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CHAP. VIII.

An entrance into the examination of the Racovian catechism, in the business of the Deity of Christ; their arguments against it answered: and testimonies of the eternity of Christ vindicated.

ALTHOUGH the testimonies and arguments for the Deity of Christ might be urged and handled to a better advantage, if liberty might be used to insist upon them, in the method that seems most natural for the clearing and confirmation of this important truth, yet that I may do two works at once, I shall insist chiefly, if not only, on those texts of Scripture, which are proposed to be handled, and answered by the author or authors of the Racovian catechism, which work takes up near one fourth part of their book, and (as it is well known) there is no part of it, wherein so much diligence, pains, sophistry, and cunning are employed, as in that chapter, of the person of Christ, which by God's assistance we are entering upon the consideration of.

Those who have considered their writings know, that the very substance of all they have to say, for the evading of the force of our testimonies, for the eternal Deity of Christ, is comprized in that chapter, there being not any thing material, that any of them have elsewhere written, there omitted. And those who are acquainted with them, their persons, and abilities, do also know, that their great strength and ability for disputation, lies in giving plausible answers, and making exceptions against testimonies, caviling at every word and letter, being in proof and argument for the most part weak and contemptible. And therefore, in this long chapter of near a hundred pages, all that themselves propose by way of argument against the Deity of Christ is contained in two or three at the most; the residue being wholly taken up with exceptions to so many of the texts of Scripture wherein the Deity of Christ is asserted, as they have been pleased to take notice of. A course which themselves are forced to apologize for, as unbecoming catechists.

I shall then, the Lord assisting, consider that whole chapter of theirs, in both parts of it as to what they have a Interpres lect. Prefat. ad Catech. Raco.

to say for themselves, or to plead against the Deity of Christ; as also what they bring forth for their defence against the evidence of the light that shineth from the texts, whose consideration they propose to themselves, to which many of like sort, may be added.

I shall only inform the reader, that this is a business quite beyond my first intention in this treatise, to whose undertaking I have been prevailed on, by the desires and entreaties of some, who knew that I had this other work imposed on me,

Their first question and answer are,

'Q. 1. Declare' now to me, what I ought to know concerning Jesus Christ?

'A. Thou must know, that of the things which thou oughtest to know, some belong to the essence of Christ, and some to his office.

'Q. 2. What are they which relate to his person?

'A. That only, that by nature he is a true man, even as the Scriptures do often witness: amongst others, 1 Tim. ii. 5. 1 Cor. xv. 21. Such a one as God of old promised by the prophets, and such as the creed, commonly called the apostles, witnesseth him to be, which with us all Christians embrace.'

Ans. That Jesus Christ was a true man, in his nature like unto us, sin only excepted, we believe; and do abhor the abominations of Paracelsus, Wigelius, &c. and the Familists amongst ourselves, who destroy the verity of his human nature. But that the Socinians believe the same, that he is a man in heaven, whatever he was upon earth, I presume the reader will judge, that it may be justly questioned, from what I have to offer (and shall do it in its place) on that account. But that this is all that we ought to know concerning the person of Christ, is a thing of whose folly and vanity our catechists will be one day convinced. The present trial of it between us depends in part,

b Rogatum te velim, ut mihi ea de Jesu Christo exponas, quæ me scire oporteat? -Sciendum tibi est, quædam ad essentiam Jesu Christi, quædam ad illius munus referri, quæ te scire oportet.

Quænam ea sunt, quæ ad personam ipsius referuntur?-Id solum, quod natura sit homo verus, quemadmodum ea de re crebro Scripturæ sacræ testantur: inter alias, 1 Tim. ii. 5. et 1 Cor. xv. 21. qualem olim Deus per prophetas promiserat, et qualem etiam esse testatur fidei symbolum, quod vulgo apostolicum vocant, quod nobiscum universi Christiani amplectuntur.

on the consideration of the Scriptures, which shall afterward be produced to evince the contrary: our plea from whence shall not here be anticipated. The places of Scripture they mention prove him to be a true man that as man he died and rose but that he who was man, was not also in one person God (the name of man there expressing the person, not the nature of man only), they prove not. The prophets foretold that Christ should be such a man, as should also be the Son of God, begotten of him; Psal. ii. 7. 'the mighty God;' Isa. ix 6, 7. Jehovah?' Jerem. xxiii. 6. The Lord of hosts; Zech. ii. 8, 9. And the Apostles' Creed also (as it is unjustly called) confesseth him to be the only Son of God, our Lord, and requires us to believe in him, as we do in God the Father: which if he were not God, were an accursed thing; Jerem. xvii. 5.

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Q. 3. Is therefore the Lord Jesus a pure (or mere) man ?

A. By no means; for he was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, and therefore from his very conception and birth was the Son of God: as we read Luke i. 35, that I may not bring other causes, which thou wilt afterward find in the person of Christ, which most evidently declare, that the Lord Jesus can by no means be esteemed a pure (or mere) man.'

