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John Jamieson.

A vindication of the doctrine of Scripture, and of the primitive faith, concerning the Deity of Christ : in reply to Dr. Priestley's History of early opinions, &c (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn JamiesonA vindication of the doctrine of Scripture, and of the primitive faith, concerning the Deity of Christ : in reply to Dr. Priestley's History of early opinions, &c (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 46)
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samuel agne\v,

OK P H I I. A HE I.PH I A , PA.



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//2^^i!d is fet for the fall and i ifing again of many in Ifrael ;
and for a fign which fliall be fpoken againfl:: — that the thoughts of ma-
ny hearts may be revealed. LUKE.

Omnes haeretici perverfa credentes, panem de coelo defcendentem co-
medere non poffunt : fed obftupefcunt dentes eorum, non ciborum aulle-
ritate, fed vitio dentium. HILRONl M.



EDINBURGH:

PRINTED BY NfJILL AND COMPANY, FOR C. DILLY,

POULTRY, LONDON j ANI* SOLD BY J. OGLE,

PARLIAMENT SQUARE EDINBURGH.

M.DCC.XCIV.



Cmertl in ^taticiicr;^ li^^all



THE



P R E F A C E,



J IIE idea of this work was firll fuggefted by a letter which
appeared, under Dr Prleflley's fignature, in one of tfic
London prints, about four years ago. The defign of t]}i:5
letter was to (late that, altliOugh feme years had elapfed
fmce the publication of his Hip.jry of Early Opinions can-
cer ?ilng 'J^fu'i Chrift^ no anfvver had been given to it ; and
that, if the faine filcnce fiiould be obferved durinp" a cer-
tain time wiiich he is plcafed to lirait, he would coniider
it as an acknowledgment, on the part of the whole Chri-
liian world, tliat it was unanfwerable.

For a confidcrable time, I hefitated, expe£tingthat fome
more able combatant would enter the li(ls againft this literary
giant, who has defied the armies cf the living God. But a full
convlclion that I have trutli on my iide, emboldened me to
engage in this work -, and, notwithfLanding various difccu-
ragements, to proceed I)i it. The fatal influence of the So-
cinian fchcme, in tiirowing open the flnices to Infidelity,
and in hurrying forward thofe whom this torrent has al-
ready fwept awa\ j the fafclnating power which it inva-
a 2 riablv



iv PREFACE.

riaMy difcovers, in bereaving its votaries of all tiiat diflin-
guiuies Clirift-anity but the name ; their ui wearied affi-
duitj ill extending the delufion -, with its rapid progrels
in this ar^e •, undoubtedly lay the ftrongeft obligations on
every one who reuliy believes the gofpel, to exert him-
felf to the utmod, according to his place or ability, for the
prelervation and defence of the truth as it is in 'Jejus.

It feems to be the plan of modern Socinians, to carry the
controvcrfy as mucii as po:Iible out of uhe boundaries of Re-
velation. The voluminous and in'accurate works of the
Fathers afford them a more ample field for mifreprefenta-
tion, for cavilling, or at leal! for conjedure Therefore, as
far as the nature of the work would admit, I have e.idea-
voured to rellore the controverfy to its proper limits. V/ith
this view, I have not only conlidcred the prmcipal argu-
ments from fcripture contained in the Hiftory, but occa-
fionally ini:roduced others which Dr P. has publiilied di-
ftlndly; efpecially as he refers to thefe for further i!lu-
itration.

Confidering the many able replies that have been for-
merly made to writers of the fame clafs, to fome this work
may appear fuperfluous. But error, although iLill fubltan-
tiall)' the fame, alTumes a diveriaty of foim.s in dilferent pe-
riods. 1 his has been remarkably the caie with refpecl: to
the Socinian herefy Thofe who now appear as its friends
deny the force of the reafoning of many former writers, be-
caufe they have renounced the grounds on which that rea-
foning proceeded. In the laft century, they acknowledged
that the Logos was a perfon, and afiirmed that this perfon
was tlie mere man Jefus Chriit. They nov/ maintain that
the lame Logos is merely an attribute of God. Then they
worlliippcd the Son. Now they refufe that he is entitled

to



PREFACE. V

to religious v/orfhip of any kind. In lieu of their former
interpretations of fcripture, they have devifed a great ma-
ny new ones ; which, although equally weak, and in ma-
ny inflances more ridiculous, are ftill calculated to enfnare
the ignorant, and the unwary.

Some may imagine that it was quite unnecefTary to en-
ter into the cont^overfy, as far as it refpccls the Fathers ;
becaufe the decifion of the general queilion cannot depend
upon their do6hine. I am as fully fatisfied as they can be,
that the word of God is the only teft of divine truth, and
that any human authority, as far as it oppofes this, is of
no weight. Alihcugh the majority of Chiiiilan writers,
in the age immediately fuccecding that of the Apoftles,
had held a doctrine direftly coiitr.iry to the ob v ious mean-
ing of fcripture, they would noi have merited our regard.
For if the fcriptures were written for the ufe of luankind in
all ages, and w^ere therefore to be interpreted according to
the plain fenfe of language ; we, humanly fpeaking, mufl
be as capable of undcrllandiag them in all things neceifarily
connedled with falvation, as thofe who lived in that early
age, or even as thofe lo whom they were immediately di-
rected.

However, when our opponents appeal to the Fathers, it
is of importance to iliew that they appeal in vain. I or it
cannot be denied that, did the current of antiquity in this
reipect feem to oppoie the Trinicarian do6trine, with niiiny
it would be a powerful argument agamit it. Btit it being
once eitabliihed chat this is the doctrine of fcripture, accord-
ing to its obvious meaning ; when it is alio proved that the'
church from the beginning has adhered to it, altiiough this
circiiUiLance can add nothing t^ the authority of tlie doc-
trine idelf, it is very conlirming to the mind in a fuboidi-

a 3 nate



xrl PREFACE.

natc refpecl: ; flicws that the caufe of our opponents is indc-
fo^fiblc on every quarter ; tends to filence theu' vain boaft-
iilf^s ; may liave weight with thofe who will not attend to
anv other kind of argument ; and illudrates the unity of the
church, in her fuccelTive generations, with refpedl: to a doc-
trine wliich conRitutes the very bafis of revelation, deeply
a(fefhs rihnoil every article of her faith, and immediately
characterizes the whole of her worlhip.

But in the i:?refent indance, the Fathers have been ap-
pealed to, not properly with refped to opinions, but with
refpedl to fafls •, not as themfelves interpreting the fenfe of
fcripturc, but as declaring the fenfe in which it was inter-
preted by others. From their teliimony Dr Priellley has
attempted to prove that all the Hebrew Chriilirtns were E-
bionltes, or what he calls Unitarians, ?nd that the majority
even of Gentile Ghriflians, in the firft ages, were of the
fame opinion. Were it polfible to prove only the iirfl; of
thefe politions, I do not fay that we ought to renounce the
doftrine of the Trinity, but that we ought to renounce Chri-
flianity entirely. For it Vv^ould follow that, in the New
Teltament, the faith and praclice of the primitive church
are cxliibitcd as directly the reverfe of what they really
were. But a proof of tills kind is in fa



Online LibraryJohn JamiesonA vindication of the doctrine of Scripture, and of the primitive faith, concerning the Deity of Christ : in reply to Dr. Priestley's History of early opinions, &c (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 46)