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respect, as any thing is supposed individual or incommunicable, it is supposed individual or incommunicable; which nobody doubts of. But whether this or that be communicable, or how far, or in what manner (which is all the difficulty) remains a question as much as ever; and the Doctor's maxim will not help us at all in it. It may be the safest way, first to try the strength and the use of it upon the Doctor's own hypothesis. Let it be asked, whether the wisdom, &c. residing in that part which pervades the sun, (for it seems that it must be intelligent, and infinitely so; unless one infinite intelligent be made up of unintelligents, or finite intelligents;) I say, let it be asked, whether that be the very individual wisdom which resides in another part, at any given distance. I presume, to this question you must answer, yes: and then we are to observe, that here is but one individual infinite wisdom, which is entirely in the whole, and entirely in every part; proper, in some sense, to each single part, (since it can have only such attributes as inhere in it,) and yet common to all; diffused through extended substance, yet not coextended; nor multiplied, because but one. If you admit thus far, as I think you must, we shall have nothing to ‘apprehend, in point of reason, (which nevertheless is what you chiefly trust to,) against the doctrine of the Trinity. The communication of essential attributes, which we speak of, is at least as intelligible as what I have been mena tioning; and every whit as consistent with the Doctor's maxim, that nothing which is individual can be communicated. Only you have your sense of individual, and we have ours; and you can account no better for so many and infinitely distant parts making one Person, than we for three Persons making one substance, or one God. Let us therefore be content to stop where it becomes us; and frankly confess our ignorance of these things : for by pretending farther, we shall not discover less ignorance than before, but much greater vanity. I would not have presumed to discourse thus freely of the tremendous substance of the eternal God, (infinitely surpassing human
comprehension,) were it not, in a manner, necessary, in order to expose the folly and the presumption of doing it. If the doctrine of the blessed Trinity is to stand or fall by this kind of reasoning, it was very proper to make some trial of it first, where it might be done more safely, to see how it would answer. You, I presume, cannot complain of me, for treating you in your own way, and turning upon you your own artillery. But to proceed. You are positive in it, “ that the Son of God hath not the indi“ vidual attributes of God the Father; for then,” say you, “he must be the Father.” On the contrary, I affirm, that he hath the individual attributes of God the Father, as much as he has the individual essence: for otherwise he must be a creature only: and therefore the question between you and me in plain terms is, whether the Son be God, or a creature?
Query X. Whether if they (the attributes belonging to the Son) be not
individually the same, they can be any thing more than faint resemblances of them, differing from them as finite from infinite; and then in what sense, or with what truth, can the Doctor pretend, that “a all divine powers, “ except absolute supremacy and independency,” are communicated to the Son? And whether every being, besides the one supreme Being, must not necessarily be a creature, and finite; and whether “ all divine powers” can le communicated to a creature, infinite perfection to a finite being
I HAVE put under one Query what before made two, because the substance of them is nearly the same, and contains but one argument. I have two things upon my hands at once; first to clear and fix your sense, which is industriously disguised; and next to confute it. The present Query relates chiefly to the former, to draw you
* Script. Doctr. p. 298.
out of general and ambiguous terms, that so we may come up the closer, and fall directly to the point in question. You tell me, in answer to the former part, that the divine “ attributes of the Son are not individually the “same with those of the Father b." By which you mean, that they are not divine: and so here you have discovered, that the Doctor does not understand divine, as others do in this controversy; and as a candid and ingenuous reader might be apt to understand him. You add, that “ they (the attributes of the Son) are notwith“standing, more than faint resemblances; the Son being “the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express “image of his Person.” I allow that this text does set forth a great deal more than a “ faint resemblance :" but you have not shown that your hypothesis supposes so much; and therefore the quoting of this text is only arguing against yourself. The inference we draw from this text, consonant to all antiquity, is, that the resemblance between Father and Son is complete and perfect; and that therefore they do not differ as finile and infinite, since that supposition would set them at an infinite distance from any such perfect and complete resemblance. You observe farther, that there can be but one “intelli“gent being” (the same with you, as person) “absolutely “ infinite in all respects,” (p. 55.) which, though an assertion of great importance, you are pleased barely to lay down, without the least tittle of proof, or so much as pretence to it. Nay, you admit in your c Notes, that there may be two infinite beings, in the sense of immense ; that is, two beings omnipresent, or infinitely extended. And why not as well two Persons infinitely perfect in all other 6 Page 64.
