Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

If any should ask, Why is this letter published now? I would answer in the words of Solomon : There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak. But whether the present season has been fitly chofen, the event, under the conduct of Divine Providence, will best shew.

The reader is desired to take notice, that whatever he sees at the bottom of the pages, is additional. There are also some additions in the letter itself, especially near the end, where more texts are explained, than were in the original letter.

For better understanding the argument, it may be needful to observe, for the fake of some, that by divers. ancient writers we are assured, it was the opinion of Arius, and his followers : “ That [1] our Saviour took flesh of Mary, but not a soul :” “ that [2]

Chrift

σαρκα μονον τον σωτηρα απο μαριας ειληφεναι, διαCECABELLE voi, xolo 8X yuxnu. Epiph. de Arianis in Indica T.i. p.606.

Αλλα και αρνονται ψυχην αυτον ανθρωπινην ειληφεναι. Ιd. H. 69. n. 19. p. 743. A Conf. n. 48 ..51.

[2] Αρειος δε σαρκα μονης προς αποκρυφης της θεοτητος ομολογει αντι δε τα ενωθεν εν ημιν ανθρωπο, τετες της ψυχης, τον λογον εν τη σαρκι λεγει γεγονέναι. κ. λ. Athan. Contr. Apollin. l. 2.

3. p. 942. C. In eo autem quod Chriftum fine anima folam carnem suscepiffe arbitrantur, minus noti sunt . . . sed hog verum esse, et Epiphanius non tacuit, et ego ex coruin quibusdam fcriptis et collocutionibus certiffime inve... Auguft. de Heer. c. 49.

11.

[ocr errors]

Christ had flesh only, as a covering for his Deity: and that the Word in him was the same, as the soul in us : and that the Word, or the Deity in Christy was liable to sufferings in the body.”

Mr. Whiston, in his Historical Memoirs of the Lif of Dr. Clarke, giving an account of the Act in the Divinity Schools at Cambridge, in the year 1709, when Mr. Clarke, then Rector of St. James's, received the Doctor's Degree, says, at p. 20. 21. « In the course of this Act, where I was present, Professor James

digressed from one of the Doctor's Questions, and pressed him hard to condemn one of the opinions, which I had just then published in my Sermons and Esays. Which book he held in his hand, when he was in the Chair. I suppose, it might be this : that our Saviour had no human soul, but that the Divine Logos, or Word, supplied it's place . . . . . However, Dr. Clarke, who, I believe, had not particularly examined that point, did pru. dently avoid either the approbation or condemnation of it. Yet have I reason to believe, he long afterwards came into it, upon a farther examination : though, I think, he ever avoided, according to his usual caution; to declare publicly that his approbation, even upon the most pressing applications. Which is one great instance of that impenetrable secrecy, which Dr. Sykes justly notes to have been in him, upon many occasions.”

So Mr. Vhision, who clearly declares his own opinion. Who likewise supposeth, that the same was for some while received by Dr. Clarke. But he seems not to have had any certain evidence of it. For, as he acknowledges, Dr. Clarke never publicly declared bis a probation of it.

Nevertheless, it may not be disagreeable to see here what Dr. Clarke himself fays in his. Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, Part i. ch. iii. numb. 998. p. 197. “Matt. iv. I. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the Wilderness. From this, and many other of the following texts, it seems that the Logos, the Divine Nature of Christ, did fo far revwgat EXUTOY, diminish itself, as St. Paul expresses it, Philip. ii. 7. that, during the time of his incarnation, he was all along under the conduct of the Holy Spirit.”

And Part ii. fect. xxviii. p. 301. “ The Holy Spirit is described in the New Testament, as the immediate author and worker of all miracles, even of those done by our Lord himself: and as the conductor of Chrift in all the actions of his life, during his state of humiliation here on earth.”

Before I finish this preface, I must make some citations from Dr. Robert Clayton, late Lord Bishop of Clogher, who, in the third part of his Vindication of the Histories of the Old and New Testament, has expressed himself after this manner.

Letter v. p. 80. 81, or p. 443.

He who had glory with the Father, before the world was, emptied himself, or di

vested

vested himself of that glory, in order to redeem mankind, and descended from heaven, and took upore him the form of a fervant, and was made man. That is, He, who was a glorified pre-existent spirit in the presence of God, submitted to descend from heaven, and to have himself conveyed by the wonderful power of Almighty God, into the womb of a Virgin. Where, being clothed with flesh, and ripening by degrees to manhood, he was at length brought forth into the world, in the same apparent state and condition with other human infants.”

Again, Letter vii. p. 132. 133. or 482. 483. “ And accordingly this exalted fpirit was, by the wonderful power of God, as before related, conveyed into the womb of the virgin Mary, and was made man; that is, was made as much so, as his mother could make him, without being impregnated by man. And now being deprived of the immediate presence of God the Father, and being shut up in darknefs, and the shadow of death, he was after nine months brought forth into life, in the form of a feeble infant, with all the weakness, and frailties, and infirmities of human nature about him. And as he grew up into life, and his reason improved, this only ferved to make the terrible change and alteration of his condition so much the more perceptible, and the recollection of it so much the more grievous and inufferable. The dreadfulness of which state is hardly conceivable to us, because that we never were sensible

of

of any thing better than our prefent existence. But for any being, which had ever enjoyed the happiness of heaven, and had been in poffeffion of glory with the Father, to be deprived thereof, and to be sent to dwell here in this world, encompassed within the narrow limits of this earthly tabernacle, and the heavy organs inade of flesh and blood, it must, literally fpeaking, be to such a being, an hell upon earth.” So says that celebrated writer.

To the Letter are now added two Postscripts. Concerning which nothing needs to be said here. They who look into them, will see what they are.

One thing the author would say. He hopes, the whole is written in the way of reason and argument, with meekness and candour, without acrimony and abuse : though not without a just concern for such things as appear to him to be of importance.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »