A PAPER fell late into my hands, which upon perusal, I found to be an Invective against the Person of St. Athanasius, and the Author of it a professed Enemy to those Mysteries contain'd in his Creed, which he impugns; and fearing lest this should prove a stumbling-block to some of the Illiterate Vulgar, to see the chief Mysteries of Christianity, to be so openly attack'd by one who denies the Trinity, the Incarnation of the Divine Word, and the Divinity of Christ; and yet asserts the Scriptures, the Old and New Testament, to be the Word of God: I resolved to answer the Arguments of this Deist, which I here undertake.
And because this Author hath involved himself in obscurity and confusion, I shall endeavour by some previous Observations, to clear the way to this Discourse in a Matter so difficult and nice, and so remote from Sense; by this means not to confound the Reader, but to render the Discourse so clear and conspicuous, as the Nature of these Sublime Mysteries are capable of; where I shall wave those Indignities and Aspersions which this Author casts upon the Person of St. Athanasius, leaving this to the Learned Historians, and confine my self wholly to the Scope of such Dogmatical Principles as he endeavours to subvert.
My first Observation is the nature of the Mystery of the Sacred Trinity, wherein all Orthodox Christians hold as an Article of Faith, one only God, and Three Divine Persons, (viz.) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by a real identity between the Divine Nature, and the Personality of these Three Persons, so that the Divinity or God-head is singular, and indivisible; but the Personalities are really distinct from each other, and yet really identified with the Divine Essence, so that all together make unum-summum Ens, as the Council of Lateran terms it.
A second Observation is, That there are three manners of speaking in this Sacred Mystery, which ought strictly to be observ'd.
I. Some expressions are absolute, as the God-head, the Divine Essence, or Divinity, with its concommitant Attributes, where no mention is made of the Divine Relations, nor of number.
II. There is another manner of speaking, by notional terms, as the Divines call them; such are the Paternity, the Filiation, the Passion, Spiration, all in abstracto, which are always to be understood with relation to each other, and constitute number.
III. A third way of speaking is, when such words are used as signify the Divine Nature contracted with the Personalities, or notional Predicates, as the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, where Relations and Number are to be admitted.
A third Observation is drawn from the two former, That all the absolute Perfections which are in the Father, are also in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost; not in equality, for where there is equality, there is also a relation between the perfections that are equal, but the self same numerical and individual perfections which are absolute Predicates of the Divinity, are in all and every one of the Persons, per communicationem idiomatum. The reason is, because all the three Personalities are identify'd with the Divine Nature, which is the root of all the absolute Perfections of the Divinity; so these absolute Perfections are also really identify'd with all and every one of the Divine Persons, according to that receiv'd Axiom of the Divines; Omnia dedit Pater Filio praeter esse Patrem, so that the Father gave the Son even the fecundity of active Spiration, whatsoever the Geeeks in vain object against it, as I shall make it more largely appear in a Treatise of the Trinity, which I intend shortly to put forth. And so I proceed to answer the ill grounded allegations of this Deist or Atheist, against the Orthodox Doctrine of the Church.
His first attempt is against that saying of Athanasius, Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance, for there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost; but the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son and Holy Ghost is all one. On these words he thus passeth his Censure: Plainly as if a man should say, Peter, James, and John, being three Persons, are one Man, and one Man is these three distinct Persons, Peter, James and John. A very Learned Observation; he compares three distinct humane Persons, having three distinct humane Natures, with the three Divine Persons of the Sacred Trinity, where the same individual Divine Nature is in all three; this is singular, that is, numerical; this is indivisible, that is divisible; this can constitute no more Gods but one that must constitute three distinct men. The Reason is obvious, because the denomination of God [being a term absolute] is taken from the Divine Nature, so that if the Divine Nature be singular, the Godhead must also be singular. As the denomination of Man is taken from the Humane Nature, so because the Humane Nature is multiplied, the denomination of Man must also be multiplied. How obvious is this to any vulgar Capacity? How little Reason had this Author to call this Doctrine of Athanasius, and of the Church of God, a ridiculous attempt, a barbarous indignity, a monstrous proposition? He might more prudently have wav'd the discovery of his illiterate Genius herein.
