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trary to the stream of antiquity; as may appear, besides other arguments, from their application of Scripture texts, of the Old Testament, in which God is spoken of absolutely, to the Son.
9. That an inferior God may be admitted besides the supreme, and worship paid to both. Nothing can strike more at the very fundamentals of religion than this position, in the judgment of the ancients in general.
10. That the Son is not efficient cause of the universe, and of all created beings. This I take to be contrary to all the ancients. See the testimonies above!
11. That the Son himself is made, or created. This neither you nor the Doctor admit in terms; but in reality, and in other words, you both do; as hath been shown. This position is flatly contrary to the doctrine of the ancients. The testimonies have been referred to above. There are other particulars, which I may at present forget, or which may less deserve notice. These are enough to show that the Doctor's pretences to the Ante-Nicene Fathers are groundless.
What then has the Doctor to plead for himself, and for his so great assurance in this particular? First, that the Ante-Nicene (as did also the Post-Nicene) Fathers allowed a subordination; which is very true, but not at all pertinent; nor can any consequence be certainly drawn from it, in favour of the Doctor's hypothesis ; which he himself seems to be aware of, as I have remarked above m. Another thing is, that the Ante-Nicene writers, some of them, spoke of a temporal generation by the will of the Father; which I have accounted for in my former pages. And a third thing is, that the generality of the ancients, when they speak of God absolutely, ordinarily mean the Father, and they distinguish his Person by some eminent titles and peculiar appellations ; which may be easily accounted for.
Can these three considerations, or if there be more such,
be ground sufficient for the Doctor to say, that the generality of the Ante-Nicene writers are clearly on his side, when they expressly contradict him in so many particulars as I have mentioned; several of them essentials of his hypothesis ? The most that in truth can, or in justice ought to be said, is that, in some particulars, they seem to favour him; but could not really mean it, unless they notoriously contradicted themselves. The very utmost which the most sanguine man of your side should hope for, is, that the Fathers may be found eontradictory to one another, or to themselves, in order to null their evidence. If they are consistent, they are ours certainly. And this difference there is plainly between us and you: that, as to your principles, the Fathers are express, clear, and full against them; no possibility of reconciling them together: as to ours, they are nowhere directly and expressly against us. If they are at all against us, it is only indirectly, and must be made out by inference, deduction, and remote consequences, neither clear nor certain. They may be reconciled to our principles, to themselves, and to one another : but as to any consistent agreement with yours, it is utterly impracticable.
Now supposing the Doctor ever so strongly to believe that the Ante-Nicene writers, in general, held principles which necessarily infer and imply his conclusion; yet we insist upon it, that they ought not to be judged of from any obscure disputable consequences which the Doctor draws for them, against what they drew for themselves. If we once take the liberty of denominating, sorting, or ranking of men with any side, not according to what themselves, perhaps rightly, professed, but according to what some imagine, in reason and good consequence, they ought to have professed, we may call Protestants, Papists; Arminians, Calvinists; Orthodox, Heretics ; and what not. There are some common principles which all mankind agree in; and the several differences and distinctions amongst them arise only from their drawing conse
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we may alor. Herelt sich all quences differently; and it is this that gives them their particular and special denomination. Now since it is evident and visible, as the light, that the Ante-Nicene writers did not own the consequences which the Doctor makes for them, but expressly and clearly rejected them; constantly affirming the eternity and consubstantiality of the Son, (the very points of difference between us and the Doctor,) it is plain and obvious to common sense, that the Doctor has no just claim or title to them, but that we have: they were, in the main points, clearly on our side, (consistent, or not consistent, is not now the question,) and as clearly against him. It is to no purpose to plead, in this case, that premises only are of any weight, and that conclusions always stand for nothing. This may be allowed in argumentation; but not in determining on what side any person, or any body of men were in this particular question; whether such conclusions follow from such premises. In this, the Ante-Nicene writers were directly and plainly Anti-Arian; and therefore it is a great abuse of language, and as great an injury to them and to the truth, for the Doctor to say that they were, “ in the “ whole, clearly on his side.”
