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questions, looking the same way with those already considered, and will upon the principles already laid down, and insisted on, easily and in very few words be turned aside from prejudicing the eternal Deity of the Son of God. His tenth then is,
• What saith the Son concerning the prerogative of the Father above him?' And answer is given, John xiv. 28. Mark. xiii. 22. Matt. xxiv. 36. Whereunto is subjoined another of the same; 'What saith the apostle Paul ? Ans. 1 Cor. xv. 24. 28. xi. 3.'
The intendment of these questions being the application of what is spoken of Christ, either as mediator or as man, unto his person, to the exclusion of any other consideration, viz. that of a divine nature therein, the whole of Mr. Biddle's aim in them is sufficiently already disappointed. It is true, there is an order, yea a subordination in the persons of the trinity themselves; whereby the Son, as to his personality, may be said to depend on the Father, being begotten of him; but that is not the subordination here aimed at by Mr. B. but that which he underwent by dispensation as mediator, or which attends him in respect of his human nature. All the difficulty that may arise from these kinds of attribution to Christ, the apostle abundantly salves in the discovery of the rise and occasion of them; Phil. ii. 7-9. he who was in the form of God, and equal to him, was, in the form of a servant, whereunto he humbled himself, his servant, and less than he. And there is no more difficulty in the questions wherewith Mr. B. amuses himself and his disciples, than there was in that, wherewith our Saviour stopped the mouth of the Pharisees, viz. how Christ could be the Son of David, and yet his Lord, whom he worshipped ? For the places of Scripture in particular urged by Mr. Biddle, John xiv. 28. says our Saviour,“my Father is greater than I,'(mittens misse, says Grotius himself, referring the words to office not nature) which he was, and is in respect of that work of mediation, which he had undertaken; but inæqualitas officii non tollit æqualitatem naturæ.' A king's son is of the same nature with his father, though he may be employed by him in an
Ideo autem nusquam Scriptum est, quod Deus pater major sit Spiritu Sancto, vel Spiritus Sanctus minor Deo Patre : quia non sic assumpta est creatura in qua appareret S. S. sicut assumptus est filius hominis, in qua forma ipsius Verbi Dei persona præsentaretur. August. lib. 1. de Trinit. cap. 6.
inferior office. He that was less than his Father, as to the work of mediation, being the Father's servant therein, is equal to him as his Son, as God to be blessed for ever. Mark., xiii. 32. Matt. xxiv. 36. affirm, that the Father only knows the times and seasons mentioned, not the angels, nor the Son.' And yet notwithstanding it was very truly said of Peter to Christ, ‘Lord thou knowest all things ;' John xxii. 17. He that in, and of the knowledge and wisdom, which as man he had, and wherein he grew from his infancy, knew not that day, yet as he knew all things knew it: it was not hidden from him, being the day by him appointed. Let Mr. Biddle acknowledge, that his knowing all things proves him to be God, and we will not deny, but his not knowing the day of judgment, proves him to have another capacity, and to be truly man.
As dman he took on him those affections, which we call φυσικά και αδιάβλητα πάθη amongst which, or consequently unto which, he might be ignorant of some things. In the meantime he who made all times, as Christ did, Heb. i. 2. knew their end, as well as their beginning. He knew the Father, and the day by him appointed; yea all things that the Father hath were his: and in him were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid ;' Col. ii. 3.
Paul speaks to the same purpose, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28. The kingdom that Christ doth now peculiarly exercise, is his economical mediatory kingdom, which shall have an end put to it, when the whole of his intendment in that work shall be fulfilled, and accomplished. But that he is not also shares with his father, in that universal monarchy, which, as God by nature, he hath over all, this doth not at all prove. All the argument from this place is but this; Christ shall cease to be mediator, therefore he is not God. And that no more is here intended, is evident from the expression of it; “Then shall the Son himself be subject;' which if it intend any thing, but the ceasing from the administration of the mediatory kingdom, wherein the human nature is a sharer, it would prove, that as Jesus Christ is mediator, he is not in subjection to his Father, which himself abundantly hath ma
1 'Aυτος έστιν ο είς και μόνος υιός και πριν ή Αβραάμ γένεσθαι, ών· και επί εσχάτων, προκοψας σοφία και ηλικία κατά σάρκα» έχει γαρ αεί θεότης αυτού το τέλειον. Ρroclus. Episcop. Constan. Epist. ad Armenios.
nifested to be otherwise. Of 1 Cor. xi. 3. and iii. 22, 23. there is the same reason; both speaking of Christ as mediator; whence that no testimony can be produced against his Deity, hath been declared.
