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he had it by a gift of the Father; Matt. xxviii. 18. Phil. ii. 9. 1 Cor. xv. 27. John v. 19. x. 25. Lastly, because the same Scripture most evidently shewing, that Jesus Christ did not vindicate and ascribe all his divine works to himself, or to any divine nature of his own, but to his Father, makes it plain, that divine nature in Christ was altogether in vain, and would have been without any cause.'
And this is that which our catechists have to pretend from Scripture against the Deity of Christ; concluding that any such divine nature in him would be superfluous and needless, themselves being judges. In the strength of what here they have urged, they set themselves to evade the evidence of near fifty express texts of Scripture, by themselves produced and insisted on, giving undeniable testimony to the truth they oppose. Let then what they have brought forth be briefly considered.
1. The Scripture doth indeed propose unto us 'one only God by nature,' and we confess that that only true God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ;' but ve say, that the Son is partaker of the Father's nature, of the same nature with him, as being his proper Son, and by his own testimony one with him. He is such a Son (as hath been declared) as is begotten of the essence of his Father, and is therefore God blessed for ever. If the Father be God by nature, so is the Son, for he is of the same nature with the Father.
2. To conclude that Christ is not God, because he is man, is plainly and evidently to beg the thing in question. We evidently demonstrate in the person of Christ, properties that are inseparable adjuncts of a divine nature, and such also as no less properly belong to a human nature: from the asserting of the one of these, to conclude to a denial of the other, is to beg that which they are not able to dig for.
3. There is a twofold communication of the Father to the Son; 1. By eternal generation; so the Son receives his personality, and therein his divine nature, from him who said unto him, 'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee:' and this is so far from disproving the Deity of Christ, that it abundantly confirms it: and this is mentioned, John v. 19-22. This Christ hath by nature. 2. By collation of gifts, honour and dignity, exaltation, and glory upon him as
Mediator, or in respect of that office, which he humbled himself to undergo, and for the full execution whereof, and investiture with glory, honour, and power, was needful, which is mentioned, Matt. xxviii. 18. Phil. ii. 9. 1 Cor. xv. 27. which is by no means derogatory to the Deity of the Son; for inequality in respect of office is well consistent with equality in respect of nature. This Christ hath by grace. Matt. xxviii. 18. Christ speaks of himself as throughly furnished with authority for the accomplishing of the work of mediation, which he had undertaken. It is of his office, not of his nature, or essence that he speaks. Phil. ii. 9. Christ is said to be exalted, which he was in respect of the real exaltation given to his human nature, and the manifestation of the glory of his divine, which he had with his Father before the world was, but had eclipsed for a season. 1 Cor. xv. 27. relates to the same exaltation of Christ as before.
4. It is false, that Christ doth not ascribe the divine works which he wrought to himself and his own divine power, although that he often also make mention of the Father, as by whose appointment he wrought those works as Mediator; John v. 27. My Father worketh hitherto, and I work ;' ver. 19. 'For whatsoever things the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son;' ver. 21. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.' Himself wrought the works that he did, though as to the end of his working them, which belonged to his office of mediation, he still relates to his Father's designation and appointment. And this is the whole of our catechists plea from reason and Scripture against the Deity of Christ. For the conclusion of the superfluousness, and needlesness of such a divine nature in the Mediator, as it argues them to be ignorant of the Scripture, and of the righteousness of God, and the nature of sin, so it might administer occasion to insist upon the demonstration of the necessity which there was, that he who was to be Mediator between God and man, should be both God and man, but that I aim at brevity, and the consideration of it may possibly fall in upon another account; so that here I shall not insist thereon.
Nextly, then, they address themselves to that which is their proper work (wherein they are exceedingly delighted),
viz. in giving in exceptions against the testimonies produced for the confirmation of the truth under consideration, which they thus enter upon.
'Q. But they endeavour to assert the divine nature of Christ from the Scriptures.
'A. They endeavour it, indeed, divers ways; and that whilst they study either to evince out of certain Scriptures what is not in them, or whilst they argue perversely from these things which are in the Scriptures, and so evilly bring their business to pass.'
These it seems are the general heads of our arguments for the Deity of Christ: but before we part we shall bring our catechists to another reckoning, and manifest both that what we assert is expressly contained in the Scriptures, and what we conclude by ratiocination from them, hath an evidence in it, which they are not able to resist. But they say,
'Q. What are those things which they labour to evince, concerning Christ out of the Scriptures, which are not contained in them?
'A. Of this sort is (as they speak) his pre-eternity, which they endeavour to confirm with two sorts of Scriptures. 1. Such as wherein they suppose this pre-eternity is expressed 2. Such as wherein though it be not expressed, yet they think that it may be gathered from them.'
