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it will not follow that he is eternal in the strictest sense of that term: because the word eternal is sometimes used in a more limited and restrained sense (as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, are said to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, Jude 7.) And therefore, seeing the Son was begotten or derived from the Father, it will follow, that he cannot be eternal, in the strietest and most absolute sense of that word.
iyohn v. 7. There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. Here the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, are said to be one; and from hence it is inferred, that they are three co-ordinate Beings.
In answer to which I observe, that the Apostle is here Thewing, what evidences attended the christian religion for its confirmation. And he seems to allude to that law of the Yews (Deut. xvii. 16. and John viii. 17.) which did oblige them to receive that for truth, which was attested by two or three witnesses. And therefore the christian religion ought not to be reje&ted, because its authority was supported, not barely by the testimony of one, but by the testimony of three witnesses. Thus, verse 6. It is the spirit that beareth witness, because the spirit is truth. Verse 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. Which is as much as if St. John had said, the spirit is not the only evidence in the present case; for there are three that bear record, viz. the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these all join in their evidence, and are one in testifying to the same truth. And tho these are joined together in their evidence, yet that cannot make them co-ordinate Beings; because three Beings, who are info one to another, may join in testifying to the same thing; and three co-ordi-nate Beings, may bear a different testimony to one another, and the truth re-main unconfirmed. And whereas it is said, these three are one; this must figenify unity in testimony, because unity in any other sense, does not serve the Apostle's purpose. If they were one agent, or being, then there would be but one witness, whereas St. John declares there are three. And if they were of one species, or kind of essence, yet three such witnesses might disagree in their : evidence, and the truth might remain unconfirmed. So that the three here re- . ferred to, must be three distinct agents, or witnesses; and they must agree or be one in their evidence, to render it pertinent to the Apostle's design: and this they might be, and yet not be three co-ordinate Beings.
1 Yohn v. 10. This is the true God, and eternal life. The Son is here fup. posed to be called the true God: and from hence it is inferred, that he is equal to the Father. I answer, supposing these words are to be applied to Christ (tho it may be as proper to apply them to the Father) yet when they are thus applied, they cannot signify the same, as those other words, viz. the only true God; because Christ makes those last mentioned words, to be applicable to the Father only. John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast fent. Seeing then, that the Father, considered in a separate and distinct capacity from the Son, is here declared to be the one ly or the alone true God; this cannot be said of the Son, in the same fenfe as it is faid of the Father. For if the Son is so, in the fame sense as the Father
is, then there are two, in the same sense, of which it is said that there is but one, which is a contradiction. And therefore, I conceive, if those words were applied by St. John to Christ, then he called him the true God, in opposition to those false christs which had appeared in the world. This is the true God, or the true Messiah, or Christ (which comes to the same) and in him alone ye may have eternal life.
Rev. i. 11, 17. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. I am the first and the last. From these and the like expressions in this book, it is inferred, that the Son is co-eternal to, and co-equal with the Father. To which I anfwer, that Christ's being the first and the last must be understood exclusive of the Father; for otherwise the Son would be before the Father, and all things would end ultimately in the glory of the Son: whereas the contrary is most expressly declared in scripture, in which Christ is said to be the only begotten Son of God; as in yohn iii. 16. and all things are said to end ultimately in the glory of the Father. I Cor. xv. 24, 28. Then cometh the end, when he fall have delivered up the kingdom to God,' ever
d up the kingdom to God, even the Father; and when all things mall be subdued unto him, then mall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that did put all things under him, that God may be all in all, Philip. ii. 11. That every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ'is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So that all things, even the glory which is given and ascribed to Chrift, are to end ultimately in the glory of God the Father. And consequently the Father is the last end of all things. Seeing then that the Father was before the Son, and that all things end ultimately in the glory of the Father (as the above scriptures witness) and seeing Christ's being the first and the last, must be understood not inclusive, but exclusive of the Father, it will follow, that the Son is a Being inferiour and subordinate to the Father, and that the Father alone is the supreme God.
Thus I have considered some of the principdi :texts which are urged in the present case; and have Thewn that not any thing can fairly be concluded from them, in prejudice of the arguments before laid down. I will conclude this discourse, with recommending to all christians the practice of forbearance and brotherly love, under their different apprehensions with respect to this, and eve-, ry other point: such behaviour being what the christian religion requires, and calls for from us, and is what is highly ornamental to it. For as the treating ill the persons, or characters of others, is a very improper way of recommend ing truch to those persons; fo such a behaviour is very improper to recommend any person to the love and favour of God. God is love. And as his giving a revelation to mankind was the effect and produce of that love; so it was kindly intended to excite and promote in us that divine principle, and not to be a bar to it. And therefore, when the chriltian revelation, itirs us up to love and good works, and engages us to set forward the present and future happiness of the rest of our fellow creatures, then its great end is answered upon us, God is honoured, and we are rendered pleasing and acceptable to him. But when the christian revelation, becomes an occasion of wrath and resentment to us, and we are stirred up by it to hurt and injure our fellow creatures, then its great end is manifestly perverted, God is dishonoured, and we are rendered the more vile and displeao fing in his fight.
Observations on Mr. Claggett's book, entitled, Arianism anatomized.
Wherein is shewn, that what Mr. Claggett, and others, call Christ's divine nature, is so far from being the real and very Son of God, that on the contrary, it is the very Father of God's Son.
Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X,
Being an enquiry concerning the personal character of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
of what is necessary to be believed concerning him ; and likewise into the sense and meaning of our Lord's words, viz. Except ye believe that I am he, he mall die in your fins ; as in John viii. 24.
Supremacy of the F A T H ER
V IN D I CA T E D.
TIRST, I observe, that as Mr. Claggett has undertaken to confute my 'arguments, so he hath prosecuted this design, in a very unbecoming,
and unchristian manner; by representing me as the vilest of creatures,
and by laying an heavy charge upon me, which he can by no means prove, viz. he represents me as one who, by holy and pious pretences, would not only introduce real popery; but would make us (by which I suppose he
protestants) ten times more antichristian, than the worst of papists themfelves. One, who by hypocritical flatteries endeavours to beguile unwary readers, into a good opinion of (what he is pleased to call) heresy. These, with many other beinous crimes, he is pleased to lay to my charge. But as he is wholly unable to prove what he so freely accuses me of, and therefore must be guilty of fander and false accusation, whether I am guilty or not: so that God, who knows all things, knows that I am innocent in this matter. Moreover, he is not content to lay this burden of reproach upon me alone, but he brings in some body else, nó body knows who, one behind the curtain, to feel the weight of his heavy hand: but I assure him, there is no body behind the curtain ; and
if my book is so bad, as he represents it to be, I think I ought, in jultice, to let the pame rest only where it is due. He insinuates of me, as in his title page, that I take a liberty to speak wickedly for God. Whether I am guilty or not, I will leave to be determined by the righteous Judge of all the earth. And as I know it is a thing impoffible for him to prove; so it may be proper for him to consider, whether in this particular, he is not guilty himself in many instances. Thus for example, in page 14. he represents me as affirming Christ's divine nature to be a created nature; which is a direčt falfhood: because I never made such an affirmation ; and I appeal to my book in the case; and I challenge Mr. Claggett to Thew any such affirmation in it. If it should be replied in his behalf, that it may be inferred from what I have said. I answer, I have declared that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God; and therefore such inference cannot be just, except begetting and creating are one and the same thing; and if they are, then this charge will fall equally as heavy upon the scriptures, as upon me; because he is there declared to be the only begotten Son of God. I answer farther, supposing such an inference to be just, yet that makes no alteration in the case; because as affirmations and inferences are