« PreviousContinue »
3. You may please to consider farther, that there was never any great Danger of either Jew o Gentile falling into the belief of many S24preme Gods; or into the Worship of more than one as Supreme. That is a Notion too filly to have ever prevailed much, even in the ignosant Pagan World. What was most to be guarded against, was the Worship of inferior Deities, besides, or in Subordination to, one Supreme. It cannot therefore reasonably be imagined that those Texts are to bear only such a Sense, as leaves soom for the Worship of inferior Divinities.
The Sum then is, that by the Texts of the Old Testament, it is not meant only that there is no other Supreme God; but absolutely no Other: And therefore our blessed Lord must either be included and comprehended in the one Supreme God of Israel, or be intirely excluded with the other pretended, or nominal, Deities. I shall close this Argument with St, Austin's Words to Maximin, the Arian Bishop, who recurr'd to the fame Solution of the Diffi. culty which you hope to Shelter your self in.
"* Repeat it ever fo often, that the Father “ is greater, the Son less. We shall answer “ you as often, that the greater and the less “ make Two. And it is not said, Thy greater “ Lord God is one Lord: But the Words are: “ The Lord thy God is one Lord, Nor is it “ said, There is none other Equal to me, but “ the Words are, There is none other Besides “ me. Either therefore acknowledge that Fa“ther and Son are one Lord God; or in plain “ Terms deny that Christ is Lord God at all. This is the difficulty which I want to see clear’d. You produce Texts to show that the Father fingly is the Supreme God, and that Christ is excluded from being the Supreme God: But linsist upon it, that you misunderstand those Texts; becaule the Interpretation you give of them, is not reconcileable with other Texts; and because it leads to such Absurdities as are too shocking even for your self to admit. In short; either you prove too much, or you prove nothing at all.
• Clama quantum vis, Pater eft Major, Filius Minor, respondetur tibi; duo tamen funt Major & Minor. Nec dictum est Dominus Deus tuua Major Dominus unus eft: fed dictum est Dominus Deus tuus Dominus unus eft. Neque dictum est, non eft alius equalis mihi, sed dictum est, non eft alius præter me. Aut ergo Confitere Patrem & Filium unum efle Dominum Deum, aut aperie nega Do. minum Deuna effe Chriftum. Auguft, l. 2. C. 23. p. 727.
QUE R Y. II. Whether the Texts of the New Testament (in
the second Column) do not show that He (Christ) is not excluded, and therefore must be the same God? THE Texts cited, if well considered, taking
1 in what goes before or after, are enough to thow that Christ is not excluded among the nominal Gods, who have no Claiın or Titie to our Service, Homage, or Adoration. He is God before the World was, God over all blessed for ever, Maker of the World, and worship'd by the
Angels; and therefore certainly He is not excluded among the nominal Gods whom to worship were Idolatry. But since all are excluded, as hach been before thown, except the one Supreme God, it is very manifest that He is the same with the one Supreme God. Not the fame Person with the Father, as you groundlesly object to us, but Another Person in the fame Godhead; and therefore the Supreme God is more Persons than one. You argue, (p. 40.) that if Christ be God at all, it unavoidably follows that He cannot be the same individual God with the supreme God, the Father. By individual God, you plainly mean the same in. dividual divine Person, which is only playing upon a Wotd, mistaking our Sense, and fighting with your own Shadow. Who pretends that the Son is the same Person with the Father? All we assert is, that He is the same Supreme God; that is, partaker of the fame undivided Godhead. It will be proper here briefly to consider the Texts, by which you attempt to prove, that the Son is excluded from being the one Supreme God: only let me re. mind you, once again, that you forgot the part you was to bear. Your Business was not to oppose, but to respond: not to raise Objections against our Scheine; but to answer those which were brought against your own. You observe * from John 8. 54. Matt. 22. 31, 32. and Afts 3. 13. that God the Father was the * Pag. 34.
God of the Jews, the God of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob. Very right. But how does it appear that the Son was not? Could you have brought ever a Text to prove, that God the Son was not God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I must then have own'd that you had argued pertinently.
You next cite, Joh. 17. 3. 1 Cor. 8. 6. Eph. 4. 6. to prove that the Father is sometimes stiled the only true God, which is all that they prove. But you have not shown that He is so called in opposition to the Son, or exclusive of Him. It may be meant in opposition to Idols only, as all Antiquity has thought; or it may signify that the Father is * primarily, not exclusively, the only true God, as the first Person of the blessed Trinity, the Root and Fountain of the other Two. You observe fthat in these and many other Places, the one God is the Perfon of the Father, in Contradiftin&tion to the Person of the Son. It is very certain that the Person of the Father is there distinguish'd from the Person of the Son; because they are distinctly named: And you may make what use you please of the Observation, against the Sabellians; who make but one Person of two. But what other use you can be able to make of it, I see not; unless you can prove this negative Proposition, that no sufficient reason can be assign’d for stiling the Father the only God, without fupposing that the Son is excluded. Novatianos Remark upon one of your Texts, Joh. 17. 3. (I hee,
* Vid. Tertull. cont. Prax. c. 18. + P. 34• the
the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou haft sent) may deserve your Notice. * He applies the Title of the only true God to Both, since they are join'd together in the fame Sentence, and eternal Life is made to depend upon the knowing of one, as much as of the other. He did not see that peculiar Force of the exclusive Term, (only) which you insist so much upon. He knew better ; being well acquainted with the Language, and the Doctrine of the Christian Church. His Construction, to speak modestly, is at least as plausible as yours. If you can find no plainer or clearer Texts against us, you'l not be able to help your Cause. As to i Cor. 8. 6. All that can be reasonably gathered from it, is, that the Father is there em. phatically stiled one God; but without design to exclude the Son from being God also: as the Son is emphatically stiled one Lord; but without design to exclude the Father from being Lord allo.f Reasons may be alsign’d for the Emphasis in both Cases; which are too obvious to need reciting. One Thing you may pleale to oblerve; that the Dilcourie there,
* Si noluisser fe etiam Deum Intelligi, cur addidit, & queni misini Jesum Christum, nisi quoniam & Deum accipi voluit. Novai. Trin.c.24.
See the fame Argument illustrated and improzed by the great Athanasius : Orat. 3. p. 558. Vol. 1. Edit. Bened.
+ Si enim, ut existimant Ariani, Deus Pater Solus eft Deus, cadent consequentia, Solus erit Dominus Jerus Chriftus, & nec Pater crit Dominus ncc Filius Deus. Sed abfit, ut non fit, vel in Dominatione Deitas, vel in Deitate Dominatio. Unus est Dominus & unus eft Deus: quia Patris & Filii Dominatio una Diviniias cst. Hieron. comment, in Ephef. C. 4. v. 5.
V. 4. 5.