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that, together with Scripture, we may be the more secure that we follow the true interpretation. I need not go on to prove that the primitive writers asserted the consubstantiality, because you have not denied it in the sense I intended; and indeed could not. Your slipping a word upon us, and sliding off to another point, may be taken for a confession and acknowledgment, that the Query was just; and should have been answered in the affirmative, could your cause have subsisted, after so large and frank a confession. “ As to creeds,” you say, “ none of " the three first centuries express the Querist's notion :” meaning your own notion of individual, which is not the Querist's. What follows (p. 118.) is still pursuing the same mistake. Since you have told us, that there is no proof of individual consubstantiality, (that is, of personal identity, as you understand it, and in which sense nobody opposes you,) it would have been fair and ingenuous to have owned that the Fathers did unanimously hold a consubstantiality, in some sense or other. If not numerical, or individual in the strictest sense, was it, think you, specific ? Yet, if so, it will follow that all the Fathers were directly opposite to the Doctor and you; and condemned your notion of the Son's being inferior in kind, nature, substance, &c. Specific unity implies equality of nature; as two men, specifically one with each other, are in nature equal; and so, any other two things of the same sort and kind. This notion, if it were what the Fathers held, you might charge with Tritheism : and, at the same time, you must give them all up, as no way favourable to your hypothesis. But the Fathers constantly took care to signify that they did not mean that the Persons were specifically one, like three human persons having a separate existence independent of each other: nor would they allow three suns, which would be specifically one, to be a proper or suitable illustration; but the rays of the same sun, the streams of the same fountain, and the like; all to intimate a much closer tie, a more substantial union, than
specific amounts to. The Persons, the Hypostases, were three; and yet una substantia, as Tertullian expresses it, in all.
You would persuade us, (finding, I suppose, that either specific or individual consubstantiality would be equally against you,) I say, you would persuade us, that it was some oratorical and figurative consubstantiality which the Fathers meant. This I apprehend from what you drop in page 121, where you expressly apply this new solution to the difficulty arising from 'Ouościos in the Nicene Creed. I will not suffer the English reader to go away with this groundless notion, instead of a just answer. Such as know any thing of antiquity do not want to have such pretences confuted : such as do not, may please to take along with them these following considerations.
1. The doctrine of the consubstantiality appears to have been a constant settled thing; a sort of ruled case, running through all in general. Strange, that they should all rhetoricate in a matter of faith, of so great weight and importance; and that we should not meet with so much as one grave sober writer, to strip the matter of all flourish and varnish, and to tell us the naked truth.
2. It is to be observed, that the notion does not occur only in popular harangues, but in dry debates; chiefly in controversy with heretics, where it concerned the Catholics to speak accurately and properly, and to deliver their sentiments very distinctly.
3. This is farther confirmed from the objections made by heretics to the Catholic doctrine. There were two standing objections made by heretics to the Catholic doctrine : one was, that it inferred a division of the Father's substance: the other, that it was Tritheism. We find footsteps of the former as early as s Justin Martyr. We meet with it in *Tertullian, as urged by Praxeas. Tatian and *Theophilus both allude to it. y Sabellius was full of it ;
• Dial. p. 183, 373. Jeb. See Bull. D. F. p. 66, 67, 33. + Contr. Prax. c. 8. Tat. p. 21. ed. Worth. Theoph. 1. ii. p. 129. 9 Alexand. apud Theod. E. H. 1. i. c. 4. p. 17. Athanas. p. 942.
and it was afterwards one of the chiefest pretences of Arius; as may appear from his own Letters, besides many z other evidences. Now, what colour or pretence could there have been for the objection, had not the Catholics professed a proper communication of the same substance? Need we be told that angels and archangels, or any created beings, were derived from God without any abscission from, or division of, his substance ? Or could it ever enter into any man's head to make so weak an objection to the Catholic doctrine, unless a proper consubstantiality had been taught by them? Yet this was the principal, the standing pretence for, and support of, heresy, for near two hundred years together.
