« PreviousContinue »
Errand; and that it was not by his own Power or Holiness, that He made the lame Man to walk, (see A&t. 3. 12.) Such an Apology as this would have effectually took off all farther Suspicion, and might perhaps have well become a Creature, when charg'd with Blasphemy, who had a true Respect for the Honour of his Creator. But, instead of this, He goes on, a fecond Time, to call Himself Son of God, v.25. declaring farther, that there was so perfect a Union and Intimacy between the Father and Himself, that He was able to do any thing which the Father did ; had not only the same Right and Authority to work on the Sabbath, but the same Power of giving Life to whom He pleased, of raising the Dead, and judging the World; and therefore the same Right and Title to the same Honour and Regard : and that the Execution of those Powers was lodged in his Hands particularly, least the World should not be sufficiently apprehensive of his high Worth, Emipency, and Dignity; or should not honour the Son even as they honour the Father.
This is the obvious natural Construction of the whole Passage: You have some Pretences against it, which have been examin'd and confuted long ago by Hilary, Chrysostom, Cyril, Austin, and other venerable Fathers of the Christian Church; so that I have little more to do, than to repeat the Answers. The Jews, you say, falsely and maliciously charged Him with making Himself equal with God. So faid V 2
the Arians: But what ground had either They, or You, for saying fo? It does not appear that the Evangelist barely repeated what the Jews had said: But He gives the Reasons why the Jews sought to kill Him; namely, because He had broke the Sabbath, and because He made Himself equal with God. So thought * Hilary; and He is followed therein by Others, whom you may find mention'd in 1 Petavius. And this Socinus himself was so sensible of, that He could not but allow that the Apostle, as well as the Jews, understood that our Blessed Lord had declared Himself equal to God; only He is forced to explain away the equality to a Sense foreign to the Context.
But fupposing that the Apostle only repeated what the Jews had charged Him with; how does it appear that the charge was false? It is not to be denied that He had really wrought on the Sabbath, and had really called God his Father, and in a Sense peculiar; and why Mould not the rest of the Charge be as true as the other? The Context and Reason of the Thing seem very much to favor it : His fay
* Non nunc, ut in Cæteris solet, Judæorum Sermo ab his di&tus refertur. Expofitio potius hæc Evangelistæ eft, Causam demonftrantis cur Dominum interficere vellent. Hil. Trin. 1.7. p.935. + De Trin. p. 152.
Ex modo loquendi quo usus elt Evangelista, sentiam eum omnino una cum Judæis cenfuisse Christum, verbis illis, se æqualein Deo fecisse necesse sit intelligere Hoc ipfum Eum quoque senliffe, non minus quam senserit Christum appellafle Deum Patrem fuum, quod ab ipso, uno & eodem verborum Contextu, proxime dictum fuerat. Socin. Resp. ad tujek. p.577.
ing, my Father worketh hitherto, and I work, must imply, either that He had an equal Right to do any thing his Father did; or, that He was so intimately united to Him, that He could not but act in concert with Him: Which is farther confirm’d by what follows, v. 19. What things foever He doth, these also doth the Son likewise. Besides, that had this been only a malicious Suggestion, a false Charge of the Jews, the Evangelist, very probably, would have given Intimation of it, as we find done in other Cases of that Nature, (F05.2.21. Matt. 16.12.) This is the Substance of St. Chryfoftom's reasoning, in Answer to your first Objection; and I am the more coufirm'd in its being true and right, by observing, as before faid, that Socinus himself, a Man so much prejudic'd on the other side, could not help falling in with the same way of Thinking, so far, as to believe that the Apostle and the Jews both agreed in the same Thing, viz. that our Lord did, by what He had faid, make Himself equal with God, in some Sense or other; such as the Jews thought to be Blasphemy, and in Consequence whereof, they would have kill'd, i. e. stoned Him. Another Exception you make from the Words, The Son can do nothing of Himfelf: The obvious meaning of which is; that being so nearly and closely related to God, as a Son is to a Father; the Jews might depend upon it, that whatever He did, was both agreeable to, and concerted with his father ; and
ought to be received with the same Reverence and Regard, as if the Father Himself had done it. He, as a Son, being perfectly one with his Father, could do nothing carrion ToS matei, against his Father, nothing åmótevor, nothing Ekvov, (as Chryfoftom expreffeth it) Both having the same Nature; and harmoniously uniting always in Operation and Energy. Hence it was, that, if one wrought, the other must work too; if one did any thing, the other Should do likewise; if one quickned whom He would, so should the other allo; and if one had Life in himself (or the Power of raising the Dead) so thould the other have too: And if the Father was primarily Judge of the World, in right of his Prerogative as Father, the Son should have it in the Exercise and Execution, to manifest the Equality. Now, here is no straining nor forcing of Texts, but the literal, obvious, natural Interpretation. But the Interpreration, which you give, is plainly forc'd, makes the Context incoherent, and the whole Passage inconsistent. For, be pleas'd to observe your Sense of verse the 19th. The Son can do nothing but by Commission from the Father : Why? then follows, For what things foever He doth, these also doth the Son likewise. Does it follow, because He can do nothing of Himself, in your Sense, that therefore He can do every thing which the Father does? Where is the Sense, or Connexion? Is He here limiting, and lessening his own Powers, as, upon
your Principles, He should have done in aniwer to the Charge of Blasphemy? No; but He extends them to the utmost; and, instead of retracting, goes on in the same strain, and says more than He had said before. To make good Sense and Coherence of the Passage, upon your Scheme, you must fill up the Deficiency thus.
The Son can do nothing but by Commission; and Commission He has, to do every thing that the Father doth: Which, tho it sounds harsh, and looks too familiar for a Creature to pretend, yet might make the context coherent. However, since the Interpretation I have before given, is more natural and more obvious, argues no deficiency in the Text, makes the whole coherent, and has nothing harsh or disagreeing in it, it ought to be prefer'd. For, after all, it must be thought very odd and strange for a Creature to be commision'd or empower'd to do all Things that the Creator doth; and to do them é pows, in the same manner, also. I do not make any forced Construction; for so the 2orh verse, immediately following, interprets it: for the Father loveth the Son, and she weth Him all Things that Himself dotb. You endeavor indeed to make some Advantage of this very Text; alledging that this Power, which the Son exercis'd, was given Him, not by Necessity (which is no Gift) but by free Love. But why must love imply freedom? Doth not God love Himself? And if the Love of Himself be no matter of Choice, why