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person?” 29?, apóow Tov avtoü,—an allegation so frivolous that to stand
poowTornbía, which hath in it no regard to shape or corporeal per-
-“ Jacob pitched his tent before” (or “ in the face of”) “ the city.”
Of what may be hence deduced this is the sum: “In every plea
His last argument is from John v. 37, “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape, "-Oire clôos autoũ śwpé
But it argues a very great ignorance in all philosophical and accurate writings, to appropriate ciòos to a corporeal shape, it being very seldom used, either in Scripture or elsewhere, in that notion; the Scripture having used it where that sense cannot be fastened on it, as in 1 Thess. v. 22, 'And Tavros sidous Toumpou Arizos which may be rendered, “ Abstain from every kind,” or “ every appearance,” but not from every shape “ of evil;” and all other Greek authors, who have spoken accurately and not figuratively of things, use it perpetually almost in one of these two senses, and very seldom
, if at all in the other.
How improperly, and with what little reason, these places are interpreted of a corporeal similitude or shape, hath been showed. Wherein the image of God consists the apostle shows, as was declared, determining it to be in the intellectual part, not in the bodily, Col. iii. 10, 'Ενδυσάμενοι τον νέον (άνθρωπον) τον ανακαινούμενον εις επίγνωσιν, κατ' εικόνα του κτίσαντος αυτόν. The word here used, eixuv,
· Plato said the same thing expressly, apud Stobæum, Eclogæ Ethicæ, lib. i. cap. üi. p. 163.
is of a grosser signification than sidos, which hath its original from the intellectual operation of the mind; yet this the apostle determines to relate to the mind and spiritual excellencies, so that it cannot, from the places he hath mentioned, with the least colour of reason, be concluded that God hath a corporeal similitude, likeness, person, or shape.
What hath already been delivered concerning the nature of God, and is yet necessarily to be added, will not permit that much be peculiarly spoken to this head, for the removal of those imperfections from him which necessarily attend that assignation of a bodily shape to him which is here aimed at. That the Ancient of Days is not really one in the shape of an old man, sitting in heaven on a throne, glisterirg with a corporeal glory, his hair being white and his raiment beautiful, is sufficiently evinced from every property and perfection which in the Scripture is assigned to him.
The Holy Ghost, speaking in the Scripture concerning God, doth not without indignation suppose any thing to be likened or compared to him. Maimonides hath observed that these words, Aph, Ira, etc., are never attributed to God but in the case of idolatry; that never any idolater was so silly as to think that an idol of wood, stone, or metal, was a god that made the heavens and earth; but that through them all idolaters intend to worship God. Now, to fancy a corporeity in God, or that he is like a creature, is greater and more irrational dishonour to him than idolatry. “To whom will ye liken
" God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” Isa. xl. 18. “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth,” etc.“ To whom then will ye liken me, or
, shall I be equal? saith the Holy One,” verses 21–23, 25. Because the Scripture speaks of the eyes and ears, nostrils and arms of the Lord,
, and of man being made after his likeness, if any one shall conclude that he sees, hears, smells, and hath the shape of a man, he must, upon the same reason, conclude that he hath the shape of a lion, of an eagle, and is like a drunken man, because in Scripture he is compared to them, and so of necessity make a monster of him, and worship a chimera.
Nay, the Scripture plainly interprets itself as to these attributions 1 Θεός έστι πνεύμα νοερόν, ουκ έχον μορφήν.-.Posidonius apud Stobaeum; Eclogae Physicæ, lib. i. cap. i. p. 2.' I confess Epicurus said, 'Ay&pasosidsīs sites tous Osoús.--Stobæus ibidem. cap iii. p. 5. And possibly Mr B. might borrow his misshapen divinity from hiin and the Anthropomorphites; and then we have the pedigree of his wild positions. But the more sober philosophers (as Stobæus there tells us) held otherwise : Osèy our απτον ουδέ ορατόν, ουδε μετρητών, ουδε διαστατών, ουδέ άλλο τινι σώματι όμοιον, etc. ; which Guil. Canterus renders thus, “Quod nec tangi, nec cerni potest Deus, neque sub men. suram, vel terminum cadit aut alicui est corpori simile.”
