Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Trial of William Whiston, Part 4

(Continuation of Part 3

Mr. Whiston - As your Lordship has heard the opinions of the chief of the apostles, I shall beg leave to call in the evangelists in their order, who must necessarily agree with the apostles, or the Christian religion itself will fall to the ground.

Judge - Mr. Matthew, the question is very short: Do you believe Jesus Christ to be the supreme God?

Matthew - My Lord, I shall be as short in my answer. I do affirm it to be impossible for that being to be the supreme God that ascribes every act to, and derives every power from, the supreme God. And this Jesus Christ frequently acknowledges, in regard to himself, and said in express words, "The Father is greater than me." Oh, but says the learned gentleman, this was spoken in relation to his human capacity. I wonder he does not tell me that it was spoken in his childish capacity, and that he meant his father Joseph. Though to say the truth, this is so silly a speech, in the sense the Church has taken it, that even a child could not be weak enough to have made it. What a pretty compliment then do they make Christ and his followers, by imagining that any of them could have been so profoundly stupid as not to know that the supreme God was greater than a man?

Dr. Tr—p - Give me leave to tell you Sir, that there is a finesse in that passage which is too delicate for a gentleman of your cast. However, I will do you the honour to explain it to you. And, in order to it, I must acquaint you that your master had a threefold manner of conveying his instructions, which was many times by parables, sometimes by paradoxes, and, upon certain emergencies, by equivocation and double entendre, as in the case before us. For he being composed of two distinct natures, it was entirely at his election to call which of them he pleased "Me," by virtue of which he might always have two different answers ready upon any extraordinary occasion. For example, suppose now that such a wicked rogue as Judas had a mind to betray him, and should ask him whether he were the supreme God? Why, Sir, he might very safely have taken his oath upon it that he was not, only by mentally reserving quatenus the human nature. On the other hand, if the same question were to be put to a disciple that he could trust, he might just as honestly own himself to be the supreme God. And we are credibly informed that he never made the least secret of it to his particular friends. For (notwithstanding that the enemies of religion have robbed us of the privilege of pleading tradition) they have not deprived us of the liberty of founding our doctrines upon it, or of making such interpretations of the Scriptures as shall be most beneficial to the Church. And as it is highly reasonable that we should pay a great regard to her authority than to a few unguarded expressions of Peter and Paul, so we have unanimously agreed, to maintain her mysteries to the last drop of our blood.

Mr. Whiston - My Lord, Mr. Mark the evangelist being absent at the beginning of the trial, I desire that he may have Dr. Tr—p's Trinity read to him.

Judge - Mr. Mark, you are cited here upon a very solemn occasion, and the reason of this creed's being read to you is to know whether you do in your conscience believe what is in it to be true?

Mark - My Lord, as I am a perfect stranger to this dispute, I should be very glad to be informed of the nature of a creed, to know whence it is taken, by whom it is made, and to what intent and purpose it is published.

Mr. Whiston - If your Lordship will give me leave, I will give him that satisfaction in a very few words. Sir, a creed is a particular system of faith, composed of the particular opinions of a club of parsons, and it is pretended to be drawn out of the holy Scriptures. This is what the people are obliged to profess, or submit to lose their employments, and to be put in jail, and be starved. And it is only for want of compliance to this that you see me here in bonds.

Mark - Can the Church be so wicked and barbarous! And does it pretend to have authority from the Scriptures to persecute? And do the people tamely sit still and suffer it? But let your tyranny be ever so cruel and extensive, it shall not deter me from speaking truth. And I defy you to shew the least syllable in my writings that favours your blasphemous nonsense. But on the contrary shall bring you such a proof that Jesus Christ is not the supreme God, that Impudence itself would almost blush to oppose it.

Dr. Tr—p - You dog! How dare you treat the spouse of Christ thus irreverently! Sirrah you deserve — &c.

Mark - You mistake, Sir, it is the whore of Babylon that I chastise, whose prostitution, impudence, cruelty, covetousness, corruption, treachery, insolence, and ambition were never equaled on this side of hell. And certainly, if any villains ever deserved eternal tortures, they are those that corrupt and delude the very people they take upon them to instruct and preserve. They are those that rob, tyrannise, and murder under a pretense of religion, humility, and charity. In fine, it is those rapacious, hypocritical, lecherous gluttons that have changed a plain and reasonable institution into mysterious nonsense and juggling absurdities, placing the essence of religion in quirks and pricks, cheating the people, oppressing the poor, trampling upon the laws, and treading upon the necks of princes.

My Lord, I should beg pardon for this severe reply if the provocation had not extorted it, and truth had not justified it. However, I shall now go on with my proof. Our savior has often declared himself inferior to the Father. And the instance, by which I am going to prove that he is so, is so very remarkable, that I shall consider it in as distinct and particular a manner as possible. Speaking of the Day of Judgment, says he: "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father only." Who can cast his eye upon this assertion of our savior, without taking notice of the regular gradation manifestly formed with an intent to exclude all other beings whatsoever, and to confine the foreknowledge of the Day of Judgment to the Father only. And since the reverends and right reverends have thought fit to say that Christ is a composition of a divine and human nature, and that this want of knowledge is asserted of his human nature only, I shall prove the contrary of it beyond all exception. For the very first proposition excludes Christ as to his human nature, by saying that "no man knows that day." And the next proposition excludes the next superior degree of intelligent beings, by adding, in a most emphatical manner, that even "the angels that are in heaven" did not know it. After which he rises still higher, and declares that even the Son (in that capacity which he is in, superior to the angels) did not know it, but the Father only. So that nothing in nature can be more evident, than that all other persons, even of the Trinity itself, as well as all other beings, are excluded, and that he has limited that knowledge to the person of the Father only. For whatever was not the Father, he positively affirms, was ignorant of that day. Now it is certain that the Son was not the Father in any sense, therefore could not know that day. Jesus Christ therefore, being inferior in knowledge to the supreme God, cannot possibly be the supreme God. 

Judge - You are called here, Mr. Luke, upon the occasion of a learned divine's being accused of heresy in having denied Jesus Christ to be the supreme God, and as you are one of the inspired writers, the court desires your opinion upon that point.

