Page images
PDF
EPUB

to execute so high a charge "? "But he calls the "Son greater than the Spirit, because he sent him." Yes, in that respect and capacity; he is, as to dispensation, greater in office *. But will our author infer from hence a disparity of nature? let him make it good. Cannot one person be greater than another, unless their natures be different? Whatever he may do, he can never prove that Athanasius thought so. The other quotations from Alexander and Hilary only shew, that the Father, as Father, has the peculiar prerogative of being of or from none; that it would be impious to profess the Son to be unbegotten, (" unoriginate,” our author loves to translate it, because there's ambiguity in the term,) allowing him at the same time a beginningless generation, and to be " God of God." To be greater in point of origin is one thing, to be greater with regard to nature and perfections quite another. This the Country Clergyman has been often told; but he never considered it, "and, as it seems, never will."

I ought here to take notice, that he has here, and again, p. 50, changed Hilary's negative into an af

" Dr. Waterland's Sermons, p. 73-76. Second Defence, p. 144, 180, 335, &c.

x Sermons, p. 191. Second Defence, p. 54.

y Second Defence, p. 172-177. Farther Defence, p. 44, 45, &c. Remarks on Dr. Clarke's Exposition, &c. p. 42, 43.

66

[ocr errors]

Hilary's words are, "Non præstantem quemquam cuiquam genere substantiæ," (words dropped by our author,) “sed sub"jectum alterum alteri nativitate naturæ. Patrem in eo majorem "esse, quod Pater est, Filium in eo non" (left out by our author, without a word of the matter) "minorem esse quod Filius est: "significationem interesse, non interesse naturam." Which last clause, though explanatory of the other, he has likewise dropped: and then begins again with-" Patri subjectus est ut autori." To

firmative, without apprising his reader in the least of his having done so. He will say, perhaps, that the sense requires this alteration. Well, let him say so then; and not alter the text of his authors without condescending so much as to intimate the fact itself, much less his reason for it, if he has any. But the sense is good enough without this emendation. "The Father," says Hilary, "is," in some sense, greater, because he is Father, and" yet" the Son " is not inferior," in the main, "because he is Son." But we are not, I perceive, to expect much fair dealing from these sincere men: he has mangled Hilary in other respects, as the reader will see, by comparing his quotations with those in the margin.

66

66

"In his sixth chapter he," Dr. Waterland, un"dertakes to shew the judgment of the primitive "churches, in relation to the necessity of believing "the doctrine of the Trinity." Christian Liberty, &c. p. 41. Dr. Waterland shews in that chapter the judgment of the primitive churches from three several topics; 1. By consulting the ancient creeds; 2. By observing what doctrines were condemned as impious and heretical; and, 3. By collecting the testimonies of Fathers declaring their own or the

which I beg leave to add,-" Non alter Deus in genere substan"tiæ, sed unus Deus per substantiæ indifferentis essentiam." In his other quotation," Respuit ergo innascibilem Filium prædi"cari fides sancta, ut per unum innascibilem Deum unum prædi"cet;" he breaks off after "prædicet;" though it would have been no disparagement of his honesty, if he had added the next immediate words, viz. "Ut naturam unigenitam, ex innascibili "genitam essentia, in uno innascibilis Dei nomine complectatur." I thought that this manner of quoting had been so much exposed and exploded in Woolston's case, that every one else would have been ashamed of it. Hil. de Synod. 1185, 1187, 1189, 1190.

churches' sentiments. Our author begins with attacking the first topic, that drawn from the ancient creeds: he won't allow that the doctrine defended by Dr. Waterland is so much as implied in them ". But here, as usual, he maims and misrepresents the doctor's argument, and then makes himself merry with it." In the creeds we profess to believe in "God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost; this is "declaring the sacred three to be the one God."— Notably proved," &c. p. 42. Nay, but let the argument be fairly stated. The doctor takes notice that several learned men have conceived that the doctrine of the Trinity in the earliest times made up the whole of their creeds; and that Episcopius himself was of opinion, that the ancient baptismal creed was no more than this: "I believe in God, the Fa

66

66

ther, Son, and Holy Ghost." Here bishop Bull and the doctor observe, that the title, God, is not to be restrained to the Father, but belongs, in common, to the Son and Holy Spirit. This is plain in the Latin and Greek forms; Credo in Deum, Patrem, Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum; Πιστεύω εἰς τὸν Θεὸν, τὸν Πατέρα, τὸν Υἱὸν, καὶ τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα; which is the same, in effect, as to say, I believe in God, which God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and was so understood by the ancients. When creeds came to be enlarged, the additional and intermediate articles carried the word Son and Holy Ghost so far from the title God, that it looked as if it were designed to be applied to the Father only; contrary to the intent and meaning of those who compiled those larger

* See the Importance, &c. p. 223, 224. See this proved by bishop Stillingfleet on the Trinity, chap. ix. and Dr. Waterland's Eighth Sermon.

[blocks in formation]

66

creeds. So that bishop Bull's observation is perfectly just; viz. that that great truth, that the Son and Holy Ghost is one God with the Father, was more clearly expressed in these few words; "I believe in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," than in the larger subsequent creeds. For certainly that ancient form, so worded, did evidently and uncontestably carry in it a declaration and confession, that the three divine Persons were the one God of Christians. Let the reader turn to the pages of Dr. Waterland's book above referred to, and compare them with what I have said, and I am afraid the laugh will fall upon our author; since there is nothing notable but his own dexterity in eluding an argument which he could not answer. "But let us hear "how St. Paul understands the words;" what words? the words of the ancient creeds? Be that as it will; "he says one Spirit-one Lord-one God and "Father of all, who is above all. Here, not the "three divine Persons, but one of the divine Per"sons, the Father only, is declared to be the one "true God of Christians; as the same apostle says "in another place: to us (Christians) there is but "one God, even the Father." The Father indeed, in these passages, is styled the one God; but how? in opposition to, and exclusive of the Son and Spirit? then they must not be God at all, contrary to all scripture and all antiquity; which call the Son, especially, God in numberless places. “But never is "he called the one God, either in any ancient creed, "or by any ancient catholic writer whatsoever b." Suppose this report to be true, what will follow?

b See Dr. Waterland's Sermons, p. 141.

only that there are some high titles peculiarly belonging to the Father, for that very reason, because he is Father. If he be called emphatically, eminently, primarily, the one God, it is not because he is so in any higher or any different sense of the word God; but upon other accounts, because he is first known, or more universally acknowledged, or chiefly as he is the Head, Fountain, or Root of the other two divine Persons; who are therefore tacitly included in him, and referred up to him; or, at least, are not excluded. The Son is styled the one Lord, yet not exclusive of the Father; the Holy Ghost is emphatically called the Spirit, yet not exclusive either of the Father or the Son. From such texts and titles as these, therefore, may be unanswerably inferred a distinction of persons against the Sabellians; but no inequality of nature against the orthodox. But our author will say, if the three divine Persons are implied in the one God, they are implied in the one God the Father, p. 43. Nay, the term one God, in such cases, is understood of the Father singly, though not exclusively. "We do not "mean by the term Father, both Father and Son, "but we consider the Father singly, abstracting "from the consideration of God the Son, not ex

66

cluding him from partaking of the same God"head c." These things have often been set before our author in the clearest and strongest light; and are not repeated here with a view to convince him, (nobody is so vain as to attempt or hope that,) but that the reader may not imagine that there is any

See Dr. Waterland's First Defence, p. 8, 9, 10. Second Defence, p. 50-61. Sermons, p. 123, &c.

« PreviousContinue »