Yet he goes on in the same strain of confounding the absolute Perfections of the Divine Essence, with the notional expressions of the Persons; for on these Words of Athanasius, Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance, he adds, But how can we not confound the Persons that have but one numerical Substance? And how can we not but divide the Substance, which we find in three distinct divided Persons? There is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost. To which he subjoyns, Then the Son is not the Father, nor is the Father the Son, nor the Holy Ghost either of them. 'Tis confest. What then? Why says he, If the Father is not the Son, and yet is the one true God, then the Son is not the one true God, because he is not the Father. I deny this illation as false and nugatory on this present subject. Now to the proof, for how can the Son be the one true God, if he is not he who is the one true God? I answer, sub distinctione; if the Son be not he who has the compleat and adequate essential constitution of the one true God, then he cannot be God, I grant it; if the Son be not another Person, namely the Father, and yet hath the compleat and adequate essential constitution of the one true God, he cannot be God. I deny it. The fallacy of the Author consists in this, that he grosly confounds the notional and relative predicates with the absolute and essential predicates; for consider the sublime Mystery that we are upon, and what hath been said above in the third Observation upon it, and you will find the Errour; for this Deist insists upon two Persons, the Father, and the Son; and supposing the Father to be the one true God, he infers that therefore the Son, which is a distinct Person, is not the one true God, and yet the same, though a different Person, yet hath all the absolute and essential perfections with the Father; he hath the same numerical Essence, Nature and Divinity with the Father. Now I demand, whether it be possible that he should have the compleat and adequate essential Constitution of the Godhead, and yet not be the one true God? For the Godhead is singular, wherein a number is Chymerical; you had as good tell me that one may have the adequate constitution of a Man, which is animal rationale, and yet not be a man, which is impossible, for where there is the compleat essence of a thing, there is the thing it self, which is nothing else but its compleat essence.
Then he proceeds: In the Creed the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Therefore I ask, says this Author, whether the Glory and Majesty with which the Son and Spirit are Glorious and Majestical, be the same in number with which the Father is Glorious and Majestical? I answer Affirmatively. Then it follows, says this Author, that the Glory and Majesty of these Persons is neither equal nor co-eternal, which he attempts to prove; because equality and co-eternity import a distinction between the things equal and co-eternal; therefore I distinguish the sense of this illation, the Glory and Majesty of these Persons, if taken absolutely and essentially, is neither equal nor co-eternal, I grant it; if taken notionally and personally, I deny it. The meaning of this distinction is cleared by the former Observations; for if you take them personally, they constitute number, and ground relations and correlations to each other, but if understood essentially and absolutely, they do neither: in plain terms, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which are three distinct Persons, are equally Glorious by the same numerical and individual Glory which is singular and essential to the Divinity. But he replies, That in case the Glory of the three Persons be numerically the same, then so are also all the other Attributes; whence it ensues, that there is no real distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but are only three Names of the same thing without any distinction, as the Sabellians hold. I am sorry that I have to deal with a Person so meanly vers'd in Divinity, as not to distinguish the Attributes of the Divinity from the notional and relative predicates; the Attributes are singular, and are all communicated to every one of the Persons, because they are absolute, predicates, but the Relations are peculiar to each Person; so the Father hath communicated to the Son all the Divine Attributes, and what else is peculiar to the Divine Essence, but hath not given him his Paternity, as is noted above, for Paternity is a relative predicate, peculiar to one Person alone, and not communicable; the same with proportion is to be said of the Filiation, and passive Spiration.
In the next place, says this Prophane Libeller, This Creed teaches that the Father is Incomprehensible, Uncreated, Eternal, Almighty, the Son is Uncreate, Eternal, Almighty, &c. Also that each of these Persons by himself is God, and Lord, yet there are not three Gods, nor Lords, nor three Incomprehensibles, &c.
Now if in imitation of this, a Man should have a mind to say the Father is a Person, the Son is a Person, the Holy Ghost is a Person, yet not three Persons, but one Person; I would know why this were not as good Grammar and Arithmetick, as when Athanasius says, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God, yet not three Gods, but one God?
I answer, that what ever Grammer, or Arithmetick there is in it, I am sure there is no true Divinity in it; for this Deistical Author insists here still upon the same errour, for the word Person is a relative and notional expression, whereof there are three in God: but the word God is an absolute and essential term, which is singular, and cannot be multiplied, as hath been often reiterated in this Discourse; but he demands, Doth not a man contradict himself, when the terms of his negation are the same with those in his affirmation? Now for Logick. I answer, That two contradictory Propositions ought to be ejusdem de eodem; that is, ejusdem praedicati de eodem subjecto, as, Angelus est Spiritus, Angelus non est Spiritus. There are three Gods, there are not three Gods; there are three Persons, there are not three Persons, &c. But where is the least appearance of any Contradiction in all this?
