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Vlindness; and that too after much canvassing and careful considering what objections could be made against them; to which you can add nothing new, nor so much as represent the old ones with greater force than they have been often before, 1300 years ago. It might here be sufficient, for you, modestly to offer your reasons; and, however convincing they may appear to you, (yet considering that to men of equal sense, learning, and integrity, they have appeared much otherwise,) to suspect your own judgment; or, at least, to believe that there may be reasons which you do not see, for the contrary opinion. Well, but after your so great assurance, let us hear what you have to say. “ If our Lord had purposely designed, “ in the most express and emphatical manner, to declare “ his real subordination and dependence on the Father, “ he could not have done it more fully and clearly than “ he hath in this whole chapter.” Yes, sure he inight : being charged with blasphemy, in making himself equal with God, he might have expressed his abhorrence of such a thought; and have told them that he pretended to be nothing more than a creature of God's, sent upon God's errand; and that it was not by his own power or holiness, that “ he made the lame man to walk," (see Acts iii. 12.) Such an apology as this would have effectually took off all farther suspicion, and might perhaps have well become a creature, when charged with blasphemy, who had a true respect for the honour of his Creator. But, instead of this, he goes on, a second time, to call himself “ Son of God,” v. 25. declaring farther, that there was so perfect a union and intimacy between the Father and himself, that he was able to do any thing which the Father did ; had not only the same right and authority to work on the sabbath, but the same power of giving life to whom he pleased, of raising the dead, and judging the world; and therefore the same right and title to the same honour and regard : and that the execution of those powers was lodged in his hands particu
larly, lest the world should not be sufficiently apprehensive of his high worth, eminency, and dignity; or should not “ honour the Son even as they honour the “ Father.”
This is the obvious natural construction of the whole passage : you have some pretences against it, which have been examined and confuted long ago by Hilary, Chrysostom, Cyril, Austin, and other venerable Fathers of the Christian Church; so that I have little more to do, than to repeat the answers. The Jews, you say, falsely and maliciously charged him with making himself equal with God. So said the Arians : but what ground had either they or you for saying so? It does not appear that the Evangelist barely repeated what the Jews had said : but he gives the reasons why the Jews sought to kill him; namely, because he had broke the sabbath, and because he “ made himself equal with God.” So thought p Hilary; and he is followed therein by others, whom you may find mentioned in 9 Petavius. And this "Socinus himself was so sensible of, that he could not but allow that the Apostle, as well as the Jews, understood that our blessed Lord had declared himself equal to God; only he is forced to explain away the equality to a sense foreign to the context.
But supposing that the Apostle only repeated what the Jews had charged him with; how does it appear that the charge was false? It is not to be denied that he had really wrought on the sabbath, and had really called God his Father, and in a sense peculiar; and why should not
P Non nunc, ut in cæteris solet, Judæorum sermo ab his dictus refertur. Expositio potius hæc Evangelistæ est, causam demonstrantis cur Dominum interficere vellent. Hil. Trin. 1. vii. p. 935.
4 De Trin. p. 152.
* Ex modo loquendi quo usus est Evangelista, sentiam eum omnino una · cum Judæis censuisse Christum, verbis illis, se æqualem Deo fecissenecesse sit intelligere hoc ipsum eum quoque sensisse, non minus quam senserit Christum appellasse Deum Patrem suum, quod ab ipso, uno et eodem verborum contextu, proxime dictum fuerat. Socin. Resp. ad Vujek, p. 577.
