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direct us how to form a judgment. 1. The word Osòs, God, is used in a proper sense in the very same verse. 2. The Word was God in the beginning, that is, before the creation. 3. The work of creation is attributed to him.
I say, first, the word oeds, God, is once used, in a proper sense, in the very same verse. I have before shown, that the pretended relative sense is only an improper and figurative sense of the word God, according to the Scripture notion of it; and therefore, certainly, that cannot be the meaning of it here, being applied to the Father, who, without dispute, is properly God. Besides, that since Ofòs in the Septuagint is frequently the rendering of Jehovah, as you may readily see by turning to Trommius's Concordance; and since St. John himself follows that rendering, as you may observe by comparing John vi. 45. with Is. liv. 13. we may reasonably think that • Beds, in the text, is of the same signification with Jehovah: which is a farther proof, that it is to be understood absolutely, and not relatively, as you term it, or as 1, improperly. If therefore the word oeds, God, be once used by St. John in the strict and proper sense, how can we imagine, that immediately after, in the very same verse, he should use the same word in a sense very different from that of the former? You remark, that “the “ article is prefixed before Osòs, in an absolute construcstion, when spoken of the Father ; but omitted when 6 predicated of the Anyós.” But if the want of the article be sufficient to prove that Osòs, God, when applied to the Word, is of a different meaning; by the same argument you might prove that the same word, Ocòs, without an article, in no less than four places more of this chapter, (ver. 6. 12. 13. 18.) is not to be understood of the one true God. I cannot help thinking a remark trifling, which signifies so little, as either to prove too much, or to prove nothing. Could you show that Ocòs, without the article, was always taken in a relative or improper sense, you would do something. All that you attempt to show is,
that ó Oxos is no where, in the New Testament, predicated of the Word in an absolute construction. And what if it is not ? then it is not: for that is all you can make of it. Ocòs without the article, in many places, confessedly means as much as Ofòs with the article; which is enough for our purpose. Or, admitting that there is some reason and significancy in it, that the Son is not styled ó sòs in an absolute construction, but that the title is generally reserved to the Father, as the title, ó llatie; all that it signifies is, that the first Person of the Holy Trinity is eminently distinguished by an article ; but not that the addition, or the omission, of an article makes any alteration in the sense of the word =ós. You say, that “ three “ of the most learned Ante-Nicene Greek Fathers insist “ upon this remark about the article; a Clemens of Alex" andria, b Origen, and c Eusebius.” But what do they gather from it, or what do they mean by it? Do they mean that the Son is not God in the proper sense? Nothing like it. Do they mean that the article can never be properly applied when the Son is spoken of, or that the Scripture observes it as an invariable rule? That does not appear, but rather the contrary: for they understood many texts of the Old Testament, where Ocòs occurs with the article, of Christ, as may appear, in some measure,
· Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. p. 558. ed. Ox. Clemens does not make his re. mark on John i. 1. nor does he mention, that the article is put to distinguish the Father's supereminent dignity of nature above the son; as your reader, or perhaps yourself, might imagine. His design was only to prove, against Tatian, that the true God (and not the Devil) was the author of conjugal procreation ; for which he cites Gen. iv. 25. observing, that Osòs in that place has the article ó before it; and therefore must be understood of the true God, the partoupátwe. By the very same rule, Christ must be true God, in the same sense, according to Clemens. He is ó Osós. See p. 72, 132, 251, 273, 436, 832; and likewise ó Tartorpátwe, p. 277. See also p. 148, 647.
b In Joh. p. 46. Origen means no more than that the Father is Aúról sos, God unoriginated; the Son, God of God.
e Eccl. Theol. 1. ii. c. 17. Eusebius makes no farther use of the observation than to prove, against Marcellus, that the royos is a distinct real Person; and not the Father himself.
from the texts before laid down; and might be more amply set forth by other evidence, were any needful in so clear a case.