Ans. 1. But I have abundantly demonstrated, that Christ neither was, nor was called the Son of God, upon the account here mentioned, nor any other intimated in the close of the answer, whatever; but merely and solely, on that of his eternal generation of the essence of his Father.

2. The enquiry is after the essence of Christ, which receives not any alteration by any kind of eminency, or dignity that belongs to his person. If Christ be by essence only man, let him have what dignity or honour he can have possibly conferred upon him, let him be born by what means soever, as to his essence and nature, he is a man still, but a man, and not more than a man; that is, purus homo, a

Ergo Dominus Jesus est purus homo?-Nullo pacto; etenim est conceptus e Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, eoque ab ipsa conceptione et ortu Filius Dei est, ut ea de re Luke, i. 35. legimus, ubi angelus Mariam ita alloquitur: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, &c. Ut alias causas non afferam, quas postmodum in Jesu Christi persona deprehendes, quæ evidentissime ostendunt, Dominum Jesum pro puro homine nullo modo accipi posse.

'mere man,' and not púσa deos, God by nature;' but such a God as the Gentiles worshipped; Gal. iv. 8. His being made God, and the Son of God, afterward, which our catechists pretend, relating to office and dignity, not to his nature, exempts him not at all from being a mere man. This then is but a flourish to delude poor simple souls into a belief of their honourable thoughts of Christ, whom yet they think no otherwise of, than the Turks do of Mahomet; nor believe he was otherwise indeed, or is to Christians, than as Moses to the Jews. That which Paul speaks of the idols of the heathen, that they were not gods by nature, may according to the apprehension of these catechists be spoken of Christ; notwithstanding any exaltation or deification that he hath received; he is by nature no God. Yea, the apprehensions of these gentlemen concerning Christ, and his deity, are the same upon the matter with those of the heathen, concerning their worthies and heroes, who by an ao twois were translated into the number of their gods; as Jupiter, Hercules, and others. They called them gods indeed; but put them close to it, they acknowledged that properly there was but one God, but that these men were honoured, as being upon their great worth, and noble achievements, taken up to blessedness and power. Such an hero, an Hermes or Mercury, do they make of Jesus Christ: who for his faithful declaring the will of God was deified; but, in respect of essence and nature, which here is enquired after, if he be any thing according to their principles, (of making which supposal I shall give the reader a fair account) he was, he is, and will be a mere man to all eternity, and no more. They allow him no more, as to his essence, than that, wherein he was like us in all things, sin only excepted,' Heb. ii. 17.

d

'Q. You said a little above, that the Lord Jesus is by nature man, hath he also a divine nature?

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A. No: for that is not only repugnant to sound reason, but also to the Scriptures.'

But this is that which is now to be put to the trial; whether the asserting of the Deity of Christ be repugnant to

d Dixeras paulo superius Domiuum Jesum natura esse hominem; an idem habet naturam divinam?-Nequaquam : nam id non solum rationi sanæ, verum etiam Divinis literis repugnat.

the Scriptures or no? and as we shall see in the issue, that as these catechists have not been able to answer, or evade the evidence of any one testimony of Scripture, of more than an hundred, that are produced for the confirmation of the truth of his eternal Deity, so notwithstanding the pretended flourish here at the entrance, that they are not able to produce any one place of Scripture, so much as in appearance, rising up against it. For that right reason, which in this matter of mere divine revelation they boast of, and give it the pre-eminence in their disputes against the person of Christ, above the Scripture, unless they discover the consonancy of it to the word, to the law and testimonies, whatever they propose on that account, may be rejected with as much facility, as it is proposed. But yet, if by right reason they understand reason, so far captivated to the obedience of faith, as to acquiesce in whatever God hath revealed, and to receive it as truth, than which duty there is not any more eminent dictate of right reason indeed; we for ever deny the first part of this assertion, and shall now attend to the proof of it; nor do we here plead, that reason is blind and corrupted, and that the natural man cannot discern the things of God, and so require that men do prove themselves regenerate, before we admit them to judge of the truth of the propositions under debate, which though necessary for them, who would know the gospel for their own good, so as to be wise unto salvation, yet it being the grammatical and literal sense of propositions, as laid down in the word of the Scripture, that we are to judge of in this case, we require no more of men to the purpose in hand, but an assent to this proposition (which if they will not give, we can by undeniable demonstration compel them to), Whatever God, who is prima veritas, hath revealed is true, whether we can comprehend the things revealed or no: which being granted, we proceed with our catechists in their attempt.

C

Q. Declare how it is contrary to right reason.

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A. First in this regard, that two substances having contrary properties cannot meet in one person; such as are,

e Cedo qui rationi sanæ repugnat?-Primo, ad eum modum, quod duæ substantiæ, proprietatibus adversæ, coire in unam personam nequeant, ut sunt mortalem et immortalem esse, principium habere, et principio carere; mutabilem et immutabilem exístere. Deinde, quod duæ naturæ, personam singulæ constituentes, in

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