« AnteriorContinuar »
servants U the hujlavdtnen, that they. might receive
the fruits cf Ht -; but last cf all he sent unto
them his son, faying, they will reverence ivy fen. In the works here referred to, I suppose, it will be allowed that the Son was the Father's agent, viz* in die publication of his Father's will j because in this performance, as he acted by commission from his Father; so he did it in the exercise of his own cafural power; which natural power, I call a derived power; because he derived it originally from his Father, and so it was the Father's power. But perhaps Mr. Claggett will turn it upon me, and fay, that he was an agent in his human nature only. To which I answer, what he calls, the human nature, viz. the man Clirist Jesus, I lay, was the wliole and only begotten Son of God. And what he calls, the di~ vine nature of the Son, viz. the substantial power and wisdom of the Father, I have (hewn, curi in no sense be called the Son of the Father; because \t is in fact the very Father himself; and consequently the Son, which my arguments resers to, was the Father's agent, as aforefaid.
Now I come to consider what Mr. Claggett hath to fay, with respect to my asserting, that Christ* or the Son of God, created the world. I need not go into all the turnings and windings of hia argument. It. is sufficient to my purpose to oh-r serve, that when I ascribed creating power to the Son, I did it in no other sense than I do ascribe miraculous power to the Apostles. Our Saviour faid unto his disciples, as in Matt, xvii.^ 20. If ye have faith as a grain ef mustard feed, ye shall fay unto this mountain* remove. hence to yonder -place, and itshall ramove; and nothing shall ke impossible unto you. Now if the Apostles had at any time faid to a. mountain, remove hence to yonder place .> and if it had removed accordingly,. I should have thought
that I may truly fay, they had power to remove a; Snountain, or that they did remove a mounttain, or that God did it by them, and yet not ascribe omnipotency to them, John xiv. 22* Verily, verily^ I fay unto you., he that believeth on me, 'the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works: than these shall he do, because I go unta my Father. And I should perhaps have called the Apbstles Cod's agents, in such a work. But Mr. ClaggetP now informs me, that the term agent in such a case would have been improperly applied; and i£ so, I am content to have it put by. So in Jike manner we read in Eph. iii. g. That. God created all things by Jesus Christ. By, creation here I understood the creation of this world; and I thought, that the rational or spirituals part ef our Saviour had acted the fame part in this creation as the Apostles did in the removing of a mountain, if such a remove at any time took place; and I thought, that I might truly fay, upon the fame grounds, that Christ: had power to create the world, or that he did create it, or that God created it by him, and yet not ascribe omnipotency to him, and I thought, I might justly say, that he was God's agent in this work; but now I am told otherwise. However, Mr. Q'aggett may see from hence, that his time and pains were spent in vain, in this particu^ lar. And tho' he is pleased to take it for granted that creating power is incommunicable, yet that does not determine me to be of his judgment in, this po:af; for as it seems to be a bold limitation of God's power, so likewise, for ought that I can. see reason to the contrary, it is equally as easy for God to communicate creating power, as for him to communicate generating power, or any other fort of power whatever. We are informed, by experience, as well as from divine revelation, that «»e mr.n. begets another man. Naw if a begotten
"-' fort son may have power to beget another son, why may not a creature have power from God to create another creature? Mr, Claggett supposes, he cannot; but perhaps this may be a cannot ot" his own making. Suppose that God had propagated the several species of living creatures (which inhabit this earth) some other way, and not by generation, it is likely, if this had been so, Mr. Claggett might then have as freely pronounced generating power omnipotent and uncreated, as he now does creating power.
If Mr. Claggett should reply, that in human generation a son is not begotten or produc'd out of nothing. I answer, it is sufficient to remind him, that the creating of things out of nothing is no-where ascribed to Christ in the scriptures. And as Adam's body was produced from the dust of the ground; so the producing it of that specks was properly a creating of it, according to the use of that expression, in the language of the scriptures. Besides we are no-where assured from scripture, that this earth was created out of nothing, when it was produced into that form in which it now is. We read, that God created theheavens and the earth; and that the earth was with-, mt form, and void; and that darkness cover'd the face of the great deep: but we do not read, that the earth was nothing antecedent to its creation; and therefore Christ might create the world, and yet not create it out of nothing; I shall not enter into so eke and philosophical an enquiry, as to examine, whether there be any such thing as created power, properly so called. I think all power, properly speaking, is God's power, whether it be created or uncreated, tho' the exercise of it, in different: degrees, hath a dependence upon the will of free creatures. When I move my finger up or down, the power which is exercised in that act, I think, is God's power, and it is no farther my power, than as God hath given me the use of it, or as it hath a dependence upon my will for the exercise of it and if my singer lhould be, at any time, lTioved up or down, independent of my will, that .would not be my action. The case is the fame with respect to any other human action. All the power which is exercised. in any of these acts is certainlyi-God's power; but forasmuch as the excrcistof this power depends upon our will, therefore the actions which are performed by it are properly our actions. And as the power, which is exercised in these, js faid to be our power, so I think it is ours only, in this respect, as God hath given us the use of it, or as the exercise of it de• pends upon our will. And tho' God cannot communicate to any being a power independent of himielf, this. being a contradiction, because all communicated power must be dependent power; yet he may so far leave the exercise of his power to the will of free creatures, as that they may ex7 ercise it independent of his will: and that he doth so in fact is evident, because this is the case in all the actual fins which are committed; in which cases men exercise God's power, independent of God's will. And in this God doth not commit fin, tho' his power is exercised in the committing of it; because the sinfulncss of fheseacts does not at all consist in the power which is exercised, but only in the wrong use and exercise of it, in which alone, I think, the sinfulncss of any act consists, viz.. in its non-conformity to God's will. And tho' in the case of creation God may, if he pleases, so act as that there shall be no medium betwixt his will and the exercise of his power in the production of what lie wills-, yet he may, if he pleases, act otherways: and that he hath done so, is eyi* dent in his.creating lice out of dust, in the land of '\ Egypt, Egypt, as in Exod. viii. 16. 17. In this case, as God will'd, that Aaron'* rod smiting the dust of the ground should change that dust into lice, which was an act of creation; so Aarotfs smiting the dust (which depended upon Aaron's will) was by God's good pleastire made necessary to that creation; and was a medium (by God's appointment, if I may so speak) betwixt God's will, and the effecting (of what he will'd) by his power. Arid as- God thus acted, when there was previous matter to work upon,w'z. the dust of the ground i (o I doubt not but he could, if he had pleased, have produced lice by the instrumentality of Aarotu, tho' there had been no previous matter to work upon, that is, he might have produced lice out of nothing, and have made the concurrence of Aarolis Will necessary to their production, and so might have created them by Aarons, and Aaron would have been, in their creation i God's instriu ment, or agent (or whatever term my adverfary shall allow to be proper in this case) in such sort as Christ and his Apostles were so, Ails ii. 22. and xv. 12. and xix. 11.12. I farther observe, that -upon a supposition God created this world, by the instrumentality or agency of his Son, yet his Son would have no right of dominion over this world, by virtue of that creation, as some men have freely maintain'd. Suppose that one man should build a house by the agency of another man.; i.i this case the agent would have no right to inhabit this house, by virtue of his being the builder of it, because that right is wholly lodg'd in "his principal: and he can have no right to habitation in this house, except his principal communicates it to him. So in like manner, if God created this world by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ can have Iio right of dominion over it, by virtue of that creation, because that right is wholly lodged -. - in