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You will give me leave to add, that God is the Father of the Man Jefus Chrift, upon the account of his Refurrection alfo. For,to ufe the Words of a moft excellent(a)Writer,Christ must therefore be acknowledg'd the Son of God, becaufe he is raifed immediately by God out of the Earth unto immortal Life. For God hath fulfilled the Promise unto us, in that he hath raifed up Jefus again; as it is alfo written in the fecond Pfalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. The Grave is as the Womb of the Earth; Christ who is raifed from thence, is as it were begotten to another Life; and God, who raifed him, is his Father. So true it muft needs be of him, which is spoken of others, who are the Children of God, being the Children of the Refurrection. Thus was he defined, or conftituted and appointed, the Son of God with Power, by the Refurrection from the Dead: neither is he called fimply the first that rofe, but with a Note of Generation, the first born from the Dead.
But then, it must be remembred, that tho' Chrift is for the prefent, yet he will not always be,the Only Son of God, or the Only Begotten of the Father, upon this Account. For all that fhall be rais'd to Everlasting Life, will be the Sons of God in this Refpect. However, Chrift is the first born Son of God upon the account of his Refurrection. For tho fome others were rais'd from the Dead by God before the Refurrection of our Lord Jefus Chrift, yet they dy'd again: whereas our Lord Jefus Chrift never dy'd after his Refurrection. For as the Apoftle fpeaks, Chrift being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death bath no more Dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto fin once: but in that he liveth, he li
(a) Bishop Pearfon on the Creed, p. 106.
veth unto God, Rom. 6. 9, 10. Our Savior therefore is the first begotten and the first born from the Dead; because he is the very firft that was rais'd by God to eternal Life.
CHA P. V.
The State of the Controversy between Dr. Clarke and the Author concerning the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Christ.
'HESE things being premis'd, wherein (I hope) we are perfectly agreed, let us now enter upon the Confideration of the firft Point in Controverfy between us. 'Tis confefs'd on both Sides, 1. That the bleffed Jefus has a Divine Nature, viz. the WORD. 2. That the WORD, or Divine Nature of the bleffed Jefus, is call'd God. But the Question is, whether the WORD, or Divine Nature of the bleffed Jefus, be the very God, that is, the one felfexiftent Being. I affirm, that he is; and You deny it, making him a Being diftinct from, and inferior to, the one felfexiftent or very God. That this is your Notion, I need not prove. I heartily wish it did not appear too frequently in your Writings concerning the Holy Trinity.
Now the Truth is, fince there are two Natures united in the bleffed Jefus, that is, fince the WORD and the Man Jefus Chrift are united into one Perfon: we can't wonder, that the holy Scriptures do fpeak of him in very different Manners; and affirm fuch Things of him with respect to the one Nature, as can't poffibly be affirm'd with refpect.
to the other.
Let us but reflect upon our felves. Each of us has a Body and a Soul. These conftituent Parts are vaftly different from each other, the one being material, the other immaterial. Now if any Perfon fhould affirm of a Man's Soul, that 'tis material, or of his Body, that 'tis immaterial; would not these Affirmations be àrrant Falfhoods? And yet it may notwithstanding be truly affirm'd of the Man, that he is material, and that he is immaterial. But then these Propofitions are true concerning the Man in different Refpects. With refpect to his Body, he is material: with refpect to his Soul, he is immaterial. Wherefore we must carefully diftinguish between what is affirm'd of him with refpect to his Soul, and what is affirm'd of him with refpect to his Body. Elfe what is really true, will appear falfe; and what is really falfe, will appear true, by a confus'd Mifapplication.
Even thus, fince in the bleffed Jefus two Natures are united, which are vaftly different from each other if a Man fhould affirm concerning his Divine Nature, that 'twas Created; and concerning his human Nature, that it made the World; thefe Affirmations would be arrant Falfhoods. And yet it may notwithstanding, be truly affirm'd of the bleffed Jefus, that he made the World, and that he was created. These Propofitions therefore are true of the bleffed Jesus in different Refpects. His human Nature was created; and his Divine Nature made the World. Wherefore we muft carefully diftinguish between what is refpectively affirm'd of him upon the account of the Divine and human Natures. Elfe we fhall blunder into numberless Untruths, and make the holy Scriptures a mere jumble of Contradictions.
No Man, that has confider'd the Controversies concerning the Trinity, can be infenfible of those Mistakes, into which Learned Men have faln by not obferving this Rule. And indeed, even Zeal for the real Truth has too commonly betray'd Men into grofs Errors, and plung'd even the Maintainers of a right Cause into infuperable Difficulties. For, in Oppofition to thofe against whom they have beftow'd their Labors, they have greedily caught at every Text, that would, if underflood in a particular Senfe, confound their Adverfaries; and by this Means they have expos'd themfelves to fuch Objections, as they could never get clear of upon their own Principles, and without retracting what they had themselves before advanc'd. Thus has the Doctrin of the Trinity been rendred infinitly perplex'd and intricat; whilst fucceeding Writers have been afraid to part with any one Argument, that has been urg'd in favor of Orthodoxy by their Predeceffors in Controversy.
We must therefore lay afide our Prejudices, and disentangle our felves from thofe Notions, which we have receiv'd, not from the holy Scriptures, but from fallible Writers. We must have recourse to our Bibles, if we defire to be refolv'd, whether the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, be the very God, or no. We are not left deftitute of fufficient Means for the Determination of this Point. The infpir'd Writings are exceedingly clear, and speak very plainly, concerning it. They have fo manifeftly taught us, that the WORD is the very God, that could I find any one Paffage, which implies the contrary, I fhould own the Scriptures to be inconfiftent with themselves, and not pretend to reconcile them.
What then has created fuch fierce Disputes about our Lord's Divine Nature? Why, the holy Scriptures do frequently fpeak of Jefus Chrift as inferior to the very God; and fome Learned Men, having unfortunatly thought that diverfe of those Paffages relate to his Divine Nature, have from thence concluded (juftly indeed, if that Principle be granted) that the WORD, tho' exprefly call'd God, yet is not the one very felfexiftent God, but a fecondary Being or inferior God. And they have accordingly labor'd to put fuch a Senfe upon those Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, as is agreeable to their Conceptions of an inferior Deity. Whereas in Reality, tho' the holy Scriptures do frequently fpeak of Jefus Chrift as inferior to the very God; yet there is not one of those Texts, but what either fairly may, or neceffarily muft, be understood of his human Nature. And confequently they do not prove, that the WORD, or his Divine Nature, is inferior to the very God. Wherefore thofe Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, muft be understood in their natural Senfe; which effectually demonftrats, as will foon appear, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Savior, is very God.
I hope, I have fhewn the Difference between us in fuch an intelligible manner, that a Person even of the meaneft Capacity will fully and diftinctly perceive it. Ifhall therefore proceed to establish my own Affer:ion, and to confute yours, by proving,
1. That the Holy Scriptures do not teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jefus Chrift, is inferior to the very God.
2. That the Holy Scriptures do teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the very God.