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No benefit results from a supposed deriva
tion of Christ's Divinity.
AMONG arguments which have been adduced, in favour of a derivation of the Divinity of Christ from God, are found such as the following, either expressed, or implied : --That such a derivation would be most congenial to the idea of the divine paternal affection toward his Son; and most congenial to the idea of Christ's filial affection toward his Father :-And that this scheme must magnify the love of God toward our fallen world ; in that he would send a Son whose Divinity was derived from him, the Father, and therefore the most dear possible. That herein we may form a dué estimate of the love of God to our sinful race :- And that we can have no medium so suitable and striking, on any other plan, to lead us to form a suitable estimation of the love and grace of God, in the scheme of gospel sal. vation.
To creatures like men cloathed in flesh, circumscribed, and most sensibly impressed with the feelings of parental and filial affections, arguments like the above, ably expressed, may appear forcible. But in this thing we must not judge after the outward appearance; but must judge righteous judgment.
On reading, and attempting to weigh such arguments,-questions like the following have occurred with force to my mind. I will just express them as the only refutation, which I shall attempt, of the above arguments. If they strike others as they do me, they will afford all the refutation necessary. Relative to this, the reader will make
his own opinion.
Why should a derivation of the Divinity of Christ be deemed necessary ? Must Christ be unable to feel in the best possible manner, that affection toward God the Father, which is most becoming the mediatorial character, unless he is in his divine nature actually derived and dependent? Or must the Mediator, if he be of underived Divinity, be less capable of feeling that tender affection toward mankind, which if derived and depen. dent he might possess ? Is the Father incapable of feeling, in the best possible manner, the most suitable parental affection toward the Person of the Mediator, unless he be literally a Father to the Divinity of Cbrist? It is said among men, people do not know the parental affection, till they learn it from experience. Can the same thing be applicable to the Most High ? He that formed the eye, shall he not see," unless he have material eyes? He that made the ear, shall he not hear, though he have no organ of hearing like our's ? And he that implanted the parental affection, shall be not know what it is, even if he have not learned it, as
have human parents, from experience ? May not the Person of Jesus Christ be the dearest possible to the Father, unless Christ's Divi. nity be'actually derived and dependent ? May not the love of God to this fallen world be as real, as great, and as gloriously exhibited, in sending a Saviour who is possessed of Divinity that is underived and eternal; as in sending a Saviour derived and dependent? Why may not the economy of grace, in such a case, be as great and wonderful? May not One, of underived Divinity, love and be loved as intensely, as a person produced and dependent? Why may not such Persons of real Divinity, as the Trinitarians have conceived the Three in the Godhead to be, love each other with as real and intense affection, as God in one Person only could be supposed to love a Son actually begotten of the divine nature ? Can derivation or de. pendence lay a foundation for the exercise of love, which cannot exist in the infinite God underived and independent? What excellency can derivation communicate, which underived eternal Divinity must be unable to supply? Can any being be more excellent, or adequate to every needful purpose, than the infinite God? Can it be more grateful to the feelings of piety to contemplate a Saviour derived and wholly dependent, than to contemplate one possessed of underived Divinity, in union with real humanity ? Shall we say, such a derivation and dependence bring Christ nearer to man, and render access to
him more easy and pleasing? It does indeed bring him down infinitely nearer to a level with man! It makes him a creature like ourselves. But is not the glorified humanity of Christ sufficient to render access to him (or to God through him) sufficiently easy and pleasing to the godly soul? Or is underived Divinity so dreadful an idea to the godly person, that it would be more unpleasant to view it as existing in the Person of our Saviour, or standing so near to us, as in union with the glorified humanity of Christ ? Can we have more proper and exalted ideas of the love and grace of God toward fallen man, should we admit that Christ is of Divinity derived and dependent, than can be conceived upon the ground of bis being underived and independent? Is it not a self-evident fact, that the love and grace of God are in. finitely more exhibited, in sending a Saviour of infinite Divinity, than in sending a derived, dependent Saviour? Does not the latter idea infinitely diminish the mercy of God in the scheme of salvation ?
But is it possible for real Divinity to le derived ?
Proper Divinity infinitely incapable of de
An exact resemblance of some of the di. vine perfections may be, and is, formed in creatures. Angels possess the perfect natural and moral image of God. The spirits of the just made perfect do the same. Man was made in the image of God. The image of God's natural perfections fallen man still retains, But his moral image man has lost. To the new born, the image of God's moral perfection is partially restored. Hence they are said to be “partakers of a divine nature ;” and “of his fulness they have received, and grace for grace;"-grace in the ecpy answering to its Prototype. What can render any dependent being more like God, than to have this image of God in that perfection, which is possessed by the inhabitants of heaven? They are the children of God : And are as much like him, as to their moral nature, or the kind of their resemblance, as is possible. They are perfectly " satisfied with God's likeness." Shall it be said, that greater natural powers would render them more like God ? Reply. Perhaps even this would not render the resemblance more perfect. For in point of degree, or greatness of powers, finite bears no proportion to infi