The other was Tritheism ; objected all along by the Sa- , bellians, and afterwards (though more sparingly) by the Arians. What kind of Tritheism the Sabellians meant (Tritheism in the highest and strictest sense) appears, not only from the former objection about the division of the - Father's substance, but also from the way they took to solve the difficulty; namely, by making Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one and the same Hypostasis, as well as one substance; and their thinking it not beneath the Father himself to have submitted to passion. This makes it extremely probable that the Church, at that time, believed the three Persons to be consubstantial in a proper, not figurative, sense; in consequence whereof it was pretended that there would be three Gods; in like manner as three human persons, of the same specific nature, are three men.
4. What puts this farther beyond all reasonable doubt, is the method which the Catholics took to answer the two fore-mentioned objections. As to that about division of substance : they never tell the heretics, that there was no manner of ground or colour for the objection: they never say, that the same difficulty would lie against God's creating angels, or archangels, or any other creature ; as
z See Bull. D. F. N. p. 33.
they might, and should have done, had they been of Dr. Clarke's principles, or of yours. No; a they only deny any division or diminution of the Father's substance, and illustrate, as well as they are able, so sublime a mystery, by one light kindled, as it were, from another ; by the sun and its rays; by fountain and streams; stock and branch: all instances of the same specific nature, and banswering in some circumstances, though defective in others. One would not desire a fuller and clearer testimony, that those or the like similitudes were intended to signify the same with a proper consubstantiality, than we meet with in Dionysius of Alexandria,
Then, for their answers to the charge of Tritheism, as understood by the Sabellians, how easy it would have been for them to have told the objectors, that they did not take the word God in the strict sense; that Moses and other mortal men had been called Gods; that they believed the Son to be no more than a creature, though the most perfect of all creatures; and that the Sabellians did them a very great and manifest injury, to imagine otherwise of them. This would, this must have been their answer to the charge of Tritheism, as understood by the objectors, had they not otherwise “ learned Christ.” Instead of this, they appear to be very sensible of the just weight and importance of the objection. They must secure the divinity of the Son, and yet preserve the unity too. They have recourse to unity of substance, (even against those who made one substance to signify one Hypostasis,) as Tertullian frequently does, in his dispute with Praxeas : and notwithstanding that the Sabellians had, if I may so speak, carried the Son's divinity too high, insomuch as to make him the very same Hypostasis with the Father; yet
• Just. M. Dial. p. 183, 373. Tat. p. 21, 22. Athenag. p. 40, 96. Origen. Pamph. Apol. Tertull. Apol. c. 21. adv. Prax. c. 8. Theognost, apud Athanas. vol. i. p. 230. Hippolyt. contr. Noët. c. 11. p. 13. Dionys. Alexand. Resp. ad Quæst. 5. Conf. Prud. Apotheos. p. 172.
See Bull, D. F. p. 120. • Apud Athanas. de Sentent. Dionys. tom. i. p. 255, 256. VOL. I.
the utmost that the Catholics could be brought to say, in degradation of him, was only this ; that he was subordinate as a Son; equal in every respect, but as a Son can be equal to a Father; inferior, in point of original, (the Father being head and fountain of all,) but still of the same nature, power, substance, and perfections; subsisting in and from the Father, inseparably and constantly, always and everywhere; and therefore one God with him. And if any person, though in the warmth of dispute, did but happen to drop any doubtful expressions, tending any way to lessen the dignity of the Son, or was but suspected to do so; the alarm was soon taken, and it awakened the jealousy of the Catholics; who could not bear any appearance of it. This was remarkably seen, in the famous case of Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, sixty years before the rise of Arius, and is recorded by Athanasius in his works.
5. To this we may add, that while the Sabellian controversy was on foot, (which was at least a hundred years, and could never have lasted so long, had the Catholics been of any other principles than those which I here maintain,) I say, while this was on foot, how easy would it have been for the Catholics to have pinched them close, and to have pressed them with variety of arguments, more than they did, had they been of your principles, or of Dr. Clarke's? The Father is eternal, but the Son not so; the Father is omniscient, but the Son ignorant of the day of judgment; the Father is omnipotent, but the powers of the Son finite and limited; in a word, the Father is Creator, but the Son a creature ; and therefore they cannot be one and the same Hypostasis, or Suppositum. This argument had been irrefragable, and could not have failed of being urged and pressed home, by men of such acute parts as Tertullian, Origen, Hippolytus, and others, had it been consistent with Catholic principles; or had they not believed, that the Son was consubstantial, in the proper sense, enjoying all the essential perfections of the Father, in common with him.