But you had promised the world great matters from a book of Dr. Whitby's, which has since seen the light; and I am therefore obliged to say something to it, though otherwise I should much rather wave it; because it is wrote only to scholars, with whom it can do no harm; and because, I believe, you are sensible, before this time, how uncautious a thing it is to promise in the dark; and to be sponsor for another's performance so long beforehand. Dr. Whitby is a person that has done good service to the Church, and to the learned world; and one would be willing to throw a veil over his late misconduct in this controversy, did not the imprudent triumphs of others oblige us to take some notice of it. But let us come to the point: I shall show you, in some short strictures upon the performance, how little you are to hope for
from it; and how far it comes short of expectation. I will divide what I have to say into two kinds of observations.
1. Upon general fallacies, running through the whole book.
2. Upon particular defects, misquotations, misconstructions, misrepresentations, &c.
His principal and most general fallacy, is his making essence and person to signify the same. One individual or numerical essence, he everywhere interprets to a Sabellian sense ; understanding by it one individual Hypostasis, or real Person. And this ridiculous sense he fixes upon nall that now pass for orthodox; and, I think too, upon the generality of those who have been reputed Catholics down from the Council of Nice: for he charges Athanasius himself with it; who has been generally looked upon as the standard of orthodoxy in this article. The charge is weak and groundless, and more especially in regard to Bishop Bull; who is Pknown to have declared himself against it, as frequently, as strongly, and as fully, as it was possible for a man to do. The learned Examiner, though 9 he seems to have known this, is forced to "pretend ignorance, to give the better colour to what he was going about. For, otherwise, who would not, at first sight, observe the peculiar extravagancy of the undertaking, to confute Bishop Bull, only by showing that the Bishop has not proved what he never intended to prove, nor so much as believed, but rejected as heartily as the learned Examiner himself can do. However, since this was, in a manner, necessary, that the learned Examiner might appear at least to have something to say, all due allowances are to be made for it. Let us now observe how, in the entrance, he is pleased to state the general question.
n Præf. p. 32.
• Ibid. P I shall here only cite one passage of Bishop Bull, speaking of Sandius ; whose steps Dr. Whitby has too closely followed.
Auctor ille, ubique in libro suo illud pro certo et rato habet Homoousianorum, qnos vocat, et Sabellianorum de Filio Dei sententiam prorsus eandem esse. Quo nihil a vero remotius est ; siquidem supra clare ostendimus, neminem Dei Filium Patri dunéour posse dicere, nisi absurde admodum et improprie, qui cum Sabellio sentiat. D. F. N. p. 148.
See also D. F. p. 230. Animadv. in Gilb. Clerke, p. 1004.
4 See Modest. Disquisit. p. 107, where he charges Bishop Bull with holding a specific unity; and Præf. p. 31.
* Præf. p. 31.
«s Whether all the Ante-Nicene Fathers professed the “ very same doctrine which we ascribe to the Nicene “ Council; that is, whether all acknowledged the same 66 numerical essence of the Father to have been communi« cated to the Son and Holy Ghost, and that therefore “ both are one God in number with the Father.”
See how many guards he has put in; as it were conscious of what he had taken in hand, and fearing lest otherwise there should not be left him strength sufficient to secure a handsome retreat. He does not say, the generality of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, but all; so that if there happens to be but one exception, he may still be safe and secure. Next, he does not say the doctrine of the Nicene Council, but which we ascribe to that Council: now, who can tell what we he means? Perhaps himself and two or three more. Then again, same essence will not serve, but it must be the same numerical essence : and this he interprets, everywhere throughout his book, in a Sabellian sense. So here the state of the question is entirely changed : and unless the Bishop has proved (which God forbid) that all the Ante-Nicene Fathers were heretics and something worse, professing what themselves condemned as heresy, he has not, it seems, done enough to satisfy the learned Examiner. Not content with this, he demands farther to have it proved that this same numerical essence, that is, (according to him,) Person, was communicated to two other Persons; and
• Utrum Patres OMNES Ante-Nicæni eandem Quam Concilio Nicæno TRIBUIMUS sententiam amplexi sunt: hoc est, utrum omnes EANDEM NUMERO Patris essentiam Filio et Spiritui Sancto fuisse COMMUNICATAM, eoque nomine utrumque cum Patre unum numero Deum esse agnoverunt? Proem. p. 2.