Luke - Your Lordship does me too much honor in calling me inspired. I pretend to no more than that of being an honest and diligent collector, and claim no other merit but that of having faithfully recorded what appeared most agreeable to reason, or had the best evidence to support it. If it had been the doctrine of the apostles, or the established opinion of the age I wrote in, that Jesus Christ was the supreme God, is it to be imagined that I should not have declared it clearly and fully to all the world? But I do affirm the fact to be directly contrary, and if your creed-makers are in the right, I must be in the wrong. For I must acknowledge that I have distinguished the great God from Jesus Christ in a great many parts of my history, which I could not have done unless I had been a fool, or a villain, if I had thought that Jesus Christ and the great God of heaven had been the same omnipotent, coequal, and co-eternal God. My expressions are these: "The Lord God shall give unto Christ the Throne of his Father David; the Christ of God; the Chosen of God." Though this description of Christ is manifestly incompatible with the character of the great God, yet since it is in the power of prejudice to hinder men from seeing apparent truths, and that whole bodies of men, for their interest, can be hardy enough to deny them, I shall beg the favor of you to observe how those passages will appear if we were to suppose Christ to be the omnipotent God, and to be described as such. Those passages then must run thus: "The only, eternal omnipotent God, shall give unto the only, eternal, omnipotent God, the throne of the only omnipotent God's Father, Abraham." And again: "The only omnipotent God is the chosen of the only omnipotent God." These absurdities and contradictions are so palpable that as they that cannot perceive them can see nothing. So they, that will not acknowledge them, will acknowledge nothing.

Judge - What do you say, John, to Dr. Tr—p's Trinity?

John - Verily, I am at a loss what to say to that which I cannot possibly understand; but thus much I may venture to affirm, that the gospel I wrote, and the faith I preached, was to enlighten mankind. But that the inventions of these men have not only put out that light, which the gospel brought into the world, but have extinguished the light of nature itself, and put the world into a much worse condition than it was in when it had no other guide but reason to direct it. For reason will not act against itself, advise us to abandon it, or deliver it up to those who make it their study to deceive us. My account of our blessed saviour is uniform, clear, rational, and plain, as will evidently appear from the following passages:

"Oh Father, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." 

And again, "I proceeded forth, and came from God, neither came I of myself, but he sent me." 

"I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and unto my God, and your God." 

"The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do, that doth the Son also." 

"They accused him of blasphemy, 'Because thou, being a man, make thyself God.' Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your Law, If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, thou blasphemest, because I said, "I am the Son of God?" ' " 

"Jesus, a man approved by miracles, which God did by him: God hath made the same Jesus both Lord and Christ." 

"The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwells in me, he doth the works." 

"The Father is greater than I." 

The passages are so plain, so full, and so conclusive, that, I protest, the strongest thing I can say, in justification of that which I have already wrote, is that I cannot possibly express myself clearer, even upon the occasion of the present controversy. But what can words do if men will be impudent and wicked enough to pervert them? Nay, men that have front enough to deny the common obvious settled sense of words would even deny that there were any such words at all, if it served for their purpose. There is an end of the use of words, if in expressing ourselves absolutely of any being whatsoever, you may mean it partially, or totally, or take this part or that. For at this rate, you may say your own creeds backwards, and affirm that Christ (in his divine nature, by tacit reserve) was neither born, suffered, died, or rose again, and you may be just as orthodox in affirming the contrary, if you are at liberty to mean which nature you please. Such prevarications and quibblings may become priests and Jesuits, but it is monstrous to charge the messenger of God with them.

What will destroy the credit and authority of the gospel, if this will not? Or I should more properly have said what has brought it to the weak and despicable state it is in at present, but these infamous practices of the clergy? If any man can shew me that the whole tenor of what I have wrote is not strictly conformable to those parts which I have just now cited, I will not only confess myself to be unworthy of the name of an evangelist, but submit to be called a traitor to my master, and a deceiver of mankind. For whoever shall affirm that I have described Jesus Christ as equal with the Father does not only endeavour to prove my doctrine to be repugnant to itself, but makes the Scriptures of no authority. Are these the men that contend so vehemently for their being inspired! These, that have the assurance to pervert or contradict the whole tenor of them! If this honest gentleman, Mr. Whiston, were to assert that the Son is inferior to the Father, could he do it in stronger terms, or in a more plain and positive manner, than I have done? Could he say any thing stronger, than that the Father is greater than the Son, that he sent him, commanded him, and performed every operation in him? Let every impartial man judge, whether he would look upon such a character as this, to be the character of the great God of heaven, or to be that of an inferior being.

Judge - Mr. James, what do you say to the reverend doctor's Trinity? Do you understand it?

James - The greatest part of what I do understand is false, and what I do not, I humbly conceive to be nonsense. I am not for three Gods, I assure you, for I have said, "Thou believest that God is one, thou doest well." I have professed myself a servant of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is distinction enough, to shew that there are two distinct beings. But if the Father be God, and the Son is God, God is not one. I write as I think, and I flatter myself that I have wrote so as to be understood. For certainly, nothing can be plainer than that I affirm that the eternal Godhead no more consists of three somethings than it does of thirty somethings. And consequently, that this new-fangled Trinity must be a gross imposition upon mankind.

Judge - What do you think, Mr. Jude, of the doctor's Trinity?

Jude - lt is impossible that my thoughts can differ from my brethrens,' and your Lordship shall judge whether my writings do or no. For I have certainly distinguished Jesus Christ from the great God, if language can distinguish things. I have expressed myself thus: "Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, denying God, the only supreme Governor; and denying our Lord Jesus Christ." And again, "To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved by our Lord Jesus Christ." Is it possible to imagine that all the divine writers should constantly distinguish Jesus Christ from the supreme God, and yet know him to be the supreme God. What sort of apostles would these gentlemen make of us? Had not we sense enough to declare it, or was it a revelation reserved for later times? We are always ready to give Jesus Christ all the honor that is due to his character. But to the only wise God, we say, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power.

Judge - Gentlemen of the jury, the unanimous concurrence of every writer in the New Testament, against this doctrine of the Trinity, being the strongest proof that can possibly be added to the absurdity of it, common sense, and common honesty, will sufficiently direct you to bring in such a verdict as may be expected from you.

Jury - We believe the evangelists and apostles to be very honest men, and to have declared the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And that vicious and corrupted priests have invented these absurdities, with a villainous intent to confound the understandings, and to destroy the liberties of mankind.

Judge - You gentlemen of the clergy, since the jury has acquitted the prisoner, and brought you in guilty, I shall pass that just sentence, which is established by that law, which requires an eye for an eye. May the laity shew you the same mercy they have ever received from you. 

End of the Trial.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Trial of William Whiston, Part 3

(Continuation of Part 2)

Judge - What witness would you call in next?

Mr. Whiston - Call in Peter the Apostle. 

Judge - What question would you ask him?

Mr. Whiston - I desire he may be asked what he thinks of the doctrine of the Trinity?

Judge - You hear the question, Mr. Peter.

Peter the Apostle - I do my Lord. But as I never heard the word before this moment, I protest I cannot guess what it means.

Judge - Mr. Whiston, you have put the question in too general a manner. You should have opened it a little, and explained the point in dispute.

Mr. Whiston - I must beg to be excused, my Lord, for it is not my business to explain my adversary's doctrine. Besides, I am not really able to do it.

Judge - Dr. Tr—p, you must explain your Trinity, the witness here does not know what to make of it.