The truth of the whole matter is, the title of ó oeds, being understood in the same sense with Aútbdeos, was, as it ought to be, generally reserved to the Father, as the distinguishing personal character of the first Person of the Holy Trinity. And this amounts to no more than the acknowledgment of the Father's prerogative, as Father. But as it might also signify any person who is truly and essentially God, it might properly be applied to the Son too: and it is so applied sometimes, though not so often as it is to the Father. However, it is hardly worth the while to dispute this point. The sum and substance of all is, that d the Father is absolutely and eminently styled ó eòs, as the fountain of all; the Son, Oeds, God of God; which is sufficient to our purpose. You observe, (p. 42.) that the LXXII have cos without the article, wherever mention is made of God, in what you call the subordinate sense. · The inference I should draw from thence is, that when Deds has the article prefixed, the supreme God is meant thereby. By this rule, if the concurrent sense of the Ante-Nicene writers be of any force or weight with you, our dispute would be at an end. For they apply innumerable texts, wherein sòs occurs with the article, to our Saviour Christ. But if you slight their authorities, yet I presume you will be concluded by the inspired writers, who apply some texts of the Old Testament, which have ©eds with the article, to our blessed Lord. Compare
Numb. xxi. 5, 6, 7. 1 1 Cor. x. 9.
I had almost forgot to take notice of one pretence more you have, for the subordinate sense of Osòs, in John i. 1. You word it thus, (p. 41.) “ He who is God, and “at the same time is with God who begat Him, must “ needs be God in a different meaning; unless the same “God could be with himself,” &c. To this it is readily answered, that being with God is the same as being with the Father, (compare i John i. 2.) who is God, and eminently so styled, as being first in order f. If he were not always with him, and inseparable from him, he could not be God in a proper sense. God and God, or God of God, supposes two Persons; and therefore there is no foundation for the objection of the Son's being with himself. Having thus endeavoured to obviate your exceptions, I now proceed in the proof of my position. The Word is here (John i. 1.) said to have been God in the beginning ; that is, before the creation ; from whence it is farther probable, that he is God in the strict and proper sense. This circumstance may at least be sufficient to convince you, that the relative sense, which you contend for, is not applicable. He could have no relation to the creatures before they were made; no dominion over them when they were not: and therefore could not be God in the sense of dominion or office. But what most of all demonstrates the Word to be here called God in the proper sense is, that the creation of all things is ascribed to him. Creation is an indisputable mark of the one true God; the & distinguishing character by which he was to be known, and for which he was to be reverenced above all Gods; and on h account of which he claims to himself all homage, worship, and adoration. But of this I shall have occasion to say more hereafter, and therefore shall dis
See this more fully explained and illustrated in Dr. Fiddes's Body of Divinity, vol. i. p. 383, &c. and 397, &c.
c Vid. Surenhus. Conciliation. p. 511.
* There is no inconsistency in admitting a priority of order, and yet denying the Son to be God in a subordinate or improper sense. There was a priority of order in respect of Adam and Seth; and yet Seth was not man in a subordinate sense, but in the same sense as Adam was. I use not the similitude, as if it would answer in other respects; but it may serve so far to illustrate my meaning; which is sufficient. See Exposit. Fid. attributed to Justin. Mart. p. 293. Sylb. ed. & Jerem. x. 11.
h Rev. iv. 10, 11.
miss it for the present. I must not forget to add, that, besides what I have here urged, by virtue also of what hath been proved under Query the first, I may come at my conclusion. For no question can be made but that the Word is called God, by St. John, in a higher sense than any nominal God can pretend to. And therefore, since he is not excluded with the nominal Gods, he is included and comprehended in the one Supreme God; and consequently is coeternal and coessential with the Father. Enough hath been said in vindication of the argument contained in this Query; and so now I return it upon you, standing in full force, and expecting a more complete and more satisfactory answer.
Query IV. Whether, supposing the Scripture-notion of God to be no ... more than that of the Author and Governor of the uni
verse, or whatever it be, the admitting of another to be Author and Governor of the universe, be not admitting another God, contrary to the texts before cited from Isaiah, and also to Is. xlii. 8. xlviii. 11. where he declares, he will not give his glory to another?
YOUR answer is,' (p. 42.) “Supposing the revealed 6 sense of the word God, to imply dominion, and that “ he is the Author and Governor of the universe, the ad“mitting a second Person, distinct from the one supreme 6 God, to be Author and Governor, doth by no means 6 contradict the passages cited from Isaiah, or any other, 66 or introduce two Gods, viz. two supreme Beings or “ Persons." Give me leave to produce the texts of Isaiah once more, and to place others in an opposite column to them, only mutatis mutandis, putting Author and Governor of the universe instead of the word God; which, with you, amounts to the same. 'I am the Lord, and 'there is 1l The Word was Author and Gonone else, there is no Author and vernor of the uniderse, John ir 1. Governor of the universe beside me, Is. xlv. 5.