That we do not only suppose, but have also as great an assurance as the plain, evident, and redoubled testimony of the Holy Ghost can give us, of the eternity of Jesus Christ, shall be made evident in the ensuing testimonies, both of the one sort and the other; especially such as are express thereunto; for in this matter we shall very little trouble the reader with collections and arguings, the matter inquired after being express and evident in the words and terms of the Holy Ghost himself. They say then:
Q. Which are those testimonies of Scripture which seem to them to express his pre-eternity?
h Atqui illi e Scripturis illam divinam in Christo naturam asserere conantur ?-Conantur quidem variis modis: idque dum student, aut e Scripturis quibusdam evincere, quæ in iis non habentur, aut dum ex iis, quæ in Scripturis habentur, perperam ratiocinantur, ac male rem suam conficiunt.
iQuæ vero sunt illa, quæ illi de Christo e Scripturis evincere laborant quæ illic non habentur?-Est illius, ut loquuntur, prææternitas, quam duplici Scripturarum genere approbare nituntur. Primum ejusmodi est, in quo prææternitatem hanc expressam putant. Secundum, in quo licet expressa non sit, eam tamen colligi arbitrantur. * Quænam sent testimonia Scripturæ, quæ videntur ipsis eam prææternitatem ex
'A. They are these, in which the Scripture witnesseth of Christ that he was in the beginning, that he was in heaven, that he was before Abraham; John i. 1. vi. 62. viii. 58.' Before I come to the consideration of the particular places proposed by them to be insisted on, I shall desire to premise one or two things. As,
1. That it is sufficient for the disproving of their hypothesis concerning Christ, if we prove him to have been existent before his incarnation, whether the testimonies whereby we prove it, reach expressly to the proof of his eternity or no. That which they have undertaken to maintain is, that Christ had no existence before his conception and birth of the Virgin which if it be disproved, they do not, they cannot deny but that it must be on the account of a divine nature; for as to the incarnation of any pre-existing creature, (which was the Arians madness) they disavow, and oppose it.
2. That these three places mentioned, are very far from being all, wherein there is express confirmation of the eternity of Christ and, therefore, when I have gone through the consideration of them, I shall add some others also, which are of no less evidence and perspicuity than these, whose vindication we are by them called unto.
To the first place mentioned they thus proceed:
'A. In the place cited, there is nothing about that pre-eternity, seeing here is mention of the beginning, which is opposed to eternity. But the word beginning is almost always in the Scripture referred to the subject matter, as may be seen, Dan. viii. 1. John xv. 27. 16. 4. Acts xi. 15. and, therefore, seeing the subject matter here is the gospel, whose description John undertakes, without doubt, by this word beginning, John understood the beginning of the gospel.'
This place being express to our purpose, and the matter of great importance, I shall first confirm the truth contended for from thence, and then remove the miserable subterfuge
primere? Sunt ea, in quibus Scriptura testatur de Christo, ipsum fuisse in principio, fuisse in cœlo, fuisse ante Abrahamum, John i. 1. vi. 62. viii. 58.
1 Quid vero ad primum respondes?-In loco citato nihil habetur, de ista prææternitate, cum hic principii mentio fiat, quod prææternitati opponitur. Principii vero vox in Scripturis fere semper ad subjectam refertur materiam, ut videre est, Dan. viii. 1. Joh. xv. 27. xvi, 4. Acts xi. 15. cum igitur hic subjecta sit materia Evangelium, cujus descriptionem suscepit Johannes, sine dubio per vocem hanc principii, principium Evangelii Johannes intellexit.
which our catechists have received from their great apostles, uncle and nephew.
1. That John thus expressly insisting on the Deity of Christ in the beginning of his gospel, intended to disprove and condemn sundry that were risen up in those days, denying it, or asserting the creation, or making of the world to another Demiurgus, we have the unquestionable testimony of them first professors of the religion of Jesus Christ, with as much evidence and clearness of truth as any thing can be tendered on uncontrolled tradition: which at least will give some insight into the intendment of the Holy Ghost in the words.
2. That by ó óyos, howsoever rendered, verbum or sermo, or on what account soever he be so called, either of being the eternal Word and Wisdom of the Father, or as the great revealer of his will unto us, (which yet of itself is not a sufficient cause of that appellation, for others also reveal the will of God unto us; Acts xx. 27. Heb. i. 1.) Jesus Christ is intended is on all hands confessed, and may be undeniably evinced from the context. This ó óyos, came into the world and was rejected by his own, ver. 11. yea, expressly he was made flesh, and was the only begotten of God, ver. 14.
3. That the whole of our argument from this place, is very far from consisting in that expression, 'in the beginning,' though that, relating to the matter whereof the apostle treats, doth evidently evince the truth pleaded for. It is part of our catechists' trade, so to divide the words of Scripture, that their main import and tendence, may not be perceived. In one place they answer to the first words, in the beginning;' in another to, 'he was with God,' and ' he was God;' in a third to that, all things were made by him;' in a fourth (all at a great distance one from another) to, the Word was made flesh.' Which desperate course of proceeding, argues that their cause is also desperate, and that they durst not meet this one testimony as by the Holy Ghost placed and ordered for the confirmation of our faith, without such a bold mangling of the text, as that instanced in.
m Irenæus ae hæres, lib. 3. c. 11. Epiphan. lib. 1. Tom. 2. hæres. 27, 28. 30. &c. lib. 2. Tom. 2. Hæres. 69. Theodoret. Epitom. Hæret. lib. 2. Euseb. Histor. lib. 3. c. 27. Causam post alios hanc scribendi præcipuam tradunt omnes (veteres) ut veneno in ecclesiam jam tum sparso, authoritate suæ, quæ apud omnes Christianum nomen profitentes, non poterat non esse maxima, medicinam faceret. Grot. Præfat. ad Annotat. in Evang. Johan.