« PreviousContinue »
this, literally translated : “x Who, according to his (the “ Father's) good pleasure, is God, being his Son; and an “ angel too, as ministering to his Father's will.” The meaning is not, as you represent it, “ that Christ is God, “ by the will of the Father," (though even that might bear a good sense according to what has been observed . above;) but that it was the Father's good pleasure that he should not only be God, as he always was, being God's Son; but that he should take upon him besides, the office of an angel. That he was God, was a y necessary thing, as he was God's Son, of the same nature with him: but that he should be both; i. e. God and an angel too; this was entirely owing to God's good pleasure. However, you have been something civiller to this ancient Father than Dr. Whitby has been, in his “ Modest Disquisitions;" who, to serve a bad cause, uses a worse art; 2 cuts the quotation short at viòv aútoŨ; and then, to make his own sense out of that passage, inserts (et) in his translation, rendering it thus : “ Qui ex voluntate ipsius et Deus est, " et Filius ;' leaving out “ et angelus,” to which the former et referred. Strange that any should be so resolutely eager to ungod their Saviour, as not to permit the cause to have a fair hearing. It were pious, at least, to let the reader know what has, or what can be said on the other side of the question; and to give it its due weight and force. This is reasonable in any the most trifting matter, that can come before us: but certainly much more so, where his honour is concerned, whom all men are commanded to "honour, even as they honour the “ Father," John v. 23. For my own part, I declare once for all; I desire only to have things fairly represented, as they really are; no evidence smothered or stifled on either side. Let every reader see plainly what may be justly pleaded here or there, and no more; and then let it be left to his impartial judgment, after a full view of the case: misquotations and misrepresentations will do a good cause harm; and will not long be of service to a bad one. But to return. The second citation which you bring from Justin, you give such an account of, as must make one think, either that you never saw the book you mention; or else—but see the passage in the a margin. Your words are, “ He hath all these titles (before-men« tioned, viz. that of Son, Wisdom, Angel, God, Lord, « and Word) from his being begotten of the Father by « his will;" directly contrary to the whole tenor of the dialogue, and the very immediate words preceding those you cite. In your third quotation, you are pleased for the sake of English readers, to mistranslate #poeldóvta, “produced," instead of, “coming forth,” or “proceeding.” Your next citation is from Clement of Alexandria; in which I find no fault but your referring to Strom. 5. instead of Strom. 7. and bringing a passage not certainly pertinent to the point in question. If you please to look into the bauthor himself, you will find it at least doubtful, whether he be speaking of the generation of the Son; or only showing how he, by the Father's good pleasure,
* Τον κατά βουλήν την εκείνου και Θεόν όντα, υιον αυτού, και άγγελου, εκ του ürnesteī tñ yváren auto. P. 280. Sylb. Jebb. 370. Parallel to which is that of Novatian. Personæ autem Christi convenit ut et Deus sit, quia Dei Filius; et angelus sit, quoniam paternæ dispositionis adnuntiator est. Novat. c. 26.
y For, though he was God, as being God's Son, and a Son xatà Bouany, according to Justin, and other writers before mentioned ; yet they did not think that he was God, xerà Bouany. But because he came forth, as a Son, from the Father; and was not produced ið oux öytwy, (as all creatures are;) therefore he was God, having ever existed, before his coming forth, in and with the Father. Hic ergo quando Pater voluit, processit ex Patre : et qui in Patre fuit, processit ex Patre. Novat. c. 26.
2 Whitby's Disq. Modest. p. 32.
"Έχειν γαρ πάντα προσονομάζεσθαι, έκ τε του υπηρετείν τω πατρική βουλήμασι, xaà éx to so toll targos Jeañoso yeyevño dun. Dial. p. 183. Jeb. It is not from his being begotten of the Father that he hath all these titles; but from that, and his administering to his Father's will. Both together (not either singly) will account for all these titles. | b Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. p. 833. Ox. edit. AzvTous Tãy ủyeSav, 9A ματι του παντοκράτορος πατρός, αίτιος ο υιός καθίσαται, πρωτουργές κινήσεως, δύναμις άληπτος αισθήσει» ο γαρ 8 ήν, τούτο ώφθη τοΐς χωρησαι μη δυναμένοις δια την deskvai@y Tĩs đexác. dai9ngày là kvaAay cáạxa, đc.
was at the head of affairs, and administered his Father's kingdom. Your next author is c Tertullian, who is indeed speaking of the generation, that is, manifestation, or coming forth, of the Son: and here you render protulit, “produced,” meaning “ into being,” or “ into a state of “ existence;" which is not Tertullian's sense, nor of any of the Fathers who speak of that matter. Tertullian expressly d excepts against it: so does e Tatian, the next author which you name: and so likewise f Athenagoras, and 's Hippolytus, whom you have not named: but I choose to mention them, as being useful to explain the former. h Eusebius may reasonably be interpreted by those that went before him; or by the emperor Constantine's explication of this matter, which shall be cited hereafter; or by his own account of the holy undivided Trinity, before mentioned: if not, his authority against the Catholics before and after him, and against himself, must appear of small weight. The rest of your authorities I have already spoke to; and you may perceive by this time, I presume, that none of them speak home to the purpose for which they were cited. However, for the sake of such who, being little acquainted with these matters, may be liable to be imposed upon by a few specious pretences, I shall now go a little deeper into the point before us, and endeavour to set it in a true light.
