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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 q he seems to have known this, is forced to spretend 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
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, quos vocat, et Sabellianorum de Filio Dei sententiam prorsus eandem esse. Quo nihil a vero remotius est; siquidem supra clare ostendimus, neminem Dei Filium Patri oposaroy 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.
See Modest. Disquisit. p. 107. where he charges Bishop Bull with holding a specific unity; and Præf. p. 31.
Præf. p. 31.
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.
(6 s Whether all the Ante-Nicene Fathers professed the 66 very same doctrine which we ascribe to the Nicene “ Council; that is, whether all acknowledged the same “ 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.
he has some pretence for cavil at the word tcommunicated. Yet, as if all this were not sufficient, it must be also by interior production; as he observes a little after in page 2. and he has some turns of wit upon the word u production. Was this the way to answer such a writer as Bishop Bull; a wise, grave, learned, judicious author, , and one that was above trifling?
In short, the plain question between Bishop Bull and the Arians is only this: Whether the Ante-Nicene Fathers, in general, believed the Son to be of an eternal, uncreated, immutable, and strictly divine substance, or no? Bishop Bull maintained the affirmative, and has unanswerably proved it, in the opinion of most men of true learning and judgment, whether here or abroad. This is what the learned Examiner should neither have concealed nor disguised; but have frankly and honestly confessed, as he did «formerly. If, notwithstanding, the learned Prelate has not proved that the Fathers held a numerical essence, in the Examiner's sense, (such as he thinks necessary to preserve the unity,) the Bishop should not be represented as failing in the proof of what he intended; but should be given up for a Tritheist, and the Catholic Church with him, whose advocate he is, and with whom he stands or falls. This would have been the fair and ingenuous way; unless the learned Examiner would have undertaken to prove that the Fathers before the Nicene Council were of Arian principles, which he durst not do. What does it signify to show that they were not Sabellians ? Did Bishop Bull, or does any man of sense, pretend they were ?
You may judge of the performance, from his stating the question so strangely; and his setting out with such diffidence, as if he thought the cause desperate. When you come to the book itself, you will find two thirds of it, in effect, little more than retreating to the Sabellian sense of numerical and individual, which is only so much impertinence. This is the principal and the most general fallacy which hetrus ts to; and is, in a manner, the turn of the whole book.
+ Præf. p. 21.
u Ibid. p. 23. * Opus aggredior quod Bullus nostras, pietate summa et doctrina vir præditus, atque in antiquitatis totius scriptis versatissimus, opere ere perenniori, ad doctorum invidiam, et novutorum cordolium, summo judicio et industria peregit. Whitby. Tractat. de vera Chris. Deit. pag. 59.
He has another general fallacy, which he serves himself of sometimes; and it is this.
When he finds some expressions run pretty high and strong for the divinity of Christ, y he says the Arians used the same or the like expressions. There is very little force or weight in the argument: for it amounts only to this. The z Arians, perfect masters of dissimulation, and notoriously accustomed to equivocating, used such or such expressions, meaning little by them; therefore the Ante-Nicene writers, men of a very different stamp and character, meant no more by those expressions. But, besides this, it is well known that the a Arians, at first, did not use those high expressions of the Son, but came into them by degrees, as they found their doctrine too shocking to be endured in broad terms; and as they perceived the necessity of using Catholic language. We can easily show, how, and when, and why the Arians were obliged to speak higher than they thought. But it can never be shown that the Ante-Nicene Fathers were under any such temptation; or that they affected to speak otherwise than they really meant, or than they would be generally understood. They were plain open men; unacquainted with those principles of latitude, and studied refinements, which came in afterwards. I may use almost a parallel instance from what has been lately seen among ourselves. From the year 1712, Arians have been taught to subscribe the Nicene and Athanasian creeds. But our good forefathers would have thought it horrid prevarication to do it; they were not so subtile and refined : and therefore, though subscription is now no certain argument of men's sentiments, it was formerly; when men were otherwise instructed, and loved Christian plainness and simplicity. This may serve for a brief general answer to the learned Examiner's second general fallacy.
y Præf. p. 4, 29. Lib. p. 8, 9, 40, 90, 109, 153, 157. and elsewhere.
2 Scilicet tenebriones isti parati erant quamlibet fidei confessionem suo suffragio comprobare, quæ modo vocem ómoovorov non haberet : etiamsi quoque in ea ponerentur verba alia quæ apud sanos omnes idem prorsus significarent. Bull. D. F. p. 285.
a Arianos Jesum Christum Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, vitam er vita, ante omnia sæcula ex Deo Patre genitum dixisse, Eusebio adhuc in vivis agente, me legisse non memini : utcunque postea, ad declinandam invidiam in publicis formulis has voces fraudulenter usurparent, &c. Cav. Epist. Apologet. p. 65.
Qui artes Eusebii, reliquorumque Arianorum vocum ambiguitate perpetuo abutentium, non olfaciet hac in re; ei quid aliud optem non video, præter nasum. Cler. Epist. Crit. ii. p. 52.
There is a third general salvo, which occurs pretty often; that the Ante-Nicene writers distinguish God from Christ, (that is, the Father from the Son,) and call the Father God absolutely: now, since the Post-Nicene writers do so too, and since nobody scruples it, even at this day; I need not give myself the trouble of any more particular answer. Thus far for the general fallacies, running through his performance: after which, it may be needless to take notice of any particular mismanagement; but, for a specimen, you shall have a few instances of his misquotations, misconstructions, misrepresentations, reviving of old and trite objections, concealing the answers, and the like. .
To begin with misquotations : page 22. he cites part of Polycarp's doxology, recorded in the Epistle of the Church of Smyrna. There he b leaves out the two most material words, (oùv aútū,) on which the argument chiefly depended, and then insults over the learned Prelate.
Page 62. citing a passage from c Athenagoras, he
b He reads it δι' και σοι εν πνεύματι αγίω δόξα, instead of δι' έ σοι συν αυτώ εν Kysúvati dyiw dóža. Vid. Euseb. I. iv. c. 15.
e ngos autoũ gàve raà di avtoũ távta lyévero, Athenag. Leg. p. 38. Ox. ed.