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ment also, he referred all that he did to the authority of the Father, as the first original, and fountain of all power, preeminence, dignity, &c. acting in his name, executing his will, and representing his Person. (“ I and my Fa“ther are one,” John x. 30. “ He that hath seen me, “ hath seen the Father,” John xiv. 9. “I can of mine 6 own self do nothing,” John v. 30.) And yet whatever is said of Christ is to be understood of him in his own Person, and not of the Father only, whom he represented. In fine, it is not necessary, that every one who acts in the name, or by the authority, or in the person of another, should usurp the style of that other, and speak in the first person; e. g. a viceroy, or an ambassador, speaks in the king's name, and by his authority, and represents his person : but does not personate the king, in the strictest sense; does not pretend to say, I am the king. And therefore you can draw no certain conclusion from the two passages of Theophilus and Tertullian. On the contrary, I have shown you, from the whole drift, tenor, and tendency, as well as from particular testimonies of the primitive writings, that they are far from favouring your pretences in this case, but are a perfect contradiction to them. From what hath been said, these three things are very plain and evident..
1. That, according to the mind of the ancients, the Son was God, and so called in his own Person.
2. That he was God in his own Person, as being God's Son.
3. That he was God's Son, as having the divine substance communicated from the Father.
These three considerations entirely take off the force of whatever either you or Dr. Clarke hath offered to perplex and puzzle a very clear and manifest truth.
I have insisted chiefly on the first particular, as was proper in this place; though I have, in passing, hinted enough of the two latter also; especially considering that they will often be glanced at again, in the process of our dispute.
Thus, I hope, I have sufficiently vindicated the argument of this second Query, having shown from plain Scripture texts, that Christ is not excluded from being the one Supreme God in conjunction with the Father; and taken off your exceptions: and lest this should seem insufficient, I have confirmed it farther, from the unanimous consent of all antiquity, before the Council of Nice; which is what yourself appeal to in the case. This article indeed has hereby been drawn out into a disproportionate length: but the importance of it is a sufficient apology. Were you able satisfactorily to answer the following queries, this one, while it stands unanswered, would be enough for all. But I proceed.
Whether the word (God) in Scripture can reasonably be
supposed to carry an ambiguous meaning, or to be used in a different sense, when applied to the Father and Son, in the same Scripture, and even in the same verse? See John i. 1.
HERE you make answer; that “the word (God) in “ Scripture hath a relative signification, and is used in a o supreme and a subordinate sense.” And you appeal to Exod. vii. 1. “ I have made thee a god to Pharaoh ;" and to Psalm lxxxii. I. “God standeth in the assembly of “ gods; judgeth among gods;" and you desire that John x. 34, 35. may be compared ; “ Is it not written in “ your law, I said ye are gods?” &c. You are impatient, I perceive, to come to your distinction of supreme and subordinate, which, you imagine, clears all difficulties; and you will not stay to consider what ought to be said first. The first and most general distinction of the senses of the word God, should be into proper and improper; after which it will be soon enough to come to your famed distinction of supreme and subordinate. Dr. Clarke indeed would persuade us, that the proper Scripture notion of God is dominion ; and that therefore any person
having dominion, is, according to the Scripture notion, truly and properly God. This shall be examined; but it will be convenient here to set down the Doctor's own words. “ The word Ocòs, God, has in Scripture, and in 6 all books of morality and religion, a relative significa“ tion; and not, as in metaphysical books, an absolute “one: as is evident from the relative terms, which in “ moral writings may always be joined with it. For in“stance, in the same manner as we say, my Father, my “ King, and the like; so it is proper also to say, my God, “the God of Israel, the God of the universe, and the like: “ which words are expressive of dominion and govern“ment. But, in the metaphysical way, it cannot be said, “ my infinite substance, the infinite substance of Israel, “ or the like a.” He repeats the observation, (p. 290) b; and is very positive, that the word God, in Scripture, is always a relative word of office, giving the same pretty reason for it as before. This shall be carefully considered; and the manner of speaking accounted for, in the sequel.
