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)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this, it exposes the Trinity doctrine for the nonsense it is.