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great king and a little king make two kings; or else one of them is no king, contrary to the supposition. The: same I say of a supreme and a subordinate God, that they make two Gods ; or else one of them is no God, contrary to the supposition.
Texts proving an unity of divine attributes in Father and Son; applied To the one God.
To the Son. Thou, even thou only, knowest He knew all men, &c. John ii. the hearts of all the children of || 24. Thou knowest all things, John men, 1 Kings viii. 39.
xvi. 30. Which knowest the hearts
of all men, Acts i. 24. I the Lord search the hearts, I I am he that searcheth the reins try the reins, Jer. xvii. 10. and the heart, Rex. ii. 3.
I am the first, and I am the | I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no | last, Rev. i. 17. God, Isa. xliv. 6.
I am Alpha and Omega, the be- I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Rev. i. 8. ll ginning and the end, Rev. xxii. 13.
King of kings, and Lord of lords, | Lord of lords, and King of kings, 1 Tim. vi. 15,
| Rev. xvii. 14. xix. 16. The mighty God, Is. x. 21. The mighty God, Is. ix. 6. Lord over all, Rom. x. 12.
He is Lord of all, Acts x. 36. || Over all, God blessed, &c. Rom. ll ix, 9.
QUERY VI. Whether the same characteristics, especially such eminent
ones, can reasonably be understood of two distinct Beings, and of one infinite and independent, the other dependent and finite?
IN this sixth Query (for so I choose to make it, thinking that method most convenient, on several accounts) are couched two arguments for the Son's being the one true God, as well as the Father.
The first is; That the characteristics, applied to the one true God, are applied likewise to the Son: which consideration alone is of great force.
The second is; That the attributes here applied to the
Son, are such eminent ones, that we might safely conclude they belong to no creature, but to God only.
How shall we know who or what the one God is, or what honour, and to whom, due; but by such marks, notes, and distinguishing characters as are given us of him in Scripture? If those are equally applied to two or more Persons, the honour must go along with the attributes; and the attributes infer an equality of nature and substance to support them. In a word; if divine attributes belong to each Person, each person must be God; and if God, since God is one, the same God. This is the sum of the argument: now let us see what answer you give to it.
You admit that the attributes, specified in the texts, belong to both : only you observe, that “all powers and 6 attributes are said to be the Father's only, because they 66 belong to him primarily, or originally, as the self-ex“ istent a cause.” This I can readily admit, as well as you, provided only the word cause be interpreted to a just, sober, and catholic sense, (as the Greek writers especially have understood it,) and self-existent be interpreted, as it should be, negatively. You add, “Our Lord Jesus 6 Christ, having all communicable divine powers derived 66 to him, with his being, from the Father, is' said to do - the same things which the Father doth, and to be, in " a subordinate sense, what the Father is.”
Here are many things in this answer liable to just exception. First, your using the word divine in an improper sense. Angelical powers are such as are peculiar to angels; and divine powers such as are proper to God only: but here you understand it in the same sense as one might call any kingly power or authority divine, because derived from God; and so any thing that comes from God is, in your sense, divine. In the next place, you clog it farther with the term communicable, telling us, that all communicable divine powers are derived to
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Christ Jesus : whereas I contend, that the attributes in the text are strictly divine ; and therefore incommunicable to any creature. Next, you speak of a subordinate sense, in which those attributes belong to Christ; which is the same as to say, (because you mean so,) that they belong not at all to him. For, I suppose, omniscience, or eternity, &c. in your subordinate sense, are very different from the other; and therefore are not the same attributes. It were better to deny roundly, that the same attributes belong to both; and then we should clearly apprehend each other. Lastly, I observe to you, that you understand the word subordinate, very differently from what. catholic writers do in this controversy, and therefore, instead of it, should rather have said, in a restrained, limited sense; which is your meaning, otherwise you contradict not me.
