« AnteriorContinua »
“ the what this who is, at the same time." He might as justly argue, that Peter's body cannot be part of Peter, or of the person of Peter, together with his soul; because nothing can really be this who (Peter's soul) but must be what this who is, at the same time. Now taking for granted that Peter's soul is the whole person, the argument is good : and so it is likewise in the other case, taking it for granted, that the Logos in union is still the whole Person; but this is going upon false suppositions : and he might as soon prove that Peter's body cannot be part of Peter, unless it be his soul, as that Christ's humanity cannot be part of Christ, unless it be the Logos. I can hardly conjecture what the author means, when he says, “ That human substance we call John, is really the “ Person, and nothing else i.” I thought, that John, or John's person, was made up of two substances, spiritual and bodily : and John, the person of John, dies, though one substance survives. In like manner, Christ the Godman dies, though the Godhead dies not. He adds, much like to what he had said before, that the “ human nature
can never be really he, unless he be also the divine na“ ture.” Does he mean by he, part of the person, or the whole person? If he means part, then it amounts to this; the body can never be really a part of Peter's person, unless it be Peter's soul : or if he means the whole, then it comes to this, that the body can never be the whole person, unless it be the soul. One of the propositions is manifestly against truth, and the other is not sense : so little can be effected in this way of reasoning. Indeed, all the confusion arises from the want of knowing or considering what the true notion of a person, simple or compound, is, of which I have elsewhere treated at large k, and thither I take leave to refer the reader. In the mean while, I cannot but heartily lament and grieve, to find that serious and sensible men can give their minds to oppose a Scrip
Sober and Charitable Disquisition, p. 31. * Second Defence, Query xv, vol. iii. p. 338-341.
tural and venerable doctrine, which has stood the test of ages, by such fine-spun subtilties : Zeno's arguments against motion might appear weighty in comparison.
But we have more of the same kind still, which I shall reply to very briefly. “ The dying humanity can have “ no such dignity!" True, but the dying Christ might, and that suffices. “ The human nature should really and “truly be that divine Person.” No: part of the Person is sufficient : the human nature constitutes one compound Person with the divine nature. “ The Logos could not “ really be man.” Why? Was not the Word made flesh? that is, the Word became incarnate, assumed humanity. “ Humanity could not be assumed into a real communion “ of his Person, without being assumed into what that “ Person is m. He must mean, I presume, without being converted into Godhead. But why not, if bodies at the general resurrection may be assumed into a personal union with souls, without ceasing to be bodies, or being converted into spirits ? “ For the same thing (Person) to “ be God and man at once, that is, really and truly so, is “ surely as impossible as transubstantiation 1.” And yet surely it is not more impossible than for the same human being (call him Peter or John) to be both soul and body at once, really and truly so; which a man may firmly believe as a certain truth, without admitting transubstantiation, a palpable absurdity. “That man should really and “ strictly speaking be a divine Person, or a divine Person
man, to me seems utterly impossible °.” If he means, that the divine nature is not the human, nor the human divine, he says right, and has no opposer : but if he means, that divine substance and human substance together, may not make one Person, or one Christ, let him show why it is more impossible than for a spiritual substance and a corporeal substance to make one person, or one man. He adds, or repeats, that “ the death of the man is not the death of Godo.” But it is the death of Christ, who is God and man. So the death of the body is not the death of the soul; but it is the death of the man, who is both soul and body. Such is the nature of a personal union, and such the manner of speaking of it; and it is so obvious and common a case, that none but philosophers would mistake it.
I Sober and Charitable, &c. p. 32. • Ibid. p. 34.
o Id. ibid.
m Ibid. p. 33.
The author closes his discourse on this head with observing, that our opposers may carry the point of satisfaction as high as we do, and account as handsomely for it. As how? By supposing the Logos to be in as close an union with God, as we suppose Christ's humanity to be with the Logos P. Well then, it must be a personal union, so as to make the Father and the Logos one Person. How then?. Then “the sufferings of the Logos “ will be as much the sufferings of God, and as much an “ atonement for sin, as the death of Christ's human na
ture in the other scheme 9." True: but then the sufferings of the Logos will be the sufferings of the Father, (which is the ancient heresy of the Patripassians,) and the same Person both pays and accepts the ransom, makes an atonement to himself; which is not consonant to Scripture, nor to common sense.
