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Is there an Author and Governor || Christ came, who is over all, of the universe beside me? yea, Author and Governor of the unithere is no Author, &c. Isa. xliv. verse, blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 5.
I hope you see plainly how the texts in the two opposite columns confront and contradict each other; and that two Authors and Governors of the universe, whom you suppose two distinct separate Beings, are as plainly two Gods, as if it were said so in terms. For indeed there is no difference more than that of putting the definition for the thing defined. But you have an evasion after, that they are not two supreme Beings. And what if they are not? Are they not still two Authors and Governors of the universe? And is not every such Author and Governor, by your own account, a God? This pretence then comes too late. Or admitting that supreme must be added to Author and Governor, to make a true definition of God, then Author and Governor of the universe, without supreme, is not sufficient to denominate a person God; and so you ungod the second Person; and what you gave with one hand, you take away with the other.
What you should have said is, (for it is what you really mean,) that there are two Gods; one supreme, and the other subordinate: which being a proposition utterly repugnant to the texts of Isaiah, and to the whole tenor of Scripture, and to all antiquity, you do not, I suppose, care to speak it at length. I have before endeavoured to expose this notion of two Gods, one supreme, and the other inferior; and have shown it to be unreasonable and unscriptural. I may add, that if there really be two Gods (supreme and inferior) in the proper scriptural sense of the word, the good Fathers of the three first centuries argued against the heathen Polytheism upon a very false principle, and died martyrs for an error; the angel in the Revelations, may seem to have imposed upon St. John with an erroneous maxim, Rev. xix. 10. our Saviour's answer to the devil to have been defective, and not pertinent, Lake iv. &. and the many declarations of the Unity, scattered through the Old Testament, to be unintelligible and insignificant. But this shall be more distinctly explained when I come to the argument concerning worship. ' · Here let me only ask you, where does the Scripture give you the least intimation of two true Gods? Where does it furnish you with any ground for the distinction of a sovereign and an inferior Deity? What foundation can you find for adding supreme wherever the Scripture says absolutely there is but one God? You are apt to complain of us for adding to the text, and for pretending to speak plainer than the Holy Spirit has dictated; why do you add here, without any warrant? If the sacred writers intended to limit the sense by supreme, why could not they, in one place at least among many, have said so, and have told it us as plainly as Dr. Clarke and you do? I argue indeed here ad hominem only; and let it have just as much force with you, ase the same way of arguing, when you take it up in your turn, ought to have with us. But farther; what account can you give of your leaving room for inferior Deities, when the reason of the thing, the drift, scope, and design of the Scripture seems plainly to have been to exclude not other Supremes only, or other independent Deities, (which few have been weak enough to suppose,) but other lesser, inferior, and dependent Divinities ? Besides, God has declared that “he o will not give his glory to another," Is. xlii. 8. xlvii. 11. This you say “has no difficulty." How so, I beseech you? It seems to me a very great difficulty in your Scheme. You add, that “ his glory is, his being the one “ supreme independent cause and original of all things or “ beings.” Now I thought it was his peculiar glory to be truly God, and to be acknowledged as such, exclusive of other Gods. This, I am sure, is what the one God inculcates and insists upon very particularly in the Old Testament. He discovers himself to be a jealous God, and looks upon it as the highest indignity to have any admitted as partners and sharers with him. All acts of
worship, all homage, service, adoration, and sacrifice, he claims, he challenges as his due, and due to him only, and that because he only is God. Now put the case of another. God, another Author and Governor of the universe; that other will have a share, and divide, though unequally, with him in glory. Was this then the meaning of Isaiah xlii. 8.“ I will not give all my glory to another?”. I will have the greater share in every thing? How consistent might this be with the worship of inferior Deities, or with the rankest Polytheism? For many of the Pagans themselves paid their highest veneration to the one supreme God; only they defiled his worship with a multitude of inferior Deities; they gave not God the sole glory, but admitted others as sharers and partners with him. You add, that “whatever divine honour is justly given to any 6 other, redounds ultimately to the glory of him, who ~ commanded it to be given.”
