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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 respect to his Divine Nature, that is, the WORD. So that in your Opinion, the Reason 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
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 less is it faid, that there is but one Authority in diverse 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 ftrained 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 Phrafes 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 amongft thofe 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 aN 2 mongst
mongst them all. Wherefore, when we are told, in Expreffions directed to fuch Perfons, and in fuch Circumftances, that there is but one God: we muft understand, not that there is but one Authority in diverse diftinct Gods, fubordinat the one to the other (for the Idolatrous Jews, and even the Heathens thémfelves, readily own'd all this) but that there is but one God in Number, viz. but one Being who is God.
And indeed the Expreffions of Scripture are fuch, as will admit no other Senfe: nor couldWords have been invented, which fhould more determinatly contain this Affirmation, viz. that there is in Number but one God, than those which are actually made ufe of in thofe Declarations. Nay, I appeal to your felf, and intreat you to fhew me, how it was poffible, if it had been never fo certainly intended, to teach us more clearly in Scripture Language (or indeed in any Language) the Numerical Unity of God, than we find it already don in the Texts before quoted. Be perfuaded once more to read them carefully over, and to weigh them exactly. Does not Mofes fay, that there is no God befides the Lord? and that there is none else befides him? Does not the Very God fay, that he himself knows not any God befides himself? Does not Chrift fay, that his Father
viz. the felfexistent Being) is the only God? Does not St. Paul fay, that there is no other God but one? Can thefe Expreffions mean, that tho' there are diverfe diftinct Gods, fubordinat the one to the other; yet there is but one Authority amongst them? If thefe Declarations do not demonftrat, that there is in Number but one God; I am fure, 'tis impoffible for Words to teach that Propofition.
Well then; I hope I may now affert, that the Holy Scriptures affure us, that there is in Number
but one God, viz. the felfexiftent Being. Now it must be noted farther, that this one God is defcribed as the Creator of all Things, in both the Old and the New Testaments. Particularly, the felfexiftent God declares concerning himfelf, that in fix days the Lord made heaven and earth, the fea, and all that in them is, Exod, 20. 11. and St. Paul and St. Barnabas declare concerning the fame God, that be made heaven and earth, and the fea, and all things that are therein, Acts 14. 15. So that the whole Jewish and Chriftian Churches were fetled upon this Foundation, and primary Article of Faith, viz. that there is but one God, one and the fame Object of their Worship, and that he is the one felfexiftent Being, who is the Author of all things.
Now after all this was don; after fo great a Variety of Books was penned, and fuch repea ted Declarations were made, both under the Law and under the Gofpel, by God himfelf, by our Savior, and Perfons Divinely infpired; and after this Doctrin was univerfally fpread: we find even the beloved Apoftle exprefly teaching, that In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God, John r. 1. and then proceeding more particularly to affirm, that the WORD was the Creator of all things. For he fays, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made, v. 3.
I beseech you to confider, how the Chriftian Church muft needs understand thefe Paffages of St. John, when he first publifhed them. The felfexiftent God himself, and a vaft Train of infpired Writers in all Ages down to thofe very Times, had moft folemnly affured Mankind, that there is but one God, viz. the felfexiftent God himself. N 3
And St. John, who owns his Belief that the felfexiftent Being is God, adds in the very fame Breath, even in the very next Words, and the WORD was God. Nay he particularly declares, that the WORD was God in the beginning, that is, even before the Creation, as you your felf interpret that Phrafe; and that all things were made by the WORD, without admitting the Exception of any 'cne Particle of the whole Creation.
In thefe Circumftances, 'tis notorious, that the Church cou'd not but understand St. John to mean, that the WORD is the one felfexiftent Being. For fince they knew, that there was but one God, St. John's affirming to them, that the WORD was God, and that he was God in the Beginning, nay, that he was the Creator of all things, was in their Opinion the very fame, as if he had affirmed in Terms, that the WORD was the one God of the Jews and Chriftians, even the one felfexiftent Being. For they had received no Notion of any other God; nay, the Preachers and Writers of the Chriftian Church had affured them in the plaineft Terms, that there was but one God. And St. John is fo far from making known to them that Diftinction which you fo carefully inculcate, between the fupreme and the fubordinat God; and thereby introducing and opening to them a Doctrin, which was not only wholly new, and undiscover'd to either the Jewib or the Chriftian Church, but directly oppofit to the primary Article of their Faith; that on the contrary he confirms the obvious, meaning of his Words, and that fenfe in which they wou'd moft certainly be understood by all his Readers, by fubjoining, that the WORD (of which he had already affirmed, that it was God, even in the Beginning) created all things; which Creation of all things