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That the Holy Scriptures do teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is the Very God.
ECONDLY, I fhall now prove, that the Holy Scriptures do teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is the Very God. And,
First, the Evangelift fays, 'Ev dexî lê i xóy©, à • xogo tu we''s & deor, y deds li ô ay, In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God, John I. 1. That the one felfexiftent Being is meant by ds, God, in the fecond Member of this Verfe, as you your felf do grant, fo no other Perfon denys, that I know of. And that the WORD is affirmed to be sès, God, in the third Member of it, every Man's Eyes will demonftrat to him. But then it is queftioned, what is the proper Signification of ds, God. That the one felfexiftent Being is infinitly perfect and glorious, the Author and Preferver, not only of Man, but alfo of all other Beings whatfoever; and that he is truly and properly called os, God; is confeffed on all hands, particularly by your felf and me: but then, whether the Name Jeds, God, when given to the one felfexiftent Being, does either, 1. imply his Selfexiftence, or 2. denote the infinit Perfection and Glory of his Effence, or 3. exprefs his Relation to us, as our Creator, and confequently our Lord and Governor; I perceive, you and I fhall not eafily agree.
In your (a) Opinion, The Word God, when spoken of the Father himself (viz. the one felfexiftent Being) is never intended in Scripture to express Philofophically bis abstract Metaphyfical Attributes: but to raife in us a Notion of his Attributes relative to us, his fupreme Domihion, Authority, Power,fuftice, Goodness, &c. And again (b) you fay, Tit the Words, God, bas in Scripture, and in all the Books of Morality and Religion, a relative Signification; and not, as in Metaphyfical Books, an abfolute one. As is evident from the relative Terms, which in Moral Writings may always be joined with it. For Inftance, in the fame manner as we say, my Father, my King, and the like: fo it is proper alfo to say, my God, the God of Ifrael, the God of the Universe, and the like; which Words are expreffive of Dominion and Government. But in the Metaphyfical Way it cannot be faid, my infinite Subftance, the infinite Subftance of Ifrael, or the like. Now whether this Notion of yours be true, I will not difpute. For indeed I need not do it.
You (c) own, that the Scripture, when it mentions God abfolutely and by way of Eminence, always means (what you call) the Perfon of the Father, that is, the one felfexiftent Being, whom I call the Very God. Now be pleased to obferve the following Particulars. First, The Scriptures of the Old Teftament do all along declare, that there is but one God, viz. the one felfexiftent Being alone, whom the Jews worshipped. Mofes affured them, that the Lord he is God, and that there is none elfe befides bim, Deut. 4. 35. and Know therefore this day, and confider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is none else, V. 39. v. And
(a) Scripture Doctr. p. 296.
177 he introduces God himself uttering thefe Words, See now, that I, even I am be, and there is no God with me, Deut. 32. 39. Hannab alfo fays in her Prayer, There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none befide thee, 1 Sam. 2. 2. And God himself fays by the Prophet, I am first, and I am the last; and befides me there is no God, Ifa. 44. 6. and prefently after, Is there a a God befides me? Yea, there is no God. I know not any, v. 8. And again, I am the Lord, and there is none elfe there is no God befides me, Ifa. 45. 5. And again, I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Ifa. 46. 9. Secondly, During the Time of his Miniftry, our Savior himself declared, that his Father, viz. the God of the Jews, or the one felfexistent Being, is the only true God, John 17. 3. Thirdly, After our Lord's Afcenfion, his Difciples every where preached, that there is but one God, viz. the felfexiftent Being. Particularly St. Paul fays, We know, that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For tho' there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there. be Gods many, and Lords many) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him : and one Lord Jefus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him, I Cor. 8. 4, 5, 6.
You fee, how fully and exprefly it has been de clared, both under the Law and under the Gospel, that there is but one God. And what must all thefe Declarations mean? What is the natural Senfe and Import of them? Why, you would fain (d) perfuade us, that the Reafon, why the Scripture, tho it ftiles the Father God, and alfo ftiles the Son God; yet at the fame time always declares, there is but one God; is because, in the Monarchy of the Universe, there is but one
(4) Script. Do&t. Part 2. Prop. 39. p. 332.
Authority, Original in the Father, Derivative in the Son, &c. Now by the Father you mean the felfexiftent Being, whom I call the Very God: and by the Son you mean our Savior Chrift with refpect to his Divine Nature, that is, the WORD. So that in your Opinion, the Reafon why the Scripture, tho it ftiles the felfexiftent Being God, and alfo ftiles the WORD God,yet at the fame time always declares there is but one God; is because, in the Monarchy of the Univerfe, there is but one Authority, Original in the felfexiftent Being, Derivative in the WORD, &c. And confequently you would have us understand the feveral Paffages before recited, not of a Numerical Unity of Being, but of an Unity of Authority; that is, you think, the Scriptures do permit us to believe, that there are in Number more Gods than one (the one Supreme, and the other Subordinat) tho' there is but one Authority in them, communicated from the one to the other.
But this Notion is utterly irreconcilable to the plain Words of Holy Writ. It muft indeed be granted, that when there is a Subordination of Governors in a Monarchy, there is but one Authority in them all, original in the Monarch, and derivative in the inferior Magiftrates, by what Names foever they may be called. And accordingly, if there were a Plurality and Subordination of Gods, there would be but one Authority in them all, tho' there would be more Gods than one in Number. But then, no Man knows better than your felf, how great a difference there is between a Numerical Unity of Being, and an Unity of Authority. And in the feveral Paffages before recited, the Unity afcrib'd to God is moft manifeftly, not an
179 Unity of Authority,but a Numerical Unity of Being. For 'tis not faid, that the Authority of God is one, or that there is but one Authority of God; much lefs is it faid, that there is but one Authority in diverfe diftinct Gods: but 'tis faid, that God is one, and that there is but one God. Now the Word God does never fignify God's Authority, nor can it be strained to fuch a Senfe; much lefs can it fignify an Authority vested in diverfe diftinct Gods, fubordinat the one to the other. No, it conftantly denotes the Being himself who is called God; and not what that Being who is called God, is endued or invefted with, or what he poffeffes or enjoys. And therefore, when we are affured, that there is but one God; we are undoubtedly affured, not that there is but one Authority in diverfe diftinct Gods; or that of the Gods that are, there is but one Supreme: but (in direct Oppofition to all Plurality, or even Duality of Gods, whether equal or fubordinat the one to the other) that there is but one God in Number, viz, but one Being who is God.
But farther, if fuch an Interpretation were otherwife poffible, and confiftent with the Scriptural Ufe of the Word God; that is, if fuch Phrases as thefe, there is but one God, and the like, might fignify (in fpight of Common Senfe) there is an Unity of Authority in diverfe diftinct Gods, fubordinat the one to the other yet the feveral Declarations before recited do flatly contradict your Notion, and affert a Numerical Unity of God, viz. that there is but one Being who is God. For it must be remembred, that thofe Declarations were made to fuch Perfons, as either profeffed, or at leaft actually lived amongst those who did profefs, a Plurality of Gods, tho' they allow'd a Subordination of the one to the other, and that there was but one Authority amongst