The Unity of God: Introduction

The Controversy now on foot is of no small Importance to every Christian; and therefore ought to be stated in such a clear and easy manner, as that every plain Reader may be able to understand it. They that can read only their Mother-Tongue, have a right to be assisted in judging of the main Questions relating to the Unity and Worship of God. Neither does it exceed their Capacities to form just Notions in the Case. Indeed, there are many Arguments urged by Writers on both Sides of the Controversy, the Force of which cannot be made fully apparent to such as are not skill’d in the learned Languages. But I hope it will appear, that there are Arguments sufficient, both in Number and Strength, to gain the rational Assent of the Unlearned, to the Truth in this Case; as well as Words enough in our own Language to give them clear Apprehensions of it, and of all the important Parts of the Doctrine concerning the Holy Trinity. We have no reason to doubt, but that an all-wise and good GOD has provided sufficient means for the instruction of the Vulgar, in the great and fundamental articles of Christianity; and has afforded them a sure Mark, whereby they may distinguish Truth from Falsehood, in all considerable Points.

It has been the Complaint of some, that tho’ so many learned and excellent Discourses have been publish’d of late in this Controversy; yet still there is wanting a plain introduction for the use especially of the Unlearned, which should shew them how to solve the Difficulties relating to the Unity of GOD, and the Object of Worship. I have here made an Attempt in this kind, with a particular View to the English Reader, whose Capacity, I hope, I have not exceeded. And if I have made the Doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, concerning the Unity and Worship of GOD, plainer than has been hitherto done, I presume, this Service will not be unacceptable to the World.

As I design this Discourse barely for an Introduction, it cannot be expected that I should run into all Parts of the Controversy, or give an Interpretation of evert Text that relates to it. This has been done already to excellent Purpose, by Dr. Clarke, Mr. Jackson, and the Author of Plain Christianity Defended. And when the Reader apprehends what I have here written, he will be able to read those learned and ingenious Authors with more Satisfaction, to whom I refer him.

The Parts of the Controversy, which I have undertaken, are these four; To prove that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three Spirits; that the Word GOD signifies some Character or Relation of Jehovah; to state and prove the true Notion of the Unity, and of the Worship of GOD. And while I explain these things, I shall consider what Dr. Waterland has said relating to them in his Vindication, &c. Since the Doctor’s Book has made so much Noise in the World, and is boasted of, as unanswerable, among all sorts of People, I thought it necessary that there should be an Answer to the main Parts of it, fitted for the use of the less Learned, as well as a full Confutation of it for the Perusal of others. I rejoiced to hear that the latter is undertaken by his learned Adversary, and I have presumed to attempt the former, hoping to do Service, where his larger Book may not reach. Tho’ I have made Remarks on few Passages of the Doctor’s, yet, they being the most material, the rest will not convince any one, who is satisfied, that these are weak, and inconclusive. And the Doctor plainly lays the greatest Stress upon them, as appears by his repeating them so often: Indeed, they are the Sum of what is of any Weight in his Book.

Part I: Of Three Persons