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who are said to be one in heaven, than it proves those to be essentially one, who are said to be one on earth in the following verse. And not only Erasmus, but even Beza, however unwillingly, acknowledged (as may be seen in their own writings) * that if John be really the author of the verse, he is only speaking here, as in the last quoted passage, of an unity of agreement and testimony. Besides, who are the three who are said to bear witness ? That they are three Gods, will not be admitted ; therefore neither is it the one God, but one record or one testimony of three witnesses, which is implied. But he who is not co-essential with God the Father, cannot be co-equal with the Father. This text however will be discussed more at large in the following chapter.
But, it is objected, although Scripture does not say in express words that the Father and the Son are. one in essence, yet reason proves the truth of the doctrine from these, as well as from other passages of Scripture.
In the first place, granting, (which I am far from doing,) that this is the case, yet on a subject so sublime, and so far above our reason, where the very elements and first postulates, as it were, of our faith are concerned, belief must be founded, not on mere
** Annon illico poterunt tergiversari, de consensu dictum esse, non de eadem essentia ? ..... Nihil autem æque confirmat auctoritatem testimonii ut consensus. Itaque consentiunt in terra Spiritus aqua et sanguis. An hæc tria sunt unum, sicut Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus unum sunt? Nemo dicit, opinor, sed testimonii consensu sunt unum; ita Pater, Verbum et Spiritus Sanctus sunt unum. Erasmi Responsio ad Notationes novas Ed. Leid. Tom. IX. p. 278. Edit. Lug. Bat. 1703. · Et hi tres unum sunt : id est, ita prorsus consentiunt ac si unus testis essent; uti re vera unum sunt si ovohay spectes; sed de illa (ut mihi quidem videtur) non agitur hoc in loco. Beza in loc.
reason, but on the word of God exclusively, where the language of the revelation is most clear and particular. Reason itself, however, protests strongly against the doctrine in question ; for how can reason establish (as it must in the present case) a position contrary to reason ? Undoubtedly the product of. reason must be something consistent with reason, not a notion as absurd as it is removed from all human
comprehension. Hence we conclude, that this opinion – is agreeable neither to Scripture nor reason. The
other alternative therefore must be adopted, namely, that if God be one God, and that one God be the Father, and if notwithstanding the Son be also called God, the Son must have received the name and nature of Deity from God the Father, in conformity with his decree and will, after the manner stated before. This doctrine is not disproved by reason, and Scripture teaches it in innumerable passages.
But those who insist that the Son is one God with the Father, consider their point as susceptible of ample proof, even without the two texts already examined, (on which indeed some adınit that no reliance is to be placed) if it can be demonstrated from a sufficient number of Scripture testimonies that the name and attributes and works of God, as well as divine honours, are habitually ascribed to the Son. To proceed therefore in the same line of argument, I do not ask them to believe that the Father alone and none else is God, unless I shall have proved, first, that in every passage each of the particulars above mentioned is attributed in express terms only to one God the Father, as well by the Son himself as by his apostles. Secondly, that wherever they are attributed to
the Son, it is in such a manner that they are easily understood to be attributable in their original and proper sense to the Father alone ; and that the Son acknowledges himself to possess whatever share of Deity is assigned to him, by virtue of the peculiar gift and kindness of the Father; to which the apostles also bear their testimony. And lastly, that the Son himself and his apostles acknowledge throughout the whole of their discourses and writings, that the Father is greater than the Son in all things.
I am aware of the answer which will be here made by those who, while they believe in the unity of God, yet maintain that the Father alone is not God. I shall therefore meet their objection in the outset, lest they should raise a difficulty and outcry at each individual passage. They twice beg the question, or rather request us to make two gratuitous concessions. In the first place, they insist, that wherever the name of God is attributed to the Father alone, it should be understood ουσιωδώς, not υποστατικώς, that is to say, that the name of the Father, who is unity, should be understood to signify the three persons, or the whole essence of the Trinity, not the single person of the Father. This is on many accounts a ridiculous distinction, and invented solely for the purpose of supporting their peculiar opinion ; although in reality, instead of supporting it, it will be found to be dependent on it, and therefore if the opinion itself be invalidated, for which purpose a simple denial is sufficient, the futile distinction falls to the ground at the same time. For the fact is, not merely that the distinction is a futile one, but that it is no distinction at all; it is a mere verbal quibble, founded on the use of synonymous words, and cunningly dressed up in terms borrowed from the Greek to dazzle the eyes of novices. For since . essence' and hypostasis' mean the same thing, as has been shown in the second Chapter, it follows that there can be no real difference of meaning between the adverbs essentially' and substantially, which are derived from them. If then the name of God be attributed to the Father alone essentially,' it must also be attributed to the Father alone substantially ;' since one substantial essence means nothing else than one hypostasis, and vice versa. I would therelore ask my adversaries, whether they hold the Father to be an abstract ens or not ? Questionless they will reply, the primary ens of all. I answer, therefore, that as he has one hypostasis, so must he have one essence proper to himself, incommunicable in the highest degree, and participated by no one, that is, by no person besides, for he cannot have his own proper hypostasis, without having his own proper essence. For it is impossible for any ens to retain its own essence in common with any other thing whatever, since by this essence it is what it is, * and is numerically distinguished from all others. If therefore the Son, who has his own proper hypostasis, have not also his own proper essence, but the essence of the Father, he becomes on their hypothesis either no ens at all, or the same ens with the Father; which strikes at the very foundation of the Christian religion. The answer which is commonly made, is ridiculous-namely, that although one finite essence can pertain to one person on
* •The form, by which the thing is what it is, is oft so slender and undistinguishable,' &c. &c. Tetruchordon. Prose Works, II. 140.
ly, one infinite essence may pertain to a plurality of persons; whereas in reality the infinitude of the essence affords an additional reason why it can pertain to only one person. All acknowledge that both the essence and the person of the Father are infinite ; therefore the essence of the Father cannot be communicated to another person, for otherwise there might be two, or any imaginable number of infinite persons.
The second postulate is, that wherever the Son attributes Deity to the Father alone, and as to one greater than himself, he must be understood to speak in his human character, or as mediator. Wherever the context and the fact itself require this interpretation, I shall readily concede it, without losing anything by the concession; for however strongly it may be contended, that when the Son attributes every thing to the Father alone, he speaks in his human or mediatorial capacity, it can never be inferred from hence that he is one God with the Father. On the other hand I shall not scruple to deny the proposition, whenever it is to be conceded not to the sense of the passage, but merely to serve their own theory ; and shall prove that what the Son attributes to the Father, he attributes in his filial or even in his divine character to the Father as God of God, and not to himself under any title or pretence whatever.
With regard to the name of God, wherever simultaneous mention is made of the Father and the Son, that name is uniformly ascribed to the Father alone, except in such passages as shall be hereafter separately considered. I shall quote in the first place the texts of the former class, which are by far the more considerable in point of number, and form a large and
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