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sequently eternal ? Has God taken a certain part of himself, without properties, and indescribable, and formed it into a natural son ; who has become a mighty God, and everlasting Father, (or Father of eternity, as in the Hebrew,) called thus, merely because this essence or part of God, so taken off and formed, was eternal ; while yet, as an agent, he began to be ? Can such a circumstance properly account for Christ's having eternity ascribed to him ? Let us consult analogy in relation to this. If we must be lieve, merely from principles of analogy, that Christ's Divinity was literally derived from God, because he is called the Son of God; and a natural son is generated ; let our reliance on analogy be a little uniform. How then, are the ages of men calculated ? from the time when they begin their personal existence? or from the age of the essence, from which they are formed ? If the latter, must not every man reckon his age from at least the age of his father ? if not from the age of Adam, his first progenitor ? But as this would be a very novel mode of reckoning the ages of men ; and as they do in fact reckon their ages from the times they respectively obtain heir personal existence; 60 we find nothing from analogy in this case to favor an idea, that Christ is called eternal, merely because he was formed of an eternal essence. Such an account affords not the least satisfactory reason why Christ should have eternity ascribed to him. Yet
eternity is ascribed to him. He is the everlasting Father,” or Father of eternity ; Isai. ix. 6.
What essence or part of God is it possible to conceive could be divided and taken from that infinite, simple, indivisible, immutable Spirit, “ with whom there is no variableness ņeither shadow of turning ?” Is such a Spir. it capable of diminution, or divisibility ?
Pagans believed in a power of propagation in their gods. But the Bible demands the belief of nothing of this kind, relative to our heavenly Father. And more happy would it have been, for Christian people in these parts, had their feelings been spared, and not excited by that which has occasioned the necessity of the remarks made in this section. We are taught to believe, that “ Adam was the son of God;" (Luke iii. 38); and that Angels are the sons of God; (Job xxxviji. 7); not because they were formed of God's essence; but because he made them in his own likeness, and “ partakers of the divine nature." And Christians are “ partakers of the divine nature ;" having of Christ's “fulness received, and grace for grace." But those things do not render them eternal, because the divine nature, of which they partake, is eternal. And we have no more right to conceive, that there is any sense, in which Christ's Divinity can have been literally derived from God, which is consistent with bis being eternal.
There is one passage, which may seen to some, at first view, to favor the idea, of a derivation of Christ's Divinity. Prov. viii. 22—;- The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the begin. ning, or over the earth was. When there was no depths, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there ; when he set a compass upon
the face of the deep; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth ; then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily bis delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.” It is a good rule, in exposition, never to set a solitary passage against the general tenor of the Word of God. Scripture must explain Scripture. It never contradicts itself; however a solitary passage may seem, at first view, to contradict what is taught in many.
It is evident, and good authorities warrant us to say, that wisdom, in this passage, is personified by a well known figure or usage
in human language. “ Doth not. Wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice ? She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Here is the person, represented as a female, whose discourse composes the chapter. She represents herself as a person distinct from the Jehovah, who created the world. But Christ is the very Jehovah, who created all things, as will be noted. “ All things were made by him.” This person, in figure, gives an account (as might be expected, to enforce her instructions, and to make the representation complete) of her antiquity, and of her kindred with the Most High. She is accordingly set up from everlasting, and brought forth before the hills. But are we, from this figurative passage, to believe, that the wisdom of God was literally brought forth? Or, that the Jehovah of hosts, whom we have been contemplating, as the mighty God, the great God, the true and eternal God, had a beginning?
Supposing, that in the passage we do truly hear the voice of Christ, the difficulty is not hence increased. For he is speaking under the borrowed character, noted above. And accordingly he would give the same representation of this character, as above, and according to the conceptions of men. God himself is often spoken of, after the manner of men ; and things are predicated of him, wbich are far from being literally true. But to take occasion from the above passage to deny the eternity of Jesus Christ, and to incur all the insuperable difficulties, which attend the opinion, that the Divinity of Christ was actually derived, and is finite ; and thus, that he is not the very God; is to violate all the best rules of exposition; and to contradict the numerous and most evident deci. sions of the sacred pages.
The terms God and creatures, have ever been received, as necessarily comprising all Beings in the universe. To present a being, who is neither the true and infinite God, nor yet a creature, is indeed to present something “ New," whether from the 66 Bible," or from one's own bewildered imagination ! But that Jesus Christ is of réal and underi. ved Divinity, does abundantly appear in the sacred Oracles; as I shall now attempt to ascertain.
Jesus Christ is God underived.
The arguments, which have been adduced by Trinitarians, in favour of the proper Di. vinity of Christ, I have never seen refuted. I shall proceed to state some of them; and to make deductions from various scriptures, which establish Christ's real Divinity.