Page images

hold of the word subordinate, and seem wonderfully pleased with it; but understanding by it, an inferiority of nature. We say, that the Son is not absolutely supreme nor independent; intimating thereby that he is second in order as a Son, and has no separate, independent existence from the Father, being coessentially and coeternally one with him: you also take up the same words, interpret them to a low sense, and make the Son an inferior dependent Being; depending at first on the will of the Father for his existence, and afterwards for the continuance of it. This is the way you choose to insinuate your heterodoxy into weak readers. In the mean while, notwithstanding our seeming or verbal agreement, there is as wide a difference between what you teach, and we, as between finite and infinite, mutable and immutable, a dependent creature and the eternal God. From what hath been said, you may perceive what the “concessions of Catholics," which the Doctor often boasts of, amount to. The Catholics have used some phrases in a good sense, which artful men have perverted to a bad one: that is all the case. But I return.

You was to find a medium between being essentially God, and being a creature: or else to declare in plain terms, that the Son is a creature. A medium

A medium you find not, nor indeed can there be any: and yet, instead of frankly acknowledging so plain and manifest a truth, you are pleased to shift, double, and wind about, in a manner unbecoming a grave disputant, or a sincere and ingenuous writer. In the first place, you put on an air of courage, and give me one caution, viz. “not to say or attempt to

prove, that every being that is derived must be, for “ that reason, a creature,” for fear of making my “own “ notion,” which supposes the Son generated, that is, derived, to favour the Arians : but, admitting the Son to be derived, as it may be understood in a Catholic sense, yet what is that to your purpose? Does not my argument turn upon the words, out of nothing? Point me out any being so derived, a being which now is, and once was

But you

to say,

not; and deny him to be a creature, if you can.

can. But go on; “As to what is said in the Queries, that either “ the Son of God must be the individual substance of the “ Father, or else & OÚx ÖvtW, with the Arians; I answer, “ if both Scripture and reason clearly demonstrate that “the Son is not the individual substance of the Father, “ who must look to that consequence, if it be one?"

Here, at a strait, (as usual,) the word individual comes in; a word capable of several meanings, and so necessary to help invention, that you would often be at a loss what


you wanted that poor pretence for equivocation. It is evident, that you all along use the word in a Sabellian sense, different from what either the Schoolmen, or more ancient Catholics intended by it. The thing which I assert is this; that you must either own the Son to be of the same undivided substance with the Father; or else declare him a creature. If you deny the former, you must, of consequence, admit the latter; and you really do so. The consequence you are to look to, as necessarily flowing from your premises; which you pretend to found on Scripture and reason, without any ground or warrant from either. You are resolved, it seems, to disown the

certainty of the disjunction,” (p. 61.) so afraid of determining the Son to be a creature łę oủx õutav. Let us hear what a disputant may have to plead against a thing as clear and evident as any axiom in geometry.

You say, “h The Nicene Fathers thought the Son to be “ neither the ovola ToŨ Ilatpòs, the substance of the Father, “nor εξ ουκ όντων, but εκ της ουσίας του Πατρός, from the “ substance of the Father.” The Nicene Fathers explain their meaning, both in the Creed itself, and in the anathemas annexed to it; determining the Son to be no creature, nor a different God from the Father; but of the same undivided substance with him, God of God, Light of Light," consubstantial with him, and a distinct Person from him. Next, you say, "you dare not determine that God


you are

h See Dr. Clarke's Reply to the Convocation, p. 29.

