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therefore whoever believes this must, according to their own denunciation, without doubt perish everlastingly; for if the father is but one father, and the son is not also bis own father at the saine time, he has another father; and if this father begot him without enquiring.how or of whom he begot him, he must to all intents and purposes be distinct in substance from his own father, whom he certainly is not; and if there is but one son, the father of this son must be a distinct substance from this son, for surely he cannot be the father and the son at the same time; for even according to this-creed " the Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.” Again“one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts"--certainly, for it is expressly declared that he proceeded from the Father and the Son, consequently neither Father or Son can be the Holy Ghost, the thing that proceeded from them; and whatever the Holy Ghost might be before he proceeded from them, when he had proceeded or come out from them, he must be a distinct substance from that out of which he proceeded; but lest this should be too plain, and destroy the whole fabric they liad been rearing, it is said," and in this trinity (or three) none is afore or after another: none is greater or less than another, but the whole three persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the unity (one) in trinity (three), and the trinity (three) in unity (one), is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of these things.”'
Was there ever in this world, among the Pagan priests or Pagan theology, such arrogant presumption, as for men to take on themselves to pronounce eternal damnation upon others for not believing the rankest nonsense that ever was proposed for human belief? He must believe that the Father is no older than his Son, that the Holy Ghost who proceeded from both, and who of çourse could not have existed before the son was brought forth, was as old as either; that he that was the cause of both their existence was not greater than either. And this is read several times a-year in their political Pagan temples. Surely, the men who read it, and those who submit to hear it withoat contradicțing its damnatory denunciations, never think, or they must be the vilest and most debased of the human race. I know it is said by many of the clergy, that they omit it, and by their auditors that they do not join in it; but the Christian is called upon to act up to his principle, and to leave a church that professes and imposes such glaring contradictions ; especially if we add to this, the whole of their worship partakes of the same idolatry, for in the Litany each is worshipped as God, and at last they are joined together to make a fourth God—“Oh holy and blessed trinity, three persons and one God," &c. But it is said, “ he that will be saved must thus think of these things.” If this be true, ninety-nine out of every hundred of clergy and laity must be damned; for such I am persuaded is the proportion of those who do not “ thus think of these things.”
1 shall now endeavour to shew, not only the absurdity of this creed and its doctrine, and that it is not only not to “ be prov: ed by holy scripture,” but is directly contrary thereto. And here let me observe, by the way, that could it be proved the scriptures taught such a doctrine, it would be the strongest argument against their truth; for a doctrine so absurd, a denunciation so unjust, as to punish men eternally for what they can't understand, would be such a libel on the Supreme Being, that it would afford the strongest ground for rejecting theni that could be adduced. Deists might cease to write-the doctrine itself would be the most active agent in obtaining conversion to their system. ' For my own part, I declare, muchi as I now reverence the scriptures, and count them the best gift heaven ever hestowed upon man, did they sanction this creed, or the doctrine it contains, I would call my children together, I would collect every Bible 1 had, and burn them as the most abominable libel that ever was published against the majesty of heaven. But, 1 thank God, this is not the case ; for they not only teach me that such foul impostors would arise who would sit in the temple of God, making themselves as if they were gods; but they also tell me, that their machinations, though they may succeed for a while, shall fail, and that sudden destruction shall come upon them, when they least expect it. We have seen the work began in France, where a wicked priest= hood, who had long blinded, insulted, and trampled upon truth and the people, have been swept away with the besom of destruction and he that has accomplished this, has promised to destroy every antichristian establishment. His word is sure-his power equal to the task; and while we pity the men, we must, as friends to Christianity, hail the day when BabyIon the Great shall fall, and truth and Christianity triumph in the tuin of every opposing power. But in the mean time, happy am I to know, that Christianity is chargeable.with none of these absurdities'; it is a light shining at present in a dark place, but all its doctrines are pure, just, and rational. It wants but fair play-to be delivered from the foul embrace of kings, princes, nobles, and priests—to enlighten and make happy the whole world. Let us wait patiently--the time will come-the strong pangs of the clergy prove it is not far offthen shall it be found that the religion of nature, of reason, and revelation, are the same, and handnraids to each other. The more one is known, the other will be approved and admired. Then will men see, that revelation was a blessing from heaven, to teach, to illustrate, und enforce the reli
gion of nature, adding to its benign doctrines the forgiveness of sins that were past, and the assurance of a future life of happiness to the wise, the virtuous, and the good. But this wiched and idolatrous doctrine of the trinity, of three being one, and one being three, which contradicts all our senses, and leads men to worship they know not what-which has deluged Europe with blood and with persecution, with blindness and the most stupid idolatry-will be despised, will be ridiculed, and cast to the moles and the bats, while Christianity will triumph and rise resplendent upon its ruins; for it is contradicted by every part of scripture, by Moses and the prophets, by Jesus and his apostles.