Dr. Tr—p - The Trinity, Sir, is the sublimest mystery in the Christian dispensation, the touchstone of an orthodox faith, and one of the greatest essentials towards the obtaining of everlasting life. It is a doctrine collected out of the sacred Scriptures, by our holy Mother the Church, which has appointed us to tell the people that there is one God the Father, and one God the Son, and one God the Holy Ghost; but that these three are not three Gods, but one God. That the Son is neither made nor created, but begotten, and that the Holy Ghost is neither made, nor begotten, but proceeds. Or thus, Sir, the Father is the supreme God, and Jesus Christ is the supreme God, but not the same supreme God that the Father is. And the Holy Ghost is the supreme God, but not the same supreme God that the Father is, or that Jesus Christ is. And that notwithstanding they are not the same supreme God, yet they are not the supreme Gods. And in this Trinity none is afore or after the other, but the Son is begotten by an eternal generation. And though eternally generating, has been generated from all eternity. Likewise the Holy Ghost is by eternal procession, eternally proceeding, yet Almighty from all eternity.

This is Trinity in unity, and unity in Trinity: Three in one, and one in three. Not three, but one, nor one, but three. The first is first, the second is from the first, and the third is from the second and the first. The first is not before the second, nor the second before the third. But the first is first, the second is first, and the third is first, neither confounding nor dividing, one and three, or three and one. Now this is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he shall perish everlastingly. This is all, Sir, which to be sure you knew, as well as we, though you did not reduce it to a regular system, and make it one of the articles of your credential which, for very wise ends, the Church has prudently done since.

In short, Sir, you have nothing to do but to tell the court that you are of the same opinion with the Church, and at the same time you will establish your own character, and our authority.

Peter - I am so far from being of your opinion that, I profess, I don't understand you.

Dr. Tr—p - Not understand me! Why nothing is plainer. You are to believe no more than this, that there are three persons and one God, and that every person is very God.

Peter - So you only modestly desire me to believe that there are four Gods.

Dr. Tr—p - Sir, you entirely mistake the matter. For though every person is God, yet every person is not a particular God, for they all subsist in the same essence, which constitutes the unity. And the Trine-Personality, subsisting in the unity, constitutes the Trinity. Sir, this is so clear and easy, that we do not scruple to teach it our women and children.

Peter - Though your women and children are so easily satisfied, I must be much better instructed, before I can be satisfied. Wherefore I shall take the liberty of desiring you to explain what you mean by person and essence? 

Dr. Tr—p - With all my heart, sir: Why, person, Sir, is a nominal idea of an unsubstantial, uncreated, incomprehensibly begotten, or proceeding subsistence, purely and simply taken in itself, a non-entity, but really and potentially distinguishing entities. And essence, being an occult, immaterial substance, necessarily containing all those accidents, without which it could not possibly subsist, the person subsisting in the essence, dialectically and logically speaking, may be said to be the accident of the substance, differing in name and nature indeed, though co-equal, co-essential, and co-eternal. "Wer't thou a teacher in Israel, and knowest not these things?"

Peter - Is that to be wondered at, if these things have been invented since I was a teacher? For the people in my time had too much sense to be the inventors of such unintelligible stuff, and too much honesty to sufit, but thy tribe, etc.

Judge - Gentlemen, it will be impossible to come to a conclusion, unless we put a stop to this senseless, unmeaning jargon of the schools. Wherefore, as it is my business to keep you to the point, I will propose the question myself.

Dr. Codex - With humble submission, my Lord, as the prisoner stand indicted for blasphemy against the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, as explained by the Reverend Doctor Tr—p, I insist upon it, that the witness's evidence must speak directly to that, and must declare to the court whether he thinks Tr—p's Trinity an orthothox Trinity, or not. Mr. Peter, pray tell my Lord what you think of Tr—p's Trinity.

Peter - Though I was bred but a poor fisherman, there is no reason I should be ridiculed, and have a strange jumble of stuff proposed to me, because I was not brought up to learning. How indifferent soever these great doctors may think of my understanding, Christ did not think me unworthy of matters of the greatest importance. I never understood quibbles and riddles, nor do I understand these.

When these gentlemen are in earnest, and will ask me any thing that I can make any sense of, I will give them as satisfactory an answer as I am able. For this seems to be nothing but jingling with words. Surely, my Lord, these fellows must be a pack of impudent cheats, for they cannot possibly believe what they would impose upon the rest of mankind. Have you no laws against such hypocrites?

Dr. Codex - If your Lordship can hear the sacred character of churchmen thus scurrilously treated, I cannot. We are likely indeed to expect justice, when the court is corrupted against the priesthood! It is not the first time that the earth has opened, and fire from heaven has consumed such, etc.

Judge - Jailor, take away that mad, persecuting bell-weather, and let us go on with the Trial. Mr. Peter, the court has too great a regard for your character to countenance any ludicrous impositions upon you. And these divines are in earnest, I assure you, for let it appear ever so unintelligible and absurd to you this is the faith which we must subscribe to, or suffer the most rigorous persecution here, and be devoted by the Church to eternal tortures hereafter.

Peter - My surprize, my Lord, is so astonishing, that I must beg a moment's indulgence, till I recover my self. —— Am I asked if this creed is Apostolical? If the most glaring nonsense, and the most manifest contradictions be Apostolical! Is there a man of common sense, common modesty, or common honesty, that could ever have imagined, or promulged, such silly and impious notions of the Deity? Have not all the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles continually ascribed all might, majesty and power to the Father alone? And has not Christ as often declared to you that he never did any thing, nor ever could do any thing, without the authority and assistance of the Father? And does not he take hold of every opportunity of ascribing every action to the Father only? Or can any man shew me where he has given the least hint, that he himself was the supreme God?

And since I am called upon for my opinion, upon this occasion, both for the satisfaction of mankind, and for my own justification, I will now repeat a part of what I have formerly wrote relating to this subject. In a public assembly at Casarea, I spoke thus: "Ye know Jesus of Nazareth, whom God hath anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing those that were possessed by the Devil, because God was with him. This person God raised from the dead the third day, and commanded us to preach, and testify to the people, that this very person was decreed and determined to be the judge of the living and the dead." Is this describing Christ as the supreme God? Is not here a strong assertion of a power delegated to him from the Father, to enable him to perform those works, for which he was sent into the world? Had he been God-man, he could neither have wanted nor received such power. It is absurd therefore to suppose it to be sent where it could be of no use. If Christ had been the supreme God, I must have described him in a manner directly contray to this. Then I must have said, Jesus Christ is God of Gods, he is the Omnipotent, has all power originally in himself, and cannot possibly derive it from any other being.