Yet to make this the more conspicuous, I must take each Proposition in pieces, and scan the several parts thereof according to the rates of Logick. For in these three Propositions, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God; the Subject of the first is the Father, the Subject of the second is the Son, the Subject of the third is the Holy Ghost; these three Subjects are three distinct Persons, Really different from each other. The Predicate of the first is God, this is an absolute and Essential term, not capable of being multiplied, for it is the Deity it self which is singular, and therefore the Predicate of the second Proposition, which is also God, must be the same Deity with the first, not another distinct Deity, for a second God would be a meer Chimera: so likewise the Predicate of the third Proposition is also God, which still imports the same Deity, this term God not being capable of any multiplicity; so that the Subject of these three Propositions are three different Persons Really distinct from each other; the Predicate of the same three Propositions, which is God, hath for its Object the singular Essence of the Divine Nature, and the Propositions being all affirmative, do intentionally identify the Deity with the subject of the same Propositions, which are the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as they are identify'd a parte rei, wherein consists the verity of the same Propositions.
As concerning the three last Propositions the Case is very different; for in the first of them, which is this, the Father is a Person, though the Subject be the same as in the three former Propositions, yet the Predicate is very different; for in the first of these last Propositions the Predicate is a Person, a generical term, common to all persons; the Predicate of the second is also a Person, but distinct from the former in application, as the Mystery teaches; so likewise the Predicate of the third is a Person; but these Propositions being all affirmative, cannot be verify'd, but by applying that generical term a Person to different and distinct individuums; for an affirmative Proposition cannot be true, except there be an Identity between the Subject and the Predicate ex parte objecti; now the Filiation is a singular individuation, which cannot be identify'd with any other Personality, therefore the Propositions import a multiplicity of Persons, as the three former do import a singularity of the Deity. Hence it is apparent, that we cannot say, yet not three Persons but one Person, as we say, yet not three Gods, but one God.
What follows in the Author, is meer stuff, and deserves no further answer, for he goes upon a false supposition, which no Orthodox Christian will admit; namely, that there are two sorts of true Gods, three personal Gods, and besides one Essential God; whereas the Christian Faith never admitted but one true God, who by his Omnipotence Created this inferiour and Superiour World, and by his infinite Prudence and Providence preserveth and Governeth all things; wherefore we deny the supposition as false and Heretical, as will be obvious to any who considers what hath been already said in this Treatise especially in the first and third Observation.
But this great Oracle of the Deists goes on upon the subsequent passages of this Creed, and particularly upon these words: The Son is of the Father alone, not Made, nor Created, but Begotten; to which he answers, That if the Creed-maker had spoke here of the Creation of the Son by Divine Power on the Virgin Mary, it would have been true, that the Son is neither Made, nor Created, but Begotten; but then the first part of the Article would be false, that the Son is of the Father alone; for he that has a Father and a Mother, is of Both. But since he speaks of the (pretended) Eternal Generation, the latter part of the Article is false, and inconsistent with the first part of it.
The meer explanation of the terms Made, Created, and Begotten, will evacuate this difficulty. That which is Made or Created proceeds from the Maker or Creator, as an Effect from its Cause, by the mediation of a real action, or casualty between the cause and the effect; that which is begotten is produced by Generation; but how shall we distinguish Generation from the production of the Effect from its Cause? I answer, that according to the known definition, admitted and approved of in the Schools of Philosophers and Divines: Generation is Origo viventis a vivente, a principio conjuncto, in Similitudinem naturae. Now to admit a real Action or Causality between the Father and the Son in the Eternal Generation of the Divine Word, were to make a change in the Divine Essence, ad intra, of that immutable God that can admit of no change. Whence it unavoidably follows, that the Eternal Son of God is neither Made, nor Created; but how then can we make it appear that he is Begotten? I answer, because he is produced by Generation, according to the definition given; for he is produced by the Divine Understanding, as related to all Creatures possible, by a clear and Conspicuous representation, but especially a lively Image of all the Perfections of the Divinity, which makes him to be in similitudinem naturae, as I shall more largely explicate and prove in the Treatise of the Trinity, which I intend shortly to bring to light. But to talk of a Mother (as this Author doth) is an impertinent indignity offer'd to the Divine Word, and savours too much of the mean thoughts of the ignorant Vulgar.