? Videsis Rab. M. Maimonid. de Idolat. sect. 2, 3, etc.; et Notas Dionysii Vossii ibiclem.
Quæ de Deo dicuntur in sacro codice á vpwrotatūs. interpretanda sunt .460-46ws."
unto God. His arm is not an arm of flesh, 2 Chron. xxxij 8. Neither are his eyes of flesh, neither seeth he as man seeth, Job x. 4. Nay, the highest we can pretend to (which is our way of understanding), though it hath some resemblance of him, yet falls it infinitely short of a likeness or equality with him. And the Holy Ghost himself gives a plain interpretation of his own intendment in such expressions: for whereas, Luke xi. 20, our Saviour says that he “with the finger of God cast out devils;” Matt. xii. 28, he affirms that he did it “ by the Spirit of God,” intending the same thing. It neither is nor can righteously be required that we should produce any place of Scripture expressly affirming that God hath no shape, nor hands, nor eyes, as we have, no more than it is that he is no lion or eagle. It is enough that there is that delivered of him abundantly which is altogether inconsistent with any such shape as by Mr B. is fancied, and that so eminent a difference as that now mentioned is put between his arms and eyes and ours, as manifests them to agree in some analogy of the thing signified by them, and not in an answerableness in the same kind. Wherefore I
that the Scripture speaking of God, though it condescends to the nature and capacities of men, and speaks for the most part to the imagination (farther than which few among the sons of men were ever able to raise their cogitations), yet hath it clearly delivered to us such attributes of God as will not consist with that gross notion which this man would put upon the Godhead. The infinity and immutability of God do manifestly overthrow the conceit of a shape and form of God? Were it not a contradiction that a body should be actually infinite, yet such a body could not have a shape, such a one as he imagines. The shape of any thing is the figuration of it ; the figuration is the determination of its extension towards several parts, consisting in a determined proportion of them to each other ; that determination is a bounding and limiting of them : so that if it have a shape, that will be limited which was supposed to be infinite, which is a manifest contradiction. But the Scripture doth plainly show that God is infinite and immense, not in magnitude (that were a contradiction, as will appear anon) but in essence. Speaking to our fancy, it saith that “he is higher than heaven, deeper than hell,” Job xi. 8; that "he fills heaven and earth,” Jer. xxiii. 24; that "the heaven of heavens cannot contain him," 1 Kings viii. 27; and it hath many (such] expressions to shadow out the immensity of God, as was manifest in our consideration of the last
query. But not content to have yielded thus to our infirmity, it delivers likewise, in plain and literal terms, the infiniteness of God: “His understanding is infinite, Ps. cxlvii. 5; and therefore his essence is necessarily so. This is a consequence that none can deny who will consider it till he under
Vid. D. Barnes in 1. partem Aquinatis, quæst. 3, art. 1, et Scholasticos passim.
stands the terms of it, as hath been declared. Yet, lest
Yet, lest any should hastily apprehend that the essence of God were not therefore necessarily infinite, the Holy Ghost saith, Ps. cxlv. 3, that “ his greatness hath no end,” or is “inconceivable,” which is infinite; for seeing we can carry on our thoughts, by calculation, potentially in infinitum,that is, whatever measure be assigned, we can continually multiply it by greater and greater numbers, as they say, in infinitum,-it is evident that there is no greatness, either of magnitude or essence, which is unsearchable or inconceivable besides that which is actually infinite. Such, therefore, is the greatness of God, in the strict and literal meaning of the Scripture; and therefore, that he should have a shape implies a contradiction. But of this so much before as I presume we may now take it for granted.
Now, this attribute of infinity doth immediately and demonstratively overthrow that gross conception of a human shape we are in the consideration of; and so it doth, by consequence, overthrow the conceit of any other, though a spherical shape. Again,
Whatever is incorporeul is destitute of shape ; whatever is infinite is incorporeal: therefore, whatever is infinite is destitute of shape.
All the question is of the minor proposition. Let us therefore suppose an infinite body or line, and let it be bisected; either then, each half is equal to the whole, or less. If equal, the whole is equal to the part; if less, then that half is limited within certain bounds, and consequently is finite, and so is the other half also : therefore, two things which are finite shall make up an infinite; which is a contradiction.
