without accusing the Divine Spirit, the author of those books, of shortness of thought, in not foreseeing what naturally follows from those principles so often laid down and repeated by him.

These old writers solidly proved to those heretics, that God did teach the Jews the unity of his essence, yet so as to establish at the same time a distinction in his nature, which, according to the notion which himself gives of it, we call Trinity of Persons: and that when he promised that the Messias to come was to be man, at the very same time he expressly told the Jews, that he was withal to be God blessed for ever.

The force and evidence of the proofs of those doctrines is so great, and the proofs themselves so numerous, that heretics could not avoid them, but by setting up opinions directly opposite to the Scriptures. On the other side, the heretics were so gravelled, that they broke into opinions quite contrary one to another, which greatly contributed to confirm the faith of them whom they opposed in those articles, so that it still subsisted; whereas the opposite heresies perished in a manner as soon as broached.

The meanness of Christ, and his shameful death, moved the Ebionites, in the very first age after him, to look upon him as a mere man, though exalted by God's grace to the dignity of a prophet. But the Cerinthians, another sort of heretics, maintained that the Word did operate in him, though at the same time they denied the personal and inseparable union of that Word with this human nature.

much ado to receive the doctrine of the Trinity, by reason that they could not reconcile it with that of the unity of God. But Praxeas, Noetus, and Sabellius, who opposed that doctrine, were soon obliged to recant: and then from one extremity they shortly fell into another. For being satisfied that the Scripture does attribute to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, the Divine nature, which is constantly in the Old Testament expressed by the name Jehovah; they undertook, contrary to the plain notions of Scripture, to maintain, that there was but one Person in God, which had appeared the same under three differing names. Whereas some others did so plainly see the distinction which the Scripture makes between the Persons, that they chose rather to own three distinct Essences, than to deny that there are three Persons in God, as the Scripture does invincibly prove.

Two sorts of heretics did formerly oppose the Divinity of Christ. Some did acknowledge, that, as to his Divine nature, he was before the world, and that by it he had made the world; though himself, as to that nature, was created before the world: and these afterwards formed the Arian sect. Others, but very few, such as Artemas and Theodotus, denied that Christ was before he was born of the Virgin: they acknowledged in him no other besides the human nature, which, said they, God had raised to a very high dignity, by giving to it a power almost infinite: and in this they made his Godhead to consist.

But these two sorts of heretics were happily destroyed one by the other; for the Arians on the one side did confound Artemas's disciples, by proving

from places of Scripture, that Christ was before the Virgin, nay before the world. And on the other side, absurdity and idolatry were proved upon the Arians, both because they acknowledged more than one Divine nature, and because they worshipped a creature; whereas by the Christian religion, God alone ought to be worshipped.

Artemas's disciples were so few, and so severely condemned, even whilst the Church laboured under persecutions, that their name is hardly remembered at this day; which clearly shews how strange their doctrine appeared to them who examined it by the books of the Old and the New Testament.

As for the Arians, they made, it is true, more noise in the world, by the help of two or three of Constantine's successors, who by violent methods endeavoured to spread their opinion. But that very thing made their sect odious, and in a little time quite ruined the credit of it. Within a hundred and fifty years, or thereabouts, after their first rise, there hardly remained any professors of it; which plainly shews, that they could not answer those arguments from Scripture which were urged against them.

I observe this last thing, that Arius's heresy was destroyed by proofs from Scripture for the eternal Divinity of our Saviour, (though it was a long time countenanced by the Roman emperors, by the Vandal kings in Afric, and by the kings of the Goths both in Spain and in Italy;) lest any should fancy it was extinguished only by imperial laws and temporal punishments. Besides, that the first inventors. of that heresy had spread it before such time as

ter of the world. Whoever shall consider that the Christian religion had, before Arius, already suffered ten persecutions without shrinking under them, will easily see that all the power of Constantine, and of his orthodox successors, who punished the Arian professors, had never been great enough to suppress their opinion, if it had been a Gospel-doctrine: not to say that these laws, and their authority, extended no further than the Roman empire.

What had happened in those ancient times, soon after the Christian Church was established, happened likewise again in the last century, at the reformation of the western Church. As in those early days there arose many heresies entirely opposite one to the other; so in these latter times the very same was seen among us. For when God raised up many great men to reform the Church in this and our neighbouring kingdoms, there appeared soon after some men, who being weary of the Popish tyranny, both in doctrine and worship, did fancy that they might make a more perfect reformation, if they could remove out of the Christian religion those things which human reason was apt to stumble at. And the Roman Church having obtruded upon her votaries such mysteries as were directly repugnant to reason, they imagined that the doctrines of the Trinity, and of Christ's Divinity, were of that number; and thus used all their endeavours to prove that they were absurd and contradictory.

Had not these doctrines been grounded on the authority of the books of the Old and the New Testament, they might easily enough have confuted them. But being forced to own the authority of

those books, which they durst not attack for fear of being detested by all Christians, they fell into the same opposite extremes, into which those heretics of old had fallen, when they opposed these fundamental doctrines of Christianity; and thus were as divided in opinions about those matters, as the ancient heretics had been before them.

For whilst some of them, as Lælius Socinus, and his nephew Faustus, denied the Divinity of Christ, and thus revived the opinion of Artemas and his disciples; others seeing how absurd the answers were that Socinus and his followers gave to those places of Scripture, which assert the Trinity, and the Divinity of Christ, run so far to the contrary of this Socinian heresy, that they acknowledged three Gods. And not only the adversaries of Socinus, but even some of his disciples did oppose his opinion, moved thereto by the authority of Scripture. For he held it a fundamental article of the Christian faith, that Christ is to be adored; in which he was a downright idolater, in adoring Christ as true God, when he believed Christ to be a mere creature. But his disciples building upon this firm maxim of Scripture, that God alone is to be adored, justly concluded against him, that he was not to be adored, since strictly speaking he was but a creature, and no God.

This division was plainly occasioned by the strength of Scripture-proofs, which on the one hand clearly shew, that none can be a Christian without adoring Christ; and on the other positively affirm, that none but the true God ought to be adored.

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