But what if God, who best knows what redounds to his glory, has already and beforehand engrossed all diyine honour to himself, as being the only God, and the sole Author and Governor of the universe ? then all others are precluded from receiving any divine honour; and there is no more room left for God's commanding it, than there is for his confronting and contradicting himself. But more of this hereafter, under the head of worship. I shall close this article with Grotius's comment upon the text which we have been considering. : The meaning of it is, says he, i“ That God will take severe vengeance on those who “ give that name, which belongs to him, to Bel, Nebo, 6. Merodach, and others, which by nature are no Gods.”
QUERY V. Whether Dr. Clarke's pretence, that the authority of Father
and Son being one, though they are two distinct Beings, makes them, not to be two. Gods, as a king upon the throne, and his son administering the father's government, are not two kings, be not trifling and inconsistent? For if the king's son be not a king, he cannot truly be called king; if he is, then there are two kings. So if the Son be not God in the Scripture-notion of God, he cannot truly be called God; and then how is the Doctor consistent with Scripture, or with himself? But if the Son be truly God, there are two Gods upon the Doctor's hypothesis, as plainly as that one and one are two: and so all the texts of Isaiah cited above, besides others, stand full and clear against the Doctor's notion.
i Vult enim dicere, se vindicaturum severe in eos qui nomen, quod ipsius cst, dant Belo, Neboni, Meraducho, et aliis rois pin púoss ocor Osoīs.
YOU trust, it seems, that “upon a second considera« tion of this fifth Query, the objector himself will not “ think it very pertinent or conclusive.” But I can see no reason for your being so sanguine upon it. For as an argument so plain and strong needs not so much as a second consideration; so if the objector were to consider it ever so often, he could not but think it to be, as he finds it, both very pertinent and very conclusive. You add, that “he will not ask a second time, whether one “ divine Person exercising the authority of another, to “ whom he is subordinate, and by whom he is sent, 6 proves that the two Persons are two Gods.”
But let me intreat you, in a subject of this importance, not to trifle at this rate; talking backwards and forwards, saying and unsaying, asserting and then recanting, and contradicting yourself. What is Dr. Clarke's intention, and what is yours, in insisting so much on the relative sense of the word God, but to find a salvo for the divinity of the Son, that he may be acknowledged, consistently with your hypothesis, to be truly, really, properly God? Read but over again what you yourself have written, (p. 113.) and then deny this if you can. Well then, if the Son, a distinct separate Being, be truly and really God, and if the Father be so too, what can be plainer than that there are, upon your hypothesis, two Gods? But you say, one is supreme, the other subordinate. I understand it; I consider it: and do not you allow that a subordinate being may be properly God? Do not you expressly plead and contend for it? Is it not essential in Dr. Clarke's Scheme, and yours too? What mean you then to deny that there are two Gods ? Can you deny it, without recanting all that you had said before; without striking out every subordinate being from being truly and properly God; without disowning the very principle upon which you assert the Son to be God; in short, without manifestly confronting and condemning yourself? I do not charge you with asserting two supreme Gods; but I do charge you with holding two Gods, one supreme, another inferior; two real and true Gods, according to the Scripture-notion of the word God, as explained by yourself. This you cannot truly and sincerely, you should not otherwise, deny: and therefore, instead of shifting it off, your business should be to maintain your assertion, and to reconcile it, as far as possible, to Scripture, antiquity, and reason. I am sensible something may be pleaded, having seen what has been pleaded, for the notion of two Gods, as you understand it. But I think it is upon such principles, as will leave you no pretence from Scripture to object Tritheism to others; nor any just ground for insisting, as you generally do, upon the strict force of the exclusive terms, in order to ungod the Son. I will not however anticipate what you may have to say farther on this head; nor what may be pertinently replied to it. Let me see first, how far you will in good earnest espouse the notion of two Gods : in the interim I may fairly leave you to consider of it. I shall be content at present to follow you in the way that you are in, endeavouring to clear yourself of the charge of asserting two Gods, and yet, all the while, pleading for a subordinate God. . To countenance your notion, you produce, a after the learned Doctor, the authority of Tertullian; the same Tertullian whom I have quoted above bas de