Next in the Athanasian Creed follows, that the Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son, neither Made, nor Created, nor Begotten, but Proceeding. Here this Deist Cavils first with the Holy Ghost's proceeding from the Son, contrary to the Tenet of the Greek Church, for which he cites that Text of Scripture, John 15.26. When the Comforter is come, which I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. Doth this Text prove that the Holy Ghost doth not proceed from the Son it only asserts that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, which we all grant, but whether or no it proceedeth also from the Son, it doth not determine; but I shall prove this at large in my Treatise of the Trinity.
Secondly, he says (subjoyns this Author) that the Holy Ghost is not begotten, but proceeding; yet he alledgeth that it is confessed by the most Learned Trinitarians, that Begotten and Proceeding differ nothing at all: But I would fain know who those Learned Trinitarians are; for it is well known that the second Person of the Trinity, therefore is Begotten, because he is produced by the Understanding, which represents the Deity, and the Creatures possible, so that by the internal vertue of his production, he is intended to be in similitudinem [whence he is called the Divine Word] naturae, whereas the Holy Ghost proceeds by the Will, which is no representative power, but he proceeds by an act of Love of the same Divinity; who doth not see that these two are far different from each other? and this clearly solves that frivolous Discourse which follows; that in counting right we should say two Fathers, two Sons, and three Holy Ghosts, or Spirits; for which saying there is no ground at all, as appears by the difference given between Begotten, and Proceeding.
Next in the Creed follows, None is afore, or after other; none greater, or less than another.
Yet the Son himself saith, John 14.28. the Father is greater than I. I answer, That the Son says not this of his Divinity, but being Hypostically united to flesh, he spoke it when he was in flesh of his Humanity; none is afore or after other. I ask, says this Deist, whether the Son doth not, as he is a Son, derive both life and Godhead from the Father? I answer affirmatively. But, says he; if the Father gave to the Son Life and Godhead, he must have both before he could communicate or give either of them to the Son. I answer, All this argues only prioritatem originis, for as much as the Father was the Origine of all that is in the Son, but all was done from Eternity; so there could be no prioritas temporis, for before Eternity there was no time; neither could there be any prioritas naturae, such as there is in a Cause in respect of his Effect, since the Father was not the Cause, and the Son the Effect, for all Causes produce their Effects by the Mediation of an Action, whereof the Cause is the Origine, and the Effect is the term, which receives the action, and subjects it in it self, as the Philosophers teach. Now the Eternal Son of God was produced by an act of the Divine Understanding, which doth not operate by acts distinct from it self, as Men and Angels do, but all acts of the Divine Intellect and Will have a real identity with the Divine Nature and Essence of God, as the Divines teach; for else if God should understand by distinct acts, those acts must inform the Divine Understanding, which would make a Change in God, and so destroy his Immutability, as is apparent. The same with proportion is to be said of the Holy Ghost, who proceeds by an act of Love from the Divine Will, no less than that act of the Divine Intellect produces the Divine Word, or its Hypostasis.
With what reason, now, can this Author still go on in his wilful ignorance? He often saith that this Creed contains many Contradictions, and as many Impossibilities as Transubstantiation, and yet in all his Discourse, he hath not alledged two Propositions with a contradictory opposition which follows out of the Doctrine of this Creed; nay, I confidently assert, that neither he, nor any of his Sect, can alledge any one contradiction issuing from the same Doctrine. Let the pretended contradiction be assigned, and we are ready to answer it, and to discover its fallacy, but to blunder and vaper as this Author does, that there are Two Fathers, Two Sons, and Three Holy Ghosts, and yet prove nothing of all this, is not to proceed like a Scholar, much less like a Divine, but is wholly loss of time.
