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April, 20, 1738.
For Mr. John Depee, near Conany Bridge, Nor
of the 8th Instant, by the Person you intrufted it with ; and by Mr. Killingworth, an eminent Baptist, 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 Proposition, means always the most High God, which you say Dr. Clarke and others grant, I do not know. That it usually does so, is very plain, and confessed by all. However, the Text your Athanafian has pitched upon, 1 Tim. ii. 16. is unluckily chosen for a Determination of such a Controversy ; since 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 Isaac Newton's, to disprove that Reading. And upon its Perusal, I cannot say, whether the Word written by St. Paul, were Beds, or nógos, or Xesòs, or ö: Which last all the
Λόγος, Latin Copies suppose, and implies the Context to have been, Great is the Mystery of Godliness, which was manifested in the Flesh, &c. Thus do the Athanafians take it also for granted, that our Saviour is called, Rom. ix. 5. • éri máll we
δ ecos, or, The God over all, against the constant
Language of Christans in the two first Centuries, which appropriated that Character to the Father. Accordingly it appears by no small Evidence, that the Word cds was inserted by the Montanists ; and from them derived to their Offspring the Athanafians. See Athanafian Forgeries, p. 6--12. As to your Hypothesis-makers famous Discovery of a superangelical Spirit united to the lógos, whether taken from Dr. Knight, or Dr. Bennet, it deserves no Answer, till we have some Proof, that it was the Doctrine of the Apostolical Age ; to which I am fully satisfied it was an entire Stranger. The Notion then being conftant, that the Abyos himself was no other than such a superangelical Spirit, begotten or created by the Father before the World began. These Hypothesis-makers are the great Corrupters of true Religion. For myself, I dare make none in such a Case. But having most frequently and carefully perused all the Books of the New Testament, received from the Church of Rome, and standing in our Common Bible, and all the rest unjustly rejected by the Athanasians, and by that Church, and even by us from them, and commonly ftiled Apoftolical Fathers only ; I attest to the World what Doce trines, Worship, and Discipline I find therein contained ; and this without any imaginary Suppofals whatsoever. See Athanafian Forgeries, pag. 105-110.
(2.) Nor do I much deal in supporting by Reason what I find in the fame Sacred Books, I now mean those of the Old, as well as New Testament, as un
derstood in the very next Ages also, viz. That the divine Person that fo often appeared to the Patriarchs was not the most High God, but the Abyos having the Name of God in bim; Ex. xxiii. 21. and the Name Jehovah communicated to him ; and speaking, 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 Christian Antiquity; Philo the Jew is also full of it ; and Josephus had the fame Notion, as also I suppose had all the Prophets. But whether the vulgar carnal Jews did not imagine that Divine Being, which so often
appeared to their Fore-fathers, to have been the Most High God himself, I cannot certainly tell ; however I have treated fo fully of this in my IVth Volume, Article XIII, that I shall add no more in this Place.
(3.) As to my great Friend Mr. Emlyn's Previous Question about Baptism, it is written with great Acuteness ad hominem, as we say, but seems to me destitute of all real Foundation. The Authority of the Talmud, and the modern Rabbins no way deserving any Regard, when they not only are unsupported, but contradicted by all other genuine Evidence. Nor do I believe any such Baptism of Profelytes, till John the Baptist. I have sent you my old Paper of Baptism, which includes the Testimonies of two Centuries relating to that Matter, wherein, Page 25. you have this Apostolical Injunction, Let no one eat of the Eucharist that is noc initiated; but those 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 Eucharist, but such as believe the Things we teach, and have received that washing which is for the Remission of their Sins, and Regeneration; so that you must then confine the Eucharift, to Profetyles also. By Infants and little Children the Constitutions and other ancient Writings, mean only such with relation to Baptism as were catechized before Baptism, as their whole Current implies ; and as the Paper about Infant Baptism will abundantly prove ;
the Discovery of which Secret made me a Baptift twenty-fix Years ago. I have sent you also my old Paper of the ancient Creeds, which I call the Magna Charta of Christianity; in Opposition to which Evidence for the ancient Faith of Christians, I take the pretended occasional Criticisms, and little Hypotheses of the Athanafians to be mere Trifles, I heartily wilh Mr. Scot the younger all Happiness and Success in his Intentions to restore Primitive Christianity, but hope he would avoid, as much as poflible, the introducing of any Controversies into the Pulpit ; which ought generally to be sacred to the Fundamental Doctrines, and Practical Duties of the Gospel.
I am, SIR, Your hearty well Wisher,
and bumble Servant,