Imatges de pÓgina
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and yet, though he upheld his principles and theirs with all his power, still his failure was signal-his arguments were not new-they had been again and again advanced; and as far as they were advanced, they had been refuted; and we wonder how he could stoop to retail merely the stale arguments, if such they can be called, of every Unitarian scribe or declaimer since first its delusive follies were mooted in opposition to the explicit and positive declarations of the word of God. The only mode in which we can explain such a phenomenon is, that the pretended arguments in favour of the system are so few, and the intellectual character of its supporters so bairen, that even Mr. Porter felt himself inadequate to sustain the burthen which his brethren had so injudiciously laid upon him.

Mr. Porter, it will be remembered, undertook to prove that Christ, the Word, even in his highest capacity, is a mere creature, owing his existence, as all creatures do, to God the Father. Had he been able to have proved this, then the Discussion would unquestionably have terminated in his favour; but a failure on his part, in accomplishing this, must necessarily be regarded as perfectly destructive to the truth of his system. If the Word be a creature, he cannot be God, and, consequently either Arianism or Socinianism must be true. But if it cannot be proved that he is a creature, then the whole of the discordant mass of Unitarianism must tumble into utter ruin. Our space will not permit us to examine all the arguments brought forward in support of his hypothesis, that the Son of God is a mere creature; many of the passages of Scripture which he quoted are totally irrelevant, and not a few of them are directly hostile to his own cherished errors; so much so, that with all his "paring down," they still bear unequivocal testimony to the truth of Mr. Bagot's propositions. We can only examine one or two of these; and in our selection, we pledge ourselves to choose those which appear to us most especially to favour his system. Mr. Porter's first quotation is taken from Col. i. 12-20, where the Son of God is said to be the "first-born of every creature." He no doubt relied considerably upon this text, as he has put it at the head of the list; but we trust, that after a few observations, we will be able to show that it gives no countenance whatever to his hypothesis. In the first place, we argue, that the context proves he could

not have been a creature, because the apostle, as if to guard men from falling into the error of Mr. Porter and his brethren, follows up the announcement with this remarkable declaration, "For by him were all things created that are in heaven 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," ver. 16, evidently arguing, that from his being the "image of the invisible God," and the "first-born of every creature," he must necessarily be the Creator of all things. There would be no meaning whatever in the apostle telling us that he was a creature; and because he was a creature, that he was the Creator of all things. We cannot believe that the inspired apostle would be guilty of penning such egregious nonsense as Unitarians, by their exposi tion, would foist upon him ;-that because a being possessed a created nature, he must necessarily be endowed with the power of creating all things. The original word which, in our version, is translated "first-born," may also be rendered proprietor or heir, which is one of its legitimate meanings, and then the apostle is freed from the imputation thrown out against him by the Unitarian comment-Christ is the proprietor, heir, or Lord of all things, for he created them :-when we thus regard the passage, so far is it from proving Christ to be a mere creature, that it proves him to be their Creator, their proprietor, and consequently possessed of Supreme Deity. Secondly, we argue, that it is impossible for a mere creature to have been the Creator of all things; such an absurdity as that of the delegated power of creation never entered into the wildest dreams of the most reckless imagination, until the Unitarians, for the purpose of supporting their false and unscriptural creed, had recourse to its invention :-if the Being who created all things, and who upholds all things, be not God in the strictest sense of the term, there is not a God in the universe. The Bible does not attempt to demonstrate the existence of God; it takes the fact for granted, that there must have been a Creator, whose existence is proved from the things that are made; and if these works do not prove it, and that he who made them is Jehovah, we must renounce Theism in every one of its modifications, and sink into the blackness of the darkness of Atheism. Take the work of Dr. S. Clarke on the being and existence of God-take that of Dr. Abernethy on the same subject

-or take that of Howe,* from whom both these writers have borrowed in so many instances without one sentence of acknowledgment, and you will find it demonstrated, that the basis of human belief in the existence of God, is that of his works; but if a creature formed these, the argument for the existence of God is at once destroyed, and it is merely a matter of idle conjecture whether there be such a being in the universe. We cannot ascend beyond the Creator. Upon this ground we argue that the Son of God cannot be a creature. In the third place, we argue that he cannot be a creature, because it is written, that "All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made," John i. 3, from which passage we must believe, if we admit the Unitarian hypothesis, that he created himself—that is, that he existed before he existed; and that he exerted a creative energy whilst he was yet a nonentity. Can any man of sense believe such utter folly and nonsense? Can any Unitarian produce to us any doctrine of our creed even remotely resembling this in the contradiction of its several members, or so completely destructive of itself? No, we are convinced he could not. But we need not linger in the exposure of such arrant folly; nothing but the reckless desperation of falsehood could induce men to advocate a doctrine so utterly inconsistent with every principle of reason-a doctrine so diametrically opposed to all Scripture testimony, and a doctrine which the veriest tyro in common sense must regard as an absurdity which he should renounce and repudiate. Let us then hear no more of the Unitarian cant about reason, and the rationality of their system; their system gives the lie to their profession—it is unreasonable-it is absurd. Where, we ask, is there any thing in the passage to prove that Christ is a mere creature? Nothing; and until Unitarians can establish this, all their efforts to prove the true Deity of the Word to be an unscriptural doctrine, must be utterly useless and in vain. We cannot refrain from quoting Mr. Bagot's reply to this argument of Mr. Porter, and also his general arguments against the position, that Christ is merely a created being.

Howe's "Living Temple :"-perhaps still the best demonstration of the being and attributes of God in the English language; a work from which many modern writers have borrowed largely, without even mentioning its name.

