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than to the cause, dropped. But since you have thought fit to publish them, presuming yourself able to defend the Doctor in every thing; you have brought a kind of necessity upon me, of showing how little ground you have for your assurance in this particular; and that the Doctor will still want some better advocate.
He condemns, in his b Scripture Doctrine, those “ who “ pretending to be wise above what is written, and in“truding into things which they have not seen, have pre“sumed to affirm, that there WAS A TIME WHEN THE “SON WAS NOT.” Who would think, after this, that he should be the man who should presume to do it? Yet nothing is more evident than that he denies the eternity of the Son; which is the very same as to affirm, that “ there “ was a time when the Son was not.” He denies it, by plain consequence, in supposing the Son to be é oủx öytwy, as was shown under the last Query; and besides, he expressly says, in his comments on the Athanasian Creed, (which contain what himself subscribes to,) that “ there “are not three eternal Persons.” It must indeed be owned, that in his paper laid before the Bishops, July 2, 1714. he professes that the Son was “ eternally begotten “ by the eternal will and power of the Father.” But, after a friend of his had discovered some uneasiness at that passage, as looking like a retractation of his former opinion, and as admitting the Son's eternity, he d took care to explain it away, and to signify that, though he had said the Son was eternally begotten, he did not mean it in the strict and proper sense. “My intention,” says he, “was not to assert any thing different from what I “had before written; but only to show that I did not in “any of my books teach (as had by many been industri“ously reported) the doctrine of Arius, (viz. that the Son “ of God was a creature made out of nothing, just before 6 the beginning of the world,) but that he was begotten • Prop. vi. p. 279. alias 246. * Script. Doctr. p. 429. This part is left out in his second edition, Letters, Numb. 8.
" eternally, that is, without any limitation of time, (axpós veos, apò xpóvw ciwviwv, sporicovias, apò mártov ciców,) " in the incomprehensible duration of the Father's eter66 nity.” This is too plain to need any comment.
I shall only observe to the reader, how the Doctor singles out one particular point, wherein he differs from Arius ; whereas it is justly questionable whether that was Arius's settled opinion or no. Any one that will be at the pains to read over Arius's Letters, extant in e Theodorit and fAthanasius, will easily see, that the principal thing which stuck with him was the το αΐδιον, or συναΐδιον, the strict eternity or coeternity of the Son. As to other lesser matters, he would easily have compounded with the Catholics; and would never have scrupled in the least to carry the point as high as the Doctor does. He was content, for the most part, to say, “ There was a time when “ the Son was not,” without defining the precise time of his generation, or creation. To make it the more clearly appear that he was perfectly of the Doctor's sentiments, in this particular, it is observable, that he uses nearly the very same words which the Doctor does : (áxpóvws, hi apo Xpórov xj apo aitóvwv, i apo návrwv Tõv aiúvwv«) words, though not exactly the same, yet full as high and strong as those which the Doctor explains his own sense of eternity by. So that the Doctor has no reason to disclaim Arius; or to endeavour to persuade the world that he differs from him in any thing material relating to this controversy. But to return. The words eternal, always, or the like, are plain English words, and should either not be used in this case at all, or used in their true and proper sense. You apologize for it, as far as the matter will bear; but it would be wiser, and better, and more ingenuous, to give that point up. Let us hear, however, what you have to say.
e E. H. lib. i. cap. 5.
f De Synod. Arim. p. 729. & Epist. apud Athanas. p. 730. h Athanas. ibid. Theod. cap. v. p. 21. i Confess. Arii et Euz, apud Sozom. I. ii. c. 27. p. 395.