Now then I must ask you, what ground or warrant you have from Scripture, or right reason, for putting restrictions and limitations upon the texts applied to Christ Jesus, more than to those applied to the one God? The expressions are equally general, and, seemingly at least, equally extensive. You are so sensible that you can give no solid proof of a restrained and limited sense, that you do not so much as offer at it; but only covertly insinuate your meaning, under dark and obscure terms. You -speak of subordination, and quote Fathers for it, who understood it in the sober and orthodox sense: if you agree with those Fathers, you agree with me. But do not use their venerable names as a cover for what they never meant, but would have greatly abhorred b. I allow the second Person to be subordinately wise, good, powerful, &c. That is not the question between us: he is sapientia de sapientia; as lumen de lumine, and Deus de Deo. What I contend for farther is, that his attributes are
b The testimonies which you have cited from Dr. Clarke, I take no notice of; because they have been already considered by a learned Gentleman, and shown to be foreign to your purpose. True Script, Doctr, continued, p. 11.
strictly divine, and his perfections infinite. I prove it from hence; because the attributes which belong to the one God, and are therefore undoubtedly infinite, belong to him also; from whence it follows, that the Godhead belongs to him too; and that there are more Persons than one in the one God. Whatever I can find in your answer tending in the least to invalidate this reasoning, I shall take notice of; though you have been pleased to be very sparing in this article. You observe, that “the exercise “ of these attributes being finite, they do not necessarily “ infer an infinite subject.” I understand not what you mean by the exercise of eternity and omniscience, which are two of those attributes; nor how it can be finite, without an express contradiction; nor how either of them can be exercised, whatever you mean by it, but by an infinite subject. As little do I understand how infinite power, which, I presume, is what you chiefly allude to, must be finite in the exercise of it; as if there could not be an act of infinite power, or as if God could not do something which should infinitely exceed any finite power. These things very much want explaining; and so I leave them to your farther thoughts.
The clearest expression you have under this article is this: “When Christ is styled Lord of all, see it explained, “ Matt. xxviii. 18. and Ephes. i. 22. where Christ is said to 56 have all power given him.” Here, I think, I do understand your meaning; and am sorry to find that it falls so low. Would your C predecessors in this controversy, the ancient Arians, or Eunomians, have ever scrupled to acknowledge that our blessed Saviour was Lord over all, long before his resurrection, or even his incarnation? That he was “Lord of all” before his resurrection, is very plain from the Scriptures, which carry in them irrefragable
c Antequam faceret universa, omnium futurorum Deus et Dominus, Rex et Creator erat constitutus. Voluntate et præcepto (Dei et Patris sui) cælestia et terrestria, visibilia et invisibilia, corpora et spiritus, ex nullis exstantibus, ut essent, sua virtute fecit. Serm. Arianor. apud August. tom. viii. p. 622,
proofs of it. “By him were all things created, that are in “ heaven, and that are in earth, visible, and invisible, “ whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, “or powers : all things were created by him, and for “ him : and he is before all things, and by him all things “ consist,” Col. i. 16, 17. “ Thou, Lord, in the begin“ ning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the “ heavens are the works of thine hands," d Heb. i. 10.
Can you imagine that the Son could be Creator and Preserver of all things from the beginning, and yet not be Lord over all till after his resurrection? If this does not
a It is not without good reason that we understand Heb. i. 10. of Christ.
1. The context itself favours it. The verse begins with xeà où, which properly refers to the same who was spoken of immediately before, in the second Person. The col preceding and où following, answer to each other. A change of person, while the same way of speaking is pursued, must appear unnatural.
2. The scope and intent of the author was to set forth the honour and dignity of the Son above the angels; and no circumstance could be more proper than that of his creating the world.
3. If he had omitted it, he had said less than himself had done before, in verse the 2d, of which this seems to be explanatory; and as he had brought proofs from the Old Testament for several other articles, nothing could be more proper or more pertinent, than to bring a proof from thence of this also.
4. Declaring him to be Jehovah, and Creator of the universe, might be very proper to show that he was no ministering spirit, but oúvigovos ; to sit at the right hand of God, which immediately follows.
5. To introduce a passage here about God's immutability or stability, must appear very abrupt, and not pertinent; because the angels also, in their order and degree, reap the benefit of God's stability and immutability. And the question was not about the duration and continuance, but about the sublimity and excellency of their respective natures and dignities.
6. I may add, that this sense is very consonant to antiquity; which every where speaks of the Son as Creator, and in as high and strong terms: such as these, textíns, on uisgyös, Tonths: åv púrwv, ergéawr, pãy túytwy, tãy Gawr, toû xóopov, and the like; testimonies whereof will occur hereafter, Barnabas, speaking of the sun in the heavens, calls it gyou respőv avto, meaning Christ; though there is some dispute about the reading: of which see Grab. Not. in Bull. D. F. p. 23.
These considerations seem sufficient to overthrow the pretences of a late writer, Examin. of Dr. Bennet on Trin. p. 40.' As to former exceptions to this verse, they are considered and confuted by Bishop Bull, Jud. Eccl. p. 43. See also Surenhus. in loc. p. 600.