But how manifestly would this contradict and clam with what went before? Nay, it would not only contradict what I have said of him, but give the lye to every description of him, through the whole New Testament. And I do here insist upon it that the assertions of the Trinitarians, in respect to Christ's divinity, are absolutely incompatible with the descriptions of him in the Gospel. Another passage, in confirmation of the same principle, is as follows: "We made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were witnesses of his majesty, for he received from God honour and glory." I shall not trouble you with any more proofs, but only beg leave to put this last into the form of an argument, as thus: The omnipotent God cannot receive honour and glory: But Jesus Christ did receive honour and glory. Therefore Jesus Christ cannot be the omnipotent God. Which proposition, Gentlemen, do you deny?

Dr. Trap - Dost thou imagine that doctors of divinity will have so little regard to their dignity, as to dispute with such an ignorant, beggarly fellow as thou art? What university wert thou bred at? Go to Billinsgate, fellow, and there you will meet with company that will suit you. For deans, spiritual lords and doctors, do not use to talk to fishermen.

Peter - I cannnot pretend indeed to a learned education. But in recompense, I was bred at the fountainhead of humility, mercy, justice, and every virtue that can render men happier or better, and shall not envy even real acquisitions, that are accompanied with vanity and insolence.

Judge - Have you done with the witness?

Mr. Whiston - Yes, my Lord. 

Judge - Who would you call next? 

Mr. Whiston -Paul the Apostle of Tarsus. 

Judge - What would you ask of Paul?

Mr. Whiston - I would have asked him the same question that was put to Peter, if I were not thoroughly persuaded, I should have a repetition of the same answer. Wherefore I shall only ask him whether he believes Jesus Christ to be the supreme God? And what was the doctrine he taught concerning his nature, office, and being?

Paul - When I endeavoured to convert the Jews and the Gentiles, I always spoke of our saviour in the clearest and most intelligible manner I was able. Nor can I conceive that any thing I either said or wrote could give the least handle for any one to imagine that I believed Jesus Christ to be the supreme God. For almost in the beginning of every epistle, I have distinguished him from the supreme Being, by giving the title of God to the Father, and that of Lord to our Saviour. Which distinction runs through the whole work, except in one passage or two. And then the circumstances in the description distinguish them more effectually than the very terms themselves, which have been made use of for that purpose. As, for instance, in my Epistle to the Hebrews, where I tell them that "God, who spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets, in these last days has spoken to us by his son, whom he hath made the heir of all things, and by whom he made the worlds. Who being the splendor of his glory, and the character of his substance, carrying all things by the power of his word, making the purification of our sins by himself, he sat upon the right hand of greatness in the highest. Being made so much more excellent than the angels, by as much as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they; for to whom of the angels did he ever say, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?'  And again, 'I shall be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son!' But when he brings his firstborn again into the world, he says 'And let all the angels of God worship him.' And to the angels he saith, 'Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flaming fire.' But to the Son, 'Thy Throne, O God, is for ever. The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity. Wherefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Have I not said in other places ye have the same relation to Christ, that Christ has to God, that Christ is the firstborn of every creature, that he died, and was raised again from the dead by God? Have not I said, as plain as words can express, that there is no other God but one. For although there are such beings as are called Gods, whether in Heaven or in Earth, yet to us Christians, there is but one God, viz. the Father, from whom are all things, and we in him. And one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. I will have you know also, that Christ is the head of every man; man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ. Then shall be the end, when he shall deliver up his kingdom to God the Father. Then shall Christ be submitted to him that hath put all things under him, that God may be all in all. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath put all things under his feet, and made him the head of all things to the church.

From what I have just now said, I shall make it as clear as is possible for words to express, that my doctrine about Christ is diametrically contrary to that which these learned doctors so vehemently contend for. Nor will that trite and pitiful distinction of the divine and human nature, in the least avail them here. For they will not only be driven from that weak hold, but be cutoff even from chicanery itself. As they have hitherto admitted that Christ existed in his highest capacity before the worlds were made, I shall argue upon that supposition. Is there any thing then more clear and apparent than that the supreme God made that very person heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds? Is it not the same person that sits down at the right hand of greatness, and that is made more excellent than the angels? Is it not still the same person whom he calls by the eminent appellation of God, and whose God hath anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows? When this divine person therefore was made heir of all things, did not he receive dignity, power, or some advantage at least, which he did possess before? When God made the worlds by this person, did he not use him as an agent or instrument, and consequently employ him as an inferior being?

Again, Christ, you say, is the supreme God. But Christ is also the firstborn of every creature. Therefore the supreme God, according to you, is the firstborn of every creature. Here again, most conscientious and reverend divines, your old trick of playing fast and loose with the divine and human nature fails you. For certainly Christ was not the firstborn of every human creature, for then he must have been born before his mother. I hope, Gentlemen, that you will have the modesty to grant me this.

And, in a line or two farther, I have shewed you that my calling Christ God is not the least proof in the world that he must be the supreme God. For this is a common expression in the Old Testament, and is frequently applied to other beings, as well as to the Supreme, who therefore is distinguished by the title of the God of Gods. For, in the Old Testament, even Moses and the judges were called gods. And this I have taken care to assert and explain in such a manner as makes it impossible for the Son to be the supreme God, if the positive assertion of an apostle may be allowed as a proof. For I have solemnly affirmed that to us Christians there is but one God, which is God the Father. Consequently unless they can prove the Son to be the Father, he cannot possibly be that one God. And I have also told you that to us Christians there is Lord, which is Jesus Christ. Therefore, as I have said above, if Jesus Christ is not the Father, he cannot be the supreme God.

Now I will submit it to the determination of every honest man whether the doctrine of the modern apostles is not directly contradictory to mine, and consequently to that of all the sacred writers. But what are not those men capable of, that can tell you that the eternal God was begotten, and that the firstborn of every creature was not created? Or what absurdity can be equal to the following, viz. That God died to make infinite satisfaction to God? Here is the immortal eternal God dies to appease himself. Is it to be imagined that if I had known Jesus Christ to have been the Supreme God, that I should not have worshiped him as devoutly, adored him with as much reverence, and described him with as much majesty, as the modern apostles? Would not it have been my duty, as well as theirs, to have told the people, (whom I was to convert and instruct in the Christian faith) that the supreme God was come down from heaven to be born of a virgin, and to take humanity upon him. And that Jesus Christ, being God-man, was this Supreme Being. And that, while John was baptizing the Supreme God, the Supreme came down from heaven, in the form of a dove, and sanctified the Supreme God. And that he cured the lame and the blind, and raised the dead by his own omnipotent power, and not by that of the Father.

But had I said this, I should have spoke most extravagant nonsense, uttered a most audacious falsehood, and have impudently contradicted Christ himself. And for which I should deserve to be treated like an execrable villain.

