Father is only a subordination of office, and not of NATURE. So that if the former divine was deservedly called a semiarian, the latter might, with equal justice, be denominated a semitritheist. The difference between these two learned men lay in this, that Dr. Clarke, after making a faithful collection of the texts in Scripture that relate to the Trinity, thought proper to interpret them by the maxims and rules of right reasoning, that are used on other subjects : whereas Dr: Waterland denied that this method of reasoning was to be admitted in illustrating the doctrine of the Trinity, which was far exalted above the sphere of human reason, and therefore he took the texts of Scripture, in their direct, literal, and grammatical sense. Dr. Waterland, however, employed the words persons, subsistence, &c. as useful for fixing the notion of distinction; the words uncreated, eternal, and immutable, for ascertaining the divinity of each person ; and the words interior generation and procession, to indicate their union. This was departing from his grammatical method, which ought to have led him to this plain conclusion, that the Son and the Holy Ghost, to whom divine attributes are ascribed in Scripture, and even the denomination of God to the former, possess these attributes in a manner which it is impossible for us to understand in this present state, and the understanding of which is consequently unessential to our salvation and bappiness. The doctor, indeed, apologizes in his queries, p. 321, for the use of these metaphysical terms, by observing, that they are not designed to enlarge our views, or to add any thing to our stock of ideas, but to secure the plain fundamental truth, That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are all strictly divine, and uncreated; and yet are not three Gods, but one God.” It is, however, difficult to comprehend how terms, that neither enlarge our vicus, nor give
that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are equal in nature, and different in rank, authority, and subordination." A great number of English writers have endeavoured, in a variety of ways, to invalidate and undermine the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; and it was this consideration that engaged a lady,' eminently distinguished by her orthodoxy and opulence, to leave by her testament a rich legacy as a foundation for a lecture, in which eight sermons are preached annually by a learned divine, who is nominated to that office by the trustees. This foundation has subsisted since the year 1720, and promises to posterity an ample collection of learned productions in defence of this branch of the Christian faith.
us ideas, can secure any truth. It is difficult to conceive what our faith gains by being entertained with a certain number of sounds. If a Chinese should explain a term of his language which I did not understand, by another term, which he knew beforehand that I understood as little, bis conduct would be justiy considered as an insult against the rules of conversation and good breeding; and, I think it is an equal violation of the equitable principles of candid controversy, to offer as illustrations, propositions or terms that are as unintelligible and obscure as the thing to be illustrated. The words of the excellent and learned Stillingfleet, in the Preface to his Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity, adıninister a plain and a wise rule, which were it observed by divines, would greatly contribute to heal the wounds which both truth and charity have received in this controversy. “Since both sides yield,” says he, " that the matter they dispute about is above their reach, the wisest course they can take is, to assert and defend what is revealed, and not to bę peremplory and quarrelsome about that which is acknowledged to be above our comprehension; I mean as to the manner how the three persons partake of the divine nature."
Those who are desirous of a more minute historical view of the manner in which the trinitarian controversy has been carried on during this present century, may consult a pamphlet, entitled, 'An Account of all the considerable Books and Pamphlets that have been wrote on either side in the Controversy concerning the Trinity since the year 1712; in which is also contained, an Account of the Pamphlets written this last year, on each side, by the Dissenters, to the end of the year 1719.” This pamphlet was pubJished at London in the year 1720. The more recent treatises on the subject of the Trinity are sufficiently known.
pa It will appear to those who read the preceding note z, that Dr. Mosheimn has here mistaken the true hypothesis of Dr. Clarke, or, at least expresseth it imperfectly ; for what he says here is rather applicable to the opinion of Dr. Waterland. Dr. Clarke maintained an equality of perfections between the three Persons; but a subordination of nature in point of existence and derivation.
b Lady Moyer.
JOME OBSERVATIONS RELATIVE TO THE PRESENT STATE OF THE BEFORMED RELI
GION, AND THE INFLUENCE OF IMPROVEMENTS IN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE ON ITS PROPAGATION AND ADVANCEMENT ;
In one of the notes, which I added to those of Dr. Mosheim, in my translation of his Ecclesiastical History, I observed, that “the reformed churches were neverat suchja distance from the spirit and doctrine of the church of Rome as they are at this day; that the improvements in science, that characterize the last and the present age, seem to render a relapse into Romish superstition morally impossible in those who have been once delivered from its baneful influence; and that, if the dawn of science and philosophy toward the end of the sixteenth and the commencement of the seventeenth centuries, was favourable to the cause of the Reformation, their progress, which has a kind of influence even upon the multitude, must confirm us in the principles that occasioned our separation from the church of Rome.”
