« AnteriorContinuar »
and wisdom of the Father, which are the very Father; because the Father can, in no refpect, be said to go out from himself, and return to himself; so it will follow, that they must be applied to the real Son of the Father, which Mr. Claggett calls the buman nature. And as they muft be applied to him, I think, with submission, it must signify one or other of these two things, either his coming into the world at his birth, or else at his ens tring upon his ministry. If the former, then his rational spirit must be in a state of existence antecedent to that time: and if fo, I think I said truly, that he debased himself in his taking human nature upon him, or in his becoming a man, which is what I meant by that expression. But if his coming forth from the Father implies no more than his entring upon his ministry, as John the Baptist was said to be a man sent from God, and if his rational part did not exist antecedent to his coming into the world at his nativity, then I acknowledge, I have err'd: which error I am ready to retract, when it shall be made appear to me, as I said before. I have said farther, upon this argument, that this is one essential character of the supreme God,. viz. that he is eternally and unchangeably the same, without any addition to, or diminution of his perfection and glory: wherefore, if the Son has passed thro' such a change as to be either lessen'd or encreas'd in his perfection and glory, the consequence is clear, that he is not the supreme God. Now, if the glory of the Son was either lessen'd or encreas'd, (for either of these is sufficient for my purpose) then it will follow, that he is not the supreme God. But the glory of the Son was encreas'd, which Mr. Claggett allows with respect to Christ's human nature, which human nature is the whole and on'y begotten Son of K 2
God; and so the strength of my argument is still remaining.
The sum of the matter is this; I have asserted and proved, by eight arguments, that the Son (by which I mean the real and only begotten Son of God) is inferiour and subordinate to the Father; by which Father, I mean the Father of this Son. Mr. Claggett opposeth me with an imaginary son, viz, the substantial power and wisdom of the Father; which are so far from being the Son, that on the contrary, they are the very Father of God's Son, about which I have asserted nothing, or as Mr. Claggett truly faith, against which I opposed · nothing, as in page 23. And therefore so far as
what he hath to say in his book respects this ima• ginary fon, so far he is beside the question, with respect to my arguments; and if this be substracted from the rest, as it ought to be, I suppose himself will allow, that the strength of my argument is still remaining.
Lastly, I obferve, that as Mr. Claggett calls me idolater, blafphemer, one in peeps cloathing (which implies a wolf) a robber, the old ferpent, and the
like, without any provocation ( for as to my call- ing those rude and base, which should object a
gainst me, as Mr. Claggett saith, this is not true) I say, as he hath thus abused, and evil treated me, without any provocation given ; so I would desire him seriously to consider, whether these weapons of his warfare are spiritual, aș a christian's should be, or whether they are not carnal and diabolical. St. Paul advised the professing christians at Corinth, 2 Cor, xiii. 5. To examine themselves whether they were in the faith. Know ye not ( saith he) that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates. And he faith, Rom. viii. 9. If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. What use Mr. Claggett will make of this, or whether he will have any more to say of me, or to me, I know not. He may if he pleases go on, and sport himself and his readers, by laughing at and bantering that which is wholly out of his power to confute. He may go on to reproach and revile me. And tho he has been pleased to fit in judgment upon me, and condemn me, yet I can see no just ground for uneasiness upon this account; because as he is not commended, whom
men commend; but whom the Lord commendeth, - so neither is he condemn'd, whom men condemn,
but whom the Lord condemneth.
Being an enquiry concerning the personal character · of the Son of God, and what is neceffary to be
believed concerning him; and likewise into the fenfe and meaning of our Lord's words, viza. Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your Jins; as in John viii. 24.
S the personal chara&ter of the Son of God has been of late a subject of controversy amongst us, so it becomes a question
with fome, if the Son be equal to the Father, and is himself the supreme God; whether all that believe him to be inferiour and subordinate to the Father, are not in a damnable state? because they reft upon him for justification and salvation as upon a creattere, and exercise their faith and hope upon him as fuch; and seeing our Lord himself has declared, that except ye believe that I om 'be (viz. the supreme God, as they underftand it) ye hall die in your fins. .
For a clear and full answer to this enquiry I observe, first, that if the name creature be properly applied, when applied, to every derived being, then in that sense the Son is confeffedly a creaturc, because the scriptures declare that he derived his being from the Father. See Yohn iii. 16. Godlo loved the world, that he gave bis only begotten Son, &c. John vi, 57, As the living Father fent me, and I live by the Father; fo be that eateth me, even be ball live by me. In these texts it is as plainly asserted as words can express it, that the Son ruceived or derived his being from the Father, and that he depends upon his Father for his continuing to be; therefore, I say, as before, if the name creature be properly applied, when applied, to every derived being, then the Son is confessedly a creature; because he derived his being from the Father: but if the name creature, be applicable only to such things, as were produced after any certain particular manner, then the Son may very well be conceived not to be a creature,
Secondly, I obserye, that whatever different apprehensions we may have of the Son of God, these apprehensions make no alterations in him, but he still continues to be what he really is, notwithstanding our mistaken notions concerning him: from which it will follow, that if he is the Father's equal, and the supreme God, whosoever trusts in him, trusts in the Father's equal, and in the supreme God, whatever mistaken notions they may have concerning him. All that can be said in this case is only this, whoever thinks him to be, what he really is not, or that thinks him not to be what he really is, when they make him the object of their faith and trust, have only a mistaken notion concerning him : their faith and trust is the same whatever he is, and he is the same which is the object of that faith and trust, and therefore all the difference must lie in this, vịz, their mistaken notion concerning him, whom they make the object of that faith and trust: and so the question will rest herę, whether this mistaken notion, will be a bar to our justification and salvation.
For a clear answer to this question, I conceive we must go back to the christian covenant, becaule it is that alone which discovers what is necessary to our juftification and salvation; and therefore, I say, if the christian covenant hath made faith in the Son as the Father's equal, and as the supreme God, necessary to our justification and salvation, then whoever thinks otherwise of the Son, is exc!?!ded