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had been constantly attributed to the one selfexistent Being in both the Old and the New Testament, and was accordingly become the constant and known Character of the one felfexistent Being.
Wherefore they must necessarily believe, either that the WORD is the selfexistent Being, the one God of the Jews and Christians; or else that there was in the Beginning another God besides him, who was the God of the Jews and Christians, even befides the felfexistent Being. They must unavoidably conceive, either that the one felfexistent Being had spoken falsly, and directly against his own Knowledge, when he pretended, that there was no other God besides himself; and that he had purpose. ly suborned a great number of inspired Witnesses to attest and propagat the fame Untruth, both under the Law and under the Gospel, in every corner of the Earth : or else that St. John's new Doctrin of the WORD's being God, was a downright Impofture, because 'twas manifestly repugnant to the constantly received Faith of both Feurs and Christians, in the grand and fundamental Arcicie of it.
But fasther, besides that there is a flat. Contradi. &tion between the whole Tenor of Scripture and the first Verse of St. Jobn's Gospel, according to that Sense of it, which the Persons he wrote to, could not but understand him in, unless the WORD be the very God, or one selfexistent Being; I shall now shew, that unless you admit the aforesaid Do&rin, there is no poflibility of reconciling this Text with the other Scriptures, whatsoever you suppose the Name God to signifie, when apply'd to the WORD.
For if you will not allow, that the Name God, when apply'd to the WORD, does mean the one felfexiftent Being; then it must signifie a Being en
dued with all those Perfe&ions (setting apart Selfexistence only) which the one felfexiftent Being is endued with. And the WORD must be termed God, as considered, either absolutely in himself,or(which is your Opinion) relatively to his Creatures, or both absolutely and relatively together. Now I affirm, that there is a flat Contradiction between the Doctrin of both the Teftaments, and this Verse of St. John, whatsoever is meant by the Name God, when apply'd to the WORD, unless you will own the WORD to be the one felfexistent Being, whom I call the very God.
For tho' oeds, God, be supposed to signifie a Being endued with all those Perfections, which the one selfexiftent Being is endued with (except Selfexiftence it felf, which is now supposed not to be included) and tho' it must indeed be granted, that two distinct Gods may then be imagined to exist without any Impossibilicy in the Nature of the Thing (because they are both equally Gods, in this supposed Sense of the Term, when possessed of the requisit Divine Perfe&tions, notwithstanding the one derives them from the other; even as amongst our selves, a Father and his Son are equally Men) Yer ftill it must be remembred, that the one selfexistent Being is truly and properly Deds, a God : and that whether he is Fed's, a God, as confidered absolutely, or relatively, or both; yet still he is teos, a God, in that Sense which constitutes him truly and properly such. Now the one felfexistent Being, who is undoubtedly a God, and whom therefore we cannot but believe, expresly declares in his own Person, and his Writers of the Old and New Testaments exprefly declare also, that there is no other God besides himself, in the Texts abovementioned. They never distinguish upon the martes; they do
not so much as once inform us, that tho' there is but one supreme, yet there is another subordinat or secondary God: but they roundly assure us, that there is no other God besides the selfexiftent Being. The felfexistent Being himself says, I know not any. And consequently if the WORD be not the selfexiftent Being, whom I call the very God; he is not Jeds, a God at all. And yet St. John expresly declares, that he is God, and that he was such in the Beginning, even before the Creation. He muft therefore be the very or felfexistent God.
But farther still, that this Contradiction, which your Doctrin introduces and makes, between the whole Tenor of Scripture, and this Verse of St. Jobn, may appear yet more manifestly, even upon your own Principles; I beg you to consider what follows.
You would fain have us believe, that the Word Jads, God, does in Scripture Phrase denote the being 'tis predicated of, consider'd relatively to his Creatures. - The Passages just now quoted abundantly prove this to be your Opinion; and indeed your Scheme of the Trinity requires you to be zealous for it. But then, if gods, God, has this relative Signification ; you'll do well to remember, that the WORD (whom you suppose a distinct Being, and consequently a really different God, from the one selfexistent Being, whom I call the Very God) could not but be 3sòs, a God, to the Jews, and muft necessarily always have been so to the whole Creation. For St. John exprefly declares, that all things' were made by bim, and without him was not any thing made that was made, v. 3. and St. Paul says of our Savior (with respect to the WORD doubtless ; for it could not be meant of his Human Nature) that by him were all things created, that are in beaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him, Col. 1. 16. And tho the selfexistent God is said to have created all things ; yet you rightly observe and own, that he did it by the
WORD. For you (e) say, that by the Operation of the Son (you can mean nothing but the WORD) the Father (by whom you manifestly mean the felfexistent God) both made ånd' governs the World.
Now I shall not inquire, whether (upon Suppofition of the Truth of your Doctrin) the selfexistent God could so properly be said to create the World, and could consequently be fo properly, in the relative Sense, feds, a God, to Mankind, upon the account of the WORD's creating the World by a Power derived from the selfexistent God: but this is certain, that the WORD is, and ever was, truly and properly Jeds, a God, to the Jews, and to the whole Creation, upon the account of that Rela. tion, which the very Act of Creation gave him, and which no Consideration whatfoever can dil solve. Upon this Foundation the Law of Nature becomes the positive Law and Command of the Creator, as you your self have largely (f) demonstrated. And indeed, the Scriptures do exprelly declare, that the selfexiftent God himself is therefore to be worshipped by us, because we are his Creatures. For St. John himself, who in his Gospel attributes Creation to the WORD, does in his Revelation (when describing the Worship given to the selfexistent. God) report, that the four and twenty, el
(c) Script. Doct. p. 297.
(f) Difc. concerning the unchangeable Obligations of Nat. Religion, Prop. 2.
ders fall down before him, that sat on the throne, and worhip bim tbat liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power ; for thou baft created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created, Rev. 4. 10.11. And consequently the Law of Nature is the positive Law and Command of the WORD; and the WORD has an unalienable Right to the Worship of all his Creatures; because they are most certainly the Work of his Hands, and he is a God to them.
But will the Scriptures allow this, or can this be true, if the WORD be a different Being from the felfexistent God? Did the Jews ever worship the WORD, as well as the selfexiftent God? And yet was not the WORD a God to the Jews? And did not the selfexistent God declare notwithstanding, that he himself was their only God? And did he not straitly charge them to worship no other God, faying in the very First Commandment, Thou shalt bave no other God but me? And after all, when the WORD was made known under the Christian Dispensation, does not the New Testament declare, that we Christians have but one God, even the same God that the Fews had, viz. the selfexistent God ? Muft not we Christians therefore worship the WORD, notwithftanding we are so plainly told, that he was God, even in the beginning? Are we not permitted to worship him, who ever had an unalterable Right to the Homage of all Mankind by Creation, and whose Deity is now so fully manifefted even by Revelation from the selfexistent God? Do we ever find a Distinction made, even in the Scriptures of the New Testament, between the two Gods, the one Supreme and the other Subordinar, the one Selfexistent and the other Derived ? And