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Authority, Original in the Father, Derivative in the Son, &c. Now by the Father you mean the selfexistent Being, whom I call the Very God: and by the Son you mean our Savior Christ with respect to his Divine Nature, that is, the WORD. So that in your Opinion, the Reason why the Scripture, tho it ftiles the selfexistent Being God, and also stiles the WORD God,yet at the same time always declares there is but one God; is because, in the Monarchy of the Universe, there is but one Authority, Original in the selfexistent Being, Derivative in the WORD, &c. And consequently you would have us understand the several Passages before recited, not of a Numerical Unity of Being, but of an Unity of Authority ; that is, you think, the Scriptures do permit us to believe, that there are in Number more Gods than one (the one Supreme, and the other Subordinat) tho' there is but one Authority in them, communicated from the one to the other.
But this Notion is utterly irreconcilable to the plain Words of Holy Writ. It muft indeed be granted, that when there is a Subordination of Governors in a Monarchy, there is but one Authority in them all, original in the Monarch, and derivative in the inferior Magiftrates, by what Names foever they may be called. And accordingly, if there were a Plurality and Subordination of Gods, there would be but one Authority in them. all, tho' there would be more Gods than one in Number. But then, no Man knows better than your self, how great a difference there is between a Numerical Unity of Being, and an Unity of Authority. And in the several Passages before recited, the Unity ascrib'd to God is most manifestly, not an Unity ofAuthority, but a Numerical Unity of Being. For'tis not said, that the Authority of God is one, or that there is but one Authority of God; much less is it said, that there is but one Authority in diverse distinct Gods : but 'tis said, that God is one, and that there is but one God. Now the Word God does never signify God's Authority, nor can it be strained to such a Sense; much less can it fignify an Authority vested in diverse distinct Gods, subordinat the one to the other. No; it constantly denotes the Being himself who is called God; and not what that Being who is called God, is endued or invested with, or what he possesses or enjoys. And therefore, when we are assured, that there is but one God; we are undoubtedly assured, not that there is but one Authority in diverse distinct Gods; or that of the Gods that are, there is but one Supreme: but (in direct Opposition to all Plurality, or even -Duality of Gods, whether equal or subordinat the one to the other) that there is but one God in Number, viz. but one Being who is God.
But farther, if such an Interpretation were otherwife poffible, and consistent with the Scriptural Use of the Word God; that is, if such Phrases as there, there is but one God, and the like, might signify (in spight of Common Sense) there is an Unity of Authority
, in diverse distinct Gods, subordinat the one to the other : yet the several Declarations before recited do flatly contradict your Notion, and assert a Numerical Unity of God, viz. that there is but one Being who is God. For it must be remembred, that those Declarations were made to such Persons, as either professed, or at least actually lived amongst those who did profess, a Plurality of Gods, tho' they allow'd a Subordination of the one to the other, and that there was but one Authority a
mongst them all. Wherefore, when we are told, in Expressions directed to such Persons, and in such Circumstances, that there is but one God: we muft understand, not that there is but one Authority in diverse diftin& Gods, subordinat the one to the other (for the Idolatrous Jews, and even the Heathens themselves, readily own'd all this) but that there is but one God in Number, viz. but one Being who is God.
And indeed the Expressions of Scripture are such, as will admit no other Senfe : nor couldWords have been invented, which should more determinatly contain this Affirmation, viz. that there is in Number but one God, than those which are actually made ufe of in those Declarations. Nay, I appeal to your felf, and intreat you to fhew me, how it was pofGble, if it had been never fo certainly intended, to teach us more clearly in Scripture Language (or indeed in ariy Language) the Numerical Unity of God, than we find it already don in the Texts before quoted. Be persuaded once more to read them carefully over, and to weigh them exa&ly. Does not Mofes fay, that there is no God besides the Lord? and that there is none else besides bim? Does not the Very God say, that he himself knows not any God besides himself? Does not Christ say, that his Father (viz. the selfexistent Being) is the only God? Does not St. Paul say, that there is no other God but one ? Can these Expressions mean, that tho' there are diverse distinct Gods, fubordinat the one to the other; yer there is but one Authority amongst them? If these Declarations do not demonftrat, that there is in Number but one God; I am sure, 'tis impofli. ble for Words to teach that Proposition,
Well then; I hope I may now assert, that the Holy Scriptures assure us, that there is in Number
but one God, vix, the selfexistent Being. Now it must be noted farther, that this one God is described as the Creator of all Things, in both the Old and the New Testaments. Particularly, the selfexistent God declares concerning himself, that in fix days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, Exod. 20. 11, and St. Paul and St. Barnabas declare concerning the same God, that be made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein, Acts 14. 15. So that the whole Jewish and Christian Churches were setled upon this Foundation, and primary Article of Faith, viz. that there is but one God, one and the same Object of their Worship, and that he is the one selfexistent Being, who is the Author of all things.
Now after all this was don ; after so great a Variety of Books was penned, and such repeated Declarations were made, both under the Law and under the Gospel, by God himself, by our Savior, and Persons Divinely inspired ; and after this Doctrin was universally spread : we find even the beloved Apostle expresly teaching, that In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God, John 1. Y. and then proceeding more particularly to affirm, that the WORD was the Creator of all things. For he says, All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made, v. 3.
I beseech you to consider, how the Christian Church must needs understand these Passages of St. John, when he first published them. The selfexiftent God himself, and a vast Train of inspired Writers in all Ages down to those very Times, had most folemnly assured Mankind, that there is but one God, viz. the selfexistent God himself.
And St. John, who own's his Belief that the selfexistent Being is God, adds in the very fame Breath, even in the very next Words, and the WORD was God. Nay he particularly declares, that the WORD was God in the beginning, that is, even before the Creation, as you your self interpret that Phrase; and that all things were made by the WORD, without admitting the Exception of any cne Particle of the whole Creation.
In these Circumstances, ; 'is notorious, that the Church cou'd not but understand St. John to mean, that the WORD is the one felfexistent Being. For fince they knew, that there was but one God, St. Fobr's affirming to them, that the WORD was God, and that he was God in the Beginning, nay, that he was the Creator of all things, was in their Opinion the very same, as if he had affirmed in Terms, that the WORD was the one God of the Jews and Christians, even the one selfexistent Being. For they had received no Notion of any other God; nay, the Preachers and Writers of the Christian Church had assured them in the plainest Terms, that there was but one God. And St. John is so far from making known to them that Distinction which you and the subordinat God; and thereby introducing
e carefully inculcate, between the supreme and opening to them a Doctrin, which was not only wholly new, and undiscover'd to either the Jewish or the Christian Church, but dire&ly opposit to the primary Article of their Faith'; that on the contrary he confirms the obvious, meaning of his Words, and that sense in which they wou'd most certainly be understood by all his Readers, by subjoining, that the WORD (of which he had already affirmed, that it was God, even in the Beginning) created all things; which Creation of all things