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Watts; in his excellent Dissertations and Sermon on the Trinity, he gives us a lucid and accurate statement of the Christian doctrine on that subject.
About three years before his death, he published some thoughts on the Trin. ity, utterly inconsistent with his former sentiments; and which seem either to be Sabellianism, or to approach that doctrine. This circumstance has given unbounded tri. umph to some, both Arians and Unitarians. Not that their own particular systems derive any support from the change of his sentiments, but that they so dislike the orthodox doctrines, as to be satisfied that men embrace any system, if they only reject the orthodox one. The Monthly Reviewers have taken occasion, from some ex. pressions of his, to charge him with the want of integrity, a crime of which he was never accused till he became an Unitarian, or something like one; so that if the charge he true, when he changed his sentiments, he changed his - character likewise. But let us attend to the true state of facts. The fever with which he was seized in 1712, brought upon him a feebleness, from which he never per. fectly recovered. He died in the seventy-fifth year of his age. For several years before his death,' the infirmities of old age fell with additional weight on his feeble frame. His complaint is said to have been of the pervous kind, which almost always tinges the mind with a particular hue, and while it impairs the intellectual powers, gives a diseased vigour to the imagination. This is the uncontradicted report of Dr. Watts's condition for some of the last years of his life. The performance last mentioned may, therefore, with more propriety be said to have been written by the disease, than to have been dictated by the intellect of Dr. Watts. No man of common sense ean hesitate to pronounce, whether those ought VOL. I.
to be considered as the sentiments of Dr. Watts, which were dictated by a judgment vigorous and mature, and as yet unimpaired; or those which sprang from a distempered body, and an imagination tinctured with its complaints. Dr. Watts's Sabellianism appears to have proceeded from the same cause that produced the melancholy of that most excellent man and poet, Cowper. They both seem to have arisen from bodily weakness, and the Lord who knows our frame, and remembers that we are dust, pities, as a Father, the infirmities of his children. Mr. Evans, on the article Sabellians, in a note observes, that this piece was printed by Dr. Watts only three years before his death, “ that it is on this account highly valuable, and ought, in justice to that great and good man, to have been inserted in the recent edition of his works.” It would, on Mr. E.'s premises, have been still more valuable, had it been sent to the press, only three weeks previous to the termination of his mortal life. Had Mr. E. the certain knowledge that he should come to the house appointed for all living, with a frame broken by disease, and a mind distempered by sympathy with it, we are apt to think he would contemplate the publication of his disjointed thoughts, as no great act of justice to his memory. It is said that Dr. Watts latterly, when he was able to walk about, imagined that his nose was too large to suffer him · to enter his pulpit. He was at that time surely in a fine state to write on the doctrine of the Trinity!
« Dr. Doddridge,” says Mr. E., “ is supposed to have been of these sentiments." Of the reasons of this supposition we know nothing ; but surely Mr. E. ought not to have loaded the memory of that venerable man with such a charge, without exhibiting the documents by which it is supported.
As the doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity are embraced by almost all the Unitarians, and by some Arians, we may here take a short view of them.
OF MATERIALISM AND MATERIALISTS.
The doctrine of Materialism represents man, not as a being compounded of soul and body; but as a being composed wholly of organized matter. It represents his soul as his body, and his body as his soul. This doctrine by making his soul to arise from the organization of the brain, distinguishes one particular part of the body from the other parts of it, and that part of it, it honours with the name of the soul, whereas the other parts of the organic frame it lamps together, and distinguishing them from the nobler part, calls them the body. By this system matter is made to think, to reason, to choose, to hope, to fear, to joy, to sorrow ; and, when it has thought, reasoned, chosen, hoped, feared, joyed, and sorrowed a while, its organization being discomposed, it loses its former powers, and, like a watch run down, ceases to move.
The ancient philosophers who supported the hopes of a future life, not knowing the doctrine of the Resurrection, and seeing the body destroyed, were forced to prop their system by an absurd assumption. Losing sight of man as a creature compounded of soul and body, they reduced him to one principle, and taught that the soul was the whole of the man, and the body only a case or cover for that spiritual being which inhabited it. But this was erecting a system of philosophy on the ruins of reason and common sense, which had always taught those who listened to their voice, that as man was compounded of spirit and matter, neither the one nor the other could be the whole of him. Materialists have adopted the absurd position of those ancient philosophers, which made a part the whole of man, with this difference, that while the latter reduced man wholly to a spiritual and immaterial being, the former have reduced him to a mere piece of mechanism. The system of the one made him entire without a body, and the system of the other represents him entire without a soul. Should some future speculatists arise to improve on the absurdities of both, they may conclude, that as the one sect have made him complete without matter, and the other made him per. fect without spirit, that therefore there is no such being in the universe.
Here we may observe how little philosophy has ever done for man, in those concerns which ought to be near. est his heart. The vulgar, in the times of the ancient philosophers, preserved in their ideas of a future state, the identity of man as composed of body as well as of soul; and thought and spoke of him as existing, and enjoying or suffering in that state, as the compound being he is found to be in the present. The notions they formed were certainly erroneous, and inconsistent with the wreck of the body, which they had seen reduced to ashes on the funeral pile.
But the Platonists destroyed the nature of man in the present life, that they might preserve his identity in another. Because they knew no Redemption by which his body could be restored, and reunited to his spirit in the eternal world, they stripped him
of that body even in this temporal scene, by representing it only as a dress, the wearing or the laying aside of which, had no effect upon his individuality.-Among the philosophers of that time there were likewise some Materialists, and as they saw that all of man that was corporeal died, they concluded that death was the extinction of being, and that when the body was once dissolved all hope of its restoration was gone for ever. The vulgar, in short, preserved the true idea of man as a compound being; but being ignorant of a resurrection, they believed him to exist in another world, identified in such a manner, as nature laid no foundation on which such a faith could firmly rest. The followers of Plato and the Materialists erred still more egregiously, when each of them in his system ran away with one half of him. It is therefore to the Scriptures entirely that we owe all accurate and consistent knowledge of a future state. Life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel.
The account the Scripture gives of the formation of man's body is, that “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” This is the account of the or. ganization of his body. The creation of his soul is expressed in these words :" And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living soul.” -Gen. ii. 7. This statement represents his body and his soul as principles as different as can possibly exist. - The one is a composition of matter, formed by the plastic hand of God himself; the other a living soul, proceeding from him who is an Eternal Spirit. Let us attend to the superadded discoveries of the New Testament. When our Lord says—" Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in