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April, 20, 1738.
For Mr. John Depee, near Coflany Bridge, Norwich.
Received yours of the 8th Instant, by the Peryou it with; and by Mr. Killingworth, an eminent Baptift, and a very good Writer on their Side; and return you this short Answer to your Queries.
(1.) That the Word God, when it is made the Subject of a Propofition, means always the most High God, which you fay Dr. Clarke and others grant, I do not know. That it ufually does fo, is very plain, and confeffed by all. However, the Text your Athanafian has pitched upon, 1 Tim. iii. 16. is unluckily chosen for a Determination of fuch a Controverfy; fince it is so very doubtful whether the true old Reading had the Word God or not. I have now by me a Differtation of Sir Ifaac Newton's, to difprove that Reading. And upon its Perufal, I cannot fay, whether the Word written by St. Paul, were Osos, or Λόγος, or Χρισός, or ὃ : Which laft all the Latin Copies fuppofe, and implies the Contextto have been, Great is the Mystery of Godliness, which was manifefted in the Flefh, &c. Thus do the Athanafians take it alfo for granted, that our Saviour is called, Rom. ix. 5. ò inì wárlwv πάντων Beds, or, The God over all, against the conftant Language
Language of Chriftans in the two first Centuries, which appropriated that Character to the Father. Accordingly it appears by no fmall Evidence, that the Word @tos was inferted by the Montanists; and from them derived to their Offspring the Athanafians. See Athanafian Forgeries, p. 6-12. As to your Hypothefis-makers famous Discovery of a fuperangelical Spirit united to the Aoyos, whether taken from Dr. Knight, or Dr. Bennet, it deferves no Anfwer, till we have fome Proof, that it was the Doctrine of the Apoftolical Age; to which I am fully fatisfied it was an entire Stranger. The Notion then being constant, that the Aoyos himself was no other than fuch a fuperangelical Spirit, begotten or created by the Father before the World began. Thefe Hypothefis-makers are the great Corrupters of true Religion. For myself, I dare make none in fuch a Cafe. But having most frequently and carefully perufed all the Books of the New Testament, received from the Church of Rome, and ftanding in our Common Bible, and all the rest unjustly rejected by the Athanaftans, and by that Church, and even by us from them, and commonly ftiled Apoftolical Fathers only; I atteft to the World what Doctrines, Worfhip, and Difcipline I find therein contained; and this without any imaginary Suppofals whatsoever. See Athanafian Forgeries, pag.
(2.) Nor do I much deal in fupporting by Reafon what I find in the fame Sacred Books, I now mean thofe of the Old, as well as New Teftament, as un derstood
derstood in the very next Ages alfo, viz. That the divine Perfon that fo often appeared to the Patriarchs was not the moft High God, but the Aéyos having the Name of God in him; Ex. xxiii. 21. and the Name Jehovah communicated to him; and fpeaking, and acting always in the Name of the Most High God, and by his Authority, as his Minifter, and Vicegerent among Mankind. This is almost the conftant Voice of Chriftian Antiquity; Philo the Jew is alfo full of it; and Jofephus had the fame Notion, as alfo I fuppofe had all the Prophets. But whether the vulgar carnal Jews did not imagine that Divine Being, which fo often appeared to their Fore-fathers, to have been the Moft High God himfelf, I cannot certainly tell; however I have treated fo fully of this in my IVth Volume, Article XIII. that I fhall add no more in this Place.
(3.) As to my great Friend Mr. Emlyn's Previous Question about Baptifm, it is written with great Acuteness ad hominem, as we fay, but feems to me deftitute of all real Foundation. The Authority of the Talmud, and the modern Rabbins no way deferving any Regard, when they not only are unfupported, but contradicted by all other genuine Evidence. Nor do I believe any fuch Baptism of Profelytes, till John the Baptift. I have fent you my old Paper of Baptifm, which includes the Teftimonies of two Centuries relating to that Matter, wherein, Page 25. you have this Apoftolical Injunction, Let no one eat of the Eucharift that is not initiated; but thofe only who have been baptized
unto the Death of the Lord; and in Page 34. the express Testimony of Justin Martyr, one that might be ten Years old when St. John died, It is not lawful for any to partake of the Eucharift, but such as believe the Things we teach, and have received that washing which is for the Remiffion of their Sins, and Regeneration; fo that you must then confine the Eucharift, to Profetyles alfo. By Infants and little Children the Constitutions and other ancient Writings, mean only fuch with relation to Baptism as were catechized before Baptifm, as their whole Current implies; and as the Paper about Infant Baptifm will abundantly prove; the Discovery of which Secret made me a Baptift twenty-fix Years ago. I have fent you also my old Paper of the ancient Creeds, which I call the Magna Charta of Christianity; in Oppofition to which Evidence for the ancient Faith of Chriftians, I take the pretended occafional Criticisms, and little Hypothefes of the Athanafians to be mere Trifles, I heartily wish Mr. Scot the younger all Happiness and Succefs in his Intentions to restore Primitive Christianity, but hope he would avoid, as much as poffible, the introducing of any Controverfies into the Pulpit; which ought generally to be facred to the Fundamental Doctrines, and Practical Duties of the Gofpel.
I am, SIR, Your hearty well Wisher,
and bumble Servant,