This reasoning did not appear conclusive to the ingenious author of the Confessional, who has accordingly made some critical reflections upon it in the preface to that work. However, upon an impartial view of these reflections, I find that this author's excessive apprehensions of the progress of popery have had an undue influence on his method of reasoning on this subject. He supposes, preface, p. 59 and 60, that the improvements in science and philosophy, in some popish countries, have been as considerable as in any reformed country; and afterward asks, “what intelligence we have from these popish countries of a proportionable progress of religious reformation? Have we no reason to suspect, adds he, that, if an accurate account were to be taken, the balance, in point of conversions, in the most improved of these countries, would be greatly against the reformed religion ??'
a See volume ii. p. 573, of the quarto edition. This note was occasioned by my mistaking, in a moment of inadvertency, the true sense of the passage to which it relates. This mistake I hare corrected in the octaro edition, and in the supplement to the quarto edition
I cannot see how these observations, or rather conjectures, even were they founded in truth and fact, tend to prove my reasoning inconclusive. I observed that the progress of science was adapted to confirm us protestants in the belief and profession of the reformed religion; and I had here in view, as every one may see, those countries in which the protestant religion is established; and this author answers me by observing, that the progress of the reformation in some popish countries is not proportionable to the progress of science and philosophy in these countries. This, surely, is no answer at all; since there are in popish countries accidental circumstancesthat counteract, in favour of popery, the influence of those improvements in science, which are in direct opposition to its propagation and advancement; circumstances that I shall consider presently, and which do not exist in protestant states. This subject is interesting; and I therefore presurae, that some farther thoughts upon it, will not be disagreeable to the candid reader.
The sagacious author of the Confessional cannot, I think, seriously call in question the natural tendency of improvements in learning and science to strengthen and confirm the cause of the Reformation. For as the foundations of popery are a blind submission to an usurped authority over the understandings and consciences of men, and an implicit credulity that adopts, without examination, the miracles and visions that derive their existence from the crazy brains of fanatics, or the lucrative artifice of impostors, so it is unquestionably evident, that the progress of sound philosophy, and the spirit of free inquiry it produces, strikes directly at these foundations. I say the progress of sound philosophy, that the most unattentive reader may not be tempted to imagine, as the author of the Confessional has been informed, preface, page 60, that "improvements in philosophy have made many skeptics in all churches, reformed and unreformed.” For I am persuaded, that as true Christianity can never lead to superstition, so true philosophy will never be a guide to infidelity and skepticism. We must not be deceived with the name of philosophers, which some poets and wits have assumed in our days, particularly upon the Continent, and which many lavish upon certain subtile refiners in dialectics, who bear a much greater resemblan e of overweeping sophists, than of real
sages. We must not be so far lost to all power of distinguishing, as to confound, in one common mass, the philosophy of a Bacon, a Newton, a Boyle, and a Niewentyt, with the incoherent views and rhetorical rants of a Bolingbroke, or the flimsy sophistry of a Voltaire. And though candour must acknowledge, that some men of true learning have been so unhappy as to fall into infidelity, and charity must weep to see a Hume and D'Alembert joining a set of men that are unworthy of their society, and covering a dark and uncomfortable system with the lustre of their superior talents, yet equity itself may safely affirm, that neither their science nor their genius are the causes of their skepticism.
But if the progress of science and free inquiry have a natural tendency to destroy the foundations of popery, how comes it to pass that in popish countries the progress of the Reformation bears no proportion to the progress of science ? and how can we account for the ground which popery, if the apprehensions of the author of the Confessional are well founded, gains even in England ?
Before I answer the first of these questions, it may be proper to consider the matter of fact, and to examine, for a moment, the state of science and philosophy in popish countries; this examination, if I am not mistaken, will confirin the theory I have laid down with respect to the influence of philosophicalimprovement upon true religion. Let us then turn our view first to one of the most considerable countries in Europe, I mean Germany; and here we shall be struck with this undoubted fact, that it is in the protestant part of this vast region only, that the improvements of science and philosophy appear, while the barbarism of the fifteenth century reigns, as yet, in those districts of the empire that profess the Romish religion. The celebrated M. D'Alembert, in his treatise, entitled, De l'abus de la Critique en matiere de Religion, makes the following remarkable observation on this head; “ We must ackowledge, though with sorrow, the present superiority of the protestant universities in Germany over those of the Romish persuasion. This superiority is so striking, that foreigners who travel through the empire, and pass from a Romish academy to a protestant university, even in the same neighbourhood, are induced to think that they have rode, in an hour, four hundred leagues, or lived, in that