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Answ. The Being of the Son is an improper expression; because it supposes the Son to be a Being, (properly so called,) that is, a separate Being, which he is not. But one Person, the Person of the Son may be incarnate, and the Person of the Father or Holy Ghost at the same time not incarnate, without any contradiction, because one person is not another person. Yet it may be said, the Godhead is incarnate; i. e. the divine Being, as personalized in the Son, is incarnate in the Person of the Son. These philosophical niceties, in a point so sublime and mysterious, ought to be neglected and despised. Let any man tell us, whether the Being of God is present in heaven, and whether the same Being of God is present on earth; and let him inform us distinctly what he means by it. Let him say, whether God will be a day older tomorrow than he is to-day, and clear either the affirmative or negative of all appearance of contradiction. Let him determine whether God be extended or not extended, and disentangle either side of the question from all appearance of repugnancy. Let him unriddle the mysteries of eternity; acquaint us how eternity can be past unless it was once present, or how it could be ever present if it never began. But enough of this.
QUERY 8. Whether the imposing side can pretend that the consequence they draw from the unity of God, and from the Father and Son's being severally called God, is more clear and certain than the consequence which others draw from the same consideration?
Answ. The imposing side (as he calls them) do not argue merely from the Father and Son's being severally called God; but from the Scriptures describing both one and the other to be God in such a sense as to have a right to be adored. Now, in this sense, there cannot be more Gods than one, consistently with the First Commandment, which excludes all but one God from religious service and adoration. Any God, after this one God, is no God, in any true and proper sense: but the Son is the one true God, because he is adorable, and God: and there
are not more true and more adorable Gods than one. This consequence they take to be certain and undeniable: but the consequence which others draw, viz. that Father and Son cannot be called God in the same sense of the word God, (for so it should have been expressed by the Querist,) has nothing at all to support it, because the exclusive term cannot be proved to have been intended in opposition to God the Son. Or if they be, they must exclude him entirely among the nominal, fictitious deities, which is absurd enough. And because those emphatical appellations of one, or only God, applied to the Father, are easily accounted for, by admitting a different manner of existence, or a priority of order, without any recourse to a different sense of the word GOD. Besides, the Scripture plainly shows by the divine titles, attributes, and glory, which it ascribes to God the Son, that he is God in the strict and proper sense, and not in any lower or different sense, as is pretended.
QUERY 9. Whether men being liable to mistake in drawing consequences, modesty should not teach the imposing side to be as forward to bear with their brethren, as they are to bear with the imposers ?
Answ. When it is once declared what is meant by bearing with their brethren, this Query may have a determinate answer. As to men's being liable to mistake, it is no argument against their being certain of many things; and if they be certain of such a truth, and that it is very important, all Christian and prudent methods must be used to maintain and preserve it.
QUERY 10. Whether it is not dangerous rashness to censure men as to their everlasting state, for not believing a doctrine which is not expressly declared in any one place in the Bible?
Answ. There is no rashness at all in censuring men, as to their everlasting estate, for disbelieving, and especially for publicly opposing a doctrine of so vast importance, which is both expressly and by necessary consequence declared in many places of Scripture compared to'gether. “If an angel from heaven preach any other Gos“ pel unto you, than that which we have preached unto “ you, let him be accursed.” Gal. i. 8.
QUERY 11. Whether they who say, the Son did know the day and hour of the last judgment, when he said expressly, that he did not; whether, I say, they do not make Christ to have been guilty of an equivocation? And whether such their assertion is not very dangerous, as tending to introduce, by his example, a practice which will destroy all credit among Christians?
Answ. There was no equivocation in saying what was literally true, that the Son, as Son of man, did not know the day and hour of the last judgment. The context itself sufficiently limits his denial to his human nature. The Querist tells us, that, “ according to this way of equivo
cating, a man (as one observes) may deny that he saw
a thing which he actually saw; meaning, he did not “ see it with one eye, which he wilfully kept shut, while " he beheld it with the other.” But, as one observes, (see Mr. Boyse in his reply to that pretence of Mr. Emlyn's,) in answer to this idle stuff, there might be some colour for the pretence, if a man had two visive powers, or two souls, as well as two eyes : but since he has but one visive power, and one soul, which one soul sees, whether one eye only, or both be open, it would be a downright falsehood to say, I saw not a thing at all, because I saw it but with one eye. But the case is quite different, where there are two knowing principles, belonging to two different natures; one of which may see or know, while the other doth not see or know; and consequently it may. be denied of one, which may be affirmed of the other. It could not indeed be alsolutely and indefinitely denied of Christ, that he knew the day: neither is it so denied in Scripture, but in a certain respect only, which the reason of the thing and the very context determines it to: for it speaks not of the Son of God as such, but of the Son of man, or of Christ considered as Son of man.
QUERY 12. Whether, if the Holy Spirit be the su
preme God, he must not have as much right to give the Father, as the Father can have to give him? And whether, upon this supposition, it can be proper for Christians to pray to the Father to give them his Holy Spirit?
Answ. As to the rights and privileges among the sacred Three; they are best known to themselves. And who are we, that we should pretend to fathom the depths of the divine nature, or the ineffable economy of the three Persons ? Scripture calls the Spirit, the Spirit of the Father, and not vice versa, and directs us to ask the Father to give his Spirit to us. This is sufficient for us to know, and is a direction to our practice.
QUERY 13. Whether it be an intolerable crime in ministers, and such as deserves ejectment, for them to hold, that Christ alone is the King of his Church? And that Christians are to receive his words only, as the authentic rule of their faith, without subjecting their faith to the authoritative interpretations of any men upon earth?
Answ. This Query is too loose and general to admit of any
close determinate answer. I shall only observe, that these gentlemen know at other times how to interpret the alone King, or only Potentate, so as to leave room for subordinate governors. And I know not any one that contends for more, or ever pretends to equal themselves to Christ. Arians, perhaps, or Socinians, having brought Christ down to the rank of creatures, or of men, may in time take upon them farther : but the Trinitarians will never be wanting in their honour to Christ, or the alone King, and the alone God, not exclusive of, but in conjunction with God the Father and the Holy Ghost; not abridging all or any of the three sacred Persons of the liberty of appointing subordinate ministers, rulers, or governors, to act under them, according to such rules, laws, and measures, as infinite wisdom shall see good and proper.