« PreviousContinue »
ing principle and predominant habit from whence they so uniformly proceed.
2. Why it doth not agree to original sin that the account [is] mentioned, verse 6, of God's repenting that he had made man, and his resolution to destroy him, these gentlemen offer not one word of reason to manifest. We say,—(1.) That it can agree to no other but
( this original sin, with its infallible effects, wherein all mankind were equally concerned, and so became equally liable to the last judgment of God; though some, from the same principle, had acted much more boldly against his holy Majesty than others. (2.) Its being in men by nature doth not at all lessen its guilt. It is not in their nature as created, nor in them so by nature, but is by the fall of Adam come upon the nature of all men, dwelling in the person of every one; which lesseneth not its guilt, but manifests its advantage for provocation,
3. Why the latter testimony is not applicable to original sin they inform us not. The words joined with it are an expression of that patience and forbearance which God resolved and promised to exercise towards the world, with a non obstante for sin. Now, what sin should this be but that which is “the sin of the world”? That actual sins are excluded we say not; but that original sin is expressed and aggravated by the effects of it our catechists cannot disprove. There are many considerations of these texts, from whence the argument from them for the proof of that corruption of nature which we call original sin might be much improved; but that is not my present business, our catechists administering no occasion to such a discourse. But they take some other texts into consideration:
Q. What thinkest thou of that which David speaks, Ps. li. 7,“ Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me?"
A. It is to be observed that David doth not here speak of any men but himself alone, nor that simply, but with respect to his fall, and uses that form of speaking which you have in him again, Ps. lviii. 3. Wherefore original sin cannot be evinced by this testimony,
But,-). Though David speaks of himself, yet he speaks of himself in respect of that which was common to himself with all mankind, being a child of wrath as well as others ; nor can these gentlemen intimate any thing of sin and iniquity, in the conception and birth of David, that was not common to all others with him. Any man's confession for bimself of a particular guilt in a common sin doth not free others from it; yea, it proves all others to be partakers in it who share in that condition wherein he contracted the guilt.
1 " Quid vero ea de re sentis quod David ait, Ps. li. 7?-Animadvertendum est, hic Davidem non agere de quibusvis hominibus, sed de se tantum, nec simpliciter, sed habita ratione lapsus sui; et eo loquendi modo usum esse, cujus exemplum apud eun. dem Davidem habes Ps. lviij. 3. Quamobrem nec eo testimonia effici prorsus potest peccatum originis."
2. Though David mentions this by occasion of his fall, as having his conscience made tender and awakened to search into the root of his sin and transgression thereby, yet it was no part of his fall, nor was he ever the more or less conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity for that fall; which were ridiculous to imagine. He here acknowledges it upon the occasion of his fall, which was a fruit of the sin wherewith he was born, James i. 14, 15, but was equally guilty of it before his fall and after.
3. The expression here used, and that of Ps. Iviï. 3, “ The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies,” exceedingly differ. Here, David expresses what was his infection in the womb; there, what is wicked men's constant practice from the womb. In himself, he mentions the root of all actual sin; in them, the constant fruit that springs from that root in unregenerate men. So that, by the favour of these catechists, I yet say that David doth here acknowledge a sin of nature, a sin wherewith he was defiled from his conception, and polluted when he was warmed, and so fomented in his mother's womb; and therefore this place doth prove original sin.
One place more they call to an account, in these words:-
A. It is not in that place, “In A all sinned ;” but in the Greek the words are imm, which interpreters do frequently render in Latin in quo,
“ in whom," which yet may be rendered by the particles quoniam or quatenus, “ because," or “inasmuch," as in like places, Rom. viii. 3, Phil. iii. 12, Heb. ii. 18, 2 Cor. v. 4. It appeareth, therefore, that neither can original sin be built up out of this place."
1. Stop these men from this shifting hole, and you may with much ease entangle and catch them twenty times a day: “This word may be rendered otherwise, for it is so in another place,”—a course of procedure that leaves nothing certain in the book of God. 2. In two of the places cited, the words are not low, but év , Rom. viii. 3, Heb. ii. 18. 3. The places are none of them parallel to this; for here, the apostle speaks of persons or a person in an immediate precedency; in them, of things. 4. But render éq' by quoniam, “because," or "for that,” as our English translation doth, the argument is no less evident for original sin than if they were rendered by "in whom.” In the beginning of the verse the apostle tells us that death entered the world by the sin of ope man,—that one man of whom he is speaking, namely, Adam, -and passed upon all men: of which dispensation, that death passed on all men, he gives you the reason in these words, “For that all have sinned;" that is, in that
i u At Paulus ait Rom. v. 12, In A damo, eto.- Non habetur eo loco, In Adamo omnes peccâsse ; verum in Græco verba sunt io' qy, quæ passim interpretes reddunt Latine, in quo, quæ tamen reddi possunt per particulas quoniam aut quatenus, ut e locis simili. bus, Rom. viii. 3, Phil. iii. 12, Heb. ii. 18, 2 Cor. v. 4, videre est. Apparet igitur neque ex hoc loco extrui posse peccatum originis."
sin of that one man whereby death entered on the world and passed on them all. I wonder how our catechists could once imagine that this exception against the translation of those words should enervate the argument from the text for the proof of all men's guilt of the first sin, seeing the conviction of it is no less evident from the words if rendered according to their desire.
And this is the sum of what they have to offer for the acquitment of themselves from the guilt and stain of original sin, and for answer to the three testimonies on its behalf which themselves chose to call forth; upon the strength whereof they so confidently reject it at the entrance of their discourse, and in the following question triumph upon it, as a thing utterly discarded from the thoughts of their catechumens. What reason or ground they have for their confidence the reader will judge. In the meantime, it is sufficiently known that they have touched very little of the strength of our cause, nor once mentioned the testimonies and arguments on whose evidence and strength in this business we rely. And for themselves who write and teach these things, I should much admire their happiness, did I not so much as I do pity them in their pride and distemper, keeping them from an acquaintance with their own miserable condition.
