« PoprzedniaDalej »
above the earth'; and the revelation itself, "is an instance of the divine condescension to our low capacities.”
If we were to reason on the supposition, thať the Doctor and Mr. Millard are right in their notions, upon the nature of generation, and from that conclude with them, that the doctrine of the eternal generation of Jesus Christ, destroys his deity, and that the gospel plan is ruined; both arrive at this conclusion, that if Jesus Christ is the proper Son of God in his divine nature, then he is not God. Suppose we waive for the time, all opposition to their reasoning and conclusions, are there not several important queries to trouble us, in advancing on? They seem to find there is sach a being as the only begotten Son of God, whether begotten in time or eternity, seems to be their difficulty. What kind of being is he? Mr. Millard says he is not created, and he has taken up several pages to show he is not God, , and thinks it very absurd to say he is God.This is the more astonishing to us, as we have always had the idea, that God was the only uncreated, and self-existent being in the Universe.
Mr. Millard says he is not a created but a derived being. From his position and reasoning, we fall into another dilemma; does this expression, derived, mean any thing, or nothing, from his explanation ? We should imagine, that if he was really and absolutely derived as begotten of God, he is really God, in every sense partaking of the fullness of the God-head. Upon the principles of human philosophy, we are taught, that every species of beings, we cart comprehend, begat their own species, and
kind, and communicated their specific natures : but these writers both seem to reason this doctrine is false.
But leaving their reasoning upon generation, and whether our Lord was created or not. We suggest a few questions which we consider involve many difficulties to remove, before we can fully admit our Lord to be a derived being. Can the real divinity be derived? Can infinite mercy and merit be derived ? Is God divisible? Can the immutable God be changed and disunited ? Can Jehovah by whom all things visible and invisible that are in being, were created and made, be himself a derived being? We had supposed any derived or dependent being was a creature. And we have yet to learn, if there is any difference, what being it is; and wherein the distinctive difference consists; until this is done, we can see no benefit resulting from the distinction.Whether created, or whether derived, seems not to be of much advantage to their argument.
If either of the two above systems, that the Son or 2d personage of the Trinity, is a created or derived being, prevails, it appears to us, that the very first and adorable principles of the gospel, are subverted. The apostles, have ever in speaking to us of the love of God exercised towards us, brought forward this kind and benevolent act, in God the Father, in giving to us his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. If the love of God is to be measured to us by this rule, and our salvation depends on a right faith in the Son of God, then it is a point of the first magnitude, that we have right apprehensions and knowledge of the glory, dignity, and perfections of hís nature and character, that we may understandingly trust in him as our glorious Mediator. To dishonour him must be impiety, if to know and love him is life eternal, In his human nature, we consider him the most exalted of dependent beings, the first and chief of all elect creatures, the first and favourite of a high and singular union, wherein God and humanity became one person, for an exhibition of the love of God to apostate humanity. This human nature, we trust, which was marvelously joined to God in one person, will increase in existence, in dignity and perfections, without end, and more rapidly than any other finite existence, in consequence of this union; but this is not enough; to be the son of Mary thus united, is not sufficient; we must confide, know, and love, and be in union also, by adoption with the Son of God, the 2d person in the Trinity, who became one in person with humanity, whose love and merit are infinite, who answers to the type “ without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life;"> having this trust with us as the face of heaven in its clearness," for so we believe our Bible tells
we build our faith and reliance on the Rock of Ages. And “who shall declare his generation," who his descent?
Father and Son are relative terms, which support each other. The opponents of the Trinity acknowledge this as fact; and this excites our wonder; for if they concede the truth, there is a Father in the divine nature, they are under the necessity, it consistent with themselves, to acknowledge there is a divine Son. Mr. Fletcher very happily and justly remarks in his polemic debate with Doctor Priestly, “you acknowledge
there is a divine Father, I thank you for this ex. pression, for we Trinitarians think, that if there is a divine Father there is a divine Son." Father and Son being relative expressions, must necessarily support each other.
Doctor Clark in his commentary, states, that “Father and Son imply generation, &c. I think here is laid a foundation, for us to be wise above what is written. We believe through our Lord, we are heirs of a heavenly inheritance, because the scriptures teach it. This authority tells the generation of the human nature of our Lord; and it is of record that the divine nature was the second person in the Trinity, that he was veiled in the flesh, and that these two natures became one person. Who can testify against the writings of the Apostles, who can state the facts with more clearness, who reason more conclusively, or trace our Lord's descent and divinity, when revelation fails. When revelation, says our Lord in his divine nature was the Son of God who shall scan it improperly, and traduce it down comparatively, to the capacity of a glow-worm "joined with the sun to enlighten the universe.” He was, as we say, heir, long before he made the worlds. heir of all things, he is constituted Son--and inherited the name before all things.
The Doctor has brought to view, two things“ Father and Son imply generation, and generation a time when it was effected, and a time antecedent to such generation.”. Suppose we follow this rule, where will it land us, into what unknown belief, what region of doubt? Can we by it elucidate eternal things, can we measure eterni. ty by this mode of division ? On the supposition that every act of God, unfolling as fo uis daily, as
to his overshadowing ar brooding Providence, was in time; and each act, adding to the generation or series of his infinite acts, was an act of time. And if developed, in time, consequently there was a time, or period antecedent to such time or act; consequently there was a period when the infinite attributes of God, came into action; and a period antecedent to such commencement of action; consequently again there was a preliminary time, or preparatory period, when all the infinite attributes of God lay dormant. And one late writer has followed this chain of ideas, until he questions, whether the Supreme Being did not graduate in this way into being and action. We acknowledge this is treading on suppositious ground we are not acquainted with. We are willing to leave this bewildering and a-, larming way, and quit the point, where our inspired teachers have left it. The old beaten path of the apostles, is a safe way, and direct, and very plainly described. They say the Word was, in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; and that he is the first born of every creature, and by him all things were created, and that he is before all things, and by him all things consist, and that he is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and this is the I Am, to whom the majesty on high saith, “thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.” This we think is a striking illustration of the Son's being a personage in the mysterious union of the Trinity. He is also a priest “after the power of an endless life,” which he has in himself, as the eternal Son of God. " I am,” is the divine name he claims; "I AM, of them that are above,” is his remarkable saying