(Go to Part 4)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Trial of William Whiston, Part 2

(Continuation of Part 1)

Mr. Solicitor-General Codex - As there is a fresh evidence just arrived, we must beg your Lordship's indulgence a little longer. For Mr. Shynkin ap Rees, a Welch Divine, being this moment come into court, he hopes he shall not be denied the liberty of offering his testimony and reasons against the prisoner, and the heretical dogma which is now to be tried before you.

Judge - Mr. Shynkin ap Rees, the court is very willing to hear what you have to offer.

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - My Lort, and you shentlemens of the jury: as there was a great clamours and reports in my country, that there were great assaults making upon our holy religion in London, hur dit come in great haste up to town, to fight for hur church.

Judge - Sir, you have shewn a very laudable zeal, but I must observe to you that the proper and natural defense of a church that is attacked by arguments, is reason, and not arms. And the only thing that is incumbent upon you here is to inform the court of what you know, in relation to Mr. William Whiston denying or defaming the Blessed Trinity.

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - My goot Lort, that hur shall do in fery few words. He is a fery great rogue and deserves to be hang'd, for having lain fiolent hands upon our dear Mother the Church. And he is so fery wicked, as to lay his axe at the root of a great mystery. And if he be allow'd to go on, the choicest piece of our holy religion will be cut off. And indeed, my goot Lort, I must tell you that he has struck such a terror into the clergy of our parts, that he has frightened the goot bishop and canons of St. Davit's out of their wits.

Judge - Sir, did you ever hear Mr. Whiston any thing in derogation or contempt of the ever-blessed Trinity?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - What! I hear him say any thing, my Lort? I scorn to be seen with such a scrups; there is not a poor curate in all Wales would keep such a fillain company.

Mr. Whiston - My Lord, since I perceive that this British divine knows nothing of me, but what he has heard in a barber's shop or an alehouse, I should be glad to hear what he can say in behalf of the favourite mystery he is so ready to fight for, and to know how he came acquainted with it.

Mr. Sbynkin ap Rees - My Lort, that is a fery easy thing, that is a fery easy thing, my goot Lort: Hur suck'd it in with hur mother's milk; hur faith strengthened as hur grew up, and was daily increased with goot ale and metheglin, and the wise instructions of Mr. Davit Shones, our worthy parson of Kerig y Druydion.

Mr. Whiston - Pray Sir, give me leave to ask you what notion you have of your Trinity?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - Why my notion is that there is one Father, and one Son, and one Holy Ghost, who is both their Sons, and that they will make one very good God between them all.

Mr. Whiston - But with submission sir, according to your account, there are two Fathers and two Sons, for the Son is Father to the Holy Ghost.

Mr. Sbynkin ap Rees - Sir, you are an impudent fellow to say that I do make two Fathers and two Sons: Do I make any more than the Church makes? Sir, I will live and die by the Church. And if the Church says there is but one, he is a fillain that lays there are two.

Mr. Whiston - Sir, since I find you begin to grow hot, I shall urge you no more upon this point, but go on to the next. You are pleased to tell me, Sir, that your oracle the Church says that the Father is God, and that the Son is God, and that the Holy Ghost is God; and that these three are not three Gods, but one God. You acknowledge also that the Father is a person, that the Son is a person, and that the Holy Ghost is a person. The consequence of which is that since a distinct person is inseparably annex'd to each of the three God-heads, if there be but one God, and not three Gods, there will necessarily be but one person, and not three persons. Nor can their glory be equal, or they co-eternal. Not equal, for it is the same, which equals never are, nor co-eternal. For how can they be co-eternal, if not distinct. Do we say that a thing is co-eternal or cotemporary with itself? I desire to know Sir, what you have to say to this?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - You desire to know what I have to say to it! Why I say Sir, that I never heard any thing of it before; and that I do verily believe, that it is a great lye. And that it was but one person in the Greek. And I do not doubt, but the Church will tell you so too, if there be occasion for it. And as for your nonsense about your equals and your co-eternals, indeet, I shall not trouble my head about them.

Mr. Whiston - Will you be pleased then to give me leave to proceed to another question?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - Is indeet, with all my heart, Sir.

Mr. Whiston - I desire to know what opinion you have of the devil's parts, and whether you do not take him to be a very subtle spirit?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - He is a fery cunning prince, indeet.

Mr. Whiston - Do you think he could distinguish a god from a man?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - Oh yes, Got knows, for dit he not find out Jesus the Son of Davit the Son of Abraham, the Son of Adam, the Son of God, without being told, when he drove him out of the possess'd man, and sent him into the herd of swine?

Mr. Whiston - It was cleverly done I must confess, and it must be own'd, was a very notable proof of his parts. But, Mr. Shynkin, if Christ had been God, how comes it that he did not find out that too when he tempted him in the wilderness? And if he had power enough to carry him up to the top of a mountain, and to set him upon the pinnacle of the temple; how is it possible to conceive that he should not have had penetration enough to find out who that person was, over whom he had so much power?

Mr. Shynkin ap Rees - [Aside] By Got, this is a Cclincher indeet: Dear doctor W—d, help hur to some quipple now, or hur shall disgrace hur cloth and family forever.

Mr. Whiston - I must beg your Lordship to take notice of the candour and integrity of this worthy witness; for the very last words he uttered, were to ask a reverend divine to help him to a quibble, in order to impose upon the court.

Mr. Sbynkin ap Rees - Sure, my Lort, it is no treason, for one reverend divine to help another to a quipple. But suppose that the Devil was cheated, what was that to me, my good Lort? He might be a very foolish young Devil, for aught that I know, that was but just come into the world, and had never heard that God Almighty had made himself a man of flesh and bones like one of us.

Judge - Mr. Sbynkin ap Rees, your base and pitiful design to impose upon the court is of too pernicious a nature to be passed by in silence. The clergy, Sir, may make as light as they please of sophistry and false glosses. They indeed may encourage them and applaud them. But men of honour will ever detest and abhor them. Let me have no more of your ecclesiastical pious frauds, for here at least, I expect that you should shew a proper regard to decency and truth.

Dr. W—d - My Lord, I must confess, I am not a little concerned to see an embassador of Christ have recourse to so mean a shift. But to let the world see that our Holy Church scorns a quibble as much as she does a lie, and that Athanasian verity does not stand in need of such feeble supports, she answers thus: The all-wise Creator, purposing within himself to put the Prince of Darkness to shame, condescended to be his companion for a time, and that he might the more effectually baffle him, he divested him of his natural penetration, though not of his power, during the whole course of the temptation, and sent him away with the mortification of being bubbled for forty days together, which must certainly have been a very considerable discouragement to him in all his future attempts.

Judge - Since I find that this Britsh divine has-discovered nothing to us but an immoderate constitutional zeal, an excessive eagerness to fight for his good ale and metheglin, I think we should lose no more time, but proceed to call in the witnesses.

