Page images
PDF
EPUB

that Father," or voluntary submission, is no diminu "tion of essence; nor does his office argue infe "riority of nature." What would this gentleman de with Hilary? neither the character of the ma nor the doctrine maintained by him, will do him any service. Hilary y endeavoured to explain Arian forms to a tolerable sense, and put the best costruction upon bad words. He was too kind in deing it, and was blamed for it; though very orthodox all the while. His own sentiments are best known from his book on the Trinity, when he was not hampered with forms of other men 2. However, he every where proclaims the equality and unity of es sence or nature in Father and Son, admitting only a subordination of the Son as a Son, which bishop Bul and Dr. Waterland also do. What then can this writer mean by asking, “could he have produced a "writer, even an Ante-Nicene writer, more strongly 'denying the equality both of nature and perfec"tions?" Unfortunate concession! The Ante-Nicene writers deny the equality of nature and perfections just as Hilary does. Let us here take him at his word, and believe for once that he is in the right.

66

y See Second Defence, p. 298. alias 302.

2

"In eo quidem maxime non comparatur nec coæquatur Fi"lius Patri, dum subditus per obedientiæ obsequelam est-dum "mittitur, dum accipit, dum in omnibus voluntati ejus, qui se "misit, obsequitur." So far quoted by our author. The next immediate words are,-" Sed pietatis subjectio non est essentiæ di"minutio, nec religionis officium degenerem efficit naturam." Hil. de Synod. 1182. "Habens nomen, sed ejus cujus et filius "est, fit patri et obsequio subjectus et nomine; ita tamen ut sub"jectio nominis proprietatem naturalis atque indifferentis testetur essentiæ," 1183. Compare Dr. Waterland's Third Defence, c. 5. p. 125.

He next revives the old accusation against Gregory Nyssen, viz. that he is a tritheist. The charge is not peculiar to Gregory, but laid at the door of several other Fathers who lived about his time; and has been disproved by no less men than bishop Stillingfleet (in his Vindication of the Trinity, chap. vi.) and Dr. Wall, in his Infant Baptism, chap. v. part 2. not to mention others a. It would not therefore have been below our author to answer what these truly learned writers say, rather than repeat an old calumny which has been abundantly refuted, without offering any thing new to reinforce it. He argues next, (p. 51,) that the nature and perfections of the Son cannot be either the same, or absolutely equal to the nature and perfections of the Father, because they are unoriginated in the one, and originated in the other which poor quibble has been considered, with more regard than it deserves, by Dr. Waterland in several places of his works b. The unoriginateness of the Father (considered as different from necessary existence, which equally belongs to the Son, or else he is a creature, a being of precarious and contingent existence) is only a relation of order, a mode of existing. And the same nature, the same real powers and perfections, are common to both; (strange consequences else would follow ;) though the manner of their subsistence, the unoriginateness of the one, and originateness of the other, be different. But why do these men, who are always declaiming against scholastic subtilties and

a See Second Defence, p. 240.

b Answer to Whitby, p. 14, &c. Second Defence, p. 215, 216, &c. 393, 394. Third Defence, p. 49.

metaphysics, retreat to them themselves, as their only sanctuary, when they are pressed? Why are Fathers and Scriptures quitted for uncertain and fallacious reasonings in matters uncontestably above our comprehension? We see that "there is the "same life in root and branches, the same light in "the sun and its rays, the same virtue in the centre "and what proceeds from it. And though no com

66

parisons are sufficient to illustrate infinity, and "there must be a great deal more than we are able "to conceive; yet there is no principle of reason to "contradict this notion, that the same powers, pro"perties, perfections, may be diversely considered in "the fountain from whence they flow, and in the "streams to which they descend." The aspersions revived and cast upon Dionysius of Alexandria (p. 52.) have been often wiped off by learned men, and Dionysius unanswerably cleared. If our author were but as orthodox as that Father, he had saved himself this trouble. Or could he prove that Dionysius held the Son to be a creature, we would allow that he was guilty of evasion; these two things have generally gone together. As to Novatian, he thinks him all his own: but, upon that supposition, he is a witness scarce worth contending for, because egregiously inconsistent with himself. He speaks plainly enough to the point for which Dr. Waterland cited him in the Importance, viz. "that the Son of God "is God, as every son of man is mand." If the reader would see his vindication with respect to

< See Second Defence, p. 46; and authors there referred to, p. 346; and Third Defence, p. 118, 119.

d See Importance, &c. p. 243.