Having, therefore, proved out of Scripture that God is infinite, it follows also that he is incorporeal, and that he is without shape.
The former argument proved him to be without such a shape as this catechist would insinuate ; this, that he is without any shape at all. The same will be proved from the immutability or impassibility of God's essence, which the Scripture assigns to him : Mal. iii. 6, “I am the LORD; I change not.” “The heavens are the work
I of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou endurest : they shall be changed: but thou art the same,” Ps. cii. 25, 26.
If he be immutable, then he is also incorporeal, and consequently without shape.
The former consequence is manifest, for every body is extended, and consequently is capable of division, which is mutation; wherefore, being immutable, he hath no shape.
Mr B.'s great plea for the considering of his Catechism, and insisting upon the same way of inquiry with himself, is from the success which himself hath found in the discovery of sundry truths, of which he gives an account in his book to the reader. That, among the glorious discoveries made by him, the particular now insisted on is not to be reckoned, I presume Mr B. knoweth. For this discovery the world is beholding to one Audæus, a monk, of whom you have a large account in Epiphanius, tom. i. lib. iii., Hær. 70; as also in Theodoret, lib. iv. Eccles. Hist., cap. x., who also gives us an account of the man and his conversation, with those that followed him. Austin also acquaints us with this worthy predecessor of our author, De Hær. cap. I. He that thinks it worth while to know that we are not beholding to Mr B., but to this Audæus, for all the arguments, whether taken from the creation of man in the image of God or the attribution of the parts and members of a man unto God in the Scripture, to prove him to have a visible shape, may at his leisure consult the authors above mentioned, who will not suffer him to ascribe the praise of this discovery to Mr B.'s ingenious inquiries. How the same figment was also entertained by a company of stupid monks in Egypt, who, in pursuit of their opinion, came in a great drove to Alexandria, to knock Theophilus the bishop on the head, who had spoken against them, and how that crafty companion deluded them with an ambiguity of expression, with what learned stirs ensued thereon, we have a full relation in Socrat. Eccles. Hist. lib. vi. cap. vii.'
As this madness of brain-sick men was always rejected by all persons of sobriety professing the religion of Jesus Christ, so was it never embraced by the Jews, or the wiser sort of heathens, who retained any impression of those common notions of God which remain in the hearts of men. The Jews to this day do solemnly confess, in their public worship, that God is not corporeal, that he hath no corporeal propriety, and therefore can nothing be compared with him. So one of the most learned of them of old: Ούτε γάρ ανθρωπόμορφος ο Θεός,
Jeotiðès åvOpustivov owpa, Phil. de Opificio Mundi ;—“Neither hath God a human form, nor does a human body resemble him.” And in Sacrifi. Abel.: Ουδε τα όσα ανθρώποις, επί Θεού κυριολογείται, κατάχρησης δε ονομάτων εστι παρηγορούσα την ημετέραν ασθένειαν-«Neither are those things which are in us spoken properly of God, but there is an abuse of names therein, relieving our weakness."
Likewise the heathens, who termed God voīv, and túxwow and πνεύμα, and δυναμοποιόν or δύναμιν, had the same apprehensions of him. Thus discourses Mercurius ad Tatium, in Stobæus, serm. 78: Θεόν μεν νοήσαι χαλεπόν, φράσαι δε αδύνατον" το γαρ ασώματον σώματι σημήναι αδύνατον" και το τέλειον τώ ατελεί καταλαβέσθαι ου δυνατόν και το αΐδιον τω ολιγοχρονίω συγγενέσθαι, δύσκολον ο μεν γαρ αεί έστι, το δε παρέρχεται και το μέν αλήθειά έστι, το δε υπό φαντασίας σκιάζεται το δε ασθενέστερον του ισχυροτέρου, και το έλαττον του κρείττονος διέστηκε τοσούτον, όσον το
10% res ipäs aider à's Oscū apócwton.-Sozom. Hist. Eccles. lib. viii. cap. xi.
3 Minut. Felix, in Octav. Lactan. de Vera Sap. Mutius Pansa Pianensis de Osculo Ethnicæ et Christianæ Theol. c. 25; Origen. in Gen. Horn. 3; Aug. 1. 83, quæst. 22.