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are either AFORE or AFTER another. That the Father communicates the whole of his essence to the Son, and Holy Ghost:-yet, it is impossible that the divine essence can be communicated at all, either in whole, or in part: for GoD is a simple, infinite, indivisible being. He communicates his whole ESSENCE:-yet, his essence is HIMSELF; his very indivisible self: so that to communicate his ESSENCE, must be to communicate or give HIM
He communicates his essence, whereby he BECOMES A FATHER:-yet was always the SAME. -By the communication of the essence to another, HE BECOMES A SON:-yet from all eternity the The one person communicates; the other receives by communication the divine essence: yet all the persons are the same in the essence; and impossible that there can be any change in either
persons or essence.
Those among the supporters of the scheme who speak plainly, say, that Christ in becoming a Son, became God: but others reckon themselves more modest in saying, that his divine person was begotten. But in fact, the last sentiment is the same with the other, which is plain from the following short argument. As Christ is a divine person, he is GOD; but as a divine person, he is begotten: therefore, he is begotten, as he is GOD. This is the language of the scheme, which compared with other sentiments in the same well contrived system, is pregnant with contradictions.
CHRIST, by being begotten a Son, he becomes God:-yet he is GoD over all, eternally the same with the Father.-The Son as a distinct person thus generated, is GOD OF GOD:-(that must
be, one would think, another God distinct from the God he is of) yet, there is but ONE GOD.
The divine person of Christ was begotten:-yet, not his Deity begotten.-Jesus Christ is the Son of God, according to his divine nature: -yet, the divine nature of the Son, is no more begotten, than the divine nature of the Father.-One of the persons is begotten, in the divine nature of another person, and not begotten in his own nature: -yet, the divine nature is but one, and common to all the persons.
JESUS CHRIST is the Son of God by eternal generation of the SUBSTANCE of the FATHER: -yet, he is not the Son of the ESSENCE; nor is the FATHER'S SUBSTANCE the matter out of which he is begotten.-The persons are begotten in the essence:-yet, but one person is said to be begotten.
The Son is a SECOND person in Deity, the Holy Ghost a THIRD: the Son was begotten in the FATHER's essence,-received his personal subsistence by generation and communication; and the Holy Ghost, by procession and communication from the Father and the Son:-yet all the persons in Deity are, and will be, what they always were, eternally, unchangeably the same.
The Father is of none; he hath the essence of himself; the Son is from the Father's essence; and the Holy Ghost from both:-yet, no essential difference among the persons; they are the same in substance or essence; no superior or inferior; no prior or posterior.
The divine personalities of the Son and Holy Ghost, are derived by communication; the one
by generation, the other by procession:-yet all the persons in Deity are self-existent. (All that is in Deity must necessarily and eternally exist.)
The Son is all that the Father is:-yet, he is not of himself, which the Father is.-Not unbegotten, which the Father is.-The Son can do all that the Father does:-yet cannot beget a Son in his own nature, which the Father does. There is no end of absurdities here; however, I shall only mention one more.
JESUS CHRIST was a Son previous to, or before he was a mediator:-yet Jesus Christ was anointed as mediator from all eternity.
Many such contradictions might be collected from this human system; and still more from the works of such as have appeared in defence of it. These few are sufficient to shew how contrary it is to itself, and also to the revelation God hath given Self-contradiction is a sure evidence of a false hypothesis, whether philosophical or divine. Such are the improvements made upon the doctrine of the Trinity, by the profound stretches of their wit, who have been prying into this sacred doctrine beyond what is revealed by God, who knows best what measure of knowledge therein was necessary for our imperfect state.
Such philosophical demonstrations of this doctrine are the effects of proud, corrupt nature: and a confounding of reason by a misapplication of it. Yet, these human inventions are fathered upon divine revelation; which is charging the GoD of consummate wisdom with folly,-and a most notorious reproach upon the christian religion in general.
Arguments in favor of the natural and necessary Sonship of Christ, or what is commonly called eternal generation, considered.
AFTER all, it is but fair to give an impartial hearing to what the advocates for this scheme, which they pretend is of such consequence, have advanced in defence of it: and as they sometimes endeavor to prove it by general propositions, and sometimes from scripture texts, I shall consider these separately, lest I should do their cause injustice, by allowing any evidence they produce for it to escape unnoticed.
First, it is alledged,-" That if the son of man denotes the human nature of Christ, or that he is really man; so the name Son of God must signify his divine nature, or that he is truly and properly God."
Ans. The case differs very widely; for the name son of man is never applied to any person who is not true and real man; but the name Son of God is often applied to both angels and men, yet they are not truly and properly God. So that the argument proves nothing to the purpose for which it is brought; and only infers, that as his being called the son of man, shews him to be the chief of the sons of men; so his being called Son of God, points him out to be the most eminent of all who are so called, both in character and office. Besides, I know not one text where he is called son of man, to shew that he is real man, or where the sense is to be restricted to his human nature without including his office;* nor do I know one where he
* See page 174. for the sense of the term son of man, as applied to Christ:
is called Son of God to denote his pure Deity; and as he is called son of man, without including the idea of his human nature being BEGOTTEN BY MAN, why may he not be called Son of God, without the consideration of the divine person being BEGOTTEN BY GOD?
Another argument is, "That the word son among men properly signifies one of the same nature with the father; therefore Son of God, when applied to Christ, must signify one of the same nature with God the Father.
Ans. The word son among men has several ideas; as, derivation from the father, subordination, or inferior relation to the father;-likeness to, or imitation of the father;-a being of the same species or kind with the father; an individual being distinct from the father. There are none of these ideas can with propriety be applied to the divine person of Christ in relation of nature with the Father: but several of them may be applied to him in his subordinate character, as Messiah, his being appointed and sent by the Father, his being vicegerent in the kingdom, &c. Besides, angels and men are called sons of God, yea, men are said to be begotten of God,† yet neither of these are of the same nature with God their Father in that sense they would have Christ, because he is called the Son of God; nor is it possible it can' be so.
2. Where son among men denotes sameness of nature, it signifies the same specific nature, or one of the same kind and species; but never means the same individual nature. It constantly denotes