The author concludes his account of this matter with this inference, that the men whom he has been pleading for “ do not seem so deeply culpable, nor so dangerously « mistaken",” as is commonly represented. To me it appears quite the contrary; and from this very representation of his, whereby he intended to favour them. They are deeply culpable, 1. For making God the Son a creature, against the whole tenor of Scripture. 2. For running into Patripassianism, to help out Arianism; heaping error upon error, heresy upon heresy. 3. For doing it upon the strength only of a few dialectical or metaphysical subtilties, scarce worthy to be offered, or so much
• Sober and Charitable Disquisition, p. 34. p Ibid. p. 35.
9 Ibid. p. 34, 35.
Ibid. p. 35.
as named, in so momentous a cause, as this is. 4. For making use of such topics against the personal union of God and man, as might with equal force be urged against the personal union of any two substances wbatever, and prove (if they prove any thing) that an human person is not made up of soul and body. 5. For condemning their opposers as void of charity, only for their pious, faithful, and extremely charitable endeavours to preserve their flocks from being led aside after Satan, from imbibing sentiments subversive of the Gospel of Christ. But I shall have more to say upon the head of charity in another chapter. I hope my reader will excuse my digressing thus far (if it may be called a digression) upon the article of satisfaction, to attend the author who gave the occasion. Now I return.
I have been representing the practical nature and important uses of the doctrine of the Trinity, with respect to worship, in which all the three Persons are interested ; and I have more particularly pressed the importance of the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity, from special considerations relating to the Gospel motives, and the nature of the atonement made for sins. I ought not here to omit the like special considerations concerning the Holy Spirit, and the necessity of believing his Divinity likewise. I shall choose here to express myself in the excellent words of a celebrated writer, whom I have before quoted more than once.
“ Our salvation by Christ does not only con“ sist in the expiation of our sins, &c.—but in the com“munication of divine grace and power to renew and
sanctify us : and this is every where in Scripture attri« buted to the Holy Spirit, as his peculiar office in the
economy of man's salvation. And it must make a fun“damental change in the doctrine of divine grace and “ assistance, to deny the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. “For can a creature be the universal spring and fountain “ of divine grace and life? Can a finite creature be a kind “ of universal soul to the whole Christian Church, and to
every sincere member of it? Can a creature make such “ close application to our minds, know our thoughts, set “bounds to our passions, inspire us with new affections “ and desires, and be more intimate to us than we are to “ ourselves? If a creature be the only instrument and “ principle of grace, we shall soon be tempted, either to
deny the grace of God, or to make it only an external “ thing, and entertain very mean conceits of it. All “these miraculous gifts, which were bestowed on the “ Apostles and primitive Christians, for the edification of “ the Church, all the graces of the Christian life, are the “ fruits of the Spirit. The divine Spirit is the principle “ of immortality in us, which first gives life to our souls, " and will at the last day raise our dead bodies out of the "dust; works which sufficiently proclaim him to be God, “ and which we cannot heartily believe, in the Gospel « notion, if he be not u.”
What this excellent writer has here said appears all to be very right and just; and his observation of the doctrine of divine grace being likely to suffer much by a denial of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit has been too sadly verified in the event. How jejunely, how sparingly, have the abettors of the new schemes insisted upon the doctrine of grace, and of the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit, though Scripture is full of the subject? So that, besides the danger of losing the salutary doctrine of a proper satisfaction and expiation, we are further in danger of losing the true Scripture notion of grace, by the opposition made to the doctrine of the Trinity. I believe I might appeal to the consciences of those gentlemen, whether their gratitude to Christ, for what he has done and suffered for us, be not in a manner lost, and swallowed up in their regards to the Father for commanding and accepting it; and whether the notion of the grace of the Holy Spirit be not entirely absorbed in the thought of the superior assistance of God. The effect is natural, and I judge in this case by what I should find in
» Sherlock's Vindication of the Defence of Stillingfleet, p. 270, &e.