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"The next argument which Mr. Porter advanced in support of his opinion that Christ, in his highest capacity, is a created being,- -was drawn from CoL. i. 15, in which he is styled the first-born of every creature’—πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως. Το this argument I answer, that the title TgwróToxos, first-born,' cannot denote that Christ was created, for the following reasons:

“(1.) The passage is not πρωτοκτιστος πάσης κτίσεως, 6 first-created of every creature,' which would have been the correct way of conveying the doctrine of Christ's having been the first-created being!

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(2.) The reason which follows in ver. 16,- for by him were all things created,would be most absurd: for what could the Apostle mean by saying, 'Christ the first-created being, because he created all things? If there be any consequence in the reason given, it would imply, that Christ created himself; as it is not said, that by him were all' other things created.'

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"For these reasons, I reject the signification which Mr. Porter has attached to this word; and I shall now explain it,

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"The term Tgwróroxos, first-born,' was in frequent use among the Jews, as denoting the lord, proprietor, or prince; just as the corresponding Hebrew term, bekor, was so used: as in ExOD. iv. 22, and in JER, xxxi. 9, Israel and Ephraim are respectfully designated the 'first-born' of God, because they were distinguished by the peculiar favour of Jehovah, and placed in a situation of eminence above all nations. The first-born' is the 'heir,' the zλngovóμos, who is described by the Apostle in GAL. iv. 1, as the “lord of all,' κύριος πάντων, So that πρωτότοκος πάσης κπίσεως 'first-born of every creature,' is explained by HEB. j. 2 and 6; where the Apostle says of Christ, in the former verse, that the Father hath appointed him heir of all things, ὃν ἔθηκε κληρονόμον πάντων ; and immediately afterwards styles him first-born,' gwróroxov, in the sixth verse. And in other passages, where the Apostle styles Christ the first-born,' it is in the sense of principal,' or chief;' as in ROM. viii. 29, where he stylés him 'first-born among many brethren ;' and in COL. i. 18, where he styles him first-born from the dead.' And, in HEB. i. 6, he is represented, under the title of first-born,' as the person whom the angels worship; and as it is evident, that, if the term denoted that he was the 'first-created' being, this passage would represent God the Father as teaching creature-worship, contrary to Rom. i. 25, in which idolatry is defined to be worshipping and serving the creature besides the Creator.' "I therefore conclude, that the term 'first-born' means the 'proprietor' or ruler; and then the explanation: For by him all things were created,' &c. which immediately follows, is intelligible; for then we understand the Apostle as saying, that Christ is the proprietor or ruler of every creature, because by him all things were created.' He who created is Lord by right of creation.

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"I may here add, that, even if the term gwróroxos, could mean that Christ was created, still the structure of the sentence should be different from what it is. It should be πρωτότοκος ἐν πασι κτίσμασι ; for; in that case, gwToronos should not be followed by a simple genitive, but should be followed by a preposition governing the following noun substantive; as in Rom. viii. 29, πρωτότοκον ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς.

"I may also add, that the word gororoxos might have an active sig. nification in this passage, and be translated as the first-producer of every creature;' for the word is often used in an active sense in the best Greek authors, as in HOMER, Iliad 17, line 4 and 5:

ὣς τις περὶ πόρτακι μήτης Πρωτοτόκος, κινυρὴ, οἳ πρῖν εἰδυΐα τόχοιο.

66 Having thus replied to the arguments which Mr. Porter has advanced in support of his position, that Christ is a created being, I now submit the following direct arguments against this opinion:

“(1.) It is no where asserted in Scripture. From the evident parallelism between JOHN i. 1, &c. and GEN. i. 1, &c. we might have expected the Apostle to have asserted the creation of Christ, or of the Word, in the very commencement of his Gospel; for it would have rendered the paral

lelism more complete, to have said, 6 εν αρχη εποίησεν τον Δογον ὁ Θεός, &c.-It is therefore manifest, that the reason why he did not say so was, because Christ was an uncreated being.

"(2.) It is said in JOHN i. 3, and in COL. i. 16, that by him were all things created'-Therefore, if Christ was created, he must have been created by himself; for it is not said, that by him were all other things created.'

"(3.) In Rom. i. 25, The Creator and creature are so placed in contrast, as to show, that the Creator could not have been a creature, nor could a creature have been the Creator: but by Christ were all things created; therefore, he could not have been a creature.

"(4.) If Christ were a creature, then it would involve the commission of idolatry to obey the command, in HEB. i, 6, 'Let all the angels of God worship him:' for the Apostle defines idolatry, to be worshipping and serving the creature more than' (or rather besides) the Creator.'

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"(5.) Christ is said, in COL. i. 17, to have been before all things, i. e. as is evident from the context, before all created things; and, therefore, as he could not be before himself, he could not have been created; for it is not said, that he is before all OTHER created things.'

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'(6.) He is called 'Eternal life' in 1 JOHN i. 2, in reference to the pre-existence which he had with the Father.

"(7.) It is said, in HEB. vii. 3, that Melchisedek was made like to (apμowμvoc) the Son of God, in having neither beginning of days, nor end of years; therefore, Christ was, in reality, what Melchisedek resembled him in, i. e. eternal.

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"(8.) It would have added so much to the glory of Jehovah, to say, that he had created so glorious a being as the Word,' that, if true, we would have expected declaration to have illuminated every page of Scripture; and the advocates of this opinion would not have been

obliged to adduce one or two figurative expressions, such as those in COL. i. 15, and in REV. iii. 14; which are the only show of argument that can be advanced in support of it,

"For these reasons, I maintain that Christ was not, as to his superior nature, a created being, but was the God who created all things."

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Mr. Porter made no reply to this the_reason was, he could not. The next passage which Mr. Porter adduced,

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