Imatges de pÓgina


upon which any stress could be laid, was Rev. iii. 14These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness-the beginning of the creation of God." In this passage we have the abstract put for the concrete, where the agency exercised by Christ is figurately used to represent him who exercised that power. The text so far from proving that Ch is a mere creature, in reality proves that he was the Creator or Beginner. Mr. M'Afee very properly observes, in commenting upon this passage, that we might just as well argue that Christ created God, when it is said that he is the beginning of the creation of God, as that he himself is a created being. If it had been intended to express the created nature of Christ, another word must necessarily have been used; and we might safely challenge all the Unitarians in the world to produce to us a passage from Scripture, or even from any Greek author, in which agan, when applied to a person, is used to express the being who is created. Whenever it is used personally, and does not refer to time, it means the chief or principal, in reference to the agency which is mentioned in its connexion and when Christ is called the beginning of the creation of God, it means that he is the head, principal, or ruler of that creation. Had Mr. Porter's critical knowledge been so great as we were led to believe prior to this Discussion, he never would have adduced this passage in corroboration of his views. Mr. Bagot's examination of the doctrine of delegated creative agency and power, is altogether one of the most powerful specimens of acute and convincing reasoning with which we have ever met. The reasoning is perfectly unanswerable, and we might safely challenge all the Unitarians in the empire to refute it. Mr. Porter never made the attempt; and we feel perfectly assured that it would require talent much superior. to that which he possesses, even to convince Unitarians that it does not utterly demolish their system. We quote the passage as it stands in the Report:

"I shall now proceed to investigate the principle which Mr. Porter has advanced in reference to subordinate agency in creation, and the doctrine which he has based upon an assumption of that principle, that Christ was nothing more than an instrument, employed by an infinitely superior power, for the accomplishment of that great work. This doctrine I oppose upon the following grounds:

"This opinion is manifestly inconsistent with the declaration in GEN. i. 1, that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.' For here we have no revelation made of an instrument having been em

ployed. And, again, we read in the third verse, that God said, Let there be light but did a subordinate agent interpose, in order to effect its production? Surely not; for, 'God said, Let there be light, AND THERE WAS LIGHT.' Who does not see, that the application of Mr. Porter's principle to this passage is calculated to destroy the evidence it contains of the omnipotent efficacy of the very fiat of the Eternal, and to extract and obliterate those traces of majesty and power, which even an Heathen author could recognise as a worthy reflection of the glory of that great being of whom Moses wrote! The creation of the world is also described in ISA. xliv. 24, in the following terms: Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb: I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself'-and in ISA. xlv. 12, in the following terms: I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.'-In these passages there is no allusion whatever to the interference of an instrumental cause. In fact, creation is represented in Scripture as so peculiarly and exclusively the work of Deity, that it would be the very same thing to imagine, that a creature has been changed into God, as that a creature could have been the Creator!


"But this principle of a subordinate instrument in creation, would at once contradict the argument which the Apostle institutes in ROM. i, 20. This passage is as follows: "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen; being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:' or we may paraphrase it thus: For the attributes of the Creator, which are in themselves invisible-namely, his eternity, power, and Godhead-are discernible by an obvious inference from a contemplation of those things which he has created: so that the Heathen are without excuse. Here the Apostle assumes, that creation is a demonstrative proof of the eternity, power, and Godhead of the Creator; upon the same principle which the Psalmist lays down in the nineteenth Psalm, where he says, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.'-Now, I care not, as far as my argument from this passage is concerned, whether you speak of a supreme agent or of a subordinate instrument, or whether you institute a distinction between a primary and a secondary cause; for most unquestionably the argument of the apostle, in this passage, is plainly this: That when we look abroad with an admiring eye, upon the splendid fabric of the universe, and survey the complicated, yet simple principles, by which the great architect has cemented and sustained the produce of his power, we necessarily see such outgoings of eternal power and Godhead consolidated with his work, that we are irresistibly convinced of the omnipotent supremacy of the proximate worker: mark-I say, of the worker; of the person who comes into immediate contact and direct collision with the execution of the work. For the argument of the Apostle implies, that it is of him the testimony is made. And observe how it is declared in this text, that the visible creation is a proof not merely of the eternal power, but of the Godhead of the Creator; and also that it does not merely speak of a sufficiency of power, but of a power that is eternal, which must be a power that cannot be controlled.