the rest of the charge be as true as the other? The context and reason of the thing seem very much to favour it. His saying, “ My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,” must imply, either that he had an equal right to do any thing his Father did; or, that he was so intimately united to him, that he could not but act in concert with him : which is farther confirmed by what follows, v. 19. • What things soever he doth, these also doth the Son “ likewise.” Besides, that had this been only a malicious suggestion, a false charge of the Jews, the Evangelist, very probably, would have given intimation of it, as we find done in other cases of that nature, (John ïi. 21. Matt. xvi. 12.) This is the substance of St. Chrysostom's reasoning, in answer to your first objection; and I am the more confirined in its being true and right, by observing, as before said, that Socinus himself, a man so much prejudiced on the other side, could not help falling in with the same way of thinking, so far, as to believe that the Apostle and the Jews both agreed in the same thing, viz. that our Lord did, by what he had said, make himself equal with God, in some sense or other; such as the Jews thought to be blasphemy, and in consequence whereof, they would have killed, i. e. stoned him. Another exception you make from the words, “ the Son can “ do nothing of himself:” the obvious meaning of which is, that being so nearly and closely related to God, as a Son is to a Father ; the Jews might depend upon it, that whatever he did, was both agreeable to and concerted with his Father; and ought to be received with the same reverence and regard, as if the Father himself had done it. · He, as a Son, being perfectly one with his Father, could do nothing évartiov tū Ilargi, against his Father, nothing årdótprov, nothing &évov, (as Chrysostom expresseth it,) both having the same nature; and harmoniously uniting always in operation and energy. Hence it was, that, if one wrought, the other must work too; if one did any thing, the other should do likewise; if one quickened whom he would, so should the other also; and if one
had life in himself, (or the power of raising the dead,) so should the other have too: and if the Father was primarily Judge of the world, in right of his prerogative as Father, the Son should have it in the exercise and execution, to manifest the equality. Now, here is no straining and forcing of texts, but the literal, obvious, natural interpretation. But the interpretation which you give is plainly forced, makes the context incoherent, and the whole passage inconsistent. For, be pleased to observe your sense of verse the 19th. The Son can do nothing but by commission from the Father: Why? then follows, “ For what things soever he doth, these also doth the “ Son likewise.” Does it follow, because he “ can do « nothing of himself,” in your sense, that therefore he can do every thing which the Father does ? Where is the sense, or connection? Is he here limiting and lessening his own powers, as, upon your principles, he should have done, in answer to the charge of blasphemy? No; but he extends them to the utmost; and, instead of retracting, goes on in the same strain, and says more than he had said before. To make good sense and coherence of the passage, upon your scheme, you must fill up the deficiency thus: The Son can do nothing but by commission; and commission he has, to do every thing that the Father doth : which, though it sounds harsh, and looks too familiar for a creature to pretend, yet might make the context coherent. However, since the interpretation I have before given is more natural and more obvious, argues no deficiency in the text, makes the whole coherent, and has nothing harsh or disagreeing in it, it ought to be preferred. For, after all, it must be thought very odd and strange for a creature to be commissioned or empowered to do all things that the Creator doth; and to do them ouoiws in the same manner, also I do not make any forced construction : for so the 20th verse, immediately following, interprets it; “ For the Fa“ ther loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that “ himself doth.” You endeavour indeed to make some advantage of this very text; alleging that “this power “ which the Son exercised, was given him, not by neces“ sity, (which is no gift,) but by free love." But why must love imply freedom? Doth not God love himself? And if the love of himself be no matter of choice, why must the love of his Son, his other self, be represented otherwise? You are forced to add to the text, to give some colour to your argument; and to call it free love, when the text says only, that the Father loveth.
Thus far I have endeavoured to clear up the sense of St. John; and to vindicate it from your exceptions: which are not of so great weight, that you need be amazed at any man's thinking slightly of them. Hilary well observes, that the drift and design of our Saviour's words was to declare his equality of nature with the Father, and his Sonship, at the same time. s No inferior nature could be capable of having all things; nor could a Son have them but as communicated. So that, in the whole, it is directly opposite to such as either disown an equality of nature, or a real distinction; wherefore Hilary concludes triumphantly, both against Arians and Sabellians, in words very remarkable, which I shall throw into the margin.
But you add, as a recapitulation of what you had said upon this article: “ If therefore to be freely sent, and to “ act in the name and by the authority of another, be, to “ assume an equality of honour and regard with that “ other, by whom he was sent; we must for ever despair “ to understand the meaning of words, or to be able to “.distinguish between a delegated and a supreme unde“ rived power,” (p. 97.) To which I make answer: if declaring himself to be the proper Son of that other, which
• Omnia habere sola natura possit indifferens; neque nativitas aliquid habere possit, nisi datum sit, p. 928.
• Conclusa sunt omnia adversum hæretici furoris ingenia. Filius est, quia ab se nihil potest. Deus est, quia quæcunque Pater facit, et ipse eadem facit. Unum sunt, quia exæquatur in honore, eademque facit non alia. Non est Pater, quia missus est, p. 929.
He has more to the same purpose, p. 1015, 1251.