Mr. Whiston - My Lord, as the best justification I can possibly make for my contempt of this solemn ecclesiastical riddle of a Trinity must be by proving it to be utterly false, so the best reason that it is possible to give for abolishing it will be to shew how detrimental it is to Christianity itself. And in order to make it evident that it is so, I must beg leave to call in such witnesses as are necessary to prove it. And though I could have the restimony of the Jewish, the Mahometan and Gentile World, I shall trouble the court with no more than one, who will be a sufficient representative of all the rest.

Judge - Who will you be pleased to call, Sir?

Mr. Whiston - I would call in Mustapha Ben Hamet, a Turk.

Dr. Tr—p - If Turks, my Lord, are to be admitted as evidence against the Church, Christianity may as well give up its cause. And if our wealth and dignities are to depend upon the depositions of Turks and infidels, better had it been for us that we had professed any thing, rather that Christ. Shall a Christian court give credit to such monsters as deny the Lord! This is so flagrant a piece of cruelty and injustice, that G— d— me, Christian patience is not sufficient to bear it. And if reason has the presumption openly to declare against us, we most have recourse to authority to suppress its insolence.

Judge - Reason, Sir, declares for nothing but truth. And I must observe to you that if any sort of testimony ought to be rejected before it is heard, it should be the testimony of those who will be most affected by the issue of the dispute. Are Turks as much concerned in this affair as dignitaries? Have ye made no scruple to produce the doctors of your own church, as witnesses in your own cause. And are ye so extremely delicate that you will not admit of a person that is entirely neuter? As I have no reason therefore to suspect that this witness will be guided by any thing but truth, it is but just and fit that he should be heard.

Mr. Whiston - I desire, Mr. Mustapha, that you would give the court an account of the the reasons that hindered you and many thousands more from embracing the Christian religion, when you were sollicited to it by certain missionaries in the east.

Mr. Mustapha - My Lord, upon my happening to be acquainted with some Christian missionaries at Pequin in China, they not only expressed the tenderest affection for my person, but seemed to be under the utmost concern for the good of my soul, giving me the strongest assurances of immortal joys, upon my receiving the true and orthodox faith but declared that whilst I continued ignorant of certain important doctrines, it would be impossible for me to be saved. And, that out of the particular regard they had for me, they would let me into the mystery of mysteries at once, which, as near as I can remember, was as follows, viz. That the great God of heaven had a Son, who was the same God as himself, and yet distinct from himself. And that there was a God, the Holy Ghost, who proceeded from the Father and the Son, who was distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet was the same God as the Father and the Son, so that this Holy Ghost was both Father and Son, and yet was neither Father nor Son. And that the Father was both Son and Holy Ghost, and yet was neither Son nor Holy Ghost. And that the Son was both Father and Holy Ghost, any yet was neither Father nor Holy Ghost.

This they pronounce to be the most amazing and stupendous object for the right and meritorious exercise of our faith. In short, that the most mysterious of mysreries, was, that every one of them by Hypostatic Union should be Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and yet by ecclesiastic determination there should be but one Father, and one Son, and one Holy Ghost. They told me also that about seventeen hundred and forty years ago, that God was extremely angry, and that he had made himself a man, and that he had sent himself into this world, and that he died to appease himself, and that about three days after he had been dead, that he rose again, and went back to heaven, and sat upon his own right hand, where he still continues, incessantly soliciting himself. This they assured me, was the faith of a Christian, and that whosoever did not believe thus of the Trinity, (as they call it) must perish everlastingly. This, my Lord, was the mystery of mysteries, which was proposed to me by those worthy missionaries as necessary to my salvation, which is so nonsensical, blasphemous, and absurd that I am not able to repeat it without the utmost horror and detestation. And I do most solemnly aver, that the monstrous notions, which these execrable hypocrites have endeavoured to propagate of the great God of heaven, have given all other sects so just and so strong a prejudice against Christianity, that whilst this doctrine is maintained, it will be impossible for it to make any considerable progress: For I will take upon me to affirm that of all the sacred impostors who have ever taken advantage of the weakness of mankind, none have ever yet had the impudence to promulge such absurd and monstrous notions of the Deity.

Mr. Whiston - Having given your Lordship a sufficient proof of part of the infinite mischiefs which this monstrous doctrine attended with, I shall proceed to shew you that it is not only contrary to the tenor of the Scriptures in general, but that it is diametrically contrary to the sense of every one of the sacred penmen in particular, and shall produce their own irrefragable testimony, in support of what I assert.

(Go to Part 3)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Trial of William Whiston, Part 1

The following satirical tract was first published in 1740. It is about William Whiston on trial for speaking against the Trinity. Whiston was allowed to defend himself, cross-examine Trinity supporters, and call in his own witnesses (which even comprised of some of the apostles!)

This tract has been attributed to William Whiston or Alexander Pope, depending on the source. Pope is most certainly incorrect, for he was a Catholic. This work is not listed under Whiston's works in his biography. So the author remains unknown to me at this point.

William Whiston was an 18th century scientist and Bible scholar. He created controversy for denying the Trinity. He was a colleague of Sir Isaac Newton. Unlike Newton, he went public with his non-Trinitiarian beliefs, which adversely affected his career. He is now most popularly known as the translator of the works of Josephus.

This work is already freely available online. However, its original format makes for hard reading. This edition modernizes the text:

1) The original had few paragraph breaks, presenting the reader with a wall of text. This new version has more paragraph breaks.

2) Older spellings have been modernized. For example, the title was "The Tryal of William Whiston," which was changed to "The Trial of William Whiston."

3) When the phoneme "s" was used, the obsolete letter "ʃ" was used. This reads like an "f" for a modern reader, and drastically slows down reading time and comprehension. For example, Whiston's name was spelled "Whiʃton." The word "must" was spelled "muʃt," and so on. The "ʃ" has been replaced with the modern "s."

4) Every noun was capitalized. The new version reflects standard capitalization.

5) Finally, the original was too fond of the comma and semi-colon, many of them have been eliminated to smooth out the reading.

(First published in 1740
Reformatted for modern readers)

The Trial of William Whiston, Clerk. 

For Defaming and Denying the Holy Trinity 

Before the Lord Chief Justice Reason

Clerk of the Arraigns - Cryer, call over the jury.

Cryer - 

(Irish Jesuits)
Alexander MacRaigh, Esq;
Patrick O'Neal, Esq;
Macdonal O'Connor, Esq;

(Welch Nonjurors)
Shenkin ap Thomas,
Robert ap Reese,
Owen ap Tudor,

(Scotch Rebels)
Archibald Mackintosh,
Tory Carnegy,
Duncan Kinlough, Esq;

James Guthrie, Clerk, Chaplain to the Thieves in Newgate.

His Grace Roger Gaynham, Archbishop of the Hundreds of Drury.

Signor Cazzo, His Holiness's Pimp.