“ duced all things, or any thing, (strictly and metaphysically speaking,) out of nothing.” Extreme modesty! That you dare not determine whether God has properly created any thing; or whether all things were not necessarily-existing Matter itself may have been coeval and coeternal with God the Father; any thing, it seems, but his own beloved and only-begotten Son: or else why are you so shy, at other times, of acknowledging his eternity? Or why so resolute in disputing against it? An eternal Son, methinks, is much better sense than an eternal substance, not divine, and a Son made out of it; which is what you must mean, or mean nothing. But to proceed. You add,“ how God brings beings into real existence we “ know not, because we know not their essences.' Therefore, I suppose, we know not, whether he brings them into existence at all; or whether they had a being before they were created. That is the consequence you intend, if any thing to the purpose. You go on : “or “ whether it be a contradiction to predicate existence of " them before their coming into that state which they “ now. are in, and which we call their creation, we know “ not.” Very ignorant! And yet you can be positive in things, which you know a great deal less of; presuming to make the generation of the Son of God temporal; and determining it ia contradiction to predicate existence of him before his generation. Such things as these carry their own confutation with them; and only show that truth is too stubborn to bend, Let it be said then plainly, and without disguise, that the Son of God is either consubstantial with God the Father, or else a creature. There is no medium, neither can there be any, consistent with Scripture, and with the truth and reason of things. This being settled, our dispute may be brought into a narrower compass; and we may hereafter dismiss doubtful and ambiguous terms.

i Page 51, 63.

QUERY XIV. Whether Dr. Clarke, who every where denies the consub

stantiality of the Son, as absurd and contradictory, does not, of consequence, affirm the Son to be a creature is oủx övtw, and so fall under his own censure, and is selfcondemned ?

IT hath been questioned by some, whether Dr. Clarke has really given into the Arian scheme, or no. From what he saith, in some places of his Scripture Doctrine, (particularly a Prop. 14. and 16.) one might imagine that he stood neuter, neither determining for nor against the Catholic faith in that Article: but, from his declaring bexpressly against the consubstantiality of the Son, whether specific or individual, (between which he allows no medium,) and from his reckoning the Son among the Sopese cupriuata, (though he gives an artificial gloss to it;) as also from his excluding the Son out of the one Godhead; from these considerations, to mention no more, it is exceeding clear, that he has determined against the Church, and declared for Arianism. He has, by necessary consequence, asserted the Son to be bg oủx ortwy, which is the very essence and characteristic of Arianism. By so doing, he is self-condemned, (see Prop. 14.) unless affirming a thing expressly be highly blameable; and affirming the same thing, implicitly and consequentially, be just and good. It is unaccountable to me, how there comes to be such a charm in words, that a man should be blameable for saying a thing of this nature, plainly and directly, which he may affirm indirectly and consequentially, without any fault at all. Doth the offence lie only in sounds or syllables? Or was Arius more culpable for saying, the Son was a creature, and from nothing, than another who says, he is not consubstantial with the Father, nor one God with him, or the like; when it is so very manifest, and hath been proved above, that they are only different expressions of the same thing? I can think but of three reasons (I speak not of particular views, or motives) why any man should condemn Ariųs for declaring the Son to be z oỨx õutw. Either because the proposition is false; or because it is dubious; or because it is not, in express words, contained in Scripture.

a Script. Doctr. p. 276, 279. b See Script. Doctr. p. 465. first ed.

If the Doctor believed it false, he could not, consistently, disown the consubstantiality and coeternity ; if he thought it dubious, he must have observed a neutrality in this controversy; which he has not done: the third reason would bear too hard upon many of the Doctor's fiftyfive Propositions. The conclusion, which I draw from these premises, pursuant to the Query laid down, is, that the learned Doctor, in condemning Arius, has implicitly condemned himself. It was as necessary to take notice of this, as it is to take off disguises, and to prevent a reader's being misled by fair pretences. Let things appear what they really are, without art or colouring; and then, if you can make any advantage of them, in God's name, do so; and, if your cause be just, it will thrive the better for it.

QUERY XV. Whether he also must not, of consequence, affirm of the Son,

that there was a time when he was not, since God must exist before the creature; and therefore is again self-condemned, (see Prop. 16. Script. Doctr.) And whether he does not equivocate in saying, a elsewhere, that the second Person has been always with the first ; and that there has been no time, when he was not so: and lastly, whether it be not a vain and weak attempt to pretend to any middle way between the orthodox and the Arians; or to carry the Son's divinity the least higher than they did, without taking in the consubstantiality ?

I COULD have been willing to have had this, and other the like Queries, relating more to the Doctor himself,

Script. Doctr. p. 438. first ed.

« PreviousContinue »