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"But, again, this doctrine of a subordinate and finite instrument in creation, is contrary to the declaration of the Apostle, in Rom. i. 25

where he speaks of the Heathen having 'worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.' Here there is no mention of a person intervening between the creature and the Creator; but all beings in existence are, in this text, classed under two denominations-the creature and the Creator; and both are mentioned with such distinctness, as to show that a creature could not have been the Creator, nor could the Creator have been a creature.

"Further we read in HEB. iii. 4, 'He that built all things is God ;' and this declaration is made without any reference to a primary or secondary cause. And I request you to observe, that the builder is the person who actually executes the work; therefore, whether you represent Christ as the instrument or not, still there is a principle propounded here which proves him to be 'God.'


"I read the following address to Jehovah, in NEH. ix. 6: Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein.' Now, might I not as well maintain, that the "Jehovah' who was here addressed was a subordinate agent in the hands of some superior Deity, who did not manifest himself in the work, but sat behind the curtain of the universe; as argue that, though it is said of Christ in COL. i. 16, by him were all things created,' yet he was not the Creator, except in this inferior sense?

"But, in fact, creation was not a work in the sense in which we understand the term. It was effected, not by working,' but by 'commanding.' This is proved by the passage to which I have already referred, in GEN. i. 3: God said, Let there be light; and there was light;' also from Ps. xxxiii. 9: For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast;' and Ps. cxlviii. 5: 'He commanded, and they were created;' and from ISA. xlv. 12: All their host have I commanded.' I ask, then, What was the occasion for a subordinate agent, if the work was achieved by the fiat of the Creator? Does not such a doctrine detract from the perfect efficiency of the command of the Eternal? Surely there was nothing for a subordinate agent to effect.. And, to suppose the intervention of any secondary instrumentality between the command of God and the effect produced, would destroy the omnipotence of God, by referring the inore difficult part of the work to a created and finite instrument, and the easier department to the superior being; for, surely, it is far easier to command, than to do; it is far easier to say, 'Let there he light,' than actually to generate and produce the light. And Mr. Porter would do well to show, how a created agent could be of any avail, where there was not any pre-existent matter upon which his limited faculties could be brought to bear. For a finite instrument could not create. For, what, let me ask, is creation? Is it not an origination from nothing?-a filling up, as it were, of that unmeasured vacuum which exists by the inherent constitution of all things as ordained of God, between a state of being and a state of nonentity? And what created being could conduct any thing through that infinite process of origination? Surely nothing but the unlimited and unrestricted power of Jehovah could achieve so great a work. In fact, the doctrine which teaches that Christ, as a created and subordinate agent, could create a world, amounts to this THAT A FINITE POWER PERFORMS EVERY THING, WHILST THE INFINITE POWER OF GOD PERFORMS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I say it again: This doctrine represents the power of Christ, as a finite and delegated power,

achieving all things; whilst the infinite omnipotence of Jehovah-the length, and breadth, and height, and depth of which, the highest angel cannot scan-is represented, on Mr. Porter's principle, as retaining its lodgment within the nature of deity, reposing in a state of inactive indolence, whilst the stupendous work of creation was effected by the instrumentality of a subordinate cause. And, at the same time, such is the nature of the work, that we would be led to regard the immediate agent, by whom the power was actually exerted, as our Creator and our God.