One infinite, in the sense of immense, does not (by taking up all space) exclude (necessarily) another immense, any more than it excludes any finite. For if a finite being doth not exclude (God) from a finite place, it is plain that an infinite, that is, an immense being, cannot exclude him from infinite, that is, from immense place. So that perhaps it is no such absolute impossibility, as some have thought it, to suppose two distinct immense beings. Note, p. 56.
respects, as well as presence ? For, to use your own way of arguing in that very place, if finite power, wisdom, goodness, &c. do not exclude infinite; it is plain that infinite power, wisdom, goodness, &c. of one, do not exclude the infinite power, goodness, &c. of another. Besides, that two, infinite in all respects, are as easily conceived as two, infinite in any : and therefore here you seem, by your too liberal concessions, to have unsaid what you had said before; and to have unravelled your own objection. You are aware, that an adversary may take advantage of what you say; and endeavour, lamely, to prevent it, by telling us, (p. 56.) that though it be possible to suppose two distinct immense beings, yet it is impossible there should be two immense beings of the same individual nature; for so, they must coincide, and be but one Person. But what if those who assert the same individual nature, in more persons than one, understand the words in a larger sense than you here take them in? It is very certain they do not understand the phrase of the same individual nature, as you, who make it equivalent to the same Person, understand it: for they assert more persons than one to have the same individual nature. In the mean while, what a wonderful discovery is this, which you have laid such a stress on; that two persons cannot be one person, without coinciding and making one person. This is all that you have really said; and very true it is; only I am at a loss to find out the pertinency of it. To conclude this head: as to infinite, in the sense of extension, (into length, breadth, and height,) you will give me leave to suspend my judgment. I do not find either that it is asserted in Scripture, or generally maintained by the Fathers; but that it is liable to many difficulties, in point of reason, more than I am, at present, able to answer. See what a d late thoughtful writer has said, and what e Cudworth had before collected on that subject. In my humble opinion, such intricate questions are too high for us, and are what our faculties were not made for. However that be, you and I need not differ. For if you can admit the possibility of two infinite extended beings, you can have nothing considerable to object against the one infinity of three infinite Persons, which I assert, and without determining the modus of it.
al Impartial Inquiry into the Existence and Nature of God, by S. C. part ii. c. 1, 2, 3,
• Intellectual System, p. 828-834.
You proceed to observe, that “ the Son's office and “ character doth not require infinite powers :" to which I shall only say, that it may, for any thing you know; so that this is only guessing in the dark. Last of all, you come to interpret Dr. Clarke; supposing him to mean by divine powers f, all divine powers relating to the Son's character. If he meant so, he might easily have said so: and yet if he had, he had still left us in uncertainties as much as ever; to muse upon a distinction which he has no ground for; and which, when admitted, will make no man wiser. You “hope the Querist is so good a phi“ losopher as to perceive, (though he doth not consider “it,) that absolute infinite perfections include and infer “ supremacy and independency. And therefore, when “Dr. Clarke excepâed supremacy and independency, he “plainly, in reason and consequence, excepted absolute “infinite powers.”
Now I am persuaded, that Dr. Clarke would have thought it hard measure to have been charged by his adversaries with this so plain consequence, which you here so freely lay upon him. The Querist was aware that the Doctor's words might bear an orthodox sense; namely, that to the Son are communicated all things belonging to the Father, excepting only what is personal; that is, excepting that he is not the first in order ; not supreme, in that sense, nor unoriginate. The Doctor well knew that his words might bear this construction; and perhaps would not have took it well of any, but a friend, that should have tied down a loose and general expression to a strict particular meaning; and then have loaded it with conse
Script. Doctr. p. 298.