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You will give me leave to add, that God is the Father of the Man Jesus Christ, upon the account of his Resurrection also. For,to use the Words of a moft excellent(a)Writer, Christ must therefore be acknowledgʻd the Son of God, because be is raised immediately by God out of the Earth unto immortal Life. For God hath fulfilled the Promise unto us, in that he hath raised up Jesus again ; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. The Grave is as the Womb of the Earth ; Christ who is raised from thence, is as it were begitten to another Life ; and God, who raised him, is his Father. So true it must needs.be of him, which is spoken of others, who are the Children of God, being the Children of the Resurrection. Thus was be defined; or constituted and appointed, the Son of God with Power, by the Rea surrection from the Dead : neither is he called simply the first that rose, but with a Note of Generation, the first born from the Dead.
But then, it must be remembred, that tho' Christ is for the present, yet he will not always be,the Only Son of God,or the Only Begotten of the Father, upon this Account. For all that shall be rais'd to Everlasting Life, will be the Sons of God in this Respect. However, Christ is the first born Son of God upon the account of his Resurrection. For tho fome others were rais'd from the Dead by God before the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, yer they dy'd again : whereas our Lord Jesus Christ never dy'd after his Resurrection. For as the Apostle fpeaks, Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more ; death bath no more Dominion over him. For in that he died, be died unto fin once : but in that be liveth, be li
veth unto God, Rom. 6.9, 10. Our Savior therefore is the first begotten and the first born from the Dead ; because he is the very first that was rais’d by God to erernal Life.
CH A P. V.
The State of the Controversy between Dr. Clarke and
the Author concerning the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"HESE things being premis’d, wherein (I hope) we are perfectly agreed,
let us now enter upon the Confideration of the first Point in Controversy between us. 'Tis confefs'd on both Sides, 1. That the blessed Jesus has a Divine Nature, viz. the WORD. 2. That the WORD, or Divine Nature of the blessed Jesus, is call'd God. But the Question is, whether the WORD, or Divine Nature of the blessed Jesus, be the very God, that is, the one selfexistent Being. I affirm, that he is; and You deny it, making him a Being distinct from, and inferior to, the one selfexistent or very God. That this is your Notion, I need not prove. I heartily wish it did not appear too frequently in your Writings concerning the Holy Trinity.
Now the Truth is, since there are two Natures united in the blessed Jesus, that is, since the WORD and the Man Jesus Christ are united into one Person: we can't wonder, that the holy Scriprures do speak of him in very different Manners; and affirm such Things of him with respect to the one Nature, as can't possibly be affirm’d with respect. to the other.
Let us but reflect upon our selves. Each of us has a Body and a Soul. These constituent Parts are vastly different from each other, the one being material, the other inmaterial. Now if any Person should affirm of a Man's Soul, that 'tis material, or of his Body, chat 'tis immaterial ; would not these Affirmations be arrant Falshoods ? And yet it may notwithstanding be truly affirm'd of the Man, that he is material, and that he is immaterial. But then these Propositions are true concerning the Man in different Respects. With respect to his Body, he is material : with respect to his Soul, he is immaterial. Wherefore we must carefully diftinguish between what is affirm'd of him with respect to his Soul, and what is affirm'd of him with respect to his Body. Else what is really true, will appear false ; and what is really false, will appear true, by a confus'd Misapplication.
Even thus, since in the blessed Jesus two Natures are united, which are vastly different from each other: if a Man should affirm concerning his Divine Nature, that 'twas Created; and concerning his human Nature, that it made the World ; these Affirmations would be arrant Falshoods. And yet, it may notwithstanding, be truly affirm'd of the blessed Jesus, that he made the World, and that he was created
These Propofitions therefore are true of the blessed Jesus in different Respects. His human Nature was created; and his Divine Nature made the World. Wherefore we must carefully diftinguish between what is respectively affirm'd of him upon the account of the Divine and human Natures. Elle we shall blunder into numberless Untruths, and make the holy Scriptures a mere jumble of Contradictions.
No Man, that has consider'd the Controversies concerning the Trinity, can be insensible of those Mistakes, into which Learned Men have faln by not observing this Rule. And indeed, even Zeal for the real Truth has too commonly betray'd . Men into gross Errors, and plung'd even the Maintainers of a right Cause into insuperable Difficulties. For, in Opposition to those against whom they have bestow'd their Labors, they have greedily caught at every Text, that would, if understood in a particular Sense, confound their Adversaries ; and by this Means they have expos’d themselves to such Objections, as they could never get clear of upon their own Principles, and without retracting what they had themselves before advanc'd. Thus has the Doctrin of the Trinity been rendred infinitly perplex'd and intricat ; whilst succeeding Writers have been afraid to part with any one Argument, that has been urg'd in favor of Orthodoxy by their Predecessors in Controversy.
We muft therefore lay aside our Prejudices, and disentangle our felves from those Notions, which we have receiv'd, not from the holy Scriptures, but from fallible Writers. We must have recourse to our Bibles, if we desire to be resolv’d, whether the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, be the very God, or no. We are not left deftitute of fufficient Means for the Determination of this Point. The inspir’d Writings are exceedingly clear, and speak very plainly, concerning it. They have so manifestly taught us, that the WORD is the very God, that could I find any one Passage, which implies the contrary, I should own the Scriptures to be inconsistent with themselves, and not pretend to reconcile them.
What then has created such fierce Disputes about our Lord's Divine Nature ? Why, the holy 'Scriptures do frequently speak of Jesus Christ as inferior to the very God; and some Learned Men, having unfortunatly thought that diverse of those Passages relate to his Divine Nature, have from thence concluded (justly indeed, if that Principle be granted) that the WORD, tho' exprelly callid God, yet is not the one very selfexistent God, but a secondary Being or inferior God. And they have accordingly labor'd to put such a Sense upon those Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, as is agreeable to their Conceptions of an inferior Deity. Whereas in Reality, cho' the holy Scriptures do frequently speak of Jesus Christ as inferior to the very God; yet there is not one of those Texts, but what either fairly may, or necessarily must, be understood of his human Nature. And consequently they do not prove, that the WORD, or his Divine Nature, is inferior to the very God. Wherefore those Texts, which speak of our Savior's Divinity, must be understood in their natural Sense ; which effectually demonstrats, as will soon appear, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Savior, is very God.
I hope, I have shewn the Difference between us in such an intelligible manner, that a Person even of the meaneft Capacity will fully and distinctly perceive ii. I shall therefore proceed to establish my own Affersion, and to confute yours, by proving,
1. That the Holy Scriptures do not teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, is inferior to the very God.
2. That the Holy Scriptures do teach, that the WORD, or Divine Nature of our Lord Jesus Chrift, is the very God.