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has judiciously avoided the 'neceflity which they lay under, of answering such objections as are often drawn from a faile conception of the terms themselves.
If our Readers think it worth their while to consult Dr. Waterland's sermons preached on the same occasion with these of our Author, they will be abundantly convinced of the justness of this remark; though our Author hath thought proper to take no notice of this great champion in the cause, having in his eye Atill more exceptionable writers.
The first of the forementioned positions the Doctor proposes to evince-from the representation given of what is generally termed the incarnation of the Son of God,- from the testimony of the evangelists and apostles, and from the testimony of Christ himself.
After having briefly observed, from the scripture account of the incarnation, that no mention is there made of any other than two natures, viz. the one perfectly human, the other perfectly divine, he concludes, against the Arians, that there is no ground for fuppofing that a Being who, in a pre-existant state, was distinct from and inferior to God, was united to humanity.
With regard to the testimony of the evangelists, he has shewn, that they never ascribe our redemption to any other Being than God himself, operating in the man Christ Jesus. · They were far, says he, (speaking of the people who had seen a miraculous eure performed) from giving glory to any other Being than the Mop High, nor could it ever enter their heads that it was not Gid, but fome angel or demigod united to humanity, that wrought the cure.'
In another place, on our Saviour's restoring a dead person to life, he thus expresseth himself: · It was man, the man Christ Jesus, that touched the bier and said Young man arise; but it was God alone that gave life to the dead. It was the power of the Almighty, and not of any finite Being, which accompanied and gave efficacy to the command.'
Having cited many texts to this purpose, from the evangelifts, he concludes his first lecture with the following vindication of the worship of the church of England, from the unjust reflections (as he conceives them to be) of both Socinians and Arians.
From the representation, therefore, which the evangelists have given us of Jesus Chrift, and the power which manifested itself in him, it appears, that we have good reason to afcribe, to the author of our salvation, eternal power and godhead. The Socinians may declaim ever so much against rendering to a mere mortal that worship which is due to God alone; and they are justified in withholding it themselves. But if they suppose our church warrants such kind of worship, they are under a grofs
mistake; and, in representing her in so odious a light, they want that charity towards her, which is above all faith, being the bond of perfectness. The church of England acknowledges no God but one only living and true God. She acknowledges the humanity of Christ, and has ever maintained that doctrine ; at the same time fhe disallows of divine honours being rendered to him on that account. Whatever gratitude be due to him as man (and the highest no doubt is due) her adoration neither terminates in, nor is in any measure directed to an arm of Aesh, but respects the divinity itself, which was manifefted in the Aesh, even him, by whose power the fick were healed, the lame walked, the blind saw, and the deaf heard; him whose mighty power stilled the raging of the winds and the waves by a word, which called forth Lazarus, after four days interment, from the grave, and (why need I mention any other initance of its perfeEtly divine efficacy ?) which raised the man Christ Jefus from the dead : and which he exercises with full authority, to the well-governing of his church universal both now and ever.
• Let the Arians, on the other hand, express what abhorrence they will of the doctrine of the Trinity, as idolatrous; and ever so great astonishment, that any should believe it ; it would be extremely astonilhing (but that we see an intemperate zeal will admit no cool confideration of any point) that they fhould consider it in this unfavourable light, and not see that their own notion borders more upon the error objected againft. Which, I would ask, favours most of polytheism? to suppose that there is one God, the great creator and father of all, that the same redeemed us in the person of Christ, and sanctified us by his holy spirit, being one and the same eternal and uncreated being? or, that these are three diflinct beings and separately existent, the one uncreated and eternal, viz. our Creator; the other, a creature next to God in dignity, but not perfe&t God, viz. our Redeemer ; and the third, a still inferier Being to either, yet above the angels, viz. the Holy Ghost, our Sanctifier ? I am sure the former is the doctrine of the church of England; and if the latter be not the doctrine of the Arians, I fhall be sorry to have misrepresented them: for in this view of it, the doctrine appears very unfcriptural, to say the least of it. I mean not by this representation to retort the invidious reflection which has been caft upon our church; nor is it my intention, my brethren, in mentioning the same, to excite in you a spirit of retaliation, but only to guard againft being mined by so injurious an objection, importing the heaviest of charges, into unfavourable sentiments of the established doctrines, which, rightly understood, will be found to be pure and fcriptural. And it is your duty, therefore, to receive what has been said in the spirit of meekness and charity towards those that differ from us. Let us hold our holy faith, firm and unmoved by the subtle devices of those that would undermine it, or the
bold attacks of infidelity. For be assured, our faith, held in the bonds of peace and love, will be safer and better secured to us, than it can be by the furious transports of a blind zeal. So pure a faith deserves our warm attachment to it, and a jealous concern for its support under the continual and various attacks of its adversaries. But let not a suspicion of its danger ever betray us into an uncharitable opinion of our opponents, and in consequence thereof, into unchristian and unwarrantable measures of defence; knowing this, that an opposition to the most orthodox faith, grounded on error alone, and not conducted by a spirit of contention, is far less culpable in the fight of Almighty God, than the maintenance of the same on the principles of perseoution.'
Having, in the next place, quoted many texts from the apostles in proof of the divinity of our Saviour, that have a plain and obvious meaning, others (says he) more commonly insisted upon in treating this subject, I have purposely omitted ; becaufe how much stronger foever they may feem, at first view, than those I have produced in support of this tenet, yet the translation, the genuineness of the text, or the sense of them, has been with some reason questioned by the learned, and occafioned, tho' without reason, some triumph to our opponents.
