Sunday, March 14, 2010

Priestley on the Trinity, Reason & Revelation:

Joseph Priestley writes:

Let those then who are attached to the doctrine of the Trinity, try whether they cannot hit upon some method or other of reconciling a few particular texts, not only with common sense, but also with the general and the obvious tenour of the Scriptures themselves. In this they will, no doubt, find some difficulty at first, from the effect of early impressions, and association of ideas; but an attention to the true idiom of the scripture language, with such helps as they may easily find for the purpose, will satisfy them that the doctrine of the Trinity furnishes no proper clue to the right understanding of these texts, but will only serve to mislead them.

In the mean time, this doctrine of the Trinity wears so disagreeable an aspect, that I think every reasonable man must say with the excellent Archbishop Tillotson,* with respect to the Athanasian Creed, "I wish we were well rid of it." This is not setting up reason against the Scriptures, but reconciling reason with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures with themselves. On any other scheme, they are irreconcileably at variance.