"But let me suppose, for a moment, that Christ, as a created being, was the subordinate instrument in the creation of the world. I ask, then, whether did God impart to him a finite or an infinite power, as a qualification for the work? Let me examine this dilemma: Suppose I am answered that God imparted to Christ an infinite power, I reply at once, that this would represent him as conveying over to a creature (for the supposition is, that Christ is a creature) an incommunicable attribute of Deity. It would also involve a supposition of the existence of two omnipotent beings-the being who originally had infinite power in himself, and the being to whom that infinite power was imparted. But it requires only an exercise of the first principles of common sense to know, that the existence of two distinct omnipotent beings is a philosophical absurdity; because, if one be omnipotent, he must necessarily possess control and power over the other. So that we conclude it to be impossible, that God, as an infinitely superior being, could have imparted omnipotence to Christ; as he would, by doing so, have surrendered even his own infinite superiority. But I may be told, that he only communicated a finite power to Christ, to enable him to create. I call, then, on Mr. Porter to prove how a finite power could be sufficient for the execution of so great a work. Perhaps he will answer, that, because creation is in itself finite, a finite power could be able to create. But mark the sophism which is involved in this reply it assumes that the word 'finite' has the same signification in the two clauses of the sentence: whereas this word, when applied to creation, is a term of quantity; but when applied to power, is a term of quality. And, therefore, there is no such analogy between a finite power' and a 'finite creation;' and the answer is nothing more than a mere play on words. Consequently, the doctrine which supposes that a finite power is sufficient for creating, must fall to the ground.



"But, again, let me imagine this doctrine to be true. should like, then, to know what proof has any man that God is omnipotent, if a finite power could create. Is it not by a reference to the works of creation that we usually argue for the uncontrolled and illimitable power of the Eternal? And if creation cannot demonstrate the omnipotence of Jehovah, does it not follow, that he has achieved nothing by which to prove the boundless nature of his physical power?-But I have said enough to warrant me in drawing this general conclusion, that creation is the work of Deity-that the omnipotence of the Creator is written, in legible characters, upon the visible structure of the universe; and that, as Christ is revealed in Scripture as the being by whom all things were created,' he must be omnipotent, and, therefore, God."

All the other texts adduced by Mr. Porter were utterly inapplicable-they were totally insufficient to prove that Christ in his highest capacity is merely a created beingthey proved him to have a human nature, and that is a

part of our belief respecting his person, but it is perfectly hostile to the Arianism of Mr. Porter; and we only wonder at his want of discrimination in bringing them forward. But the time had to be filled up. Now upon these two texts, which we have already shown assert the contrary, do Mr. Porter and his Unitarian brethren who are Arians, rest their faith, that the Word is a mere creature, in despite of the accumulated mass of direct proof which the Scriptures afford to his true Deity. We have said upon these two texts, we should have said upon their misrepresentation of them, is founded their boasted system of "rational christianity." We forbear to adduce any other passages of Scripture which were brought forward by Mr. Porter in support of the opinions which he entertains-we would only have still farther to expose his weakness and puerility were we to do so; and as that has already been so ably done, in the Reviews of Messrs. Carson and M'Afee, we deem any thing farther upon the subject only a work of supererogation. Unless some of the Unitarians now come forward in reply to these writers, we must attribute their silence to the known weakness of their cause, and to the acknowledged discomfiture of their accredited champion. We would most earnestly recommend our readers to purchase both of these Reviews, as they contain a general refutation of the Unitarian doctrines, of which few other books can boast, within so small a compass.


(To be concluded in our next.)


We have neither space nor time for giving a detailed report of the very interesting meeting of the Synod at Dungannon this month; and, therefore, we shall only at present give a general view of their proceedings and the Resclutions, reserving the subject for our next Number.

The Synod, on Monday, 18th August, having met at Cookstown, pro forma, adjourned to Dungannon, where an extraordinary meeting was to be held, chiefly for missionary purposes. The first day was occupied by the opening sermon, from the Moderator, Mr. M'Clure, of Derry the reading of the Report of the Synod's Home Mission for the past year,

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