He adds twelfth, Q. Howbeit is not Christ dignified, as with the title of Lord, so with the title of God in the Scripture ? Ans. Thomas saith,“ my Lord, and my God.” Verily, if Thomas said, that Christ was his God, and said true, Mr. B. is to blame, who denies him to be God at all. With this one blast of the Spirit of the Lord is his fine fabric of religion blown to the ground. And it may be supposed, that Mr. B. made mention of this portion of Scripture, that he might have the honour of cutting his own throat, and destroying his own cause; or rather, that God in his righteous judgment hath forced him to open his mouth to his own shame. Whatever be the cause of it, Mr. B. is very
far from escaping this sword of the Lord, either by his insinuation in the present query, or diversion in the following; for the present; it was not the intent of Thomas to dignify Cbrist with titles, but to make a plain confession of his faith, being called upon by Christ to believe. In this state he professes, that he believes him to be his Lord and his God. Thomas doubtless was a Christian; and Mr. B. tells us that Christians have but one God, chap. I. Qu. 1. Eph. iv. 6. Jesus Christ then being the God of Thomas, he is the Christian's one God; if Mr. B. may be believed. It is not then the dignifying of Christ with titles, which it is not for men to do, but the naked confession of a believer's faith, that in these words is expressed. Christ is the Lord and God of a believer; ergo, the only true God; as 1 John v. 19. Mr. B. perhaps will tell you, he was made a God; so one abomination begets another, infidelity idolatry; of this afterward. But yet he was not according to his companions made a God before his ascension; which was not yet, when Thomas made his solemn confession.
Some attempt also is made upon this place by Grotius. kaì ó Jebs uov. •Here first,' saith he, in the story of the gospel is this word found ascribed by the apostle unto Jesus Christ (which Maldonat before him observed for another purpose) to wit, after he had by his resurrection proved himself to be him, from whom life and that eternal, ought to be expected. And this custom abode in their church, as appears not only in the apostolical writings; Rom. ix. 5. and of the ancient Christians, as may be seen in Justin Martyr against Trypho, but in the epistle also of Pliny unto Trajan, where he says, that the Christians sang verses to Christ, as to God:' or as the words are in the author, Carmen Christo, quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem.' What the intendment of this discourse is, is evident to all those, who are a little exercised in the writings of them, whom our author all along in his annotations takes care of. That Christ was now made a God at his resurrection, and is so called from the power wherewith he was entrusted at his ascension, is the aim of this discourse. Hence he tells us, it became a custom to call him God among the Christians, which also abode amongst them. And to prove this custom, wrests that of the apostle, Rom. ix. 5. where the Deity of Christ is spoken of, in opposition to his human nature, or his flesh, that he had -of the Jews, plainly asserting a divine nature in him, calling him God subjectively, and not only by way of attribution. But this is it seems a custom taken
after Christ's resurrection to call him God, and so continued; though John testifies expressly, that he was God in the beginning. It is true indeed, much is not to be urged from the expression of the apostles, before the pouring out of the Spirit upon them, as to any eminent acquaintance with spiritual things; yet they had before made this solemn confession, that Christ was the 'Son of the living God;' Matt. xvi. 16 -18. which is to the full as much as what is here by Thomas expressed. That the primitive Christians worshipped Christ and invocated him, not only as a God, but professing him to be the true God and eternal life, we have better testimonies than that of a blind Pagan, who knew nothing of them nor their ways, but by the report of apostates, as himself confesseth. But learned men must have leave to make known their readings and observations, whatever become of the simplicity of the Scripture.
e Hic primum ea vox in narratione Evangelica reperitur ab apostolis Jesu tributa, postquam scilicet sua resurrectione probaverat se esse, a quo vita et quidem æterna, expectari deberet. Mansit deinde ille mos in ecclesia, ut apparet non tantum in Scriptis Apostolicis ut, Rom. ix. 5. et veterum Christianorum ut videre est apad Justinum Martyrem contra Tryphonem, sed et in Plinii ad Trajanum Epistola, ubi ait Christianos Christo, ut Deo, carmina cecinisse. Grot. in locum.
To escape the dint of this sword, Mr. Biddle nextly queries.
•Q. Was he so the God of Thomas, as that he himself in the meantime, did not acknowledge another to be his God?
• A. John xx. 17. Rev. iii. 12.'
True, He who being partaker of the divine essence, in the form of God, was Thomas's God; as he was mediator, the head of his church, interceding for them, acknowledged his Father to be his God. Yea God may be said to be his God, upon the account of his Sonship, and personality, in which regard he hath his deity of his father, and is God of God. Not that he is a secondary, lesser, made God, a hero, semideus, as Mr. B. fancies him; but God blessed for ever, in order of subsistence depending on the Father.
Of the same nature is the last question, viz. ' Have you any passage in the Scripture, where Christ at the same time hath the appellation of God given to him, and is said to have a God?
A. Heb. i. 8, 9.' By Mr. B.'s favour, Christ is not said to have a God, though God be said to be his God, 2. ver. 8. Christ by Mr. Biddle's confession is expressly called God. He is then the one true God with the Father, or another; if the first, what doth he contend about? If the second, he is a God, that is not God by nature, that is, not the one God of Christians, and consequently an idol, and indeed such is the Christ that Mr. B. worshippeth. Whether this will be waved by the help of that expression, ver. 9. God thy God;' where it is expressly spoken of him, in respect of his undertaking the office of mediation, wherein he was anointed of God with the oil of gladness above his fellows,' God and his saints will judge.
Thus the close of this chapter, through the good wise hand of the providence of God, leaving himself and his truth not without witness, hath produced instances, and evidences of the truth opposed, abundantly sufficient, without farther inquiry and labour, to discover the sophistry and vanity of all Mr. Biddle's former queries, and insinuations ; for which let him have the praise.