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THE THIRD LETTER..
WORTHY SIR, W ERE I to copy after the Model of
W your last Letter, the Contest between us would consist of thele three Things : First, Who could say the handsomest Things of one another : Secondly, Who could say the bitterest Things against one another; and, Lastly, Who could produce the strongest Arguments to support his own Notions.
I must chiefly keep to the laft of these : Declining the first, because it is too copious ; and the second, because too barren. I might indeed be very fevere, but then it would be upon myself. The Arrow might be drawn to the Head, and levelled with a dexterous Aim ; but could not reach a Merit which towers to fo uncommon an Height as your's. It is with some Reluctance I tell you, that it was unmanly and ungenerous to point your Hostilities against me, where you knew it was not in my Power to make Reprizals upon you. Do but become like me, positive and confident; combating your own Shadow, beating the Air; in fhort, Labouring under a deplorable Want of com
mon Sense : Give me but one Inch of Ground to set my Foot upon, and you will find that I can shake even the Weight of your Character. But while I consider You as a Gentleman of uncommon Sense and Merit,
“ With Wit well-natur'd, and with Books
“ well bred;"
I cannot fatyrize what is no Subject of Satyr. For You then to provoke me to enter the Lists with you, by pointing your Raillery against me for Pages together, was (I will repeat the Charge) as cowardly, as if a Man, who was invulnerable from Head to Foot, should challenge a weak, defenceless Creature to single Combat But enough of This.
In the following Letter you will find some Things passed lightly by, either because I thought they had not much Weight, or because I thought them answered already. I would willingly lay down this as a Rule to go by (though it is ten to one but that I myself deviate from it) viz. to take Notice of nothing but what is really a Difficulty; and to omit nothing that is really so; to keep close to the Merits of the Cause, and to pare off Luxuriancies.
With this View I will not defend my Instance about a Pine-Apple, and a PomeFf 2
granate; not because I think it inaefenfible, but because I think it impertinent, or unnecessary to determine the Point in Debate
I find, a little lower, you will disagree with me, where we do not really differ. The middle Term, you say, is not the Divine Nature; but, the Unity of the Divine Nature. Very well : And do not I say the very fame? 'I having said, that "the Manner “ of the Divine Unity was incomprehenfible; " you thence would conclude, that it is unintelligible; as if Incomprehenfible and Unintelligible must have the same Significatii n. Notwithstanding you, both here and elsewhere, confound them ; it would be an Affront to your Understanding to point out the Distinction between them. My Account of Unity is, it seems, to you very loose and indeterminate ; and you cannot discover how a wide Unitarian differs from a Tritheist. If you consult Bishop Bull's Catholick Do&trine of the Trinity, you will find, that the Imputation of Tritheism is never to be fastened but on those who divide the Substance. Suppose then a Person, who was invested with a Power of working fuperior Miracles, should tell me ; that in the Divine Substance there was a triple Distinction : Greater than that of three mere Modes and Relations ; and yet less than that of three distinct Men or Angels. My Ideas here are merely negative A Dif“ tinction in the Divine Nature-not that s of three Modes, not that of three “ distinct Substances :" Yet I may give a rational Affent to this Doctrine ; because I cannot prove it to be impossible. Not diftin&tly perceiving the Divine Nature, I can
Hly perceive a Contradiction in the Nature of the Thing; and nothing, but a Contradiction and Impoffibility, can be a Bar to the Belief of a Doctrine attested by Miracles. But should the same Person assert, that Divine Substance was one, yet fevered by a péya xéouce (a great Gulph or Discontinuity ;) this Proposition I could not admit; because I clearly perceive, that what is disünited cannot be one. The short of the Matter is this. Whatever is one, must be indivijum in fe. But Tritheism supposes the Division or Divifibility of the Substance.
Thus my Notion of the Divine Unity, however lame and inadequate, is too striết to admit of the Name of Tritheism, and yet wide enough to take in three undivided intelligent Agents into the same Divine Essence. And whoever pretends, from the negative Ideas of Indivisibility, and Simplicity (or, a Negation of heterogeneous Mixtures) to prove, that no Kind of Union whatever is sufficient to make more Persons one Being; will soon find, that He is to work up a
F f 3
Demonstration, where he has not sufficient Data to build upon. - This would be, “ Parva per Tyrrhenum Æquor
« Vela dare."
where our Reason will be soon overset, or carried with every Wind of Doctrine.
For my Part, I still own, I want your discerning Faculty to find out the necessary Connexion between indivisible and undis tinguishable. Distinction and Divison feem, to my dull Apprehension, two different Ideas. You will ask me, no Doubt, what Distin&tion That is, which is neither a Distinction of three Modes, nor yet a Distinction of three Substances. To which I answer, that Substance and Substance united is more than three Modes, and yet noť three Substances : Because whatever is essentially united, is one Substance. You ask, " Is the Substance of the fecond Perfon the “ fame numerical Substance with that of the “ first ? etc.”
I wish your enterprizing Genius would oblige me with fixing fome certain Principle of Individuation, that I might know what makes one numerical Substance, according to your Philosophy.
Let me prevail upon you, to add this Favour to your former, In your second