How often must I inculcate this Orthodox Truth? That in the ineffable Mystery of the Divine Trinity, the characteristical notion of the Father is his innascibility, together with his paternity and fecundity of active spiration; of the Son is his filiation and fecundity of active spiration; of the Holy Ghost, is his passive Spiration alone; These Three Persons, as they mutually are correlatives to each other, so they are really distinct from each other, they are capable of Multiplication, and constitute a number. The Father hath in himself (besides the relative predicates) all the absolute Predicates and Perfections that are contained in the Divine Nature and Essence, all the Attributes of the Divinity. The Father hath Communicated to the Son all the absolute Perfections of the Divine Nature, and the notional Predicate of active Spiration. To the Holy Ghost, the Father and the Son have communicated all the Divinity, with all the absolute Attributes and Perfections thereunto belonging.
So that although these three Persons are three in number, yet the Divinity of them all is the self-same individual and singular Deity; for the same Divine Nature that is in the Father, is also in the Son, and Holy Ghost. Now this Author would have us to multiply the Divinity as the Persons are multiplied, thereby to lead his Reader into a Labyrnth of Errours, by acknowledging more Gods than one; which in effect is no better than rank Paganism. Must we follow the conduct of his wild Genius, because he pretends to Demonstrations, which in effect are meer Improbabilities; or adhere to those Sacred Truths which are delivered to us by holy Writ, and are backt by Divine Authority? But let us proceed with him to the Incarnation of the Divine Word.
The Athanasian Creed from hence proceeds to the Incarnation of the Divine Word; thus, The right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God is both God and Man. To which words this Author replies, That then the Lord Christ is two Persons, for as he is God, he is the second Person of the Trinity; and as he is man (a perfect man) he is also a Person, for a Rational Soul vitally united to a Humane Body, is a Person. I answer, that a Rational Soul vitally united to a Humane Body is the compleat Nature of a Man, compleat I say, in ratione naturae, but to be compleat also in ratione Personae, you must add to this compleat Nature a subsistentia, which makes up the compleat Suppositum, or Hypostasis of a man in ratione personae. But in Christ there was no need of this Humane subsistentia, for the Divine Word assumed the compleat Humane Nature, not the Humane Person, as Nestorius said, for the Humanity of Christ subsists by the Personality of the Divine Word, which supplies abundantly all defects, and functions which the Humane Personality would exercise, were it present; so that the Humane Personality would be superfluous in Christ, and of no use at all.
To what he adds, [viz.] Let the Athanasians then Confess that Christ was not God, which is the truth. Here he plainly professeth his Errour, and flatly denys the Divinity of Christ. It is not my design to prove at large in this short Treatise, the Divinity of Christ, which the Divines have effectually prov'd in the matter of Incarnation. I shall therefore only hint at some Particulars: as the fulfilling of the Prophecies of the Old Prophets, the Testimony of the Eternal Father in a Voice from Heaven: This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; the often asseveration of Christ himself, confirmed by many strange and prodigious Miracles, and sealed by his Death, the Reluctancy of Nature at his Crucifixion, his Resurrection after Death, which none could effect but by the mighty hand of the Omnipotent, the Universal at attestation of all the Apostles, in Confirmation whereof they all sacrificed their Lives, with other pregnant motives contained in the Sacred Word of God, which are too prolix for this short Treatise; all which being duly pondered and considered, are able to convince, not only an indifferent judgment, but also the most obstinate and perversest judgment that can be, if it be swayed by Reason, and work them into a stedfast belief of the Divinity of Christ; wherefore I shall wave (in this place) any further dilatation of my Discourse upon this Subject.
Now we proceed to examine the Hypostatical Union between the Divinity and Humanity of Christ, how we can make it out, that any Union can be of that Nature as to unite two Natures, whereof the one is Infinite, and the other Finite; for the Athanasian Creed asserts, that though Christ be God and Man, yet he is not two but one Christ; one, not by Conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the Manhood into God: one, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person: for as the reasonable Soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Against this the Deist argues, that in the Personal Union of God to Man, and Man to God, the Union is between Finite and Infinite, which is impossible. For we must either suppose that Finite and Infinite are commensurate, that is equal, which every one knows is false; or that the Finite is United but to some part of the Infinite, and is disjoyned from the rest. A very Learned Reflection! for who is ignorant of Gods Eternity, and Immensity, or Ubiquity? which are two of the Divine Attributes. All Created Durations flow successively by parts, whereof none are at any time in being, but only those that are present; for to day, yesterday is past, its duration is destroyed, and to morrow is not yet come, its duration is not yet produced; and so of all Created Durations; whether this be done only by indivisible instances, as Zeno Taught, or by indivisible instances, and divisible parts, which was Aristotles Opinion in his Treatise De continuo Successivo.