Clerk of the Arraigns - Sir, if you have a mind to challenge any of the jury, you must do it as they come to be swore?

Mr. Whiston - My Lord, I except against them all, and I defy the whole Roman conclave to produce a knot of greater villains. I am sure the jury must be packed, for is it possible to imagine that three Irish Jesuits, three Welsh Nonjurers, three Scotch Rebels, the Chaplain of Newgate, and the Pope's Pimp, should all meet by chance?

Judge - Take care, Sir, how you throw the least slur upon the sacred character of the gown. But that you may not have the least pretense to charge me with partiality, I will enquire into it, though I think it scarce possible that men, so zealous in support of the Church, and so rigid and scrupulous in points of faith, can be guilty of so foul an action.

Who gave you the names of this jury Mr. Sheriff?

Sheriff - The Reverend Dr. Codex.

Judge - This is the most scandalous proceedings that ever was heard of in a court of justice. Sir, it little becomes a man of your sacred function, to be packing of juries. Let me have no more of these diabolical, inquisitorial arts. For the honesty of a layman will not bear it. Call another jury, and take particular care that no parson creeps into it.

[The new jury being swore, the Clerk reads the indictment as follows]

William Whiston, Clerk, you stand charged, with having maintained, propagated and published, most horrid, damnable and blasphemous tenets against the doctrine, worship and majesty of the blessed Trinity; expressly contradicting the Nicene Creed, and defaming the Athanasian; impiously asserting them to be the inventions of the priests, to pervert and confound the understandings of mankind. This is what you are to answer, and God fend you a good deliverance.

Mr. Solicitor General Codex - My Lord, Heaven is my witness, with how much sorrow and reluctance I appear this day, to make good so dreadful a charge, against this our unfortunate, apostate brother. But when our holy religion is concerned, and our Church is in danger, compassion would be impious, and humanity is a crime. For experience daily teaches us that lenity and tenderness would prove our ruin. And surely, if ever there was a case that cried out for rigorous justice, it is certainly this before us; which is no less than robbing the Church of one of its most valuable mysteries; and the Deity itself, of two thirds of its dignity and power. For it is to this sacred mystery that mankind made the first sacrifice of their understandings. To this we owe the implicit faith of the laiety, our own wealth, dignities and power. And to this alone, we owe the spiritual monarchy of the Church.

Oh thou inexplicable three-one! Thou woundrous Son! Subject, yet equal; generated though eternal! And thou most Holy Spirit, inconceivably distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet the same with both! There stands the wretch that would destroy the God that was made man, to redeem him; and denies that God which which came down to sanctify him. Can a Christian hear this without horror, or a priest forbear to tear his heart out! Amazing mystery! For though God can be seen by no man, yet God the Son has appeared at sundry times to the Patriarchs and the Prophets, and condescended to be born of a virgin, and to live in the man Jesus, distinct from the Father, yet one God. 

These are the divine Truths this execrable monster has denied, and for which I hope to see him suffer the most exquisite tortures the zeal of churchmen can invent. And now, my Lord, I shall beg leave to call in the witnesses to prove the fact.

Judge - Who would you call in first?

Mr. Sollicitor - Call in Dr. Tr—p.

Mr. Sollicitor- I desire Sir, that you would inform the court what you have heard the prisoner say concerning the ever-blessed Trinity.

Dr. Tr—p - My Lord he had the insolence to tell me to my face that it was the most impudent piece of nonsense that ever was imposed upon mankind. And that they who compel us to receive it are the most inhuman of tyrants.

Mr. Sollicitor - Did you hear him say nothing else?

Dr. Tr—p - No Sir, for I immediately knocked him down, and raised the mob upon him, in hopes that he would have been tore to pieces.

Court - Call in Dr. W-nd.

Mr. Sollicitor - What discourse have you had with the prisoner about the Trinity?

Dr. W—nd - Sir, while the prisoner was orthodox and pure in his faith, no man was more intimate with him, or valued him more than I did. But when I found him examining the Scriptures, and reasoning upon mysteries, I profess, I was extremely apprehensive, that some great mischief would happen to the Church. Nor was it long before he broke out into this fatal error. My concern was such, that there is nothing which I would not have done to have saved his immortal soul. I begged him for his own sake, and for the sake of his innocent brethren, to have pity on a falling Church. Nay, I assured him of a couple of the fattest livings in the Kingdom, if he would but seem to recant. But the vile wretch was so far from being reduced to a Christian temper, by this spiritual encouragement, that he had the ill manners to tell me that he would have nothing to do with such a parcel of hypocritical, base rascals, and that the Trinity was nothing but a piece of roguery invented by the Church.

Mr. Sollicitor - Was that all that passed between ye?

Dr. W-nd - Yes, Sir.

Mr. Sollicitor - Did not you knock him down too?

Dr. W—nd - Sir, I happened to be very much weakened with a small runing at that time. But had my strength been equal to my indignation, I should have knocked his brains out.

Judge - Have you any more witnesses?

Mr. Sollicitor General - Call in Dr. R—rs.

Mr. Sollicitor - Pray, Sir, acquaint the court with what you know of the prisoner, in relation to his defaming, ridiculing, or denying the Holy Trinity.

Dr. R—rs - Sir, as I and several other orthodox Divines were gravely discoursing upon tithes, fine ale, pluralities, and such like spiritual matters, the prisoner happened to be by, when on a sudden there entered a very comely old gentleman, who cried out with an audible voice:

"The mystery of mysteries unfolded, to the utter confusion of all arians, infidels and heretics; One is three and Three are one, not only made visible, but even palpable. For here, gentlemen, you shall not only seek, but feel it. Observe then, here is but one ball. Now, Gentlemen, you shall see this one ball send forth two other balls out of itself, as big as itself, and yet not lose one atom of its weight and grandeur. Hocus Pocus Reverendissimi Spectlatores, the one is three. Now, gentlemen, be pleased to observe the miracle reversed. Pilluli Pittuli congregate, presto presto unite; osservate Signori Dotttssimi, the three are one."

These eyes of mine, my Lord, were witnesses of the fact. And upon one of the company's expressing an uncommon satisfaction, and saying that this ingenious gentleman might be of signal service to the Church, this execrable traitor had the impudence to declare that we juggled with the Deity, as this conjurer did with his cups and balls, and that the blessed Trinity was only an ecclesiastical Hocus Pocus; which blasphemous insult upon our holy order being sufficiently proved, we have nothing more to do than to deliver him over to the secular arm, which, I hope, will make such an example of him as will satisfy the vengeance of an offended Church.

Judge - You have heard, Sir, what is laid to your charge. And now the evidence against you has done, you may make your defense.