The distinction of a i threefold generation of the Son, is well known among the learned, and is thus explained.
1. The first and most proper filiation and generation, is his eternally existing in and of the Father; the eternal Móyos, of the eternal mind. In respect of this, chiefly,
* Tunc cum Deus voluit, ipsum primum protulit Sermonem. Tertull. contr. Prax. c. 6.
d Contr. Prax. c. 5.
Legat. sect. x. p. 39. Ox. edit.
See True Script. Doctr. continued, p. 123. i Bull. D. F. p. 232. Brev. Animadv. in Gil. Clerke, p. 1054. Fabric. Not. in Hippol. vol. i. p. 242.
he is the only begotten, and a distinct Person from the Father. His other generations were rather condescensions, first to creatures in general, next to men in particular.
2. His second generation was his condescension, manifestation, coming forth, as it were, from the Father (though never separated or divided from him) to create the world : this was in time, and a voluntary thing; and in this respect properly he may be thought to be πρωτότοκος πάσης xtitews, first-born of every creature; or before all creatures.
3. His third generation, or filiation, was when he condescended to be born of a Virgin, and to become man." These things I here suppose or premise only, for the more distinct apprehension of what is to follow; not expecting to be believed farther than the proofs can justify. We may now proceed to speak of the doctrine of the ancients.
It is observable, that the Ante-Nicene writers are more sparing than those that came after, in speaking of the first, the eternal generation ; sparing, I mean, as to the term, or phrase; not as to the thing itself. The eternity of the Word, or Abyos, and the distinction of Persons, they all held; together with the consubstantiality, and unity of principle; which together are as much as can be meant by eternal generation.'
Irenæus is a k frequent and constant asserter of the eternity of the Word; but eternal generation we do not read in express terms. Yet we find what amounts to it, by necessary implication. In one particular place 'he censures those who pretended to ascribe any beginning to the nativity of the Word; which is in effect asserting an eternal prolation, or generation; for he makes these words m equivalent.
k Pag. 153, 163, 209, 253. ed. Bened. We do not pretend to argue merely from the force of the word semper, or åsì, but from that and other circumstances : as when infectus goes along with it, or the like, p. 153. And as “ semper aderat generi humano,” p. 209. intimates that he was with men, as soon as any men existed; so, “ existens semper apud Patrem," intimates his being coeval with the Father.
i Prolationis initium donantes. L. ii. c. 14. p. 132.
Origen, commenting upon the words of the second Psalm; “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten “ thee;" proceeds thus: “n They are spoken to him by “ God, with whom it is always to-day: for, I conceive, “ there is no evening nor morning with him; but the s time coextended, if I may so speak, with his unbe“ gotten and eternal life is the to-day in which the Son “ is begotten; there being no beginning found of his “ generation, any more than of the to-day.” This is farther confirmed by what • Athanasius quotes from him, where Origen calls it presumption “P to ascribe any be“ginning to the Son;" and speaks of the only begotten, as being 9 always with the Father.
To Origen I may subjoin Novatian, who says, the Son must have always existed in the Father, or else (which he takes to be absurd) the Father would not have been always Father. This, I think, can bear no sense, unless always be understood strictly. And it is very manifest that s Novatian supposes the Son to have existed before that procession, coming forth, or nativity, which he speaks of in that chapter. Some indeed have thought, that Novatian understands not the word semper there, in the strict sense of unlimited duration; wherein I humbly conceive
m L. ii. c. 28. p. 158.
n Asystal agòs avrò évè Toũ 600, a ári isi tò onuenov, oùx ľvo gàe corrigee soll. εγώ δε ηγούμαι ότι ούδε πρωΐα· αλλ' και συμπαρεκτείνων των αγεννήτη και αιδίο αυToll Swń, % v OÚTWs sww, xeóros, nu'éga için autã ońusgos, sv ni yeyeyuntas ó viss, úpras yavédews autoŨ oŰrws 8x sügroxouérns, ás dě oñs inégas. Com. in Joh. p. 31. Compare with this, the citation from Origen, in Pamphilus's Apology.
• De Decret. Synod. Nic. p. 233. ed. Bened.
• Et qui in Patre fuit, processit ex Patre: et qui in Patre fuit, quia ex Patre fuit, cum Patre postmodum fuit, quia ex Patre processit. C. 31. VOL. I.