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ABOUT eight weeks ago, I had the favour of a letter from you, together with some papers relating to the subject of the Trinity. I have had no time since, more than to give them a cursory reading. But my month of waiting being September, when, probably, the Prince or young Princesses might be, as usual, at Hampton Court ; thought I might then take an opportunity of waiting upon you, and discoursing with you, before I enter into any epistolary correspondence. I am yet uncertain where the court will be in September. If you can inform yourself where the King's chaplains must wait the next month, I shall be obliged to you for acquainting me with it.
My hands, you must be sensible, are pretty full at present, in maintaining the Catholic cause (allow me so to call it) against the Arians; who seem to be now the most prevailing sect of the Anti-Trinitarians, Socinianism being almost grown obsolete amongst us.
Your scheme seems to me to be Socinian in the main; only taking in the preexistence of Christ's human soul, excluding him from worship, and interpreting some texts in the Sabellian way, and not after Socinus. I know not whether my
leisure will permit me to examine all the grounds upon which you go, and to give a particular answer to every difficulty you have to urge. But if, upon discoursing with you, the controversy, so far as concerns you, may be shortened, and reduced to two or three points which are most material; I may perhaps find time hereafter to give you my thoughts upon them in writing. You will consider, in the mean while, that you are as much concerned to answer, I mean to yourself, the reasons which I have given for my persuasion, as to require answers to those reasons, which seem to you to favour your principles. The reasons, for instance, which I have given against the Sabellian construction of the first chapter of St. John, are of equal force against yours. And my arguments to prove Christ to be properly Creator, (not to mention several others to prove his Divinity, drawn from his titles, and attributes, and from the form of baptism,) directly strike at your hypothesis, as much as at the Arian. There are many great objections, as you see, lying against your principles; and there are some, not contemptible, against mine also. Weigh both equally, and balance them one against another: this will be the true method to form a right judgment. I believe you to be as sincere and impartial in your inquiries as most men are; making allowance for such prejudices as are often apt to steal upon any of us, without our perceiving it. I wonder a little how one that talks so well about suspending assent where there is not sufficient evidence, can prevail with himself to think that there is any prescription for your scheme of 500 years before the commencement of my scheme. The proof of this fact can never be made good. The contrary is plain and evident. I am in hopes that I have mistook your meaning: if I have, I ask your pardon. I shall add nothing more at present, but my thanks to you for your very civil manner of writing to me; assuring you that so far as my leisure, abilities, or opportunities permit, I shall be ever ready to give you the best satisfaction I can in any thing relating to this controversy; being,
LETTER II. SIR, I CAN now acquaint you, that I shall not be in waiting at Kensington before the 16th of September. I intended to be there at the beginning of the month; but my wife being ill, I have wrote to my brother chaplains to take care of the first fortnight : and they will be so kind as to do it. I shall be very glad to see you at Kensington any time after the 16th. There are lodgings provided for the chaplains, as I well know, having so found it the last year. The lodgings are in or near the square : which is all that I remember of them.
I thank you for the favour of your last, and again ask your pardon for mistaking your meaning. I shall think my time there very agreeably and usefully spent in friendly debates upon so important a subject. Not that I think either of us shall be able thoroughly to discuss the main question, in a verbal conference, and without books at hand. But we may settle some preliminaries; may throw out several things as agreed on between both; and so prepare the way for a short and clear examination of the matter in debate, to be done afterwards by way of letter. In the interim, I am, with very true and sincere respect,
DAN. WATERLAND. Magd. Coll. Aug. 30, 1720.
LETTER III. SIR, I HAVE had the favour of two letters from you, and am not unmindful of the promise I made to enter into an epistolary correspondence with you, as far as my leisure