“ God could eternally act; that is, could in any point “ of duration of his own existence exercise his eternal “ power and will in producing beings and therefore “ beings distinct from the one supreme God may be said “ to be eternal, as far as we are able to reason about eter66 nity, (I mean as it is a negative idea,) so that we can“ not conceive time when they were not.” (P.61.) What a number of words are here, only to tell us, in a round about way, that the Son is not eternal. What is this negative eternity, but no eternity? And why are not angels or archangels called eternal, since we know not precisely when they were made, nor in what time they began to exist; which is all the meaning of this new sort of eternity. Besides, is not every creature produced in some “ point of duration,” in which God exercises his “eternal “ power and will” upon them? Are they therefore eternal? As to your intimating of the Son, that “ we cannot “ conceive time when he was not,” it is not true, upon your principles. We can conceive it as well of him as of any other creature, angel, or archangel; if he was made in time, that is, if he was made at all. We can conceive, and must conceive, that there were millions and millions of ages backwards; an eternity, a parte ante, before he came into being. I hope you intended not any equivocation in the word time: but if you did, it is only putting duration in the room of it, and then all will be right. The Arians would have been content to have had but one moment of time admitted for the Father to be prior, and to will the existence of the Son. This would have been enough to make the generation of the Son sit easy, upon their minds. But the misfortune was, that one moment's priority of time must infer an infinite priority. The Arians saw it, and submitted to it: the Catholics abhorred the thought, and could not bear the impiety of making the Son of God a creature.
You endeavour to show that Dr. Clarke takes a middle way between the orthodox and the Arians ; by which you only happen to show how little you have been acquainted with the forms, creeds, and confessions of the ancient Arians. The first k instance you give of the Doctor's middle way is, that he does not plainly and directly say that the Son was created; he denies him to be ?Ę Oůx Övtw. But herein he only copies after many of the ancient Arians; who, when accused by the Catholics of making the Son a creature, rejected the charge with great disdain; having this reserve, 'not a creature, like other creatures which are created mediately by the Móyos; the same evasion, which you are pleased to adopt for your own, (p. 60.) And it was m frequent with the Arians to deny the Son to be tĘ Oủx Övtwy, or even to anathematise those that should affirm it. A second instance you give, of the Doctor's refining upon the Arians, is in the point of the Son's eternity, (p. 61.) But I have shown you that he does not so much as go beyond Arius himself in that point: besides that the n ancient Arians condemned those that should presume to say, that " there was a time when the « Son was not,” equivocating upon the word time. Both your instances, you see, fail you, being neither of them sufficient to the purpose.
But, to set this matter in a somewhat clearer light, it may not be improper, in this place, to exhibit a draught or representation of the Arian tenets or principles; by which it will appear what Arianism really is, when pursued in its remotest consequences; and what the difference is between those who only admit some part of it, (as the Doctor and yourself,) and those who receive the whole.
k Pag. 60. ! See Socrat. E. H. I. ii. c. 10. p. 73. Hieron. Dial. contr. Lucif. p. 300.
m See Arian Creeds. Athanas. p. 738. Socrat. 1. ii. c. 8, 19, 30. Sozom. 1. iii. c. 11.
n See Arian Creeds. Athanas. p. 738. Socrat. 1. ii. c. 18, 19. Sozom. I. iii. c. 11.
o Positions of some or other of the Arians in respect of
the Son. 1. Not P consubstantial with God the Father.
2. Not 9 coeternal, however begotten before all ages, or without any known limitation of time.
3. Of a distinct inferior nature, however otherwise perfectly like the Father.
4. Not strictly and essentially God, but partaking of the Father's divinity. .
5. A creature of the Father's, however unlike to the rest of the creatures, or superior to them.
6. Not like the Father ; but in nature and substance like other creatures.
7..s Made in time; there having been a time when he was not, made from nothing.
8. ! Far inferior to the Father in knowledge, power, and perfections.
9. Mutable in his nature, as a creature, though unchangeable by decree.
10. Dependent on the good pleasure of the Father, for his past, present, and future being.
11. Not knowing the Father perfectly, nor himself: his knowledge being that of a creature, and therefore finite.
12. Made a little before the world was made ; and for the sake of those that should be after him.
These are the Arian principles brought down as low as they can well go. Arius, the author and founder of the sect, seems to have gone through all those steps at the first : and indeed all of them, except the last, hang together; and are but the necessary consequences of each
• Athanas. p. 282, 398, 728. Sozom. I. i. c. 15. Theod. Hæret. Fab. l. iv.
This was agreed to unanimously. . This point disputed by the Psathyrians. Theod. Hæret. Fab. I. iv. c. 4, . p. 238.
* This denied by all but those called Anomaans. * This denied, in words, by many.
+ Few bold enough to maintain expressly this or any of the following propositions.