Mr. Whiston - My Lord, as nothing could be more fortunate to me than this opportunity of defending the truth, before so impartial a Judge; so it must be the highest satisfaction to a free people, to see it maintained with that candour and fairness it deserves. Notwithstanding the violent clamours that have been raised against me, your Lordship must necessarily see that my only crime is that of differing from the rest of my brethren in a speculative point. But a point of such importance, I must confess, that no less than the tyranny of the priesthood, and the liberty of the laity depend upon it. My cause, my Lord, is that of truth, and I hope I shall be allowed the liberty of asking those learned witnesses such questions as will be most likely to discover it, and to set it in the clearest light.

Judge - Sir, you may take your own method in your defense.

Mr. Whiston - I desire then to know of the ingenious Dr. T—p, whether the divine essence can be separated from any of the persons in the Trinity?

Dr. T—p - We hold that it cannot.

Mr. Whiston - Then I desire to know whether the second person was sent with the divine essence, or without it?

Dr. T—p - We maintain that it was sent with it.

Mr. Whiston - Sir, I desire that you would inform the court whether you can conceive it possible for any being to be sent, and at the same time not to be distinct and separate from the being that sends it?

Dr. Tr—p - God damn him! [aside] My Lord, I beg leave to observe that this is a sophistical and ensnaring question, and does not admit of a direct and categorical answer. For we say, that although the divine essence is in its own nature inseparable, it must necessarily be the same essence, said to be sent indeed, but not sent, according to human conception of sending; but sent in an ineffable manner, agreeable to the nature of God, but inconceivable to men. And it is that that makes the mystery, which is nothing else but the inconceivableness of the manner, wrapped up in the revelation of the fact. And in the implicit and hearty belief of your inconceivableness, lies the true secret of a meritorious and saving faith, and this is the true doctrine of the Church.

Mr. Whiston - The true doctrine of the Church then is that perfect unity and real separation are compatible in the same subject, and at the same time! — But, to proceed — I beg the learned doctor would inform the court, to what intent and purpose the second person in the Trinity was inseperably united to the man Jesus, since it never gave the man Jesus the least assistance in any one act. For he attributes every virtue and power to the Father which is in Heaven?

Dr. Tr—p - As nothing can be a greater insult upon the divine majesty, than to censure his conduct, and to call his wisdom in question. So nothing can be more incumbent upon his vicegerents than to support his dignity, and to justify his ways with men. Was it not infinite goodness in the Almighty to live among us, to be a witness to all our wants, to overlook the man Jesus, to give a private account to the Father of what passed, and to hinder him from doing any harm, though he did not afford him the least assistance to do any good? Such actions as these, Sir, may be highly expedient in the Trine-economy, perfectly agreeable to the distinct operation of harmonic union, and absolutely necessary to the execution of the wondrous scheme.

Mr. Whiston - Since you have given so curious an account of the nature and offices of the Deity, and seem to be so intimately acquainted with his secrets, pray, what do you think of the Devil's hurrying the Almighty into the wilderness, then tossing him up upon the pinacle of a temple, and, lastly, of his having the assurance to bid him fall down and worship him? Now, Sir, according to your principles, the very story itself is incredible, for his excellence, the Devil, seems to fall as short of the high opinion the Church has of his cunning, in not knowing whom he had to deal with, as he surpasses the limits they have set to his power, by his ruling the omnipotent. You hear my objection, Sir, and I beg the favour of you to answer it to the court.

Dr. Tr—p - That Christ was carried by the evil sprit into the wilderness, the holy Scriptures do indeed declare; but then he was carried as man, not as God. God indeed, for wise purposes, permitted the man Jesus to be hurried away, and to be tempted, and attended him as a witness of his virtue. For I beg your Lordship to observe, that although the divine nature was inseparable from the human, the divine nature might give the Devil heave to run away with the human, and at the same time voluntarily accompany it, so that the divine nature might act with the utmost freedom, while the human was driven by cumpulsion. And as to the other difficulty, it is but supposing the Divinity's being incognito; and then, how could the Devil know a word of his being there? And consequently does not deserve the invidious reflections this gentleman is pleased to throw upon him.

Mr. Whiston - Since the doctor has resolved the last difficulty with such extraordinary subtlety, and has brought off the Devil so ingeniously, I must beg the favour of him to explain one knotty point more, and so proceed to the examining my witnesses. I desire him therefore to declare, whether he thinks the supreme God deficient in knowledge; and whether Christ has not expressly declared the second and third person in the Trinity to be deficient in knowledge, by positively affirming that the first person only, which is the Father, knows the Day of Judgment?

Dr. Tr—p - That there is such an expression in holy Writ, the Church does not deny, and is also so fair and candid, as to admit that according to the common acceptation of words, and the most regular process of human reasoning, the Son and holy Ghost are absolutely excluded, by that knowledge being confined to the Father only. But then she says that the person being inseparable from the essence, and the Father knowing by his essence, and not by his person, the Son being acknowledged by the Church to be of same essence, he must, in respect to his essence, necessarily have the same knowledge, though he had not in any other respect. For the attributes being the same, the powers will be the same also. Though the Church does hold some tenets indeed, which are of a pretty hard digestion. Yet gentlemen will find themselves prodigiously mistaken, if they think she wants arguments for her defense.

Mr. Whiston - If the Doctor calls this arguing, he may go on indeed 'till Doomsday. And as he has given your Lordship a sufficient specimen of his ridiculous trifling and solemn nonsense, that I may not provoke him to trouble your Lordship with any more of it, I will beg leave to call in my witnesses, that you may hear what they have to say in my defense.

Dr. Tr—p - Solemn nonsense, you Dog! My Lord, such usage is not to be bore. Shall men of my sublime character be used thus? Shall the representatives of God, and the fellow labourers of Christ, who have a power superior to angels and archangels, be exposed to the scoffs and insults of Libertines and Deists? If I cannot have justice from the court, I will have it from the people. Fire; Murder; the Church is in Danger; down with the Heretics; tear them to pieces; beat their Brains out; knock —

Judge - I would have you consider, Sir, that you are not at Oxford, or in convocation, but before an impartial court of justice, which is the guardian of our liberties; which will maintain its authority, and commands decency and respect. And let me tell you, Sir, the people are not to be moved by the bellowing of a priest; for they know you too well, to be your tools any longer.

Dr. Tr—p - I little expected, that a man of my dignity and order should have been brow-beaten, for using a pestiferous heretic as he deserves. Heresies, my Lord, are of too virulent, obstinate and exuberant a Nature, to be exterminated by disputes. Such plagues are to be cured by nothing but fire and sword. For believe me my Lord, the unity and peace of a Church depends upon its power. Nor will it ever be safe and happy till we can crush the malignant, cruciate the obstinate, and cut off the rebellious from the face of the earth, and —

Judge - Sir, You must not disturb the court with your seditious harangues. Let the prisoner proceed to call his witnesses.

(Go to Part 2)