Two instances of these he produces ; and having fully thewn the insufficiency of them to answer the purpose for which they are generally brought, he observes, - It would be endless therefore, and can serve only as an handle to keep up an opposition to the established doctrines of the church, to argue on dubious authorities and disputed paffages of scripture. The errors of our opponents will be most effectually exposed, when the defence of our holy doctrines rests not on the mere found of words and sentences, picked out here and there from the most obscure and difficult passages, but on the whole authority of scripture, on the general conftant tenor of the gospel. For whatsoever is inconsistent with that must be false, as whatsoever is consistent therewith is truth; and truth thus entrenched within the strong mounds of scripture, which the holy spirit hath raised about her for her defence, the may be annoyed now and then from the outworks of the enemy, but is not to be circumvented by the subtile stratagems, nor forced by the rudest attacks of the sons of error and infidelity.'
We come now to that part of the work which respects the testimony arising from our Saviour's own account. It seems to be the substance of three lectures, and appears here under the title of A Critical Dissertation on the Logos. Our Author hath advanced a new interpretation of the three first verses and the 14th of St. John's Gospel, in confirmation of which, he has illustrated a variety of our Saviour's expressions, as recorded by E e 3
this evangelist. We are at a loss how to give our Readers the idea we could wish of this curious piece of criticism; but fhall, however, present thein with a view of his translation and sense of the former of the above mentioned passages : referring them to the work itself, as the only fufficient specimen of the dextrous manner in which the Doctor has fupported his interpretation, obviated the objections most likely to be made to it, and contrafted it in point of grammar, sentiment, and feripture-cornection, with all the former interpretations that have been offered in illustration of this contefted paffage of sacred writ.
Having given a concise view of the different explications of the evangelists assertion concerning the Logos, by Trinitarians, Arians, Socinians, and Sabellians, he thus prepares the minds of his Readers for an equitable reception of his own, by the following fenfible and candid remark:
Were these different explicarions, says he, contended for by the enemies of revelation; if each of these denominations endeavoured to expose the opinions of the rest, in order to expose the weakness and absurdity of the Christian religion, this mutual contradi&tion among our adversaries were not to be regretted. But it is painful to confider that this difference is among our. selves. For many, a great many, of each class, it cannot be doubted, have been well-wishers to our holy religion, and shewn themselves not more zealous than able in the general defence thereof. It were to be wilhed therefore, that such a sense could be clearly discovered to belong to this paffage, as thould be liable to no exception with any denomination of lincere believers; and it is to be suspected, from the great difference among themselves, that they are under one common miftake. This I shall endea, vour to point out, and offer an explication of the passage, against which, in point of doctrine, no objection can lie with those who believe Christianity at all.
• The werd here spoken of by the evangelist, is by all of them understood to relate to the person of Christ.' The word was God, that is, (say they) folus Chrif was God or a God.' But by the word, I apprehend, the evangelift means (what is meant by it in all other places of feripture) the gospel; and with a small but material variation of the construction of this so much disputed paliige, the following natural and easy sense of it will appear, that God is the original author of our salvation.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and God was the word. 2. It was in the bıginning with God. 3. All was done by him; and without him was not any thing done of that which has come to pass.
This must be owned to be a more exact tranflation than the other, and is to be preferred on this account, viz. that it doth not neceffarily convey the idea of any difputable doctrine, but may
be understood in a sense to which no person, that believes Chriftianity at all, can have any objection.
• Śt. John seems to mean no more by these words than to preface his account of the gospel which he stiles the word, with the high original of it. This was, he tells us, from God himself; for that in the beginning, before it was published to the world, it was with God, God was the word, the original author and giver of it. It was in the beginning with God, lay hid frim the foundation of the world in the eternal counsels of the Almighty. All was done by him, the whole was from God, and without him was not any thing done of that which has come to pass; that is, every part of the gospel dispensation, published by Jesus Christ, was from God; and whatever works he wrought in confirmation of it, not one of them xde ev was of himself, or came to pass, zupas T80€8, without God.'
In the next discourse our Author proceeds to maintain his third position, viz. That the Holy Ghost is of a nature perfe£tly divine, &c, but this we pass over for the sake of brevity; juft obferving, that the Doctor, in his attempt to illustrate this point, reaps no small advantage from the wary manner in which he has expressed himself, as well as from his carefully distinguishing, with regard to those circumstances by which the opponents of the doctrine seem to have been misled.
The next discourse is introduced with some pertinent observa, tions on the method of divine providence, in bringing ail men to the acknowledgment of the true faith, that there is but one God and one Mediator betwixt God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
• It is the last of these positions (says he) which I propose to illustrate, the former having been already confidered in the preceding lectures. Our Mediator, it is afferted in the text, was man, arpWtos Xposos Inces, the man Christ Jesus. The perfect humanity of Christ is as effential and fundamental an article of our faith as that it was God himself, the perfeit divinity, who wrought and was manifest in him. If we admit the supposition, that he was not really and truly man, but a being of a superior, though limited nature, residing only in the human body, we can have no consistent idea of the account given us, either of the incarnation, or of the mediatorial office of the Son of God.'
Having fully proved the consistency of his opinion, on this head, with the general ftrain of scripture, he proceeds to confider those texts
which are commonly urged, as well by Trini, tarians as Arians, in support of their different hypotheses. He differs from both in his explication of them, though it is the latter only which he profeffedly attacks. The texts relate to the creation of all things by jesus Christ. Our Author shews that this afcription of the creation of all things to Christ cannot have a reference to the outward frame and system of things; fich an