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Now, since the Subject of these your Writings is of so great Consequence, and the difference between your Sentiments, and those which, I firmly believe, are deliver'd in the Holy Scriptures, is so exceedingly wide, that your Mistakes are . not less certain than dangerous, and prejujudicial to our common Christianity; and since these fatal Errors are Patroniz'd by a Writer of establish'd Reputation in the Learned World: certainly those who retain any Zeal, in this Lukewarm Age, for the Faith once deliver'd to the Saints, and are persuaded that an Orthodox Belief is the only firm Foundation of a truly Chriftian Practice ; can't but desire, even with some degree of Impatience, to see your Notions fairly examin'd, and substantially disprov'd; so that neither the Weight of your Authority in the Commonwealth of Letters, nor your excellent Management of what I can't but efteem Cause, may prejudice the Truth, disturb the Church's Peace, and deceive the Unwary.
Besides, I can't bear the Thoughts of your being injurious to the Church of Christ. God forbid, that you should in any Respect wound that Religion, which you have in so many Respects adorn'd and defended. Farther, I am fully persuaded, that you'll be glad to see your Mistakes, and that you will also readily acknowledge them, if they appear to you. I think my self therefore bound in strid Duty to God, and in pure Friend . ship to your self, to lay afide for a while thore several Tasks, which would otherwise have found me full Imployment, for many Years ; that I may contribute what lies in my small Power, to the clearing of the Truth, and your Convixion.
These Considerations, and only these, have engagd me to undertake the present Controverly with you ; being so abundantly satisfy'd of the Goodness of my Cause, and so eagerly bent to do what little Service I can (particularly to your self) that I am refolv’d to risque my Endevors. And I humbly trust our great and good Master, who will not desert such as impartially seek to advance the Truth, and aim only at his Glory, with the Success of my Labors.
May that God, who knows the Secrets of both our Hearts; May that incarnat Savior, who must judge us both at the last great Day; May that blessed Spirit, who works in Men both to will and to do; so direct and influence us both, that no Prejudice. or Intereft may blind our Underftandings, no unmorcify'd Luft may pervert our Wils, no Defire of Glory or Reputation may bribe our Affections : but that each of us may behave himself, in the Course of this Friendly Disputation, as becomes those who live in a constant Expectation of giving an Account of all their Actions; and are practically convinc'd, that whatever little Ends may be serv'd in this world by Artifice, Shift, and Collusion; yet nothing but the most unbiass's Integrity in our Conduct here, can prevent our everlasting Disgrace, and insupportable Confusion hereafter.
Let us now, with a firm Dependence on the Divine Allistance, proceed to the Business lying be
CH A P. II.
Of the Paternity of God.
THAT there is one felfexistent, infinitly per
fect and glorious Being, the Author and Preserver, not only of Man, but also of all other Beings whatsoever, which Being we call GOD; I shall not prove. This Task your excellent Demonstration, for which the Christian World will ever be your Debtor, has rendred perfe&ly needless.
But then, the Word God has also been usid in other Senses. Such Beings as deriv'd their very Existence from the One felfexistent Being; nay, the mere Creatures of human Invention, which never did exist at all, have been dignify'd with that Appellation. And accordingly the Apostle says, there be that are called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be Gods many and Lords many, 1 Cor. 8. 5. Wherefore, that the One felfexistent Being may effe&tually be distinguish'd from all those other Beings, which are Gods in Name only,and not really such ; I shall frequently call him the very or true God.
Now this very God is, in the holy Scriptures, frequently calls the Father ; and that upon different Accounts. I shall not be curious in the Specification of them. 'Tis fufficient to observe, 1. That he is confessedly the Father, not only of all Mankind, but even of the Universe; because he crea. ted all Things, and they owe their Existence to him. So that whatsoever is, besides himself, proceeds from him, and he is therefore the Father of it. 2. That he is also confessedly the Father of
Christians, by reason of that Covenant which he makes with them in and thro' our Savior Jesus Chrift, whereby we become his Children, not by Creation (for such are all Mankind) but by Adoption ; that is, he receives us into his particular Grace and Favor, by which we are entitled to such inestimable Benefits, as we could not claim by that Relation to him which his bare Creation gives us. Thus the Apostle says, For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ þesus, Gal. 3. 26.
But then, as the very God is the Father of all Mankind in general, and of Christians in particular ; fo is he, in an especial Manner, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the holy Scriptures do commonly stile the Son of God in an emphatical Manner, and the Only Begotten of the Father ; which Phrafes do necessarily imply, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the very God, and consequently the very God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in some peculiar and extraordinary Sense.
Briefly therefore, The very God is the Father of all Mankind by a general Paternity, of all Chriftians by a particular or federal Paternity, and of our Lord Jesus Christ by a Special Paternity,
CHAP. III. Of the Union of the Divine and Human Natures
in our Lord Jesus Christ.
OWi for the better understanding of this
wonderful Relation between the very God and our Lord Jesus Christ, which arises from the special Paternity of the very God, and consequently the special Filiation of Jesus Christ our Lord, it must be remembred, that our Lord Jesus Christ has a twofold Nature united in him.
First, the aby G, or WORD of God, which was with God, and is God, was made Flesh, or was incarnat, and dwelt among us, in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not only taught by your self, but expresly afferted by St. John, Ch. i. V. 1, 14, 15. That this WORD is abundantly superior to, and consequently quite different from, an human Soul, you constantly suppose, and therefore you will not defire me to prove. Whether this WORD is the very God, or a Secondary Being, that derives his Exiftence from the One felfexiftent Being or very God, I do not at present inquire. This is certain, and allow'd by your self, that the WORD is superior to all created Beings whatsoever. For all ihings were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made, John 1. 3. And since you know and maintain, that the WORD is exprefly call'd God, therefore I join with you in calling the WORD the Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Chrift.
Secondly, Our Lord Jesus Christ is very Man, consisting of an human Body and an human Soul.