The first law which Moses promulgates is, “ Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord.” God, by the mouth of his prophets, continually declares "I am God, and beside me there is none other.” Jesus declared that the lawyer spoke right, when he said, " there is none other God but one.”. Jesus declares that “ the Father is greater than he ;” and when lie prays to his Father, he says, “this is life eternal to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Here he acknowledges, as plain as words can express, that the Father, distinct from himself, is the only true God; and in his temptation he says," it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God” (not Gods); and all the apostles join in the same doctrine. Peter, when praying, addresses the God that made the world, and thanks him for performing a miracle, “ by his holy servant Jesus.” Paul says, there is but one God, for though there he Gods many and Lords many, yet to us (Chris, tians) there is but one God, even the Father.' This is the general tenor of scripture ; so says reason, nature, and common sense; and all the passages that seem to favour any other doctrine, have been proved to be either forgeries, interpolations; mistranslations, or else misinterpreted by blind bigots, who when they read the scriptures, or enter a church or chapel, leave their reason at the door, and by taking detached parts of scripture, persuade themselves to believe what com. mon sense and a fair examination would teach them to deny.
If what I have stated is correct, and I think I may defy the ablest defender of the church fairly to contradict it, what claim has such a church upon Christians for support ? Let them look to the state from whence they sprung; let them bé content with their ill-gotten and hard extorted gain, and learn that silence is their best defence-exposure to enquiry must be their ruin. Let them no more persecute men for denying their nonsense ; let them not pretend to advocate the cause of Christianity, by prosecuting men for writing against the scriptures or Christianity; but let them leave it to be defended by those who are not interested in supporting its corruptions, and whose weapons are not carnal but spiritual. For what can blast the fame of the Christian religion equal to that of such men as Erskine or Gibbs defending and panegyrising it in a court of law, and inflicting civil punishment for religious opinions ? Let such characters, and all the bench of bishops and clergy, declaim against Christianity and the scriptures, as being contrary to the religion of the state, and every Christian will be bound to thank them ; it will raise their value in the sight of every thinking man: but when men, who hold a creed repuguant to the sacred dictates of Christianity, who are paid enorinous sums for keeping up the craft, call the church of England the Christian church, and profess anxiety for the scriptures and Christianity, the contradiction is so great that Christians bear it with disgust, and Deists feel further satisfied that they are right in rejecting such a religion, sup ported by such persons. Be it my task, and that of every friend to real Christianity, to disclaim their assistance to give them no more pay or support than what as a political institu• tion the law obliges us to do ; and let us pray that the time may soon come in which the wisdom of our government, or the dispensations of Providence, may do away every state religion under heaven, and on its ruins raise the fair edifice of Christianity, to warm, enlighten, and make wise and happy the whole of the human race.
1 have dwelt longer on this article than I intended : in my future letters I shall be more concise, but feeling the importance of the subject, I have dilated upon it, thinking this alone sufficient for every thinking man.
THOUGHTS ON THE LETTER OF A DEIST. ON THE STABI•
LITY OF THE LAWS OF NATURE."
To the Editor of the Freethinking Christians Magasine. THE instability of your,, Correspondent on the stability of
the laws of nature," has not a little surprised me. When I call to mind the candour with which his opinions were originally delivered, the anxiety he manifested to defend them, bis eagerness to provoke controversy, the various invitatatious he had given, and the general challenge he had made to any one who would take up the argument with him, I am astonished (if any thing can astonish us in the inconsistency of controversy) at the manner he has treated those who have had the temerity to enter with him in the list of combatants.
In the magazine for March, the reader must be convinced that I had met " a Deist” on his own ground, and that I had shewn, or attempted to shew, the futility of his hypothesis; and yet in the last long letter with which he has favoured us, he scarcely deigns to notice the argument adduced. I certainly have no greater reason to complain than other of your correspondents, wlio stand in a similar predicament with myself. In the number in which my paper appeared, Christophilus animadverted in a forcible manner on one of the letters of a Deist;" and a writer, under the signature of Juvenis, in a communication full of deepness of thought, and inferior in nothing to the best productions of this gentleman's pen, had adopted a mode of argument, which, whilst it excites in the minds of his readers a grand and extensive idea of revelation, completely obviates the objections of" a Deist," and swallows up
his narrow and partial systěn in the more comprehensive one wbich it delineates. And yet all that the writer stoops to in this letter is to refer," at least incidentally, to some of the strictures which appeared" on his communications,
But I must suppose, Sir, that your correspondent has been so much engaged of late with the laws of nature, that he has • forgotten the laws of propriety; for his conduct, if not an in
fraction of the settled and inflexsible course of nature, mani. : festly involves an infraction of that settled and inflexible
course of consistency, which ought to characterise every candid writer, and which we had a right to expect from himself in particular. But inconsistency in controversy, I am sorry to
say, is by no means contrary to the usual course of events, and is easily accounted for on principles common to our nature ; " for a particular mode of thinking long indulged in, we acquire a parental affection, and rather than renounce our creed will surrender our lives.” Such was the language of the gentleman at the commencement of this controversy, and his subsequent conduct is bnt a comment on the sentiment. Personal allusions are not always, I trust, indecorous; at least we have respectable authority for it on some occasions. Thus we remember that Deist himself in a former instance observed that the letter signed T. was “clearly the effort of a young man" (though en passant, it afterwards appeared that he was clearly mistaken); but if I can judge from the blind attachment the writer evinces to his darling system, and his eagerness in pressing it on our notice at all times, and on all occasions, I should really suspect him to be in his dotage. I have no objection to the gentleman's fondness for his bantling -it is natural; but it cannot be expected, that every body should gaze on it with the same doating eyes. If I cannot ad. mire a hump-back or a wen as marks of beauty, or consider the