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- C H A P. I.
1.To the Reverend Dr. SAMUEL CLARK E. DEAR SIR,
THEN I receiv'd those Copies of
the several Pieces you have publith's concerning the Trinity,
which you were pleas'd to send me; as I could not but esteem them fresh Instances of your good Affections towards me (of which I have had much happy Experience in a Course of many Years Acquaintance ) so I am persuaded,
You You were far from expecting my Approbation of them. On the contrary, as it became a Person that loves you fincerely, I fignified to you, by Letter and otherwise, my dislike of your Notions; and you condescended to bear my usual Plainess with that Patience, Çandos, and Sweetness of Temper, which you constantly discover in your whole Conduet.
You have well (a) observ'd, that the Doctrin of the Trinity is of the greatest importance in Religion ; a matter not to be treated of sightly and carelessly, as it were by Accident only, after the manner of superficial Controverfies about Words, or of particular Occasional Questions concerning the meaning of single ambiguous Texts; but which ought, when difcoursed upon at all, to be examin'd thoroughly on all sides, by a serious ftudy of the whole Scripture, and by taking care that the · Explication "be consistent with it Self in every part. You (b) profess that you have, according to the Weight and Dignity of the Subje&t, considered it throughout, as carefully and distinctly as you were able ; and desire only, that the Reader, when he begins the Book, would peruse it all, and consider seriously every Part, and compare the whole of what is here said, with other whole Schemes, before he palles bis Judgment upon it. For my own part, I folemnly make the same Profession with your self; and what you desire of the Reader, I have conscientiously perform’d: and yet I must assure you, that after all the Pains I have bestow'd in considering this nice Subject (both at former Times, and since your several Books have been publish d) I am-as chroughly convinc'd, that you are in the Wrong, as you your self can be that you are in the Right. asfondoo biso
(a) Preface to your Stripture Do&trine of the Tvinity.
Ibide di I 013001
Now, since the Subject of these your Writings is of so great Consequence, and the difference between your Sentiments, and those which, I firmly believe, are deliver'd in the Holy Scriptures, is fo exceedingly wide, that your Mistakes are not less certain than dangerous, and prejujudicial to our common Christianity; and since these fatal Errors are Patroniz'd by a Writer of establish'd Reputation in the Learned World: certainly those who retain any Zeal, in this Lukewarm Age, for the Faith once deliver'd to the Saints, and are persuaded that an Orthodox Belief is the only firm Foundation of a truly. Chri, ftian Practice ; can't but desire, even with some degree of Impatience, to see your Notions fairly examin'd, and substantially disprov'd; fo that neither the Weight of your Authority in the Commonwealth of Letters, nor your excellent Ma. nagement of what I can't but efteem a very ill Cause, may prejudice the Truth, disturb the Church's Peace, and deceive the Unwary.'
Besides, I can't bear the Thoughts of your being injurious to the Church of Christ. God forbid, that you should in any Refpect wound that Religion, which you have in so many Respects adorn'd and defended. Farther, I am fully persuaded, that you'll be glad to see your Mistakes, and that you will also readily acknowledge them, if they appear to you. I think my self therefore bound in strict Duty to God, and in pure FriendShip to your self, to lay aside for a while thore several Tasks, which would otherwise have found me full Imployment, for many Years; that I may contribute what lies in my small Power, to the clearing of the Truth, and your Convi&ion.
These Considerations, and only these, have engagd me to undertake the present Controversy with you; being so abundantly satisfy'd of the Goodness of my Cause, and so eagerly bent to do what little Service I can (particular. ly to your self) that I am refolv'd to risque my Endevors." And I humbly trust our great and good Master, who will not defert such as impartially seek to advance the Truth, and aim only at his Glory, with the Success of my Labors.
God, who knows the Secrets of both our Hearts; May that incarnat Savior, who must judge us both at the last great Day; May that bleffed. Spirit, who works in Men both to will and to do; so direct and influence us both, that no Prejudice. or. Interest may blind our Understandings, no unmorrify'd Luft may pervert ourWils, no Desire of Glory or Reputation may bribe our Affections: but that each of us may behave himself, in the Course of this Friendly Disputation, as becomes those who live in a constant Expectation of giving an Account of all their Actions; and are practically convinc'd, that whatever little Ends may be serv'd in this World by Artifice, Shift, and Collusion; yet nothing but the most unbiass'd Integrity in our Conduct here, can prevent our everlasting Disgrace, and insupportable Confufion hereafter.
Let us now, with a firm Dependence on the Di. vine Affiftance, proceed to the Business lying before us.
le who live friendly Dil behave him af