I shall only observe here, by the way, that the word star is a relative word, for the same reason with that, which the doctor gives for the other. For, the “ star of “ your God Remphan,” (Acts vii. 43.) is a proper expression: but, in the metaphysical way, it cannot be said, the luminous substance “ of your God Remphan.” So again, water is a relative word; for it is proper to say, the water of Israel : but, in the metaphysical way, it cannot be said, the fluid substance of Israel; the expression is c improper. By parity of reason, we may make rela
a See Dr. Clarke's Reply, p. 284.
• It is very obvious to perceive where the impropriety of such expressions lies. The word substance, according to the common use of language, when used in the singular number, is supposed to be intrinsic to the thing spoken of, whose substance it is; and indeed, to be the thing itself. My substance is myself: and the substance of Israel is Israel. And hence it comes to be improper to join substance with the relative terms, understanding it of any thing extrinsic.
tive words almost as many as we please. But to proceed: I maintain that dominion is not the full import of the word God in Scripture; that it is but a part of the idea, and a small part too; and that, if any person be called God, merely on account of dominion, he is called so by way of figure and resemblance only; and is not properly God, according to the Scripture notion of it. We may call any one a king, who lives free and independent, subject to no man's will. He is a king so far, or in some respect ; though in many other respects nothing like one; and therefore not properly a king. If by the same figure of speech, by way of allusion and resemblance, any thing be called God, because resembling God in one or more particulars; we are not to conclude, that it is properly and truly God.
To enlarge something farther upon this head, and to illustrate the case by a few instances. Part of the idea which goes along with the word God is, that his habitation is sublime, and “ his dwelling not with flesh,” Dan. ii. 11. This part of the idea is applicable to angels or to saints, and therefore they may thus far be reputed Gods; and are sometimes so styled in Scripture, or ecclesiastical writings. Another part of the complex idea of God is giving orders from above, and publishing commands from heaven. This was in some sense applicable to Moses; who is therefore called “ a God unto Pharaoh :" not as being properly a God; but instead of God, in that instance, or that resembling circumstance. In the same respect, every prophet, or apostle, or even a minister of a parish, might be figuratively called God. Dominion goes along with the idea of God, or is a part of it; and therefore kings, princes, and magistrates, resembling God in that respect, may, by the like figure of speech, be styled Gods: not properly; for then we might as properly say, God David, God Solomon, or God Jeroboam, as King David, &c. but by way of allusion, and in regard to some imperfect resemblance which they bear to God in some particular respects; and that is all. It belongs to God, to receive worship, and sacrifice, and homage. Now, because the heathen idols so far resembled God, as to be made the objects of worship, &c. therefore they also, by the same figure of speech, are by the Scripture denominated Gods, though at the same time they are declared, in a proper sense, to be no Gods. The belly is called the God of the luxurious, (Phil. iii. 19.) because some are as much devoted to the service of their bellies, as others are to the service of God; and because their lusts have got the dominion over them. This way of speaking is in like manner grounded on some imperfect resemblance, and is easily understood. The prince of the devils is supposed, by most interpreters, to be called the “God of this “ world,” 2 Cor. iv. 4. If so, the reason may be, either because the men of this world are entirely devoted to bis service, or that he has got the power and dominion over them.
Thus we see how the word God, according to the popular way of speaking, has been applied to angels, or to men, or to things inanimate and insensible; because some part of the idea belonging to God has been conceived to belong to them also. To argue from hence, that any of them is properly God, is making the whole of a part; and reasoning fallaciously, a dicto secundum quid, as the schools speak, ad dictum simpliciter. If we inquire carefully into the Scripture notion of the word, we shall find, that neither dominion singly, nor all the other instances of resemblance, make up the idea, or are sufficient to denominate any thing properly God. When the prince of Tyre pretended to be God, (Ezek. xxviii. 2.) be thought of something more than mere dominion to make him so; he thought of strength invincible, and power irresistible: and God was pleased to convince him of his folly and vanity, not by telling him how scanty his dominion was, or how low his office; but how weak, frail, and perishing his nature was; that he was man only, and • not God,” ver. 2, 9. and should surely find so by the