But God's Eternity is far different; for this admits of no parts, but is one indivisible duration, essentially determin'd to co exist to all Created duration, and Eternity; there are no parts destroyed, and others to come, not yet in being; for by the same indivisible duration whereby the Divinity existed from Eternity, he exists now, and existed yesterday, and shall exist to morrow, and ever, and yet loses no parts of its duration, because it hath none. Hence Boetius, and with him the currant of Divines, gives this definition of it, Aeternitas Dei est interminabilis vitae, tota simul & perfecta possessio; a perfect possession of an endless life, altogether, tota simul, not by parts, as it is in all Created durations.
The Immensity of God Consists in this, that he is essentially determin'd to all Created space, whensoever or wheresoever it exists; so that God by his Immensity, without any parts, is actually present to all Created space or place, how distant soever the parts of space are from one another; to which God corresponds not by several parts, but by an increate definitive ubication, whereby he is totus in toto, & totus in qualibet parte; all the Deity is in all the space, and all the Deity is in every part and particle of space, wheresoever, or whensoever existent: as an Angel, which is indivisible, is in the place which he Occupies by a definitive ubication; for the whole Angel is at the same time in all the space, and the whole Angel at the same time is in every part and particle of the same space; so is the Soul of Man, which is likewise indivisible, in a humane Body; for the whole Soul is in all the Body, and the whole Soul is in every part and particle of the Body; so that the Soul exists in the Body by a definitive ubication, whereas the Body at the same time exists in space by a circumscriptive ubication, whereby its parts are collocated so, as that one part of the Body corresponds to one part of the space, and another part of the Body to another part of the space. Now to the Objection.
The Humanity of Christ is constituted in place by a circumscriptive ubication, where the Divinity, the whole Divine Word is intimately present to him; what commensuration more than this is necessary for a conjunction between the Humanity, and the Divine Word? for that the Divine Word is in all places else, by his immensity, is impertinent to this case, as long as the Divine Word is entirely and intimately present to the whole Humanity, where the Hypostatical Union may exercise its functions of connecting the Humanity to the Divinity; for it is too gross an imagination of the Divinity, that part of it should correspond to the Humanity, and part not; for in the Divine Nature there are no parts, but all is indivisible.
Now for the Hypostatical Union, it is subjected in the Humanity, and terminated to the Divinity, or Divine Word; for the Essence of God is uncapable of receiving any thing distinct from it self. And 'tis in vain to tell me that this includes as many Contradictions as Mr. Johnson's Treatise against Transubstantiation doth; produce those Contradictions that this Mystery doth include, and we shall use our endeavour to solve them.
The second Objection is grounded upon an Error, that the Union between the Divine Word, and the Humanity of Christ connects two Persons, as Nestorius would have it; but this error is already exploded. But it is in vain to sift all the extent of Nature, for a parity to the Hypostatical Union of the Divine Word to the Humanity of Christ, which is transcendent above all the power of Nature, where the two distinct Lives, Memories, Reasons and free Wills are no obstacle at all to it; for these two Natures do not hinder the Operations and Functions of each other.
Thus I have run through all the Arguments, pretended Contradictions, and Impossibilities, which this Author alledgeth against those Sacred Mysteries of Christianity; wherein I have endeavoured to give a satisfactory solution to them all. Though he hath insisted upon such Mysteries as are easiest to be impugned, and hardest to be defended. For they are such as are delivered to us by the Sacred Scripture, as back'd by Divine Authority, and are not within the reach of Natural Reason to demonstrate. For it were no less than a temerarious presumption in any man that should attempt to prove any one of these Mysteries by Natural Reason, Mysteries that are so sublime, and elevated above the reach of Natural Reason, that they are not pervious to the Wit or Capacity either of Man or Angel; which if Faith did not teach, Reason could not explicate; so that we receive them from Holy Writ (as attested by Divine Authority) with great submission and veneration, and are ready to vindicate them from all pretended Impossibilities, Contradictions, and other Difficulties which the Mahometans, Jews, Deists, Atheists, or other Infidels can muster up against them. And I hope in this short Treatise I have not swerved from the receiv'd and approved Doctrine of the Reformed Protestant Church of England, to whose Authority and Correction I submit.