[ocr errors]

other articles, he may consult the doctor's Defences". Our author comes now to mere rant, and rodomontade, and false report. Pauperis est numerare pecus;-" The ancient church always, and every "where," and "the primitive Fathers," all to a man, were, he would have us believe, just as he is. As his is mere confident talk, which has been proved ɔver and over again to be entirely groundless, he nust not expect any further answer.

66

"Next, Dr. Waterland gives his reader a long detail of old heretics," &c. (Christian Liberty, &c. p. 56.) which, had I been in his case, I would not have said one word about." Very likely, sir: but your reason. "Because the scholastic Trinitarian "notion is a compound of all the first six heresies, "with the addition of a seventh, worse than any of "them." Which are we here to admire, the impertinence or the iniquity of this assertion? if he mean by the "scholastic Trinitarian notion," something

e First Defence, p. 137-141; Second Defence, p. 56, 124, 145, 227, 294, 497, 502; Third Defence, p. 118. with references.

f The ancient church held the three Persons to be one God. See Dr. Waterland's Sermons, VIIIth, p. 299, &c.; Remarks on Clarke's Catechism, pages 72, 73. To be jointly Creator of all things see Defence, p. 188; Second Defence, p. 334, &c.; Sermons, p. 69, &c. The Father is eminently or primarily, not solely or separately, Creator. On account of his being first Person he is emphatically styled Maker, &c. not excluding the joint operation of the other two. For the "unoriginated supremacy of the Father," see Second Defence, p. 201, 202, 438, 439; Third Defence, p. 45. Holy Ghost, God: see Sermons, p. 191; Importance, p. 319. The objecting three Gods to the church proves that the Holy Ghost was received as God. Son and Spirit not accounted creatures: see Defence, p. 197; Answer to Whitby,

[ocr errors]

p. 33, 34; Second Defence, p. 340, &c.; Browne's Animadversions on two Pieces, p. 43, 45.

[merged small][ocr errors]

66

different from that maintained by the church, it is nothing at all to his purpose: he may combat this phantom as long as he pleases. But if this infamous reflection be cast on the catholic doctrine, where is modesty? where decorum? what is abuse and insolence, if this be not? To brand the doctrine of all the Christian churches in the world, as a "compound of the six first heresies, with the addi"tion of a seventh, worse than any of them!" But he begins, I perceive, to be heated and open, and to shew himself in his true colours. He is sometimes angry that his opinion is called Arianism, and the party reputed Arians; but he seems to have got over that point here, and so turns downright advocate for Arius. "The pure uncorrupt Ante-Nicene "church," says he, "never condemned his doctrine." They never condemned Arius till he appeared; but always condemned his doctrine, directly or indirectly. When his doctrine had made some noise and disturbance in the world, the council of Nice was assembled to condemn it. This was the first occasion they had to do so, explicitly and formally; and, should our author here be so shrewd as to say, that the Nicene council was not the Ante-Nicene church, what can he infer from this wise remark? They could not condemn his heresy before they heard of it. He next extends some marks of his favour to the other heretics recited by Dr. Waterland. "Tritheism was too bad for any of them to "hold." But, if we will believe him, it was not too bad for some of the Fathers to hold, nor for some of the modern Trinitarians to hold now. But he is

Cerinthus, Ebion, Theodotus, Artemon, Beryllus, and Paul of Samosata. See Importance, &c. p. 246.

« PreviousContinue »