Of the person of Jesus Christ, and on what account he is the Son of God.
MR BIDDLE'S FOURTH CHAPTER. Ques. How many Lords of Christians are there, by way of distinetion from that one God!
Ans. Eph. iv. 5.
Q. How came Jesus Christ to be Lord, according to the opinion of the apostle Paul
A. Rom. xiv. 9.
Q. What saith the apostle Peter also concerning the time and manner of his being made Lord ?
A. Acts ii. 32, 33, 36.
Q. Did not Jesus Christ approve himself to be God by his miracles; and did he not those miracles by a divine nature of his own, and because he was God himself? What is the determination of the apostle Peter in this behalf?
A. Acts ii. 22, x. 38.
Q. Could not Christ do all things of himself ; and was it not an eternal Son of God that took flesh upon him, and to whom the human nature of Christ was personally united, that wrought all his works? Answer me to these things in the words of the Son himself.
A. John v. 19, 20, 30, xiv. 10.
Q. What reason doth the Son render why the Father did not forsake hiin and cast him out of favour? Was it because he was of the same essence with him, so that it was impossible for the Father to forsake him or cease to love him?
A. John viii. 28, 29, xv. 9, 10.
Q. Doth the Scripture account Christ to be the Son of God because he was eternally begotten out of the divine essence, or for other reasons agreeing to him only as a man? Rehearse the passages to this purpose.
A. Luke i. 30, 32, 34, 35; John x. 36; Acts xiii. 32, 33; Rev. i. 6; Col. i. 18; Heb. i. 4, 5, v. 5; Rom. viii. 29.
Q. What saith the Son himself concerning the prerogative of God the Father above hiin?
A. John xiv. 28; Mark xii. 32; Matt. xxiv. 36.
Q. Howbeit, is not Christ dignified, as with the title of Lord, so also with that of God, in the Scripture!
A. John xx. 28.
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. ii. 12.
Q. Have you any passage of the Scripture where Christ, at the same time that he hath the appellation of God given to him, is said to have a God?
A. Heb. i. 8, 9.
The aim and design of our catechist in this chapter being to despoil our blessed Lord Jesus Christ of his eternal deity, and to substitute an imaginary Godhead, made and feigned in the vain hearts of himself and his masters, into the room thereof, I hope the discovery of the wickedness and vanity of his attempt will not be unacceptable to them who love him in sincerity. I must still desire the reader not to expect the handling of the doctrine of the deity of Christ at large, with the confirmation of it and vindication from the vain sophisms wherewith by others, as well as by Mr B., it hath been opposed. This is done abundantly by other hands. In the next chapter that also will have its proper place, in the vindication of many texts of Scripture from the exceptions of the Racovians. The removal of Mr B.'s sophistry, and the disentangling of weaker souls, who may
in any thing be intricated by his queries, are my present intendment. To make our way clear and plain, that every one that runs may read the vanity of Mr B.'s undertaking against the Lord Jesus, and his kicking against the pricks therein, I desire to premise these few observations:
1. Distinction of persons (it being an infinite substance) doth no way prove difference of essence between the Father and the Son. Where Christ, as mediator, is said to be another from the Father or God, spoken personally of the Father, it argues not in the least that he is not partaker of the same nature with him.
That in one essence
there can be but one person may be true where the substance is finite and limited, but hath no place in that which is infinite.
2. Distinction and inequality in respect of office in Christ doth not in the least take away equality and sameness with the Father in respect of nature and essence. A son of the same nature with his father, and therein equal to him, may in office be his inferior, his subject.
3. The advancement and exaltation of Christ as mediator to any dignity whatever, upon or in reference to the work of our redemption and salvation, is not at all inconsistent with that essential úžia, honour, dignity, and worth, which he hath in himself as “God blessed for ever.” Though he humbled himself and was exalted, yet in nature he was one and the same, he changed not.
4. The Scripture's asserting the humanity of Christ with the concernments thereof, as his birth, life, and death, doth no more thereby deny his deity, than, by asserting his deity, with the essential properties thereof, eternity, omniscience, and the like, it denies his humanity.
5. God's working any thing in and by Christ, as he was mediator, denotes the Father's sovereign appointment of the things mentioned to be done, not his immediate efficiency in the doing of the things themselves.
The consideration of these few things, being added to what I have said before in general about the way of dealing with our adversaries in these great and weighty things of the knowledge of God, will easily deliver us from any great trouble in the examination of Mr B.'s arguments and insinuations against the deity of Christ; which is the business of the present chapter.
His first question is, “How many Lords of Christians are there, by way of distinction from that one God?” and he answers, Eph. iv. 5, “ One Lord.”
That of these two words there is not one that looks towards the confirmation of what Mr B. chiefly aims at in the question proposed, is, I presume, sufficiently clear in the light of the thing itself inquired
I after. Christ, it is true, is the one Lord of Christians; and therefore God, equal with the Father. He is also one Lord in distinction from his Father, as his Father, in respect of his personality, in which regard there are three that bear record in heaven, of which he is one; but in respect of essence and nature “ he and his Father are one.” Farther; unless he were one God with his Father, it is utterly impossible he should be the one Lord of Christians. That he cannot be our Lord in the sense intended, whom we ought to invocate and worship, unless also he were our God, shall be afterward declared.
1 Την υποταγής της δουλικής μορφής ανειληφώς, υπέρ ημών υποτάσσεται το εαυτού πατρί, os púru Isórntos, ada' ivóru popoñs dovanxeños or incos.-Athanas. Dial. i. contra Maced.